Thursday, November 26, 2009

#9 1964 AL Wins Leaders: Chance, Peters, Bunker, Pizarro, and Wickersham

#9 AL Wins Leaders
Happy Thanksgiving, folks! I'm thankful for this nifty card, one of a couple dozen that I received in a trade from Steve, a diehard Cubs fan who has a blog of his very own. Give it a look, why not?

The labeling on this card is pretty murky. On the front it just says, "Pitching Leaders". Way to narrow it down, Topps. The back gives the more specific (and delightfully quirky) "Victory Leaders". These men are victors! They exult in the lamentations of their conquered foes' women! Huzzah!

Whereas some of the league leaders cards feature multiple Hall of Famers in one fell swoop, not one of the five men pictured here has gotten the call to Cooperstown. Of the quintet, Juan Pizarro was the winningest over the course of his career with 131 W's. But in 1964, they were five of the finest pitchers in the American League. Let's break it down.

Dean Chance was the standard bearer with 20 wins and nine losses, as well as a miniscule 1.65 ERA. He was the runaway Cy Young Award winner, back when there was just one winner for all of MLB. Tying him in the win department was Gary Peters of the White Sox, who was followed closely by teammate Pizarro with 19. Also clocking in with one win for each of his 19 years was Rookie of the Year runner-up Wally Bunker, who's giving a Brady Bunch-esque sideways glance to Juan. Then there's Dave Wickersham, who also fell a game short of the big 2-0. Dave never topped a dozen wins in any other season, incidentally.

I love the detail that they put into the leaderboards in this set. Assuming that I can count this late at night, the top 54 winners in the A.L. are listed here. This may very well be the only time that Bob Heffner and John O'Donoghue were ever mentioned in the same space as Robin Roberts and Mickey Lolich. You'll also notice the misspelling of Jim Kaat's last name as "Katt", which recurs on his own card. No respect.
#9 AL Wins Leaders (back)


  1. two points for the Conan reference (the barbarian, not the talk-show host...)

  2. Max - I aim to please. If only I could've worked in a Conan the Librarian reference..."Don't you know the Dewey Decimal System?"