Friday, November 24, 2017


Here’s a career-capping 1971 card for Joe Sparma, who finished a nice seven-year Major League tenure with his only season outside of Detroit, a nine-game stint with the Montreal Expos:

Sparma appeared in nine games with the Expos during the 1970 season, posting a record of 0-4 with a bloated 7.04 earned run average in 29.1 innings of work.
In the six seasons prior to that, he was a solid arm both out of the ‘pen and as a starter for the Detroit Tigers, the team he came up with in 1964.
His finest season in the big leagues is easily 1967 when he posted a record of 16-9 with a 3.76 earned run average over 37 starts and 217.2 innings pitched along with five shutouts.
The following season he was a full-time starter on the eventual World Champs, appearing in one game during the World Series in relief.

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Be safe, eat, drink, watch some football and nap (always works for me!).
Let’s cap-off the brilliant Major League playing career of Felipe Alou, who would go on to also have a brilliant managerial MLB career later on, giving us a true baseball “lifer”:

Alou would only appear in three games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1974, playing one game at right field while pinch-hitting as well.
It would be the finale of an excellent career that saw him bat .286 over 17-seasons, leading the National League in hits twice while collecting over 2000 hits and 200 home runs in 2082 games.
He would also get to play MLB ball alongside his two brothers, Matty and Jesus, while also seeing his cousins Jose Sosa pitch, and eventually seeing his son Moises become an all-star player himself, while having his nephew Mel Rojas pitch in relief! Incredible baseball family tree hardly seen before or since!
During the height of his playing career, with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the 1960’s, Alou topped 20 homers four times, topping .300 three times, and also led the league in total bases in 1966 with 355 when he topped 30 homers for the only time in his career.
As stated earlier, he would eventually move on to an excellent managerial career in 1992, managing the Montreal Expos for ten seasons through 2001, including the heart-breaking 1994 season when the team was steam-rolling through the Summer before the baseball strike killed the organization.
He would move on to the San Francisco Giants in 2003, leading them to a 100-win season and first place finish in the National League West, and guide them through the next three seasons before leaving the managing life after 2006.
A great baseball figure from an incredible baseball family!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for former relief pitcher Ed Farmer, who was yet to hit his MLB stride as a Chicago White Sox bullpen ace later on, throwing a total of ZERO innings in 1977 with the Baltimore Orioles, giving up a hit and a walk in his only appearance of the year:

Farmer, who originally came up to the Major Leagues as a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1971, bounced around after that, playing for four organizations in three seasons while missing the 1975 and 1976 campaigns altogether before getting that one taste of a big league mound again in ‘77.
But he would right his ship soon enough, eventually having an All-Star season in 1980 with the White Sox when he posted 30 saves over 64 appearances and 99.2 innings pitched.
He would end up pitching eleven seasons as a big league pitcher, leaving the game in 1983 with a career 30-43 record, with 75 saves and a 4.30 earned run average in 370 appearances and 624 innings before moving on to a long broadcast career.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Next up in my ongoing awards sub-set through the 1970’s is a 1975 Rookie of the Year card for the 1974 winners, Bake McBride and Mike Hargrove, two players who went on to nice Major League careers:

In the National League, McBride played centerfield for the St. Louis Cardinals, and proceeded to bat .309 in his first big league season with 173 hits and 81 runs scored, 30 stolen bases and 56 runs batted in.
He would go on to bat a career .299 over his 11-year career playing with the Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians before retiring after the 1983 season.
In the American League, Hargrove played in 131 games in his first taste of the Majors, ending up with a .323 batting average based on his 134 hits in 415 at-bats.
He also collected 49 walks, giving him an on-base=percentage of .395 which would be a familiar theme for his 12-year career, as the “Human Rain Delay” would retire with a very nice career OBP of .396, topping 100 walks four times.
Of course later on he would go into managing, leading the powerhouse Cleveland Indian teams of the 1990’s, winning two American League pennants before moving on to the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners through the 2007 season.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Here is a 1979 “not so missing” card for a pitcher who threw one sole inning in 1978, the very first inning of his Major League career, Dan Boitano of the Philadelphia Phillies:

It was a scoreless and hitless inning for the 25-year-old, while issuing one walk while not factoring in a decision.
The following season he would be suiting up for the Milwaukee Brewers, where he would have five appearances and pitch six innings with no record once again before getting into 11 games in 1980, posting an 0-1 record with a bloated 8.15 E.R.A
In 1981 he’d see more playing time, pitching for the New York Mets and going 2-1 with a 5.51 E.R.A. over 15 appearances and 16 innings pitched before finding himself with the Texas Rangers in 1982, the last action he’d see on a Big League mound, appearing in 19 games and pitching 30.1 innings.
He would finish his career with an even record of 2-2 along with an E.R.A. of 5.68 in 51 appearances and 71.1 innings pitched, striking out 52 batters while walking 28.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Here’s another one of those cards that requires a closer look, a 1972 card showing former rookie stand-out Roy Foster as a Texas Ranger:

Foster, who was the runner-up to Thurman Munson for the American League rookie of the year in 1970 as an Indians player, never actually suited up with the Texas Rangers.
As a matter of fact, not only did he play with the Cleveland Indians in 1971, but he also played for them in 1972!
Turns out, after a disappointing year in Cleveland in 1971 which saw him bat .245 with 18 homers and 45 runs batted in after posting a .268 average with 23 homers and 63 ribbies in his rookie year, he was traded to the new Rangers organization in December of 1971 in a deal that included seven other players.
In what seems like a common thing in that era, it turns out that he would end up getting traded BACK to Cleveland right before the new season started, ending up playing what would turn out to be the final 73 games of his brief career, batting .224 with only four homers and 13 runs batted in, before spending the 1973 season in the Minors and the following couple of years in the Mexican League before retiring for good.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Today I wanted to look at this Topps airbrush job for former pitcher Roric Harrison on his 1978 card, which also has a lot to scratch your head about as far as why Topps ever went to this much trouble for:

As releases 1978 Topps card
Airbrushed image used

You can clearly see Harrison in a St. Louis Cardinals jersey that was cropped just so to have him on his 1978 card as a Detroit Tiger.
Funny thing is Harrison never ended up playing for the Tigers, getting released before the season even started.
On top of that, at the time this card came out he hadn’t even been on a Major League mound since the 1975 season when he last played for the Cleveland Indians.
So where do the Cardinals fit into all this?
Harrison bounced around a lot during his five-year career, especially between Big League stops in 1975 and 1978 when he played the last nine games of his career, with the Minnesota Twins.
From the beginning of 1975 to 1978, he was a member of no less than six teams, though actually playing for only three of them (Braves, Indians and Twins).
In between, he signed with the Tigers, the Pirates and Cardinals, with whom he never played.
Amazing that Topps did all this for a guy who hadn’t played a Major League game in three seasons, and was bouncing around so much.
I wonder why the need to get him into the set when guys like Bill Melton and Carlos May were left out?
Anyway, Harrison did actually make it back to the Majors in 1978, but as I stated before as a member of the Minnesota Twins, where he went 0-1 with a 7.50 earned run average over nine games and 12 innings pitched.
Thus would end his career, with a record of 30-35, with a 4.24 E.R.A., 10 saves and 319 strikeouts in exactly 590 innings pitched.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for a guy I’d forgotten had his Major League start with the Baltimore Orioles, as I so identify him with his second team in the Majors, the Houston Astros, Enos Cabell:

Cabell actually had his first Major League action in 1972, appearing in only three games before coming back in 1973 and making 32 appearances.
In that brief time he batted .213, with 10 hits over 42 at-bats for Baltimore, progressing enough to play just under half a season in 1974, where he batted .241 while playing all-over the place, both infield and outfield.
In December of 1974 he was part of the trade that brought the “Big Bopper” Lee May to Baltimore, with Cabell finding a home in Houston where he would play for the next six years, having some very good seasons.
Playing full-time for the Astros each and every year, he averaged about .275 while playing third base, along with some first base action.
He’d end up putting together a nice 15-year career in the Big Leagues, retiring after the 1986 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, finishing up with 1647 hits and a .277 average in 1688 games and 5952 at-bats, with 238 stolen bases and 753 runs scored.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Here’s a “missing” or “not so missing” 1977 card for pitcher Mike Proly, who appeared in 14 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976, albeit for only 17 innings of work, all is relief:

Getting his first taste of the Major Leagues, Proly would go 1-0 over those 14 games, with a 3.71 earned run average.
He wouldn’t get any action in the Big Leagues the following year, spending all of 1977 in the Minnesota Twins Minor League system, before making it back in 1978, but now as a member of the Chicago White Sox, for whom he’d pitch the following three years.
He had a nice season for the Pale Hose, starting six of the 14 games he’d see action in and going 5-2 with a 2.74 E.R.A., completing two of his starts and picking up a save as well.
That was precisely the role he’d have with Chicago, and the rest of his career, pitching mainly out of the bullpen with an occasional spot start here ans there for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981 and the Chicago Cubs for his final two MLB season in 1982 and 1983.
All told he finished his career with a record of 22-29, along with a nice 3.23 E.R.A., 22 saves and 185 strikeouts over 267 appearances and 545.2 innings pitched.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Here’s a “career-capping 1972 card for a guy who I always thought had a cool name, former pitcher Cal Koonce:

Koonce finished up a nice ten-year career with 13 appearances for the Boston Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 5.57 earned run average over 21 innings pitched.
Originally up with the Chicago Cubs in 1962, he moved on to the New York Mets after 5 1/2 seasons in Chicago, pitching for 3 1/2 years in Queens before ending up in Boston.
Over those ten seasons he posted a career record of 47-49, with an earned run average of 3.78 and 504 strikeouts over 971 innings pitched.
Though he didn’t appear in the Post Season, he was a part of the “Miracle Mets” of 1969, appearing in 40 games for the eventual World Champions, going 6-3 with an E.R.A. of 4.99 and seven saves coming out of the bullpen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Time to go a “re-do” a 1977 Topps expansion card, this time we’ll tackle Jesse Jefferson of the Toronto Blue Jays:

Re-done version
Topps original

Jefferson was drafted by the new club away from the Chicago White Sox, for whom he pitched in 1976 and part of the 1975 season.
In the first season of Major League play, he pitched pretty well for an upstart team, posting an earned run average of 4.31 with eight complete games over 33 starts, with 217 innings pitched.
Of course, as with any club just starting out, he wouldn’t get any support as evidenced by his final record of 9-17.
He would put together a nine-year career in the Big Leagues, finishing with a record of 29-81 along with an E.R.A. of 4.81 over 237 appearances, 144 of those starts, with four shutouts and 522 strikeouts in 1085.1 innings pitched.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for former pitcher Don Rose, who had a brief three year Major League career, each one with a different team:

During the 1974 season Rose appeared in two games with the San Francisco Giants after spending the previous season in the Minors.
Over those two games he didn’t factor in a decision, posting an earned run average of 9.00 in exactly one inning of work.
In 1971 he came up to the Majors with the New York Mets, appearing in a single game and pitching two scoreless innings before being a part of a pretty big trade in the off-season when he was included with a young flame-throwing Nolan Ryan in a deal with the California Angels to get perennial all-star shortstop Jim Fregosi.
Well we all know how that turned out...
Nevertheless Rose finished his career with 19 appearances and a record of 1-4 along with an E.R.A. of 4.14 over 45.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Adding to the already long list of imagined 1975 “In Action” cards in my running series is the electric Houston Astros outfielder Cesar Cedeno, who was in the middle of his prime on his way to a brilliant 17-year Major League career:

Cedeno had the speed, the power, and the talent to put together a five-year stretch where he brought home 5 straight Gold Gloves, get named to four all-star teams while topping the 20/50 mark three years in a row.
In 1974 he had a monster season that saw him hit a career-high 26 homers AND steal a career-high 57 stolen bases along with, you guessed it, a career-high 102 runs batted in.
I would love to know the numbers he could have put up had he not played in the cavernous Astrodome for the first 12 years of his career!
By the time he was done after the 1986 season, he retired with 199 homers and 550 stolen bases, along with a very nice .285 batting average and 2087 hits.
An excellent player who was easily overshadowed by contemporaries of the era.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Next up in my ongoing awards sub-series through the 1970’s is a 1975 card celebrating the MVPs of the previous season, Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jeff Burroughs of the Texas Rangers:

In the National league, Steve Garvey had his breakout season, getting written-in to start the All-Star game that Summer, on his way to a season that saw him collect 200 hits, 21 homers and 111 runs batted in for the eventual N.L. Champs.
He would go on to log 200 or more hits in six of seven seasons between 1974 and 1980, while driving in 100 or more runs five times, while collecting five Gold Gloves.
A perennial all-star for the era, it still amazes me that he is not in the Hall of Fame. Sometimes it’s more than just numbers or the modern Sabermetrics.
Sometimes it should also include players who came to almost represent his era by his play, his stature, etc. And guys like Garvey, Dave Parker and Jack Morris fit the bill for me.

But hey, "I ain't votin'", so it's all for naught.
In the American League, former 1969 overall #1 pick Jeff Burroughs followed up a very nice 1973 season with an even better one in ‘74, leading the league with 118 runs batted in while hitting 25 homers and batting a career-high .301 while leading the team to a second place finish in the A.L. West.
He would go on to put together a solid 16-year career, even hitting a career-high 44 home runs in 1977, though overshadowed by the exploits of George Foster.
Nevertheless, Burroughs finished his career with 240 homers and a .261 batting average while driving in 882 over 1689 games.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Time to close out former Major League catcher Duane Josephson’s eight-year career with a “not so missing” 1973 card:

Josephson, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chicago White Sox, played the last two years with the Boston Red Sox, including 26 games in 1972 when he played 1st base along with some catching duties thrown in.
He performed very well for the BoSox, batting .268 with 22 hits over 82 at-bats with 11 runs scored and seven runs batted in.
For his career, he hit .258 with 388 hits over 1505 at-bats, and was on the 1968 American League All-Star team in what would be the only full-time season of his MLB tenure.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Here’s another “Nickname of the ‘70’s” card to add to the collection, a card for one of the preeminent pitchers of the era, Jim “Cakes” Palmer:

Apparently, Palmer got the nickname while still a young player, as he always ate pancakes on the day he was to pitch.
And here I thought he got that nickname as a shortened “Beefcake” for this unsettling underwear ads he did! As a kid growing up in NYC during the 1970’s, I totally remember a giant billboard in Times Square with Palmer sporting the speedos!
I used a 1973 template with the syrupy flapjacks icon since he was smack in the middle of a historic run of EIGHT 20-win seasons in nine years.
Just amazing to think he rattle off 175 wins in nine seasons between 1970 and 1978 while picking up three Cy Young Awards along with two E.R.A. titles along with 10 shutouts during the 1975 season, currently the last American League pitcher (and the last ever?) to do so.
I love seeing that 2.86 career earned run average over 19 Big League seasons!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for former two-year pitcher Jim McKee of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who appeared in the last 15 games of his brief career during the 1973 season:

McKee, who had a very short two-game cup-of-coffee at the end of the 1972 season, came back the following year and got to throw 27 innings over the aforementioned 15 games, posting a record of 0-1 with a 5.67 earned run average.
That would even out his career record, finishing up with a 1-1 record as a Big League pitcher, with a 4.78 E.R.A., with 17 strikeouts over 17 appearances and 32 innings of work.
All but one of those appearances were out of the bullpen, starting the one game of his career during the 1973 season.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Here’s a “missing” career-capper for long-time Major League third baseman Paul Schaal, who finished up a nice 11-year career with 53 games with the California Angels in 1974 after starting the season with the Kansas City Royals:

Schaal batted a combined .236 with both teams, collecting 47 hits over 199 at-bats while hitting three homers and driving in 24 runs.
I’m sure with a guy like George Brett coming up, the Royals had no choice but to trade their third baseman since their inception in 1969 to make way for their new stud.
Turns out even though he was just 31, those 53 games with the Angels would be the last of his career, which ended up right where he started as he played the first five years of his career with the organization.
He finished up his career with a .244 batting average, along with 869 hits in 3555 at-bats, throwing in 323 runs batted in and 57 homers.

Monday, November 6, 2017


Today we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former pitcher Gerry Hannahs, who put together a brief 4-year Major League career, yet never got a card, not even a spot on a multi-year rookie card:

Hannah appeared in only one game during the 1978 season, throwing two innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up three hits and a couple of runs while not factoring in a decision.
1979 wouldn’t fare much better for the lefty from Binghamton, NY, as he’d appear in what would be the final four games of his career, posting a record of 0-2 with a 3.38 earned run average over 16 innings pitched.
Originally up with the Montreal Expos, he appeared in eleven games in 1976 and 1977 combined, going 3-5, including the very first win for an Expos pitcher at Olympic Stadium, which occurred on April 16th of 1977.
For his career, he appeared in 16 games, with 12 of them as starts, going 3-7 with a 5.07 earned run average over 71 innings pitched, with 42 strikeouts and 41 walks.
He’d stick around the Minor Leagues through the 1981 season, ending up in the Minnesota Twins organization, before retiring for good.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Next up in the Awards thread is a 1975 card for the 1974 Cy Young winners, Mike Marshall and Jim “Catfish” Hunter, who put together a couple of monster seasons in 1974:

Starting off with Marshall, he put in a season for the ages coming out of the bullpen for the Los Angeles Dodgers on their way to the National League Pennant, appeared in a (still) Major League record 106 games, posting a record of 15-12 with a 2.42 earned run average along with a league-leading 21 saves.
The man pitched an incredible 208.1 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 143 batters while closing out 83 games for L.A.
His performance even got him a third place finish in the league Most Valuable Player race, finishing behind winner (and teammate) Steve Garvey and stolen base guru Lou Brock.
Over in the American League, Catfish Hunter edged out the Texas Rangers’ Fergie Jenkins, taking home the Award based on his league-leading 25 wins and 2.49 earned run average, along with six shutouts over his 41 starts and 23 complete games as he anchored an Oakland staff that led the team to their third straight World Series win.
It was his fourth straight 20-win season, to which he’d add the following season as a New York Yankee after becoming the first big-time Free Agent in baseball’s new age.
It’s still amazing to remember that Hunter’s career was over by the time he was 33, even though he already had 224 wins under his belt.
Wonder just how many wins he could have racked up had he been able to stick around to his late-30’s.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


I haven’t done a “Baseball Brothers” card in a while, so let’s kick-start it again with a 1974 card for the Brinkmans, Ed and Chuck:

Older brother Ed made it to the big leagues first when he made the “big show” as a nineteen-year-old third baseman with the Washington Senators in 1961, eventually carving out a nice 15-year career that closed out with 45 games as a New York Yankee in 1975.
Though he came up as a third baseman he’d make his mark as a slick-fielding shortstop, leading the league in various defensive stats in the mid-60’s to early 1970’s, even taking home a Gold Glove in 1972 while with the Detroit Tigers.
Younger brother Chuck put together a six-year Major League career as a catcher, playing for the Chicago White Sox for all but the last four games of his Big League tenure.
Never really getting the chance to play full-time, the most action he’d see in any MLB season was in 1973 when he appeared in 63 games with Chicago, backing up Ed Herrmann.
All told, by the time he retired after the 1974 season he finished with a .172 career average, collecting 46 hits in 267 at-bats in 148 games.

Friday, November 3, 2017


Here’s a “career-capping” card for former big league catcher Ken Rudolph, who played the last 11 games of his nine-year career with the Baltimore Orioles after starting the season with the San Francisco Giants:

Rudolph played the first five years of his career with the Chicago Cubs, coming up during that tumultuous 1969 season, and would see the bulk of his MLB action with the organization.
Never more than a back-up catcher, he would see the bulk of his MLB action between 1972 and 1974, appearing in 173 of his career 328 Big League games, playing for the Cubs, Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Orioles.
By the time he retired after the 1977 season, he finished with a career average of .213, with 158 hits in 743 at-bats, along with 64 runs batted in and 55 runs scored with six homers thrown in.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Today we celebrate a grossly-overlooked star of the Cuban and Negro Leagues, Jose Mendez, who was a dominant pitcher and threw some legendary games against Major and Minor league teams in the early part of the 20th Century:

Mendez, whose career spanned 20 seasons between 1907 and 1926, put up some monster years in the Cuban League, posting documented records of 15-6, 11-2, 10-0 and 7-0 while winning three pennants in six years with Almendares.
His performance in 1908 made him a legend when he pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds including a one-hitter, then a few days later throwing a couple of shutouts including a no-hitter against a Minor League All-Star team, giving him 43 consecutive shutouts innings pitched.
His career record in the Cuban League was an incredible 76-28, good for a sparkling .731 winning percentage.
In the very first Negro League World Series in 1924, pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs, he appeared in four games against the Hilldale Club, going 2-0 with a shutout in the final game.
An early member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, elected in 1939 1939, he would add to that honor by being inducted to the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame  in 2006.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Here’s a great card to add to my roster of missing-cards, a “not so missing” 1970 card for former outfielder Wayne Redmond of the Detroit Tigers, who ended up sporting a brief nine game career spread over two seasons, the last being 1969:

Redmond played what would turn out to be the last five games of his career in ‘69, going 0-for-3 at the plate in pinch-hitting roles.
In 1965 he would see the only other Major League action of his career when he was a September call-up and promptly went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in that time.
Curiously, he would actually have a Topps card, a shared multi-player card in 1971, two years after his last MLB appearance, AND depicted as a player on a team he wouldn’t end up playing for, Major or Minor, the Philadelphia Phillies!
According to he stuck around in the Pros until the 1973 season, playing for the Angels’, White Sox and Padres organizations before leaving the game for good.
Love stuff like this!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Having already creating a 1975 card for today’s player of the “missing” variety, today I present a “not so missing” card for former Montreal Expos second baseman Jim Cox, who played the final baker’s dozen games in his brief four year career:

Over those 13 games, Cox batted .172 with five hits in 29 at-bats, driving in and scoring a couple of runs for Montreal, the only team he’d play for in the Big Leagues.
As a matter of fact they would be the only organization he’d ever play for, suiting up for Montreal’s Major and Minor league teams between 1972 and 1979.
It was odd that he didn’t get a card in the 1975 set since he played in 77 games during the 1974 season, with 270 plate appearances!
However we can easily forgive Topps for leaving him out of the 1977 set, leaving him with a spot on a multi-player rookie card in 1974 as the only card appearance of his career.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1972 card for former infielder Marv Staehle, who wrapped up a seven-year Major League career with the Atlanta Braves the previous season:

Coming over from the Montreal Expos, where he played the 1st two seasons in the organization’s existence, Staehle appeared in 22 games for the Braves, batting .111 with four hits over 36 at-bats while playing both second and short.
He spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago White Sox, where he never appeared in more than 32 games in any one season.
All told, for his MLB career Staehle batted .207 with 94 knocks over 455 official at-bats, with a single home run, 33 runs batted in and 53 runs scored while playing the middle infield positions.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Today we celebrate the somewhat overlooked great Negro League second baseman Newt Allen, who is sadly not in the Hall of Fame with some of his peers, but nevertheless was and still is considered one of the great players of his time:

A veteran of about 25 Negro League seasons spanning 1922 to 1947, he spent the bulk of it with the Kansas City Monarchs, building a reputation as one of the fastest base runners of his time, while also becoming arguably the greatest fielding second baseman of his era.
Sadly I can’t find much on this forgotten star, but am more than happy to have him included in this thread honoring the guys that paved the way for others after them!
He did make the list of 39 finalists in 2006 for the special Negro Leagues Hall of Fame election, but fell short of the 17 players who eventually were voted in.
Hopefully this can be rectified sooner than later, bringing him into the Cooperstown fold for countless more baseball fans to appreciate by seeing and reading his plaque.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


The next star of 1970’s baseball to get the 1975 “In-Action” treatment is none other than Tony Perez, “Big Red Machine” cog and RBI-machine, who was on his way to a sixth 100+-RBI season by season’s end:

Perez truly was an overlooked star on a team that would also have guys like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, just to name a few, and it’s just plain criminal considering he logged 10 seasons in a row over 90+ runs batted in, with six of them over 100 as stated earlier.
With a batting average hovering around .280, he was a solid and steady force at the plate and out in the field for a team that would become legendary, on their way to two straight championships in 1975 and 1976.
He would play for 23 seasons in the Major Leagues, and end up with 379 homers, 1652 RBI’s, 2732 hits and a very nice .279 average before he left the game at the age of 44.
The “Big Dog”, Sparky Anderson always stated that what killed the “Big Red Machine” from dominating longer was trading away their slugging first baseman in December of 1976 to the Montreal Expos for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray, a trade that still baffles me.
Nevertheless, after nine tries, he finally made it into the Hall of Fame in 2000, and rightly so. Hopefully Pete Rose can also join his former teammates someday as well.

Friday, October 27, 2017


Next up on the blog is a “not so missing” 1974 card for two-year Major League Pitcher Jim Geddes of the Chicago White Sox:

Geddes, who had his rookie card in the 1973 set, played out what would be the rest of his brief MLB career when he appeared in six games during the 1973 season, not factoring in a decision but posting a nice 2.87 earned run average over 15.2 innings of work.
The previous season he appeared in five games, again not factoring in a decision, while posting a bloated 6.97 earned run average in 10.1 innings pitched.
Those two brief tastes of the Big Leagues would be it for Geddes, as he’d pitch two more seasons in the Minor Leagues before calling it a career.
All told, he pitched 26 innings of Major League ball, without a record and a 4.50 E.R.A. over eleven appearances, all for the South-Siders.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Here’s a 1975 card for a guy who had one card as a Major League player, a spot on the multi-player rookie cards of the 1974 set, Tom Heintzelman, who would put in a brief four year career, but could be argued to have missed out on two cards by Topps:

After a brief cup-of-coffee in 1973 (hence the rookie card the following year), he would make it back to the Big Leagues in 1974 with the St. Louis Cardinals, appearing in 38 games, batting .230 with 17 hits over 74 at-bats.
He also had 10 runs scored and nine walks in that brief period of play, but would find himself spending the next few seasons in the Minor Leagues, putting up some nice numbers.
In 1977 he’d be back, albeit for only two games with the San Francisco Giants where he went 0-for-2 at the plate as a pinch-hitter before playing the last 27 games of his career the following season, batting .229 with eight hits in 35 at-bats, generally as a pinch-hitter.
All told he played four brief seasons, batting .243 with 34 hits in 140 at-bats spread out over 90 games with the Cardinals and Giants.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Here’s another former player from the decade that only appeared during a late-season call-up for the sum total of his MLB career, former Houston Astros outfielder Al Javier:

Javier’s big league career consisted of eight games between September 9th and October 1st of 1976, batting .208 with five hits over 24 at-bats, all of the singles variety.
Toiling in the Houston Minor League system since 1971, he would find himself back down there in 1977, having a very nice season for the Columbus Astros of the Southern League before moving on to the Chicago Cubs organizations, for whom he’d play through the 1980 season before leaving for a couple of years in the Mexican League.
He never did get another shot in the Majors and was out of pro ball at the age of 28 in 1982.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Next up in the “Awards” thread I’ve been running for a while is a 1974 “Rookie of the Year” card for the 1973 winners, Gary Mathews and Al Bumbry, two guys who’d go on to have long productive careers in the Major Leagues:

In the National League, Mathews would have a really solid year for the San Francisco Giants, batting an even .300 with 22 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs with 74 runs scored and 58 runs batted in.
He played in 148 games and collected 162 hits over 540 at-bats, and even had 17 stolen bases thrown into the mix. Very nice first full season that led to an award.
He would go on to play 16 seasons in the Majors, retiring after 1987 with over 2000 hits with a very nice .281 batting average and 234 home runs
Over in the American League, Alonzo (Al) Bumbry only played in 110 games for the Baltimore Orioles, but he made the most of the opportunity as he led the American League with 11 triples while batting a hefty .337 with 120 hits over 356 at-bats.
He would go on to have a very nice 14-year career in the Big Leagues, all but his final season (with the San Diego Padres) spent in Baltimore, even becoming the first Orioles player to collect 200 or more hits in a season during the 1980 campaign when he collected 205 hits on his way to his only All-Star game nod.
By the time he hung them up after the 1985 season, he too retired with a batting average of .281, with 1422 hits over 5053 at-bats along with 254 stolen bases and 778 runs scored.
Two very good players who definitely left their mark on the game.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for Detroit Tiger Bob Adams, who played the only games of his brief Major League career in September of 1977, and admirably so I might add, yet never made it to the “big show” ever again:

In his 15 games career, Adams batted 2.50 with two home runs over 24 at-bats while playing a couple of games at first and one behind the plate.
Before he got the Fall call-up, he was tearing it up in Double-A where he was batting .330 for the Evansville Triplets, with ten home runs and 44 runs batted in over 62 games. Not bad.
Nevertheless, after his cup-of-coffee in the Autumn of 1977, he spent the following year back in the Minors before leaving pro-ball for good at the age of 26.
Wonder why he never got another shot?

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Time to go ahead a re-do yet another 1977 expansion card, this time the Leroy Stanton card, going from an airbrush job to an actual image of him in uniform with the new Seattle Mariners organization:

Revised version
Original airbrushed version

The 40th pick in the 1976 expansion draft, Stanton went on to have a very productive season for Seattle in their inaugural campaign, hitting 27 home runs while driving in 90 runs with a very respectable .275 batting average.
Oddly enough, after a sub=par season in 1978, which saw his home run total plummet to three while only appearing in 93 games, he was out of Major League ball for good.
1979 would see him play in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers, where he would hit 23 homers, though he only drove in 58 runs while hitting only .225, which would be the last professional action he would have, though I did see somewhere that he may have played in the Mexican League in 1980. But I can’t find any stats or record of this actually happening.
Anyone know? He was only 34 at that time.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Next up in line for my imagined 1975 “In Action” sub-set is the reigning Cy Young Award winner at the time this card would have come up, Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher extraordinaire Mike Marshall:

This is the first player in the series that is actually shown in action on his regular Topps card of the set, but since he made such a splash in the Major Leagues during the 1974 season, I figured he should be a part of this set.
All the man did in 1974 was appear in a STILL record 106 games, posting a record of 15-12 with a league-leading 21 saves sporting a 2.42 earned run average and 143 strikeouts over 208.1 innings pitched, ALL out of the bullpen!
This performance helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, where they would eventually lose to the three-peat Oakland A’s.
Nevertheless, one of the great pitching performances of the era, giving new meaning to the term “workhorse”.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Today we go and give the man man responsible for Major League baseball creating the amateur draft, bonus baby Rick Reichardt, who had substantial playing time in 1972 yet was not a part of Topps’ 1973 set:

Reichardt played in 101 games during the 1972 season, batting .251 with 73 hits over 291 at-bats with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in during his second season with the Chicago White Sox.
That is serious playing time to be omitted from the Topps set, so I’m wondering if he just didn’t want to be on a card ala Mike Marshall or Tony Horton around the same time.
Of course, Reichardt is well remembered as a spectacular two-sport superstar at the University of Wisconsin, so much so that a bidding war began by Major League clubs for his services, eventually having him sign a then unheard of $200,000 signing bonus with the (then) Los Angeles Angels of the American League.
This necessitated the development of the Amateur Draft, which began the very next year in hopes of curtailing such a wild scenario as the Reichardt affair.
Sadly for Reichardt, a serious kidney ailment cut short an excellent 1966 season which saw him have a kidney removed, and though he put up some decent numbers from time to time through the rest of his career, he was never the same again, eventually retiring after a single at-bat with the Kansas City Royals in 1974.
His last Topps card was in the 1971 set, which is odd since he really should have had a card from 1972 to 1974.
I actually already created a 1972 “missing” card for him a while back, and once I can find a decent shot of him with the Royals, I plan on doing the same for both 1974 and 1975.
Anyone have good images of him with KC?

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Here was a fun card to whip up, a “not so missing” 1971 card for former pitcher Mike Jackson, who played the first five games of his brief four year Major League career in 1970 with the Philadelphia Phillies:

Jackson went 1-1 in Philly over 6.1 innings pitched, with four walks and four strikeouts with a very nice 1.42 earned run average.
He would appear in only one game the following year, now with the St. Louis Cardinals, before moving on to the Kansas City Royals in 1972 when he went 1-2 over seven appearances, along with the only three starts of his short career.
In 1973 he would split time with both the Royals and Indians, for whom he’d pitch the last of his Big League games, not factoring in a decision and finishing his career with a record of 2-3 along with an ERA of 5.80 in 49.2 innings pitched.
He’d continue with his pro career through the 1974 season, finishing up in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before calling it a career, spending nine seasons as a pro dating back to 1964 (he missed the 1966 and 1967 seasons).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Sometimes you really had to wonder what Topps was thinking when they made their decisions for someone to appear on a multi-player rookie card, even though they had substantial playing time the season before, such as Detroit Tigers pitcher Kip Young, who appeared on the dreadful rookie sub-set in 1979.
So I went ahead and gave him his own “dedicated” rookie card considering the man put in enough innings during the 1978 season that he wasn’t even a rookie any longer by the time 1979 came along:

Getting his first taste of Major League ball in 1978, Young went on to appear in 14 games during the season, 13 of them starts, and posting a record of 6-7 with a very nice 2.81 earned run average over 105.2 innings pitched!
Certainly NOT a rookie any longer, yet there he was on those awful black-and-white cards that we all love to hate (is there anyone out there who likes them?). The kid even threw seven complete games in his rookie season, which alone took away his “rookie” status”, regardless of his other games that year.
In 1979 he came back, much less successful this time, going 2-2 with a bloated 6.39 ERA in 13 appearances, with 43.2 innings of work in what would turn out to be the last of his brief two-season career.
Though he continued to pitch in the Minors through the 1982 season vor a few different organizations, he’d never make it back to the Majors, finishing his career with an 8-9 record, along with a 3.86 earned run average over 27 games and 149.1 innings.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Today we celebrate early Negro Leagues legend Bruce Petway, who falls under the radar somewhat though he is considered one of the greatest NBL catchers of all time:

Leaving a career in medicine to pursue baseball back in 1906, he would go on to play approximately 20 years for legendary teams such as the Leland Giants and Cuban X-Giants between 1906 and 1925.
A fantastic defensive backstop, he is reported to be one of the first catchers to throw out potential base-stealers at second base from a squatting position.
In 1910, he threw out Ty Cobb three times out of three attempts while in Cuba for an exhibition event, a season that also saw him bat .397 which showed that he was a threat at the plate as well.
In 1912 he also led the Cuban League in stolen bases with 20, something you do NOT see everyday throughout baseball history, regardless of which league we’re talking about.
Having the great Rube Foster as a mentor early in his career, Petway went on to also serve as a player-manager for the Detroit Stars in the 1920’s, while also contributing on the field, especially at the plate when he posted batting averages of .313, .268, .337 and .341 between 1921 and 1924.
A great player that should not be forgotten with time, and a great addition to my running “Legends of NBL Baseball”.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for former pitcher Norm Angelini, who pitched the final seven games of his brief two-year Major League career in 1973:

Angelini made seven relief appearances during his second season in the big leagues, posting a 4.91 earned run average over 3.2 innings of work, walking seven and striking out three.
He had his first taste of the “big show” in 1972, when he appeared in 21 games for the Kansas City Royals, posting a record of 201 with a very nice 2.25 era over 16 innings pitched.
He’d end up toiling in the Minor Leagues for another seven years, through the 1981 season, for the Royals, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos organizations, but never get back to MLB ball before he retired from pro-ball.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Alan Ashby, one of the original Toronto Blue Jays of 1977, gets a make-over on this 1977 Topps card, getting rid of the airbrushed job and replaced with an actual shot of him in Toronto gear:
Re-done version
Original version by Topps
After being traded to the Jays from the Cleveland Indians in November of 1976, Ashby would go on to put in two seasons for the expansion team before moving on to play for the Houston Astros for the next eleven years. I never realized that his career to him all the way to the doorsteps of the 1990 decade, finishing up with 22 games for the Astros in 1989 after 17-years as a Major League catcher. In those 17 seasons he batted .245 while playing in 1370 games, collecting 1010 hits with 90 home runs and 513 runs batted in over 4123 official at-bats. After his baseball career ended as a player he hung around the game as a coach in the Astros system as well as a broadcaster for the Astros in both radio and television.

Saturday, October 14, 2017


Today we celebrate two of the decades greatest players, who both happened to have won their only MVP Award in 1973, Pete Rose and Reggie Jackson:

In the long-running “Awards Sub-Set”, I imagine what it would have looked like had Topps included such a set every year in their basic sets, and today’s two cards are doozies, with Rose and Jackson leading two juggernauts in baseball history.
Rose put in one of the finest seasons of his incredible 24-year career, leading the National League in batting at .338 , his third batting title, while also leading the league with a career-high 230 hits, the sixth of his ten career 200-hit seasons.
Over in the American League, Jackson led the Oakland A’s to the second of three straight World Series titles by leading the league in homers (32), RBIs (117 and runs scored (99) while also hitting (at the time) a career-high .293.
While Rose’s Reds fell short in the NL playoffs to the Mets, denying a rematch of the 1972 World Series, they would soon take over the mantle of “Team of the Decade” from Oakland when the “Big Red Machine” took two straight championships of their own in 1975 & 1976.
But they’d have to wait as the A’s would beat the Mets for the title in 1973, then go on to win it again in 1974 by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Two al-time baseball super-stars right here in the prime of their career.


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