Monday, April 23, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 LEON ROBERTS

On the blog today is a “not so missing” 1978 card for Leon Roberts, who would go on to put in 11 seasons in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1984:


After coming up with the Detroit Tigers for a brief spell in 1974, Roberts actually got some decent playing time during the 1975 season, appearing in 129 games and batting .257 with 115 hits and 10 homers in his first full-time action.
But in December of that year he was part of a multi-player trade to the Astros, and he’d only see part-time play in 1976, playing in 87 games, before dropping to only 19 games in 1977, seemingly lost in the mix down in Houston.
In that limited play he did hit .289 in 1976, but only .074 with two hits in 1977 before finding himself a member of the Seattle Mariners during their second year of existence in 1978 after being traded for Jimmy Sexton.
Turns out the 1978 season was easily his best as a Major League player, as he went on to bat .301 with 22 homers and 92 runs batted in while playing right field for Seattle, collecting 142 hits over 472 at-bats.
The following season was also somewhat successful, as he hit .271 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs over 140 games, the most games he’d play in any one season during his career.
But over the final four seasons of his career he’d see his time on a Big League field decrease, ultimately finishing up with the Kansas City Royals in 1984 when he appeared in 28 games, hitting .222 with a homer and three RBIs for the West Division champs.
Over his career, he appeared in exactly 900 games, hitting .267 with 78 homers and 328 RBIs, with 342 runs scored and 731 hits in 2737 at-bats.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- JUD WILSON

It’s been some time since I added to my “Negro League Legends” series, so today I’ll post a card for legend and Hall of Fame first and third baseman Jud Wilson:


Wilson put in 23 seasons in the Negro Leagues, as one of the most powerful and fiery players of his day, and finished his incredible career with a .351 batting average, the fifth highest in league history.
He topped .300 sixteen season, including four of over .400, while also going on to bat a combined .372 over six Cuban Winter League campaigns.
Against Major League pitchers in two seasons of the California Winter League, Wilson hit .469 and .385, including hits off of future Hall of Famer Lefty Grove.
Stories of his temper abound, and are something to read about. It seems no one wanted to mess with the short yet powerfully built player. Players and umpires were at the wrong end of his wrath. Look it up, they are unique anecdotes of a man’s competitive nature!
On July 30, 2006, Wilson was posthumously elected for the Hall of Fame, joining his former teammates and contemporaries with his rightful place in baseball history.
As I often state with a lot of these Negro League stars, please do yourself a favor and look up their bio’s to really get a sense of the player, the teams and the league’s. Some incredible stuff out there to get acquainted with the history of the leagues for those who haven’t done so already.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

1975 IN-ACTION: DICK ALLEN

Time to go and give perhaps the most feared slugger of the American League in the mid-70’s, Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox, an “In-Action” card in my on-going 1975 project:


“The Wampum Walloper” was coming off of his second home run title in three years when this card would have been unwrapped from wax wrappers in the Spring of 1975.
However, shockingly, Allen would find himself traded twice before appearing in a single game that season, first from Chicago to the Atlanta Braves in December of 1974, then from the Braves back to the team he came up with back in 1963, the Philadelphia Phillies in May.
Nevertheless, I have him in an In-Action shot with the White Sox, and what he did in three seasons in the South Side of Chicago was nothing short of awesome. He hit over .300 each season, led the AL in homers in 1972 and 1974, came close to a Triple Crown in 1972, and took home the top individual prize for an individual player, the league MVP that very same year.
If not for an injury during the 1973 season, he very possibly would have had three straight home run titles based on his 16 homers in only 72 games, with the eventual AL homer champ, Reggie Jackson, hitting only 32 over a full season.
Allen would go on to play only three more seasons in the Majors, finishing up with a brief season out in Oakland in 1977 before retiring with 351 homers, a .292 average, along with a Rookie of the Year Award in 1964 and the aforementioned MVP in 1972.

Friday, April 20, 2018

THE ODD CASE OF THE 1970 RON STONE CARD

While I know of Topps use of old photography in the late-60’s/early 70’s sets, I always found the case of the 1970 Ron Stone card so odd. Let’s take a look:


First off, the image used on the 1970 card was obviously from years before, since Stone played his only season with the Athletics in 1966, and was traded away from the organization in July of that year, and it is plainly obvious he is sporting the unique gold and green uniform of Kansas City.
But what I could never figure out is Topps evidently had an image of him as a Philadelphia Phillie player, as you can see here, as Stone is wearing the uniform the Phillies wore up until 1969, as they switched over to the “P” on the chest design beginning in 1970.
So why not use the photo? Was it compensation? Or problems with the Player’s Association?
What doesn’t make sense though is if they had issues with any of that, what was the difference in using one image from the other?
Does anyone know what the issues were?
I was always under the impression that Topps didn’t even bother taking “new” photography those years, but the image of Stone here seems to be from that very time.
Stone would end up playing parts of four seasons with the Phillies, the last four years of his Big League career, retiring as a player after the 1972 season, finishing up with a .241 batting average with 194 hits over 804 at-bats over 388 games.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 DARRELL WOODARD

Today’s “not so missing” card is a 1979 edition of one-year Major League player Darrell Woodard of the Oakland A’s, who spent nine years as a professional baseball player but only got to see MLB action for a couple of months in 1978:


Woodard appeared in 33 games for Oakland between August and October of 1978, with 14 of them at second base, while also seeing a lot of time as a pinch runner.
Though hitless in nine official at-bats, he went on to score 10 runs while stealing three bases in pinch-running duties, thus comprising the entirety of his Big League career.
After his time in the Big Leagues, he’d go on to play another four seasons of pro ball in the Minor Leagues, for the Cubs and Tigers organizations before retiring for good at the end of 1982.
Guys like this are exactly why I started doing the “Not Really Missing in Action” cards. Just too much fun discovering players I never knew about all these years later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION-1972 RICH HACKER

Here’s a “not so missing” 1972 card for 16-game Major League shortstop Rich Hacker, who played for the Montreal Expos during the Summer of 1971:


Originally drafted and signed by the New York Mets in 1967, he finally made it to the Big Leagues in July of 1971, collecting four hits over 33 at-bats with a double and two runs batted in during his short stay.
He’d spend the next two seasons in Montreal’s Minor League system, then oddly, though I have NO record of him playing Pro ball from 1974 to 1978, it shows that he played for the San Diego Double-A Amarillo Gold Sox for six games in 1979. Odd.
Anyone know what went on here? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

NICKNAMES OF THE 1970'S: "BIG RED MACHINE" CINCINNATI REDS

Adding to the “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread, here’s a card for the juggernaut we all know as the “Big Red Machine”, the back-to-back World Champion Cincinnati Reds of the mid-decade who packed a line-up about as good as any during the era:


It really is amazing that they didn’t win more than two championships. However when your dynasty is sandwiched between two other dynasties (Oakland & NY Yankees), it certainly wasn’t easy.
The Reds built their team through good old scouting, as well as shrewd trades, leading up to a team that had (at last count) three Hall of Famers in Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, as well as Pete Rose, whose a HOFer in my book anyway.
Throw in guys like George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr, Dave Concepcion, and it’s almost not even fair to the rest of the league at this point.
Though they didn’t have that top “Ace” that the era had with so many other teams, they had reliable, solid arms in guys like Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, Jack Billingham and Fred Norman, with a bullpen that was ahead of it’s time.
“Captain Hook” Sparky Anderson led the team, pretty much using a six-man rotation at time along with bringing in relievers at the drop of a hat, which was really not the norm at a time when pitchers still routinely reached 300-innings pitched.
An absolute steamrolling team that squashed THIS seven-year-old’s dreams when they swept my Yanks in the 1976 World Series, the very fist one I watched as a baseball fan.
It still amazes me that the team had SIX MVP’s during the decade: 2x Bench and Morgan, Pete Rose and George Foster! What a line-up!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

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