Sunday, August 31, 2014


Here's a card I always loved: Topps 1975 Chris Speier:

What a nice card with a great photo!
But there IS something "off" about it, and that's the strange "smudge" or smokey blob immediately in front of his face-shoulder-bat, obscuring a bit of the background.
What exactly is that?
Strange. My first impression was a film smudge, but it almost looks like the "smudging" stops right when it gets to Speier, as if it's behind him in the photo.
But this card represents to me what the 1975 and 1976 sets were all about: actions shots bursting with border colors of the players I first got into as a kid getting infatuated with the sport.
Just love those sets!
As for Speier, he forged a nice 19-year career spanning 1971 to 1989, playing for the Giants, Expos, Cardinals, Twins and Cubs.
His first five years in the Big Leagues were his best, making three All-Star teams and even getting a bit of M.V.P. support in 1972.
Pretty much a baseball lifer, Speier continued with a Major League career after his playing days in various coaching jobs up until 2012 with the Reds.
He even filled in for Dusty Baker as Manager of Cincinnati when baker fell ill for a spell, eventually finding himself as Special Assistant to G.M. Walt Jocketty.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Here's another guy who went at least five years between Topps baseball cards: pitcher Floyd Weaver.
Check out his 1971 card:

This was his first card since appearing in the 1966 set as a member of the Cleveland Indians, seen here:

After appearing in 32 games for the Indians during the 1965 season, where he went 2-2 with a 5.43 E.R.A., Weaver would not appear in a Major League game again until 1970, when he was now pitching for the Chicago White Sox.
In his return season, he got into 31 games, posting a 1-2 record with a 4.38 earned run average, with three of his appearances being starts.
The following year would find him wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform, where he would play the final 21 games of his career, going 0-1 with a 7.24 E.R.A. over 27.1 innings of work.
But that would be it for Weaver as far as big league action went, as he'd play another two years in the Chicago Cubs minor league system before calling it a career at the end of 1973.
All told, Weavers final MLB numbers were: 4-5 with a 5.21 E.R.A., with five starts among his 85 game career.
One final note on Weavers baseball days: while I cannot confirm this, according to his Wiki page, he still holds the record for most strikeouts in a collegiate baseball game, with 21 in a nine-inning game, when he K'd that amount on May 10th of 1961 while pitching for Paris Junior College.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Here's a colorful 1976 "Then and Now" card for Hall of Famer Billy Williams:

After 16 stellar seasons playing at Wrigley for the Chicago Cubs, Williams took his talents over to Oakland where he played the last two years of his career for the A's, generally as their designated hitter.
In his 18 years in the big leagues, Williams put up some great numbers: 2700+ hits, 400+ homers, 1400+ runs batted in and 1400+ runs scored.
If not for a guy named Johnny Bench, he'd also have TWO Most Valuable Player awards as well, finishing second to the Reds Hall of Famer in both 1970 and 1972.
He finally found his way to Cooperstown in 1987, and rightfully so.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Thursday trivia time again.
This week let's look at teams at the bottom of some offensive stats during the 1970's.
PLEASE NOTE: For questions #3-#5 we'll exclude the 1972 season since it wasn't a FULL season.
Answers posted tomorrow!
  1. What team hit the fewest home runs in a season during the 1970's? 
  2. What team posted the lowest batting average in a season during the decade?
  3. What team scored the fewest runs in a season during the '70's?
  4. What team stole the fewest bases in a season during the decade?
  5. What team hit the fewest extra-base-hits in a season during the 1970's?

The Houston Astros of 1979. They hit only 49 homers all seasons!.

The 1972 Texas Rangers. They hit a miserable .217 as a team!

The 1971 Padres scored only 486 runs that year! But note: the 1972 Angels scored only 454 runs during the shortened season.

The 1973 Pirates stole only 23 bases all year. Please note: the 1972 Tigers stole only 17 bases during the shortened season.
5. The 1976 Braves hit only 282 EBH as a team that year. Please note: the 1972 Rangers had only 239 during the shortened season.     

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Let's give "Gibby" an "in action" card in the 1972 Topps set!
Check out my card:

So once again…guys like Jerry Johnson, John Ellis and Tom Haller get "in-action" cards in the set, but THIS GUY doesn't?
Does anyone out there even know what Topps criteria for those in-action cards were?! For the life of me I can't figure it out.
I managed to find a nice night-game shot of Gibson to use for the card.
You know, if I find myself feeling up to it, I swear I'm tempted to make an "in-action" 1972 card for every single player in the set!
We shall see…let's start with the stars first…

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Here's a fun card to design: a 1975 card showing one of my favorite characters from the decade, pitcher Bill Lee, then of the Boston Red Sox.
Check it out:

Lee was "something else". A perfect product of the times a'la Bill Walton from the NBA.
He brought a lot of that "hippie"/counterculture attitude to the game, which made him extremely popular with fans, but NOT with the people running the game.
As a pitcher, Lee was a solid starter for the BoSox during the mid-70's, winning 17 games a season three years in a row from 1973-75.
But his career would be someone derailed because of the very personality that made him popular.
His clashes with managers and management for both the Rex Sox and the other team he played for, the Montreal Expos, would make him expendable, eventually getting dumped by Montreal in 1982 because of a one-game walk-out he staged over the team releasing Rodney Scott.
He'd never play in another Major League game again.
His post-baseball days have been incredibly productive, as Lee has authored books, played semi-professionally, barnstormed, and even released his own wine, "Spaceman Red"!
He's even STILL active PLAYING ball at the ripe old age of 67!
The man is the definition of "character"!
If you're into professional athletes with a lot to say, do yourself a favor and read any of his books! Hilarious and insightful on pro-sports from a free-spirit perspective.
For his Major League career, Lee finished his 14-year run with a 119-90 record, with a 3.62 earned run average over 416 games, 225 of which were starts.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Time to give the "Say Hey Kid" Willie Mays the spotlight on my "Then and Now" Super Veteran thread.
Take a look:

I went with the 1952 Topps card since I'm sure they would not have used his 1951 Bowman had they created this card themselves 41 years ago (ugh…1973 is 41 years ago?! Man I am getting old).
A nice addition to the virtual "set", don't you think?
As for Mays, what on earth even NEEDS to be said here that has not been said already?
The man was, is, and forever will be a legend, a seemingly mythic creation of someone's fantastic mind as far as baseball players go.
I can't even believe it's already been 35 years since his induction into the Hall of Fame!
Time is flying by...

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Was looking through team cards of the 1970's and noticed that Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a favorite topic of mine on this blog, appears on the 1972 Topps Philadelphia Phillies team card, even though his last player card was in the 1971 set.
Check out the card:

That's him in the back row, fourth player from the right, with the Phillie-red collar showing under his uniform.
I designed a "career-capper" 1972 card for him a while back and never thought to check this card to see if he was in the photo.
Glad I caught it this time around…

Saturday, August 23, 2014


You'd think a guy who posted 474 plate appearances over 125 games the previous season, and was STILL an active professional player when the 1973 season broke, would warrant a card in the 1973 Topps set!
But apparently Topps knew something and never ended up creating a card for second baseman Ron Theobald.
So I did all these years later.
Check it out:

Theobald only had one baseball card for his short two year career, and that was in the 1972 set.
But he was a full-time player in those two years, posting 779 at-bats and 926 plate appearances over 251 games.
Seems wrong to only have ONE card.
His rookie year of 1971 was a pretty decent one.
In 126 games for the Brewers, almost all as a second baseman, he collected 107 hits in 388 at-bats, good for a .276 average, along with 12 doubles, two triples and a home run.
Not a bad batting average for a middle infielder in those days!
The following year in '72 he pretty much saw the same amount of action, one less game but 22 more plate appearances, but he saw his batting average dip 56-points to .220.
So when the 1973 season opened, Theobald found himself in the Minors, playing for Hawaii in the Pacific Coast League for the San Diego Padres organization.
(By the way, I cannot find any transaction information for Theobald after his Milwaukee days. Anyone know how he was picked up by the Padres?)
Nevertheless, all he could muster with them was a .221 average over 43 games while committing eleven errors in the field.
That ended up being the last Theobald had in pro baseball as far as I can find.
But I still think he should have had a card in the 1973 set with all that playing time the previous year.
Luckily this blog allows me to "fix" these missing cards. ;)

Friday, August 22, 2014


Here's a 1972 Topps "in-action" card of a player that SHOULD have had one, Bert Campaneris of the Oakland A's.
Check it out:

Nice action shot of the Oakland speedster and stolen base whiz.
"Campy" was ALL action, whether it was on the base paths or on the field at shortstop, and the fact that he didn't have an "in action" card in the 1972 set is a joke (again, Bob Barton had one?!)
A six-time stolen base champ, six-time all-star and three-time World Champ in his 19-year career, I was very fortunate to see him play, and even meet him once before a game, when he played for the New York Yankees in 1983.
He even batted .322 for them over 60 games at the age of 41 that year!
Just a true all-star through and through.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Yet another week has gone by, and that means more 1970's baseball trivia.
We'll stick to the "team" topic and look at some offensive leaders of the decade.
See how many you can get.
Answers posted tomorrow, as usual…
  1. What team hit the most home runs in a season in the 1970's?
  2. What team posted the highest batting average for a season in the decade?
  3. What team scored the most runs in a season during the decade?
  4. What team hit the most triples in a season during the decade?
  5. Lastly, on a down-note: what team whiffed the most times in a season during the '70's? 

Red Sox, 1977. 213 homers.

Once again, the Red Sox, this time in 1979 when they hit a combined .283!.

The Twins, 1977. They scored 867 runs!.

The Royals in 1979. They hit 79 three-baggers that year.
5. The Padres in 1970. They struck out 1164 times!.     

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Here's a card that I wanted to fill a void with: a 1978 Bruce Dal Canton card showing him as a Chicago White Sox player.
Take a look:

By the time the 1978 season opened, Dal Canton was no longer in the Major Leagues, and would only pitch in 6 games for Iowa in Double-A ball for the organization.
But he did pitch in eight games, good for 24 innings of work the year before, going 0-2 with a 3.75 earned run average with the South Siders..
He did appear in Topps' 1977 set, but as a member of the Atlanta Braves, for whom he pitched in 1975 and 1976.
So this card I fills in that missing final piece of his 11-year career.
Between 1967 and 1977 Dal Canton threw for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Braves and White Sox, and fashioned a 51-49 record with a 3.67 E.R.A.
His most productive season would arguable be 1974 with the Royals, when he started 22 games and went 8-10 with two shut outs and a 3.13 E.R.A.
But overall Dal Canton was used out of the 'pen, as he only started 83 of the 316 lifetime Major League games he appeared in.
An interesting bit I came across reading up on him was that he was originally signed by the Pirates based on an open tryout!
He was actually a high school teacher when he walked on the field and showed enough stuff for the club to set him off on his Major League career!
Pretty cool stuff. I wonder if that can even happen in these days of hyper-scouting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I have always been impressed when members of the same family make it to the big leagues.
That being said, I am incredibly impressed when those family members BOTH succeed on an all-star level.
In 1970 brothers Jim and Gaylord Perry both led their respective leagues in wins, and that is about as cool as it gets for me...
So I wanted to celebrate that feat with a "highlight" card in the 1971 set.
Check out my design:

Jim Perry even took home the Cy Young Award for the American League that year, while brother Gaylord finished second in the National League behind Bob Gibson! 
Again, as cool as it gets!
Jim recorded 24 wins in his award winning season with the Minnesota Twins, while younger brother Gaylord won 23 for the San Francisco Giants.
Combined, the brothers ended up pitching for 39 years! And their win total was a staggering 529!
Just awesome!

Monday, August 18, 2014


Next up on my "Then and Now" Super Veterans thread is Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio.
He actually wrapped up his playing days by the end of the 1973 season, but Topps (for a change) went ahead and issued a card for him in their 1974 edition. So the card I designed was patterned after that year's set.
Take a look:

From the moment he made it to the Majors in 1956 with the Chicago White Sox, Aparicio was a star.
He took home the A.L. Rookie of the Year that season, and proceeded to be an all-star player for most of his 18-year career.
Between 1956 and 1964, nine consecutive years, he led the American League in stolen bases every single season!
As a member of the "Go-Go" 1959 Chicago White Sox he finished second to teammate Nellie Fox for Most Valuable Player, and he'd go on to win nine Gold Glove Awards before hanging up the spikes.
All told he suited up for the White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox for the final three years of his illustrious career.
By the time he retired the numbers were solid: 2677 hits, 1335 runs scored, 506 stolen bases and over 10000 at-bats!
It took a few years on the ballot, but he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


So I've reached my 500th post for the blog, and I thank you all for reading so far!
As I've done with 100, 200, 300 and 400, let's go ahead and look at each card numbered 500 throughout the 1970's, shall we?

1970: Hank Aaron

As I profiled (and redesigned) this card months ago, you all know how I feel about it.
What a boring photo of "Hammerin' hank"!
Uninspired and even oddly voyeuristic, like we caught him doing something he's not pleased about. Just odd.
But hey, it's Hank Aaron, and that alone keeps this a classic for the ages.

1971: Jim Perry

I like this card because it catches Perry at the height of his career, coming off a Cy Young Award win in 1970.
The Perry household must have been incredible around this time, with Jim taking home the hardware, and brother Gaylord finishing second over in the National League.
Mom and Dad must have been proud!
And man I do love those 1971 Topps cards. Just a beautiful set.

1972: Joe Torre

Another card catching a player at the peak of his career.
Recent Hall of Famer (and fellow Bensonhurst/Dyker Heights native) Joe Torre smiling up a storm after collecting an M.V.P. Award for his tremendous 1971 season in St. Louis.
Besides his solid playing career (somewhat underrated if you ask me), his LONG managerial career eventually got him to Cooperstown, and I'm sure that smile on his '72 Topps card would truly be ear-to-ear if he knew then where his baseball resume would get him come 2014.

1973: A's team card

Now, my first reaction was, "boring, a freaking team card!".
However, when you really take a look at the photo, it's just a perfect 1970's baseball time capsule!
The shaggy players, the technicolor sports coats, and the fact that it depicts the three-time World Champs with guys like Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, all now members of the Hall of Fame.
It really becomes clear quickly that this is indeed a special card! Love it!

1974: Lee May

Easy to forget how good a player May was throughout his career.
The man was downright thumping the baseball during a weak offensive era in the game's history.
The choice of photo Topps went with is a bit lame, but it does show the dude's quite "substantial" size as one of the games underrated sluggers.
2000 hits, 350+ homers, 1200+ runs batted in…not too shabby for the "Big Bopper"!

1975: Nolan Ryan

Well, what can you say?
Classic card set, classic player, nice photo.
I love this card.
The "Ryan Express" at the height of his career, tearing through line-ups and smashing records.
And who would even imagine that when this card came out, Ryan would STILL pitch for almost another 20 years!
Just incredible.
And every time I see a 1975 or 1976 baseball card, I can STILL get that little tingle of excitement, just like I did so many years before!

1976: Reggie Jackson

Just pure CLASSIC baseball card right there!
One of my all time favorite cards.
Here we have a beautiful card set design, with a fantastic photo of one of the game's most popular players, and that brilliant "All-Star" designation for all to see!
What a card, what a player, what a set!
1976 all the way for me my friends. Easily my favorite set of all time. 
Just perfect…

1977: Dave Kingman

Another one of my all-time favorite cards!
Great photo of "Kong" watching another of his famous blasts leaving the stadium, with all that blue throughout the card, and that "All-Star" banner running across the bottom.
I always thought those Mets cards from the 1976 and 1977 sets looked so good because of the blue color scheme. And you throw in a blue all-star banner along the bottom, and "bam!", just a great card!

1978: George Foster

I wish Topps would have had a better photo of Foster for this card.
The man does NOT look like a guy sitting on top of the baseball world here!
Fresh off his monster 1977 M.V.P. year, Foster should be positively BEAMING after slugging 52 home runs and nearly driving in 150 for the Reds.
It's a shame since the 1978 set is another of my favorite sets, but this card leaves a lot to be desired.
I may have to redesign this card in the near future.

1979: Ron Guidry

Funny story…I remember pulling my first 1979 Ron Guidry card out of a pack back then as a ten year old rabid Yankee fan, and was CRUSHED to see that he didn't have an All-Star banner running across the card!
This was before I learned that Topps didn't just go and pick all-stars based on their seasons, but based on who started the previous all-star game.
So I thought it was a terrible injustice to "Louisiana Lightning". I was already pissed that Guidry was ripped off an M.V.P. (sorry Jim Rice!), so seeing that "all-star" was missing bothered me to no end.
Well, I've calmed down a bit years later (but NOT about the Most Valuable Player Award!), and have come to appreciate the card for what it is.
Not the best action shot of the Yankee ace, but a nice photo nevertheless…

So there you have it...
All cards numbered 500 through that awesome decade of the 1970's!
Hopefully this blog will keep on rolling to all the cards numbered 600, as well as 700!
After that, we'll just get creative and see where we end up…
Thanks for the support so far!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


You can't talk baseball nicknames of the 1970's without talking about Reggie Jackson.
Jackson was already a star when he brought his talents to the Bronx, that's for sure.
A member of the Oakland A's dynasty of the mid-70's, the man was already a three-time world champion.
However, after the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Reggie cemented his baseball legacy, and one of the all-time most recognized nicknames was born: "Mr. October".
Take a look at my "nickname" series card design for him:

"Mr. October". 
About as classic a nickname as you can get in baseball. 
I still remember the awe that swept over me as I saw the man hit three homers, on THREE PITCHES, in that World Series game.
He seemed like a God playing with boys.
It was colossal. It was other-worldly.
It was Reggie-freakin'-Jackson, "Mr. October"!

Friday, August 15, 2014


Here's a new thread I'm starting, thanks to idea of reader "baseballbrent" (Thanks Brent!!).
I'll slowly be filling out the 1972 "In Action" cards that really should have been.
It was always so freakin strange to see "In Action" cards of relative "unknowns " line Bob Barton, etc), yet have stars and SUPER stars without one.
So today, for the first post on this new series, I present (at the time) budding superstar Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros, sliding into home plate during a game back then.
Check it out:

Really fun in-game shot of him here. Look at the umpire right in the play. Awesome picture…
Cedeno really was an incredible talent back in the early to mid-1970's.
His combination of power and speed, as well as hitting for average was a sight to behold.
If he were playing for a big-media organization, he would have been a household-name I believe.
Nevertheless he did finish with a wonderful, impressive career, topping 2000 hits, 500 stolen bases, just under (199) home runs, and five Gold Gloves.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Weekly trivia time again folks.
Today we'll look at team performances through the 1970's.
Take a shot at the questions and see what you come up with…
Answers posted tomorrow, of course.
1. What team sported the longest winning streak in a season during the 1970's?

2. Conversely, what team suffered the longest losing streak of the decade?

3. Who had the best home record during a season in the 1970's?

4. Who had the best road record in any season during the '70's?

5. What franchise suffered the worst home record in any season during the wild-70's?

6. Lastly, what team had the worst road record in any year between 1970-79?


Kansas City Royals, 1977. 16 games in a row.

Detroit Tigers, 1975. The lost 19 games in a row!.

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds. They had an incredible 64-17 record!.

The 1971 Oakland A's. They went 55-25 on the road.
The 1977 Toronto Blue Jays, who went a dismal 25-55 at home.
5. That honor goes to two teams: the 1977 Atlanta Braves, and the 1979 Toronto Blue Jays, who both went a horrid 21-60.    

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Today's "missing" player from the 1970's is Texas Ranger pitcher Jim Panther, who should have had a card in Topps' 1973 set.
Take a look:

First off, by the time the 1973 season opened up Panther was a member of the Atlanta Braves after being traded for Rico Carty in the off-season.
However, since he logged his 1972 playing time with the Rangers I went ahead and designed the card with him still Texas duds.
In 1972 Panther appeared in 58 games, good for 93.2 innings of work.
He went 5-9 with a 4.13 earned run average, and even started four games.So why he didn't get a slot in the 1973 set is beyond me.
Panther came up to the Majors the previous year with the Oakland A's, getting into 4 games and 5.2 innings. His only decision was a loss.
After moving on to Atlanta, Panther didn't fair too well, as he ended up 2-3 with a bloated 7.63 E.R.A., spread out over 23 games.
As it turned out, by season's end his pro playing days were done, and from what I gather online he went on to coach some High School ball in Libertyville, Illinois.
All told Panther got to see Major League action in three seasons, each one playing for a different organization.
He ended up with a 7-13 career record, with a 5.26 E.R.A. and 56 strikeouts over 130 innings of work in 85 games.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


A little while ago I "celebrated" the Oakland A's combined no-hitter from the last game of the 1975 season.
With that in mind, I just had to go ahead and celebrate the other combined no-hitter of the decade, the Chicago White Sox combined gem spun against, who else?, the Oakland A's not even a year later!
Take a look at my card design:

White Sox pitchers John Odom (an Oakland A's pitcher up until the prior season), and Francisco Barrios teamed up to stifle the A's on July 28th, 1976, with Odom keeping Oakland hitless for the first five innings, and Barrios wrapping it up the final four.
While it was a no-hitter, it certainly was not perfect, as Odom managed to walk NINE A's batters in his five innings of work, and future Hall of Famers Billy Williams scoring the lone A's run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Claudell Washington stole second, allowing Williams to score on a bad throw from catcher Jim Essian.
All told, Odom and Barrios walked a combined eleven batters, while striking out five and allowing three stolen bases.
But in the end it was (and is) an official no-hitter, and would end up being the last combined no-hitter until the California Angels pulled the trick on April 11, 1990 when Mark Langston and Mike Witt combined to no-hit the Mariners.
Just a year later in 1991 there would be TWO more combined no-hitters, spun by the Baltimore Orioles and then the Atlanta Braves.
Since then there have been two more combined no-no's, the July 12th effort by the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Houston Astros in 1997, and the June 11, 2003 no-hitter thrown by SIX Houston Astros against the New York Yankees.
Ironically enough, the 1976 combined no-no would end up being one of Blue Moon Odom's last Major League games, as he was out of the Majors after only eight games in 1976, finishing off a 13-year career.

Monday, August 11, 2014


Today's "Then and Now" super veteran is former Oakland A's and New York Yankees pitching great Jim "Catfish" Hunter.
Take a look at my card design:

In his 15-year career, which was wrapping up in 1979 due to arm troubles, Hunter racked up 224 wins, a 3.26 earned run average, 42 shutouts and 2012 strikeouts.
He took home the Cy Young Award in 1974 in his last season with the A's, came in second for the award the following year in his first year as a landmark Free-Agent with the Yankees, and threw a perfect game back in 1968 at the young age of 22.
A big-game pitcher, Hunter was a member of no less than five World Champion teams: 1972-74 Oakland A's, and the "Bronx Zoo" Yankee teams of 1977-78.
Did you know that Hunter is the last pitcher in the Major Leagues to complete 30 or more games in a season? 
In 1975 he completed 30 of his 39 starts, on his way to a 23-14 record with seven shutouts and a 2.58 E.R.A.
Between 1971 and 1975 he won 20 or more games each year, a great five year run which saw him win 111 games.
As a matter of fact, Hunter was the first pitcher since the all-time great Walter Johnson to win 200 games before the age of 31! And the only other guys at that time to also do it? Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. Incredible.
Sadly arm troubles and diabetes started to affect his career, forcing him to retire in 1979 at the age of only 33.
The final feather in his baseball cap would be a Hall of Fame induction in 1987 along with Chicago Cubs great Billy Williams, giving him a solid place in baseball history, if he didn't have one already...

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I know there were a ton of airbrushing jobs on Topps part in the 1970's, and many of them left a lot to be desired as far as "quality" went.
But one little item that always popped out to me were those badly airbrushed St. Louis Cardinals cards from the 1975 set.
It seemed like there were an inordinate amount of bad ones for that team in that year, and they are absolute CLASSICS!
Let's take a look:

Man. Some of those St. Louis logos on the caps are horrendous!
I'll pick the Osteen logo as the worst. However the Sadecki and Rudolph caps sport some terrible messy black stroking around the white lettering on the caps.
What a classic set of cards right here!
I guess looking at it now the Cardinals had the same bad amount of airbrushing as the Yankees or any other team in this set.
But for some reason these Cardinal cards were the ones that always stuck with me through the years.
The Osteen photo also bothers me since he looks so confused, like he's looking at the camera as some magic box and can't figure out what's happening at that moment.
Still, even with all the airbrush "disasters" in the set, the 1975 Topps offering is still one of my all-time favorites! Just can't get enough of all the colors.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Back in the late-1970's, the very first 1959 Topps card I ever got was of the player I'm posting today: pitcher Pedro Ramos, then of the Washington Senators.
It always stuck with me because I have always loved that 1959 set, and always remember walking out of the antique store with that card (I only paid 25 cents for it).
Well a few decades later here I am, designing a "missing" 1970 Topps card for the former hurler from Cuba.
Take a look:

Ramos had some decent playing time in 1969, pitching in 43 games and 72.1 innings, good for a 4-4 record with a 5.23 earned run average.
He split the season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the Cincinnati Reds.
The following year he pitched in four games for the Washington Senators before retiring for good at the age of 35.
His final numbers in the Majors were solid enough: 117-160, with a 4.08 lifetime E.R.A., 13 shutouts and 1305 strikeouts.
If you look up his stats on "" you'll notice a ton of bold-face stats, the tell-tale sign of leading the league.
Sadly for Ramos, the 15 bold stats are mostly negative, as in leading the league in losses four years in a row, most hits allowed twice, earned runs once and home runs allowed three times.
In his 15-year career he generally played for second division squads: Washington, Cleveland, N.Y. Yankees (during the lean years), so the guy had to endure some lack of support.
But I never realized he made it to the 1970 season, so I'm glad I was able to design a card for him here since there's some small "connection" with him regarding card collecting on a personal level as noted earlier.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Now here's a card that would have been nice to pull out of a pack! (Even though I am admittedly NOT a fan of the "multi-player" rookie cards).
Like I previously did with the 1978 dream rookie card with Ozzie Smith, Paul Molitor, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, I couldn't resist designing a 1974 "Rookie Infielders" card with Robin Yount and George Brett.
Take a look:

Now it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility to have the two future Hall of Famers appear on one of those multi-player rookie cards in the '74 set.
But I DO understand why Topps didn't give them a look at the time.
I took an already existing card (#604) and replaced Terry Hughes and John Knox (sorry guys!) with Brett and Yount.
Teamed up with two other future solid major leaguers in Andre Thornton and Frank White, and this card would have been a killer at the card shows of the late 1980's when the rookie-card explosion happened.
Thankfully, because of the wonderful world of Photoshop, we can all go ahead and "fix" these so many years later.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Trivia time again, and today we'll focus on guys who drove in 100 or more runs in a season during the decade.
See how many you can get.
Answers posted here tomorrow, as usual…
1. Among all 100-R.B.I. men, who accomplished the feat playing in the fewest games?

2. What player hit the fewest home runs during a 100-R.B.I. year?

3. Who had the fewest hits in a 100-R.B.I. season?

4. What two players tied for fewest strikeouts in a 100-R.B.I. season?

5. What players scored the fewest runs in a 100-R.B.I. season? Three players tied for the lowest in the decade.


Dick Allen, Cardinals. He played in only 122 games in 1970.

Wes Parker, Dodgers, who hit 10 homers while driving in over 100 in 1970,  & Willie Montanez, Phillies/Giants, who also hit only 10 homers in 1975 while driving in 101.

Sal Bando, A's. He managed to top 100 with only 121 hits in 1974.

Ted Simmons, Cardinals: 1974 and 1975, and Rusty Staub, Tigers, 1978. They both struck out 35 times in their 100-R.B.I. Seasons.
Harmon Killebrew, Twins, 1971; Willie Montanez, Phillies/Giants, 1975 and Lee May, Orioles, 1976. They all scored only 61 runs during their 100-R.B.I. seasons.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Here's a highlight that comes right out of my own selfish memories: Ron Guidry's 1978 season where he posted a 25-3 record, thus establishing the highest winning percentage among any pitcher winning 20 or more games in a season, .893.
I know it's not the "biggest" highlight as far as baseball history goes, but for a nerd like me who lived and died by the Yanks (still do), that Guidry season was just pure magic!
Take a look at my card:

I remember in the recent past there were a couple of guys that looked like they were going to break that record for winning percentage: Roger Clemens in 2001 and Cliff Lee in 2008.
Clemens went into his last couple of starts with a mind-boggling 20-1 record, but ended up losing his last two starts, to the Devil Rays no less! Go figure…
In 2008 Lee was 22-2 going into his last start, and ended up losing to the Red Sox, thus keeping Guidry at the top of the list…
Now, if we're REALLY going to be baseball nuts, we may as well mention Al Spalding's 1875 season, the last year of the National Association before the National League was formed a year later.
While pitching for Boston, Spalding posted the INSANE record of 54-5! Good for a .915 winning percentage.
As a matter of fact, Spalding's N.A. career pitching record is absurd. Between 1871-1875 his record was 251-64! Ha! That's a cool .795 career winning percentage for the future sporting goods king!
But nevertheless, Guidry's mark of .893 still stands among Major League records, and I'm a-ok with that!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Here's a fun thread I'm starting today: cards celebrating some of the best player nicknames of the 1970's.
The first player profiled will be one of the most iconic: Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who took the sport, and the country by storm in 1976.
Take a look at my 1977 card design:

I decided to design this series using the card year I felt best represented the player. Sort of like a "special card" that would have been fun to have in sets as we collected throughout the '70's.
In this case Fidrych really did come out of nowhere in 1976, so it wasn't until 1977 that we all could have that card of "The Bird".
Definitely one of the most recognizable players, and nicknames, of the era!
The decade was FULL of awesome nicknames!
So keep an eye out here for future posts on the thread, with guys like "Catfish", "Blue Moon", "Spaceman" and many more!

Monday, August 4, 2014


Here's a card I've been anxious to get designing: a 1975 "Then and Now" card for one of my all-time favorite players, Hall of Famer Harmon "Killer" Killebrew!
Check it out:

I followed my design from the Bob Gibson "Then and Now" card from the same set.
What does anyone need to be reminded of regarding Killebrew?
He was an absolute BEAST at the plate, crushing 573 lifetime homers, MOST of them during the pitching-era of the 1960's into the '70's.
Eight 40+ home run seasons, nine 100+ runs batted in seasons, seven 100+ base-on-balls seasons, an M.V.P. in 1969 (with five top-5 finishes in M.V.P. voting as well), and a Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
I remember as a ten-year old in 1979 scoring a 1973 Killebrew card from my cousin, and I was absolutely dumbfounded by the statistics on the back!
I never heard of this guy, yet I was looking at numbers that made my jaw drop.
I just couldn't understand why his name wasn't plastered everywhere. Ha!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Here's a "missing" card of an already established veteran at the tail end of his very nice career: a 1974 Tony Taylor card.
Take a look-see:

The Cuban infielder was already a 16-year veteran of the Majors, having come up with the Chicago Cubs in 1958 and going on to star for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1960's.
In 1971 he was traded to the Detroit Tigers, and in 1973 he played in 84 games for them, with 302 plate appearances.
He'd end up hitting .229 with 63 hits in 275 at-bats, and by season's end it did indeed seem like his career was over for the 37-year old.
I understand why Topps didn't bother including Taylor in the 1974 set, but I wanted to design a card for him anyway since I found this nice shot of him as a Tiger, and the fact that, as it turned out, he was signed by his old team, the Phillies, and managed to squeeze out three more years in the big leagues.
He'd end up retiring after the 1976 season, and allowed a young kid like myself the chance to have his last card (1976) as he was beginning a life-long obsession of collecting.
Taylor had a very solid 19 year career, finishing with over 2000 hits (2007), 1005 runs scored, and 234 stolen bases.
He also made what some call the toughest play in teammate Jim Bunning's 1964 perfect game against the New York Mets.
In the fifth inning of that game, Mets catcher Jesse Gonder hit a ball between first and second base, where Taylor made a diving stop, just in time to get Gonder at first.
I nice little anecdote to it all is that years later, Bunning mentioned in an article that to this very day he and Taylor call each other every year on the anniversary of the game, June 21st, to reminisce.
Pretty cool if you ask me…

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Here's a guy I never really knew anything about, but recently came across and wanted to delve into: former Detroit Tiger and Chicago White Sox outfielder Bob Christian.
Take a look at his one dedicated Topps card:

First off, the image is one of him in a Detroit uniform.
Odd since he played for the White Sox in 1969, and appeared in 39 games for them, good for 143 plate appearances.
What's even stranger is that in 1968 he appeared in only three games for the Tigers, the first three games of his career, yet an image of him from that season made it to this card.
He did appear in the 1969 set on a multi-player White Sox rookie card, (along with Gerry Nyman), but was also in a Detroit uniform, his cap being airbrushed "blank".
Those two cards would be the only two he'd appear on.
For his playing career, Christian only got into 54 Major League games in the three years he saw big league action, and was out of the Majors by the age of 24.
One big highlight from his career would be his first big league homer, which was off of future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer on June 14, 1969.
In 1971 and 1972 he went on to play ball in Japan for the Toei Flyers, hitting a combined .263 wth 27 homers and 90 runs batted in.
But sadly, I recently came across a small write up of him because of some tragic circumstances, and learned of why he was out of the game so soon.
Turns out that just four years after his last Major League game, at the very young age of 28, he passed away after being diagnosed with Leukemia.
Yet another tragic ending for a ballplayer from that era, which does seem inordinately "common" compared to other decades.

Friday, August 1, 2014


Here's a card I had fun putting together: a "highlight" card featuring the four Oakland A's pitchers who combined to no-hit the Angels on September 28th, 1975.
Take a look:

On the very last day of the season the A's closed out yet another successful year, no-hitting California and winning 5-0, giving them 98 wins for the season and their fifth straight division championship.
Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers each contributed to the no-hitter, with Blue giving up the only two walks.
What I also find incredible is the fact that the A's switched catchers during the game as well! 
Gene Tenace started the game behind the plate, then switched over to first base while Ray Fosse came in at the top of the seventh inning to catch Lindblad.
For the life of me I can't (off the top of my head) remember another no-hitter where the starting catcher was pulled.
Anyone know another such game?
I'll have to look it up for sure!
As a kid I always remember the two combined no-hitters of the '70's: this game and the one that happened the very next year with two Chicago White Sox pitchers doing the same.
I'll be designing a card for THAT game as well in the near future, so keep an eye out for it.
For anyone interested in the Oakland no-hit game particulars, here's a link to the box score on the Godly web-site, "":

Another item to point out: Reggie Jackson hit two home runs in the game, the second of which gave him a tie for the home run crown in 1975 with Milwaukee Brewer George Scott, one of THREE such occasions that Reggie would share a home run crown in his career with a Milwaukee Brewer!
And all three times while he was playing for a different team!
How freakin' strange is that?
He's also share the crown in 1980 with Ben Oglivie while playing for the Yankees, and with Gorman Thomas in 1982 while with the Angels.
Man I love this game!


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