Tuesday, June 18, 2024

WTHBALLS "BASEBALL ICONS" SPECIAL SET: MICKEY MANTLE

The next superstar who gets a custom "Icons" card in my future custom set is the "Commerce Comet" Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees legend, making for a fun "artsy" set based on home field background art from the Golden Era of baseball:


As I have stated before here on the blog, Mantle is one of those guys I really don't think we need to get into as far as his tenure on the baseball diamond. It'd be kind of a joke to start writing about his career since it would take up a book's worth.
But alas, 500+ homers, a bushel of World Championships, three Most Valuable Player Awards, and the hearts of more fans than we can even imagine to this day.
"The Mick" in all his glory, enshrined in his rightful place in Cooperstown, along with his longtime buddy Whitey Ford in the same HOF class.
One of the great icons of the sport over its 150+ year history.
Not too bad a Hollywood script...
I just wished I would have gotten to see him play!
Keep an eye out for this set when I release it!

 

Monday, June 17, 2024

OPC IMAGE VARIATION: 1977 JOE FERGUSON

Up on the blog today, we take a closer look at the OPC and Topps image variation for Joe Ferguson's 1977 cards:

OPC version

Topps version

Whereas the Topps card has the catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he suited up in 1976, the OPC card has him airbrushed into a Houston Astros uniform, reflecting his recent trade to the team.
After putting in half a season with the Cardinals in 1976, Ferguson was part of a multi-player trade that also saw former All-Star pitcher Larry Dierker head to St. Louis.
Ferguson would have a decent year for the Astros in 1977, hitting .257 over 132 games with 16 homers and 61 runs batted in.
He'd start 1978 with the Astros before finding himself where it all began, the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he started his career in 1970 and where he played up until 1976.
He had himself a nice 14-year Major League career, really acting as a back-up or platooning catcher, with only two seasons seeing him get as many as 500 plate appearances: 1973 with L.A. and 1977 with Houston.
His 1973 season with the Dodgers got him some MVP consideration, as he hit .263 with 25 homers and 88 runs batted in, along with 87 walks and 84 runs scored. Not bad at all!
For his career, he finished with a .240 average with 122 homers and 445 RBIs, with 719 hits over 3001 at-bats.

 

Sunday, June 16, 2024

1960S ALL-DECADE TEAM: N.L. RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER: JUAN MARICHAL

Hello all!
On the blog today, my pick for the "All-1960s" National League right-handed pitcher of the decade, and I went with an easy pick, San Francisco Giants legend Juam Marichal, the "Dominican Dandy":


I don't think many of you would argue with me on this pick!
The man was born to pitch.
Once called up to the big show in 1961, he would go 6-2 over his first 11 starts, with a 2.66 ERA and six complete games, including a shutout in his 1st MLB start.
As much as Marichal is celebrated as an all-time pitching legend, you still have to feel for the guy when you consider the timing of all his banner years in the big leagues.
In 1963 he has his breakout year, going 25-8 with a 2.41 E.R.A., but takes a back seat to another guy who has a breakout year, Sandy Koufax.
In 1966 he wins 25 games again, but again takes a backseat to a now dominating Koufax, who wins 27 along with a bunch of other eye-popping numbers.
In 1968 he sets a career high of 26 wins to go along with a 2.43 earned run average, but wait, a guy named Bob Gibson has a year for the ages, winning both the Cy Young Award and the M.V.P.
But when you look at the decade as a whole, there wasn't a better pitcher in the game from 1960-1969, as Marichal went on to win 191 games, winning 25 or more wins three times, post seven sub-3.00 E.R.A. seasons,  top 200+ strikeouts six times , and get selected as an all-star every year between 1962-1969.
What a BEAST on the mound!
Easily would have been the first 3-time Cy Young winner if not for Koufax and Gibson.
Ah well, I’m sure his spot in Cooperstown makes it a bit easier to take.
"Dominican Dandy" indeed!

 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

WTHBALLS CUSTOM SET SPOTLIGHT: 1890 "BASEBALL CHAMPIONS" AMOS RUSIE

The next 19th Century baseball star from my early custom WTHBALLS set to get the spotlight here on the blog is the "Hoosier Thunderbolt" Amos Rusie:





This was a really fun set to create and release back in 2018, in special cigarette pack packaging with loads of goodies, along with a double-mounted cabinet postcard of the 1869 Cincinnati red Stockings.
Rusie was an anchor for the New York Giants at the end of the 19th Century, reeling off eight 20-win seasons (four of them 30+ seasons), while topping the National League in strikeouts five times and shutouts four times, with two ERA titles thrown in.
His final numbers of 246-174, with a 3.07 ERA and 1707 may not seem overwhelming, but if you can imagine, his career was over by the time he turned 30!
As a matter of fact he really pitched his last full season at the age of 27, with a three game appearance in 1901 with the Cincinnati Reds that encompassed only 22 innings of work.
So really those final numbers represent nine years of Major League ball!
And for those of you that may not know this, the trade that got him to Cincinnati for those scant three games in 1901 goes down as one of the all-time worst trades, sadly for the Reds, as they shipped to New York a young collegiate pitcher who’d go on to an even greater career than Rusie, none other than all-time great Christy Mathewson!
Ouch!

Friday, June 14, 2024

WTHBALLS "BASEBALL ICONS" SPECIAL SET: ROBERTO CLEMENTE

Up on the blog today, my special "Icons" custom card for "The Great One", Roberto Clemente, creating a set utilizing artwork of a players' home field as a background:


I have some pretty cool ideas of how this set will be released, and I hope you all find it just as interesting, with deluxe packaging and special inserts!
Anyway, as for the man himself, Clemente's career is the stuff of legend: His fiery play on the field, his good deeds, and his absolute adoration by teammates and fans alike.
On the field Clemente's numbers were incredible: four batting titles, five seasons batting over .340, four 200 hit seasons, 12 all-star nods, 12 Gold Gloves and a Most Valuable Player Award in 1966.
And a prime example of Clemente's importance to the game was his immediate induction into Cooperstown by special committee in 1973, waiving the standard five-year wait before a player joins the Hall ballot, as well as the establishment of the "Roberto Clemente Award", given every year to the player that exemplified "outstanding baseball playing skills who is personally involved in community work."
The man was truly something else, and I'm not even thinking of his baseball prowess.
Just special and truly one of a kind!

 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

"CLASSIC BASEBALL" CUSTOM WTHBALLS SET: STAN MUSIAL

Up on the blog today, we add "Stan The Man" Musial to my custom "Classic Baseball" set, celebrating the great game that has brought me so much joy throughout my life for close to 50 years:


Just a fun, clean layout for this set, which I plan to release in five different series adding up to over 100 cards in what should be the largest set in the WTHBALLS card stable.
Regarding the great Stan Musial, his MLB numbers are just absurd: seven batting titles, two R.B.I. titles, five triples titles and eight doubles titles, with career numbers of 475 home runs, 1951 runs batted in and a .331 career average. Throw in his 725 doubles, 177 triples and 3630 hits along with 1949 runs scored and the numbers are staggering. 
And don't forget that Musial also lost a year to military duty, easily putting him over 500 homers, close to 3900 hits and around 2100 runs batted in if he played in 1945.
Along with the great Frank Robinson I always felt Stan Musial was often overlooked in the decades since his playing days ended.
When talk of "Greatest Living Player" came up it was always Williams, DiMaggio, Mays or even Aaron that would come up. But Stan Musial would always kind of be that after-thought.
Criminal.
Three Most Valuable Player Awards, FOUR second-place finishes, including three in a row between 1949-1951, and twenty consecutive all-star appearances, Musial definitely is a member of that rarified stratosphere of baseball royalty along with the likes of Ruth, Cobb, Mays and Wagner, among others.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

WTHBALLS GUM PACK CUSTOM SET: FRED LYNN

On the blog today, my Fred Lynn mini custom card from my "Gum Pack" set released a few months back:




Fun little set to get out there in the world in Gum Pack packaging, using a velvety smooth card stock for the mini-cards themselves.
As for Mr. Lynn, after a wonderful college career at USC, Lynn became an instant star in 1975 when he led the Boston Red Sox to the World Series after copping both the Rookie of the Year AND Most Valuable Player Awards. The first player ever to do so, and still only one of two (Ichiro Suzuki joined him in 2001).
He’d go on to win four Gold Gloves, get named to nine all-star teams, and hit the only Grand Slam in All-Star game history, a memorable shot off of Atlee Hammaker in the 1983 classic that gave the American League it’s first win over the National League since 1971.
Hampered by injuries throughout his 17-year career, he still finished with a very solid MLB resume: 306 homers, 1111 RBI’s, 1063 runs scored and a .283 batting average, with 10 seasons of 20+ homers over 1969 games.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

@wthballs
Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.