Monday, February 29, 2016


I’ve been meaning to create a “missing” 1972 In-Action card for former fireball pitcher Sam McDowell for quite some time now, and since I have not been able to locate a usable action shot of him as a San Francisco Giant, I just went and created one of him while still with the Cleveland Indians:

While Topps managed to have him (and the guy he was traded for: Gaylord Perry) on the correct team, he didn’t yet suit up for the Giants when the 1972 set came out, so I get a cut a little slack here right?
McDowell was just about to enter the decline of his once amazing career, posting a 13-17 record for the Tribe with 192 strikeouts and a 3.40 earned run average in 1971.
That would be the final productive season of his 15-year career.
In that career he’d post 2 300+ strikeout seasons, while leading the American League in that category five times.
He’d also post a 20-win season, win and ERA crown and get named to six all-star teams while with the Indians.
But sadly for him by the time he turned 30 it was all downhill, and he was out of baseball by the time he was a painfully young 32 years old after stops in the Bronx and Pittsburgh.
Nevertheless he did go 141-134 with a nice 3.17 ERA and 2453 K’s during his career, but the “what could have been’s” have always been part of the conversation when it came around to “Sudden Sam”.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


The next player in my celebration of Major League baseball’s 100th anniversary in 1976 is former pitcher Tommy Bond.
Check out the card first:

Bond, who was the last surviving player from the inaugural 1876 season, put together an excellent career, going 234-163 between 1874 and 1884 (the first two seasons playing in the National Association), with a 2.14 earned run average and 42 shutouts over 417 appearances.
He was the first pitcher in league history to win the pitching triple crown, leading the N.L. in  wins, strikeouts and ERA in 1877 when he posted a 40-17 record with a 2.11 ERA and 170 K’s.
He twice led the league in wins, in ERA and in strikeouts along with shutouts three times, innings pitched once and complete games once.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Haven’t done a “Then and Now” card in a while, and I came across this image of former pitcher Ray Sadecki during his final season in the big leagues so I figured I’d make one up for him:

Though Sadecki appears in the 1977 Topps set as a Milwaukee Brewer, I figured I’d go ahead and show him as a Met since he pitched his last few games with them.
Sadecki put together a nice 18-year career on a big league mound, both as a starter and a reliever between 1960 and 1977.
He was a 20-game winner in 1964 with the St Louis Cardinals, and three-times posted an earned run average under 3.00, with a low of 2.78 in 1967 with the San Francisco Giants.
He retired with a 135-131 record, with a 3.78 ERA and 20 shutouts along with 1614 strikeouts and seven saves over the course of 563 appearances, 328 of which were starts.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Here’s a card I think came out really nice, my “missing” 1974 card for former slugger Johnny Callison, who was wrapping up a nice career by the time 1973 rolled around:

Callison played in his final 45 games during the 1973 in the Bronx, hitting .176 with 24 hits over 136 at-bats, including the last of his 226 career taters.
His career spanned 16-years between 1958 and 1973, where he collected 1757 hits with 926 runs scored, 840 runs batted in and the aforementioned 226 homers with a .264 average.
A three-time all-star, he was also the National league runner-up in MVP voting in 1964, certainly a victim to the colossal collapse of the Philadelphia Phillies to the St. Louis Cardinals, which propelled third baseman Ken Boyer to capture the award.
In both ‘64 and 1965 Callison topped 30+ homers, 25+ doubles and 10+ triples, while driving in over 100 both seasons as well.
After the Phillies he played with the Chicago Cubs for two years in 1970 and 1971 before moving on to the Yankees for the 1972 and 1973 campaigns, thus closing the books on a very respectable career in the big leagues.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Next up in the “Turn Back the Clock” thread, we move on to 1975 and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 team who finally won it all and took home the World Championship, the only time this would happen while in Brooklyn:

“Dem Bums”, as they were affectionately known to their fans, beat their dreaded American League rival New York Yankees with the help of a 22-year-old Johnny Podres who came out of nowhere and shut out the Bombers 2-0 in game seven.
It was the culmination of a long road for these Dodgers, who fell short of a championship after taking home four pennants in eight years but falling short each time to the Yanks.
The team went 98-55 during the season, led by the usual suspects in Roy Campanella, Duke Snider  and Gil Hodges on the offensive side, and Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine and Clem Labine on the pitching side.
Newcombe posted his first 20-win season, while Campy, Gil and the Duke all drove in 100+ runs, with Carl Furillo falling just short of that number with 95 ribbies.
Of course this was only the beginning for the organization, as the Dodgers would go on to move out West to Los Angeles, then win it all in 1959, 1963 and 1965, putting all thoughts of an “also-ran” behind them, along with millions of broken hearts in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Here’s a “dedicated rookie” for former all-star Ken Griffey Sr, who was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1974 set:

Griffey began what was to become a brilliant 19-year career that saw him hit .296 with 2143 hits in 7229 at-bats, with 1129 runs scored, 152 homers and 859 runs batted in.
During the 1973 season he made the most of his short stay, hitting .384 in 25 games with 33 hits in 86 at-bats.
He was named to three all-star games during his career, and was a member of the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds of the 1970’s, taking home two consecutive World Championships in 1975 and 1976.
Of course, we HAVE to mention something else he did, which was father a kid who would become one of the players of his generation, Ken Griffey Jr, recent Hall of Fame inductee and super-star extraordinaire.
I still think one of the coolest moments in baseball history was when Griffey Sr and Griffey Jr BOTH hit homers for the same team in the same game!  I just couldn’t believe it actually happened.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I still get a kick out of snafu’s when it came to Topps trying to keep up to date with a player’s new team.
And sometimes, it bit them in the ass because of last-minute transactions, like the 1977 Willie Crawford card that has him on the Giants:

Turns out that while he was indeed sent to the Giants after the 1976 season was over, he was then sent to the Houston Astros right before the 1977 season started, leaving us with a “phantom” team that he actually never played for.
This is some of the stuff that actually had me think about doing a blog of 1970’s baseball cards, because it really shows what Topps was up against in that day and age.
Today with all the up-to-date split-second technology we have, it’s cool to be reminded of what it was like not too long ago when (some of us) were kids.
Crawford put together a nice 14-year career in the Majors, mainly with the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he played 12 of those seasons for.
Between 1964 and 1977 he’d hit .268 as a pro, collecting 921 hits over 3435 at-bats in 1210 games.

Monday, February 22, 2016


Today I give you a “missing” 1970 card for Phillies pitcher Al Raffo, who played his only season in the Majors in 1969:

Raffo appeared in 45 games for Philadelphia, picking up a save to go along with a 1 and 3 record in 72.1 innings pitched.
He had 38 strikeouts against 25 walks, finishing 17 games with a 4.11 earned run average.
Sadly for him that would be it as far as a Major League career went, as he’d toil in the Phillies’ minor league system for the next two years before hanging them up after the 1971 season.
He played his entire 10-year pro career for the Phillies, starting in 1962 as a 20-year old and making his way through their system in every level of ball.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Here’s a card as part of the “1976 Project” for “Reader Jim” that is of of another player who was actually on one of the multi-player rookie cards in the 1976 set, Henry Cruz of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Cruz actually saw a chunk of playing time during the 1975 season, appearing in 53 games and collecting 25 hits over 94 at-bats, good for a .266 average.
Jim needed him on a dedicated card so here you go.
Actually, as far as I’m concerned, Cruz has two other “missing” cards, in the 1977 and 1979 sets, which will be tackled in the near future.
What’s funny about that is the fact that he DOES get a card in the 1978 set, after seeing the LEAST playing time of his short 4-year career the year before!
Go figure...

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Next up in my 100th anniversary 1976 sub-set in George Bradley, who had an interesting career.
Here’s the card:

Bradley was the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Major League history, doing so on July 15th, 1876 against the Hartford Dark Blues, winning 2-0.
In that inaugural season, he posted a 45-19 record with a 1.23 earned run average as he completed 63 of his 64 starts.
He also pitched what is STILL a record 16 shutouts (since tied by Grover Cleveland Alexander), and threw 573 innings for the St. Louis Brown Stockings.
Though he played eleven seasons of pro ball, spanning the days of the National Association through to the Union Association and American Association, he played for ten different teams.
He also played a variety of positions during his career, from pitcher to infield to the outfield.
As a pitcher he ended up with a 171-151 record with a .243 ERA and 33 shutouts over 347 appearances, 325 of which were starts, between 1875 and 1884.
As a fielder/batter, he finished with a .229 career average with 518 hits over 2258 at-bats, which lasted through the 1888 season.
Nevertheless he left his mark on the history of the game, leading to a virtual card some 140 years later on some guy’s blog...

Friday, February 19, 2016


Was sent this nice image of former infielder Mick Kelleher so I decided to make a “missing” 1975 card for him.
Check it out:

It’s a stretch being that Kelleher appeared in 19 games for the Astros during the 1974 season.
But it can be argued that he easily could have appeared on a card, at the very least a multi-player rookie card, in any given year between 1974 and 1975.
As it was he didn’t appear in a Topps set until 1977 after a relatively full season with the Chicago Cubs the previous year.
Nevertheless, Kelleher hit .158 during the 1974 season, collecting nine hits over 57 at-bats while playing shortstop.
He would go on to play 11-years in his career, mainly with the Cubs where he’d see the bulk of his 622 lifetime games.
In those, he collected 230 hits in 1081 at-bats, good for a .213 average.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Next up in my “Turn Back The Clock” thread is a 20th anniversary card for Milwaukee Braves slugger Joe Adcock, who slammed four home runs and a double in a single game on July 31st, 1954:

Adcock had a monster of a game that day, going 5 for 5 with four homers and a double to collect 18 total bases along with seven runs batted in and five runs scored.
All of this was at the hands of the reigning National league champ Brooklyn Dodgers, who took the 15-7 loss that afternoon.
The four homers tied the record for a single game, while the total bases were a new record.
Adcock had a very nice 17-year career spanning 1950 and 1966 that saw him hit 336 home runs with 1122 runs batted in and 823 runs scored.
His career average of .277 was also solid, as he collected 1832 hits over 6606 at-bats in 1959 games with the Cincinnati Reds, Braves, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Here’s a card that I’ve created as a special request, a “missing” In-Action card in the 1972 Topps set for “Tony C”, Tony Conigliaro of the California Angels:

About as tragic a baseball figure as you can come across, Conigliaro was well on his way to a brilliant career before being hit in the face with a pitch in 1967 at the age of only 22.
By the time 1971 came around he found himself as a member of the Angels, trying to come back.
He appeared in 74 games, hitting .222 with four homers over 266 at-bats while playing the outfield, but the vision problems he suffered because of the injury came back, cutting short what could have a great career in the big leagues.
He did manage to make it back in 1975 with his original team, the Red Sox, for 21 games, but it didn’t work out as he hit .123 in that time, thus ending his career for good.
Sadly, even post-career his life was tragic, as he passed away at the young age of 45 in 1990 after suffering a heart attack and stroke eight years earlier.
RIP “Tony C”.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Today we come to the last subject in my thread of elected players to the Hall of Fame during the decade, former Chicago Cubs slugger Hack Wilson:

Selected by the Veterans Committee, Wilson was a true character of the game during the 1920’s and 1930’s, slugging his way into the record books.
While he did have a productive career, it’s arguably the 1930 season alone that got him on the road to Cooperstown when he hit 56 home runs, a National League record that stood until guys like McGwire and Sosa came along, while driving in a STILL record 191 runs, along with 146 runs scored, 208 hits and a .356 batting average.
Easily one of the greatest offensive seasons in baseball history, it kept Wilson on the minds of baseball fans decades after his playing days were over.
He hit a total of 244 homers during his 12-year career, with 1063 RBI’s and 884 runs scored to go along with his .307 batting average.
A bit of a drinker in his lifetime, his career was derailed by the time he was in his early 30’s, having his last productive season in 1932 at the age of 32 with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
He was out of the game by 34 after a handful of games with the Philadelphia Phillies, and sadly died at the age of 48 penniless in part because of his drinking and hard life.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1977 Topps card for former outfielder Gene Locklear, who split the 1976 season between the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees.:

Locklear played in a combined 56 games during the ‘76 season, batting .222 with 22 hits in 99 official at-bats.
He scraped together a five-year career in the Majors, though his final season was a single game in the Bronx, which actually saw him go 3 for 5 with two runs batted in and a run scored.
Not a bad way to go out!
All told he batted  a respectable .274 with 163 hits over 595 at-bats, with 76 runs scored and 66 RBI’s.
Those are pretty solid numbers over a 162-game schedule, though for Locklear this represented his 292 games in the Big Leagues.
Nevertheless seems he was a pretty good hitter during his time up playing with the Cincinnati Reds, Padres and Yanks.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Next in my 1976 celebration of 100 years of the Major Leagues is Deacon White, a man full of early baseball history as an early star of the National Association as well as the Majors.
Check it out:

Credited as the first player in league history on the Baseball-Reference web site, White was a member of the Chicago team in 1876, and hit a robust .343, which was book-ended by two league batting titles, one in the N.A. and one in the N.L.  hen he hit .367 and .387 respectively.
He played 20 years as a pro ballplayer and one one of the first to collect over 2000 hits with 2067 before he retired after the 1890 campaign.
He’d go on to finish with a .312 average with those 2000+ hits, along with 1140 runs scored and 988 runs batted in.
It took a while, but In 2013 he was finally elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee.
His brother Will was a pitcher during the same era, and in 1879 started 75 games, of which he completed ALL of them! Insane. He pitched a total of 680 innings that year, posting a 43 and 31 record.
Ahh those crazy early years of the league. Gotta love ‘em!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


A classic!
Here’s another airbrushing gem from the people at Topps, the 1972 Alan Foster.
Check it out:

Man, that cap has so much going on doesn’t it?
That Angels logo is a thing of beauty!
I can’t be certain, but it also seems that Fosters face was touched up a bit as well, blending the cap and player together a bit more, which if in fact this is the case, was a heck of a great job.
Foster came over from the Cleveland Indians as part of the trade that sent Vada Pinson to the Angels for disgruntled former batting champ Alex Johnson.
He carved out a decent 10-year career in the Major Leagues, playing for the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, Cardinals and Padres before leaving the game after the 1976 season with a 48-63 record with a 3.74 earned run average over 217 games, 148 of which were starts.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for former catcher Dennis Paepke, who played parts of four seasons, all with the Kansas City Royals:

Paepke actually appeared on a multi-player rookie card in the 1970 Topps set after playing in a dozen games during the inaugural 1969 season.
After being stuck in the minors for 1970, he made it to the big leagues again in 1971 and played in 60 games for the Royals, collecting 31 hits over 152 at-bats, good for a .204 average while splitting time behind the plate and out in the outfield.
Sadly for him that would be the bu

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Time to go and give former National league Most Valuable Player George Foster a “Dedicated Rookie” card in the 1971 Topps set, a set that saw him on a multi-player rookie card:

Foster had a few call-ups with the Giants before they traded him to the Reds and help set a course of baseball history that we remember as the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds.
It turned out to be one whopper of a trade for the Reds, as they gave up Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert to get a guy who’d go on to slam 20+ homers in a season seven times, including his monster season of 1977 when he hit 52, becoming the first player since Willie Mays in 1965 to do so.
As a matter of fact between 1966 and 1989 Foster’s 52 homers were the only time a player reached that number.
For his efforts in 1977 with those taters, his .320 batting average, and league-leading 124 runs scored and 149 runs batted in, he took home the MVP and was voted as a starter for the all-star team.
He would lead the league in homers again in 1978 with 40, along with RBI’s with 120 (his third year in a row doing so), and go on to start in three more all-star teams before becoming the first $2 million dollar man in baseball when he signed with the New York Mets before the 1982 season.
By the time he retired at the end of the 1986 after 15 games with the Chicago White Sox, he finished with 348 homers, 1239 runs batted in and 986 runs scored along with a .274 average and just under 2000 hits with 1925.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


After I created the 1973 coach card for Warren Spahn a few weeks ago, it got me interested in producing more cards for great players who coached during the decade.
Today I go with former Brooklyn Dodger all-time great Duke Snider, who coached a bit in Montreal after his playing days were over.
Take a look:

After a Hall of Fame career between 1947 and 1964, mainly slugging his way into the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers record books, Snider took on a successful role as a play-by-play analyst for both the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos beginning in 1969 straight through to the late-80’s.
In between, during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, he was the Expos hitting coach, thus the 1974 card I produced for him here.
I remember that Bob Lemke did a 1975 version, so I figured the ‘74 would close out the Duke’s coaching tenure on cards.
If you like this idea check back in the future as I create cards for the likes of Vada Pinson, Willie Mays and Joe DiMaggio.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Here’s a “missing” card for former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Tom Dukes.
Check it out:

Dukes appeared in 28 games for the American League champion Orioles during their 1971 season.
He posted a 1-5 record with a 3.52 earned run average and four saves over 38.1 innings, all out of the bullpen.
In 1972 he’d find himself as a member of the California Angels where he’d pitch in a scant seven games, closing out his six-year career that began as a Houston Astro before moving on to the San Diego Padres for their inaugural season.
For his career Dukes went 5-16 with a 4.35 ERA and 22 saves over 161 games and 217 innings pitched.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Next up in my “100th Anniversary of the Major Leagues” 1976 sub-set is former outfielder George Hall, who suited up for Philadelphia in the inaugural 1876 season:

Hall not only put up nice numbers during the National Association days between 1871 and 1875, with batting averages of .336 and .345 in ‘72 and ‘73 respectively, but he was also an important member of the National Association of Base Ball Players between 1866 and 1870, playing for four Brooklyn clubs: the Enterprise, the Excelsiors, the Stars and the Atlantics.
In 1876, with the new league formed, Hall led his Philly team in almost all batting categories, including average with a .366 showing, and home runs with five, two of which he hit in the same day, becoming the first player in league history to do so.
After another very good season the following year for Louisville in 1877, it was discovered that he and three others threw some games the previous season, which Hall felt were innocent actions since the games were “exhibitions”.
Nevertheless, for these acts he and the others were banned for life, ending his seven-year career on the spot.
He left the game with a .322 lifetime average, and his five homers would stand as the league high for a season until 1879 when Charley Jones hit nine.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


It’s been quite some time since I posted a card from my “1976 Project” for “Reader Jim”, so here’s one I created a while ago, former pitcher Jose Sosa of the Houston Astros:

Sosa actually appeared on a multi-player rookie card in the 1976 Topps set, but Jim wanted a dedicated card for the righty based on his 25 appearances and 47 innings pitched the year before, posting a 1-3 record with a 4.60 earned run average and a single save.
It was Sosa’s first taste of the Majors, and as it turns out the bulk of it too.
In 1976 Sosa would only appear in nine games for Houston, not factoring in a decision while posting a 6.94 ERA over 11.2 innings, and that would be the sum total of his experience as a big league pitcher.
He did come from some strong baseball lineage, as he was the cousin of the Alou brothers, as well as second cousin to Moises.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Let’s go and give Stan Musial a “Turn Back the Clock” 20th anniversary card for his montrous day at the plate on May 2nd, 1954 against the New York Giants:

Stan was definitely “The Man” that day, going 4 for 4 in the first game, with three homers and six runs batted in, helping the Cardinals beat the Giants 10-6 at Busch Stadium.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Musial proceeds to go 2 for 4 in the second game, with two homers off of future Hall of Fame pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.
It wasn’t enough to help the Cards beat the Giants though, as the New Yorkers win 9-7, but for Musial he went a combined 6 for 8 with five home runs and nine runs batted in and six runs scored!
Just one of the many accomplishments for Musial that still makes him one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

Friday, February 5, 2016


Time to give that cool dude Lowell Palmer a “missing” 1975 Topps card that wraps up his short but memorable career as far as cards go:

Palmer appeared in 22 games for the Padres, posting a 2 and 5 record with a 5.67 earned run average over 73 innings.
We all remember him for his sweet shades on his early cards from 1970 through 1972, they’ve become sort of the stuff of legend when it comes to card-collecting.
His time as a big league pitcher lasted 5 seasons between 1969 and 1974, going 5-18 with a 5.29 ERA with a single shutout and 239 strikeouts over 106 games and 316.2 innings of work.
But oh those shades....

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Let’s go and give former all-star shortstop Jim Fregosi a “missing” In-Action card in the 1972 Topps set:

It’s easy to forget that Fregosi was the top American League shortstop in the 1960’s.
However by the time the 1970’s rolled around the six-time all-star was about to see a dramatic downturn in his career, beginning with THE trade that will always be remembered: Fregosi for a guy named Nolan Ryan.
Nevertheless he put together a very nice 18-year career, finishing up after the 1978 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, collecting over 1700 hits, 150 homers and a .265 batting average with a Gold Glove and the aforementioned all-star nods.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Here’s a “missing” card for former second baseman Mike Andrews, who closed out a nice career in 1973 suiting up for both the Chicago White Sox and finally the Oakland A’s:

Andrews played in 70 games during the 1973 season, hitting an even .200 with 36 hits in 180 at-bats.
52 of those games were with the Sox before landing in Oakland, who’d go on to win the World Series for the second year in a row.
Andrews’ best years with with the Boston Red Sox, the team he played the first five years of his eight year career.
His sole all-star nod was in 1969, easily his best year when he hit .293 with 15 homers and 79 runs scored.
His final numbers were a .258 average with 803 hits over 3116 at-bats in 893 games, with 441 runs scored and 316 runs batted in and 66 homers.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Here’s the next Hall of Fame inductee in my thread for those that entered the Hall during the 1970’s, all-time great “Say Hey” Willie Mays, about as easy a “no-brainer” as there could be:

What needs to be said about perhaps the greatest player in history?
660 home runs, 3000+ hits, over 2000 runs scored and over 1900 runs batted in, with over 300 stolen bases and a .300+ batting average as well!
He took home the Rookie of the Year Award in 1951, then proceeded to win two Most Valuable Player Awards, the first in 1954 and the second eleven years later in 1965.
Let’s also not forget the 20 all-star nods and 12 Gold Gloves, leaving him in that rarified company of Ruth, Cobb, Aaron and Gehrig as far as accomplishments and legend.
Of course, Hall of Fame voting being what it is, he wasn’t a UNANIMOUS selection because of this silly unspoken rule of “no one gets 100% voting”, something I will NEVER understand.

Monday, February 1, 2016


Here’s a “missing” card for a guy who pitched a total of 30 games in his Major League career, 19 of which were in 1977, Bruce Taylor of the Detroit Tigers:

Taylor appeared in all 19 games for the Tigers during the 1977 season out of the bullpen, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.38 earned run average and two saves in 29.1 innings of work.
It was his first taste of the big leagues, and the most active, as he would only appear in a single game during the 1978 season, followed by 10 games in 1979, when he posted a 1-2 record with a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings.
That would be it for the righty, as he’d finish his Major League experience with a 2-2 record, along with a 3.86 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 49 innings spread out over those 30 games.


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