Tuesday, November 23, 2010

#8 Chuck Harrison "A Neck with Face and Eyes"

Ok, I mean to show as much respect to the players in this classic 1960's set but come on! He does look like a neck with face and eyes! That line comes from my all time favorie TV show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Most people are aware of the show (a guy and two puppet/robots, sitting in a movie theater making fun of really bad movies) and have no cluse what the show is called. That line comes from an episode featuring a made for TV movie called San Francisco International Airport starring Pernell Roberts (from Bonanza and Trapper John fame), Clu Gulager, Tab Hunter, and David Hartman who was the lucky recipient of the neck with eyes joke. If David Hartman were not smiling in the picture to the right of my words here, you would see what they meant. Anyway, if you are unfamiliar with the show or the TV series, I recommend watching them uninterrupted on hulu and check out the rifftrax series on their site.                                          
I know next to nothing about Chuck Harrison and I thought even less of his baseball card pictured here. Chuck Harrison had an extremely short career which spanned all of five seasons and because he was young, and played most of '66 Topps decided to make a card for him. His batting stats weren't that great but, as was often the case with these short timers, his fielding numbers were pretty good. Only 8 errors in 114 games in '66 is nothing to sneeze at. Sure others have done better but he was called up for a reason and that reason was likely to fill in for an injured starter. As the link, shows, he played briefly for the expansion Kansas City Royals and that was it.

The card looks pretty plain for the set and that is saying something considering the set is pretty low key to begin with. Harrison is pictured in just a head and shoulders shot looking well over the photographer. He is standing beneath expansive blue skies which leads me to only guess that the picture was taken at the Astros 1966 spring training. Another clue which leads me to this conclusion is the fact that many of the Astros players featured in the set have pictures taken during spring training. None of the pictures feature players taken in doors so no one was pictured in the eight wonder of the world, the Astrodome.
The team's name on the card front, with its powder purple coloring never made the card any better in my mind either. I still wonder what was Topps formula for deciding when to print the players name and position in white and yellow as opposed to just black. Look at the other cards as i posted them, you might be able to help answer this question for me.

As far as I know, Chuck Harrison has had two Topps cards made for him. This one and one from the '69 Topps set. I believe that players were compensated, $100 dollars for each time they were featured on a sports card. Just imagine what that figure is now......Chuck Harrison, today, with his solid playing and average hitting stats would guarantee him a stable spot on the Pirates in field with a salary of $1.2 million a year for as long as he remains healthy. The President of the United States still only makes one third of that per year. Incredible...

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