Monday, November 15, 2010

#28 - Manny Sanguillen (PIT)

Manny Sanguillen was a childhood fixture for me.  He was the catcher for the Pirates.  I forgot that he played some outfield, as the bottom star reminds me.  It didn't matter, he was the catcher.  His card said catcher, and that's how kids laid out their cards when playing or trading.  Manny was the epitome of a bad-ball swinger.  Maybe one of the most famous bad-ball swingers in baseball.  Bad Vlad and a few others come to mind as well.  But, when you can consistently put up a .300 average for a catcher in the 70's, you can swing at as many bad pitches as you want.  And if you hit them for base hits, all the better.  He was also instrumental in the Bucs two championship teams in 1971 and '79.

Manny is from Panama, and is only the second foreign born in this set so far.  He's also shown on a horizontal layout.  I'll be keeping track of horizontal player cards in the labels.  All team cards and some special cards might be horizontal, too, but I'll just keep track of players.  I'm not sure why his home is listed as Panama, Republic of Panama, but I'm sure Topps had a reason to put it this way.

Cartoon:  Manny is the anti-Benjie Molina.  I wonder if this cartoon is drawn out of regard for how fast Manny gets down the line to back up first base, or because Manny wears his gear to the plate and runs around the bases.  [Update 2-6-11:  I just noticed that this cartoon shows Manny as a left handed catcher!]

Ballpark background:  This is a difficult ballpark to determine.  It seems he's wearing a road uniform, as the uni color appears to be slightly darker than the white trim in the elastic belt and sleeve.  There is real grass, which was kind of a rarity in the NL in the mid 70's.  The dark seats that go all the way down to the field and the dark barrier are also problematic for me.  Not Candlestick or Shea.  Could this be Wrigley with a painted brick barrier?  The batting cage is in the background.  Maybe it was a spring training facility of somebody in the Grapefruit League.  I simply don't know.  So, I'm placing this in the category of undetermined.


  1. Questionable shading. Not extremely crisp picture. Great, great card. This is why I love the older cards.

  2. Johngy, thanks for the comment. Yes, the photo is kind of blurry and not very crisp. I was going to point this out when I started this set, but forgot. Still, it's a great candid shot of a player warming up. Not a pose, but not an action shot. I have enjoyed the few candids (like Aaron #1) in the set. I wish there were more.