Friday, January 31, 2014


Today we move on to the outfield for my "all-time all-stars" expanded sub-set from 1976.
The Sporting News went and picked three American Leaguers for their all-time outfield: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Ted Williams.
And while many can't really argue with an outfield like that, it's fair to say the National league had their own powerhouse outfield trio that stacked up pretty well with their A.L. counterpart.
For this installment, the first of three for the outfield, I teamed the "Bambino" up with Giant great Willie Mays.
Take a look at the Ruth card as issued by Topps in 1976, as well as my design for the Mays card:

There's no question as to Babe Ruth's place in all-time baseball history, and picking him on ANY all-time team goes without saying, and I feel the same way about Willie Mays, the "Say-Hey Kid".
Even back in 1976 when the Sporting News was picking players in celebration of the 100th year of Major League ball, Mays would have been an obvious choice had they picked both American League and National League rosters.
Nice combo of players here: arguable the greatest American League player of all-time along with possibly the greatest National League player. Just awesome.
Who are the other two N.L. guys that fill out the outfield? Well you can pretty much guess, but if not keep an eye out here as I post them up in the next couple of weeks along with Cobb and Williams.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Once again we find ourselves staring down some trivia questions on a Thursday…
Today I focus on at-bat leaders during the 1970's.
See how many you can get.
Answers tomorrow!

1. Among all at-bat leaders during the decade, who had the fewest amount of hits that season??

2. Of all at-bat leaders in the '70's, who had the most hits that season?

3. What player had the least runs scored in a season where he lead his league in at-bats?

4. What player struck out the fewest in a season they lead their league in at-bats?

5. What player drove in the least runs during his at-bat leading season?


1. Bert Campaneris, A's. 150 hits on 625 at-bats.

2. Pete Rose, Reds. 230 hits on 680 at-bats.
3. Larry Bowa, Phillies. 74 runs scored on 650 at-bats in 1971.
4. Dave Cash, Phillies. Only 13 K's in 666 at-bats!

5. Larry Bowa, Phillies. 25 R.B.I.'s in 650 at-bats.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Getting back on track after jumping backwards to 1972 last time, today we look at the next League-Leader card that features solely future Hall of Famers: the 1974 E.R.A. leader card ( #206) featuring Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver:

A classic to say the least!
Arguably the two best pitchers in their respective leagues for the decade, we're looking at six Cy Young Awards, twelve 20-win seasons, and SIXTEEN league leads in the "Triple Crown" categories!
1973 was a banner year for both starters, as they each won their league's Cy Young and finished in the top-10 for Most Valuable Player as well.
Palmer's line read: 22-9 record, 2.40 E.R.A., 6 shutouts and 158 K's, while Seaver's line was equally as brilliant: 19-10, 2.08 E.R.A., 3 shutouts and a league-leading 251 K's.
By the time these two hung up their spikes, it was just a formality before they were inducted into the Hall of Fame, with Palmer going in in 1990, and Seaver following him in 1992 with a record 98.8% of the ballot (tied by Nolan Ryan years later).
It's funny to focus on the fact that some baseball "writers" felt they were both not worthy of induction their first year on the ballot and didn't vote for them!
Five schmucks left Seaver off while an astonishing 33 left Palmer off!
Seriously, what can you say about that? Just absurd…

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I was always interested in the guys who were selected "Player of the Decade" by the Sporting News.
The way I figured it, any player who could dominate an entire decade was something for history to always look back on in awe.
In the 1950's it was Stan Musial, in the 1960's it was Willie Mays, and in the 1970's it was none other than Pete Rose.
So I went ahead and imagined a Topps card in 1979 celebrating his hard-won achievement, using a photo that showed him in a Reds' uniform smack in the middle of the decade (1976), even though by then he was playing for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Take a look:

"Charlie Hustle"- Player of the 1970's.

I used the "guts" of the Topps Record Breaker card of 1979, and rebuilt it to come up with this design.
I know I would have loved to pull a card like this out of a pack back then...

In a decade where we had future powerhouse Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, and Reggie Jackson, Rose was the guy who came out in front of them all when it came time for the Sporting News to select someone who would represent the go-go '70's.
In the ten years spanning 1970-1979, he was on two world champion teams, four pennant winners, had six 200-hit seasons, and lead his league in no less than 13 offensive categories!
And that's not all: in NINE of those years he received Most Valuable Player consideration, taking home the award in 1973.
However, sadly we all know where Rose would take his post-playing career, and he's still wallowing in baseball-limbo, wondering if he'll ever get into the Hall.
Oh well, not for me to get into here.
But at least I can leave you with a Pete Rose card that "should-have-been"!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Today we check in on the last card of this thread where I redesigned the 1972 "Awards" sub-set, showing the actual player(s) rather than the award itself.
The final card in the sub-set was for the "Babe Ruth Award" (card #626), which was actually won by legend Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now tell me you wouldn't have rather had another Clemente card in the awesome 1972 set rather than some image of a lame plaque set on a blue background?!
Take a look at what was issued by Topps, and what I imagined for the card:

As issued by Topps...

My design for the card.

It's a shame, it really would have been nice to have this Clemente card to collect.
The sub-set was actually a pretty good idea in my eyes, but I do wonder what made Topps think it made more sense to go with the plaques and trophies over the recipients.
Anyone out there ever hear a reason as to why? If so I'd love to hear it!
I chose an image of Clemente that seemed perfect for what the card was depicting.
Hope you all agree.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


As we've seen through this thread, the 1970's was a particularly tough decade when it came to players tragically dying while they were still active players.
The decade particularly had an incredibly tragic amount of ballplayers that died in automobile accidents, and today we profile another such player, Chico Ruiz.
The only player ever to pinch-hit for Johnny Bench, Ruiz was a player who could pretty much play anywhere on the field during his eight-year career playing for the Cincinnati Reds and California Angels.
Though he was mainly a part-time player, his career managed to produce a few memorable moments that live on to this day.
First off, Ruiz will always be remembered as the central figure in the "Curse of Chico Ruiz", which alludes to his mad dash to the plate from third base on an Art Mahaffey pitch during a scoreless tie of what many consider the game that started the Phillies EPIC collapse in 1964, eventually losing their substantial lead to the Cardinals for the National League pennant.
None other than Dick Allen called it the play that "broke our humps".
A few years later while still in Cincinnati and relegated to part time duty, he came up with a memorable line when he finally got a chance to play full-time for a couple of weeks in 1967.
After filling in for both Leo Cardenas and Tommy Helms, Ruiz joked that playing everyday was killing him, and stated to his manager Dave Bristol, "Bench me or trade me", a play on the usual line "Play me or trade me".
But Ruiz would stay with the Reds for a couple of more seasons before he was traded to the Angels along with Alex Johnson, future 1970 batting champ and he of a not-so-rosy reputation.
While in California, there were stories of the soured relationship between Ruiz and Johnson, escalating to the point where it was alleged that Johnson once pulled a gun out on Ruiz in the clubhouse during an argument, one of many the two former good friends had at the time.
All the turmoil lead the Angels to cleaning house, shipping Johnson off to the Cleveland Indians, while Ruiz was demoted to the Salt Lake City Angels before being released at the end of the season.
During the 1971/72 off-season, Ruiz signed on with the Kansas City Royals, but tragically, he would never suit up for them.
On February 9th of 1972, while driving outside of San Diego, Ruiz crashed into a light pole during the early morning hours, killing him instantly.
He was only 33 years old at the time.
I've created a card for him in the 1972 set, showing him in a Kansas City uniform, along with a slight modification to the 1972 Topps card design in memoriam.
December 5, 1938- February 9, 1972

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Well, another week, another Dick Allen post!
Seems like I always have something new to say about the "quirky" superstar from my wife's home state of Pennsylvania.
As I've stated many times before, I'm a HUGE Dick Allen fan, and love delving deeper into his career every chance I get, even if it's through baseball cards.
Today's topic is a "do-over", which I usually reserve for Hall of Fame players from the decade of the 1970's.
But today I wanted to tackle a card I always thought did a disservice to the player depicted, not because of a bad action shot or strange cropping job, but because of a god-awful photo that made him look like some Sunday softball "beer-league" dude!
Look at Dick Allens original Topps card (#455) from my favorite set, 1976:

Good Lord man! Allen looks like someones uncle in a leisure suit, not a Major League star (even if that star was dimming pretty quick when this card came out).
It didn't take long for me to find a bunch of nice shots of Allen during his second tenure with the Phillies, and I used one of them here for my redesign. Take a look:

Much better, no?
I think this does Allen and his bad-ass career some justice…
Long live the "Wampum Walloper"!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014


Today on my "1970's #1 Draft Picks" thread we revisit the ONLY player ever drafted TWICE as the #1 overall pick: Danny Goodwin.
As many of you already know, Goodwin was first drafted #1 back in 1971 by the Chicago White Sox, but turned them down so he could attend Southern University and A&M.
After a successful college playing career, he was once again the top pick overall in 1975, this time by the California Angels.
With that, take a look at my design for the 1975 entry in my imagined sub-set for the 1979 Topps set:

Second time around at #1 for Goodwin.
Much like Archie Griffin in the NFL, who was the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner (for some reason my brain has always connected these two guys), Goodwin never did pan out at the big league level (actually it'd be fair to say Griffin had better luck in the NFL).
Since I profiled Goodwin for the 1971 "card", I'll just include the link here for anyone interested in his Major League performance since it was covered there.

Next up we look at the player I'd say was the second-most successful #1 overall pick of the 1970's, Floyd Bannister, who was taken first by the Houston Astros in 1976 before becoming a solid starter for the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox later on in his career.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Time once again for some Thursday trivia.
This week the questions are all based on home run champs of the 1970's.
See how many you can get. Answers posted tomorrow.

1. Of all the home run champs in the Majors during the '70's, who posted the lowest batting average the year he lead his league in blasts?

2. Which homer champ had the fewest runs batted in the year he hit the most homers?

3. Surprisingly, who stole the most bases during his home run championship season?

4. What slugger also slammed the most triples among home run champs in a home run winning year?

5. Which home run champ struck out the fewest times in a season where he lead his league in homers?


1. Gorman Thomas, Brewers. .244 in 1979.

2. Bill Melton, White Sox. He drove in 86 runs in 1971.
3. Mike Schmidt, Phillies. He stole 29 bases in 1975.
4. Jim Rice, Red Sox. He hit 15 triples in BOTH 1977 and 1978. Amazing.

5. Johnny Bench, Reds. He struck out "only" 84 times in 1972.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Continuing on my thread of an imagined 1975 "Cy Young Award" sub-set, like Topps' Most valuable Player sub-set, we come to 1954, and the two pitchers who members of SABR thought would have own the award had there been one at the time: Bob Lemon in the American League and  Johnny Antonelli in the National League. 
As I've explained earlier, around 1993 SABR issued a journal that contained a great article that wondered who would have won the Cy Young Award between 1901 and 1955 in each league had it existed, as well as a winner for the league NOT represented between 1956-1966 when the award was only given to one pitcher.
Today we take a look at who the SABR article called out for 1954, and while the A.L. "winner" was a long-time winning veteran for the Cleveland Indians, the other was an up-and-comer for the New York Giants.
But before we look at the players themselves, let's take a look at the 1975 "card" representing the 1954 season:

If you haven't already realized, Bob Lemon didn't have a card issued by Topps in 1954, as he was represented in Bowman's black-and-white set instead.
So first, I had to create a 1954 Topps card for Lemon before I dropped it into the '75 sub-set card.
Here's a closer look at my design for the '54 Lemon card:

By the time 1954 came around, Lemon was pitching in his ninth Major League season, and was already a five-time 20-game winner.
But 1954 was arguably his finest yet, as he lead the powerful 111-game winning Cleveland team to a pennant by posting a record of 23-7 along with a 2.72 earned run average.
He completed 21 of his 33 starts and threw two shutouts in 258.1 innings, and teamed up with Early Wynn, Mike Garcia, Art Houtemann and Bob Feller to form one of the all-time best pitching staffs the game has ever seen.
Combined those starters went 93-38!
For his troubles Lemon ended up fifth in Most Valuable Player voting, and I have no problem with the guys at SABR picking Lemon as the probable winner for the A.L. that year.

Over in the National League, THEIR pennant winning team (and eventual World Champs) New York Giants had their staff anchored by SABR's pick for the N.L. Cy Young, a young 24-year old fireballer out of Rochester, New York, Johnny Antonelli.
Pitching in only his second full Major League season, Antonelli shined big-time, as he posted a league-leading 21 wins against only seven losses along with the best E.R.A. in the league at 2.30.
He also topped the National League with six shutouts and finished third at the end of the year in M.V.P. Voting.
Antonelli went on to have a decent 12-year career, ending up with a 126-110 record with an E.R.A. title and a couple of 20-win seasons (along with a 19-win year in 1959).
Next up on this thread: 1955 and TWO custom cards I designed for the "winners" portrayed on the "virtual" 1975 Cy Young Award sub-set card for that season: Whitey Ford and Robin Roberts.
If you're enjoying this thread, watch for it next week. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Another one of my favorite cards from the classic 1971 Topps set is card #275, Vada Pinson, one of the most underrated players of his day.
Is he safe, or out?!
What a nice action shot of Pinson at the plate right after a slide, looking at the ump to see what the call is.
On top of that, who's the catcher with his back to the camera, ball in hand? None other than the king of photo-bombing other players' cards, former Yankee captain Thurman Munson!
Vada Pinson is SO underrated it's a sin!
I mean, here's a guy who had a brilliant 18-year career, garnering 2757 hits, 485 doubles, 127 triples, 256 homers, 305 stolen bases and over 1300+ runs and 1100+ runs batted in!
Four times he had over 200 hits in a season, and lead his league in a major statistic seven times (runs, hits, doubles and triples).
I'm sure playing the outfield in the National League during the era of Clemente, Aaron and Mays doesn't help!
But this guy put up some pretty hefty years for Cincinnati! 
For example check out his line in 1959, his first full season in the big leagues: 131 runs scored, 205 hits, 47 doubles, nine triples, 20 homers and 84 runs batted in, with 21 stolen bases thrown in and a .316 batting average!
In 1961, when teammate Frank Robinson won his N.L. M.V.P. award after leading the Reds to the World Series against the Yanks, Pinson quietly put together his own amazing year, hitting .343 with 101 runs scored, 208 hits, 34 doubles, eight triples and 16 homers along with 87 runs batted in and 23 stolen bases.
I put Pinson in that class of players like Dave Parker, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Steve Garvey. Players that inexplicably got little or no "love" when it came time for Hall of Fame consideration.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Next position up on my "All-Time All-Stars" thread is catcher, and today we look at who the Sporting News picked for their all-time team in 1976, Mickey Cochrane, and who I figure would have been the National League pick had they chosen an A.L. and N.L. back then, Roy Campanella.
First off, let's take a look at the original Cochrane card as issued by Topps, as well as my design for the "Campy" card:

The Sporting News pick back in 1976.

My National League pick.

Ironically enough, both catchers ended up having somewhat tragically short careers, as Cochrane's playing days were cut short because of a beanball in 1937, while Campanella's career was cut short because of a traffic accident during the off-season in 1957-58.
Mickey Cochrane was an easy choice at the time as the All-Time catcher for the American League (I'm still torn as to whether Campanella would have been a better choice outright).
A two-time Most Valuable Player, once for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1928 and then for the Detroit Tigers in 1934, he was the first catcher to ever score and drive in 100 runs in the same season in 1932, and was the lynch-pin for two powerhouse "mini-dynasties" in the Athletics of the late-20's/early-30's and Tigers of the mid-30's.
In 1930 he batted .357, followed by .349 in 1931, and he finished his career with a .320 lifetime average.
But as stated before, his career was cut short, and life almost ended, by a pitched ball on May 25th, 1937 when New York Yankees pitcher Bump Hadley hit him in the head, which hospitalized Cochrane for seven days.
His lifetime .419 on-base percentage is still the all-tme best among catchers, and his .320 average is only behind current catcher Joe Mauer.
Roy Campanella, who is MY personal pick for all-time catcher (as of 1976), was simply a powerhouse of a player throughout the 1950's for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Three times he was M.V.P. (1951, 1953, 1955) and an important part of the strong Dodger teams of the decade along with Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, and Gil Hodges.
Though unable to play Major League ball until the age of 26 because of segregation, he still managed to hit 242 lifetime homers, with a high of 41 in 1953, as well as drive in 856 runs in his short ten-year career.
During his second M.V.P. season, Campy lead the Brooklyn offense by driving in a league-leading 142 runs while hitting .312 and scoring 103 runs. One of the top-offensive catcher seasons in baseball history.
Tragically, as he was getting prepared to move to Los Angeles with the rest of the Dodgers over the Winter of 1957-58, Campanella was driving home to Long Island and hit a patch of ice near his home, flipping his car over and breaking his neck in the process, rendering him paralyzed from the shoulders down.
The L.A. Fans would never get to see the future Hall of Famer play in Chavez Ravine.
Who do YOU think should have been named "all-time all-star" at catcher back in 1976? Anyone have a pick OTHER than the two here?
A close friend of mine strongly feels that Yogi Berra should have been picked over Cochrane to begin with. 
However, he's about as rabid a Yankee fan as there is, so I take his argument with a grain of salt.
Next up on this thread, we move on to he outfield, where the American League had a clean sweep by the Sporting News picks in 1976.
But my National League picks are no joke either!
So we'll start with Babe Ruth and the N.L. superstar next week.
Stay tuned here for that one…

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Just as I profiled the Dodgers 1970 Topps' team card earlier on this blog, showing a surprise appearance of Don Drysdale in a set that didn't have a dedicated card for him, we now take a closer look at Topps' 1977 Milwaukee Brewers team card (#51), which also has a nice little "surprise", Hank Aaron standing tall in the back row, fifth from the left side.
Hank Aaron and company in the 1977 set.
We also have future Hall of Famer Robin Yount, standing in the middle row, sixth from the right, as well as big time "thumpers" George Scott, standing just three to the right of Aaron, (bone-necklace visible even here), and Gorman Thomas, standing second from left in the same row (pre-mustache). 
I've mentioned it earlier but it's worth repeating here: I never realized so many of these all-time greats were on these team cards after they retired.
Rediscovering these cards, and seeing these Hall of Famers in them for the first time is really a treat after all these years.
I'll be profiling more of these in the next few months, so if you're into this type of stuff, stay tuned.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Here's a question I have for anyone that can answer: why does Tony Taylor's 1973 (#29) Topps card have his cap airbrushed?

By the time this card came out he was a member of the Tigers for over a year and a half at that point.
What makes it even more strange is that I'd swear his uniform is NOT airbrushed in any way, and it is indeed a Detroit uni.
Anyone out there know what is up with this card?
Kind of like the 1976 Fritz Peterson card I profiled a little while ago, where the image was airbrushed to death, even though it wasn't about changing his uniform or cap.
Getting back to Taylor, he was a pretty good player during his 19-year career mainly as a second baseman.
Here's a guy who very quietly accumulated over 2000+ career hits playing for the Cubs, Phillies and Tigers from 1958 to 1976.
I'd say 1963 was his finest year, as he hit .281 with 102 runs scored and 180 hits for the Phillies, the latter two stats being career highs.
Definitely one of the more unknown 2000 hit players in the history of the game…

Friday, January 17, 2014


Let's come back to my thread regarding that 1972 awards sub-set, and check in on the "Rookie of the Year" award card (#625), which originally featured an image of the actual award rather than the two winners in 1971: Chris Chambliss in the A.L. and Earl Williams in the N.L.
First off, a look at the original card issued by Topps:

Yeah, you already know how I feel about these cards, so I'll spare the rant. 
But take a look at my redesign, showing what would have been a much nicer card to collect back then:

Among the two winners of the award, Williams had more of an impact during the season, bashing 33 homers and driving in 87 runs for the Atlanta Braves splitting time between catcher, first base and third at the age of 22.
Sadly, 1971 was easily his best year in the Majors, as his numbers rapidly declined over the rest of his eight year career, ending up with Oakland in 1977.
He always kept that powerful "punch" in his swing, totaling 138 lifetime homers in only 3058 at-bats. Not bad especially in the modern "dead ball" era he played in.
But by the time he hung up the cleats at the age of 28, his final numbers were mediocre at best, totaling only 889 games played spread among the Braves, Orioles, Expos and A's.
As for Chambliss, we all know he ended up putting together a very nice 17-year career playing for the Indians, Yankees and Braves from 1971 through 1988.
His 1971 numbers didn't exactly jump off the page, but in a year where there really wasn't much R.O.Y. competition, Chambliss easily won the award over Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Bill Parsons.
Playing strictly first base for Cleveland over 111 games, Chambliss put together solid numbers: a .275 batting average, 20 doubles, four triples and nine homers with 48 ribbies in 415 at-bats.
But it was after he moved on to the New York yankees that he made his mark in baseball, becoming an important cog in the "Bronx Zoo" teams along with Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, etc.
Between 1976-1978, Chambliss drove in 90+ runs each year, along with averages between .274-.293 and homers between 12-17.
Lastly, one cannot talk about Chris Chambliss without talking about the single most memorable moment of his career, his pennant winning home run off Kansas City reliever Mark Little in game five of the American League Championship in the Bronx in 1976.
Easily the highlight of a solid career for the veteran first baseman (and one of THE first baseball highlights witnessed first hand by me actually!).
Next up regarding this thread: the last card in the sub-set, and biggest reason why it would have been nicer to have players shown on these cards instead of awards, the "Babe Ruth" award (#626), featuring none other than Pittsburgh Pirate great Roberto Clemente.
Well, it WOULD have featured him if I had something to do with it.
But at least I can present my redesign for the ugly card that actually got issued back in 1972.
Keep an eye out for it….

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Hey everyone.

Time for another week of 1970's trivia. This week I'm focusing on pennant winning teams.
Take a look at the questions below and see what you can get. As usual I'll have the answers tomorrow.
1. Among all pennant winners, who had the lowest total for it's team leader in pitching wins?

2. Of all the pennant winning teams from 1970-79, who's home run leader had the fewest homers for the year?

3. What pennant winner's leading batter had the lowest batting average?

4. Which pennant winning team's E.R.A. leader had the highest earned run average?

5. Who lead his pennant winning team in Runs Batted In with the lowest total in the 1970's?


1. 1979 Pirates. John Candelaria with 14 wins.

2. 1975 Red Sox. Jim Rice with 22 Homers.
3. 1973 Mets. Felix Milan hit .290.
4. 1975 Red Sox. Bill Lee & Rick Wise both had a 3.95 E.R.A.

5. 1973 Mets. Rusty Staub drove in 76 runs.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Next up on my "what if" Cy Young Award 1975 sub-set thread are the 1953 picks by the fine people at SABR: Warren Spahn in the National League and Bob Porterfield in the American league.
First off here's my design for the '53 entry in my imagined set. I was lucky there wasn't too much work to do here since both players were included in Topps set that year. Take a look:

So let's start off with what was the "gimmie" choice that year, Warren Spahn.
All the legendary lefthander did that year for the Braves was post a 23-7 record to go along with a 2.10 earned run average, both league leading numbers.
On top of that Spahn had 24 complete games and five shutouts for a team that finished 92-62, good for second place in their first year in Milwaukee after relocating from Boston over the off-season.
He was the top vote-getter for pitchers that year in the N.L., good for a fifth place finish.
Funny enough, just behind him in sixth place for M.V.P. voting was Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts, the 1952 "assumed" Cy winner.
It was Spahn's fifth 20-win season of his career, on his way to an astounding 13!!
And don't forget, Spahn didn't pitch his first full season of big-league ball until he was 25 years old because of military service between 1943-1945.
One can only imagine how many more wins he would have added to his career number of 363 if he had the chance to pitch 3+ more full-years in the Majors.
Just incredible.
The 1953 Topps Spahn card is one of my favorites, and I clearly remember the day I scored mine years ago at a local card show.
I must have bought about two-dozen cards that day, but that '53 Spahn was my highlight!
Anyway, onto what turns out to be another relatively easy pick for a Cy Young in 1953, the guy SABR picked for the American League: Washington Senators pitcher Bob Porterfield.
Entering his sixth season in the big leagues, Porterfield had a great year for a .500 team that finished fifth in the A.L., going 76-76, posting league-leading numbers of 22 wins, 24 complete games and nine shutouts to go along with a 3.35 E.R.A. and a .688 winning percentage.
Some could have made the argument for Mel Parnell of the Boston Red Sox being the "winner" in the A.L. that year, after posting a 21-8 record to go along with a 3.06 earned run average for a team that went 84-69, good for fourth place.
Some may even want to argue that Billy Pierce of the Chicago White Sox (my personal pick) should be the "virtual" winner.
All Pierce did that season was guide the White Sox to a 3rd place finish in the American league with a record of 18-12 to go along with a second-best E.R.A. of 2.72 (behind Eddie Lopat of the Yankees).
Pierce would also lead the league in 1953 with 186 strikeouts and post 19 complete games and seven shutouts.
But looking back, it seems that Porterfield's 22 wins and nine shutouts pulled him away from the pack.
Porterfield was kind of a "one-year wonder", as he was never able to have a season like 1953 before or after in his career.
His next highest win total over the course of his 12 year career would be 13, which he garnered in 1952 and 1954.
As a matter of fact, his 22 wins in 1953 would pretty much represent 25% of his career total of 87 wins lifetime. And his nine shutouts that year were a big chunk of the 23 lifetime shutouts he'd post in the big leagues as well.
Next up on this "Cy Young" fantasy-fest: 1954, featuring a Hall of Famer in Cleveland Indian Bob Lemon and a custom designed card by yours truly), and New York Giant breakout star Johnny Antonelli.
Keep an eye out for it...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I don't know why it never dawned on me before, but not only was Dick Allen missing from the 1977 Topps set, but he should also have been included in the awesome 1978 set.
Looking back, we see that Allen was released by Oakland in March of 1978, well after Topps would have had their cards produced for the new season.
And it's not like Allen didn't play at all in '77. He did manage to get into 54 games, good for 200 plate appearances. Lord knows Topps had a few players with less playing time slotted in that '78 set!
It really is strange since Allen was such a key player in the decade, a former Most Valuable Player, and still somewhat of a viable player considering so many of the other light-hitting/bad fielding guys getting into every set of the '70's!
Take a look at my "missing" 1978 Dick Allen card:

The "Wampum Walloper" in Oakland.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Dick Allen, even as a kid before I knew of all the controversy surrounding the lightening rod of a personality that the "Wampum Warrior" was throughout his career.
Sounds absurd, but it started way back in 1976 when my cousin (who was a few years older and got me into collecting cards) kept joking about the name "Dick Allen". Really makes no sense now, but it had us in stitches all day long, and ever since then I was hooked on this guy with the funny name and killer stats.
Allen certainly didn't make many friends during his days on the diamond, but no one can take away from what he accomplished as a major leaguer: Rookie of the Year in 1964, Most Valuable Player in 1972, near Triple Crown that year, and leading his league in twelve statistical categories over his career.
It's easy to overlook the fact that in only 6332 career at-bats the man had 351 homers, 1119 runs batted in and 1848 hits.
To put that in perspective, Hank Aaron had almost DOUBLE the career at-bats as Allen. 
Now, I'm not trying to say that Allen could have been as consistent as Aaron was throughout his career, but it IS amazing to see what Allen accomplished at the plate in 6000+ at-bats.
The man was a force when he was healthy, but sadly, he just couldn't sustain it over the course of a nice, long, FULL career.

PS- I know it's a little bit of a tangent here, but it IS amazing to remember that Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs in 8399 at-bats, compared to the 755 home runs Aaron hit in 12364 at-bats!
Think about it: Aaron had HALF of Ruth's career MORE at-bats!
Babe Ruth=MONSTER at the plate (and no slouch on the mound either!)

Monday, January 13, 2014


OK now, wrapping up infielders on my "All-Time All-Stars" 1976 thread, we move onto third basemen.
In celebration of Major League baseball's 100th anniversary, the Sporting News picked Pie Traynor as the all-time best third baseman.
At the time, it wasn't necessarily a bad pick.
However I think if I had a pick back then, I would have gone with the guy I chose as the all-time all-star at third for the American League, Brooks Robinson.
First off let's take a look at the Topps card from the awesome 1976 sub-set, Pie Traynor, and my design for the A.L. representative as mentioned above:

As picked by the Sporting News

Almost a lock for the A.L. pick back in '76

Traynor was incredible. It's easy to overlook the fact that he drove in 100+ runs six times while hitting under 10 homers!
And this is NOT a guy who played in the dead-ball era. He was driving in runs in bunches for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1920's and 1930's.
As a matter of fact, just like his American League counterpart Brooks Robinson, Traynor played his entire 17-year career with only one team, the Pirates.
And by the time he was wrapping up his Hall of Fame career in 1937, he was good for over 2400 hits, 1183 runs, 164 triples and 1273 ribbies while hitting a cool .320.
Like most national Leaguers in 1930, Traynor feasted on pitchers to the tune of a .366 average with 119 runs batted in while only hitting nine homers.
Two years earlier, in 1928, Traynor drove in 124 runs while only hitting THREE homers! 
Just amazing stuff, and in 1948 he received his hard earned spot in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Now while all of this truly IS amazing stuff, as I stated earlier I think I STILL would have picked Brooks Robinson in 1976 as the all-time all-star at the position over Traynor.
Robinson really did redefine the position over the course of his incredible 24-year career in Baltimore.
After a few false starts as a teenager out of Arkansas in the mid-to late-50's, Brooks hit the ground running in 1960 and never looked back.
That season began a run of SIXTEEN straight Gold Gloves at third, while also running 15 straight years as an all-star!
In that run he also had seven years of top-10 M.V.P. finishes, winning the award in 1964, (beating out Mickey Mantle), and was the anchor of all those great Oriole teams of the late-1960's/early-1970's, winning two World Series in 1966 and 1970 and four A.L. Pennants.
And WHO can forget the fielding display he performed against the Reds in the 1970 World Series? 
By the time the "Human Vacuum Cleaner" retired after the 1977 season, he totaled 2884 hits, 268 homers, 1357 runs batted in, and 11 fielding titles at third.
He also lead the league in assists at third eight times while establishing a few records that STILL stand today: most games at third with 2870, most double-plays turned with 618, most putouts with 2697 and most assists with 6205.
Both on the field and at the plate this guy was top-notch, so with no disrespect to the guys over at the Sporting News, THIS should have been the third baseman picked as "All-Time All-Star". (Unless he wasn't eligible for some reason. I don't know what the criteria was for that vote).
Next up, we take a look at the all-time all-star catchers, Mickey Cochrane, who was picked by the Sporting News and depicted on the 1976 sub-set, and my pick, which really shouldn't surprise anyone, Roy Campanella, representing the National League.
Keep an eye out for it…

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Where do we even begin with the fiasco that was the 1971 Jerry Robertson card (#651)?!
I guess we can start with the fact that Topps decided to slap his autograph across his face! 
And my guess with that is that Topps didn't want to have any part of his uniform showing since it was obviously outdated, so they cropped it way up CLOSE!
Which leads me to my second point about this debacle: the hilariously sparse airbrushing job they pulled on his cap. Take a look:

Nothing like a signature across a player's face...

With Robertson coming off a very brief 1970 season with the Detroit Tigers, I'm sure trying to make a "Tiger" uniform into a New York Met uniform was more than the "artist" at Topps wanted to deal with, so a dramatic zoom and a quick blue paint-job on the cap was all the effort made here.
Man, I can only think of Rodney Dangerfield and "I can't get no respect"!
Lastly, I have to wonder: with all the trouble here going into the card, why did Topps even bother with a player who appeared in only 11 games and 14.2 innings the previous season?
Robertson came up to the Majors with the Montreal Expos during their inaugural season in 1969, getting a full rookie year on the mound, going 5-16 with a 3.96 E.R.A. over the course of 38 games, 27 of which were starts.
The win-loss record was a bit harsh, but the rest of his numbers weren't actually that bad for a rookie on an expansion team.
However things went South for the righty hurler, as he was traded to the Tigers for pitcher Joe Sparma in December, 1969.
After a 4-4 year at Toledo for the Tigers' Triple-A team, he came up and posted the aforementioned numbers for the Tigers mentioned above.
Well, that got him traded over to New York in March of 1971 for former Cy Young winner Dean Chance and Bill Denehy. Pretty interesting seeing he was traded straight up for two pitchers. I wonder what the scouting was all-around for these guys back then?
Anyway, with this trade we had Topps scrambling to insert Robertson in the 1971 set, giving us this (un)funny card.
Robertson never did get into any Major League action for the Mets, as he went 5-3 with six saves in 37 relief appearances at Tidewater (AAA) in 1971.
For some reason he never played professional ball again, calling it a career after the 1971 season at the age of 28.
I found some interesting bits on him regarding his time with the Expos in 1969:
Besides appearing in the very first game in Expos history (1.1 innings against the Mets on April 8th of '69), he was also the victim of terrible run support (as is the case with many young arms during a franchises early beginning).
In his 16 losses that rookie year, Robertson received a TOTAL of 20 runs scored for him by his teammates!
And in seven of those losses his team was shut out.
Talk about your tough luck...

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Well thanks to an "assist" from someone who goes by the name "ecloy", I was directed to another player who had a long gap between baseball card appearances, Brock Davis. (Thanks for the heads-up!)
Davis first appeared on a rather famous card, the 1963 "Rookie Stars" card which also happened to be Willie Stargell's rookie card!
On that card Davis was a 19-year-old member of the Houston Colt-.45's, who would go on to appear in 34 games for the Colt's, posting 11 hits in 55 at-bats while fielding all three outfield spots. Take a look:

However the rest of the 1960's would generally be spent toiling in the Minors for both Houston and then the Chicago Cubs affiliates beginning in 1969.
Davis did put up some decent numbers in the Minors, but couldn't seem to break through on the Major League level.
He had one Major League at-bat in 1964, 27 in 1966, and only three in 1970.
However, even with those three at-bats in '70, Topps gave him a spot on high-number card #573, 1971 Chicago Cubs "Rookie Stars", based on his killer Minor League year with Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League.

For Tacoma that year, he hit a robust .332, scoring 77 runs on 166 hits over the course of 500 at-bats. Not bad at all.
But sadly for Davis (and Chicago I'd guess), it didn't translate to any Major League success, as he hit .256 for the Cubs in 1971 with no punch whatsoever.
In December of 1971 he was dealt to the Brewers with pitcher Jim Colborn  and Earl Stephenson for Jose Cardenal (remember the late series Topps "Traded" card of Cardenal in 1972?), but even though he managed to hit a nice .318 over 85 games for Milwaukee, that would be the last taste of Major League action he'd see.
Davis would spend another three years in the Minors for the Padres, Cubs, Brewers and Indians before calling it a career after the 1975 season.
Thanks again to "ecloy" for the tip!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Another year, another San Diego Padre #1 overall draft pick!
In only the fourth year of the decade, San Diego had the #1 overall pick for the third time! 
Sadly for the organization, as with their other two #1 picks: Mike Ivie in '70 and Dave Roberts in '72, the Padres would end up picking somewhat of a "bust" in 1974 with a youngster out of Brown University, shortstop Billy Almon.
Before we get to Almon's Major League resume, take a gander at my custom Almon card for the "#1 Draft Picks" sub-set I imagined for the 1979 set:

Another "swing-and-a-miss" by the Padres in the amateur draft.

I don't want to sound harsh here regarding the Padres organization, but considering their draft track record, and the fact that some of the other players taken in the first round AFTER Almon were Dale Murphy, Willie Wilson, Gary Templeton, Lonnie Smith, Lance Parrish and Rick Sutcliffe, you see where I can be a little bit of a hard-ass here.
The Padres were just atrocious with their draft picks during the decade, (aside from 1973: Dave Winfield).
In all fairness, Billy Almon did manage to carve out a 15-year career in the Majors, playing for seven teams and hitting .254. 
His best year in the Big Leagues would probably be 1977, his first full season, when he hit .261 with 160 hits and 20 stolen bases and 75 runs scored over 155 games and 613 at-bats for the Padres.
He'd never again play in that many games over the course of a season, and would only top 100+ hits three other times in his career, topping out with 120 in 1983 for the Chicago White Sox.
A couple of years earlier, during the strike-year of 1981 he DID hit over .300, .301 to be exact, and somehow got 6 points in the M.V.P. voting, good for 19th place.
Hey, you go with what you got, right?
Almon called it a career after the 1988 season, after appearing in 20 games for the Philadelphia Philles and hitting .115 while playing the infield.
Stay tuned for the next entry on this thread, as we revisit a previous #1 overall pick from 1971, Danny Goodwin, as he goes first yet again in 1975 after a successful college career at Southern University and A&M.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Hello all…Hope 2014 is treating you well so far!
Here's this week's trivia set. This week I focus on 100+ run scorers during the decade of the 1970's.
See how many you can get. As usual answers will be posted tomorrow…

1. Among all 100 run scorers during the decade, who had the fewest at-bats during their season?

2. Of all 100 run scorers in the '70's, who posted the fewest hits during their 100-run campaign?

3. What player had the fewest extra base hits during his 100-run season?

4. Who posted the lowest batting average in the 1970's for 100-run scorers?

5. Out of all 100 run scorers in the decade, who had the lowest on-base-percentage?


1. Reggie Smith, Dodgers. 488 in 1977.

2. Mike Schmidt, Phillies. 137 in 1979.
3. Felix Milan, Braves. Only 32 EBH in 1970.
4. Mike Schmidt, Phillies. He hit .253 in 1979.

5. Enos Cabell, Astros, with a .313 OBP in 1977.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Well well.
In light of recent events, specifically Joe Torre becoming a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, seems there's a "new" card that falls into the "Hall of Fame Leader Cards" from the 1970's, card # 87 from the 1972 Topps set, N.L. R.B.I. Leaders".
Now that Torre is in the Hall, we see that he was featured on the card along with other Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Hank Aaron.
And though technically Torre was inducted as a manager, he did fashion an excellent career as a player over the course of 18 years, playing for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets.
For this card, we see Torre lead the National league in ribbies during his M.V.P. 1971 season with a nice total of 137, followed by Stargell's 125 and Aaron's 118.
Nice bit of National League power right here. 1482 homers and 5022 runs batted in between them!
While Torre had to wait until this year for Hall induction, Aaron was voted in almost unanimously in 1982, with Stargell joining him in 1988.
A little oddity here to mention: seems that Stargell's image on the leader-card is a closely cropped version of the image on his 1970 baseball card. Wonder why?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Next up on my thread regarding my imagined 1975 sub-set of Cy Young winners is 1952, and this one is about as easy as it gets!
First off, take a look at my designed card for my sub-set:

As we all know, the American League winner most definitely would have been Bobby Shantz of the Philadelphia Athletics since he was the Most Valuable Player that season.
A "gimmie" as far as guessing who the winner would have been there, and the fine people as SABR felt the same way in their article back in 1993 or so, where they speculated on Cy Young winners pre-award.
Shantz had a MONSTER year in 1952, going 24-7 with a neat 2.48 earned run average.
In his 33 starts that year he completed 27 of them, pitching five shoutouts along the way as well.
Considering the Athletics went 79-75 that year, Shantz's record is even more amazing!
No wonder when it was time to select an M.V.P., he won over another pitcher, Allie Reynolds of the Yankees.
Now, as clear-cut the American League winner seems to be, for the National League it was an even EASIER pick both for me and the voting at SABR!
Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies was "all-WORLD" that year!
All Roberts did in 1952 was go an incredible 28-7 with a 2.59 E.R.A.!
Throw in 30 complete games out of 37 starts for a league-leading 330 innings with three shutouts and two saves, and you see why he left all other pitchers in the dust that year.
Roberts almost matched Shantz in taking home the M.V.P., finishing second to Hank Bauer of the Cubs by only 15 points.
And considering that the Cubs were a .500 team at 77-77 while the Phillies ended up at 87-67, you have to wonder what the deal was with voting?!
Roberts had some run between 1950 and 1955, winning at least 20 games each year, leading the league in wins four times, games started six times, complete games four times, innings five times, shutouts once and strikeouts twice.
He was a beast on the mound and well on his way to a Hall of Fame election, albeit a bit delayed, as he was inducted in 1976, ten years after he hung up the spikes in 1966.
Next up on the thread, the 1953 "Cy Young" winners as assumed by SABR, and I can't really disagree.
Keep an eye out for it and see what YOU think…

Monday, January 6, 2014


Here's another one that stuck in my mind after all these years, the National League Championship Series card from the 1975 set, #460.
What a great shot!
I just love the shot of Steve Garvey and Frank Taveras at second base, dust floating up after what seems to be a stolen base or close play (?) from the N.L. Playoffs.
I also think the card border colors play well with the photo colors as well, and I've stated many times before how I am a sucker for an overall cohesive design between card and image.
Just a great in-game photo caught at the right moment.
And it doesn't hurt having an "extra" card of newly-annointed (at the time) National League Most Valuable Player Garvey, correct?

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Next up in my thread regarding the 1976 "All-Time All-Stars" sub-set are shortstops.
This may be the first position where some of you may not agree with who I picked, so let's see…
First off, as far as THE all-time best, who can argue with who the Sporting News picked, Honus Wagner?
Really no argument there for sure.
But what about the American League's all-time best shortstop as of 1976? Who do you think THAT should have been?
I thought long and hard about it, and my final pick, and who I thought the Sporting News would have picked, is Luke Appling, long-time star shortstop for the Chicago White Sox.
First off let's take a look at my card design for Appling in the sub-set, as well as the original card for Honus Wagner that Topps put out there in 1976:

About as easy a "lock" pick as there is...

"Old Aches and Pains"
Wagner was a lock as the all-time best, as he put together one of the greatest careers of any ballplayer in the early part of the 20th century, amassing 3420 hits, 1739 runs, 252 triples and 643 doubles, and…oh yeah, EIGHT batting titles and 723 stolen bases as he guided the Pirates eighteen years after three years in Louisville between 1897-1899.
Wagner was a monster. Not only did he lead the league in batting those eight times, but he also lead the N.L. in doubles seven times, triples three times, runs batted in five times, stolen bases five times, on-base pct three times, slugging six times, and total bases six times!
He did it all, and was duly selected to be one of the charter members of the Hall of Fame in 1936 alongside Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson.
As for Luke Appling, how can you not pick "Old Aches and Pains" as the all-time best shortstop in the A.L. as of 1976 based on his excellent 20 year career?
Between 1930 and 1950 (he lost a year to military service in 1944 at the age of 37), Appling totaled 2749 hits, 1319 runs scored, 440 doubles and 102 triples to go along with 1116 runs batted in and a .310 lifetime batting average.
He was also a two-time batting champ in the A.L., hitting a blazing .388 in 1936 and .328 in 1943. As a matter of fact, Appling hit over .300 in 15 seasons as a big-leaguer, and was a seven-time all-star, as well as finishing second in M.V.P. voting twice (his two batting championship seasons).
I did consider other guys like Joe Cronin, Joe Sewell or even Lou Boudreau.
But after looking at all the info I could, Appling was my final pick, and who I thought the Sporting News would have went with for their "All-Time All-Stars" team representing the American League on the 100th anniversary of Major League baseball.
What do YOU think?
Next up, we take a look at the all-time third basemen: Pie Traynor for the National League, and a pretty easy pick (at the time) for the A.L. representative.
Keep an eye out for it…

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Today's redo is a first, as I redesign a manager card, in this case Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson's "rookie" managerial card of sorts from 1970 (#181).
When you look at the original issued card for Sparky, it's just not a flattering photo of him. He looks downright creepy to be honest with you, and sort of angry, and most importantly NOT in a Cincinnati Reds uniform.
Man, he looks pissed!
NOT the Sparky Anderson I remember growing up as manager of the "Big Red Machine" and the powerhouse Detroit Tigers team of 1984!
I understand why Topps didn't have an image of him in Cincinnati garb at the time, as 1970 was going to be his first year at the helm of the Reds, a job he sort of fell into on short notice.
It seems the image used for the 1970 card was one of Anderson in a San Diego Padre uniform, for whom he coached in 1969 before taking over the Red's manager slot vacated by Dave Bristol.
So I found a nice shot of him from his early years as Reds manager and replaced the harsh picture of him originally used. Take a look:

THAT'S more like it!

Sparky was an absolute throwback of a manager!
He was off and running for the Hall of Fame right from the start, as he managed the Reds straight to the World Series his first year there.
And though they would lose to the equally powerful Baltimore Orioles that year, little did he know he was heading a dynasty in the making, as the Reds became the symbol of dominance in the National League during the 1970's, gaining the nickname "Big Red Machine" as they steamrolled through the competition for the next seven years.
Along the way they won four pennants, two World Series ('75 & '76), and featured downright SUPERSTARS in Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Davey Concepcion, and even Tom Seaver at the tail end of their run.
By the time Anderson was done in Cincinnati after a nine year run, he then moved on to the Detroit Tigers, where he'd end up managing for the next 17 years!
By the time he retired in 1995 after 26 years of managing, he won 2194 games to go along with three world championships and five pennants.
And to cap off an already amazing career as field manager at the Major League level, the Veteran's Committee voted Sparky into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
An easy vote if you ask me, as Sparky definitely left his mark on the history of the game as a top notch manager.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Next up on my thread of a 1970's overall draft picks sub-set for the 1979 set is the 1973 pick, David Clyde, picked by the Texas Rangers.
Take a look at my design for the custom card:

The fourth subject on my #1 draft pick thread, David Clyde.

As profiled earlier on this blog, Clyde is a classic example of how an organization mishandled a young prospect for their own financial gains.
If you want more info on how the Rangers messed with him, click the following link for a more in-depth write up:

Clyde was a hometown hero of sorts after his outrageous exploits at Westchester High School in Houston, Texas, so it seemed like a marriage made in heaven for the struggling Rangers and their attendance problem.
But as we all know it didn't quite turn out the way the Rangers (or Clyde) had hoped, and what makes the pick all the more incredible is that the third and fourth picks in the amateur draft that year were two future Hall of Famers that each played for over 20 years at the big league level: Robin Yount at #3 and Dave Winfield at #4.
You think Texas would have wanted a "do-over" with THAT draft?
By the way, if you're asking who went #2, it was catcher John Stearns, who was picked by the Phillies out of the University of Colorado before starring for the New York Mets later in the decade.
Next up is yet another #1 draft bust by the San Diego Padres, Billy Almon, making it THREE draft duds in the first five years of the decade (Ivie in '70 and Roberts in '72 being the other two)!
Keep an eye out for it…

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Happy New Year everybody…Hope your 2014 exceeds all your expectations.
It's time for the first trivia set of the new year.
This week's questions deal with wins-leaders of the 1970's. Take a shot and see how many you get.
As usual answers will appear tomorrow…

1. Among all wins leaders of the '70's, what pitcher suffered the most losses during his "winning" campaign?

2. Of all the wins leaders during the 1970's, who recorded the most strikeouts during their winning season?

3. On the flip side, what wins leader was the only one to strikeout less than 100 batters during his winning season?

4. What wins leader had the highest batting-average-against during his league leading wins season?

5. Who pitched the least amount of innings during his wins-leading season during the 1970's?


1. It's a tie: Wilbur Wood, White Sox, 1973 and Phil Niekro, Braves, 1979. Both had 20 losses.

2. Steve Carlton, Phillies. 310 K's in 1972.
3. Randy Jones, Padres. He whiffed only 93 batters in 1976.
4. Wilbur Wood, White Sox. Batters hit .270 against him in 1973.

5. Gaylord Perry, Padres. He pitched in "only" 260.2 innings in 1978.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Another of those cards that stuck with me all these years was a card that suffered from something that was quite prominent throughout 1970's Topps cards: odd tilting in the background.
But THIS card, #103 in the 1975 set, Rick Miller, was the one I first noticed because it looked so "wrong".
Take a gander:

Now how does THAT angle work in the background?

Now, what makes the background so odd is that Miller, for all intent and purposes, looks like he's perfectly upright in the shot, but the background is SO ridiculously tilted it's bizarre!
Don't you think?
How'd the photographer pull that off?
My friend thinks that in actuality, Miller was bent over in a "batting" pose, and Topps went ahead and "stood him straight", thereby tilting the background instead.
Whatever it was that happened, it left a mark on a young six-year-old way back when.
If anyone has a better guess as to how this came about I'd love to hear it…
As for Miller himself, it's easy to forget that he carved out quite a decent career in the big leagues, playing for 15 seasons, all but three for the Boston Red Sox (the other three were in Anaheim with the Angels between 1978 and 1980).
He even won a Gold Glove in 1978 while with the Angels at centerfield, and was a contributing part of that much-overlooked 1979 Angels powerhouse team, as he hit .293 on a squad that also featured the likes of Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Rod Carew, Dan Ford and Carney Lansford, among others.
Miller finally called it a career after the 1985 season, finishing up with decent numbers: 1482 games played, 1046 hits, and a .269 average.


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