Saturday, August 4, 2018

Top Hat

I'm not sure exactly how many Topps All Star Rookie Awards trophies have popped up for auction over the years but it would surprise me if the total has hit double digits.  So it was noteworthy indeed when one was hammered down in a Hunt Auctions offering recently. The trophy in question belonged to Tommy Harper, who had a solid but relatively unspectacular career that spanned 14 seasons and started off quite well in CIncinnati.

He was an original Pilot, selected from Cleveland after a season there and was probably Seattle's best player. He made the move to Milwaukee and held best player distinction there as well before getting traded to Boston after the 1971 season in a massive ten player deal you don't see the likes of anymore.

Harper recently consigned a number of items from his playing days to Hunt and happily for us it included his 1963 trophy:

It's a really nice piece but the top hat is a real head-scratcher, isn't it? Described as being just under ten inches tall, it's had some small repair work done but looks remarkably well preserved.

Included in the lot was a photograph of the ten award winners for 1963:

Going left to right, front to back, that's  Gary Peters, Jimmie Hall, Pete Rose, Jesse Gonder and Harper rounding out the front. Rusty Staub, Al Weis, Pete Ward, Ray Culp and Vic Davalillo are mostly all smiles in back.

Here's Harper in 1964, with his card sporting the little trophy Topps usually added for the award winners:

I say "usually" because the left it off poor Jesse Gonder's '64 entry:

Totally uncool.

Before signing off, here's the cover of the 1963 Banquet Program, which is my favorite of the eight issued from 1959-66:

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