I did buy one other card at the shop though. It was this 1954 Jim Rhodes card. If Jim Rhodes doesn't sound familiar, it might be because he didn't go by Jim. He went by the nickname Dusty throughout his 7 year MLB career.
1952 was Dusty's rookie season, but he didn't get a card until 1954. Somewhat fitting because 1954 was the greatest season in his brief career. Used primarily as a pinch hitter, Dusty would play in just 82 games and only had 164 at bats. He made the most of the opportunities and batted .341 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI.
Then came the 1954 World Series. The New York Giants would face the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic. Not only did the Indians win the American League pennant, but they set a league record with 111 wins. Keep in mind, they only played 154 games, so the Indians only lost 43 games during the regular season. They were heavily favored to win the series, but the Giants had other plans.
Game 1 featured "The Catch"; and as Mays himself would describe, "The Throw". Possibly the greatest and if not the greatest, then certainly the most well-known defensive play in World Series history. "The Catch, would keep the score tied at 2 in the 8th inning. Still tied at 2, Dusty came into the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 10th, for future Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, and hit a walk-off home run off of future Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon.
In Game 2 Dusty would enter the game in the 5th; again as a pinch hitter for Monte Irvin. This time Rhodes would bat against Early Wynn; another future Hall of Fame pitcher. Cleveland was up 1-0 at the time. Rhodes would single and drive in a run to tie the game. He stayed in the game and homered off Wynn in the 7th giving the Giants a 3-1 lead, which would be the final score.
Dusty entered Game 3 in the 3rd inning; again pinch hitting for Irvin and would hit a 2 run single which extended the Giants lead to 3-0. The Giants would go on to win the game 6-2, meaning that technically Rhodes had the game winning RBI back in the 3rd inning.
The Giants would go on to sweep the mighty Indians in 4 games and Rhodes was not needed in the final game as the Giants would win 7-4.
Rhodes had just 7 plate appearances in the World Series, but he would collect 4 hits and a walk in those 7 plate appearances. 2 of the hits were home runs and he scored twice and drove in 7 runs.
On September 29, 2017 the World Series MVP award was renamed the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award in honor of it being the 63rd anniversary of "The Catch" in the 1954 World Series. The award was around in 1954. The World Series MVP Award was first given out one year later in 1955. Willie Mays never actually won the award and he has gone on record as saying that if the award had been given out in 1954 it should have gone to Dusty Rhodes and not himself.
I'm reading a biography about Willie Mays and when I read that he would have awarded Rhodes the MVP award had it been issued, I immediately looked for his 1954 Topps card. Lots to choose from on eBay, but I thought I would check at my LCS. They actually had two copies. This one that I bought for $14.50 and another one that was $10.95. The later actually had a whiter white, but the one I bought was centered a bit better top to bottom and the corners were just a bit better, so I paid the extra.
Fun fact. Dusty's stellar performance in the '54 World Series resulted in him taking the #1 spot in the 1955 Topps set.