Sunday, July 3, 2022

EXPANDED LEAGUE LEADERS- 1975 A.L. FIREMEN

Up on the blog today, we move along in my on-going “expanded league leaders” thread, with the top relievers in the American league for 1974, shown on a 1975 three-spot league leader card as opposed to the original one-and-one Topps issued way back when:
 
 
We begin with Chicago White Sox reliever Terry Forster, who paced the league with his 31 “points”, seven wins to go with his league-leading 24 saves, while appearing in 59 games and pitching 134.1 innings.
It wasn’t exactly a dominating season as evidenced by his 3.62 earned run average and eight losses, but in the days before true “closers” it was good enough to have him come out on top.
Just one point behind with 30, the A.L.’s top reliever of 1973, and arguably of 1974 as well, Detroit Tiger pitcher John Hiller, who posted 13 saves while also posting an incredible 17 wins in relief!
Over his 59 appearances, Hiller went 17-14, with a nice 2.64 ERA over a staggering 150 innings, with the aforementioned 13 saves, closing out 52 of his games.
The previous season he was all-world with his record breaking 38 saves, as well as 10-5 record with a microscopic 1.44 ERA over 65 games, 60 of which he closed out, throwing 125. 1 innings out of the bullpen.
Also coming in at 30 points, tied for second place, Milwaukee Brewers reliever Tom Murphy, journeyman righty who had a very nice 1974 season, saving 20 while posting a record of 10-10 over 70 appearances, finishing up with a 1.90 ERA over 123 innings pitched, all out of the ‘pen.
A converted starter, he’d pitch through the rest of the decade in relief, putting in 12 years in the Majors and finishing up with 62 wins and 59 saves over 439 appearances and 1444 innings.
 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

WTHBALLS CUSTOM NEGRO LEAGUE SET: SOL WHITE

The next Negro league great to get the spotlight here on the blog, perhaps the most important figure in early Black baseball, Sol White:


I first became aware of White when I was hunting down a copy of his incredible early book, “History of Colored Baseball”, from 1907.
From there I learned he wasn’t just a writer about early African-American baseball, but played as well.
According to various records and accounts, White’s playing career spanned about 20 years between 1887-1926, which included his managerial career as well, which started in 1902 when he founded, along with others, the Philadelphia Giants.
Between 1904 and 1907 he led the team to four straight Black Baseball Championships.
It was also in that time that he published his historical publication in 1907, a 128-page pamphlet that was given out at games during their season.
Beginning with the formation of the first black baseball team in 1885 and took readers up to 1907, with what was supposed to be a second edition to be published later on covering the game into the 1920’s.
Sadly this never materialized, leaving us with what could have been an incredible piece of documented history.
Nevertheless, if you want to read more of Sol White, you can easily read his Wikipedia entry, and also see the bibliography included to cover even more.
Totally worth the read and I strongly encourage it!

Friday, July 1, 2022

SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT: "LOST" 1963 FLEER SECOND SERIES: BILLY WILLIAMS

On the blog today, we add "Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler", Billy Williams, to my 1963 "Lost Second Series" Fleer set, released last year:

 

As I stated earlier here on the blog: Is it possible to be considered overshadowed and underrated yet still make the Hall of Fame? Williams is the perfect example!
By the time he retired, he finished with 2711 hits, 1410 runs scored, 426 home runs, 1475 runs batted in and a .290 batting average over 2488 games.
He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1961, two-time runner-up to the MVP Award (thanks to Johnny Bench each time) in 1970 and 1972 and a six-time All-Star.
What a career he put together, yet always in the shadows of giants like teammate Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Nevertheless, though it took him six years of eligibility to make it, he was elected for a rightful place in Cooperstown in 1987 when he received 85.7% of the vote.
Just a great player all around, and any chance I have to focus on him for a card creation I will happily take it!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

1970 IN-GAME ACTION: AL KALINE

On the blog today, adding the great Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline to my 1970 "In-Game Action" set, which for those of you who purchased Series One a couple months ago, will notice that THIS is the second version, which actually shows the correct player:



 
I had a little fun with Series One and used an image that I believe was actually Dick McAullife for the card, which will be corrected with THIS card here when Series Two ships next month.
Nevertheless, what a player. 
"Mr. Tiger" spent his entire career in the "Motor City", and went on to collect over 3000 hits, 399 home runs, 1583 runs batted in and 1622 runs scored.
Though he never took home a Most Valuable Player Award, he did finish in the top-10 in voting nine times, including a second-place finish in 1955 when he won the American League batting title at the age of 20!
As if that all wasn't enough, he also took home ten Gold Gloves and was named to 15 all-star teams!
Needless to say, as soon as he was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1980, he was voted in, getting named on 340 of 385 ballots, capping off one of the greatest Detroit Tiger careers in the history of the storied franchise.
One of the most well-liked players of his day, Kaline did it all, and did it all with class.
I only wish I was old enough to have seen his work his magic at the plate, and out in the field.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

REVISITING AN OLD POST FROM 2015: NICKNAMES OF THE '70'S #20: "COBRA" DAVE PARKER

Thought it'd be fun to revisit my "Nicknames of the 1970's" post from January 23rd, 2015, celebrating "Cobra", Dave Parker, who I feel belongs in the Hall of fame.

  

Let's dive right in!

Here's the post as written some seven years ago:

Next up in my "Nicknames of the 70's" thread is that monster of a player of the era: Dave Parker, aka "Cobra".
Check out my card design:

I used the 1978 format since he was at the prime of his career, winning two batting titles (1977 & 1978), an M.V.P. that very year, and a World Championship the following year.
He's often fond of saying (and I totally agree) that he and Dave Winfield changed the "face" of the athletic "big guy" outfielders when they both came up in the middle of the decade.
An all-around super-star, Parker hit for average, for power, had a cannon for an arm, and would even steal some bases if needed.
By the time he retired after the 1991 season, a nice 19-year career, he posted over 2700 hits, 1200 runs scored, 500 doubles, almost 1500 runs batted in, 339 home runs and over 150 stolen bases!
He was a seven-time all-star who also finished in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting six times, with three Gold Gloves thrown in for good measure.
The fact that Dave Parker never garnered more than 24.5% of the BBWA Hall of Fame vote (1998) before becoming ineligible in 2011 is just criminal in my eyes.
This man should be in the Hall of Fame. Plain and simple!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

CUSTOM SPOTLIGHT: 1969 ROCKY COLAVITO CAREER-CAPPER

Today on the blog, a fun card to create, a 1969 career-capper for former slugger Rocky Colavito, from my "Whole Nine" custom set released last year:



 
In his last season as a Major League player, Colavito split the 1968 campaign between the Loa Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, hitting .211 with eight homers and 24 runs batted in over 79 games and 204 official at-bats.
Between 1956 and 1966 there were few Major League batters who hit homers as frequently as he, hitting 358 home runs playing for the Indians, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Athletics.
He topped 40+ homers three times, with a career-best 45 in 1961 while also leading the American League in 1959 with 42 blasts.
By the time he retired, he hit 374 homers with 1159 RBIs over 1841 games in 14-years, finishing Top-5 in MVP voting three times and making the All-Star team six times.

Monday, June 27, 2022

DEDICATED MANAGER CARD- 1977 DANNY MURTAUGH CAPPER

On the blog today, a fun dedicated manager card celebrating Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Danny Murtaugh, who led the team to two world championships over his 15-year managerial career:

 
Murtaugh passed away in December of 1976, after a season which saw him guide the Pirates to a second place, 92 win season after two straight first place finishes in the National League East in 1975 and 1975.
He began his managerial career in 1957, and would go on to lead the Pirates through 1976 with gaps in 1965-1966, 1968-1969, and 1972.
Overall he led the team to five first place finishes, with two championships, the first in 1960 when the Pirates stunned the favored New York Yankees, capped off by Bill Mazeroski's Game Seven ninth-inning walk-off, and the second when they beat the defending champion Baltimore Orioles.
His final numbers as a manager, he finished with a record of 1115 and 950, good for a .540 winning percentage.
Battling ailments including heart issues throughout his managerial career, he sadly suffered a stroke and passed away at the age of only 59, just two months after retiring.


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