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Wednesday, March 10, 2010
1967 Topps Jim Piersall Los Angeles Angels
Today's entry from my 1967 Topps Autographed Baseball card set is about a player who had excellent ability on the baseball diamond but sometimes was his own worst enemy due to his on-field antics. It is Jim Piersall, outfielder of the Los Angeles Angels. Card number 584 in the 1967 Topps Baseball card set of 609 cards.
This autographed baseball card was obtained with a through the mail request to Jim Piersall at his home in Illinois on July 13, 2009. To my amazement, Mr. Piersall returned the card with a nice blue sharpie autograph 4 days later. A super fast turnaround, thank you Jimmy Piersall!
Jim "the Waterbury Wizard" Piersall played 17 seasons in major league baseball from 1950 to 1967. He was drafted and played for the Boston Red Sox from 1950 to 1958. He also played for the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators, the New York Mets and finally ending his career with the California/Los Angeles Angels. Jimmy Piersall's career statistics include a .272 batting average, 1604 base hits with 104 home runs, 591 runs batted in and 115 stolen bases. He was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1954 and 1956 and won the Gold Glove Award in 1958 and 1961.
Jim Piersall suffered from bipolar disorder during his playing days and that led to many interesting behaviors during his playing days. He was one of the few Americans whose battles with mental health issues were well-known in the 1950's. He eventually figured out that his issues would give him the freedom to act zany, which endeared him to fans. Some of the episodes included fighting with opponents and teammates, frequent ejections over arguing, stepping up to bat wearing a Beatles wig and playing "air guitar" on his bat, he led cheers for himself in the outfield during breaks in play, and "talked" to Babe Ruth behind the center field monuments at Yankee Stadium. Jim Piersall's life in baseball was portrayed in the movie "Fear Strikes Out" starring Anthony Perkins in 1957.
To learn more about Jim Piersall life, go to his biography at wikipedia.org and baseball-reference.com.
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