Today I post the final player that really should have had an all-star card in the 1970, since he was a starter for the American League, the A.L. starting pitcher for the 1969 game, Yankee Mel Stottlemyre:
While two-time Cy Young winner Denny McLain got the nod by the Sporting News as their right-handed all-star, Stottlemyre in fact started the game, and it's somewhat a perfect example of how this guy is always overlooked and under-appreciated in my eyes considering all he did in basically ten years of Major League ball.
With a half-season in 1964 (his first year), and 1974 (his last), he put up nine full seasons in between, and all but one (1966) rock solid for some poor Yankee teams.
In nine full years on the mound, he posted three 20-win seasons (all while pitching during the Bronx "lean years"), five sub-3.00 ERA years, seven 15+ win seasons, nine 250+ innings seasons, and six years of four or more shutouts, topping out with seven in both 1971 and 1972.
How solid is THAT!?
A five-time all-star, I can't even imagine what his win totals could have been had he stayed healthy and pitched into the late-1970's/early-80's, or even if he wasn't starring for those bad Yankee teams post-dynasty between 1965-on.
Consider his numbers in the small amount of time he was a Major League pitcher: a 164-139 record, with a nice 2.97 ERA, 40 shutouts and 1257 K's in only 356 starts!
Those are really some seriously great numbers.
Sadly because of a rotator-cuff injury in 1974, he had to retire at the young age of only 32, leaving us to wonder "what could have been".
Of course we know that he later went on to become one of the most respected pitching coaches in the Majors from the 1980-s with the Mets on through to the "new" Yankee dynasty in the late-90's/early-00's, before retiring for good after the 2008 season.
A great, solid career that get's overlooked for a few different reasons. I have to figure out some sort of "tribute" card for the guy, one way or another…