15 July 2013

a red sox black armband for the golden greek

the boston red sox lost teammate harry agganis (nicknamed 'the golden greek') in june, 1955.  they honored him by wearing black armbands during the remainder of the season on their left sleeves, as can be seen on the jersey of red sox hurler tom hurd on his 1956 topps card
a couple of notes about the hurd card before i get to agganis.  first, we see the green facade that was in yankee stadium prior to the 1973 remodel.  second, hurd's image in the foreground features pinstripes.  he did not pitch in the majors for anyone other than the red sox, and had been in the big leagues since 1954.  i suppose the best answer as to why he is wearing pinstripes is that topps used a minor league image of him from his days in the white sox organization.  no matter, the inset image is what i was interested in when i picked up this card.

harry agganis was just 26 when he died from a pulmonary embolism.  he was a local boy, having grown up in the boston area and attended boston university, where he was the school's quarterback and is enshrined in the college football hall of fame.  with the red sox, he was their primary first baseman in 1954 (his first season in the majors) and in 1955 was hitting .307 in mid-may when he was hospitalized for chest pains.  he returned to the diamond to play in two games in early june, and raised his average to .310 on the season.  he was hospitalized again, released, and assumedly re-admitted later in the month.  he died on june 27, 1955.

as nice as the armband memorial was, agganis is better remembered by his alma mater who have named their arena in his honor and by the agganis foundation which provides scholarships to student-athletes in the boston area.

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