Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for a player who made one appearance in 1974, a complete game Major League debut for 22-year-old pitcher Steve Barr:

Barr made that one start count in his big league debut, scattering seven hits over nine-innings with six walks and three strikeouts, allowing four runs while gaining the victory.
Not a bad start to a career!
The following season he’d only appear in three games however, starting two of them and finishing up with an 0-1 record with a very nice 2.57 earned run average over seven innings.
In 1976, which would be his last in the big leagues, Barr found himself with the Texas Rangers, appearing in 20 games, with half of them starts, ending up with a 2-6 record with a 5.59 ERA in 67.2 innings, with three complete games thrown in.
It would even get him a spot on one of the multi-player rookie cards in the 1976 set, airbrushed into a Texas cap to keep him “current”.
But he would never see another Major League game again, finishing up his career with a 3-7 record along with a 5.16 ERA in 24 appearances and 83.2 innings pitched.

Monday, February 27, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1974 card for former player Jim Stewart, who was wrapping up a 10-year career with 61 games for the Houston Astros during the 1973 season:

Stewart batted .191 with 13 hits over 68 at-bats, all singles for the light-hitting man-of-all-positions, as evidenced by his ability to play the outfield and infield at every slot.
Never really a full-time player, the most action he ever saw in any one season was his rookie year of 1964 with the Chicago Cubs when he played in 132 games and batted .253 with 105 hits over 415 at-bats. This would be the only time he collected triple-digit safeties over the course of his career.
He did get a taste of the postseason in 1970 as a member of the National League champion Cincinnati Reds, going hitless in four total at-bats split evenly between the Championship and World Series.
All told, Stewart finished with a .237 career average based on his 336 hits in 1420 at-bats over 777 games with four organizations: Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Reds and Astros.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Here’s yet another card for former player Juan Beniquez, who didn’t have a rookie card until 1973, though an argument could have been made for him to have cards in both 1972 and 1973 (which I created a while back). Here’s the 1972 card:

Beniquez appeared in 16 games for his first taste of the Major Leagues in 1971, batting .298 for the Boston Red Sox with 17 hits in 57 at-bats while playing shortstop.
Of course we all know that he would be moved to the outfield once he made the big leagues for good in 1974, going on to a nice 17-year career that would have him end up with a .274 batting average, with a high of .336 in 1984 while with the California Angels.
He’s one of those players that seemed to have found his stroke later in his career, topping .300 four straight season while in his mid-30’s between 1983-1986.

Saturday, February 25, 2017


Here’s a 1978 coach card for “Big Klu”, Ted Kluszewski, who was a part of the Cincinnati Reds coaching staff in the latter part of the decade:

Kluszewski already made his mark with the Reds’ organization in the 1950’s as a slugging first baseman who made four straight all-star teams between 1953-1956, with a power display of 40, 49 47 and 35 homers, all with 100+ runs batted in.
He even finished second in the National League MVP voting in 1954 (behind Willie Mays), after leading the league in HR’s with his 49 and RBI’s with 141.
His playing career lasted through the 1961 season after a season with the (then) Los Angeles Angels, before moving into coaching.
Who could ever forget those awesome photos of Kluszewski and his cut-off sleeves on his baseball cards!? Looked like a damn Paul Bunyon swinging an axe. Awesome.

Friday, February 24, 2017


Here’s a “not-so-missing” card for a guy who appeared in four Major League games during the 1972 season, those four being the only games he’d play at the big league level over his 14 seasons as a professional player, Detroit Tigers outfielder Ike Blessitt:

Blessitt started his career at the age of 17 in the Detroit Mino League system in 1967 but didn’t get a taste of the “big show” until 1972, going 0-5 with two strikeouts in that aforementioned cup-of-coffee.
It wasn’t for the lack of trying however, as Blessitt managed to stick around pro-ball until the age of 38, playing for Yucatan in the Mexican League in 1988!
All in all, he played for three MLB organizations: the Tigers, Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers, but was never able to make it back to the Majors, before putting in serious time in the Minors until the late-80’s.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


Let’s go and give former pitcher Earl Stephenson a “missing” 1973 card shall we?
Check it out:

Stephenson saw the most action of any of his four years in the Major Leagues during the 1972 season, his only year with the Milwaukee Brewers, when he appeared in 35 games and posting a 3-5 record over 80.1 innings, with a 3.35 E.R.A.
Originally up with the Chicago Cubs in 1971, he wouldn’t see any MLB action again until 1977 when he was now a Baltimore Oriole, appearing in a single game along with two more in 1978 before closing out his career.
Over 54 career games he’d finish with a 4-5 record, along with a 3.57 E.R.A. in 113.1 innings pitched.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Here’s a new thread that I really want to cover, a Negro Baseball Leagues Legends series for important and all-time great stars who never got the chance to play in the Major Leagues.
So since my blog is dedicated to the 1970’s, I figured 1972, the 25th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color-barrier, would be as good a year as any to create my dedicated sub-set.
I have a good two dozen or so legends of the Negro leagues lined up, but today I wanted to kick this all off with an immensely important figure in black baseball, early player, manager, executive and author, Sol White:

I first became aware of White when I was hunting down a copy of his incredible early book, “History of Colored Baseball”, from 1907.
From there I learned he wasn’t just a writer about early African-American baseball, but played as well.
According to various records and accounts, White’s playing career spanned about 20 years between 1887-1926, which included his managerial career as well, which started in 1902 when he founded, along with others, the Philadelphia Giants.
Between 1904 and 1907 he led the team to four straight Black Baseball Championships.
It was also in that time that he published his historical publication in 1907, a 128-page pamphlet that was given out at games during their season.
Beginning with the formation of the first black baseball team in 1885 and took readers up to 1907, with what was supposed to be a second edition to be published later on covering the game into the 1920’s.
Sadly this never materialized, leaving us with what could have been an incredible piece of documented history.
Nevertheless, if you want to read more of Sol White, you can easily read his Wikipedia entry, and also see the bibliography included to cover even more.
Totally worth the read!
If you like the idea of this thread then keep an eye out for future entries covering legends like Rube Foster, Cristobal Torriente, Josh Gibson and many more!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


So it seems another of our "friends" is at it again! Stealing everyone's custom card designs and selling them on Ebay! It was thankfully brought to my attention and now I want to be a prick about it.
If everyone would like to do me a small favor and just go to one or two of his listings, and ask im to stop selling cards that are not his to sell, that would be awesome.
How lame can a person be!? With all the software available you'd think he'd just whip up a few cards and sell HIS OWN stuff!

His "store" is: jb42sellcheap and his ebay ID is mr.0ddball420

He is selling cards created by John from "Cards That Never Were", myself and others.
He's even been so disgusting as to take some of the late Bob Lemke's cards and putting them up for sale! That's actually what's pissing me off more than anything.
So please, if you can take a couple of minutes whenever you have the time and drop him a line that would be great.

Here are a couple of quick links to his items:





Today we have a “not so missing” 1971 card for former outfielder Jim Hicks, who appeared in only four games for the California Angels in 1970:

Those four games as a pinch-hitter, totaling four at-bats with a single hit, would be the last for Hicks and his five-year Major League career.
Originally a Chicago White Sox player between 1964-1966, he missed the 1967 season before making it back the following year split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Angels, appearing in 56 games to the tune of a .130 batting average.
The sum total of his big league tenure resulted in a .163 batting average with 23 hits in 141 at-bats over 93 games.

Monday, February 20, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1974 card for pitcher Mike Strahler, who finished up a short four-year career with the Detroit Tigers in 1973 after three years as a Los Angeles Dodger:

Strahler appeared in 22 games for Detroit, 11 of them starts, on his way to a 4-5 record with a 4.37 earned run average over 80.1 innings pitched.
It would be almost double the playing time he saw in any of his other three seasons with L.A., pretty much equaling his inning-total thus far as a pro.
All told he wound up with a 6-8 career record, along with a 3.57 E.R.A. over 53 appearances, 13 of them starts, and 158.2 innings.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Here’s a 1976 card for Juan Beniquez, NOT because he was missing from the set, but because Topps had him in an airbrushed job with his new team, the Texas Rangers, and “Reader Jim” needed a card showing him with the Boston Red Sox, for whom he suited up the previous year:

As part of the American League champs, I can see why Jim wanted to have a version of the Beniquez card showing him with the team he came up with.
I’ve already created 1973 and 1974 “missing” cards of the former utility hitter, and this makes a nice addition to the Beniquez “family” of cards on the blog.
Beniquez was always a decent hitter, but it is odd that he seems to have found his true stroke towards the end, when he batted over .300 a handful of times, including his career-high .336 for the California Angels in 1984.
He’d finish his 17-year career with a decent .274 batting average based on his 1274 hits in 4651 at-bats, playing for no less than eight organizations.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Here’s a card that was a created at the request of my cousin Anthony, the very person who got me into collecting in the mid-70’s, a coach card for Irv Noren, who was coaching the champion Oakland A’s teams:

Turns out my cousin knows Noren’s grandson out of the West Coast, and he thought it would be a nice little gift for the former Major Leaguer to have a special card he’s never seen before.
I’ll be honest I didn’t even know Noren had a coaching career in the 1970’s, let alone with the powerhouse Oakland teams of the middle of the decade, so it made for a nice surprise even for me.
Noren had a very nice 11-year playing career spanning 1950 to 1960, particularly the first five years playing for the Washington Senators and New York Yankees.
An all-star while with the Yanks in 1954, he was a part of three championship teams in the Bronx before bouncing around a bit the latter half of his career.
He’d finish his career with a very respectable .275 batting average over 1093 games, with 857 hits in 3119 at-bats.

Friday, February 17, 2017


Today’s “Turn Back the Clock” card celebrates perhaps the greatest hitting performance by a pitcher in a single game, Tony Cloninger’s TWO grand slam game on July 3rd, 1966:

Playing the San Francisco Giants, Cloninger took the mound for the Atlanta Braves, but it was this exploits in the batter’s box that made the headlines at the end of the day.
With his team demolishing the Giants 17-3 that day, it was Cloninger that supplied the bulk of the offense, going 3-for-5 with TWO grand slams and nine runs batted in!
He connected for his 1st slam in the seven-run first inning against RELIEVER Bob Priddy after starter Joe Gibbon didn’t make it past the first five batters, and then connected for yet another in the fourth inning against Ray Sadecki, who ironically enough hit a homer off of Cloninger in the same game.
On top of the hitting performance, Cloninger pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out five batters, upping his record to 9-7 at that time, on his way to a 14-11 season.
What a monster game for the guy I always remember as a Yankees coach much later on!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1976 card for pitcher Ed Sprague, who appeared in 18 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975:

Sprague posted a 1-7 record in those 18 appearances, 11 of which were starts, along with a 4.68 earned run average over 67.1 innings of work.
This was after a very nice 1974 season which saw him go 7-2 with a 2.39 ERA over 20 games and 10 starts in his first full season with the organization after coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1976 he’d appear in the final three games of his eight-year Major League career, going 0-2 with a bloated 7.04 ERA to end up at 17-23, with a 3.84 ERA over 198 big league appearances and 408 innings pitched.
Of course you’ll also recognize his name, as his son Ed Jr would be a Major League third baseman for 11-years with some power numbers for the Toronto Blue Jays in the mid-to-late 1990’s.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Here’s a card that I feel came out nice, a “Future Stars” 1978 card for Yankees all-star catcher Thurman Munson:

Munson, who came out of Kent State in his native Ohio, became an instant Yankee favorite, winning Rookie of the Year in 1970 while becoming the leader of the organization on the field.
By 1976 he was a legitimate star, winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award while leading the Yanks to their first World Series since 1964, followed by consecutive championships in 1977 and 1978.
Of course, this was all shattered when he died while piloting a small plane in August of 1979, shocking everyone, including myself as a 10-year old Yankee fan who idolized the catcher on a team filled with big personalities, like Reggie Jackson, Rich Gossage and Sparky Lyle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Here’s a “not really missing” card for former pitcher Fred Kuhaulua, who made three appearances for the California Angels in 1977:

Kuhaulua pitched 6.1 innings over those three games, posting no record with a bloated 15.63 earned run average in the first taste of Major League action he’d see.
After that 1977 season he would have to wait until 1981 before seeing another Major League mound, this time appearing in five games for the San Diego Padres and going 1-0, the only big league decision he’d get in his abbreviated two-year career.
All told, the player from Hawaii would appear in eight games, with five of those being starts, ending with a 1-0 record along with a 4.79 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched.

Monday, February 13, 2017


The next “Baseball Brothers” card is a 1972 version featuring Boston favorites Tony and Billy Conigliaro, though Tony was now in California as an Angels player trying to resurrect his career marked my tragedy:

Older brother Tony, once a bright and shining star for the Boston Red Sox in the mid-60’s until he was struck in the face by a pitch, managed to make his way back to the Major Leagues after such a terrible event, and even had another great season in 1970 when he slammed 36 home runs and drove in 116 runs, both career highs.
Incredible to think when considering the damage to his eye-sight after his gruesome injury.
But sadly the vision problems he sustained from the beaning came back, curtailing any hope for an extended comeback after such a promising 1970 season.
He would play in 74 games for California in 1971 before struggling to make it back to the big leagues in 1975 with his hometown Red Sox.
But he’d only play in 21 games that season, ending what could have been a great Major League career.
As for younger brother Billy,  after a promising rookie year in 1970 that saw him slam 18 home runs while batting .271 in only 114 games, he could never quite match that production again, finding himself with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1972 and the Oakland A’s in 1973, playing a total of 100 games combined those two seasons before finding himself out of baseball for good.
The “Tony C” story is especially tragic considering that he also passed away at such a young age (45) in 1990, leaving many to feel that the poor guy could not catch a break not only in the game, but in life as well.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


The next “Turn Back the Clock” card in the thread celebrates and remembers the third and final Cy Young Award for the Dodgers great pitcher Sandy Koufax, who put in yet another dominating season on the mound, but soon had to walk away because of arm trouble:

Koufax was unstoppable yet again in 1966, posting an incredible 27-9 record along with a 1.72 earned run average and 317 strikeouts in 41 starts, along with five shutouts and 27 complete games.
Along with an easy Cy Young Award, giving him an unprecedented third such claim to baseball’s top pitching prize, he finished second to the Pirates’ Roberto Clemente for league MVP.
It was the fifth season in a row that Koufax over-powered National League batters, leading the league in ERA each and every time, along with THREE 25+ win & 300+ strikeout campaigns.
But sadly and shockingly, Koufax would have to retire at the top of his game because of recurring arm problems that could have left him without the use of his left arm the rest of his life.
Rather than suffer long-term injury, Koufax left the game and many of us to wonder so many “what-if’s” had he been able to continue on into the 1970’s.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Well well well!
Just when you thought the ever elusive Jim Perry/Oakland A’s image was not to be had, “Boom”, (as Reader Jim so eloquently stated), HERE IT IS!!!
Needless to say I couldn’t wait to get home and modify my Photoshopped Franken-Card with the real deal:

As we all know by now, Jim Perry wrapped up a very nice Major League career with the Oakland A’s before getting released in August 1975, and the hunt for an image of him, especially a COLOR image, has been on many a want-list for decades now.
With the very interesting article recently on the Baseball Hall of Fame site into the final two Perry cards of his career (1974 and 1975), there was special mention of the fact that this A’s image has been long sought, and wouldn’t you know it, they even included one in the article!
Seems that there were five color images of Perry donning an Oakland uniform by a Topps photographer, long retired, and this was one of them.
So I had the template already made, a little presto-change-o, and voila!!
It’s like a Christmas present in February!!!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1977 card for speedster Dave Nelson, who appeared in 78 games for the A.L. West Champion Kansas City Royals in 1976 but didn’t get a card the following year:

Nelson batted .235 for the Royals over those 78 games, with 36 hits in 153 at-bats along with 24 runs and 15 stolen bases.
It was his first season in Kansas City after a decent six-year run with the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers from 1970-1975.
His best season was easily 1973 when he was named to the A.L. all-star team, as he batted .286 with 43 stolen bases and 71 runs scored.
After just over a couple-dozen games in 1977 Nelson found himself out of the Majors for good, finishing up with a .244 career average and 630 hits with 187 steals over his 10-year career.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Snow Day Today! Everyone on the East Coast be safe with this weather out there...
The next 1978 “future star” card I post here is of former all-star third baseman Graig Nettles, who made a name for himself both for his defensive work and his hitting, becoming a fan favorite for us kids growing up in NYC in the late-70s/early-80s:

Nettles originally came up with the Minnesota Twins in the late-60’s, but it wasn’t until he got some full-time action with the Cleveland Indians did he put up some nice numbers in 1970, becoming a productive third baseman for three years before finding himself in the Bronx after a six-player trade that left the Indians organization scratching their heads.
All Nettles would do is go on to slug 20+ homers seven straight years, leading the American League with 32 in 1976, and then topping that with 37 the following season while being an integral part of the “Bronx Zoo” championship teams of 1977 and 1978.
His incredible defensive work during the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers put him in exclusive company as a Fall Classic icon alongside the likes of Brooks Robinson and HIS defensive work in the 1970 classic against the Cincinnati Reds.
By the time Nettles was done after 22-years in the big leagues, he finished with 390 home runs, 2225 hits and 1314 runs batted in, with six all-star game nods and two Gold Gloves.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Here’s a “missing” card for a guy who had a FEW missing spots during the decade, long-time Major League pitcher Juan Pizarro, who finished up the 1973 season with the Houston Astros:

Pizarro appeared in 17 games split between the Chicago Cubs and Astros, going 2-3 with a bloated 7.24 earned run average over 27.1 innings, all but one out of the bullpen.
He’d go on to appear in seven more games in his career, as a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1974, thus closing out a very respectable 18-year stint in the big leagues, finishing up with a 131-105 record along with a 3.43 ERA in 488 appearances, 245 of them starts.
His best seasons were back-to-back for the Chicago White Sox in 1963/64 when he won 16 and 19 games with ERA’s of 2.39 and 2.56 respectively, giving him his only two all-star berths.
Previously, I have also created missing 1970 and 1973 cards for him, and if I can find a decent enough image of him with the Pirates from 1974, I’ll whip up a “not really missing” ’74 edition as well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


The next player featured with a “not so missing” card is former Boston Red Sox infielder Buddy Hunter, who appeared in thirteen games during the 1973 season, giving way to the 1974 card I present here:

Hunter hit a very nice .429 based on his three hits over seven at-bats, along with three runs, two runs batted in and three walks.
That would be the most time he’d see during his short three-year career, appearing in nine other games between the 1971 and 1975 seasons.
All told he’d play in 22 games, batting .294 with five hits over 17 at-bats while playing second and third bases, along with some DH time.

Monday, February 6, 2017


Time to add another player to my long-running thread, ‘MIA-MIA”, the “missing” 1972 In-Action cards, this time the newly crowned Rookie of the Year in the National League, Earl Williams of the Atlanta Braves:

First off, I DO realize this image was not from the 1971 season, but there were NO images of Williams in action from 1971 to be found, so I went with this shot since it was really a cool shot to use.
Williams burst onto the MLB stage with a great rookie season behind the plate, slamming 33 home runs while driving in 87, along with 72 runs scored and a .260 batting average.
Ironically, even after hitting another 28 home runs the following season, it wasn’t enough to keep him in Atlanta, as he found himself traded in a multi-player deal to the Baltimore Orioles with Taylor Duncan for pitcher Pat Dobson and Davey Johnson along with two other players.
He’d end up playing through the 1977 season, finishing up with the Oakland A’s after eight-years in the league, hitting 138 home runs before he was through, just under half of them those first two seasons.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Next up in my “Seasonal Leaders of the 1960’s” thread are the two players who had the high-marks in stolen bases for the decade: Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tommy Harper of the Seattle Pilots:

Of course, for the National League, the high mark of the 1960’s was the 104 stolen bases Wills swiped during his 1962 MVP season, setting a new Major League record in the process.
That mark would last until Lou Brock came along and topped it with 118 in 1974, before the “king of steal” Rickey Henderson donned the white cleats and set the world on fire in 1982 with 130, which still stands to this day.
As for the American League, it was cool having the decade’s top mark achieved by a player on the one-year Seattle Pilots organization, in this case Tommy Harper with his 73 swipes during their only season in existence.
The following year, now in Milwaukee as the Brewers after the team moved their location, Harper would become (at the time) one of the early members of the 30/30 club when he slammed 31 home runs to go along with his 38 stolen bases, finishing sixth in A.L. MVP voting for his troubles.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


The next “baseball brothers” card is a 1970 edition featuring one of the all-time best brother combos, Jim and Gaylord Perry, who were in their prime at this time:

What needs to be said for a brother duo who finished 1st and 2nd in their respective league’s Cy Young Award voting that year!
Jim Perry took home the American League’s award with 24 wins, while younger brother Gaylord finished second to Bob Gibson with his 23 wins for the San Francisco Giants.
But he didn’t have to wait too long, as he’d also take home the A.L.’s award just two years later in his first season with the Cleveland Indians in 1972.
Between the two we are talking over 500 Major League wins between them , with the “youngster” Gaylord finding his way to the Hall of Fame.
Just awesome!

Friday, February 3, 2017


Today’s “not really” missing card is a 1972 edition featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates Rimp Lanier, whose whole Major League career encompassed six games in 1971, with four hitless at-bats:

Lanier’s entire MLB experience was as a pinch-hitter, and while he never collected a hit, he did get on base once by a hit-by-pitch.
That would be it for the 22-year-old, although he did get to play on a world champion team as the Pirates went on to beat the Baltimore Orioles that year and win it all.
Not bad!

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1973 card for a guy who I also created a 1976 card for, Jim Lyttle:

Lyttle appeared in 44 games with the Chicago White Sox during the 1972 season after spending his first four years in the Major Leagues with the New York Yankees.
In those 44 games, he hit .232 with 19 hits in 82 at-bats while playing the outfield.
It would be his only season in Chicago, as he’d then move on to the Montreal Expos where he’d play until 1976.
Never a full-time player, he finish up his eight-year career splitting time between the Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers in ’76, ending up with a .248 batting average based on his 176 hits over 710 at-bats in 391 games while playing all three outfield positions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Let’s go and celebrate the monster season Frank Robinson had in 1966 in his first season playing for the Baltimore Orioles, winning the Triple Crown:

Finding himself in Baltimore after being traded for pitcher Milt Pappas and two other players (sorry Cincinnati), all Robinson went on to do was lead the American League in all three big stats with a .316/49/122 line.
Oh yeah he wasn’t done there, as he also led the league in runs scored, on-base pct., slugging and total bases.
Just a killer year for a guy that was already established as one of the best players in the game.
Funny thing is that this was arguably NOT even his best season as a big leaguer at that point!
Just look at some of his season’s slugging and hitting his way through the first ten years of his career with the Reds!
Though he won the National League MVP in 1961, I always thought his 1962 season was the best of his career, when he hit .342 while collecting 208 hits, leading the league with 134 runs scored and 51 doubles, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 136, while throwing in 18 stolen bases and leading the league with a .421 OBP and .624 slugging! HUGE!
And to think that was only good for FOURTH in MVP voting that year, behind winner Maury Wills, Willie Mays and Tommy Davis.
But that 1966 season was extra special because it also gave Robinson a World Championship, as the Orioles and their young pitching staff went on to surprise everyone and SWEEP the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
All-around great season for Robinson, on his way to the Hall of Fame to cap off one of the all-time playing careers.


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