Friday, September 30, 2016


Here’s a “missing” capper of a card for former New York Met and Houston Astro  Ken Boswell, who finished off an 11-year career in 1977:

Boswell played the first eight years of his career with the Mets, and was a part of the championship team of 1969 as well as the National League champ squad of '73.
Primarily a third baseman, he appeared in 72 games for the Astros in his final season, his third in Houston, hitting .216 with 21 hits over 97 at-bats.
Overall for his career he batted .248 with 625 hits in 2517 at-bats over 930 lifetime games, usually as a player off the bench filling in.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for New York Yankees outfielder Danny Walton, who actually split the 1971 season with the Bombers and the Milwaukee Brewers:

Walton appeared in a combined 35 games in ‘71, the last five with the Yankees on his way to a .193 batting average with 16 hits in 83 at-bats.
It was a bit of a disappointment for a guy who played very well in 1970, batting .257 with 17 home runs and 66 runs batted in over 117 games for the Brewers.
It would turn out to be his only somewhat full-time season in his nine-year career that was spread out between 1968 and 1980, playing for six teams.
Always a “future star” while in the minor leagues, he put up some monster numbers, hitting as many as 42 home runs (with Albuquerque in 1977) and batting as high as .332 (with Oklahoma City in 1969).
He would hit 238 homers in the minors, topping 20 six different years.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Here’s a 1977 “traded” card for one of the nicest men to put on a Major League uniform, Bobby Murcer, who found himself in Chicago playing for the Cubs after a blockbuster trade before the season got under way:

Murcer, who was part of another blockbuster trade when he was sent to San Francisco for Bobby Bonds before the 1975 season from the New York Yankees, was now traded to the “Windy City” for two-time batting champ Bill Madlock in February.
And just like with his time in San Fran, he’d only spend a couple of years, two-and-a-half to be exact, before finding his way back to where it all started, the Bronx and the Yankee pinstripes.
He wouldn’t disappoint the Cubs, having one of his best MLB seasons in 1977 with 27 home runs and 90 runs scored and 89 runs batted in.
But in June of 1979 he’d be dealt back East to the Yanks for a minor league player, where he would play the final four years of his career.
Of his 17 seasons as a Major League player, Murcer was a Yankee for 13 of them, and was always one of the most well-liked men in the organization.
I had the chance to meet him on more than one occasion and he was just the best. Genuinely a “nice person” in every sense of the phrase.
He is terribly missed since he passed away in July of 2008.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1979 card for former outfielder Henry Cruz, who squeezed in four Major League seasons in the mid-70’s:

Cruz played in 53 games for the White Sox in what would be his final year in the big leagues, hitting .221 with 17 hits over 77 at-bats with a couple of homers and ten runs batted in.
It would cap off a career that had him with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975 and 1976, then onto the Pale Hose for the final two seasons in 1977 and 1978.
All together he hit .229, collecting 64 hits over 280 at-bats in 171 games, with 32 runs scored and 34 RBI’s.
He’d go on to play in the Mexican League all the way into the 1985 season, making it 14 years in pro ball before hanging them up.

Monday, September 26, 2016


Here’s a “Dedicated Rookie” for Philadelphia Phillies great Larry Bowa, who was about to make a name for himself over the next 16 years as a player before moving on to coaching and managing:

The future five-time all-star and two-time Gold Glove winner would make a great addition to guys like Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox and Mike Schmidt, helping the organization become a powerhouse in their division later in the decade.
Bowa would make an immediate impact, finishing third in National League Rookie of the Year voting, and if it wasn’t for a guy named Dave Concepcion of the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds, would have been the perennial N.L. Short Stop in the all-star game between 1974 and 1980.
Nevertheless, Bowa wrapped up his solid career with a half season playing for the New York Mets in 1985 after three and a half years with the Chicago Cubs, playing his entire career in the National league East, and finishing with 2191 hits, a .260 average, 318 stolen bases and just under 1000 runs scored with 987.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Jose Fernandez: 1992-2016

Wow. I am stunned beyond words.
Rest in Peace Jose Fernandez.
Sad that such a young life ended so suddenly.
Just terrible news.


Here’s another paint-job courtesy of the people from Topps, from the 1972 set: the Richie Scheinblum edition:

After playing in a handful of games with the Washington Senators in 1971, Scheinblum found himself with the young Kansas City Royals team after being purchased on October 21st of 1971.
Topps was able to tweak him into a Royals cap, coming up with the work you see here for his 1972 card.
Great stuff as usual from the Topps art team!
Just a nice shot of him at Yankee Stadium, neon blue “KC” cap painted over what was surely a Senators cap.
Funny enough Scheinblum was the American Association’s Player of the Year in 1971 after hitting 25 homers while driving in 108 runs along with an eye-popping .388 batting average for Denver.
Yet he was sold by Washington just like that. Odd.
He would do very well for the Royals his first year there, getting selected to represent the team at the All Star game, and going on to bat .300 over the course of the season.
But he would be on the move again, and would play sporadically until 1974 with a few different organizations before finishing up his pro career with Hiroshima of the Japanese Central League in 1976

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Next up in the “Turn Back The Clock” thread is a celebration of Los Angeles Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax throwing what would be the first of his four no-hitters, this one in 1962 against the Mets:

On June 30th, 1962, a year in which it was becoming evident that the young lefty from Brooklyn was beginning to harness all his potential, Koufax struck out 13 Mets, though still walking five, while cruising to a 5-0 win.
Just under 30,000 witnessed the pitching gem in person,, not realizing that they were seeing the unveiling of one of the most dominant pitching stretches in baseball history, as Koufax would go on to throw three more no-nos, including a perfect game in 1965, while collecting three Cy Young Awards and an MVP while leading the Dodgers to two World Championships in 1963 and 1965.
Sadly as we all know Koufax would have that dominance swept out from under him after the 1966 season because of arm troubles, and he had to retire while at the height of his career.
Nevertheless he accomplished enough in those few short years that he would be welcomed into the Hall of Fame’s hallowed doors just six years later in his first year of eligibility.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for outfielder Willie Smith, who played the last games of his Major League career in 1971 with the Cincinnati Reds:

Smith appeared in 31 games for the Reds, batting .164 with nine hits over 55 at-bats while playing first base.
Never really a full time player, Smith came up with the Detroit Tigers in 1963, but was sent to the (then) Los Angeles Angels where he played through the 1966 season.
He then went on to the Cleveland Indians for a year and a half before moving on to the Chicago Cubs until 1970.
All told Smith played in 691 Major League games during his nine-year run, batting .248 with 410 hits over 1654 at-bats with 171 runs scored and 211 runs batted in.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Let’s celebrate the career of former all-star second baseman Cookie Rojas, who pretty much split a very nice 16-year career between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals with a brief stop over in St. Louis during the 1970 season and his promotion to the Major Leagues with the Cincinnati Reds in 1962:

The five-time all-star, and fan-favorite, was closing out his career with the American League West champion Royals, doling out the wisdom to young studs like George Brett and Al Cowens.
By the time he retired, he left with 1660 hits, 713 runs scored and a .263 lifetime average over 1822 games.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1970 card for former pitcher Wade Blasingame, who appeared in 26 games for the Houston Astros in 1969:

In those 26 appearances, Blasingame posted a 0-5 record with a bloated 5.37 earned run average over 52 innings pitched.
He would finish up his ten-year career in 1972 split between Houston and the New York Yankees, ending up with a 46-51 record, with a 4.52 ERA and 512 strikeouts over 222 games, 128 of them starts, and 863.2 innings pitched.
His best season as a Major League pitcher was easily his 1965 campaign when he went 16-10 for the Milwaukee Braves in their final year before moving to Atlanta.
But he could never match those numbers, becoming an arm out of the bullpen except for the 1971 season the rest of his career.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Hey everyone, the newest issue of “wthballs” is here, #3 “1971 Missing In Action”, and it looks great!
There was an odd printer’s error when they produced the booklet, having a flap on the back because of some over-printed pages, but nevertheless the issue in it’s entirety is here to add to the growing magazine collection!
From former Indians slugger Tony Horton to future Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, all the 1971 "missing" cards to date from the blog are in there.
Anyone interested can pick up a copy the usual way, $7 paypal to and I’ll get this out asap!


Here’s a “missing” 1973 card that can also be a “career capper” for veteran catcher John Bateman, who finished his ten-year career with a half season as a member of the Philadelphia Philles in 1972:

Bateman played in exactly 100 games during the 1972 season, 82 with the Phils and the first 18 with the Montreal Expos, for whom he played the previous three years.
In those 100 games he batted .224 with 63 hits over 281 at-bats, with 20 runs batted in and 10 runs scored.
That capped off a career that saw him play with the Astros between 1963 and 1968 before moving North to Montreal  between 1969 and 1971 before that last campaign in ’72.
He would end up with a .230 career average, with 765 hits in 3330 at-bats, with 81 home runs, 250 runs scored and 375 RBI's.

Monday, September 19, 2016


The next player getting a “missing” 1972 In-Action card is Cincinnati Reds pitcher Don Gullett, who was coming into his own at this time before injuries derailed a great career:

Gullett was coming off of a 1971 season that saw him go 16-6, leading the National League with his .727 winning percentage, while also posting a very nice 2.65 earned run average over 35 games, 31 of which were starts.
This would pretty much be the norm for him, as he would go on to post excellent winning percentages, although surely aided by the fact that he played for very good teams during his shortened nine-year career.
A member of the Cincinnati “big Red Machine” champions of 1975 and 1976, he then moved on to sign with the New York Yankees, going 18-6 in his two season with the champion “Bronx Zoo” teams in 1977 and 1978 before arm injuries ended his career at the very young age of 27.
In those nine seasons Gullett was a dependable winner, finishing 109-50 for a spectacular .686 winning percentage along with a nice 3.11 ERA.
It’s amazing to think that Gullett was a member of six World Series teams in nine years before retiring.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


OK, I promise this is a one-off thing here, a post regarding Topps in the 1980’s. At least until I START a blog about Topps in the 1980’s.
But my recent post about “Favorite Cards of the 1970’s” got me to think about the iconic cards of the OTHER decade I collected as a kid, and to be honest I have been somewhat underwhelmed!
Now hear me out: I was an even bigger collector in the 1980’s than the 1970’s, and at one point PATHETICALLY addicted to cards to the point of being a “no-lifer” as some of my friends claimed, so the love of 1980’s cards is there, especially the 1983 set, far and away my favorite Topps set of the decade.
But after talking about all of those Iconic cards of the 1970’s, I asked myself: years from now, what Topps cards from the 1980’s will be considered “classics”?
For me, the cards that immediately jumped into my head that left somewhat of an impact are not exactly “classic”:
1980 Dave Parker
1980 Nolan Ryan
1981 Fred Lynn
1987 Bo Jackson
1982 In-Action Carlton Fisk
Again, these are the cards that immediately jumped into my head as I asked my self the above question. But I can’t really say if they hold up!
I always loved that 1980 Parker card. Just looked bad-ass. But is it classic? Hmmm.
The 1980 Ryan is great, and yeah, can be a classic.
The 1981 Fred Lynn? I think the only reason I love it is the colors and “all-star” banner go well together. But classic?
The 1987 Bo Jackson “Future Star” card. Yeah, classic all over it. Still holds up.
The 1982 Fisk In-Action? Great HORIZONTAL action shot, and you know I'm a fan of horizontal templates!
But is that it? I tell you, I’m straining here to remember any cards from Topps that stick out.
There are a lot of cards from the 1983 set that I love, that have beautiful photos and go well with their templates (Greg Luzinski, Reggie Jackson, Don Baylor come to mind), but really none that I can consider classic.
Just curious: what do you all think are “classic” cards from the 1980’s by Topps? 
Would love to hear what comes up!

Saturday, September 17, 2016


As part of my ongoing “1976 Project” for Reader Jim, we went and created a Texas Ranger version of his 1976 card since he played the bulk of the 1975 season with them before moving on to the Oakland A’s at the end of the year, here’s what I came up with:

Tovar was bought by Oakland on August 31, 1975 for their stretch run, and ended up playing with them through the 1976 season before moving on to the Yankees for the final 13 games of his career that year.
A solid player during his years with the team he came up with, the Minnesota Twins between 1965 1972, Tovar once led the American League in hits with 204 in 1971, doubles and triples in the same season in 1970 and even garnered MVP consideration five years in a row between 1967 to 1971.
In his 12-year career he batted a very respectable .278 considering the “modern-dead ball era” he played in, with 1546 hits over 5569 at-bats in 1488 games, with 834 runs scored and 435 RBI’s and 226 stolen bases.
With guys like Tony Oliva, Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew in the same line-up, it made for some good offense in their prime.

Friday, September 16, 2016


Here’s a card I never realized was “missing” until I started this blog, a 1977 card for long-time Major League player Champ Summers, who was starting his third season, second with the Chicago Cubs:

Summers played in 83 games with the North-Siders in 1976, batting .206 with 26 hits in 126 at-bats, with 11 runs scored and 13 runs batted in.
However as the 1977 season started he would actually be suiting up for the World Champion Cincinnati Reds as he was traded for former New York Mets player Dave Schneck.
He’d put in about two-and-a-half years there before moving on to the Detroit Tigers midway through the 1979 season, seeing pretty much the only full-time action of his eleven-year career before closing it all out with two years for the San Francisco Giants and a final stop for the San Diego Padres in 1984.
All told he wound up with a .255 career average based on his 350 hits in 1371 at-bats spread out over 698 games, with 199 runs and 218 RBI’s, with 54 homers, 21 of which were hit in 1979 for his personal best.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for a guy who I also created a missing 1976 for a while back, former California Angels player Orlando Ramirez:

Ramirez played in 31 games in his rookie 1974 campaign, hitting .163 with 14 hits over exactly 86 official at-bats while playing shortstop.
He would go on to play all five years of his big league career for the Angels, ending up with a .189 batting average based on his 53 hits in 281 at-bats, with 24 runs scored and 16 runs batted in along with 16 stolen bases.
He would get a card in the 1977 set, oddly enough with less action than his other two seasons in which I created a card for him, go figure…

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Here’s a GREAT airbrush classic of former pitching wiz Ken Holtzman, who found himself in Oakland after some excellent seasons with the Chicago Cubs:

LOVE the green and yellow cap along with the green turtle-neck! Not a bad shadow-job on the sweater either!
Holtzman was traded over to the West Coast for Rick Monday, and was one lucky dude as he joined the A’s for their THREE straight championships.
All he did was produce in a big way, posting 19, 21 and 19 wins in those seasons with earned run averages of 2.51, 2.97 and 3.01.
A winner his whole career, he would end up with 174 wins with a very nice 3.49 ERA and 31 shutouts over his 15-year career, along with TWO no-hitters.
Definitely somewhat of a forgotten arm of the era that deserves a bit more attention!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1971 card for a guy who already played his last MLB game in 1970, but played more than enough to warrant a card in the 1971 set, Barry Moore:

Moore suited up for both the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox in 1970, appearing in 37 games, 19 of them starts, and posting a 3-9 record with a 5.30 earned run average over 141 innings pitched.
It would be the last of his six seasons in the Majors, playing the first five with the Washington Senators, for whom he came up with in 1965.
All told he’d finish with a 26-37 record along with a 4.16 ERA over 140 games, 99 of which were starts, and 599.2 innings pitched.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Today we celebrate the season Maury Wills had in 1962 with the next “Turn Back the Clock” card, this one a 1972 10th anniversary edition:

In that 1962 season Wills was the spark plug for the Los Angeles Dodgers, stealing a new MLB record 104 bases, breaking the (modern) record of 96 by Ty Cobb.
It would be the third of six straight seasons he would lead the National League in steals, leading to a career total of 586.
Along with his 208 hits, 130 runs scored and league-leading 10 triples, he would eventually edge out Willie Mays and take home the Most Valuable Player trophy at season’s end.
I was always amazed when I saw that Wills officially played in 165 games during the 1965 season because of shortened games that counted in statistics but not as completed games.
As a kid I didn’t know how that worked, so was always wondering how on earth a player could do it. Ah the days before the world wide web!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


The topic of “favorite cards” has been coming up a lot lately, and it’s amazing how many of us all have the same favorites considering the choices of that great decade of the 1970’s.
I never did post one solid “favorites” entry here in the three-plus years of “wthballs”, so here are my top-10 favorites in order:

#1 1976 Johnny Bench
My lord this is the perfect card in my eyes! It has NEVER lost any of it’s luster as far as baseball card perfection. The colors, the “all-star”, the photograph, the legend! 
I’m still in awe of it.

#2 1978 Reggie Jackson
“Mr. October” at his best! That swing immortalized on cardboard, with (of course) the all-star designation, in the hey-day of the “Bronx Zoo”. If it was’t for that ’76 Bench, this would be it!

#3 1977 Rusty Staub
Beautiful action shot of “Le Grand Orange” with the Tigers. Again, the colors, the action, and that “all-star” banner across the bottom. Awesome!

#4 1977 Dave Kingman
The colors along, and how the card design goes with the action shot of “Kong” makes it a classic. But you throw in that color-perfect N.L. All-Star banner at the bottom and it’s a keeper. Great card for the ages!

#5 1979 Rod Carew
I have always loved this card because it was Carew doing what he did best: HIT! Just a great, colorful in-game shot along with that always-present “all-star” banner!

#6 1979 George Brett
Same as with the Carew, this Brett card was a perfect compliment to the Carew in my eyes. I remember pulling this out of a pack for the first time back then and just stopping dead in my tracks. Beautiful card.

#7 1976 Lou Brock
Really, what needs to be said about THIS beauty!? Brock about to do what he did so well during his Hall of Fame career! Another steal coming right up for “The Franchise”!

#8 1971 Thurman Munson
It took me YEARS to finally get this card! I remember plunking $5 for this at a show way back when, and for a kid my age with limited cash, at a SHOW, I gulped a bit, but needed to finally own it. One of the all-time great action-cards, featuring a young Yankee captain. Classic!

#9 1976 Carl Yastrzemski
Just a majestic card of the Red Sox legend, presumedly watching one of his 400+ home runs leave the yard. The colors, the photo, only the second card besides the Munson to NOT be an all-star card.

#10 1977 Mark Fidrych
The only non-action card on this list. It is PURELY because of the time and place, and meaning in my life. I guess you can say my sentimental pick. 1977 was my first year of hard-core collecting, but 1976 was my first year following the game somewhat seriously. And to a seven-year old like me, “The Bird” was bigger than life. He was just awesome!
So when I pulled my first ’77 Fidrych from a cello pack (always remember) and saw that smile, that hair, and the AMAZING rookie trophy AND all-star banner, I was just freaking psyched beyond words!
I STILL get a smile on my face looking at this card!

Honorable mention:

1976 Al Oliver

1979 Larry Bowa

1971 Vada Pinson

1976 Fred Lynn

So what do I gather from all this?
Well, I love action photos on cards, I LOVE the 1976 set, and boy do I love the “all-star” designation on a player’s regular card (instead of a separate all-star sub-set.
I HATED when Topps went back to an all-star sub-set in 1982! Is it just me? Or do any of you out there prefer the 1975-1981 all-star ON the “regular” card?

Saturday, September 10, 2016


Although I created a 1976 “missing” Frank Robinson card here on the blog a long time ago, “Reader Jim” found a very nice Topps image to create another version, so here you go:

One of the games all-time greats, Robinson was wrapping up his monster career as player-manager of the Cleveland Indians by the the mid-70’s rolled around.
He not only was leaving behind a Hall of Fame career as a player, but historically made an imprint by becoming the first African-American manager in Major League history.
It’s a shame Topps didn’t think he should get a card in the 1976 set as a player since he played well enough during 1975, and he would STILL play in some games during the 1976 season.
But as we have seen quite a few time with Topps, this was a common practice with veteran’s at the tail-end of their careers.
Anyway, the Rookie of the Year in the National League for 1956, the MVP in 1961 as well as with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, becoming the first player to win MVP in both leagues, and a Triple Crown winner for the World Champ Baltimore Orioles that very same year, 12-time all-star securely planted himself in the upper echelon of baseball legends over the course of his awesome 21-year career.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Here’s a great nickname in my ongoing “nicknames of the ‘70’s” thread, the “Frying Dutchman” for Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven:

Born in Zeist, Holland (now the Netherlands), Blyleven started his 22-year career in 1970 with the Minnesota Twins and quickly established himself among the best pitchers in baseball.
During his great MLB run, he posted 17 seasons of 10+ victories, with a high of 20 in 1973, along with eight 200+ strikeout campaigns and nine with a 2.99 ERA or lower.
By the time the prankster retired after the 1992 season, he finished with 287 wins, a 3.31 ERA, 60 career shutouts and 3701 strikeouts over 692 games and 4970 innings pitched.
After having to wait 14 years, the BBWA finally voted him into the Hall of Fame in 2011, finally claiming a spot which he rightfully deserved.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1971 card for a guy who came up as a teenage outfielder in 1960 with the Chicago Cubs, but retooled and ended his career as a Chicago White Sox pitcher 10 years later, Danny Murphy:

Murphy was in the Major Leagues as a 17-year old during the 1960 season and saw limited play over the next three years before going back to the Minors and becoming a pitcher, eventually making it back to the big leagues in 1969 with the cross-town Pale Hose.
In 1970 Murphy appeared in 51 games, posting a 2-3 record with a 5.69 earned run average over 80.2 innings.
The previous season he made the long journey back after toiling for six years in the Minors, and posted a 2-1 record with a nice 2.01 ERA over 17 games and 31.1 innings.
In between he played for both Chicago and Houston organizations, making the switch in 1965 once he joined the White Sox, though the ‘69 & ‘70 seasons were the only action his pitching would bring him.
After playing for the Boston Red Sox organization in 1971 he was out of baseball for good.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Seriously, what is there left to say about one of THE cards of the 1970’s, the 1976 Pete Rose card?! Just take a look at this beauty and soak in all it’s greatness:

The man was at his peak in the mid-70’s, collecting hit after hit, along with a couple of championships, an MVP Award, all-star nods, and a menacing “winner-take-all” stare that Topps caught brilliantly here!
I remember seeing this card back in 1976 for the first time, opening a fresh pack at my cousin’s house up in Yonkers, and just FELT the awesomeness of this guy!
The card itself is perfect! The colors, the big beautiful “all-star” designation, and Rose staring right at you as if to be saying “Remember Ray Fosse?” with his era-perfect sideburns. Perfect!
Always one of my all-time favorite cards, up there with the 1976 Bench, 1978 Reggie and 1977 Rusty Staub.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Here’s the next “fantasy coach card” in my series of former star players returning to the dugout, a 1979 card for former Pittsburgh Pirates great Bill Mazeroski, now as a coach for the Seattle Mariners at the end of the decade:

After his Hall of Fame career, Mazeroski went on to coach for the Pirates before moving on to the Mariners for a couple of years in 1979 and 1980 before making himself a true baseball “lifer” when he returned to the Pirates as a special instructor for years.
One of the all-time best fielding second baseman, it was his glove that really got him into Cooperstown, though his offensive numbers are not that bad considering he played during what many consider the “second dead-ball era”.
Eight Gold Gloves, seven all-star game nods, 2000+ career hits, and one of the biggest home runs in baseball history, all while wearing the Pirates uniform over 17-years including two World Championships, and a strong case can be made that he is truly worthy of the Hall.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card that is also a “career capper” for Dick Schofield, father of Dick Jr and grandfather of current player Jayson Werth:

Schofield Sr was wrapping up a long 19-year career in which he was generally a guy off the bench except for a couple of seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the mid-1960’s.
In those 19 seasons he played in only 1321 games with 3083 at-bats, collecting 699 hits for a career average of .227.
In 1971, his last as a Major League player, he played for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing in 57 games and batting .182 with 16 hits over 88 at-bats.
I’m not too familiar with his career but I am assuming that the man could field, accounting for his long tenure in the big leagues, covering second, short and third throughout his days.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Here’s another great airbrush job from the 1972 Topps set, the Jim Lyttle edition, which had him up-to-date as a Chicago White Sox player:

Lyttle was traded to the South-Siders from the New York Yankees for Rich Hinton on October 13th of 1971, which gave Topps the chance to “tweak” his photo just a bit to keep him current.
The ominous shadowing around the cap was perhaps a sign that his days in Chicago were numbered, as Lyttle appeared in 44 games during the season before moving on over to the Montreal Expos in 1973 where he would spend three-and-a-half seasons before finishing up his eight-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In those eight seasons Lyttle batted .248 with 176 hits over 710 at-bats in 391 lifetime games, with 71 runs score, 70 runs batted in and 51 extra-base hits while playing the outfield.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Today’s “Turn Back the Clock” moment celebrated is the awesomeness that was Warren Spahn, and his 300th Major League victory in 1961 on his way to 363:

Seriously, how many wins would he have collected if he didn’t lose three prime years to the military, for whom he honorably served during World War II?
Once he came back all he did was go on to post THIRTEEN 20+ win seasons, along with four strikeout crowns, lowest ERA three times, most shutouts four times and fourteen all-star nods.
On August 11th of 1961 he pitched his way into the record books by beating the Chicago Cubs 2-1, pitching a complete game and allowing the Cubs just 6 hits and an earned run, while striking out five and walking one.
The man was amazing, flat out, and by the time he retired at the age of 44 in 1965 he posted a 363-245 record, with a 3.09 ERA, 63 shutouts, 28 saves and 2583 strikeouts over 750 appearances, 665 of which were starts.
Oh yeah, he also hit 35 career home runs along with 189 runs batted in with (coincidentally) 363 hits!
Was there anything he couldn’t do?
Once in a lifetime right there...

Friday, September 2, 2016


OK, so I guess I wasn’t completely done with my “fantasy” Mickey Mantle cards, since I wanted to create an action card for him in the set like some of those other awesome Yankee cards: White, Munson, Woods, McDaniel, etc.
So this is what I came up with and I think it came out really well:

I tried as hard as possible to get the same feel as those other cards I mentioned above, since they are all some of my favorites, and I feel some of the best action cards Topps ever produced (again, leading to the mystery of the horrid “action” cards the following few years).
Anyway, would have been special to have Mantle play into the 1970’s, padding those career numbers and giving us some more cards to hunt down and collect!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1976 card for former California Angels catcher Ike Hampton, who appeared in 31 games for the ‘Halos during the 1975 season:

Hampton, who originally came up with the New York Mets for four games in 1974, found himself on the West Coast the following year and hit .152 with 10 hits in 66 at-bats, with eight runs scored and four runs batted in.
He would only get into three games during the 1976 season, but would play in a career high 52 games in 1977, leading him to have a card in the 1978 set that I always remember.
He would do pretty well in ‘77, hitting .295 with 13 hits over 44 at-bats with three homers, five runs scored and nine RBI’s. But sadly for him it didn’t translate for much the rest of his career, which consisted of 19 games in 1978 and four in 1979, all with the Angels.
All told he would bat .207 during his six-year career, with 28 hits over 135 at-bats, with four homers, 15 runs scored and 18 RBI’s, with most of his games as a catcher with some action at first, short and third.


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