Tuesday, December 31, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 PAUL RATLIFF

Today on the blog we have a 1973 “not so missing” card for four-year Big Leaguer Paul Ratliff, closing out his tenure after appearing in 22 games for the Milwaukee Brewers during the 1972 campaign:


Ratliff, who originally made it up to the Majors in 1963 at the age of 19 with the Minnesota Twins for 10 games, would have to wait until the 1970 season before getting another shot at Big League action, appearing in 69 games and hitting .268 before coming back for 44 games in 1971 split between the Twins and Brewers, when he hit .165 over 85 official at-bats.
In 1972, he hit .071 with three hits in 42 at-bats for the Brewers while filling in at catcher, finishing up his brief career with a .205 batting average, with 12 homers and 42 runs batted in over 145 games and 297 at-bats, never again playing pro ball.

Monday, December 30, 2019

TRULY "NOT REALLY" MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 GERRY PIRTLE

OK, so every once in a while I think I did my research for a “not really” missing card, but fall flat on my face, as is the case today with a card I created not realizing the player was on a multi-player rookie card that year.
The player is former Montreal Expos pitcher Gerry Pirtle, and the year is 1979. So nevertheless, here you go:


Pirtle, who was given the name “Jerry” on his 1979 multi-player card appearance by Topps, was given “Gerry” by me here on this dedicated rookie, since it’s the only way I’ve seen his name on other references.
The one-year MLB pitcher appeared in 19 games for Montreal during the 1978 season, going 0-2 with an earned run average of 5.96 over 25.2 innings of work, with 14 strikeouts and 23 walks allowed.
He was 30 years of age when he made his Big League debut, and sadly for him that was all there would be, as he’d spend the next season in the Baltimore Orioles Minor League system before calling it a career.
Originally in the New York Yankees organization between 1967 and 1975, he spent 13 years in the Minors, with only those 19 games in the Summer of 1978 to show for it. But hey, he got to live that dream!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A RE-DO OF ONE OF MY OWN- 1972 TRADED SPARKY LYLE

Recently a buddy of mine asked me to create a 1972 “Traded” card for Sparky Lyle, one of the great New York Yankee trades in the franchise’s history.
And although I already created a version that differed from what Topps did with their “Traded” sub-set, I figured I may as well toe-the-line and create one true to the original idea:


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 originally 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!
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.
Not too shabby!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

1975 IN-ACTION: GARRY MADDOX

Time to go and give the “Secretary of Defense” Garry Maddox a 1975 “In-Action” card in my long-running sub-set, celebrating his ascent to becoming one of the all-time greatest defensive outfielders we’ve ever seen:


Maddox was still with his original Big League team, the San Francisco Giants, when this card would have seen the light of day, with him just about to begin his fourth season.
1975 would see him get traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Willie Montanez in May, and he would take that opportunity to take home the first of eight Gold Gloves over his brilliant 15-year career.
He would spent the rest of his career with the Phillies, hitting as high as .330 in 1976, helping them to a World Championship in 1980, and finishing with 1802 hits and a .285 batting average when it was all said and done.
Incredibly, the man was never tabbed for an All-Star game, which stuns me since he had some excellent seasons during his career.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired after the 1986 season he was regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders ever, prompting one of the best quotes, “Two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, the other one-third by Maddox”.
Brilliant!

Friday, December 27, 2019

MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JIM BOUTON

I have to say, I have slept on a “missing” 1971 card for former pitcher and author Jim Bouton all these years, considering the man pretty much played a full season with the Houston Astros during the 1970 season. So here you go:


Bouton appeared in 29 games for the Astros in 1970, going 4-6 with an earned run average of 5.40 over 73.1 innings, with 49 strikeouts and a complete game thrown in.
Still only 31 years of age, it turned out to be the last action he’d see on a Big League mound before he made that incredible comeback eight years later with the Atlanta Braves in 1978 when he made five starts at the age of 39 as a knuckleballer.
It was a far cry from his MLB debut in 1962 when he posted seven wins fr the eventual World Champion New York Yankees, following that up with a 21-7 season in 1963 that saw him make his only All-Star team.
After another solid year in 1964 that saw him go 18-13 with a 3.02 ERA and four shutouts, his career stumbled with injuries, never winning more than four games in any season between 1965 and 1970, becoming an arm out of the bullpen by the time he played for the Seattle Pilots in their lone season of 1969.
Nevertheless, he finished with a career 62-63 record, with a 3.57 ERA over 304 appearances, 144 of those starts, with eleven shutouts and six saves along the way, along with a landmark book called “Ball Four” that is still essential reading for any sports fan.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 MARCEL LACHEMANN

Time to go and close out the brief three year Major league playing career of former pitcher Marcel Lachemann, who made his last appearance on a Big League mound during the 1971 season:



Lachemann appeared in one game that year, pitching a total of a third of an inning, giving up two hits and two earned runs along with a walk against the Detroit Tigers on April 25th.
He would go on to spend the rest of the year in the Minor Leagues, pitching to a record of 5-2 with a nice 3.04 ERA over 43 appearances, but would never get a chance to get back to the Majors.
He would go on to play three more seasons in the Minor Leagues for both the Oakland and Montreal Expos organizations as a reliever, settling for a Big League career that had 70 appearances with a record of 7-4, with an ERA of 3.44 over 102 innings pitched.
He would also get some managing in the Majors decades later, managing the California Angels between 1994 and 1996, finishing his managerial career with a 161-170 record, leading the Angels to a second place finish in 1995.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 CHIP LANG

Up on the blog this morning we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for two-year Major League pitcher Chip Lang of the Montreal Expos:


Now, when I say “two-year” MLB pitcher I am stretching it quite a bit, as Lang appeared in one single game during the 1975 season, his Big League debut, pitching 1.2 innings and allowing two hits and three walks for a cool 10.80 earned run average, with two strikeouts.
He’d be back on a Major League mound the following season, appearing in 29 games for Montreal, with two of them starts, going 1-3 with a 4.19 ERA over 62.1 innings of work, striking out 30 but walking 34.
He would go on to play two years in the Minors, for both the Montreal and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations, but never get back to the Big Leagues, finishing up with those 30 appearances in 1975/1976, with a record of 1-3 along with a 4.36 ERA in 64 innings pitched.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1970 ALLAN LEWIS

Time to go ahead and give former pinch runner Allan Lewis a “not so missing” 1970 card, what I hope is the first of a few for the blog over the coming months:


Before Herb Washington, before Larry Lintz, Lewis put in a six season Major League career that saw him have more game appearances than at-bats, usually in the pinch-running role between 1967 and 1973, all with the Athletics organization.
In 1969, Lewis appeared in 12 games for Oakland, but getting only one hitless plate appearance while scoring two runs without a stolen base.
It was the common thread for him over his career, as he would end up with 156 games played in the Big Leagues while only collecting 31 plate appearances and 29 “official” at-bats, picking up six hits for a .207 batting average while scoring 47 runs and stealing 44 bases.
In his final MLB season of 1973, he appeared in 35 games, all as a pinch runner, scored 16 runs and stole seven bases, without a single plate appearance.
In 1966 while with Leesburg of the Florida State League he set a Minor League record with 116 stolen bases in 131 games, a record that stood until Alan Wiggins stole 120 in 1980.
Over his entire professional career between 1961 and 1973, he would steal 530 bases across all levels, with 486 of those in Minor League play.

Monday, December 23, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 RICK KREUGER

Up on the blog today, we have a fun card to add to the “not so missing” stable, a 1978 card for former Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Kreuger:


Kreuger pitched “zero” innings in 1977, facing two batters in his one appearance during the season and giving up hits to both of them, along with two earned runs, for an earned run average of “infinity”, also getting tagged for the loss.
He made his MLB debut during the 1975 season when he appeared in two games for the Red Sox, not factoring in a decisions while posting an ERA of 4.50 over four innings of work.
1976 would be his best season as a Big Leaguer, going 2-1 over eight appearances, four of those starts, with a 4.06 ERA in 31 innings pitched, even tossing a complete game, though he did walk 12 batters while striking out 12.
After his one appearance 1977 seasons, he’d be back in 1978, making six appearances for the Cleveland Indians while pitching to a 3.86 ERA over 9.1 innings, not factoring in a decision.
Turns out, that would be it for his Major League career, finishing up with a record of 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA over 17 appearances and 44.1 innings pitched, with 20 strikeouts against 20 walks in parts of four seasons.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

A LITTLE BIT OF A RE-DO FOR THE 1977 MIKE CALDWELL CARD

Time to go ahead and “fix” the 1977 Mike Caldwell card, which originally had him in an airbrushed St. Louis Cardinals uni, a team for whom he never ended up playing:

Corrected to show his team of 1976
As issued by Topps

Topps tried to do the right thing, getting Caldwell in the correct uniform since he was traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Cardinals in October of 1976.
Turns out he would only end up getting traded again, this time to the Cincinnati reds in March of 1977, nullifying the St. Louis paint job on his card, shown above.
To make matters even more interesting, Caldwell would end up on the move yet again in June when the Reds turned around and dealt him to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Four teams in eight months for the veteran pitcher.
I figured I’d go ahead and create a Giants 1977 card to reflect who he pitched with in 1976, granted to the tune of a 1-7 record along with a 4.86 earned run average over 50 appearances.
Once in Milwaukee he’d find his groove, pitching for them the rest of his career, a total of eight years, even finishing second to Ron Guidry in 1978 for the American league Cy Young Award when he went 22-9 with a 2.36 ERA with a league-leading 23 complete games over 34 starts and 37 appearances, with six shutouts and 293.1 innings pitched.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season at the age of 35, he finished with a record of 137-130, with a 3.81 ERA over 475 appearances, 308 of them starts, with 23 shutouts and 18 saves between 1971 and 1984.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

1973 SPECIAL- HANK AARON HOMERS IN ALL-STAR GAME IN FRONT OF ATLANTA FAITHFULL

On the blog today we have a 1973 special featuring the great Hank Aaron and his 1972 All-Star Game home run in front of the Atlanta “home” fans:


Just a wonderful photo showing “Hammerin’ Hank” being greeted at the plate by fellow Hall of Famer Billy Williams and a young Cesar Cedeno.
Aaron’s homer helped the National League get back on the winning track in the All-Star game after a 1971 loss to the American League, taking this one 4-3.
He’d go on to have another great season in 1973, hitting 40 homers with less that 400 at-bats, the first to ever do so, while bringing him closer to the inevitable record 715th home run which he’d do early in 1974 season.
I’m continually fascinated by the man’s career, and how even with all the accolades given him, I STILL say he is not appreciated enough for his career and what he accomplished over his 23 year career.
Just incredible. A baseball God.

Friday, December 20, 2019

A 1976 REDO OF ONE OF MY OWN- TIM BLACKWELL

On the blog today is a “re-do” of one of my own early creations, a 1976 “missing” card for former Boston Red Sox Tim Blackwell, the original of which appeared here in March of 2015.
I’ve since found a great Topps Vault image that makes for a much better version, so here goes:


Blackwell was actually "missing" from both the 1976 AND 1975 sets (Which I remedied some time ago with a 1975 edition as well here on the blog).
The guy posted over 135 plate appearances both seasons, yet Topps didn't have him on a card until the 1978 set, which is ALSO strange since in 1977 he only appeared in 17 games, good for only 25 plate appearances (???).
So weird…
For the 1975 season, (relating to the card here), Blackwell played in 59 games, good for 157 plate appearances, which saw him hit .197 with 26 hits, 15 runs scored and six runs batted in while filling in for Carlton Fisk and the Red Sox.
After his first two MLB seasons with the Red Sox, Blackwell was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies, and only got into four games during the 1976 season.
He collected two hits over those contests, spread out over eight at-bats, and would find himself playing for the Montreal Expos the following year, before finding his groove with the Chicago Cubs in 1978, who he’d play for through the 1981 season.
After two more years with the Expos in 1982 and 1983, his MLB career would come to a close, batting .228 with 238 hits in 1044 at-bats in ten seasons, generally as a back-up/platoon catcher.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 LERON LEE

Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1977 card for former outfielder Leron Lee, who wrapped up an eight-year Major League career in 1976 before heading for greater glory in Japan:


Lee appeared in 23 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976, hitting .133 with six hits over 45 at-bats with a run scored and two runs batted in.
He originally came up in 1969 with the St. Louis Cardinals and never really got a full season in the Big Leagues, the most action being 121 games in 1970 with only 294 plate appearances.
After spending half of 1976 playing in the Mexican League, he’d take his lumber to the Far East where he ended up playing 11 seasons for Lotte in the Japanese League, hitting 283 home runs and driving in almost 1000 runs while hitting a very nice .320.
For his MLB career, Lee ended up with a career .250 batting average, with 31 homers and 152 RBIs over 614 games and 1617 at-bats, scoring 173 runs and collecting 404 hits.
He would play 22 years of professional ball, hitting 366 homers and driving in 1301 runs with 2424 hits in 2362 games between 1966 through 1987.
Quite the pro career.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 DAMASO BLANCO

Up on the blog today I give you an admittedly odd “not so missing” card, this one a 1975 edition for former San Francisco Giant infielder Damaso Blanco, who played the last of his brief MLB career during the 1974 season:


Now, I don’t know exactly what was going on with this image, but nevertheless I decided to use it for the card here, closing out what was a three-year Big League career that saw him hit .212 over 72 games and 33 at-bats, with seven hits and nine runs scored between 1972 and 1974, all for the Giants.
A career Minor Leaguer, he originally became a pro back in 1961 at the age of 19 before toiling through the Giants system until his big break in 1972 at the age of 30.
His career was played entirely for the San Francisco organization, with only those three partial years in the Majors mentioned above, totaling 14 years as a professional.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 CURTIS BROWN

Here’s a fun “not so missing” card to add to the blog, a 1974 edition for one-game Major League player Curtic Brown, had his moment in the sun on May 27th, 1973 for the Montreal Expos:


Brown went 0-4 at the plate for the Expos that day while playing left field and handling three chances without an error.
The brother of another one-year player, Leon Brown who played with the New York Mets in 1976 (and had a 1977 card on this very blog some time ago), Curtis spent 17 seasons as a professional ballplayer, beginning in 1965 as a 19-year-old in the Mets system.
After his oh-so-brief taste of the Big League life he’d go on to spend another eight years as a pro, the last seven in the Mexican League where he played through 1981 before retiring for good at the age of 35.
Nevertheless, the man made it to the Majors, even if it was just for one game, and that is aces by me...

Monday, December 16, 2019

A CAREER-CAPPING 1973 CARD FOR DONN CLENDENON

Today I post up a 1973 career-capper for former Major league first baseman Donn Clendenon, who was wrapping up a nice 12-year Big League career in 1972 with his one season as a St. Louis Cardinal:


Clendenon played in 61 games for the Cards in 1972, hitting .191 with four homers and nine runs batted in at the age of 36, with 13 runs scored and 26 hits.
He came over to St. Louis as a Free Agent after two and a half seasons with the New York Mets, including their “amazin’” 1969 run to the world championship over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
The bulk of his career was with his original team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he suited up for between 1961 and 1968, where he twice drove in over 90 runs and hit as many as 28 homers in 1966.
By the time he hung them up, he finished with a career .274 average, with 159 homers and 682 RBIs over 1362 games and 4648, with 1273 hits and 594 runs scored.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

1975 IN-ACTION: JOE RUDI

Adding to my long-running 1975 “in-Action” thread, I post my Joe Rudi edition, one of the important cogs in the Oakland three-peat World Champion teams of the mid-70’s:


Rudi had two second-place MVP finished during his great run, in 1972 and 1974, while also taking home three straight Gold Gloves between 1974 and 1976.
He led the league with 181 hits and nine triples in 1972 along with doubles (39) and total bases (287) in 1974 while also giving the A’s a flexible fielder that could play all three outfield positions as well as first base.
Such a solid player teamed up with others like Sal Bando and Gene Tenace that made the A’s much more than just superstars like Reggie Jackson and Jim “Catfish” Hunter.
By the time Rudi retired, he finished up with a career .264 average, with 179 homers and 810 RBIs over 1547 games and 5556 at-bats playing for the A’s, California Angels and Boston Red Sox between 1967 and 1982.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

AIRBRUSHING THROUGH THE 1970s- 1975 KEN SANDERS

Time to go and take a look at another airbrushing gem form the 1970s, the 1975 Ken Sanders card featuring the career reliever with his “new” team, the California Angels:


From the front of his jersey you can barely see the fact that he’s wearing a Cleveland Indians uni, from where he came over during the 1974 season after being released in June.
He was signed by California a week later, and went on to appear in only nine games for them the rest of the way, not factoring in a decision and posting an ERA of 2.79 over 9.2 innings with a save thrown in.
He’d go on to spend all of 1975 with the New York Mets, putting in another good year with a record of 1-1 along with a 2.30 ERA with five saves in 30 appearances and 43 innings of work.
After that he’d one more season under the Big League sun, splitting 1976 with the Mets and Kansas City Royals, appearing in 31 games and again posting a sub-3.00 ERA, this time at 2.70.
Never an All-Star, he did have two straight seasons of sub-2.00 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 and 1971, with 1.75 and 1.91 respectively, along with a league-leading 31 saves in the latter season.
All told he finished up with a ten-year Major League career, appearing in 409 games and posting a record of 29-45, with 86 saves and a very nice 2.97 ERA over 656.2 innings, with only one start in his career, that for the K.C. Athletics way back in 1966.

Friday, December 13, 2019

1978 FANTASY CARD- DAVE KINGMAN WITH THE NEW YORK YANKEES

Up on the blog today is the second of what will be all four cards depicting Dave Kingman with the organizations he suited up for during his crazy 1977 season, this time his brief season-ending stint with the New York Yankees:


Kingman only appeared in eight games with the eventual World Champions, hitting .250 with four homers in only 24 official at-bats.
This was after playing 10 games for the California Angels, 56 games for the San Diego padres, and of course 58 games to start the year with the New York Mets.
With all of that he still hit 26 homers that season, with 78 runs batted in and a “Dave Kingman-like” .221 batting average along with 143 strikeouts in 439 at-bats.
I already found a nice image of him while with the Angels, so expect that card up here on the blog in the near future, along with a New York Mets version to close out the 1977 season for “Kong”.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

1970 FANTASY JIM BOUTON

Been a long time coming, but I always wanted to draw up a 1970 card for Jim Bouton depicting him as a Seattle Pilot, though I did create a Houston Astros versions years ago since he finished the season with them in 1969. Nevertheless, here we go:


Bouton was coming off seven seasons with the New York Yankees when he was purchased by the new Pilots franchise in June of 1968.
While with the Yankees he had two great seasons in 1963 and 1964 before arm injuries kept him sporadic at best over the next four years.
As a Seattle Pilot, Bouton was used as a reliever, appearing in 57 games while going 2-1 with an earned run average of 3.91 before getting traded to the Houston Astros on August 24th of ‘69, where he appeared in 16 games before the season was done.
Of course, his somewhat brief tenure with the Pilots is forever immortalized in his landmark book “Ball Four”, with anecdote after anecdote of players, coaches and managers throughout his MLB career, and the Pilots had their fair share of characters.
For Bouton, he’d also pitch in 1970 before arm troubles ended his career, but not before making a surprising comeback at the age of 39 with the Atlanta Braves in 1978, appearing in what turned out to be the last five games of his career, all starts, as he went 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA.
All told, Bouton finished his career with a record of 62-63, with an ERA of 3.57 over 304 appearances, 144 of those starts, with 11 shutouts and six saves between 1962 and 1979.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 TOMMY TOMS

Today the blog offers up a “not so missing” 1978 card for former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tommy Toms, who appeared in what was the last of his Big League games during the 1977 season:


Toms had a brief three year Major League career spanning 1975-1977, each year ending up with an identical 0-1 record over 18 appearances for the Giants.
For 1977, he finished with a nice 2.08 earned run average over 4.1 innings in four appearances, all out of the bullpen at the age of 25.
Sadly for him however, he would go on to spend all of 1978 in the Minor Leagues in three different organizations: Cardinals, Orioles and Rangers, before calling it a career.
All told, Toms finished with a career 0-3 record over the aforementioned 18 games, with a 5.40 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched, all in relief.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 PETE RICHERT

Up on the blog today we have a career-capping 1975 card for a starter turned reliever who put together a nice 13-year career in the Big Leagues, Pete Richert:


Richert appeared in the last 34 games of his career during the 1974 season, split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, going 2-1 with a very nice 2.27 earned run average in 31.2 innings.
Originally a starter the first half of his career between 1962 and 1967, he was switched over to the bullpen in 1968 while with the Baltimore Orioles, and had a nice run the rest of the way.
He would post ERA’s under 2.30 four times during that span, with a low of 1.98 in 1970 when he helped the Baltimore Orioles cruise to a World Championship over the Cincinnati Reds.
He made two All-Star teams, in 1965 and 1966 while a starter for the Washington Senators, even garnering some MVP attention for his efforts.
By the time he was done in 1974, he retired with a career 80-73 record, with a very nice 3.19 ERA over 429 appearances and 1165.2 innings pitched, with three shutouts and 51 saves.

Monday, December 9, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 GARY ROSS

On the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for former pitcher Gary Ross, who was coming off of two straight tough seasons in 1974 and 1975:


For the 1975 campaign Ross appeared in one single game with the California Angels, throwing five innings and allowing three runs for a 5.40 ERA, taking the loss. This was after he appeared in only nine games for the San Diego Padres the year before, throwing 18 innings and not factoring in a decision.
He would bounce back nicely somewhat in 1976 when he appeared in 34 games, 31 of them starts, going 8-16 but with a very nice 3.00 earned run average with seven complete games and two shutouts in 225 innings of work.
Sadly, his 1977 season was another bust as he went 2-4 in only 14 games with a 5.55 ERA over 58.1 innings, which would end up being his last as a Big League pitcher.
He’d retire after the season, never even playing Minor League ball after that, finishing up with a career 25-47 record over 283 appearances, with a 3.92 ERA in 713.2 innings pitched between 1968 and 1977.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

AIRBRUSHING THROUGH THE 1970s- 1973 LARRY STAHL

Taking a closer look at another airbrushing gem from the wild-70’s today, this one the 1973 card for former outfielder Larry Stahl, who found great fortune when he went from the last-place San Diego Padres to the Cincinnati Reds:


A nice paint-job for the cap and some adequate cropping of the image, and just like that we have his 1973 card ready to be ripped out of packs.
For Stahl, he’d end up playing that one year with the Reds and call it a career, putting in 10 seasons under the Major League sun playing for the Kansas City Athletics, New York Mets, Padres and Reds between 1964 and 1973.
Never a full-time player, the most action he ever saw in any season was back in 1966 when he appeared in 119 games for the Athletics, followed by 144 games for the Padres in 1971.
Over the course of that career he hit .232 with exactly 400 hits through 1721 at-bats in 730 games, with 167 runs scored and 163 RBIs with 36 homers.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

NICKNAMES OF THE 1970s- "BIG DADDY" STAN WILLIAMS

Nice card to add to the “Nicknames of the 1970s” thread, a 1971 edition for Stan Williams, aka “Big Daddy”, who had himself a big time return to top-notch form in 1970 while with the Minnesota Twins:


Originally a starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1958 and 1962, Williams even made the All-Star team in 1960 and gave the team a solid arm paired up with the likes of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
By the time the 1970 season was opening up, his career was in flux, but he found his groove as a reliever that season, going 10-1 with a brilliant 1.99 earned run average over 68 appearances and 113.1 innings of work.
At the age of 33, you’d think he was starting a second phase of his career, but sadly he’d only be in the Majors another two seasons, pitching for the Twins, St. Louis Cardinals and finally the Boston Red Sox in 1972, making only three appearances and getting lit up to a 6.23 ERA.
After taking 1973 off, he did pitch in the Minors for Boston in 1974, and performed very well, going 2-0 with a minuscule 0.47 ERA over five appearances and 19 innings pitched, but that would be it for his Pro career, finishing up with a 109-94 record over 14 seasons, with a nice 3.48 ERA and 1305 strikeouts in 482 appearances and 1764.1 innings, throwing 11 shutouts while collecting 42 saves along the way.

Friday, December 6, 2019

A SPECIAL LOOK AT A SUB-SET THAT NEVER WAS: 1970 ROOKIE ALL-STARS

I’ve been meaning to post up a blog entry about this test-set that never happened a long time ago, and came across the folder of scans recently, so here goes.
Apparently Topps was considering a “Rookie All-Stars” sub-set at some point after the 1970 season, featuring guys like Thurman Munson and Larry Bowa, but whatever reason it never happened.
Here are what the cards were going to look like:


Now, for some reason the design reeks of 1970 to me, not 1971, but all documentation I can find about it stated 1971, so 1971 it is I suppose.
I found a nice blog write-up on the Topps Archive from 2011:

http://toppsarchives.blogspot.com/2011/08/rooked-no-more.html

Go check that out for more info.
I don’t know exactly what the idea was to move forward with such a set. Was it going to be a yearly thing? Some sort of “Update”?
Or maybe just a sub-set within the following year’s set?
Either way this would have been awesome to have, pulling them out of packs through the decade, certainly leading to some doozy’s later on like 1978 Eddie Murray and Andre Dawson, 1979 Ozzie Smith, 1976 Fred Lynn, etc.
I saw a couple go up at auction over the years and they go for ridiculous amounts of money, over $10k each!
I can’t even imagine what a Thurman Munson specimen would go for out on the open market!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 BOBBY CUELLAR

Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for four-game Major League pitcher Bobby Cuellar of the Texas Rangers, who saw Big League action as a September call-up during the 1977 season:


Cuellar threw 6.2 innings over those four relief appearances, allowing only one run for a nifty 1.35 earned run average, with three strikeouts and two walks.
You’d think that the performance, as well as the fact that he was only 24 years old, would get him so more playing time the following year, but it wasn’t to be.
Cuellar would go on to spend the next eight seasons in the Minors, including the 1982 season in the Mexican League, before turning to Minor League managerial work.
Incredibly he has worked in some capacity (manager, coach, etc) in Minor League ball to this very day, a good 36 years!
Add his player experience, which started in Rookie Ball in 1974, we are now talking 45 years of the baseball life.
Incredible.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

1970 COACH CARD- FRANK CROSETTI

Been a long time since I created a coach card, and today I am happy to add a 1970 card for long-time baseball lifer Frank Crosetti, “The Crow”, who had himself quite a career with the New York Yankees before lending his wisdom with the Seattle Pilots for their sole season of 1969:


Crosetti spent 37 years with the Yankees as a player and then coach, but wanted to be closer to his family in Northern California, so he took the coaching gig for Seattle before working with the Minnesota Twins in 1970 & 1971.
Crosetti was a part of 17 World Champion Yankee teams between 1932 and 1962, and 23 American League Champion squads up to 1964.
As a player he was a two-time All-Star who scored 100+ runs  four times, with a high of 137 for the juggernaut 1936 team when he had his finest year, hitting .288 with 182 hits, 35 doubles, 15 homers and 78 RBIs.
It wasn’t until a  young new shortstop named Phil Rizzuto came along that he’d lose his starting position, though he did fill in as regular shortstop when Rizzuto was in the military during World War II.
He hung up the cleats after the 1948 season and went right to coaching, never having an interest in managing as he turned down numerous offers over his coaching career.
Crosetti lived a wonderful long life, until the age of 91 before passing away from complications from a fall in 2002.
A true baseball institution.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 ED PLANK

Here was a fun card to add to the 1979 “not so missing” stable, a card for former San Francisco Giants pitcher Ed Plank, who made his MLB debut during the 1978 season, and another player I never heard of before:


Plank appeared in five games for the Giants, not factoring in a decision while posting an earned run average of 4.05 over 6.2 innings.
He’d be back in 1979, albeit for only four appearances, again not picking up a win or a loss over 3.2 innings while posting a bloated 7.36 ERA.
In 1980 he’s spend the year in the Minors, and get hit hard, finishing up with a record of 3-8 with an ERA of 6.90 over 38 appearances and 103 innings of work.
Turns out that would be the last of his professional career, finishing up with nine Major League appearances and 10.1 innings pitched, with no decisions and an ERA of 5.23.

Monday, December 2, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 TOM ROBSON

Here’s a “not so missing” 1976 card for a player I honestly never heard of before, former Texas Rangers first baseman Tom Robson, he of a brief two-year Big League career:


Robson appeared in 17 games for Texas in 1975, hitting an even .200 with seven hits over 35 at-bats, in what was his second stint in the Majors.
He made his MLB debut during the 1974 season when he hit .231 over six games with three hits in 13 at-bats, driving in two while scoring two.
Originally in the New York Mets organization between 1967 and 1970, he put up a couple monster seasons in the Minors, including 1973 and 1974 when he hit 38 and 41 homers with 258 RBIs combined in the Rangers system.
Sadly for him, after those 17 games in 1975 he never played American pro ball again, still only 29 years of age, he took his talents to Japan where he played the 1976 season for Nankai, appearing in only 37 games before retiring for good, hitting only .209 with three homers and nine RBIs.
All told, he finished his MLB career with a .208 batting average, never hitting a homer while driving in four over 23 games and 48 official at-bats.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

1975 IN-ACTION: WILLIE DAVIS

Time to go and add “3-Dog” Willie Davis to my long-running 1975 “In-Action” set, showing him in his sole season as a member of the Montreal Expos:


Davis had a successful year North of the border, hitting .295 with 180 hits with 86 runs scored and 89 runs batted in with 25 stolen bases at the age of 34.
Somewhat forgotten among his more legendary contemporaries, the man finished his career with 2561 hits and 398 stolen bases along with 182 homers, with 1217 runs scored and 1053 RBIs between 1960 and 1979.
Along the way he was named to two All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves, though that was all later on in his career after the age of 30 generally because he was up against some crazy competition, namely guys like Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson, with others like Curt Flood and Vada Pinson right behind them.
The National League was absolutely STACKED with legendary talent in the outfield during the 1960s!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

1977 SPECIAL- RAY FOSSE DENIES THE RED SOX DWIGHT EVANS

Just a fun card to create and post up today on the blog, an “action” card of Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse against the Boston Red Sox:


I can’t really determine what game this is, though the Indians played the Red Sox in their second game of the 1976 season after opening up the year against the Detroit Tigers for one game.
Anyone have an idea?
Fosse was enjoying a return to the Indians, the team he made his mark with earlier in the decade when he made two All-Star teams and two Gold Gloves in 1970 and 1971.
Of course, everyone remembers that play at the plate with Pete Rose in the 1970 All-Star game which left him in agony after Rose plowed into him trying to score.
Fosse would end up putting in 12 years as a Big League catcher, playing through the 1979 season and finishing up with a career .256 batting average, with those two Gold Gloves and two All-Star nods between 1967 and 1979.

Friday, November 29, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 MIKE DARR

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving day!
Really fun card to post up today on the blog, a “not so missing” 1978 card for one-game Major League pitcher Mike Darr of the Toronto Blue Jays:


Darr appeared in his one game against the Boston Red Sox on September 6th, 1977 allowing five earned runs over 1.1 innings of work, giving him an unsightly 33.75 earned run average along with four walks allowed against one strikeout.
He would go on to spend the next two seasons in the Toronto Minor League system, but never make it back to a Big League mound, finishing up with that one game under the sun in September of 1977.
It’s also worth noting that Darr was the father of future MLBer Mike Darr who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 25 during 2002 Spring Training.
The younger Darr played three seasons for the Padres, 1999-2001, appearing in 188 games and hitting .273 before the tragic accident.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 CHRIS WARD

Good day everyone!
Today on the blog we have a card for a guy who made his MLB debut with one single at-bat in 1972, Chris Ward, who appeared in his first Big League game on September 10th of ‘72, his only appearance of the season:


Ward flied out against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Dick Selma in the top of the 6th inning on that date for the first at-bat of what would end up being a brief two season career.
After spending all of 1973 in the Minors, a season that saw him his a solid .340 over 70 games at Triple-A, he made it back to the Big Leagues in 1974 where he played in 92 games, hitting .204 with 28 hits in 137 at-bats.
Sadly for him however, he would spend the next three years in both the Cubs, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians systems but never get a chance back in the Majors, finishing up with a .203 average over 93 games, with eight runs scored and 15 RBIs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JOSE CRUZ

Today on the blog we have a “not so missing” 1971 card for a grossly underrated player, Jose Cruz, who made his MLB debut during the 1970 season with the St. Louis Cardinals:


Cruz, who would go on to find fame and fortune with his 13 seasons playing for the Houston Astros between 1975 and 1987, appeared in six games for St. Louis in his first taste of the Big Leagues in 1970, hitting a robust .353 with six hits over 17 at-bats.
He’d never find his true hitting stroke over the parts of five seasons he spent in St. Louis, but after being purchased by the Astros in December of 1974, he would go on to become an All-Star outfielder.
He would be named to two All-Star teams, win two Silver Slugger Awards, and three times finish in the top-10 for N.L. MVP, even leading the league in hits with 189 in 1983.
By the time he finished with one season as a New York Yankee in 1988 at the age of 40, he retired with 2251 hits, a .284 batting average, 165 homers and 317 stolen bases.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 TOM BUSKEY

Today I present a 1974 “not so missing” card for former reliever Tom Buskey, who made his MLB debut during the 1973 season as a member of the New York Yankees:


Buskey appeared in eight games for the Yanks, going 0-1 with an ERA of 5.40 over 16.2 innings pitched, collecting a save along the way.
He would end up putting in eight years in the Big Leagues, pitching through the 1980 season and appearing in 258 games, all out of the bullpen for the Yanks, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays between 1973 and 1980.
His final numbers looked like this: a 21-27 record with a 3.66 earned run average over 479.1 innings pitched, picking up 34 saves and striking out 212 hitters.
His best year would arguably be 1975 while with the Indians when he finished 5-3 with a nice 2.57 earned run average over 50 appearances and 77 innings pitched, with seven saves.

Monday, November 25, 2019

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 HAL DUES

Up on the blog today is a “not so missing” 1978 card for former Montreal Expos pitcher Hal Dues, who made his MLB debut with six appearances during the 1977 season:


Funny enough, the image used for this card is almost exactly like the one for his 1979 card that Topps actually put out, that I had to compare side by side to be sure I wasn't duplicating.

Seems he liked this pose!
Over those six appearances, he posted a record of 1-1 with an earned run average of 4.30 as a 22-year-old, with four of those games being starts, over 23 innings pitched.
He’d have a very nice 1978 season which saw his record of 5-6 betray his ERA of 2.36 over 25 appearances, 12 of those starts, throwing 99 innings and pitching a complete game while also picking up a save.
Seems like injuries curtailed his Big League tenure, as he would spend all of 1979 in the Minors, appearing in only 12 games split between Double and Triple A ball before making it to the Majors in 1980.
In what turned out to be his last taste of the Big Leagues, Dues appeared in six games for Montreal during the 1980 season, going 0-1 over 12.1 innings pitched, posting a bloated 6.57 ERA.
He would play another two seasons in the Minors for the Montreal organization, but would retire from pro ball after the 1982 campaign, ending up with a career 6-8 record over 37 appearances, with a nice 3.08 ERA in 134.1 innings pitched.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

1976 TRADED- BERT BLYLEVEN

Time to go an add future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven to the long-running “traded” thread on the blog with a 1976 edition, marking his move from the Minnesota Twins to the Texas Rangers as part of a blockbuster six-player trade that also included $250,000:


Blyleven was sent packing along with Danny Thompson to the Rangers for a package of Mike Cubbage, Jim Gideon, Bill Singer and Roy Smalley along with $250,000 on June 1st of 1976.
Before the trade he was 4-5 with a 3.12 earned run average over 12 starts, and would go on to post a record of 9-11 with Texas, starting 24 games and completing 14 of them with six shutouts.
He’d finish the combined season with over 200 strikeouts, the sixth straight season doing so, along with a very nice 2.87 ERA over 297.2 innings of work.
Of course, little did anyone realize that the man would go on to pitch another 16 years in the Majors, finishing up with 287 wins, 60 shutouts and 3701 strikeouts, which at the time of his retirement was third all-time.
I’m still amazed that it took BBWA so many years for them to select him for Hall of Fame enshrinement considering his career numbers, produced for generally bad teams.
His post season numbers were even better, going 5-1 over eight games with an ERA of 2.47, with 36 strike outs in 47.1 innings pitched with only eight walks allowed.
“The Frying Dutchman”!

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