Sunday, January 31, 2016


Next up in my “Founders” 1976 celebration of the 100th season of Major League baseball is the very first batting champ in league history, Ross Barnes. Check it out:

Barnes was a hitting machine during his short 9-year career between 1871 and 1881.
During his playing days in the National Association with Boston between 1871 and 1875, he put up about as gaudy a set of numbers you’ll ever see.
In 1873 he scored 125 runs while leading the league with a .431 average. And keep in mind that run total was in just 60 games!
Obviously the game being what it was back then we take these stats with a grain of salt, but in 1876, the Majors’ inaugural season, Barnes paced the circuit with a .429 average while also leading in runs (126), hits (138) doubles (21) triples (14), on-base-percentage (.462) and slugging (.590).
Retiring from the game at a young 31 years of age, he finished with a .360 lifetime average, with 698 runs scored in just 499 games and 2391 at-bats.
It’s also worth noting that Barnes played a key role in certain rules being adopted that we use to this day.
For example back then, if a batter struck a ball that chopped fair, then bounced off the diamond BEFORE reaching a base, it was still considered fair.
Now, Barnes was a MASTER at doing so, frequently chopping down at the pitch and bouncing the ball off the field before it reached a base.
This led to the league establishing that a batted ball MUST bounce fair until AFTER a base to be considered in play instead of foul, a rule in place to this very day.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Yeah I know I'm a bit late with the news, but here's a tribute to former Major League player Walt "No Neck" Williams, who passed away on January 23rd at the age of 72 in Texas.
With one of the all-time classic nicknames in baseball history, Williams fashioned a nice 10-year career in the big leagues playing for the Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
Rest in Peace brother...


Here’s another one of those great in-game action cards from the 1971 Topps set: Joe Rudi:

What has always mystified me was that the 1971 set is chock-full of great action cards, yet the following year when Topps decided to run the “In-Action” sub-set we were left with some terrible photo choices.
Anyone know what was going on?
If you were to take some of the 1971 cards like Rudi, Thurman Munson, Lindy McDaniel, etc, you could have one kick-ass “In-Action” sub-set!
Anyway, as we all know Joe Rudi was on the cusp of a great run in Oakland, winning three consecutive World Championships between 1972 and 1974, getting named to three all-star teams, winning three Gold Gloves, and finishing second in Most Valuable Player voting twice, in 1972 and 1974.
As one of the early big name Free Agents, he moved on to the California Angels in 1977 where he’d spend four seasons before playing out his career with a year in Boston in 1981 and back to his original team, Oakland in his final year in 1982.
All told he’d hit .264 for his career, with 179 homers and 810 runs batted in over 1547 games.

Friday, January 29, 2016


It's been a while since I had a “Missing” In-Action card from the 1972 set, so today I’ll post up my card for Pirates cathcer Manny Sanguillen.
Take a look:

With the 1970’s giving us catchers like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson, it’s easy to overlook Sanguillen and just how good a player he was.
A career Pittsburgh Pirate except for a lone season (1977) in Oakland, he put together a very nice 13-year career between 1967 and 1980, ending up with a .296 lifetime average.
Over the course of his career the man could flat out rake, posting .300 plus averages four times in his career, while hitting .280 or better another four years.
In 1975 he hit .328, his career high, and between 1969 and 1971 his averages were: .303, .325 and .319.
Named to three all-star teams during his career, he was also a member of both the 1971 and 1979 World Champion teams, and finished with 1500 hits over 5062 at-bats, with  57 triples (for a catcher!) and 65 homers.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Here’s a “missing” card for a guy who has a few of them actually, former pitcher Ed Sprague of the Cincinnati Reds:

Sprague appeared in 33 games for the National League Champions in 1972, posting a 3-3 record with a 4.13 earned run average out of the bullpen.
He would go on to play another four seasons in the Major Leagues, finishing with a 17-23 record along with a 3.84 ERA, nine saves and 188 strikeouts over 408 innings and 198 games, 23 of which were starts.
His son, Ed Sprague Jr would also play in the Majors later on in the 1990’s and 2000’s, as a third baseman for 11-years, mainly with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Today we celebrate the the 1954 Cleveland Indians and their American League record 111 wins which got them to the World Series to face the New York Giants:

Based on a balanced attack of both hitting and pitching, the Indians went on to break the 1927 New York Yankees then-record of 110 wins, and not until 1998 when the Yankees took home their 112th victory on September 25th (a game in which I was an attendee!) would any team match the ‘Tribe’s accomplishment.
First off, when you have a pitching staff led by three future Hall of Famers in Bob Feller, Early Wynn and Bob Lemon, you can’t go wrong! Throw in another Hall of Fame pitcher who was at the tail-end of his career in Hal Newhouser, who put in a nice season, as well as others like Don Mossi, Mike Garcia and Art Houtteman, and you can see why the team always had a chance to win a game.
From the offensive side, the Indians were also stacked, with batting champ Bobby Avila (who batted .341 that year), Al Rosen and future Hall of Famer Larry Doby among others, helping the team finally break the grip of the Bronx, snapping the Yankees five-year reign as not only American League champs but World champs as well.
Sadly for them they could not carry their winning ways in the World Series, bowing the the eventual World Champion New York Giants and a kid named Willie Mays in four straight.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Next up on the “Hall of Fame Inductee” parade for the 1970’s is former perennial all-star third baseman Eddie Mathews, who bashed his way to a Cooperstown induction in 1978:

Mathews was a beast at the plate, hitting 30 or more homers in a season ten times during his career, with four of those seasons totaling over 40.
He’d also drive in over 100 runs five times and score over 100 eight times while topping a .300 batting average on three occasions while leading the National League in walks four times, homers twice, and getting named to nine all-star teams.
Twice a runner-up in Most Valuable Player voting, he played for the Braves from Boston, to Milwaukee and their inaugural season in Atlanta in 1966, the only player to do so.
By the time he finished his stellar career Mathews collected 512 homers, 1453 runs batted in, 1509 runs scored and a .271 average along 1444 walks and a .509 slugging average.
Until a guy by the name of Mike Schmidt came along, he was THE power-hitting third baseman in the games long history.

Monday, January 25, 2016


Today we have a “missing” 1971 Topps card for Tito Francona, who wrapped up a nice 15-year career in 1970 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Take a look:

Father of current Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona, Tito appeared in 84 games in his final big league season, split between the Oakland A’s and Brewers.
He hit .235 with 23 hits over 98 at-bats with both four runs scored and runs batted in  while playing both first base and the outfield, the two positions he’d mainly play throughout his career.
Francona came up in 1956 with the Baltimore Orioles and ended up second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Chicago White Sox speedster and future Hall of Fame player Luis Aparicio.
In that season Tito would hit .258 with 115 hits over 445 at-bats, with nine homers, 62 runs scored and 57 RBI’s in 139 games.
His finest season was his first with the Cleveland Indians, for whom he had his best years, when he batted .363 with 20 homers and 79 RBI’s in 122 games.
He didn’t qualify for the batting title based on his 443 plate appearances, but he did finish fifth in MVP voting.
All told he’d finish his career with a .272 average with 1395 hits in 5121 at-bats over 1719 games, with 125 home runs and 656 RBI’s and 650 runs scored.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Here’s a “Dedicated Rookie” card for former all-star Pedro Guerrero, who at one point was one of the most potent bats in the National League in the early 1980’s while with the Los Angeles Dodgers:

As we all know Pedro appeared as one of three players on those God-awful black-and-white rookie cards in the 1979 set.
Since he went on to be such a monster of a batter in the 1980’s I figured he deserved a dedicated card.
Guerrero put together a very nice 15-year career in the big leagues, with five all-star berths and four top-4 finishes in MVP voting.
Between 1982 and 1985 he was a beast, racking up the MVP votes while averaging over .300 at the plate with three 30-home run campaigns, two 100-RBI seasons and even two 20+ stolen base showings to his credit.
Then when the Dodgers figured he was washed up, he moves on to St. Louis and puts in another all-star year in 1989 when he hit .311 with 17 homers and 117 runs batted in along with a league-leading 42 doubles, earning him a third-place finish in MVP voting.
By the time he retired after the 1992 season he finished with 215 homers and a .300 batting average with 1618 hits over 5392 at-bats.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Allow me to start up a new thread that I’ll run for a while: a “Major League Founders” sub-set to commemorate the 100th season of Major League ball that was celebrated in 1976.
Would have been nice to have such a historical sub-set (along with the All-Century Team sub-set already included) to allow kids to gawk at the gaudy stats some of these early stars put together.
Anyway, I used the “All Time All Stars” template and tweaked it a bit, so let’s look at the card I created:

Spalding was the premier pitcher with the Boston club in the National Association before helping form the Major Leagues in 1876 and heading the Chicago team.
Ever since I got my first Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia around 1980 I became obsessed with these 19th Century players, and Spalding was one of THE reasons.
Just look at his ridiculous stats between 1871 and 1876!
All he did was put together a 251-65 record as a pitcher, with a .795 winning percentage and a 2.13 earned run average.
Sure the game was not nearly what it evolved to be years later, but those numbers are hilarious, almost a joke, so for a young kid like me seeing these for the first time I was amazed.
Oddly, since then I have read pretty much every book on 19th-Century baseball and cannot seem to remember why Spalding decided to stop playing the game at the age of 26 and really put his efforts into administration, organization and equipment manufacture.
I mean, yes he was immensely successful with all three, but it would have been awesome to see what he ended up with stat-wise.
As it was, he finished with a 252-65 record, leading his league in wins every single season he played except for his abbreviated 4-game season of 1877.
In 1875 he posted a phenomenal 54-5 record with a 1.59 ERA, seven shutouts and nine saves over 72 games, 62 of which were starts.
If you like the idea of this thread keep an eye out for other early stars of the game like Ross Barnes, Cap Anson and Jim Devlin.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1973 card for former outfielder Brant Alyea, who played out the fifth and final year of his Major League career in 1972 with two stints in Oakland and the St. Louis Cardinals in between:

Alyea played in 33 games during the 1972 season, starting off with 10 for the A’s before being traded to St. Louis where he’d suit up for 13 games, before being returned of all things BACK to the A’s where he would play the final 10 games of his career.
Alyea combined for a .180 average in 1972, with nine hits over 50 at-bats with a single home run while playing the outfield.
For his career, he ended up with a .247 batting average with 214 hits over 866 at-bats, along with 38 homers and 148 runs batted in. Not bad production for the limited play when you do the math.
His finest season was in 1970 while with the Minnesota Twins, when he hit .291 with 16 homers and 61 RBI’s in just 94 games and 258 at-bats.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Quick: who is the only eligible player in Major League history to win four batting titles and NOT be in the Hall of Fame?
Yep, it’s today’s “Traded” player, Bill Madlock.
As I was putting today’s post together it dawned on me that no other player won as many titles without getting into Cooperstown. Crazy huh?
Anyway, here’s the card:

Madlock was coming off of TWO straight National League batting titles in 1977 when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants in a multi-player deal, with Chicago landing Bobby Murcer among others.
The “Mad Dog” didn’t disappoint, as he’d put in two solid seasons of .300+ averages with some pop before he was shipped off to Pittsburgh in the middle of the 1979 season.
He would go on to put together a very nice 15-year career between 1973 and 1987, but apparently not quite Hall material, finishing with a .305 average with 2008 hits, 920 runs scored and 860 runs batted in with 163 homers and 174 stolen bases.
Just one of those historical quirks that has him as a four-time batting champ, but not really one of the all-time greats.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Next up in my “Turn Back the Clock” thread is Willie Mays and his incredible catch during the 1954 World Series against the Cleveland Indians:

I used the 1974 “signature” team card template to give it a little pizzazz, since the 1974 standard template was a bit bland, hence the red border.
Anyway, while football may have their own “Catch”, I think the Mays catch can be considered the most famous one in baseballs long history.
For those who need a refresher: On September 29th, 1954, with the score tied at 2 in the top of the 8th inning, Indians slugger Vic Wertz SLAMMED a Don Liddle pitch approximately 420-feet to dead center.
Now in most parks, that would be a home run and have the Indians leading 5-2 since there were two men on base.
But as history recalls, Willie Mays, who was playing shallow, took off at the crack of the bat and sprinted towards the warning track at full speed.
What would happen next is baseball lore: not only did he make an amazing over-the-shoulder catch, but he also had the presence of mind to spin around and throw the ball back to the infield, preventing Larry Doby from trying to tag up from second base, thus keeping the game tied.
The New York Giants would go on to win the game, and eventually the series, sweeping the 111-win Indians 4 games to none.
Mays would also end up taking home his first Most Valuable Player Award that season, building on what would become a legendary career.
“The Catch”, possibly the first brick laid in the monumental career of the “Say Hey Kid”.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Here’s the first “Hall of Fame Inductee” card for the 1978 set, one portraying tragic figure Addie Joss, who was finally given his due in Cooperstown decades too late:

Joss spent nine years pitching like few others before or after, all with the Cleveland Naps (Indians) between 1902 and 1910.
Of those nine years, the highest his earned run average he ever posted in a season was 2.77, which was his rookie year.
After that, he’d go on to post five seasons of sub-2.00 ERA, with a low of 1.16 in 1908 when he posted a 24-11 record with nine shutouts and 130 strikeouts over 42 games and 325 innings pitched.
In his eight-years of full play he’d have four 20-win seasons, with a high of 27 in 1907, five sub-2.00 ERA seasons, and five seasons of five or more shutouts, posting nine twice (1906 and 1908).
In 1908 in the middle of a heated pennant race, Joss went on to pitch the fourth perfect game in league history when he blanked the Chicago White Sox (and pitcher Ed Walsh) 1-0.
Walsh would give up only 4 hits while striking out 15, and the game is considered by many to be one of the all-time best in baseball’s long history.
It’s worth noting that Addie Joss was robbed of a no-hitter in his very first start as a Major League pitcher in 1902 against the St. Louis Browns when he ended up with a one-hit shutout, the lone hit coming off the bat of future Hall of Famer Jesse Burkett.
Witnesses to the event swear that the hit was actually caught on the fly by outfielder Zaza Harvey, though it was ruled trapped by umpire Bob Caruthers (a former pitcher who should ALSO be in Cooperstown!).
Sadly, after experiencing an injury-plagued 1910 season that saw Joss go 5-5 with a 2.26 ERA over 13 games, he became ill in April of 1911 and died of tuberculous meningitis just three days later.
Joss was very well-liked by his peers, and technically the very first “all-star game” was played as a benefit game for the Joss family on July 24th of 1911.
The Cleveland team invited players from the rest of the American League to play against them, with proceeds going to help the Joss family after their loss, raising $13,000 ($330,154 in today’s money).
Falling of short of baseball 10-year minimum of a career for Hall of Fame consideration, a special preclusion was made for Joss, allowing the Veteran’s Committee to finally get in, even if it was decades later.
Joss finished his career with a 160-97 record with a 1.89 earned run average (second only to Ed Walsh), with 45 shutouts and 920 strikeouts over 286 games and 2327 innings pitched.
Who knows what he may have accomplished had not illness struck him down at such a young age.

Monday, January 18, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for former pitcher Joe Moeller, who finished up an eight-year career in 1971, all with the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Moeller appeared in 28 games for L.A., posting a 2-4 record with a 3.80 earned run average out of the bullpen, with 32 strikeouts in 66.1 innings of work.
To this day he is the youngest starter in Dodger history at 19 years and two months when he did so in his rookie season of 1962.
He’d miss both the 1963 and 1965 season which must have SUCKED since they were BOTH World Championship years for the Dodgers, but between every year from 1962 and 1971 that he was a Major League pitcher, he’d put on the Dodger blue.
He would wrap up his career with a 26-36 record with a 4.01 ERA, with seven saves and a shutout with 307 K’s over 583.2 innings and 166 appearances, 74 of which were starts.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Here’s another airbrushing gem, the 1972 Topps Jim Lyttle card. Take a look:

Lyttle went over to the South Side of Chicago from the New York Yankees for Rich Hinton on October 13th of 1971, so Topps had to resort to some airbrushing wizardry.
Just awesome! The shadowing and the almost pink bill of the cap, plus the really good job they did with that “Sox” logo.
The left side of the cap in the image, where you can see the underside, seems a bit off on the angle, making the cap look too big for his head.
As for Lyttle, he’d end up spending 8-years in the Majors, lasting until the 1976 season and finishing up with a .248 average with 176 hits in 710 at-bats over 391 games with the Yankees, White Sox, Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Here’s another special request by Tony, a 1972 non-traded Joe Morgan as a Cincinnati Reds player, the final piece in what was to be a dominant team during the decade.
Check it out:

While the Reds did make the World Series in 1970 on the strength of guys like Rose, Bench and Perez, they did lose to the Baltimore Orioles, perhaps THE dominant team in the Majors at the time.
But once they acquired the speedy AND powerful Joe Morgan from the Houston Astros, it took them to a new level, and by 1975 and 1976 Cincinnati found themselves at the center of the baseball world with back-to-back World Series wins against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Morgan was portrayed as a Houston Astro when the 1972 Topps set came out, with a last series “Traded” card showing him as a Reds player (why no Lee May?).
This would go on to write some serious baseball history, with Morgan taking home the National League MVP Award in 1975 and 1976, and eventually leading to a Hall of Fame induction in 1990 as one of the greatest second basemen in the games long history.
Here you go Tony!

Friday, January 15, 2016


Here’s a 1971 “missing” card for former third baseman Max Alvis, who closed out a nine-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970:

Alvis played in 62 games during the 1970 season, his first not as a Cleveland Indian, for whom he suited up the first eight-years.
In 1970 he batted .183 with 21 hits over 115 at-bats, with three homers and 12 runs batted in.
However when you look at his somewhat short career, he put in some good numbers.
Of those nine-years, he played six  full seasons, and performed very well for the era.
In those six years he hit 17 or more homers five times, and was named to two all-star teams while getting some MVP attention in 1963, his rookie year.
Additionally that rookie year was pretty good, as he batted .274 with 81 runs scored with 165 hits, 32 doubles, seven triples and 22 homers along with 67 RBI’s.
Surprisingly enough, though he got some MVP votes that year, he didn’t garner a single Rookie Of The Year vote. Odd.
For his career, Alvis ended with a .247 average with 895 hits over 3629 at-bats in 1013 games, with 111 homers and 373 RBI’s.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Today we have a 1973 “Turn Back the Clock” 20th Anniversary card for quite possibly one of the most interesting and unexpected no-hitters the game has ever seen: Bobo Hollomon’s no-no against the Philadelphia Athletics on May 6th.
Take a look at the card:

Improbable, historically odd, and “kind of” ugly, the no-hitter was achieved in Hollomon’s very first start in the Major Leagues.
But there’s so much more to this story: in beating the Athletics 6-0, Hollomon also went 2-3 with three runs batted in at the plate. These would be the only hits Hollomon would get in his Major League career.
About this career, it turns out it would last 22 games, all in 1953! Yep, he throws a no-hitter in his first start, gets beat up in his subsequent start, then performs poorly the rest of the way to end up with a 3-7 career record, with a 5.23 earned run average and 25 K’s over 65.1 innings of work.
In that no-hitter, Hollomon walked five batters, struck out only three, and according to accounts of the game, Athletics players made hard contact many times over the course of the game, only to find that there was a St. Louis Browns player right there to snare the ball.
Hollomon is STILL the only modern player to achieve this feat to this day, although there were two pitchers before the mound was moved back to 60’ 6” who also did the same: Bumpus Jones and Ted Breitenstein.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I’m definitely stretching it a bit, but here’s a “missing” 1979 card for Seattle Mariner Kevin Pasley:

Now, he only appeared in 25 games for Seattle in 1978, and he would actually never play in another Major League game again, but I found this image and remembered him from the Dale Murphy (and Rick Cerone) multi-player rookie card in 1977 when he was a Los Angeles Dodger, so I figured why not give him his own “dedicated” card?
Pasley hit .241 in 1978, with 13 hits over 54 official at-bats, with his lone big league homer and five runs batted in.
For his short 4-year career he hit .254 with 31 hits in 122 at-bats over 55 lifetime games between 1974 and 1978.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Here’s a “Then and Now” Super Veteran card for former slugger Johnny Callison, who put together a very nice career before calling it a night after the 1973 season:

Callison was wrapping up a very productive 16-year career that saw him play for the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees.
But it was his time with the Phillies that he made a name for himself, being named to three all-star teams while finishing second in MVP voting during the Phillies heart-wrenching 1964 season.
That season Callison led his team all season long by slamming 31 homers, driving in 101 runs and hitting for a .274 average.
What’s surprising is he also slapped ten triples that year, which was one of the five consecutive years that he topped that mark between 1961 and 1965.
As a matter of fact he led the National League in triple twice, with ten in 1962 and 16 in 1965.
By the time he wrapped up his career, he collected 1757 hits with 226 home runs, 926 runs scored and 840 runs batted in with a .264 average.
He hit over 30 homers twice, scored 100 twice, and drove in over 100 twice, and this was during the modern “dead ball” era that the 1960’s were.
Many also believe that if the Phillies didn’t blow the lead in the N.L. in 1964 HE would have taken home the MVP Award and not St. Louis Cardinal Ken Boyer.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Though he’d play the last of his Major League games in 1977, I decided to go and give former pitcher Bart Johnson a “missing” 1978 Topps card:

Johnson closed out an 8-year career in 1977 with 29 appearances for the only team he ever suited up for: the Chicago White Sox.
In those 29 games he posted a 4-5 record with a 4.01 earned run average in 92 innings of work.
He pitched for the White Sox from 1969 to 1977, having a couple of nice seasons.
In 1971 he went 12-10 with a 2.93 ERA in 53 games, 16 of which were starts, along with 14 saves and 153 strikeouts in 178 innings.
Then in 1974 he appeared in 18 games, all starts, and finished with a 10-4 record along with a 2.74 ERA with eight complete games over 121.2 innings pitched.
For his career, Johnson finished with a 43 and 51 record, with a 3.94 ERA, six shutouts, 17 saves and 520 strikeouts over 185 games (97 of them starts), and 809.1 innings pitched.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


I’ve always gotten a kick out of the airbrushed cap on the 1978 Topps Pat Scanlon card.
Take a look:

Awesome! I love the “stroke patterns” like a fine painting! Killer!
Overall it’s not a bad job all things considered. Actually I’d say the 1978 set has some of the best airbrushing jobs of the decade (Ray Fosse, Elliott Maddox).
Ironically, Pat Scanlon would never play in the Major Leagues again after the 1977 season, closing out a 4-year career that saw him suit up for the Montreal Expos between 1974-1976, and the San Diego Padres in 1977.
He finished with a .187 career average with 41 hits in 219 at-bats over 120 games.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Time to go and give “The Hammer”, John Milner a “Nickname” card in my ongoing thread.
Take a look:

I gave him a 1975 card since he was coming off of arguably the two best seasons of his career, hitting 20+ homers in both 1973 and 1974 while also manning first base and the outfield for the New York Mets.
He’d never quite reach those numbers again in his 12-year career, or even get the playing time, as he’d top 500 plate appearances only once more between 1975 and the end of his career in 1982,
By the time he was out of big league ball in 1982, he finished with 131 homers with 855 hits over 3436 at-bats, for a lifetime average of .249 with 455 runs scored and 498 runs batted in...and one cool nickname.

Friday, January 8, 2016


Today I’d like to go and give former Rookie of the Year Gary Peters a “missing” 1973 Topps card, which can also be a “Career Capper”:

Peters appeared in 33 games for the Boston Red Sox in 1972, posting a 3-3 record with a 4.32 earned run average over 85.1 innings of work.
That would close out a very respectable 14-year career that saw him lead the league in wins with 20 in 1964, while also leading the league in ERA in both 1963 (his rookie year) as well as 1966 with a sparkling 1.98 figure.
His rookie year was awesome, as he went 19-8 for the Pale Hose with that league-leading ERA, along with 189 strikeouts and four shutouts to take home the R.O.Y. honor.
His final numbers were 124-103 with a 3.25 ERA, along with 23 shutouts and 1420 K’s over 2081 innings and 359 games, 286 of which were starts.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Here’s a “Turn Back the Clock” card for something I was always fascinated with as a kid going through Baseball Digests and baseball history gems: Mickey Mantle’s 565-foot home run hit against the Washington Senators.
Check it out:

Mantle’s homer came off of Senators pitcher Chuck Stobbs at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. On April 17th of 1953.
It was THE homer that led to the phrase “Tape Measure Home Run”, since former Yankees public relations man Arthur Patterson claims to have measured where the ball landed to the edge of the stadium with an actual tape measure after retrieving the ball from a 10-year old boy.
Over the years many have claimed this story false, and that the ball could not have traveled that far.
Regardless, the monster shot hit the “Natty Boh” sign in straight-away centerfield and glanced off onto the streets behind the stadium, allegedly ina backyard on Oakdale Lane.
Many agree the ball did indeed travel about 500-feet, which is still a whopper of a homer, but it was the historical legacy the shot left behind, frequently showing up in baseball books and magazines for decades to come that made it so memorable, and added to the mythical stature of a guy named Mickey Mantle.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Let’s give one time 20-game winner and hard-luck pitcher Chris Short a “missing” final “Career-Capping” 1974 Topps card shall we?

Short appeared in the last 42 games of his career during the 1973 season with the Milwaukee Brewers after 14-years as a Phillies pitcher.
In ‘73 he’d go 3-5 with a 5.13 earned run average and 44 K’s over 72 innings in those 42 appearances.
Once the #2 gun for the Phillies after future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, Short won 20-games in 1966, 19 in 1968, 18 in 1965 and 17 in 1964.
That 1964 season was a heartbreaker for the Phillies and their fans, as they blew what seemed to be a lead they could not lose, which would have given them a World Series appearance against the New York Yankees.
With Bunning and Short alternating pitching duties down the stretch, it was enough to hold-off the Cardinals who’d end up taking the National League pennant as well as the World Series, defeating the Bronx Bombers.
Short posted some excellent seasons during the 1960’s, five times posting ERA’s under 3.00, with two seasons of 200+ strikeouts, including a career high of 237 during the 1965 season, while being named to two all-star teams.
However after the 1968 season, injuries derailed his career, and he would go on to win only 20 games in the final five years of his Major League career.
When his career was over, he ended with a 135-132 record, with a 3.43 ERA and 1629 strikeouts and 24 shutouts over 501 games, 308 of them which were starts.
Sadly his life post-baseball was rough, filled with hard times, and he passed away at the young age of 53 because of an aneurysm he suffered a few years before which left him in a coma. Sad.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Recently a good friend of mine asked why I create so few Yankee “missing” cards.
Didn’t realize that I did, but I also suspect there weren’t as many Yankee players omitted from Topps sets as other teams.
Anyway, I did manage to finally find a usable photo of former Yankee infielder Len Boehmer, who could have been included in the 1970 Topps set.
Take a look:

Boehmer’s career in the Big Leagues consisted of 50 games total, 45 of which were played out during the 1969 season, when he hit .176 with 19 hits over 108 at-bats.
He initially appeared in two games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1967, going 0-3, and then appeared in three games for the Yankees in 1971, going 0-5.
He DID actually get on a rookie card however, in the 1969 set along with Gerry Kenney in a late series, so he wasn’t totally left out of Topps’ world .

Monday, January 4, 2016


Allow me to indulge myself and present to you all a fantasy card I wish existed: a 1973 Warren Spahn “coach” card, even though they didn’t exist in that set. Take a look:

I came across this GREAT photo of Spahn when he was coaching for the Tribe and immediately knew I had to whip up a dedicated card for him, since he IS on the Indians Ken Aspromonte manager card.
I’ve always been a huge Spahn fan, so any chance to create cards for him is something I’ll jump at!
I mean, all the guy did was win 363 games, pitch 63 shutouts and post 13 20-win seasons, among other things!
And remember he didn’t win his first game until he was 25 years of age, as he served in the military from 1943 to 1945.
Just an incredible talent!
Look for some other “fantasy cards” of mine in the near future, like Mickey Mantle and Sandy Koufax...

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Let’s go and give future 200-game winner Jerry Koosman a 1979 “Traded” card.
Check out my design:

“Kooz” spent the first 12 years of his Major League career as a New York Met, and performed marvelously, posting solid seasons which saw him finish behind Johnny Bench in 1968 for National League Rookie of the Year in 1968, and in second-place for Cy Young in 1976 when he won a career high 21 games to along with a 2.69 earned run average and 200 strikeouts.
But over the following two seasons, and not entirely HIS fault, Koosman posted a combined 11-35 record, even though his ERA was around 3.62 and he struck out 352 batters.
That was enough for the Mets to ship him to Minnesota on December 8th, 1978 for a relief pitcher that would pay off years later, Jesse Orosco.
Koosman immediately made an impact in Minnesota, posting another 20-win season (at the time one of the few to do so in both leagues), while posting a 3.38 ERA and 157 strikeouts.
By the time he retired after the 1985 season he’d win 222 games, while collecting a nice 3.36 ERA with 2556 strikeouts and 33 shutouts over 612 games, 527 of which were starts.
I remember hearing years ago that Koosman loved to tell people how his “rookie card” was worth a lot of money and was the hottest card in the 1968 set, only to follow up and casually mention that “Oh yeah, some guy named Nolan Ryan is on there too.”
Love it...

Saturday, January 2, 2016


I have always loved Billy Williams final card as a Major League player, his 1976 edition as an Oakland A’s player. Then again, I love many of those Oakland cards from that set since the colors of both the card design and the players uniforms make for great stuff.
But first, the Williams card:

GREAT action shot of the future Hall of Famer! Also gotta love the facial hair, a clue as to the age and era we are dealing with.
However, though I still love the card, upon further inspection I have to wonder about a few things.
First off his hands look awkward for his follow through swing, as if they were airbrushed in, and poorly at that. And when you do look closer, you see that they were in fact airbrushed. At least the lead, left arm.
When you look at the “Williams” across his back you can see it seems to have been brushed in as well.
Am I wrong?
Strange, and I wonder what the original negative looked like before Topps felt the need to mess with it.
Anyone know what the deal was?
Still a GREAT card from that awesome set! 


I really don't see why they had to mess with it. Strange. And look at the bottom, there's MORE on the card than in the original (player in the dugout).

Friday, January 1, 2016


Time to give former outfielder Bill Sharp a “missing” 1977 card, which would close out his short four-year career:

Sharp played in just under half the Milwaukee Brewers games in 1976, hitting .244 with 44 hits in 180 at-bats while scoring 16 runs and driving in 11.
Sadly for him those would be the final games he’d see on the Major League level, just after appearing in a career high 143 the previous year split between Milwaukee and the Chicago White Sox, the only other team he’d suit up for as a pro.
He finished his career with a .255 average, 281 hits and 122 runs scored over 398 games and 1104 at-bats, along with 95 runs batted in and 69 extra base hits.


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