Sunday, March 24, 2019

1981 Topps Harry Spilman

The front: Getting ready for the pitch in a day game at Shea Stadium. This must be July 27, 1980, the only day game at Shea where he played first base. Spilman was the hitting hero in the Reds’ 10-4 victory; reaching base four times and scoring three runs, including a two-run home run off of Neil Allen. The second baseman is probably Ron Oester, who played most of the game at second. Late in the game Oester shifted to shortstop to spell Dave Concepcion, and Junior Kennedy came into the game at second.

The back: Spilman married Kim Grossman, a former secretary for the Evansville Triplets. Spilman was traded to the Astros in 1981 and became close friends with Nolan Ryan, who hired Kim as his secretary. After his playing career Spilman moved next door to Ryan and caught him during his off-season workouts. Spilman is one of at least ten former teammates of Ryan who named their son Nolan.

 The player: Primarily a pinch-hitter, Spilman played twelve seasons for the Astros, Reds and Giants, only topping 100 at-bats twice. In 563 games he hit .237 with 18 HR and 117 RBI.

The man: Spilman coached in the Rangers organization when Ryan owned the team. He is now Special Assistant to Player Development for the Royals.

My collection: I have 23 of his cards, from 1979 to 1990. I would be interested in trading for 1988 Mother’s Cookies #16.

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