Sunday, November 30, 2014


Has anyone else ever wondered how Red Sox part-time catcher Bob Montgomery managed to have a card in every Topps set between 1971 and 1980 while barely playing!?
I can easily count 1973, 1977, 1978 and 1979 as cards that really leave me scratching my head.
Even his 1974 card can be argued as a "why?" situation, with only 34 games of action in 1973.
In the years previously mentioned, Montgomery played in only 24 games in 1972, 31 games in 1976, 17 games in 1977 and 10 games in 1978.
Yet Topps gave him a slot in every card set the following year.
Just wondering why he was in Topps good graces so much.
In the ten years Montgomery played in the Majors, 1970-1979 (all in Boston), he played a total of 387 games! 
So with that average of 39 games a year, he scored TEN Topps cards!
Just one of those quirky things that keep me going in this hobby. You gotta love it!
Let's take a look at his "mystery" cards from the 1970's, shall we?





I don't remember Montgomery at all as a kid, but I'm guessing he was just a solid guy to have on the bench for the Red Sox.
His career numbers are decent enough: a .258 batting average with 23 homers and 156 runs batted in over 1185 at-bats.
But he WAS one of those players I remember pulling out of packs every year, never really paying much attention to his stats on the reverse.
Good for you Bob!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Let's give Detroit Tigers workhorse Mickey Lolich an "In Action" card in the 1972 set.
Take a look:

What a MONSTER year he had in 1971 huh?!
All Lolich put in for Detroit was a 25-14 record (39 decisions!), 2.92 earned run average, 308 strikeouts, four shutouts and 29 complete games in 45 starts! Good for an eye-popping 376 innings of work! 
Just incredible!
All of those numbers got Lolich a second-place finish in Cy Young voting at the end of the year, as well as a fifth-place finish in M.V.P. Voting.
By the time he hung up his cleats in 1979, Lolich posted a 217-191 record with a 3.44 E.R.A., 41 shutouts and 2832 strikeouts, which were the most for a left-hander at that point in history.

Friday, November 28, 2014


My subject for the latest "Super Veteran" card is former all-star shortstop and Major League manager Jim Fregosi.
Take a look:

Exciting since it's the first 1978 format for this series, and I've also come to appreciate Fregosi and his career so much more since I started this blog.
Fregosi was wrapping up a very nice 18-year career in 1978, and although he is largely remembered for being "the guy traded for Nolan Ryan", was arguably the best shortstop in the American League in the 1960's while with the Angels.
Between 1963 and 1970 he was a six-time all-star and garnered M.V.P. votes each and every year!
After his playing days he immediately went on to a managerial career, in 1978 as a matter of fact, leading his former team the California Angels between 1978 and 1981 before moving on to head the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000).
A true baseball "lifer", I'm happy to give him props any chance I can here…

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Hope you all have a great day, awesome holiday weekend and fantastic stretch run to the new year.
And I hope many of you didn't get slammed by this storm that barreled through parts of the country.
Today's trivia will deal with players who led the Major League in an offensive category by the widest margin. Remember now, this is the MAJOR League leader, not just their league-leader.
Answers will be posted tomorrow…

  1. What player led the Majors by the widest margin in batting average in a season during the decade?
  2. Who had the widest margin of a lead in home runs in a season during the '70's?
  3. Who led the Majors in Runs Batted In with the largest margin over the second place finisher?
  4. Who had the largest lead over second place in Runs in a season during the decade?
  5. Who posted the most hits in a season over the second-place finisher during the decade?
  6. Here's an easy one! Who had the widest lead in stolen bases during a season in the 1970's? 

1. Rod Carew, 1977 with a 50-point lead over Dave Parker.
George Foster, with 11 more home runs than Jeff Burroughs, 52 to 41.
Johnny Bench in 1970 and George Foster in 1977 with a 19-RBI-lead over second place finishers Tony Perez and Greg Luzinski.
4. Pete Rose, 1976, when he had 17 more runs (130) than second place finisher Joe Morgan.
5. Pete Rose, who had 230 hits in 1973, 27 more than Rod Carew.
6. Lou Brock, with a 59-stolen base lead over second place finisher Davey Lopes, 118 to 59.    

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Today's "Dedicated Rookie Card" goes to four-time batting champ, Bill Madlock, then of the Chicago Cubs.
Take a look at my design:

I found this really sweet image of "Mad Dog" batting during the 1974 season, his first in Chicago.
Madlock initially came up with the Texas Rangers at the end of the 1973 season, and was part of the mega-trade that sent former Chicago pitching-ace Fergie Jenkins to the Rangers in October.
Topps did get the "fixes" in time to have a Texas Rangers Jenkins card, while Madlock was portrayed as a Chicago Cub on the multi-player rookie (which I happened to profile the other day as part of my "#600" post!) he made his debut on.
As I stated at the top, Madlock was a four-time batting leader, which is easy to forget sometimes.
He led the National league in back-to-back seasons in 1975 and 1976 with the Cubs, then in 1981 and 1983 while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In between he put in two and a half seasons on the West Coast with the San Francisco Giants, then after his Pittsburgh days he went on to suit up for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers before retiring in 1987.
A three-time all-star, Madlock finished off his career with a .305 average, 20008 hits, 163 homers and 860 runs batted in over 1806 games and 7372 plate appearances.
Watch for my "Mad Dog" "Nicknames of the 70's" design, which I'll be working on shortly!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


"Captain Hook".
A great nickname for a GREAT Hall of Fame manager, Sparky Anderson, he of the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers.
So let's give him the next slot in my "Nicknames of the 70's" thread shall we?
Take a look:

I used a 1975 template and a fantastic photo of Anderson with his Hall of Fame catcher, Johnny Bench after (what else?), waiting for a relief pitcher!
It would have been too easy to use some portrait shot of him, but this photo just seemed "right", even WITH his back to the camera.
I used the 1975 template since he was at the height of his league domination with the Reds and his juggernaut lineup: Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, George Foster et al. 
But the nickname, of course, comes from the fact that Sparky was really one of the first managers to rely heavily on his bullpen.
When you look at the "Big Red Machine" teams of the mid-70's you find solid Major League starters like Don Gullet, Gary Nolan, Jack Billingham, etc.
But there was never a true "ace", which was actually rather abundant in the Majors during the decade.
However, the Reds DID have solid guys out of the pen like Tom Hall, Rawly Eastwick, Pedro Borbon, Clay carroll and Will McEnaney.
These were guys that could come in at any time during the game and pitch as long as Sparky needed them to.
So while so many other teams during the decade had guys completing 20 or more of their starts every season, the Reds didn't even have one of their starters complete 10 or more in either of their World Champion years.
But how can you argue with success, right?
And Anderson found a lot of success in his 26-year managing career!
Three world titles (the third coming in 1984 with the Tigers), seven first place finishes, two more pennants (1970 and 1972), and 2194 career victories.
He also won two Manager of the Year Awards, in 1984 and 1987 (the award was instituted in 1983, or he almost assuredly would have won a couple with Cincinnati), and guided five All-Star teams (four in the N.L., one in the A.L.).
Just a classic manager who managed some classic teams!
It's amazing to think that when he took over the Reds in 1970, he was only 36 years of age! It's easy to remember him like the grandfatherly figure he was the last part of his career.
Sparky Anderson, "Captain Hook", a Hall of Famer inducted into Cooperstown in 2000 by the Veteran's Committee.
Great guy…

Monday, November 24, 2014


Well, another hundred posts have gone by and I find myself at #600 for the blog!
Thank you all for reading this far. It's been a blast and I hope to keep it going for a long while!
So let's dive right in and check out cards numbered "600" through the decade of the 1970's…

1970 Willie Mays

Was never a fan of this card. The boring 1970 template paired up with a boring photo of the "Say Hey Kid" has always made this one of my least favorite Willie Mays cards.
What a shame, but then again the 1970 was a bit on the boring side anyway.
Nevertheless, it's Willie Mays, beyond super-star, beyond legend…

1971 Willie Mays

Well what do you know, two years in a row for Mays!
Nice card of the future Hall of Fame star at the tail end of his career.
The 1971 black-bordered template has always been one of my favorites!
Love this card!

1972 Al Kaline

Great card of the Tigers great!
What a set, and what a nice colorful slab of cardboard showing perhaps the most popular Detroit Tiger player ever!

1973 Dave McNally

The Baltimore star pitcher in the prime of his career. One of the anchors of that Baltimore pitching staff also featuring Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, etc.
184 lifetime wins, 3.24 E.R.A., and a .607 winning percentage, and the winner of 20+ four years in a row between 1968 and 1971.

1974 Rookie Outfielders (Bill Madlock)

If not for Madlock, a forgettable card if there ever was one.
But hey, you have a future four-time batting champ, so it's a keeper for sure!
I'll be designing a "dedicated rookie card" for Madlock in the near future, so keep an eye out for it!

1975 Rod Carew

Great card of the perennial batting champ and future 3000-hit club member!
In the prime of his career, 1975 would be his fourth batting championship in a row, sixth of his career.
For good measure he'd go on to tack on two more in 1977 and 1978.
Another future Hall of Fame star on a beautiful piece of cardboard!

1976 Tom Seaver

I have always loved this card. I don't know why since it doesn't have a great action shot, but I've always been a fan of the 1976 set design, and it's "Tom Terrific" in the prime of his career.
Another future Hall of Fame player, winner of 311 games, and over 3600 career strikeouts.
One of those "legends beyond legends"! I was lucky enough to be at his 300th win at Yankee Stadium (Phil Rizzuto Day) in 1985. Will never forget it!

1977 Jim Palmer

Great card of the Orioles Hall of Fame hurler!
Beautiful action shot on the clean 1977 design.
Palmer was just incredible that decade! Eight-times a 20+ game winner, sub-3.00 earned run average, and six-time all-star in the '70's.
The best pitcher in the American League for the decade.

1978 Frank Tanana

A pitcher with a very bright future until injuries curtailed his career.
Great set and nice card for the Angels flame-thrower.
Even with his injuries he went on to win 240 games with 2773 strikeouts and 34 shutouts over 21 seasons.
Very underrated career!

1979 George Foster

I have always hated this card! I'm sorry, but the "blank" batting helmet Foster is wearing just annoys the heck out of me!
The reigning home run champ in the National league, former Most valuable Player in 1977, member of the "Big Red Machine", and yet the card reeks of "unauthorized" garbage!
Ugh. Lousy way to wrap up the decade and cards numbered 600.
But a nice collection nevertheless!
Six out of ten cards bearing future Hall of Famers isn't bad, right!?
Now onto 700!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Up next in my "MIA-MIA" thread is Steve Carlton, pictured here as a St. Louis Cardinal pitcher even though by the time this card would have come out he was pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, on his way to a season for the ages.
But first, my card design:

His last season as a Cardinal was a good one in 1971, as he posted his first 20-win season, going 20-9 with a 3.56 earned run average, four shutouts and 172 strikeouts.
Traded for pitcher Rick Wise, Carlton would then go on to become superstar in Philadelphia, beginning with his very first season there.
In 1972 he was just legendary, posting a 27-10 record with a tiny 1.97 E.R.A., eight shutouts and 310 strikeouts in a whopping 346.1 innings of work!
This "Triple Crown" year was all produced for a last place team, and the guy almost won HALF the teams wins!
Just monster in every sense.
All he did the rest of the way was top 300 wins, 4000 strikeouts, 50 shutouts and 700 starts in his 24 year career!
The first guy to take home four Cy Young Awards, he led his league in wins four times, strikeouts five times, E.R.A. once and was named to ten all-star teams.
Needless to say, by the time he was eligible for the Hall of Fame, he was in on his first try, getting named to 436 of 456 ballots.
Sure we already had "Lefty" Grove, and "Lefty" Gomez, but Carlton was more than worthy of the same nickname for all of his accomplishments.
I'll be sure to create a "Nickname" card for him in the near future.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Let's pay some respect to the "Capital Punisher", Frank Howard with a 1974 card capping off his awesome career.
Take a look at my design:

You can even consider this a "Missing in Action" card since Howard put in 85 games and 251 plate appearances in his final season before calling it a career.
At 6' 7" and 250+ pounds, the man was an absolute beast!
A Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1960, he had his best seasons as a member of the Washington Senators between 1965 and 1971, posting three consecutive years of 40+ homers, leading the league in 1968 and 1970 with 44 each time.
In between those two he slammed 48 homers, but fell one short of the league lead behind Harmon Killebrew's 49.
By the time "Hondo" retired he hit 382 lifetime home runs, with 1119 runs batted in, 864 runs scored, and 1774 hits in 16 seasons.
I'm definitely going to design a "nicknames of the 70's" card for him, especially since he had TWO cool ones (mentioned earlier).

Friday, November 21, 2014


Here's the next card in my "1976 Project" that I have been working on for one of this blogs readers.
It is a design for Dick Sharon of the San Diego Padres, take a look:

After appearing the previous two years in Topps sets as a Detroit Tiger, Sharon was left out of the 1976 set, even though he played in 91 games for the Padres, good for 191 plate appearances.
His numbers for the year: a .194 batting average, with 31 hits in 160 at-bats. 
Among his hits were seven doubles and four homers to go along with 14 runs scored and 20 runs batted in.
As it turned out it would be the final year of Sharon's brief three-year career, and he finished up with a lifetime .218 batting average with 13 homers and 102 hits over 242 games.
But his story doesn't end there!
I came across this article on Sharon as I was looking over his career for this post.
Seems he was one of those characters that graced the game in the 1970's, and the article is an entertaining read for those interested:

He even commented on the article! (scroll down to the bottom of the article for his post).
You have to love a guy like this!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Thursday trivia time again, and today we'll look at players who collected Extra Base hits in bushels during the decade.
See how many you can get.
Answers posted tomorrow, as usual…

  1. Who was the first player from the American league to lead the Majors in Extra Base hits in the 1970's, and what year?
  2. Who was the only player with 90 or more EBH during the decade?
  3. What was the lowest amount of EBH to lead a league during the 1970's?
  4. Who was the only batting champ to lead the Major League in EBH during the decade?
  5. Who was the only batter NOT to drive in 100+ runs during their EBH-leading season?

Reggie Jackson, A's in 1975 with 78.
Willie Stargell, Pirates. He had 90 on the nose in 1973.
Graig Nettles, Yankees. He led the A.L. with only 63 EBH in 1976.
4. Billy Williams, Cubs, who had 77 EBH in 1972.
5. Hal McRae, who drove in "only" 92 while leading the Majors with 86 EBH in 1977.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Today's "Super Veteran" is a guy I always knew of, but never realized just how long a career he actually had: Dick Schofield Sr.
But before I get into the man himself, check out my 1971-style "Then and Now" card:

I was fully aware of Schofield because of his son, Dick Jr., who played in the '80's and 90's. 
Actually, the Schofield's were one of the subjects of the Topps 1985 "Father/Son" sub-set.
What I never realized is that the senior Schofield played for 19 years in the Major Leagues, between 1953 and 1971, for a handful of teams in both leagues.
By the time he retired after the 1971 season, Schofield had played in 1321 games for seven different franchises: Cardinals, Pirates, Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Brewers.
A light hitting infielder, he was a member of the World Champion 1960 Pirates, as well as the 1968 Cardinals, who lost to the Detroit Tigers  in the World Series.
Of his 19 years in the big leagues, he appeared in over 100 games in only three seasons, 1963-1965.
Nevertheless, he was a solid fielder who was an asset off the bench, even leading the league in fielding in 1965 with a .981 percentage among N.L. Shortstops.
One last tidbit: not only is he the father of a future big leaguer, but he's also current big league player Jayson Werth's grandfather. Not a bad bloodline going on here…

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Let's whip up a 1977 card for Oscar Gamble as a Chicago White Sox player for my newest entry in my "traded" thread:

Topps had him (understandably so) as a New York Yankees player, since he wasn't traded to the White Sox until April of '77.
As it turned out, 1977 would be the best year of Gamble's solid 17-year career, mainly as a power-bat off the bench.
In only 408 at-bats that season, Gamble powered 31 homers to go with 83 runs batted in with a nice .297 batting average in his only season in the South Side.
As a matter of fact, I never realized that during his entire career, Gamble only had ONE season where he topped 500 plate appearances, and that was in 1974 while playing for the Indians (he had 508).
In 4502 career at-bats, Gamble hit 200 homers. Not bad when you think about it!
After his lone season in Chicago, Gamble would take his bat to San Diego, where he'd play for the Padres for a year, then on to Texas for part of the 1979 season before he made it back to the Bronx.
Once back he'd play for the Yanks until 1984, before playing out his career with the White Sox in 1985.
I'll always remember Gamble as a Yankee at the tail-end of his career. He always seemed to hit a homer when he came up, and was always a fun guy to watch play. A true character.
Always aware of his numbers, he'd frequently talk about his "home run ratio", and years later Jim Kaat, while broadcasting games on the YES channel, would always bring that up when some current player was hitting home runs at nice pace.

Monday, November 17, 2014


This is cool.
My last "MIA-MIA" 1972 card was of future Hall of Fame member Frank Robinson.
And today I want to present to you all my newest addition to the thread, Bill Freehan, with a great in-game action shot of him blocking the plate against who else, Frank Robinson.
Take a look:

Great action shot!
1972 marked a "changing of the guard" in a sense when it came to American League catchers.
Up until then, Freehan was considered by many to be the best A.L. Backstop, manning the plate in Detroit for about 10 years and being named to eight-straight All-Star games at the time.
Also the winner of five Gold Gloves, Freehan was pretty much the top of the heap when it came to catchers in the Junior Circuit.
Then in 1970 you had Thurman Munson come along, win the Rookie of the Year Award, and then was followed by the Boston red Sox young stud Carlton Fisk, who'd take home the same award two years later.
Coupled with Johnny Bench and Ted Simmons in the National League, and you can see how the landscape was changing for Major League catching.
Nevertheless, Freehan was a stalwart behind the plate for the Tigers.
Three times he'd finish in the top-10 for Most Valuable Player (1964, 1967 & 1968), and he'd play his entire 15-year career in Motown.
A solid player through and through, he'd retire after the 1976 season with a .262 lifetime average, 200 homers and 758 runs batted in over 1774 games and 6073 at-bats.
He was named to eleven all-star games, and finished with a .993 fielding percentage while donning the "tools of ignorance".
I can't tell who the Baltimore player is who is watching the play unfold in front of him.
Any ideas?

Sunday, November 16, 2014


A little while back as I was researching Al Hrabosky's career for my "Nickname" card design, I noticed that Topps gave him a card in the 1973 set, check it out:

What's odd is that Hrabosky appeared in only five games in 1972, good for 7 innings of work.
Strange that he was given a slot in the set, no?
This was before he'd become one of the National League's best relievers a couple of years later, and gain a reputation as a "character" with a great nickname to go along with it.
As a matter of fact, the season before (1971), he only appeared in one game, for only two innings. So we're looking at a player who appeared in a combined six games with nine innings of work over the previous two years, yet he got a card nonetheless.
Really odd.
But for Hrabosky, 1973 would be the beginning of his run as a solid man out of the pen, appearing in 44 games and posting a sparkling 2.09 earned run average with five saves and 57 K's in 56 innings.
His next two seasons of 1974 and 1975 would be the best of his 13-year career, as he went a combined 21-9 with 35 saves, posting E.R.A.'s of 2.95 and 1.66 over 130 games.
He'd retire after the 1982 season, pitching for the Atlanta Braves, ending with a nice 64-35 career record with a 3.10 E.R.A., 97 saves and 548 strikeouts over 545 games.
And of course with one of the more colorful nicknames of that time period, "The Mad Hungarian".

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Let's go ahead and give one last card to former pitcher Pat Jarvis.
Take a look at my custom slab of cardboard:

Jarvis' last card was in the 1973 Topps set, as a member of the team he pitched for seven out of his eight years in the big leagues, the Atlanta Braves.
But in 1973, which would end up being his last, he pitched for the Montreal Expos, going 2-1 in 28 games, all if relief.
He also sported a 3.20 earned run average with 19 strikeouts over 39.1 innings.
Jarvis had a solid career as a starter for the Braves, posting win totals of 15,16,13 and 16 between 1967 and 1970.
His finest season would have to be 1968, when he went 16-12 with a nice 2.60 E.R.A., a shutout and 157 strikeouts over 256 innings.
All told, he finished up with an 85-73 record, with a 3.58 earned run average, eight shutouts and 755 strikeouts over 249 games and 1284 innings of work between 1966 and 1973.
A couple of interesting notes on Jarvis' career: he was Nolan Ryan's first strikeout victim on September 11, 1966, and he also gave up Ernie Banks' 500th career home run in 1970.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Here's a card I know will make blog follower Johnny Cabrera happy,  A "Human Vacuum Cleaner" card for Brooks Robinson in my "Nicknames of the '70s" series.
Take a look:

We all know the story: 16 Gold Gloves (consecutively from 1960-1974), a fielding clinic in the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds (for which he was named M.V.P.), and the gold standard all other third basemen have been held up against since he retired after the 1977 season after 23 years.
He also took home an A.L. M.V.P. in 1964 while getting named to 18 All-Star teams, eventually getting his #5 retired while being named to the "All-Century" team in 1999.
The man was just awesome!
A Hall of Fame player through and through, he was inducted on his first ballot in 1983, getting named to 92% of the ballots cast.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Jan. 7, 1922- Nov. 13, 2014

Just got wind that long-time Major League player and manager Al Dark passed away at the age of 92.
There was a nice write-up on MLB.COM:

A Rookie of the Year in 1948, and two-time World Series manager, in 1962 with the Giants and 1974 with the Oakland A's, Dark put in some serious time in Major League ball. A true "Lifer".
Check out his stats as a player, you may find them surprising. He was a solid player over 14-years playing for the Braves, Giants, Cardinals, Cubs and Phillies.
Rest in peace "Swamp Fox"...


Trivia trivia, time for the weekly trivia.
Today I want to focus on batters who struck out more than 100 times in a season.
Take a stab at the questions below and see how many you can get.
I'll post the answers tomorrow…

  1. Who recorded the lowest amount of hits in a season they K'd 100 or more times during the '70s?
  2. Who recorded the highest batting average during the decade for a player with 100+ strikeouts in a season?
  3. These two players hit the fewest home runs in a season with 100+ strikeouts with only TWO. One batter did this in 1977, followed by another just a year later. Who are they?
  4. Who collected the fewest walks in a season they struck out 100 or more times during the decade?
  5. Finally, who posted the highest On-Base-Percentage in a season they topped 100 strikeouts during the '70s?

Dave Kingman, Giants. He collected only 62 hits in 1973 while topping 100 strikeouts.
Dave Parker, Pirates. He batted .338 in 1977.
Billy Almon, Padres, in 1977 & Omar Moreno, Pirates, in 1978.
4. Leroy Stanton, Angels. He only walked 22 times while topping 100 K's in 1972.
5. Ken Singleton, Orioles. He had a sparkling .438 OBP while striking out more than 100 times in 1977.      

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Here's a card that really serves two purposes: a 1976 "dedicated rookie card" for my favorite second baseman growing up, Willie Randolph, which also serves as part of my "traded" series.
Take a look:

I was initially going to design a Randolph card with him as a Pittsburgh Pirate, but thought a card for him as a Yankee, with a "traded" notation along the bottom to add to my traded series would be cool. (I was never a fan of the 1976 "traded" sub-set).
Randolph was on his way to a very nice 18-year career, primarily manning second base with the Yanks between 1976 and 1988.
By the time he retired after the 1992 season, he collected over 2000 hits, scored over 1200 runs, stole 271 bases, and was a six-time all-star with a Silver Slugger Award thrown in for good measure in 1980.
For me, Randolph came in right when I became a baseball "nut", and left the Yankees via free agency right when I was "distracted" from the game for a few years in my late-teens. So really, there was NO other second baseman in my young life.
A solid player who went about his business quietly, yet very effectively.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I just had to post up on Topps' 1971 Mike Marshall card (#713)!
What an airbrushing job huh?!
Take a look:

Man! That is something...
What puzzles me is that not only is this a late-series card (so you'd think Topps would have been able to get a photo of Marshall with the correct cap on), but he also PLAYED for Montreal the last half of the 1970 season.
Strange, as this was before Marshall became a headache for Topps, refusing to pose for photos and then refusing photos altogether later in the decade.
1971 was really the beginning of his incredible run as a reliever over the next few years, culminating with a Cy Young Award in 1974 with the Dodgers when he appeared in a (still) Major League record 106 games, all in relief.
In those 106 games he went 15-12 with a 2.42 earned run average, 21 saves and 143 strikeouts in 208.1 innings of work!
Later in the decade he had a couple more great years with the Twins in 1978 and 1979, before eventually retiring in 1981 after a 14-year career.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Here is a card I had a heck of a time designing, a 1976 "Then and Now" Vada Pinson edition.
Check it out.

I have to apologize for the "sub-standard" quality of the main image…
Anyone familiar with the SSPC set would recognize the photo of Pinson as a Royal, and while I stay away from using images from that set for anything I do, you'd be amazed how impossible it was for me to find a good picture of Pinson from 1974/75!
Then again, I shouldn't be surprised, since (in my opinion) Pinson is about as underrated a player from that era as there was!
If you've followed this blog since I started it about a year and a half ago, you'd know how much I feel Vada Pinson was never given the credit he was due, especially since he retired from the game after the 1975 season.
Here's a guy who finished his career with 2757 hits, 1365 runs scored, 256 home runs and 305 stolen bases, all during the pitching-era of the 1960's/early-70's.
He posted 200-hits four times, 100-R.B.I.'s twice, 100 runs scored four times, 20+ stolen bases nine times, 20+ homers seven times, and hit 10 or more triples in a season five times!
Yet with everything I just mentioned, he was an All-Star twice. TWICE!
Then again, when you're manning the outfield in the National League during the 1960's, you're playing in the shadows of guys named Mays, Aaron and Clemente.
Heck, for the first part of his career he was even overshadowed by teammate Frank Robinson!
When Hall of Fame voting came around, Pinson never received more than 15.7% support (1988), and was in single digits 10 of the 15 years eligible for election by the BBWA.
Take a look at his career. Some really eye-popping stuff if you ask me…

Sunday, November 9, 2014


The next player up on my "Missing in action- In Action" 1972 series is Hall of Fame slugger extraordinaire Frank Robinson.
Take a look:

Technically, by the time this card would have seen the light of day, Robinson was suiting up for the Loa Angeles Dodgers.
But since Topps had him as an Orioles player when his regular card came out, and then had him as a Dodger in the "Traded" sub-set in their late-series, I figured I'd keep it the way it most-likely would have been.
Just saw Robinson at Yankee Stadium recently as part of the whole "Derek Jeter Final Game" hoopla. 
It's always amazing to see a legend right there in front of you, in the flesh, as you quickly scan your brain for all the images, stories, film clips you've absorbed through the years (or decades in this case).
The man was a monster at the playe: Two Most Valuable Player Awards (one in each league!), a Rookie of the Year, a Triple Crown in 1966, 586 lifetime homers and two World Championships, he was about as "lock" for the Hall of Fame as it gets...

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Herman Hill is a player I really knew nothing about, and I even profiled his only baseball card about a year ago because of the other player on the card, Paul Ratcliff. So when I recently read a small article on baseball players passing away during their active careers, his name caught my eye, and led to me creating an "In Memoriam" card for him as part of the 1971 set. Take a look:

 Here's the 1970 Topps card he appeared on:

After appearing in 16 games in 1969 and 27 games the following year with Minnesota as an outfielder/pinch runner, Hill was traded to St. Louis in October of 1970, but would never see another Major League game.
Sadly, while playing in Venezuela during the off-season, Hill would drown while swimming, passing away at the age of 25.
His brief career consisted of 43 games and 24 at-bats, with a couple of hits and a stolen base.
I didn't want to create a card for him as a Cardinal, since he never even got to play with them, so I created a 1971 "In Memoriam" card for him with the only team he ever played for, the Minnesota Twins.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Here's a "missing" card I created for one of the blog readers here. As a matter of fact I've happily taken on a project for him, creating numerous 1976 cards of players who were either omitted from the set for some reason, or were portrayed on the wrong team.
This also helps ME create more 1976 Topps cards, as it is easily my favorite all-time set! So it's "win-win"!
So moving forward, for this series, which will also appear on this blog as I create these cards, I will add the "1976 Project" in the title, as some of the cards don't necessarily fit into any of my subject-threads.
Anyway, THANKS JIM! Now let's take a look at the 1976 Art Howe card I designed:

The future Major League manager actually played in 63 games for the Pirates in 1975, gathering 162 plate appearances, so really he should have had a card.
He hit .171 for the year, with nine doubles and a homer along with 10 runs batted in and 13 runs scored.
His 11-year career as a player would really hit it's stride after joining the Houston Astros, as he'd play pretty much full-time between 1977 and 1982 before a couple of part-time years in St. Louis in 1984 and 1985 (he didn't play Major League ball in 1983).
As you all know, he'd really find his niche on the Major League level as a manager, guiding the Astros, Oakland A's and New York Mets between 1989 and 2004.
His real success was leading the young studs in Oakland in the late-90's/early-00's, winning 100-games in two seasons (2001 and 2002), but never being able to get past the N.Y. Yankees (remember the now-famous "Jeter-Flip"?).
All told, Howe would win 1129 games as a manager in the Big Leagues, finishing 2nd in "Manager of the Year" voting four years in a row from 1999-2002.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Trivia once again, and today we'll look at strikeout leaders during the 1970's.
Answers posted tomorrow, as usual…

  1. Among all strikeout leaders during the decade, who had the least amount of wins in their K-Topping season?
  2. What league-leading strikeout pitcher had the highest E.R.A. during their season?
  3. What pitcher posted the lowest E.R.A. in their K-leading season?
  4. Who suffered the most losses in a season while leading the league in K's?
  5. Who pitched the fewest innings among all strikeout leaders in the 1970's? 


Nolan Ryan, Angels in 1978. He had only 10 wins.
Phil Niekro, Braves. He had a 4.03 earned run average in 1977.
Tom Seaver, Mets. He had a 1.76 E.R.A. in 1971.
4. Phil Niekro, Braves. Again, in 1977. He had 20 losses.
5. Nolan Ryan (who else), Angels. He threw only 222.2 innings in 1979 while leading the A.L. in strikeouts.     

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Here's a "traded" card I designed for the eventual 1978 Cy Young Award winner, Gaylord Perry, shown with the proper team he played for that year, the San Diego Padres.
Take a look:

Perry was coming off of some decent years for the Rangers before he was traded to the Padres in January of 1978.
He posted two consecutive years of 15 wins, and at the age of 38, you couldn't ask for much more than that in 1978.
But he far surpassed everyone's expectations and put in one of his best years as a big league pitcher, going 21-6 with a 2.75 earned run average, a couple of shutouts and 154 strikeouts.
Those numbers would eventually make Perry the first pitcher ever to win the Cy in both leagues, as he was the American League's winner six years earlier in 1972 with the Cleveland Indians.
Because of the January trade, Topps still had him as a Texas Ranger when the (awesome) 1978 set came out.
The 1978 season would NOT be Perry's last "big" hurrah, as he'd stick around until 1983, winning his 300th game and overtaking Walter Johnson on the all-time strikeout list along the way, finishing up with 314 lifetime wins and 3534 strikeouts over 777 games, with 690 of them starts.
He also tallied 53 career shutouts, 303 complete games, and a 3.11 E.R.A.
All of that got him inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991, getting named on 342 of 443 ballots.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Here's a card that took my WAY too long to create, but boy-oh-boy am I happy with the end-result: a "Nickname" card for former Oakland A's pitcher John "Blue Moon" Odom.
Take a look:

Wow, you have no idea how long it took to create that "Blue Moon" banner at the top of that card. But if anyone is wondering what font that is, it's "Broadway Engraved".
Odom spent all or parts of 12 of his 13 Major League seasons with the A's organization: the first four when they were still in Kansas City (1964-1967), and the next eight in Oakland.
I used a 1972 template for him since 1972 was his best season in the 1970's, as he posted a 15-6 record with a 2.50 E.R.A. And two shutouts over 30 starts.
After that season his career sort of went downhill from there, finding himself playing for Oakland, Cleveland, Atlanta and the Chicago White Sox all in 1975 and 1976.
However, as I profiled in one of my "Highlights of the 1970's" a little while back on this blog, one of his last Major League starts, in 1976 as a member of the White Sox, was a combined no-hitter against the Oakland A's (ironically enough), along with teammate Francisco Barrios.
By the time he wrapped up his career after 1976, he posted an 84-85 record, with a 3.70 earned run average, 15 shutouts and 857 strikeouts over 295 games, 229 of which were starts.
And he also left us with one of the best nicknames of the era, along with former teammates "Catfish" Hunter and "Mudcat" Grant.

Monday, November 3, 2014


There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to create a card for a guy that wasn't exactly "missing in action" for the 1972 set:
First up, I just happened to come across a nice, usable image for him.
And secondly, he happens to be the "other guy" on a famous rookie card from the 1968 Topps set, #247, better known as Johnny Bench's rookie card.
The player is Ron Tompkins.
Take a look at my card design first:

Ed. Note: Thanks to Mark Tompkins, I've "fixed" my error and now have the correct player shown. Thanks Mark!

And for those of you who need a little refresher, here's the 1968 Bench rookie, with Tompkins forever tagging along:

Tompkins never actually suited up for the Reds in his career, and he actually never suited up for ANYONE until his action in 1971 for the Chicago Cubs: 35 games, all in relief, good for an 0-2 record with a 4.08 earned run average and 20 strikeouts.
And besides five games with the Kansas City Athletics in 1965, those 35 games in '71 would actually be the only games Tompkins would play on the Major League level.
He'd never play in another Major League game again after 1971.
After six years in the Kansas City organization, Tompkins bounced around a bit between 1968 and 1972, playing for the Reds, Braves and Brewers minor league Triple-A affiliates, before finally getting some big league time with the Cubs in 1971.
But come 1972 Tompkins would play-out his pro career with two more season in ht e Minors, playing for the Cubs' Triple-A team Wichita before calling it a career.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Just wanted to take a quick look at the strange case of Larry Hisle and his 1972 and 1973 Topps cards.
While it was strange that Topps felt they needed a card for him in their 1972 set, it was downright odd that they gave him a card in their 1973 set!
First, let's take a look at the cards:



First, his 1972 Topps offering.
Hisle was coming off of a disappointing season in 1971 which saw him appear in only 36 games, good for only 82 plate appearances.
He hit .197 with three doubles and three runs batted in, and was then traded by the Phillies to Los Angeles for Tom Hutton.
Why Topps gave him a card in their '72 set (and with the extra work of the airbrush job-note the Phillies pinstriped uniform he's wearing), is beyond me.
But the fact that Topps gave him a card in the 1973 set is really odd since Hisle never suited up in a Major League game in 1972.
As a matter of fact after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in October of 1971, Hisle was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals a year later, only to be traded yet again to the Minnesota Twins a month after that, making for quite an eventful year for him and his shaky career.
His 1972 year was played out for L.A. on their Triple-A affiliate, Albuquerque, having a stand-out season, hitting .325 with 23 home runs, 87 runs scored and 91 runs batted in.
But I guess the Dodger brass didn't see enough, shipping him out to St. Louis for Rudy Arroyo and minor league player Greg Millikan.
As you can see from the two cards, Topps even went and used the same image since for both, since Hisle was conveniently wearing an airbrushed blue cap, even IF the purple Phillie trim on the jersey was plain as day.
So in essence, Hisle's 36 games in 1971 got him two cards: in 1972 and 1973.
We all know that he rebounded nicely in the forthcoming years, having some productive years with the Twins, even leading the American League in runs batted in in 1977 with 119, and driving in another 115 in 1978 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
But that 1978 season would be his last solid year, as he'd scratch out another four years with Milwaukee, never appearing in more than 27 games in any of those seasons.
He'd retire after 1982 with 166 lifetime homers, 674 R.B.I.'s, and 1146 career hits.


I know I'm stretching it a bit, but how cool would it have been to have a Nolan Ryan "In Action" card in the 1972 Topps set?!
Take a look at my design:

Traded to the California Angels in time for Topps to issue an airbrush disaster in their '72 set, I wanted to accompany my redesign for the "regular" Ryan card (see link below), with a nice "In Action" card for the future Hall of Fame fire-baller.

By the time the late-series 1972 cards were hitting the shelves, the world was seeing Ryan on his way to topping 300 strikeouts for the first time in his career.
It would only get better the following year, as he threw TWO no-hitters as well as overtaking the single-season strikeout record with 383 K's, besting Sandy Koufax by one K in his last start.
Just classic stuff!


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