Monday, June 30, 2014


Here's a card that would have been nice to pull fresh from a Topps pack in 1979: a "highlight" card celebrating Willie McCovey hitting his 500th home run.
Take a look:

McCovey reached the lofty mark on June 30th of 1978 against the Atlanta Braves, and became the twelfth slugger to reach that mark at the time.
Before McCovey, the last player to reach 500 home runs was Frank Robinson towards the end of the 1971 season.
"Stretch" would end up with 521 homers in his career, tying the great Ted Williams on the all-time list.
It's amazing to think, but McCovey missed a chunk of time throughout his career because of injuries, and it's hard not to wonder if 600 was possible for him had he stayed healthy.
Nevertheless, his 22 year career was worthy of Hall of Fame induction in 1986, capping a brilliant run that saw him suit up for the Giants, Padres, and A's between 1959 and 1980, making him one of those rare "four decade" players as well.
I followed the design for this card after my Gaylord Perry 3000th strikeout "highlight" card which I posted a couple months ago, and it seems to make for a decent "virtual" sub-set for the otherwise bland set Topps put out there, 35 years ago.
Hope you all agree…

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Ok, so this guy really didn't put in a lot of tome to warrant a card the following year, but I did find a great high-resolution image of him so I went ahead and designed a card anyway.
Check out my 1973 Bob Rauch Topps card:

Rauch's entire Major League career encompassed 19 games for the Mets in 1972, saving one and posting a record of 0-1.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1967, Rauch would end up playing for the Dodgers, Mets, Indians and A's minor league systems, finally calling it a career in 1975.
I think it's fun working on cards of guys that barely registered a "blip" on the Major League scene, and I think I'll try coming up with more and more of them as time goes on.
Hope you enjoy them as well…

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Here's a great year for the Cy Young Award: 1973, and the two future Hall of Famers who took it home during the off-season, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver.
Take a look at my card:

For Palmer, it would be the first of three Cy Young Awards he'd receive in the 1970's, making him one of THE mounds men during his era pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.
Already a three-time 20 game winner before the 1973 season came around, Palmer would go on to post his best Major League season yet, going 22-9 with a league-leading 2.40 earned run average. 
Throw in his six shutouts among 19 complete games, and you also get a second place finish (behind Reggie Jackson) for league Most Valuable Player as well.
Over in the National League we have Tom Seaver, who would win his second such award in 1973 while pitching for the New York Mets.
Although he didn't post 20 or more wins that year, Seaver dominated National League batters, going 19-10 with a league-leading 2.08 earned run average.
He also chipped in 18 complete games, three shutouts and 251 strikeouts, which also paced the Senior Circuit.
Seaver would also go on to win a total of three such awards, and would go on to top 300 wins in 1985 before retiring with 311 total.
Sadly for Palmer, an injury which caused him to miss almost two years in 1967-68, as well as the baseball strike of 1981 would cost him any shot of hitting 300 wins.
But his EIGHT 20 win seasons in the decade were by far the most for any pitcher, and he still managed to finish with 268 wins for his before hanging them up.
This was Seaver and Palmer in the prime of their careers, and each would both have quite a few more stand out campaigns before they were through in the early to mid-1980's.
Next up on this thread is the final post for the "1975 Cy Young Sub-Set", as we take a look at the 1974 winners, thus wrapping up the year-by-year winners up to that awesome 1975 Topps set release.

Friday, June 27, 2014


I think I've mentioned this before, but even as a die-hard Yankee fan growing upon the 1970's and 1980's, I LOVED Tom Seaver, I was in AWE of Seaver, and I used to wish more than anything that he was a New York Yankee.
He just seemed other-worldy, and his baseball cards took on mythic stature in my young mind every year.
So I'm psyched, even some 35 years later, to design anything with Tom Seaver on it.
Today is one of those days, as I present a card that would have been awesome, had Topps cared to highlight historical events consistently through the decade of the 1970's: a 1971 card celebrating his 19-strikeout game, tying the all-time mark set just a year earlier by Steve Carlton, ironically enough against Seaver's own team, the Mets.
But first take a look at my card design:

Just a year after Carlton whiffed 19 Mets (even though the Mets won that game), Seaver matched the all-time mark on April 22nd, and in stunning fashion, striking out the final TEN San Diego Padres to finish with his 19 K's.
On top of all that, those ten strikeouts in a row are STILL the Major League high for consecutive K's in a game.
It was pure vintage Seaver, and those 19 strikeouts contributed to the 283 he totaled for the year, the National League leader in that department.
He'd also pace the N.L. in E.R.A., posting a league-low 2.82, while going 18-12 over 36 starts with a couple of shutouts.
If you're like me, there can never be enough cards of Tom Seaver in his prime, and hopefully I can come up with other reasons to create more "Tom Terrific" cardboard…

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Hello all.
Trivia time once again, and today the questions will revolve around Cincinnati Reds' pitching through the 1970's.
See how many you can get, and as usual, answers will be posted tomorrow.

1. Who was the only Reds pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season during the 1970's?

2. Who was the only Reds pitcher to post 200 or more strikeouts in the 1970's?

3. Who was the only Reds pitcher to post an E.R.A. under 2.00 during the decade?

4. What Reds hurler posted the most shutouts in a season during the 1970's?

5. What two Reds relievers combined for 51 saves in 1970?


Jim Merritt, 1970. He went 20-11.

Tom Seaver, 1978. He whiffed 226 batters that year.

Gary Nolan, 1972. He came in at 1.99 that season.

Jack Billingham, 1973. He had seven shutouts that year.

Wayne Granger (35) and Clay Carroll (16).   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Here's the second post regarding my "Then and Now" series of cards celebrating baseball stars at the twilight of their careers, this one of all-time great Hank Aaron.
Take a look:

Following my design concept seen in my first post (Bob Gibson), I've gone ahead and designed a 1976 card showing Aaron in his final season in the Majors, along with his 1954 Topps rookie card on the left.
No need to go into Aaron's career here, just want to enjoy this card and the series idea.
I always loved that 1983 "super veteran" sub-set Topps created (then again, I love everything about that 1983 set, period!), so I wanted to put a spin on that idea and create a card like that for various stars (and other guys who put together lengthy careers) throughout the 1970's.
So while you'll see cards of the obvious super-stars, I'll also throw in cards of guys like Don McMahon, Ted Abernathy, etc, who put together some solid "time" in a Major League uniform, and should be celebrated for their accomplishments.
Keep an eye out for them…

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Here's one for all you Mets fans out there!
Although he only appeared in 64 games in his Major League career (all in 1976), I came across a nice photo of former New York Mets outfielder Leon Brown recently and decided to design a 1977 card for him.
Take a look:

While I normally never designed cards for "missing" players with so little Major League action, I've decided to branch out a bit and start designing cards of players that fit the bill if I come across a decent enough photo, like Brown here.
As I stated earlier, Brown only appeared in 64 games in 1976, batting .214 with 15 hits in 70 at-bats while playing all three outfield positions.
While his Major League action was sparse, he did manage to pull together a 13-year Minor League career, playing for six organizations along the way: the Orioles, Giants, White Sox, Mets, Cardinals and Royals.
Ironically enough, he fared much better than his brother Curtis, who got into one Major League game, for the Montreal Expos, in 1973, going 0 for 4.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Granted it's a bit of "hindsight being 20/20", but since Steve Carlton was the only Major League pitcher to "win" the pitching triple crown between Sandy Koufax in 1966 and Dwight Gooden in 1985, when he paced the N.L. in all three major stats in 1972, I decided to go ahead and create a "highlight" card for him in the 1973 Topps set.
Take a look:

It follows my designs for the Roberto Clemente and Jim Barr highlights from the same "set" that I posted earlier this year.
Carlton's 1972 season was one for the history books, as he ended up winning 27 games for a team that only managed to win 59 all together for the entire year!
To put things in perspective, the Phillies pitcher behind Carlton in wins that year was Darrell "Bucky" Brandon with seven! Seven! And he was a reliever!
The other three starters for the Phillies that year posted records of: 2-15 (Ken Reynolds), 4-14 (Bill Champion) and 4-10 (Woodie Fryman).
Throw in Dick Selma (2-9) and Wayne Twitchell (5-9), who each made over 10 starts that year, and you see just how colossal Carlton's year was in the annals of baseball history.
Now let's also look at his 1.97 earned run average and 310 strikeouts, and I tell you, (and bear with me now), as far as ONE player's value to a team, you have to wonder, was Pete Rose MORE valuable to the Red's, who also had Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, etc, than Carlton was to the Phillies?
It's incredible to think of this one guy making it all happen on his own like that, especially in baseball where it's harder to do than most other team sports.
Wish I was old enough to watch it all unfold back then!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Man, whoever Topps gave the airbrushing job for their 1978 John Verhoeven card was about as dedicated as you can get, even IF the cap-work is something for the ages.
Check it out:

Look at that cap! Look at the uniform!
While I want to burst out laughing, there is a ton of work going on there!
But man, that uniform paint-job is priceless.
I love the shadowing under the collar, the lighting effect going left to right.
Kudos to the person who wielded the mighty airbrush-pen for that one!
The cap is downright hilarious.
I could be a mile away and STILL read the "Sox" emblazoned across the paddle-ball wall that is that cap!
Love it.
My only real gripe about this card is the fact that all this work and effort went to a player who only appeared in NINE games in 1977, split between the Angels (three games) and the White Sox (six games).
We're talking an output of 15 innings for the season, and Topps gave THIS guy all those man-hours?
So strange.
On top of all that, Verhoeven wouldn't see a Major League mound again until the 1980 season, when he suited up for the Minnesota Twins.
No disrespect to Mr. Verhoeven here, but I sure wish Topps would have given this slot to Brooks Robinson, or Dick Allen, or maybe even a dedicated card for Paul Molitor or even an Ozzie Smith!
Ah well, if Topps did everything right then what would I really have to yap about here, right?

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Here's a great card from that wacky 1973 Topps set, #431 Gerry Moses.
Take a look:

Now, is it "Jerry", or "Gerry"?
I have no idea, but I can tell you that I'm leaning towards "Jerry" since I have a 1972 Cleveland Indians team signed baseball, and it clearly says "Jerry".
Which brings me to my next point about the card: the photo is obviously not one of him in a Yankee uniform since he didn't play for them yet when this card was produced.
Yet it's not a photo of him from the year before, since as I mentioned above he was with the Indians, and their caps were red from what I know.
So it seems Topps went a bit further back, but Not EVEN from the year before (1971), since Moses was with the California Angels that year, and if you look behind him in the shot, that's an Angel sliding across the plate there.
So it seems that Topps went with a photo of Moses from his Boston Red Sox days, which were between 1965 and 1970.
Whew! Such complications for a light-hitting, much traveled catcher!
I like the look on Moses' face, almost like, "Oh well, the guy scored, what can you do?"
Now, I'm totally guessing here, but I think the Angels player sliding home is Ken McMullen, who sported #7 on his uni. But again, wild guess here.
I'm just a sucker for a nice photo of a catcher in action a'la 1976 Johnny Bench or 1978 Jim Sundberg, as profiled earlier.
Moses would only suit up for the Yanks in 1973 before moving on to Detroit in 1974, then the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres in 1975 before retiring.
Never a starter, he ended his nine-year career with 386 games played, 25 homers and a .251 batting average over 1072 at-bats.
But he does leave us with a nice game-action card to appreciate all these years later!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Today's post for my 1975 Cy Young sub-set thread is a fun one since both cards represented for the 1972 award winners have been redesigned.
I already redesigned the 1972 Topps Gaylord Perry card (the American League winner) earlier on the blog, but let me refresh your memory:

For the National League winner, Steve Carlton, I've also gone and redesigned his 1972 Topps card since his regular card in the set still had him as a St. Louis Cardinal.
And I wasn't going to use his "Traded Card" that came out as part of the late-series "traded" sub-set that year.
So before we look at my 1975 "Cy Young 1972 Winners" card, take a look at my redesigned Carlton card:

So with those two new cards designed, here's my 1972 card for the 1975 Cy Young sub-set that I thought would be nice to partner up with Topps' M.V.P. set of the same year:

Both Perry and Carlton were running on all cylinders in 1972, finally putting it all together and posting career years for their new teams.
Perry did everything the Indians were hoping when they added him to their staff, posting a record of 24-16 (40 DECISIONS!) with a 1.92 earned run average and 234 strikeouts.
He also added 29 complete games, five of which were shutouts, over an incredible 342.2 innings of work.
For Carlton, he dominated, plain and simple, going 27-10 with a 1.97 E.R.A., as well as 310 strikeouts with 30 complete games and eight shutouts.
The man just took over that year on his way to his "Lefty" legend, and both men would find themselves in the Hall of Fame years later, as 3000+ strikeout guys, 300+ win guys, and 20+ year career guys.
Not too shabby…
Next up, 1973 and a return visit from New York Met fireballer Tom Seaver, along with the first appearance from a guy who'd end up a three time Cy Young winner, Jim Palmer.
Stay tuned…

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Today's trivia will deal with those wild Oakland A's teams of the decade.
The only three-time World Champs of the 1970's, they were surprisingly light in the hitting department.
Check out the questions below and see which ones you can answer.
Answers posted tomorrow…
1. Through the entire decade of the 1970's, the A's didn't have a single player score 100 or more runs in a season. Who scored the most runs in a season during the decade for the A's?

2. Who hit for the highest average in a season during the decade for the A's?

3. Who posted the most hits in a single season during the 1970's for Oakland?

4. Though they only hit .246 as a team with only 113 homers in 1976, the A's stole an incredible 341 bases, with six players topping 30 or more each! Who were the six players to steal 30 or more bases that season?

5. Besides Reggie Jackson, only one other A's player drove in 100 or more runs in a season during the 1970's. As a matter of fact, there were only three 100+ R.B.I. seasons for the A's during the decade, with Reggie knocking in 100 or more in 1973 & 1975, and this player driving in over 100 in 1974. Who was it?


Reggie Jackson, 1973. He scored 99 runs.

Claudell Washington, 1975. He hit .308.

Again, Claudell Washington, who tallied 182 hits in 1975.

Bill North, Claudell Washington, Phil Garner, Bert Campaneris, Don Baylor and Larry Lintz.

Sal Bando, with 103.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Growing up a Yankee fan in the mid-1980's, Ron Hunt's name started popping up a lot because of slugger Don Baylor, who was getting hit by pitches in bunches at the time.
As Baylor was setting the Yankee record for getting hit by a pitch, Yankee announcers couldn't help themselves by citing that back in the early 1970's, Ron Hunt was a baseball magnet, getting plunked a record 50 times in 1971!
Not really one of those "highlights" from the 1970's people think about. But it WAS something I used to marvel at when hit with that statistic.
So I went ahead and designed a 1972 highlight card of Ron Hunt's record breaking (pun intended) run0in's with a baseball while batting.
Take a look:

As far as post 1900 baseball goes, he still hold this record, with Don Baylor coming closest with 37 hit by pitches in 1986.
Technically Hugh Jennings is credited with 51 hit by pitches waaay back in 1896.
But for our purposes, Hunt is still the man.
Ron Hunt had a decent 12-year career that started in 1963 with the New York Mets.
He actually finished in second place for the National League Rookie of the Year award behind a scrappy Cincinnati second baseman, Pete Rose.
The following year he was named to the all-star team, batting over .300 for the cellar-dwelling Mets team.
By the time he hung up the cleats after the 1974 season, he collected over 1400 hits to the tune of a .273 batting average, which isn't bad at all when you consider the era he played in.
He played for five teams, all in the N.L., the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Expos and Cardinals, and led the league in hit-by-pitches seven years in a row: from 1968 through his last season in '74.
One of those quirky highlights I loved to be reminded of as a kid growing up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Today I want to begin a new series which will be fun to work on: a "Then and Now" set of legendary players with long careers that ended during the 1970's.
What I will be doing is creating a unique card designed as part of whatever their last year in a Topps set was.
In the case of today's initial player in this series, Bob Gibson, I designed a card as part of the 1975 set commemorating his distinguished career.
Take a look:

The design shows him during his final season, paired with a reproduction of his rookie card, in this case his 1959 Topps card.
No need to get into Gibson's career here, as I've covered it from every angle possible at this point on the blog, and this will also apply to pretty much every one else who will be profiled in this "sub-set".
Next up will be Hank Aaron, and a "Then and Now" card designed for him following the same card concept for the 1976 Topps set.

Monday, June 16, 2014


May 9th, 1960- June 16th, 2014

This has been a brutal couple of weeks for baseball fans, as word has gotten out that Hall of Famer Tony Gywnn has passed away due to cancer.
Perhaps the best pure hitter of the past couple of generations, Gwynn became the player identified as "Mr. Padre", about as beloved a San Diego athlete as there ever was, or will be.
Eight time batting champ, 15-time all-star, a member of the 3000-hit club, and Hall of Famer.
He was only 54 years young.
Rest in Peace Tony Gwynn, from one "May 9-er" to another...

His 1983 Topps rookie card


OK, so here's one of those "shoulda' been" cards that REALLY should have been: a highlight card celebrating Hank Aaron's 600th home run, making him only the third person ever to reach that lofty number!
Aaron joined Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the exclusive club on April 27th, 1971 against (ironically enough) Mays and his San Francisco Giants.
Check out my card design for a 1972 "highlight" card that should have graced this set:

Come on Topps! 600 home runs!
In the game, Aaron went 2 for 5 with a homer and three runs batted in, while the other "living" 600-homer legend, Mays, had a banner day himself, going 4 for 6 with two R.B.I.'s.
The game had no less than five future Hall of Famers appear, Aaron, Mays, Gaylord Perry, Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey (who also homered in the contest).
Pretty sweet!

****Allow me to run on a tangent here: Ever wonder why, way back in the 1840's and the decades following, the early baseball Gods of Harry Chadwick, Alexander Cartwright, etc came up with this system of a "batting average", which would become the benchmark of determining the "best hitter", yet for all other hitting (or even pitching departments), it was all about total number?
In other words, if Pete Rose isn't considered the all-time batting champ because of his hit total, then why do we celebrate Bonds (or Aaron, who insists he's still the all-time champ because of PED's and the "steroid age"), as the homer champ?
Just playing "Devil's Advocate" here, because I was always bothered by Aaron's almost self-righteous claim to the homer title to this day, even though he had almost HALF-A-CAREER'S extra at-bats than Babe Ruth!
Think about that for a second: Aaron had 755 homers in 12364 at-bats while Ruth had 714 homers in "only" 8399!!! 
Add HALF of Ruth's at-bats to his career and you wonder how many homers Ruth could have hit.
Could he have reached 1000?! 
If batting average was the measure for hitting, then why not a "homer average" for homers?
Just for those curious: Mark McGwire holds the record for lowest (I.e. Best) "at-bats per home run" average for a career, hitting a homer every 10.61 at-bats. Pretty spectacular actually.
He's followed by Ruth, Barry Bonds and Jim Thome, who sported 11.76, 12.92 and 13.76 numbers respectively.
For a single season, Bonds and his 2001 season produced the lowest number, when he hit a homer every 6.52 at-bats (just sick), followed by McGwire and his 1998 season when he registered a 7.27 number, and McGwire yet again when he sported a 8.02 tally in 1996.
See what I'm saying? This method allows us to see NOT who had the chance of hitting more homers because of games played, at-bats, and NOT being walked intentionally (either through IBB or just pitching around), like Aaron, but to see who managed to hit a homer the most times in RELATION to their CHANCES of doing so, like batting average over just plain hit total.
Just a random thought to bring up here, but something I've been bugged about for some time.
I always remember Oscar Gamble stating that people should check out his "home run ratio" back in the day.
And he was indeed correct in doing so, since he hit a decent amount of home runs in so few at-bats!
Curious to know what some of you out there think.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


The title of this post pretty much sums it all up: Charlie Sands, former catcher for the Pirates and Angels somehow got TWO cards in Topps sets in the early 1970's based off of 45 games and 58 at-bats.
You gotta love it.
After playing in only 28 games in 1971, good for 25 at-bats, Topps went ahead and included him in the awesome 1972 set.
Take a look:

Then after appearing in only 17 games in 1973, good for 33 at-bats for his new team, the Angels, Sands is given a card in the 1974 set, albeit with a bad airbrush job.
Take a look here:

Just more examples of the mystery of the Topps' player selection process when it came to set planning.
And why would they not have an image of Sands in an Angels uniform for the 1974 set if he played for them the year before?
He'd also end up getting a card in the 1975 set, but at least this time he played in more games the previous year than the other two instances: 43 games, good for 83 at-bats and 108 plate appearances.
May as well throw that card in this post as well.
Take a look:

Those three years of activity pretty much summed the extent of Sands career.
He saw his first Major League at-bat as a 19-year-old with the New York Yankees in 1967, a single at-bat with the Pirates in 1972, and two more at-bats with the Angels in 1975, and that was it besides those three years of "extensive play" that got him those three baseball cards.
93 games, 145 at-bats, with a .214 career average. 
Man, I cannot for the life of me understand the method to Topps' madness.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


While trolling around the web for photos of other players to profile on this blog, I happened to come across a good shot of Rico Carty from 1979 as a Toronto Blue Jay player, for whom he ended his career with.
Since his actual 1979 card shows him as an Oakland A's player, I figured I'd take advantage of this find and "fix" it so he's shown on the proper team for his last year as an active player.
Take a look:
As-issued by Topps in 1979
"Updated" version as a Blue Jay

As a side note: Carty was actually included in the 1980 Topps set, as a Blue Jay, even though he'd never suit up in the new decade.
Carty put together a nice 15 year career, hitting .299 with over 200 homers, but injuries stunted his final numbers with two seasons missed (in 1968 and 1971), as well as partial seasons peppered here and there.
His banner year of course was the 1970 season, where he lead the Majors in hitting with a .366 mark as well as slamming 25 homers and driving in 101 runs.
He also had an awesome rookie year, hitting .330 with 22 homers and 88 runs batted in. Sadly for him, he had Richie Allen and HIS monster rookie year to keep him from a rookie-of-the-year award, so he finished second in N.L. voting in 1964.
That 1970 season also gave Carty a unique place in baseball history, as he became the first player ever voted into the All-Star game as a write-in that year, and definitely deserves a place in my "1970's highlights" thread.
Keep an eye out for it!

Friday, June 13, 2014


Here's a great card I wish Topps rolled out with their 1970 set: a highlight card for Reggie Jacksons 10-R.B.I. game on June 14th of 1969!
Take a look:

In a game where the Oakland A's stomped the Boston Red Sox 21-7, Reggie led the way by going 5 for 6 at the plate with two homers, a double and two singles.
While he "only" scored two runs, he drove in ten, becoming the first player to drive in that many in a single game since Norm Zauchin of the Red Sox did it on May 27th, 1955 against the Washington Senators.
Reggie was on his way to his first power-house season, slamming 47 homers while driving in 118 runs, scoring a league-leading 123, and hitting at a .275 clip.
Those numbers would get him his first all-star berth, as well as a fifth-place finish in M.V.P. voting.
The Oakland dynasty of the mid-70's was starting to brew in 1969, as players like Reggie, Sal Bando, Vida Blue, Jim Hunter and Rollie Fingers were starting to ramp up their Major League careers.
They'd be joined by other future stars in Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, and an already established "veteran" (compared to these young studs) Bert Campaneris.
Before anyone knew it, the A's would reel-off three straight World Championships before flamboyant owner Charlie Finley raped his team and got rid of all his star players either by trade or free agency.
By the end of the 1970's they'd be a last-place team, far from the juggernaut everyone witnessed just a few years earlier.
But on this day in 1969, Reggie reigned supreme!
It wouldn't be until Fred Lynn burst on to the baseball scene in 1975 that another Major Leaguer would drive in 10 or more runs in a game, (June 18th, 1975) and then another 18-years until someone ELSE did it, when Mark Whiten had a game of a lifetime, hitting four homers while driving in 12 runs (tying the MLB record that still stands), on September 7th of 1993.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Hey everyone.
Trivia time again, and today we'll start a new thread that'll go for a while, focus on specific teams through the decade.
Today we'll start with the New York Yankees and offense.
See how many you can get.
Answers tomorrow…
1. From 1970-79, which Yankee player had the most hits in a season?

2. During the decade, what Yankee had the most homers in a season?

3. What Yankee player drove in the most runs in a season during the 1970's?

4. Which Yank stole the most bases in a season during the '70's?

5. Finally, what Yankee player scored the most runs in a season during the decade?


Thurman Munson, 190 hits in 1975.

Graig Nettles, 37 homers in 1977.

Reggie Jackson, 110 R.B.I.'s in 1977.

Mickey Rivers, 43 in 1976.

Roy White, 109 runs in 1970. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Up for today on my imagined 1975 Cy Young sub-set is the 1971 season, and the two guys who took home the award: Vida Blue in the American League and Fergie Jenkins in the National League.
Take a look at my design:

The Vida Blue card was already on the original M.V.P. card, since he also took home that award as well as the Cy Young in his monster season.
Back on December 24th I focused on the pair of award winning hurlers when I profiled the 1972 "awards" sub-set, where I also redesigned the cards with images of the actual players instead of the awards themselves.
So if you'll allow me some laziness here, I'll "copy and paste" what I wrote then for the two stars here:
"Vida Blue burst on to the Major League scene in 1971 with an amazing 24-8 record along with a 1.87 earned run average and 301 strikeouts.
For that he took home both the M.V.P. And Cy Young awards at the ripe old age of 21.
On the National League side, Fergie Jenkins got his award after finishing third the previous year (and would finish third the FOLLOWING year).
To win the award he fashioned a 24-13 record with a 2.77 E.R.A. along with 263 strikeouts. On top of that Jenkins was absolutely in control on the mound, issuing only 37 walks in 325 innings of work!
Easily the most overlooked "big winner" among Hall of Fame pitchers from the era, Jenkins would end up with 284 career wins to go along with 3192 strikeouts and a 3.34 E.R.A.
He would also be the first pitcher to amass over 3000 strikeouts while issuing under 1000 walks, finishing just under the wire with 997 career base on balls. He'd be joined later on by Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling."

Up next is the 1972 season, and with that it leaves us with only four more cards to design and profile before we get to that last year, 1975, when the "M.V.P." sub-set was released in that awesome colorful set.
The 1972 card will be fun, since I first have to design a "regular" card for Steve Carlton as a Philadelphia Phillies player (I'm not using the "traded" card from the '72 set), and I will also be using the redesigned 1972 Gaylord Perry card I designed not too long ago.
It'll make for an even MORE unique card "that never was".
Keep an eye out for it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BOB WELCH: 11/3/56-6/9/14: REST IN PEACE

Awful news coming through at the moment:
Bob Welch, former Cy Young Award winner and all-star pitcher passed away yesterday at the young age of 57.
Really sad to hear, especially for someone so young.
As the media seems to have latched on to his awesome 1990 season, I'll repeat it here: Welch is the last pitcher to win 25+ games, totaling 27 wins for the A.L. champ Oakland Athletics that year.
Many will also remember his epic battle with Reggie Jackson in the second game of the 1978 World Series, striking him out to end the contest as a 21-year old rookie, sealing the win for Los Angeles.
He retired after the 1994 season, enjoying a very nice 17-year career, ten in L.A. and seven in Oakland, finishing with a 211-146 record and being a member of two World Champion teams, the 1981 Dodgers and 1989 Athletics.
Rest in peace Bob...


Today we revisit former New York Met outfielder Dave Schneck, who I profiled earlier for his "missing" 1975 Topps card, (click on the label below of his name for that post).
Today we look at my design for a "missing" 1973 Topps card, as he saw some decent playing time in 1972 and should have had a card in the following year's set.
Take a look at the card first:

For the 1972 season Schneck played in 37 games, good for 134 plate appearances and 23 hits in 123 at-bats.
That translates to an anemic .187 average, which he paired up with three doubles, two triples and three homers along with 10 runs batted in.
It was about a third of the playing time he'd see in 1974, which didn't even get him a card in the 1975 season, but again, with some of the guys that DID get a card in the 1973 set, you wonder why Schneck was left out.
For some of you Mets fans out there looking for the complete card representation, I hope this helps!
Seems I get more requests from Mets fans for "missing" player cards than any others.
I'll try coming up with some more missing Mets in the future.

Monday, June 9, 2014


Here's a highlight from the 1970's that usually went underreported, Giant pitcher Jim Barr and his 41 batters in a row retired in 1972.
What made this more amazing was the he retired 41 batters in a row yet didn't throw a no-hitter, since it spanned two games on August 23rd and August 29th of that year.
On the 23rd he retired the final 21 batters he faced after he walked Pirates pitcher Bob Moose in the third inning.
Then on the 29th, he retired the first 20 Cardinals batters before Bernie Carbo hit a double.
It wasn't something that got a lot of attention until White Sox reliever Bobby Jenks topped it 35 years later in 2007 (then later topped by another White Sox hurler, Mark Buehrle, in 2009-including his perfect game).
Take a look at my card celebrating Barr's feat:

Barr fashioned a pretty solid 12 year career between the San Francisco Giants and California Angels between 1971 and 1983.
He finished 101-112 with a 3.56 E.R.A., with 20 shutouts and three seasons of a sub-3.00 earned run average.
1974 was arguably his best season in the Majors, as he went 13-9 with a 2.74 E.R.A. and five shutouts, with two saves thrown in as well.
I remember this streak was one of my favorite trivia questions to stump people from time to time as a kid, and I promise you no one ever got it.
It just wasn't appreciated, either by baseball folk or Topps.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Quick-who was the last New York Yankee pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts?
If you guessed today's profiled player, Al Downing, good for you!
Believe it or not, Downing was indeed the last Yankee strikeout leader, way back in 1964 when he led the American League in K's with 217 at the nice young age of 23.
The sky was the limit with Downing then, along with the Yankees' other young guns Jim Bouton and Mel Stottlemyre.
Sadly, as it usually does in professional sports, the best laid plans never seem to work out, as Bouton wore out his welcome, and his arm, in a few short years, while Downing followed with arm troubles by the 1968 season, still only 27.
After finding himself in Oakland and Milwaukee in 1970, he moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers and had a remarkable comeback year, going 20-9 with a 2.68 earned run average and a league-leading five shutouts.
Those numbers got him a third place finish in Cy Young voting, and some M.V.P. consideration as well.
But after a decent 1972 season where he sported a 9-9 record with a sub-3.00 E.R.A., he could never again stay healthy enough for a full year.
He'd pitch in no more than 22 games in any one season before hanging them up after twelve games in 1977.
Now, it's definitely arguable, but I think he should have had a card in Topps' 1977 set after appearing in 17 games, good for 46.2 innings and a 1-2 record in 1976.
Lord knows there were guys in that set that had much less of a distinguished resume, yet Downing was finishing up his 16th year on the mound, with a very nice 3.22 E.R.A., 123 wins and over 1600 strikeouts.
So allow me to "fix" that here with my own 1977 Al Downing card, using a decent action shot of him during the same period.
Take a look:

One more thing: take a look at his rookie year in 1963.
It was actually quite an underrated freshman year!
All he did was go 13-5 with a 2.56 earned run average, as well as four shutouts and 171 K's. Throw in a league-leading 5.8 hits-allowed-per-nine-innings and 8.8 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, it seems probable that if it wasn't for another great rookie pitcher, Gary Peters of the Chicago White Sox, Downing could very well have taken home the award himself.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Thanks to reader Eric C. Loy, the 1972 Topps Ray Lamb card was brought to my attention, pointing out the airbrushing job.
Check it out here:

Now it's not the worst airbrushing job, but what makes this so strange is that Lamb appeared in the 1971 Topps set, as a Cleveland Indian! And there was NO airbrushing going on there.
Check out THAT one:

On top of all that, Lamb didn't even appear in a Major League game as an Indian until the 1971 season, so Topps was on the ball in 1971 and managed to get a card of Lamb with his current team instead of his former team, the Dodgers, for whom he pitched in 1970.
Yet in 1972, AFTER Lamb appeared in 43 games, 21 as a starter, for Cleveland in 1971, they couldn't find an image of him in the correct uniform?
So freaking odd.
I'm almost positive that's a Los Angeles uni he's wearing on the 1972 card, so what gives here?
Thanks to Eric for the tip! Again, it's the quirky stuff like this that makes it all so much fun to run this blog!
As a small bonus to checking Lamb out, I came across a decent shot of him from 1973 as an Indian, and realized that there should have been a card for him in the 1974 set, which there wasn't, so keep an eye out for that "missing" card here in the near future.
Thanks Eric!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Wayne Simpson absolutely BURST onto the Major League scene back in 1970, winning 13 of his first 14 decisions, including a one-hitter, a two-hitter and a three-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds.
By July 26th of that year he had 14 wins, but because of arm troubles ended the year with a 14-3 record with a 3.02 earned run average.
Turns out the arm problems were serious enough to curtail his career right from the start, as he'd never pitch a full season for the Reds over the next few years.
After landing in Kansas City for the 1973 season, Simpson didn't fare much better, going 3 and 4 with a 5.73 E.R.A. over 16 games, 10 of which were starts.
He never saw any Major League action in 1974, and in 1975 he was now in Philadelphia, appearing in seven games, five of which were starts for the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 3.23 E.R.A., pitching 30.2 innings.
However more arm troubles caused him to miss the 1976 season, and in 1977 he found himself on yet another team, the California Angels.
It turned out he would start the most games next to his stellar rookie season for his career, toeing the rubber 23 times, 27 games total.
Though the numbers weren't stellar, he did pitch 122 innings with a 6-12 record and 5.83 E.R.A., pretty much a full season, or enough to warrant a card in the 1978 Topps set the following year.
But he never made it into the set, or into another Major League game.
But it would have been nice to have a card for him in the set anyway.
So let me present my "missing" 1978 Wayne Simpson card, showing him as an Angel, looking quite intimidating actually:

Simpson is always included in any article regarding pitchers who made an immediate splash in the Majors, along with others like Von McDaniel or Karl Spooner.
Sadly all it amounted to for Simpson was a sporadic 6 year career, finishing with a 36-31 record with a 4.37 E.R.A., two shutouts (both in his rookie year), and 353 strikeouts.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Don Zimmer: January 17, 1931-June 4, 2014

Sad to see that one of my all-time favorite personalities, Don Zimmer, passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

His life truly was a "baseball life", and if you're not familiar with his journey through Major League ball please do yourself a favor and read one of his books, or even some articles about him online.
The man did it all and really was one of those guys that everyone in the game loved.
From coming up with the Brooklyn Dodgers in their minor league system 1949 to his work with the Tampa Bay Rays as Senior Advisor, the man put in SIXTY SIX YEARS in professional ball.
66-years. Just incredible.
He frequently liked to tell people that he never received a paycheck in his life other than one from professional baseball. How awesome is that?
Rest in Peace "Zim", baseball will never be the same without you.

Zimmer's 1955 rookie card   

As manager of the Boston Red Sox, 1978


Trivia Thursday time again.
And today I want to focus on the 1971 season and the FOURTEEN pitchers who posted 20 or more wins that year.
See how many you can get before I post the answers up tomorrow, as usual.
1. Of all fourteen 20 game winners in 1971, who suffered the fewest losses that year?

2. While leading the Majors in wins that year, he also posted the most strikeouts, with 308. Who was it?

3. He was the only National League pitcher to win 20 games with an E.R.A. over 3.00. Who was it?

4. Who threw the most shutouts among all 20-win pitchers that year?

5. He posted the lowest E.R.A. among 20 game winners that year. Who was it?


Dave McNally, Orioles. He had only five losses against 21 wins.

Mickey Lolich, Tigers. He went 25-14 that year as well.

Steve Carlton, Cardinals. He went 20-9 with a 3.56 E.R.A..

Vida Blue, A's. He had eight shutouts that season.

Tom Seaver, Mets. A sparkling 1.76.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Today we move into a new decade as far as the Cy Young Award is concerned, yet we meet up with two players who were pretty well established by then: Jim Perry and Bob Gibson.
Take a look at my 1970 "Cy Young Award Winners" 1975 sub-set design before we delve into the players themselves:

In the American League we have a player who would have won his second such award had they voted for two winners back in 1960.
That year, while pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Perry posted a decent season on an off-year for A.L. Pitchers, and could have walked away with some hardware for his effort (according to the SABR guys).
Ten years later however, he posted an excellent season for the Minnesota Twins, going 24-12 with a 3.04 earned run average, four shutouts and 168 strikeouts, even finishing 9th in M.V.P. voting as well, officially taking home the award for the only time in his career.
As you all know by now, Jim Perry is half of the only brother-duo to both win the Cy Young, as his brother Gaylord took home the award just two years later (and again in 1978).
As a matter of fact, Gaylord ended up in second place for the National League award in 1970, almost giving us an award winning brother duo in the same year!
Gaylord would receive 51 points in 1970, well behind the next guy we're looking at today, Bob Gibson, who received 118 points, and his second Cy Young award.
Smack in the middle of Gibson's dominance over National League batters, he posted awesome numbers in 1970, going 23-7 (the win total marking a career high), with a 3.12 E.R.A., three shutouts and 274 strikeouts.
He'd also take home his sixth Gold Glove Award, as well as get named to his seventh all-star team and finish fourth in the National League M.V.P. Race.
Gibson would eventually become only the second pitcher in Major League history to reach 3000 strikeouts, and find himself elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, closing out a storied career, all with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Next up on this thread we'll look at the 1971 season, where one league had an established pitcher take home the award, Fergie Jenkins, while another had a super-nova of a bright young star on their hands walk away with it, as well as the Most Valuable Player Award, Vida Blue.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


It's incredible to think that when Gaylord Perry struck out Joe Simpson on October 1st of 1978, he became only the THIRD pitcher in baseball history to reach that milestone!
Only Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson struck out more batters at this point in time, and considering that since then we have had no less than 13 pitchers reach the mark, you think Topps would have had a highlight card in their 1979 set to honor such a feat!
First up, I offer you my design for such a card:

I mean, come on Topps! Celebrate some historical moments in the game will you?
They did have a highlight card for Gibson in the 1975 set commemorating HIS 3000th K, but Perry joining this exclusive club fell by the wayside.
Funny enough, Perry would soon be joined in the "3000 club" by six other pitchers who would all go on to the Hall of Fame: Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Fergie Jenkins, Phil Niekro and Don Sutton, who all got in within five years of Perry's 3000th.
It seemed like when I was a kid there was a pitcher winning his 300th game or striking out his 3000th batter every season, and it was a pleasure to witness it all as a baseball fan!
But as of 1979, a milestone like this should have been celebrated somehow.
Ah well, 35 years later is better than nothing, right?
As for Perry, a few years later he'd also become the first pitcher since 1962 (Early Wynn) to reach 300 wins for a career, and I remember the hoopla that revolved around that very clearly to this day.
Again, I hope you're all enjoying this "highlight" series I've been working on, because I have a bunch more coming, and they are just too much fun to stop any time soon…

Monday, June 2, 2014


Now, while I do realize this "highlight" is actually something that happened in the '60's, September 15th 1969 to be exact, this is a card that would have appeared in the 1970 Topps set, had they decided to celebrate a record that I always thought was worthy of a highlight card: Steve Carlton striking out 19 batters against the New York Mets.
Take a look at my design:

Sorry for the somewhat grainy card image. The photo I used was the best I could find for a horizontal card, and I really wanted to stick to the format for this one. Seemed "right" for it.
Ironically enough, Carlton actually lost the game, mainly on Ron Swaboda's two two-run home runs which gave the Mets all the runs they needed to beat Carlton and the Cardinals, 4-3.
However Carlton had it all working for him that day, as he marched right into the record books by beating the previous record of 18 strikeouts which was jointly held by Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax and Don Wilson.
This was pretty much the first historic highlight of the future Hall of Famer's stellar career, as he'd go on to then post his first 20-win season in 1971 while still with the Cardinals, then post his uber-famous 1972 Triple-Crown winning year as a Philadelphia Phillie, winning his first of four Cy Young Awards.
Carlton would end his 24 year career with 329 wins, 55 shutouts, a 3.22 earned run average and a whopping 4136 strikeouts.
Those monster numbers got him inducted to Cooperstown on his first try in 1994, getting named on 436 of 456 ballots.
I remember seeing Carlton pitch at the end of his career when he was trying to hang on those last couple of years.
He pitched for the Cleveland Indians against the New York Yankees at the Stadium on April 14th, 1987, giving up a grand slam homer to Yankee catcher Joel Skinner, and eventually taking the loss.
It was kind of a bummer, as he was a shell of his former self, and was caught in that vicious "hanging on" phase some players tend to get stuck in.
He'd move on to Minnesota later that year, and even pitch in four games for them in 1988 before finally hanging them up, putting to rest an incredible baseball resume that only a couple of other lefties can match in the history of the game.
I also plan on creating cards for the other two pitchers that ended up tying Carlton with 19 K's soon after in the decade: Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan.
Keep an eye out for them…

Sunday, June 1, 2014


You can either look at todays 1977 card as either a "missing in action" or a "career capper" for Minnesota Twins great Tony Oliva in the 1977 Topps set.
Take a look at my creation:

Even though Oliva played out the 1976 season as a player-coach, I don't think he officially stated that it would be his last season as an active player.
But even if he did, I think it would have been nice to have one last card for him in 1977, especially since he appeared in 67 games for the Twins, good for 128 plate appearances.
The numbers weren't what everyone was used to from the former hitting machine in 1976: a .211 average with a single homer and 16 runs batted in.
But Oliva established himself as possibly the second best Twins hitter ever at that point (behind Rod Carew), and would retire with a .304 career average, 220 homers and just under 2000 hits (1917) in his 15 year career.
Throw in the fact that what would end up being his last Topps card, in 1976, is kind of lame because of the picture Topps used.
There's a prominent shadow straight across Oliva's face, and it always bothered me.
Seems I remember a few other cards in the 1975 or 1976 sets where shadows played a big part of the a card (1975 Jim Palmer for one).
Anyway, Oliva was well on his way to the Hall of Fame until injuries derailed his Cooperstown march once he reached his 30's.
He burst onto the Major League scene in 1964 when he easily won the American League Rookie of the Year award.
In that year, all he did was lead the league in batting, hitting .323, while slamming 32 homers with 94 runs batted in. 
He also lead the league in runs scored with 109, hits with 217, doubles with 43 and total bases with 374!
Those numbers also got him a fourth place finish in M.V.P. voting as well.
The following year there was no sign of a sophomore jinx, as he once again lead the lead in batting, this time hitting .321, with 16 homers, 98 R.B.I.'s, 40 doubles and 107 runs scored.
He also lead the league in total hits again, this time with 185.
All told in his career, Oliva would win three batting titles (the third coming in 1971 when he hit .337), and would lead the league in hits five times, slugging once (1971), get named to eight straight all-star teams, and have two second-place finishes for M.V.P., in 1965 and 1970.
I wouldn't say his final numbers warrant a Hall of Fame spot for Oliva. But I'll admit that you can argue a good point for it with the career he left us with.
When you really take a look, he only had 11 full seasons in the Majors, with the half-season in 1976 and three pretty much non-existant years in 1962, 1963 and 1972. 
So his numbers carry a bit more weight in that light.
And wow, what a great hitting combo he and Rod Carew made for the Twins, huh?!
Nice 1-2 punch right there.


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