Sunday, March 26, 2017

GREAT AIRBRUSH OR OLD PHOTO: 1978 DICK DRAGO

Here’s a card that’s always interested me because of an unanswered question, the 1978 Dick Drago card, and “is this an airbrush job or an older photo?”:


I understand it can easily be a photo from his first tour with the Bosox between 1974 and 1975, and it does seem to fit.
However I stare at that cap and I’d swear it looks airbrushed to me. What do you all think?
Drago split the 1977 season with the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.41 earned run average over 49 games, all out of the ‘pen.
He’s put together a nice 13-year career between 1969 and 1981, finishing up with a 108-117 record, along with a 3.62 ERA over 519 games, 189 of them starts.
His best year was easily his 1971 season with the Kansas City Royals when he went 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and four shutouts over 34 starts and 241.1 innings pitched.
That effort even got him a fifth place finish in the American League Cy Young race as he led the Royals staff to a second place finish in only their third season in the league with a 85-76 record.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 MARV LANE

Here’s a 1972 card for former career Detroit Tigers outfielder Marv Lane, who made his Major League debut during the 1971 season with a scant eight games:


In those eight games, Lane hit .143 with a couple of hits over 14 at-bats, with an RBI and walk thrown in.
He would only play in eight more games the following season, followed by six in 1973 before getting the most action of his five-year career in 1974 when he played in 50 contests, batting .233 with 24 hits, 16 runs scored and nine RBI’s.
After playing in the minors during the 1975 season, he made it back to the big leagues in 1976, playing in the final 16 games of his career, batting .188 with nine hits in 48 at-bats, closing out his MLB tenure with a .207 average, 37 hits, 23 runs scored and 17 RBI’s over the course of 90 games.

Friday, March 24, 2017

1976 PROJECT- A RE-DO FOR NELSON BRILES

Here’s a redone 1976 card for former pitcher Nelson Briles, at the request of “Reader Jim”, who wanted a card of the righty with the team he actually played for the year before, the Kansas City Royals:


Briles wrapped up his second season in K.C. With a 6-6 record over 24 games, 16 of the starts, with a 4.26 earned run average and 73 strikeouts in 112 innings of work.
On November 15th however, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for speedster Dave Nelson, and I have to remind everyone that Topps managed to produce one of the better airbrush jobs of the decade just in time to have an “accurate” card for the upcoming 1976 set:

Pretty damn good no?
Briles originally came up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965 and had his best years there, leading the National League in winning percentage in 1967 after posting a 14-5 record, followed up by a 19-11 record in 1968, both with sub-3.00 ERA’s.
Over the course of his 14-year career he posted a 129-112 record, with a 3.44 ERA and 1163 strikeouts in 452 appearances and 2111.2 innings.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 LARRY COX

Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for catcher Larry Cox, who was just starting out his career in the mid-1970’s with the team that signed him, the Philadelphia Phillies:


Though he wouldn’t get his first baseball card until the 1977 set, as an airbrushed Seattle Mariner player, he did actually get some playing time in the Majors in 1973, 1974 and 1975, all with the Phillies.
For creating a 1975 card I based it on the fact that he appeared in 30 games in 1974, batting .170 with nine hits in 53 at-bats while catching.
It was the most action he saw in his first three MLB campaigns before coming back as an “original” Mariner in ‘77.
Ironically, when he did get that 1977 rookie card, he didn’t even play in the big leagues the previous season.
But we know what Topps had to do to have both the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays well-represented in that ‘77 set for both teams’ inaugural seasons.
Nevertheless, Cox would play nine years in the big leagues, finishing up after the 1982 season with a .221 batting average based on 182 hits in 825 at-bats over 348 games, most with Seattle.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 ART GARDNER

Here’s a “not so missing” 1979 card for a guy I already created a “missing” 1978 card, former outfielder Art Gardner:


The 1978 card I created a while back for him was as an Astros player, for whom he played the first two of his short three-year career.
This card has him for the team he closed out his MLB career for, the San Francisco Giants, a team he suited up for just seven games during the 1978 season.
In those seven games, all pinch-hitting & running appearances, Gardner went 0-3 with two runs scored and a caught stealing.
Thus would wrap up Gardner’s time in the Majors, finishing up with a .162 batting average with 16 hits over 99 at-bats in 86 total games.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 JOHN VUKOVICH

Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for a guy that saw enough action during the 1971 season that I had to double-check to see if I had it wrong that he was left out of the ‘72 set, John Vuckovich:


Vukovich played in 74 games for the Philadelphia Phillies that year, hitting .166 with 36 hits in 217 at-bats.
Brutal numbers there, for sure, but man when you think about some of the guys that DID get a card in the ‘72 set, it leaves you scratching your head, no?
Granted, turns out he wouldn’t even play in the Majors during the 1972 season, but he will make it back in 1973, now as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, before moving on to the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and back to the Phillies for the final five seasons of his 10-year career.
All told he’d finish up with a .161 career average with 90 hits in 559 at-bats while playing all infield positions while playing for two World Champs (1975 Reds and 1980 Phillies), though he didn’t get into Post Season action himself.
He would also get two brief stints as manager, two games heading the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and nine games in 1988 with the Phillies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

FUTURE STAR- RICK MONDAY

Let’s go and give the very first #1 overall amateur draft pick, Rick Monday, a “future star” card in my on-going 1978 sub-set:


By 1978 Monday was a veteran player who was entering the second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the third and final team of his successful 19-year career that also saw him suit up for the Kansas City/Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs.
Between 1966 and 1984 he would be named to two all-star teams and play in three World Series, all with the Dodgers, including the 1981 team that won it all against the New York Yankees.
Of course, if we’re taking about Rick Monday, we have to mention the moment he entered baseball (and American) folk lore when he snatched an American flag from two protesters (of what I have no clue) who jumped onto the field at Dodgers Stadium on April 25th, 1976 while he was still a member of the Cubs.
Monday, who was playing centerfield, ran over and grabbed the flag in full sprint and kept running, much to the crowd’s delight, until he handed the flag off to Dodger pitcher Doug Rau in front of the L.A. dugout.
Back to that 1965 amateur draft: after the outrageous bidding war for all-world amateur Rick Reichardt the previous year, which resulted in the Los Angeles Angels winning his rights to the tune of $200,000, Major League baseball felt something needed to be done, coming up with the draft that we all follow to this day.
Coming out of Arizona State University, where he led the team to a College championship (along with teammate Reggie Jackson) over Ohio State, he earned All-America and was named College Player of the Year as a sophomore.
This made him a natural pick for #1 in a somewhat light-year, as evidenced by the picks that followed him in Les Rohr (Mets), Joe Coleman (Senators) and Alex Barrett (Astros).
As a matter of fact of the first 20 picks, the most successful player besides Monday would arguably be either Ray Fosse (7th) or Jim Spencer (11th).
Have to point out that in the second round, the Cincinnati Reds picked a kid out of Oklahoma that would fare pretty well in the big leagues, Johnny Bench, the 36th overall pick!
Nevertheless, Monday went on to have a very nice career, finishing up with 1619 hits and a .264 lifetime average along with 241 homers and 775 runs batted in over 1986 games.

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