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.


  1. From a 2015 story on that revisited Jim Bouton's book, Ball Four:

    Steve Hovley (outfielder): Bouton summarized Hovley’s offbeat persona. “Had a long chat with Steve Hovley in the outfield. He’s being called ‘Tennis Ball Head’ because of his haircut, but his real nickname is Orbit, or Orbie, because he’s supposed to be way out. Hovley is anti-war and I asked him if he ever does any out-and-out protesting in the trenches. He said only in little things. For instance, when he takes his hat off for the anthem he doesn’t hold it over his heart.”

    Ever the rebel, Hovley eventually grew out his hair, angering management, which came to regard him as a hippie. On the field, Hovley batted a respectable .280 to start 1970 before being traded to the A’s in June. When he failed to hit in Oakland, the A’s left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. He joined the Kansas City Royals, becoming a useful backup outfielder for two seasons.

    After his baseball days, Hovley made the unusual transition from ballplayer to plumber. He no longer talks much about his baseball days and only occasionally grants interviews, but has maintained a friendship with Bouton, his former roommate.

    1. One of the main reasons I love doing this, is the contributions from you all! Love this insight into the player and man! Thanks!

    2. A Stanford grad...I always found it odd that the Royals did away with him after the '73 season and no one picked him up afterward.



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