Friday, June 30, 2017


Time to go and give the elite player of 1975 his “In Action” card, the “Big Red Machine” spark-plug Joe Morgan, who was at the top of his game on his way to two straight Most Valuable Player Awards:

Morgan was a beast in the mid-70’s, racking up the hits, runs, runs batted in and steals, getting on base any way he could to help lead the Cincinnati charge to consecutive World Championships.
When you’re on a squad that also has the likes of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and George Foster, and YOU come out on top, you know you’re doing ok!
“Little Joe”!

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Today’s “missing” card is a 1977 Gary Beare, former pitcher of the Milwaukee Brewers, who made his MLB debut during the 1976 season:

Beare appeared in six games for the Brewers, five of them starts, as he went on to post a 2-3 record with a nice 3.29 earned run average over 41 innings.
Those five decisions are basically why I considered him “missing” and not “barely missing”.
He’d pitch the following season, going 3-3 with a bloated 6.44 E.R.A., with six starts among his 17 appearances.
He’d even appear in the 1978 Topps set for his efforts.
But that would be it for his MLB action, finishing his two year career with a 5-6 record over 23 games, with a 5.15 E.R.A. in 99.2 innings of work.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Here’s yet another “not really missing” 1970 Chicago Cubs card (I’m just a sucker for them), this one of two-game Major League pitcher Alec Distaso:

Distaso’s Major League career encompassed just three days, April 20, 1969-April 22, 1969, when he appeared in two games, not factoring in a decision and ending up with a 3.86 earned run average over 4.2 innings pitched.
He’d spend the following season in Chicago’s minor league system, sporting a 4-8 record with an 8.36 earned run average over 17 appearances before leaving the game for good at the age of 21.
As I have stated before, I just love the Chicago Cubs cards in the 1970 set. Something so classic about the uniforms, and I always felt the colors went well with the 1970 card design.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


As mentioned recently on the blog when I posted my “missing 1978 John D’Acquisto card, his 1977 card showing him as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals was one of the better airbrush jobs Topps had during that era. Take a look:

Now that is some effort!
Just a great job with the action shot to have the uniform and cap just right. I have to say there is nothing cheesy about this!
D’Acquisto found himself in St. Louis after being traded as part of the deal that brought Willie Crawford out West.
But wouldn’t you know it, he would be on the move just about a month into the new season when he was traded over to San Diego for Butch Metzger on May 17th of ‘77,where he would be the next three and a half seasons.
By the time he hung up the cleats after the 1982 season, D’Acquisto finished with a record of 34-51 along with a 4.56 earned run average over 266 games and 779.2 innings pitched.

Monday, June 26, 2017


Hey everyone,
That time again. The next “WTHBALLS” magazine (issue #12) the “missing” 1979’s, is now available for purchase.
All the 1979 “missing” cards I’ve designed to this point, including players like Jim Bouton, Dave May and Mike Marshall, who is also the subject of the bonus postcard (with alternate action-shot) are in here.
Anyone interested in ordering can go right ahead and paypal me $7 at: and I’ll get an issue out to you asap.
Thank you all for the interest! 
All the best!


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for former Boston Red Sox pitcher Lance Clemons, who had a taste of the Majors over three brief seasons:

Clemons, who originally came up in 1971 with the Kansas City Royals, appeared in six games for Boston during the 1974 season, compiling a 1-0 record with a 9.95 earned run average over 6.1 innings of work, all out of the ‘pen.
It was his first action back since 1972 while with the St. Louis Cardinals, when he went 0-1 over three games and 5.1 innings pitched.
However, that 1974 activity with the Red Sox would be the last action he’d see on the big league level, finishing up with a 2-1 record along with a 6.06 earned run average in 19 appearances and 35.2 innings.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Here’s the next “Founders” card in the long-running series of mine, this one of former Boston Red Stocking John Morrill:

A man who every position during the course of his 15-year career, he was predominantly a first baseman, playing all but one season for Boston, including his final season in the Players League in 1890 playing for the Boston Reds.
Playing his 1st pro season in 1876, the inaugural National League season that gave birth to the current Major Leagues, Morrill, batted .263 while mainly handling second base and catcher.
He would finish his career with a .260 batting average, while collecting 1275 hits over 4912 at-bats in 1265 games.
He would also manage the Red Stockings between 1882 and 1888 (now the Beaneaters), while also managing the Washington Nationals in 1889, finishing his managerial career with a 335 and 296 record, winning the Pennant in 1883.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Next up in the “Turn Back the Clock” series is a 1978 card celebrating the 10th anniversary of Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain and his incredible season which saw him win 31 games, the last pitcher (ever?) to do so:

While the Tigers were on their way to a World Championship, the 24-year old McLain led the way anchoring the staff with an incredible 31-6 record, along with a 1.96 earned run average, 280 strikeouts, six shutouts and completing 28 of 41 starts!
Not only was that good for the Cy Young Award, but he also took home the Most Valuable Player Award as well.
Of course 1968 will forever be known as the “Year of the Pitcher”, but it does not take away from what McLain accomplished.
He would lead the league in wins, winning percentage, complete games and innings pitched that year, and would follow it up with another Cy Young season in 1969 when he posted a 24-9 record along with a 2.80 E.R.A., nine shutouts and 181 strikeouts in 41 starts.
What an amazing run!

Friday, June 23, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1974 card for a guy who played in 104 games with 232 at-bats the previous year, Steve Hovley of the Kansas City Royals:

Granted, those would be the final games of Hovley’s career, but man unless Topps knew this ahead of time, how did this guy get left out of the set?
Hovley batted .254 in 1973 with 59 hits over those 232 at-bats, along with 10 extra base hits and 24 runs batted in.
It would close out a decent 5-year career that had him bat .258 with 263 hits, 122 runs scored and 88 RBI’s over 436 games, including his rookie year of 1969 as one of the one-year Seattle Pilots.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Here’s another “not so missing” card of a player that played the last of his Major League games by the time this card would have come out, former second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies Fred Andrews:

Andrews appeared in 12 games for Philadelphia in 1977, batting .174 with four hits over 23 at-bats, with a triple and two runs batted in thrown in.
This would be after his first four games as a big league player in 1976 when he went 4-for-6 in a cup-of-coffee at the age of 24.
His totals in the Majors would end up being eight hits in 29 at-bats in 16 lifetime games, with a .276 batting average and four runs scored.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Here is the next and final Award sub-set card for the 1970 set, the Rookie of the Year winners of the previous year, Ted Sizemore of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National league and Lou Piniella of the Kansas City Royals for the American League:

Sizemore, who was getting his first taste of the big leagues, ended up playing in 159 games for the Dodgers and batting .271 with 160 hits over 590 at-bats.
He scored 69 runs, with 29 extra base hits and 46 runs batted in, while walking 45 times against 40 strikeouts.
Over in the American League, Lou Piniella was freed from his tenure with the Seattle Pilots the year before and was able to put together a very nice rookie campaign with a .282 batting average based on 139 hits in 493 at-bats over 135 games.
He hit 11 homers and drove in 68 runs while scoring 43 himself, ending up with nine votes, three more than runner-up Mike Nagy of the Boston Red Sox, who had a great rookie year when he posted a 12-2 record along with a 3.11 earned run average over 196.2 innings pitched.
Some other notables who got some votes were Al Oliver, who finished second in the N.L. freshman race, while Carlos May of the Chicago White Sox finished third in the A.L.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1972 card for a player who already played the last of his Major League games, former San Diego Padres outfielder Dave Robinson:

Robinson played in seven games for San Diego during the 1971 season, all off the bench as a pinch-hitter, going 0-6 at the plate with a walk.
The previous season he had his first taste of the big leagues when he appeared in 15 games for the Padres, batting a very nice .316 with 12 hits over 38 at-bats with a couple of homers and six runs batted in.
That would be it for him in the Majors however, and he would finish his brief career with a .273 average, with 12 hits in 44 at-bats over 22 games.
Oddly, I don’t know what happened, but he never appeared in a game, Major or Minor, ever again, with his pro career lasting three years total.

Monday, June 19, 2017


You know, until recently I never realized that former pitcher John D’Acquisto was “missing” from the 1978 Topps set. Just one of those players from my childhood that seemed to be in all the late-70’s sets.
Anyway, though it was a lot harder to find than I thought it would be, I did find one suitable image to use to whip one up:

The San Diego, CA native found himself pitching for the Padres after being traded there by the St. Louis Cardinals in May of 1977.
Splitting his season between the Cardinals and Padres, D’Acquisto posted a 1-2 record along with a 6.54 earned run average over 20 appearances and 52.1 innings pitched.
He’d have a nice 1978 season mainly out of the bullpen, going 4-3 with a 2.13 E.R.A., 10 saves and 104 strikeouts in only 93 innings.
He would go on to pitch another four seasons in the big leagues, taking the mound for not only the Padres, but the Expos, Angels and A’s, for whom he would make his final 11 appearances in 1982.
Over his 10-year career D’Acquisto would finish 34-51, with a 4.56 E.R.A., 600 strikeouts and 15 saves over 266 games and 779.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


The next 1975 “In-Action” card is of slugging speedster Bobby Bonds, about as electric a player when this card would have come out as there was at the time:

Bonds was actually traded to the New York Yankees in October of 1974, taking his 30/30 talents to the Bronx, where he would not disappoint with 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases, at the time his third such seasons on his way to five overall in his 14-year career.
By the time he left the Majors after the 1981 season, he retired with 332 homers and 461 stolen bases, along with 1258 runs scored and 1024 runs batted in over 1849 games and 7043 at bats.
It’s a shame that by the time he turned 34 his best days were behind him. I never really understood why he dropped off the radar so quickly after a really good season with the Cleveland Indians in 1979.
The following year he found himself with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he would only play in 86 games, before just 45 games in ‘81 with the Chicago Cubs, the last of his career.
An incredible talent, just seems that after his first seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, no one really wanted to keep him around, playing for seven teams in seven years between 1975 and 1981.

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Next up in the “Future Stars” thread for the 1978 set is none other than perhaps the biggest star on the Major League scene at the time this card would have come out, “Mr. October” himself, Reggie Jackson:

Jackson was fresh off of his legendary World Series performance in October, 1977, leading the New York Yankees to their first championship since 1962.
The man was just destined for baseball greatness since his days at Cheltenham High School in Pennsylvania.
Recruited by pro teams and colleges alike, he went on to Arizona State where he was actually on a football scholarship.
Of course we all know the story of the 1966 amateur draft, where the New York Mets held the #1 pick, and opted for high school catcher Steve Chilcott instead of who many considered the true #1 overall amateur, Jackson.
With the second pick, the Kansas City Athletics (later Oakland) picked the slugger and the rest is history, as he would eventually lead the organization to three straight championships between 1972-1974 before being traded in a blockbuster to the Baltimore Orioles where he’d play for one season in 1976.
As a highly coveted free agent before the 1977 season, Jackson signed with the New York Yankees, and with Reggie in NYC, the legend exploded as he helped the Yankees to two championships in 1977-78.
With his larger than life persona, New York ate it up and before you knew it, he was known around the world, even getting his own candy-bar by the end of the decade.
For a kid like me growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘70’s, Reggie was like a God, larger than life, and before he finished up his career in 1987, putting in 21 seasons, he would put together a Hall of Fame career with 563 homers, 1702 runs batted in, an MVP Award in 1973, and five championships.
Add to that 14 all-star nods, four home run titles, a legendary homer in the 1971 All-Star Game against Dock Ellis, his 1977 World Series performance, and you can see why he goes down as one of the most well-known baseball personalities in the history of the game.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for former outfielder Doug Howard of the California Angels, who appeared in eight games in 1973 after having his first taste of the big leagues the previous season:

Howard went 2-21 at the plate in 1973, which translates to an .095 average along with a run batted in and walk.
He’d play parts of five seasons in the Majors, coming up with California and also playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians.
All told he end up playing in 97 games in the big leagues, batting .212 with 46 hits in 217 at-bats over 97 games, with five doubles, a triple and a home run.
In 1977 he appears on an OPC card as a Toronto Blue Jay, having been traded in December of 1976. However he was released prior to the Jays inaugural season.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for former outfielder Richie Sceinblum, who wrapped up an eight-year Major League career with half a dozen games in St. Louis in 1974:

In those six games, Scheinblum went 2-6 after playing his first 10 games of the year with the California Angels, followed by 36 games with the Kansas City Royals.
Combined, he played in 52 games in 1974, batting .183 with 21 hits over 115 at-bats for the three organizations, finishing his career with a .263 batting average based on 320 hits in 1218 at-bats over 462 games between 1965 and 1974.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The next “Turn Back the Clock” card in the long-running series is a 10th Anniversary card for the season of the ages Bob Gibson had in 1968. A season that saw him bring home the hardware, dominate his league, and carve his name into the annals of baseball greatness:

Coming off of a championship season in 1967 that saw him appear in only 24 games due to an injury, Gibson jumped right back into his 20-game winning form of 1965 & 1966, besting his career mark of 21 wins with 22, but it was the stinginess of his season that made him a legend.
All Gibson did was complete 28 of 34 starts for the Cardinals, while throwing THIRTEEN shutouts while leading the National League in earned run average with a little-league-like 1.12, as well as pacing the Senior Circuit with 268 strikeouts.
How on earth he LOST 9 games to finish at 22-9 is beyond me, and I’ve gone over the box scores. Just an amazing year!
Think about it, 13 of his 22 wins were shutouts! He attained the 1.12 E.R.A. while pitching 304.2 innings!
Needless to say, by the time Awards season came around he took home the league’s Cy Young, Most Valuable Player, Gold Glove and an All-Star nod.
He was all-WORLD that year!
He would also put together another two 20-win seasons after ‘68, on his way to 251 for his career while topping 3000-K’s, becoming only the second player to do so in Major League history at the time, joining the great Walter Johnson.
In 1981, to put the cherry on top of the cake, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, closing the books on one of the great pitchers of his or any era.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


The next player featured in my “founders of the Major Leagues” is a guy who really starred in the old National Association, as well as pre-professional ball, pitcher Dick McBride:

McBride’s playing resume extends to the Civil War, with amateur teams around the Philadelphia area, which was his hometown.
In 1871 he joined the Philadelphia Athletics and posted an 18-5 record with a league-leading .783 winning percentage in the league’s first year of play.
Over the course of the league’s existence, McBride would ace the staff and post a record of 149-74 with a nice 2.71 earned run average, all for the Athletics, for whom he also managed.
When the league folded and the National League was born, McBride signed with the Boston team, but would only see four games of action. Going 0-4 with a 2.73 E.R.A.
I don’t know why his career abruptly ended the way it did, but at the age of 29 his career came to an end, finishing with a 149-78 record, along with a 2.71 E.R.A. and 10 shutouts in 237 career starts, 227 of which he completed.

Monday, June 12, 2017


Here’s a “career capping not so missing” 1976 card for former catcher/outfielder Dick Billings, who played what would be the final three games of his Major League career in 1975 with the St. Louis Cardinals:

Appearing all in pinch-hitting roles, Billings went 0-3 in three games with St. Louis during the 1975 campaign, after appearing in one game for them the previous season after being purchased from the only other team he ever played for, the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers.
Between 1968 and 1974 Billings basically played the back-up catcher/spot outfielder for the Washington/Texas organization, appearing in the bulk of his MLB action during the 1971-1973 seasons.
Overall he retired with a .227 batting average, with 280 hits over 1231 at-bats in 400 games on the nose.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


It’s been a while since we added to the long running “1976 Project”, but recently my buddy Jim sent me a nice photo of Jamie Quirk, who appeared on a multi-player rookie card in the ‘76 set, so we went and gave him his own dedicated card:

Quirk, who would eventually become mainly a catcher during his 18-year Major League career, originally saw action as an outfielder/third baseman during his 1st taste of the big leagues.
In 1975 he appeared in 14 games, batting .256 with 10 hits in 39 at-bats, while playing 10 games in the outfield with a couple over at third base.
Turns out he’d have three different stints with the Kansas City Royals, playing a combined 11-years for the organization, while also suiting up for seven other teams: Cardinals, Indians, Yankees, Orioles, White Sox and A’s between 1975 and 1992.
He finished his career with a .240 batting average, collecting 544 hits in 2266 at-bats over 984 games, while defensively playing every single position in the field but pitcher and center fielder.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


The next Negro League legend is a man who excelled in MULTIPLE international leagues, the great Cuban ballplayer Martin Dihigo:

Between 1922 and 1953, yes, over 30 years, the pitcher/second baseman managed to star in the Negro Leagues, Mexican League, Cuban League and Venezuelan League.
He set the Mexican League record with a .676 career winning percentage, the Cuban record with 107 career wins along with 121 complete games on his way to four league MVP Awards, and was a two-time Negro League all-star.
Just to get an idea of this versatile stars abilities, in 1938, playing in the Mexican League, Dihigo posted an 18-2 record with a microscopic 0.90 E.R.A., while leading the league in batting with a .387 average!
According to some statistic gathering, he even posted a ridiculous 0.15 E.R.A. one season in the same league, finishing up with a 119-57 record along with a .317 average.
In the Cuban league, he finished with a 107-56 record along with a .298 average, while ending his Negro League career with a 26-19 record and a .307 average.
Combining all his stats, he would finish his pro career with a 252-132 record while batting .302 along with 130 homers (with over a decade of home run stats missing from this total).
The man was so good that he was elected to no less than FIVE Halls of Fame: American, Cuban, Mexican, Venezuelan and Dominican Republic!
Incredible journey for one of the games all-time greats.

Friday, June 9, 2017


Here’s a “not really” missing 1971 card for former pitcher Jan Dukes, who had a brief three-year career with the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers:

Dukes, who was taken 8th overall in the 1967 January draft by Washington, appeared in five games during the 1970 season, not factoring in a decision while posting a .270 earned run average over 6.2 innings pitched.
The previous year he finished 0-2 in his first taste of the big leagues, while ending up with a nice 2.45 E.R.A. in eight appearances, all out of the pen.
After spending the 1971 season in the Minor Leagues, he’d make it back to the Majors in 1972, now with the organization shifted to Texas as the Rangers.
In his final stint as a Major League player, he appeared in three games, allowing one earned run in 2.1 innings without a decision.
All told, he finished his MLB career with an 0-2 record along with a nice 2.70 E.R.A., all in relief over 16 games and 20 innings pitched.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


The next 1975 “In-Action” card in my thread is St. Louis Cardinal pitching great Bob Gibson, who was coming to the end of his Hall of Fame career:

By the time this card would have come out you were looking at only the second pitcher in Major League history to collect 3000K’s in their career, joining Walter Johnson in the exclusive club.
The two-time Cy Young winner and 1968 MVP would top 250 wins with 251, finish with 3117 strikeouts along with a 2.91 earned run average and 56 shutouts over his 17-year career.
He’d also collect NINE Gold Gloves and be named to eight all-star teams, all while hurling for the Cardinals, leading them to two World Championships, 1964 and 1967.
His 1968 season is the stuff of legend, going 22-9 with 13 shutouts and a microscopic 1.12 E.R.A., completing 28 of 34 starts and striking out 268 batters.
How he lost nine games is incredible!
Of course, by the time he was eligible for selection for the Hall of Fame, he got in without a problem, claiming his rightful spot in Cooperstown in 1981.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Here’s a “not really missing” 1970 card for former Chicago Cubs catcher Randy Bobb, who REALLY wasn’t quite missing since he was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1970 set, but I liked the image I came across of him so I whipped up a card anyway:

Bobb had the last of his two brief Major League cups-of-coffee in 1969, appearing in only three games and going 0-2 at the plate.
This was after coming up in 1968 for his first taste of MLB action, getting into seven games and collecting his lone big league hit over eight at-bats.
Those two trips to the “big time” would be it for him, as he’d go on to play through the 1973 season in the Minor Leagues for a few different organizations, before calling it a career.
I’m not going to begin creating “dedicated rookies” for just anyone, like I just did for Bobb here. But I’m just a sucker for Chicago Cubs cards in the 1970 set for some reason. I always thought they looked really nice, hence this card creation. Love those uni's!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Here’s a “missing” 1974 card for former outfielder Danny Walton, who played the first of his two seasons for the Minnesota Twins in 1973:

Walton appeared in 37 games for the Twins during the ‘73 season, batting .177 based on his 17 hits over 96 at-bats.
It was a comeback of sorts for him after spending the entire 1972 season in the Minors for the New York Yankees, hitting 23 homers with 88 runs batted in for the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League.
He would also spend the entire 1974 season in the Minors, slamming 35 homers and driving in 109 runs for the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League before appearing in 42 games for Minnesota in 1975.
That would pretty much be the norm for him the remainder of his pro career, on-and-off between the Majors and Minors until 1980, when he played his last MLB games for the Texas Rangers after a two year absence.
All told he put in nine years in a Major League uniform, batting .223 playing for six organizations, with 28 homers and 107 R.B.I.’s in 297 games and 779 at-bats.

Monday, June 5, 2017


After creating a “missing” 1971 card for Jim Hutto a while back, I come back with a “not so missing” 1976 card for the former player after his second, and last taste of big league action:

Hutto didn’t play at the Big League level after coming up with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1970 until he appeared in five games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1975, going 0-for-5 at the plate while picking up catching duties.
After another year in the Minor Leagues, he’d call it a career, finishing his MLB tenure with a .175 average with 17 hits in 97 at-bats over 61 games.

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Here’s the second installment in my new “Awards” sub-set, adding award winners from the “big three” (Cy Young, MVP & Rookie of the Year) to each set of the 1970’s, which is something I hoped Topps would do when I was a kid:

In the National League, Willie McCovey edged out Cy Young winner Tom Seaver with 265 points to Seaver’s 243, though both were tied with 11 1st place votes.
While Seaver took the New York Mets to an improbable World Championship, McCovey helped the Giants to a second place finish in the West behind the Atlanta Braves in the first year if divisional play.
In that MVP season he led the National League with 45 home runs and 126 runs batted in, while also having the highest on-base and slugging percentages.
As a nod to his offensive prowess National League pitchers also intentionally walked him 45 times, giving him a total of 121 walks against only 66 strikeouts.
In the American League, Harmon Killebrew took home the top prize with yet another “typical” Killebrew season that saw him slam 49 homers, tying his career-high, along with setting other career-highs in runs batted in (140), walks (145) and runs scored (106).
He led the Minnesota Twins to a Division title, though they’d lose to the Baltimore Orioles in the playoffs.
Nevertheless, after finishes of second, third and two fourths in MVP voting in the past six seasons, Killebrew finally took home the Award over the eventual 1970 winner, Boog Powell, who came in second.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


I was going to re-do the 1977 Rico Carty Topps card with an action shot of him suited up for Toronto, then realized that though he was indeed drafted by the new Blue Jay team North of the border, he was traded BACK to Cleveland a month later in a deal that got the Jays Rick Cerone.
With that in mind we were left with a card of a player who never actually played for the team he was shown as part of...

...then again, go figure, the Cleveland Indians went and traded Carty BACK to the Blue Jays in March of 1978, for whom he’d play only until August of that year before getting traded yat again to the Oakland A’s.
But wait! It doesn’t end there! Would you believe that the Oakland A’s then sold Carty BACK to the Blue Jays just two months later?!
So within the span of two years he was a member of the Blue Jays three times!
This for a guy who once batted .366 on his way to a batting crown, as well as a write-in starting gig at that year’s All-Star game in 1970.
In the end, Carty put in a very nice 15-year career that saw him bat .299 with 1677 hits, 204 homers and 890 runs batted in, numbers that would have been much better had not injuries ruined a few years during his prime.

Friday, June 2, 2017


Been a while since I added to the “Nicknames” thread, so here’s a 1973 addition to the collection of “The Blade” Mark Belanger, the epitome of “Good field, no hit”:

Apparently, the origin of his nickname had to do with his thin frame, standing 6’1” tall yet weighing no more than 170 pounds.
Nevertheless, Belanger put in 18-years in the Major leagues, all but his last with the Baltimore Orioles, and while he hit .228 over the course of 2016 games and 5784 at-bats, that’s not what kept him in the big leagues.
Along the way he collected eight Gold Gloves, helping the Orioles defensively and being a part of four World Series teams, with one win in 1970.
Consistently among the league leaders in assists, fielding percentage and double-plays turned, Belanger, alongside all-time great third baseman Brooks Robinson, held that left-side of the infield on lockdown for many years.
Throw in Bobby Grich for most of the 70’s over at second base and you had one hell of a defensive infield there. Awesome!

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Here’s a “not really missing” card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bill Gilbreth, who made his MLB debut in 1971 with nine appearances at the age of 23:

Over those appearances he’d post a 2-1 record, the only decisions of his brief three year career, with 14 strikeouts and 21 walks in 30 innings.
The following year he’d only get into two games, allowing nine runs in five innings pitched without a decision before spending the next two season in the Minors.
He would make it back to the Majors in 1974, but only getting into three games for the California Angels, pitching 1.1 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk for his MLB finale.
All told he finished with a 2-1 record, with a 6.69 ERA in 14 games and 36.1 innings pitched.


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