Saturday, January 3, 2015


Here's a 1972 "Traded" card for Sparky Lyle, who was quite possibly the first cog in the eventual "Bronx Zoo" World Champs of the late-1970's:

Originally depicted as a Boston Red Sox player in the '72 set, Lyle was traded by the Sox for Danny Cater right before the regular season in March.
I decided NOT to use the traded format Topps issued that year, since I've always thought it was a terrible design.
It was bad enough Topps didn't have player positions on their regular-issue cards in the set (a set I DO love mind you), but for their traded sub-set they even failed to have the team name running across the top!
Anyway, I went with a simple modification to the regular design, enlarging the name box along the bottom to add a traded line.
As for the trade, which is often cited as terribly one-sided in favor of the Yankees, it paid instant dividends in the Bronx, as Lyle posted a 9-5 record with a 1.92 earned run average and league-leading 35 saves in his first year there.
He'd even finish seventh in Cy Young voting, as well as third in Most Valuable Player voting during the post-season.
Five years later in 1977, Lyle would win the Cy Young Award, going 13-5 with a league-leading 23 saves and a 2.17 E.R.A., and he'd finish fifth in M.V.P. Voting.
But with Rich "Goose" Gossage joining the Yanks the following year, he'd find himself off to Texas by 1979, and retired from the game in 1982 after a handful of games with the White Sox.
All told Sparky would post 238 lifetime saves in 899 games, setting a record for career games all in relief.
I'm not sure, but it still may be the record actually. Have to check.
Nowadays he manages the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent league.
Just so happens the Patriots' home field is minutes from my newly adopted town of Franklin Township, N.J., and I hope to see some games next season.
Maybe I'll hit Lyle up for an autograph on THIS creation right here...


  1. Nice card design. Great idea Gio. Good luck.

  2. Personally, I always liked the '72 Topps TRADED design. Why not do two versions of this card?

  3. The '72 Topps Traded card was the first Traded type cards I had ever seen so it's got a huge nostalgic connection, but your design beats the original with TRADED stamped across it. And I didn't mind that as much as the lack of team name. Another great card Gio.



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