I don’t know about you all, but when I was a kid ripping open packs, I was always psyched to come to one of the big time award winners from the previous season.
Pulling a Ron Guidry in 1979, a Joe Morgan in 1977, etc, was always a highlight.
It also irked me a bit that the big-time award winners were never
“celebrated” in a sub-set. At least the way I wanted them to be.
Sure you had that attempt in the 1972 set, which we all want to forget
about. And we had the 1975 sub-set celebrating all the MVP’s during the
Topps run of 1951 to 74.
But what about a sub-set EVERY year showcasing the guys who took home the hardware the previous season?
Well today I’ll start that idea with a 1970 “Cy Young Winners” card,
showing (in this case) the three guys who were the big winners during
the 1969 season: Tom Seaver, Denny McLain and Mike Cuellar:
I wanted to take that idea of the actual award, or trophy if you will,
and use it on the card along with images of the players themselves. THAT
would have been a good way to go about it in 1972.
Of course, Seaver was on top of it all with the first of his three Cy
Young Awards, posting a 25-7 record with a 2.21 earned run average and
208 strikeouts, leading the New York Mets all the way to an improbable
championship over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
Those Orioles were led by Cuellar, who posted the first of his four
20-win season when he went 23-11 with a 2.38 E.R.A. And 182 strikeouts,
leading his team to an American League championship, though they would
lose to the Mets as I mentioned earlier.
However, that performance wasn’t enough to claim the award outright, as
Detroit Tigers ace Denny McLain, coming off of a Cy Young AND MVP season
in 1968 with his 31 wins and World Championship, would post another
sparkler of a season, going 24-9 with a 2.80 E.R.A. And 181 strikeouts,
along with a league-leading nine shutouts, to share in what would be his
second straight claim to the award.
Well there you have it, the first of what will be a 30-card sub-set,
spotlighting all the Cy Young, MVP and Rookie of the Year winners
between 1969 and 1978.
Hope you enjoy it as much I will!