Sunday, January 27, 2013
Sampler Album Addition: 1953 Topps Clint Courtney
I learned about this particular card from Bob Lemke’s Blog a few weeks ago. I also discovered that Carl Crawford Cards had written about Courtney in last May.
I learned from Bob Lemke that Courtney was the first catcher to win the Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award, but that the commentary along with the award from the writers was that Courtney’s win was an indictment of how weak the rookie class was that year. Here was the editorial in the Sporting News after the award was given:
““Rookie Crop Far Below Par,” with the subhead, ”Courtney Pick Rip-Off of General Lack of Talent.” And later the article describes the occasion as “dramatic evidence that the freshman class of 1952 was the least talented since World War II.”
Poor guy. Imagine the excitement he must have felt from winning the SN ROY award… and then reading that caveat from the same folks who gave him the award. I imagined he must have had a chip on his shoulder. Turns out, as Carl Crawford Cards explains, he did:
His nicknames were "Scrap Iron" and "The Toy Bulldog," both of which make sense for a guy who caught, wore glasses, and stood all of 5' 8". He was, apparently, a natural lefty who taught himself to catch right-handed, robbing the world of another in the line of distinguished left-handed catchers. He was also, according to Wikipedia, myopic.
Sporting News ROY in 1952 and an original Oriole, he had a solid 11-year career, but as his nicknames would lead you to believe he's best remembered for being an all-out ass kicker. Wikipedia, BR Bullpen, and The Baseball Library all dedicate significant verbiage to his brawls, fights, and fines.