Monday, January 24, 2022

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 WILLIE MUELLER

On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for two-year Major League pitcher Willie Mueller of the Milwaukee Brewers:

 
Mueller made his MLB debut during the 1978 season, appearing in five games and posting a record of 1-0 with an earned run average of 6.39 in 12.2 innings of work.
He would spend the next two seasons in the Minors before getting another chance at the Big League level with one solitary game in 1981, throwing two innings and allowing one run, for a 4.50 ERA, not factoring in a decision.
He'd find himself in the Montreal Expos Minor League system in 1982 before coming back to the Milwaukee system in 1983, but never getting another shot at Major League ball, retiring after that season.
All told, Mueller finished with six appearances and a 1-0 record, with an ERA of 6.14 over 14.2 innings pitched.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

WTHBALLS CUSTOM NEGRO LEAGUE SET: "COOL PAPA" BELL

On the blog today, we take a closer look at another of my custom "Negro League Greats" cards from my recently released set, this one of the great James "Cool Papa" Bell:

 
One of the most popular players of the Negro Leagues, Bell put in over 20 years, starting out with the St. Louis Stars in 1922, for whom he played through the 1931 season, before playing for various other teams including the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords.
An 8-time all-star, he finished with a Negro League career batting average of .316, yet he originally came up as a pitcher!
As a matter of fact the genesis of his all-too-familiar nickname came about because of a strikeout against legend Oscar Charleston early in Bell’s career.
But once he was switched to the outfield, it was ON!
Perhaps the fastest player to ever run the base-paths, the anecdotes and legendary stories of his speed are endless.
One of my favorites:
“Bell was so fast he could turn off the light and be under the covers before the room got dark.”- Satchel Paige.
Classic!
Even at the age of 43, Bell was raking it, as evidenced by his .402 batting average over 95 games for the Homestead Grays in 1946! The year before? A cool .380!
A great player, and from everything I have read from his contemporaries, a great man.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

1972 ALL-STAR SUB-SET: CARL YASTRZEMSKI

On the blog today, we move ahead with my on-going "missing" 1972 All-Star sub-set, with starting outfielder Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox:

 
"Yaz" made his eighth All-Star team in eleven seasons as a Major League superstar, already the possessor of an MVP Award and five Gold Gloves since bursting onto the Big League scene in 1961.
All he'd do is go on to make another ten All-Star teams before he was through after the 1983 season, along with two more Gold Gloves, eventually taking up his rightful spot in Cooperstown in 1989 on his first year of eligibility.
As someone who grew up in New York City during the second half of his career, it's really easy to forget that Yastrzemski was a Long Island, New York boy before he went on to become a New England legend.
And how could he NOT become a legend, what with 23 years of Major League ball, all with the Red Sox, turning in three batting titles, a Triple Crown in 1967 along with an MVP Award, seven Gold Gloves, 18 all-star nods, and 25 league-leads in primary offensive categories.
By the time he did the retirement tour in 1983, he scored 1816 runs, collected 3419 hits, 646 doubles, 452 homers, 1844 runs batted in along with a .285 batting average.
He was just plain awesome…

Friday, January 21, 2022

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 DANE IORG

Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for former utility player Dane Iorg, who didn't get his actual Topps RC card until 1980 even though he appeared in Big Leagues games as far back as 1977:

 
Iorg originally made his MLB debut in 1977, splitting the year between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, combining for 42 games and hitting .242 with 15 hits over 62 at-bats.
In 1978 he played in 35 games for St. Louis, hitting a decent .271 with 23 hits in 85 at-bats, putting in time in the corner outfield positions.
He would play 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, never a full-time player with only two seasons topping 100+ games (105 in 1980 and 102 in 1982).
However he would be a member of two championship teams, the 1982 Cardinals and 1985 Kansas City Royals.
His Postseason performance is incredible, playing in 13 games over the course of his career and hitting a stunning .522 with 12 hits in 23 at-bats!
In the 1982 Wolrd Series against the Milwaukee Brewers he was on fire, hitting .529 with nine hits over 17 at-bats, with four doubles and a triple in just five games!
Clutch doesn't even begin to describe that!
He'd finish his career with 90 games for the San Diego padres in 1986, ending up with a career .276 batting average, collecting 455 hits over 1647 at-bats in 743 games.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 MIKE ADAMS

On the blog today, we have the third "missing" card created here for former infielder/outfielder Mike Adams, who put in parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues:

 
Adams appeared in only two games for the Chicago Cubs during the 1977 season, going hitless in two at-bats.
In 1978 he'd find himself a member of the Oakland A's, where he'd play in 15 games, the last of his career which began back in 1972 with three games as a Minnesota Twin.
Those 15 games with the A's would end up not only being the last of his MLB career, but his professional career as well, retiring at the age of 29, playing parts of five MLB seasons and appearing in 100 games, hitting .195 with 23 hits in 118 at-bats, with 27 runs scored and nine runs batted in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

CAREER-CAPPER: 1976 DICK McAULIFFE

Today on the blog we have a career-capping 1976 card for former All-Star infielder Dick McAuliffe, who closed out a very nice 16-year career with seven games for the Boston Red Sox in 1975:

 
The long time Detroit Tiger infielder collected only two hits over 15 at-bats for the Red Sox before calling it a career at the age of 35, with an RBI and a walk.
However in 1974 he did appear in 100 games for Boston, batting .210 over 316 plate appearances.
Those two seasons would be the only ones where McAuliffe didn't suit up for the Tigers, for whom he played between 1960 and 1973 manning both second and shortstop.
He made three consecutive all-star teams between 1965 and 1967, and even finished seventh in MVP voting in 1968 when the Tigers won it all.
All told he batted .247 for his career, with 197 homers and 697 runs batted in over 1700 games, with 1530 hits and 888 runs scored and a World Championship with the 1968 Tigers, who defeated the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1974 BOBBY TOLAN

Thought it'd be fun to give former outfielder Bobby Tolan a "do-over" on his 1974 Topps card, since the original had him hilariously airbrushed into a San Diego Padres uni after four solid seasons with the Cincinnati reds:

 
For those that need a refresher on the original, take a gander at this:

 
Tolan was traded to the Padres on November 9th of 1973 with pitcher Dave Tomlin for starter Clay Kirby, a trade that didn't work particularly well for either sides.
His best years were with the Cincinnati Reds between 1969 and 1973, topping .300 a couple of times and leading the league in stolen bases in 1970 with 57 and even slamming 21 home runs in 1969 with 93 runs batted in.
Sadly for him, the trade to the Padres had him miss out on the tremendous "Big Red Machine" run the next few years, and being a part of two world champion teams.
In all he'd finish with a .265 average with 193 steals and 1121 hits over 1282 games and 4238 at-bats between 1965 and 1979, as well as a World Series ring as a member of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox.

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