Monday, March 31, 2014


I just came across an interesting bit thanks to the guys at SABR (once again), that listed the Major Leaguers with the most career at-bats or innings pitched who never had a Topps card.
Sure most of the guys were journeymen without a substantial big league resume, but there were a couple of names that stood out to me, most notably former Indian slugger Tony Horton.
I was really surprised by this since I was convinced there was a card for him at some point, and that it was something I had in my collection.
But low-and-behold, except for a Kelloggs card in 1971, there wasn't a regular-issue card of the tragic figure who left the game at a young age amid inner-turmoil.
Well, since my blog deals with the 1970's, I went ahead and designed a card for him in the 1970 and 1971 set since he retired during the 1970 season.
Today I post up my 1970 design. Take a look:

Horton originally came up with the Boston Red Sox in 1964 as a 19-year old, appearing in 36 games, hitting .222 with a homer and eight runs batted in.
After a couple of more sporadic seasons bouncing between the Majors and Minors with Boston, Horton was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1967 for pitcher Gary Bell, and finally got some full-time work with the parent club.
After a couple of decent years he really came into his own in 1969, hitting .278 with 27 homers and 93 runs batted in on 174 hits in 625 at-bats.
1970 started out well for the young slugger, as he had a three-homer game against the Yankees as well as hitting for the cycle on July 2nd against the Orioles, but after a prolonged slump and constant booing from the fans, the emotional toll finally came to a head for Horton as he took himself out of a game on August 28th against the Angels.
It was the second game of a double-header, and he voluntarily left the game after the fifth inning.
Sadly, later that evening he attempted suicide, but luckily survived and eventually got treatment for his problems.
But as for his baseball career, he'd never appear in another Major League game again.
His former manager, Alvin Dark, stated that in his long baseball career, the Horton situation was the "most sorrowful incident I was ever involved in, in my baseball career."
Tony Horton was only 25 years old when he left the game, after only 636 games and seven years, and has always been a stark reminder of the pressures professional athletes have day to day that fans can easily overlook as they're entertained on an almost nightly basis for six-motnhs out of every year.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at my design for his "missing" 1971 Topps card.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Next up on my "Hall of Fame" league-leader card thread we move onto 1978, and the only leader card that would feature solely future Hall of Famers: #206 Strikeout Leaders, with (once again) Nolan Ryan and knuckle-baller Phil Niekro.

For Ryan, this was beginning to be "old hat", as he whiffed 300+ batters for the fifth time in his career (already a Major League record), and won his fifth strikeout title.
This was the height of the "Ryan Express", and he'd go on to win another SIX titles before he was done, including another 300+ K season in 1989 at the incredible age of 42!
All told Ryan would win 11 strikeout crowns and post six 300+ strikeout seasons.
Just sick…
For Niekro, this would be the only time he'd lead the league in strikeouts, whiffing a nice 262 in 330.1 innings. The total would be a career high, and actually was the first time he struck out over 200 batters in a season in his 14-year career at that point.
On top of that, he was 38 years old when he did it, and he'd follow that up with his second best strikeout season the very next year with 248.
1977 was actually a bit of a down year for "Knucksie", as he also lead the National League in losses (20), earned runs (148), wild pitches (17) and walks (164).
It would also mark four straight seasons of leading the league in losses, with totals of 20, 18, 20 and 18 between 1977 and 1980.
But that didn't hurt his path straight to the Hall of Fame, as he eventually topped 300 career wins and 3000 career strikeouts, benchmarks for induction (at the time), getting voted in in 1997.
Next up on this thread, the last "Hall of Famer" leader card of the decade: 1979 #8 Leading Firemen featuring "Goose" Gossage and Rollie Fingers.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Today we will take a quick look at an instance where Topps did indeed use their noggin and produce a card for someone even though they barely played in the Major Leagues the previous season.
Card #338 in the gaudy (yet sexy) 1972 set features future star Bobby Grich in only his second baseball card (his rookie was in the 1971 set), and normally would be a bit of a surprise since he only appeared in seven games, good for 30 at-bats in 1971. Take a look:

However, when you look at his monster year in the Minors in '71, and note that he was named "Minor League Player of the Year", you realize Topps actually used their brains and figured it'd be worth it to throw in a card for was thought to be an up-and-coming star.
Check out his year at Baltimore's Triple-A franchise, Rochester of the International League:
A .336 batting average with 124 runs scored, 26 doubles, nine triples, 32 homers and 83 runs batted in, all with just 473 at-bats.
He also sported a .439 on base percentage and .632 slugging, with 81 walks and 299 total bases.
As we all know, Grich did not disappoint, going on to have a very nice 17-year career with the Orioles and Angels.
By the time he retired after the 1986 season, he finished with 1033 runs, 1833 hits, 224 homers and 864 runs batted in, while being considered one of the finest fielding second basemen in the game, winning four Gold Gloves while appearing in six All-Star games.
I'll always remember the Godly status he had in my eyes because of his 1977 all-star card.
That was the first year I was collecting like crazy, and anyone with "all-star" on their card was almost "super-human" to me!

Friday, March 28, 2014


Yeah I know that Willie Wilson only had 34 at-bats in 13 games in 1977, but if some of the guys in the subject title for this post got cards, I'd like to think Topps could have squeezed the future star speedster from New Jersey in there somewhere.
Wilson was already showing his future base-stealing prowess in Triple-A Omaha in 1977, swiping 74 bases while hitting .281 in 132 games.
On top of the cup-of-coffee in the Majors in 1977, he also managed to get into 12 games in 1976, though only having six plate appearances and a single hit.
But you'd think by the time the 1978 set came around they would at least throw him on one of those God-awful multi-player rookie cards, no?
So since I can pretty much do what I want here, I designed a decent looking "rookie" card for Willie Wilson, showing him running the bases against the Yankees in what seems to be a night game.
Take a look:

From my (now) home state of New Jersey...

Anything to spice up an already awesome set!
Wilson went on to have a very nice 19-year career, with a batting title, five triples titles and a great 1980 season where he lead the league in hits (230), runs (133) triples (15), while winning a Silver Slugger Award and Gold Glove.
He also set the (then) Major League record for at-bats in a season, stepping up to the plate 705 "official" times.
By the time he was done, he recorded 2207 hits, 1169 runs, 147 triples and a .285 lifetime average while stealing 668 bases.
As a kid growing up in the 1980's, I remember hating those Royals teams, with guys like Wilson, George Brett, Dan Quisenberry, Larry Gura, et al.
They just seemed to always beat the Yanks in the most frustrating ways.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Time for another round of 1970's baseball trivia.
This week I take a look at pitchers who lead their league in WHIP during the decade.
See how many you can get.
Answers tomorrow, as usual…

1. Among WHIP leaders during the 1970's, who posted the fewest wins during their league-leading season?

2. Of all WHIP leaders in the '70's, who suffered the most losses that year?

3. Who posted the fewest strikeouts among WHIP leaders in the decade?

4. Who threw the fewest shutouts in a year they lead their league in WHIP?

5. Finally. Who posted the lowest WHIP in any season during the 1970's?


1.  Ed Halicki, Giants. 9 wins in 1978.

2. Fergie Jenkins, Cubs. 16 losses in 1970.
3. Ken Forsch, Astros. 58 K's in 1979.
4. Luis Tiant, Red Sox. He failed to throw a single shutout in 1973!

5. Roger Nelson, Royals. A sterling 0.87 WHIP in 1972.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Next up on my 1975 Cy Young Award sub-set thread is 1961, and the year Whitey Ford finally took home the award.
Seems everything went right for the Yankees that year, and Ford was either the beneficiary of all that stuff going right, or a heavy reason WHY it all went that way.
For the National League, the fine folks over at SABR felt that none other than Warren Spahn would have won what would have been his third award had there been a winner for each league back then.
Take a look at my card design for 1961 first:

Even though Ford had many fine seasons leading up to 1961, it really did all come together that year, as he posted a 25-4 record with a 3.21 earned run average and three shutouts over 39 starts and 283 innings.
It would also be the only year he'd top 200+ strikeouts in a season, with 209, and oddly enough, the only year in his career where he'd give up 100+ runs and earned runs in 16 years in the big leagues.
With his 25-4 record in 1961, Ford's career winning percentage at the time stood at an incredible .714, with 150 wins against 63 losses.
As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for his final two years in the Majors, 1966 and 1967, Ford would have been only the second pitcher in Major League history with more than 200 wins and less than 100 losses (Bob Caruthers STILL being the only one with a record of 218-99), as well as finishing with a career winning percentage over .700 (at .705), something no one with over 200 career wins has ever done before or since.
Over in the National League, Braves pitcher Warren Spahn once again takes center stage, this time at the ripe old age of 40, as he finished the aseason with a record of 21 and 13, with league leading numbers of: 3.02 earned run average, 21 complete games and four shutouts.
Like I've stated earlier, the man was a machine.
You think he was done yet? How about a record of 23-7 two years later at the age of 42?!
Just incredible to think he also missed three years in his early 20's to military service, and he still ended up 363 career wins.
1961 was the sixth year in a row that Spahn posted 20+ wins, as well as the twelfth time he topped that number.
Awesome couple of future Hall of Famers here.
Next up, 1962 and the winner, Dodger great Don Drysdale, and who the SABR guys thought would win, Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry.
Stay tuned…

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


OK, now who is going to argue with these two taking up residence in the outfield on a "Team of the Decade" for the 1960's?
Granted, Mickey Mantle didn't play to his Hall of Fame standards throughout the 1960's, but based solely on his performance from 1960 through 1964, he earns a spot on the American League team easily.
For Willie Mays, it's a 100% no-brainer, as easy a pick as it gets!
Take a look at my card:

For Mantle, the decade did bring three second place finished for M.V.P. in 1960, 1961 and 1964, as well as a win in 1962, so "the Mick" did have some glory days left in him before he hung them up by 1968.
Throw in nine primary offensive stat titles, two world championships and eight all-star game appearances, and you see why his inclusion here is easy to live with.
One of the all-time most popular baseball players to ever suit up, his legend has not diminished one bit even with some controversy thrown in.
A first ballot Hall of Fame induction was a cinch, and he was indeed voted in on his first try in 1974.
For Mays, we're not just talking about one of the most popular players like Mantle, but arguably one of the top-3 players of all-time between the foul lines.
The "Say Hey Kid" was elected "Player of the Decade" for the 1960's, and looking at his numbers you can see why: An M.V.P. in 1965, six top-10 finishes in voting in other years, an all-star appearance every single year of the decade, nine Gold Gloves, and ten primary offensive league titles.
By the time HE was done roaming Major League outfields after the 1973 season, he was also as much of a "lock" for a first-ballot inductions as well, and that's exactly what happened in 1979, getting named to 409 or 432 ballots.
(Who could POSSIBLY leave his name off is not only inconceivable, but astounding!)
Just an incredible duo manning centerfield during the same era. 
Two legends on one card.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do…
Next up, the last outfield spot, with another two future Hall of Famers: Al Kaline and Roberto Clemente. 
Not bad huh?
Stay tuned…

Monday, March 24, 2014


You think a former Most Valuable Player would get a little more love from Topps than 1965 winner Zoilo Versalles got in 1972.
After appearing in 66 games for the Atlanta Braves, hitting .191 in 194 at-bats, Versalles was still a member of the organization by the time the 1972 set was being printed, yet he wasn't given a slot on the checklist while quite a few "no-names" with even less action did.
Well today I'll post a design for the "missing" card. Take a look:

Not the best picture out there, but believe me when I tell you I looked far and wide for a better one of him in an Atlanta uniform. Couldn't find one.
Now, I'll admit that Versalles really was one of those "who?" M.V.P. names when you go through the awards history.
Sure he had a nice season in 1965 as part of the pennant winning Minnesota Twins.
However that team was loaded with "co-stars", from Tony Oliva, to Harmon Killebrew, to Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat on the mound.
Nevertheless, Versalles ended up leading the American League in at-bats, runs, doubles, triples and total bases, and even pulled in a Gold Glove.
So when voting time came around, he outdistanced teammate Oliva 275 to 174 in points.
It's interesting to note that to reinforce the fact that Versalles had quite a co-starring cast helping him out, no less than six Twins finished in the top-15 in M.V.P. voting that year: Versalles, Oliva, Grant (6th), Earl Battey (10th), Jimmie Hall (13th) and Killebrew (15th).
Not too bad, even IF they ended up losing to the Dodgers in the World Series.
For Versalles, he'd never again come close to those type of numbers, finishing up his career in 1971 after a few mediocre years with the Dodgers, Indians, Senators and Braves.
I guess you could consider this a "career-capper" card as well for what it's worth. However I really left that thread to retired Hall of Famers.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


In 1977 Topps went back to having both league's leaders in a statistical category on the same card, and it brings us to the next leader card that featured solely future Hall of Famers: card #6, "1976 Strikeout Leaders" with two of the all-time best, Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.
Take a look:

This was the very first leader card I was in awe of as a kid.
By 1977 I was collecting hardcore, and seeing this card of these two "monsters" on the mound was awesome.
We saw these two guys earlier on the 1974 strikeout leaders card, and it's no surprise they'd lead their league again during the same year, as they were at the height of their careers at this point, well on their way to the Hall of Fame and amassing staggering career numbers.
All Ryan did in 1976 was lead the American League in K's for the fourth time, all seasons in which he whiffed over 300 batters. This time he struck out 327, to go along with a 17-18 record with a 3.36 E.R.A. and a league-leading seven shutouts.
This would be the first of four straight strikeout leading season for Ryan, a streak he would incredibly match eleven years later at the age of 40!
I swear it's still mind-boggling to talk about what Ryan accomplished during his 27 year career. Just incredible!
For Seaver, 1976 would be the last of five strikeout crowns during his stellar career, as he paced the Senior Circuit with 235 K's to go along with a 14-11 record and a 2.59 E.R.A.
He also threw five shutouts in his 34 starts for the year, which would be his last as a New York Met before being traded during the next season to the Cincinnati Reds, breaking the heart of many in the Big Apple, including a Yankee fan like myself!
Ryan and Seaver, two of the all-time classic fire-ballers in baseball history during their prime.
Nice card to say the least.
Next up in this thread: the 1978 strikeout leader card, featuring Ryan once again for the A.L., and Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro for the N.L.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Ok guys, am I the only one who ever got weirded out by Darrel Chaney's 1977 Topps card (#384)?

Not a "baseball-card pose" my friend...

Seriously. I remember the first time I ever saw the image and thought to myself, "This seems wrong", even at the young age of eight when the 1977 set first came out.
What a creepy shot. Who is he leering at like that?
Ugh…What a strange photo to use.
Like a bad vanity portrait of some lounge act on the Vegas strip.
Chaney was a light-hitting infielder, one of many that found some playing time during the decade.
1976 actually was his only full season during his eleven year Major League career. In it he hit .252 with a homer and 50 runs batted in.
By the time he hung them up after the 1979 season, he had a .217 average while playing for the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves.
He was lucky enough to find himself on the 1975 Reds squad that went on to a World Series Championship over the Boston Red Sox, as well as their 1970 and 1972 teams that lost to the Orioles and A's in the Series.
But THIS card is what I'll always remember him for…

Friday, March 21, 2014


Here's a card that should have been produced, especially when you consider that the player was already on a multi-rookie card in the 1977 Topps set: a dedicated 1978 card for future superstar Dale Murphy.
Take a look at my card design:

Considering that the 1978 Topps set is rife with players that barely, if at all, played the previous year, why Topps didn't give this up-and-coming Braves prospect a card is beyond me.
A first round pick (5th pick overall) in the 1974 amateur draft out of Portland, Oregon, Murphy was already up for a cup of coffee in 1977, and performed well in his limited time in the Majors, hitting .316 with a couple of homers and 14 runs batted in in only 18 games.
Pretty nice if you ask me.
He was also up for 19 games in 1976, and did a decent job of it then as well, hitting .262 with nine R.B.I.'s.
He also ripped it up in the Minors during the 1977 season, hitting .305 with 22 homers and 90 ribbies in 127 games for Richmond in Triple-A ball.
You think this would have all been good enough to give the guy a card all by his lonesome.
As we all know, Murphy went on to have a borderline Hall of Fame career, winning the National League M.V.P. twice, in 1982 and 1983, as well as five Gold Gloves and appearing in five All-Star games.
During the first part of the 1980's he was up there as one of the best in the game.
By the time he retired after the 1993 season, his 18-year career gave us 398 homers, 1266 runs batted in, 2111 hits and 1197 runs scored.
But it was his peak years between 1980 and 1987 that made Murphy a household name in the baseball world, just falling short of Cooperstown as one of those players just outside the bubble (like Dave Parker, Steve Garvey, et al).
Factor in his boring 1979 Topps card as his first solo card, and this 1978 card would have been nice as a collector to have out there.
Oh well…

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Time for trivia again, and today we look at some pitcher odds and ends. See what you come up with.

As usual I'll post the answers tomorrow. Enjoy:
1. Who are the only two pitchers in the decade to lead their league in Earned Runs allowed, yet sport a sub-3.00 E.R.A.?

2. What pitcher drove in the most runs during a season at the plate in the 1970's?

3. What hurler faced the most batters in any one season during the decade?

4. Among all pitchers who threw more than 250 innings in a season, who allowed the fewest home runs?

5. Among all pitchers who gave up 100 or more runs in a season during the 1970's, who is the only one to NOT surrender a single unearned run during the same campaign?


1.  Wilbur Wood, White Sox. 1972 & Phil Niekro, Braves. 1978.

2. Fergie Jenkins, Cubs. He had 20 runs batted in in 1971.
3. Mickey Lolich, Tigers. 1538 batters in 1971.
4. Ron Reed, Braves / Cardinals. Only 5 home runs allowed in 250.1 innings pitched in 1975.

5. Dick Ruthven, Braves. 112 runs allowed, all earned in 1976.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


As we've seen in the past on this blog, Major League baseball's expansion in 1977 caused a few missteps by Topps, who were trying to fill their 1977 set with some players to represent the two new franchises: the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.
Because of this, Topps ended up having a few players who never actually ended up playing for the team they were portrayed as members of, and were given funny, if not wretched airbrush jobs to have them in "uniform" on the card.
Well here's another one of those very cards: Pete Broberg and his 1977 slab of cardboard.
Take a look:

The airbrushing here is pretty funny, almost a color-in-the-lines type thing going on on his uniform collar, while the cap has the hilarious two-dimensional feel so many other airbrush jobs of the '70's had.
The fact that the Seattle logo is also a bit off-center on the cap makes it all a good laugher.
As if that stuff doesn't make the card stand out a little bit, the simple fact that Broberg never actually played for the Mariners makes it worth a quick profile here.
As with other expansion draft players, many were drafted solely to use as trade bait right before the 1977 season started, Broberg being one of them.
Drafted by Seattle from the Milwaukee Brewers as the 35th pick of the draft in November 1976, he was soon traded by Seattle to the Chicago Cubs in April of '77  for a player to be named later, that player being pitcher Jim Todd.
Gotta say though, Broberg did have a bit of a Hollywood mystique to him in this photo. It's almost like a head-shot for some actor, no?
Broberg's best season during his eight-year career would have to be 1975, when he posted a 14-15 record to go along with a 4.13 E.R.A and two shutouts over 32 starts for the Brewers.
His final Major League season, 1978 for the Oakland A's would be his only other double-digit win season, when he went 10-12 with a 4.62 earned run average.
After that, at the ripe-old-age of 28, he was done, never to appear in another Major League game.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Today we move into a new decade regarding my 1975 Topps "Cy Young Award" sub-set based on the popular M.V.P. Sub-set of the same year.
1960 was not only the dawn of a new decade, but the dawn of a new era in baseball, with new stars popping up and staking their claim to fame in the sport.
The outright Cy Young winner that year ended up being a "new" name of sorts, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vern Law, who guided the Bucs to the World Series and an eventual shocking win against the heavily favored New York Yankees on the now legendary Bill Mazeroski home run in the seventh and final game.
Over in the American League, the people at SABR felt that relative newcomer Jim Perry (brother of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, and eventual Cy Young winner himself in 1970) would have taken home the award had there been winners in EAXCH league at the time.
First up, my card design for the card as part of my imagined 1975 sub-set:

Although Vern Law was already beginning his ninth season as a big-league pitcher when 1960 broke, it was only in the past two seasons that he established himself as a solid starter, winning 14 and 18 games respectively in 1958 & 1959.
He'd carry that success right into the 1960 season, ending up as the anchor of the Pirate staff, going 20-9 with a 3.08 E.R.A., along with a league-leading 18 complete games and 120 strikeouts with three shutouts in 35 starts.
Personally, I think St. Louis Cardinal pitcher Ernie Broglio had a better season on the mound, but it wouldn't be the first time that an award was influenced by a team reaching the post-season (something they say doesn't factor in awards voting).
Regardless, Law would end up a solid starter for the rest of his 16-year career, retiring after the 1967 season, all for Pittsburgh.
In the American League, it's fun to see a "rookie" card in this card design, as Jim Perry finished second in 1959 for A.L. Rookie of the Year, going 12-10 with a nifty 2.65 E.R.A. pitching for the Cleveland Indians.
1960 would also be somewhat successful for him, ending the year with an 18-10 record, the win total pacing the Junior Circuit, with a high 3.62 earned run average and league-leading four shutouts and 120 strikeouts.
While those numbers don't seem to jump off the page, 1960 didn't have a pitcher in the American League who posted stellar stats.
Nowadays you could make an argument for Jim Bunning winning the award, even with a losing record of 11-14.
Besides that record, he had better numbers than other hurlers in the A.L., based on his 2.79 E.R.A., 201 strikeouts and three shutouts.
But alas, we'll never know who would have won the American League Cy Young, as the voting wasn't yet set up that way until 1967, where there'd be a winner for each league.
Next up, 1961, which saw Whitey Ford win his only Cy Young Award, while in the National League, Warren Spahn would have almost assuredly taken home the award at the ripe old age of 40!
Keep an eye out for it…

Monday, March 17, 2014

"1960'S ALL-DECADE TEAM" SUB-SET FOR THE 1970 TOPPS SET: outfielders (1 of 3)

Today we move out into the outfield for my "All-Decade" team of the 1960's, as a sub-set in Topps 1970 set.
Would have been a nice reflection on the past decade for the otherwise bland set.
The first set of outfielders are two future Hall of Famers that lit it up during the 1960's: Carl Yastrzemski and Hank Aaron.
Take a look at my card design:

Yastrzemski was at the height of the baseball world by the end of the 1960's, coming off of a Triple Crown and M.V.P. in 1967 when it seems like the threw the entire city of Boston on his back and carried them to the World Series against the Cardinals, and then followed it up with his third batting title in 1968 and his second 40 home run season in 1969.
During the decade, "Yaz" won three batting titles, lead the American League in 20 primary offensive categories, won five Gold Gloves and had four top-10 finishes in M.V.P. Voting.
For Aaron, there's really no need to get into with one of the All-Time best, but let's do it anyway.
For the decade, all Aaron did was score over 100 runs a season every year but 1968 (the "year of the pitcher"), hit over 40 homers five times, drive in over 100 runs six times, and lead the National league in primary offensive categories 17 times.
He was an All-Star every single season, and finish in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting seven times.
The man was a machine, and it was that consistency that lead to his massive lifetime totals in almost every offensive category: homers, runs batted in, runs scored, hits, total bases, you name it.
On top of all of that, the 1960's brought out the "speed" in Aaron, as he totaled double digits in stolen bases nine time during the decade, the ONLY times he stole as much in his entire 23 year career.
A fantastic outfield duo to kick-off the position on this thread!
Next up, the dynamic duo of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. About as good as it gets right there…

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Today we move ahead to 1976 in our chronological look at 1970's League Leader cards that feature solely future Hall of Famers.
The only card in the 1976 Topps set to feature such a group is the American League E.R.A. card (#202), featuring to established veterans at the time, and one young stud who'd make a change in career path, and walking that path straight to Cooperstown: Jim Palmer, Jim "Catfish" Hunter, and Dennis Eckersley.
Take a look:

Palmer, who lead the league with a sterling 2.09 E.R.A., would win his second of three Cy Young awards in 1975, leading the league not only in earned run average but wins, with 23, and shutouts, with 10 (the only pitcher to reach double-digits in the decade).
It was also the fifth time Palmer would top 20-wins in his career, something he'd go on to do eight times!
Hunter, in his first season pitching for the Yankees after a highly publicized free agent courtship, did not disappoint the Bronx fans, as he tied Palmer for the league lead in wins with 23, as well as a second place finish in E.R.A. at 2.58, to go along with an amazing 30 complete games (out of 39 starts) and seven shutouts. 
That performance would get him a second place finish in Cy Young voting, a year after he won the award while in Oakland in 1974.
For Dennis Eckersley, 1975 was an excellent rookie campaign, as he posted a 13-7 record to along with his third-place 2.60 earned run average in 24 starts.
But sadly for him, this was the year a couple of Boston Red Sox rookies (Fred Lynn and Jim Rice) made a splash, leaving "Eck" out in the cold when it came time for "Rookie of the Year" consideration.
Nevertheless, Eckersley would stick around the Majors for another 23 years, switching over to a relief role after an effective 12 years as a starter, and redefining the relief pitcher role while pitching for the Oakland A's and Tony LaRussa, eventually getting him a Hall of Fame induction in 2004.
He narrowly missed being the only player ever to both win and save 200+ games in a career, finishing with 197 wins and 390 saves.
I do remember a moment back in 1987, when he was called in to relieve a starter against the Yankees, and I thought, "Huh, he's a reliever now?", thinking his career was pretty much done.
Little did I know…
Not a bad trio of future Hall members here.
Next up we move to the 1977 set and a couple of guys we've seen before: Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Here's another card that leaves you asking "Why?!": Topps 1978 Roric Harrison (#536).
Take a look:

Just like the Rudy Meoli card I focused on last week, Topps decided to go ahead and give a card slot to a guy who last appeared in a Major League game in 1975, and on top of that never even appeared on the team he's airbrushed as being a member of, the Detroit Tigers.
He did play for Evansville in the Tiger's Minor League system in 1977, having a decent year for them, posting a record of 9-5 with 11 saves and a 3.29 earned run average. 
However I don't know why THAT performance got him a card in the 1978 set.
The last Major League action he had leading up to this card was a split season in '75 for the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians, where he went 10-11 with a 4.78 E.R.A. over the course of 34 games, in which 26 were starts.
After two seasons of Minor League ball in 1976 and 1977, he did make it back to the Majors in 1978, but NOT for the Tigers, but the Minnesota Twins, and for only nine games and 12 innings, sporting an 0-1 record with a 7.50 E.R.A.
Seems after the Tigers signed him in April of 1977, he was released in March of '78, signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates a week later, got released a week after that, and hooked up with the Twins by the end of April.
Those nine games he'd see in 1978 would be the last of his career, as would the 27 games he'd see in the Minors that year as well.
He was out of baseball for good after that season, but not before leaving us with one of those "huh?" cards I like to focus on from time to time.
Seems the 1978 Topps set had a few of these guys showing up among the 726 cards, and I know I have a couple more I'll take a look at in the future.
Keep an eye out for the next one...

Friday, March 14, 2014


Take a look at this:

Yeah I know, I'm pushing it imagining a once in a lifetime rookie card like this.
Topps didn't even have a rookie card for "infielders" in their 1978 set.
But man, what a card THIS could have been! Two Hall of Famers and two others who arguably should find their way in at some point.
Of course we all know that Molitor and Trammel were on the same card in the 1978 set, making for an already fantastic rookie card for collectors.
But with Whitaker on another card, and Ozzie Smith ignored altogether that year, I took all four of them and created a "dream-card" for people that care about these things!
It reminds me of the dream-card they gave out at a card convention years ago that featured Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan on a 1967 rookie card.
Can you imagine how incredible that would have been?! To have a rookie card featuring THOSE two?! 
Anyway, for the 1978 dream card I have here, I also used a different Molitor image, since the one Topps used on their rookie card was a colorized black and white shot, and not an attractive image to say the least.
Could have been THE rookie card for the decade…
Oh well, hope you all can at least enjoy THIS creation here…

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Today's trivia is a bit of a mish-mosh of interesting stuff I've come across putting lists together.
See if you know any of the answers.
I'll post them up tomorrow…
1. During the decade, what player finished the season with the most at-bats and a 1.000 batting average?

2. What pitcher threw the most innings in a season while still posting a 0.00 E.R.A.?

3. What pitcher saw the most at-bats in a season during the 1970's?

4. Who had the highest batting average in a season for someone with more than 50 at-bats during the decade?

5. What pitcher faced the most hitters while allowing each one to get a hit off of him in a season?


1.  John Hale, Dodgers. He went four for four in 1974.

2. Mike Norris, A's. 16.2 innings with a 0.00 E.R.A. in 1975.
3. Wilbur Wood, White Sox. 125 at-bats in 1972.
4. Roger Freed, Cardinals. .398 average in 1977, going 33 for 83.

5. Bob Kammeyer, Yankees. He allowed all seven batters he faced to get a hit, including two homers and a hit batsman, for eight earned runs, in 1979.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The last installment on my thread reflecting on the 1976 Topps "All-Time All-Stars" sub-set will be something they didn't have: Managers.
Would have been nice to throw some respect to the filed managers after-all.
So today the final piece in this thread will be my picks for the all-time managers in each league (as I see picked back in 1976): Connie Mack in the American League and John McGraw in the National League.
Take a look at the cards first:

All we're looking at here is 86 years of Major League managerial leadership, eight World Series wins, and pennants!
Mack of course lead the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years, and is still the winningest (and "losingest") manager in baseball history, with McGraw, who lead the mighty New York Giants in the early 20th-century, as the second most winning manager in the game's storied past.
Mack's first taste of managerial experience came with the Pittsburgh club between 1894-1896, before taking the helm of the Philadelphia club (and ownership) in the newly formed American League in 1901, a job he'd have until 1950, at the age of 87!
I remember being enthralled at the images of Mack in his suit, peering out of the dugout in all the baseball history books I came across as a kid. I STILL wonder why they don't let managers wear civilian clothes while managing, instead of squeezing into a baseball uniform like players decades younger than them!
Mack was far ahead of anyone I considered as far as "all-time manager" for the American League. Sure you had Stengal, McCarthy or even Miller Huggins with their championships. But "nah", not even close. Mack stands head and shoulders above the rest.
In the National League, who'd argue with McGraw as all-time manager of the league?
The ornery bastard carried the fire and hard-nosed play of his younger days right into his on-filed managing, first with the Baltimore Orioles in 1899 as player manager, then onto the Giants, whom he managed from 1902 to 1932, amassing 2763 wins along the way.
Again, we have a manager that was indeed far and away ahead of the pack as far as leaders are concerned in his league. 
While many may not have liked the way "Little Napoleon" handled his duties along the way, no one could argue with his Hall of Fame induction in the second class of 1937, along with who else but Connie Mack.
That wraps up my 1976 "All-Time All-Stars" thread sub-set. Not a bad squad representing both leagues…
Hope you all enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Well, today we reach the end of my thread of an imagined sub-set for the 1979 set featuring all the overall #1 draft picks of the 1970's.
Sadly, we end it with a bit of a thud, as the #1 pick in the 1979 draft was Al Chambers, picked by the Seattle Mariners, picked ahead of future stars Andy Van Slyke, Tim Wallach and Steve Howe.
Granted, it wasn't the most stocked of drafts that year, but considering that Chambers ended up playing in 57 games for his career, you have to chalk this one up to "bust".
First, take a look at the card I designed:

Chambers made it up to the Major Leagues in 1983, getting into 31 games, good for 81 plate appearances, batting .209 with three doubles and a homer.
But that would actually be the most time he'd see up in the big show, as 1984 would see him play in only 22 games, getting 49 at-bats, before getting into only four games in 1985 and marking the total playing time he'd have in his short Major League career.
After bouncing around for a few more years in the Seattle, Houston and Chicago Cubs Minor League systems, he'd move on to the Mexican League in 1988 for a year before leaving his baseball playing days for good.
I guess you can say his biggest claim to fame is being included in Topps' 1985 "#1 Draft Picks" sub-set along with more substantial picks through the years, like Darryl Strawberry, Shawon Dunston and Harold Baines.
But hey, at least Seattle did fair a bit better in the 1981 draft, picking star pitcher Mike Moore with the #1 overall pick.
That does it for the #1 draft sub-set. Wish there was more to cover, as I had fun with the cards designed for the topic.
Perhaps I should start a sub-set of "best pick of each draft" for the decade?
We'll see...

Monday, March 10, 2014


The 1950's had all-time catchers like Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra, and the 1970's had superstars like Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench, but in the decade of the 1960's, there weren't any "all-time" catchers that could really keep company with the guys I mentioned earlier.
But it's not to say there weren't any good catchers.
For my "all-decade" team, my two backstops are the Tigers' Bill Freehan and the Braves Joe Torre.
Take a look at my card:

It's safe to say that between Berra and Fisk, Freehan was easily the best catcher in the American League.
With all the superstars on the filed during the decade, it's easy to forget that Freehan was an eleven-time all-star, five-time Gold Glover, and finished in the top-ten in M.V.P. voting three times, with a second place finish in 1968 behind teammate Denny McLain.
1964, his first full year in the Majors, was arguably his finest season, as he hit .300 for the only time in his career along with 18 homers and 80 R.B.I.'s.
But for the rest of the decade Freehan put up comparable numbers year after year, while taking are of a Detroit pitching staff that featured guys like McLain, Mickey Lolich and Earl Wilson.
He really was ahead of the rest of the pack as far as A.L. catchers during the decade.
Over in the National League, some of you may be surprised at my pick of Joe Torre as the catcher of the decade, but take a look at the guy's numbers and you'll see why.
With a decade that didn't have that Campanella or Bench behind the plate, Torre outdistances other catchers in the league in my opinion.
A five-time all-star during the '60's, Torre had a couple of "monster" years that kind of get lost in history.
In 1964 playing for the Milwaukee Braves, Torre hit .321 with 20 homers and 109 runs batted in. He also chipped in 193 hits and 36 doubles. Not bad!
But in 1966, with the Braves relocated to Atlanta, Torre clubbed 36 home runs to go along with a .315 average and 101 R.B.I.'s.
Later on when he'd switch over to third base he'd win an M.V.P. with the St. Louis Cardinals, and tack on a few more excellent years at the plate, and it's those years that people generally remember Torre as a player.
But his catching days for the Braves organization were very good in their own right. yet easy to overlook.
Later on, as we all know, Torre would be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a manager in 2014 for his days leading the New York Yankees through their most recent dynasty in the late-90's/early-00's, along with taking the helm of the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers as well between 1977 and 2010, finishing up with 2326 wins and four championship titles.
Next up on the all-decade parade, the first outfield slot, with a couple of future Hall of Famers: Carl Yastrzemski and Hank Aaron.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Today we'll take a look at the next Topps league leader card f the 1970's that solely featured future Hall of Famers: #312 Strikeout Leaders with Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton.
This would be the third strikeout leader card in a row that would feature Hall of Famers.
Granted, each of those featured Nolan Ryan, while two of the three had Steve Carlton, with Tom Seaver making an appearance on the 1974 card.
This was smack in the middle of the Nolan Ryan "Express", as he lead the Majors in strikeouts yet again with 367 in 1974 after fanning a still-record 383 batters in 1973.
It was the third strikeout crown for Ryan, on his way to 11 titles in his storied 27 year career.
Ryan finished in third place in the Cy Young race, posting a 22-16 record along with a 2.89 E.R.A., three shutouts and an incredible 202 walks!
Over in the National League, we have Steve Carlton who lead the league with 240 K's in 1974 for his second strikeout crown.
Carlton would lead the league in K's another three times before retiring, missing by one strikeout in 1981 of four straight crowns between 1980 and 1983 (Fernando Valenzuela would total 180 during the strike-shortened 1981 season).
Carlton's 1974 was somewhat mediocre for him, as he posted a record of 16-13 with a 3.22 E.R.A., one shutout and a league leading 136 walks.
Nevertheless we have a great card here, with two of the top power pitchers of the era in the prime of their careers in one of the best card sets of the decade.
Next up we'll look at the 1976 American League E.R.A. leader card, featuring guys by the name of Palmer, Hunter and Eckersley.
Not too shabby…

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I'm assuming that this is a card that was decided upon solely for what the player did in the Minor Leagues the year before, since nothing else would make sense!
Topps' 1978 Rudy Meoli card (#489) leaves a lot of questions to any asking, "why give a card to someone who hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 1975?!
During that '75 season Meoli played in 70 games for the California Angels, hitting .214 with a couple of doubles and a triple.
But over the course of the next two years, 1976 and 1977, he was strictly in the Minors, playing for Indianapolis, the Cincinnati Reds' Triple-A team.
And it's his 1977 season for Indy that I'm assuming got hima bit of attentions, and inclusion in the 1978 set.
He put together a pretty good season for a middle infielder of the 1970's, hitting .286 with 102 runs scored, 42 stolen bases and 113 walks, boosting his on-base-percentage to a nice .433 for the year.
I can only assume this is why Topps thought of him for a slot in the set, airbrushing him into a Chicago Cubs uniform after being purchased by them in September of '77.
Perhaps this slot could have been used more effectively, like a last Brooks Robinson card, or even an Ozzie Smith rookie?
Speaking of a 1978 Ozzie Smith rookie, keep an eye out for my "dream" rookie card, featuring Smith and another three future superstars...

Friday, March 7, 2014


Next up on my 1975 "Cy Young Award" thread is the 1959 season, with Early Wynn of the Chicago White Sox as the actual winner when the award was only given to one player, and Sam Jones of the St. Louis Cardinals as the supposed National League winner according to the folks at SABR.
Take a look at my card design first:

Early Wynn was already a long time veteran by the time the 1959 season came along, and even at the age of 39 he still had a lot left in the tank.
Pitching in his second season for the White Sox, Wynn lead them to the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 22-10 with a 3.17 E.R.A with five shutouts over a league-leading 255.2 innings.
Not bad for a guy who first appeared on a Major League mound 20 years earlier as a 19-year old for the Washington Senators.
Wynn would eventually reach that magical 300th win in 1963, retiring soon after, ending his career with a 300-244 record and a Hall of Fame induction in 1972.
At the height of his career he was a member of perhaps one of the best pitching staffs in baseball history with the Cleveland Indians of the 1950's. This was a staff that featured two other future Hall of Famers: Bob Lemon and Bob Feller, as well as star Mike Garcia, along with other productive arms like Herb Score, Art Houtteman, and in a part time role as he was closing out his career, Hal Newhouser.
Sadly for the Indians, they would constantly have to take a back seat to the Yankee dynasty of the decade, only managing to end up at the top in 1954 when they set the then American League record of 111 wins on their way to a World Series loss to the New York Giants.
Over in the National League, in a year where no one pitcher took the lead and dominated, we have Sam Jones posting up solid numbers in his first year pitching for the San Francisco Giants after being traded from the Cardinals (hence the fact that he's shown as a Cardinal on the 1959 Topps card), leading to a probable Cy Young win for him in the N.L. had they selected a winner for each league back then.
For the year, Jones posted a record of 21-15, leading the league in wins, along with a league-leading 2.83 earned run average and four shutouts to go along with 209 strikeouts.
He even managed to tack on four saves during the year as he appeared in 50 games, with 35 of them being starts.
1959 was easily the best season of Jones' career, but he did have one more good year in 1960 as he posted an 18-14 record with a 3.19 earned run average, three shutouts and 190 strikeouts.
After that he patched together four more years with the Giants, Tigers, Cardinals and Orioles before retiring after the 1964 season.
During his career Jones lead the National League in strikeouts three times, with a high of 225 in 1958 with the Cardinals, but also lead the league in walks four times, with a whopping high of 185 in 1955 while hurling for the Chicago Cubs.
By the time he retired he had a final record of 102-101 with a 3.59 E.R.A and 1376 K's in only 1643.1 inning s pitched.
Next on this thread we move into the 1960's, and have the actual Cy Young winner that year, Vern Law of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the proposed American League winner, Jim Perry, brother of future Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
Keep an eye out for it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Let's hit some 1970's baseball trivia once again.
My 40th trivia post! 
Today we'll deal with 200-hit seasons of the 1970's.
See what you can answer and I'll post the answers tomorrow, as usual…
1. Among all 200-hit seasons in the decade, who had the lowest batting average?

2. Who had the fewest at-bats in a 200-hit season during the '70's?

3. Who played in the fewest games in a 200-hit season during the 1970's?

4. Who hit the most homers while also getting 200+ hits in a season during the '70's?

5. Who posted the lowest on base percentage among all 200-hit seasons in the 1970's?


1.  Matty Alou, Pirates. He batted .297 in 1970.

2. Rod Carew, Twins. 580 AB's in 1973.
3. Ralph Garr, Braves. He played in only 143 games in 1974 and STILL lead the league with 214 hits.
4. Jim Rice, Red Sox. 213 hits and a whopping 46 homers in 1978.

5. Ralph Garr, Braves. He had a .323 OBP while getting 200 hits and a .299 average with only 22 walks in 698 plate appearances.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Next up on my "All-Time All-Stars" thread are the lefty pitchers on the team, and when you're nickname is "Lefty" and you win 300 games, you can see why the Sporting News picked Robert "Lefty" Grove as their all-time left-handed pitcher back in 1976 in honor of Major League baseball's 100th season.
Now for the National league, I went ahead and picked one of my all-time favorite players: Warren Spahn.
Take a look at the cards, Grove's as issued by Topps for the 1976 set, and Spahn, which I designed myself:

Starting off with Lefty Grove, we can see why it was so easy to pick him as the all-time lefty.
Starting out at the age of 25 because his Minor League team refused to sell him earlier in his career, all Grove did was go on to win 300 games against only 141 losses, good for the best winning percentage among all 300-game winner at .680.
He won nine E.R.A. titles, four games won titles, and seven strikeout titles in his 17 year career.
In 1931 he won the first BBWA American league M.V.P. award when he went 31-4 with a 2.06 E.R.A. and 175 strikeouts, all league leading numbers. That would also be his second straight pitching triple-crown, as he lead the league in the same categories in 1930 as well.
His .886 winning percentage that year is second all-time among 20+ game winning seasons, behind Ron Guidry's .893 winning percentage when he went 25-3 in 1978.
How about this for a cool performance: in 1930, as Grove went 28-5 with a 2.54 E.R.A. and 209 strikeouts for his first pitching triple-crown, he also lead the league in saves with nine.
By the time Grove retired after the 1941 season playing for the Red Sox, he was a sure fire Hall of Famer, and was inducted his first year of eligibility in 1947, getting named on 123 of 161 ballots cast.
But also take into account those "lost" years pitching for the Baltimore Orioles Minor League franchise in the early 1920's, when the team owner refused to sell him to a Major League franchise. Those were some of the all-time best Minor League clubs, and all Grove did in his five years there was go 111-39! That's a .740 winning percentage. Imagine some of those wins tacked on to his Major League totals. Just awesome.
As for my National League pick, I've already gone and described at length the insanity of Warren Spahn's incredible career.
Here's another guy who didn't get started in the Majors until he was in his mid-20's, 25 to be exact after military service took three full seasons from him, and he STILL went on to have 13 20-win seasons, pitch for 21 years, and win an incredible 363 games before he was said and done!
Spahn was amazing. Between 1947 and 1963, that's 17 seasons, he won 20+ games 13 times! Can you imagine that type of consistency?
In that time he won the second Cy Young Award in 1957 as he lead the Milwaukee Braves to their only World Championship over the Yankees, lead the league in wins eight times, E.R.A. three times, and strikeouts four times.
It's easy to see how if not for the outbreak of World War II, we'd be looking at a 400+ game winner, perhaps only behind Cy Young himself in career wins!
In 1973 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame as well, his rightful place among the legends of the sport.
Two fantastic pitchers who threw from the "South-Side".
That wraps up the position players on the All-Time team. But I have one last entry in this thread: All-Time Managers, something I wish Topps put out with this sub-set back in '76.
Keep an eye out for it next week.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


You ever notice how Lou Brock had a bunch of cards in his career that used lame pictures?
Sure, his 1976 card is a beauty, but take a look at his other cards, they generally had poorly posed shots and NO action photos.
His 1978 card always bugged me. The man just looks beat down and ready to fall asleep!
And the shadow across his face doesn't help, as it makes it look like he had giant bags under his eyes. Take a look at his 1978 card as issued by Topps:

This was definitely a card I had my eyes on to redesign with a nicer photo.
Think about it: this was the greatest base-stealer B.R. ("Before Rickey"), and yet except for his 1976 card, there were NO cards of him in action, on the base paths, at the plate, or heck, I'd even settle for some nice posed shot, like the one I used here.
Take a look:

At least there's some humanity to the man, right, some mystique worthy of a star ballplayer?!
It really is a wonder why Brock's cards through the years had such "ho-hum" photos used. Was there really no chance of getting the guy on the diamond during a game? Or even to have him in some classic baseball pose?
Anyway, I guess it shouldn't surprise me since the man has become somewhat of an overlooked super-star from his era. When you're up against the Mays, Aarons, Clementes, et al, it's pretty easy to see why Brock got lost in the shuffle.
Think about it. In Brock's 19-year career, a man who had over 3000 hits, over 900 stolen bases and 1600 runs scored, he was only named to six all-star teams, and the last came during his final season as a tribute.
Well, at least he wasn't overlooked when it came time for Cooperstown to come calling. He was elected on his first try in 1985, getting named to 315 of 395 ballots cast.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Up next in my thread of #1 overall draft picks of the 1970's we come to 1978 and Bob Horner, picked #1 by the Atlanta Braves.
Take a look at my card design in my imagined sub-set:
An absolute monster coming out of Arizona State, Horner set College records with 58 career homers as well as 25 in a single-season, on his way to winning the very first "Golden Spikes" Award in 1978.
Horner made an immediate splash in the Major Leagues, skipping the Minors altogether and making his big league debut on June 16th, 1978 and hitting a homer off future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In only 89 games that season, Horner lead all third basemen with 23 home runs, while hitting .263 and driving in 63 runs in 323 at-bats beating out another future Hall of Famer, Ozzie Smith, for National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Over the next eight years of so Horner became a solid homer-hitting third baseman for Atlanta, teaming up with Dale Murphy as one of the best one-two homer punches in the game.
But injuries in 1983 and 1984, where he broke, then re-broke the same wrist, would ultimately derail his career after only ten seasons, finishing up with a short 60-game stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988 after coming back from Japan, where he played in 1987 after being one of the players colluded against by Major League owners.
Though definitely not a "flop", Horner's career did fall short of expectations somewhat, though hitting 218 homers and driving in 685 runs without ever playing in more than 141 games in any season is quite impressive. 
As a matter of fact, Horner only played 140+ games in a season twice: 140 in 1982 and 141 in 1986, a season which also saw him hit four home runs in a single game, at the time only the eleventh player ever to do so, and second in a losing cause (Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty being the other).
It's interesting to note some of the other players taken after Horner in the first round of 1978: Lloyd Moseby (2nd overall), Hubie Brooks (3rd), Mike Morgan (4th), Kirk Gibson (12th), and Tom Brunansky (14th).
Not a bad crop of young players that year going in the draft.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Next up on my "Hall of Fame" league leader card series is the 1974 Runs Batted In card (#203) featuring two of THE power hitters of the decade: Reggie Jackson and Willie Stargell.
First up the card:

In a bit of a surprise, 1973 was the only time these future Hall members would lead their leagues in R.B.I.'s.
For Reggie, his 117 ribbies paced the American League, contributing to his only Most Valuable Player award that season. It was also one off of his career high, as he drove in 118 in 1969 when he slammed 47 homers in his first big year in the Majors.
Even though the late 1960's and 1970's were a bit of an offensive down-time for baseball, it's still surprising to remind yourself that Reggie's high in ribbies is so low. Then again, he also lead the league in homers in '73 with 32, his only outright home run title during his career. In a bit of an odd coincidence, his other three home run titles were all shared, and all with a Milwaukee Brewer player: 1975- George Scott; 1980- Ben Oglivie and 1982- Gorman Thomas.
Go figure.
For Stargell, 1973 was arguably the finest offensive year of his career. In addition to his league leading 119 runs batted in, he slammed 44 homers and also lead the league in doubles with 43. His .646 slugging percentage also lead the league, and he hit just a shade under .300, finishing up with a .299 B.A.
It would also mark the last time Stargell would drive in 100 or more runs in a season, even though he'd play for another nine years before retiring after the 1982 season.
1973 would also be the third year in a row where he'd finish in the top-3 in Most Valuable Player voting, ending up second behind winner Pete Rose. In 1971 he finished second behind Joe Torre, while in 1972 he finished third behind Johnny Bench and Billy Williams.
Next up on this thread we move on to 1975 and take a look at the strikeout leader card, featuring two of the all-time best: Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I could be wrong here, but I think I'm seeing this correctly:
Check out Topps' 1970 Oakland Athletics team card (#631), and try focusing on the first row, fourth from the left: I swear that's Joe DiMaggio!
Is that "Joltin' Joe" in the front row, fourth from left?
He did coach for the Athletics in 1969 so it would make sense if he was indeed caught in a team photo used for the 1970 set.
But I've never heard anyone mention a DiMaggio "appearance" on that team card.
Anyone know for sure if that's him on a knee?
I've tried downloading about ten images of this card, and it seems the original card had a bad quality image, so this is about as clear as it gets.
If it is DiMaggio, that is pretty cool.
The "Yankee Clipper" actually on a Topps card from the 1970's.
I checked the 1971 Athletics team card, which has a nicer/clearer image, and he's not in that photo (even though he coached the A's in 1970 as well).
That does look like him on the 1970 card though.
If anyone knows for sure please let me in on it!


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