Monday, January 24, 2011

Fran Healy, or Thurman Munson Butts in Again

Another gem of early/mid-70s Topps photography.
I was sure Night Owl has had this one up at some point in the "Great Night Cards" series but I couldn't find it over there. However, if you were to ask the compa, she'd tell you I'm not the best finder of things.

We've got not one but two catchers here, with the focus of the card being split between them: Fran Healy and Thurman Munson, with Munson once again butting in on someone else's card. I wonder if Munson collectors would consider these as being part of Munson's card list?

We've got the "dirtsmoke effect" (or is it bad focus?), Munson giving a small fist pump as he slides across the plate, and Healy waiting for a ball that is obviously too late. 

Or is it? Munson's scored but what I really like about this shot is how Healy suggests there's another runner out there rounding third and that the throw is actually meant to catch him. In other words, even though Munson occupies half of the card he's irrelevant to the "action" part at this point, with what's about to happen being the real focus of the photo. And yet we still need Munson there to set that up. GREAT stuff. 

Healy himself had a solid career with a slightly below average lifetime OPS+ of 91. The back of the '74 has some great Americana-style facts:
He was a Legion ballplayer and something of a AAAA player in the late-60s, coming up for a cup of coffee in '69 and having to wait until 1971 to get another shot. His last three years were 1976-78 when, oddly enough, he was a backup to none other than Thurman Munson. 

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!


  1. Interesting shot and probably a game we can identify based on Munson scoring with Healy behind the plate.

    First, KC's playing at Yankee Stadium, given the home uniforms. That gives us six possible games: May 1 & 2, July 12 - 15.

    1. July 14 & 15 were day games, so they're out
    2. Healy didn't play on May 2
    3. Munson didn't play July 13
    4. Munson didn't score on May 1

    Munson scored 3 times on July 12 in a 10-3 Yankees rout and Healy played the whole game, so that should be our game. Given the sliding pose and late throw, I think we're looking at this sequence.

    Bottom of 5th
    1. Nettles singles
    2. Callison grounds into force play, Nettles out at 2nd
    3. Munson walks, Callison to 2nd
    4. Michael doubles to LF, Callison and Munson score

    Healy's pose matches an anticipated throw from left, which might've gone to 2nd (for the out) or 3rd (to hold the runner). Especially like the fist pump from Munson--"I'M A CATCHER AND SCORED FROM FIRST! WOO-HOO!"

  2. It wasn't featured as a night card, but it was on the blog, way back when I was a baby blogger:

  3. Matt, AMAZING research skills. That's awesome. Thanks.

    NO: I KNEW it had to have been on your blog at some point. Very cool.