Friday, November 24, 2017

NOT SO MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JOE SPARMA

Here’s a career-capping 1971 card for Joe Sparma, who finished a nice seven-year Major League tenure with his only season outside of Detroit, a nine-game stint with the Montreal Expos:


Sparma appeared in nine games with the Expos during the 1970 season, posting a record of 0-4 with a bloated 7.04 earned run average in 29.1 innings of work.
In the six seasons prior to that, he was a solid arm both out of the ‘pen and as a starter for the Detroit Tigers, the team he came up with in 1964.
His finest season in the big leagues is easily 1967 when he posted a record of 16-9 with a 3.76 earned run average over 37 starts and 217.2 innings pitched along with five shutouts.
The following season he was a full-time starter on the eventual World Champs, appearing in one game during the World Series in relief.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A CAREER-CAPPING 1975 CARD FOR BASEBALL LIFER FELIPE ALOU

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Be safe, eat, drink, watch some football and nap (always works for me!).
Let’s cap-off the brilliant Major League playing career of Felipe Alou, who would go on to also have a brilliant managerial MLB career later on, giving us a true baseball “lifer”:


Alou would only appear in three games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1974, playing one game at right field while pinch-hitting as well.
It would be the finale of an excellent career that saw him bat .286 over 17-seasons, leading the National League in hits twice while collecting over 2000 hits and 200 home runs in 2082 games.
He would also get to play MLB ball alongside his two brothers, Matty and Jesus, while also seeing his cousins Jose Sosa pitch, and eventually seeing his son Moises become an all-star player himself, while having his nephew Mel Rojas pitch in relief! Incredible baseball family tree hardly seen before or since!
During the height of his playing career, with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the 1960’s, Alou topped 20 homers four times, topping .300 three times, and also led the league in total bases in 1966 with 355 when he topped 30 homers for the only time in his career.
As stated earlier, he would eventually move on to an excellent managerial career in 1992, managing the Montreal Expos for ten seasons through 2001, including the heart-breaking 1994 season when the team was steam-rolling through the Summer before the baseball strike killed the organization.
He would move on to the San Francisco Giants in 2003, leading them to a 100-win season and first place finish in the National League West, and guide them through the next three seasons before leaving the managing life after 2006.
A great baseball figure from an incredible baseball family!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 ED FARMER

Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for former relief pitcher Ed Farmer, who was yet to hit his MLB stride as a Chicago White Sox bullpen ace later on, throwing a total of ZERO innings in 1977 with the Baltimore Orioles, giving up a hit and a walk in his only appearance of the year:


Farmer, who originally came up to the Major Leagues as a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1971, bounced around after that, playing for four organizations in three seasons while missing the 1975 and 1976 campaigns altogether before getting that one taste of a big league mound again in ‘77.
But he would right his ship soon enough, eventually having an All-Star season in 1980 with the White Sox when he posted 30 saves over 64 appearances and 99.2 innings pitched.
He would end up pitching eleven seasons as a big league pitcher, leaving the game in 1983 with a career 30-43 record, with 75 saves and a 4.30 earned run average in 370 appearances and 624 innings before moving on to a long broadcast career.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD- 1975 SUB-SET

Next up in my ongoing awards sub-set through the 1970’s is a 1975 Rookie of the Year card for the 1974 winners, Bake McBride and Mike Hargrove, two players who went on to nice Major League careers:


In the National League, McBride played centerfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, and proceeded to bat .309 in his first big league season with 173 hits and 81 runs scored, 30 stolen bases and 56 runs batted in.
He would go on to bat a career .299 over his 11-year career playing with the Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians before retiring after the 1983 season.
In the American League, Hargrove played in 131 games in his first taste of the Majors, ending up with a .323 batting average based on his 134 hits in 415 at-bats.
He also collected 49 walks, giving him an on-base=percentage of .395 which would be a familiar theme for his 12-year career, as the “Human Rain Delay” would retire with a very nice career OBP of .396, topping 100 walks four times.
Of course later on he would go into managing, leading the powerhouse Cleveland Indian teams of the 1990’s, winning two American League pennants before moving on to the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners through the 2007 season.

Monday, November 20, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 DAN BOITANO

Here is a 1979 “not so missing” card for a pitcher who threw one sole inning in 1978, the very first inning of his Major League career, Dan Boitano of the Philadelphia Phillies:


It was a scoreless and hitless inning for the 25-year-old, while issuing one walk while not factoring in a decision.
The following season he would be suiting up for the Milwaukee Brewers, where he would have five appearances and pitch six innings with no record once again before getting into 11 games in 1980, posting an 0-1 record with a bloated 8.15 E.R.A
In 1981 he’d see more playing time, pitching for the New York Mets and going 2-1 with a 5.51 E.R.A. over 15 appearances and 16 innings pitched before finding himself with the Texas Rangers in 1982, the last action he’d see on a Big League mound, appearing in 19 games and pitching 30.1 innings.
He would finish his career with an even record of 2-2 along with an E.R.A. of 5.68 in 51 appearances and 71.1 innings pitched, striking out 52 batters while walking 28.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

THE STRANGE CASE OF THIS 1972 ROY FOSTER CARD

Here’s another one of those cards that requires a closer look, a 1972 card showing former rookie stand-out Roy Foster as a Texas Ranger:


Foster, who was the runner-up to Thurman Munson for the American League rookie of the year in 1970 as an Indians player, never actually suited up with the Texas Rangers.
As a matter of fact, not only did he play with the Cleveland Indians in 1971, but he also played for them in 1972!
Turns out, after a disappointing year in Cleveland in 1971 which saw him bat .245 with 18 homers and 45 runs batted in after posting a .268 average with 23 homers and 63 ribbies in his rookie year, he was traded to the new Rangers organization in December of 1971 in a deal that included seven other players.
In what seems like a common thing in that era, it turns out that he would end up getting traded BACK to Cleveland right before the new season started, ending up playing what would turn out to be the final 73 games of his brief career, batting .224 with only four homers and 13 runs batted in, before spending the 1973 season in the Minors and the following couple of years in the Mexican League before retiring for good.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

AN INTERESTING PHOTO SPOTLIGHT- 1978 RORIC HARRISON

Today I wanted to look at this Topps airbrush job for former pitcher Roric Harrison on his 1978 card, which also has a lot to scratch your head about as far as why Topps ever went to this much trouble for:

As releases 1978 Topps card
Airbrushed image used

You can clearly see Harrison in a St. Louis Cardinals jersey that was cropped just so to have him on his 1978 card as a Detroit Tiger.
Funny thing is Harrison never ended up playing for the Tigers, getting released before the season even started.
On top of that, at the time this card came out he hadn’t even been on a Major League mound since the 1975 season when he last played for the Cleveland Indians.
So where do the Cardinals fit into all this?
Harrison bounced around a lot during his five-year career, especially between Big League stops in 1975 and 1978 when he played the last nine games of his career, with the Minnesota Twins.
From the beginning of 1975 to 1978, he was a member of no less than six teams, though actually playing for only three of them (Braves, Indians and Twins).
In between, he signed with the Tigers, the Pirates and Cardinals, with whom he never played.
Amazing that Topps did all this for a guy who hadn’t played a Major League game in three seasons, and was bouncing around so much.
I wonder why the need to get him into the set when guys like Bill Melton and Carlos May were left out?
Anyway, Harrison did actually make it back to the Majors in 1978, but as I stated before as a member of the Minnesota Twins, where he went 0-1 with a 7.50 earned run average over nine games and 12 innings pitched.
Thus would end his career, with a record of 30-35, with a 4.24 E.R.A., 10 saves and 319 strikeouts in exactly 590 innings pitched.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

@wthballs
Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.