The baseball cards of past players who were not notable are called “common” in the business of sports memorabilia. These are the cards that are priced the cheapest. Former Baltimore Orioles catcher Gus Triandos, who died this past March 28 at 82 years old, was Topps Card #330 in 1959. In the last Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide I bought in 1994, the price categories for common 1959 Topps Cards #s 287 – 506 were: $3.50 for near mint condition, $1.55 for very good – excellent condition, and .45 for good condition. Triandos’ 1959 card was priced at $4.00, $1.80, and .50; a little above the common card price.
A little better than just a common or average ballplayer, but not great; that was my opinion of Gus Triandos. An opinion that was formed mainly from the information on his baseball cards that I collected.
The picture on the back of his 1959 card shows multiple players going from one team to another describing 1954 seventeen player trade with the New York Yankees that brought Triandos to the Orioles. The card also highlights the 30 home runs Triandos hit in 1958 to break his previous Oriole home run record of 21 in 1956. From the statistics on the card, he was the Orioles’ best home run hitter and RBI producer.
On his 1960 Topps Card (#60), Triandos’ 1959 batting average dropped 29 points to .216. However, he hit 25 home runs and the card highlights both of his two home run games. In addition, the card tells of Triandos’ two run, eighth inning triple in the 1959 All Star Game. But the card made a mistake, it was only a double.
For 1961 and 1962, I cut out the Gus Triandos cards on the back of Post Cereal boxes. The 1961 card (#69) mentions him throwing out the four time American League base stealing champion Luis Aparicio four times in 1959 and that his 30 home runs in 1958 tied him with the great Yogi Berra for the record of most home runs hit by a catcher in the American League. Triandos’ batting average went up to .269 in 1960 but dropped to .244 in 1961 (Card # 33).
The Orioles traded Triandos to the Detroit Tigers after the 1962 season. I did not collect a 1962 or 1963 card for him. However, I did get his Topps 1964 Card (#83) showing he hit 14 home runs with Detroit in 1963; fourth highest on the team. The 1964 card also shows he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies shortly before the season began. He has on a Detroit Tiger uniform but the card says Phillies. That was the last card I collected of Gus Triandos.
Do you still have your baseball card collection? Was it mistakenly thrown away or did you cash it in?