20 December 2010

czech one off of my want list

i recently picked up a 1958 topps elmer valo card that was missing from my dodgers collection.
only after receiving the card did i discover that valo was born in czechoslovakia.  he wasn't one of those military base babies like bert blyleven or ron gardenhire, either.  valo's family emigrated to the us in 1927.  13 years later, valo made his big league debut for the philadelphia a's.  he stayed with the a's for 15 seasons, and was on the team when they moved to kansas city in 1955.  in fact, valo was part of 3 franchises that relocated during his career - the a's, the 1960 senators/1961 twins, and the 1957/1958 dodgers (his only two years with the club).

the dodgers acquired valo and 4 other players from the phillies (valo had spent most of the '56 season with the phils after the a's released him) in a 5 (plus cash) for 1 deal in which the dodgers sent chico fernandez to philadelphia.  as a dodger, valo hit .273 in brooklyn and .248 in los angeles.  valo is better known for his on-base percentage (he is 65th all-time with a .398 career obp), and he reached base 37% of the time with the '57 dodgers, but only at a .322 rate in 1958.  that was his lowest full season obp since 1943.

here's to you imrich (elmer) valo!  welcome to my collection.

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