Tuesday, November 11, 2014

# 43 Chico "Super Sub' Salmon of the Cleveland Indians

Next in the set is the Indians utility infielder, Chico Salmon. I never heard about or knew much of anything about this player. This is partly why I do this blog. Learning a little more about baseball's past is a hobby. Learning about the players is a massive part of that. Every player who makes it to the Majors, excelled in the profession. If they got up there and had batting averages like Mario Mendoza or Wayne Tolleson, they still made it to the peak of their profession.

The Panamanian born Chico Salmon is one such player. Salmon neverSalmon was a fill in for most of his 9 year career in the Majors. He earned the nickname 'Super Sub' while in Cleveland. Cleveland fans are alot like Phillie and Blue Jay fans prior to the '94 strike. Players were able to settle in with a team and play out a career there. This allowed fans and the local press to learn more about the players they were rooting for. This is something missing in the game today. Fans have to root more for the team and less for players because the majority of them don't last long on the same teams (watch out for that Royal fans)

Salmon didn't have the greatest career batting average (.249) but this could be due to his lack of regular play. Salmon was an instinctive base runner and a quality infielder.

Salmon spent five full seasons with Cleveland. The Indians left him unprotected in the expansion draft and the Seattle Pilots claimed him. He was traded to the powerhouse Orioles before ever appearing in a Pilot game and that spared him from playing on one of the worst teams in the league to the AL pennant winning Orioles. He went on to make appearances in the first ever NLCS in '69, the '69 Series against the Mets and getting his sole World Series hit for the 1970 Champion Orioles.

Salmon saw less and less work with the Orioles in '71 and '72. He was done in the Majors toward the end of 1972 at the age of 31.

He remained devoted to the game and was a part of it up until his untimely death from a heart attack at the age of 59.

Topps made plenty of cards featuring Chico Salmon. He had a card every year of his career. '64 to '72. He even had a '69 Topps card stating he was on the Pilots.

His '67 card didn't stand out from the rest. I saw it as a common card. Commons never stood out. The Beckett Baseball Card Monthly was a regular purchase and the cards that were named, were the cards I looked at in the set. The rest were lumped in together as commons, all with the same price based on where they were placed in the set.

I find Salmon's card interesting now because it looks like the photo of him was taken in Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I don't see the white facade of Yankee Stadium lining the roof, I don't recognize the scoreboard in the back, and the stands are too large to be a spring training facility.  It's rare finding a photo of a player not from Florida, Arizona or New York in this set.

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