Sunday, May 31, 2015


Today, I post a Hall of Fame card for 19th-century pitching great Mickey Welch, one of my early baseball obsessions:

Once I got my hands on my first Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia as a 10 year old I became obsessed with those early Gods of the mound, like Tim Keefe, Kid Nichols, Pud Galvin, and this guy, fellow Brooklyn native Welch.
All of these pitchers had incredible numbers on their Major League resume, and my eyes would strain to grasp the inning-counts, the complete games, win totals and the earned run averages.
It was mind-blowing to me, and to some extent (even after learning the differences of the game back then), it still is.
Welch put together an uber-solid 13-year career, a career that saw him post nine 20-win seasons, four 30-win seasons and a 40-win season.
All but three of his years as a pro were with the New York Giants, with his first three years playing for the Troy Trojans between 1880-1882, and he went on to become only the third pitcher to amass 300 or more career wins.
He'd finish his career after only one start in 1892, putting up a 307-210 lifetime record, with a 2.71 earned run average, a staggering 525 complete games out of 549 starts, 41 shutouts and 1850 strikeouts.
Sadly, he wouldn't gain entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame until 1973, long after he passed away in 1941, when he was voted in by the Veteran's Committee.
But this time the Committee got it right as opposed to some of those other questionable picks in the early-1970's, as Welch found his place with all the other aforementioned 19th-century 300-game winners.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Next up on the 1976 "Project" is former pitcher Chuck Taylor, he of the Montreal Expos bullpen collection between 1973 and 1976:

You can make a nice argument for Taylor to have had a card in the 1976 set, as he posted 54 game appearances with 74 innings of work. 
He also fashioned a 2-2 record with six saves and a 3.53 earned run average and 29 strikeouts while finishing 28 of those 54 games.
While putting together an eight-year career, Taylor pitched for the Cardinals, Mets, Brewers and Expos, appearing in a total of 305 games with 607 innings of work.
His final MLB record was 28-20, with 31 saves and a nifty 3.07 ERA.
He did start 21 games early on in his career, all for the Cardinals, and even had two shutouts among his wins.
The 1976 season would end up being his last, posting a 2-3 record with a 4.50 ERA over 31 games and 40 innings before "closing the books" at the age of 34.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Here's the next "missing" all-star card from the 1970 Topps set: Sal Bando, the starting American League third baseman.

Now, I don't know why Brooks Robinson wasn't the starter, as it seems he wasn't injured or anything, but Sal Bando joined fellow teammate Reggie Jackson in the starting line-up, and were giving everyone a look at the budding dynasty the Oakland A's were about to become.
Bando put together a very solid 16-year career that saw him take home three championships, participate in four all-star games, and finish in the top-10 in MVP voting three times.
His five 20-homer and two 100+ RBI seasons were a nice compliment to Reggie's offensive exploits, and with Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace and Bert Campaneris thrown in you can see why those A's teams were so strong.
Then again, with starting pitching like Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Rollie Fingers et al, yeah, they were going to kick-ass no matter what…

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Another week of 1970's baseball trivia And this week we'll revisit #16 from September of 2013. As usual, the answers will be posted tomorrow.

1. Only one pitcher lead the A.L. In complete games with less than 20 for a season during the 1970's. Who was it, and what year?

2. How many years during the decade did the Cincinnati Reds have a player with a top-3 M.V.P. placing?

3. What year was the only season in which the Baltimore Orioles did not have a pitcher finish in the top-5 in Cy Young voting?

4. There were two players that eventually made the Hall of Fame and were the highest picks in the amateur draft during the decade, both going at #3 four years apart. Ironically enough they were picked by the same team. Who were they?

5. What pitcher won the most E.R.A. crowns during the 1970's?


1. Dennis Martinez, Baltimore Orioles, with 18 in 1979..

 2. The Cincinnati Reds had six seasons of players finishing in the top-three in M.V.P. voting: 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976  and 1977.
3. Every season but one, 1974, had the Orioles see one of their pitchers finish in the top-three in Cy Young voting. Mark Cuellar finished 6th that year.
4. Robin Yount (1973) and Paul Molitor (1977) both were picked third overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the amateur draft.

5. Tom Seaver, New York Mets: 1970, 1971 and 1973.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1972 In-Action card for former Baltimore Orioles star outfielder Paul Blair.
Check out my card:

Though a decent hitter in his own right, Blair was a superstar fielding outfielder for the O's, taking home eight Gold Gloves for his excellence in the field, seven consecutively between 1969-1975.
He was known to taunt hitters by playing shallow, then sprinting deep to track down fly balls.
A member of four world champion teams (Orioles in 1966/70; Yankees 1977/78), Blair put together an excellent 17-year career playing between 1964 and 1980 for the Orioles, Yanks and Reds.
He'd finish with a .250 batting average with 1513 hits, 134 homers and 171 stolen bases over 1947 games and 6673 plate appearances.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Next up on the "missing" hit-parade is Cleveland Indians pinch-hitter Gomer Hodge and the 1972 set:

Hodge only saw big league action during the 1971 season with the Tribe, playing in 80 games and collecting 90 plate appearances.
Used generally as a pinch-hitter, he also played first, second and third base for a total of eight times.
He batted .205 for the year, getting 17 hits in 83 official at-bats, with three doubles and a home run with nine runs batted in and three runs scored.
Hodge played all of his 16-year professional ball in the Cleveland organization between 1963 and 1976, playing in over 1000 minor league games before calling it a career at the age of 32.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Happy Memorial Day everyone...
Today I give former pitcher Vic Bernal a "missing" card in the 1978 set.
Check it out:

Bernal appeared in 15 games during the 1977 for the San Diego Padres, the only games he'd ever suit up for on the Major League level.
He pitched 20.1 innings and posted a 1-1 record with a 5.31 earned run average and six strikeouts, all in relief.
After his Major League career, he'd go on to coach high school ball for many years in his home state of California.
Sadly, he would pass away at the young age of 52 in September of 2006.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Here's another set of cards that Topps used the same image for: the 1972 and 1973 Mickey Rivers editions.
Check them out:



Interesting how Topps ever-so-slightly rotated the 1973 version while zooming out a touch to actually give it a bit of a different feel.
Nevertheless we're looking at the same image used twice in a row.
Always cracks me up considering Topps had no competition and could have done whatever they wanted.
Well, I guess THIS counts as doing whatever they wanted, right? Just not how I would have done it…
Man, "Mick the Quick" was a player I loved when I first got seriously into baseball in 1976 or so. He was that Yankee with the speed and flash that my six-year-old mind latched on to back then.
He put together a nice 15-year career that saw him lead the league in stolen bases once and triples twice, while topping 200 hits in 1980 with the Rangers when he hit .333.
He even managed to retire from the game hitting .300 his final year in the big leagues, playing for Texas in 1984.
He'd finish with a .295 batting average with 1660 hits and 267 stolen bases, as well as those two World Championships in the Bronx in 1977 and 1978.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Now HERE is a fun one for me: the next "Hall of Fame Inductee" in this thread is my all-time favorite pitcher (that I never saw pitch): all-time great Warren Spahn.
Check out my card:

As a kid first getting into baseball history in the late-70's, I was absolutely mesmerized by the numbers Spahn put up during his career.
I Remember when Baseball Digest used to list every 20-game winner by year in one of their issues, and I couldn't believe how many times "Spahn" was listed, year after year, without fail.
Just incredible.
His first 20-game season was 1947 (at the age of 26), and he kept right on rolling until his final 20-game season in 1963!
In between, he ended up posting 13 such campaigns, leading the league eight times (with five of those coming consecutively from 1957 to 1961).
He'd also go and lead the league in ERA three times, shutouts four times, strikeouts four times, and various other key stats 17 times!
He was named to fourteen all-star games, won the Cy Young Award in it's second year of existence in 1957, and also managed to slam 35 career home runs as a batter before he retired after the 1965 season.
The man was just incredible, and I wish to high heck I could have seen him pitch in his prime!
So, even though the man missed 3 seasons early on due to the war between 1943 and 1945, he STILL retired with 363 career wins, along with 63 shutouts and 2583 strikeouts over 750 games.
There are so many awesome quips and quotes regarding Spahn, or spoken by Spahn himself, that I just ask you read anything you can about him, whether it's a book, an article, or even his Wikipedia entry!
An incredible baseball life to say the least!
One odd thing I noticed: for some reason Spahn received a Hall of Fame vote in 1958 while still an active player (and WOULD be for another seven years!).
Anyone know the story behind this?
Needless to say, he was elected to the Hall on his first eligible year on the ballot, and went on to have an award named after him for the Major League's best left-handed pitcher.
And I haven't EVEN gone into his stellar military career!
Man, what an amazing man.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Thanks to "Reader Jim", I was directed to a much better image of my favorite childhood pitcher: Ron Guidry. So I wanted to redesign my original "Dedicated Rookie".
Here you go, a rehashed Ron Guidry 1976 rookie card:

Obviously a photo of Guidry during his first call-up to the "big show", it makes for a more accurate representation of "Louisiana Lightning" before he'd light-up the baseball world a few years later.
I absolutely loved the guy, and still do!
Beyond his great career, he was, and still is, a great man. One of those guys that everyone seemed to respect no matter what.
On the mound, all he did was win a Cy Young in 1978, get ripped off an MVP that very same year (sorry Jim Rice), get named to four all-star teams, win five Gold Gloves, lead the league in wins twice, ERA twice, shutouts once, WHIP twice, and of course post that awesome 18-strikeout game against the Angels in 1978 during his magical 25-3 season which also saw him post 248 K's.
For his 14-year career he went 170-91, good for a .651 winning percentage, along with a 3.29 ERA, 26 shutouts and 1778 strikeouts.
He'd also go 5-2 in postseason play, with a 3.02 ERA and 51 K's in 62.2 innings, and was part of two World Champion teams (1977/78).

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Thursday trivia time, and this week we'll revisit my 15th trivia post from back in 2013.
Answers tomorrow, as usual…

1. Who was the only N.L. Pitcher to win 20+ games in a season while posting a winning pct of .800 or better?

2. In 1970 this player hit 40+ homers for the third consecutive season, becoming the last to do so until Jay Buhner in 1995-97. Who was it?

3. What teams stole an incredible 341 bases in a season during the decade, with no less than eight players topping 20+ steals?

4. In 1971 this player hit .283, good for his second highest total in his 17-year career. That was 78 points LOWER than his career high of .361 ten years earlier. Who was it?

5. While Ron Guidry posted the highest winning percentage for a season during the decade in 1978 (25-3), the second highest percentage among pitchers who qualified also achieved this in 1978, finishing second behind "Louisiana Lightning". Who was it?


1. John Candelaria: 20-5 in 1977.

 2. Frank Howard, who hit 40+ home runs three years in a row: 1968-70 for the Washington Senators.
3. The Oakland A's of 1976, lead by Bill North with 75.
4. Norm Cash, Detroit Tigers.

5. Bob Stanley, who went 15-2 for the Boston Red Sox, good for a winning percentage of .882.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The next "missing all-star" from the 1970 Topps set (as explained earlier on this blog), is former New York Mets star outfielder Cleon Jones.
Check out my card first:

Jones started the all-star game and was having his best Major League season in 1969, on his way to a .340 batting average with 92 runs scored and 75 runs batted in, paired up with twelve homers and 16 stolen bases.
Those numbers got him a seventh-place finish in MVP voting, and a lot of love in NYC among Mets fans.
Jones would play twelve of his 13-years in the Major Leagues with the Mets, finishing up in 1976 with a scant twelve games playing for the Chicago White Sox.
He'd finish with a .281 career average, with 1196 hits in 4263 at-bats over 1213 games, and of course a World Championship with the 1969 "Miracle Mets".

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Here's a nice looking "missing" In Action card for the 1972 thread I've been running: a Rusty Staub example:

What makes this card interesting, as many of you already know, is that Staub didn't actually have ANY cards in the 1972 (or 1973) sets.
So a while back I designed a "missing" 1972 stock card for him, and here we have the "In Action" compliment.
Also, the irony that the in-game action is against the Mets doesn't escape me, since Staub would actually become a New York Met because of a trade in April of '72.
When I designed the "missing" 1972 Staub a while back, I created two, one as an Expos player, and the other as a Mets player.
For the in-game action, I went with him as an Expo, mainly because of the nice shot I found.
As for Staub himself, the man is generally underrated and forgotten outside of New York (and maybe Louisiana), considering he totaled over 2700 hits, 290 homers, 1450 runs batted in, 1100 runs scored, and just under 500 doubles.
A six-time all-star, he put together a borderline Hall-worthy 23-year career, and excelled for every team he played for: Astros, Expos, Mets, Tigers and Rangers.
Seeing that the most support he ever received for the Hall was 7.9% in 1994 is a bit disappointing, to say the least.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Here's a "missing" card for a guy who played the only games of his Major League career in 1974, for the Chicago Cubs: pitcher Herb Hutson.
Check out my card creation:

Hutson appeared in 20 games for the Cubs in '74, good for 28.2 innings of work.
He posted a 0-2 record with a 3.45 earned run average, with two starts thrown into those 20 appearances.
He put up some killer seasons in the minors his first three years in pro ball between 1970-1972.
Playing in the Baltimore Orioles organization, he went an incredible 40-8! Posting seasons of 9-1, 17-4 and 14-3 with earned run averages of 1.73, 1.65 and 2.98. 
But, as I've stated earlier, those 20 games he got into in 1974 for the Cubs would encompass the entirety of his career at the top.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Time for another one of those questionable Hall of Fame inductees, courtesy of Frankie Frisch and crew: George "High Pockets" Kelly, inducted in 1973 by the Veteran's Committee.
First, my card design:

Kelly did in fact have some nice seasons in the Majors, but when you really go over the extent of his career, it does leave you scratching your head.
Over the course of his 16-years, he led the National League in home runs once with 23 in 1921 and runs batted in twice with 94 in 1920 and 136 in 1924.
He topped 100 runs batted in five times and hit over .300 seven times, while being a member of two championship teams, the 1921 and 1922 New York Giants.
Besides his solid bat-work, Kelly was also known as a premier fielding first baseman , given credit as creating what eventually became the textbook way to field the bag.
He'd lead the league in putouts three times, as well as assists three times, and double-plays turned twice with a fielding title in 1926.
But with all of that positive stuff, at the end of it all his "Hall of Fame" status is still questionable when compared to contemporaries and other Hall members, especially first basemen.
When he was eligible for BBWA induction, he never garnered more than 1.9% support (1960).
So when his name came up in 1973, especially in light of other former teammates who were questionably inducted (Stonewall Jackson, Ross Youngs, etc), you can see where the cronyism claims get some support.
His 16-year totals in the Majors do feed into the argument as well: 1778 hits, 819 runs scored, 148 homers, 1020 runs batted in and a .297 batting average.
You make the call….

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Today I offer up a "Then and Now" 1974 card for former star player and manager, and baseball "family man" Felipe Alou.
Check out my design:

By 1974 Alou was wrapping up a very nice 17-year career that saw him top 2000 hits, 200 home runs and 100 stolen bases.
He'd only play three games in '74, with the Milwaukee Brewers, but I have him shown here as an Expos player, the team he was suited up for on his regular Topps card in the set. (Ignoring the awful Traded card as a Brewer he was airbrushed into).
During his career he'd top the National league in hits twice, runs once and total bases once.
His finest year would have to be 1966, when he led the N.L. in runs with 122, hits with 218, at-bats with 666, total bases with 355, while hitting 31 home runs, driving in 74 and batting a cool .327.
He'd end up fifth in MVP voting, and was named to his third all-star team.
After his playing days were over he'd coach and eventually manage in the Major Leagues, leading both the Expos and Giants to first place finishes (1994 and 2003 respectively) during his 14 years as a skipper.
Of course it's also worth mentioning that Alou comes from an incredible baseball family, as brothers Jesus and Matty, son Moises, cousin Jose Sosa and nephew Mel Rojas all got to play in the Big Leagues as well.
As a matter of fact, Felipe got to play with both his brothers, AND even go on to manage his son and nephew later on.
Pretty cool…

Friday, May 15, 2015


Here's the second "missing" all-star card from the 1970 Topps set: outfielder Frank Howard of the Washington Senators:

As I stated in the first post for this thread with Steve Carlton, though Topps had the Sporting News all-star selections for their all-star sub-set, I think it wasn't fair to leave out the players who actually started the game.
"Hondo" was one of the starting outfielders for the American League, and he was crushing the ball during this era.
He unleashed three straight years of 40+ home runs, topped 100 runs batted in each year and topped the American League in total bases in 1968 and 1969.
As a matter of fact, until Jay Buhner hit 40+ homers between 1995-1997, Howard was the last guy to do as much with consecutive 40-homer campaigns.
He'd retire after the 1973 season, but not before he finished with 382 home runs, 1119 RBI's, a Rookie of the Year Award in 1960, and four all-star nods.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Time for another week of 1970's baseball trivia. As this week we'll revisit my fourteenth trivia post from 2013.
As usual, the answers will be posted tomorrow.

1. Oddly enough, the top two high water marks for runs scored by a player in a season for the 1970's happened in the same league, same year. Who were the two players?

2. What American League player had the highest stolen base total for a season during the decade?

3. Who was the only player to lead the A.L. In triples three times in the 1970's?

4. The same player who topped the American League in runs scored for the decade also lead in total doubles for the same time period. Who is it?

5. Who was the only player to lead his league in runs three consecutive years in the 1970's? And what years were they?


1. Billy Williams (137) and Bobby Bonds (134): 1970.

 2. Willie Wilson, Royals: 83 in 1979.

3. George Brett, Royals: 1976, 1976 & 1979.

4. Amos Otis, Royals: 861 Runs and 286 Doubles.

5. Pete Rose, Reds: 1974 through 1976.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1979 card for former Chicago White Sox prospect Harry Chappas:

In 1978 Chappas appeared in 20 games, good for 88 plate appearances.
He batted .267 with 20 hits in 75 official at-bats, collecting a double with six runs batted in and eleven runs scored.
He garnered some attention in his short career because of his diminutive size, listed as 5'3" though he claimed to have been closer to 5'5".
He even appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover (see below), titled "The Littlest Rookie".

Sadly for him it a Major League career never really panned out, as he played in parts of three seasons (1978-1980), totaling 72 games and 209 plate appearances.
His career totals: a .245 batting average, with 45 hits in 184 at-bats, four doubles, a home run, 26 runs scored and 12 runs batted in.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


"The Franchise", a great nickname for Hall of Fame stolen base king Lou Brock, and today's installment to the "Nicknames of the 1970's" thread here.
Check out the card I designed for it:

I chose a 1975 template since he was coming off of his record-breaking season that saw him swipe 118 bases, at the age of 35!
It's easy to forget that Brock was already a 13-year veteran when he took the baseball world by storm with his historic feat.
Not only did he set the stolen base record, but he topped 190 hits for the eighth time, batted .300+ for the fifth time, and topped 100 runs scored for the seventh time.
This was all on his way to an easy Hall of Fame induction in 1985, on his first try, being named to 79.7% of the ballot.
For his career, Brock topped 3000 hits, 1600 runs scored, and of course finished with his (then) Major League record of 938 stolen bases, while batting .293 and being a part of two World Champion teams (1964 and 1967).

Monday, May 11, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1973 card for former Minnesota Twins payer Rick Renick, who closed out his career after the 1972 season.
Check it out:

Renick appeared in 55 games for the Twins in '72, good for 110 plate appearances and 93 at-bats.
He batted .172 with 16 hits, 10 runs scored, two doubles and four homers while driving in eight runs, mainly playing the outfield with some spot appearances at first base, shortstop and third base.
He played a total of five years in the Major Leagues, all with the Twins, totaling 276 games and 626 plate appearances, while playing pretty much every position but pitcher, catcher and second base.
He retired with a .221 batting average, with 20 homers, 71 runs batted in, 71 runs scored and 122 hits.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Just noticed something the other day, and it really has me confused: why on earth is Wilbur Wood airbrushed into a Chicago White Sox uni on his 1977 Topps card?
Take a look:

At that point Wood was a White Sox player for NINE years already. So why was there any need to airbrush him into a White Sox uniform?
Anyone out there know?
I know that in 1976 Wood barely suited up for the Sox, so perhaps there weren't many photos of him in the new "updated" blue uniforms. 
But he still pitched 56.1 innings that year.
You'd think Topps would have been able to snap a shot of him to use, no?
It's especially funny when you also note that Jack Kucek, he of two games and 4.2 innings of work the previous year is suited up in the White Sox blue and whites without any need to airbrush.
Would love to know what went on here…

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Thanks to blog reader Joe, it was brought to my attention that the 1970 Topps set and it's "all star" sub-set is technically wrong.
While I do understand that the all-stars shown in the 1970 set are actually the Sporting News selected all-stars, and NOT the all-stars as voted by fans (as Topps would practice in the years ahead), I agree with Joe that the REAL all-stars from 1969 should be shown in the set.
To kick things off let's take Steve Carlton, the actual National League starting pitcher for the 1969 all-star game, and put him on an all-star card.
In the Topps set Jerry Koosman of the Mets is depicted as the left-handed pitching all-star, and not "Lefty" himself.
So take a look at the simple card I whipped up to "fix" this wrong:

What makes this player selection even more interesting is that Carlton was the starting and WINNING pitcher for the game, yet wasn't given an all-star card.
Turns out there were five players that were starters in that 1969 all-star game that were not given all-star cards in the 1970 set: Carlton, Cleon Jones of the Mets, Sal Bando of the A's, Frank Howard of the Senators and the A.L. starting pitcher Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees.
So watch for the other four over the next couple of weeks, and we'll then have an accurate set of all-stars representing the starters from the 1969 game.

Friday, May 8, 2015


Today's "Hall of Fame Inductee" is former Negro League and New York Giants great Monte Irvin, elected in 1973 by the Negro League Committee.
Take a look at my card design:

Although Irvin did play in the Major Leagues for eight seasons between 1949 and 1956, it was his performance in the Negro Leagues prior that led to his Hall of Fame induction.
Starring in both the Negro and Mexican Leagues, Irvin hit for power and average, which brought attention from the Majors in the form of Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who broke the color-barrier a couple of years earlier with Jackie Robinson.
After Rickey was unsuccessful in reaching an agreement for compensation with the Newark Eagles owner, he abandoned trying to get Irvin into the Dodger fold, leaving an opening for the Giants to swoop in and sign him, paying $5000 for his contract.
In his eight years in the Major Leagues, all but his last with the Giants, he batted .293 with 99 home runs and 443 runs batted in, while also chipping in 28 steals and 366 runs scored.
He also helped the organization by mentoring newly promoted superstar to be Willie Mays, taking him under his wing until the "Say Hey Kid" was able to get adjusted to big league life.
The 1951 season was his finest, as he led the National League in RBI's with 121 while clubbing 24 homers and batting .312.
Those numbers got him a third place finish for Most Valuable Player, behind winner Roy Campanella and Stan Musial.
After playing the 1956 season with the Chicago Cubs, Irvin retired because of a bad back.
I didn't know this until I began writing this post that Irvin is the oldest living Negro Leagues player at the moment. He is also the oldest living African-American to have played in the Majors as well.
God-speed Mr. Irvin!

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Back to "Trivia Thursdays", so let's revisit the thirteenth edition of 1970's baseball trivia. It originally appeared here on this blog on August 29th, 2013.
As usual, the answers will be posted down below tomorrow.

1. Who were the only teammates to have 200+ hits in the same season more than once during the decade?

2. During the 1970's, who posted the highest single-season slugging percentage?

3. Three former or future Cy Young winners had a season that saw them LOSE 20+ games during the '70's. Who are the three hurlers?

4. While no one tallied 100+ extra base hits in a season between 1970-79, who was the only player to even reach 90 E.B.H. in a campaign?

5. Three different Cincinnati Reds pitchers lead the N.L. in winning percentage in consecutive seasons at some point in the 1970's. Who were they and what seasons did this happen?


1. Joe Torre and Lou Brock, St. Louis Cardinals, 1970 & 1971.

 2. Hank Aaron, 1971. .669

3. Denny McLain, 1971; Steve Carlton, 1973; Randy Jones, 1974.

4. Willie Stargell, 1973 with 90.

5. Wayne Simpson, 1970; Don Gullet, 1971; Gary Nolan, 1972.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Here was one FUN card to create: a 1970 "missing" card for John Sipin, a player I was fascinated with for a while as a kid.
Before I get into the details of why it was so fun for me, here's the card:

In 1969 Sipin was one of the original San Diego Padres, playing in his rookie season as their second baseman.
He got into 68 games that year, good enough for 241 plate appearances which saw him hit .223 with 51 hits over 229 official at-bats.
Among those hits were 12 doubles, two triples and two homers, with nine runs batted in and 22 runs scored.
Certainly enough playing time to warrant a card in the '70 set, no?!
Over the next two years Sipin toiled for the Padres Triple-A clubs Salt Lake City and Hawaii, putting up very nice numbers like .300+ batting averages and 20 homers each year.
However it wasn't enough to crack the Majors, so he took his talents over to Japan, where he'd end up bruising the ball over the next nine years playing for Taiyo and the powerful Yomiuri clubs.
In his nine-years of Japanese pro-ball Sipin went on to slam 218 homers, drive in 625 runs and bat a cool .297.
Those 218 homers were hit in 3779 at-bats, which, in addition to his 149 doubles and 15 triples adds up to a nice .518 slugging average.
Sipin became very popular over in Japan, and one of the best second basemen in Japan during the decade.
You should Wiki him to read up on some of the outrageous or funny stuff he was doing when he was playing out there.
Quite a character during his Japan days, and a fun quick read to see how an American's professional baseball days out there panned out.
And as an added bonus, here are a couple of his Japanese baseball cards from the 1970's!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Here'a 1976 card for a guy who appeared in 41 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1975, yet was omitted from the set the following year, pitcher Ken Frailing:
Take a look at the card I came up with for "Reader Jim" and our "1976 Project":

Frailing squeezed 53 innings out of those 41 games, all in relief, posting a 2-5 record with a 5.43 earned run average and a single save.
The previous year he put in 125.1 innings over 55 games, 16 of which were starts, going 6-9 with a 3.88 E.R.A., a save and 71 strikeouts.
Those two seasons would be the bulk of his five-year career, the first two of which were as a Chicago White Sox player in 1972 and 1973.
The 1976 season would turn out to be his last, as he appeared in six games, going 1-2 with a 2.41 E.R.A., with three starts.
He'd play in the minors until 1978 before leaving the game for good, with his final Major League numbers: a 10-16 record with a 3.96 E.R.A., two saves and 136 strikeouts over 116 games, 19 of which were starts.
On a side note: I'm not too familiar with the Topps Vault and that whole "scene", but one thing that I wonder about is the fact that all of the photos are posed shots, and I wonder why there are no "action" shots in the Vault considering so many of the actual cards that came out in the mid-70's on up were awesome "in game" pictures (think Johnny Bench, Willie Horton, etc in the 1976 set for example).
So are all the "action" photos taken by someone other than Topps, which Topps then licensed from the photographer?
Just curious....I thank anyone in advance for any clarification!

Monday, May 4, 2015


Let's go and give the "Hit Man", Mike Easler, a card in the 1977 set shall we?
Take a look at my card design:

Though Easler would have his rookie card in the 1978 set on one of those multi-player jobs, he could have easily gotten a card in the '77 set based on his action in the 1976 season with the California Angels.
In the bicentennial year, Easler played in 21 games with 59 plate appearances, with 13 hits in 53 at-bats, good for a .241 batting average.
He also collected a double, triple and four runs batted in along with six runs scored, all as a designated hitter.
It wasn't until 1980 that he saw full-time work, and he came in with a bang, hitting a robust .338 with 21 homers and 74 RBI's in only 393 at-bats for the reigning champion Pirates.
Six years later I remember him joining the Yankees and he performed well, hitting .302 with 14 homers and 78 RBI's, before playing out his final year in the Majors in 1987, split between the Yanks and Phillies.
By the time he closed out his 14-year career, he finished with a very nice .293 average with 118 homers, 522 runs batted in and 465 runs scored.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Today my "Hall of Fame Inductees" thread moves on to 1973, and a special election that was held because of tragic circumstances, the election of Pirates great Roberto Clemente:

As we all know, Clemente was killed in a plane crash as he was trying to deliver relief help to victims of a Nicaragua earthquake on New Years Eve, 1972.
Just an outright superstar of the game, Clemente was a Most Valuable Player in 1966, a four time batting champ, a two time World Champ (1960 and 1971) and Gold Glove winner TWELVE times.
It has always astounded me at the quirks of fate in the game, as he collected his 3000th hit on his final Major League at-bat before the tragic crash, leaving us with one of those incredible instances where we think "it couldn't have happened any other way".
It's also really nice to see Major League baseball was once again open to do the right thing (as with Lou Gehrig) and waive the mandatory five-year waiting period before electing him into the Hall in 1973.
Seems many times MLB doesn't think straight, leading us to gripe about one thing or another…

Saturday, May 2, 2015


A few days ago I posted about why did Topps give Bob Heise a card in their 1970 set.
Well today we go ahead and give Heise a card in a set he SHOULD have been in, the 1976 set, as part of my ongoing "1976 Project":

In 1975 Heise appeared in 63 games for the Boston Red Sox, collecting 138 plate appearances with 126 at-bats.
He batted .214 with 27 hits, three doubles and 21 runs batted in, while scoring 12 runs.
So while he got a card in 1970 based on his four games and 13 plate appearances, he was left out of the set six years later with almost sixteen times more playing time!
Go figure…
Heise was left out of a couple more sets during his career, so keep an eye out for those "missing" cards here in the near future.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1971 card for former 1st baseman Ossie Blanco, take a look at my card:

Blanco played in 34 games for the ChiSox in 1970, his first taste of Major League ball, good for 71 plate appearances and 66 at-bats.
In those at-bats he collected 13 hits, translating to a .197 batting average with eight runs batted in and four runs scored.
He wouldn't appear in another big league game again until 1974, now as a member of the Cleveland Indians, when he suited up for 18 games.
Those two brief seasons would encompass the entirety of Blanco's Major League career, although he did play for 17 years in the Minors, eventually making his way over to the Mexican League until the 1979 season.


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