Sunday, December 10, 2023

1961 Fleer Autograph Project - Part 39

I created the skeleton of this post on September 24th and it has been staring at me ever since. I want to get this knocked off before the holidays start to ramp up.  As it is, I have not added any more signed Fleer cards to my collection since Jimmie Foxx. Not surprising, of course, as I knew I was looking at reduced activity after splashing out for the Foxx.  I've picked up a few things here and there, but nothing noteworthy.

So, here is the 39th card in my signed 1961 Fleer project:

Johnny Vander Meer was a fireballer known for wildness rather than racking up strikeouts.  In fact, over the course of a 13-year major league career, he averaged 4.8 walks against 5.5 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.  His win-loss record was similarly balanced at 119-121.  Vander Meer's main claim to notoriety is he is the only person in the history of major league baseball to throw back-to-back no-hitters, a feat he accomplished in June of 1938.   The first no-hitter, pitched on the 11th, was against the anemic hitting Boston Bees.  In his next outing, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, saw him strike out 7 while issuing no less than 8 free passes to first base.

A few other interesting facts:

  1. His major league career was effectively over after 1950, with him pitching only 3 ineffective innings for Cleveland in 1951.  He did however continue pitching in the minor leagues through 1955.
  2. From 1953 through 1962, he managed in the Cincinnati minor league system.  During his stint as a manager, he led such notable players as Pete Rose, Jim Wynn, and Lee May.
  3. After leaving baseball behind, he worked for the Schlitz Brewing Company for 15 years.
  4. He was buried with a baseball in his left hand. 

What I am listening to:  Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple


  1. His record is one that I hope never gets broken.

  2. Nice card! This is a cool project.

    I would disagree with your contention that he was not known for racking up strikeouts. He led the league in strikeouts and k/9 for three straight years from 1941 to 1943 - his k/9 was even higher than Bob Feller's in 1941. But what happened was that he stopped striking out batters after he got back from WWII. Before WWII his k/9 was an elite-for-the-era 6.4, while after WWII it was just 4.3.