Friday, January 17, 2020

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JOHN LAMB

Here’s a card for a guy I thought actually had a spot in Topps’ 1971 set, but much to my surprise (and relief) is a new creation for me, a “not so missing” 1971 card for former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher John Lamb:


I previously created a 1972 and 1974 edition for Lamb, thinking for some reason he was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1971 set.
But again, I was surprised I imagined such a card and happily created this “dedicated rookie” for a pitcher who saw enough action in 1970 to actually get something by Topps.
In 1970, his MLB debut, Lamb appeared in 23 games for the Bucs, tossing 32.1 innings and going 0-1 with a nice 2.78 earned run average with three saves.
Can’t imagine why a pitcher with 23 appearances wouldn’t at the very least get a spot on a multi-player card in the 1971 set, especially with some of the players that actually did.
Anyway, in 1971 he didn’t factor in a decision while pitching 4.1 innings of scoreless ball in his brief time up in the Big Leagues.
He’d spend the entire 1972 season in the Minors, but would make it back in 1973 in what would end up being his last taste of the Majors, going 0-1 over 22 appearances and 29.2 innings, with a bloated 6.07 ERA with a couple of saves.
He’d be back toiling in the Minors the following year, and would stay there through the 1974 season before retiring for good, leaving the Majors with an 0-2 record over 47 games and 66.1 innings, with an ERA of 4.07.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 KURT BEVACQUA

Let’s go and give 15-year Major League veteran Kurt Bevacqua a “not so missing” 1973 card today on the blog based on his 19 games played with the Cleveland Indians during the 1972 season:


Bevacqua was in his second year as a Big Leaguer in 1972, hitting only .114 with four hits over 35 at-bats with the Tribe while picking up both infield and outfield duties along the way as a 25-year-old.
He would go on to put in a solid career in the Major Leagues as a guy off the bench through the 1985 season, playing for six teams and playing all positions except for catcher and centerfield.
By the time he retired as a player, he finished with a career .236 batting average with 499 hits over 2117 at-bats in 970 games, hitting 27 homers and driving in 275 runs.
While with the San Diego Padres he had perhaps the highlight of his career when he hit .412 in the 1984 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, hitting two homers with four RBIs and easily would have been the series MVP had they upset the heavily favored Tiger team who steam-rolled through the season as wire-to-wire beasts.
As a card-collector of course, I’d say the highlight of Bevacqua’s career was that sweet 1976 Topps card celebrating his win as the Bubble-gum bubble-blowing champion!
I started collecting cards a year after that, but got many 1976 cards and as an eight-year old I loved that card. Still do!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 JIM KREMMEL

Up on the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1975 card that really could be considered a straight-up “missing” card for former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jim Kremmel:


Kremmel appeared in 23 games during the 1974 season, going 0-2 with an earned run average of 5.23 over 31 innings, with two of those games being starts.
I would consider that borderline MLB time to get a slot in the 1975 Topps set considering some other players who got a card with less action.
Kremmel made his MLB debut a season earlier when he appeared in four games for the Texas Rangers, posting an identical record of 0-2, with a bloated 9.00 ERA in nine innings of work.
Sadly for him however, he would go on to spend the next two seasons in the Cubs’ Minor League system, but never get another shot at a Big League mound, retiring after 1976 and finishing up with a MLB record of 0-4, with an ERA at 6.08 over 27 appearances and 40 innings.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 DONNIE MOORE

Today on the blog I’ve come to a “not so missing” card creation that had me second-guessing myself: do I go and create a card for a man who hurt others as well as himself later in life?
I do my best to stay away from such things on the blog, but I went ahead and created a 1976 card for former reliever Donnie Moore, a tragic figure in Major League Baseball’s history:


Moore made his MLB debut in 1975 with four appearances, one of those a start, for the Chicago Cubs, posting and earned run average of 4.15 without a decision in 8.2 innings.
He would go on to spend the rest of his 13-year Major league career as a reliever with the Cubs (1975-1979), St. Louis Cardinals (1980), Milwaukee Brewers (1981), Atlanta Braves (1982-1984) and California Angels (1983-1988), having his best years with the Angels.
In 1985 he would be named to his only All-Star team and get both MVP and Cy Young consideration when he went 8-8 with an ERA of 1.92 along with 31 saves, easily his best year in the Big Leagues.
Between 1975 and 1988, he’d finish his career with a record of 43-40, with an ERA of 3.67 and 89 saves over 416 appearances and 654.2 innings pitched.
Sadly, he will always be remembered for what happened about a year after his career ended when he shot his wife (who survived), and then killed himself in their home, with some unscrupulous journalists taking this as a chance to try tying it to his blown save in the 1986 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.
On a personal note, when this happened I was a journalism major in college, eventually finishing up my degree a couple of years later, but this was one of the nails in my coffin as far as continuing as a reporter/journalist was concerned.
The way sports writers tried twisting the story to connect it to baseball to garner more eyes to their columns was disgusting, and helped me see what a joke it all was.
Just my two cents for what it’s worth.

Monday, January 13, 2020

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 LERRIN LaGROW

Today the blog offers up a “not so missing” 1977 card for former pitcher Lerrin LaGrow, who was coming off somewhat of a transitional year in his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976:


LaGrow appeared in only eight games for the Birds that season, two of those as a starter, going 0-1 with a 1.48 earned run average over 24.1 innings of work.
In 1977 he’d hit his stride, finding success as a full-time reliever and going 7-3 over 66 appearances, with a very nice 2.46 ERA and 25 saves over 98.2 innings, helping the team to an excellent 90-72 season.
Though not as great a season in 1978, he was still effective, going 6-5 with 16 saves with a bump in ERA at 4.40 over 52 appearances, before splitting the 1979 season between the White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Combined between the two teams he went 5-4 with a bloated 5.27 ERA over 42 appearances, saving five games, while finishing the year with a nice 5-1 run with Los Angeles with four saves and a 3.41 ERA over 31 appearances.
Still only 31 years of age entering 1980, turns out it would be his last, joining the Philadelphia Phillies and going 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA over 25 appearances, saving three games, but he’d get released in July of that year as the Phillies would go on to win a World Championship.
LaGrow would hang them up, never even playing a Minor League game after that, finishing with a 10-year Big League career that saw him go 34-55 with a 4.11 ERA over 309 appearances and 779 innings pitched, with two shutouts and 54 saves between 1970 and 1980.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

1970 COACH CARD- SAL "THE BARBER" MAGLIE

Here was a fun card to create, a 1970 coach card for Sal “The Barber” Maglie, who was acting as pitching coach for the one-year Seattle Pilots organization in 1969:


Maglie came to the Pilots to lend his expertise after a few seasons with the Boston Red Sox, where he was credited by 1967 Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg of helping him have his magic season by teaching him about pitching inside, for which Maglie was notorious for when he was an active pitcher.
Funny enough, if you’ve ever read Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four”, you’ll remember that Maglie was NOT shed in a good light for his Seattle coaching tenure, labeled as “indifferent” and a walking contradiction in his handling of pitchers.
I’ve always found Maglie’s playing career  so incredibly interesting, as he made his MLB debut in 1945 at the age of 28, then was banned from playing until 1950 for his jump to the fledgling Mexican League.
When he came back to the Big Leagues in 1950, all he did was go 18-4 for the New York Giants, leading the National League with a 2.71 earned run average, five shutouts, and a winning percentage of .818 over 47 appearances, with only 17 of those starts.
The following season he easily would have been the N.L.’s Cy Young winner had there been such an award yet after going 23-6 with a 2.93 ERA and three shutouts along with four saves, helping the Giants make it all the way to the World Series where they’d lose to the New York Yankees juggernaut.
So basically, except for those five wins in 1945 before he got banned, Maglie’s entire career was accomplished after he turned 30, as he wound up with a record of 119-62, with a 3.15 ERA, 25 shutouts and 14 saves by the time he retired in 1958 at the age of 41.
Imagine him pitching through his 20’s in the 1940’s, we could possibly be looking at a 250+ win pitcher had he come up earlier or had not been banned for the league jumping.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

AIRBRUSHING THROUGH THE 1970s- 1977 ALAN ASHBY

Time to go and add former catcher Alan Ashby’s 1977 card to the long-running “airbrushing through the 1970s” thread, with a closer look at the original touched up image used:


Nice job of the airbrusher turning what was originally a shot of Ashby in a Cleveland Indians uniform into a shot of him in a Blue Jays uni, especially when one considers there really wasn’t much reference yet as the team hadn’t played a single MLB game at the time this was created.
As for Ashby, after being traded to the Jays from the Cleveland Indians in November of 1976, Ashby would go on to put in two seasons for the expansion team before moving on to play for the Houston Astros  for the next eleven years. I never realized that his career to him all the way to the doorsteps of the 1990 decade, finishing up with 22 games for the Astros in 1989 after 17-years as a Major League catcher.
In those 17 seasons he batted .245 while playing in 1370 games, collecting 1010 hits with 90 home runs and 513 runs batted in over 4123 official at-bats. After his baseball career ended as a player he hung around the game as a coach in the Astros system as well as a broadcaster for the Astros in both radio and television.

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