The Philadelphia A’s lost a lot of games in the 1950s. This wasn’t for a lack of offense, as the team had the bats of Elmer Valo and AL home run leader Gus Zernial in the lineup. Valo combined a keen batting eye with speed and power. He struck out less than 5% of the time while drawing a walk in more than 15% of appearances. As his career aged Valo became his teams’ pinch-hit specialist. He batted a career high .364 in 1955, helped by a .452 average in 31 pinch-hit appearances.
He could leg out triples, hitting 73 in his career against only 58 home runs. In one 1949 game he set a record with two bases-loaded triples in the same inning. He had to come to the plate not only with the bases full, but had to clear the decks with triples both times in the same frame!
Valo’s running also brought accolades on defense. In 1948 he ran through an outfield wall to catch a would-be Yogi Berra home run.
Adding Valo to My ’52 Topps Set
This card was picked up from a common bin at my first card show of 2022. It looks great, with the only major flaw being a bit of another card stuck to the right border. The hometown listed on the back of the card is interesting: Valo was born in Czechoslovakia.