Pitcher John Hetki Tamed 2 Hall of Famers!

Pic from Havana, Cuba?!?

Topps told me!

I saw that Pirates pitcher John Hetki was photographed in a batting helmet on his 1954 Topps card. Looking at his stats, I saw he had 11 hits in one season — including two triples in one week of 1953. Don’t DH this guy. He responded:

“I had to work hard during the winter months. I worked also in making my arms and legs strong.”

On April 27, 1947, then-Cincinnati moundsman Hetki hurled a 12-inning victory against the Pirates. Two memories top that day:

“Shutting out Hank Greenberg and Ralph Kiner without a hit.”

We may never know the full story of all the 1953 Topps paintings. Photos were adapted. Some freelance artists would recreate every detail. Others would enhance.

Well, Hetki’s 1953 forested background suggests that he might have gone camping in uniform. Was there such lush shade at Forbes Field, or was this spring training? Hetki’s guess?

“The picture might have been taken in Havana, Cuba.”

Hetki summed up his letter by listing his career ironies.

“At the end of the 1949 season in Syracuse, I pitched 4 games with two days rest. I lost all four games, being shut out, 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1. I lost the last game, 8-0. Six of the runs were unearned. I never got the chance to be a regular starter in the majors. I also threw a lot of batting practice without the screen.”

Tomorrow: Harvey Meiselman offers major deal for “minor” names.



Yankee Art Schult Tells On 1953 Topps

“The only picture they had…”

Art Schult got only the briefest chance to catch on with the 1953 Yankees.

In his “cup of coffee” with manager Casey Stengel, does Schult have a memory of the Hall of Famer?

Yes, but…

“RE Stengel – I was never very diplomatic and I really do not want to try at this late date.”

Schult accepted the nickname “Dutch,” although some mystery surrounds the title:

“I believe one of my buddies gave me the nickname ‘Dutch’ when I stole a couple of bases and it stuck for awhile.”

Most incredible is Schult’s recognition of his 1953 Topps card. Some collectors have guessed that Topps painters inserted random backgrounds on some cards. I thought Schult’s card looked like my backyard!

Not so.

“My contract was brought up to New York at the end of the 1950 season. I was drafted into the Service roughly the same time. The only picture they had was taken in Binghamton, New York, with the center field wall in the background.

I had the pinstripes on but the cap had TC (Triple City logo) and the number on the uniform was #6 which couldn’t be shown. That is why they doctored the card.”

Tomorrow: Remembering my conversation with Hall of Famer Johnny Mize.

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