Growing up as a baseball fanatic when I did, I was always amazed at the ONE pitcher who appeared in over 1000 games at the time: legendary veteran of veteran's Hoyt Wilhelm.
Until Kent Tekulve came along in the mid-80's and finally joined the knuckle-baller, Wilhelm was the only guy atop that mountain.
And any time you can say that as far as Major League history goes for something "positive", that means something to me as a lifelong baseball geek!
On May 10th of 1970, Wilhelm took the mound for the Braves against the Cardinals, opening the door for future relievers and veterans such as Tekulve, Goose Gossage, Mariano Rivera, and the current all-time appearances leader Jesse Orosco to join him in this select company.
To celebrate this milestone in baseball history, allow me to present my design for a "highlight" card that would have been nice to see in the 1971 set:
Can you imagine how many MORE games Wilhelm could have appeared in had he not made his Major League debut at the ripe "old" age of 29 for the New York Giants in 1952!?
All told, by the time he retired after the 1972 season he made 1070 appearances, now good for 6th place all-time.
The man was amazing. The only two seasons he pitched enough innings to qualify for an E.R.A. title, he won it both times!
For the DECADE of the 1960's, his earned run average was 2.18, six times posting an E.R.A. under 2.00!