A Battery on the Field and in Business

Joe Astroth was a platoon-catcher for the Philadelpha Athletics, catching over 100 games only twice in 11 seasons. A defensive-minded player that made pitchers look good, he began to see more playing time once he teamed up with 1952 MVP Bobby Shantz. Astroth became Shantz’ go-to batterymate and a friendship was born.

Shantz was traded to the Yankees at the outset of 1957. Astroth’s career ended, as there was no way the Yankees were going to use him to replace Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. Though no longer throwing to each other, Shantz and Astroth remained friends and went into business together as co-owners of a baseball-themed bowling alley in Pennsylvania.

Fun fact: While Astroth drove in only a dozen runs during the 1949 campaign, half of them came inside a single inning. On September 23 he came to the plate twice in the sixth inning against the Senators, hitting a grand slam and pushing in two more runs with a single.

1952 Topps Joe Astroth #290

This card was purchased via eBay. It has a few scratches and a spot of tape on the back but presents very well. It’s one of the slightly tougher semi-high numbers. The yellow background works well and foreshadows the eventual A’s color scheme.