Tuesday, March 31, 2015


You know, before "Reader Jim" asked me to create a 1976 Topps Ivan DeJesus card, I never even realized he initially came up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and even "deserved" a card in the 1976 set!
Anyway, first up, here's the card:

Turns out DeJesus played in 63 games for the Dodgers in 1975, good for 99 plate appearances and 87 at-bats.
He hit .184 with a couple of doubles and a triple, with 10 runs scored and two runs batted in.
It really wasn't until 1977, now as a Chicago Cub, that he would become a full-time Major League player. 
By the time he retired as a player after the 1988 season, he played for the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees, Giants and Tigers over the course of 15 seasons, and finished with a .254 average with 1167 hits and 194 stolen bases.
Between 1977 and 1980 he had some solid seasons for the Cubs, even leading the National League in runs scored in 1978 with 104, and twice topping 40 stolen bases (in 1978 and 1980).
I just always figured he came up with the Cubs. Goes to show you learn something new every day!

Monday, March 30, 2015


Time for "Wilbah", White Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood to get a "missing" in-action card in the 1972 set.
Take a look:

In 1971 Wood started an incredible four year run where he'd top 20 wins, top 40 starts, and top 300+ innins of work each and every year.
But it was just how MANY starts and innings he compiled in that time that is wild.
In 1971 he had 42 starts with 334 innings, 1972 was 49 starts with 376.2, 1973 was 48 starts with 359.1 innings and 1974 was 42 starts with 320.1!
Granted, relying on a knuckleball took some of the wear and tear off the arm, but nevertheless looking at those numbers are hilarious!
Between 1971 and 1973 he finished in the top-5 in Cy Young voting each time, with a second-place finish in 1972 behind Gaylord Perry.
He even finished top-10 in M.V.P. voting in 1971 and 1972, finishing 9th and 7th respectively.
After nine years of working out of the bullpen, Wood found himself as a starter in 1971 and responded brilliantly!
He'd post a 22-13 record with a sparkling 1.91 E.R.A., 22 complete games, seven shutouts and 210 strikeouts.
This after leading the American League in appearances with 77 (with no starts), while racking up 21 saves.
His 1968 season out of the bullpen for the ChiSox was also fantastic, as he posted a 13-12 record with a 1.87 E.R.A. and 16 saves while appearing in a league-leading 88 games with 159.0 innings pitched. ALL in relief!
Anyway, by the time Wood was retired after the 1978 season, he finished with a 164-156 record, with a 3.24 earned run average, 24 shutouts, 57 saves and 1411 strikeouts over 651 games, 297 of which were starts.

***Thanks to reader Joe Sabatino I realized that Wood actually HAD an "In Action" card in the 1972 set. I have no clue how I missed that one.
Ah well, I'm going to whiff every once in a while...
Thanks Joe for the heads up!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Next up on my "Then and Now" series is former pitcher Milt Pappas, who put together a nice 17-year career before retiring after the 1973 season.
Check out the card:

Pappas was one of those few guys that actually had a "career capper" card of sorts since he retired AFTER Topps set up their set for the new year.
In this case, Pappas appears in the '74 set even though he was already done with Major League ball.
Therefore that is why I have him here on a 1974 template, which came out nice and clean.
Pappas was only 34 years old when he retired, even with the 17-year career, as he came up with the Baltimore Orioles as an 18-year old back in 1957.
Though never a 20-game winner or big strikeout guy, he did have consistent, solid years that led him to a 209-164 record with a 3.40 E.R.A., 43 shutouts and 1728 strikeouts as he pitched for the Orioles, Reds, Braves and Cubs.
A little historical footnote: when Pappas won his 200th game in 1972, he became the first pitcher in Major League history to reach that mark without a 20-win season.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Man I love these cards!
Today's airbrushing gem is the 1971 Jim Qualls card.
Take a look:

Well, it's pretty literal right?! The man's a member of the Cincinnati Reds, and that sure is a RED cap!
Love it…
Not shading, no logo, just a quick paint-over and onto the next!
It's actually funny Qualls even GOT a card in the 1971 set since he only played in nine games in 1970 for the Montreal Expos, which saw him go 1 for 9 at the plate with an R.B.I.
Turns out he would never actually play for the Reds at the big league level, or anyone else for that matter, in 1971.
In 1972 he'd appear in eleven games for the Chicago White Sox, and that would be it as far as Major league action for Qualls.
Of course Qualls will forever be know as the guy who broke up Tom Seaver's perfect game bid during his rookie year with the Chicago Cubs in 1969, when he singled off "Tom Terrific" with one-out in the ninth inning on July 9th of that year.
As we all know the New York Mets would have to wait all the way to 2012 to see one f their pitchers pitch the FIRST no-hitter in franchise history (Johan Santana against the Cardinals).
Qualls would go on to play two years in Japan post-MLB, hitting .252 with 15 homers and 71 runs batted in for the Kintetsu team, before calling it a pro-career at the age of 26 in 1973.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Next up on the Hall of Fame thread in former New York Yankees great Lefty Gomez, who was inducted into Cooperstown in 1972.
Check out my card:

Anchoring the Yankee staffs of the 1930's, Gomez twice won the pitching triple crown (1934 and 1937) while also going 6-0 in World Series play with FOUR shutouts. Not bad.
However, and hear me out: when you really look over what Gomez did during his somewhat short Major League career, he doesn't really come off as a Hall-worthy guy. No?
Take away his two stellar seasons mentioned above, and well, we're left with a very good pitcher. 
Now I'm a devout Yankee fan, and live and die by every season. But with a lifetime 189-102 career record with a 3.34 earned run average, 28 shutouts and 1468 strikeouts, I just don't see it.
Besides that, Gomez only had ten full seasons of Major League ball, the other four years were partial at best, and I have always had a hard time with guys that didn't put in a solid 15+ years in the "big show".
Don't know how many of you feel.
Perhaps as reader Tony once mentioned, it's about the players's status at the time he retired and where he stood then, NOT through our modern goggles.
But is is worth noting that the most support Gomez got by the BBWA was in 1956 when he got 46.1% of the vote.
When his 15-year eligibility was up in 1962, he'd have to wait another ten years before the Veteran's Committee got him in.
Sure the "Lefty" legend is there. But was it enough for the Hall?
Let me know what you all think!

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Let's give my eleventh trivia set from 2013 another shot here. See how many you can answer, and I'll post the answers tomorrow.

1. On August 21, 1975 they became the only brothers to combine on a complete game shutout. Who were they?

2. In 1975 this St. Louis Cardinal had a 16 game hitting streak in which he collected exactly one hit in each of those games. Who is he?

3. The 1972 season saw no less than four pitchers with sub-2.00 E.R.A.'s. Name all four. Hint: two were in the A.L. and two were in the N.L.

4. In almost 1000 career at-bats, he hit his only home run against his own brother on May 29, 1976. Who was he?

5. This player fell one at-bat short of becoming the first player in Major League history to record 700 official at-bats in a season. Who was it?


1. Paul and Rick Reuschel, Chicago Cubs.

2. Ted Sizemore.

3. Gaylord Perry, Indians; Luis Tiant, Red Sox, Steve Carlton, Phillies and Gary Nolan, Reds.

4. Joe Niekro, Astros, off his brother Phil, who was pitching for the Braves.

5. Dave Cash, Phillies. He posted 699 at-bats with 213 hits in 1975.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


For today's "1976 Project" card, we have a guy who was all over the place as far as Topps goes: former catcher Tim Blackwell.
Check out the card first:

Blackwell was actually "missing" from both the 1976 AND 1975 sets (I'll be tackling that one in the future).
The guy posted over 135 plate appearances both seasons, yet Topps didn't have him on a card until the 1978 set, which is ALSO strange since in 1977 he only appeared in 17 games, good for only 25 plate appearances (???).
So weird…
For the 1975 season, (relating to the card here), Blackwell played in 59 games, good for 157 plate appearances, which saw him hit .197 with 26 hits, 15 runs scored and six runs batted in while filling in for Carlton Fisk and the Red Sox.
We'd soon get familiar with Blackwell once he took his catching gear over to Chicago's North-side, along with his "Macho-Man" mustache that would have made ANY of the guys in the Village People proud.
Blackwell carved out a 10-year career in the Major Leagues, playing for Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal and the Chicago Cubs, before retiring after the 1983 season.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Today I want to post up a "Traded" 1979 card for power-and-speed threat Bobby Bonds. Take a look at my card:

Bonds was shown as a Texas Ranger in the '79 set, but was traded over to Cleveland in October during the off-season.
He'd spend one season in Cleveland and put up "typical" numbers: 25 home runs, 34 stolen bases, a .275 batting average with 93 runs scored.
Yet those solid numbers wouldn't be enough to prevent yet another trade which would send him to the St. Louis Cardinals for the 1980 season.
Ever since being traded from the San Francisco Giants for Bobby Murcer before the 1975 season Bonds found himself bouncing around for the remaining seven years of his career.
Between 1975 and 1981, a total of seven years, Bonds played for seven teams: the Yankees, Angels, White Sox, Rangers, Indians, Cardinals and Cubs.
It's a shame he could never keep it all together with all the talent he had, the man could have put up some serious career numbers!
As it was, he finished with 332 homers, 1024 runs batted in, 1258 runs scored and 461 stolen bases and even took home three Gold Gloves.
What an awesome combination of power and speed.
Five times he attained a 30/30 season, just missing out on becoming the first player in history to hit 40/40 in 1973 when he clubbed 39 homers with 43 swipes.
I remember him stating years later that if he knew it was going to be such a big deal he'd have done it multiple times. And I'm sure he could have too.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Let's go and give long time pitcher Joe Gibbon a "missing" card from the 1971 set.
Take a look at my card:

In 1970 Gibbon actually got into 41 games for the Pirates, good for 41 innings of work as an arm out of the 'pen.
He posted an 0-1 record with a 4.83 earned run average and five saves with 26 strikeouts.
Seems like enough action to warrant a card, no?
Funny enough by the time the 1971 season opened he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds, before closing out his 13-year career with the Astros by the end of the 1972 season.
His finest season would arguably be his second, back in 1961 when he posted a 13-10 record with a 3.32 E.R.A., three shutouts and 145 strikeouts over 195.1 innings of work in 29 starts.
Generally however, the bulk of his career was out of the bullpen, and by the time he retired he had a record of 61-65, with a 3.52 E.R.A., four shutouts, 32 saves and 743 strikeouts over 419 games, 127 of which were starts.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I've been meaning to post about this card for some time now:

The 1977 Jim Holt Topps card was one of those cards I noticed early on because of his lack of play the previous year.
In 1976 Jim Holt appeared in a total of four games, with eight plate appearances and seven at-bats, slapping two doubles with two runs batted in. 
That was it. Total.
There were guys shown on those multi-player rookie cards that had more playing time in 1976 than Holt, so I could never figure out why he got a slot in the 660-card set.
On top of that, it wasn't until years later that I realized Holt actually never played a Major League game again after 1976, so it was especially curious as to how he got a card in the '77 set.
Don't get me wrong, I love writing about cards like this. Just want to shed a little light on them to see if anyone knows something I don't.
For Holt himself, he wrapped up a nine-year career in 1976, playing for the Twins and A's between 1968 and 1976.
He hit .265 with 428 hits in 1616 at-bats, with 19 homers, 177 R.B.I.'s and 174 runs scored.
He never played enough in any one season to qualify for a batting title, but he had his finest season in 1973 with the Twins, when he hit .297 with 11 homers, 58 R.B.I.'s and 532 runs scored over 132 games and 476 plate appearances.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Time for the "Toy Cannon", former slugger Jim Wynn, to have a "missing" In Action card in the 1972 set.
Take a look at what I came up with:

Nice period photo of the Astros top home run hitter of the late-60's/early-70's.
Wynn put in a nice 15-year career that saw him bash 291 homers with 964 runs batted in and 1105 runs scored.
But what really may surprise many of you is that the man also stole 225 bases during his career, pulling off 20/20 seasons three times.
After his eleven productive years in Houston, Wynn moved on to Los Angeles where he had two consecutive all-star years in 1974 and 1975.
1976 saw him with the Atlanta Braves, and he did manage to hit 17 homers while leading the league with 127 walks. But he also led the league with the lowest batting average among qualifiers, and the following season he split time between the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers, hitting .175 with a single homer and 13 R.B.I.'s over 66 games.
That would be the last Major League action Wynn would see in the Majors, calling it a career at the age of 35.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Let's go and give former Baltimore Orioles star pitcher Mike Cuellar a "Then and Now" card in the 1977 set.
Take a look:

By 1977 Cuellar was closing out a nice 15-year career that saw him win 185 games, post four 20+ win seasons, win a Cy Young Award (shared with Tigers pitcher Denny McLain in 1969) and post four sub-3.00 E.R.A. Seasons.
I never realized that even though he came up in 1959 with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in two games as a 22-year old, he didn't make it back to the Major's until 1964 at the age of 27, now as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Considering his lifetime win total mentioned above, he could have possibly approached 250 wins had he not missed those four-plus years in the early-1960's.
In 1977 Cuellar found himself with the California Angels, appearing in only two games, which would be the last two games of his career.
His lifetime numbers were impressive: the 185 wins mentioned above, a 3.14 lifetime E.R.A., 36 shutouts and 1632 strikeouts over 453 games, 379 of which were starts.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Here's a revisit of my trivia from August of 2013. See how many you can get.
Answers tomorrow, as usual…
  1. In 1973 he became the first pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series. Who is he?
  2. You can pretty much guess that Pete Rose and Rod Carew would be #1 and #2 in total hits for the decade. But who is #3?

  3. Among the top-10 pitchers for wins in the 1970's, who is the only one NOT in the Hall of Fame?
  4. What shortstop played an entire double-header on June 5, 1976 without handling a single chance in either game?
  5. Believe it or not, Pete Rose played an entire season in the decade, 162 games and 764 plate appearances, without a stealing a single base. What year was it?


1. Darold Knowles, Oakland A's.

2. Al Oliver, with 1686.

3. Vida Blue. 9th place with 155 wins.

4. Toby Harrah, Texas Rangers.

5. 1975, the first of two "Big Red Machine" championship seasons.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Here was a VERY nice card to work on! A 1972 "Hall of Fame Inductee" card for Negro League superstar Josh Gibson.
Check it out:

Really, what is left to be said about perhaps the greatest Negro League player of all-time?
The "Black Babe Ruth", sadly so many of his achievements are lost to lack of true record-keeping through his extensive barn-storming play.
He was reported to have hit about 800 lifetime home runs, hit a ball completely out of Yankee Stadium (something never done before or since), posted a .384 lifetime average, won nine home run titles and four batting titles.
What DOES remain fact was that throughout the years since his death in 1947 at the young age of 35 from a stroke, Gibson is considered one of the all-time great power hitters, hands-down.
In 2000, when the Sporting News posted their "100 Greatest Baseball Players of All-Time", Gibson was ranked 18th, the highest position of any Negro League player (ahead of Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell and Oscar Charleston).
The man was, and is, still mythic in baseball lore.
Sadly because of the "gentleman's agreement" instituted at the turn of the 20th century, we'd never see him perform against his contemporaries in the Major Leagues.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Next up on the "1976 Project" that blog reader Jim and I have been mapping out is former relief pitcher Cecil Upshaw.
Check out the way my card for him came out:

Upshaw was finishing up a nine-year career at the end of the 1975 season, appearing in 29 games and 47.1 innings of work for the Chicago White Sox.
He posted a 1-1 record with a 3.23 E.R.A., one save and 22 strikeouts over those appearances, and it certainly demands a card in my book!
His finest Major League campaign was easily the 1969 season with the National League West Champion Atlanta Braves, when he went 6-4 with a 2.91 earned run average, with 27 saves and 57 strikeouts over 62 games and 105.1 innings.
His 1968 season wasn't too shabby as well! That year he went 8-7 with a very nice 2.47 E.R.A., 13 saves and 74 strikeouts over 52 games and 116.2 innings, also all in relief.
Arm troubles slowed his career down a bit, and he even missed all of 1970.
But once back in 1971 he'd go on to pitch for the Braves, Astros, Indians, Yankees and White Sox.
He would finish with a 34-36 lifetime record with 86 saves, a 3.13 E.R.A., and 323 strikeouts in 348 games, all of them out of the 'pen.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Today's "Nicknames of the 70s" profile is pitching great and future Hall of Fame member Fergie "Fly" Jenkins.
Check out my card design:

I used the 1971 template since he would take home his only Cy Young Award that season, and he was smack in the middle of an incredible run of six straight 20-win seasons, as well as five straight 200+ strikeout campaigns.
He was amazing!
He'd eventually post six 20-win seasons, six 200-strikeout seasons, five 300+-inning years, four sub-3.00 E.R.A. Years and become the first pitcher in Major League history to finish with 3000+ strikeouts with LESS than 1000 base on balls.
Overall in 19-seasons Jenkins finished with a 284-226 record, with a 3.34 earned run average, 49 shutouts and 3192 strikeouts over 664 games, 594 of which were starts.
In 1991 he was elected into the baseball Hall of Fame on his third try, gaining 75.4% of the vote, thus sealing his star legacy forever.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


As I stated earlier, when I had my post on the great airbrushing job on the 1977 Doyle Alexander card, some of you wrote in and mentioned a few other great paint-jobs pre-Photoshop by Topps.
Here's one of the cards mentioned: 1976 Nelson Briles:

Man, you really have to appreciate the work that was done on this photo!
The shadowing on the chest area, the "Rangers" across the jersey and the cap. All great work!
Sure, if you carefully scan the image you can see the small imperfections. But overall a wonderful job by the Topps crew.
Briles was just about to start his short tenure with the Rangers, pitching about a year and a half after putting in two years with the Kansas City Royals.
His peak years were with the team he came up with, the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1967 he posted a 14-5 record with the World Champs, leading the league in winning percentage with a nice .737 mark, along with a 2.43 earned run average, two shutouts and six saves in 49 games, 14 of which were starts.
The following year he went 19-11 with a 2.81 E.R.A., four shutouts and 141 strikeouts over the course of 33 games, all starts.
By the time he retired after the 1978 season he finished with a 129-112 record, with a 3.44 E.R.A., 17 shutouts and 1163 strikeouts over 452 games, of which 279 were starts.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Often overlooked, or forgotten, today I give a "missing" In-Action 1972 card to former long-time Yankee outfielder Roy White.
Check it out:

Even though the man was a New York Yankee "lifer", playing 15 years between 1965 and 1979 wearing only the Yankee pinstripes, White was often overshadowed by the likes of Mantle, Munson, Murcer, Nettles and Jackson.
Nevertheless he put in a very solid career, amassing over 1800 hits, with just under 1000 runs scored, 160 home runs and 233 stolen bases.
After his Major League playing days he even put in three good years in Japan, playing for the Yomiuri Giants between 1980-1982.
Just a quiet, solid player who more than did his job while between the foul lines, year in and year out.
I've mentioned earlier here on this blog: years later I would end up befriending and DJ-ing in the same club scene here in NYC with his son Reade, even though he never DID tell me who his father was!
I'd only find out years later from a mutual friend after I was long gone from the club-circuit…
Would have been nice to try and schmooze a conversation or two with the senior White in the early-90's!

Friday, March 13, 2015


Let's give former outfielder Ron Woods a 1975 "missing" card shall we?
Check out what I came up with:

In 1974 Woods played in 90 games for the Expos, accumulating 151 plate appearances and 127 at-bats, with 26 hits (a .205 average), a homer and 12 runs batted in. That qualifies for a card in my book!
That would be the last action he'd see in the Majors, capping off a six-year career that saw him come up with the Detroit Tigers in 1969, and shortly thereafter getting traded to the Yankees, where he'd play until the 1971 season before moving on to Montreal.
He never got to play a full season while in the Big Leagues, topping out at 135 games and 385 plate appearances in 1973.
His final numbers were: a .233 batting average, 290 hits, 162 runs scored, 26 homers and 130 runs batted in over 582 games and 1461 plate appearances.
I always remember him because of his awesome 1971 Topps card, which I profiled earlier on this blog.
Check it out when you get the chance!

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Let's revisit my ninth trivia quiz from way back in August of 2013 shall we?
See how many you can get, and I'll post the answers tomorrow.

  1. What pitcher appeared in the Seattle Mariners inaugural game in 1977, as well as the Seattle Pilots first game in 1969?

  2. Who was the only National League player to top the circuit in hits with less than 200 during the decade?

  3. Two players (one in the A.L. and one in the N.L.) topped 50 doubles in a season during the '70's. Who were they?

  4. Who was the only player to top 400 total bases in a season during the 1970's?

  5. Who was the only future Hall of Fame pitcher to lead the A.L. in losses between 1970 and 1979?

1. Diego Segui.

2. Pete Rose, 198 Hits in 1972.

3. Hal McRae, 54 in 1977; Pete Rose, 51 in 1978.

4. Jim Rice, 406 in 1978.

5. Nolan Ryan. 18 Losses in 1976.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Today we go and give 13-year Major League veteran Gary Sutherland a "missing" 1978 Topps card:

Sutherland appeared in just about half of the Padres' games in 1977, playing second, third and first base while collecting 25 hits in 103 at-bats, good for a .243 batting average.
By the time the 1978 season opened he was a St. Louis Cardinal, and only appeared in 10 games, all at second base, which would actually be the last ten games of his career.
But as I mentioned earlier, he did put together an admirable 13-year career, playing with the Phillies, Expos, Astros, Tigers, Brewers, Padres and Cardinals.
He finished with a career .243 average with 24 homers and 239 runs batted in, with 754 hits over 3104 at-bats.
One last bit regarding Sutherland: he scored the very first run in Montreal Expos history, on April 8th, 1969.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Here's a design for a "missing" card in the 1972 Topps set of former outfielder Chuck Hinton.
Check it out:

Hinton wrapped up his 11-year career after the 1971 season, appearing in 88 games for the Cleveland Indians, good for 167 plate appearances.
For the '71 season he hit .224 with 33 hits, seven doubles and five homers in 147 at-bats.
I think that's enough playing time to warrant a card in the 1972 set.
Hinton's best Major league season is easily 1962 when he was playing for the Washington Senators.
In only his second year in the Big Show, Hinton hit .310 with 73 runs scored, 168 hits, 25 doubles, six triples and 17 homers to go along with 75 runs batted in and 28 stolen bases.
He had a couple of more productive years with the Senators before moving on to the Indians, where he'd play seven of the next eight years (he played one season for the California Angels in 1968).
By the time he was done, he owned a .264 average with just over 1000 hits, 113 home runs and 130 stolen bases.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Next up on my "1976 project" for blog follower Jim is a player I never knew much about, former San Francisco Giant Jake Brown.
Take a look at the cards I designed for "Reader Jim". There are two of them because we found a nicer shot of Brown after I created the first one, so we whipped up the second one as well:

Portrait Version

Posed Version
Brown played in only 41 games during the 1975 season, which would turn out to be all the Major League games he'd play in for his career.
Over that short time he batted .209 with nine hits over 43 at-bats, while playing 14 games in the outfield.
When I went to find out more about Brown, I found out that, tragically, Brown passed away in 1981 at the young age of 33 of leukemia.
Sad to hear of yet another player from that era who died young. Seemed to be a particularly harsh decade for things like that, no?

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Time for me to give reigning (at the time) National League Most Valuable Player Joe Torre a "missing" In-Action card from the 1972 set. Check it out:

As we all know by now, Torre was coming off of his monster 1971 season, where he led the N.L. in hits with 230, runs batted in with 137, batting with a .363 average, and total bases with 352.
But beyond that the man put together a very nice 18-year career as a player before putting in his Hall of Fame career as a Major League manager.
Five 100-R.B.I. seasons, six 20+ home run seasons, nine all-star nods, and a second-place finish in 1961 for Rookie of the Year, AND hailing from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn as yours truly!
"Hey Joe, you done good!"

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Recently, when I posted an article on the great airbrushing job by Topps on the 1977 Doyle Alexander card, we started a small conversation on some OTHER great airbrushing done on cards of the period.
Some one mentioned the 1976 Nelson Briles, which was indeed a great job (I'll cover that in the future), and someone else mentioned a card I was already planning on writing about: the 1978 Elliott Maddox card.
Check out the card:

Now, first things first: I never realized this was an airbrushing job until about a month ago! All these years it just looked genuine to me at a passing glance.
Then I was looking at Maddox's career and saw he never played for the Mets in 1977, but the Orioles.
That's when I took a closer look and realized Topps took a shot of Maddox when he was with the Yankees, and cleverly airbrushed the TINIEST end of the "Mets" logo on his jersey, while keeping the Yankees pinstriping, messing with the hue just a bit to resemble the Met's pinstriping.
With the most minimal of airbrushing: in this case that little bit of the "Mets" script peeking out from behind his arm, this really made for an authentic looking shot.
I love stuff like this!
As for Maddox the player, he played a solid 11 years in the Major Leagues, coming up in 1970 with the Tigers before moving on to the Senators/Rangers, Yankees, Orioles and Mets, for whom he played for the last three years of his career until 1980.
He finished with a .261 average with 742 hits over 2843 at-bats, and even finished 8th in MVP voting in 1974, his first season with the Yankees, after hitting .303 in perhaps his finest year in the Majors.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Today's "Then and Now" subject is a guy who put together a nice 18-year career, former pitcher Juan Pizarro.
Check out my card design:

Pizarro's best years were with the Chicago White Sox between 1961 and 1964 which saw him primarily as a starter, winning 61 games with two seasons of sub-3.00 E.R.A.
1964 was easily his best season, as he posted a 19-9 record with a 2.56 earned run average, four shutouts and 162 strikeouts over 33 starts.
From 1965 until his last season in 1974 he was used mainly as a lefty out of the bullpen, pitching for no less than seven teams: White Sox, Pirates, Red Sox, Indians, A's, Cubs and Astros.
By the time he retired he finished with a 131-105 record, with a 3.43 E.R.A., 17 shutouts, 28 saves and 1522 strikeouts over 488 games, 245 of which were starts.
Although he pitched into the 1974 season, Pizarro's last Topps card was in 1972, that's why I used the 1972 template here.
But I'll be designing a couple of "missing" cards for Pizarro in the near future so keep an eye out for them.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Here's a revisit with the eighth round of weekly trivia related to 1970's baseball that was originally posted here in July of 2013...See how many you can answer.
As usual, I'll post the answers tomorrow.

1. Which Yankee broke up three no-hitters in the 9th inning in less than one month in 1970?

2. Bob Gibson's 3000th strikeout victim in 1974 is the same batter who will go on to be Nolan Ryan's 3000th strikeout victim 6 years later. Who is he?

3. Who was the first player in history to get 100 hits from each side of the plate, achieving this in 1979?

4. Just in time for the end of the decade: who became the first player to earn a million dollars a year, signing his contract in November of 1979?

5. Who was the only player to lead the league in batting during the '70's without a home run?


1. Horace Clarke.

2. Cesar Geronimo.

3. Garry Templeton, St. Louis Cardinals.

4. Nolan Ryan, signing with the Houston Astros.

5. Rod Carew in 1972. He batted .318 while failing to hit any homers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Alex Johnson: 12/7/42-2/28/15

Ugh, just got word from "Reader Jim" that former batting champ Alex Johnson passed away the other day at the age of 72.
Man this seems to be happening more frequently lately huh?
Johnson was quite a "character" during his playing days, something I touched upon on July 27th, 2013 in my post for the card shown up above.
Regardless, he put together a decent 13-year career that saw him play for eight different teams, before retiring from the game after 1976 and taking over his father's trucking business.
The highlights of his career would have to be his 1970 American League batting championship, which he won by the slightest margin over Carl Yastrzemski, and his National League Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1968 while playing for the Cincinnati Reds.
The card shown above was one I created to fill-in for his "missing" 1976 edition, but I'll be recreating it shortly with him properly shown as a New York Yankee, for whom he suited up in 1975.
Rest in Peace Mr. Johnson.


Here's a "Nickname" card for Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro, aka "Knucksie".
Take a look:

I went with a 1974 template since Niekro had a nice year that year, going 20-13 with a 2.38 earned run average, six shutouts and 195 strikeouts, good for a third-place finish in Cy Young voting.
It's amazing to think he was already 35 years-old in 1974 considering he finally retired after the 1987 season! Amazing.
All told he topped 300 wins, 3000 strikeouts, 45 shutouts and 700 starts over his 24-year career.
It took him five years of eligibility, but he finally got into Cooperstown in 1997, wrapping up a stellar career that happily took him through the Bronx, enabling me to see him play in person as a teen going to Yankee games in 1984 and 1985.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Next up on my "Hall of Fame Inductees" thread we move onto 1972 and Yogi Berra, Yankee all-time great and all-around awesome dude:

Believe it or not Berra wasn't even inducted in his first year of eligibility!
In 1971 he only garnered 67.2% of the vote, so he had to wait until his second year to be inducted into Cooperstown.
Let's see, the man was a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, a FIFTEEN-TIME all-star, and received Most Valuable Player votes every single year between 1947 and 1961.
Just awesome.
And while winning the M.V.P. in 1951, 1954 and 1955, he also finished second in 1953 and 1956 with a third-place finish in 1950 and fourth place finish in 1952! 
That's seven top-4 finishes in seven years!
Except for four scant games in 1965 with the New York Mets, Berra played the rest of his 19-year career with the Bronx Bombers, amassing 358 homers, 1430 runs batted in and a .285 average.
One other note about his amazing career: the man only struck out 414 times over 8359 at-bats!
YOGI!!! I love that man!

Monday, March 2, 2015


"Mr. White Sox" Minnie Minoso: 1925-2015
Before I get on with today's scheduled post, I want to say it was sad news hearing that Cuban baseball great Minnie Minoso, the "Cuban Comet" passed away at the age of 89 yesterday.
Beyond the quirks of his Major League appearances in the 1970's and 1980's, the man was a legitimate star in the sport, and many may be surprised to see just how good he was during his playing days if they take a "refresher" and peruse his accomplishments on the baseball diamond.
Rest in peace Minnie, you'll be missed for sure...

Well, onto today's business...I've reached 700 posts.
And I can't thank you all enough for following all I put into this blog.
It's been too much fun and I like to think I'll keep right on rolling with it as long as there is material to cover regarding baseball cards and the 1970's.
As we all know, Topps only had five sets in the 1970's that had a 700th card, with the years between 1973-1977 having only 660 cards in their sets.
So with that in mind, let's go and look at the cards numbered "700" in the 1970-1972, and 1978-1979 sets shall we?

1970 Frank Robinson:
A decent-looking high-numbered card for the Hall of Fame slugger.
As boring as the 1970 set could be, it was loaded with all-time greats, so there was some "meat" on the bones of the set.
Nothing really awesome about the card, but certainly not the worst in the set by any means.

1971 Boog Powell:
Coming off of his MVP season, Powell was the man of the hour when this card came out.
A nice photo of yet another Orioles slugger with the brilliant blacl-border design Topps came out with for the set. 
One of my favorite sets of all-time.

1972 "In Action" Bobby Murcer:
Great card of Yankees outfielder Murcer sliding home against what seems to be the Chicago White Sox at the "old" Yankee Stadium.
Look at the crowd in the background waiting for the call! Awesome!
THIS is what all the "in action" cards of the '72 should have been like.

1978 Johnny Bench:
After a five year run of issuing 660-card sets between 1973 and 1977, Topps came out with a 726 card set in 1978, and boy was I happy about that as a nine-year-old kid obsessively collecting.
I don't know WHY I love this card so much, but I always have.
The mystic of Johnny Bench back then just made me look at this card like I was looking at a "God".
Just a nice photo of the all-time great catcher coming off the prime of his career, yet STILL a perennial all-star for the Cincinnati Reds.

1979 Reggie Jackson:
While I always prefer an action shot of a player over a portrait, this photo makes for a very nice card of "Mr. October" in the prime of his Bronx legend-making days.
I'm always a sucker for the "all-star" designation, and here we have a nice shot of reggie with "All-Star" emblazoned across the bottom (albeit with that annoying "Topps" logo to the left).
Nice card overall though.

I've already decided that if I do reach an 800th post (and quite honestly unless I drop dead it should happen!) I'll profile all the "final cards" of each set during the 1970's.
Would be nice to revisit each card that closed out the sets of the decade, no?

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Let's go and give "Knucksie" Phil Niekro an "In Action" card in that fabulous 1972 Topp set, shall we:

Niekro was in the middle of an incredible run of 10 consecutive years where he averaged about 275 innings pitched a season!
His 1979 season is always fun to re-examine: a 21-20 record with a 3.39 earned run average, 44 starts, 208 K's, 23 complete games and 342 innings pitched!
He led the National League in BOTH wins and losses, along with starts, complete games, innings pitched hits allowed, walks and hit-batsmen, and got a sixth-place finish in Cy Young voting along with a Gold Glove for his efforts!
A 318-game winner over the course of 24 seasons between 1964 and 1987, Niekro seemed to pitch forever for the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
Throw in his 45 career shutouts, 3342 strikeouts and 245 complete games with his five Gold Gloves and it's clear why he was inducted into the Baseball hall of Fame in 1997.
Keep an eye out for my "Knucksie" "Nicknames of the '70s" card in the not-too-distant-future!


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