Take a close look at this Del Crandall card. Focus on Del's right hand, which is gripping the bat and facing the camera. See that blackened fingernail? That's the joys of being a catcher, folks.
-A Californian by birth, Crandall signed with the Braves in 1948 and made his debut with the club the following June at age 19!
-After spending 1951-1952 serving in the Korean War, followed the Braves to Milwaukee and earned a reputation as one of the best all-around catchers in the league. Made four consecutive All-Star teams and eight in ten years.
-Won four out of the first five Gold Gloves that were awarded at his position. He led the loop in assists six times and fielding percentage four times, and caught 1,430 games (fourth-most in N.L. history at the time).
-Played in two World Series for the Braves vs. the Yankees (one win, one loss); though he hit .227 in postseason play, he did hit one home run in each Fall Classic.
-Hit four home runs in his final season off of three very good pitchers: Dave McNally, Denny McLain, and Johnny Podres.
-Retired in 1966 with a .254 career average.
-Wore many hats in his post-playing career: coach (Angels - 1977), minor-league manager (1969-1970 and 1978-1983 - Albuquerque Dodgers, 1971-1972 - Evansville Triplets, 1976 - Salinas Angels, 1996-1997 - San Bernardino Stampede), major-league manager (1972-1975 - Brewers, 1983-1984 - Mariners), and radio broadcaster (White Sox - 1985-1988). Whew.