Saturday, May 6, 2017
#251 Chico Carrasquel
#251 Chico Carrasquel
Progress: 1st of this card
231 of 407 56.7% complete
How acquired: $4.24 on eBay
There are two different views on the scarcity of the first five series of 1952 Topps. Beckett (at least my copy from 2008) list the 1st series (#1-80) as the most "valuable," the 5th series (#251-310) as a step below, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th as the "cheapest." The Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards (4th ed.) list the 5th series as the most "valuable" and makes no distinction between the first four series. In my experience, the truth is somewhere in between.
The 5th series is without question, the series I've had to pay the most for on eBay, and it's not close. They consistently sell for the highest prices, by a margin of 2-3x as much. So the Standard Catalog is on point there. If anything, they understate how much the premium for them is. However, the 1st also goes for more than the 2nd-4th series (#81-250). So Beckett isn't wrong in putting a premium on the first series, but they're off in suggesting it demands the highest prices. The middle series are far and away the most plentiful and cheapest to be found. Case in point, I have 159 of the 170 cards that comprise the middle series. That's about 94% complete. And I have 77 of the 80 first series cards (96%). That's not due to targeting, that's just the result of buying the cheapest cards as they become available.
All of which is to say, picking up any cards from the 5th series has started to take on the feel of a minor accomplishment. This Chico Carrasquel is one such card. Carrasquel is no trivial player. In 1951 he beat out Phil Rizzuto in voting, to become the first latin born player to ever start in an All-Star Game. That same year he broke Rizzuto's MLB record by handling 297 consecutive chances without committing an error, a record that would stand for 18 years until broken by Don Kessinger. Per wikipedia, Boston offered the White Sox Ted Williams for Carrasquel, but Chicago declined. Carrasquel was eventually traded to Cleveland following the '55 seasons after a kid he helped the White Sox sign, emerged as the preferred starting shortstop, Luis Aparicio.
Stats: 10 seasons, 4x All-Star, 1,199 hits, 3x AL Defensive WAR leader
Best Hall of Fame Showing: 0.3% 1966