My Favorite Cards: Stan Lopata

I was saddened by the news that former Phillies catcher, Stan Lopata passed away last weekend at age 87.  Lopata was one of the last remaining members of the famed 1950 Whiz Kids, and a supporter of Phillies fans young and old.

Growing up my dad helped me build a nice collection of vintage Phillies cards - piecing together his own lost collection of Curt Simmons, Richie Ashburn and Gran Hamner gems.  Stan Lopata was always held in high regard, and as a result I have several of his cards from the 1950s, too.  These cards were a great way to relate to the stories I heard from Dad about guys from this era.  Even though I never saw any of them play, there was a definite interest in their careers.

In light of his passing, I thought I would share a few of the cards that made me a collector of both Lopata and the Whiz Kids...

1956 Topps, #183
Comments: The 1956 Topps set is beautiful, and Lopata's card is no exception.  If I had to describe the posed picture, I would say: "that's what a ballplayer looks like".

1957 Topps, #119
Comments: This card is notable because it features Lopata wearing his glasses.  He was recognized as the first catcher to wear spectacles in a game.

Stan Lopata, 1957 Topps #119

1959 Topps #412
Comments: This was one of the first "vintage" Phillies cards my dad bought me.  Dad collected cards in 1959, and started my collection with those long-gone cards he remembered from his youth, including Lopata.

Years later, in my interaction with him at a signing, Lopata would challenge the story, telling me he had heard it too many time before to believe.  Strange, but true, Stan...

Stan Lopata, 1959 Topps #412