Thursday, June 5, 2014

Final Card: Joe Nossek

I’ve got 21 more “Final Cards” to post in the 1969 set, but haven’t done any since last October, so I’m going to squeeze one in here before I start down the path of featuring the Topps All-Rookie Team. Joe Nossek is the only one of the remaining 21 cards to have played more than 5 seasons in the majors. He finished up with 6 years of service time. 

Joe Nossek (#143) was a member of the 1961 College All-American team, along with catcher Bill Freehan, pitcher Bill Faul, and future Twins’ teammate, shortstop Frank Quilici.

Joe was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and played 4 seasons in their minor-league organization. He made his major-league debut in April 1964, playing in 7 games at the start of the season (mostly as a pinch-runner) before returning to the minors in early May.

Joe returned to the majors on a full-time basis at the start of the 1965 season. He played in 87 games during his rookie season, mostly as a pinch-hitter and backup center fielder (to Jimmie Hall). Joe also made a few starts at 3rd base. Nossek appeared in 6 games in the 1965 World Series, and was the starting center fielder for games 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 against the Dodgers’ southpaw starters. He went 4-for-20 (.200).

In mid-May 1966, Joe was sold to the Kansas City Athletics. He played in 87 games for the Athletics in both 1966 and 1967, sharing the starting center field job in 1966 with Roger Repoz and Jim Gosger, then caddying for rookie Rick Monday in 1967.

Nossek spent all of 1968 with Oakland’s AAA team in Vancouver, and was left out of the Topps set in 1968. It's surprising that he was back on Topps' radar in 1969. This is a low-numbered card, and he didn't see any playing time in the previous season.

He began the 1969 season with the A’s, but after 13 games (2 starts), he was sent down to the minors in mid-May, then traded to the Cardinals two months later for utility infielder Bob Johnson. The Cardinals called Joe up at the end of July, where he made 9 pinch-hitting or pinch-running appearances over the rest of the season.

It was back to the minors for almost all of 1970, with only one pinch-hitting appearance for the Cardinals in mid-September. It would be his last major-league game.

In February 1971 Joe was sold to the Brewers, but spent the year in triple-A before retiring.

After his playing career, Nossek was a coach for 28 seasons between 1973 and 2003, for the Brewers, Twins, Indians, Royals, and White Sox.


Eric C. Loy said...

I wonder if the picture problem Topps had this year had anything to do with Nossek's inclusion.

There is currently a Nossek picture Topps took of him on the Cardinals on eBay.

I also wonder if the broken K on the back was fixed on the card later.

Jim from Downingtown said...


When I saw that broken K on the back, it reminded me of Donn Clendenon's 1969 card, which appears to havce a backwards N on the back.

(See Clendenon's 2 1969 cards in my 1970 Curt Flood post.)