Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Here was a rough one to create: a 1977 "Then and Now" card of Tommy Davis as a Kansas City Royals player.
Take a look:

By 1977 Davis was already done as a Major League player, having played his last game for the Royals during their first run to the playoffs in 1976.
He only appeared in eight games for K.C., and even his 1977 "last card" was an airbrush job.
I had to get a little creative and find a good pose to drop Davis into. Not my finest "Photoshopping", but for this post it will do. If I find an actual photo of him as a Royal, I'll gladly re-do this one.
Davis had himself a nice 18-year career that saw him win two consecutive batting titles with the Dodgers in 1962 and '63, and R.B.I. crown in 1962 with a whopping 153, and also a league-leader in hits with 230 the very same year.
By the time he finished up, he played in 1999 games, with a nice .294 lifetime average, 2121 hits, 153 homers and 1052 runs batted in.
The advent of the Designated Hitter prolonged his career between 1973 and 1976, as the previous few years were sporadic efforts at best with no less than five teams: the White Sox, Pilots, Astros, A's and Cubs.
As a D.H. he found new life with the Baltimore Orioles as their main "man with the bat" between 1973 and 1975.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Here's another Montreal Expos player that was "missing" from the 1976 set, and the next player in my ongoing "1976 Project" for "Reader Jim", Pat Scanlon.
Take a look:

During the 1975 season Scanlon appeared in 60 games for the Expos, with 126 plate appearances.
He hit .183 over 109 at-bats, with 20 hits, two homers and 15 runs batted in while manning third base.
It would be the only season where he'd see any significant playing time,  as he'd only get into 11 games the following year before moving on to San Diego for the 1977 season, where he managed to get into 47 games with 91 plate appearances (for which he did get a card in the 1978 set, airbrush and all).
However Scanlon would never play another game on the Major League level again, finishing up his career with 120 games, 219 at-bats, 41 hits and a lifetime .187 batting average.

Monday, December 29, 2014


One of the more controversial picks for induction, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jesse Haines is the next member of my Hall of Fame sub-set, and the final one selected by the Veteran's Committee in 1970.
Take a look at my card design:

Admittedly, when taking a gander at Haines' final numbers, nothing really leaps out at you: 210-158 record, a high 3.64 earned run average, 23 shutouts and 981 strikeouts over 19-years.
But he WAS an important member of the "Gashouse Gang" Cardinal teams of the era, so I'm sure he got some help by former players who were part of the committee.
All told, Haines had three 20-win seasons, two sub-3.00 E.R.A. years, and went 3-1 in World Series play with a sparkling 1.67 E.R.A., including 2-0 with a shutout in the 1926 championship year for the Cards over the Yankees.
Personally I don't see how Haines made the cut, but then again I didn't see him pitch so I'll chalk it up to the Veteran's Committee knowing what they were doing.
But Bill James and his awesome book "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame" has something to say about it. Worth the read if you haven't already.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Let's go and give Don Sutton an "In Action" 1972 card shall we?
Take a look:

Nice vintage action shot of "Black and Decker", he of 324 lifetime victories to go along with over 3500 strikeouts, nearly 60 shutouts and a 3.26 earned run average, which is impressive considering he pitched 23 years on a Major League mound.
During those 23 seasons, Sutton posted a 20 win season in 1976, 11 other seasons of 15 or more victories, eight sub-3.00 E.R.A. campaigns, and five years of 200+ strikeouts.
Yet people seemed to get hung up on the fact that only led the league in a "big" category only once (he led the National League in E.R.A. in 1980), and suggest he wasn't truly a Hall of Fame player.
Call me nuts, but part of becoming a legend, or even a Hall of Fame player, is being so consistently good for so long. 
324 wins and over 3500 strikeouts. That sounds FAN-TASTIC to me!
Anyway, by 1998 the BBWA agreed, and voted him in, joining former teammates Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, among others he played alongside.
Keep an eye out for a "Black and Decker" nickname card on this blog soon enough!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Let's go and give longtime Major League relief pitcher Eddie Fisher a 1974 card. You can either consider it a "missing" card or a "career capper".
Take a look:

Fisher finished off a nice 15-year Major League career after the 1973 season when he pitched six games for St. Louis after coming over from the Chicago White Sox late in the season.
All told he pitched in 32 games that year, good for an 8-8 record with a 4.67 earned run average and 58 strikeouts over 117.2 innings of work.
Among his 32 games he started 16 of them, the most of his career! 
As a matter of fact, the last time Fisher even started more than five games was way back in 1963 when he started 15 for the White Sox in his fifth year as a pro.
His finest season was easily 1965 when he went 15-7 with a 2.40 E.R.A., 24 saves and a league-best 0.974 WHIP across 165.1 innings, all in relief! He led the A.L. In games pitched that season with 82, something he would do again the following year split between the White Sox and the Orioles.
By the time he retired, Fisher posted an 85-70 record, with a 3.41 E.R.A., 81 saves, two shutouts and 812 strikeouts over 690 games, 63 of which were starts.
Not a bad career at all…

Friday, December 26, 2014


Next up in my fun series of "Nickname" cards is none other than Pittsburgh Pirates legend Willie Stargell, aka "Pops".
Take a look:

I designed the card with a 1979 template since that was the year Stargell led the Pirates to a World Championship, even winning a co-M.V.P. (with Keith Hernandez of the Cardinals).
Sure, he had better years during his Hall of Fame career, but '79 was the "We Are Family" season where Stargell took on a father-like leadership of the Pittsburgh team, and I remember that season, and that run, very well!
Besides his M.V.P. that season, Stargell also finished in second place for the award twice in his career, 1971 and 1973. And for good measure, he finished third in the running in between, in 1972.
Always a "big bopper", Stargell led the league in homers twice, runs batted in once, doubles once, and slugging once, all between the years of 1971 and 1974.
A seven-time all-star, by the time he retired after the 1982 season Stargell popped 475 home runs to go along with 1540 R.B.I.'s, 423 doubles, 1194 runs scored and a .282 batting average.
Absolutely loved in Pittsburgh, and throughout baseball, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988, being named on 352 of 427 ballots.
He played 21 years in the Major Leagues, and they were all for the Pirates.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Hope everyone is having a great Holiday Season, and all the very best for 2015!
Let's revisit my baseball trivia from over a year ago, #3 on this blog.
Answers will be posted tomorrow, as usual.

Ok. It's Thursday, so here are the next set of trivia questions related to 1970's baseball. See if you get the correct answers before I post them tomorrow.

1. What team during the decade became the first with four players hitting 30+ home runs in the same season?

2. Two players during the '70's had a season where they hit 30+ home runs, as well as steal 50+ bases, though NOT in the same year. Who are they?

3. This pair of players had the good fortune of playing for both the N.L. and A.L. top one season wins teams of the '70's, the 1975 Reds and the 1970 Orioles. Who are they?

4. We all know that the Orioles had four 20-game winners on their staff in 1971. But who was fifth in wins on that staff, and how many?

5. What rookie whiffed 215 batters in 1975 to go along with his 2.88 E.R.A. and 15 wins?


1. 1977 Dodgers: Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker and Ron Cey.

2. Tommy Harper (54 SB in 1973 & 31 HR's in 1970) and Don Baylor (52 SB in 1976 & 34 & 36 HR's in 1978/1979).

3. Terry Crowley & Merv Rettenmund.

4. Dick Hall with 6 wins. 

5. John Montefusco, Giants. 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Today I wanted to create a 1978"traded" card for Hall of Fame reliever/starter Dennis Eckersley, since he was shown on the Cleveland Indians instead of the Boston Red Sox after his March trade.
Check it out:

In March of '78 Eckersley was traded to Boston along with Fred Kendall for Ted Cox, Bo Diaz, Mike Paxton and Rick Wise.
While he was already putting together a nice career as a starter, even having in his only 20-win season in '78 as a member of the Sox, it was his conversion to the relief role in 1987 with the Oakland A's that led him to the Hall of Fame.
When you look at his career, it was evenly split between the starting (12 years) AND relieving (12 years) role, and by the time he retired after the 1998 season, he managed to post a 20-win season, a 200-strikeout season, a couple of sub-3.00 E.R.A. years, four 40-save seasons (one of them a 51 save year), and three sub-2.00 E.R.A. seasons (with one of them a sub-1.00 E.R.A. season!).
Pretty amazing stuff.
All told "Eck" would finish with 197 wins, a 3.50 earned run average, 390 saves, 2401 strikeouts and 20 shutouts over 1071 appearances, 361 of which were starts.
Come 2004, Eckersley was inducted into the Hall of Fame, named to 421 of 506 ballots.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Moving along alphabetically, the second player elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970 was former New York Yankees center fielder Earle Combs, the "Kentucky Colonel".
Here's my card design, following the first card in this series, Lou Boudreau:

Though he only played nine full seasons in the Majors, and twelve overall, Combs played all of them in the Bronx, and put together some monster years.
While playing in the same lineup with guys named Ruth, Gehrig, Lazzeri and Meusel, Combs more than held his own, hitting over .300 in ten of his twelve seasons, topping out at .356 in 1927, year of the "Murderer's Row" all-time team.
He led the American League in hits with 231 that same season, and represented the high-water mark for Yankee batters until my childhood idol Don Mattingly topped it with 238 in 1986.
He also paced the league in triples three times, each with over 20, and topped 100 runs scored eight straight years between 1925 and 1932.
However, in 1934 he suffered a serious injury when he crashed into the outfield wall in St. Louis' Sportsman Park, and reportedly nearly died from a fractured skull.
He tried to make a comeback in 1935 but suffered yet another injury, and coupled with the fact that the team was about to bring up the heir-apparent center-fielder in Joe DiMaggio, he decided to retire at 36, becoming a longtime coach for about another 20 years.
By the time he hung up his cleats as a player, Combs had a .325 average, 1866 hits, 309 doubles, 154 triples and a .397 on-base-percentage.
Though he never got more than 16% support for induction by the BBWA (in 1960), he was finally voted in by the Veteran's Committee in 1970, closing out a fantastic career.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Though primarily known for his nine years as a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher, Claude Osteen was closing out a nice 18-year career in 1976, and I wanted to give him a "Super Veterans" card as part of my "Then and Now" thread.
Check it out:

Osteen fell just short of 200 wins in his career with 196, as he posted a 7-16 record with the "South-Siders" in 1975 over 37 starts and 204.1 innings of work.
But he did have a solid career nevertheless, winning 20 games twice (1969 and 1972), throwing 40 shutouts (with a high of seven in 1969), and finishing with a 3.30 earned run average, with four seasons posting a sub-3.00 figure.
Coming over from the Washington Senators in 1965, he must have been overjoyed becoming a Dodger, teaming up with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax (and soon enough Don Sutton), to form quite the formidable rotation.
He was part of a World Championship team right off the bat in 1965 as the Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins, but was also part of the Dodger team that got swept in the series the following year by the Baltimore Orioles.
A three-time All-Star, Osteen is also in the top-50 all-time in shutouts and games started (with 488).

Sunday, December 21, 2014


The next card in my ongoing "1976 Project" for "Reader Jim" here on the blog is former outfielder Jim Lyttle, then of the Montreal Expos.
Take a look:

Lyttle carved out an eight-year career for himself, playing for the Yankees, White Sox, Expos and Dodgers between 1969 and 1976.
In that time he compiled a .248 batting average, 176 hits, 71 runs and 70 runs batted in with nine homers.
Looking further into his career I saw that he played seven seasons in Japan after his Major League career, putting up some solid numbers for Hiroshima.
In both 1978 and 1981 he hit 33 homers and drove in 100+ runs, and closed out his Japanese career with 166 taters with 529 R.B.I.'s. after retiring in 1983.
When you look at his playing career against his card appearances, it turns out he's also "missing" from a few other sets: 1973, 1975 and 1977.
Needless to say, I'll be tackling those in the future as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Let's go and give the eventual 1972 American League Cy Young winner an "In Action" card, Cleveland Indians pitcher Gaylord Perry:

Great shot of him pitching during his award-winning campaign.
During that season, his first in Cleveland, Perry was a monster!
All he did was win 24 games, post an earned run average of 1.92, complete 29 games en route to a staggering 342.2 innings of work, throw five shutouts and strike out 234 batters.
What a workhorse!
What is incredible is that Perry would have 40 decisions that season (24-16) in his 41 games, one of them in relief where he posted a save.
So the man came away with a decision in every single start he had that year! Awesome!
Future 300-game winner, future all-time strikeout king (for a little while anyway), and future Hall of Famer after being voted in in 1991.
Just an awesome pitcher during an awesome baseball era…

Friday, December 19, 2014


Here's a colorful card creation of mine, a 1975 Topps card "updated" to show Ken Singleton as a member of the Baltimore Oriole after being traded to the "Birds" in December of 1974.
Take a look:

Sweet looking if I may say so!
After putting in five solid years with the New York Mets and Expos between 1970 and 1974, Singleton really stepped into his own once he put on the Oriole orange.
He would played the rest of his career there until he retired after the 1984 season.
It's easy to forget that he finished in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting four times during his career, even finishing second overall to Don Baylor in 1979 when he slammed 35 homers and drove in 111 runs.
By the time he wrapped up his 15-year career, he was named to three all-star teams, collected over 2000 hits, and hit 246 homers with 1065 runs batted in and a nifty .282 lifetime average.
Nowadays he can be seen on T.V. as one of the New York Yankee announcers, and he just seems like the nicest guy there is. 
Singleton is aces in my book!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Continuing on what I started last week, I'm revisiting the second baseball quiz I posted on this blog a long-while back, June 13th, 2013 to be exact.
See if you remember any of the answers, I'll post them tomorrow.

Here's the second installment of 1970's baseball trivia to get some brains working. Answers tomorrow:

1. Reggie Jackson shared three home run titles in his career, funny enough with a different Milwaukee Brewers player each time. One of these shared titles occurred during the 1970's. Who was the Brewer that shared this homer title with "Mr. October" in the '70's?

2. Who was the only pitcher to hurl 10 or more shutouts in a season during the 1970's?

3. What Major League team was the very first to have three players swat 40 or more homers in the same season?

4. Who was the only player to lead his league in batting, on-base percentage and slugging in the same season in the 1970's?

5. What National League shortstop notoriously had 618 plate appearances/549 at-bats one season, yet still only managed to drive in 12 runs!?


1. George Scott: 1975
2. Jim Palmer: 1975
3. Atlanta Braves: 1973: Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson and Darrell Evans
4. Fred Lynn: 1979
5. Enzo Hernandez: Padres: 1971

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Today I want to start up a new thread featuring Hall of Fame members of the decade with card designs for the year of their induction.
Starting off with 1970, I'll go in alphabetical order and start with former Cleveland Indians star shortstop, Lou Boudreau.
Take a look at my design:

This will be a long thread for sure, as I hope to design a card for every PLAYER inducted into the Hall from 1970-1979.
I'll wait on any executives, managers, etc for now, as it seems I'll have my hands full with the players alone.
As for Boudreau, he posted a 15-year career that saw him win an M.V.P. in 1948 when he was player-manager of the Indians, guiding them to a World Series win over the Boston Braves.
That season was spectacular, as Boudreau hit .355 with 18 homers, 106 runs batted in and 116 runs scored while also leading the league in fielding.
For his career, he finished with a .295 batting average, 1779 hits, 68 homers and seven all-star selections.
For 10 consecutive years (1940-1949), he received M.V.P. votes, with a third place finish in 1947 and a fifth place finish in 1940 to go along with his 1948 win as far as top-5 finishes are concerned.
On the defensive side, he led the league in fielding eight times, while also leading in putouts four times, double-plays five times and assists once.
I guess rules were different back then, as Boudreau was finally voted into the Hall 18-years after his last game, getting named to 232 of 300 ballots.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Before we go and take a look at my Rusty Staub "Nickname" card, I wanted to pay my respects to Sy Berger, the "Father of the Modern Baseball Card", who passed away at the age of 91.
If you don't know much about him, do yourself a favor and at the very least read whatever you can online about the guy who helped design the 1952 Topps set, and pretty much formed the "basics" of what sports cards became.
I got to meet Sy a few times over the years and he was a riot anytime we chatted. Such a nice guy and he will be terribly missed.
Rest in Peace Sy!

Here's one of my favorite nicknames from 1970's baseball: "Le Grand Orange", for former (underrated) all-star Rusty Staub.
Check out my card design:

Now, I know the knee-jerk reaction would be to design a card for Staub as a New York Mets player, but the nickname WAS given to him while he starred for Montreal between 1969 and 1971, so I thought it would be cool to have him as an Expos player.
Besides, I'll always try finding an excuse to design 1971 cards! Love that set…
Staub came up as a 19-year old for the (Then) Houston Colt .45's in 1963, and stuck around the Majors as an active player up until 1985 with the Mets as a pinch-hitter extraordinaire.
In between, the man put together a fantastic 23-year career playing for the Astros, Expos, Mets, Tigers and Rangers, getting named to six all-star teams and garnering some M.V.P. support for every team he played a full season for.
By the time he retired, Staub had over 2700 hits, 499 doubles, 292 home runs, and 1466 runs batted in.
On top of that, he was well-liked wherever he went, and for good reason.
Daniel Joseph "Rusty" Staub, "Le Grand Orange"!
A fan favorite to this day…

Monday, December 15, 2014


Today's "Super Veteran" is a player who came up as an outfielder, but "made his bones" as a pitcher out of the bullpen en route to a 16-year career: Dick Hall.
Check out my card design first:

There's a slight difference in layout compared to the other 1971 "Then & Now" subjects (Jim Bunning, Ernie Banks and Dick Schofield) because Hall's rookie card happened to be in the 1955 (horizontal) set.
As I mentioned, Hall came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an outfielder in 1951, playing the first three years as such before switching over to pitching duties in 1955.
He parlayed this into a solid career out of the 'pen, pitching nine out of the final twelve years of his career in Baltimore, even winning two championships with them in 1966 and 1970.
A look at his final numbers give a good idea into his effectiveness: a 93-75 record with a career 3.32 earned run average and 68 saves over 495 games.
In five of those seasons he posted a sub-2.00 E.R.A., with two of them under 2.00.
He finally retired after the 1971 season at the age of 40, even pitching an inning in the World Series against the Pirates, ironically enough.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Let's go and give perhaps the most exciting player in baseball during the 1970's an "In Action" card in the 1972 Topps set, Joe Morgan:

Morgan was already settled in as one of the best young players in the game by the time 1972 rolled around, and while I was tempted to show him as a Cincinnati Reds player, I wanted to stick to the Topps format and have him as a Houston Astro.
As we all know, he was traded to the Reds before the 1972 season, leading to the "Big Red Machine", two championships, and eventual Hall of Fame induction.
What a team: Morgan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Ken Griffey, Dave Concepcion, George Foster and Tony Perez, et al.
But I'll always wonder what kind of dynamic duo Morgan and Cesar Cedeno could have been if Morgan wasn't traded.
Could have been incredible…

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Well I finally gave up on trying to find a suitable image of former Cy Young pitcher Dean Chance as a Detroit Tiger, so through the wonders of Photoshop, I created one myself for his "Missing" 1972 card (or "Career Capper" if you prefer).
Check it out:

Not a bad result if I may say so…
I may have to do the same for my other "white whale", Jim Perry as an Oakland A's player.
Anyway, by August of 1971 Chance was closing out a decent 11-year career, pitching in 31 games for Detroit, with 14 starts and 89.2 innings of work.
That's enough time to warrant a card in the following year's set in my opinion, especially for a guy who put in some all-star seasons in the Major Leagues.
Most notably, he had that monster year in 1964 with the Los Angeles Angels that saw him go 20-9 with a sparkling 1.65 earned run average, 11 shutouts and 207 strikeouts, making him the only pitcher besides a guy names "Koufax" to win the Cy Young Award between 1963 and 1966.
In 1967, now as a member of the Minnesota Twins, Chance had another excellent campaign, posting a 20-14 record with a 2.73 E.R.A., five shutouts and 220 strikeouts.
By the time he retired, he put together a career 128-115 record with a 2.92 E.R.A., 33 shutouts and 1534 strikeouts, with two All-Star game nods and that Cy Young hardware from '64.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Even though Tony Perez was correctly shown as a Montreal Expos player in the OPC and Topps Cloth sets of 1977, he was still a Cincinnati Reds player on his "regular" Topps card.
So with that in mind I went and designed a "Traded" card for him as part of my traded thread.
Take a look:

Perez was sent to Montreal along with pitcher Will McEnaney for two guys out of the bullpen: Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray.
Now, I don't really remember the reasoning for this trade (Tony! Help me out here!), but it seems ABSURD all these years later.
Nevertheless, the "Big Dog" kept on producing for the next four years (three with the Expos and one with the Boston Red Sox in 1980) before becoming a solid veteran bat off the bench between 1982 and 1986 with Boston, Philadelphia and back in Cincinnati before retiring.
All told, he put together a magnificent 23 years career, collecting over 2700 hits, 375 home runs, 1600 runs batted in, and a .279 lifetime batting average.
He was also named to seven all-star teams and got Most Valuable Player attention in seven seasons.
It took a long while, but he was eventually elected into the Hall of Fame in 2000, joining former teammates Joe Morgan, Sparky Anderson and Johnny Bench, with Dave Concepcion and Pete Rose still out in the cold.
As I've stated earlier on this blog, I was always fascinated that former "Big Red Machine" skipper Anderson considered the Perez trade a severe blow to the Reds' continued dominance of Major League ball after 1976.
Here's a team that pretty much had their entire squad intact, and even picked up TOM SEAVER in June of 1977, but could never make it back to the top of the baseball world.
A good idea of how important Perez was…

Thursday, December 11, 2014


After 77 weeks of trivia on Thursdays, I thought it might be time to revisit a set of questions or two from the very beginning, as it's getting harder and harder to dig up new topics/questions to bend your brains!
I may be doing away with "Trivia Thursday" altogether, but the jury is still out on that one. We shall see.
I'll post the answers tomorrow, as usual…

1. Only two players in Major League history have had seasons of 40+ homers in three different decades. The last of which were during the 1970's. Who were they?

2. Besides Nolan Ryan, only one other pitcher threw two no-hitters during the decade. Who was it?

3. Only one player had a 20-20-20 season in the decade (20 doubles/20 triples/20 homers). Who was he?

4. The last pitcher to have 30 or more complete games did it in the 1970's. Who was it and when?

5. Johnny Bench won his two N.L. MVP awards in 1970 and 1972. Ironically, the same player finished second in voting both seasons. Who was he?


1. Harmon Killebrew and Hank Aaron (1950's, 1960's and 1970's)
2. Steve Busby, 1973 & 1974
3. George Brett, 1979
4. Jim "Catfish" Hunter, 1975
5. Billy Williams

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Let's go and give Don Baylor a dedicated rookie card in the 1971 set, where he originally shared a multi-player rookie card with Tom Paciorek and Dusty Baker.
Take a look at my custom 1971 Don Baylor card:

Now while his original rookie wasn't too shabby a card, I found this nice image of Baylor during his very early years and decided to whip up a 1971 card for him.
Some of you may wonder about his uniform! But if you notice all the late-series Orioles players in that 1971 set were photographed with the "new" Baltimore uniform, which Baylor is wearing on this card.
As a young teen in NYC in the early 1980's, I can tell you Baylor was a favorite of ours in the schoolyards of Brooklyn for his hard-nosed play.
He was cool as a cucumber, yet as likable as you can be when we'd see him at baseball card shows around town.
Besides, he looked bad-ass standing there at the plate, upright and waiting to crush a ball into the stands.
He finished his 19-year career in 1988, playing for his third straight American League Champion team, and all three were different: Red Sox in '86, Twins in '87, and the A's in 1988.
Of those, the Twins brought home the title, giving Baylor his only Championship ring as somewhat of a "regular player".
He retired with over 2000 hits, 330 homers, 285 stolen bases and over 1200 runs scored and runs batted in.
In 1979 he exploded while with the Angels, bringing home the American league Most Valuable Player Award after slamming 36 home runs while leading the league in runs scored (120) and runs batted in (139), while hitting .296 with 22 stolen bases thrown in.
Of course, he'll also be remembered as one of the key components in the Orioles-A's trade that sent Reggie Jackson to Baltimore in April of 1976.
But by the time he hung up his cleats for good, he put together a very solid career himself, even winning the National League Manager of the Year Award in 1995 while steering the Colorado Rockies to a 77 and 67 record (good for second place).
Here's to you "Groove"!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Here is a card I have always wanted to "Re-do", Topps' 1975 Billy Williams card (#545).
I've just always disliked the airbrushed portrait, which reminds me of some Hollywood mugshot to this very day.
Take a look at the "as-is" card put out by Topps back then:

And even though I could not find a really good usable image, I did find this rather unique shot of him at bat that I have never seen before, so I used it here.
Take a look:

Not the best photo to fill out the great 1975 template, but better than the airbrushed image Topps threw out there in my opinion.
Eventually I hope to find an even better image to "Re-Do my Re-Do"...
"Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler" was closing out his tremendous Hall of Fame career the following year, closing the books on an 18-year career (all but the last two as a Chicago Cub) with over 2700 hits, 400 home runs, 1400 runs scored and runs batted in, and a .290 batting average.
He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1961, and finished in second place for M.V.P. in both 1970 and 1972 (thanks to Johnny Bench BOTH years!).
He had to wait a little while, but was finally elected to the Hall in 1987, joining former teammate Ernie Banks, and later joined by both Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Today's player for my ongoing 1972 "Missing In-Action" stars is Jim "Catfish" Hunter. Future Hall of Famer and stalwart of the Oaklnad A's dynasty of the mid-1970's.
Take a look:

Hunter was coming off of his first of what would be five consecutive 20-win seasons, his last one as a member of the New York Yankees after signing with them as one of the game's first big-time free agents.
What a class-act Hunter was.
A down-to-earth dude who didn't let stardom sidetrack him, it was sad that he'd have to retire from the game at the age of 33 because of arm troubles, but downright tragic that he would pass away in 1999 from ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) at the young age of 53!
By the time he retired in 1979, he posted 224 wins, a 3.26 earned run average, 2012 strikeouts, and most importantly, FIVE championships: three with Oakland and two with the Yankees.
In 1987 Cooperstown came calling and elected him in, forever enshrined in baseball's all-time history.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Today we celebrate the solid career of second baseman Tony Taylor with a "Super Veteran" card I designed as part of the 1976 set.
Take a look:

Taylor was closing out a nice 19-year career in 1976 after  returning for three seasons with the team he starred for between 1960 and 1971, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Cuban garnered over 2000 hits, 1000 runs scored, and 230 stolen bases to go along with his .261 career batting average.
His best season in the big leagues would arguably be 1963, when he hit .281 with 102 runs scored, 180 hits, 20 doubles, 10 triples and five homers while getting some "M.V.P. attention" for the only time in his career (16th place) in National League voting.
Here's to you Tony...

Saturday, December 6, 2014


A little while back I fulfilled a request for a 1976 Tony Conigliaro card, even though it wasn't on my radar.
Today I'll post up a "Tony C" card that was INDEED on my radar: a "missing" 1972 design. Check it out:

The reason I consider it a missing card, even though Conigliaro didn't play in 1972, was that in 1971 he did suit up in 74 games for the California Angels, good for 292 plate appearances.
For the season he hit .222 with four homers and 15 runs batted in, along with 23 runs scored and 59 total hits.
Sadly for him, the horrific injuries he sustained from his beaning back in 1967 got worse, especially his eyesight, and except for a handful of games in 1975 for his "hometown" Boston Red Sox, his career was cut short.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Here's a "Nickname" card for one of my all-time favorite players, Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew.
Check it out:

I chose a 1970 format since he was coming off of his M.V.P. season of 1969, and had another monster year in 1970, slamming 40+ home runs for the eighth and final time in his illustrious 22-year career!
I don't know why, but I was always in awe of this guy even though he retired right before I became a baseball "junkie", so I never got to see him in action.
What needs to be said here about the man who truly was a "Killer" at the plate?
573 lifetime home runs, six-time American League home run champ, 100+ runs batted in nine times, 11-time All-Star, and Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
As far as I remember it, he's still the only player to slam 40+ homers in a season in three different decades (50's, 60's and 70's).
Oddly enough, Reggie Jackson slammed 40+ in 1969 and 1980, but never did it in the '70's…Go figure…

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Let's go ahead and look at some high (or low) water marks in pitching categories for the 1970's.
Take a look at the questions and see how many you can answer…
Answers posted tomorrow…

  1. What season produced the most 20-game winners in the Majors during the '70's?
  2. What season saw the most 200-strikeout performances during the decade?
  3. What season saw the most sub-3.00 E.R.A.'s in the 1970's?
  4. Conversely, what year saw the least amount of sub-3.00 E.R.A.'s?
  5. Two seasons tied for lowest amount of 200-strikeout years by pitchers. Which ones were they? 

1. 1971, with 14 20-game winners..
1973, with 11 pitchers topping 200 K's.
1972, with an incredible 44 pitchers posting sub-3.00 earned run averages.
4. 1970, with only six pitchers under the 3.00 mark.
5. 1978 and 1979, when only five pitchers topped the mark.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Next up on my "1976 Project" for a blog-reader Jim and his quest for the ultimate 1976 complete set is pitcher Milt Wilcox.
Check out the card I designed:

Of course we all remember Wilcox from his rookie days with the Cincinnati Reds, and the years he spent as a Detroit Tigers player between 1977 and 1985.
But in 1975 he found himself as a member of the Chicago Cubs, in a bit of a transitional time in his career.
He pitched in 25 games for the Chicago that year, going 0-1 with a 5.63 earned run average over 38.1 innings of work, and would actually find himself missing Major League action altogether in 1976.
But the baseball "Gods" would smile on Wilcox as he'd land in Detroit and be a solid starter for the next nine years, solidifying his career before bowing out after the 1986 season as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
All told he'd go 119-113 with a 4.07 E.R.A., 10 shutouts and 1137 strikeouts over 394 games and 2016.2 innings.
Funny enough about two years ago I was watching a program on "Animal Planet", and wouldn't you know it, there's Milt Wilcox and his dogs competing in contests for "fetching" and the like. Seems he became a competitive dog-trainer of sorts, and for a dog-guy like myself that is all good!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Here's a card that I already tackled when I first started this blog, a "revised" version of a 1979 Rod Carew, correctly showing him as a member of the California Angels, where he was traded in February of that year.
However, this time I've designed a version that is part of my "traded" series, showing a "traded line" on the front, as with my others (Tom Seaver, Dick Allen, etc).
Take a look:

Funny enough, the 1979 Topps card of Carew as it was released happens to be one of my all-time favorite cards. But Carew's trade makes fit right in to my thread on the topic.
I Remember as a 10-year old kid (before the days of instant info on T.V. or internet), I was shocked and confused to see that Rod Carew wasn't on the Minnesota Twins anymore.
I was dumb-founded as to how the game's best hitter was now on the West Coast, playing for the Angels.
Anyway, as we all know, Carew continued to hit all the way to the Hall of Fame, easily the games greatest hitter of the decade.
A seven-time batting champ, a Rookie of the Year in 1967, a Most Valuable Player in 1977, and an EIGHTEEN-time all-star (consecutively), the man was a superstar!

Monday, December 1, 2014


A while back, someone (I think it was Johnny Cabrera), mentioned that I should create a 1975 Tony Conigliaro card.
Well, what I decided to do was design a 1976 "Career Capper" card for the former Red Sox slugger who had both a tragic baseball career, and life in general.
Take a look:

Let me tell you, trying to find a usable image of Tony during his handful of 1975 games (with the Red cap the Red Sox featured that year) was a tough one. I found an image and had to "play" with it for a while to make it happen here.
I was really hoping for an in-game image of him that season. Oh well, if I ever find one I'll redo this card.
We all know the story: "Tony C" was a budding star in the big leagues, leading the league in homers at the young age of 20 in 1965 and building on a career that was making the homegrown player a Boston darling.
But in 1967 he was hit in the face by a Jack Hamilton pitch that permanently derailed his career, eventually playing a single year for the Angels in 1971 before leaving the game for three years before making a dramatic "comeback" in 1975.
That season he appeared in only 21 games, good for 69 plate appearances. But it was an emotional return of sorts for Conigliaro, even if it would be the last games of his career, forcing him to retire at the age of 30.
Since he actually appeared in those final games during the 1975 season, I figured a 1976 card for him was more appropriate.
It is easy to forget that after his beaning in 1967, and missing all of 1968, Conigliaro came back and posted a remarkable return season in 1969, hitting 20 homers, driving in 82, and taking home the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award.
1970 was even more incredible, as he swatted a career high 36 home runs, while driving in 100+ for the only time in his career (116)!
Sadly because of the beaning he suffered eye-troubles and was never the same again, and he was traded to the California Angels with pitcher Ray Jarvis and catcher Jerry Moses for Doug Griffin, Jarvis Tatum and Ken Tatum.
As if that wasn't enough for the poor guy, the true tragedy of the Tony Conigliaro story would be in 1982, when he was about to interview for a broadcasting job in Boston and suffered a catastrophic stroke, leaving him in a vegetative state until his death eight years later in 1990.
Really a sad story that leaves you with the "what if's" of the sports world…


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