Monday, November 9, 2009

Final Card: Johnny Klippstein

I started collecting baseball cards in 1967. This set was my original source of all major league baseball player knowledge. Aside from a few players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, and Johnny Callison, I didn't know who any of the players were prior to 1967.

Since the high-number 7th series was not sold in my neighborhood that year, most of the players in that series remained a mystery to me. When the 1968 cards came out, I got my first look at the likes of Rocky Colavito, Juan Pizarro, Mickey Stanley, etc, but names like Johnny Klippstein, Jack Sanford, Jim Owens, Jimmy Piersall, and Don Demeter (all whose last card was in 1967) remained unknown to me for almost two decades, until I completed most of that series.

Here we have the final card for Johnny Klippstein (#588), who began his minor-league career before the end of World War 2!

After five years in the Cardinals organization and one with the Brooklyn Dodgers' double-A Mobile team, he made his big-league debut in 1950 with the Cubs. Johnny was a swingman early in his career, but beginning in 1958, he became almost exclusively a reliever.

Along the way, he played for the Cubs, Reds (twice), Dodgers, Indians, Senators, Phillies, Twins, and Tigers. He pitched in two World Series: 1 game for the Dodgers in 1959, and two games for the Twins in 1965 (which I recently saw on the MLB Network).

The Tigers signed him the day before the season opener in 1967, and after 5 appearances (6 innings) released him on June 2nd, ending his 18-year career.

(Notice that the wrong heading was used for his pitching statistics!)

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