Thursday, June 12, 2008

2003 Team Topps Legends Bert Campaneris

Who is this? A's shortstop Bert Campaneris.

What is this? An autograph card from Topps, card number TT-BC.

Where'd I get it? A pack of something or other. Probably Heritage or Archives.

How much did it cost? Four bucks or so for the pack.

Why is this so special? Campy was the long time shortstop for the Oakland A's through their Championship years. Bert was not known for his power but he hit two homers in his debut for the A's, one off of pitcher Jim Kaat off the very first pitch he saw. Other than a fluke year in 1970 when he hit 22 homers out of nowhere, Campaneris never hit more than 8 homers in any season and ended his career with 79. Bert was a speed merchant who wreaked havoc on the basepaths as he bunted his way on base and stole bases right and left once he got there. He led the league in steals six times and retired with 649 total steals, good for 14th all time. Campy was a very popular player for the A's and as a publicity stunt, he played all nine positions in a game in 1965. The other stunt Bert is known for is chucking a bat at Lerrin LaGrow's head in a playoff game against the Tigers in 1972 after getting plunked by the pitcher. Tiger manager Billy Martin charged the field and was a major combatant in the brawl that ensued. Billy later managed Campy in 1983 as he brought back the speedster for one last season in New York.

I know I pulled this card from a pack, but which pack it was from is stumping me. I think Team Topps Legend was a cross-brand insert set anyway. I'm going to say it was from Archives or Fan Favorites or whatever they called it that year. I had some good luck with pulling autos from that set in '03. Bert is another one of those greats from the 60's and 70's that aren't remembered as much as they should be simply because they didn't make the Hall of Fame. It's still a nice autograph from an A's legend. I'm getting spoiled by all these great looking on-card autographs. The streak ends tomorrow, sadly.

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