Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scout's Honor

A couple of posts ago I made reference to the Topps Scout of the Month Award, as shown in a Baseball Achievements Award program.  I had actually heard of this award prior to seeing that program but only for a couple of weeks as I saw three of them pop up on eBay, one each from 1973, '74 and '75, all issued to Howie Haak who was a legendary scout who primarily worked Latin America.  I bought one, the other two should still be out there if anyone is interested.

The Award itself is printed on a grade of parchment that is maybe a step or two above good bond paper. When I bought my copy it was one of two featuring Miguel Dilone, which confused me at first.  However, all was revealed once I got my prize:

As you can see, the award was presented to the signing scout when a player was named Minor League Player of the Month in their respective league. So Dilone won it at least twice, explaining the multiple awards given to Haak bearing Miguel's name.

The award is "signed" by Henry Peters (President of the National Association) and, in a nice surprise as I could not make it out in the auction listing, Sy Berger of Topps.  Sy's byline is no surprise given his deep involvement with the various award programs sponsored by Topps. It may seem strange to some but Topps invested time and money in these programs, which helped maintain strategic ties to supply their baseball player contract pipeline.  I don't believe they were this involved with other sports, although in the case of the AFL and NFL they may have offered more behind the scenes support such as supporting varoius charitable organizations favored by the leagues.

The award as issued is unembossed, although it being 1973 the "deets" had to be typed and inked in as needed.  This is how things were done in the pre-internet days kiddos!  With a number of leagues and levels, there should be a few dozen of these issued each year. The famous Topps rookie award trophy also makes an appearance in the graphics.

Speaking of which.....

That's a Goose Gossage autograph at the very bottom but another signature for "League President" was added.  Ol' Sy still gets his turn though.  You will note the similarities to the Award for Scout of the Month, no doubt. The additional hardware was for Goose winning the Topps Minor League Player of the Year Award; that sterling silver cup replaced the batting pose trophy in 1973 as what was shown on the Topps All Star Rookie cards by the way. Here, check it out:

And leave us not forget Topps immortalizing these awards in the 1972 semi-high's:

The All Star Rookie Awards are still given out by Topps every year; there's a bunch of great detail over at Baseball-Reference.com. If they issue the awards this year that will make 55 years in a row (54 for Player of the Year) for Topps-wow!

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