So Joe Grzenda's 1971 Topps card last week was the final card in my current 1971 Topps Senators team set. Since that was the final year before the Senators moved to Texas we were about at the end of my Senators collection. Fortunately I was able to pick up a few more Senators to add to the collection. I guess this series is good as a spur to keep adding to the Senators collection.
Decided to start adding at the beginning of the franchise so today we go back to 1961 and see the first manager in franchise history, Mickey Vernon. Mickey appears a bit uncertain on card number 134 of the 1961 Topps set. He had a lot to be uncertain about - Washington would finish with 100 losses in 1961.
Before being tabbed as the Senators' manager Vernon had played in the Big Leagues for 20 seasons. He missed two years mid-career due to military service. He also made seven All-Star games during his playing days.
Interestingly, Vernon had made his debut with the old Washington Senators. He played for that franchise from 1939 until he was traded to Cleveland following the 1948 season. The Indians would hold on to him for a season and a half before trading him back to Washington in June of 1950. Following the 1955 season the Senators sent Mickey to the Boston Red Sox as part of a nine player trade. He would stick with Boston for two seasons until claimed off waivers by the Indians in January of 1958. Cleveland would keep Mickey for a year and then trade him to the Milwaukee Braves just before the 1959 season. After that season the Braves would release him. Vernon would sit out most of the 1960 season but would sign with the Pirates on September 1st. Nine games and 29 days later he was released by the Pirates on September 30th.
Mickey's last couple of years as a player were a whirlwind of short stops and changes. That would continue. Less than a year after his last appearance as a player he was a manager with a franchise that hadn't even existed when he was playing. Quite the change of pace and scenery.