Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Vintage Stack: 1952 Topps #194 Joe Hatten

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a batch of vintage cards that I was able to pick up off the Bay of E for slightly more than the price of a couple of blasters.   I was able to to finally sit down and dig through my new treasure stack.   Here were the breakdown statistics [year and (# of cards)]:

1952 (one), 1954 (one), 1955 (one), 1959 (nineteen), 1961 (one), 1962 (eleven), 1963 (one), 1964 (sixteen), 1965 (twenty), 1967 (two), 1971 (three), 1972 (one), 1974 (one), 1977 (one) and one 1978 football card.

Kind of an interesting breakdown, right?   Heavy on '59, '62, '64 and '65.   Fifty-two cards total, which means I'm at about 84 cents per card.   I would say that most of the cards top out around 'VG', condition-wise.   No big tears or paper-loss, so I should be able to read and appreciate each one.   Hmmm.....for vintage, I'm pretty much okay with this already - but let's see what we have.

First up - the oldest card in the stack: 

You can never go wrong with a '52.   This is THE set for so many of us, so any example is typically a great card.   Joe's card appears to have some staining issues along both edges but is actually very well centered.   The vintage Cubs logo is terrific but I am not so sure what the glowing bands are above Joe's follow-through pose.   I am assuming that we're staring at the upper roof line of Wrigley behind home plate?   Is that the home uniform worn by Joe?   In '51/'52, should the "C" be there on the front?   Hopefully a Cubbies fan can help me out!   Regardless, it looks to either be a beautiful sunset in Chicago or Hatten is about to be beamed up by aliens.


Joe Hatten played in the majors from 1946 until 1952.   It looks like this may have been his last card?   I can't find anything from Bowman or Topps for Joe in 1953.   Mr. Hatten was a fellow Navy man, serving during WW2 (beginning in 1942), so this card is already highly coveted in the Ryan's Pitch Collection.

Upon returning home from war, Joe hooked up with the Brooklyn Dodgers and pitched for them until 1951.   During that time, he was their Opening Day starter twice -  in 1947 and 1949.   He went 6 innings against the Boston Braves on 4/15/1947 but ended up with a no-decision.   In 1949, he opened up against the New York Giants and tossed a complete game, beating the Giants 10-3 on 4/19.   Way to go, Joe!   His finest season came in '47 when he went 17-8 and he even started one game against the Yankees in the '47 Series - it was Game 3 and he would unfortunately (fortunately) give up 6 runs in only 4.1 innings....though the Dodgers would eventually win the game.

Joe was traded to the Cubs in 1951 and as you can see below, he was slowly losing control of his pitches:

I love the middle name, Hilarian!   The back of this card is in pretty good shape, too.  Most importantly -  I can read everything, so everything after that is icing.   The extra 1/2" on Hatten's height listing caught my eye and made me chuckle a little bit.   I don't know if I've ever noticed a "1/2" denotation before....but I'll probably be on the lookout for them from here on out.

The career BB:K ratio isn't looking so hot here, but out of a total of seven years in the big leagues, the back of this '52 denotes the ONLY losing season that Hatten ever had, his 3-6 campaign in 1951.   Not too shabby, Joe.

As you guys know, I love these old cards.   Each one tells such an amazing story, branching off into a million other baseball tales.   The fact that my first card from the E-Bay vintage stack is a WW2 veteran is a good sign.   I think I have some enjoyable cardboard appreciation on the way and this Joe Hatten gets us off to a great start.

Glad to add you to my collection, Joe.

Thanks for reading and keep collecting!

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