Player: Art Ditmar
Return: 7/27/19 (21 days)
Address Source: Myrtle Beach, SC address listed on SCF.
Between Art Ditmar and Bobby Shantz, I’ve managed to get two of the few remaining men who played for the Philadelphia Athletics. I think it’s vitally important to keep the memory of that team alive. With the history the behind the team since the club moved to Oakland, it’s easy to forget that the team not only had a stop over in Kansas City, but was there right at the beginning, in 1901 when the Western League moved east and decided to go toe-to-toe with the National League. Connie Mack and Ben Shibe launched the Athletics to compete with the Phillies. That team went on to stomp all over the newly minted American League, winning six pennants and three World Series titles in 15 years.
Ditmar was a 6’2″ right handed pitcher from Winthrop, MA (out near Pittsfield). He had a decent career, splitting time between the Athletics and the Yankees. Along with fellow Shibe Park alum Bobby Shantz, Ditmar was a member of the ’58 Yankees World Series team. He wasn’t able to crack the starting rotation on that squad that featured Shantz, Whitey Ford, Bob Turley and Don Larsen. But he was the starter and pitcher of record in the final Athletics home game at Shibe Park. Ditmar lead the A’s to an 8-6 win over the Yankees. That game, besides being the swan song for the A’s in Philadelphia, was also the only game Yogi Berra ever played at 3rd base. Mickey Mantle also played short stop that day.
I’m curious what the circumstances were that lead to the line-up shuffle. But I also wonder what it may have been like for a baseball fan in Philly to know that this was going to be the last time they get to see the Yankees play live, and you look at the line-up card and see Berra at 3rd and Mantle at short. It feels like something that would happen to me. Phillies come up to play the Red Sox and I manage to get a pair of tickets. First time seeing a game at Fenway and the Fightin’s are in town. I look at the line-up and Bryce Harper‘s playing second base and JT Realmuto‘s…I don’t know. Pitching?
This is card #26 in the Phillies TTM Frankenset. Almost done page 3. I also just got a couple books of stamps. So we may be sending some more cards out this week…