Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Congratulations - It's Tripletts!

Don't worry, I haven't become a parent.  Lord knows I can barely take care of myself and a cat at this point in my life.  Plus, children seem to have a natural distaste for me anyway.

Rather, the "Tripletts" alluded to in the title of this post are actually a reference that works two-fold.  First, I recently acquired a new to my collection, set of three oddball cards.  Second, one of the players featured in said set is one Coaker Triplett.

See?  It's all coming together now!

Yes, it's a Cardinals set.  No, this Cubs fan hasn't lost his mind - two of the subjects were also Cubs during their careers.  In fact, Coaker is actually another name I can now scratch off of the want list for my CATRC!

Yesterday, spotlighted a set of cards by one of the undisputed kings of pre-junk wax era oddballs, Larry Fritsch.  Today, that spotlights swivels over to another even more powerful force:  TCMA.

The no-frills set honors the Cards of 1942-46.  Why that particular span, you ask?  Well, they managed to make it to the World Series in 4 out of the 5 years, winning 3!  That's quite the run, isn't it?  Even this Cubs fan has to (begrudgingly) show respect.

Mr. Triplett was a spare outfielder from 1941-42 and 9 games of '43 for St. Louis and he did a pretty good job of that, batting .266 over across 149 games.  However, with names like Slaughter and Musial populating the outfield, he never got a lot of playing time or an appearance in the World Series.  

 It's hard to get reps when these guys are ahead of you on the depth chart!

He was traded to the Phillies in 1943 and hung around the league for another two seasons in the same sort of role.

But, more importantly, before all that he was part of another World Series bound team:  the 1938 Cubs.

He made the Opening Day roster as a starter during his lone year in Chicago and got off to a torrid start with 9 hits in his first 14 at-bats.  However, he soon cooled off and lost his starting role by May.  Before May was even half way through, he lost his roster spot entirely.

He went back to the minors and at some point was acquired by the Cardinals, though BBref doesn't know when.  It wasn't until the Cardinals run of dominance that he resurfaced in the Majors.

Now, obviously the card on the left in a '72 Topps and not a TCMA piece; it was Harry's prior representation in my CATRC binder.  Now, since this TCMA set provided a card depicting Harry's playing days, it has been replaced.

Nothing against that card, mind you - I love '72 acid dream-like design.  I just prefer to have players represented in my collection with player cards.  Blah, blah, OCD.

"Harry the Hat" was another reason that Triplett never saw much action.  The 2x All Star roamed the outfield for all of the Cardinals' World Series appearances in that span, except for 1944 when he was serving in the military.

Since it was the franchise's modus operandi of the day, the Cubs brought the veteran into their fold in 1949, after the years of playing and serving our country had rendered him a shell of his former self.  They traded another aging slugger, Swish Nicholson, for 42 games of his services.

It worked out alright though, before the year was up, the Cubs were able to flip "The Hat's"
.264 BA to Cincy for 2/3 of their starting outfield for almost the next decade:  Frankie Baumholtz and Hank "The Mayor of Wrigley Field" Sauer.

Theo Epstein would be proud.

The third card in this set is up for grabs since Terry Moore never had anything to do with the Cubs organization.  Is there a Cardinals collector who would like to claim this oddity?

This career Cardinal was another key component in the outfield for that juggernaut team.  The 4x All Star might have been destined for Cooperstown if not for his service in the Armed Forces.

Nothing against the man, I just don't have a use for this card in my collection and I would hate to see it gather dust as a result of my disinterest.

Speaking of disinterest, it's probably about time that I wrap this post up.

All in all, though the design is rather basic on these cards, I'm quite ok with it.  For one, the limits on printing technology at the time for a company like TCMA would have kept them from doing anything fancy.

For two, I feel as though retrospective sets featuring golden-era ball players should be minimalist in nature.  Flashy colors, chrome finishes and random geometric patterns wouldn't really go with the mood of the set.  Basic designs are more in-line with the times of the subjects.

But, that's just me and I've been wrong about a lot of things in my life.

Hopefully not about becoming a parent any time soon. Yikes!

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