Monday, February 1, 2016
613th Place - Paul Noce
Hey, here's a sharp looking card, with Paul Noce hanging out in the beautiful Wrigley Field, somewhere near the on-deck circle. The grass, stands, and uniform are elegantly highlighted by the red, white, and blue Topps bestowed upon the Chicago cards in this set.
Every time I see this card I assume Noce is a backup catcher, but am always surprised to see he is a utility infielder. Life isn't easy when Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston are ahead of you on the depth chart.
I've got a mission for anyone brave enough to find the answers: what's that brand of that batting glove? It appears to be "125" with a degree symbol in a red circle. Is this our first non-Franklin glove?
Noce is an obscure ballplayer, as he was back in the minors when this card was printed. In fact, he only ever appeared in one more major league game, when he replaced Ron Oester in the lineup and recorded a hit in his one and only at-bat. Here's a nice write-up of his playing days, including his involvement in the infamous Andre Dawson bean ball to the face. I didn't know it at the time, but Noce spent 20 years as the head baseball coach at Hillsdale College, which is only a 20 minute drive from my hometown. Per his LinkedIn page, it looks like he's doing some scouting now.