Clyde’s Clutch Hot Streak

Clyde Vollmer’s 1952 Topps card mentions several highlights of his career. He is one of only a handful of players to ever homer on the first major league pitch ever thrown his way. There is a mention of his hitting a home run in every American League park the prior year, a feat not to be expected from a guy who previously topped out at 14 longballs in a season. This last fact shortchanges one of the more unexpected hot streaks in baseball.

Through the end of June 1951 Vollmer was having another average season. At the end of 32 games he was batting .267 with 5 home runs, a pair of doubles, and 12 runs batted in. In a 22 day span the following month he became a one-man wrecking crew and almost single-handedly kept the Red Sox competitive. Those 22 days featured 21 games in which he went 27 for 87, hit 12 home runs, and drove in 37 runs (almost one third of the entire team’s total and more than 10% of his 10-year career total). Two home runs were grand slams. The hot streak was so memorable the Sports Illustrated revisited it 26 years later.

The back of Vollmer’s 1952 Topps card refers to him as “Dutch the Clutch,” as if he had always been hailed by that name. Looking at his other cardboard appearances, one learns that he did not earn this nickname until that 1951 streak. Text on the back of his 1953 Topps issue explains the origin of Dutch the Clutch and even provides a comic describing an umpire with a streak of accurate calls.

Like a lot of recent additions to my 1952 Topps collection, this card was purchased via COMC. It is one of the semi-high numbers and with this acquisition I have largely cleared out the site’s stock of reasonably priced offerings in the series.