Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Here's a nice shot of the first four "wthballs" custom postcards trimmed to size, given FREE with each of the next four issues of "wthballs" magazine.

The 1974 Willie Mays postcard is available now buy purchasing a copy of the "1974 Missing in Action" magazine (#6), with the other postcards available with each subsequent issue. These art-cards are issued as 4" x 6" postcards that can be cut to size if you like. Or keep them at full-size if you prefer!


Here’s a guy I already gave a 1974 “missing” card to, and today will give a 1972 edition: former Montreal Expos outfielder Clyde Mashore:

Mashore appeared in 66 games for the Expos in 1971, hitting .193 with 22 hits over 114 at-bats while manning the outfield at all three slots.
He would put in 5 partial seasons in the Majors, all but his debut with Montreal, and a scant 2 games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1969 at the age of 24.
After the 1973 season he’d play 1974 in the Minors for Memphis, the Triple-A affiliate for the Expos before leaving the game for good, finishing up with a .208 batting average based on his 87 hits over 419 at-bats in 241 games.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Here’s the last of my Don Drysdale “Fantasy Cards” where I wondered what his cards would have looked like had he been able to play more than his relatively short 14-year career that spanned between 1956 and 1969:

Drysdale, though he did eventually make the Hall of Fame, retired with a 209-166 career record, with a 2.95 earned run average and 2486 strikeouts. Excellent numbers of course, but arguably borderline stats for the Hall (think Jack Morris, Luis Tiant, etc).
So imagine if he was able to tack on some more wins and maybe even reach 3000 strikeouts, which at the time of his retirement only the great Walter Johnson had done in Major League history.
The man WAS a beast though, intimidating batters along contemporary hurler Bob Gibson like few before or since, five times leading the National League in plunked batsmen, just to let them know who was boss.
Love guys like that!
Only wish we would have been able to see him pitch more, and more importantly regale us with stories a lot longer than his short 56 years, shockingly passing away in 1993.
“Big D”, Don Drysdale.

Monday, November 28, 2016


Though he would go on to have his finest season in a Major League uniform in 1974 as a member of the Atlanta Braves, I am posting a “missing” card for Buzz Capra for that year as a New York Met, for whom he suited up the previous season:

Capra was purchased by the Braves from the Mets in March of 1974, so I don’t think Topps would have had him on his upcoming team in time for printing.
Capra appeared in 24 games for the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets of 1973, all out of the bullpen, as he posted a 2-7 record with a 3.86 earned run average.
But once in Atlanta in 1974 he was in a groove, as he went on to lead the National League in ERA with a sparkling 2.28 along with a 16-8 record over 39 games, 27 of which were starts.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Here’s a card celebrating the solid Major League career of relief pitcher Eddie Fisher, who put in 15 years between 1959 and 1973:

Fisher had some excellent seasons in the mid-1960’s with the Chicago White Sox, with his best in 1965 when he made the all-star team and went 15-7 with 24 saves, all in relief, with a 2.40 earned run average.
He continued to be an arm out of the ‘pen until his last season when he returned to the White Sox and they tried him out as a starter for half of his appearances, going 8-8 as a 36-year old.
Overall he finished with an 85-70 record with a 3.41 ERA along with 82 saves for no less than six organizations, leading the American League in appearances in both 1965 and 1966.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Today we’ll look at a nice airbrush job by the Topps folks, the 1974 Ken Brett card, which has him painted into his new teams garb, the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Not a bad paint-job! Nicely done.
Brett was traded over to the West side of Pennsylvania from the Philadelphia Phillies for Dave Cash. Somewhat of a lopsided trade as Cash gave the Phils a guy who’d get on base on front of sluggers Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
Brett on the other hand would win 22 games for the Pirates over two seasons before heading to the Bronx as part of the Doc Medich/Dock Ellis/Willie Randolph big swap in December of 1975.
Nevertheless he did put in a solid 14 years in the Major Leagues, retiring after the 1981 season and 349 appearances.
He wound up with an 83-85 record playing for 10 teams between 1967 and ’81, starting just under half of his games.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Here’s a career-capping “missing” 1973 card for Garry Jestadt, who had a brief three-year career in the Majors from 1969 to 1972, fitting in three organizations played for:

Jestadt finished his short MLB tenure with the San Diego Padres in 1972, appearing in 92 games playing the infield and batting .246 with 63 hits over 256 at-bats.
He originally came up with the Montreal Expos during their inaugural 1969 season, before a very brief stay on Chicago’ North-side for the Cubs, coming to San Diego during the 1971 season where he’d stay through the following year.
All together he played in 176 Major League games, batting .260 with 118 hits over 454 at-bats, all while playing second, short and third.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I wish you all a peaceful, relaxing day...
Here’s a “missing” 1972 “In-Action” card for a guy who was just starting a great run through the mid-70’s, all-star Oakland A’s catcher/first baseman Gene Tenace:

Though he didn’t put in a full season for the A’s in 1972, he was just beginning to become one of the key players in Oakland’s three-peat team that also included Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi and Sal Bando.
Putting in time behind the plate as well as at first base, Tenace went on to hit over 20 homers five times in his career along with six seasons of drawing 100+ walks.
After the 1976 season Tenace, along with many of his star teammates was shipped off by eccentric team owner Charlie Finley, and found himself as a member of the San Diego Padres, where he would play for the next four seasons before moving on to St. Louis for two years and lastly the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983, his last in the big leagues.
He would total 15-years in the Major Leagues, winning three championships, an all-star berth in 1975, and hitting 201 home runs while batting .241 along with a very nice .388 on-base-percentage because of his walk totals.
Oh yeah, and he had an awesome full name: Fiore Gino Tennaci!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I'm happy to let you all know that you can start ordering the latest issue of "wthballs", the "1974 Missing in Action" issue on Friday.
And beginning with this issue, there will be an added bonus!
Included with every issue from here on in will be a postcard of one of my custom cards, with die lines for those of you who'd like to cut the card since it is at actual size.
This issue's insert card is my creation of a Willie Mays "Career Capper" from way back, giving the "Say HeyKid" a nice send-off to his awesome career!
As usual you can all order by paypal, by sending me $7 at:
Nice issue with Mays, Frank Howard, Johnny Callison and much much more!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and thank you for all the support thus far!


Here’s a missing 1974 card for long-time Major League shortstop Leo Cardenas, who put in a very nice 16-year career between 1960 and 1975:

Cardenas put in almost half a season with the Cleveland Indians in his only season there after a three-year stint in Minnesota.
For the season he batted .215 with 42 hits over 195 at-bats, the first time since 1962 he didn’t play a full year.
A five-time all-star and Gold Glove winner in 1965, Cardenas came up with the Cincinnati Reds and played through the 1968 season before moving on to the Twins for their playoff bound 1969 season, where he would play for the next three years.
After his Cleveland cameo he would move on to the Texas Rangers for the final two seasons, retiring in 1975 after playing in 1941 games with 1725 hits in 6707 at-bats, good for a lifetime .257 average.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Here is a card that wasn’t missing from the 1976 Topps set, but one that “Reader Jim” requested I redesign to show the player as a member of the team he suited up for in 1975, Tom Paciorek:

While Paciorek found himself as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 1976, with Topps airbrushing him to show this change of scenery, we created a card that shows him as a Los Angeles Dodgers player, the team he came up with in 1970, and the team he appeared in 62 games for the previous year.
Paciorek batted .193 for the Dodgers that year, collecting 28 hits over 145 at-bats while playing the outfield as a spot starter and player off the bench.
After spending two-and-a-half years in Atlanta he moved on to the Seattle Mariners, where he actually began getting full-time work and found his stroke topping .300 a few times with a high of .326 in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign.
He would go on the play 18 years in the Major Leagues, making it all the way to 1987 with 27 appearances for the Texas Rangers before calling it a career.
All told he’d end up with a very nice .282 batting average with 1162 hits in 4121 at-bats over 1392 games, with an All-Star game nod in 1981.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Some time ago I created a 1978 “missing” Lenn Sakata card, and since he didn’t have a rookie card until the 1980 Topps set, I’ve created a 1979 card for him as well:

Many remember Sakata from his six seasons spent with the Baltimore Orioles between 1980-1985.
However he originally came up with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1977, playing through the 1979 season with them off and on at second base.
In 1978 he appeared in 30 games, collecting 15 hits over 78 official at-bats, ending up with a .192 batting average.
After only four games in 1979 he went on to get some decent playing time over the course of his Oriole career before winding up with the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees for his final two years as a Big League player.
Overall he played in 565, batting .230 with 296 hits in 1289 at-bats over his eleven-year career, even tasting championship glory as part of the 1983 Baltimore Orioles team that beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Next up in my series of “Turn Back the Clock” cards is one that celebrates Jim Bunning and his Father’s Day perfect game in 1964, which also made him one of the few Major League pitchers who tossed a no-hitter in both leagues, this one against the New York Mets:

Bunning, who pitched a no-hitter while with the Detroit Tigers against the Boston Red Sox in 1958, bettered himself with a spotless perfect game on June 21st of 1963, which was Father’s Day, appropriate for a guy who had seven children of his own!
He would finish the game with 10 strikeouts against the hapless Mets, and was helped in the game by a Johnny Callison home run, two runs batted in by his catcher Gus Triandos, as well as two RBI’s of his own on a double.
It would be the first perfect game in baseball during the regular season since Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox in 1922.
Though surely one of the high-points of his career, he put together what would be a Hall of Fame tenure in the Majors, winning over 200 games, which consisted of more than 100 in each league, another rarity at the time.
Post career, as we all know, Bunning would go into politics, serving his home state of Kentucky for decades in various capacities, ultimately leading to a Senator’s seat after serving as a State Assemblyman.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for Woody Woodward, who closed out a nine-year playing career in 1971 before moving on to the front office as a General Manager:

Woodward, who came up with the Milwaukee Braves in 1963, played out his career in 1971 with the Cincinnati Reds, the only other team he suited up for in the Majors.
He batted .242 in his swan song season, with 66 hits over 273 at-bats in 136 games as an infielder.
For his career he ended up with a .236 batting average with 517 hits in 2187 at-bats over 880 games, but it was his post-playing career as a Major League General Manager where he really left his mark on the game.
He first became a GM with the New York Yankees for a year in 1987 before moving on to the Seattle Mariners, where he would build the team up to the eventual powerhouse that included Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr and Edgar Martinez.
He would hold that position before retiring in 1999.
Not a bad baseball life!

Friday, November 18, 2016


Here’s a card that came out nice: a coach card for Yankee great Elston Howard, who worked with the Yankees in that capacity for most of the decade after his excellent playing career:

Howard, the 1963 American League MVP and heir to the great Yogi Berra behind the plate in the Bronx, came back to the Yanks after finishing his career in Boston as a player, and was a trusted coach through the lean years of the early part of the decade, straight through the World Championship years of 1977 and 1978.
Many of you will remember that Howard was one of the guys in the dugout separating Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin when they were having their much-publicized fight on national television.
A great player and baseball man who sadly died way too young at the age of 51 in 1980.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


What a strange case Mike Ferraro makes as far as early-70’s baseball cards.
Topps went and gave him a card in 1972 even though up to that point he hadn’t played since 1969.
Yet when the 1973 season came around, he was left out of the 1973 set even though he put in almost a full-season of work with the Milwaukee Brewers.
So here’s my “missing” 1973 card:

Ferraro played in 124 games in 1972, batting .255 with 97 hits over 381 at-bats and 406 plate appearances.
I mean, come on, how is this not enough action for a card?
Granted (and here is where it gets even more interesting), Ferraro would never play in another Major League game again!
So besides 10 games with the New York Yankees in 1966, 23 games in 1968,  and a scant 5 games with the Seattle Pilots in 1969, that 1972 season would be the bulk of his big league action.
I get that with a late-series card in the ’72 set it was based on the amount of playing time he was getting that season, but was it a given that he was out of baseball the following year, enough that Topps decided to leave him out?
I love stuff like this: the quirks of Topps’ selection process, where guys with a handful of games the year before get a card, yet a guy with over 100 appearances could get snubbed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Today's blog post below this one!
But in addition I wanted to post a "teaser" for the next issue of "wthballs", #6: the 1974 "Missing In Action" edition...

This issue should be ready in about a week. I'll let you all know when they get in!
***As an added bonus, I will also have a really cool addition to the issue, which is something I plan to have for all future editions...
So keep an eye out for it!


A LONG while back I created a 1976 “career capper” for the great Bob Gibson, since I feel players of this caliber deserve one last card showing their entire set of stats (just me, I know).
However, once I started the “1976 Project” for “Reader Jim”, he asked for me to create another version with a Topps Vault shot, fitting in with the true look and feel of the 1976 set.
So here it is:

Again, I have always felt it would have been awesome to gawk at the COMPLETE stats of a great player once they retired, just to get the true numbers in an age before internet and “answers-at-out-fingertips”.
In this case here was a two-time Cy Young Winner, World Series dynamo and at the time only the second pitcher to record 3000+ career strikeouts in Major League history.
Luckily all these years later, where anyone can design whatever card they feel like creating, we can crank these creations out, fulfilling those holes in our mental collections!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Here’s a card for a four-year pitcher who spent two of them with the San Diego Padres, including the 1977 season, which would be his last, Rick Sawyer:

Originally up with the New York Yankees in 1974 and 1975, he only appeared in five games combined those two seasons before finding himself with the Padres at the start of the 1976 campaign.
After a very nice ’76 year that saw him go 5-3 with a 2.53 earned run average in 13 games and 81.2 innings as a starter, Sawyer came back in 1977 and pitched mainly out of the bullpen, appearing in 56 games, all but nine in relief.
He went 7-6 with a high 5.84 ERA in 111 innings pitched, and it would be his last as a Major League pitcher, finishing up with a 12-9 career record along with a 4.49 ERA in 74 games, 20 of them starts, and 200.1 innings pitched.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Here’s a card for a guy that put in one solitary season in the Major Leagues, Jesus Hernaiz, who pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974:

Sorry for the image I used. Falls short of my usual standards. However I really could not find a better photo of the guy anywhere!

In his one shot at the big leagues, Hernaiz posted a 2-3 record with a 5.88 earned run average over 27 games and 41.1 innings pitched, never to appear in another game at the top level again.
I tell you, it was tough finding a useful image to use for this card, and the one I did find wasn’t that good a shot, but through the magic of Photoshop I did the best I could to make it happen.
Hernaiz isn’t exactly a “Not Quite Missing in Action” player, but it was fun creating a card for a player who made such a brief appearance in the long history MLB.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Here’s another gem from the Topps airbrushing vaults: a 1978 Jim Todd, showing the relief pitcher as a member of his new team, the Seattle Mariners:

Todd was coming over from the Chicago Cubs after a miserable 1977 season that saw him go 1-1 with a bloated 9.10 earned run average over 20 games.
The change of scenery seemed to help him as he posted a 3-4 record with a decent 3.88 ERA over 49 games with three saves thrown in.
But Todd was on the move again, returning to the team he played for in the 1975 and 1976, the Oakland A’s, where he would finish up his career with 51 appearances and a 2-5 record, sporting a 6.56 ERA over 81 innings of work.
All told, in his six seasons in the Majors, Todd played for a “new” team in five of them, with the aforementioned stint in Oakland being his only back-to-back play with the same team in consecutive years.
Oddly, he had two tours with both the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A’s, with that Mariners season fit it.
He would finish with a 25-23 record along with a 4.23 ERA in 270 lifetime games and 511 innings pitched.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1974 card for former pitcher Darrell Brandon, aka “Bucky”, who finished off a seven-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1973:

Brandon appeared in 36 games for the Phils, posting a 2-4 record with a 5.43 earned run average over 56.1 innings of work.
Of his seven seasons on a big league mound, the first three were with the Boston Red Sox, while the last three were with the Phillies.
Sandwiched in between those two stints was a split season in 1969 when he played for the Seattle Pilots and Minnesota Twins, when he made brief appearances for both clubs, totaling only 11 games between the two in a lost season.
For his career he finished with a 28-37 record with a 4.04 ERA over 228 games and 590 innings pitched, while getting to be a part of the magical 1967 season for the Red Sox as they pushed their way to the American League pennant, facing the St. Louis Cardinals in a losing cause for the championship.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1976 card for Danny Walton, who would play through the 1970’s with five different organizations and never getting full-time work in:

During the 1975 season Walton was playing for the Minnesota Twins and appeared in 42 games, batting .175 with 11 hits over 63 official at-bats after playing the full 1974 season in the minor leagues.
He would find himself on the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976, playing in only 18 games before moving on to the Houston Astros in 1977 where he suited up for 13 games. And except for a scant 10 games for the Texas Rangers in 1980, that would be it for the travelin’ man as far as his Major League action went.
He did get somewhat of a full season’s action back in 1970 with the Milwaukee Brewers and he didn’t do so bad, hitting 17 home runs with 66 runs batted in over 117 games and 397 at-bats.
But the common thread for his nine-year career spanning 1968-1980 was limited play as a utility player, finishing up with 297 games played and a .223 batting average with 174 hits over 779 at-bats with 28 home runs and 107 RBI’s.
It’s worth mentioning that he did have a few monster seasons in the Minor Leagues, finishing up with 238 home runs, with a high of 42 for the Dodgers’ system in 1977 along with 122 RBI’s, as well as 35 homers with 109 RBI’s in 1974 in the Twins system.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Revisiting the thread of important early baseball figures, we come to Andy Leonard, a member of the fabled Cincinnati Red Stocking team as well as the early dynastic Boston Red Stockings, both led by Hall of Famer Harry Wright:

Leonard actually started his baseball career in the early days BEFORE professional ball, playing around the New York/New Jersey area for various teams beginning in 1864, leading up to his signing with the Cincinnati club in 1869.
He barnstormed with the club as they beat all opponents, building the game’s popularity as their winning streak stayed intact.
After finally losing, and people finding other distractions, Cincinnati dropped the organization and Wright headed east to Boston where he founded the Red Stockings, bringing along a few of his teammates.
They were immediately a powerhouse in the National Association, as well as the first few years of the Major Leagues, winning six pennants in seven years, with Leonard playing left field.
After a few more seasons with Boston Leonard would play with other teams until failing eye-sight forced him to give up the game in 1880 while back with Cincinnati at the age of 34, closing out a 16-year career that saw him span the amateur days of the Civil War era, the first “Professional” days of the late-1860’s, and the formation of both the N.A. and then the very Major League that we enjoy today. Amazing.
Definitely one of the forgotten players who get lost among the Spaldings, Wrights and Ansons of the baseball world.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I'm in the middle of laying out the 1976 "WTHBALLS" magazine (don't worry, you didn't miss out on the '74 or '75 issues, they're coming soon), but I created so many 1976 "missing" cards (thanks to the 1976-Project for "Reader Jim), that it will have to be split into TWO issues, Part I American League, and Part II National League.
Now THAT should be fun!
Keep an eye out here or on the Twitter feed for all the upcoming issues!


Here’s a “missing" 1973 card for former catcher and first baseman George Mitterwald, who played 11-years in the Major League, split between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs:

Mitterwald appeared in 64 games for the Twins in 1972, collecting 30 hits over 163 at-bats, good for a .184 batting average while filling in on catching duties.
1973 would be perhaps his best as a big league player, as he would play full-time and hit 16 homers with 64 runs batted in over 125 games, with 50 runs scored and a .259 batting average.
Funny enough however, that would be his last season as he would play the final four years of his career with the Chicago Cubs, playing through the 1977 season filling in behind the plate and at first base.
He’d finish with a .236 batting average over his career, with 623 hits in 2645 at-bats over 887 games, with 251 runs scored and 301 RBI’s.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Today’s “Turn Back the Clock” profile is of “The Game”, the CLASSIC pitching duel between Hall of Fame pitchers Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal, as the Milwaukee Braves faced the San Francisco Giants on July 2nd 1963 at San Fran:

To start off, the game went 16-innings, with the Giants eventually winning on a Willie Mays home run.
The home run came off of Warren Spahn, and Juan Marichal got the win.
Yep, BOTH pitchers went the distance! Spahn threw 201 pitches while his counterpart threw 227!
“Masterful” doesn’t even come close to describing one of the all-time best pitching duels the game ever saw!
Spahn was 42-years old against a 25-year old Marichal, kind of “the old giving way to the new” as Spahn was in the middle of his last 20-win season, the 13th of his career, while Marichal funny enough was on his way to the first of  his eventual six 20-win campaigns.
Imagine the story here: a Hall of Fame pitcher losing to a Hall of Fame pitcher, thanks to a Hall of Fame hitter winning it with a home run in the 16th!
Just amazing!
Go and check out the box score of the game, it’ll blow your mind.
Some of the other players on these two teams: Eddie Mathews, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron…Not too shabby.
The definition of the word “epic”.

Monday, November 7, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1977 card for former catcher Elrod “Ellie” Hendricks, who was at the tail-end of his 12-year career which included three separate stints with the Baltimore Orioles:

Hendricks split the 1976 season appearing in 54 games with the Orioles and the New York Yankees, and hit a combined .174 with 23 hits in 132 at-bats while filling in behind the plate.
He would go on to play in just under a couple dozen games between the Yanks and again the Orioles over the next three seasons, finishing up with a sole appearance in 1979 with the eventual American League champ Orioles.
For his 12-year career spanning 1968 to 1979 he played in 711 games, with 415 hits in 1888 at-bats, giving him a .220 lifetime average with 205 runs and 230 runs batted in.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Every once in a while I have to create a hum-dinger of a stretch “Fantasy” card that never was, and this one fits the bill, a fantasy 1973 rookie card of Dave Winfield, Dave Parker and Dwight Evans:

One player went on to the Hall of Fame, and the other two can be argued to be part of that posse.
I for one STILL say Dave Parker is a Hall of Famer!
Nevertheless, we know Winfield and Parker would actually have their rookie cards the following year in the 1974 set.
Evans was the only player of the three to appear on a multi-player rookie card in ‘73, and I left his part “as-is” and added the other two on either side of him.
It’s been stated that Parker and Winfield changed the ballplayer prototype when they entered the league. Huge, slugging athletes who could also run and play stellar defense.
Evans of course took a little longer to come into his own, but when he did he became of the game’s best in the early to mid 80’s.
All three had awesome Major League careers, with Winfield leading the way and ending up in the Hall of Fame.
But again, look at what those other two did on the ball field and tell me without question that they don’t deserve to be there.
It’s a tough argument for sure...
Would have been an awesome card to be chasing as a kid, as well as these days as a “collector” (what it has come to mean in this day and age).

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Here’s a “missing” in-action 1972 card for a guy who gets forgotten a bit in the baseball decade of the 1970’s, but was really a key figure on a big team, Joe Rudi of the Oakland A’s:

Rudi was an important cog in the machine that was the dynastic A’s team that put together three straight World Champion teams between 1972 and 1974, as his two second-place finishes show in 1972 and 1974.
Throw in three straight Gold Gloves from 1974-1976 and three all-star game nods, and you see why the guy should be remembered a bit more for his contributions during the decade.
He would lead the American League in hits and triples during the ‘72 season, with 181 and nine respectively, and would also pace the league in doubles and total bases two years later with 39 and 287.
A solid player through his 16-year career, he would finish after the 1982 season with a stint back in Oakland after four years in Anaheim and a year in Boston.
He would end up with a .264 average, 179 homers, 684 runs scored and 810 runs batted in, mainly during the “dead” 70’s hitting era.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Let’s go and give former pitcher Gary Bell a career-capping “missing” 1970 card, closing out a nice 12-year career that saw him come up back in 1958 with the Cleveland Indians:

Bell split the 1969 season between the Seattle Pilots in their one and olny year of existence, and the Chicago White Sox.
In that time he posted a combined 2-6 record, with a 5.31 earned run average in 36 games and 100 innings pitched.
It was a bit of a surprise since the previous year he went 11-11 with a nice 3.12 ERA, though it WAS in the “year of the pitcher”.
But it was the type of season he put in year after year in Cleveland between 1958 and 1966 and with the Boston Red Sox in 1967 and 1968.
A three-time all-star, Bell would finish his career with a 121-117 record with a 3.68 ERA along with nine shutouts and 50 saves over 519 appearances, with 233 of them coming as starts.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Here’s the second “coach card” I’ve created for Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the first being the card I created for him in the 1977 set that had him coaching the Chicago White Sox.
Today’s card has him in his earlier coaching gig with the Montreal Expos back in 1971:

Doby lent his expertise on the ball-field to a few coaching jobs after his playing days were over.
This one had him with the new expansion Expos serving as a batting instructor under manager Gene Mauch off and on until 1976 after actually serving the organization as a scout and Minor League instructor in 1969/1970.
In between his stops in Montreal and Chicago, he even served as first base coach for the Cleveland Indians in 1974, so I’ll try tracking down a nice coaching image from that stint to create another coach-card.
His Negro and MLB playing days eventually earned him a spot in the hallowed doors of Cooperstown, getting elected in 1998 by the Veteran’s Committee, and rightly so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Here’s a “missing” 1972 card for former outfielder Buddy Bradford, who finished the 1971 season as a member of the Cincinnati Reds after starting out with the Cleveland Indians that year:

Bradford actually played in 99 combined games in ‘71, batting .188 with 26 hits in 138 official at-bats, a decent amount of playing time to be omitted from the 1972 set.
He would go on to play through the 1976 season, finishing up with the Chicago White Sox and completing an eleven-year career that began with the very same organization in 1966.
His final career numbers were a .229 average with 363 hits over 1605 at-bats in 697 games, with 52 home runs and 175 runs batted in with 224 runs scored, playing for the White Sox, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Reds.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


The next highlight from the decade of the 1970’s I wanted to celebrate was the third Cy Young Award taken home by one of the best pitchers from the era, Baltimore Oriole Jim Palmer, who became the first American League pitcher to do so in 1976:

Palmer joined Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver  as the only pitchers at that time to reach three Cy Young Awards after putting in another masterful season in ‘76, posting a 22-13 record with a 2.51 earned run average, six shutouts and 159 strikeouts over 40 starts and 315 innings pitched.
It was his sixth of eight 20-win seasons, all achieved in the 1970’s. An amazing feat regardless of the decade!
The man was a pitching machine, eventually finishing with a 268-152 record, good for a .638 winning percentage, with a minuscule 2.86 ERA and 53 shutouts along with 2212 strikeouts over 558 games, 521 of which were starts.
Pretty much THE dominant starter in the Junior Circuit in that era, he appeared in six All-Star Games, had three second-place Cy Young finishes and was awarded four Gold Glove Awards for his defensive capabilities.
Beyond an easy pick for the Hall of Fame, he was inducted in his first year of eligibility, being named on 92.6% of the vote in 1990.
Imagine the 7.4% who kept him off their ballot?! Absurd...


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