Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cards That Never Were #30

1965 Topps - Dick Wantz

Dick Wantz, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound right-handed sidearmer reminded everyone of Ewell Blackwell, when he broke camp with the Angels in 1965. He would be used when Bob Lee was tired.

On April 13, 1965, Dick got his first shot with the Angels. In the eighth inning, against the Cleveland Indians at home, Wantz struck out Max Alvis to start off the frame. He gave up two straight doubles to Vic Davalillo and Larry Brown, scoring Davalillo in the process. A single to Joe Azcue scored Brown. Dick settled down and struck out pitcher Ralph Terry, then got Dick Howser to flyout to shortstop Jim Fregosi.

After the game, Dick complained of severe headaches. Wantz was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor and died on May 13, 1965, at the age of 25.

Dick Wantz never got a card from Topps. In my research, he never got any card. There may be a local or team issue that has escaped me, but to my knowledge, none exist.

This was perhaps the most difficult entry to make. There are only a few Dick Wantz pictures in an Angels uniform. All pictures of Dick that I've seen are in black and white. Therefore, I had to hand tint the one usable picture I found. All of the California Angels pictures I've found of Wantz are headshots. All but this one were grainy, newspaper quality.

Hopefully, this will fill the void until a decent quality picture of Dick Wantz can be found in color.


Jim from Downingtown said...

Nice job, Steve! This is what we need - cards of obscure guys with a good backstory, not 5 cards per set of Ken Griffey Jr, A-Rod, or Albert Pujols.

Steve Gierman said...

I think you hit the nail on the head as to why I found myself collecting cards as a kid. It was about every player, not just the superstars.

Kevin said...

What a name

Actually, this is why I am creating the ultimate set...I think my blog will get more interesting when we get into the '90s, I am way more interested in the current secondary players that are often forgettable, then as someone above said, a 5 card per set insert of Albert Pujols or a card of a shred of somebody's uniform.

Steve Gierman said...

Totally. The players that you don't often hear about are usually the most interesting.

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