Uncommon Common Hank Majeski

Hank “Heeney” Majeski appears as the 112th card of the 1952 Topps baseball card set. It is a common card from the most plentiful series. A lot of the photo looks washed out, but someone spent extra time on the Philadelphia A’s logo on Majeski’s shirt. I really like the gold filigree border around the oversized letter “A,” something that doesn’t appear on all the Athletics cards in the set.

There are two types of players who fall into the common player classification. The first are the majority of athletes that briefly filter through rosters, play a couple disappointing years, and leave to be replaced by a cast of new recruits drafted by the thousands each year. The second group is comprised of players that are demonstrably better than the first group but never break out to star status while getting in a decade or more of Major League service.

Majeski was part of this latter classification. Twice a minor league batting champ, it was his steady production and stable fielding at third base that kept him in the big leagues. He had a few highlights, including hitting a home run off of Satchell Paige and getting six consecutive doubles in a single day. The second feat would not be repeated until Kirby Puckett came along four decades later. He was difficult to strike out (6.9% career rate), almost always putting the ball in play. One can imagine writing advice in a scouting report using an anagram of Heeney Majeski: Jam his keen eye.

Majeski remains well-regarded by Athletics fans. The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society, which bills itself as “The most successful historical society of its kind,” issued its own baseball cards in the late 1990s and featured Heeney as #18.

I now have 25 cards from the 1952 Topps set! Time to get another pack of top-loaders.