Saturday, April 19, 2014

MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 ART KUSNYER

Today's "missing" Topps card from the 1970's features a player who did appear on a multi-player rookie card in 1972, but was left out of the 1973 set even after some decent playing time the year before: Angels catcher Art Kusnyer.
Kusnyer was yet another of those players I read about in a SABR article that spoke of guys who posted the most career at-bats or innings pitched who were not represented on a Topps card (in this case, a card of their own).
Take a look at my 1973 card design first:


Kusnyer came up for a cup-of-cofee in 1970 with the White Sox after getting picked in the 37th round of the 1966 amateur draft.
After four games and ten at-bats with Chicago in 1970, he was traded to California in March of 1971 for a couple of minor players, appearing in only six games for the season.
However 1972 would fare much better for the young catcher, as he would go on to play in a career high 64 games, good for 198 plate appearances.
For the year he batted .207, getting 37 hits in 179 at-bats with two doubles, a triple and two homers.
However this wasn't enough to get him more playing time the following season, as the Angels already had Jeff Torborg and John Stephenson ahead of him in the depth chart for the position, so all Kusnyer would see as far as playing time in 1973 would be 41 games, good for 67 plate appearances and an anemic .125 batting average.
However, not all was a lost-cause for the youngster, as on July 15th of that year Kusnyer would have perhaps the biggest thrill of his Big League career, catching Nolan Ryan's second career no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium.
But when 1974 rolled around, Kusnyer found himself struggling to find a spot for himself in the Milwaukee Brewers organization after being traded by California in October of 1973 in a nine-player swap between the two clubs.
He'd end up toiling in the Minors for the next two seasons before finding his way back into a Major League game in 1976, getting into 15 games for the Brewers, hitting .118 on four hits in 34 at-bats.
His last hurrah on the Major League level would be in 1978 with the Kansas City Royals, playing in nine games and getting three hits in 13 at-bats, good for a .231 average.
He'd scratch out another season of Minor League ball for the White Sox in 1979 before calling it a career and eventually moving into coaching work for the Sox and the Oakland A's over the next 28 years.
Nevertheless, here's yet another "missing" piece to total representation for those of us that want players who saw enough playing time in a season to get a card along the way.

5 comments:

  1. No John Stephenson from that year either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The funny thing is Stephenson could have gotten a card every year between 1972-74, yet nothing. But Topps gave him a card in the 1971 set even though he barely played in 1970. Go figure...
      I'll be designing a card or two for him soon.
      Seems those Angels catchers got the shaft a bunch of times in the early-70's.
      My next "missing" player is a 1974 Jeff Torborg card.

      Delete
  2. Is there an online version of this SABR article? ...That you know of, anyway. I'd be curious to read it, but numerous Googlings have come up empty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what I found on the web. Hope this helps!
      http://blog.philbirnbaum.com/2013/06/hitters-who-never-appeared-on-baseball.html

      Delete
    2. Actually a better link...
      http://blog.philbirnbaum.com/2013_06_01_archive.html

      Delete

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

@wthballs
Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.