Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 BRUCE KIMM

Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for former catcher Bruce Kimm, who had his first baseball card the previous year as part of the 1977 set:


Kimm appeared in only 14 games for the Tigers, batting .080 with two hits over 25 official at-bats while catching, after a rookie year that saw him play in 63 games, batting a respectable .263 with 40 hits in 152 at-bats, while being used as Mark Fidrych’s personal catcher.
He would spend the 1978 season in the Minors before making it back to the Majors in 1979, though as a member of the Chicago Cubs, where he played in nine games, the only games he’d appear in for the North-Siders.
In 1980 he would see the most action of his short career, this time with the team who drafted him back in 1969, the Chicago White Sox.
In what would turn out to be his last year as a Major League player, Kimm appeared in 100 games, batting .243 with 61 hits over 251 at-bats for the White Sox.
In his brief four-year career, he’d bat .237 with 104 hits in 439 at-bats, spread out over 186 games, before moving on to managing in the minor leagues, with a Major League managerial stint in 2002 with the Cubs thrown in.
Sadly for him, he was let go at the end of the season, with Dusty Baker hired to lead the eventual Central Division champs, leading to the memorable 2003 National League Championship series against the Florida Marlins.

Monday, September 18, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION (SORT OF)- 1979 ALAN WIRTH

Here’s a card that wasn’t necessarily “missing”, but should have been part of the 1979 set in my opinion as presented today, a solo card for Oakland A’s pitcher Alan Wirth:


Wirth was actually on the A’s multi-player rookie cards at the end of the set, those ugly as sin black and white cards that truly had no business being as such in 1979 (really? No color?).
But when you take a look at his 1978 season, you can make the argument that he deserved a solo card based on his 16 games, 14 of which were starts, with a 5-6 record and 3.43 earned run average over 81.1 innings pitched.
To me THAT is not someone who gets a slot on a multi-player rookie card, that is enough action to get a dedicated card of his own.
So here it is, all these years later.
Sadly for Wirth, that action in 1979 is the bulk of his Major League career, as he’d appear in five and two games the following two season, picking up one more win before his big league career came to a close.
All told, he finished with a record of 6-6, with a 3.78 E.R.A., 39 strikeouts and one shutout over 23 appearances and 95.1 innings pitched.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 DANNY WALTON

Here’s a “not so” missing card for a guy who I have previously created THREE missing cards through the 1970’s, Danny Walton, who suited up for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 1976 season, albeit briefly:


Walton’s 1976 season consisted of 18 games, hitting .133 with two hits over 15 official at-bats while assuming a pinch-hitting (??) role.
Previously I created a 1972 card for him as a New York Yankee, and both a 1974 and 1976 card while he was playing for the Minnesota Twins.
His only full season came in 1970 while with the Milwaukee Brewers, when he hit .257 with 17 home runs and 66 runs batted in over 117 games and 454 plate appearances.
As I’ve written before, in between all of that Major League action, Walton put in some monster Minor League years, most notably in 1977 when he hit 42 homers with 122 RBI’s and 117 runs scored for Albuquerque, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
For his MLB career, he’d finish with a .223 batting average along with 174 hits in 779 at-bats, with 28 homers and 107 RBI’s between 1968 and 1980.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

NEGRO BASEBALL LEGENDS- LEON DAY

Today we add the great Leon Day to my long-running 1972 card set celebrating the legends of the Negro Leagues, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995:


The seven-time Negro League all-star is not remembered as much as some of his contemporaries such as Satchel Paige, but is often in the conversation when “best pitcher” comes up with those who know Negro League history.
According to records on hand, Day’s career record stood at 64-29 with an earned run average of 2.98, spanning 1934 and 1950.
In 1937, with the “Million Dollar Infield” behind him, he had his best season, going 13-0 with a 3.02 E.R.A., while also batting .320 with eight home runs.
A versatile player, over the course of his career Day would play every position outside of catching when he wasn’t on the mound, and many suggested that he would have been better suited to play the outfield on a full-time player so his bat would be in the line-up everyday.
But it is hard to argue the simple fact that Day was a master pitcher, setting the Negro League record for strikeouts in a game with 18 when he threw a one-hit shutout against the Baltimore Elite Giants.
On opening day, May 5th 1946, as he returned from serving in the military, Day promptly tossed a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Stars, beating them 2-0, on his way to leading the league in wins, strikeouts and complete games.
A soft-spoken and reserved man, Day was not one to boast of his talents, or to draw attention to his on-the-field accomplishments, and many suggest that this is why many do not know of his greatness as an all-around ballplayer, both on the mound and at the plate.
Nevertheless, as stated before, Day was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame just days before his passing in 1995 at the age of 78, fulfilling a dream of his, and rightfully so.

Friday, September 15, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 ALAN CLOSTER

Here’s a 1974 card that wasn’t really “missing”, an Alan Closter Atlanta Braves card, for whom he played the final games of his brief Major League career in 1973:


Closter appeared in four games, all out of the ‘pen, getting hit hard with seven earned runs and seven hits over 4.1 innings, to the tune of a 14.54 earned run average.
Originally up with the Washington Senators in 1966, he wouldn’t see a Major League mound again until he was back, now with the New York Yankees, in 1971, for whom he’d play the next two seasons, albeit briefly.
The only big league decisions he’d get were in 1971, when he posted a record of 2-2 along with a 5.08 E.R.A., appearing in 14 games with a start thrown in among them.
After those aforementioned four games with Atlanta in 1973, he would pitch for the Braves Minor League system through the 1975 season, then call it a career after eleven seasons as a pro, four of them in the Major Leagues.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

1977 BLUE JAYS REDONE- OTTO VELEZ

The next expansion “do-over” from 1977 is the Toronto Blue Jays’ Otto Velez, who got to play full-time after four brief seasons with the New York Yankees:


Velez, who was the 53rd pick in the 1976 expansion draft, had a decent year for the Jays in 1977 when he batted .256 with 16 homers and 62 runs batted in.
He would stay with the team for the next five years, hitting as many as 20 homers (1980) as well as matching the ‘77 RBI total that very same year.
As for the original Topps 1977 card, this one was one of the better airbrush jobs, since there wasn’t much to airbrush! Nevertheless it was a nice job with the logo on the cap.
Velez would put 11 years in the Major Leagues, batting .251 with 78 homers and 272 runs batted in, while collecting 452 hits in 1802 at-bats over 637 games.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 DICK COLPAERT

Today I post up a “not so missing” 1971 card for former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dick Colpaert, who appeared in the only Major League action he’d see in his career during the 1970 season:


Colpaert came into eight games during 1970, all out of the bullpen, and proceeded to post a 1-0 record with a 5.91 earned run average over 10.2 innings pitched.
He spent eight years toiling in the Minors before that sole taste of the big leagues, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles Appleton D-Level team in 1962 as an 18-year-old before moving over the the Pittsburgh organization in 1963, where he’d stay through the 1972 season.
He’d stick around until 1974, playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox, getting into a dozen games before calling it a career, getting that one taste of the big time in 1970, leading to this card.

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