#CardCorner: 1955 Bowman Vic Raschi
The sign identifies it as the Vic Raschi Softball Field. For many years, however, it hosted baseball games. Fitting, since Raschi – the coach at SUNY Geneseo for many years – was a three-time 20-game winner and four-time All-Star.
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It is an enduring monument to the ace pitcher of the greatest dynasty baseball has ever known.
The New York Yankees’ run of five straight World Series titles from 1949-53 turned millions of kids into fans during the postwar era. While the Bronx Bombers had certainly been dynastic from 1936-39 with four World Series titles in a row, it was manager Casey Stengel’s run that cemented the Yankees as America’s team.
With the new technology of television – illustrated on Raschi’s 1955 Bowman baseball card – spreading pinstripe passion around the nation, the Yankees embarked on a stretch of winning that seemed more like destiny than a dynasty. Not once did those teams win 100-or-more games in a season, and the pitching staff featured one future Hall of Famer – Whitey Ford – in a regular role. And Ford only pitched in about a season-and-a-half of those five championship years.
Instead, it was Raschi who led – or tied for the team lead – in victories in three of those five seasons.
Born March 28, 1919, in West Springfield, Mass., Victor John Angelo Raschi signed a contract with the Yankees while still in high school, with the team agreeing to pay for his education and Raschi agreeing to sign with the Yanks after he graduated. He enrolled at the College of William and Mary, and in 1941 the Yankees started Raschi in the minors in Amsterdam, N.Y., about an hour’s drive from Cooperstown.
After a promotion to Class B Norfolk in 1942, Raschi served three years with the Army Air Corps during World War II. Upon his discharge, Raschi returned to baseball and made his big league debut at the advanced age of 27-and-a-half on Sept. 23, 1946.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum