Saturday, June 3, 2023


Today on the blog, we celebrate the great Ernie Banks and his time as a Negro League player before he took the Majors by storm, added to my 1972 sub-set featuring stars who had their start in the Negro Baseball Leagues:

Banks, whose father Eddie also played in the Negro leagues right after World War I, began his professional baseball career as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs in 1950, still a teenager.
Military service interrupted his playing time in 1951 and 1952 before he rejoined the team in 1953, but only for a little while, as he would be playing with the Chicago Cubs by September of that year, where he would stay until 1971, becoming "Mr. Cub", becoming a BASEBALL fan-favorite until his death in 2015.
I can't find any statistics for Banks' time in the NBL, but his time in MLB is certainly well-documented!
The most beloved baseball player in the North Side of Chicago, Banks was a two-time Most Valuable Player (1958 and 1959), with 500+ home runs, 2500+ hits, 11-time all-star and all-around great guy.
Oh, I may as well throw in the 1300+ runs scored, 1600+ runs batted in, 400+ doubles and 90 triples he chipped in as well, setting him on a straight path to the Baseball Hall of Fame with his 1977 induction, a no-brainer in anyone's book!
"Mr. Cub", wish there were more like him!
Banks, along with others like Buck O'Neill and Yogi Berra, were truly treasures of the sport and of life in general, who were lovable by all, and should be cherished forever.

Friday, June 2, 2023


The next National League player given a card in my 1977 "Centennial" sub-set celebrating the 100th anniversary season of 1976, future Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre of the New York Mets:

By the 1977 season Torre was a Player-Manager (remember those?) for the New York Mets after a distinguished career playing for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.
By the time the 1978 season opened, Torre became a full-time manager, thus ending a rock-solid 18-year career that saw him finish second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1961, and win a Most Valuable Player Award in 1971.
It's easy to forget that Torre's career was so good for some reason.
A nine-time all-star, Torre excelled while catching, playing third base, and even first base over his Major League tenure.
Of course the 1971 season was his high-point, leading the league in batting (.363), hits (230), total bases (352) and runs batted in (137).
But the guy also topped 200 hits the year before, hit more than 20 homers in a season six times, drove in over 100 five times and batted .300 or better five times.
By the time he hung up the playing cleats, Torre retired with: 996 runs scored, 2342 hits, 252 homers, 1185 R.B.I.'s and a nice .297 batting average.
But it was his post-playing career that got him inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 by the Veteran's Committee.
As a manager over the course of 29 seasons for the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers, Torre won 2326 games and took home six pennants and four world championships.
Not bad for a kid from the neighborhood!


Thursday, June 1, 2023


Next up to be profiled in my fun 1970 "20-Win Circle" sub-set, the great Fergie Jenkins, who is always a favorite subject here on the blog to create a custom card for:

Fergie was smack in the middle of an incredible run of six straight 20-win seasons, as well as five straight 200+ strikeout campaigns.
For the 1969 season, Jenkins posted 21 wins for the Cubs, while leading the N.L. with 273 strikeouts, starting 42 games, completing 23 and tossing seven shutouts.
As we all know, he put together a Hall of Fame career, topping 280 wins, 3000 strikeouts, with 49 shutouts, a Cy Young Award in 1971 and four other top-3 finishes in the award voting.
In 1991 he capped off his career with an induction into Cooperstown on his third try, just getting the 75% of the vote with 75.4% support.
On a geeky side-note, “Fly” was also the first pitcher to ever register 3000+ strikeouts while issuing less than 1000 base on balls.
Love stuff like that!
Jenkins was just plain awesome. And he went about being awesome while pretty much performing under the radar.
This will for sure be a fun set to print later in 2023, and I can't wait for it!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


On the blog today, revisiting a blog post from September of 2014 for those that missed it the first time around, my "missing" 1972 In-Action card for the great Lou Brock:

I really enjoyed filling in the gaps that Topps left with this great sub-set, when they gave us guys like Bob Barton and Paul Schaal (no offense), while leaving out so many uber-stars.
As for Brock, the man was running wild by the early 1970's, on his way to a then Major League record 938 stolen bases to go along nicely with 1610 runs scored, 3023 hits and 776 extra base hits.
1971 was typical for Brock, as he gathered 200 hits, led the National League in runs scored with 126 (a career high), batted over .300 (.313) and of course, led the Senior Circuit in stolen bases for the fifth time (on his way to eight stolen base crowns for his career).
His stellar career eventually got Brock elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.
Nicknamed "The Franchise", I'm sure any team would love to build a roster around a player like Brock in any era.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023


We move on to the National League's top first baseman in my "1970s All-Decade Team" set, with my pick the great Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Let's see: all the man did in the 1970s was produce six 200-hit seasons, four 100-RBI campaigns, four Gold Gloves, an MVP and six All-Star nods.
Seems like a no-brainer to me for this pick!
The anchor of the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers teams of the era, they took over from Cincinnati as the preeminent team in the Senior Circuit in the late-70s, reaching the World Series three times over five seasons between 1977 and 1981, winning it all that final year, beating the New York Yankees and exacting some sweet revenge for their two losses in 77/78.
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a few hundred times: the fact that this man is NOT in the Hall of Fame, representing his era of Major League baseball, is a joke. Flat out nonsense. Beyond the numbers, the personality, the leader of a team that was shattering attendance records, helping popularize the game further, the man was an All-Star year in-year out.
In my book, seeing that the most support he ever received was 42.6%, which was in his second-year of eligibility in 1994, is nothing short of a mark on what the Hall of Fame is.
Modern metrics be damned, get this man in!

Monday, May 29, 2023


On the blog today, we have a 1979 "not so missing" card for seven-year MLB pitcher Juan Eichelberger, who made his Big League debut in 1978 with the San Diego Padres:

Eichelberger appeared in three games for the Padres, not factoring in a decision while tossing 3.1 innings in relief, giving up four earned runs on four hits and two walks.
He'd also appear in three games the following season before getting some regular playing time between 1980 and 1982, winning 19 games over that time across 71 appearances, now a starter, tossing a shutout while completing eleven games.
In 1983 he found himself with the Cleveland Indians, appearing in 28 games with 15 of those starts, completing two games and posting a record of 4-11 with a 4.90 ERA over 134 innings of work.
He would toil in the Minors between 1984 and 1987 before making a comeback at the age of 34, some five years after his last Big League action, pitching for the Atlanta Braves and appearing in 20 games, going 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 37.1 innings, calling it a career soon after.
All told, he finished up with a record of 26-36, with a 4.10 ERA and 281 strikeouts over 125 appearances, with 14 complete games and 603.1 innings pitched.

Sunday, May 28, 2023


Good day all!

On the blog today, we have the top three National League strikeout pitchers of 1978 proudly displayed on a 1979 “expanded league leader” card, featuring three studs of the mound:


We begin with Houston Astros ace J.R. Richard, who had himself quite a season in 1978, reaching the 300 strikeout plateau for the first time with 303 total over 275.1 innings of work.

Richard was just getting better and better at this point, reaching the 300 strikeout mark after two seasons of 214, winning 18 games each year between 1977 and 1979 with a 20-win season in 1976.

He was a beast on the mound, and would follow up his 1978 campaign with an even better 1979 season, striking out 313 batters while leading the league with a 2.71 earned run average while completing 19 of his 38 starts, throwing 292.1 innings.

I cannot even imagine how the 1980’s could have gone for him had not a tragic stroke strike him during the 1980 season, ending his career just like that.

In second place with 248 strikeouts, the 1977 K-leader in the N.L., Atlanta Braves pitcher Phil Niekro, who started 42 games while completing 22 of them, both league high marks, as well as his whopping 334.1 innings.

He went 19-18 with a very nice 2.88 ERA, tossing four shutouts and even winning the first of his five Gold Gloves, this at the age of 39! Amazing.

In third place with 226 strikeouts, a man who at that point was already a five-time K-King, Cincinnati Reds ace Tom Seaver, who had a very nice first full-season after his shocking trade to the team during the 1977 season.

“Tom Terrific” went 16-14 over 36 starts, posting an ERA of 2.88 over 259 innings, tossing one shutout while completing eight, making his eleventh All-Star team on his way to an easy Hall of Fame selection years later, in my opinion THE best pitcher of the 1970’s.

Quite the trip of arms here!


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