Friday, February 19, 2010

#99 Tony Cuccinello

I picked this card up from SGC today. It was part of the batch of PSA crossovers that I mentioned in a previous post. I bought it as a PSA 6 and it crossed over nicely to an SGC 80. This has to be one of the best-looking cards in the set. Most of the '33 Goudeys feature either a ballpark or solid color background. The Cuccinello card is striking because of its multi-hued background, as well as the enigmatic expression on Cuccinello's face. This card is one of my favorites.

Cuccinello, nicknamed "Cooch" (yikes) and "Chick," had a long major league career as a second and third baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Bees, New York Giants, Boston Braves, and Chicago White Sox. In 1933, he was a 25-year-old starting second basemen for the Dodgers. He made the first-ever All-Star team that year, and again in 1938, and he finished in the top 25 in the MVP voting four times. For his career, he got into 1704 games and finished with a .280/.343/.394 hitting line, posting a 104 OPS+, which is pretty decent for a middle infielder of that era. His best season came in 1932, when he hit .315/.374/.431 for the Reds.

His performance that year certainly made an impression on the Dodgers. Following the 1932 season, Brooklyn sent slugger Babe Herman, future Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi, and Wally Gilbert to the Reds for Cuccinello, Joe Stripp, and Clyde Sukeforth. His brother Al Cuccinello played for the New York Giants in 1935.

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