Thursday, June 30, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1975 Topps card for former New York Met George Theodore, he of a short two-year stint with in the Majors in 1973 and 1974:

Theodore did get a card in the 1974 set after his rookie year of ‘73, but after appearing in 60 games during the 1975 season, it didn’t warrant a card the following year in Topps’ eyes, and considering he never played another Major League game again, they made the right choice.
For the ‘74 season, Theodore hit .158 with 12 hits over 76 at-bats, giving him a combined .219 career batting average based on 42 hits in 192 at-bats over 105 games.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


How can I NOT have a coach card for fan-favorite Minnie Minoso, who helped the Chicago White Sox with his wisdom during his 1976 season, even collecting a hit in eight at-bats at the age of 50!?
Well here you go, a nice 1977 compliment to the Topps “Record Breaker” card that was actually in the set:

Minoso was a spectacular player that easily gets overlooked because of the “stunts” of 1976 and 1980 which had him officially playing as a 50+ year-old novelty.
The seven-time all-star led the American League in hits once, triples three times and stolen bases another three times, while consistently batting .300+ year in and year out.
A “power-and speed” guy for the era he played in, he finished his 17-year career with 186 home runs and 205 stolen bases along with a .298 average and just under 2000 hits over 1835 games.
He scored 100+ runs in a season five times while driving in over 100 four times, and was ripped off a Rookie of the Year Award in 1951, finishing behind the New York Yankees Gil McDougald (look it up).
Along with three Gold Gloves he also finished fourth in MVP voting four times!
As fun as it was to have the gimmick of him batting later on it really takes attention away from how great he was as a young player back in the “golden age” of baseball.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


A while back I started my Sandy Koufax “Fantasy” set of cards with both 1970 and 1971 creations, and today I present my last one, a 1972 version (though of course there WILL be an “In-Action” card for the ‘72 set as well!):

This was just my “what if” had Koufax’s career not been derailed by arm troubles, forcing him to retire after another dominating season in 1966. A season which saw him win his third Cy Young Award in four years.
We all know how he’d end up the youngest member of the Hall of Fame just a handful of years later, and a common face in Dodger Spring Training camps after that.
But boy, the “what if’s” that bounce around in my head, even WITH the Hall of Fame career he already put in...

Monday, June 27, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1971 card (and “Career Capper”) for Hawk Taylor of the Kansas City Royals:

Taylor put in an 11-year career between 1957 and 1970, even though the most action he ever saw in a season was back in 1964 as a member of the New York Mets when he appeared in 92 games.
Other than that he mainly got to play in about a few dozen games every year of his career, playing for the Milwaukee Braves (1957-1963), Mets (1964-1967), California Angels (1967) and Kansas City Royals (1969-1970).
For the 1970 season Taylor appeared in 57 games, batting .164 with nine hits over 55 official at-bats while splitting time behind the plate and first base.
For his career, Hawk batted .218, with 158 hits over 724 at-bats spread out over 394 games, just about 38 games a year.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


I just LOVE the near-NEON paint job on Don Money’s 1973 Topps card:

After finding his way over to Milwaukee from the Philadelphia Phillies, Topps had to scramble to get the team right, and here you go!
Money would play out the rest of his 16-year career with the Brewers, getting named to four all-star teams while providing the team with some “pop” and stability in the infield.
Retiring after the 1983 season at the age of 36, he’d finish with a .261 batting average with 1623 hits and 176 home runs over 1720 games and 6215 at-bats, getting a chance at World Series action with the powerful 1982 Brewers team led by guys like Molitor, Yount and Cooper, to name a few.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Here’s a card for an “original” Seattle Mariner from their inaugural 1977 season, pitcher Tommy Moore who was missing from the 1978 set:

Since it WAS the organization’s first season as a Major League club it’s nice to see the faces of those players who started it all, no?
Moore appeared in 14 games for Seattle in 1977, posting a 2-1 record with a 4.91 earned run average over 33 innings.
It turns out those two wins would be the only wins of Moore’s four-year career that began with the New York Mets in 1972.
Between ‘72 and 1975 he suited up for the Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers, with missed seasons in 1974 and 1976 before that final bow in 1977.
All told he ended up with a 2-4 record in 42 lifetime appearances, with a 5.40 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 88.1 innings pitched.

Friday, June 24, 2016


OK, so you have all heard me go on and on about how the 1976 Topps Johnny Bench card is my all-time favorite, ESPECIALLY of the 1970’s.
Well today I’d love to begin hearing from you all on which card stands out among the rest of the 1970’s Topps offerings.
So which card is it everyone?
What Topps card from the 1970’s is you absolute favorite?
I’d love to hear it and see if any one card begins to pull away and lead the "pack".

Hit me up and let me know what card is YOUR "Mona Lisa", as the '76 Johnny Bench is mine...

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for former outfielder Ivan Murrell of the Atlanta Braves:

Murrell appeared in 73 games for Atlanta during the 1974 season, even getting some time at first-base in addition to his usual outfield slot.
He’d bat .248 with 33 hits over 133 at-bats while driving in 12 and scoring 11 runs himself.
His career would consist of 10 seasons between 1963 and 1974, with missed years in 1965 and 1966 after coming up with the Houston Colt. 45’s as a 20-year old.
All told he would finish with a .236 batting average based on 308 hits over 1306 at-bats in 564 games, playing for Houston, the San Diego Padres (1969-1973) and that final year in Atlanta.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Time to go and give former San Francisco Giants great Juan Marichal, aka “The Dominican Dandy” a nickname card in my on-going series of great “Nicknames of the 1970’s”:

I used the 1970 template since Marichal was coming off of yet another 20-win season in 1969, giving him six such campaigns in seven years!
He would go on to collect 243 wins, 2303 strikeouts, 52 shutouts and a sparkling 2.89 earned run average over 16-seasons, getting named to nine all-star teams.
If it wasn’t for a couple of guys named Koufax and Gibson, we’d be looking at the first 3-time Cy Young winner here.
Nevertheless he would find his way into Cooperstown’s doors in 1983, and rightfully so as one of the greats of the Major League mound.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1973 card for a guy who played on six teams in his eight-year career, pitcher Joe Grzenda of the St. Louis Cardinals:

Grzenda played the final 30 games of his career during the 1972 season, going 1-0 with a 5.66 earned run average over 35 innings.
For his career he pitched in 219 games, all but three of them out of the bullpen for the Detroit Tigers, KC Athletics, New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Washington Senators and Cardinals.
He posted a 14-13 lifetime record with an ERA at 4.00 on the nose, with 173 strikeouts in 308 innings pitched.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Let’s go and give former pitcher Tom Hall a card in the 1977 set after a decent year out of the bullpen in 1976:

Hall appeared in 36 games split between the New York Mets and the Western Division champion Kansas City Royals and even appeared in the postseason against the Yankees.
For the year he posted a combined 2-2 record with a 4.63 earned run average and 27 strikeouts over 35 innings of work.
It would turn out to be the last major action he’d see in the big leagues. As he’d only get into six games during the 1977 season, finishing off a nice 10-year career that saw him go 52-33 with an excellent 3.27 ERA and 797 K’s over 358 games and 852.2 innings.
The 1972 season would be considered his best when he went 10-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 124.1 innings for the National League Champion Cincinnati Reds.
But his 1970 year would not be too far behind, when he went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA and a career high 184 strikeouts over 155.1 innings and 52 games for the Minnesota Twins.
Definitely worthy of a card to cap off an impressive Major League tenure...

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Here’s a missing 1972 “In-Action” card for former pitcher Milt Pappas, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago:

Pappas was in the middle of a career resurgence of sorts in the early 1970’s, as he posted two straight 17-win seasons for the Cubbies after a nice long career that began in 1957 with the Baltimore Orioles.
Oddly enough the 1972 season, his second to last season as a Major League pitcher, could arguably considered his best, when he went 17-7 with a 2.77 earned run average and three shutouts over 29 starts and 10 complete games.
On September 2 of that season he pitched a near perfect game when he no-hit the San Diego Padres, giving up a walk to the 27th batter after having him 2-2, with Pappas fuming that home plate umpire called the last two borderline pitches balls.
Reportedly Pappas was STILL angry about it decades later before he passed.
After being released by the Cubs before the 1974 season he decided to retire, at the young age of only 33 and already winning over 200 games.
He was actually the very first pitcher to win 200+ games without posting a 20-win season (since joined by many).
For his 17-year career Pappas finished with a 209-164 record along with a nice 3.40 ERA and 1728 strikeouts over 520 appearances, 465 of them starts, with 43 shutouts.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


All things considered, here’s a card I always thought was a GREAT job at Topps and airbrushing: the 1973 Graig Nettles card:

Nettles was sent to the Bronx just in time for Topps to paint-up just the right spots on this nice action shot, making it look like the real thing, or close to it!
Gotta give “props” when it’s deserved!
Nettles went on to become a favorite in NYC, as part of the “Bronx Zoo” championship teams in 1977-1978 as well as a mainstay at third base at Yankee Stadium through the 1983 season, 11 years at the hot-corner.
Of course his World Series defensive performance, home run title in 1976 and five all-star nods were enough to have us kids here in NYC that were Yankee fans loving him.
He would put together a 22-year career that spanned 1967 through 1988, seeing him slam 390 homers, drive in 1314 runs and scoring 1193 himself while batting .248 with 2225 hits over 8986 at-bats in exactly 2700 games.
I’ll always remember the very first pack of 1978 cards I bought way back when, the card facing me when I got the wrapper off was “Puff” himself, in a very nice in-game action shot.
That ‘78 set is still one of my favorites!

Friday, June 17, 2016


The next “missing” card is a 1975 slab for former pitcher Wayne Garland of the Baltimore Orioles:

Garland put up some decent numbers during the 1974 season, appearing in 20 games and posting a 5-5 record with a very nice 2.97 ERA over 91 innings of work.
Two years later in 1976 he would become the latest in the Baltimore 20-win club of the decade, going 20-7 with a brilliant 2.67 ERA and four shutouts for Earl Weaver and the O’s, joining other pitchers like Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally and Pat Dobson and others with those 20 victories.
SADLY for the Cleveland Indians, they jumped at the chance to sign him during baseball’s first season of large-scale free agency, and gave him a 10-year contract for $2.3 million, but he was never able to repeat that 1976 season.
As a matter of fact Garland BEST season as a Cleveland Indian would arguably be his first, in 1977 when he posted a 13-19 record, leading the American League in losses, along with a 3.60 ERA over 38 starts and 282.2 innings pitched.
He would never reach double-digits in wins again, retiring after the 1981 season with a 55-66 career record along with a 3.89 ERA and 450 strikeouts over 190 games, 121 of them starts, with seven shutouts and six saves.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


First we had Steve Carlton, then we had Tom Seaver, then they were joined by another future Hall of Famer, Nolan Ryan as pitchers who struck out 19 batters in a nine inning game.
So since I created a “Highlight” card for the first two, here’s Nolan Ryan’s edition:

Ryan was absolutely ridiculous at this point in his career, and on August 12th 1974 he faced the Boston Red Sox and proceeded to mow them down one after the other, ending up with 19k’s and creating a three-way tie for the Major League record.
What is truly ridiculous is that Ryan whiffed 19 batters on June 14th of that year, though over 13 innings against the very same Red Sox, and THEN went out and struck out ANOTHER 19 batters barely a week after the nine-inning game, when he chalked up 19 K’s against the Detroit Tigers over 11 innings on August 20th.
Little did we all know that the guy would be throwing this way through the NEXT decade and into the 1990’s, adding more 300-K seasons and a few more no-hitters.
Bionic. The man was just bionic...

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Here’s a “Missing in Action” card for former Kansas City Royals outfielder Joe Keough, uncle of future Oakland A’s pitcher Matt Keough:

Keough appeared in 56 games for KC, batting .219 with 14 hits over 64 official at-bats while driving in five and scoring eight.
That would be the last substantial action he’d see in the Majors during his 6-year career as he would play in only five more games, all in 1975 with the Chicago White Sox, after playing for Oakland in 1968 and the Royals between 1969 and 1972.
For his career he hit .246 with 212 lifetime hits over 863 at-bats in 332 games while playing most of his games in the outfield along with some scattered games at first base.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


The next fantasy coach card in my series is of Yankee legend and Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford, who coached for the Yanks in the mid-70’s:

Ford, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974, lent his wisdom as perhaps the greatest Yankee pitcher of them all when he coached right around the time the team was about to become a league powerhouse and “mini-dynasty”.
Considering he was a Cy Young winner, the holder of the highest lifetime winning percentage among 200+ winning pitchers, owner of a 2.75 ERA and winner of 10 games in World Series play, it’s certainly a guy you want teaching young arms in your organization!
The “Chairman of the Board”, the greatest living Yankee!

Monday, June 13, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for former Cleveland Indians outfielder Frank Baker, who played two seasons in the Majors, 1969 and 1971:

Baker appeared in 73 games for the Tribe during the 1971 season, batting .210 with 38 hits in 181 at-bats.
His only other year in the big leagues was 1969 when he played in 52 games as a rookie, hitting .256 with 44 hits in 172 at-bats.
All told his cumulative Major League numbers were a .232 average with 82 hits over 353 at-bats in 125 games, with 17 doubles, four triples and four homers while playing all three outfield positions.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Let’s go and give Lee May, aka “Big Bopper” a “Nickname” card in my ongoing series shall we:

I gave him a 1973 template card since he was smack in the middle of a great run between 1968 and 1978 of 20+ homer/80+ RBI seasons between the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros.
Though he missed out on the “Big Red Machine” Reds teams of the mid-70’s with he being traded for Joe Morgan before the 1972 season, May went on to have a great Major League career, slamming over 350 homers along with over 2000 hits and 1200 RBI’s in his 18-year career between 1965 and 1982.
Definitely a great addition to the “Nickname” lineup!

Saturday, June 11, 2016


I received a GREAT email recently from blog-reader "RAJ" with some excellent examples of Topps and their airbrushing choices which really left me wondering how many other examples like these exist throughout the 1970's.
I liked the email so much I thought it'd make a perfect post.
Some good stuff here! Thanks Robert!

"Here is a great example of how Topps would remove certain elements in the background of photos for their cards using airbrushing when it really didn’t seem to be all that necessary.  On the left we see Mike Lum batting against the Pirates in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium during the 1978 season.  On the right is a photo take during that same game, with no Topps airbrushing applied to it.  I’m not sure what was gained by painstakingly removing the photographers and their tri-pods.  

I guess Topps was wanting a clean background for this card as well as the cards for Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion (below):

However, they chose to leave photographers and their equipment in the cards for Ray Knight, Ken Griffey, and Joe Morgan although they certainly removed portions of a photographer who was wearing blue jeans and a red shirt because you can see remnants of him in the Griffey and Morgan cards: 

In the cards we also see some strange happenings in the crowd as it appears that there are flesh-colored arms (or limbs of some sort) next to and below the big fella in blue in the Lum card.  What could they have done THAT for?

Hope this was of interest to you.  It always fascinated me the airbrushing “hack jobs” that Topps pawned off on us with some of those horrific baseball hats as well as the terrible football helmets in the 70s.  Classic..."  

Friday, June 10, 2016


Here’s a “Dedicated Rookie” for a guy who put together a “baseball life” as a player and manager in the big leagues, Dusty Baker:

Baker appeared on a nice multi-player rookie card in the 1971 Topps set alongside two other future long-time Major Leaguers, Tom Paciorek and Don Baylor.
But here he is in all his youthful glory, something easy to forget now that he’s been a long-time Major League manager.
Baker actually had a great rookie year in 1972, hitting .321 with 17 home runs and 76 runs batted in.
He’d go on to have a nice 19-year Major League career, hitting 242 homers with 1981 hits, 1013 RBI’s and a .278 average over 7117 at-bats in 2039 games.
When his playing days were over he coached and eventually became a manager himself in 1993, leading the San Francisco Giants for 10 years, culminating in a National League Championship in 2002 before losing to the Angels in the World Series.
From there he moved on to the Chicago Cubs for four years, then the Cincinnati Reds for another six seasons before taking the helm of the Washington Nationals this season.
Over 21 seasons as a manger he has won over 1700 games and counting, and adding to an already 40-year Major League career!

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Although I usually create a new lay-out for a “Traded What-if?” card in this series, today I post my 1974 traded card for grossly underrated (and in my opinion a Hall of Fame caliber) player Vada Pinson in the format Topps released as part of their set:

Pinson was traded over to Royals for Barry Raziano and some cash from the California Angels, and he’d finish off his awesome career with two seasons in KC, marking 18-years as a Major League star who just had the bad luck of playing the National League outfield when guys like Mays, Aaron, Clemente and Robinson were there as well, getting all the attention.
But when you look at Pinson’s career, you should be impressed with what he accomplished between 1958 and 1975.
The man could slug the ball, hitting 256 home runs, while also swipe the base, as his 305 steals show. He collected 200+ hits in a season four times while topping .300 four times with a high of .343 in 1961 for the pennant winning Reds.
He led the N.L. in hits, doubles and triples two times each, while also topping the Senior Circuit in runs in his first full season, 1959, with 131.
By the time he completed his career, he topped 2700 hits, 1300 runs, 1100 runs batted in, 250 homers and 300 stolen bases.
To this day it amazes me that guys like Pinson, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons, Steve Garvey, Dave Parker and Jack Morris get snubbed by both the BBWA at first, then the Veteran’s Committee, yet Cooperstown has players like Stonewall Jackson, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines and “High Pockets” Kelly in there.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1976 card for a guy I always remember as a Baltimore Oriole, infielder Billy Smith:

Turns out Smith came up as a California Angel and appeared in 59 games for them during the 1975 season.
In that time he batted .203 with 29 hits over 143 at-bats, getting his first taste of Major League ball which would last for another five seasons, ending with a few dozen games with the San Francisco Giants in 1981.
In between he saw the most action as a pro with the Orioles between 1977 and 1979, playing both second and shortstop playing about half a seasons worth of games each year.
For his career, he ended up with a .230 batting average with 234 hits over 1018 at-bats in 370 games, scoring 107 runs while driving 111 runs.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for a pitcher who got to taste what it felt like to be part of the legendary “Big Red Machine” dynasty Cincinnati Reds of the mid-1970’s, Dick Baney:

Baney only played three years in the Major Leagues, the first with the Seattle Pilots in 1969, then making it back to a big league mound in both 1973 and 1974 as a member of the powerhouse Reds.
In 1974 he posted a 1-0 record over 22 games and 41 innings pitched, while he went 2-1 the previous season while appearing in 11 games with 30.2 innings.
Overall, Baney finished with a 4-1 lifetime record, with 42 appearances, three of them starts, along with three saves and 38 K’s over 90.1 innings.

Monday, June 6, 2016


One of the more interesting careers during the 1970’s, my next player for the “Super Veteran’s-Then and Now” thread is former knuckle-baller Wilbur Wood.
Check out the card first:

Four straight seasons of 300+ innings, including an incredible 376.2 in 1972 when he posted a 24-17 record with a 2.51 earned run average in 49 starts! INSANE!
He also threw eight shutouts and struck out 193 batters along with 20 complete games.
You have to remember that just two seasons before, in 1970, he led the league in appearances with 77, ALL out of the bullpen, while posting 21 saves.
The man could do it all!
In 1968, while leading the league once again with 88 appearances and 46 finished games, he threw for 159 innings and posted a sparkling 1.87 ERA along with a 13-12 record, and three years later in 1971 he’d go on to post a sub-2.00 ERA as a starter, throwing seven shutouts while posting a 22-13 record in his first year as a full-time starter, a year that also started his incredible innings run.
It’s just amazing to think that someone threw all those innings in one season during my lifetime in this day of pitch-counts and specialty relievers.
By the time he retired after the 1978 season, Wood finished with a 164-156 record, appearing in 651 games, with 297 of them starts.
He’d have a final ERA of 3.24, with 24 career shutouts, 1411 strikeouts and 57 saves over 2684 innings pitched.
He led his league in pitching appearances three times, all consecutive, then went on to lead the league in starts four years in a row soon after.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Here’s another airbrushing gem from the 1975 set, Mike Wallace with his painted Yankee cap:

Dig the “NY” on the cap!

Anyone have an idea what the original photo was like? I'd love to have some "side-by-sides" to compare. I have seen a few here and there so I know they're out there!
Wallace was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Bronx during the 1974 season, and really pitched well, posting a 6-0 record with a 2.41 earned run average after going 1-0 with the Phils.
Yet with that nice showing, the 1975 season was a wash for him, appearing in only 12 games between the Yanks and the St. Louis Cardinals, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 6.23 ERA.
But a surprising note about this player was that he ended up with a very nice 11-3 career record over 117 games and 181.2 innings pitched, with a 3.91 ERA and three saves between 1973 and 1977.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Next up in my “Turn Back the Clock” sub-set series is former slugger (and another fellow Brooklyn native) Rocky Colavito, who slammed four home runs on June 10th against the Baltimore Orioles:

Leading the Indians to an 11-8 win, all Colavito did that day was go 4-4 with four round-trippers, driving in six runs while scoring five himself.
The game would help him take the home run title that season, hitting 42 of them while driving in 111 runs after hitting 41 the previous year.
It’s easy to forget after all these years that Colavito was one of the top all-time home run hitters when he retired after the 1968 season, swatting 374 of them along with 1159 RBI’s and 971 runs scored.
Ironically, right after he led the American League in homers in 1959 he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for batting champ Harvey Kuenn on April 17th of 1960, the only time a batting champ was traded for a home run champ.
He would not disappoint the Detroit fans, averaging just under 35 home runs during his four years in the “Motor City”, including a career high of 45 during the homer-crazy 1961 season.

Friday, June 3, 2016


Here’s a combo “missing” and “career capping” 1970 card for the original “Sweet Lou”, former outfielder Lou Johnson:

Johnson finished up a nice eight-year career in 1969 with the California Angels, batting .203 in ‘69 with 27 hits in 133 at-bats over 67 games.
Between 1965 and 1967 he saw his greatest success on a Major League field, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers and being part of their champion 1965 team as well as their pennant winning 1966 squad.
He would finish up with a .258 batting average with 529 hits over 2049 at-bats spanning 677 games between 1960 and 1969.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Here’s my next “Fantasy” Sandy Koufax card, imagining the legendary lefty pitched into the decade of the 1970’s:

I wanted to mimic the nice action cards of the 1971 set (Munson, McDaniel, etc), giving “The Left Arm of God” an in-game shot instead of a posed photo like I used for the 1970 card.
Who knows “what could have been”? 300 wins? 3000 strikeouts? More Cy Young Awards?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Here’s a “missing” card with an interesting twist: a Don McMahon player card even though he split duties as player AND coach for the San Francisco Giants during the 1973 season:

The veteran relief pitcher (and fellow Brooklyn native) lent his experience as a 17-year veteran of the big leagues to the Giants pitching staff, while ALSO going 4-0 with a sparkling 1.48 earned run average in 22 games and 30.1 innings as a 43 year old!
Now how is THAT for showing the youngsters how to do it?!
McMahon put together a grossly underrated 18-year career that saw him appear in 874 games between 1957 and 1974, posting a 90-68 record with a brilliant 2.96 ERA with 152 saves over 1310.2 innings of work.
Year in and year out the man did his job and did it well, suiting up for seven different organizations split between both leagues.


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