The original AL Rookie of the Year has passed away at 90. After five years with the St. Louis Browns, the Washington Senators picked him up in 1954 in a trade for Gil Coan. His trade in the spring of 1954 not only was one of the first player transactions for the newly moved and renamed Baltimore Orioles, but it also brought legitimate power threat to the Senators. In fact, his first year, he led the team in home runs(24), and RBIs(104). Roy along with Mickey Vernon, Jim Lemon and Pete Runnels were the four star names I’ve always heard about in the pre-Harmon Killebrew 1950s Senators era. He finished his career with a respectable 1703 hits, 292 doubles, 42 triples, 318 home runs, and 1147 RBIs, to go with his .267/.354/.475 batting lines. In addition to finishing first in RoY voting in 1949, he received MVP votes in seven seasons – finishing as high as third in 1957(behind Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams), and represented the AL in four All-Star Games.
A tale I’ve told before on this blog or another, one of our local card stores has a huge vintage collection, and I thought I had knocked off a 1954 Sievers for the team set. Once I got home and started to binder the other pickups I realized the Sievers was autographed – but faded, see below. Initially I was upset that I’d need a new unsigned version, but the autograph soothes the burn a little. I’d later add another autograph, this time from the junk wax era.
With no offense to Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams or other stars in the set – that 1956 card is perhaps my favorite action shot in the entire run. A quick run through his cards in my collection are below – note he had a few Bowman/Topps/Exhibit cards both before and after his Senators run, but these aren’t in my collection – Browns/Phillies/White Sox/Senators(Texas). A quick note on his 1957 Baseball Thrills, he set the franchise HR record with 42 that year – a number that’s been bested by only Harmon Killebrew(several times – setting the new record of 49 HRs in 1964 and in his MVP season of 1969), and equaled last year by Brian Dozier. May he rest in peace.