Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1955 Bowman Lot: Solly, Stanky, and a Bunt

I won a nice lot of Bowman vintage on eBay a while back. I know many aren't big fans of the 1955 woodgrain Bowman set, but I'm a sucker for it. The '50, '51, and '52 sets are still my favorites but this one wins fourth for its super cheesiness in design. Is there anything more retro, more of a snapshot of '50s culture, than a woodgrain TV?

The cards from this lot were a little roughed up, soft corners and all, but not too bad for what I paid. I like the shot of Bobby Adams posing for a bunt here. The bunt pose is hardly an illustration of badassery, but you have to respect a guy that's not afraid to own the sacrifice.

Eddie Stankey is showing off a classic Cards jersey here. Doesn't he look nice and smiley and polite? Well, turns out he was a jerk, or, as his nickname goes: The Brat. I knew nothing about Stanky until I picked up this card and started doing some research. Turns out he was best at drawing walks, and once did so in seven consecutive at bats. Wiki says his manager said, "He can't hit, can't run, can't field. He's no nice guy... all the little SOB can do is win." But that's not all he did. He patented the Stanky Manuever: while playing second, he'd jump up and down and wave his arms and throw up homemade confetti to distract the opposing batters. Perhaps the coolest brat move of the Brat was when he defended Jackie Robinson against the Phillies' jeering. This classy manuever after he spent his first season being one of Jackie's worst tormenting teammates. You might have been a Brat, Stanky, but you ended up not being a racist asshole.

Sorry for the long history lesson. You came here to look at old, moldy cardboard. Here's another card from the lot:

Solly Hemus looks a little scared of the ghostly players approaching him from the left rear. Along with the ghost players, this card shows one of my favorite things about this set. Even though the big ol' woodgrain border takes up a lot of space, the designers often managed to get a good amount of the stadium into the shot. It's a nice way to play with perspective and make the players seem even closer, in anticipation of 3D awesomeness that would mutate into the monstrosities we have today where a good film has been replaced by rad effects of sweetness. So, if you disdain 3D movies like I do, now you know who to blame: 1955 Bowman.

The backs of Bowman cards certainly don't compare to a vintage Topps card back, but this one is kind of funny to me. Bowman must not have had much to say about Solly. Instead, they let him write his own blurb about Stan the Man.

That's the first three cards from this eBay lot. I'll post the rest in the next posts. This lot gets better.

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