I hope you liked the last post I put up, I am trying to make the posts longer since it’s taking longer to research and write them. Some players come out of nowhere and for one year they are the focal point of the sports world. For example, did anyone know who Jeremy Lin was in December? His signed rookie card went from $2 to $2500 overnight. Who knows what he is going to be capable of in the future but for right now, he is the hottest card in basketball.
Today’s post is going to center on a completely forgotten name in the baseball annals. His name is Bob Hazle and for a quarter of one baseball season he was the best in the game. He surfaced in the major leagues in 1955 with the Cincinnati Reds but he didn’t make any kind of impression and in 1956 he was traded to the Milwaukee Braves. Over the course of the next several months he would go through an injury that nearly made him walk away from the game.
Then in 1957, late in the season, Bill Bruton suffered a season ending injury and the Braves needed another outfielder. Hazle was summoned from Wichita and over the course of the next 16 days between 8/9 and 8/25 his bat blew up to the tune of hitting 0.473 with five home runs and 19 runs batted in. It was this fast start that earned him the nickname “Hurricane”.
Over the course of the rest of the season he went on to hit 0.403 with 7 home runs and 27 runs batted in. This was over the course of 41 games. He did so well, that he actually finished 4th in the rookie of the year balloting even though he only had 155 plate appearances. The Braves went on to win the World Series that year, unfortunately Hazle only had 2 hits in the entire series. The next season, Bob would go on to start slow. The Braves traded him to the Tigers midway though the season but he would never show the promise he had when he came up in 1957.
Just like a hurricane, showing up, doing damage, then fading out quickly, was the career of Bob Hazle. Bob Hazle just had one card, 1958 Topps and unfortunately past away before autographs of the older generation made their way to cards. It is definitely difficult to find his card in mint condition and when they do pop up on eBay as a slated card they usually go for between $50 – $100 depending on grade. For an ungraded version in rough shape, you can get it for about $3. It may not be a must own card, but you have to admit, it’s a great story, after all he did end up with a career stat line of 0.310/9/37. Probably the only 0.300 career hitter washed out of the game in under one season.