I picked up most of this card in my early 2022 return to a card shop had not been visited since childhood. I say “most” because there is a missing corner which could still be floating around in a shoebox somewhere. I know that’s actually unlikely, but I can’t help imagine someone hanging onto a bunch of random mangled card trimmings in the hopes of one day identifying what card they came from or finding a match. For all I know there could be a ’52 Mantle corner available on some obscure website.
Anyway, Bud Podbielan was a pitcher who struggled to find a good fit in the majors. He’s largely known as a reliever but started 44% of the games in which he appeared. One of his more memorable outings involved giving up 13 walks in a single game, the highest total in 45 years. He did manage to strand 18 baserunners in that appearance, so the damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Despite the scary number of bases on balls, he actually finished his career with almost identical strikeout and walk tallies.
Favorite Non-1952 Topps Podbielan Card
Cards of the 1950s are usually brightly colored. Gone are the drab military-inspired tones of WW2 surplus materials and in are the same hues that complimented chrome-emblazoned cars that weighed as much as a tank. The decade saw the first consistent use of color photography on baseball cards, though the card of Bud Podbielan I find most interesting lacked any of these features. Bowman released two different sets in 1953. The first was made of full color photographs printed on cardstock as big as Topps’ landmark 1952 design. Bowman sales did not keep pace with those of its rival, and cost cutting measures prompted a much more subdued late-season design. Podbielan appears as card #21 in what is known as the Bowman Black & White set, so named because the manufacturer saw color photos were not saving the year’s sales. Bowman tried to somewhat hide its retreat, choosing to number the cards in this set as if they were a new product rather than continuing where the 160-count color set had left off earlier in the year.