The card of the day today is from the 1963 Topps set-one of very few ’63 cards in my collection, this one is card #46 of Milwaukee Braves first baseman and leftfielder Tommie Aaron. I am not gonna lie and say that I didn’t wish this card depicted Tommie’s older brother, it doesn’t, but this card is pretty awesome in its own right. 1963 has never been one of my favorite Topps sets, but this card (and the Lou Brock from this year) is a near perfect example in color and composition. The purple sky behind the posed fielding shot with the black and white batting image set inside a green circle is awesome! Topps should make a Heritage set modeled after this in 2013 and it should look pretty amazing. 1962 was Tommie’s fullest season in the big leagues-he started 39 games at first base and also started 35 times in left field, in the same outfield of his older brother Hank Aaron. 1962 was a career year for the 22-year old slugger-he set career marks in every batting statistic for himself. He hit .231 with 8 homers and 38 RBI, while belting 20 doubles, 2 triples and scoring 54 runs. He also stole 6 bases with out being caught. Throughout the remainder of his career he split his time between the Braves and their AAA affiliates. Over 8 seasons in AAA he batted .290 with 79 homers, his best being in 1964 when he hit 21 for the Denver Bears in the Pacific Coast League. In 1967 he batted .309 with 11 homers and 56 RBI-he was named the International League MVP that season. The next 4 seasons he remained with the Braves for the entire year, but never saw full-time activity. In 1969 he hit .250 with 1 homer and 5 RBI primarily as a pinch hitter. The Braves were 93-69 that year and won the NL Western Division. The Braves lost to the Mets in the playoffs, but he and his brother made history when they became the first siblings to appear as teammates in a League Championship Series. The elder Aaron batted .357 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in the Series, but the Braves still fell to the Mets who went on to win the World Series. Tommie would play with the Braves as a utility player and pinch hitter until after the 1971 season. He played 2 more seasons in the Braves farm system, but retired as a player after the 1973 season. He immediately began managing in the Braves farm system and spent 6 seasons as a manager, 4 in AA and the last 2 in the International League (AAA). In 1979 he became a coach with the Major League Atlanta Braves. He held that position until his untimely death from Leukemia at age 45 in 1984.
Tommie and his brother Hank Aaron own the Major League Baseball record for most homeruns by brothers in the Majors with 768. Hank hit 755 and Tommie added another 13. The closest brother combination to them was Eddie and Rich Murray who combined for 508 long balls. This card is Tommie’s rookie, but he also appeared on 7 other Topps cards. The back of the card shows his major and minor league stats and says “The Braves are hoping that Tommie will attain the same stardom that his teammate and brother Hank has attained. The two Aaron brothers are exciting performers to watch. Tommie has good power”. It also shows a cartoon and says “Tommie is a whiz at billiards”. I had said at the top of this post that I wished this was a card of his brother-I take that back…The crazy colors, the great photo, the composition and layout all combine to make this one of the coolest cards in my collection. The contributions that Tommie Aaron made to the game and its history as a player, coach, manager, ambassador and instructor make it that much cooler. You can view Tommie’s career statistics here. Don’t forget there still is a little bit of time left to enter the CT Most Iconic (Baseball) Rookie Card of the 1980’s Contest. Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey Jr. are in a dead heat. Troll out.