Monday, June 18, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 LEN GABRIELSON

Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1971 card for former outfielder and pinch hitter Len Gabrielson, who finished up a nine-year Major League career in 1970 with the Los Angeles Dodgers:


Gabrielson appeared in 43 games for the Dodgers in 1970, batting .190 with 8 hits over 42 at-bats in what turned out to be the final action he’d see on a Big League diamond.
Originally up with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, his career was pretty much evenly split up between five organizations: Dodgers, Braves, California Angels, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs between 1960 and 1970.
His final numbers were a .253 average with 446 hits in 1764 at-bats over 708 games, all as a player off the bench, with the most games played in any one season being 116 split between the Cubs and Giants in 1965.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

CARD SPOTLIGHT: 1973 CHRIS CHAMBLISS WITH A JIM KAAT PHOTOBOMB

I’ve always gotten a kick out of the 1973 Chris Chambliss card, not just because of the Jim Kaat photobomb, but the great image used, the horizontal layout and those oh-so-cool Chambliss sideburns:


How classic “1970’s” is this shot!?
Chambliss was just off his Rookie of the Year season of 1971 with the Cleveland Indians, a year before getting traded to the New York Yankees, where he’d find baseball gold with two straight championships and a career-making highlight in the 1976 League Championship Series, hitting the game winning, series winning home run off Kansas City Royals reliever Mark Littell to send the Yanks to their first World Series since 1964.
By the time he was done, Chambliss put in 17 seasons as a Major League player, retiring with over 2000 hits and a nice .279 batting average.
Then you get wind-breaker clad Jim Kaat, who Chambliss is keeping close to first. Kind of funny since Kaat’s regular base card in the 1973 set is him batting! So I wonder if the at-bat was a precursor to him at first base. Love it!
All “Kitty” did in the Majors was put in 25 years, win 283 games, and appear in 898 games between 1959 and 1983, with a World Championship in 1982 while with the St. Louis Cardinals.
We are looking at 42 years of Big League service on this card!
One of my favorites in the 1973 set.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

AIRBRUSHING SPOTLIGHT- 1976 TRADED MIKE LUM

Found another gem of an airbrushing job from the 1970’s, so that always makes for a blog post, this one the photo used for the 1976 Mike Lum Traded:


The Hawaii native was traded over to the eventual repeating World Champion Cincinnati Reds for Darrel Chaney, where he’d put in a couple of seasons before coming right back in 1979.
He’d play for another few years in Atlanta before a appearing in 41 games with the Chicago Cubs in 1981 to close out his 15-year career.
His best season in the Big Leagues was easily his 1973 season, when the Braves seemed to have a few guys have career-years.
For Lum, he set career-highs with a .294 batting average,  74 runs scored, 16 home runs and 82 runs batted in on a team that featured three 40-home run guys (Aaron, Evans and Davey Johnson) and four 90+ RBI men.
Amazing that the team could only muster a record of 83-78 with lumber like that!
Nevertheless, Lum finished his career after the 1981 season, collecting a career .247 average with 877 hits and 431 RBIs over 1517 games, with Post Season appearances in the 1969 and 1976 League Championship Series.
Until writing this post I never realized he had that long a Major League career, coming up with the Braves back in 1967 as a 21-year old.

Friday, June 15, 2018

BY SPECIAL REQUEST: 1970 SPARKY ANDERSON COACH CARD

Here’s a card that I always wanted to create, but it wasn’t until I had a special request for it, with the image used sent to me, that I finally put it together for today’s blog post, a 1970 Sparky Anderson “Coach=Card” with the San Diego Padres:


Anderson, who was about to go on to an incredible 26 run as a Hall of Fame manager with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers, first lent his skills as a coach with the new San Diego franchise in 1969 after some years as a Minor League manager throughout the 1960’s.
But after the Reds offered him the job to replace former manager Dave Bristol to head the upstart Cincinnati team, he jumped at the chance, and began what was to be an incredible run through the 1970’s that saw him appear in four World Series, winning two in a row in 1975/1976, with the team gaining the nickname “Big Red Machine”, loaded with all-stars like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Tony Perez.
After nine years with Cincy, he then moved over to guide the Detroit Tigers, where he’d be over the next 17 years, bringing home a championship in 1984 while winning 1331 games in the Motor City.
All told, the man would post 2194 Major League wins as a manager in 26 years, with five pennants, three championships and seven first-place finishes.
Great baseball lifer and story-teller. Miss him.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 CLINT COMPTON

Here is a classic to add to the “Not Really Missing” collection, a 1973 card for one-game Major Leaguer Clint Compton of the Chicago Cubs:


Compton made is sole Big League appearance on October 3rd of 1972, throwing two innings and giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks.
Unfortunately for him, that was it as far as his Major League career, as he would spend the next season in the Minor Leagues, going 4-6 for Wichita in the Cubs’ system.
Turns out that 1973 season in the Minors would be his last as a Pro, closing out a six-year professional career that began in the Atlanta Braves’ system in 1968 as a 17-year old.
One MLB game, two innings, and this card created for the blog. Love stuff like this!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A MISSING ROOKIE CUP- 1974 DAVEY LOPES

The next player who got “ripped off” a nice Rookie Cup by Topps in the 1970’s is none other than future Dodgers’ All-Star second baseman Davey Lopes, who broke into the Major Leagues with a very nice 1973 season:


Lopes hit .275 for Los Angeles in his rookie year, with 36 stolen bases and 77 runs scored, giving the team an idea of what he’d end up doing over the next eight years while making the All-Star team four times while also taking home a Gold Glove.
He’d would lead the National League in stolen bases two years in a row: 1975 and 1976, with a high of 77 in ‘75 and 63 in 1976.
What always amazed me about that 1976 total was that he stole those 63 bases on only 103 hits! Incredible to think he swiped so many bags on so few hits (along with 53 base on balls).
On occasion he’d also show some “pop”, as he did in arguably his finest season in the big leagues when he hit 28 homers to go along with 44 stolen bases, 109 runs scored and 97 walks in 1979, starting the All-Star game alongside his teammate Steve Garvey.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season, he collected 557 stolen bases and 1023 runs scored to go along with 1671 hits and a .263 batting average.
And to think, he didn’t play his first full season until the age of 28 in 1973. I never realized he got such a late start in his MLB career.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 MARK WILLIAMS

Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for a guy who is a bit of a mystery to me, Oakland A’s outfielder Mark Williams:


Williams appeared in three games for the A’s in May of 1977, going 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI after toiling for five years in the Oakland and Kansas City Minor League systems.
But it seems he was sent back to the Minors right after his short three day stint in the Majors, where he’d play a full season for San Jose of the Pacific Coast League.
But then the mystery is that after that action in 1977, nothing. Not only did he not play again in the Majors, but it seems he never played in the Minor Leagues again as well.
Anyone know what happened to him? He was only 23 years old at the time, and his Minor League season was a good one, hitting .277 with 88 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases.
I looked online and couldn’t find a thing.
All told, he spent three days as a Major League player, with those three games in May.
On top of everything else, I’m intrigued by the fact that he also had a nickname, “Cadillac”, which makes him all that more interesting to me!

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Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.