Baseball cards have a way of taking you back, of making you remember, like almost nothing else.

Crack open that old shoebox, get a whiff of the musty cardboard and the faint remnant of stale bubblegum, and you’re right back on that diesel-draped school bus trading your Rick Monday for your buddy’s Pedro Borbon.

And, sometimes, our cards bring back an old friend when we least expect it.

That must have been how it was for Chicago Cubs fans who cracked open their first packs of 1955 Topps baseball cards and found a familiar face waiting for them.


From 1935 through 1947, Stan Hack manned third base in Wrigley Field and batted leadoff for much of that time. Those were some fairly heady years for the north-siders, too, as they were frequent contenders for the National League pennant and made it to the World Series four times.

They lost all of them, but Hack acquitted himself well in October, batting .348 across 76 Fall Classic plate appearances.

In the regular season, Hack established himself as one of the best third basemen in the game, garnering five All-Star nods and frequently figuring in the MVP voting.

Hack was solid, maybe a bit above average in the field (according to modern fielding metrics, at least), but it was at the plate where he made his hay. In 1938 career games, Smiling Stan picked up 2193 hits for a .301 lifetime batting average.

But time marches on for all of us, and the Cubs couldn’t keep up their torrid pace after World War II ended — following their seven-game loss to the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series, Chicago fell to third in the NL in 1946 and then slid (way) under .500 in 1947.

At the same time, Hack’s playing time tumbled to 92 games, then 76, as his batting average dipped to .285 and .271.

It was enough for Hack and for the Cubs, and he walked away from the game at the age of 37, leaving the Chicago hot corner in the powerful hands of a young(ish) Andy Pafko.

But the losing continued in the Windy City over the next several years at the same time Hack was embarking on a minor league managerial career

By the spring of 1954, the Cubs were ready to try something new in the dugout, and Hack was a seasoned, though young, skipper ready for another challenge.

Find Stan Hack cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find Stan Hack cards on Amazon (affiliate link)

So it was out with the old (Cavaretta) in with the new (Hack) when the club broke Spring Training and headed north for the season.

Alas, there wasn’t much magic Hack could work with a roster full of aging pieces and a few unproven youngsters (future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was one of them), and the Cubbies continued losing big.

They lost big in 1955 and 1956, too, and even his local celebrity wasn’t enough to keep the warm-and-fuzzies going for Hack through yet another 90-loss season, so the Cubs sent him packing.

But that was later.

Imagine for a moment, though, that we’re back in the spring of 1955, and you’re a Cubs fan.

You haven’t seen a winning team in nearly a decade, and most of the familiar faces you’ve grown to know, trust, love are gone.

And then, suddenly, the new Topps cards arrive. And somewhere in your neighborhood, a buzz starts to grow.

“Did you see who’s in the new baseball cards? Tommy Watkins has one!”

And so you seek out Tommy Watkins, unbelieving.

But as soon as you find him, standing there on the corner with some of his friends, or walking to school, or at the drug store buying another pack of cards…you know.

The smug grin tells you it’s true.

And then Tommy shows you. It’s card number six.

It’s Stan Hack, looking older and more rundown than you remember, with a rounder face and world-weary eyes.

But it’s him.

And you feel like you’ve found an old friend.

Hobby Wow!

If you want the 1955 Topps Stan Hack card but don’t want the hassle of finding a single, you could just go whole hog and ask Santa to bring a complete set, like this one:

It’s all graded and pulled together in one place, and it seems like the least that 2020 owes you, don’t you think?

Or, if you think the Red Suited One will balk at your request, you can at least enjoy this baby vicariously by checking out the full listing on eBay here (affiliate link).