February 13th is an odd day in Pittsburgh Pirates history. Today’s daily history article has the updated/extended bios of eight former Pirates players born on this date. Only one of the players has a card that shows him on the Pirates. So this is now the third time that we look at a card from Pete Castiglione, who played infield for the 1947-53 Pirates.
Castiglione played seven seasons for the Pirates, so he’s not a bad player to feature here three times in three years. I already knocked out his 1950 Bowman and 1951 Bowman cards, so this seemed like the perfect selection. There’s also the matter of him only having one other option for the Pirates, and it’s from the 1952 Topps set, which I just featured here recently. So today we finish off his Bowman trifecta by looking at his 1952 card, which is #47 in the set.
Here’s the front of the card:
There’s a somewhat interesting story behind the artwork here. It’s based on an actual photo that you can find online. We know that photo is from 1951 because the patch celebrating the 75th anniversary of the National League can be seen on his left shoulder. However, you don’t need to know what that patch looks like to know they decided not to put it on this card. That would have been a nice added touch.
Bowman believed in letting the artwork do the work on the front of their cards. I’m just guessing that was their motto based on the fact that they put almost zero thought into the design. This year has the typical white border, with a black border for the photo itself. The rest of the design is a facsimile autograph, that’s it. They didn’t change much during the 1950-51-52 run. They didn’t even change much for the design in 1953, but that set used actual photos instead of artwork.
This set is made up of 252 cards. They measure 2-1/8″ by 3-1/8”, which compares to the current standard card size of 2-1/2″ inches by 3-1/2″.
Here’s the back of the card:
The backs of these cards included a small bio section and a mail-in offer for a baseball card of your favorite Major League team. Hats were apparently worth $1 back then. Now you need a small loan if you want to buy a hat at a game. I wouldn’t try seeing if this offer is still valid, partially because the wrappers for these cards are rare and collectible, so you wouldn’t be saving any money.
There’s an interesting bit of info at the top of this card regarding his birth date. It lists him as being born on February 13, 1923. However, Castiglione was born on the same date two years earlier. That’s very common for back then. Players often chopped years off to make them seem younger, and therefore they are better prospects. On the rare occurrences, young players would add a year or two so they could sign earlier.
If you’re interested in this card, you’ll be happy to know that it is plentiful on Ebay. Your best bet if you don’t want a high grade one is just wait for a straight auction listing. They seem to go cheaper than buy-it-now auction listings. You’ll want to pay around $10 to get a decent one delivered to you. A PSA 8 is for sale for $85, with a best offer option. Two PSA 7’s are available for $45 each. A very nice autographed one is $100. He lived for 58 more years after this set was produced, so he had plenty of time to sign these cards, but they aren’t getting any easier to find. He has an outstanding autograph as well, better than anything you’ll find in a current pack. There are some cheaper examples as well. That price is for the nicest copy, both condition and autograph quality. Always double check for authenticity before buying autographs.
There are just over 100 auctions active for this card, and there have been 37 copies that have sold in the last three months, so these cards trade well.