As baseball patriarchs go, Ray Boone may not have the Hall of Fame siring pedigree of, say, a Ken Griffey or Cal Ripken (Senior version in each case), but he sure did start something, huh?

Ray himself signed as an amateur free agent with the Cleveland Indians back in 1942, just out of high school. Like many players from the era, Boone spent a little time in the minors that summer, then headed to the military for three years, then came back for four more campaigns of minor league seasoning.

Finally, in September of 1940, the Tribe called him up and he stayed on for the World Series, going hitless in one plate appearance but picking up a ring in Cleveland’s last (so far) championship.

Find 1955 Topps Doubleheaders on eBay (affiliate link)

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Boone played the next few seasons as the Indians’ starting shortstop before Cleveland shipped him to the Detroit Tigers in June of 1953 along with Al Aber, Steve Gromek, and Dick Weik in exchange for Owen Friend, Joe Ginsberg, Art Houtteman, and Bill Wight.

In Detroit, Boone took over third base duties and would stay there through 1956 before moving to first.

Before that happened, though, Boone blossomed into a star for the Tigers, hitting 22 home runs and driving in 93 while batting a robust .316 in Motown that first summer (1953). That earned him some MVP votes and a higher profile — in the game, and in the hobby.

That second part, Boone’s elevated hobby profile, paid off for all of us when he landed a slot on the front side of Pirates hurler Bob Purkey’s knees-up in the 1955 Topps Doubleheaders set.

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In case you’re not familiar with those cards, they’re pretty spectacular, with paintings reminiscent of 1930s gum cards and a concept modeled on the 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders tobacco issue.

That meant you got one player (Boone) when the card was unfolded, and another (Purkey) when it was folded. Nifty stuff, though not great for conditioning if you were/are part of future generations.

Of course, Boone was the subject of many cards over his playing career, which tends to happen when you stick around for 13 seasons and pick up a couple of All-Star nods.

And, also of course, Ray was just the beginning of the Boone baseball and cardboard legacy — son Bob crafted a 19-year Big League career spent almost entirely as a catcher, and grandsons Bret (14 years) and Aaron (12) were MLB fixtures for more than a decade each.

Heck, Aaron is still going strong in 2020 as manager of the New York Yankees.

So, if you add them all together, you could probably find more Boone cards than the number of games Bob caught — 2225, a record when he retired in 1990.

But are any of them any better than the 1955 Topps Doubleheader card of Ray, issued just a few years into the Boone tenure?

Maybe, but probably only if you’re a nine-pocket sheet salesman.

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