Thursday, March 30, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 JIM FOOR

Today’s “not so missing” card is for former pitcher Jim Foor, who had a brief three year Major League career, the last of which was with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1973:


Foor appeared in the last three games of his big league career in 1973, pitching 1.1 innings with a walk (intentional) and a strikeout, not factoring into a decision.
That would give him a total of 13 career games in Major League ball, the first 10 of which were with the Detroit Tigers where he picked up his only win (against no losses), though getting hit hard (eight earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched).
All told he finished with a 1-0 record with a 12.00 ERA over those 13 games and 6 total inning pitched.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 TOM EGAN

Here is yet ANOTHER of those Angels’ catchers who could have gotten a card during the 1970’s, Tom Egan:


Egan joins the incredibly long list of California catchers like Jeff Torborg, Charlie Sands, Ike Hampton, John Stephenson and Art Kusnyer who have received customs from this blog!
Talk about your revolving door!
For Egan, he put in eight years with the Angels with two with the Chicago White Sox squeezed in, playing his last Major League games in 1975 when he appeared in 28 games, batting .229 with 16 hits over 70 at-bats.
That would give him an even .200 batting average over ten seasons, with 196 hits in 979 at-bats in 373 games, all but one at the catching position (he appeared as a first baseman once in 1971).
What exactly WERE those Angels doing with their catchers during the 1970’s? So many it’s amazing...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MAJOR LEAGUE FOUNDERS: DOUG ALLISON 1876-1976

The next “founders” of the Major Leagues is Doug Allison, former catcher who’s career spanned the pre-N.A. Days through to the inaugural decade of the Major Leagues:


Allison began his career with the Geary of Philadelphia squad in 1868 before becoming one of the legendary members of the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1869, who went undefeated and put baseball on the map as the burgeoning sport of America.
An innovator of the sport, he is the first known player to use a glove, in his case buckskin mittens in 1870, and is credited as being the first catcher to stand right behind the batter to help prevent base runners from stealing a base.
He played all five of the National Association seasons, with no less than SIX organizations, before ending up with the Hartford team in 1875, a team he’d play for the next three seasons, the latter two being the first two years of the newly formed Major League.
His professional career would span 1869 through 1883 (not playing 1880-1882), and would retire with a .271 lifetime average over 318 games.

Monday, March 27, 2017

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- WILLIE WELLS

The next Negro Leagues legend we spotlight is shortstop extraordinaire Willie Wells, who put together a 25-year professional career between the NPL and Mexican Leagues between 1924 and 1948:


A ten-time all-star, Wells was also a Cuban League Most Valuable Player twice, in 1929/30 and 1939/40, and holds the Negro National League record of 27 home runs in a season in 1926, this third year as a pro.
As was one of my previous players spot-lighted, Mule Suttles, Wells was a part of the “Million Dollar Infield” along with Ray Dandridge and Dick Seay playing for the Newark Eagles.
Though an excellent hitter, Wells was particularly known for his defensive skills at short, and is credited as mentoring Jackie Robinson with infield defense including turning a double-play.
As for his offense, Wells recorded stats for the Negro Leagues are impressive, retiring with a .319 batting average along with a .510 slugging percentage and exactly 100 home runs in 756 games played.
A member of the Mexican and Cuban Halls of Fame, Wells was also inducted into the American Hall of Fame in 1997 by the Veteran’s Committee, capping off the career of one of the greatest shortstops in Negro Leagues history.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

GREAT AIRBRUSH OR OLD PHOTO: 1978 DICK DRAGO

Here’s a card that’s always interested me because of an unanswered question, the 1978 Dick Drago card, and “is this an airbrush job or an older photo?”:


I understand it can easily be a photo from his first tour with the Bosox between 1974 and 1975, and it does seem to fit.
However I stare at that cap and I’d swear it looks airbrushed to me. What do you all think?
Drago split the 1977 season with the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.41 earned run average over 49 games, all out of the ‘pen.
He’s put together a nice 13-year career between 1969 and 1981, finishing up with a 108-117 record, along with a 3.62 ERA over 519 games, 189 of them starts.
His best year was easily his 1971 season with the Kansas City Royals when he went 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and four shutouts over 34 starts and 241.1 innings pitched.
That effort even got him a fifth place finish in the American League Cy Young race as he led the Royals staff to a second place finish in only their third season in the league with a 85-76 record.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 MARV LANE

Here’s a 1972 card for former career Detroit Tigers outfielder Marv Lane, who made his Major League debut during the 1971 season with a scant eight games:


In those eight games, Lane hit .143 with a couple of hits over 14 at-bats, with an RBI and walk thrown in.
He would only play in eight more games the following season, followed by six in 1973 before getting the most action of his five-year career in 1974 when he played in 50 contests, batting .233 with 24 hits, 16 runs scored and nine RBI’s.
After playing in the minors during the 1975 season, he made it back to the big leagues in 1976, playing in the final 16 games of his career, batting .188 with nine hits in 48 at-bats, closing out his MLB tenure with a .207 average, 37 hits, 23 runs scored and 17 RBI’s over the course of 90 games.

Friday, March 24, 2017

1976 PROJECT- A RE-DO FOR NELSON BRILES

Here’s a redone 1976 card for former pitcher Nelson Briles, at the request of “Reader Jim”, who wanted a card of the righty with the team he actually played for the year before, the Kansas City Royals:


Briles wrapped up his second season in K.C. With a 6-6 record over 24 games, 16 of the starts, with a 4.26 earned run average and 73 strikeouts in 112 innings of work.
On November 15th however, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for speedster Dave Nelson, and I have to remind everyone that Topps managed to produce one of the better airbrush jobs of the decade just in time to have an “accurate” card for the upcoming 1976 set:

Pretty damn good no?
Briles originally came up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1965 and had his best years there, leading the National League in winning percentage in 1967 after posting a 14-5 record, followed up by a 19-11 record in 1968, both with sub-3.00 ERA’s.
Over the course of his 14-year career he posted a 129-112 record, with a 3.44 ERA and 1163 strikeouts in 452 appearances and 2111.2 innings.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 LARRY COX

Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for catcher Larry Cox, who was just starting out his career in the mid-1970’s with the team that signed him, the Philadelphia Phillies:


Though he wouldn’t get his first baseball card until the 1977 set, as an airbrushed Seattle Mariner player, he did actually get some playing time in the Majors in 1973, 1974 and 1975, all with the Phillies.
For creating a 1975 card I based it on the fact that he appeared in 30 games in 1974, batting .170 with nine hits in 53 at-bats while catching.
It was the most action he saw in his first three MLB campaigns before coming back as an “original” Mariner in ‘77.
Ironically, when he did get that 1977 rookie card, he didn’t even play in the big leagues the previous season.
But we know what Topps had to do to have both the Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays well-represented in that ‘77 set for both teams’ inaugural seasons.
Nevertheless, Cox would play nine years in the big leagues, finishing up after the 1982 season with a .221 batting average based on 182 hits in 825 at-bats over 348 games, most with Seattle.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 ART GARDNER

Here’s a “not so missing” 1979 card for a guy I already created a “missing” 1978 card, former outfielder Art Gardner:


The 1978 card I created a while back for him was as an Astros player, for whom he played the first two of his short three-year career.
This card has him for the team he closed out his MLB career for, the San Francisco Giants, a team he suited up for just seven games during the 1978 season.
In those seven games, all pinch-hitting & running appearances, Gardner went 0-3 with two runs scored and a caught stealing.
Thus would wrap up Gardner’s time in the Majors, finishing up with a .162 batting average with 16 hits over 99 at-bats in 86 total games.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 JOHN VUKOVICH

Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for a guy that saw enough action during the 1971 season that I had to double-check to see if I had it wrong that he was left out of the ‘72 set, John Vuckovich:


Vukovich played in 74 games for the Philadelphia Phillies that year, hitting .166 with 36 hits in 217 at-bats.
Brutal numbers there, for sure, but man when you think about some of the guys that DID get a card in the ‘72 set, it leaves you scratching your head, no?
Granted, turns out he wouldn’t even play in the Majors during the 1972 season, but he will make it back in 1973, now as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, before moving on to the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and back to the Phillies for the final five seasons of his 10-year career.
All told he’d finish up with a .161 career average with 90 hits in 559 at-bats while playing all infield positions while playing for two World Champs (1975 Reds and 1980 Phillies), though he didn’t get into Post Season action himself.
He would also get two brief stints as manager, two games heading the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and nine games in 1988 with the Phillies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

FUTURE STAR- RICK MONDAY

Let’s go and give the very first #1 overall amateur draft pick, Rick Monday, a “future star” card in my on-going 1978 sub-set:


By 1978 Monday was a veteran player who was entering the second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the third and final team of his successful 19-year career that also saw him suit up for the Kansas City/Oakland A’s and Chicago Cubs.
Between 1966 and 1984 he would be named to two all-star teams and play in three World Series, all with the Dodgers, including the 1981 team that won it all against the New York Yankees.
Of course, if we’re taking about Rick Monday, we have to mention the moment he entered baseball (and American) folk lore when he snatched an American flag from two protesters (of what I have no clue) who jumped onto the field at Dodgers Stadium on April 25th, 1976 while he was still a member of the Cubs.
Monday, who was playing centerfield, ran over and grabbed the flag in full sprint and kept running, much to the crowd’s delight, until he handed the flag off to Dodger pitcher Doug Rau in front of the L.A. dugout.
Back to that 1965 amateur draft: after the outrageous bidding war for all-world amateur Rick Reichardt the previous year, which resulted in the Los Angeles Angels winning his rights to the tune of $200,000, Major League baseball felt something needed to be done, coming up with the draft that we all follow to this day.
Coming out of Arizona State University, where he led the team to a College championship (along with teammate Reggie Jackson) over Ohio State, he earned All-America and was named College Player of the Year as a sophomore.
This made him a natural pick for #1 in a somewhat light-year, as evidenced by the picks that followed him in Les Rohr (Mets), Joe Coleman (Senators) and Alex Barrett (Astros).
As a matter of fact of the first 20 picks, the most successful player besides Monday would arguably be either Ray Fosse (7th) or Jim Spencer (11th).
Have to point out that in the second round, the Cincinnati Reds picked a kid out of Oklahoma that would fare pretty well in the big leagues, Johnny Bench, the 36th overall pick!
Nevertheless, Monday went on to have a very nice career, finishing up with 1619 hits and a .264 lifetime average along with 241 homers and 775 runs batted in over 1986 games.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- MULE SUTTLES

Today we celebrate another Negro League legend, power-hitter George “Mule” Suttles, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006 after a 23-year career:


Suttles played between 1921-1941 and was known for both his prodigious power and hitting for average, leading his league in home runs twice as well as doubles, triples and average once each all between 1926-1930 while with the St. Louis Stars.
While playing for the Newark Black Eagles in the late-1930’s and early-1940’s, he played along other Negro League legends Dick Seay, Willie Wells and Ray Dandridge, part of what was knows as the “Million Dollar Infield”.
According to available documentation, Suttles finished his NBL career with a .329 batting average and 129 homers, second only to yet another legend, Turkey Stearns who has credit for 176 in league play.
Baseball author Bill James ranked Suttles as the 43rd greatest player of all-time in ANY league back in 2001, as well as the second-best left-fielder in Negro League history.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1960'S SEASONAL LEADERS- PITCHING WINS

Today’s 1960’s high-water mark in stats is pitching wins, and anytime you can have a new card with Sandy Koufax on it is a good day!
Check it out:


Koufax topped the National League with 27 wins in 1966, in what would sadly be his last year in the Majors due to arm trouble which led him to retire prematurely.
It was the last season in a five year run rarely seen before or since by any pitcher in Major League history.
In those five years between 1962 and 1966 he led the league in wins three times, earned run average five times, shutouts three times, and strikeouts three times!
He took home three Cy Young Awards and an MVP (1963), finished second in MVP twice, was named to the all-star team every season and pitched the Los Angeles Dodgers to two World Championships (1963 & 1965).
On the American League side of course, we have Denny McLain and his 31 wins from the “Year of the Pitcher”, 1968.
As a 24-year older, McLain just dominated A.L. Batters, going 31-6 with a 1.96 E.R.A., six shutouts and 280 strikeouts! Needless to say he took home BOTH the A.L. Cy Young Award and M.V.P. That year, a year that saw the Detroit Tigers win it all after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
He wouldn’t disappoint in 1969 either, winning 24 games and tossing nine shutouts while sharing the Cy Young with Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar.
But sadly for McLain, troubles began the very next season and he’d be out of baseball after 1972 at only 28-years of age.
Back to Koufax for a second: I always wonder what he could have done during that 1968 “Year of the Pitcher” season. Who knows, perhaps HE could have been the last 30-game winner?

Friday, March 17, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 BRIAN OSTROSSER

Here’s another player with an ever so brief Major League career, former New York Met shortstop Brian Ostrosser, and a “Not So Missing” 1974 card:


Ostrosser’s entire Major League career spanned four games for the “Amazin’s” during their “You Gotta Believe” season that saw them reach the World Series, eventually losing to the dynasty of the time, the Oakland A’s.
He went 0-5 in his time at the plate, with two strikeouts, while playing flawless shortstop.
The following season he’d split time playing for the Mets and Cleveland Indians minor league system, where he would wrap up his pro career after 1975.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1970 FRANCISCO LIBRAN

Today’s “Not Really Missing” card is for an original 1969 San Diego Padre shortstop, Francisco Libran:


Libran’s entire Major League career encompassed 10 games for the Padres in their inaugural season, collecting one hit (a double) in 10 at-bats for a batting average of .100, along with an RBI.
He’d be back in the minors the following year, batting .250 in single-A ball before finding himself in the New York Mets system in 1971 where he batted .211, before playing out his pro career in 1972 with the Pueblo Pericos of the Mexican League.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 GILBERTO RONDON

Here’s a “missing” 1977 card for Gilberto (Gil) Rondon, pitcher for the Houston Astros, who played the bulk of his brief Major League career in 1976 with 19 appearances:


Rondon made his debut during the bicentennial year, and went on to post a 2-2 record over those 19 games, with a 5.70 earned run average and 21 strikeouts in 53.2 innings pitched.
Sadly for him that didn’t translate to a permanent spot on a Major League roster, and he’d spend the next two seasons in the minors for both the Houston and New York Yankee organizations before making it back up to the big leagues for four games with the Chicago White Sox in 1979.
Those four games, in which he posted no record along with a 3.72 ERA would be the last at the Major League level, as he would find himself playing in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system through 1981 before calling it a career.
All told he’d finish with a 2-2 record over 23 games, with a 5.40 ERA and 24 K’s in 63.1 innings of work.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- CRISTOBAL TORRIENTE

The next Negro Baseball Leagues legend is one of the greatest Cuban players of all-time, Cristobal Torriente, who played between 1912 and 1932 for both Cuban and Negro League organizations:


Torriente holds the Cuban Winter League career high-water mark for batting average at .352, and also went on to retire with a .331 Negro League BA, winning titles in 1920 and 1923.
One of my favorite quotes in ANY baseball lore is one attributed to Indianapolis ABC’s manager C.I. Taylor, who stated, “If I see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, ‘There walks a ballclub.’”
In 2001 Bill James rated Torriente as the 67th greatest baseball player ever for his book “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.”
In 1939 he was one of the first to be elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, and though it took a long while, he was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Monday, March 13, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 LARRY MILBOURNE

Here’s a “missing” 1976 card for long time infielder Larry Milbourne, who was left out of the set after having his rookie card in the 1975 version:


Milbourne actually had MORE plate appearances in 1975 than 1974, yet didn’t get the card the second time around for some strange reason.
During the 1975 season Milbourne appeared in 73 games for the Houston Astros, batting .245 with 32 hits over 151 at-bats while playing both second base and shortstop.
Oddly he would even be omitted from the 1977 set even though he amassed over 160 plate appearances, much more than a bunch of the guys included that year.
He would stick around the Major Leagues for eleven-years, finishing up with the Seattle Mariners in 1984, batting .254 with 623 hits in 2448 at-bats over 989 lifetime games.
He was a solid player for the New York Yankees in 1981 when they took home the American League championship before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, batting a cool .313 while playing the infield
He contributed even more during the post season, batting a combined .327 (including a scorching .462) in the ALCS, with 17 hits and 10 runs scored over 14 total games.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

MAJOR LEAGUE FOUNDERS: JOE START 1876-1976

Today’s “Founders” player is Joe Start one of the top first basemen in the early days of organized ball, dating to BEFORE the Civil War:


By the time the Major League was formed in 1876, Start was already known as “Old Reliable” for his play at first base at the age of 33.
A player for organized ball in the Brooklyn, NY area in the early 1860’s, Start was part of some of the top teams of the pre-National Association era, including the formidable Brooklyn Atlantics, who had undefeated seasons in both 1864 and 1865.
During all five seasons of the N.A., Start played for the New York Mutuals, anchoring the infield with innovative play such as playing off the bag.
Once the Majors got going, Start wasn’t slowing down, as he proceeded to play another 11-years, mainly for the Providence Grays after a year both at Hartford and Chicago.
His play never diminished as he played well into his 40’s, retiring after the 1886 season at the age of 43.
All together, NOT counting his 10 or so years in pre-pro baseball, Start would finish with a .299 batting average with 1417 hits over 1070 games, with 852 runs scored.
Considering he averaged about 70-75 games a season over his career, those are some pretty good hit totals that could easily had him finish close 3000 had he the chance.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 BILLY BALDWIN

Here’s a “not so missing” 1977 card for brief New York Mets outfielder Billy Baldwin, a player for whom I already created a 1976 “missing” card as a member of the Detroit Tigers a while back:


After a bit more than a “cup-of-coffee” with the Tigers during the 1975 season, where he appeared in 30 games in his first taste of the big leagues, Baldwin found himself in Queens, NY as a member of the Mets, where he’d get into a scant nine games, batting .273 with six hits over 22 at-bats.
Turns out those two seasons would be the only action he’d get to experience in the Majors, closing out a brief career with a .231 batting average with 27 hits in 117 at-bats with 10 extra base hits.
He’d hang on and play a couple more seasons in the minor leagues, for both the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates, before playing in the Mexican League in 1980 for Tabasco, before closing out an eight-year pro career.

Friday, March 10, 2017

FUTURE STAR- RON GUIDRY

I know I’ve been a bit heavy on the Yankee players for this thread so far, but it really was an accident as I find great pre-MLB images to use for this idea.
That being said, today’s “Future Star” is none other than my favorite pitcher growing up, Yankee lefty, “Louisiana Lightning” Ron Guidry, who had a season for the ages in 1978:


Guidry’s breakout Cy Young season of 1978 was something else, posting a 25-3 record with a winning percentage of .893 (still the Major League high-water mark for a 20-win season), along with a league-leading 1.74 earned run average to go with nine shutouts and 248 strikeouts.
Easily the Cy Young winner, he missed out on the American League MVP Award, which was given to Jim Rice for HIS awesome year for the Boston Red Sox.
A model of consistency, Guidry would anchor the Yankees pitching staff until 1988, retiring with a career record of 170-91, good for a winning percentage of .651, along with a 3.28 ERA and 1778 strikeouts and 26 shutouts over 368 appearances, 323 of which were starts.
He was named to four all-star teams and took home five straight Gold Gloves between 1982-1986, along with three 20+ win seasons and two ERA crowns.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 DON NEWHAUSER

Let’s go and give former Boston Red Sox pitcher Don Newhauser a “missing” 1973 card shall we?:


This would have been his rookie card had Topps saw it fit to place him into the set after appearing in 31 games for the Red Sox, ending up with a 4-2 record and a very nice 2.43 earned run average over 37 innings of relief work.
Oddly enough, he would get his rookie card the following year in the 1974 set after appearing in only NINE games and 12 innings during the 1973 campaign.
Go figure.
Sadly for Newhauser he’d only see even less work in 1974, appearing in only two games for Boston, getting hit hard in 3.2 innings, those being the last innings he’d pitch in his Major League career.
All told he would end up with a 4-3 record with a 2.39 ERA over 42 lifetime appearances and 52.2 innings pitched on the big league level.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- BUCK O'NEIL

The next Negro Leagues legend I wanted to profile wasn’t necessarily the greatest in terms of on-field performances, but definitely one of the most beloved figures, all-time good guy Buck O’Neil:


Every once in a while you have a sports figure who comes along and leaves a mark so huge ASIDE from their on-field resume, and Buck was just one of those guys.
By NO means a “common-player” during his 17-year playing career, O’Neil batted a career .288 by some accounts, almost all of it with the Kansas City Monarchs for which he is so historically connected to.
He also managed the Monarchs for eight seasons between 1948 and 1955, leading them to two league titles, with a shared title one other season when there was no playoff.
After his managerial tenure,  he became a scout for the Chicago Cubs , and thus began a relationship with the Major Leagues that included becoming the first African-American coach in MLB history in 1962, while also becoming a central figure in establishing a Negro leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, for which he served on it’s honorary board until his death.
Of course, O’Neil was brought to EVERYONE’S attention with his awesome recollections of the Negro Leagues in the Ken Burn’s “Baseball” documentary, and soon after became a frequent speaker on behalf of the history of the Negro Baseball Leagues.
I love the quip he had about “Cool Papa” Bell, when someone asked him, “So how fast was “Cool Papa” Bell?”, and he’d instantly answer back, “Quicker than that!”.
Love it!
Sadly, his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame eluded him, but hopefully he’ll find his place among the other Negro League greats that reside there soon enough. It’s just a shame it didn’t happen while he was still alive.
Would have been great to see that smile up there on that podium in Cooperstown as a “Hall of Famer”!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

1960'S SEASONAL LEADERS- RUNS

The next category up for the 1960’s “seasonal Leaders” sub-set is runs, which were led in each league by two heavy-weights, Frank Robinson and Roger Maris:


Robinson could have easily led BOTH leagues in runs scored in a season for the decade, but in this case he paced the National League with his league-leading 134 runs in 1962.
What a monster year for the reigning N.L. M.V.P., as he also led the league in doubles (51), OBP (.421) and Slugging (.624) while also hitting 39 homers with 136 runs batted in!
And to think that was only good enough for fourth in the M.V.P. Race that year!
Over in the American League we had Roger Maris, who scored 132 runs in his record breaking 1961 season when he slammed 61 homers to set a new Major League mark.
Ironically it would be the only time in his 12-year Major League career that Maris would top 100 runs scored in any season, coming closest the year before when he scored 98.
Nevertheless not a bad combo here for this card!

Monday, March 6, 2017

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 REX HUDSON

Here’s an example of exactly WHY I started the “Not Really Missing” thread, a card for a guy who made one single appearance as a Major League player, and I get to create a card for him all these years later.
The player is former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Rex Hudson:


The extent of Hudson’s big league experience is one game, two innings, and a whopping 22.50 earned run average with two homers allowed, one of them being a Hank Aaron blast.
He faced 12 batters in his Major League debut, allowing five runs, all earned, on six hits in those two innings, and would never taste the big time again.
He’d last another three seasons in the Dodgers minor league system, and would leave the game for good in 1977 after an 8-14 showing for Albuquerque in Triple-A.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

BASEBALL BROTHERS- THE ALOUS: FELIPE, MATTY AND JESUS

It wasn’t too long ago that I came across this photo of the Alou Brothers, sparking the idea in my head of a “Baseball Brothers” thread for the decade, so I used it to create a 1974 card of the trio:


Granted, it would have been a tough one for Topps to have this card in the 1974 set to represent the “correct” teams they played for at the start of the year.
However, it was such a nice shot I figured it would do for the set.
What a brother-trifecta, no?
You have Felipe, who not only put in an all-star 17-year career with a couple of 200+ hit seasons along with some “pop” as evidenced by his 206 career homers, but then went on to have a very nice managerial career.
Then you have Matty, who took home a National league batting title in 1966 with a .342 mark, but also put in two 200+ hit seasons, finishing his 15-year career with a .307 batting average along with four straight seasons of .330+ averages between 1966-1969.
Then you have “little” brother Jesus, who also put in a 15-year career and ended up with a very nice .280 career batting average between 1963 and 1979.
Pretty amazing when you think about the fact that each had such a long career in the Majors, 47 years worth of playing time!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

TURN BACK THE CLOCK- 1966 ORIOLES STUN THE DODGERS WITH A WORLD SERIES SWEEP!

Today’s “Turn Back the Clock” moment is more like “moment(s)”, as we celebrate the Baltimore Orioles and their magical 1966 season which ended with a World Championship by SWEEPING the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers:


Led by Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson, who came over in a blockbuster deal before the season, the Orioles had a young pitching staff that would not disappoint, led by their “aged veteran” Steve Barber who was only 28.
After finishing their season with a 97-63 record, it was on to the World Series against a Dodger teamed anchored by Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
But this year was all about the O’s, as their young staff did the improbable and limited the Dodgers to TWO runs (both scored in the first game) for the ENTIRE series, throwing three straight shutouts to close it out and take home the series win.
The Dodgers were shut out for 33 straight innings, from the fourth inning of game 1 through to the end of game four!
It would be the beginning of a nice run for the organization, as they’d reach the World Series again in 1969, 1970, 1971, with another championship in 1970 against the Cincinnati Reds (who were themselves starting up a dynasty of sorts at that time).

Friday, March 3, 2017

"WTHBALLS" ISSUE #9: 1976 PART II THE NATIONAL LEAGUE






I'm happy to announce the availability of the next issue of "WTHBALLS", issue #9: 1976 "Missing in Action" Part II The National league.
Following the last issue, (the American League), this picks up where I left off, with missing cards of players that I felt should have had a card in that awesome 1976 Topps set.
This issue features Hall of Famers like Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal, seasoned veterans like Ray Sadecki and Sonny Siebert, right on down to guys who had that "cup of coffee" in the big leagues, like Greg Terlecky and Ken Frailing.
The issue also comes with a full-color postcard of a variation of the Bob Gibson "Career-Capper", ready to be collected as-is or cut-out to add to your 1976 set!
As usual, this issue is a 24-page full-color comic-sized magazine and can be purchased for $5 each plus $2 postage.
Don't forget, I also have every back issue available if you missed one! Please contact me for combined shipping rates for multiple issue orders!
Thank you to all who have been collecting these, it's been a blast getting these made for my own personal collection and it's great to see all this work get some attention from others.
Take Care
Gio/wthballs

FUTURE STARS- DAVE WINFIELD

Let’s see, would it have been too much of a stretch to proclaim Dave Winfield at ANY stage of his young baseball career to be a “Future Star”?
The guy was the fourth overall pick in the 1973 amateur draft, and was also selected by pro football and basketball teams coming out of the University of Minnesota. In other words, the world was HIS for the taking:


And he never disappointed. First by choosing baseball as his path, and once on the field, with his play.
Over the next 22-years all he did was top 3000 hits, slam 463 home runs, score 1669 runs, drive in 1833 runs (including 108 in 1992 at the age of 40!), and get named to 12-straight all-star teams.
What an overall talent and great guy! As a kid growing up in New York City in the 1980’s not only did I get to see him play a lot, but I’d also get to meet him on quite a few occasions at baseball card shows, and he was always friendly and welcoming.
An easy Hall of Fame inductee in 2001, you just have to wonder what he could have accomplished had he chosen basketball or football as his path to stardom.
Just awesome...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

KINDA NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 MIKE BEARD

This card is really a toss-up as far as “missing” or “not really missing”, a 1977 card for former Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Beard, who had his rookie card in the 1976 Topps set:


Beard was borderline “missing”, as he appeared in 30 games for the Braves, going 0-2 with a save over 33.2 innings pitched.
His innings pitched dropped by about half from the year before, though his appearances were pretty much the same (34 to 30), along with a 4.28 earned run average.
But the 1977 season didn’t bring much luck, as he’d appear in only four games with an eye-popping 9.64 ERA over 4.2 innings, with 14 hits and two walks allowed. Ouch.
That would sadly be it for the lefty, and he’d wrap up his brief Major League career with a 4-2 record along with a 3.74 ERA in 74 games and 118 innings.
But certainly nothing to be embarrassed about!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JIM DRISCOLL

I’m stretching it a bit here, but today I give you a “missing” 1971 Jim Driscoll card, though he barely played enough to be considered missing by any standard:


Driscoll made his Major League debut in 1970, playing in 21 games with the Oakland A’s at second and short while batting .192 over 52 at-bats with 10 hits.
But he wouldn’t get another taste at the big leagues again until the 1972 season, now with the Texas Rangers, getting into 15 games and going hitless in 18 at-bats.
That would be it for him, and he would wrap up his brief career with a .143 batting average with 10 hits in 70 at-bats, with a home run thrown in, over those 36 games.

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