#272 Mike Garcia
Progress: 1st of this card
293 of 407 72% complete
How acquired: $11.40 on eBay
Condition: Very Good
"Big Bear," or "Mexican Mike" as the Cleveland press often dubbed Garcia, was an expensive card. It only took about thirty seconds of research to figure out why. While not a Hall of Famer, Garcia was nothing short of a superstar for the better part of a decade. From his rookie year in '49 when he led the American League in ERA to 1957, he never failed to win at least 12 games, winning 18 or more four times (20+ twice) and also led the AL in ERA again in 1954. In '54 he lead the AL with a 2.64 ERA while going 19-8 and being widely regarded the ace of a pitching staff that included Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, and Bob Feller. "The Big Four" led Cleveland to a record of 111-43 and the AL Pennant. If you consider "WAR" a real stat (I don't), then Garcia measures up very well there as well.
Going north of a Hamilton for these cards usually bugs me if the name on the front isn't one that immediately pops out, a name big enough that my wife will recognize it. But sometimes, as is the case with this Garcia, I end up not minding. What I end up with is a nice looking card, in pretty good shape of an excellent player, and some more than mere trivial knowledge of baseball history. As opposed to spending the same amount on a Topps Now for some nominal mid-week achievement by a trendy rookie.
Stats: 14 seasons, 3x All-Star, 142 wins, 97 loses, 3.27 ERA, led AL in ERA '49 (2.36) and '54 (2.64), Led AL in Shutouts '52 (6) and '54 (5)
Best Hall of Fame Showing: N/A