Saturday, November 30, 2013


I never noticed before, but behind George Hendrick on his 1976 Topps card (#570), we have the afro of ALL afro's, Oscar Gamble's fluffy dome cover, making yet another appearance!
The 'fro was an entity unto itself huh?!
You just gotta love it! Take a look:
Oscar Gamble and the 'fro that ate Cleveland make an appearance.
By the way, I DO love the Cleveland Indians visor Hendrick is sporting, as well as the distant gaze he's exhibiting, as if contemplating life's true meaning or something.
Maybe he was wondering just how much longer he had to toil in Cleveland?
He had no need to worry though if that was the case.
After one more productive year with the Indians, he'd be off to San Diego for about a year and a half before moving on to St. Louis, where he'd be an important cog on some good teams, including their 1982 world championship squad.

Friday, November 29, 2013


While Carlton Fisk's 1972 rookie card (#79) is one of the nicer rookie cards of the decade in my book, both for design AND the fact that one of my favorite players from my childhood is also on it, Cecil Cooper, it still would have been nice to have a "dedicated" rookie card of "Pudge" instead of a three-player card as seen below.

Great rookie card featuring two stars of the game.

Today I post up what could be the last "dedicated rookie" subject in the thread, since Fisk is the last of future Hall of Fame players who had a shared rookie card during the 70's.
(Jack Morris may make the Hall, but he DID have a nice 1978 Burger King card that would qualify as a dedicated rookie.)
I may branch out to other stars of the game during the era, like Thurman Munson and Dale Murphy, but time will tell.
But for now, allow me to present my design of a 1972 Carlton Fisk "dedicated" rookie card, using a great 1972 photo from Sports Illustrated as the card image.

Dedicated 1972 Carlton Fisk design.

On a side note, Cecil Cooper really was one of my favorite players growing up, and I feel he is often a forgotten star of the late 1970's-early 1980's with the Milwaukee Brewers.
I'll have to find something to profile him with later on…

Thursday, November 28, 2013



Time for this week's trivia questions. Answers will be posted tomorrow down below:

1. Who posted the fewest at-bats on his way to a batting championship during the decade?

2. Who scored the fewest runs during a batting championship season?

3. What batting champ had the fewest amount of hits during his league-topping season?

4. What batting champ had the fewest extra-base hits during the 70's?

5. Who was the only batting champ during the 1970's to whiff over 100 times in the same season as his batting win?


1. Rico Carty, Atlanta Braves, 1970. 478 at-bats.

2. Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins. 1972. 61 runs.
3. Tony Oliva, Minnesota Twins. 1971. 164 hits.
4. Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins. 1972. Only 27 EBH: 21 doubles, 6 triples and 0 Home runs.

5. Dave Parker, Pittsburgh Pirates. 1977. 102 K's.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


As we all know, Tony LaRussa the "manager" is one of the all-time greats.
Between 1979 and 2011, a span of 33 years, he managed three teams (White Sox, A's and Cardinals) to 2728 victories, six pennants, three world championships, and 12 first place finishes.
You can easily make an argument for LaRussa as the best modern era manager in baseball.
Now, Tony LaRussa the "player". Well…
Let's just say that he never really fulfilled the promise on THAT end of his career.
He came up in 1963 for a brief cup of coffee with the Kansas City Athletics, but wouldn't make it back up to the big leagues again until 1968, when he appeared in only five games, good for three at-bats.
Actually, in his six year playing career, he never really got a chunk of playing time in any one season.
However, ironically enough, the MOST action he ever saw was during the 1970 season while still playing for the A's, when he got into 52 games at second base, good for 106 at-bats.
He didn't make much of the opportunity, batting .198 with 21 hits and six runs batted in.
However, if there was EVER a year where Topps should have given the guy a baseball card you think it would be the only year he scraped together more than 100+ plate appearances, no?
Yet Topps didn't have a LaRussa card in their 1971 set, even though he WAS included in their sets in 1964, 1968 and 1972.
Go figure…
Well, today I post up a "missing" design for a 1971 Tony LaRussa card.
Even though his playing days left a lot to be desired, he was well on his way to the Hall of Fame once he got the hold of managing a squad in 1979.
LaRussa already has the look of a leader!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


So, can someone please explain Topps selection process when it came to their 1970 set?
Earlier on this blog I designed a Jim Bouton card that was "missing" from the set, since the guy pitched in 73 games, good for 122.2 innings for both the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros. We're talking about a former 20-game winner for the New York Yankees, and a renowned character.
Yet for some reason, a player who sported the following line for the 1969 season was worthy of a card instead: 1-1, 18.00 E.R.A., 6 games, 5 innings, and TEN earned runs on TEN hits?!
The player is Jose Pena, shown as a Los Angeles Dodger, but in actually played for the Cincinnati Reds in '69.
As a matter of fact you can see the Reds' uniform peeking out in the photo used for the card.
Pena looks as confused as I am about this card...
Not only did Pena give up ten hits and runs over those five innings, but he also managed to walk five guys as well!
Whew! That's a cool 3.000 WHIP!
Now, Pena DID go on to have a "better" 1970 season for the Dodgers, going 4-3 with a 4.42 earned run average over the course of 29 games and 57 innings.
But honestly, I guess it was easier to pick a guy like Pena for a slot in the 1970 set than the "trouble-maker" Bouton, who was about to have his book "Ball Four" published, angering the baseball "Gods" with somewhat of a tell-all tome, which then baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn called "detrimental to baseball".
(By the way: if any of you out there haven't read the book yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Go and get a copy!)
Anyway, just one of those cards that leaves you scratching your head, wondering why there wasn't ANYONE else Topps could have given the slot to (a final Don Drysdale card anyone?!).

Monday, November 25, 2013


Though I have always loved Topps 1975 set, I would never claim it to be "perfect".
Case in point is card #120, Steve Busby.
If you knew players well enough when this card came out, you would have thought Busby looked a little different, and you would be absolutely correct.
As many of you already know, Topps made a mistake and ended up using a picture of battery-mate Fran Healy for the Steve Busby card.
It also happened on another card in the set which I will profile at a later date, but for today let's go ahead and look at the "mistake", and also design a "correct" version of the card:

As issued by Topps, showing catcher Fran Healy instead of Busby.

That's the real Steve Busby on my re-design.

At the time of this error (which Topps never bothered to correct by the way), Busby really was an up and coming star with all the promise in the world.
He came up as a full-time player in 1973 and finished third in Rookie of the Year in the American League with a 16-15 record and 4.23 earned run average. On top of that he even threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on April 27th, ironically enough with Fran Healy as his catcher.
In 1974 he was even better, going 22-14 with a 3.39 earned run average, and once again throwing a no-hitter, this time on June 19th against the Milwaukee Brewers.
And guess who his catcher was? That's right, none other than Fran Healy!
I guess if you're going to have someone else depicted on your card, it may as well be the guy who called balls and strikes for you during BOTH of your no-hitters, right?!
In 1975 Busby continued to shine on the mound, as he managed to lower his E.R.A. even more, down to 3.08 with an 18-12 record over 260.1 innings.
But sadly, in early 1976 Busby was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, and underwent one of the first rotator cuff surgeries in baseball history, if not the very first.
When he came back it was evident that the surgery didn't help much, and even though he pitched until the 1980 season, he only managed about 220 innings across those last five years, calling it a career at the young age of 30.
All told, Busby retired with a record of 70-54 with a 3.72 E.R.A., and was eventually elected to the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.
But sadly because of injuries he was never able to fulfill that promising career that seemed to be developing in the mid-70's.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Today's post deals with not so much as a "do-over" as it does with a "fix".
I've always found it funny that Orlando Cepeda's 1973 Topps card (#545) had him as an Oakland A's player.
I mean sure, he was traded to the A's in June of 1972 for Denny McLain from the Atlanta Braves.
But when you go and check out his stats for the season, you see that he had a whopping THREE at-bats for the A's in 1972 before being signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox in January of '73.
I'm all for having cards showing the player based on what he did the previous year. But those three at-bats just don't seem to make it right to have him as an A's player in the 1973 set.
Besides, and I know this doesn't really make it "right", Cepeda went on to have a very good season in 1973 as Boston's first designated hitter, hitting .289 with 20 homers and 86 runs batted in.
Not too shabby for a 35 year old with severely bum knees which curtailed what seemed to be a record breaking career when he was tearing up the National League throughout the 1960's.
So, for the sake of a quick "fix", I've gone and designed a 1973 Topps card of Cepeda in a Red Sox uniform, while also including his regular-issued #545 as an Oakland A's player.

As-issued Cepeda card #545
A more "accurate" card by my own design.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Today I'm going to go ahead and make a little "fix" regarding Rich Gossage and his one season pitching in Pittsburgh, 1977.
His regular 1977 Topps card (#319) still had him as a Chicago White Sox player, even though he was traded for Richie Zisk in December of 1976.
But by the time the 1978 cards were being produced, Topps had enough time to go ahead and airbrush Gossage into a New York Yankees uniform (giving us a nice card I might add).
So as you have it, except for I believe a 1977 Hostess card, there was never a Rich Gossage card showing him as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Kind of like Reggie Jackson and his one year in Baltimore, also in 1976.
So here below is my design for a 1977 Rich Gossage card, Pittsburgh Pirates version:
The "Goose" is loose in Pittsburgh!
Man, I miss the "Goose"!
He was just hilariously intimidating when he came into pitch during his years on the Yanks, and was a perfect fit for the Bronx in the late-70's/early-80's.
We used to always try chatting with him at the stadium when he was in the bullpen.
We were annoying delinquents in the bleachers (when the bleachers were grimy and pretty much a free for all!) and he'd always crack a little smirk when we'd be screaming at the top of our lungs, throwing out any vulgar phrase of praise in devotion.
We would just watch him "POP!!" every single warm-up pitch into the catcher's mitt, looking like some biker at some roadside bar in the middle of nowhere.
We loved that "brawler" persona more than anything!
When he left the Yanks via free agency after the 1983 season it truly was a dark day for us bleacher bums. 
Really glad he made it into the Hall of Fame in 2008 after waiting for so long…

Friday, November 22, 2013


Today's Hall of Fame leaders post features a great card (#72) of three Hall of Fame powerhouse flame-throwers of the era: Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson and Fergie Jenkins.
All three posted big strikeout seasons in 1970, with Seaver leading the way at 283 and Gibson and Jenkins tied for second with 274 each.
Three consecutive Cy Young winners between 1969-71.
What can you say about a card featuring players that account for 846 wins, 9949 strikeouts and 166 shutouts over the course of 56 combined Major League seasons?!
Throw in on top of all that six Cy Young awards and an M.V.P. for Gibson during his 1968 dream season, and you pretty much have as good a card as any featuring moundsman-perfection in the 1970's.
Just awesome.
A nice little quirk: starting with Seaver and going counter-clockwise, you have the three successive Cy Young winners in the National league from 1969 through 1971.
Not too shabby huh?

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Simply put: Jim "Mudcat" Grant's mutton chops on his 1972 card (#111) are AWESOME!!!!
It doesn't get much better than the monster chops Grant sports here. The "wild '70's" are very much alive and kicking for all to see!
Sir...I salute that facial hair!
Ironically enough Grant's career was already over with by the time this nifty card came out.
After 14 decent years in the Majors, Grant hung them up after the 1971 season at the age of 35, finishing up with a 145-119 record to go with a 3.63 earned run average.
1965 was far and away his best year in the Majors, as he lead the American league in wins with 21, winning percentage with .750, and shutouts with six, good enough for a sixth place finish in M.V.P. Voting.
What about Cy Young voting you ask? Well, Sandy Koufax wasn't allowing anyone to win THAT award during his domination in the middle of the decade, when there was only one winner instead of one from the A.L. and one from the N.L.
But I also have to point out his incredibly underrated 1970 season.
That year, his second to last in the Majors, Grant was used as a reliever, appearing in 80 games with the Pirates and A's, good for 135.1 innings, while posting fantastic numbers by season's end, going 8-3 with 24 saves and a sparkling 1.86 E.R.A.!
Later on in life he published a book celebrating every black 20-game winner in baseball history, which by the way, there are only 15!
Seems amazing to think there have only been 15 black pitchers with a 20-win season in baseball history!
But for now, let's celebrate a pair of kick-ass mutton chops that really represent that crazy decade, the 1970's!


Here are this week's trivia questions. Have fun! Answers will be posted tomorrow down below:

1. Who posted the most plate appearances during a season in the 1970's with a whopping 770 in 1974?

2. Dick Allen's M.V.P. season in 1972 saw him fall just short of winning the Triple Crown, leading the American League in homers and runs batted in, but coming in third in the batting race. How many points separated him from triple crown history?

3. Which season in the 1970's saw an astounding 44 starting pitchers post an E.R.A. of under 3.00 for the year?!

4. Conversely, what season saw only six Major League starters post a sub-3.00 earned run average over a full season?

5. Among all 30+ home run seasons by players during the decade, who had the lowest amount of total hits during his 30+ homer year with only 111? And what year was it?


1. Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds.

2. Ten. Rod Carew won the title with a .318 average while Allen hit .308. This translates to about five more hits over the course of the season.
3. 1972.
4. 1970.

5. Gorman Thomas, Milwaukee Brewers. 1978.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


My all-time favorite "record breaker" or "highlights" card from any set has always been the 1976 Tom Seaver card (#5).
Ever since I first laid eyes on it, I was just in awe of "Tom Terrific" and the glare he had going on against some poor bastard of a batter waiting for his next bullet to the plate!
Just take a look:

Seriously...he looks like he's about to kill!

Jeez!! Tom Seaver at the height of his Hall of Fame career looking as bad ass as I remember him being.
What a monster!
I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again: as a Yankee fan growing up in Brooklyn back then, I was always so jealous that the Yanks didn't have a guy like this on their team.
Guidry came along a couple years later, but he wasn't that big power house hurler grunting his way to baseball immortality.
Seaver, like Nolan Ryan, just seemed to bully their way through line ups with their sheer power.
Little did I know it during the late '70's, but I would eventually be fortunate enough to be at Yankee Stadium in 1985 to witness Seaver's 300th career win firsthand on "Phil Rizzuto Day", one of my favorite baseball experiences.
Back to the card a quick second: I can't really tell what team he's facing (maybe the Phillies?), but I've always felt like this was Seaver's nicest card during the 1970's of any kind.
"Pitcher -vs- Batter" at it's best!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Now I know I have been focusing on the 1973 Topps set a ton lately, but bear with me...
So I was looking at the 1973 Mike Marshall card (#355) because of the airbrushing on the cap, then started to really look at the uniform he's wearing.
Even though you can barely see anything, I DID notice the dark striping and wondered what team's uniform that could be. At this point, Marshall was already an Expo player since 1970, so why the need for airbrushing in the first place?
I know Marshall was a colossal headache for Topps, as he refused to either pose or even refuse to have a card altogether (hence the "missing" cards in the 1970, 1978 and 1979 sets).
So is this why Topps had to use an outdated photo of him even for their 1973 card? Possibly.
But then as I was looking at that jersey again, I realized it looks like a Detroit Tigers home jersey with the dark brown striping, and Marshall DID come up with the Tigers in 1967 before moving on to the Seattle Pilots in 1969.
Is this a photograph of Mike Marshall from 1967 or so?
If you look at his 1972 card (#505) you can see what the Montreal Expo jersey looks like, and the '73 photo is not even close. 
I can't be 100% sure, but I really do think that's a Tiger uniform he has on, meaning the image on the 1973 baseball card can possibly be about six years old.
Anyone out there know?
Is that a Tiger jersey Marshall has on?
I'll be profiling more of Mike Marshall in the future, both with "missing" cards and airbrush jobs. 
This guy was truly a character both on the field and off, and even in the baseball card realm!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Sorry, a few days in England kept me away from a computer to keep up with the blog...
But anyway, today I offer up a couple of redesigns for the 1973 Topps Pete Rose card (#130), since the original issued card was not one of my favorites.
Call me picky, but to have a card of "Charlie Hustle" in his prime showing him looking up at what looks like a pop-up, legs twisted up like a pretzel is a bit lame. And let's not even talk about the empty seats in the stands out in the distance!
Ugh. Boring isn't even strong enough here!
What I did was design two versions: one of him leading off of first base, and one of him at bat following through on a hit. 
I tell you, as time goes by that 1973 set gets stranger and stranger the more I study it. Yet I must admit I AM loving it more and more as well!

An image of "Charlie Hustle" leading off of first base...

...and an image of Rose lacing a single to right field.

1973 ended up being Rose's only M.V.P. year, as he lead the league in hitting along with a career high 230 hits, while spearheading what was to become the powerhouse "Big Red Machine" to two consecutive world championships in 1975 & 1976.

Friday, November 15, 2013


You're a 14 year veteran pitcher in the Major Leagues.
You've won 11 Gold Gloves, won 25 games one year, and in 1972, the year before today's profiled card came out, you went 10-2 with a sparkling 2.06 E.R.A. In 15 starts.
So what does your 1973 card show you doing? BATTING!
"Kitty" trading in his glove for a bat.
You just have to love the fact that Jim Kaat's 1973 (#530) card has him swinging away at the plate!
I was actually tempted to make this one of my future "Gimmie a do-over" redesigned cards. But then the more I looked at it, the more I really liked it!
Great, quirky card of one of the better pitchers NOT in the Hall of Fame. 
I'm not saying he "deserves" to be in. But if it were up to ME, he would have been in years ago.
You just cannot ignore a 25 year career with 283 wins, 16 Gold Gloves, three 20-win seasons, 2461 strike outs, and 898 appearances. 
But for now, let's just enjoy this oddity and shake our head one more time over that 1973 set, which seems to get stranger and stranger with every look!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Here are this week's trivia questions. Have fun! Answers will be posted tomorrow down below:

1. Who was the only pitcher to lead the league in winning percentage in both the A.L. And N.L. During the 1970's, and what seasons were they?

2. While Nolan Ryan did so four times in the '70's, no National league pitcher averaged 10+ K's per nine innings over a single season. Who came the closest?

3. Name the only batter to receive more than 30 intentional base on balls during a season in the decade? As a matter of fact, this batter had 40 of them. Who is it?

4. Who is the only National League player to reach base over 300 times in a season during the 1970's? A feat he accomplished four times!

5. Only one time during the 1970's in either league did the stolen base champ end up with less than 50 steals. Who was it?


1. Don Gullett. 1971 (.727) with the Reds, and 1977 (.778) with the Yankees.

2. J.R. Richard, Astros. 1978 at 9.904.
3. Willie McCovey, Giants. 1970.
4. Pete Rose, Reds in 1973, 1975, 1976 and Phillies in 1979.

5. Bert Campaneris, A's. 1970 with 42..

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


The last player to throw a pitch for the short-lived Seattle Pilots franchise was a young 23 year old from Puerto Rico named Miguel Fuentes.
Called up in September of 1969, he managed to get into a few of the last games played by the Pilots, as no one knew that the franchise wouldn't make it out of Spring training the following year.
They abruptly moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers just five days before opening day, 1970.
Sadly, no one was to also know that Fuentes would never see a game as a Brewer, or a Major Leaguer for that matter, because of tragedy.
During the off-season back home in Puerto Rico, Fuentes was playing for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
While there, on January 29th, he was involved in a bar fight, where he was shot and killed.
With cards already in production, what was to be his rookie card was issued along with the rest of Topps' 1970 set, showing Fuentes along with another Seattle pitching prospect, Dick Baney.
Sad to see a player who was considered one of the top prospects in that organization cut down at such a young age.
All told, Fuentes appeared in eight games for the Pilots, good for 26 innings. His final record was 1-3 with a 5.19 E.R.A.
Sadly it seems the 1970's had an inordinate amount of young players passing away during their playing days.
As usual I've added the memoriam stripe along the bottom of his photo, as I have done with the other subjects of this thread.
May 10, 1946 - January 29, 1970.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Back in August I posted a bit about former player Jack Heidemann, who transformed from "clean-cut" young athlete, to wild man of the '70's, BACK to clean cut man over the course of three cards (1973 #664/1975 #649/1977 #553).
I also mentioned in the post that in reality, he SHOULD have had a card in the (awesome) 1976 set since he appeared in 61 games for 145 at-bats for the New York Mets in 1975 while playing various infield positions.
It's enough to get a card in my book since Topps went and gave some other players a card for a lot less playing time the year before (Stan Perzanowski anyone?).
Well today I present to you my design for the "missing" Heidemann card:
Still a wild man in '76!
Would have made a nice added "step" in the Heidemann transformation I wrote about earlier, as he still has the flowing locks and facial hair that would disappear the very next year on his 1977 Topps card.
Besides, it would also have been his only NY Mets card, and in 1976 those Mets cards looked great because of the color scheme!
Hopefully for all of you "completists" out there like me, you'll enjoy this virtual addition to the 1976 set.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Hector Torres was one of those players that came and went throughout the 1970's.
I originally had him measured up to be a "missing in action" subject in the future for this blog, but also realized that he went four years before making an appearance in a Topps set again, from 1972 to 1976.
In the 1972 set he was depicted as a Chicago Cub (on "devlish" card #666) since he appeared in 31 games for them in 1971, good for 58 at-bats.
Card #666 in 1972's psychedelic set.
Yet oddly enough Topps didn't go and give him a card in their 1973 set even though he saw a lot more playing time with the Montreal Expos, getting into 83 games and 181 at-bats. Go figure?!
After bouncing around the Minors for a couple of years he finally found decent playing time in 1975 with the San Diego Padres playing various infield positions, getting into 112 games with 352 at-bats, both the highest totals since his rookie year in 1968, and totals he'd never surpass again in his career.
For this, in 1976 Topps "rewarded" Torres with his first card since 1972, #241 in the equally as colorful set. See below…
A baseball card reappearance for Torres after four years.

I've always been a sucker for "missing" cards of players, or cards of a player that hadn't appeared in sets for years.
So because of this, I will also be profiling Torres for his missing cards.
Yes, that's "cards" plural, as he should have had a card in the 1973, 1977 and 1978 sets. Especially the latter two since he posted over 200 at-bats in each of 1976 and 1977.
As a matter of fact Torres was one of the "original" Blue Jays in 1977, so it's a shame he wasn't shown as such from a historical standpoint.
Keep an eye out for them in the future.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


While writing up my post for the Kurt Bevacqua "Bubble Gum Contest" card recently, I was scanning the back at the players that participated in the contest and came across a name that stuck with me for years: Eric Raich, who represented the Cleveland Indians in the round-robin tourny.
The reason that name stuck was because I remember as a kid I noticed his stats on the back of his 1977 Topps card (#62) and saw that the guy played in only ONE game the previous year, good for 2.2 innings, and gave up a whopping five earned runs for a 16.88 E.R.A.!
Yet Topps felt that he should get a spot in the set.
Not to take anything away from a guy who actually makes the Major Leagues! But come on. What gives?
On top of it all, by the time this card was being pulled from packs in mid-1977, Raich's career was already behind him, as he spent 1977 and '78 in the Minors before retiring for good.
2.2 innings in his only appearance of 1976.
Raich, who was the #1 overall pick in the January 1972 draft coming out of USC, came up during the 1975 season and ended up posting a 7-8 record over 18 games (17 of them starts) and 92.2 innings.
But that was really all he'd get up in the Big Leagues, as he tore his rotator cuff during the '75 season and never recovered.
After his playing days he had MUCH better luck in his new career choice, as he went on to work for GMC Motors, where he's STILL employed, as a Fleet Account Executive.
As a matter of fact he even has a profile page on the "Faces of GM" site, where I got some of this info.
Good for you Eric!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Now I'll be honest.
I never really knew where I stood with the Kurt Bevacqua "Bubble Gum Blowing Contest" card in the 1976 set (#564).
Wouldn't those points at the end of that instrument "pop" the bubble?
When I was a kid and pulled this card from a pack in 1976, sure I thought it was "nifty".
But as the years passed, and for NO reason whatsoever, any time I came across the card I'd get this annoyed feeling as I quickly moved along to other cards.
I guess I got too "serious" with my card collecting and thought of this card as a waste of space.
Now, as I'm an "old man" of 44, I can't help but love the card for the playfulness and great example of that time and place that was the 1970's.
Not that bubblegum blowing was a sign of the free-wheelin' '70's, but it WAS just "kooky" enough to be part of that awesomely wild span of ten years!
I have to say my favorite part of the card is the bracket posting on the back, showing the "March Madness" style progression of which players advanced to the next round of the competition.
Take a look:
Now why didn't the Tigers or Pirates compete?!
You have to love looking at all the players involved in the "tournament". Awesome!
Seems the winner got $1000 for himself as well as $1000 for his favorite charity.
Jeez, how times have changed huh?
The contest culminated during the pre-game show "The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola" before game 3 of the 1975 World Series.
Kurt Bevacqua was the American League champ and he went up against National League champ Johnny Oates.
I wonder if Oates realizes how he missed baseball card immortality when he lost that contest?
You think?

Friday, November 8, 2013


Paul Molitor was always one of my favorite players that DIDN'T play for the NY Yankees.
It always seemed that this future Hall of Famer would slip under the radar year after year and post great numbers while being overshadowed by one teammate or another, whether it was Robin Yount, Roberto Alomar or even Joe Carter.
Today I've gone and designed a "dedicated" rookie card for him in the 1978 set, as opposed to the multi-player rookie card he appeared on that Topps produced. (Even though having a rookie of both Molitor and Alan Trammell IS pretty awesome!)
What makes the card even uglier from Molitor's standpoint is his image was originally a black-and-white photo that Topps "colored" for the card.
Time to give Molitor a nicer rookie don't you think? Take a look at what Topps put out there (card #707), and my design which follows:
Hopefully Trammell will get into the Hall one day as well.

Would have been a nice rookie for us collectors!
Molitor really was a hit machine, and I can't help but wonder just how many hits he could have ended up with in his career if he didn't suffer three injury-plagued years along with TWO baseball strikes.
I would think it's a safe bet to make that he could easily have had another 400 hits on top of his already awesome 3319 total! Just look his stats up, he missed a chunk of games during his playing days, and still ended up with the aforementioned hit total as well as over 600 doubles, 234 homers, 500 stolen bases and 1782 runs scored!
One of my favorite items about Molitor's career was in 1993 when the guy drove in over 100 runs for the FIRST TIME at the age of 36. Then he repeats the feat in 1996 when he drove in 113 runs for the Twins while hitting only 9 homers at the age of 39! 
The guy was simply amazing, yet soft-spoken and professional in every sense of the word.
*On a side note: I've always found it quite impressive that two of the three future Hall of Famers taken within the first five picks of the first round in the 1970's were BOTH from the University of Minnesota, Dave Winfield in 1973 and Molitor in 1977. Damn good pedigree right there.
(By the way: the OTHER future Hall of Famer picked within the first five picks of any draft during the decade was Robin Yount, picked just ahead of Winfield in 1973 and Molitor's future long time teammate. Go figure).

Thursday, November 7, 2013


This is one of those cards I remember clearly as a kid since I bought TONS of 1978's when they came out and memorized each and every card in the set: #303 Sam Hinds.
Thing is it wasn't until many years later that I realized this player's Major League days were already over with by the time I was pulling his cards from packs.
Funny. You see certain cards over and over again as a kid and just figure that the player is still out on the field, playing in the Majors and on his way to a "career".
It's a good thing the harsh reality of it all doesn't set in until much later on in life!
A decent cup of coffee in 1977, and that was it.
Hinds was actually a late round draft pick in 1971 by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 35th round, but went on to college instead, pitching for Broward Junior College.
Once he graduated, he then signed as an undrafted free agent with Milwaukee in 1974 and made it up to the Majors in 1977, appearing in 29 games for 72.1 innings, sporting an 0-3 record with a 4.73 E.R.A.
Sadly for him, that was it, as he pitched in Milwaukee's Minor League in 1978 (Spokane AAA) and 1979 (Holyoke AA) before hanging them up.
A single stat line on the back, plain and simple, and a Topps baseball card for all of eternity.
Good for you Sam!


Here are this week's trivia questions. Have fun! Answers will be posted tomorrow down below:

1. Who was the only team to have four players drive in 100 or more runs during the same season, and what year was it?

2. Who quietly won 20 games for the Yankees in 1978, easily being overshadowed by Ron Guidry's Cy Young performance?

3. What Major League season saw only four players reach 100 or more runs scored for the year, a low mark for the decade? Coincidentally all were from the same league:

4. What season in the 1970's saw the most players hit 40 or more home runs?

5. What player recorded only 74 runs scored in a season that saw him collect 200+ hits, the lowest total in the decade?


1. 1977 Red Sox: Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk and Butch Hobson.

2. Ed Figueroa. 20-9.
3. 1971. All four from the National League: Lou Brock, Bobby Bonds, Willie Stargell,  and Ralph Garr.
4. 1970- Six Players: Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Billy Williams, Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew.

5. Willie Montenez. 1976. He had 206 hits while only scoring 74 runs..

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Here's an absolute classic airbrush job Topps executed in 1975 for one of the most "vibrant" team uniforms in Baseball history: a 1975 (#355) Chris Cannizzaro card in technicolor Padre-yellow!
Man! You think Topps stocked up on the mustard-yellow paint for this card or what?
(Un)funny enough, Cannizzaro never even played in 1975, as his Major League playing days were over by the end of the previous season.
But what I don't understand is that he actually played in 26 games with San Diego in 1974, so why wasn't Topps able to snap off a shot of him in Padre yellow for his 1975 card?
I tell you, the guy doing the airbrushing job here did a thorough job, as I cannot tell at all what uniform he was actually wearing in the photo before they painted it. Usually you can see some part of the original photo peeking through.
Man, dig that crazy mustard uniform!
As for Cannizzaro, here's a little trivia: he was actually an original New York Met in 1962 as well as an original San Diego Padre in 1969, becoming the very first Padre player selected for an all-star game the very same year.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Here's a card I've always loved: the 1971 Topps Roy White #395.
The cropping of this photo to the card design is perfect! It really looks like you're watching the game on a television set!
If I'm not mistaken this card was photographed at the "old" Yankee Stadium against the Tigers (?). Seems like all-star Bill Freehan catching behind the plate, no?
Beautiful card that goes well with the other three Yankee cards I've already profiled from this set: Thurman Munson, Ron Woods and Lindy McDaniel.

Perfectly cropped in-game action photo!
Here's a funny true-story from my life:
About 20 or so years ago I was a DJ here in NYC at some clubs like Limelight and Danceteria.
During that time I became friends with another DJ, Reade.
He was a really nice dude and we'd always shoot the breeze about music. He'd even visit me at the record store I used to work at in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan just to chill since he was a student at nearby NYU.
Anyway, keep in mind my baseball worship is worn on my sleeve so to speak, and I was always reading baseball magazines or listening/watching games, even at clubs sometimes!
Well, a few years after I was pretty much out of the music scene, I run into yet another former DJ and we start talking, and I ask him what ever happened to Reade.
After he tells me whatever he heard about Reade's whereabouts, he makes an off-handed remark about how I should have hit Reade up for free Yankee games back then.
Of course I then ask him, "Why?"
And that's when I found out Reade was Roy White's son.
Wouldn't you know it, I go looking at old Yankee yearbooks from the mid-70's with those player family photos, and THERE is little Reade with his dad, the New York Yankee.
Go figure...
Ya' think the kid would mention something like that to a friend who's a rabid Yankee fan?!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Basically a "repeat" of the last entry for this thread, these three Hall of Famers had quite a 1970 season, as they paced the National League both in Home Runs AND Runs Batted In, which we see here on card #64.
The only difference here is that Perez and Williams tied for the second and third place spots with R.B.I.'s., both driving in 129 for the year.
Nothing really more to say about this awesome trio that I didn't mention with the previous post on the Home Run leader card.
Just over-flowing star power on a nice-looking card from one of my favorite sets.

Monster seasons by all THREE future H.O.F.'ers.

One thing I WILL mention here is something I never forgot that former "Big Red Machine" skipper Sparky Anderson said about the Reds dynasty years later.
When asked why the Reds didn't win more championships after 1976, especially since they added Tom Seaver to their already powerful squad in 1977, Anderson was quick to reply that the Reds trading away Tony Perez in December of 1976 "killed" the team.
Interesting to hear since the you always think of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion and even George Foster on those all-star loaded teams.
It's easy to forget just how consistent and important Perez was to that Cincinnati juggernaut of the 1970's.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Now, this Jim Mason 1977 (#212) card has always bothered me since it came out.
As an eight year old ripping open packs as quick as I could, I remember freezing at the sight of this card and never being able to figure out why this Major League baseball player was CRYING on his card!
Look at it!
What a weird picture of Mason. It's like he's seeing something horrible happening on the field and he's just about to break out in tears!
Then again, perhaps finding himself on the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1977 just after appearing in the World Series as a member of the American League New York Yankees in 1976 might make ANYONE cry, wouldn't it?
Maybe Mason realized that there were going to be some LONG days ahead playing for a cellar-dwelling team, especially for a light-hitting utility player like himself.
Well, it turns out he didn't need to worry THAT much, as he was traded to Texas on May 9th (my birthday actually) with pitcher Steve Hargan for Roy Howell.
Nevertheless, what an odd card from my youth...

It's ok Jim, you're moving on to Texas in May!!

Mason was a light hitting, and I mean LIGHT HITTING infielder who is probably best known for hitting a home run in his first World Series at-bat in 1976 for the Yanks against the Reds.
Other than that, he managed to carve out a nine-year career playing for the Senators/Rangers, Yanks, Blue Jays and Expos until he retired after the 1979 season.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Now, let me preface this all by stating clearly that I was never anywhere close to being a College baseball player, let alone a MAJOR LEAGUE player.
So while I seem to be poking fun of some players from time to time, in no way do I forget the fact that these were, at some point in their lives, the sh*t wherever they came from!
With that being said however, sometimes it is incredible to see a player with a Topps baseball card with stats that would make anyone depressed.
Take Mr. Allen here. As card #539 of Topps 1974 set, you have a young pitcher for the Texas Rangers with all the promise in the world. Then you turn that card around and, oh my, you see a 1973 line that states: 0-6 with a 9.42 E.R.A!
Whew! That's a bit hard on the eyes don't you think?
So of all marginal players out there for Topps to give a card slot to, Allen made the cut. ???
Guess I just don't see it! Oh well.
But come on! The guy pitched in 28 games, good for 49.2 innings in 1973 for the Rangers and Angels, with a staggering 13.2 hits per nine innings! 
Sadly things did NOT get any better for Allen before he hung up the glove, as he never won a Major League game again, going 0-4 the rest of the way (0-2 in both 1974 & 1975).
He ended his seven year career with a rough 8-25 record and a somewhat pedestrian 4.69 earned run average.
Kind of tough for a former first round pick (12th overall) by the California Angels in 1968. 
But in all fairness, the 1968 draft was a bust overall. In the first two rounds, the only players of note drafted after Allen were Gary Matthews (1st round / 17th pick) and Bill Buckner (2nd round/ 25th overall pick).
We feel for you Lloyd...

Friday, November 1, 2013


Jim Palmer had a decent run of nice cards throughout the 1970's, especially (for me) his 1979 card which I profiled just last week on this blog.
But take a look at his 1975 card (#335).
To use such a poor quality image of one of the best pitchers of the decade is quite the bummer.
I've always been a fan of that 1975 set because of all the color and action. Yet what Topps gave us was a card that had Palmer's face obscured because of this giant shadow across his face.
Just take a look. Come on Topps!
As issued by Topps in 1975. Dig the shadow across his face!

Pretty much anything would have been better than this. So today I'm posting up my own design for a 1975 Jim Palmer card.
But first, let's get reacquainted with what Topps issued way back when (Can't even believe it's already 38 years ago):

My "action shot" redesign.

A bit better no? Nice action shot of Palmer ready to come out of his wide open wind-up.
Classic Palmer right there!
Man. I'm sure it's because I really got into cards right around 1976/77 as a seven-year-old in Brooklyn, N.Y. But I STILL just love that run of Topps sets between 1975 and 1978.
Just fantastic sets with great colors and action shots throughout...


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