Saturday, February 28, 2015


Let's follow up yesterday's post with another California Angels player who was ironically left out of a set the year after he put in the most playing time in any season during his short career: Billy Parker.
Take a look:

Parker's short three year career was over by the time this card would have been issued, although at the time most anyone would have assumed he was not done as he was drafted by the Yankees as a Rule-5 player in December of 1973.
He does appear in the 1972 and 1973 Topps sets, even though he had less playing time in 1971 & 1972 than in 1973, just like teammate Orlando Ramirez who I profiled yesterday as mentioned.
In 1973 Parker played in 38 games, good for 115 plate appearances and a .225 batting average with 14 runs scored and seven runs batted in.
I always find it interesting how players will be chosen one year, then left out in others, without any rhyme or reason.
All told Parker played in 94 games as a Major Leaguer, hitting .222 with 56 hits in 252 at-bats.
He did have some solid Minor League years, with 20+ homers and .300+ batting averages.
Sadly he couldn't translate those numbers with the parent club.
After his playing time here in the States he went on to put in some time in the Mexican League before hanging them up for good in 1977 at the age of 35.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Odd, Orlando Ramirez was left out of the 1976 Topps set, even though he played more in 1975 than 1976, yet Topps gave him a slot in the 1977 set.
First, the card for the ongoing "1976 project":

In 1975 Ramirez played in 44 games, good for 113 plate appearances, yet he missed out on a card in that awesome set from 1976.
Yet Topps decided that after he appeared in 30 games with 83 plate appearances in 1976, he'd get a card the following year.
Actually, he also had more playing time during the 1974 season, so he's actually "missing" from the 1975 set as well! (future post!).
Those three seasons would actually be the bulk of his major League playing time, with sparse action in both 1977 and 1979 (he didn't play at all in 1978).
He finished his career with a .189 average with 53 hits in 281 at-bats, with five doubles and a triple.
Thanks to "Reader Jim" for the chance at this project, and tackling these players left out!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Here are some more trivia questions based on baseball cards of the 1970's.
See how many you can remember.
Answers posted tomorrow.

1. Who was the only player from the N.L. East depicted as an all-star in the 1975 set?

2. What National League pitcher was the only one from the East to be designated as an all-star between 1975-1979?

3. What three American League pitchers are pictured on the 1978 "Victory Leaders" card along with the National League leader, Steve Carlton?

4. What four future Hall of Fame pitchers are featured on the 1970 National League "Pitching Leaders" card?

5. What two pitchers are featured on the 1979 "All-Time Record Holders" Earned Run Average card?


1. Larry Bowa, Phillies.

2. Jerry Reuss, Pirates.

3. Jim Palmer, Dennis Leonard and Dave Goltz. They all tied with 20 wins in 1977.

4. Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro, Fergie Jenkins and Juan Marichal.

5. Dutch leonard and Walter Johnson.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Here's a fun card, a "Hall of Fame" card for the next player inducted in 1971, Negro League legend Satchel Paige:

Paige was inducted into the Hall by special committee, the Negro League Committee, and was an obvious choice.
The stories of Paige in his prime are endless, and while most are embellished beyond any scope of reality, the man was an incredible pitcher that many Major League stars who opposed him during his prime went out of their way to say so.
On the Major League level, Paige made his debut in 1948 with Cleveland at the ripe old age of 41, going 6-1 with a 2.48 earned run average over 21 games, seven of which were starts.
The following season he went 4-7 with a 3.04 E.R.A., but ended up missing all of 1950 before coming back to pitch three more years with the St. Louis Browns, going a combined 18-23 with a couple of shutouts and 26 saves over 126 games, 13 of which were starts.
We're talking about a man who was 46 years old at the end of that run!
Move ahead twelve years, in 1965, and Paige took the mound at the age of 58 as a promotional stunt with the Kansas City A's, yet still managed to pitch three innings, giving up a sole hit with no walks, with a strikeout thrown in for good measure! Hilarious!
In those six truncated seasons in the Majors, Paige went a combined 28-31 with a 3.29 earned run average, 288 strikeouts and two shutouts over 179 games and 476 innings.
But it was his legendary status in the Negro Leagues that made him a baseball immortal within the halls of Cooperstown.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


OK, so trying to say long-time Major League pitcher Mike Torrez "missing" from the 1972 set is a bit of a stretch, but it WAS the only set he didn't appear in during the decade, so I went and designed one anyway.
Take a look:

Torrez barely played in 1971, as he split time between the St. Louis Cardinals and Montreal Expos (for only one game), totaling 10 games and 39 innings of work.
But in 1972 he would begin a nice run when he posted a 16-12 record with a 3.33 earned run average and 112 strikeouts over 34 games, 33 of which were starts, and 243.1 innings pitched.
During the middle of the decade he did something I always thought was amazing: he won 14 or more games five years in a row, with FIVE different teams!
He won 15 in 1974 with the Expos, 20 in 1975 with the Orioles (of course, right?), 16 in 1976 with the A's, 14 in 1977 (after coming over from Oakland with a 3-1 record) with the Yankees, and then 16 with the Red Sox in 1978.
That's a pretty cool run! He even went on to win 16 games yet again the following year while still pitching for Boston.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season, Torrez fashioned himself a solid 18-year career that saw him go 185-160, with a 3.96 E.R.A., 1404 strikeouts and 15 shutouts over 494 games, 458 of which were starts.
He also won two games in the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers, pitching a complete game in both starts, yielding a 2.50 E.R.A. with 15 strikeouts. Not bad at all…

Monday, February 23, 2015


Here's a "missing" card for a guy who actually appeared in 94 games with 251 plate appearances in 1975, but didn't make the cut for the 1976 set, Jim Mason:

Now that seems like a substantial amount of playing time for Topps to leave him out of the set, no?
Granted, the guy hit a wretched .152 based on his 34 hits in 223 at-bats, but hey, that's a lot of playing time to be left out of a set in my book.
Mason fashioned a nine-year career as a guy off the bench, with 1974 being his only full season when he played in 152 games and came to the plate 487 times. He even hit .250 which would be the high mark of his career.
In 1977 he was an original member of the Toronto Blue Jays, and was soon sent to the Texas Rangers in mid-season, before finishing up his career with the Montreal Expos in 1979.
It's funny because as a kid collecting cards in the 1970's he was always there (except for '76 of course), yet looking at his career now it's evident how much a card presence elevates a player's career.
All told he hit .203 for his career with 12 homers and 114 runs batted in and 140 runs scored over 633 games and 1583 at-bats.
One final note on his career is his home run in his sole at-bat in the 1976 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in the Yankees losing cause against the "Big Red Machine".

Sunday, February 22, 2015


You knew it would just be a matter of time before I went and designed a "Dedicated Rookie Card" for former Yankee catching great Thurman Munson.
Take a look:

And for those who don't remember, here's what his actual rookie card from Topps looked like:

I guess you can say the future Yankee dynasty of the late 1970's started right here with this guy when he came up and won the American League Rookie of the Year in 1970.
Soon after he was joined by the likes of Graig Nettles, Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry and Willie Randolph, on their way to back-to-back titles as well as an American League pennant in 1976.
Not only did he take home the Rookie of the Year in 1970, but he'd go on to win the Most Valuable Player award six years later, to go along with seven all-star berths as well as three Gold Gloves.
For three consecutive seasons he drove in 100+ runs with LESS than 20 homers, topping out at 18 in 1977, while hitting over .300 each and every time.
I particularly love his M.V.P. year, where he had 665 plate appearances yet only struck out 38 times while collecting 186 hits over 616 at-bats. Pretty amazing stuff. He even stole 14 bases as well!
What an age for catchers huh? You had Munson, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Johnny Bench and Ted Simmons all putting in all-star seasons after all-star seasons.
Sadly we all know how Munson's story played out. I remember that day like it was yesterday and will never forget it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Those of you who have been paying attention here on this blog know how much I love Al Oliver, and today I post my 1972 "missing" in-action Topps card for him:

Nice shot of "Scoop" at the plate!
Now, what do you call a guy who was a seven-time all-star, Silver Slugger winner at three different positions, collector of over 2700 hits, 200 home runs, .300 career average, 1300 runs batted in, and 500 doubles?
I call that a Hall of Famer, especially when you consider that the first nine years or so of his career were the "dead" 1970's.
Yes I know an argument can be made here for Oliver's Hall-worthiness.
But I have always felt that he fell into that Vada Pinson, Dave Parker, Steve Garvey crowd that should have gotten, at the very LEAST, more of a shot at Cooperstown.
I mean, when he was finally eligible for Hall voting, he only got 4.3% and was dropped just like that! THAT is just insane.
He won three consecutive Silver Slugger Awards in 1980-1982, as an outfielder, a designated hitter and a first baseman and he batted .300 or better eleven times in his 18-year career!
He finished in the top-10 in batting eight times during his career, in the top-10 in hits eight times in his career, top-10 in doubles nine times in his career, top-10 in total bases five times, runs scored four times, runs batted in four times, triples three times, extra base hits five times and slugging percentage twice.
Is THAT enough of a statement? His consistency was amazing.
And to top it off, he should have been the National League Rookie of the Year in 1969 but got ripped off, with the award going to Los Angeles Dodger Ted Sizemore.
Al Oliver is grossly overlooked as far as players of that era in my book.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Today we complete the "baseball card career" of former third baseman Ken McMullen with a "missing" 1978 Topps card:

McMullen wrapped up a nice 16-year Major League career in 1977, appearing in 63 games, good for 151 plate appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting .228 with five homers and 19 R.B.I.'s.
It was the only year for him in Milwaukee after two stints of three years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, five-plus years with the Washington Senators, three years with the California Angels and a season with the Oakland A's.
McMullen was a solid player who finished his career with a .248 lifetime average, 156 home runs, 606 runs batted in and 568 runs scored over 1583 games with 5131 at-bats.
The most success he had were his years in Washington, which saw him as their full-time third baseman between 1965-1970.
The 1969 season was arguably his best year as he hit .272 with 19 homers and 87 R.B.I.'s along with 83 runs scored and 25 doubles.
One last tidbit: he hit a pinch-hit home run in his last Major League at-bat.
Not a bad way to go out!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Were any of you out there just as "into" the last card in a Topps set as I was as a kid?
Let's see if you can remember some of them!
I'll post the answers tomorrow.

  1. In 1972 Topps came out with a monster 787-card set! Who was the last card in that set?
  2. Who is on the the last card in my all-time favorite set, 1976?
  3. Who is the former "Bonus Baby" that had the last card in the 1970 Topps set?
  4. What player has the last card in the 1978 Topps set, quite possibly my second favorite set of the decade?
  5. The last card in the 1971 Topps set was the first "last card" I got as a "collector" in the early-80's, paying somewhat of a premium. Who was the player on that last 1971 card?


1. Ron Reed.

2. Davey Lopes.

3. Rick Reichardt.

4. Wilbur Wood.

5. Dick Drago. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Here's a guy so powerful he had TWO awesome nicknames: Frank Howard, aka "Hondo" or "The Capital Punisher".
So I just had to go and make two "nickname" cards for him with those nom-de-plumes! 
Take a look:

I used the 1970 template since Howard was just mashing the ball at the turn of the new decade.
Btween 1968 and 1970 he'd top 40+ home runs each year (becoming the last player to do so until Jay Buhner came along during the 1995-1997 seasons).
Howard led the American League in 1968 and 1970 with 44 taters, but fell one short of the league lead with 48 in 1969 thanks to another masher, Harmon Killebrew and his 49 blasts.
Howard was also one of the first players to top 30 home runs in both leagues, as he hit 31 home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962.
A National League Rookie of the Year in 1960, he'd finish in the top-10 for an M.V.P. Award four times during his 16-year career.
The man was a flat-out beast at the plate, hitting 382 home runs in only 6488 at-bats!
He also topped 100 runs batted in four times, leading the league once, and also topped a .500 slugging percentage seven times during the modern "dead-ball" era, leading the league once in that category as well.
He finally retired after the 1973 season, which saw him play in 85 games for the Detroit Tigers.
Now I'm not saying he's a Hall of Fame player, but I was surprised to see that he only garnered 1.4% of the vote when he became eligible in 1979, thus getting dropped immediately.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Once again, we find ourselves looking at a Hall of Fame inductee who leaves us scratching our heads, this time with the next player voted into Cooperstown in 1971, former pitcher Rube Marquard.
Take a look:

Here's a guy who pitched 18-years in the Majors, from 1908-1925, for the New York Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves, and posted a relatively pedestrian 201-177 record with a 3.08 earned run average, 30 shutouts and 1593 strikeouts.
Granted, the three year period of 1911-1913 were superstar caliber, as he posted win totals of 24, 26 and 23 with E.R.A.'s all at about 2.50.
But that was it!
Really, look up his stats. He never even had what you'd say was an "all-star" year before or after again.
So are we to assume the man was inducted into the Hall of Fame based on THREE seasons?
Noted Baseball author Bill James claims Marquard is "probably the worst starting pitcher in the Hall of Fame."
I'm not trying to rag on Marquard here, but starting this thread a few weeks ago has me scrutinizing all these players in light of today's debate of "who deserves induction and who doesn't" because of the PED age.
Crazy, but this guy is in the Hall but other pitchers like Kaat, Morris, John, Mullane, et al are not.
How about getting Bob Caruthers inducted? He's STILL the only pitcher in Major League history to retire with over 200 wins and less than 100 losses.
Pretty nifty in my book (Pedro JUST MISSED matching this feat before retiring, as he got tagged for his 100th loss during his final abbreviated season with the Phillies in 2009).

Monday, February 16, 2015


Here's a "missing" card for a player who appeared in 113 games in 1971, with almost 300 plate appearances, but didn't show up in the 1972 set, infielder Roberto Pena of the Milwaukee Brewers:

Granted, those 113 games were to be the final games of his Major League career, but this was pretty much a full-time guy so a card for him in this set is warranted.
Pena would play in the last of his six seasons at the big league level, coming up with the Chicago Cubs in 1965 at the ripe "old" age of 28.
He missed the 1967 season altogether, then made his way back in 1968 with the Philadelphia Phillies before moving on to the San Diego Padres in their inaugural year of 1969.
He then went on to split the 1970 season with the Brewers and Oakland A's, making it four organizations in three years.
But in all three of those years he was a legitimate full-time player, plating over 500 appearances each and every time.
In 1971 he saw that time cut almost in half, coming to bat 274 times with 65 hits, good for a .237 batting average.
And that, as they say, was that for Pena.
He played a few more years in the Mexican League, but would never make it back to the Major Leagues again.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Let's follow up the Brooks Robinson "Missing" In-Action 1972 card with his former teammate, first baseman Boog Powell:

I found this cool in-action shot of Powell during the 1971 World Series, with Davey Johnson clearly in the background manning second (anyone know who the Pirates player is?), and thought it would make a great horizontal card format.
Powell was a couple of years removed from his M.V.P. season of 1970 by the time this card would have come out, but had some decent seasons left in the tank before retiring after the 1977 season.
The powerful slugger played on two World Champion teams (1966 and 1970), as well as two other pennant winners (1969 and 1971) while with Baltimore, before moving on to the Cleveland Indians for two years (1975 & 1976) before finishing up his career with 50 games for the Dodgers in 1977.
In only 6681 official at-bats in the Majors, Powell hit 339 homers and drove in 1187 runs. Not bad considering he played during the modern "dead-ball" era. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Here was a fun "missing" card for the ongoing "1976 Project" for "Reader Jim", a 1976 Topps card for Chuck Hockenbery, a right-handed pitcher who appeared in 16 games for the California Angels in 1975, making up his entire Major League career:

In his short pro tenure, Hockenbery posted a record of 0-5 with a 5.27 earned run average with one save and 15 strikeouts in 41 innings.
Though his career spanned 1969 through 1978 as a Minor League player, those 1975 games would be the only taste of Major League action he'd see.
Thanks Jim for pointing me in Hockenbery's direction!

Friday, February 13, 2015


Here's a "Then and Now Super Veteran" card for former pitcher and Cy Young Award winner Jim Perry:

As I've mentioned a few times over on this blog by now, Perry was winding down a very nice 17-year career by 1975, appearing in 23 games split between the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A's, posting a 4-10 record with a 5.38 earned run average.
Making his Major League debut in 1959, he was runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, and went on to win a Cy Young Award in 1970 while a member of the Minnesota Twins.
All told he posted a career 215-174 record with a 3.45 E.R.A., 32 shutouts and 1576 strikeouts over 630 games, 447 of which were starts.
Now imagine all of that and NOT even being the best pro baseball player in the family!
What a brother-combo he and Gaylord made huh?!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Here's another trivia set based on baseball cards from the 1970's.
See how many you can get.
I'll post the answers tomorrow.

  1. What pitcher had baseball cards as an all-star for both the A.L. and N.L. during the 1970's?
  2. Who were the two "other guys" on the Alan Trammell and Paul Molitor rookie card from 1978?
  3. What's "off" about the 1977 Topps Darrell Evans card?
  4. What player was incorrectly depicted as Joe Rudi on Rudi's 1973 Topps card?
  5. What player is sliding into Carlton Fisk on his action-packed 1977 Topps card?


1. Vida Blue: A's in 1976 and Ginats 1979.

2. Mickey Klutts and U.L. Washington.

3. For some reason his name is in purple, unlike the rest of his team, or any other card in 1977 for that matter.

4. Gene Tenace, being greeted by teammates at the plate.

5. It is Yankees second baseman Willie Randolph.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1975 Topps card for longtime New York Yankees second baseman Horace Clarke, who wrapped up his career in 1974 with 42 games for San Diego:

That half season with the Padres was the only time Clarke played for anyone other than the Yankees in his ten-year career, spanning 1965 to 1974.
Playing during those post-dynasty Yankees "dark days", Clarke endured some lean years in the Bronx with guys like Bobby Murcer, Mel Stottlemyre and Joe Pepitone.
A "typical" middle infielder of the era, Clarke was a nice-fielding/light-hitting player who had some nice years for the Yanks.
Between 1967 and 1973 Clarke was the Yankees full-time second baseman, topping 600 plate appearances each and every year.
His average hovered around the .250 mark, with a high of .285 in 1969 when he had perhaps his best season as a Major League player: 183 hits, 82 runs, 33 stolen bases and seven triples.
He retired after 1974 with a lifetime .256 average, with 1230 hits, 548 runs, 304 runs batted in and 151 stolen bases.
Oddly the man never won a Gold Glove even though he topped the American League in putouts four times, double-plays turned twice, fielding once and assists six times.
Just one of those decent guys that got lost in the Bronx before the "Bronx Zoo" and a guy named Steinbrenner rolled in a short time later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Now HERE'S a legit Hall of Fame inductee!
Former Baltimore Oriole outfielder Joe Kelley, who teamed up with the likes of Hugh Jennings, Willie Keeler, John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson to form one of the greatest pre-1900 teams around:

Inducted in 1971 by the Veteran's Committee, there's no doubt about this guy in Cooperstown.
Kelley played 17-years in the Majors, with seven of them as a member of the fabled team mentioned earlier.
A career .317 batter, Kelley also drove in over 100 runs five times (topping out at 134 in 1895), scored over 100 six times (with a high of 165 in 1894) and batted .300 or higher 11-times with a high of .393 in 1894.
By the time he retired after the 1908 season he collected 2220 hits, scored 1421 runs, drove in 1194, smacked 194 triples and stole 443 bases.
It was his time with the Baltimore club in the 1890's that solidified his legacy as a Major League player.
Managed by Ned Hanlon, the team finished first three years in a row between 1894-1896, as well as second in 1897 and 1898.
Kelley was an integral part of that group of players that pretty much invented "small ball" as we know it over 100 years later.
If anyone wants to read a great book on the club and the players that made them so (in)famous, check out: Where They Ain't: The Fabled Life And Untimely Death Of The Original Baltimore Orioles by Burt Solomon.
Fun stuff for sure!

Monday, February 9, 2015


Here's another of those cards that leaves one scratching their heads: a 1974 Topps Juan Beniquez:

So why is it so strange?
Well for starters the guy didn't even appear in a Major League game in 1973.
And since the 1974 set was the first by Topps to NOT be issued in different series throughout the Spring and Summer, it's not like they saw Beniquez collecting some decent playing time in early 1974 in time to issue a card for him later on.
Odd, especially when you also see that Beniquez actually played in only 33 games in 1972 as well. Yet Topps went and gave him a slot in the 1974 set.
I could never figure that one out.
I remember always being intrigued by Juan Beniquez in the mid-1980's since he was always batting better than .300, with a high of .336 in 1984 with the California Angels over 382 plate appearances.
Over his 17-year career he only plated enough appearances to qualify for a batting title twice, in 1976 and 1978, both seasons with the Texas Rangers, so he was really that bat off the bench for most of his career.
Yet he did manage to stretch it out to 17 years until he retired after 1988 after a couple of part-time seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, even winning a Gold Glove in 1977 and playing in the 1975 World Series while with the BoSox.
He finished with a .274 lifetime average with 1274 hits, 610 runs scored, 79 home runs and 476 runs batted in over exactly 1500 games and 5151 plate appearances.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Here's a nice "missing" In Action 1972 card for Brooks Robinson, the "Human Vacuum Cleaner":

Great shot of the Orange Baltimore jersey of the era!
Robinson was a vacuum cleaner indeed, on his way to 16 Gold Gloves for his work at third base.
By this point he was a year removed from the show he put on in the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, helping the Birds win the championship after a heartbreaking loss to the New York Mets in 1969.
By the time he hung up the cleats in 1977 he racked up an M.V.P. Award, the Gold Glove hardware, two championships, FIFTEEN all-star nods, and the heart of Baltimore fans.
As far as his stats go, they were pretty spectacular, especially when you consider he played the bulk of his career during an offensive "dead" era: 1232 runs scored, 2848 hits, 482 doubles, 268 home runs, 1357 runs batted in with a .267 batting average.
23 Major League seasons, all with the same team. Awesome…

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Next up on my "1976 Project" for "Reader Jim" is former relief pitcher Jim Kern, who was left out of the set even though he appeared in a multi-player rookie card the previous year.
Take a look:

Kern should have had a card in the '76 set since he appeared in 13 games, good for 71.2 innings, pretty much evenly split between the bullpen and starts.
He posted a 1-2 record with a 3.77 earned run average and 55 strikeouts, setting off a decent 13-year career which actually saw him as one of the game's more reliable relief pitchers between 1976 and 1979.
His finest season was easily 1979, which saw him post a 13-5 win-loss record with 29 saves and 136 K's in 143 innings of work, ALL in relief for the Texas Rangers.
That stellar season got him a fourth place finish in Cy Young voting, as well as an 11th-place finish in M.V.P. consideration.
Sadly, arm trouble set in the following season, and even though he managed to stick around on Major League mounds until the 1986 season, he was never the same pitcher again.
Nevertheless Kern did finish with a 53-57 career record, with a fine 3.32 E.R.A., 88 saves and 651 strikeouts in 416 games and 793.1 innings.
Over those seasons he played for six teams: Indians, Rangers, Brewers, White Sox, Reds and Phillies.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Though not necessarily a nickname from the 1970's, I just had to design a 1972 format "Nickname" card for all-time great Willie Mays, the "Say Hey Kid":

Fun card to work on!
I figured a cool '72 template with an image from the period before he went over to the Mets would be a nice addition to the series.
By 1972 Mays was wrapping up one of the greatest baseball careers anyone had the privilege to see. A career that saw him hit 660 home runs, but also top 300 stolen bases, 3000 hits, 2000 runs, 1900 runs batted in and a .302 batting average.
What DIDN'T he do?!
A Rookie of the Year in 1951, two Most Valuable Player Awards (1954 and 1965), TWENTY All-Star seasons and twelve Gold Gloves.
Just incredible.
When it was time for the Hall of Fame to come calling, he was about as easy a selection as there ever could be, getting 94.7% of the vote (I guess 5.3% of the voters were piss-drunk when they selected!).
The "Say Hey Kid", still going strong at 83 years of age…

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Here's another quiz based on Topps baseball cards during the 1970's.
See how much you know about those sets from the decade!
Answers posted tomorrow…
  1. Who was the first player to sport a mustache on a card in the 1970's? This was actually the first Topps card EVER to do so.
  2. Who was the player depicted in the 1976 set as winning the Bubble Blowing contest of the year before?
  3. Though not shown on the front of the card in 1972 (#624), who was the Topps Minor League Player of the Year for 1971 as listed on the back of the card?
  4. What manager was missing from the awesome 1978 manager card sub-set?
  5. Can you name the FIVE Oakland A's all-stars in the 1976 set?

1. Richie Allen, 1971.

2. Kurt Bevacqua.

3. Bobby Grich.

4. Alex Grammas, Brewers.

5. Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Reggie Jackson, Bert Campaneris and Vida Blue. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Yeah I'm pushing it a bit to say that Dave May was "missing" from the 1979 set, but I came across this photo of him as a Pittsburgh Pirate, even though he only appeared in 5 games for them at the end of the 1978 season, the last five games of his career, so I just had to create a card.
Take a look:

May appeared solely as a pinch-hitter for the Bucs in '78, thus closing out a decent 12-year career that saw him play for the Orioles, Brewers, Braves, Rangers and Pirates.
I profiled his career more in-depth a little while back when I created his "missing" 1977 card, a card that SHOULD have been produced by Topps.
You can take a look at that post to read further (or simply go to
Cards like this one are definitely fun to do, even IF they really had no business being in a Topps set.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


That's the word that jumps in my head when I look at this card.

An airbrushing job that is just CLASSIC!
Remember "Colorforms"? That's exactly what it looks like: a green die cut cap-shaped sticker was placed over the cap Dick Williams was wearing in the photo.
I especially love the black outlining going on, and the fact that the airbrushed cap is sharper than the ever-so-slightly-blurred photo of Williams in Yankee Stadium.
Funny enough, the photo used by Topps is at least a couple of years old, as Williams is in his old Boston Red Sox uniform, the team he last managed in 1969.
I should re-do this card…
As manager of the Oakland A's, he arrived just in time as the team was just about to become the dynasty they'd turn out to be, winning the American League West in 1971 (losing to the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs), but then winning the following two championships in 1972 and 1973 before Williams went on to manage the California Angels in 1974.
Over the course of his 21-year managerial career, Williams managed five first-place teams, reaching the playoffs with four of his teams: Red Sox, A's, Expos and Padres.
He guided three of THOSE teams to the World Series, and finished with 1571 wins, four pennants and two World Series wins.
All of that eventually led to Williams being inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 2008.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Here's a unique card for a player who made a HUGE impact on the history of the sport, yet has fallen away as a forgotten footnote of sorts to those not well-versed in baseball history: former all-star outfielder Curt Flood.
Check it out:

***UPDATE: John at "Cards That Never Were" went ahead and created his own version of the "missing" 1972 Curt Flood, and I love it!
He was kind enough to send it to me so I can post it up here:

Courtesy of John Hogan, "Cards That Never Were"

The "retired" stamp was a great idea (as John stated, the idea "borrowed" from the 1967 Koufax Venezuela card), and it's definitely nice to see the photo of Flood untouched, with the Washington Senators uniform.
Great looking card! Thanks John!

As for Flood, by the time he was traded away from his long-time team, the St. Louis Cardinals, after the 1969 season, he was already established as an all-star player, winning seven consecutive Gold Gloves while garnering some M.V.P. points in six of the previous seven campaigns.
But frequent public clashes with Cardinal front office personnel over contract negotiations eventually found him dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in a multi-player deal, and led Flood to openly challenge the long-standing "reserve clause" by not reporting to his new team the following year.
Sitting out the entire 1970 season, Flood found himself dealt once again, this time to the Washington Senators, where he'd play for only 13 games in 1971 before leaving the team, forfeiting the rest of his $100,000 contract.
He was never to play in another Major League game again, leaving the sport at the age of only 33.
If you look at Flood's stats, he was still an excellent ballplayer, and thus his fight for players' rights halted what could have arguably been a Hall of Fame career.
The man could flat out hit, while manning centerfield with the best of them.
From a baseball card standpoint, it's actually interesting to see that Topps actually issued a card for him in their 1971 set as a Senator even thought he sat out 1970. 
Even on his 1970 card, Flood is depicted as a Phillies player, though the photo is obviously (like the 1971 image), a shot of him in a Cardinal uniform, though you can't see any of the distinguishing logos.
So for this 1972 specimen, I wasn't going to show him as a Texas Ranger, since he left the Washington club early in 1971, so he didn't go with them when they relocated to Arlington, Texas the following year.
I also airbrushed out any distinguishing Washington Senators uniform logos since Topps didn't show any of the other players who were tabbed as "Rangers" in the set.
So what I decided was to take a 1972 "traded" template (which I actually do not like), and adapt it to this "need".
As much as I'm not a fan of this template, it does seem to work best with this card idea.
If you don't know already, Flood's actions would eventually lead to the end of the reserve clause, and open the door to free agency by the middle of the decade, changing the game of baseball forever.
With all that happened to Flood's career, he did leave the game with 1861 hits and a .293 career average, along with seven Gold Gloves and three all-star game nods.
He also was a member of two World Championship teams, the 1964 and 1967 Cardinals, as well as the Cardinal team that lost to the Tigers in 1968.
Truly a historical figure no matter what side of the free agent topic you fall into, and excellent ballplayer who would have been fun to watch playing into the late-70's.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Here's another one of those "head-scratcher" Hall of Fame inductees from the era: former outfielder Harry Hooper.

Now, while he wasn't a former teammate of Frankie Frisch, you have to wonder if cronyism was involved with this Veteran's Committee selection in 1971, as Hooper's career wasn't exactly screaming "INDUCTION".
Then again, Hooper was an important cog in those Boston red Sox champion teams during their dynasty of the teens (1912,1915,1916,1918), and was one of the premier fielding outfielders of the day, so maybe I have it wrong.
It's just curious to me since when he was eligible for BBWA voting he never garnered more than 3.0% of the vote.
Over the course of 17-years Hooper collected 2466 hits with a .281 average, 1429 runs scored, 160 triples and 375 stolen bases.
But it was in the field where he really made his mark, leading the American League in fielding six times as a right fielder, while pacing the league in assists three times and putouts six times.
He finished off his career with five solid seasons as a member of the Chicago White Sox, even posting a career high .328 average in 1924 at the age of 36.
Nevertheless, there sure are a bunch of Hall of Fame inductions involving players that don't seem to stand the test of time these days huh?


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