Friday, October 31, 2014


Here's a fun card to redesign, mainly do to the fact I found an awesome image to use that allowed me to also create my first "photo-bombing" card at the same time! A do-over of the 1974 Topps Willie McCovey card.
And for all of you "completists" out there, I created one for BOTH the Padres AND the "Nationals" versions.
Take a look:
Original Topps "San Diego" version

Original Topps "Washington" version

Look at "Winnie" in the background!

A "Washington" version for the completists out there

First off, as we all know, the airbrushed image Topps used for "Stretch" just plain-ole stinks! So THAT needed addressing on this blog to begin with. 
So when I was trolling for a nice image of McCovey to use circa 1974, I came across this great shot of him posed with none other than a young Dave Winfield in the background! 
Very cool!
Of McCovey's 22 years in the Major Leagues, three were spent outside San Francisco, from 1974 to 1976 with the Padres and Oakland A's for a brief 11 games at the tail end of the '76 season.
He was a Rookie of the Year in 1959, an M.V.P. in 1969, and eventually a Hall of Fame member when he was inducted in 1986.
"Stretch", "Big Mac", whatever. The man was a monster at the plate, slamming 521 homers before calling it a career in 1980.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Today's trivia deals with some rough "low-water" pitching marks for the decade of the 1970's.
Take a stab and see what you can get.
Answers posted tomorrow…

  1. For qualifying pitchers (at least 162 innings), who posted the fewest wins in a season?
  2. Who posted the highest earned run average in a season among qualifying pitchers during the decade?
  3. Four pitchers tied for suffering the most losses in a season (22) during the 1970's. However only one of them posted less than 10 wins in their tough year. Who was it?
  4. Who yielded the highest Batting Average Against during a season in the '70's among qualifiers?
  5. This pitcher managed to win only three games in a season where he pitched over 200 innings. Adding to this, he would go on to win 20 games the very next year! Who was he?


Matt Keough, A's. He had only 2 wins against 17 losses in 1979.
Phil Huffman, Blue Jays. He finished with a 5.77 E.R.A. in 1979.
Randy Jones, Padres. He went 8-22 in 1974.
4. Matt Keough, A's, who had a .315 B.A.A. in 1979.
5. Jerry Koosman, who went 3-15 for the Mets in 1978, then 20-13 for the Twins in 1979.      

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Man! Here's a guy who is often overlooked in baseball history, and funny enough I almost forgot all about him for my "Then and Now" series: Lou Brock.
Take a look:

I just had to use a picture of him with that Cardinals cap on! Just takes me back…
By the end of the 1979 season Brock was closing out his Hall of Fame career, nailing down his 3000th hit to go along with his 938 stolen bases, 1610 runs scored and .293 lifetime average.
Even at the age of 40 he was doing well, batting over .300 (.304) with 21 stolen bases!
An eight-time stolen base champ, he also collected 200 hits in a season four times, with another four seasons of over 190, and he also scored 100+ runs in a season seven times.
Incredibly enough, in Brock's 19-year career, he made the All-Star team only six times! 
The price you pay for coming up during the years of Mays, Aaron, and Clemente! 
Tough luck indeed!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Here's a "missing" 1973 card for pitcher John Cumberland of the St. Louis Cardinals:

After a very nice 1971 season with the San Francisco Giants which saw him post a 9-6 record with a 2.92 E.R.A. and two shutouts in 45 games and 185 innings, Cumberland started the 1972 season 0-4 with a bloated 8.64 E.R.A., finding himself  traded to the Cardinals for a minor league player on June 16th.
The change of scenery didn't exactly help, as he went on to a 1-1 record with a 6.65 earned run average over 14 games.
All told he went 1-5 with a 7.71 E.R.A. over 23 games and 46.2 innings of work.
He actually didn't appear in a Major League game in 1973, but came back for 17 appearances in 1974 with the California Angels, fairing a bit better with an 0-1 record and 3.74 E.R.A. over 21.2 innings, his last on the big league level.
For his career, Cumberland went 15-16 with a 3.82 earned run average over 110 appearances, 36 of which were starts.

Monday, October 27, 2014


"The Mad Hungarian"…
What an awesome nickname for a about as symbolic a character of 1970's baseball as Al Hrabosky, and the next subject of my "Nicknames of the '70's" series.
Take a look at my card design:

His antics were entertaining to say the least (though not to opposing players), and I remember him towards the end of his career in the early 1980's, along with guys like Brad Leslie, "Goose" Gossage, etc that made the game a riot!
I used a 1976 template since his best year in the Majors was 1975, leading the league in saves and winning percentage with 22 and .813 respectively.
That performance got him a third-place finish in Cy Young voting, as well as a fifth place finish in Most Valuable Player voting.
Though he never quite found the success of that year again, he did play another seven years in the Big Leagues, ending up with the Atlanta Braves in 1982 before hanging them up.
He finished with a nice 64-35 career record, along with a 3.10 earned run average and 97 saves over 545 games, one of which was a start way back when he came up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


I have always wondered why Topps messed around with the photo used on the 1974 Billy Williams card.
Take a look:

What on earth is with ALL that yellow?!
Would love to know where the image is from, and why Topps felt the need to mess with the background like that.
So strange, no?
Anyone have any ideas?
They over saturated the background, and you can even see where the batter's box is divided between the over-saturated side and the "untouched" side (Williams' side).
It's a nice action photo, but sadly ruined with the "effect" going on…

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Today we go ahead and give the "Big Dog", Tony Perez, an "In Action" card in the 1972 set.
Take a look:

One of the anchors of the "Big Red Machine", Perez was an R.B.I. machine, topping 90 or more eight of ten seasons during the 1970's.
2700+ hits, 375+ homers, 1600+ runs batted in, and over 500 doubles over the course of 23 seasons in the Major Leagues.
Enough said for the future Hall of Famer, finally getting welcomed into the doors of Cooperstown in 2000.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Here's a card design I think came out well: a "traded" 1975 Topps Dick Allen card.
Check it out:

Allen had quite an adventurous off-season between the 1974 and 1975 seasons, getting traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves on December 3, 1974, only to THEN get swapped on May 7, 1975 by the Braves to his original Major League team, the Phillies.
While his original 1975 Topps card is a classic in my eyes, it does still have him on the "wrong" team. That is, NOT on the team he played with in '75.
He was coming off of a solid 1974 season which saw him lead the American League in homers (32) and slugging (.563) while batting .301 with 88 runs batted in and 84 runs scored.
But Allen pretty much wore out his welcome on the South Side of Chicago, leading to his departure.
After a couple of "so-so" seasons in Philadelphia, Allen wrapped up his career in 1977 after appearing in 54 games for the Oakland A's.
There are some guys I'll find ANY reason to design a card for, and Allen is definitely one of them!
Hope to have more here in the future…

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Today's Thursday trivia deals with high-marks only good for second place.
That is, the highest totals for players in an offensive category as runner-up during the 1970's.
Take a stab and see what you remember. 
As usual answers will be posted tomorrow…

  1. Who posted the highest batting average in a season without winning the batting title?
  2. Who hit the most homers in a season during the 1970's without winning the homer crown?
  3. These two players had the highest R.B.I. totals as second place finishers during the decade. One in the American League, the other in the National League. Who were they?
  4. Who scored the most runs in a season without leading his league during the decade?
  5. Who stole the most bases in a season during the 1970's without leading his league?

Ralph Garr, Braves. He hit .343 in 1971, second behind Joe Torre's .363.
Hank Aaron, Braves. He slammed 47 homers in 1971, but finished one behind league leader Willie Stargell of the Pirates, who hit 48.
Greg Luzinski, Phillies in 1977 and Jim Rice, Red Sox in 1979. Each drove in 130 runs, only to finish in second place behind George Foster, Reds and Don Baylor, Angels, respectively.
4. Bobby Bonds, Giants, who scored 134 runs in 1970. Billy Williams scored 137 for the Cubs.
5. Ron LeFlore, Tigers. He stole 78 bases in 1979, four behind league-leader Willie Wilson of the Royals.     

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Let's stick with the 1975 and Boston Red Sox another day and allow me to present my design for a "missing" Dick McAuliffe card.
Take a look:

The long time Detroit Tiger infielder was wrapping up a nice 16-year career in 1975, appearing in only seven games for the BoSox.
However in 1974 he did appear in 100 games for Boston, batting .210 over 316 plate appearances.
Those two seasons would be the only ones where McAuliffe didn't suit up for the Tigers, for whom he played between 1960 and 1973 manning both second and shortstop.
He made three consecutive all-star teams between 1965 and 1967, and even finished seventh in MVP voting in 1968 when the Tigers won it all.
All told he batted .247 for his career, with 197 homers and 697 runs batted in over 1700 games.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Today's "dedicated rookie card" is a 1975 Topps creation for Boston Red Sox breakout star Fred Lynnn, who exploded onto the baseball scene that year on his way to becoming the first player to ever win Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season.
Take a look:

Lynn absolutely smoked the ball that year, hitting a robust .331 with 47 doubles, 21 homers and 105 runs batted in to go along with 103 runs scored and 175 hits.
He even had seven triples and 10 stolen bases thrown in, as well as a Gold Glove to add to his 1975 award haul!
His actual 1975 card was an airbrushed multi-player rookie specimen that I have been vocal about hating, so I always wanted to create a card for him in that awesome techni-color set.
Came across this nice picture of him to use so I thought now was as good a time as any…

Monday, October 20, 2014


Here was a card I wasn't so sure how to tackle: a "Super Veteran/Then and Now" card of Roberto Clemente.
If not for the tragedy that took Clemente's life during the 1972/73 off-season, I don't think 1972 would have been his last in the big leagues.
But history being the way it is, for better or worse, Clemente's Hall of Fame career was indeed ended in 1972, so I'd like to think this is more of another "tribute" card to his memory than anything else.
Take a look:

Teamed up with the "In Memoriam" and "Highlights from the 1970's" cards I've already introduced earlier on this blog, I hope you all feel this is a nice addition to the Clemente "virtual" Topps card roster.
A Hall of Famer in every sense of the term both on and off the field, his star still shines bright some four decades later.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Let's go and give the eventual American Most Valuable Player in 1972 an "In Action" card: Dick "Rich" Allen.
Take a look:

When the '72 set was unveiled to children's grubby little hands throughout America, Allen was still being called "Rich" on his cards.
However, upon arriving on the South Side of Chicago, he would thereafter be known by his preferred name, Dick, which is what he always wanted according to his autobiography.
So I had his name adjusted accordingly here.
Simply put, Allen had it all going on in 1972, just missing out on the Triple Crown while leading the Junior Circuit in homers with 37 and runs batted in with 113, as well as walks (99), on-base-percentage (.420) and slugging (.603).
And let's not forget that although you'd think otherwise, he chipped in with 19 stolen bases and five triples!
He was just on fire.
Needless to say he ran away with the M.V.P. voting that year, finishing about 160 points ahead of runner-up Joe Rudi of the Oakland A's.
I've already mentioned on more than one occasion how much I love Dick Allen, and I'll always try coming up with any reason to create a new card for the "Wampum Walloper", so keep an eye out for more of them in the future...

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Here's a "missing" 1973 card for a guy who spent nine years on the Major League level, though in only two seasons did he really see "full time" action: catcher Jerry McNertney.
Check it out:

In actuality McNertney was closing out his career in 1973, appearing in only nine games with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But in 1972 he did play in 39 games for St. Louis, mainly as a pinch-hitter and back-up to a young up and coming stud behind the plate, Ted Simmons.
McNertney's numbers for the 1972 season were: 10 hits in 48 at-bats (a .208 average), with three doubles and a triple among his "knocks".
So I figured why not give him a card in the 1973 set since I came across a nice photo of him in a Cardinals uniform, so here you go.
He came up rather late at the age of 27 in 1964 with the Chicago White Sox, appearing in 73 games, and stayed with the Sox until 1969 where he found himself suiting up for the Seattle Pilots in their only year of existence.
That season would have McNertney see the most playing time, appearing in 128 games, good for 449 plate appearances.
The following season, as the organization moved to Milwaukee and renamed the "Brewers", McNertney's playing time was diminished a bit, appearing in 111 games with 330 plate appearances.
The next two years saw him as a backup in St. Louis, playing in only 95 games combined before moving on to Pittsburgh, as I mentioned earlier, for his last hurrah in the big leagues.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Up next in my "Nicknames of the '70's" thread is one complicated player from the era, slugger Dave Kingman, aka "Kong".
Check out my card first:

I specifically picked this image of Kingman because it catches the essence of Kingman himself.
The man was "left of center" to say the least, and I always thought he was cool for that! And in this photo he looks a bit miffed, or just plain annoyed, so I thought "perfect!"
I chose the 1977 card design because of what that season meant to his career.
As we all know, Kingman would play for no less than FOUR teams that season (one in each division actually): the Mets, Padres, Angels and Yankees.
Coming off of two seasons of serious home run production for the Mets in 1975 (36) and 1976 (37), he was about to top those numbers when he finally found himself in a Chicago Cubs uniform in 1978, slugging in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field after signing with them as a free agent. 
Many Mets fans still hurt from the infamous "Midnight Massacre" house-cleaning in 1977 which saw the organization trade Kingman to the Padres, Tom Seaver to the Reds, and Mike Phillips to the Cardinals, all on June 15th.
In 1979 Kingman would have his finest season as a big leaguer when he lead the Majors in home runs with 48 round-trippers, a career high, along with 115 runs batted in and a very respectable .288.
He'd find himself back in Queens as a New York Met by 1981, after falling out of favor in Chi-Town, and would lead the National League again in home runs in 1982 when he hit 37, along with a dismal .204 average.
By the 1983 season there was change in the air around Shea, and the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals on their way to revamping the team towards an eventual 1986 World Series championship.
After playing out the season on the bench in '83 Kingman signed with the Oakland A's, and quite honestly, was nothing short of a "monster" at the plate over his three years there.
All he did was hit 35 homers in 1984, 30 in 1985, and 35 in 1986. Pretty impressive totals!
Yet once again, Kingman's odd personality got the best of him, and after some incidents with the local media, found himself signing with the San Francisco Giants in 1987, but never suited up for the parent club, only seeing some action in their Minor League system before calling it a career.
His 35 home runs in his final Major League season are still a high-water mark in baseball history.
All told, Kingman played 16-years in the Majors, and slammed 442 homers with 1210 runs batted in, and a .236 lifetime average.
But for many of us here in New York growing up in the 70's and 80's, whether you were a Yankee fan, Met fan or whatever, Kingman just seemed like a seriously weird dude who could hit the ball a country-mile!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


This week's trivia deal with shortstops in the 1970's and offense.
See how many you can get.
As usual answers will be posted tomorrow.

  1. What shortstop hit the most home runs in a season during the '70's?
  2. What shortstop was the only one to collect 200 or more hits in a season during the '70's?
  3. Besides Templeton, who are the only two other shortstops to score 100 or more runs in a season during the decade? Hint: they both played for the same team.
  4. Who stole the most bases in a season among shortstops in the 1970's?
  5. Rico Petrocelli was the only shortstop in the '70's to top 100 R.B.I.'s in a season (1970), besides him who came the closest to 100?

Rico Petrocelli, Red Sox, with 29 in 1970.
Gary Templeton, Cardinals. He did this twice: in 1977 and 1979.
The Cubs' Don Kessinger in 1970 and Ivan DeJesus in 1978.
4. Frank Taveras, Pirates, with 70 in 1977.
5. Roy Smalley, Twins, with 95 in 1979.    

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Seems like I'm a bit Ron Guidry heavy recently, with a "highlight" card, a "nickname" card, and now a "dedicated rookie" card.
Then again, why not?! I STILL love Guidry and everything he did for the Yankees as I was growing up!
I always wanted to create a dedicated rookie for him, since his actual rookie card from the 1976 set is both a multi-player (ugh) AND uses a horrible almost-unrecognizable photo of him without his mustache.
As a matter of fact, in 1976 he already was sporting his 'stache, so I found an "early" image of him to use on this card-creation, though I find the info on the photo suspect, as it states it's from 1975 (no way).
Nevertheless, here's my 1976 Topps "Dedicated Rookie" for "Louisiana Lightning":

Thanks for the memories Ron!!!!
#49 forever!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Ok. So here's a card that has been done a bunch of times, so I wanted to try and do something a little different.
Take a look at my take on a 1976 Topps Reggie Jackson card showing him as a Baltimore Oriole:

This is my second card (following the 1977 Tom Seaver) in my "Traded" sub-set, creating cards of players that were traded before Topps could get them on the correct team by Opening Day.
As we all know, Reggie was traded by the Oakland A's right around the start of the 1976 season to the Baltimore Orioles.
And even though we were left with what is STILL one of my all-time favorite cards, that '76 card of Reggie would have been nice to have depicted him on the correct team.
There are a lot of really takes on this out there, for sure. Hope you all think this one is an adequate addition to them as well!

Monday, October 13, 2014


Here was a card I had a lot of fun designing for my "Nicknames of the '70's" sub-set: a card for Jim "Mudcat" Grant.
Check it out:

"Mudcat" was coming to the end of his career by 1971, pitching for the Pirates before moving on to the Oakland A's for the last 15 games of a 14-year career.
Easily his best season was 1965 for the pennant winning Minnesota Twins, going 21-7 with a 3.30 earned run average, 142 K's and a league leading six shutouts.
Seems the way he got his now famous nickname was as follows:

"Beginning in 1958, he pitched for Cleveland through part of 1964, with a 15-9 year in 1961. He was the roommate of his boyhood idol Larry Doby when he first came to Cleveland, and Doby dubbed him "Mudcat", saying that he was "ugly as a Mississippi mudcat". The nickname stuck."

Quite an anecdote!
All in all, Grant retired with a career record of 145-119, with a 3.63 E.R.A., 18 shutouts, 53 saves and 1267 strikeouts over 571 appearances, 293 of which were starts.
And dig those crazy side-burns!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I have to admit, here's a "missing" card of a guy I didn't know about: Jose Ortiz, formerly of both the Chicago White Sox and Cubs.
Check out my card design first:

I can't remember where I came across the guy, but I did notice he played in 36 games for the Cubs in 1971, good for 96 plate appearances and 88 at-bats.
So I figured I'd design a card for him in the 1972 set since he wasn't represented.
I found a decent image I could work with, but wish it was a better shot.
Nevertheless, here you go!
Those games in 1971 would be the last of Ortiz's career after playing in 31 games for the South-Side White Sox in 1969 and 1970.
An outfielder, Ortiz did manage to "retire" with a .301 batting average based on his 37 hits in 123 at-bats.
He also collected nine doubles, a triple and six runs batted in with 14 runs scored before he hung up the cleats.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Let's give the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Fergie Jenkins, a 1972 "In Action" card:

While I am a HUGE fan of the 1972 set, can you imagine how much more awesome it would have been if Topps arranged the card sequences to have "In Action" cards for super-stars instead of some of the guys who actually got one?
As for Jenkins: seven time 20 game winner, six times with 200+ strikeouts in a season, 284 lifetime wins and 3192 strikeouts.
He was also the first pitcher to record 3000+ career strikeouts while issuing less than 1000 walks.
Jenkins was just plain awesome. And he went about being awesome while pretty much performing under the radar.
He put in a 19-year career that led him straight to the Hall of Fame, as he was inducted in 1991.
As his nickname states, the man was certainly "Fly"…

Friday, October 10, 2014


One of the more underrated offensive seasons for a catcher during the 1970's was put in by Giants catcher Dick Dietz in 1970, when he hit 22 homers, 107 runs batted in, 36 doubles and 109 walks, to go along with an excellent slash line of .300/.426/.515.
Granted, when you have a season like this at the same time some young stud named Johnny Bench is destroying opposing pitching, you can see how it happens that your season goes somewhat unappreciated.
I'm not sure if it still applies, but for years Dietz' 1970 was the only season in Major League history of a catcher hitting .300 with 100 runs batted in and 100 walks.
But Dietz had one of those "career years", as he was never able to repeat the performance.
As a mater of fact, by the time the 1974 season opened, he was already out of Major League ball for good.
However in my mind he did put in enough time in 1973 with the Atlanta Braves to warrant a card in the 1974 Topps set, so let me present my "missing" 1974 Dietz card:

Though Dietz carved out an eight-year career playing for the Giants, Dodgers and Braves between 1966 and 1973, he only had two seasons of full playing time, 1970 and 1971.
In his final season, 1973, he appeared in 83 games for Atlanta, with 191 plate appearances, splitting time between first base and catcher.
He hit  a very respectable .295 with three homers and 24 runs batted in, and a VERY respectable 49 walks, which gave him a fantastic .474 OBP.
As a matter of fact, he retired from the game with a nice .390 career OBP, along with a .261 batting average.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Thursdays are all about trivia.
Today I ask a few questions regarding pitchers who threw 300 or more innings in a season during the 1970's.
See what answers you can get.
I'll post them up tomorrow as usual…

  1. Among all 300-inning pitchers, who are the only two to sport a losing record in the '70's?
  2. Who appeared in the fewest games in a season they threw 300+ innings?
  3. Who had the fewest strikeouts of any pitcher throwing 300+ innings in the '70's?
  4. Who posted the highest E.R.A. in a 300+ inning season?
  5. Who posted the fewest complete games in a 300+ inning season during the decade?


Mickey Lolich in 1974 (16-21), and Phil Niekro in 1977 (16-20).
Gaylord Perry, Indians, who did it twice: 37 games in both 1974 & 1975.
Randy Jones, Padres. He K'd only 93 batters in 1976.
4. Mickey Lolich, Tigers. He had a 4.15 earned run average in 1974 to go along with his losing record.
5. Jim Kaat, White Sox. He had only 12 complete games that year!.   

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Today I wanted to start a "traded" sub-set that encompasses the entire decade of late or mid-season trades that almost assuredly would have been produced had Topps started their "Traded Set" before 1981.
I was a HUGE fan of the traded sets in the early-80's, and was even the proud owner of 25 Fleer 1984 "Traded Sets", only to sell them seven years later for $250 each: TEN TIMES the price I paid for them when they came out!
Anyway, today I want to start with a 1977 card of "Tom Terrific", Tom Seaver, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds (and broke many a Mets fans heart) on June 15th of that year.
Check it out:

I wanted to do something different than the usual card format Topps had for the set, so for this one I went horizontal, with a "traded" line running across the bottom with the date of the transaction.
I'll never forget that day, even as a Yankee fan at the age of eight. I was crushed that Tom Seaver wasn't in New York any longer!
But that was nothing compared to many of my Met fan friends, who were absolutely distraught at the thought of Seaver now pitching for the Reds!
On a side note: It's amazing to think that Seaver was traded to the reigning two-time World Champions, STILL loaded with Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey and Johnny Bench, yet they never brought home another championship until 1990 with their surprising sweep of the Oakland A's.
I've mentioned this before on this blog, but years later in the '80's I was watching an interview with former "Big Red Machine" manager Sparky Anderson, and he stated that the reason the Reds didn't win another World Series was because they lost Tony Perez, whom Anderson considered a vital "cog in the Machine".
I remember how that stuck with me since the Reds still had all those other awesome players. Yet here was Anderson saying that it was the loss of Perez that killed the dynasty.
Interesting to say the least!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


It's sad that Dick Allen's career was already coming to a close by 1976 at the age of 34.
He still saw some time in 1977 with the Oakland A's, but his last card as an active player was the year before, so I went and designed a "Then and Now" card for him in a Phillies uniform for '76.
Take a look:

The man was a beast at the plate, as evidenced by his 351 homers and 1119 runs batted in, in only 6332 at-bats! 
A Rookie of the Year in 1964, and an M.V.P. in 1972, he easily could have put up Hall of Fame worthy numbers had injuries and personality clashes not gotten in the way.
Some argue that he did in fact warrant Hall induction actually, especially since he did all of his offensive damage during the modern "dead-ball" era of the mid-60's to early-70's.
Not my argument to make here, but not something so easily dismissed.
Anyway, it would have been cool to see him still playing by the time I was avidly watching games in the late-70's/early-80's.
Weird to think that if he hung around to the 20-year mark for a Major League career, he could have had baseball cards into the mid-80's!

Monday, October 6, 2014


Allow me to hark back to perhaps my first actual "as-it-was-happening" baseball historic moment as a nine-year old kid: Ron Guidry's 18-strikeout performance against the California Angels at Yankee Stadium.
That was the moment Ron Guidry, left-handed pitcher for the Yanks, became "Louisiana Lightning".
With that in mind, he's up next in my "Nicknames of the '70s" sub-set thread:

1978 was one of those years a pitcher has it all working for him, along with a little bit of luck.
All Guidry did was post an insane 25-3 record, with a still Major League record .893 winning percentage for anyone with 20 or more wins, 248 strikeouts (still a New York Yankee season record, and a sparkling 1.74 earned run average with nine shutouts.
Man o' man! 
I STILL say he was ripped of an M.V.P. Award that year, no matter what Jim Rice did for the Red Sox! 
So, with that injustice, Guidry had to settle for second place, while taking home the A.L. Cy Young Award unanimously.
It's easy to forget that Guidry had only 10 full seasons in the Majors, with parts of four others completing his wonderful 14-year career.
He ended up with a 170-91 record, good for a .651 winning percentage, along with a 3.29 earned run average, 26 shutouts,1778 strikeouts and five Gold Glove Awards.
I absolutely loved that guy! Still do. A "Yankee for life", he's one of those guys that Yankee fans hold a special place for all these years later.
The "Gator", Ron Guidry, AKA "Louisiana Lightning"!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Regardless of the fact that he played his last game in 1975, I feel that long time reliever Lindy McDaniel should have had a card in the 1976 Topps set.
So I went and designed one myself, check it out:

McDaniel was closing out an excellent 21 year career that saw him come up as a 19-year old phenom in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Over the next 21 years McDaniel would go on to lead the league in saves three times, winning percentage once, and even finish in the top-3 and top-5 in Cy Young and M.V.P. voting respectively in 1960 when he went 12-4 with a 2.09 earned run average and 26 saves.
In 1975, at the age of 39, McDaniel was pitching for the Kansas City Royals and had a great final year on the mound, going 5-1 with a 4.15 E.R.A. over 40 games and 78 innings of work.
I think that playing time warranted a card for a guy who, at the time of his retirement was second all-time in game appearances for a pitcher, with 987, just short of joining Hoyt Wilhelm as the only two hurlers to appear in that many games.
All told, McDaniel went 141-119 with a 3.45 E.R.A., with 172 saves pitching for the Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees and Royals.
A very nice career indeed.
I'll be designing a "Super Veteran" card for him in my "Then and Now" series for sure…so keep an eye out for it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Hey "baseballbrent", here you go, a 1972 "In Action" card of Detroit Tigers all-time great Al Kaline…
Check it out:

Brent had a legitimate point regarding Tiger players in the 1972 that were missing from the "In Action" sub-set: guys like Kaline, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan!
Well here's the first of what I hope to be a few "fixes" to this problem.
Al Kaline: future Hall of Famer, member of the 3000 hit club, 399 home runs, and possibly the most popular Tiger player ever!
How Topps could leave superstars like this out of the "In Action" sub-set, while giving other guys like Jerry Johnson and Tom Haller an "extra" card is beyond me...
Slowly but surely we'll have all the omitted stars represented, so stay tuned…

Friday, October 3, 2014


Next up for my "Then and Now" series is a 1974 version celebrating Orlando Cepeda, who was wrapping up a 17-year Hall of Fame career.
Check it out:

Granted, the man was actually a Kansas City Royals player that year, but for the sub-set here I've been following whatever team Topps had the "super veteran" on.
Cepeda just came off an excellent season for the Boston Red Sox as their first designated hitter in 1973, hitting .289 with 20 home runs and 86 runs batted in, so you would have thought he had a few decent years ahead of him, even at the age of 36.
However, after a scant 33 games with the Royals, his career came to a close, but not before posting some excellent numbers: 2351 hits, 417 doubles, 379 homers, 1365 runs batted in and a .297 average.
Throw in an M.V.P. Award in 1967 with the Cardinals, a Rookie of the Year Award in 1958 with the Giants, and seven all-star games, and you can see why the "Baby Bull" was finally called to Cooperstown in 1999 by the Veteran's Committee.
As I've mentioned before, what a line-up the Giants had with Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays supplying the power!
Three future Hall of Famers who all won a Rookie of the Year and at least one Most Valuable Player Award during their careers. Wow…

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Quiz time again, and this week's questions will deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, both hitting and pitching, during the 1970's.
Answers will be posted tomorrow…

  1. What reliever posted the most saves in a season for the Dodgers during the decade?
  2. What batter posted the highest slugging percentage in a season during the decade for L.A.?
  3. What pitcher posted the most strikeouts in a season for the Dodgers between 1970-79?
  4. Who scored the most runs in a season for L.A. during the '70's?
  5. What Dodger pitcher posted the lowest E.R.A. in a season during the decade?


Jim Brewer, 1970. He posted 24 saves.
Reggie Smith, 1977. He had a nice .576 SA.
Andy Messersmith, 1974. He struck out 221 batters that year.
4. Davey Lopes, 1979, with 109 runs scored.
5. Don Sutton, 1972. He had a 2.08 E.R.A. that year.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I was always a HUGE fan of Cecil Cooper, and I also always thought he never got the recognition he deserved.
The guy was a machine! And it always seemed he was among the leaders in runs batted in, batting average, doubles and hits.
A while back a had a small series of "dedicated rookie cards" featuring Hall of Fame players who had their first card appearance on a multi-player rookie card during the 1970's.
I wanted to expand on that series with players that never made it to Cooperstown, but had great careers nevertheless.
Funny enough, I already profiled Cooper's rookie card since he shared it with Carlton Fisk.
Check it out:

So with that, allow me to present my 1972 "dedicated rookie card" for Cooper:

Cooper had such a solid 17-year career: over 1000 runs scored, 2000 hits, 400 doubles, 200 homers and 1000 runs batted in to go along with a .298 lifetime average.
But it was his five year stretch from 1979 to 1983 that I really remember.
He topped 200 hits three times, led the American League in doubles twice, runs batted in twice, and topped 100 R.B.I.'s four times.
Cooper also finished in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting four of the five seasons, also garnering all-star selection four times along with two Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards.
His 1980 season is GROSSLY underrated (thanks in large part to George Brett's amazing year), where he had 219 hits, 25 homers, 122 R.B.I.'s, 17 stolen bases, a league-leading 335 total bases and a .352 batting average!
I guess what hurt him the most as far as "big" career numbers was the fact that he didn't really hit his stride until he was 27, his first year as a Milwaukee Brewer.
Nevertheless, I'll always remember Cooper as a force at the plate as part of that incredible Brewers line-up that also featured Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, and Ted Simmons.
How awesome are those names?


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