Wednesday, September 16, 2015

no. 452 - john boccabella

Who is the man: John Boccabella enjoyed his most successful season at the plate to date in 1970, hitting .269 in 145 at-bats for the Expos. The career .219 batter wasn't known for his offense.

Can ya dig it: Look at that clear blue sky.

Right on: Do you want to know why I love baseball so much? John Boccabella and Biff Pocoroba were each major league catchers.

You see that cat Boccabella is a bad mother: The final victory of Warren Spahn's career in 1965 also included surrendering two home runs to John Boccabella.

Shut your mouth: Ron Santo called Boccabella "the most modest person I have ever met."

No one understands him but his woman: Boccabella began his career as an outfielder and first baseman in the Cubs organization. For a period, he was looked on as the successor to Ernie Banks at first base. In fact, briefly in spring training manager Leo Durocher gave the first base job to Boccabella over Banks. But it didn't last long because Boccabella didn't hit.

(A word about the back): The disparity between Boccabella's 1970 batting average and his "life" batting average reminds me of how mysterious these '71 cards were to a young collector who had never heard of these players before. How could someone who hit .269 in his most recent year be hitting .217 lifetime? It was a mystery because Topps wouldn't tell you.

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