Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Donation from Fleerfan, Part Two: Oliver, Ribant, Checklist, Thomas

Okay, here's the second group of four from the Fleerfan pile. More to come!

Nate "Pee Wee" Oliver's father, Jim Oliver, Sr., played in the Negro Leagues in the 1940's. Nate was a light-hitting backup infielder throughout the 1960's. In 1965, he was actually coming off of his best season as a major leaguer, for what it's worth: his 99 games played, 9 doubles, 21 RBI, and .243 average and .309 on-base percentage were all career highs. He appeared as a pinch runner in Game Four of the 1966 World Series, which my beloved Orioles won to sweep the favored Dodgers. Just had to squeeze that in, you know.

I don't know about you, but I really miss the days when the Mets wore only blue and orange, without all of the black nonsense. It's a pretty shallow excuse to move more merchandise. One of my favorite destinations on the Web is Paul Lukas' Uni Watch Blog. Paul is a diehard Mets fan and a scholar of uniform minutiae, and he also masterminded the Ditch the Black campaign, which aimed to...well, it's self-explanatory. The Mets' uniform as it was originally conceived was a great nod to the tradition of baseball in New York: blue to represent the old Brooklyn Dodgers, and orange for the departed New York Giants. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

#79 Checklist 1

I don't really have much to offer about this checklist, except to say that it arrived with three of the boxes on the back filled in with blue pen. I generally don't fill out my own checklists any more; I tend to keep inventory on spreadsheets and online tools. But there's something charming about those little dark blue ink blots and remembering back to a time when I would have used a checklist for its intended purpose.

George almost seems to be sporting a sneer in his photo, perhaps an indication that his career hasn't been moving along as planned. The Tigers signed him as a "bonus baby" on August 5, 1957, and he got to make his debut that September at the age of 19. He wouldn't be in the bigs to stay until 1961, when the Angels acquired him for cash. His official rookie season was one of the best of his career. He hit .274 with 13 home runs and 59 RBI, and his offensive production was about league-average. The only year he even came close to that performance was 1964, the most recent campaign at the time of this card's production. Back with the Tigers following a June 1963 trade, Thomas batted .286 and went deep 12 times. Though he stuck around until 1971, George never topped 80 games played in another season. Post-retirement he did coach baseball at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota (1979-1981).


  1. Hey, are your "needs" lists up to date?
    I might go see if I can fill in any of your blanks -- if they are still blanks.

  2. Yep, those lists are up to the minute.

  3. Aw, man. A stinking checklist.

    A Dennis Ribant update....dateline 1999....former Met Dennis Ribant pleads guilty to charges of tax evasion and attempting to bribe the auditor. Oops.

  4. Another fan of UniWatch here. Agreed -- you've got the blue and you've got the orange. Why mess with perfection?

    Nice clean checklist. Had almost forgotten how Topps put star players on the "0" or "5" with everyone else in between.