Sunday, January 22, 2017

TURN BACK THE CLOCK: SATCHEL PAIGE PITCHES AT AGE 59!

Today we celebrate the “ageless one”, legendary Negro Leagues pitcher and future Hall of Fame member Satchel Paige and his unlikely pitching performance in 1965 at the age of 59 for the Kansas City Athletics:


Signed by Athletics team owner Charlie Finley for one game, Paige came in to pitch on September 25th against the Boston Red Sox, starting and eventually pitching three innings and surrendering a single hit while striking out one batter in his stint, thus closing the books on his sadly abbreviated Major League career, which BEGAN back in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians when Paige was already 41 years of age.
Because of baseball’s segregation, Paige made himself a legend beyond legends in the Negro Leagues, becoming one of the all-time greats on the mound, and off of it as well with his personality and pitching talents.
As a Major League pitcher spanning six seasons between 1948 and 1965 Paige would put together a 28-31 record with a nice 3.29 earned run average in 179 games, 26 of them starts, all this while in his 40’s!
Who knows what this icon could have done pitching in the Major Leagues, though he was STILL rightly honored with a place in Cooperstown, being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 and becoming the first true Negro Leagues star player to be so recognized.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

1973 BILLY CHAMPION AIRBRUSHED IMAGE SPOTLIGHT

Here’s an interesting find, the original negative for the image that would end up being Billy Champion’s 1973 Topps card.
First up the card as-issued by Topps:

 

Now the negative as it was treated for final production:





I love finding these to see just how Topps had the original photos “touched up” to show the correct team for a player in the following set.
Here we see that Champion was originally photographed with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he played the first four years of his eight-year Major League career.
To get him into his new team’s uni, in this case the Milwaukee Brewers, Topps just went and partially touched up the image, enough to get the part of the photo that would be used on the card.
I would have thought it was a given to re-paint the whole image, but certainly makes sense to JUST do what is needed.
As for Champion, he played for eight seasons in the Majors evenly split between the Phillies and Brewers, compiling a 34-50 record with a 4.69 earned run average over 202 appearances, 102 of which were starts.

Friday, January 20, 2017

SPECIAL REQUEST: 1973 "MISSING" JIM BIBBY

I had a “special request” recently to create a 1973 card for Jim Bibby, as a Texas Ranger, though he actually started the season as a St. Louis Cardinal.
Nevertheless, here you go:


If this was something I would have created for myself it would have been a Cardinals card, but to be honest I never even realized he wasn’t in the 1973 set to begin with. So let’s consider this a “traded” card of sorts.
After six appearances with the Cardinals to start off the 1973 season, Bibby found himself down in Texas, and would soon go on to throw a no-hitter for his new team on July 30th against the eventual World Champion Oakland A’s.
He would go on to have a nice 12-year career that saw him go 111-101 with a 3.76 earned run average over 340 appearances, 239 of which were starts.
His bests seasons would be his back-to-back years with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and 1980 that saw him go 31-10, leading the league in winning percentage both times, while being named to the National League all-star team in ’80 while finishing third in the Cy Young race.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 DUKE SIMS

Here’s a career-capping “missing” 1975 for former catcher Duke Sims, who played out the final 44 games of his 11-year career split between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers:


During his farewell 1974 season, Sims hit .198 with 24 hits in 121 at-bats with three homers and eight runs batted in.
He would have some productive seasons with the team he’d play for the first seven of his big league years, the Cleveland Indians.
His finest season would be in 1970 when he hit 23 home runs with a .264 batting average along with 56 RBI’s in only 110 games and 345 at-bats.
Ironically he’d find himself off to Los Angeles playing for the Dodgers in 1971, before splitting seasons each year in 1972-1974, finishing up with a .239 batting average with exactly 100 home runs and 310 RBI’s in 843 games and 2422 at-bats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FUTURE STAR: NOLAN RYAN

Here’s a new thread I’m starting for 2017 that will be a blast to create, a “Future Star” 1978 sub-set based off the manager card template in the set, since it plays right into what I wanted to do, sort of a “before they were stars” image next to a “present-day” shot:


It’s not that easy finding an abundance of photos from when these guys were still amateurs, but I did come across enough of them to start the series.
Nolan Ryan was an easy choice to kick things off, and by 1978 he was already the “King of K’s”.
So here we have a nice card that shows him as a youngster in Alvin, Texas along with an image of him dominating batters in the Major Leagues some 20 years later.

The run he had during the decade (and way beyond), striking out batter after batter was something else. Something I had the honor of witnessing first hand a few times at Yankee Stadium.
I already have about a dozen or so stars of the time lined up for this thread, so if you like this idea, keep an eye out for them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 MAC SCARCE

OK. So here is pretty much the EXTREME of “Not Really Missing”, a 1976 card for a pitcher who literally faced ONE batter during the 1975 season for the New York Mets, Mac Scarce:


Scarce came over from the Philadelphia Phillies, where he put in three seasons out of the bullpen, picking up 21 saves while putting together a 5-18 record over 141 appearances.
Needless to say he didn’t give the Mets the same playing time, and after one batter faced (of which I assume was a sacrifice or HBP), that would be it for Scarce as a New York Met.
He did make it back to the Majors in 1978 with the Minnesota Twins, appearing in 17 games, but that would be it, and the books were closed on what would end up being a 5-year career, with a 6-19 record along with a 3.69 earned run average over 159 games and 209.2 innings pitched.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 ROB SPERRING

Here’s a “missing” 1977 card for former infielder Rob Sperring, who appeared in 43 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1976, generally playing third base and shortstop:


In that time Sperring batted .258 with 24 hits over 93 at-bats with three doubles and seven runs batted in.
He would end up playing the last of his four-years in the Major Leagues with the Houston Astros in ’77, getting one last card in the 1978 Topps set to close out his career, batting .211 over 208 games with exactly 100 hits in 473 at-bats.

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Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.