Saturday, December 9, 2023


Today on the blog we spotlight my "1960s Career-Cappers" insert card for the great, arguably greatest, Stan Musial, about as forgotten or overlooked a great of the game as there is:

Musial's 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 the most 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.
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.

Friday, December 8, 2023


Today's blog post has a 1975 "In-Action" card for "Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler", Billy Williams, Hall of Fame outfielder extraordinaire of the Chicago Cubs:

Williams was truly a magnificent player that gets lost in the crowded Hall of Fame N.L. outfield of the era filled with guys like Aaron, Mays and Clemente.
However he was a player ANY team would kill for, putting in All-Star calibre season after season through the 1960s and beyond.
He wrapped up a Hall of Fame career in 1976 with the Oakland A’s, his second season with the team after 16 years with the Chicago Cubs.
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.

Thursday, December 7, 2023


Up on the blog today, we're going to go and give Lou Piniella a do-over on his 1970 card, something worthy of the 1969 American League Rookie of the Year:

Re-done version

As issued by Topps
You'd think with a full season of 1969 under his belt, Topps would have had a better image for his 1970 card.
However with the battle going on between the card maker and MLBPA at the time, they were recycling images or using older images taken years before.
Right before the 1969 season Piniella was traded by the Seattle Pilots to another new franchise, the Kansas City Royals, for John Gelnar and Steve Whitaker.
It was a great move by the Kansas City team, as Piniella would not disappoint, going on to cop Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .282 with eleven homers and 68 runs batted in.
He'd play with the Royals through the 1973 season, making one more All-Star team in 1972 when he hit .312 while leading the league with 33 doubles, collecting a career-best 179 hits.
After being traded to the New York Yankees before the 1974 season, Piniella found his permanent home in the big leagues, playing the final eleven seasons of his career there.
Along the way he was a member of two championship teams, hit .300 or better five times, and eventually would even become manager of the Yanks before moving on to a long career leading Major League squads.
Over his 18-year career he hit .291, with 1705 hits in 5867 at-bats, and besides 10 games split between the Orioles in 1964 and the Indians in 1968, he'd do it all with the Royals and Yankees between 1969-1984.
In 1986 he took over as Yankee manager, and would go on to manage for another 23 seasons, guiding the Yanks, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays and Cubs.
He would lead his teams to a World Series win in 1990 (Reds), an American League record 116 win season in 2001 (Mariners), eight 90+ win seasons (all but the Devil Rays), and six 1st place finishes (with the Reds, Mariners and Cubs).
Not a bad career spanning 46 years!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023


Good day everyone!

Thought it'd be fun to revisit a blog post from over 10 years ago, this one my "missing" 1976 card for future World Series winning manager Tom Kelly:

Here's the original post write-up for the card:
While trolling around online recently, I came across an old photo of former Twins manager Tom Kelly as a player from 1975.
I've always known that he didn't have much of a Major League playing career, but never realized that he saw enough action in his only year, 1975, to warrant a card being issued for him in the 1976 set.
In his only season up in the big leagues, Kelly played in 49 games for 147 plate appearances, hitting a not-so-impressive .181 while playing first base and some outfield. Not much, but enough in my eyes for Topps to give him a card.
Nevertheless, after that brief time in the "bigs" he bounced around the Minors until 1980, suiting up for the Twins and Orioles.
He did have some pretty decent seasons, showing some "pop" to go along with some solid averages, and he even got to pitch in a few games, going 1-0 with a 1.88 E.R.A. in 24 innings, yet for some reason he never got the call back up.
Well as we all know, Kelly found his way to leading teams on the field, starting out as skipper for Visalia in A-Ball at the ripe old age of 26 in 1977 as a player-manager.
By the time 1986 rolled around, he was managing the Minnesota Twins, and it was a position he'd hold onto for 16 years, even leading the team to two world championships in 1987 and 1991.
Some of the players he managed were stars like Kirby Puckett, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield and Jack Morris.
He finally retired after the 2001 season, getting himself a bunch of baseball card appearances of the managerial variety along the way.
But today, I post a 1976 player card I designed for the former Twins leader reflecting his cup-of-coffee back in 1975.
Seems the Twins didn't have a card of a first baseman in the 1976 set. I had to "cut out" the player icon in the lower left from a George Scott card and recolor the border for the Kelly card shown below. Go figure...

Tuesday, December 5, 2023


Today on the blog we take a look at another OPC/Topps image variation in the 1977 sets, this time for Dave Cash of the Montreal Expos:

OPC version
Topps version

Obviously, as with so many others, the OPC Cash has a nice posed shot as opposed to the Topps airbrush monster you see here.
Cash, who played the first five years of his Big League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, came over to the Philadelphia Phillies in October of 1973 in a trade for pitcher Ken Brett, and did not disappoint the Phillie faithful, having his three best years as a Major Leaguer between 1974-1976.
In those three seasons Cash averaged over 200 hits a season, along with a .300 average while playing pretty much every single game, even setting the MLB record (since broken) of 699 at-bats during the 1975 season.
He’d sign with the Montreal Expos in the Winter of 1976 as a Free Agent, and would have one more very good year in 1977 before quickly having his career turn South.
In his 1977 season, Cash would collect 188 hits, with 42 doubles and 21 stolen bases while hitting .289 in 650 at-bats.
The following year he took a bit of a dip, hitting only .252 with 166 hits, scoring 66 runs with 12 steals, though he did appear in 159 games.
After an injury-plagued 1979 season he found himself with the San Diego Padres in 1980, where he hit .227 over 130 games, before retiring at only 32 years of age.
All told, Cash finished with a very nice .283 career average, with 1571 hits over 5554 at-bats and 1422 games between 1969 and 1980, stealing 120 bases and scoring 732 runs.

Monday, December 4, 2023


Up on the blog today, a card I actually printed up for an early WTHBALLS set years ago, my 1978 do-over for Rich "Goose" Gossage:

While Topps originally had him airbrushed into a New York Yankee uniform for their original card, I went ahead and created a Pittsburgh Pirates version, showing him with the team he suited up for the previous year.
After spending his first five Major League seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Gossge found himself with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the 1977 season, performing very well as he would go 11-9 over 72 appearances, with 26 saves and a sparkling 1.62 earned run average over 133 innings, striking out 151 batters.
He parlayed that season in the new Free Agent world, signing with the New York Yankees, where he would star for the next six years, gaining tons of fans, me included.
Gossage was a true character of the game. He was all legs and arms whipping near-100 mile-per-hour fastballs while sporting that trademark 'stache, closing out games for those "Bronx Zoo" teams I loved so much.
He spent six years in the Bronx, and never had an E.R.A. over 2.62, even sporting a microscopic 0.77 in 1981!
He also led the league in saves twice while wearing pinstripes, as well as getting named to three all-star teams.
In 1978, 1980 and 1981 he'd also finish in the top-5 in Cy Young voting, in addition to getting some M.V.P. attention.
Around the school-yard I literally spent most of my childhood in, the nickname "Goose" was taken by so many kids it was ridiculous. We all loved that "crazy dude" who looked as mean as any biker.
By the time he was done, Gossage put in a 22 year career that landed him in the Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2008.
He was also given a plaque out in Yankee Stadium this year (to which I am a bit puzzled by), cementing his Yankee legend for all to look back on.
The "Goose", a real wild-man of a closer…

Sunday, December 3, 2023


Today on the blog we celebrate Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter of 1965 with a "missing" 1971 "Baseball's Greatest Moments" card:

The fire-balling Cincinnati Reds righty was truly a beast on the mound, and on August 19th of 1965 he was unstoppable when he tossed 10 innings against Chicago, keeping them hitless until his own team finally got him a run in the top of the 10th inning when shortstop Leo Cardenas homered of starter Larry Jackson. Yep, BOTH starters went the full distance that day, with Jackson on the short end of history.
For Maloney, he tossed 10 innings, allowed zero hits, while also (gulp!) walking TEN batters and striking out 12, facing 40 batters in his "masterpiece".
He also would put in a decent day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two singles to try and help his own cause.
Incredibly, earlier in the very same season Maloney held the New York Mets hitless through nine innings, only to lose in extra innings after striking out 18 Met batters before allowing a Johnny Lewis homer in the 11th frame to take the heartbreaking loss.
Four years later in 1969, Maloney would toss his second "official" no-hitter when he beat the Houston Astros 10-0 at Crosley Field, striking out 13 while walking five.
He tends to get overlooked as far as pitching stars of the 1960’s go.
Granted when you’re up against guys like Koufax, Marichal, Drysdale and Gibson, it’s easy to see why.
Nevertheless, in Maloney’s seven full seasons of Major League ball, he posted five seasons of sub-3.00 ERA, four 200+ strikeout years, and six 15+ win seasons, with two of them topping 20.
The guy was a machine! 29 of his 30 lifetime shutouts were in those seven years, with four seasons of five or more.
And consider this: until Major League officials changed the rules of what a no-hitter was years later, Maloney was considered as one of the few to throw THREE or more such gems.
By the time Maloney wrapped up his career after the 1971 season because of injuries at the young age of 31, he finished with a very nice 134-84 record, with a 3.19 ERA and 1605 strikeouts over 302 games and 1849 innings pitched, and a reputation as one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game during the 1960’s.



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