March 12, 2010

White Hot Explosion Of Greatness

It's pretty easy for me to call Bo Belinsky a "flash in the pan." I've never pitched in the majors. The most athletic thing I've ever done was break my finger playing football in middle school.

But it is really hard to find a better way to explain the white hot explosion of greatness that was Bo's first five games pitching for the L.A. Angels and the subsequent flame out that happened in the remaining years of his career.

Based on his female conquests alone [Ann Margaret AND Mamie Van Doren] you'd have to view his pitching career as a success! But it was those first four games that made him a superstar of Southern California. Bo started 3-0...a fine start for any rookie and a feat that wouldn't be matched by another Angels pitcher until Jered Weaver 44 years later. In his fourth start, he threw a no-hitter against the Orioles and a star was born. The Angels played at Dodgers Stadium in those days and it was the first no-hitter thrown at the stadium.

His winning streak continued to five games and eventually improved to 7-1. Then things slowed down and six decisions later he was 7-7. By the end of the season his record was below .500 at 10-11. Like so many big leaguers, the rest of his career would be a hunt to return to the greatness of those first five games. Bo started the 1963 1-7 and was sent to the minors. Ultimately his Angels career came to an end in 1964 when he got into a fight with Los Angeles Times reporter Braven Dyer and was traded to the Phillies. And so here we are at Bo's 1965 Topps card:

1965 Topps #225 Bo Belinsky


My original interest in this card was that it was one of the cards highlighted in the Flipping, Trading book. But it has become more than that now that I know more about the story of how we got here.

There is a real weight to this card and I don't know why more cards are not made in the heavy cardboard, Heritage-style. Forget glossy, give me a card with some bulk. It seems to me also that the colors of the packs of these cards have unique blues that never existed before and can never be recreated again. I'm beginning to sound like Andy Rooney so I'll stop there.

1 comment:

Casey said...

I am all for the heavier, Heritage-style card stock. Glossy is played out and annoying (not too mention difficult for in-person autographs).