Monday, January 21, 2013

1977 Indianapolis Indians Baseball #5, Tom Hume

Few of my minor league type cards portray guys with a future, so it's nice to run into future All-Stars like righty Tom Hume. He and those mid-70s shades are framed by Indy's home park, Owen Bush Stadium, their home from 1931-1995.

As a collector, I know the Indianpolis Indians for their full-color, self-produced team sets in a minor league era more likely to produce dingy black-and-white. Dodgy, shadowed photos still show up (e.g., Mike LaCoss), but you saw those every year from Topps itself.

1977 is the last of Hume's minor league cards, as Cincy's late-year promotion stuck and he spent the next 11 years scuffing big league baseballs for the Reds and Phillies. Tom joins 9-year vet Steve McCatty as the most successful rookies from 1978 Topps #701.

Hume posted 140+ innings each minor league season, as the Reds seemed keen on making Tom a starter. They ultimately shifted him to the bullpen, where he finished 30+ games five straight years (1979-1983) and saved the NL's 4-1 win in 1982's All-Star game (career stats).

I remember pre-1980 cards tracking more personal info on card backs, like hobbies and a favorite winter activity. Today, Tom's on Twitter @THume47. Judging by those tweets, he still likes to fish.

Indianapolis printed 26 cards and this unnumbered checklist in 1977, with team staff on the back.

Value: This #5 cost $2.50 at Several of Tom's teammates joined him in the bigs, so you'll pay more than for a single-A team without any familiar names. (As of this writing, there's a set on eBay for $35.)

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace.

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