I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Pafko once. The former outfielder and third baseman was in his late 80s, but he was still very kind and appreciative of his fans. Even in a fragile state he engaged with others and even signed a few autographs.
The occasion of our meeting was a dinner honoring Bob Uecker as part of the Milwaukee Braves gathering held every year and organized by Johnny Logan. Logan passed away earlier this year, and on Oct. 8, Pafko also passed away, at age 92.
Pafko played 17 seasons in the big leagues, and for some pretty memorable teams. His nine-year stint with the Chicago Clubs included an appearance in the 1945 World Series, the last time the team appeared in the Fall Classic. His two years with the Brooklyn Dodgers, from 1951-52, saw him at the wall of the Polo Grounds watching Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ’round the world” sail over the fence. He made it to the World Series the following year with the Dodgers.
Then, of course, came his run with the Milwaukee Braves from 1953-59, which included two appearances in the World Series, winning it all in the 1957 tilt against the N.Y. Yankees. Those weren’t some bad teams to play for.
In his 17-year career, Pafko batted .285 with 213 home runs and 976 RBI in 1,852 games.
For a fan base that clings to the Milwaukee Braves franchise to this day, it’s another loss from an era of baseball bliss.
Of course for collectors, Pafko’s 1952 Topps card is the most memorable, notably for being card No. 1 in the popular and tough set.