Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1967 Topps Walter Alston Los Angeles Dodgers

Today's entry in the 1967 Topps Autographed Baseball card collection is about a gentleman who played 1 major league game and then went on to manage a team for 23 years. It is Walter Alston, Hall of Fame Manager of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Card number 294 in the 1967 Topps Baseball card set of 609 subjects.

This autograph was obtained through a reputable autograph dealer on ebay.com on December 9, 2009. Mr. Alston had passed away in 1984 at the age of 72 and upon inspection of this card, I feel strongly it is the legitimate autograph of Walt Alston signed in blue ink.

Walter Alston came up to the Major Leagues on September 27, 1936 as a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals and struck out in his only at-bat. He never made it back to the major leagues mainly because the Cardinals had a first baseman who was a future Hall of Famer himself, Johnny "Big Cat" Mize. Walter Alston played and managed in the minor league for several years until he was named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. He remained manager of the Dodgers for 23 seasons, each year signing a one-year contract. I guess he was confident in his ability to lead and did not need the security of a long-term contract. Walter was the manager of the Dodgers during both the Brooklyn years and subsequently with the Los Angeles Dodgers after their move west in 1958.

During his 23 seasons as manager, Walter Alston led the Dodgers to seven pennants and 4 World Series Championships, 1955 with Brooklyn, 1959, 1963 and 1965 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Alston managed 3658 games, winning 2040 while losing 1618 given him a .558 winning percentage. Walter was given the Manager of the Year Award six seasons and managed the All-Star team in seven seasons. Mr. Alston retired in 1976 and gave over the reins of the Dodgers to Tommy Lasorda who managed the Dodgers for 20 seasons himself until 1996. Always a developer of talent, Walter Alston managed several future Hall of Famers such as Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider and Don Newcombe.

Walter Alston number 24 was retired by the Dodgers in 1977 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

To learn more about Walter Alston, read his biography at wikipedia.org.

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