Friday, January 14, 2011

#559 Ed Bailey

#559 Ed Bailey
Considering that this was a high-numbered card, you could say that Topps did good work in quickly grabbing a hatless photo of Ed Bailey and identifying him as a Giant - he was traded from the Braves for Billy O'Dell on February 1, 1965. However, Ed had already been with San Francisco from 1961 through 1963. It seems to me that they could have just as easily recycled an old photo of him. But what do I know?

Fun facts about Ed Bailey:

-Ed was born in Strawberry Plains, TN and briefly attended the University of Tennessee before signing with the Reds in 1950.

-Despite missing all of 1951-1952 due to military service he got a late-season cup of coffee with Cincinnati in 1953. He but struggled offensively in MLB stints in 1954-1955 and was sent back to the minor leagues to hone his skills.

-The 25-year-old returned to the majors in 1956 and claimed the Reds' starting catcher role early in the season. He hit .335 with 14 home runs in his first 58 games to earn the first of five All-Star selections. For the season, he wound up at .300 with a .385 on-base percentage, 28 home runs, and 75 RBI - all career highs. He also led the National League with 23 runners caught stealing, the first of six straight top-five finishes in that category.

-His younger brother Jim pitched in three games for the Reds in 1959, making them a rare sibling battery.

-Bailey was traded to the Giants early in the 1961 season, and was a contributor to their 1962 N.L. pennant. Although he batted .232 that year, his ability to draw walks (.351 OBP) and hit home runs (17 total) made him an above-average hitter.

-From June 26-29, 1962, Ed hit three crucial late-inning homers in a span of four games: a seventh-inning game-tying pinch grand slam, a sixth-inning go-ahead two-run homer, and a walkoff solo shot in the bottom of the 12th.

-He caught Juan Marichal's no-hitter on June 15, 1963.

-Though Ed was nearing the end of his career in 1965, he still factored into a few highlight reels. On July 22, he almost single-handedly beat the Phillies with this stat line: 4-for-4, 2 HR, 8 RBI. His second-inning three-run homer and fifth-inning grand slam accounted for seven of the Cubs' ten runs that day. He also completed his second career unassisted double play in another game that year, making him one of ten catchers to ever achieve that feat.

-He joined the Angels in 1966 but was cut loose in May to finish off his career. In parts of 14 seasons he hit .256 with a .355 on-base percentage, 155 home runs, and 540 RBI.

-Bailey retired to Knoxville, TN, where he served as a city councilman for 13 years and was inducted into the city's Sports Hall of Fame. He passed away at age 75 in 2007 after a bout with throat cancer.
#559 Ed Bailey (back)


  1. That looks like a serious scar across Eds' neck

  2. Anon - Wow, I didn't even notice that. Wonder if it's a military wound?