Thursday, May 25, 2017

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- RUBE FOSTER

Today’s Negro league Legend is none other than a man considered by many to be the “Father of Black Baseball”, all-time great Rube Foster, player, manager and owner during his historic career:


Held in high-regard as the greatest pitcher during the early part of the 20th-Century in Black baseball, this man transcends “stats” and achieved his lofty place in baseball history for the influence he had in building the Negro National League, as well as teaching numerous young players who came along under his tutelage during his 20+ years as player and manager.
Numerous are the stories that follow this legend: his nickname “Rube”, apparently coined after he beat Rube Waddell in a game in the first few years of the 1900’s; Christy Mathewson’s “fadeaway” screwball, taught to him by none other than Foster after he was brought in by John McGraw to teach the young ace.
Of course with stat-keeping the way it was in these early days of baseball, especially the Negro Leagues, Foster’s numbers are left to history to uncover for sure, but we do know from personal accounts that he was one of the greats regardless of league, sad we didn’t get to see him compete against all players.
Nevertheless, although it took way too long, Foster was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, long overdue but definitely a worthy historical figure in the sports’ long history to have his place in Cooperstown forever.
As I state with all these Negro league Legends posts, please do yourself a favor and read up on these players, you’ll be happy you did with the anecdotes, classic match-ups and great players along the way that make for an amazing read.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FUTURE STARS- FRED LYNN

The next “Future Stars” card in my thread is Fred Lynn, who burst onto the Major League stage and never looked back:


After a star college career at USC, Lynn became an instant star in 1975 when he led the Boston Red Sox to the World Series after copping both the Rookie of the Year AND Most Valuable Player Awards. The first player ever to do so, and still only one of two (Ichiro Suzuki joined him in 2001).
He’d go on to win four Gold Gloves, get named to nine all-star teams, and hit the only Grand Slam in All-Star game history, a memorable shot off of Atlee Hammaker in the 1983 classic that gave the American League it’s first win over the National League since 1971.
Hampered by injuries throughout his 17-year career, he still finished with a very solid MLB resume: 306 homers, 1111 RBI’s, 1063 runs scored and a .283 batting average, with 10 seasons of 20+ homers over 1969 games.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 DICK ELLSWORTH CAREER-CAPPER

Let’s cap off a nice 13-year Major League career for former pitcher Dick Ellsworth, who pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers in his final year as a pro:


Ellsworth appeared in 11 games for the Brewers during the 1971 season, going 0-1 with a 4.91 earned run average in 14.2 innings.
It would be the final action he’d see in the Majors after a solid career that began in 1958 with the Chicago Cubs.
His best season would unfortunately be the same season a guy named Sandy Koufax exploded for his 1st Cy Young Award in 1963.
That year Ellsworth sparkled for the Cubs, going 22-10 with a 2.11 E.R.A. and 185 strikeouts over 37 starts and 290.2 innings pitched.
He’d win 14 games each of the next two seasons before losing 22 games in 1966, even though his E.R.A. was under 4.00, but he’d bounce back in 1968 as a member of the Boston Red Sox when he posted a 16-7 record with a 3.03 E.R.A. over 28 starts and 196 innings of work.
All in all he’d finish with a record of 115 and 137 with a 3.72 E.R.A., along with 1140 strikeouts over 407 appearances, 310 of them starts, and 2155.2 innings pitched.

Monday, May 22, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 JACK BAKER

Here’s a card I already had scheduled for later on in the year, but moved up in the “assembly line” for my buddy Mark, a 1978 Jack Baker:


After coming up for the first time in 1976 and playing in 12 games for Boston, Baker got a small cup-of-coffee in 1977, appearing in two games, amassing three plate appearances without a hit.
The following season would see him split his time with both the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays Minor League systems, capping off a pro career that began in 1971 after being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1971 out of Auburn University.
During his Minor League tenure Baker showed some “pop”, hitting as many as 36 homers in 1976 for Rhode Island of the International league, as well as 27 homers in both 1972 and 1974.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- "IN-ACTION": HORACE CLARKE

Here’s a “missing” 1972 In-Action card for “Hoss” Horace Clarke, the man from the Virgin Islands who held down the second base position for the New York Yankees during the “dark years” between 1965 and 1974:


Clarke was solid for the Yankees for the bulk of his Major League tenure, though sadly he missed out on the early-60s juggernaut teams and the “Bronx Zoo” Yankees of the late-70’s.
But right in-between he put in a nice career that had him play day in and day out, topping out during the 1969 season when he collected 183 hits while leading the American League in at-bats with 641 and stealing 33 bases along with a very nice .285 batting average.
Of course many will remember that within one month during the 1970 season, Clarke broke up three no-hitters in the ninth inning!
On June 4th he ruined Jim Rooker’s bid for immortality, on June 19th he did the same to Sonny Siebert, and finally on July 2nd he eliminated Joe Niekro’s chance at no-hit fame.
Of his ten years as a Major League player, 9 1/2 were in the Bronx, finishing up with a half-season with the San Diego Padres in 1974 before retiring with a .256 batting average over 1272 games and 4813 at-bats.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 HECTOR TORRES

Here’s a 1973 “missing” card for a guy who was missing a few of them during the 1970’s, former infielder Hector Torres:


Torres really could have gotten a card every year but 1975 (after missing out on MLB play the previous year), but only had cards in the 1970-72 & 1976 sets.
I already created a 1978 “missing” card for him on this blog a while back, and this 1973 will hopefully be joined by a 1974 & 1977 in the near future.
During the 1972 season Torres played in 83 games for the Montreal Expos, batting .155 with 28 hits over 181 at-bats and 199 plate appearances.
Sure the dismal hitting didn’t help, but I can easily name a handful of players who played a ton less and got cards in the set.
Generally a part-timer off the bench, Torres put in nine years in the Major Leagues, batting .216 with 375 hits in 1738 at-bats over 622 games between 1968 and 1977.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NOW AVAILABLE: ISSUE #11 OF "WTHBALLS", THE 1978 MISSING IN ACTION ISSUE



Hello Everyone!
Happy to announce the availability of the 11th issue of “WTHBALLS”, the 1978 “Missing in Action” issue, featuring all the ’78’s I designed to this point of cards that “should have” been in that nice 1978 Topps set.
This issue features cards of stars like Dick Allen, Boog Powell, Willie Wilson, and Brooks Robinson, who gets the “career-capper” treatment, as well as the complimentary postcard that comes with each issue.
As usual, the issue has 24-full color pages and can be ordered through me for $7 each (postpaid). Email me at: john@slogun.com to order, or for any questions you may have.
And if you want to order any of the back issues, all are still available, and I do combine shipping on multiple magazine orders.
Thanks for the interest!
Gio

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Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.