Sunday, April 27, 2014

Braves Rookies: Herb Hippauf / Arnie Umbach

As cool as it is seeing Tommy Harper's thumbnail next to Vada Pinson's 1967 thumbnail on the sidebar, it's time to move on. 

Here is the 2nd Braves Rookie Stars card in the set (#518). Since it was in the last series, it is one of only 4 Braves cards showing the players in their new "Atlanta" caps (along with Hank Aaron, pitcher Chi-Chi Olivo and manager Bobby Bragan) All other Braves' cards are capless, but more than that, have ridiculous-looking poses. (Google Clay Carroll 1966 Topps for an example!)

Topps swung and missed with these two players:

Herb Hippauf's major-league career consisted of 3 games between 4/27 and 5/3/1966. Did Topps jump on his bandwagon with this late-season card? I doubt it. His ERA over those 3 games was 13.50. After 6 seasons (1960-65) in the minors, the Braves promoted him to the big club. After his poor showing, he spent the remainder of 1966 in the minors, then was out of baseball.

After his playing career, Herb was a scout for the Astros, Braves, Expos, and Rockies. Hippauf passed away from cancer in 1995 at age 56. The Rockies have an annual award bearing his name, given to the person who best exemplifies loyalty, dedication, etc toward the Rockies.

Arnie Umbach's playing career was marginally better than Hippauf's. Umbach pitched in the Braves' system from 1961-66, and made brief appearances with the Braves in 1964 (1 game) and 1966 (22 games).

After the 1966 season, he was included in the trade that sent 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews and 2nd baseman Sandy Alomar to the Astros for pitcher Bob Bruce and outfielder Dave Nicholson. After pitching for the Astros' AAA team in 1967, he pitched 2 games for their AA Dallas-Fort Worth team in 1968, and was done.

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