Another night, and another old pair of cards connected to the Durham Bulls. Last weekend I picked up two cards of longtime Reds farmhand Mayo Smith. He appeared for the Bulls during the summer of 1936 staring alongside Frank McCormick and Johnny Vander Meer. They went on to be a little bit better than Mayo.
Mayo Smith actually appeared in 73 games for the Philadelphia A's during the 1945 season, but he was better known for his time as a manager.
You've never heard of him?
He was better known as a manager. Mayo Smith managed the Phillies and Reds during the 1950s, and moved on to manage the Tigers for a few years in the late 1960s. His best year as a manager was easily 1968, but he was not really a standout member of the team. Hard to believe the manager could fly under the radar, but he was described in Jerry Green's book about the 68 World Series winner as, "a bland man without any imagination"
Still, Topps threw him into some baseball card sets. I could have gone with some Tigers cards, I will get there, but the 1950s cards were a little more intriguing. I ended up with a copy of his 1955 and 1956 Topps cards.
The 1955 Topps is up first. I find the right side picture interesting on this card, that Smith is shown in a player pose instead of something to do with managing. The only other managers card I have in this set is the Ed Stanky card, he was the Cardinals manager, and he is shown pointing, like he's giving a sign. Just an interesting quirk.
Same picture on the left side of the 1956 Topps as his 1955 card. Topps made his other picture on the right more fitting for a manager, but the pose looks a little ridiculous. Is that a stop sign? His arms look enormous.
Mayo may of been a really dull manager, but I really like his cards. Maybe some Tigers cards the next time I make a post about him.