Friday, February 28, 2014

"1960'S ALL-DECADE TEAM" SUB-SET FOR THE 1970 TOPPS SET: THIRD BASEMEN

Here's a position for my "All-Decade" 1970 sub-set creation that was about as easy as it gets: third base.
Brooks Robinson and Ron Santo were easy picks as the best at their position in their respective leagues for the 1960's.
Both future Hall of Famers who distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, and make for a nice card. Take a look:


Brooks Robinson, he of 16 Gold Gloves, an M.V.P. In 1964, 15 All-Star games, and over 2800 hits and two World Championships over his stellar 23 year career playing entirely for the Baltimore Orioles, was not only the third baseman of the DECADE for the American League, but perhaps still is the third baseman of FOREVER in the A.L.
His hitting was good enough (for his era) to have him stand out as a perennial All-Star, but his fielding was just plain out of this world.
Who can forget his fielding display in the 1970 World Series, frustrating the Cincinnati Reds with play after play?
The man was truly the "Human Vacuum Cleaner"!
Over on the National League side, Ron Santo was no slouch himself: nine All-Star games, five Gold Gloves, 342 lifetime homers and 1331 runs batted in in a somewhat short 15-year career, mainly for the North Side Chicago Cubs (he played his last year for the South Side Chicago White Sox) in 1974.
He was about as beloved a Cub as there ever was, and finally made it into the Hall of Fame in 2012 as a Veteran's Committee selection, even though tragically it was two years after he passed away.
Just take a look at his career, and see the solid numbers year after year, about as consistent a player you could ever ask for.
Two great third basemen that made this entry for the thread easy.
Next up we move on to Catcher, which was not as easy as one might think…
Stay tuned and see who the players are.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT- 1970'S BASEBALL TRIVIA PART XXXIX




Trivia time again…

This week deals with all pitchers in the 1970's who threw 250+ innings in a season.
So get your minds racing and see how many you can get.
I threw in a couple extra "bonus" questions since I had the answers handy, so have fun.
Answers tomorrow…
1. Of all 250+ inning seasons hurled in the decade, what pitcher posted the highest E.R.A.?

2. Among all 250+ inning seasons in the '70's, who posted the fewest wins? There's a tie between two pitchers.

3. Who struck out the fewest batters in a 250+ inning season during the decade?

4. Who attained 250+ innings pitched in a season with the fewest games?

5. Who allowed the fewest hits in a season they pitched 250+ innings in the '70's?
6. Who pitched the fewest complete games during a 250+ inning season in the 1970's?
7. What pitcher walked the fewest batters among all 250+ inning pitchers in the decade?

***SPOILER ALERT! ANSWERS BELOW: 

1.  Jim Bibby, Rangers. 4.74 in 1974.

2. Steve Carlton, Cardinals. 1970 & Steve Arlin, Padres. 1972. 10 wins apiece.
 
3. Clyde Wright, Angels. 65 K's in 257 innings in 1973.
 
4. Mark Fidrych, Tigers. 31 games in 1976.

5. Nolan Ryan, Angels. 166 hits in 284 innings. 1972.

6. Gary Nolan, Reds. 4 CG's in 1970.

7. Fergie Jenkins, Cubs. Only 37 free passes in 325 innings in 1971 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1958

We're up to 1958 on my thread imagining a 1975 Topps sub-set featuring all Cy Young Award winners since the company's inception in 1951, just like their sub-set during the same year of Most Valuable Players.
Two of the fun aspects of doing this thread are: designing cards for players that originally were not issued by Topps that year, and "awarding" the Cy to pitchers from the league that didn't have a winner between 1956 and 1966 based on a old SABR article in 1993.
So with that, take a look at my 1975 "1958 Cy Young Award" card design:


For the American League we have the "gimmie", as New York Yankee hurler Bob Turley actually did win the award in 1958.
That season it all came together for Turley, who was in his seventh season in the big leagues.
In his fourth season pitching for the Yanks after three with St. Louis/Baltimore, Turley handed in his finest performance in the Majors, going 21-7 with a 2.97 earned run average and 168 strikeouts, leading the Yankees to the World Series and avenging a loss the previous year to the Milwaukee Braves.
For good measure Turley would also end up second in Most Valuable Player voting behind Jackie Jensen, leading the league in wins, winning percentage, complete games and hits-per-nine-innings.
Sadly for Turley he'd never come close to that performance again, as he'd never again reach double-digits in wins through the next five years of his career before hanging them up after the 1963 season split between the Angels and Red Sox.
Over in the National League, we could have had the first pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards had today's selection practice been in place back then, as the guys at SABR selected Warren Spahn, the previous year's winner of the award, as their N.L. recipient.
Spahn was actually just edged out by Turley in the 1958 voting, losing the award by one vote, 5-4.
So needless to say he easily would have won his third Cy Young Award (1953 and 1957 being the others) beating out Sandy Koufax by about ten years as the first to rake in three such trophies.
The 1958 season for Spahn was more of the same for the lefty, as he posted a 22-11 record with a 3.07 earned run average and 150 strikeouts. 
He'd lead the N.L. in wins, winning percentage, complete games, innings pitched, and WHIP, getting named to his 10th All-Star game.
The guy was 37 years old this year, and he STILL had another four 20-win seasons left in that amazing arm of his.
Next up, 1959, with the actual winner Early Wynn for the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox, and SABR's pick in the National League: Sam Jones of the San Francisco Giants.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TOPPS 1976 "ALL-TIME ALL-STARS"- AN EXPANDED VIEW #9: RIGHT-HANDED PITCHERS

Today we will be taking a look at right-handed pitchers for my "All-Time All-Stars" 1976 sub-set "tweak".
We've already covered the infield, outfield and catcher positions in previous posts, adding in who I thought would have been selected by the Sporting News in the non-selected league almost 40 years ago when they picked the all-time team celebrating the 100th season of Major League baseball.
First up we take a look at who they did pick for the all-time team as their right-hander on the mound: Walter Johnson.
 
"The Big Train".
 
Yeah, who is going to argue with THAT pick!?
Perhaps the greatest all-time pitcher PERIOD when you consider all the bad teams this guy pitched for.
All Johnson did while pitching his entire career for the Washington Senators was win 417 games (second all-time), throw 110 shutouts (all-time high), whiff 3509 batters (the record until the late-70's), and post a stellar 2.17 earned run average.
Can you imagine if Johnson pitched for good teams most of his career!? He'd probably have an extra 50-100 wins thrown in!
His 1913 season is just too sick: a 36-7 record with a 1.14 E.R.A, and 243 strikeouts, all league highs, as well as leading numbers in complete games (29), shutouts (11), winning percentage (.837)and WHIP (0.780). 
Needless to say he won the first of two M.V.P. awards that year, with his other award coming in 1924 when at the age of 36 he went 23-7 with a 2.72 earned run average and 158 K's (again winning the pitching Triple Crown) as he lead Washington to aWorld Series win over the New York Giants.
He actually won a third "Triple Crown" in 1918 as well, when he posted a 23-13 record with a 1.27 E.R.A. and 162 strikeouts.
All told he lead the league in wins six times, E.R.A. five times, shutouts seven times and strikeouts twelve times, twice topping 300 for a season (1910 & 1912).
For the National league I think my pick is just as clear cut: Christy Mathewson.
 
"Matty"
 
How can anyone really argue with "Big Six" as the N.L. representative!?
All Mathewson did during his career was win 373 games, post a 2.13 career earned run average, throw 79 shutouts and whiff 2507 batters.
He won 30+ games in a season four times, with a high of 37 in 1908 that is still the N.L. record post-1900.
Twice he'd win the Triple Crown, 1905 & 1908, and until Sandy Koufax came along Mathewson held the N.L. record for strikeouts in a season with his 267 in 1903.
How's this for all-time baseball performances: in the 1905 World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics, Mathewson single-handedly won it for the Giants by pitching THREE shutout wins in six days!
Just colossal!
It's no surprise that both Johnson and Mathewson were part of the inaugural class inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.
Two of the all-time best right-handers, two of the all-time best PERIOD.

Monday, February 24, 2014

IN MEMORIAM- PART XI: ROBERTO CLEMENTE

The last card in my "In Memoriam" series is perhaps the most well-known card depicting a player that tragically died before the card was issued during the 1970's: the Topps 1973 card (#50) of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.
For this post, I also changed the image on the card, using a black and white photo of Clemente taken after his 3000th hit as he acknowledged the crowd.
Seemed a bit more appropriate for the card.
Take a look:

Thanking the crowd after his 3000th hit.

As we all know, after the 1972 season, a season which saw him attain his 3000th career hit on the last at-bat of the regular season, Clemente was was killed on December 31, when the plane he was a passenger on crashed on it's way to deliver relief packages to victims of a massive earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua.
A tragic end to one of the game's greatest players of the post-war era.
It's even more tragic when you read that the only reason Clemente was on the plane in the first place was to ensure the supplies would reach their intended target, since the previous three planes full of supplies were diverted by corrupt politicians.
Clemente's career is the stuff of legend: His fiery play on the field, his good deeds, and his absolute adoration by teammates and fans alike.
On the field Clemente's numbers were incredible: four batting titles, five seasons batting over .340, four 200 hit seasons, 12 all-star nods, 12 Gold Gloves and a Most Valuable Player Award in 1966.
And a prime example of Clemente's importance to the game was his immediate induction into Cooperstown by special committee in 1973, waiving the standard five-year wait before a player joins the Hall ballot, as well as the establishment of the "Roberto Clemente Award", given every year to the player that exemplified "outstanding baseball playing skills who is personally involved in community work."
With this post, I think this thread has been covered, and thankfully so.
The decade of the 1970's was extremely tough as far as players dying young, and I'm hoping I don't come across a player that I've overlooked earlier.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

RANDOM QUICKIE: AL KALINE AND THE TIGERS TEAM CARD OF 1975

Here's another team card with the unexpected surprise of having a Hall of Famer seated with the rest of the team post-retirement: the 1975 Detroit Tigers team card (#18) and Al Kaline.
Kaline is seated first row, third from left, obviously in a photo from 1974 used for the following season. Take a look:


Kaline already hung them up by the time this card came out, reaching 3000 hits for his career in '74, and fashioning a Major League resume that eventually would get him elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1980.
In addition to being a member of the 3000 hit club, he also slammed 399 home runs, scored 1622 runs and drove in 1583 himself.
I remember years later Kaline stating that he got so caught up in the 3000-hit hunt that he eventually sacrificed a career .300 average because of it, and it bothered him to that day.
Nevertheless, Kaline completed a career that saw him on 15 all-star teams, garner 10 Gold Gloves, and eight top-10 finished in M.V.P. Voting.
He even managed to have a battery named after him! Alkaline…(just kidding! But it IS funny).
One last thing regarding the card: I love the two teammates in the second row, second and third from left, who seem to be deep in conversation, failing to look at the cameraman when the shot was taken! Too funny.
I can't make out who the players are though. Any guesses?
I DO know that's BIG Willie Horton in the front row, all the way on the right! No mistaking him!
Love the 1975 set for the burst of colors, just like the 1972 and 1976 sets as well...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

HALL OF FAME LEADERS XII: 1974 STRIKEOUT LEADERS

As we chronologically move through the decade and look for league leader cards that feature only future Hall of Famers, we get the the 1974 Topps Strikeouts Leader card featuring two of the all-time greats: Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.
Just an awesome card people!
Let's take a look:

The "Ryan Express" and "Tom Terrific" in their prime.

Ryan was just coming off his record setting (and still standing) 383 strikeout season in California that also saw him go 21-16 with a 2.87 E.R.A.
He was named to the A.L. all-star team and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting behind Jim Palmer.
It would be the second of his incredible six years of 300+ strikeouts, the last coming at the age of 42 in 1989, as well as his sick total of FIFTEEN years of 200+ K's in the Majors!
Luckily I got to see Ryan pitch a few times at Yankee Stadium, and his grunting after every pitch could be heard no matter where you were seated.
For Tom Seaver, he was coming off of his second Cy Young Award winning season, leading the league for the third time in strikeouts with 251, while going 19-10 with a league leading 2.08 E.R.A.
He'd eventually tack on two more strikeout crowns during the decade, as well as another Cy Young Award in 1975.
Two HUGE monsters of the mound during the wild-70's: "The Ryan Express" and "Tom Terrific".
And to think they were part of the same rotation in the early part of their careers.
Oh "what could have been"!
Just takes me back to my youth every time I see these guys...

Friday, February 21, 2014

"1960'S ALL-DECADE TEAM" SUB-SET FOR THE 1970 TOPPS SET: SHORTSTOPS

Today let's revisit my imagined 1960's "All-Decade" sub-set and move on to shortstop. 
After trying to justify getting Jim Fregosi in there as the American League shortstop of the decade, I decided that really, I need to go with Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.
For the National league I went with speed demon Maury Wills and his baskets full of stolen bases and his 1962 M.V.P. award. Ernie Banks was over at first base by 1961/62, so what would have been a given actually isn't.
Anyway, let's take a look at the card I designed:


Aparicio had a fine decade in the 1960's, pacing the American League in stolen bases with five crowns from 1960-1964, winning a World Series with the Orioles in 1966, being named to five all-star teams, and winning six Gold Gloves.
All in all I just feel he was a lot more solid overall than Fregosi, who had a nice run of offensive seasons  from the mid-60's to 1969.
Aparicio even had six years during the decade where he got some M.V.P. attention, with a peak finish of ninth in that championship 1966 season at Baltimore.
For the National League, no one really dominated the position, so I went with another stolen base machine, Maury Wills.
It's not like it was a pity-pick though, as Wills really did have a good decade, leading the lead in steals six straight years between 1960-65, with a high of 104 that took the baseball world by storm in 1962, leading to his Most Valuable Player Award.
He also finished in third for M.V.P. in 1965, when he stole 94 bases to go along with his 186 hits and 92 runs scored for Los Angeles. 
During the decade Wills topped 170 hits seven times, with a high of 208 in 1962 (even though that total didn't get him a .300 batting average because of his 695 at-bats in 165 games!).
Nevertheless, I think the shortstop duo of Aparicio and Wills stands up against any other shortstop combo.
What do you think?
Next up on this thread, we move over to third base, which was the easiest to pick so far…
Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT- 1970'S BASEBALL TRIVIA PART XXXVIII




Hello again everyone. Time for Thursday trivia.
This week I focus on all players that had 100 or more walks in a season during the 1970's.
See how many you can get.
Answers will be posted tomorrow.

1. Among all 100+ walk seasons in the '70's, who posted the lowest batting average that season?

2. Of all 100+ walk seasons during the decade, who had the fewest hits?

3. Who posted the lowest On Base Percentage during a 100+ walk season in the '70's?

4. Who scored the fewest runs in a season where they walked 100+ times in the 1970's?

5. Who hit the fewest home runs in a 100+ walk year during the decade?

***SPOILER ALERT! ANSWERS BELOW: 

1. Jimmy Wynn, Braves. A .207 average in 1976.

2. Gene Tenace, Padres. Only 90 hits in a year with 100+ walks, 1978.
 
3. Dick McAuliffe, Tigers. A .358 OBP in 1970.
 
4. Willie McCovey, Giants. 52 runs scored in 1973.

5. Pete Rose, Reds. He hit 3 homers in 1974.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1957

Today we move along to 1957 on my imagined 1975 "Cy Young" sub-set to go along with the Topps "M.V.P." sub-set in the same set.
While the National league "winner" is a given being that Warren Spahn won the award outright that year, the folks at SABR picked Jim Bunning as the assumed winner for the A.L. since the award was not given to winners of both leagues at the time.
First off take a look at my card design:


Spahn easily won the award, garnering 15 of 16 votes for the award (White Sox pitcher Dick Donovan getting the only other vote). It would actually be the only time Spahn would win the award in his storied 21 year career, though he did finish second in the running three other times before he was through.
The 1957 season was a "typical" one for the southpaw pitching machine, as he finished with a league-leading 21 wins to go along with a 2.69 earned run average, 18 complete games, four shutouts ad even three saves in his 271 innings of work. 
Ho-hum right? After all, the man won 20 or more games an amazing THIRTEEN times in his career!
And don't forget, Spahn didn't pitch his first full season of work until he was 26 years of age!
We are easily looking at a 400+ game winner if it wasn't for World War II and his military obligation to his country.
But ending your career with 363 wins, 63 shutouts and a then record 2583 strikeouts for a left-hander isn't too shabby right!?
The man was a machine! And he's always been one of my favorite all-time players even if I never had the chance to see him pitch!
Over in the American League, the people at SABR chose a newcomer to the Majors, Detroit Tigers pitcher Jim Bunning, who just completed his first full year on the big league level, going 20-8 (leading the league in wins), along with a 2.69 E.R.A. in a league-leading 267.1 innings of work.
It was definitely a sign of things to come, as Bunning would go on to a Hall of Fame career with five 19+ game-winning seasons, as well as three strikeout crowns, ending his career with 2855, second all-time at the time of his retirement after the 1971 season, as well as 224 lifetime wins.
He pitched no-hitters in both leagues, his N.L. one being a perfect game against the Mets on June 21st, 1964, as well as becoming one of the first pitchers to win 100+ games in both the A.L. and N.L.
What's nice about this card design is that it features Bunning's "rookie card", which always commands a decent dollar for anyone trying to acquire it for their collection.
Nice virtual card featuring two future Hall of Famers!
Next, we take a look at 1958, featuring actual award winner Bob Turley of the Yankees, and the SABR pick for the N.L., well what do you know, our friend Warren Spahn again!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TOPPS 1976 "ALL-TIME ALL-STARS"- AN EXPANDED VIEW #8: OUTFIELDERS (3rd SET OF THREE)

Time to take a look at the final outfield slot in my "All-Time All-Stars" expanded sub-set from the 1976 Topps set.
And while we revisit the Sporting News pick for the third outfield position, Ted Williams, we also take a look at who I picked to fill out the National League team, Cardinal great Stan Musial.
I thought it would be appropriate to have Williams and Musial together on my "team" since they were contemporaries during the "Golden Age" of baseball.
Take a look at the cards: the Williams card as issued by Topps in 1976 and my design for the Musial card…

"The Splendid Splinter"

"Stan the Man"

What is really needed to say here regarding these two guys?!
Ted Williams and Stan Musial: two of the greatest all-around hitters in Major League history.
Power, average, getting on base. There was nothing they didn't excel at!
All Ted Williams did was win six batting titles, four home run titles and four R.B.I. titles, ending up with 521 homers, 1839 ribbies and a .344 career average while MISSING about five prime years of his career to military duty! Seriously, we could be talking of Williams having 700 homers, 4000 hits and about 2300 runs batted in if it wasn't for his missed playing time.
And for Musial, the numbers are almost as absurd: Seven batting titles, two R.B.I. titles, five triples titles and eight doubles titles, with career numbers of 475 home runs, 1951 runs batted in and a .331 career average. Throw in his 725 doubles, 177 triples and 3630 hits along with 1949 runs scored and the numbers are staggering. 
And don't forget that Musial also lost a year to military duty, easily putting him over 500 homers, close to 3900 hits and around 2100 runs batted in if he played in 1945.
Combined we're looking at five Most Valuable Player Awards, eight second place finishes, and an astonishing 88 league titles in important offensive categories over their 41 combined Major League seasons.
What a tandem right here. Monsters of the game if there ever were any.
Funny thing is I always felt Stan Musial was often overlooked in the decades leading to his death last year.
When talk of "Greatest Living Player" came up it was always Williams, DiMaggio, Mays or even Aaron that would come up. But Stan Musial would always kind of be that after-thought. 
Go figure.
Anyway, next up we leave the outfield positions and move on to pitchers, starting off with the All-Time right-handers for both the National and American Leagues.
Stay tuned…

Monday, February 17, 2014

#1 DRAFT PICKS OF THE 1970's. A SPECIAL SUB-SET...HAROLD BAINES: CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 1977

Ok now.
Today we take a look at EASILY the most successful #1 overall draft pick of the 1970's, Harold Baines, who was picked first in the 1977 draft by the Chicago White Sox.
First, take a look at the card I designed for him:






It's not often a ball club can say they were perfectly happy with their pick, even though a Hall of Famer went just two slots after him. Paul Molitor was picked by the Milwaukee Brewers at the #3 slot that year, with pitcher Bill Gullickson going second, being selected by the Montreal Expos.
Not a bad 1-2-3 roster right there. All three were productive future Major Leaguers.
But needless to say Baines and Molitor were top-notch, with Molitor eventually making the Hall of Fame, with Baines being one of those players who gets support from various baseball minds as well.
Harold Baines was up in the Majors somewhat quickly, making his debut in 1980 at the age of 21, and by 1982 was a full-fledged star in the game, hitting 25 homers and driving in 100+ runs for the first time in his career.
Over the next 18 years he was a model of consistency, racking up the hits, homers and runs batted in with a workman's pace that gave him final career numbers of: 2866 hits, 384 home runs and 1628 R.B.I.'s.
Surprisingly, when I went to brush up on his career stats this morning I saw he only scored 1299 runs in his career. Definitely a sign of the lack of support he had throughout his big league days, but still a surprisingly low total for someone with just under 10000 at-bats.
A great example of Baines staying power as a productive star in the game is the 1999 season, which he split with the Orioles and Indians. At the age of 40 all Baines did was hit 25 home runs and drive in 103 batters while hitting .312! Now THAT is one of the all-time better 40+ year old seasons in Major League history, yet easily overlooked, just like much of Baines entire career.
All told Baines suited up for 22 seasons for the White Sox, Rangers, A's, Orioles and Indians, appearing in six all-star games and winning a Silver Slugger award in 1989.
The main reason his Hall of Fame support just wasn't there was because he did play the majority of his career as a designated hitter, and we all know how BBWA voters feel about "career" DH's.
Nevertheless, Baines is far and away the most successful future Major Leaguer among all #1 overall picks in the 1970's, and many CAN still make the argument that he deserves a spot in Cooperstown.
Next up, the overall #1 pick from 1978, Bob Horner, who came into the big leagues with a "bang", but fizzled out somewhat quickly.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

RANDOM QUICKIE: "THE SAY HEY KID" WILLIE MAYS ON THE 1974 METS TEAM CARD

I'm loving going over team cards of the 1970's to find superstars that never made it with a "regular" card that year because of retirement or whatever else.
Today we look at the 1974 New York Mets team card (#56) and a nice little appearance of none other than all-time great, Willie Mays, the "Say Hey Kid"!
 
One more card appearance for Willie Mays.
 
There he is, seated in the second row, second from left.
Nice little "extra" to have on a card wouldn't you say?
I know he also appeared on a "World Series" card (#473), so this would be just a little icing on the cake in a sense.
Again, I never realized these retired superstars (Aaron, Drysdale, Mays, etc) appeared on these team cards the following year. 
I'm still going through them all to see who happens to pop up in them.
I'm almost positive Bob Gibson is on the 1976 Cardinals team card, but I'm not 100% sure. I'll have to take a closer look or two before I post that one up!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

REST IN PEACE: JIM FREGOSI: 1942-2014


Six time All Star shortstop for the California Angels

Sad to hear that long time baseball man Jim Fregosi passed away after suffering a stroke at a Major League Alumni cruise.
Fregosi will always be remembered as the guy that was traded to the Mets for Nolan Ryan back in 1971, but he was so much more than the answer to some trivia question.
It's easy to forget that Fregosi was a six-time American league All-Star shortstop while with the California Angels through the 1960's, and received M.V.P. votes every year between 1963-1970.
After an admirable 18 year playing career he immediately began a 15 year run as a manager, guiding the 1979 Angels to their first post-season appearance, as well as leading the 1993 Phillies to the World Series, famously won by the Blue Jays on a Joe Carter home run off of Mitch Williams.
Today I post up his 1971 Topps card, another of my favorites from the set with it's landscape action photograph.
R.I.P. Jim Fregosi, April 4th, 1942-February 14th, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014

"1960'S ALL-DECADE TEAM" SUB-SET FOR THE 1970 TOPPS SET: 2nd BASEMEN

Today we'll look at my picks for the two second basemen on my 1960's "All-Decade Team".
Now I know there's room for argument here, but to be honest, it was tough trying to decide which players to pick since no one really dominated the position during the 1960's in either league.
Take a look at the card I designed:

An often overlooked important cog in the last great Yankee dynasty "hurrah" of the early '60's, Richardson won five Gold Gloves during the decade, as well as finishing second in M.V.P. voting in 1962 behind teammate Mickey Mantle.
As a matter of fact between 1961 and 1965 he garnered M.V.P. consideration each year, and was named to the American League all-star team five times between 1962-1966.
Even though he retired at the young age of 30, Richardson ended up with 1432 hits, leading the A.L. with 209 in 1962.
Little bit of a side note: I remember as a young Don Mattingly fanatic in 1984 that Richardson was being mentioned repeatedly during the season as the last Yankee to attain 200 hits, since it was clear Mattingly was well on his way to that magic number himself while battling teammate Dave Winfield for the batting title.
Over in the National League, again, I didn't really find a guy that dominated the entire decade at the position, so I went with sort of the other extreme, a young up-and-comer, Pete Rose.

Yeah I know, Rose played only four years at the position before switching over to the outfield by the end of the decade, but really, besides Bill Mazeroski, there was a sort of revolving door of second base all-stars throughout the 60's like Felix Milan, Ron Hunt, Frank Bolling, even a young Joe Morgan for a year.
So I went with Rose and his 1963 Rookie of the Year, two 200-hit seasons, and two top-10 M.V.P. finishes in 1965 and 1966 before he made the switch.
Hey, it's Pete Rose!
Next up on this thread we'll take a look at shortstop, and my two picks, one of which I seem to be wavering on already.
I'll see if it stays this way before I post it next week.
Until then…

Thursday, February 13, 2014

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT- 1970'S BASEBALL TRIVIA PART XXXVII




Hey-ho! Another week, another set of trivia questions for you to ponder.
This week I'm focusing on 30-save seasons during the 1970's.
See which ones you can get.
As usual, I'll post the answers tomorrow.
1. Of all 30-save seasons in both the N.L. and A.L. through the '70's, who posted the most losses in a season of 30+ saves?

2. Who posted the lowest E.R.A. in a 30-save season during the decade?

3. Who posted the most wins during a 30-save season?

4. Who struck out the most batters in a 30-save season during the '70's?

5. Who appeared in the fewest games during a 30-save season in the 1970's?

***SPOILER ALERT! ANSWERS BELOW: 

1. Mike Marshall, Twins. 15 losses in 1979.

2. Bruce Sutter, Cubs. A 1.34 E.R.A. in 1977.
 
3. Mike Marshall, Expos. 14 wins in 1973.
 
4. Bruce Sutter, Cubs. 129 K's in 1977.

5. Dave Giusti, Pirates. 58 appearances in 1971.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1956

Today we look at 1956 in my “Cy Young” thread regarding the imagined 1975 Topps sub-set of cards celebrating the game’s top pitching performances.
And with this we get to the very first year the award was actually given out, albeit one award for the entire Major League.
So while the National league “winner” is a given being that he won the very first Cy Young Award in 1956, Brooklyn Dodger Don Newcombe, the American League’s supposed winner (as picked by the guys at SABR as mentioned in an earlier post) is Cleveland Indian young phenom Herb Score.
First let’s take a look at the card design:



Sadly I didn't have to create a card for either of these players since they were included in the 1956 Topps set. I had way too much fun with the last couple of posts in this thread!
For Don Newcombe, 1956 was a magical year. He was a monster on the mound, going 27-7 with a 3.06 earned run average and five shutouts and leading the Dodgers to another face-off with the New York Yankees in the World Series.
Not only did that get him the very first Cy Young Award, but it also bagged him a Most Valuable Player Award, thus making him the answer to a clever trivia question: who was the only pitcher to win a Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and M.V.P.? (He would be joined in this by Detroit Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander in 2011)
Sadly for Newcombe it would be his last good year in the Majors, as he’d finish out his career four years later with the Cleveland Indians after some mediocre years with the Reds.
For Herb Score, it seemed that he had everything in the palm of his hand after his second year in the Majors.
After breaking in a year before with a 16-10 record for the Indians with a league-leading 245 strikeouts and 2.85 E.R.A. and winning the Rookie of the Year in the American League, he surpassed those numbers and knocked the baseball world on it’s butt by going 20-9 with a 2.53 E.R.A and league-leading 5 shutouts and 263 strikeouts. All this by the age of 23!
In 249.1 innings over 33 starts he had an astonishing 5.8 hits-per-nine-innings! The kid was well on his way to super-stardom.
But sadly, we all know how this would turn out.
On May 7th, 1957, pitching against the Yankees and facing Gil McDougald, Score threw a low fastball that McDougald rocketed back to the mound on a line drive, striking Score in the face and breaking his facial bones and injuring his eye.
Though he did eventually recover, he did miss the rest of the 1957 season, and much to everyone’s dismay was never able to catch that lightning in a bottle again.
Over the course of his final five seasons (1958-1962) he managed a record of 17-26 pitching for Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox.
Honestly it’s a testament to Score’s ability and will to make it back that he even won that many games on the Major League level again!
In 1959 he even managed to lead the American League in strikeouts per nine innings when he K’d 147 batters in 160.2 innings while going 9-11 in his last year pitching for the Indians.
Funny enough, the only American League pitcher to get a vote for the inaugural Cy Young Award was Yankee ace Whitey Ford, who went 19-6 with a 2.47 E.R.A., but I do agree with the folks at SABR and think that Score would have (should have) gotten the award based on a more dominant performance overall.
Next up, 1957 and one of my all-time favorite pitchers, Warren Spahn, along with who the SABR folks thought would win the A.L. vote: Jim Bunning.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

TOPPS 1976 "ALL-TIME ALL-STARS"- AN EXPANDED VIEW #7: OUTFIELDERS (2ND SET OF THREE)

Next up on my all-time all-stars thread for the 1976 set is the second outfield position, a position which the American League "swept" in Sporting News votes back on our nation's 200th birthday, and baseball's "unofficial" 100th.
While we revisit Ty Cobb, who was picked for the all-time team, I also serve up my pick as one of the National League outfielders I thought would have (or could have) been picked had they done so: Hank Aaron.
First, let's look at the cards:




I think it's fair to say that Ty Cobb is a reasonable choice as an outfielder on your all-time team even today. Granted the guy was a  maniac, a misanthrope and a bigot, but let's not get into the "politics" here.
Basically all the man did between the foul lines was win 12 batting titles, reach 200 hits in a season nine times, hit .366 for his entire career, a triple crown in 1909, score over 2200 runs, hit over 720 doubles, just under 300 triples, and even drove in 1938 runs during the dead-ball era! Oh, and let's not forget the 897 stolen bases!
It's even funny to think that's it's so easy to overlook the fact that Cobb also lead the league in slugging eight times!
It's Ty Cobb for pete's sake!
The man was incredible, and it is somewhat understandable that he became bitter when Babe Ruth came along and put the offensive focus on power as opposed to "small ball", almost erasing all appreciation for those "intangibles" that Cobb was famous for.
As for my National League pick I went with another contemporary player (like Willie Mays), who I think would have gotten picked anyway if they filled out both an A.L. and N.L. team: Hank Aaron.
How can anyone argue with baseball's all-time home run king (at the time), along with career leader in runs batted in and total bases?
Aaron was the model of consistency, never hitting 50 homers in a season but hitting 40 eight times and 30 fifteen times! He also drove in 100 runs in a season 11 times while never topping more than 132, and had 3771 career hits while topping 200 in any year three times out of his 23.
For 21 consecutive seasons, Aaron was selected for the National league all-star team, and garnered M.V.P. votes nineteen straight years! Think about that, every single year between 1955 and 1973 the man got some attention for Most Valuable Player. That is incredible!
So this is the second set of "All-Time All-Star" outfielders, with the final set coming soon: Ted Williams as picked by the Sporting News back in 1976, and my final pick for the National League team, Stan "The Man" Musial.
Keep an eye out for it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

#1 DRAFT PICKS OF THE 1970's. A SPECIAL SUB-SET...FLOYD BANNISTER: HOUSTON ASTROS: 1976

Today in my thread of an imagined 1979 sub-set celebrating overall #1 draft picks from the decade, we reach 1976, and the amateur taken first by the Houston Astros, pitcher Floyd Bannister, out of Arizona State.
 
 
I have to say Bannister was pretty much the second most successful player taken first overall from the 1970's (the most successful hasn't been profiled yet-"hint hint").
Sadly for Houston, however, the success he found on the diamond was NOT for them!
Even though he made his Major League debut for Houston the year after being picked, he didn't really hit his stride until he played for the Seattle Mariners, where he became a solid starter, even leading the American League in strikeouts in 1982.
The very next year he joined the Chicago White Sox, for whom he had his best seasons as a pro.
In both 1983 and 1987 he posted a career high 16 wins, while also posting double-digit wins the other three years he played for them before moving on to Kansas City in 1988.
After going 12-13 that year, his career pretty much evaporated quickly, going 4-1 in only 14 starts before going under the knife and missing all of 1990.
He managed a couple of comebacks, with California in 1991 and Texas in 1992, but totaled only 62 innings between the two, and retired after that.
Nevertheless Bannister did manage to stick around as a dependable starter of sorts for 15 years, ending his career with a 134-143 record and 1723 strikeouts.
Twice he lead the A.L. in strikeouts-per-nine-innings (1983 and 1985), and made his only all-star appearance in 1982.
A little bit of a side-note: Bannisters senior year in high school was phenomenal, as he lead his school, Kennedy High School, to a state championship, going 15-0 with an incredible 0.00 earned run average! Whew!
Next up on my "#1 Overall Pick" sub-set, the clear-cut most successful future Major Leaguer taken #1 in the 1970's, Harold Baines, taken first by the Chicago White Sox.
Stay tuned for it…

Sunday, February 9, 2014

HALL OF FAME LEADERS XII: 1974 BATTING LEADERS

Next up on my thread on league leader cards that featured only future Hall of Famers is the 1974 Topps Batting Leaders card (#201), which featured two of the top hitting stars of the game during the 1970's: Rod Carew and Pete Rose.


What more can you say about these two that hasn't already been said?
Rose was coming off his last batting title, where he lead the N.L. with a .338 average on 230 hits in 680 at-bats. For Carew, it would be the third title of his illustrious career, based on his 203 hits out of 580 at-bats.
Rose would eventually be named "Player of the Decade" for the 1970's by the Sporting News, and Rod Carew arguably could have been the American League representative had there been one.
By the time they would retire, Rose would win three batting titles during his amazing career (1968, 1969 and 1973), while Carew would rack up titles like few others have done before or since, SEVEN batting titles, and all but one (1969) during the decade.
Both guys topped 3000+ career hits, with Rose eventually setting the all-time career mark with 4256, and both won an M.V.P. Award each, with Rose winning it in 1973 and Carew in 1977 when he set the baseball world on fire, hitting .388.
Great card showing two of the all-time best hitting stars of the game.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

RANDOM QUICKIE: KENT TEKULVE AND THE MOVIE "BURNT OFFERINGS"...

Anyone else out there ever think Kent Tekulve was scary when they were a kid in the late-70's?
You see, I loved horror-films, always have, always will. And the late-70's/early-80's were a "golden age" of sorts for the genre.
And one of my favorite horror films when I was really young was "Burnt Offerings" from 1976. It actually still hold's up after all these years, but no need to really get into the film's story (Google it!).
Anyone remember that movie?
But there was one character in the film that absolutely scared the sh*t out of me more than anyone else, and that was the chauffeur, played by actor Anthony James.
Take a look:


Now look at Kent Tekulve's 1978 Topps card (#84):


You can see where a nine-year-old kid would see a resemblance, right?!
Man, Tekulve freaked me out to no end because of that film. Then when I saw how he pitched, all arms and legs, whipping the ball side-armed and looking like death on the mound…ugh! FREAKY!
In 1979 when Tekulve had a lot of television air-time here in NYC because of the Pirates being in the World Series, I was both terrified, yet MESMERIZED!
And I would be lying if I said that Tekulve DIDN'T instantly become one of my favorite Major Leaguers after that! (Hey, like I said, I LOVED horror-films. It was a love-hate thing…).
On a bit of a side-note, it is amazing to remember that at the age of 40, Tekulve appeared in 90- games for the Phillies in 1987!
As a matter of fact that would be the third time Tekulve topped 90+ appearances for a season in his career.
In both 1978 and 1979 he lead the National league with 91 and 94 appearances, and in 1982 he appeared in 85 games to lead the league.
He and Mike Marshall are still the only pitchers to appear in over 90-games in a season more than one, each doing it three times.
He really put together an excellent career coming out of the 'pen, ending with a 94-90 record with 184 saves in 1050 games over 16-years with the Pirates, Phillies and Reds, all in relief (which is still a Major League record for games without a single start in a career).

Friday, February 7, 2014

R.I.P. RALPH KINER: OCTOBER 22, 1922- FEBRUARY 6, 2014

Sad to hear that Ralph Kiner passed away yesterday at the age of 91.
Kiner broke into Major League baseball with a "bang", leading the league in homers his rookie year in 1946 with 23, and kept on bashing, leading the league for the next six years, with a high of 54 in 1949 for the Pirates.
Even though his career lasted only 10 years, he still ripped 369 homers! That's an average of just under 37 homers a year for his career! Amazing. 
But what I personally remember the Hall of Fame slugger for was his long-time career in the New York Mets' broadcast booth, announcing games for over 50 years since their inaugural season in 1962, straight through my childhood in New York in the 1970's and '80's.
In 1977 Topps had a "Turn Back the Clock" card in their sub-set that celebrated his seven consecutive home run titles.
Take a look:


Rest in Peace Mr. Kiner... 1922-2104

Thursday, February 6, 2014

JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT- 1970'S BASEBALL TRIVIA PART XXXVI




That time of the week again!
This week's trivia deals with all pitchers with a sub-2.00 E.R.A season in the 1970's.
See how many you can get.
Answers posted tomorrow, so check back!

1. Among all pitchers who had a sub-2.00 E.R.A., who was the only one to have such a season after the introduction of the designated hitter in 1973?

2. Who suffered the most losses in their sub-2.00 E.R.A. season?

3. Who threw the least shutouts in their sub-2.00 season?

4. Who threw the most innings in their sub-2.00 season?

5. Of all pitchers who threw a sub-2.00 E.R.A. season during the 1970's, who was the only one to have another season under 2.00?

***SPOILER ALERT! ANSWERS BELOW: 

1. Ron Guidry, Yankees. 1.74 in 1978.

2. Gaylord Perry, Indians. 16 losses in 1972.
 
3. Gary Nolan, Reds. Two shutouts in 1972.
 
4. Steve Carlton, Phillies. 346.1 innings in 1972.

5. Luis Tiant. He had a 1.91 E.R.A. in 1972 for the Red Sox, and also threw a 1.60 E.R.A. back in 1968 for the Indians.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"1960'S ALL-DECADE TEAM" SUB-SET FOR THE 1970 TOPPS SET: 1st BASEMEN

Today I start yet another thread idea: a sub-set that would have been nice to have included in Topps' 1970 set that celebrated an all-decade team of all-stars of the previous decade, the 1960's.
Wouldn't that be cool if they did such a thing at the beginning of every decade?
Anyway, I picked the players I thought would have been chosen for such a "team" in 1970, (obviously open for all kinds of interpretation) and then designed a ten card set (all eight fielding positions and both a left-handed and right-handed starting pitcher card) in the 1970 Topps design style.
I didn't bother picking relievers or managers, and to be honest I don't know why. But it seemed useless. Maybe I'll add to it later...
Today we'll take a look at the first-basemen for both the American and National team: Harmon Killebrew of the Twins and Willie McCovey of the Giants.
Take a look at my design:

1094 home runs between the two!

First off, I will state right now that I do realize that both these picks didn't play solely first base throughout the decade of the 1960's.
Killebrew also had periods where he played in the outfield and third base regularly. But I felt that of the guys who DID play solely first base in 1960's, Killebrew STILL had a better run during his stint at first base.
What a monster he was during the '60's! In the 10-years from 1960 and 1969, he posted eight seasons of 30+ home runs, with SIX of those years over 40!
He capped off the decade with an M.V.P. in 1969, with another four seasons where he finished in the top-5 in voting.
All told, he was an all-star eight out of ten years in the 1960's, and lead the American League in homers five times, runs batted in twice, and walks three times.
For the National League, we have Willie McCovey, who did also see a significant amount of time over in the outfield between 1962 and 1964. However, the rest of his playing time through the 1960's was at first, and all he did was lay down the foundation for a future Hall of Fame induction, leading the league in homers three times, runs batted in twice, slugging three twice, and also capping off the decade with an M.V.P. award in 1969.
He also so feared at the plate, that even in a line-up that featured other hitters like Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds, he was intentionally walked 45 times in 1969, setting the Major League record at the time (later obliterated by Barry Bonds decades later).
So there you have the first basemen of my "all-decade" team sub-set in the 1970 Topps set. Stay tuned for the next installment, second basemen, coming soon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A GREAT 1973 CARD: #460 BILL FREEHAN

Here's another one of my favorite cards growing up, the 1973 Bill Freehan card (#460) with a fantastic action shot.


Just take a look at the crowd in the background, anticipating the call at the plate. Awesome! Notice the police officer with the kid in his grips, watching the play. Hilarious!
That's Yankee Celerino Sanchez sliding into the plate at Yankee Stadium in 1972.
As for Freehan, he was arguably the American League's best catcher between Yogi Berra and Carlton Fisk, coming up with the Tigers for good in 1963 after a brief cup of coffee as a 19-year-old in 1961.
For the rest of the decade and beyond he would do nothing but produce, garnering five gold-gloves, three top-ten M.V.P. finishes, and eleven all-star nods, while handling star pitchers such as Mickey Lolich, Earl Wilson and Denny McLain.
All told, he stuck around for 15 years, hanging them up after the 1976 season.

Monday, February 3, 2014

1975 "CY YOUNG AWARD" SUB-SET: WHAT IF? 1955

I'll tell you, I am having way too much fun designing cards from the 1950's for this thread! I may have to consider expanding my "redesigns" and custom cards in the future, when I've exhausted the 1970's!
For today's entry into the imagined 1975 Cy Young sub-set, we come to 1955, and two future Hall of Fame pitchers who did not have cards in the 1955 Topps set: Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees and Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies.
So, before I could create a 1955 Cy Young winners card for the 1975 set, I had to design the two 1955 cards for the players.
Take a look at these first:



Now take a look at the two cards placed onto the sub-set card:


Not bad if I say so myself…
As stated earlier on this thread, these are Cy Young award winners as speculated by the people at SABR in an article from the early 1990's that always stuck with me.
For Whitey Ford, this would have been the first of three Cy Young awards had their been an award before 1956, and had there been an award for each league instead of just one between 1956 and 1966.
All Whitey did in 1955 was go 18-7, with the 18 wins leading the league, as well as a fine 2.63 E.R.A. along with 18 complete games and five shutouts. He even threw in two saves for good measure!
For Roberts, this is the second time we see him in this thread, as he was the assumed winner in 1952 with his monster season where he went 28-7.
In 1955, he had another great year, going 23-14, with the 23 wins leading the league. He also posted an E.R.A. of 3.28 while leading the National league with 26 complete games and 305 innings pitched.
Funny enough, he also managed to also throw in a few saves as well, totaling three in addition to his 23 wins.
Two future Hall of Fame inductees in the prime of their careers.
Next up on this thread, we have the very first Cy Young Award winner, Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, as well as who SABR figured would have won the award for the American League, young flame-throwing phenom Herb Score of the Cleveland Indians.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

#300's during the 1970's for my 300th

OK!
I've hit 300 posts and you know what that means: a review of all cards #'rd 300 throughout the 1970's.
And boy these were awesome cards! Best group yet.
Two of my all-time favorite cards are here, as well as nine Hall of Famers out of ten cards, with the tenth player not too shabby himself!
Let's take a look:
1970: Tom Seaver


Not the nicest card of "Tom Terrific", but it's still a decent card of Seaver as he was starting out his dominance of the baseball world throughout the next decade.
Just coming off his first Cy Young season, and leading the New York Mets to their improbable World Series win over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.

1971: Brooks Robinson


I'm not a fan of this card, as you'll all remember how I redesigned it a while back. Don't like the image of Brooks swinging and missing, looking back towards the catcher.
But again, a future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career, albeit the tail-end of his "prime". 
THE third baseman on THE Major League team at the time. The Orioles were in the midst of three consecutive World Series appearances, winning it all in 1970 over the Cincinnati Reds.

1972: Hank Aaron "In Action"


Nice card of "Hammerin' Hank" rounding the bases in what I assume was a Home Run trot.
Also at the tail-end of his "prime" years, he was poised to take over Babe Ruth as baseball's all-time home run champ.
The next couple of years were the buzz of baseball, culminating in his 715th homer in April of 1974.

1973: Steve Carlton


Not the best photo of Carlton on this card (I may have to redesign this one in the future), but it was his first card since his truly breakout season of 1972 where he set the world on fire, winning 27 games while topping 300 strikeouts and posting a sub-2.00 E.R.A. for a last place team! 
Even though it wasn't his first 20-win season, this was the year that set his march towards the Hall of Fame and super-stardom.

1974: Pete Rose


Again, not the best shot of "Charlie Hustle", but this was Topps' offering of Rose after winning his only Most Valuable Player Award the previous year while winning the National league batting title.
Rose was to continue kicking-ass throughout the 1970's, culminating in a "Player of the Decade" award by the Sporting News in 1980.
A major cog in the "Big Red Machine" along with Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and company, Rose eventually would overtake Ty Cobb as baseball's all-time hit king in 1985.

1975: Reggie Jackson


As we all know, this card was "kind of" an error card, being that it should have been an "all-star" card with all-star in the lower right corner and yellow and red design scheme like all other all-stars in the 1975 set.
I don't know why Topps messed up this card for the future Hall of Famer, but the true Reggie Jackson take-over was a couple of years away, when he joined the Yankees and became "Mr. October", leading the Yanks to two consecutive Championships in 1977 and 1978.
Nevertheless it's a nice card in what I always felt was a very nice set.

1976: Johnny Bench


Well well. My all-time favorite card, period!
My very first post regarding a card on this blog explains it all.
It really is the "mona lisa" of my youth. The perfect card in my eyes.
The perfect photo, the perfect color-scheme, all-star designation. It has it all.
Bench was THE catcher in baseball from the late '60's to the early '80's, and was arguably the greatest catcher of all-time.
Just LOOK at this card. Just perfect!

1977: Jerry Koosman


The only player with a #300 card in the 1970's that's not a member of the Hall of Fame, Koosman was NO slouch on the baseball diamond however!
A 200+ game winner in his career, 20-game winner in both the National and American Leagues, and over 2500+ strikeouts.
The man was just simply overshadowed in a decade that saw a bunch of future Hall of Famers lighting it up on the mound.
But when it was all said and done, Koosman put together a very nice 19-year career, retiring after the 1985 season which saw him pitch for the Phillies.

1978: Joe Morgan


The greatest second baseman in the game during the decade, Morgan was the key to the Reds getting over the hump to become what was the "Big Red Machine" after being acquired from the Houston Astros before the 1972 season.
By 1978 Morgan was on his way to a Hall of Fame induction, with two M.V.P. Awards, two World Championships, and five Gold Glove awards.
Nice card in a nicely designed set.
I am such a sucker for "all-star" cards.

1979: Rod Carew


Quite possibly my third all-time favorite card (after the 1976 Bench and 1978 Reggie Jackson cards).
I just love everything about this card of the greatest hitter of the decade. (OK, maybe that giant "Topps" logo in the baseball could have been omitted in the design...)
Even though he was actually a California Angel by the time this card came out, the image captured Carew in the middle of his Hall of Fame batting stance, which lead to 3000+ hits, an M.V.P. award, and of course his seven American league batting titles!
Oh yeah, and he was named to EIGHTEEN straight all-star teams as well! Just awesome…

So there you have it: all cards numbered 300 for Topps throughout the 1970's, and what a great set of cards they are!
Onto #400!
Thanks for reading…

Saturday, February 1, 2014

RANDOM QUICKIE: "MR. CUB" ERNIE BANKS IN THE 1972 SET

I was never the biggest fan of the "severed head" Chicago Cubs team cards throughout the 1970's.
I could never get why they had their unique photo year after year when it came to their team cards, while every other team had those full-squad posed shots we were so used to.
Nevertheless, the Cubs' 1972 team card is a bit more attractive than other years, mainly due to the actual card design rather than "official" team photo.
But with the facsimile autographs under each "head", it reminds me of those awesome 1890's team cabinet cards that were popular back then, and believe me, I am a BIG fan of those!
Anyway, one other little treat regarding this card is the fact that Ernie Banks, "Mr. Cub", is prominently shown just under the Cubs logo, giving him his only appearance in the 1972 set after he retired in 1971.
 
 
A while ago I designed a 1972 "career capper" for Banks, wishing Topps would have issued a card for him after retirement, but at least we have him on this card.
Along with Banks, we also have three other future Hall of Famers, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo. But except for Williams, the other three Hall members have "small heads", while run-of-the-mill players like Burt Hooten, Hector Torres and Joe Pepitone have huge noggins.
Oh well…

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