Wednesday, January 25, 2023

#606 Gene Mauch MG - Montreal Expos

Gene William Mauch
Montreal Expos

  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'10"  Weight:  165
Born:  November 18, 1925, Salina, KS
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1943 season
Major League Teams:  Brooklyn Dodgers 1944; Pittsburgh Pirates 1947; Brooklyn Dodgers 1948; Chicago Cubs 1948-1949; Boston Braves 1950-1951; St. Louis Cardinals 1952; Boston Red Sox 1956-1957
As a Manager:  Philadelphia Phillies 1960-1968; Montreal Expos 1969-1975; Minnesota Twins 1976-1980; California Angels 1981-1982, 1985-1987
Died:  August 8, 2005, Ranco Mirage, CA (age 79)

As a manager of nearly 4,000 Major League games, Gene Mauch holds the dubious distinction of being the winningest manager in history without a World Series appearance to his resume.  His small ball style of managing got him to within a game of the Fall Classic three separate times - in 1964 with the Phillies, and in 1982 and 1986 with the Angels.  Mauch's career win total as a manager (1,902) is currently 14th all-time.  He twice endured historic and lengthy losing streaks, as his 1961 Phillies lost 23 games in a row and his 1969 Expos, in their inaugural season, lost 20 games in a row.  He served as a bench coach for Angels' manager Bob Boone in 1995, his final year in a baseball uniform.

As a player, Mauch appeared in parts of nine seasons with six different teams, seeing his most action in 1949 when he played in 72 games for the Cubs.  A middle infielder, Mauch was a career .239 batter over 304 games.

Some text for this post originally appeared on my 1965 Topps blog.

Building the Set / 
Card #16
May 3, 2022 from Wenonah, NJ (Gar Miller Cards)
Growing up in South Jersey, I'd look forward to the Ocean City Baseball Card show every summer, saving my precious birthday or gas mowing money so that I could spend it all during one glorious afternoon inside the Ocean City Music Pier among dozens of tables of vintage baseball cards.  When my wife Jenna texted me that there was a baseball card show scheduled in Ocean City this past April 30th, I admittedly got giddy.  We needed 11 cards to complete our 1965 Topps set, I had plans to begin collecting a 1969 Topps set, and I figured I'd add a Diamond Stars card or two to that growing set.  We loaded the family in the car, trekked down to Ocean City, and I stepped inside the Music Pier for the first time in over 20 years.

The memories came flooding back, but none of the former baseball card dealers from my youth did.  There were maybe 15 tables scattered on the lower portion of the Music Pier floor and I immediately scanned mostly shiny slabbed cards, bobble heads, signed jerseys, and nary a vintage baseball card in sight.  It was a little depressing.  Determined to come away with something, anything for my collection, I scoured a "3 for $20" box and came away with a few cards for Doug's collection, namely Alec Bohm relic cards, and six cards from sets I wasn't even collecting yet.

All of this is meant as a prelude to how this card ended up in my collection.  My budgeted show money burning a hole in my pocket, I navigated over to Gar Miller Cards' online store when we got home and held my own virtual baseball card show.  I added four cards to our Diamond Cards set, crossed off three more cards for our 1965 Topps set and threw in a few cool cards to add to the 1969 Topps pile I had started, including this Mauch card.

The Card / Expos Team Set / Accuracy Index -8
Mauch's photo is from the same session the photo used for his 1968 Topps card came from, as both photos show him standing in front of a chain link fence with his red Phillies jacket collar sticking out from under the neck of his jersey.  The cartoon on the back demonstrates the exhaustion experienced by Mauch at having managed the Phillies for nine seasons.  Each of the manager cards in the set have a drawn portrait of the skipper on the back of the card, and Topps missed an opportunity here to place the new Expos logo on the cap of the drawing.

Accuracy Index:  Mauch scores a -8 for being hatless (-3) and for wearing a Phillies jersey (-5).

1969 Season
Mauch was named the first manager in Expos franchise history, and he'd guide the team to a 52-110 record and a last place finish behind his former team, the Phillies, in the standings.  Right fielder Rusty Staub (#230) was the team's MVP, batting .302 with 29 home runs and 79 RBIs.  Mauch's Expos club suffered from a lack of any decent pitching, and his top starter, Bill Stoneman (#67), was 11-19 with a 4.39 ERA in 42 appearances.

Phillies Career
Mauch was offered and accepted the team's manager position when outgoing manager Eddie Sawyer quit following opening day in 1960.  At the time, Sawyer said he "was 49 years old and he wanted to live to be 50."  Mauch was 34 at the time and his top starting pitcher, Robin Roberts, was only a year younger.  In nine seasons managing the Phillies, Mauch compiled a record of 646-684, finishing in second place in 1964 and having six straight winning seasons between 1962 and 1967.  In 1962, the team's first winning season since 1953, Mauch was named Manager of the Year by the Associated Press.  Mauch was fired 54 games into the 1968 season with his team at 27-27, and replaced by Bob Skinner (#369).

His 645 wins as manager of the club was tops on the franchise's all-time list until Charlie Manuel surpassed him and eventually tallied 780 wins.  Mauch's 684 losses is still the most in Phillies franchise history.

1951 Bowman #312
1957 Topps #342
1961 Topps #219
1974 Topps #531
1988 Topps #774

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1951 Bowman #312
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (26):  1957, 1961-1980, 1983, 1985-1988
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1988 Topps #774
Total Non-Parallel Baseball Cards:  89 in the Beckett online database as of 12/31/22.

Update Cards
For my 1965 Topps blog, I used the team card posts to come up with five or six candidates per team for an imaginary update series.  With no team cards in the 1969 Topps set, I'll use each manager card for this exercise, and come up with a list of deserving cards to be included in an 8th/update series.
  • Coco Laboy (3b) - The expansion team's regular third baseman, Laboy (#524) appears on a Rookie Stars card in the set.
  • Adolfo Phillips (cf) - Phillips (#372) appears with the Cubs in the set, and he'd become a regular with the Expos following a June trade to Montreal.
  • Ron Fairly (1b-of) - Acquired from the Dodgers by the Expos in June, Fairly (#122) would appear in 70 games with his new club and become of their best hitters.
  • Steve Renko (rhp) - Renko appeared in 18 games, making 15 starts and his rookie card would appear in the 1970 Topps set.
  • Dan McGinn (lhp) - One of the many closers used by manager Mauch, McGinn (#646) appears late in the set on a Rookie Stars card.
  • Roy Face (rhp) - The veteran made his final appearances with the Expos, appearing in 44 games.  He's in the set with the Tigers (#207).
Baseball Reference - Mauch / Baseball Reference - 1969 Expos / SABR / Wikipedia
Beckett Database / The Trading Card Database
1965 Topps Blog / The Phillies Room

#605 Dick Ellsworth - Cleveland Indians / #607 Dick Bosman - Washington Senators


  1. I love that photo of Mauch. I usually dont care for the "head shot" cards, but he looks genuinely happy.

  2. It's quite the juxtaposition with the cartoon image on the back!