Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1970 career-capper for pitcher Ken Johnson, the very same guy who I profiled in my “Turn Back the Clock” thread for being the first to LOSE an official 9-inning no-hitter while a member of the Houston Colt .45’s:

Johnson was wrapping up a nice 13-year Major League career in 1970, and appeared in 30 games during the 1969 season, split between three teams: Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and finally the Chicago Cubs.
 He finished with a 2-5 record along with a 3.89 earned run average over 74 innings, including a couple of saves.
He was a solid starter during the 1960’s, lost no-hitter aside, posting six 10+ game-winning seasons with a high of 16 in 1965, all for lower-tiered teams, with a couple of sub-3.00 ERA years thrown in.
He would finish with a 91-106 career record with a 3.46 ERA over 334 games with 1042 strikeouts in 1737.1 innings.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Here’s a “barely” missing card for former Toronto Blue Jays Designated Hitter Butch Alberts:

Funny enough he DID actually appear on a Topps card, though NOT as himself.
In the 1980 set, he is incorrectly shown as Butch Edge, a pitcher in the Blue Jays’ system, one the multi-player card for the team at the end of the set.
The sum total of Alberts’ Major League career was six games during the 1978 season, going 5-for-18 for a decent .278 batting average with a double and run scored at the age of 28.
He started his pro career in 1972 playing in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league chain before moving on to the California Angels organization through the 1977 season.
After his brief taste of MLB action he’d stick around until 1980 playing for Triple-A teams in Cincinnati reds and Atlanta Braves systems before leaving the game for good at the age of 30, finishing with a nice .296 batting average in nine MiLB seasons.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


The next 1978 “Future Stars” card in the thread is of Pete Rose, the Player of the Decade as named by the Sporting News at the end of the wild-70’s:

Nice shot of the young Rose in-action before he became the all-time hit king along with a photo of him playing third at the back-end of his prime years.
“Charlie Hustle” was still kicking-it, with a 44-game hitting streak and no-less than a decade left on his (should-be) Hall of Fame career.
The man was a baseball-machine, only to have his career derailed by gambling problems.
I hope that can all be worked out so he can finally get his rightful spot in Cooperstown, next his former teammates Morgan, Bench and Perez.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Hello everyone!
The new issue of the "wthballs" magazine is now available to order!
This one is a "Part I" of the American League missing cards of 1976 since I created so many from my all-time favorite set, with "Part II" coming next of the National League cards.
This issue is the usual 24-page full-color 'zine with HOFers, veterans and brief big league players, and comes with a full color Frank Robinson player postcard as a bonus.
Anyone who'd wish to order can do so by sending $7 to: john@slogun.com and I'll get one right out to you asap.
I also have back issues of every edition of "wthballs" available as well if anyone wants to pick one up. But ask me first about combining the shipping costs to save some $$.
Thanks! Not too long before pitchers and catchers!!! Cannot come quick enough for me...


I was always in awe of the fact that the Boston Red Sox had THREE future star outfielders in Dwight Evans, Jim Rice and Fred Lynn come up around the same time and put in All-Star careers, and wanted to create a special card for the 1976 set celebrating them:

What can you say about these three?
Fred Lynn came to the Major League scene like a bomb and went on to win BOTH the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player Awards in 1975, Jim Rice goes on to put in a Hall of Fame career along with an MVP Award in 1978, and Dwight Evans can easily be argued as a Hall-worthy player putting in his best seasons in the 1980’s, though he was always a solid player.
Any team should be so lucky to have this!

Friday, January 27, 2017


Here’s a 1970 card for a player who played the sum of his 5-game career in 1969 as a member of the inaugural San Diego padres team, pitcher Leon Everitt:

Everitt finished his brief cup-of-coffee in the big leagues with an 0-1 record along with an 8.04 earned run average over 15.2 innings pitched, though he did strike out 11 batters, though he also walked 12.
That would be it for the right-hander hurler, at least getting a chance to savor the Major Leagues, and apparently even the Minors since I have no info on him staying active in any capacity as a player after his MLB stint.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Here’s a fun card to create, a “missing” 1972 card for a guy with somewhat of a unique card history, as well as career, though NOT for all the right reasons, Mike Thompson of the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers:

I played around a bit and took a photo of Thompson while still donning the Senators uni, and photoshopped him into a Texas uni.
As you know the Rangers players that year were airbrushed into a blank red cap, or had images of them that conveniently had any noticeable team insignia not visible (think Jeff Burroughs).
If you look at Thompson’s 1973 card you’ll see almost an exact same pose between the two, making it easy for me to use some of the ’73 pic on this ’72 card.
As for Thompson, the fact that he HAD a 1973 card was odd since he didn’t even play in 1972.
So then why not a 1972 card since he appeared in 16 games for Washington in 1971, where he posted a 1-6 record along with a 4.86 earned run average over 66.2 innings?
Sadly for him, that one win in 1971 would be the only win of his brief four-year career, as he would end up at 1-15 with a 4.86 ERA playing for the Senators/Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves.
I profiled the fact that he did get a card in the 1976 set after appearing in 16 games for Atlanta, with a woeful 0-6 record and 4.70 ERA, making for one of the rougher set of statistics on the back of ANY card.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


The next “missing” 1972 In-Action card I wanted to post up was one for Pittsburgh Pirates all-star pitcher, and enigma, Steve Blass, who had already put together a very nice Major League career before it would be derailed because of inexplicable lack of control:

I realize his 1974 card has a very similar picture, maybe even from the same game, but it’s such a classic follow-through I had to use it for the In-Action card.
For Blass, he was coming off of a World Championship winning effort in the 1971 Series against the Baltimore Orioles, as well as a 15-8 record with a 2.85 earned run average when this card would have come out.
In 1972 he would have his best season as a big league pitcher, going 19-8 with a 2.49 ERA over 33 appearances, 32 of which were starts.
That would give him a lifetime 100-67 record at this point, but then without reason the floor went out from under him, as he could not control his pitches, to the point where his career was over after only 23 starts in 1973 and one single start in 1974.
To put things in perspective, Blass walked 84 batters in 1972 over 249.2 innings pitched., yet in 1973 he walked the exact same amount of batters, but in only 88.2 innings.
Without reason, Blass’ career was over and he was still only 32 years old, barely one season from a second place finish in the National League Cy Young Award.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Here’s the second “missing” card I’ve created for former Montreal Expos player Clyde Mashore, this one a 1974 edition which would also be capping-off his five-year Major League career:

Mashore appeared in 67 games for the Expos in 1973, batting .204 with 21 hits in 103 at-bats, along with 12 runs scored and 14 runs batted in.
That would be the end of his career, ending up with a .208 average with 87 hits over 419 at-bats in 241 big league games.

Monday, January 23, 2017


Here’s a 1973 card for a guy who appeared in only three games for the Minnesota Twins during the 1972 campaign, Mike Adams:

Adams went two-for-six in the first three games of his five year Major League career, all while playing left field.
He’d get some more playing time the following year in 1973, playing in 55 games while batting .212 with 14 hits over 66 at-bats, along with the only three home runs he’d hit in the big leagues.
He wouldn’t see any action in 1974 or 1975, but would come back in 1976 with the Chicago Cubs, for whom he’d play through 1977, albeit sparingly (a total of 27 games between the two seasons).
In 1978 he would play the last games of his career, 15 with the Oakland A’s, ending up with exactly 100 games played with a .195 batting average based on 23 hits in 118 official at-bats, along with 27 runs scored.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Today we celebrate the “ageless one”, legendary Negro Leagues pitcher and future Hall of Fame member Satchel Paige and his unlikely pitching performance in 1965 at the age of 59 for the Kansas City Athletics:

Signed by Athletics team owner Charlie Finley for one game, Paige came in to pitch on September 25th against the Boston Red Sox, starting and eventually pitching three innings and surrendering a single hit while striking out one batter in his stint, thus closing the books on his sadly abbreviated Major League career, which BEGAN back in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians when Paige was already 41 years of age.
Because of baseball’s segregation, Paige made himself a legend beyond legends in the Negro Leagues, becoming one of the all-time greats on the mound, and off of it as well with his personality and pitching talents.
As a Major League pitcher spanning six seasons between 1948 and 1965 Paige would put together a 28-31 record with a nice 3.29 earned run average in 179 games, 26 of them starts, all this while in his 40’s!
Who knows what this icon could have done pitching in the Major Leagues, though he was STILL rightly honored with a place in Cooperstown, being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 and becoming the first true Negro Leagues star player to be so recognized.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Here’s an interesting find, the original negative for the image that would end up being Billy Champion’s 1973 Topps card.
First up the card as-issued by Topps:


Now the negative as it was treated for final production:

I love finding these to see just how Topps had the original photos “touched up” to show the correct team for a player in the following set.
Here we see that Champion was originally photographed with the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he played the first four years of his eight-year Major League career.
To get him into his new team’s uni, in this case the Milwaukee Brewers, Topps just went and partially touched up the image, enough to get the part of the photo that would be used on the card.
I would have thought it was a given to re-paint the whole image, but certainly makes sense to JUST do what is needed.
As for Champion, he played for eight seasons in the Majors evenly split between the Phillies and Brewers, compiling a 34-50 record with a 4.69 earned run average over 202 appearances, 102 of which were starts.

Friday, January 20, 2017


I had a “special request” recently to create a 1973 card for Jim Bibby, as a Texas Ranger, though he actually started the season as a St. Louis Cardinal.
Nevertheless, here you go:

If this was something I would have created for myself it would have been a Cardinals card, but to be honest I never even realized he wasn’t in the 1973 set to begin with. So let’s consider this a “traded” card of sorts.
After six appearances with the Cardinals to start off the 1973 season, Bibby found himself down in Texas, and would soon go on to throw a no-hitter for his new team on July 30th against the eventual World Champion Oakland A’s.
He would go on to have a nice 12-year career that saw him go 111-101 with a 3.76 earned run average over 340 appearances, 239 of which were starts.
His bests seasons would be his back-to-back years with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and 1980 that saw him go 31-10, leading the league in winning percentage both times, while being named to the National League all-star team in ’80 while finishing third in the Cy Young race.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Here’s a career-capping “missing” 1975 for former catcher Duke Sims, who played out the final 44 games of his 11-year career split between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers:

During his farewell 1974 season, Sims hit .198 with 24 hits in 121 at-bats with three homers and eight runs batted in.
He would have some productive seasons with the team he’d play for the first seven of his big league years, the Cleveland Indians.
His finest season would be in 1970 when he hit 23 home runs with a .264 batting average along with 56 RBI’s in only 110 games and 345 at-bats.
Ironically he’d find himself off to Los Angeles playing for the Dodgers in 1971, before splitting seasons each year in 1972-1974, finishing up with a .239 batting average with exactly 100 home runs and 310 RBI’s in 843 games and 2422 at-bats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Here’s a new thread I’m starting for 2017 that will be a blast to create, a “Future Star” 1978 sub-set based off the manager card template in the set, since it plays right into what I wanted to do, sort of a “before they were stars” image next to a “present-day” shot:

It’s not that easy finding an abundance of photos from when these guys were still amateurs, but I did come across enough of them to start the series.
Nolan Ryan was an easy choice to kick things off, and by 1978 he was already the “King of K’s”.
So here we have a nice card that shows him as a youngster in Alvin, Texas along with an image of him dominating batters in the Major Leagues some 20 years later.

The run he had during the decade (and way beyond), striking out batter after batter was something else. Something I had the honor of witnessing first hand a few times at Yankee Stadium.
I already have about a dozen or so stars of the time lined up for this thread, so if you like this idea, keep an eye out for them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


OK. So here is pretty much the EXTREME of “Not Really Missing”, a 1976 card for a pitcher who literally faced ONE batter during the 1975 season for the New York Mets, Mac Scarce:

Scarce came over from the Philadelphia Phillies, where he put in three seasons out of the bullpen, picking up 21 saves while putting together a 5-18 record over 141 appearances.
Needless to say he didn’t give the Mets the same playing time, and after one batter faced (of which I assume was a sacrifice or HBP), that would be it for Scarce as a New York Met.
He did make it back to the Majors in 1978 with the Minnesota Twins, appearing in 17 games, but that would be it, and the books were closed on what would end up being a 5-year career, with a 6-19 record along with a 3.69 earned run average over 159 games and 209.2 innings pitched.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1977 card for former infielder Rob Sperring, who appeared in 43 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1976, generally playing third base and shortstop:

In that time Sperring batted .258 with 24 hits over 93 at-bats with three doubles and seven runs batted in.
He would end up playing the last of his four-years in the Major Leagues with the Houston Astros in ’77, getting one last card in the 1978 Topps set to close out his career, batting .211 over 208 games with exactly 100 hits in 473 at-bats.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Next up for the 1960’s high-water mark leader’s sub-set in the 1970 set is Runs Batted In, which gives us our first tie in a statistical category.
Take a look:

First off we have the high-mark in RBI’s for the Majors during the 1960’s, and it was a doozy, with the 153 runs batted in that Tommy Davis had in 1962 while also leading the league in batting.
A monster year for the Los Angeles Dodger that, sadly for him, was lost with the performances of teammate Maury Wills, who would take home the Most Valuable Player Award that season.
Heck, he didn’t even finish SECOND in voting that year, having to also take a back seat to legend Willie Mays, who took the second slot behind the record-breaking speedster Wills.
As for the American high-mark, it was a tie between New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris, who notched 141 RBI’s during his record-breaking 1961 season, as well as Baltimore Orioles slugger Jim Gentile, who drove in the same amount to share the leader slot that very same season.
Ironically, for YEARS Roger Maris was credited as the A.L. leader with 142 RBI’s, one more than Gentile.
But some 20 years ago it was found that Maris was credited with an extra RBI so the number was “fixed” to 141, giving Gentile equal share of the leader position for not just the year, but 1960’s.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Here’s a “Turn Back the Clock” card for the 1975 set celebrating the 10th anniversary of  Willie Mays 500th career home run, which he hit on September 13th, 1965 off of  Houston Astros starter Don Nottebart:

The blast was the 47th of the season for Mays, on his way to a career-high 52 for the season leading to his second career Most Valuable Player Award, the first which came eleven years earlier while the Giants were still in New York.
He would go on to slam another 160 homers before he was through, ending up with 660 to cement his legacy as one of the greatest sluggers, and most importantly players in baseball history.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Here’s a missing “career-capping” card for veteran pitcher Steve Hamilton, who closed out a 12-year career in 1972 with the Chicago Cubs:

Hamilton appeared in 22 games for the Cubs during the 1972 season, posting a 1-0 record with a 4.76 earned run average over 17 innings of work, all out of the ‘pen.
During his Major League career Hamilton appeared in a total of 421 games, all but 17 of those in relief, while finishing up with a 40-31 record along with a nice 3.05 ERA and 42 saves in 663 innings, mainly for the New York Yankees, for whom he played between 1963 and 1970.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Here’s a thread I’m starting that plays off of the 1977 “Brothers” sub-set, where I sprinkle in some “Baseball Brothers” specialty cards throughout the decade’s sets.
We’ll start off with a 1971 card for the Niekro brothers, pretty much the most glaring omission from the 1977 subset:

What needs to be said about these two that hasn’t already been stated?
These two guys put in 46 years of Major League service, winning almost 550 games, and even led the National League in wins during the same season of 1979 (something I always thought was awesome) making for a cool league-leader card.
Joe put in two 20-win seasons while big brother Phil had three, and between them they struck out over 5000 batters while knuckling their way in the record books.
I wonder why Topps didn’t manage to get them into that 1977 sub set?
Anyone know?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1971 card for a pitcher who appeared in 49 games during the 1970 season, split between the California Angels and San Diego Padres, Paul Doyle:

After starting the season in with the Angels and posting a 3-1 record over 40 appearances with five saves, Doyle moved on to the Padres where he would get into another nine games and collect an additional two saves, finishing the year with a 3-3 record, seven saves and a 5.33 earned run average over those aforementioned 49 appearances.
Surely this warranted a card in the ’71 set don’t you think?
He would only appear in another two games in the bog leagues, as an Angel again in 1972, before closing out his short three-year career, finishing with a 5-3 record with a 3.79 ERA in 87 games and 90.1 innings with 11 saves.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I came across this great photo of Willie Mays and Hank Aaron from around 1972 and couldn’t help but create a card for it:

Two legends at the tail-end of their incredible careers.
Imagine, over 1400 home runs and about 7000 Major League hits along with around 4000 runs scored and RBI’s in just under 50 years of playing time.
Just awesome.
If you like this sort of stuff I plan on creating more of these “specials” that I’ll sprinkle in to the different sets through the decade.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Here’s a “not really missing” 1972 card for Adrian Garrett, who only appeared in 14 games for the Oakland A’s in 1971:

Garrett collected all of three hits in 21 at-bats for the A’s in his limited play, batting .143 with a homer and two runs batted in while playing the outfield.
He would go on to play another five years in the Majors, all as a part-time player playing for four organizations: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, A’s and California Angels, until 1976.
All told he ended up with a .185 batting average with 51 hits in 276 at-bats in 163 games.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


I don’t know how I overlooked Harry Wright until now for the “Founders” sub-set that celebrates the 100th season of Major League ball in 1976, but better late than never:

Wright of course is known for his baseball legacy way before the National League was formed, playing even before the National Association’s formation in 1871 as part of the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, and even before that as an amateur baseball AND cricket player.
By the time the National League was formed he was manager more than player for the Boston club, with brother George as a star along with another brother, Sam seeing time on the squad as well to a lesser degree.
He was responsible for developing ideas such as player-shifting on the field and backing up fielders on throws, cementing his place in the very early-days of the games formation with techniques that are used to this very day.
Harry Wright was unique in that he was a respected leader of the new game from it’s pre-professional days through the National Association years into the Major League’s formation.
Truly a builder of the sport that would become “America’s Game”.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


A long while back I “fixed” the 1975 Reggie Jackson card, which Topps failed to have him as an all-star even though he started the all-star game the previous year.
Take a look at the as-is issued card and my fix:

Does anyone know why or HOW Topps made this error?
I mean, the guy was one of THE stars of the game, was a year removed from an MVP Award, and was coming off of THREE straight championships in which he was the muscle for with the Oakland A’s.
Seems like Topps REALLY screwed up the all-stars that year since they had Hank Aaron’s all-star designation on his record breaker card, Bobby Murcer as an A.L. All-Star while airbrushed into a San Francisco Giants uni, and this Reggie omission. Ugh…
Is there a chance that this was because of placement on printing sheets? Does anyone out there know?
Just one of those baseball-card questions that has bugged me for now over 40 years!

Friday, January 6, 2017


Here’s a “career-capping” card for a guy beloved by New York Mets fans, former outfielder Cleon Jones, who spent 12 of his 13-year career out in Queens:

Jones appeared in only 21 games for the Mets in 1975, batting .240 with 12 hits over 50 at-bats, but his body of work made him an early star of the organization.
For the World Champion team of 1969 he would claim the Mets high-mark in batting average for a season when he batted .340.
He would also bat as high as .319 in 1971, on his way to a lifetime .281 average with 1196 hits over 4263 at-bats in 1213 games.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Here’s a missing 1972 “In-Action” card for pitcher Tommy John, of course showing him as a Chicago White Sox player though he’d suit up for the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he would play for that year:

John was already a solid starter in the Major Leagues by the time he would take his talents West, and incredibly would STILL be one after the ground-breaking surgery that would keep his name to this very day, posting 288 wins during his 26-year career!
Paired with a 3.34 career earned run average, 46 shutouts and 2245 strikeouts over 760 appearances and 700 starts, a strong Hall of Fame case can easily be made.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1973 card for Juan Beniquez, who ironically has his rookie card in the 1974 set even though he didn’t even play during the 1973 season:

Beniquez appeared in 33 games during the 1972 season for the Boston Red Sox, batting .242 with 24 hits over 99 at-bats while playing shortstop.
Yet for some reason he wasn’t even given a spot on one of the multi-player rookie cards in the 1973 set.
The following year he gets his card, yet didn’t spent the entire 1973 season in the minor leagues.
Go figure…
Beniquez would go on to have a productive 17-year career spanning 1971 to 1988, really turning it on later in his mid-30s when he strung together four seasons over .300 with a high of .336 for the California Angels as a platoon player with 382 plate appearances.
He would end up with a .274 career batting average, based on 1274 hits in 4651 at-bats and exactly 1500 games playing for eight organizations, all in the American League.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


How many of you out there were taken for a loop when you pulled a 1978 Larry Hisle card out of a pack to immediately notice the missing baseball seams on the position holder?!
I remember it got my attention to the point that for years I never realized that the image of the slugger was airbrushed.
Take a look:

Not a bad airbrush job!
Hisle, who was the reigning American League RBI champ while a member of the Minnesota Twins in 1977, found himself as a Brewer after being granted Free Agency in the early days of the practice, and had an excellent season with 34 homers and 115 runs batted in along with a .290 batting average and 96 runs scored.
However, sadly for him AND the Brewers, that would be the last solid season he’d have, playing in only 26 games the following year due to injury, and going on to play in only 53 more games over the next three years before retiring in 1982.
Over the course of his 14-year career, the 234 runs batted in he had in 1977/78 would represent about a third of his career mark of 674.
Now, if we could only know what happened to those seams on the baseball!

Monday, January 2, 2017


Today we begin what will be the MAIN topic of 2017, the “Not Quite” missing players of the decade!
These are guys that reached the Major Leagues but certainly did not merit a Topps card based on their playing time.
But since these images are out there, why not try to put together a COMPLETE representation of the game during the wildest decade?!
The very first player in this thread is a 1972 card for Dave McDonald, who originally made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees in 1969, but didn’t see any action again until the 1971 season, this time as a member of the Montreal Expos:

During the 1971 season McDonald appeared in 24 games, batting .103 with four hits over 39 official at-bats with a couple of doubles and a home run.
It would turn out to be the last action he’d see on the Major League level, closing out a brief two-year career that saw him collect nine hits over 62 at-bats, good for a .145 average in 70 games.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Today we have a “Turn Back The Clock” card to celebrate Sandy Koufax and his Perfect Game of September 9th, 1965, against the Chicago Cubs in what many consider the greatest game ever pitched by BOTH pitchers:

Having been winless for just about three weeks at the time, Koufax came in to start against the Cubs and their recent call-up Bob Hendley (the 1st 1966 card I ever got by the way).
The game would turn out to be historical for more than just Koufax and his fourth no-hitter.
Turns out for seven innings Bob Hendley would match the great lefty frame for frame, not allowing a hit to the eventual World Champions until Lou Johnson hit a bloop behind the second baseman to break up HIS no-hitter.
Koufax, however, would keep going, not allowing a Cubs base-runner, let alone a Cubs hit, striking out 14 batters in setting a new Major League record with FOUR no-hitters, one more than Indians legend Bob Feller.
Sadly for Hendley, the lone hit he would give up didn’t even factor into the one unearned run he would give up in the tough loss.
In the bottom of the fifth inning the Dodgers would score after a walk to Lou Johnson, followed by a sacrifice by Ron Fairly, a steal of third by Johnson which led to a error by catcher Chris Krug allowing Johnson to score.
The game had a total of ONE hit and TWO base-runners, and would be the last time the Cubs were no-hit until Cole Hamels pulled the trick in 2015.
Koufax would hold that record of four no-hitters until a guy like Nolan Ryan came along and threw his fifth in 1981, followed by two more some ten years later giving him a total of seven, which will probably never be matched.


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