Wednesday, April 19, 2017
#54 Dick Green Kansas City Athletics - Those Minty Green cards
You have the light blue lettering against the uniforms which themselves are mostly grey and maybe a shade darker than winter green. Truly unremarkable. Compare this to some of the cards with vibrant lettering like the bright red of the Dodgers or Yankees or the YELLOW on the Orioles. Was Topps planning to do that? Make the player cards on the prominent teams of the era stand out over the lesser teams?
The Athletics were definitely a lesser team who hadn't managed a winning season since the Mack family owned it in 1952, It was after Finley moved the team to Oakland that the franchise began to win again. The Athletics did not have a single winning season in Kansas City.Their best season was in '58 with a 73-81 record.
The history of how the Athletics came to end up on KC is worth researching. Here is a brief summary. The Mack family failed to adapt to the changes in Major League Baseball during the Depression and the war years. After the war ended in '45, other teams were more prepared to bring a competitive team back to the field, the Athletics, still reeling from their money troubles before the war floundered. The Mack family ultimately was forced to give up their team to former Yankee executives who I believe maintained a strong tie to the Yankee franchise. It was such a strong tie that the Athletics seemed like a Yankees triple A team that happened to be in the Majors. Players that could fill a hole in the Yankee lineup came from the Athletics and when the Yankees ran out of room for someone or was shipping someone out at the end of their career, he ended up in KC. The Yankees got Hector Lopez, Roger Maris, and Bobby Shantz from the Athletics.They shipped out and later brought back Enos Slaughter from KC. They sent Hank Bauer, Billy Martin, Norm Siebern and Jerry Lumpe out to KC when they were done with them. People have tried to debate that these transactions actually benefited the Athletics more than the Yankees but I look at the records. The Yankees appeared in 9 World Championships while the A's were in KC, winning 4 of them and the A's never had a single winning season. The A's started to keep their young talent when Charlie Finley took over the team and this started to pay off only after he moved the team to Oakland but it wasn't until the Royals in 1971 that the people of KC got to see a winning MLB franchise.
Dick Green was one of those young prospects the Athletics were fully planning to keep around and they did during the entirety of his Major League career. Green was one of those utility players who saw action from 1st to 3rd and even catcher on rare occasions. His career batting average of .240 was good but it's his career fielding percentage of .983 that made him indispensable to the A's. He saw action all three of their World Series championships from '72 to '74.