Tuesday, February 7, 2023

DEDICATED ROOKIE: 1974 BAKE McBRIDE

Today's blog post has a 1974 "dedicated rookie" for Bake McBride, who would end up taking home the N.L. Rookie of the Year that year:


McBride made an immediate splash in the Majors, hitting .302 in limited play in 1973 before coming back and taking home the 1974 National League Rookie of the Year Award when he hit .309 with 173 hits and 30 stolen bases.
Sadly, even though he would keep that average around .300 for the rest of his career, he was repeatedly dealing with injuries, ranging from knee and shoulder ailments, to missing almost an entire season because of eye problems relating to contact lenses.
Over his 11-year career he managed to play a full season only four times, with three of those years coming consecutively between 1978-1980.
In that last of consecutive full years, he helped the Phillies win the 1980 World Series, defeating the Kansas City Royals and giving the team their first title.
After that, he played three more years in the Big Leagues, never more than 70 games in any one season, finishing up with a .299 batting average over 1071 games and 3853 at-bats, with 1153 hits and 183 stolen bases.

 

Monday, February 6, 2023

1977 N.L. CENTENNIAL SPECIAL: DAVE CASH

On the blog today, we have Philadelphia Phillies hit-machine Dave Cash added to my on-going 1977 "Centennial" special sub-set, celebrating the Senior League's 100th Anniversary during the 1976 season:


Cash, who played the first five years of his Big League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, came over to the “City of Brotherly Love” 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.
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.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

EXPANDED LEAGUE LEADERS: 1978 N.L. STRIKEOUTS

On the blog today, we have a 1978 “expanded league leader” card celebrating the top three strikeout pitchers of the 1977 season in the National League, featuring three solid pitchers of the era:
 

We begin with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who was an absolute BEAST in 1977, leading the league with 262 strikeouts, a career-best for him, while putting in a workhorse of a year for the Atlanta Braves.
Over the course of that year Niekro started 43 games, completed 20 of them, tossed 330.1 innings while going 16-20 with a 4.03 earned run average, tossing two shutouts while allowing 315 hits while walking 164 batters!
If you can believe it he’d top those innings pitched in each of the next two seasons, throwing 334.1 and 342 in 1978 and 1979 respectively, while winning 19 and 21 games, completing 22 and 23 as well.
Just the definition of “workhorse” while throwing his knuckleball on his way to the Hall of Fame, winning 318 games while striking out 3342 batters along the way, with 45 shutouts over 864 games in his 24-year career.
Behind him with 214 strikeouts in 1977, the pitcher who would go on to lead the league in K’s the following two seasons, Houston Astros fire-baller J.R. Richard, who matched his previous season’s strikeout total while winning 18 games along with three shutouts and a 2.97 ERA.
Richard would eclipse the 300-strikeout threshold in the 1978 and 1979, with 303 and 313 before a stroke during the 1980 season tragically cut his career short after a brilliant 10-4 start with a 1.90 ERA, including four shutouts.
The man was well on his way to a dominant decade in the 1980’s, now teamed up with Nolan Ryan who arrived in 1980 to form what could have been one of the great 1-2 pitching tandems of all-time.
In third place with 206 strikeouts, overlooked ace Steve Rogers of the Montreal Expos, who had a fine year in 1977 with 17 wins and a 3.10 ERA over 40 starts, completing 17 and tossing four shutouts.
Rogers would go on to post some solid years for the Expos into the 1980’s, winning as many as 19 games (1982) and even leading the league that year with a 2.40 ERA, and shutouts in 1983 with five.
A victim of some bad Expos teams in the early part of the 1970’s, he’d finish with a record of 158-152 over 13 seasons, with a very nice 3.17 ERA and 37 shutouts over 399 appearances, all for the Montreal franchise between 1973 and 1985.
 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

1976 "STARS RETIRE": BOB GIBSON & HARMON KILLEBREW

Today on the blog, we have a 1976 "Stars Retire" card celebrating two superstars of the game who called it a career after the 1975 season: Bob Gibson and Harmon Killebrew:


Two baseball heavyweights who made their marks over their careers, taking home awards and eventually both being selected for Hall of Fame glory.
For "Gibby", by the time this card would have come out you were looking at only the second pitcher in Major League history to collect 3000K’s in their career, joining Walter Johnson in the exclusive club.
The two-time Cy Young winner and 1968 MVP would top 250 wins with 251, finish with 3117 strikeouts along with a 2.91 earned run average and 56 shutouts over his 17-year career.
He’d also collect NINE Gold Gloves and be named to eight all-star teams, all while hurling for the Cardinals, leading them to two World Championships, 1964 and 1967.
His 1968 season is the stuff of legend, going 22-9 with 13 shutouts and a microscopic 1.12 E.R.A., completing 28 of 34 starts and striking out 268 batters.
How he lost nine games is incredible!
Of course, by the time he was eligible for selection for the Hall of Fame, he got in without a problem, claiming his rightful spot in Cooperstown in 1981.
For "Killer" Killebrew, he was an absolute BEAST at the plate, crushing 573 lifetime homers, MOST of them during the pitching-era of the 1960's into the '70's.
Eight 40+ home run seasons, nine 100+ runs batted in seasons, seven 100+ base-on-balls seasons, an M.V.P. in 1969 (with five top-5 finishes in M.V.P. voting as well), and a Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
A favorite player of mine "before my time" since I first discovered him when I flipped over his 1973 card, not believing the numbers I was seeing as a 10-year-old in 1979 at my cousin's house.
What a player!
Two super players closing the books on two super careers...

Friday, February 3, 2023

1960'S CAREER-CAPPERS (FIRST TIME AROUND FOR THIS PLAYER): 1965 MINNIE MINOSO

Up on the blog today, from my 1960's "Career-cappers" set released a couple of years ago, my 1965 card for the great Minnie Minoso, new member of the Hall of Fame:



As we all know, Minoso would actually come back as a publicity stunt in 1976 and again in 1980 while a coach with the Chicago White Sox, but his "first" retirement came after 30 games with the White Sox in 1964 at the age of 40.
Minoso, aka the “Cuban Comet”, is finally a Hall of Famer, and I always felt the stunts in 1976 and 1980 may have even hurt his chances of getting into Cooperstown.
From 1951 to 1961 he had a wonderful Major League career, leading the league in stolen bases three times, triples three times, and hits and doubles once each, while also driving in over 100 runs four times and topping 20 homers four times.
Eight times in that span he would top a .300 batting average, and in 1951 many consider him the true American League Rookie of the Year when he hit .326 split between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, while topping the league in triples with 14 and stolen bases with 31.
Along the way he was named to seven All-Star games, winning three Gold Gloves as well, funny enough finishing fourth in the A.L. MVP race four times.
Of course, 12 years after his last playing days, in 1976, he ended up going 1-for-8 at the plate as a 50 year-old, then coming back in 1980 at the age of 54 and going hitless in two at-bats.
Nevertheless, Minoso finished his career with a .298 average, with 1963 hits over 6579 at-bats, along with 186 homers and 205 stolen bases while also topping 1000 runs scored and RBIs, 1136 & 1023 respectively.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUES ALL-TIME LEGENDS: DOBIE MOORE

Today on the blog, we add another Negro Leagues great to my long-running 1972 sub-set, former shortstop/outfielder Dobie Moore:


Though only active for seven seasons, Moore has been considered one of the greatest shortstop in the Negro League timeline, hitting .359 in his short career while playing Gold Glove defense.
He played his entire career with the Kansas City Monarchs, winning a batting title in 1924 when he hit a blistering .453, and held the highest career batting average in the California Winter League when he hit .385.
Sadly, during the 1926 season Moore was shot by his girlfriend, suffering a compound fracture which pretty much ended his career, though there were reports that he played later on in Semi-Pro ball at first base, not nearly the player he was before.
He finished his career with a .350 batting average, while hitting .270 over 23 games of Postseason play, helping the Monarchs to three consecutive league titles between 1923-1925.

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

1960'S DEDICATED ROOKIE: 1964 RICHIE ALLEN

On the blog this fine day, we spotlight my 1964 "dedicated rookie" for the great Richie (Dick) Allen, who put together what I feel is a Hall of Fame career, beginning with the Philadelphia Phillies:



The man was a beast at the plate, putting up numbers that were consistently up in the league-leaders year after year.
His rookie year was phenomenal, as he'd score 125 runs, collect 201 hits, lead the league with 13 triples, while collecting 38 doubles, hit 29 homers and drive in 91 runs, and hit .318, finishing seventh for the MVP Award.
Needless to say, he took home the Rookie of the Year in 1964, and in 1972 would take home the MVP trophy while with the White Sox when he paced the American League with 37 homers and 113 RBI's, while just missing out on the Triple Crown, batting .308, just ten points off the league-leading mark by perennial winner Rod Carew.
By the time he left the game at the age of 35, Allen hit over 350 homers, batted .292 and scored 1099 runs with 1119 RBI's.
The seven-time all-star also led his league in triples once, walks once, on-base-percentage twice and slugging three times.
I'm not saying the man is a lock-tight Hall of Fame candidate, but I do think in light of some of the guys already in, HE should also be in there.
The fact that the most support he got was an 18.9% showing in 1996 seems like a joke to me.
What do you all think?

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