Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is former big league ballplayer Andy Pafko.
There are, at times, when baseball fans remember a ballplayer for more than just their play on the field, and that's the case, for myself, at least, of Andy Pafko.
Andrew Pafko was born on February 25, 1921, in Boyceville, Wisconsin, to Checkoslovokian parents.
For 17 seasons between 1943-59, Andy Pafko played big league baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Milwaukee Braves.
A four time All-Star with the Cubs in 1947-50, Pafko played in the World Series four times, with the Cubs in '45, the Dodgers in '52, and in '57-'58 with the Braves, winning with the '57 Braves.
Pafko batted .285 with 213 Home Runs and 976 RBIs.
Pafko was hit by a pitch 76 times in his career, leading the National League three times, "45''49-'51.
Andy Pafko was a good ballplayer, but when I hear his name I automatically think about his 1952 Topps #1 Baseball Card.
Baseball cards have been part of my life almost as long as I've been a baseball fan, and for about 30 years I've known that Andy Pafko is a baseball card legend.
In 1952 Topps issued a then record 407 baseball cards to kids in a 5 card pack that cost 5 cents...yes, baseball cards were once just a penny apiece
Traditionally Topps has issued card #1 to big time players, including this years #1 card, Angeles CF Mike Trout.
Many observers were bewildered for years on just why Topps selected Pafko for the card, instead of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, or Stan Musial.
Pafko was playing for the popular Brooklyn Dodgers in '52, so that could've been the reason.
Like myself, kids wrapped their baseball cards with rubber bands, starting with card #1 on the top...this caused damage to the cards, especially the top and bottom cards, so the #1 Pafko card is rarely seen in pristine condition, and when it is, collectors will pay alot of money...tens of thousands of dollars for a Pafko card in Mint condition.
Pafko has several baseball cards over his career, much less costly than the '52 Topps.
Andy Pafko was a scout in his post playing days, and passed away at the age of 92 in Stevenson, Michigan on October 8, 2013.
Happy Baseball Birthday! to the late big leaguer and baseball card Icon, Andy Pafko.