Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1972 card for Tommie Reynolds, former outfielder for the California Angels:

Reynolds appeared in 45 games during the 1971 season, collecting exactly 100 plate appearances on his way to a .186 batting average with 16 hits in 86 at-bats.
His career spanned eight years playing for the A's (in both Kansas City and Oakland), the Mets, Angels and finally the Brewers in 1972 before calling it a career.
All told he batted .226 for his career, with 265 hits over 1170 at-bats in 513 games.
Funny enough he was actually also omitted from Topps' 1973 set after seeing some decent amount of action for the Brewers, so watch out for my custom in the near future.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Earlier on this blog I created a 1979 "Traded" card for former double-threat Bobby Bonds showing him as a Cleveland Indian.
Today I post up a 1978 "Traded" card showing Bonds as a Chicago White Sox player, take a look:

Really is something how Bonds career went, especially the second half, when he played for seven teams in seven years.
Here's a guy that could slam homers, steal bases, and hit for a respectable average, yet couldn't find a home anywhere even though he was putting in all-star type seasons.
I have to admit I've never read any substantial stories as to the type of person he was, and if THAT was the main reason for his traveling act during his Major League career, but nevertheless the man seemed to be a guy you'd want in your line-up, no?
A five time 30/30 guy with two other "near-misses", he also fell one home run short in 1973 from becoming the first ever 40/40 guy, when he slammed 39 homers along with 43 stolen bases for the San Francisco Giants.
By the time his 14-year career was done, he totaled 332 home runs and 461 steals, along with three Gold Gloves and three all-star selections.
Even though he did put in a solid career, you have to wonder "what could have been" if he found a real home and was able to put in a career that was a bit longer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Time to give former all-star pitcher Andy Messersmith a "missing" In-Action card in the 1972 set.
Here you go:

Messersmith had a very interesting abbreviated career which saw him go 130-99 with a sparkling 2.86 earned run average, 27 shutouts and 1625 strikeouts, all in only 2230.1 innings pitched and 344 games in twelves years.
Of those twelve years, four were actually partial seasons, so we're really looking at an eight-year career that was very productive!
Going on those eight full seasons between 1969 and 1976, Messersmith posted two 20-win seasons, one in the American League with the Angels and one in the National League with the Dodgers, a 19-win season, six seasons of sub-3.00 ERA, and three seasons of 200+ strikeouts.
Along the way he won two Gold Gloves, was named to four all-star games, and finished fifth or higher in the Cy Young race three times.
Sadly, injuries pretty much halted his career at the age of 31, now with the Atlanta Braves, and by 1979 he was retired for good at 33.
Nevertheless he was one of the exceptional arms of the decade, easily overshadowed by the likes os Seaver, Carlton, Palmer et al.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Here's a card that I feel came out really nice, the next Hall of Fame Inductee in my HOF thread, Whitey Ford, former Yankee great and "Chairman of the Board":

What needs to be said about quite possibly the greatest Yankee pitcher of all?
Cy Young winner in 1961, winner of 236 games against only 106 losses (a nifty .690 winning percentage), a 2.75 career earned run average, and a member of six world championship clubs.
He led the league in wins three times, winning percentage three times, ERA twice, shutouts twice, and was named to eight all-star teams during his 16-year career.
His 10 World Series wins (along with his eight losses) are Major League high marks to this day, and who knows how much more he could have padded all of his numbers had he not lost two seasons to the military in 1951 and 1952!
When the Hall of Fame came calling he was inducted on his first try, getting named to 284 of 365 ballots in 1974.
Obviously there's so much more to get into with Whitey, but I could end up writing a book here if I did, so I'll leave it up to the Wikipedia's out there to fill anyone in who wants to learn more.
I only wish Ford didn't try to hang on those last couple of years in 1966 and 1967, when he went a combined 4-9, thus eliminating the chance of him being only the second pitcher to this day to retire with 200+ wins and LESS than 100 losses (the other being 19th-century pitcher Bob Caruthers, who finished at 218-99 between 1884-1893).
Oh well, I know I'm nitpicking here…It's the nerd in me I guess.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1970 card for former pitcher Steve Jones of the inaugural Kansas City Royals.
Check out my card design:

Jones appeared in 20 games for the Royals in 1969, good for a 2-3 record with a 4.23 earned run average and 31 strikeouts over 44.2 innings.
Of those 20 games, four were starts, and it would all end up being the last action he had on the Major League level.
He played three seasons in the Big Leagues, all for different teams: 1967 with the White Sox, 1968 with the Senators, and his final year in 1969 with the Royals.
He finished his career with a 5-7 record, with a 4.44 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 38 games and 81 innings of work.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Let's revisit my 20th trivia set from October 2013.
See how many answers you can get before I post them here tomorrow.

1. What relief pitcher posted an amazing season in 1979 which saw the following numbers: 13-5 record with 29 saves, a 1.57 e.r.a. And 136 strikeouts in 143 innings?

2. Ironically enough, the only two players to hit over 40 homers in one season while failing to drive in 100+ runs were teammates and accomplished this feat in the same season. Who were they, and what year?

3. On a similar note: Hank Aaron was tied with another player with the lowest amount of runs batted in with anyone hitting 30+ homers in a season during the '70's, with 77. Who was the other slugger?

4. Who was the only catcher to post double digit numbers in doubles, triples and homers in the same season during the decade?

5. This pitcher had a respectable 14-13 record for the last place Mariners with a 3.77 E.R.A. and two shutouts in 1979. However the following year he ended the season with a 1-16 record with a 7.28 E.R.A. Who was it?


1. Jim Kern, Texas Rangers.

2. Hank Aaron and Davey Johnson of the Atlanta Braves in 1973. Aaron hit 40 homers with 96 R.B.I.'s while Johnson hit 43 homers with 99 R.B.I.'s.
3. Rick Monday, Chicago Cubs. 1977. He hit 32 home runs with his 77 runs batted in.
4. Darrell Porter, Kansas City Royals. 1979. He had 23 doubles, 10 triples and 20 home runs.

5. Mike Parrot.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Today's card for the ongoing "1976 Project" is a rookie card for pitcher Paul Reuschel, brother of Rick.
Check out my card:

Reuschel appeared in 28 games for the Cubbies, with a 1-3 record and five saves, finishing off 18 games with a 3.50 overall earned run average over 36 innings of work.
I never realized until I was writing up this post that his career was so short, ending after the 1979 season with the Cleveland Indians.
He just seemed to be around a little longer than that to me.
His brother put in a nice long career. Putting in 19-years and pitching himself to over 200 wins into 1991.
But for Paul, he'd finish with a 16-16 record with a 4.51 ERA, 13 saves and 188 strikeouts over 198 games, all but nine out of the 'pen, between 1975 and 1979 pitching for the Cubs and Indians.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Up next in my "Nicknames of the '70's" series is former Phillies outfielder Garry Maddox, aka the "Secretary of Defense".
First up, the card I came up with:

Now, allow me to start by saying I looked high and low for a good image of Maddox out in the field, being that he was really known as a defensive master, but I could NOT find a single usable image.
On top of that, I couldn't even fins a good image of him from 1975/76, when he first joined the Phillies. I promise you, I was searching around like crazy.
Regardless, I went with a 1976 format since this was at the beginning of his run of eight straight Gold Glove Awards (1975-1982).
I'll always remember the classic line: "Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third by Garry Maddox", attributed to Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas. Just classic!
Now, with all this talk of his defensive abilities, Maddox was no slouch at the plate either.
By the time he retired after the 1986 season, he collected 1802 hits, with 337 doubles, 62 triples and 117 home runs, along with 777 runs scored and 754 runs batted in with a very nice .285 batting average.
He was also a threat on the base paths, stealing over 20 bases in eight straight seasons between 1973 and 1980.
But again, it was his stellar defensive work that he will always be remembered for, with a great nickname to boot: "Secretary of Defense".

Monday, June 22, 2015


Here's a card that I feel came out nice, a "missing" 1971 Topps card for former infielder John Donaldson.
Take a look at my design:

Donaldson came back to play for the A's after playing part of 1969 for the Seattle Pilots in their lone Major League season.
I had to resort to a little Photoshop trickery, airbrushing in an Oakland A's logo to his cap since the image was actually of him in a Kansas City A's uni.
The photo was too good to pass up, so I resorted to the digital re-creation instead of using another, less appealing Oakland image.
In 1970, Donaldson appeared in 41 games, with 98 plate appearances while hitting .247 with 22 hits with four runs scored and eleven runs batted in.
He'd be out of Major League ball until the 1974 season, when he'd make a brief reappearance with the A's, appearing in only 10 games for the World Champions.
All told, Donaldson's career lasted 6-years, playing in 405 games, with a .238 lifetime batting average, 96 runs scored, 292 hits and 86 RBI's over 1225 at-bats and 1380 plate appearances.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


I think it's only fitting that I forgot about Cecil Cooper when it came to my "Traded" sub-set, considering he's an almost forgotten man even though he was just tremendous for a good chunk of his career.
So today I have Cooper as the next card in the on-going traded set, take a look at my design:

I found a decent image of Cooper in action, perfect for my horizontal format for the series, and a nice contrast to the clean template of the 1977 set.
Cooper was traded to the Brewers in December of 1976 for Bernie Carbo and George Scott, and immediately became a star, putting together seven straight seasons of a .300 batting average or higher, with a high of .352 in what is pretty much a forgotten incredible season in 1980 (thanks to George Brett), when he also led the American League in runs batted in with 122 while collecting 219 hits, 33 doubles and 25 homers.
The five-time all-star had three 200+ hit seasons, four 100+ RBI seasons, five 20+ homer seasons and even took home two Gold Gloves for his defensive work.
Between 1980-1983 he finished in the top-10 for Most Valuable Player, and also won three straight Silver Slugger Awards.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season, he finished with over 2000 hits, 1000 runs scored, 400 doubles, 240 homers and 1100 RBI's with just under a .300 batting average (.298).
What's astonishing to me is that when he became eligible for the Hall of Fame, he didn't get a single freaking vote! None! Yet guys like Bill Campbell, Andre Thornton and Davey Lopes got some support.
Just incredible to me…

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Yeah there are many worse airbrush jobs by Topps out there, but for some reason I love the effort put in on the 1973 Bobby Fenwick card:

Big and bold….
The inexplicable shadowing around the "St.L" is priceless!
Also, Fenwick does fall into the "why?" category when it comes to Topps issuing him a card for their 1973 set.
As a rookie in 1972 for the Houston Astros, Fenwick appeared in 36 games, good for 50 at-bats.
He hit .180 with his nine hits, with three doubles and four runs batted in.
Was it really worth all the effort to get that airbrushing done for a guy who barely played the year before?
To top it all off, in 1973 he played a total of five games for St. Louis, getting a hit in six at-bats before leaving the game for good.
I LOVE stuff like this! Looking back and spotlighting cards like this is one of the main reasons this blog was created.
Hope you like it as well…

***Thanks to Mark, here's the full photo from the Topps Vault. You can really see the airbrush job in finer detail here...amazing. Thanks Mark!


Friday, June 19, 2015


A few days ago I posted the "missing" 1970 all-star card for former Yankee pitcher Mel Stottlemyre.
I also went into detail on what kind of a special career he had, and how easy it is to forget it since it was relatively short, and the bulk of which was during the lean years in the Bronx between 1965-1973.
For more on his career just backtrack a bit here to that post, worth the read if you haven't read it already.
Today I post up a "missing in-action" card for him for the 1972 set, take a look at what I came up with:

Nice horizontal layout for the former star and future pitching-coach master.
I always likened Stottlemyre's personality/character to another of my under-appreciated favorites, Jim Kaat.
They were both guys who went about their business without any "hoot and holler", and were respected by their peers.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Let's go and give another look at my 19th trivia set from 2013.
I'll post the answers tomorrow…

1. There was only one pitcher in the decade of the '70's to strike out 200+ batters in a season without winning 10 or more games. Who was he?

2. What pitcher threw the fewest innings in a 20-win season during the decade?

3. Who sported the highest E.R.A. during a 20-win season in the 1970's?

4. What Hall of Fame pitcher gained an All-Star game win two years in a row?

5. Which two All-Star games were the only ones during the decade where Hall of Fame pitchers were the winner and loser?


1. Bob Johnson, Kansas City Royals: 1970. He went 8-13 with 206 strike outs.

2. Bob Forsch, St. Louis Cardinals. In 1977 he went 20-7 with 217.1 innings pitched.
3. Jim Merritt, Cincinnati Reds. He went 20-12 with a 4.08 E.R.A.
4. Bruce Sutter, Chicago Cubs. He won in 1978 and 1979 for the National League.

5. 1977 and 1979. In 1977 Don Sutton got the win with Jim Palmer getting the loss; in 1979 Bruce Sutter got the win while Rich Gossage took the loss.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Here we have a "missing" 1979 card for White Sox spot-player Jim Breazeale, who appeared in 25 games during the 1978 season in the South-Side, mainly at first base.
Take a look at my card design:

Breazeale, who hadn't appeared in Major League action since 1972 when he was with the Atlanta Braves, made it back to hit .208 with 15 hits over 72 at-bats with three doubles, three home runs and 13 runs batted in.
He did have a Topps card in the 1973 set after having the most playing time of his short 4-year career in 1972.
That season he played in 52 games, batting .247 over 85 at-bats, collecting 21 hits, a couple of doubles and five home runs with 17 RBI's.
The 1978 action with the White Sox would prove to be the final time he saw on a Major League field, closing out his career with a .223 average, with 40 hits over 179 at-bats, with nine homers  and 33 RBI's thrown in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


As part of my long-running "1976 Project" with "Reader Jim", we go and give former Minnesota Twins pitcher Mark Wiley a card in the ever-awesome 1976 set, take a look:

Granted, Wiley's 1975 season entailed 15 appearances, good for three starts and 38.2 innings of work which led to a 1-3 record and 6.05 earned run average with 15 K's.
However, with the "1976 Project" it's about filling in as much as possible for the set as opposed to my other "missing in action" creations which show players that had a bit more playing time the previous season.
Wiley only had two years on the big league level, 1975 and again in 1978 when he split time with the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays for six appearances, finishing 1-0 for the year.
All told, his career numbers: a 2-3 record with a 6.06 ERA, 21 appearances with four starts and 49 innings of work.
He later went on to be a pitching coach for a few teams: the Orioles,  Indians, Marlins and Royals.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Next up on the Hall of Fame Inductee parade for the decade is former St. Louis Cardinals great, Jim Bottomley, who was selected by the Veteran's Committee in 1974.
Take a look at my card:

Now, although the man put up some serious numbers in the prime of his career, I can't really say if I'm "for" a Hall of Fame branding for Bottomley, or not.
During his 16-year career he took home an MVP Award in 1928 after leading the Senior Circuit in triples (20), homers (31), RBI's (136 and total bases (362), while hitting .325 and scoring 123 runs, while also putting in another five 100+ RBI seasons and another seven seasons of .300+ averages.
Besides his 1928 season, he also led the National League in RBI's in 1926 with 120, as well as hits in 1925 (with 227), doubles in 1925 and 1926 (44,40 respectively), and total bases with 305 in 1926.
But go ahead and take a look at his career. Perhaps, as blog reader Tony once stated, you have to appreciate the player for what he did, and left the game with, for that era.
Could be. However I wonder why he never got the support of the BBWA during his initial eligibility between 1948 and 1962.
During that span he never garnered more than 33.1% of support (1960), before waiting until 1974 to enter Cooperstown's hallowed halls.
For his career, Bottomley tallied 2313 hits, with 465 doubles, 151 triples, 219 homers and 1422 runs batted in along with a .310 lifetime average.
Solid numbers no doubt, but I wonder if the old Veteran's Committee cronyism was at play yet again, as we have seen so much of already from the early years of the 1970's.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Today I post the final player that really should have had an all-star card in the 1970, since he was a starter for the American League, the A.L. starting pitcher for the 1969 game, Yankee Mel Stottlemyre:

While two-time Cy Young winner Denny McLain got the nod by the Sporting News as their right-handed all-star, Stottlemyre in fact started the game, and it's somewhat a perfect example of how this guy is always overlooked and under-appreciated in my eyes considering all he did in basically ten years of Major League ball.
With a half-season in 1964 (his first year), and 1974 (his last), he put up nine full seasons in between, and all but one (1966) rock solid for some poor Yankee teams.
In nine full years on the mound, he posted three 20-win seasons (all while pitching during the Bronx "lean years"), five sub-3.00 ERA years, seven 15+ win seasons, nine 250+ innings seasons,  and six years of four or more shutouts, topping out with seven in both 1971 and 1972.
How solid is THAT!?
A five-time all-star, I can't even imagine what his win totals could have been had he stayed healthy and pitched into the late-1970's/early-80's, or even if he wasn't starring for those bad Yankee teams post-dynasty between 1965-on.
Consider his numbers in the small amount of time he was a Major League pitcher: a 164-139 record, with a nice 2.97 ERA, 40 shutouts and 1257 K's in only 356 starts!
Those are really some seriously great numbers.
Sadly because of a rotator-cuff injury in 1974, he had to retire at the young age of only 32, leaving us to wonder "what could have been".
Of course we know that he later went on to become one of the most respected pitching coaches in the Majors from the 1980-s with the Mets on through to the "new" Yankee dynasty in the late-90's/early-00's, before retiring for good after the 2008 season.
A great, solid career that get's overlooked for a few different reasons. I have to figure out some sort of "tribute" card for the guy, one way or another…

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Here's a bad-ass "missing" In-Action card of former slugger George Scott, aka "Boomer". Check it out:

Scott was playing his first season for Milwaukee in 1972 after six solid years in Bean-town for the Red Sox.
He was in the prime of his career at this point, on his way to a couple of 100-RBI seasons along with a home run title (shared with Reggie Jackson in 1975) and a couple of .300+ batting average campaigns.
He was no slouch on the defensive side of things either, winning eight Gold Gloves at first base during his productive 14-year career playing for the Red Sox, Brewers, Royals and Yankees between 1966 and 1979.
By the time he retired after the 1979 season, he totaled 1992 hits, 957 runs scored, 271 homers and 1051 runs batted in along with a .268 batting average.
Keep an eye out for a nice "Boomer" nickname card on this blog in the near future!

Friday, June 12, 2015


Here's a guy that really should have had a card in the 1973 set, former catcher Larry Howard of the Houston Astros. So I designed one, check it out:

Howard played in 54 games during the 1972 season, with 175 plate appearances on his way to a .223 batting average with 35 hits, 16 runs scored and 13 runs batted in.
I actually feel that Howard should have had cards in the 1972 and 1974 sets as well, so watch for those in the future as I tacked them on to "the list" too.
Howard's Major League career would span 1970 thru 1973, playing all but four of his 133 lifetime games for Houston, as he closed out his short career playing for Atlanta at the tail end of his final season.
His final numbers: 86 hits with 36 runs scored, 47 runs batted in and six homers, with 19 doubles and a .236 average.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Let's go and revisit my trivia set (#18) from back in 2013. See how many you can get and I'll post the answers tomorrow.

1. Five pitchers in the decade won 20+ games in a season in both the A.L. And the N.L. Who were they?

2. This player drove in 100+ R.B.I.'s three years in a row without hitting 20+ home runs in any of those seasons. Who was he?

3. Only two players hit 40+ home runs in a season during the 1970's while also collecting 200+ hits. Who were they?

4. Besides Bobby Bonds, who else had a 30 homer/ 30 stolen base season in the decade?

5. This pitcher started an incredible 49 games in 1972, tying for second place all-time since 1900. Who was it?


1. Tommy John (Yankees and Dodgers); Andy Messersmith (Angels and Dodgers); Gaylord Perry (Indians and Padres); Fergie Jenkins (Rangers and Cubs); and Jerry Koosman (Twins and Mets).

2. Thurman Munson, New York Yankees: 1975-1977.
3. Billy Williams, Chicago Cubs: 1970 and Jim Rice, Boston Red Sox: 1978.
4. Tommy Harper, Milwaukee Brewers: 1970.

5. Wilbur Wood, Chicago White Sox.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Here's a card that could be considered a "career capper" or even "missing in action", a 1975 Topps Matty Alou:

Alou wrapped up a very nice 15-year career in 1974 suiting up for the San Diego Padres, appearing in 48 games with 88 plate appearances.
He hit .198 with 16 hits in 81 at-bats, generally as an outfielder, with three doubles and three runs batted in along the way.
Just a year earlier he hit a robust .295 split between the Yankees and Cardinals, playing a full season with 134 games and 550 plate appearances, so it's a shame he tailed off so quickly at the age of 35.
His best seasons were as a Pittsburgh Pirate in the mid-to-late 1960's, winning a batting title in 1966 when he hit .342, as well as leading the league in hits and doubles in 1969.
Between 1966 and 1969 he never hit below .331, and he added another three years of .300+ averages as well.
By the time he left the game he totaled 1777 hits, with a .307 batting average, and was twice named to an all-star team.
Of course, we all know that he was part of a long-lasting baseball family, beginning with him and his two brothers, Felipe and Jesus, as well as cousin Jose, before they handed off the torch to Moises Alou and Mel Rojas later on.
Pretty cool in my book…

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


So we hit blog post #800, and I thank you all yet again for following and reading my walks down memory lane.
Today I figured a good batch of cards to go over would be the last card in each set of the awesome-1970's.
So let's jump right in and take a look, shall we?

1970: Rick Reichardt

Here's a decent card of former 1964 "bonus baby" Reichardt of the Angels.
A nice clean card for a relatively boring set in my opinion.
Reichardt had a couple of decent years in the Majors but never really lived up to the "hype" that led to Major league baseball developing the Amateur Draft the following year in 1965.

1971: Dick Drago

Here's the very first "high number" card I ever got as a kid back in the late-70's. Not that I really understood yet the appeal of such a thing. I just remember picking up a bunch of 1971 cards at an antique store in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, with the Drago card being one of them.
Drago put in a nice 13-year career, with 1971 being his best, posting a 17-11 record for the Royals to go along with a 2.98 ERA and four shutouts.

1972: Ron Reed

Nice looking card of the former basketball playing 6'7" pitcher.
I love the 1972 set for it's color-schemes, and after the 1970 and 1971 sets with their limited color-palettes, the '72 is a very welcomed change!
Reed spent 19-years in the Majors as both a starter and reliever, and finished with a 146-140 record with a 3.46 ERA over 751 games, with all but 236 out of the 'pen.

1973: Fred Scherman

Card #660 in the 1973 set is of another man out of the bullpen, eight-year baseball veteran Fred Scherman, here of the Detroit Tigers.
Scherman's top year in the big leagues was 1971, when he posted an 11-6 record with a nice 2.71 ERA and 20 saves for Detroit over 69 games, one of which was a start that he threw a complete game in.
He finished with a 33-26 record with 39 saves and a 3.66 ERA over 346 games, 11 of which were starts.

1974: Larry Dierker

The last card in the 1974 set was of former Astros ace pitcher  and future Major League manager Larry Dierker.
Dierker had one heck of a season for Houston in 1969 when he went 20-13 with a sparkling 2.33 ERA and four shutouts with 232 strikeouts.
He'd post some other decent seasons throughout his 14-year career, finishing with a 139-123 record with 25 shuouts and a 3.31 ERA before moving on to the managing realm, leading the Houston Astros between 1997 and 2001.
He even won Manager of the Year in 1998 when he led the 'Stros to a 102-60 record (remember Randy Johnson down that amazing stretch?) before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

1975: Hank Aaron

Easily the powerhouse of the cards profiled today, Aaron's airbrushed card commemorating his reutn to Milwaukee leaves some to be desired, but still a killer card of the legend. 
I just wish Topps put the "All-Star" on THIS card, his regular card, instead of his "Record Breaker" card in the '75 set.

1976: Davey Lopes

The last card of the awesome 1976 set was of Los Angeles speedster Davey Lopes, who was coming off a stolen base crown and on his way to another.
An important cog in the Dodger teams of the late-70's/early-80's, he'd team up with Bill Russell, Steve Garvey and Ron Cey to form a long-standing nucleus that led to four National Pennants and a World Championship in 1981.

1977: Willie Horton

What a bad-ass card of Tiger slugger Horton!
Funny, I never realized this was card #660 in the 1977 set until I started this post.
Horton was at the tail end of a very productive 18-year career which saw him slam 325 homers with just under 2000 hits.
He put in one last kick-ass season in 1979 at the age of 36 as a full-time DH for the Seattle Mariners, which saw him hit 29 homers with 106 runs batted in before leaving the game after the following season.

1978: Wilbur Wood

Another former star towards the end of his career, the knuckle-balling hurler was wrapping up a nice 17-year career with the White Sox in 1978 after some seriously sick years on the mound.
A 20-game winner four years in a row between 1971 and 1974, he put in inning-counts that are still hard to believe!
But he also had a year for the ages as a reliever in 1968 when he posted a 13-12 record with 16 saves and a 1.87 ERA over 159 innings of work and 88 appearances, all but two in relief!
He went from leading the league in relief appearances in 1970 to leading the league in starts just two years later with a staggering 49!
By the time he retired after the 1978 season he had a 164-156 record with 24 shutouts, 57 saves and a 3.24 ERA.

1979: San Francisco Giants Prospects

Ugh. Ugly, just ugly. 
What a terrible way to end this post.
Ugly card, boring card, from a set I have always considered boring as well.
Three prospects that never really made their mark in MLB.
And can someone please explain to me why they all, especially Joe Strain, look like they're all wearing eye-liner!?

Well there you have it, all the "final cards" of every set during the decade.
The good, the bad, the ugly, and apparently the "glam" at the end…
Again, thank you all for following the blog, I really enjoy each and every day of it, especially the dialogue that comes out of the posts!

Monday, June 8, 2015


I always get a kick out of the obvious headache the 1977 expansion caused for Topps when they were scrambling to get a full Blue Jays and Mariners "team" represented in their set.
Today's card: Kurt Bevacqua, was a prime example of what could go wrong, and the curious choices Topps made to select the players airbrushed into baseball card history.

Great job on the cap huh? Ha! Love it…
First off Bevacqua played in only 12 games in 1976, good for seven at-bats for the Milwaukee Brewers.
He was then purchased by the new Seattle team, so Topps went ahead and used Bevacqua as one of the Mariner infielders for their card set.
Problem was, Bevaqcua was released by Seattle before the '77 season even started, and found himself as a member of the Texas Rangers when the season broke.
So here we have a card for a guy who barely played the year before, and then never actually suited up for the team he was shown as a member of.
You have to feel for Topps when it comes to those cards. Must have been chaos trying to figure out who to have as members of the new squads.
Bevacqua joins other classics as Dave Roberts, Dave Hilton and Pete Broberg as guys that never suited up for the new expansion clubs they were supposedly part of.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Today's "Hall of Fame Inductee" is legendary Negro League speedster Cool Papa Bell, recognized as one of the fastest men ever to wear a pair of baseball cleats, and inducted into the Hall in 1974.
Check out the card first:

Depending on where you look, Bell played about 21 years in the Negro Leagues, racking up as many anecdotes about his speed as stolen bases or hits.
He'd go on to become one of the most popular Negro League players in history, and was an eight-time all-star.
According to various records, finished his career with a batting average between .315 and .337, though the exact figures may be lost forever because of spotty record-keeping at the time.
Originally a pitcher when he made his debut for the St. Louis Stars in 1922, he was soon converted to an outfielder to utilize his all around athleticism.
He even excelled in the Mexican League from 1938 to 1941,  taking home a Triple Crown in 1940 when he hit a robust .437 with 12 homers and 79 runs batted in, while his career batting average in that league was a sparkling .367.
I won't get into all the hilarious anecdotes about his speed here, but they are all easily available on-line, from many of his Hall of Fame contemporaries.
For those of you not familiar with them, do yourself a favor and seek them out. Definitely worth the read.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Next up on my "1976 Project" for Reader Jim is a guy who came back to the Majors after a few years, Steve Huntz.
Take a look at the "missing" 1976 card:

After playing in 35 games for the Chicago White Sox in 1971, Huntz bounced around in the Minors before coming back up to the "Big Show" in 1975 with the San Diego Padres.
He appeared in 22 games, good for 62 plate appearances.
He tallied eight hits in 53 at-bats, good for a .151 batting average, with four doubles, four runs batted in and three runs scored.
It would turn out to be the last of his Major League playing time, as he'd suit up for the Padres Triple-A Hawaii team in 1976 and 1977 before retiring for good.
Could have been a decent "Long Time No See" card since he last appeared in the 1972 set.
One final note, Huntz was part of the trade that brought slugger Dick Allen to the North Side of Chicago when he was traded along with Tommy John to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the "Wampum Walloper" in December of '71.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Here's a curious one: I post today a "missing" 1978 Topps card for former infielder Lenn Sakata.
Take a look at my card design:

What makes this curious is the fact that Sakata didn't get a card even though he played in 53 games with 169 plate appearances in 1977, good for at least a spot on those multi-player rookie cards, no?
But he eventually got a spot on a 1980 multi-player rookie card after appearing in only four games with 14 plate appearances in 1979. Strange…
Of course many of you will remember Sakata from his playing days in Baltimore, where he spent six of his eleven Major League seasons.
In 1977 he posted a .162 batting average, collecting 25 hits in 154 official at-bats, with a couple of doubles and homers thrown in.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season after a handful of games with the New York Yankees, Sakata had a .230 batting average with 296 hits in 1289 at-bats, with 46 doubles, four triples, 25 homers and 109 RBI's over 565 games.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Almost at 100 weeks of baseball trivia!
Today we look back at my 17th trivia set from 2013, so take a stab and see which ones ring a bell.
As usual I'll post the answers tomorrow…

1. What team suffered the most losses in one season during the 1970's?

2. What team finished in first place three times, and last place three times during the decade?

3. From 1976 through 1978, three of the four divisions in baseball had the same team end up in first place each season. What division had more than one team end up in first place during these years? And what year was it?

4. What team suffered the most last place finishes in their division during the decade?

5. What season was the only year in the decade to see a team other than the Reds or Dodgers win the N.L. West?


1. 1979 Toronto Blue Jays: 53-109.

2. Philadelphia Phillies: First place in 1976/77/78; Last place in 1971/72/73.
3. 1976 N.L. West: Reds; 1977/78 Dodgers.
4. San Diego Padres: Five times, 1970-1974

5. 1971: San Francisco Giants

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Time to give long time Detroit Tigers slugger Willie Horton a "missing" 1972 In-Action card:

It's easy to forget how good a career Horton put together between 1963 and 1979 with all of his contemporaries stealing the spotlight, but a quick look at what he accomplished on the baseball diamond is nothing short of impressive.
In 18 years as a big league outfielder and designated hitter, Horton slammed 325 homers with 873 runs scored and 1163 runs batted in, with a .273 batting average and just under 2000 hits (1993).
14 of his 18 seasons in the sun were spent in the Motor City, where he was an important member of their world championship team of 1968, hitting a career high 36 home runs while driving in 85 and batting .285 (in a season where Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title with a .301 average).
He topped 20 homers seven times in his career with three 100+ RBI campaigns, on his way to four all-star selections and two top-10 MVP finishes (1965 & 1968).
He finished up his career as a designated hitter, and in 1979 had a comeback year at the age of 36 that saw him hit 29 home runs with 106 RBI's while collecting a career high 180 hits with the Seattle Mariners.
After a partial 1980 season that saw him play in only 97 games, he was released by Seattle just before opening day in 1981, and though he did sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates soon afterwards, he never played a Major League game again, closing out a nice career after 2028 games and 7298 at-bats.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


One of my favorite nicknames of ballplayers that starred during the wild-70's is "Black and Decker", for Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton.
So I went ahead and created a 1978 "Nickname of the 70's" card for him, check it out:

As history likes to remind us, cheating of some sort has always been a part of the game, and with Sutton, he was a master at doctoring the baseball, hence the nom-de-plume…
Whatever he did, or did not do, it all led him to Cooperstown, where he can proudly display his 324 wins, 58 shutouts and 3574 strikeouts over 774 games, 756 of which were starts.
Over his 23 years as a Major League pitcher, he was a part of six Pennant winners, and a minor part of a World Championship team during his final year in 1988 with the team he spent most of his career with, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There are those that say Sutton, like a few other players who racked up big numbers, was a product of "tenure over domination", that is, that the numbers he garnered in the bigs was more about the amount of years he played over a bunch of dominating seasons.
I don't find that as a problem actually.
Being that there are just as few guys who played a long time while staying very productive as those legends who dominated for a somewhat brief time during their careers, I like to see the Don Suttons, Phil Niekros, Eddie Murrays and Tony Perez' get their due.
Almost a quarter-century of productivity on a Major League mound, leading to numbers like Sutton put up are definitely worth a plaque in Cooperstown, no?
Anyway, I chose a 1978 template since he was coming off of starting the 1977 All-Star game for the National League, while smack in the middle of his solid career. Seemed like a good template to use here.
Hope you all agree…

Monday, June 1, 2015


Today I'll go ahead and give former Atlanta Braves outfielder Oscar Brown a "missing" card in the 1974 set, take a look at the card I came up with:

Nice and clean, like the rest of that '74 set.
Brown actually finished up a brief five-year career in 1973, appearing in 22 games, with 62 plate appearances and 58 official at-bats.
He batted .207 with 12 hits, three of them doubles, and three runs scored, and finished his career with a .244 batting average, with 77 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 runs batted in over 160 games, all with Atlanta.
His brother was former big league outfielder "Downtown" Ollie Brown, most notably of the original San Diego Padres.


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