Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One of the joys of Topps high-number series up through 1973 is that they often reveal long-forgotten footnotes to baseball history.

They trace within their lines the trajectory of once-great figures playing out the strings of their careers, in far-flung outposts that defy our natural associations.

Take Leo the Lip here. You might think of Leo the player as a Cardinal and a Dodger. I know I think of Leo the manager as a Dodger and a Giant and a Cub. But seeing him with the Astros, even in this airbrushed form, just doesn’t seem right.

I imagine him getting dressed in the Astrodome locker room with his back turned to the mirror.

And around about the 6th inning, I see him gazing out through the plastic Houston night in search of just a little patch of ivy…

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