He only pitched one inning in the Majors in 1967, and was toiling in the minors ever since before the start of the 1971 season.
After playing for the Cleveland Indians organization from 1964 to 1969, he signed with the Atlanta Braves in May of 1970 and pitched in Shreveport (AA) and Richmond (AAA), putting together a 9-7 record with a 3.93 E.R.A.
I guess when it came time to putting together the fourth series for the 1971 set Topps figured Kelley was worthy of a card since he secured a roster spot with the Braves and was on his way to a decent season where he finished at 9-5 with a 2.96 E.R.A.
It's also worth noting that the 1971 card was his first since the beautiful 1967 set (#214), so here we have another one of those guys that went a few years between card appearances.
Kelley's success was a bit short-lived. By May of 1973 Kelley pitched his last game in the Majors, and finally hung them up after appearing in seven games for the Tidewater Tides in the Met's system in 1976.
As for the card, you can clearly see the red piping that was part of Cleveland's uniform back in the late 60's/early 70's, and I suspect the image used was about four or even five years old. It also seems that the photo was taken in the old Yankee Stadium, though I could be mistaken.
Just another one of those cool little quirks you find when scouring the baseball card sets of the 1970's.
|One big league inning in four years at the time this card was issued.|