PSA described the 1953 Bowman Color set as one of “the most beautiful modern-era sets of baseball cards produced.” It’s got some classically gorgeous cards, like the Pee Wee Reese leaping card, the excellent multi-player card of Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle, plus cards of other individual stars of the day like Roy Campanella, Ed Mathews, Warren Spahn, and Stan Musial. But among the stars are three gorgeous cards of one-hit wonders; players whose only major baseball card release was in this set. Here are their stories.
1953 Bowman Color #83 Jack Daniels
Despite having one of the best names in the history of MLB, Jack Daniels only stuck around baseball for a single season. But he got a baseball card in the iconic 1953 Bowman Color set!
Jack spent seven seasons in the minor leagues before making the Boston Braves roster for the 1952 season. That year he mainly played as a right fielder and hit .187 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs. Those numbers weren’t good enough to stick in the big leagues, and “Sour Mash Jack” went on to play six more seasons of minor league ball before ending his baseball career. Over his minor league career, he smashed 167 home runs, including 34 for the AA Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association in 1956.
1953 Bowman Color #98 Hector Rodriquez
Perhaps Rodriquez could have had a longer career had he not been a shortstop. As a part of the Chicago White Sox organization, he was stuck behind Chico Carrasquel and Luis Aparicio, who played the same position. So for his one year in MLB, Hector Rodriguez played third base. In 1952 he hit .265, hit one home run, and batted in 40 runs. He also walked 47 times which means his on-base percentage was .346.
He was a native of Cuba and played in the Negro Leagues and the Mexican League before his season with the White Sox. He followed up his only season in Major League Baseball with a successful career with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. He was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. And his 1953 Bowman Color Baseball card is awesome.
1953 Bowman Color #142 Larry Miggins
Larry Miggins played in parts of two major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (1948 and 1952) but only got one major baseball card with his 1953 Bowman Color example, which is fair since, in 1948, he only had a single plate appearance.
Miggins played outfield and first base. His career statistics were a .227 batting average, two home runs, and 10 RBIs. He also played nine years of Minor League Baseball from 1944 to 1954, during which he hit .265 with 143 home runs.
Just making it to the Major Leagues is a significant achievement, and there are plenty of players who do that never get a licensed baseball card made. But Daniels, Rodriguez, and Miggins did, and their cards are in one of the more popular post-war releases. Happy collecting!
PS, you can see how Bowman distributed these cards by checking out the photos I uploaded to the Unopened Archive.