Friday, November 26, 2010

Funny Name, Scary Cartoon

As my 16 hour shift comes to an end, and my next shift starts in only 8 hours, I thought I would put up something to read for those of you not enduring the madness that is Black Friday.

I ran across this gem yesterday.

This is a 1959 Topps Solly Hemus. I daresay he is the only Solly and only Hemus to ever appear in an MLB game. I may be wrong, but you'll have to show me some proof of that. You'll notice that the card lists Mr. Hemus as Infield-Manager. I've always been intrigued by the player-manager and the most notable one in my memory was Pete Rose and I always associate that with the betting scandal. Solly Hemus played 11 years in the Majors, accumulating 736 hits, 51 homers and 263 RBIs while batting .273. He played primarily for the Cardinals and the Phillies.

You'll notice the write up on the back states that Solly was taking over as the Cardinals' skipper and would be pinch hitting and playing a little defense. He was also pretty young to be a manager at the ripe old age of 35. He actually didn't play much in 1959, appearing in 24 games, but only going 4/17 with one RBI. 1959 would also prove to be his last year as a player. He would go on to manage the Cardinals for 2+ seasons going 71-83 in 1959, 86-68 in 1960 and then 33-41 in 1961 before being replaced by Johnny Keane.

The part of this card that really caught my attention, even more so than Solly's name, was the somewhat disturbing cartoon on the back.

Is the batting crown of the Pioneer League so prestigous that you would actually kill yourself because you didn't win it? I can't imagine any card company using this type of cartoon today.


  1. Great post... it's funny that you brought up the topic of Topps "back of the card" art. I was thinking about writing a post about their choice of comics myself. I have a 2006 Topps #84 So Taguchi card that has a comic on the back saying "Masanori Murakami was the first Japanese baseball player to play in a MLB game"... which is harmless. But the comic they chose cracks me up. It's a dude with a bat wearing a stereotypical "rice paddy" hat.

    Funny stuff... I'm personally not offended (I embrace my culture and love sporting my own "rice paddy" hat, but I'm sure some of my "old school" relatives might question their choice of comic art.

  2. Weird. Always interesting to see a card of Solly Hemus, especially after reading Bob Gibson's autobiography. Gibby didn't have a lot good to say about Solly.

  3. FWIW, Solly Hofman played 14 years in the bigs and was a member of the last Chicago Cubs team to win a World Series.