To the average fan who stumbled across John Powell’s stats from 1961 that offseason, things probably looked pretty bleak.

After all, a single in 13 at-bats with two strikeouts is about as inauspicious as it gets as far as Major League debuts come, right?

On the surface, maybe.

But it was enough to land the young man a nifty hunk of real estate the next spring:

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See, that 1962 Topps Boog Powell rookie card recognized a few important things, even if it wasn’t yet prepared to acknowledge his unusual moniker. Among those realizations:

  • Powell was barely out of his teens when he debuted with the Baltimore Orioles on September 26, 1961.
  • The lefty-hitting outfielder had put up big numbers for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings before his promotion.
  • Powell was expected to be a masher even in the bigs by Orioles brass.

Here, you can see all that and more on the card back, where Topps liked Boog’s minor league numbers so much they completely ignored his ‘61 cup of coffee.

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Never mind that even Topps undersold Powell’s progress in that cartoon — the kid was just 17 (not 19)when he made his pro debut with the Class D Bluefield Orioles in 1959.

Within just a few years, of course, everyone could see that the minor league success was no mirage, and that the big first baseman (after converting from the OF in 1966) could, indeed, handle big league pitching.

Through 1970, Boog topped 30 home runs five times, and though he slowed down in his 30s, he still finished his career with 339 home runs and nearly 1200 RBI, not to mention the 1970 American League MVP award and two World Series rings with Baltimore.

Today, that 1962 Topps “star” rookie card of his is a $150 buy in PSA 8, with PSA 9 copies almost impossible to find — the last of eight known copies to sell changed hands for more than $1200 in 2019, BTB (Before The Boom).

So, auspicious debut or not, Topps got it right in touting the budding Baltimore star … even if they were slow to warm to “Boog.”

1962 Topps #396 Frank Robinson All Star Reds HOF 2716T

End Date: Saturday 03/23/2024 00:26:31 EDT
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