Friday, April 24, 2009
Group of 79 Project - Wally Berger
The Group of 79 Project continues this week with Wally Berger.
Don't you hate it when you're all focused on the Deadball Era and then you get a player who doesn't belong in there too? You know what I mean, right? Like with Wally Berger. I keep trying to keep him straight from Cy Barger and Bill Bergen, both of whom played for Brooklyn and Wally has nothing to do with Brooklyn so I shouldn't get confused but I do. Bergen is the light hitting catcher. Barger is the pitcher/first baseman who attended Transylvania University and Berger is the Boston Brave outfielder from the 1930's.
Berger was one of the first free-swinging power hitters. He led the league in strikeouts in 1933 and was one of the top 5 whiffers of the league in seven of his seasons. Of course, this was back when 80 strikeouts was a lot. You didn't have the Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunns who approach 200 a year.
Berger also was in the top three in homers for six of his seasons, leading the league in 1935 with 34. He also set the record for home runs in a season by a rookie, slugging 38 in that great offensive year of 1930. That record would hold until 1987 when Mark McGwire hit 49.
This card is from the 1978 Grand Slam card set of which I know virtually nothing. 200 players but I'm not sure why the players in the set were chosen. The cards are smaller than your typical card. If you know anything about it and want to share, I welcome it.