Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sets in My Collection: 1987 TCMA 1957 Milwaukee Braves

TCMA is spoken of with reverence in the card blogs, I think.  I never knew anything about them, but it turns out I did have some of their cards, this 1987 set of Baseball's Greatest Teams.  They made several such sets of great teams, and this one is of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

This is another of those things that I have no idea how it turned up in my collection.  My best guess, which I mentioned for some other odd thing in my collection the other day, revolves around Toys 'R Us.  I remembered, when they were going out of business, that back in the 80s I would sometimes buy a repack at Toys 'R Us.  Maybe at other places too?  But it's definitely something Toys 'R Us carried and that I bought there.  Probably not too many times, but sometimes.  And there would be random stuff in those packs.  Maybe that's why I have this nice set.  When I put it into my collection on Trading Card Database, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the 9 cards I have comprise the whole set.
Hank Aaron.
Hank Aaron card back.
So of course you want to start off with Hank Aaron, the greatest of all time.  Still the greatest of all time, to me.  The card back starts off "Baseball's Greatest Players," which is unusual, because the other 8 card backs all say "Baseball's Greatest Teams" instead.  I just looked up the 1987 TCMA 1960 Pirates set, and none of the card backs (Roberto Clemente!) say Greatest Players.  Same goes for the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson, the Yankees and Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, and the Red Sox and Ted Williams.  They really singled out Aaron.
Eddie Mathews.
Bob Hazle.
What a lineup, with Aaron and Mathews in it.  I've said before, Mathews was important to me as a kid because Mike Schmidt was.  While we all regarded Schmitty as the best third baseman ever, I still was interested in those other best third basemen, Eddie Mathews, Brooks Robinson, and George Brett.

Outfielder Bob Hazle only played in 41 games for the 1957 Braves, but batted .403 in his 134 at-bats, with 27 RBI.  According to Wikipedia, Hazle was put in after one of my favorites, Bill Bruton, had a season-ending injury.  Hurricane Hazle, they called him, referencing Hurricane Hazel which hit in 1954.
Johnny Logan.
Red Schoendienst.
Here we have the middle infield of those 1957 Braves, who won the only Braves championship in Milwaukee.  Logan was a four-time All-Star and is on the Braves' Walk of Fame.  Red Schoendienst, whose 1974 Topps card as manager I once showed, is more associated with the Cardinals than the Braves, but spent 1956-1960 with the Braves.  Long enough to win a World Series in Milwaukee and make an All-Star team.
Wes Covington.
Lew Burdette.
Wes Covington was a rookie in 1956, spent the first half of 1957 back in the minors, but was called back to Milwaukee for the second half of 1957.  Wikipedia credits him with great defensive plays in the World Series to preserve wins for Lew Burdette.  Burdette was the World Series MVP, earning three of the Braves' four wins.
Warren Spahn.
Bob Buhl.
Another of the Hall-of-Famers on that team was Warren Spahn.  I don't actually know that much about Warren Spahn, with him being so much before my time.  But what I do remember is that Steve Carlton tried to hang around in the majors long enough to beat Spahn's win record for left-handed pitchers.  When Carlton was done, Spahn had 363 wins to Carlton's 329.  Carlton, of course, did have the left-handed strikeout record at the time.  Pitcher Bob Buhl was with the Braves, Cubs, and Phillies between 1953 and 1967.  He went 18-7 in the regular season and 0-1 in two starts in the World Series.  I love the spring training setting for some of these photos, especially how Buhl's picture captures the palm trees and what look like wooden bleachers.

I'll just close out by mentioning that of these great players, Hank Aaron is the only one still alive.  He's almost 85 years old at this point; may he be well for many more.

Thanks for reading!

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