The Shot Previously Heard ‘Round the World

There was a time when Dick Sisler was held in the same regard as Bobby Thomson when it came to baseball heroics. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say Bobby Thomson is held in the same regard as Dick Sisler. Sisler clinched the 1950 pennant for the Philadelphia “Whiz Kid” Phillies with an extra innings home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Thomson replaced Sisler’s brief reign at the top of memorable championship home runs with his famous “Shot Heard Round the World” that repeated sinking of Brooklyn’s hopes.

Although he spent most of his career as a backup player, Sisler’s name may be familiar than the stats would indicate. Ernest Hemmingway published The Old Man and the Sea in 1952. In it he named Sisler as the National League equal of Joe DiMaggio.

There’s another reason the Dick’s name sticks out. He is the son of George Sisler, a two-time .400 hitter who for nearly a century held the MLB single season hits record. Despite being one the best players of his generation, he does not appear in any of the most popular baseball card sets of the time. Collectors seeking cardboard pictures of George Sisler need to bypass Goudey and explore the poorly followed world of caramel, exhibit, and strip cards. The closest Sisler got to a mainstream issue was his 1940 Play Ball card, issued one year after his election to the Hall of Fame.

1940 Play Ball #179

A Different Looking 1952 Topps Card

Dick Sisler’s 1952 Topps card stands out from the rest of its second-series peers. For starters, the background is bright pink. The color looks like it would be at home on the side panels of a Ford Thunderbird or the tilework of a 1950s-era rancher bathroom. Sisler is portrayed as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, though he would only spend a single month on the roster. The photo is obviously edited to give him a Cincinnati uniform, but somehow uses a too-small logo on his cap. The facsimile signature is even half-hearted; the capitalized letters of his name are simply cut off.