Friday, July 30, 2021

1978 SPECIAL SUB-SET- "1977 30 HOME RUN CLUB" JIM RICE

Today we head over to the American League in my on-going 1978 special "30 Home Run Club" sub-set celebrating the big bashers of 1977, with the Junior Circuit's leader, Jim Rice:

 
Rice took home the first of his three career home run titles in 1977 when he paced the league with 39 home runs, to go along with 114 runs batted in, a .320 batting average, 206 hits and an amazing 15 triples!
Really, I still say Rice does NOT get the accolades he deserves for his monster seasons between 1975 when he broke in as a stud rookie and 1986 when he reached 200 hits for the fourth time.
A monster at the plate: 2400+ hits, 382 homers, 1451 runs batted in and a .298 lifetime average.
Five times would he finish in the running for Most Valuable Player besides the year he took it home in 1978.
What. A. Player!


Thursday, July 29, 2021

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- DICK LUNDY

On the blog today I'm happy to add to my long-running "Negro League Legends" series started years ago, today including shortstop Dick Lundy:

 
Considered one of the greatest shortstops in Negro League history, it’s a crime that Lundy hasn’t been selected to the Hall of Fame as of this release.
He spent 33 years years as a player and manager in the Negro Leagues, once hitting as high as .484 in 1921 and of course being one of the “Million Dollar Infield” along with Oliver Marcell, Frank Warfield and Jud Wilson, playing for the Baltimore Black Sox in 1929.
Nicknamed “King Richard”, he was both an incredibly gifted fielder with a cannon for an arm as well as a magnificent hitter, credited with a batting average of about .320 between 1916 to 1937.
As a player-manager of the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, he led them to a Pennant in both 1926 and 1927 in the Eastern Colored League.
Among the players he is credited with mentoring are future Hall of Famers Ray Dandridge and Monte Irvin.
When will Cooperstown give him his rightful place in their Museum? Long overdue.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1972 RAMON HERNANDEZ

Today's blog post has a 1972 "not so missing" card for former reliever Ramon Hernandez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who made it back to a Big League mound in 1971 after two years in the Minors:

 
Hernandez fared well in his 10 appearances for the World Champs, going 0-1 with a sparkling 0.73 earned run average over 12.1 innings, with seven strikeouts while closing out seven games with four saves.
He'd be a solid arm out of the pen for the Bucs over the next four seasons, putting in sub-3.00 ERA's each year while averaging about eight saves and logging 21 wins along the way.
In 1976 he'd be traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he'd be into the 1977 season before playing what turned out to be the last games of his career as a Boston Red Sox player.
All told Hernandez finished with a career 23-15 record over nine seasons, with a nice 3.03 ERA over 337 appearances and 430.1 innings pitched, saving 46 games and striking out 255.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

CAREER-CAPPER- 1974 WILLIE MAYS (PORTRAIT EDITION)

Hey, I can't help myself. When you find as sweet an image of Willie Mays as this one, you create a card for the man no matter what. So since I created a landscape edition 1974 "career-capper" here on the blog years ago, I will go ahead and create a portrait edition:

 
 
Mays capped off a tremendous career following the 1973 season, finishing up with the Mets in which he got to appear in his first World Series since 1962.
As a matter of fact, Mays actually did appear in the 1974 set, on card #473 which highlighted Game #2 of the series where the Mets won 10-7.
Anyway, not much to get into about arguably the best all-around player in baseball history. 3000+ hits, 660 homers, 1900+ R.B.I.'s., 1951 Rookie of the Year and N.L. M.V.P. in 1954 and 1965. But he was much more than just stats. He was the "Sey Hey Kid".
By the time the 1970's hit, he was a walking legend of the sport, and being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 was the cherry on top of it all.

Monday, July 26, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1971 JEFF BURROUGHS

Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1971 card for former #1 overall draft pick and N.L. MVP Jeff Burroughs, who made his Big League debut in 1970 at the age of 19:

 
The #1 pick by the Washington Senators in 1969, Burroughs appeared in six games during the 1970 season, hitting .167 with two hits over 12 official at-bats, both scoring and driving in a run.
His next two seasons were more of the same, sporadic action for the Washington/Texas teams before 1973, when he played a full season and delivered big time, hitting 30 homers with 85 RBIs, hitting a very nice .279 at the age of only 22.
Of course the following season he'd give the Rangers a big-time year as he would go on to take home the MVP Award after hitting 25 homers, with a league-leading 118 RBIs and a career-best .301 batting average, making his first All-Star team.
He would be one of the first members of the 30-home runs-in-both-leagues club (30 with the Rangers in 1973 & 41 Braves in 1977), and actually one of the most successful #1 overall picks at the time.
At the tail end of his career during the early-1980’s he was a potent bat off the bench for teams like the Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays.
He'd put together a very nice 16-year career that saw him hit 240 homers while driving in 882 runs between 1970 and 1985.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

ON-CARD ALL-STAR: 1974 JIM "CATFISH" HUNTER

Today we reach the final American League player to get the "on-base-card" All-Star banner for 1974, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter:

 
Hunter had himself quite a year in 1973, topping 20 wins for the third straight season with 21, going 21-5 with a 3.34 earned run average and 124 strikeouts over 36 appearances.
Along the way he tossed three shutouts while completing 11 games, pitching a total of 256.1 innings.
Of course more importantly he also helped the Oakland A's win their second straight World Series, and they weren't done yet as they'd march to their third straight championship in 1974, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course we all know Hunter would become one of the early big-time Free Agents, signing with the New York Yankees in time for the 1975 season, and he'd go on to enjoy another two championships, helping the "Bronx Zoo" Yanks win it all in both 1977 and 1978.
Sadly, though still only 33 years of age in 1979, he called it a career after injuries took their toll, finishing up with a record of 224 and 166, with an ERA of 3.26 with 42 shutouts and 2012 strikeouts over 500 games, 476 of those starts, completing 181.
In 1987 he'd be voted into the Hall of Fame, and sadly just 12 years later he would pass away at the age of only 53 due to ALS.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

EXPANDED YEARLY LEADER CARDS: 1973 N.L. EARNED RUN AVERAGE

Moving on to pitching categories now in my on-going "Expanded League Leaders" thread for 1973, we have the National League's top three pitchers in terms of earned run average:

 
Of course, if we're talking the N.L. and pitching performances for 1972, it's all about Philadelphia Phillies ace and future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who had himself a Triple Crown year after coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The lefty paced the Senior Circuit with a sparkling 1.97 ERA over 41 starts, tossing an incredible 346.1 innings and posting eight shutouts, with 27 wins and 310 strikeouts.
Needless to say, you'll be seeing Mr. Carlton in the first spot on future "Expanded League Leader" cards over the next few weeks!
Coming in second is someone you may have forgotten about, or perhaps not even known about, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Gary Nolan, who was right behind Carlton with his own 1.99 ERA, which he ended up with after 25 appearances, all starts, with two shutouts and 90 strikeouts in 176 innings of work.
The righty helped the Reds make it all the way to the World Series with his 15-5 record, leading the team in wins as well as his crisp ERA.
Coming in third in the N.L. ERA chase is another future Hall of Fame pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers great Don Sutton, who posted a career-best 2.08 ERA along with a league-leading nine shutouts over 33 starts and 272.2 innings of work.
He also topped 200 strikeouts for the fourth time in seven seasons as a Big League pitcher, on his way to over 3500 before he was done.
Next up, the American League's best ERA guys, featuring another two future HOFers and one who many have made the case for!

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