Wes Westrum - 1951 Topps Red Back

Wesley Noreen “Wes” Westrum (November 28, 1922 - May 28, 2002) was one of the best defensive catchers of the 1950s and set a National League record for catchers with a .999 fielding percentage in 1950 while posting an impressive 54% caught stealing percentage. His record stood until Florida Marlins catcher Charles Johnson was perfect in 1997. Wes began his professional career as a high school junior in his native Minnesota and eventually went on to play for the Minneapolis Millers after graduation. He then spent three years in the United States Army during World War II and then the New York Giants purchased his contract from the Millers in 1946. Wes spent 11 seasons behind the plate for the Giants as both a backup and as their primary backstop from 1950 to 1953. He helped lead New York to the unlikely pennant in 1951 that featured Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”. He was behind the plate for all ten games that the Giants played in the 1951 and 1954 World Series. Westrum was a member of the 1954 World Series champions, batting .273 with three hits and three RBI as the Giants swept the Cleveland Indians. The two-time All-Star’s best year at the plate came in that record setting 1950 when he had 103 hits including 23 home runs and drove in 71 runs. As injuries slowed the talented catcher, his duties behind the plate also dwindled. Westrum was serving as a back up catcher in 1957 when the Giants relocated to the Bay Area. Rather than continue playing, Wes Westrum retired in 1957 having collected 503 hits including 96 home runs, 302 runs and 315 RBI in 919 games while batting .217 for his career, all with the Giants (1947-1957). Though he retired from playing he remained with the team through the move as a bullpen coach. When his playing days were over, Westrum replaced Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel as the New York Mets second manager, after Stengel broke his hip in 1965. He spent three seasons (1965-1967) with the Mets and also managed the San Francisco Giants (1974-1975) compiling a record of 260-366 over five years and 627 games. Interestingly, on August 16, 1954, Westrum appeared on the very first issue of Sports Illustrated with Milwaukee Braves slugger Eddie Mathews.



Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MINT 9 (21)

AUCTION PRICES REALIZED

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
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