Posted by Andy on February 27, 2010
A few years ago, this might have been a more interesting post for many readers. In 2008, Topps released a "Heritage" set that recycled the design of the 1960 set and included an all-time All-Star Rookie set using the above design. Before Topps and the other card manufacturers went crazy reproducing old designs, these classic cards were really something special.
I love photos like the one used of Fairly. Although it's not an action shot, I like being able to see the stadium and crowd in the background. Fairly must have been out toward the outfield since everyone in the stands in looking to the right, presumably toward the infield. I do wonder a bit about the coloring of this card, as that Dodger blue isn't looking all that blue. This might be due to the age of the card or the fact that print quality wasn't nearly as good back then as it is today.
I'm not sure why Fairly received the honor of an All-Star Rookie card. He didn't hit all that well in 1959, garnering a 74 OPS+ over 284 plate appearances. He came in as a defensive replacement during the 1959 World Series and was part of the winning team but I am still surprised that he made the cut for the honor. This list of outfielders in their 1st or 2nd years in 1959 with at least 100 PAs shows some possible better choices.
In 1960, Fairly got into only 16 games and, since they were all late in the season I assume he had been relegated back to the minors and only got called up in September. He ended up doing something statistically odd, becoming the only guy since 1901 to hit 3 triples in a season without any singles:
These guys all had more triples than singles and, as such, either had poor batting averages or played in a vanishingly small number of games.
In the end, Fairly had a very solid major-league playing career including a series of good years with the Expos and a very nice season towards the end of his career with the first-year expansion Toronto Blue Jays.
I had the opportunity to hear Fairly call numerous TV games as a broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners and, I have to say--I found him to be an awful broadcaster. He had a long career on TV so I bet my opinion is in the minority but I always found him to be the master of saying the plainly obvious. I was also bugged by the fact that despite having a long and successful playing career, he seemed to rarely offer any insight about the game from the perspective of a former player.