Thursday, July 31, 2014


Here's a fun little quiz I put together for this week.
Take a stab and see how many you can get.
Answers posted tomorrow.
1. What pitcher posted 27 saves and a 2.04 E.R.A. in 1970, yet had a record of 2-14 and blew 11 saves?

2. Three pitchers in the decade tied for most appearances in a season without posting a single save. Who are they?

3. Who posted the highest number of losses in a season during the decade without starting a single game?

4. These two pitchers posted the highest total of wins in a season during the '70's in which they never started a game. Who are they?

5. Who posted the lowest E.R.A. in any season during the decade in which they pitched 100+ innings?


Darold Knowles, Senators.

Jim Panther, Rangers (1972), Gary Ross, Padres (1973) and Warren Brusstar, Phillies (1978). They all appeared in 58 games without a save.

Gene Garber, Braves. He lost 16 games without a start in 1979.

John Hiller, Tigers (1974) & Bill Campbell, Twins (1976); they each won 17 games, all in relief!
Bruce Sutter, Cubs. He posted a 1.34 E.R.A. in 1977. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Here's a "missing" 1978 Topps card for former White Sox home run champ Bill Melton.
Take a look:

"Beltin' Bill" is one of the most under-the-radar home run champs of the 1970's.
As a member of the Chicago White Sox in 1971, he lead the American League in taters with 33, just one ahead of Detroit Tiger Norm Cash and Oakland A's Reggie Jackson.
If you can believe it, Melton was the first Chicago White Sox player EVER to lead the league in homers. And to this day has only been joined by teammate Dick Allen, who led the league in 1972 and 1974.
(Let's see if rookie Jose Abreu keeps it going this season and joins them.)
Anyway, a year later White Sox fans were expecting a power surge in the South Side with the addition of Dick Allen to the line up.
But while Allen held up his end of the bargain, Melton was sidelined more than half the season with back injuries, hitting only seven homer in 57 games.
He'd never really get back on track, as he'd top off with 21 home runs in 1974, but would find himself out of the Major Leagues by the age of 31 after playing in 50 games for the Cleveland Indians in 1977.
That year he totaled 133 at-bats, with no home runs and 14 runs batted in with a .241 batting average.
But I still think he should have gotten a card over the likes of John Verhoeven or Jeff Byrd!
All told, Melton would fashion a 10-year career, hitting 160 homers while driving in 591 runs.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Today's "Super Veteran" is none other than knuckleball-extraordinaire Hoyt Wilhelm, who was definitely a SUPER veteran by the time 1972 rolled around.
Take a look:

Wilhelm's fascinating career was (finally) winding down, as he appeared in 16 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the ripe old age of 49!
He'd post a 0-1 record that season, with a 4.62 earned run average.
Wilhelm could be one of the more interesting baseball careers in the history of the sport.
The guy didn't appear in a Major League game until he was 29, yet goes on to post a 21 year career that led him straight to the Hall of Fame!
Just amazing…
And as I have mentioned before, I always found it so cool that in those 21 years, the ONLY two years where he qualified for the E.R.A. crown, 1952 & 1959, he WON the E.R.A. crown.
Add in an incredible seven years of posting a sub-2.00 earned run average, 1000 appearances (the first pitcher ever to do so), and even tossing a no-hitter against the Yankees in 1958 (the last pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter against them), you see why Wilhelm's career is the stuff of legend.
Rightfully so, Wilhelm found himself among the all-time greats when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, becoming the first pitcher who was mainly a reliever so honored.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Here's a fun one to profile on my "Highlights From the 1970's" thread: Detroit Tigers shortstop Cesar Gutierrez and his OUT OF NOWHERE 7 for 7 game against the Cleveland Indians on June 21st, 1970.
Take a look at my card design:

Gutierrez was a lighter-than-light hitting midfielder who did the remarkable that day in June, becoming the first player in Major League history to gather seven hits in a game without making an out since Wilbert Robinson collected seven hits in a game back on June 10th of 1892!
To put it in perspective, Gutierrez was such a light hitter, that even AFTER his seven hit game, Gutierrez was hitting .249!
Six of his seven hits were singles, with a double thrown in, and for the season he ended up hitting .243, which was just above his lifetime batting average of .235.
To add insult to injury, Gutierrez even lost his job to another light-hitting infielder, Ed Brinkman, the following season and was eventually out of baseball by the time the 1972 season was ready to open up.
(On a side note: Gutierrez does show up in the 1972 set as a member of the Montreal Expos, even though he never played a game for them.)
But on that June day in 1970, Gutierrez was the star of Major League baseball, soon to be joined (and never since) by Pittsburgh Pirate Rennie Stennett in 1976, who also went 7 for 7 on September 16th.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Here's one that almost slipped by me: Bob Meyer and his five years between baseball cards.
He appeared in the 1965 Topps set, shown here:

Then would find himself in baseball "limbo" until the 1970 set came out, when he appeared as a Seattle Pilot, shown here:

Well it was all for good reason, as Meyer first came up as a 24 year old in 1964, playing for three different Major League franchises that season, the Yankees, Angels and Athletics, for whom he was pictured on his 1965 card (Though I suspect that's a Yankee pinstripe jersey he has on in the photo).
But it turned out he wouldn't appear in another Major League game until the 1969 season, the inaugural such season for the one-year franchise, thus culminating in the card you see above (funny enough sporting a Kansas City Athletics uniform in THIS photo!).
In 1964 Meyer posted a 2-8 record and 4.37 earned run average spread out among the three teams and 22 games, 13 of which were as a starter.
After toiling in the Minors between 1965 and 1968, Meyer managed to make it back onto a Major League mound in '69, going 0-3 with a 3.31 E.R.A. in just six games, five of which were starts.
He hung on with the team for the next season, though now they were the Milwaukee Brewers, and went 0-1 over ten games, all in relief, with a 6.38 E.R.A.
That would be the last big league action he'd taste, ending his career with a 2-12 record along with a 4.38 E.R.A. over 129.1 innings pitched.
Three years, five "different" franchises, two Topps cards, relived 44 years later…

Saturday, July 26, 2014


Ok, so here's a quick post and it deals with card #239 from the 1970 Topps set: Ken Berry.
While I am a HUGE fan of those powder blue Chicago White Sox uniforms, I have to laugh at the photo Topps went with when it came to Berry's card.
Take a look:

First off you have that arm just hogging up the left side of the card, coming out of nowhere. Hilarious!
Then you have the subject himself.
Berry is caught in what seems to be mid-stretch, looking off into the distance (a bird? A plane?), oblivious to the fact that he is being photographed.
I'm sure if he knew this was for his Topps card, a card many would be gawking at, he would have struck a pose, or at the very least looked AT the man with the camera. No?
I DO love his sideburns though. Tame, but still a fashion-forward thing to do for a baseball player in 1969…
A two-time Gold Glove outfielder, (in 1970 while with the Sox and 1972 as an Angel), Berry had a decent 14-year career between 1962 and 1975, playing for the White Sox, Angels, Brewers and Indians

Friday, July 25, 2014


Here's a card I've wanted to "re-do" for a while now: the 1971 Luis Aparicio card (#740).
First, take a look at what Topps had out there for the kids to collect:

As you can see, the big black airbrushed cap with a powder blue Chicago White Sox uniform did not make for the most attractive of cards.
Aparicio was traded to the Boston Red Sox in December of 1970, so Topps didn't have time on their side to get an updated image for him sporting the Boston duds.
So today I'll throw up my redesign with a proper image of the future Hall of Fame shortstop.
Take a look:

Nothing crazy. Just a nice photo of Aparicio, the Red Sox player, for whom he'd go on to play the last three years of his career (1971-1973).
The nine-time stolen base champ and Gold Glove winner was eventually inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, capping off a brilliant career played with the White Sox, Orioles and Red Sox between 1956 (where he was A.L. Rookie of the Year) and 1973.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Ok everyone. Trivia time again and this week I'll go back to general baseball questions from the 1970's.
See what you can come up with and I'll post the answers tomorrow, as usual.
1. Who were the only two players from the decade to post 200 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 20 homers in the same season?

2. Who was the only American League player to collect 200 hits three seasons in a row during the decade?

3. What player appeared in the most games in a season during the 1970's?

4. What player had the fewest strikeouts in a season where they hit 25 or more home runs?

5. Who was the only base stealer to swipe 60 or more bases in a season while getting caught less than 10 times?


Bobby Bonds, Giants. 1970 and George Brett, Royals. 1979.

Jim Rice, Red Sox. 1977-1979.

Frank Taveras, Mets/Pirates. He appeared in 164 games in 1979.

Ted Simmons, Cardinals. He only K'd 34 times while hitting 26 homers in 1979
Joe Morgan, Reds. He stole 60 bases while getting caught only 9 times in 1976.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


You can never have too many Willie Mays cards in a set, so allow me to present to you all my 1970 highlight card celebrating Mays' 600th home run, which he hit against the San Diego Padres on September 22nd, 1969:

Mays became only the second player all-time to reach the lofty height, joining Babe Ruth and eventually retiring with 660 homers.
And if it wasn't for military service in 1952-53, he easily would have been the second "700 Homer" guy, beating Aaron to the finish line by a couple years for sure.
As we all know, there would be quite a few more players joining Ruth, Aaron and Mays with 600+ homers decades later.
But if you were a kid growing up in the 1970's and '80's, those three were the "Mount Rushmore" of home run power, forever burned into our minds.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Here's another one of those "I found a nice photo and I'm gonna use it" deals: a 1973 "missing" Buzz Capra card.
Take a look:

Admittedly I can understand why Topps didn't have a card for Capra in their 1973 set, as "Buzz" only appeared in 14 games for the Mets, good for a 3-2 record with a 4.58 E.R.A. over 53 innings of work in 1972.
However there ARE guys who played less in '72 that were included in the '73 set, so what the heck, why not?
Besides, Capra is one of those interesting guys from the decade that had this ONE very good year, and that's it.
In 1974 Capra came out of nowhere and posted a 16-8 record with five shutouts and a league-leading 2.28 earned run average for the Atlanta Braves.
Those numbers got him some attention, as he finished ninth in Cy Young voting as well as 20th in M.V.P.
Sadly for him (and Atlanta), arm troubles derailed his career and he only played parts of the next two seasons before one last hurrah in 1977, appearing in 45 games, mainly in relief, and posting 139.1 innings before calling it a career.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Here's a fun card to design, my 1971 Jim Bunning "Then and Now" edition, the sixth card in my "Super Veterans" series.
Take a look:

Anytime I get to design a unique card from the 1971 set is a treat. 
Working with the black base-design makes it that much more fun for me!
I've already gone on and on about Bunning: future Hall of Famer and Politician, so no need to get in-depth again in this post.
But I would love to mention one more time how this guy's career record is deceptive (224-184), as he posted multiple no-hitters, 100 wins and 1000 strikeouts in BOTH leagues before it became somewhat more frequent with the growth player movement from team to team, league to league.
Also, at the time of his retirement after the '71 season he was second all-time in Major League history with his 2855 strikeouts.
Pretty spectacular career.
Then he makes this all trivial by having somewhat of a spectacular political career for the state of Kentucy post-Major League baseball.
Talk about an over-achiever…

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Whether it was "Gerry" or "Jerry", today's airbrushing gem of a card didn't help Gerald Nyman's career.
Take a look:

Even though Topps went ahead and gave Nyman a slot in their 1971 set, and even went the extra mile to try an air brush a Padres cap (without even trying to get a logo on there), it really was all for naught as Nyman never appeared in a Major League game again.
What makes this card even more "special" is the fact that Nyman only appeared in two games in 1970, managing only 5.1 innings in those two starts, giving up nine earned runs for a painful 15.19 earned run average.
(Even still, he did actually play for the team the previous year, so why Topps didn't have a photo for him that was current is a mystery).
Nyman came over from the Chicago White Sox, where in 1969 he posted a 4-4 record with a 5.29 E.R.A., even throwing two complete games and a shutout among his 10 starts.
His career consisted of three seasons, 1968-1970, finishing with a record of 6-7 along with a 4.57 earned run average, two shutouts and 69 strikeouts over his 30 Major League starts.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Seriously…"In Action"?!
One of my all-time favorite laughers of a card is the 1972 Bob Barton "In Action" specimen.
Take a look:

Now folks, that is SOME action going on here! Ha!
Can anyone out there NOT focus on the grandfatherly security guy in the stands following the flight of the ball?
Absolutely riotous!
I remember the first time I saw this card in some bin at a flea market in the early-80's and HAD to buy it immediately.
Just too good of an image to pass up for a ten/eleven year old boy…
As for Barton, he did forge out a ten year career as a spot catcher for the Giants, Padres and Reds.
The only season he played somewhat "full-time" was in 1971, appearing in 121 games, good for 413 plate appearances and a .250 average with five homers and 23 runs batted in.
He played his last Major League season in 1974 at the age of 32 before leaving the game for good.
But wow, what a great card for all of eternity...

Friday, July 18, 2014


What a full day San Diego Padre Nate Colbert had back in 1972 huh!?
Two games, five home runs, 22 total bases and 13 runs batted in!
Yeah his feat that day get's talked about often enough, and Topps did in fact commemorate the accomplishment five years later in their 1977 sub-set, but let's take a look at my design for a 1973 card celebrating Colbert's career highlight:

The man was flat-out incredible that day, August 1st, as he helped the Padres sweep the double-header from the Atlanta Braves.
In the first game, Colbert went 4 for 5 with two homers and five R.B.I.'s, as well as three runs scored, leading his team to a 9-0 wind.
If that wasn't enough, all he did for an encore was go 3 for 4 in the second game, with three homers, EIGHT R.B.I.'s, as well as four runs scored, helping San Diego win 11-7.
That's a monster week, let alone a monster DAY!
That August afternoon explosion helped Colbert put up some really nice numbers by season's end: 87 runs scored, 38 homers and 111 runs batted in.
What is really incredible is that Colbert's five homers in a double-header tied the record set by Stan Musial on May 2nd, 1954, and one of the fans in attendance that day was none other than Nate Colbert, who was there with his father.
Isn't it something that eighteen years later that kid would tie that record he witnessed.
Baseball is always filled with awesome stories like this, connecting one generation to another like no other sport.
You just have to love it…

Thursday, July 17, 2014


So today we'll focus on a team that was on the other side of the coin during the 1970's, so to speak, the San Diego Padres.
While I focused on the World Champion teams from the 1970's these past few weeks, I want to serve up some interesting trivia regarding the teams not so lucky back then.
Take a hack at these questions, and I'll post the answers tomorrow….
1. Among all Padre hitters during the decade, who posted the highest single-season average?

2. What slugger hit the most homers in a single season for the Padres in the '70's?

3. Among Padre pitchers, who posted the most wins in a season during the decade?

4. What pitcher struck out the most batters in a season for the Padres in the decade?

5. What Padre hurler posted the lowest E.R.A. in a season during the '70's?


Clarence "Cito" Gaston, 1970. He hit .318.

Nate Colbert, 1970 & 1972. He hit 38 homers each year.

Randy Jones, 1976. He won 22 games.

Clay Kirby, 1971. He whiffed 231 batters that year!

Dave Roberts, 1971. He had a nice 2.10 E.R.A. that year. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Considering what era Norm Cash played his productive years in, I'm really impressed with the 377 home runs he hit before he was released in August of 1974, ending a very productive career.
After a couple of partial seasons with the Chicago White Sox in 1958-1959, Cash was traded twice between the end of the 1959 season and beginning of the 1960 season, and found himself a member of the Detroit Tigers, the only team he would play for the rest of his 17-year career.
Eventually taking over at first base for Detroit, Cash would go on to win a batting title in 1961, hit 20 or more homers 11 times, and appear in over 2000 games.
Even though he was released "early" in the 1974 season, I feel that he should have that "last card" in the 1975 set, being that he played enough, to the tune of 53 games and 172 plate appearances.
Kind of like a show of "respect" for a solid veteran of almost two decades. No?
So let me present to you all my design for a 1975 Norm Cash card, whether you think of it as a "career capper" or just a "missing in action" card.
Take a look:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I always thought that getting written in to start an all-star game was as cool as it got.
Granted, the first I ever heard of it was when Steve Garvey was written in to start at first base for the 1974 game.
But later on I learned that Atlanta Braves outfielder Rico Carty was written in to start an all-star game four years earlier in 1970.
So I thought it would be cool to design a card celebrating Carty's great season, which led him to a spot in the outfield alongside teammate Hank Aaron and Giants superstar Willie Mays.
Check it out:

Carty was absolutely ripping the ball apart in 1970, eventually leading the Major Leagues in batting with a red-hot .366 average to go along with 25 homers and 101 runs batted in.
He even had a 31-game hitting streak that year, the Braves longest until Dan Uggla hit in 33 straight in 2011.
When all-star voting came around fans found out Carty wasn't even on the ballot, so the write-in campaign started and picked up steam.
Pretty nifty stuff if you ask me.
Besides Carty and Garvey, I can't seem to find out if any other players were written into a starting spot in an all-star game.
Anyone out there know of others?
Would love to know who else achieved this over the years…

Monday, July 14, 2014


My next "Then and Now" subject is San Francisco slugging great Willie McCovey, who was finishing out his stellar career by the end of the 1970's.
Take a look:

By 1979 he was already a member of the 500 home run club (still an exclusive accomplishment at the time), and was well on his way to Hall of Fame induction in 1986, his first year on the ballot.
A Rookie of the Year in 1959, M.V.P. in 1969, and six-time all-star, "Stretch" was part of an in credible slugging trio during his early days in San Francisco, teaming up with two other future Hall of Famers, Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda.
If you're enjoying this series of "super veterans", keep an eye out for more of them in the near future, as I am continuously working on many of them at the moment and will sprinkle them in on this blog in the coming months.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Here's one for the Yankee fans out there: a "missing" card of New York Yankee outfielder Rick Bladt from 1976.
Take a look at my card design first:

Bladt's Yankee career started and ended in 1975, as he appeared in 52 games, good for 133 plate appearances and a .222 batting average.
He also chipped in 13 runs, 11 runs batted in and 5 extra-base hits, all while manning center field.
The only other Major League action he saw was six years earlier with the Chicago Cubs, getting into 10 games, going 2 for 13.
Bladt put in a solid 12 years in the Minors, spanning 1966 to 1977 with the Cubs, Yanks and Orioles organizations.
After playing for Rochester of the International League in '77 he was out of baseball for good.
As a side note: he did appear on another card, a Topps 1974 multi-player rookie card (#601) which also features Bake McBride, Brian Downing and Ed Armbrister, three players who went on to have decent careers, especially the former two.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I realize how trivial this all is, but the 1973 Topps Bill North card has always bugged me because of the airbrushing, or "missing" airbrushing on his uniform.
Take a look:

What bugs me to this day is the fact that you can clearly see the "Chicago" across his chest, since the photo was taken while he was still a Chicago Cub.
I rarely re-do cards of non-Hall of Famers, but since this is one that stuck in my side for so long, I figured I re-do it with an actual photo of North in an Oakland A's uniform.

A two-time stolen base champ in mid-1970's. North played 11 years in the big leagues, between 1971 and 1981 for the Cubs, A's, Dodgers and Giants.
He led the A.L. in stolen bases in 1974 and 1976, with totals of 54 and 75. He would have led the league in 1973, ending up one behind leader Tommy Harper, had he not sprained his ankle on September 20th, which also cost him seeing any action in the post-season.
He'd end up with 395 stolen bases to go along with a .261 lifetime average, 640 runs and 1016 hits, while being on two championship teams with Oakland in 1973 & 1974.
Funny enough, he was also the very first designated hitter in Oakland A's history, going 2 for 5 in the 1973 season opener against the Minnesota Twins.
Go figure…

Friday, July 11, 2014


With Clayton Kershaw's recent no-hitter, and talks of "most dominant" games pitched in baseball history, it brought to mind Rick Wise and HIS unique feat: slamming TWO home runs while throwing a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds (aka "The Big Red Machine")
Now while I'm not trying to put Wise's no-hitter in the company of Kershaw's absolute domination, or even Kerry Woods 20-strikeout game back in 1998 (the most unbelievable game I ever saw. Period.), it is worth designing a "highlight" card for my series here on the blog.
So please take a look at the card design I came up with:

Follows my other 1972 "highlight" cards.
I WAS hoping to find a usable image of Wise during his no-hitter, but none of the images I found were high-res enough.
If I do find one I'll definitely be redesigning the card.
Wise's incredible game took place on June 23 (43 years to the day I am writing this actually!), 1971, and as I mentioned earlier, was against the freakin' "Big Red Machine" of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez et al!
Talk about an extra "oomph" of an accomplishment!
The guy goes out and no-hits a killer line-up, and also slams TWO home runs, good for three of the four runs the Phillies score that day (a Roger Freed double accounting for the other)!
It's easy to forget that the guy put together a really solid Major League career, finishing with a 188-181 record to go along with a 3.69 earned run average, 30 shutouts and 1647 strikeouts over 506 games (455 starts) between 1964 and 1982.
Yes he'll always be remembered for being the "wrong" side of the Steve Carlton trade (ironically enough during the off-season after his no-hit year), but if not for an injury-plagued season in 1974 while with the Red Sox, he could have been a 200-game winner.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hey everyone!
The weekly trivia set is posted below, as usual for Thursdays.
But I also just wanted to give a small "heads up" as to what I have in store for the blog.
After an incredibly fruitful week or so, I find myself about a month ahead.
That is, I have the next month of posts already completed and ready to go!
While I'll be continuing the threads I've been posting such as "Then and Now", "Missing in Action" and "Highlights of the 1970's", I've also started some really cool new threads.
Some of the new ones: "Nicknames of the '70's" (fun cards of the more "colorful" nicknames of the decade), "M.I.A. - I.A." (designing 1972 "In Action" cards for a lot of the stars that didn't have one in the set), and I just started kicking around a yearly "missing" sub-set through the decade celebrating the players inducted into the Hall of Fame the previous year, which is awesome since it gives me the chance to work with all-time players from decades-past.
I've even been finding a ton of random photos of players through the 1970's that would make for a great "Odds and Ends" thread, like Topps used to do in the 1950's and 1960's.
So thanks for keeping up with the blog up until this point, and I hope you all keep on reading in the months to come!


Trivia trivia, Thursday is all about trivia…
So, following the topic of the past few weeks, we'll look at the "other" team to win multiple titles in the 70's, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Easy to forget that besides the Reds, A's and Yankees, there was indeed another multiple title team in the 1970's, even IF they didn't win their championships in consecutive seasons.
Take a look at the questions below, all dealing with Pirate pitching, and see how many you can get.
As usual, answers will be posted here tomorrow…
1. Who was the only Pirate pitcher in the decade to win 20 or more games?

2. Not one Pirate pitcher posted 200 or more strikeouts in the decade. Who came the closest?

3. Besides Kent Tekulve, who saved 30 or more games twice in the decade (1978 & 1979), who was the only other reliever to save 30 or more games in a season for the Pirates in the 1970's?

4. During their championship year in 1979, the Pirates didn't have any of their starters win 15 or more games. Who led the team in wins that season?

5. Incredibly, the Pirates had the top three pitchers in the National League in 1979 as far as appearances went. We all know Kent Tekulve led the N.L. in appearances with 94 games. But who were the other two pitchers who finished second and third that year in games pitched?


John Candelaria, 1977. 20 wins on the nose.

Bert Blyleven, with 182 K's in 1978.

Dave Giusti, 1971. He saved 31.

John Candelaria, with 14 wins.

Enrique Romo (84 games), and Grant Jackson (72 games).     

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Time for the fourth installment in my "Then & Now" series, and today's subject is Baltimore Orioles great Brooks Robinson.
Take a look at my 1977 design:

Robinson was about to suit up for his record breaking 23rd season with the Orioles in 1977, and was so honored by Topps in their 1978 set for doing so.
A perennial all-star, all Robinson did throughout his career was win 16 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award in 1964, two World Championships (1966 & 1970), and get named to 15-straight all-star games.
By the time he was eligible for Hall of Fame induction in 1983, he was voted in without a problem, getting named on 344 of 374 ballots.
I just wish I was old enough to see him play, especially in the field!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Quick: who was the only player to wear uniform number "42" for the Los Angeles Dodgers after Jackie Robinson retired?
If you answered Ray Lamb, today's "missing in action" subject, good for you!
Turns out Lamb wore the legendary number in 1969 while with the Dodgers, before they retired the number in 1972.
Lamb was already a member of the Cleveland Indians by then, and was out of professional baseball by 1974.
However I feel he "should" have, or "could" have had a card in Topps 1974 set based on the playing time he put in the previous year.
Before we get into the numbers, take a look at my 1974 "missing" card design:

In 1973 Lamb appeared in 32 games for the Tribe, going an even 3 and 3 with a 4.60 earned run average and 60 strikeouts in 86 innings of work.
But by March of 1974, he was released, and as far as I can tell never played again, not even Minor League ball.
Strange, as I haven't come across any info regarding an injury or something like that.
Lamb's best season was arguably 1971, when he posted a deceptive 6-12 record to go along with his 3.35 E.R.A., three complete games and a shutout playing his first year for the Indians after being dealt by the team that drafted him, the Dodgers.
He put in a decent year in 1972, going 5-6 with an even better 3.09 E.R.A., mainly as a guy out of the 'pen.
All told, he finished his career with a 20-23 record, 3.54 E.R.A. and 258 strikeouts in 424 innings over 154 games.

Monday, July 7, 2014


It's easy to forget that when Jim Bunning posted his 100th win in the National League during the 1970 season, he became only the third pitcher in Major League history, and first since Cy Young, to win 100 games in each league.
Pretty nifty if you ask me, even if seven other guys have joined the club since then.
So allow me to present my design for a 1971 Jim Bunning "highlight" card:

Bunning joined Cy Young and Al Orth, both turn of the century hurlers, with the 100/100 feat.
Since then, the trio have been joined by a pretty heavy set of names: Fergie Jenkins, Gaylord Perry, Dennis Martinez, Nolan Ryan, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.
Bunning also had a couple of other accomplishments in both leagues: striking out over 1000 in each league (only the second to do so at the time), as well as throwing no-hitters in both leagues, accomplishing the feat in 1958 while with the Detroit Tigers, and a perfect game in 1964 against the Mets while with the Phillies.
Not a bad baseball resume!
And Cooperstown felt the same way, as he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Here's a card worth looking into a bit: Topps 1970 Jack Fisher (#684).
Take a look:

Couple of things here.
First off Jack Fisher never ended up playing for the Angels. 
As a matter of fact, Fisher never played in the Majors again after 1969, a year he spent with the Cincinnati Reds, posting a 5-5 record with a 5.50 earned run average over 34 appearances.
After being traded by the Reds to California in January of 1970, he was eventually released by the Angels in April of that year.
And while he managed to pitch in the minors that year for both the Cardinals and the Orioles, he never made it back up to the "big show", leaving the game after the season for good.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Fisher appears to be in a New York Mets uniform that was crudely airbrushed, with no attempt to "draw in" an Angels logo, as Topps was prone to do in the late-60's/early-70's.
If that is the case, then Topps went and used an image at least three years old since Fisher was in Cincinnati in 1969 and in Chicago with the White Sox in 1968.
I guess there's a chance it could be a White Sox uniform, no?
I can't be too sure, but it sure looks like a Mets uni. 
Fisher had some hard luck years with the expansion Mets between 1964 and 1967, leading the league in losses twice, with 24 in 1965 and 18 in 1967.
He had a nice year back in 1960 at the age of 21, going 12-11 with a 3.41 E.R.A., eight complete games and three shutouts for the Baltimore Orioles.
But after four mediocre years there he was sent to San Francisco, where he posted a 6-10 record with the Giants before moving on to Queens, NY.
All told, he'd put in an 86-139 record in the Majors between 1959 and 1969, with a 4.06 E.R.A., 62 complete games and nine shutouts.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Well, after almost six months of seeing a weekly post regarding my imagined sub-set, "1975 Topps Cy Young Award Winners: 1951-1974", we have finally come to the last post, the 1974 winners: Jim palmer and Mike Marshall.
Take a look at my card design:

As with my 1972 post, I had to first create a new card for Marshall (Like Steve Carlton in '72), since his regular 1974 card had him as a Montreal Expo.
So I designed a new card showing Marshall as a Dodger, for whom he went on to win the award with in 1974.
Take a close-up look at my redesigned 1974 Mike Marshall card:

And for those who forgot what the original looked like, here you go:

Marshall came to Los Angeles and just put in a season for the ages, as he appeared in a (still) Major League record 106 games, all out of the 'pen, leading the league with 21 saves and 83 games finished.
The man posted 208.1 innings pitched IN RELIEF! Just incredible!
For the season he posted a record of 15-12, with a 2.42 earned run average and 143 strikeouts, not only giving him a Cy Young Award, but a third place finish for Most Valuable Player as well.
Over in the American League, it was a tremendous season for Oakland A's starter Jim "Catfish" Hunter.
After finishing in the top-5 for the award the previous two years, he took it home in 1974 by posting a 25-12 record along with a 2.49 E.R.A.
The wins and earned run average led the Junior Circuit, and he also led the Oakland A's to their third consecutive World Championship, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers and cementing their place as one of the powerful dynasty's in baseball history.
It was the fourth of five consecutive 20-win seasons for "Catfish", his last coming the following year in his first campaign with the New York Yankees.

Well, this was one heck of a thread. Fun to design the cards and write up some of the original information I gathered from the SABR article dating back to 1993 regarding "What if" Cy Young winners between 1951 and 1966.
Since John Hogan and his blog "Cards That Never Were" already did such an amazing job with this same idea put to Rookies of the Year, I'll have to scrap that idea and perhaps apply it to something else.
We shall see what I can come up with…maybe World Champions?
Keep an eye out…

Friday, July 4, 2014


Here's a "missing" card of a player who put together a really nice 18-year Major League career: Don McMahon and a 1973 card that never was.
Check it out:

By the time 1973 came around, McMahon was a 43-year old relief pitcher who was still somewhat effective out of the 'pen.
In 1972, pitching for the San Francisco Giants, McMahon went 3 and 3 with a 3.71 earned run average and five saves over 44 games and 63 innings.
Always a relief pitcher, McMahon started only two Major League games (in 1963 for the Houston Colt .45's) among his 874 appearances between 1957 and 1974.
I think I'll even design a "missing" 1974 card for him since he pitched in 22 games in 1973, good for a 4-0 record with a sparkling 1.48 E.R.A.
I don't remember exactly where he stood among all-time pitching appearances even as late at the early 1980's, but I DO remember that he was in the top-10, if not the top-5 at the time.
It's remarkable to even see that McMahon didn't play a Major League game until he was 27 years old, reminiscent of Hoyt Wilhelm.
McMahon could have easily joined Wilhelm as the first pitchers to log 1000 appearances in a career.
For his career, McMahon finished with a 90-68 record, 2.96 E.R.A. and 152 saves over those aforementioned 874 games played with seven organizations: Braves, Colt .45's (Astros), Indians, Red Sox, White Sox Tigers and Giants.
Keep an eye out for his 1974 "missing in action" card in the near future.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Thursday trivia time again, and today I want to base the questions on the Baltimore Orioles and their legendary run of success in terms of pitching through the 1970's.
Thing is, the questions will not be what you are expecting.
Take a look and see what you can come up with…
Answers tomorrow, as usual.
1. Among all Orioles pitchers in the 1970's, no one posted 200 or more K's in a season. Who came closest?

2. Who suffered the most losses in a season for any Oriole pitcher in the decade?

3. Who posted the highest E.R.A. among Orioles qualifiers in the decade?

4. The Orioles had only one reliever finish a season with more than 20 saves in the entire decade. He did it twice. Who was it?

5. Besides their three 20+ game winners in 1970, a season which would see them win 108 games, only one other pitcher posted double-digit wins that season, and it wasn't as starter! Who was it?


Jim Palmer, 1970. He finished with 199 Strikeouts.

Pat Dobson, 1972. He had 18 losses along with 16 wins.

Dennis Martinez, 1977. He finished with a 4.10 earned run average.

Don Stanhouse, 1978 & 1979: his only two years with the O's.

Dick Hall, who went 10-5 over 32 relief appearances.    

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Here's the third installment in a new fun topic on this blog: "Then and Now" for pitching great Juan Marichal.
Take a look:

Following the basic idea of my previous subjects: Bob Gibson and Hank Aaron, this card features Marichal in the last Topps set he actually appeared on (1974), with a new card concept showing him at the end of his career, along with his Topps rookie card, in this case his 1961 debut.
No need getting into his career accomplishments here since it was well documented already, but the "Dominican Dandy" would eventually find himself enshrined in the baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, capping off a stellar career which saw him post a 243-142 record with a 2.89 earned run average, 2303 strikeouts and 52 shut outs, 10 of which came in 1965 alone.
Next up on this thread…well let's keep that a secret for now.
You'll just have to keep an eye out for it…

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Here's a "missing" 1974 card of an Indians player that actually saw his playing days behind him by the time this would have come out, Ron Lolich.
Take a look:

Lolich (a cousin of left-handed pitcher Mickey Lolich) saw Major League action three years, between 1971 and 1973.
Granted, the extent of his 1971 action was two games and eight at-bats for the Chicago White Sox.
1972 saw him get into 24 games with his new team, the Cleveland Indians, good for 80 at-bats and a .188 average with 15 hits and a couple of homers.
But it was 1973 that had Lolich see the bulk (and rest) of his playing time wearing a Major League uniform.
That year, while playing left and right field as well as some time at D.H., Lolich played in 61 games, good for 140 at-bats and a .229 batting average.
He garnered 32 hits, 16 runs, two homers and 15 runs batted in, but as I stated earlier, that would be the last of his playing days at the Major League level.
The following two years would find Lolich playing over in japan for the Nankai team, slamming 49 home runs combined with 128 runs batted in, before moving on to the Kintetsu organization in 1976, where he played sparingly.
That would be it for the "pro" side of the game for Lolich.
I did see that he played some Mexican League ball afterwards, but I can't find any stats to back that up.
That all being said, it's fun to scour baseball rosters of the 1970's looking for players with a decent amount of playing time in a season that didn't get a card the following year.
If you like this sort of stuff, then keep watching this blog for many more in the near future.


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