So when I went to the Philly Card Show with Ed this past March, I found a boring ol' clean copy of the Alston card and picked it up for a scant dollar. Likewise, I got a new Vada Pinson to replace the previous one, which was missing half a face. Don't worry, I still have the original Tiptonized copies of both in my possession.
Fun facts about Walter Alston:
-Walter "Smokey" Alston was born in Venice, OH. He attended Miami University (Ohio), and worked as a teacher in the offseason. He signed with the Cardinals in 1935.
-After hitting .326 with 35 home runs at Class C Huntington, he got a September 1936 cup of coffee in the majors. Alston struck out against Lon Warneke of the Cubs in his only big league at-bat.
-In all, he played minor league ball for 13 seasons, never surpassing AA. Playing chiefly at first base, he was a career .295 hitter with 176 career homers.
-Walter started managing in the minors in 1940 while still an active player. He put in a total of 12 seasons as a skipper in the farm systems of the Cardinals and Dodgers, and had a 544-373 record (.593 win percentage) in 6 seasons at the AAA level for the Dodgers. There he managed future big league names like Tommy Lasorda, Jim Gilliam, and Johnny Podres.
-He replaced Chuck Dressen as the Dodger manager prior to the 1954 season. The club won 92 games in his debut year, the first of 10 seasons in which Alston led them to 90 or more wins.
-He helped deliver Brooklyn's first (and only) world championship in 1955, when the Bums finally knocked off the hated Yankees in a seven-game World Series.
-Walter stayed on as Dodger manager for an incredible 23 years, famously being retained on a series of one-year contracts. In his tenure, the team won seven National League pennants and four World Series (1955, 1959, 1963, and 1965). He was named Manager of the Year six times. He won 2,040 games and lost 1,613, a .558 winning percentage. He still ranks ninth all-time in managerial wins.
-When Alston retired, he handed the reins over to longtime player and coach Tommy Lasorda, who kept the post for another 20 years and won 1,599 games and a pair of championships himself.
-The Veterans Committee voted Walter into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
-He passed away in 1984 at age 72.