Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Photograph, A Memory

Further to last week's post featuring invitations and other ephemera from some 1960's Topps Rookie Banquets, today we have some snapshots taken, presumably, by Paul Dolembo.  These photos look like they were taken behind the scenes and after the banquet ended as several players are seen holding their rookie award trophies.  There's a half dozen in all and I'll kick it off with a guy who didn't win a rookie award, namely Alva (Al) Cicotte, who was the 1960 Minor League Player of the year at age 30 following a stellar season with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Check out the trophy he got, it is MASSIVE:

If his last name seems familiar, Alva was the great-nephew of Ed Cicotte, permanently banned by MLB in 1920 as one of the Black Sox and arguably on track for eventual Hall of Fame enshrinement. Alva did not have the talent of his grand uncle unfortunately and his biggest claim to fame may have been being traded to the Cardinals for Leon Wagner (who went to the Angels then in the AL expansion draft) a couple of weeks prior to the banquet. Cicotte, would end up having his contract sold to the fledgling Houston franchise about a year after he received this award and became an original Colt 45. According to SABR, he signed with the Detroit Tigers for the final week of the 1977 season in order to qualify for his major league pension.

Next we see Cicotte flanked by Tony Curry of the Phillies and Julian Javier of the Cardinals, both rookie award winners in the outfield and second base, respectively.

Javier makes another appearance, this time with Dick Stigman, the left-handed pitcher rookie award winner from the Indians.  Check out Javier perusing the 1960 program, which looks like so:

Stigman again, with Chuck Estrada to the far right.  I whiffed on ID'ing the fellow in the middle as he didn't match up with the notation on the back of the photo ("Jim Gentile?") but Keith Olbermann was able to figure out it was Marv Breeding, a second baseman with the Orioles, being flanked. Breeding's rookie season with the O's in '60 was pretty good and looks to have been superior but Javier got the nod at 2B. Breeding was a whiz with the leather from what I can find.

Ron Hansen, the rookie award selection with the Orioles at shortstop, relaxes with Breeding:

Think about how good the O's farm system was.  They had three guys make the all rookie team in 1960 and yet all were gone when the "Baby Birds" won the 1966 World Series with yet another crop of youngsters!

Closing things out, MC Joe Garagiola gets a laugh out of Tony Curry and his Phillies teammate Jimmie Coker, the rookie award catcher for 1960.

Unfortunately, there are no shots of the other rookie award winners for the year: the aforementioned Jim Gentile (1B, Orioles), Ron Santo (3B, Cubs--HOF 2012), Frank Howard (OF, Dodgers, or Tommy Davis (OF, Dodgers). All-in-all, the 1960 winners were pretty representative of the rookie teams over the years.

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