Friday, February 8, 2013

COMMON VALOR: 1954 TOPPS WAYNE TERWILLIGER



You're looking at the first baseball card to feature a player wearing an earring.

Well, not really, but at first glance it looks like there's an oval stud in Wayne Terwilliger's left ear. He definitely has a mini-me perched on his shoulder.

What's interesting is Terwilliger, who played and coached in professional baseball for 62 years, eventually did get that left ear pierced. This modern-day rite of passage occurred in 2006 after his Fort Worth Cats won the independent Central Baseball League championship. He made a promise the year before to take the needle if they won. In doing so, he quite possibly became the hippest 81-year-old ever.  

Terwilliger, known as "Twig,'' retired after the '10 season at 85.

Speaking of jewelry, this card is 5-carat bling through and through with few blemishes. It has great clarity, fancy color and the classic Senators' fob. Excellent symmetry all around.

That earring complemented a uniform worn longer as a player, coach and manager than any in history. He originally signed with the Cubs in '48 and took only one year off, in '74 to run his dad's bar. He was Ted Williams' third base coach during The Splendid Splinter's tenure with the Senators and Rangers and served as first base coach of the Twins when they won their two World Series titles in '87 and '91. 
In '05, at age 80, he took over the Cats, joining Connie Mack as the only octogenarians to manage.

Twig served in World War II with the Marine Corps and lives with his wife in Weatherford, Texas. 

Two gems: card No. 73 and the man himself.

4 comments:

  1. One of the coolest things about blogging is finding out some of the interesting lives that have been led by the guys who were previously just a name and face on a slightly battered vintage card.

    I was impressed by 'Twig' when I did a post on his '59 card. Great story there.

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  2. More years total, major and minor leagues, than Zimmer?

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    1. Zimmer was in uniform in an official capacity (player, coach, manager) for 54 years. He did spend an additional 10 years as a ceremonial "senior adviser'' to the Rays and wore a uniform occasionally in spring training.

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