Monday, April 30, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1973 card for former Oakland A’s outfielder Bobby Brooks, who made it back to the Majors in 1972 after a year in Minor League ball:

Brooks appeared in 15 games for Oakland during the 1972 season, batting .179 with seven hits over 39 at-bats while filling in at centerfield.
In 1973 he’d find himself as a member of the California Angels, where he’d play the last four games of his brief four-year Big League career, collecting a single over seven at-bats.
Overall, he retired with a .231 batting average, with 33 hits over 143 at-bats spread out over 55 games, while playing all three outfield slots for Oakland and California.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


I always wanted to create a card for Hall of Fame reliever Hoyt Wilhelm in a California Angels uniform, so I figured a Nickname card for the 1970 set would be a good fit, so here goes, a card for “Old Sarge”:

Incredibly, Wilhelm was already a 47-year old “uber-veteran” by the time this card would have come out, splitting the 1969 season between the Angels and Atlanta Braves after an excellent six year run with the Chicago White Sox that saw him post sub-2.00 ERA’s five straight seasons, ALL after the age of 40!
The man was amazing. To think he didn’t even break into Big League ball until the age of 29, yet still put together a 21-year career!
Imagine if he was able to get into the Majors in his early-20’s?
Regardless, he went on to set the Major League record (since broken) for appearances by a pitcher, with 1070, post 228 saves, win 143 games, and post a wonderful 2.52 earned run average.
I’ve always also loved the fact that in the only two seasons of his career that he pitched enough innings to qualify, he led the league in ERA: 1952 and 1959.
AND, he is STILL the last pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter against the Yankees, which he did in 1958 while with the Baltimore Orioles.
A true baseball legend.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


Next up in the 1975 “In-Action” thread is Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Ron Cey, aka “The Penguin”, who was just about getting started as a perennial National League All-Star, on his way to an excellent 17-year career:

Cey was coming off of his first All-Star berth in 1974, helping the Dodgers get to the World Series before losing the series to three-time champs the Oakland A’s.
Over the next 16 seasons you could pretty much pencil him in for about 25 home runs,80-85 runs batted in, and a .275 batting average.
After the 1982 season he moved on to the Chicago Cubs where he’d play for another four seasons, then finish up his career with a single season in Oakland.
By the time he retired, he collected 1868 hits, with 316 home runs, 1139 RBIs and 977 runs scored with a .261 batting average.
He was named to the All-Star team six straight seasons between 1974 and 1979, and garnered MVP consideration five seasons, with four of them consecutive from 1974 to 1977.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, who played the first 11 games of his Major League career during the 1974 season:

Johnson posted a record of 2-2 over those eleven games, all out of the bullpen, with a very nice 2.93 earned run average in 15.1 innings pitched, with two saves.
He’d appear in six games during the 1975 campaign before spending all of 1976 in the Minor Leagues. In those six appearances he’d go 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 8.2 innings of work.
He would make it back to the Big Leagues in 1978 and 1979, now as a member of the Minnesota Twins, going 2-5 and 0-2 respectively in what would end up being the last action on a Major League mound for his brief four-year career.
Overall, he’d finish his stint in the Majors with a record of 4-10, with an ERA of 4.64 over 53 appearances and 108.2 innings pitched.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


Now, while I am aware that our good friend at “Bottomms Cards” went ahead and beat me to the punch on “missing” rookie trophies on 1970’s Topps cards, I must state that I had this planned for months, and even created the first few that will be profiled, so allow me to add to the mix and post the first of quite a few, 1973 Tom Hutton:

Why Topps would miss the rookie trophy on some cards, yet go ahead and place them on others in the SAME set is beyond me. Then again, there were quite a few Topps decisions during the “wild-70’s” that left many of us scratching our heads.
Anyway, picked as the “All-Star Rookie” first baseman by Topps for 1972, Hutton should have had his card jazzed up with one of the trophies, but he wasn’t, so I made the adjustment you see above.
Seeing full-time action six years after having his first taste of the Majors in 1966, Hutton put in a nice rookie showing, batting .260 with 99 hits and 40 runs scored for the Philadelphia Phillies.
He also collected 22 extra-base-hits while driving in 38, also filling in at all three outfield positions during the season when not at first base.
He would go on and put together a 12-year Big League career before retiring as a player in 1981, finishing up with a .248 average, with 410 hits in 1655 at-bats over 952 games.
Sadly for him, the amount of playing time he saw in that rookie season of 1972 would be the most in any one year for him the rest of the way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


I love coming across the original images that were “touched up” by Topps for their releases during the 1970’s. Here’s another, the image used for former pitcher Bill Bonham’s 1978 card, reflecting his new team the Cincinnati Reds:

Not a bad job here by the Topps artists! Once they saturated the image in production it really came out well.
Bonham spent the first seven seasons of his Big League career with the Chicago Cubs, and though you may think leading the league with 22 losses in 1974 is a terrible thing, you’d be surprised to see that besides the losses, the campaign was perhaps his best season of his 10-year career!
He posted a 3.83 earned run average over 36 starts, with ten complete games, two shutouts and 191 strikeouts over 242.2 innings pitched.
Obviously being a pitcher on a hard-luck team leaves you snake-bitten (unless your name is Fergie Jenkins!), but Bonham did follow up that year with a 13-15 season in 1975, though with an ERA almost a run higher at 4.71.
He’d have a nice first year with the Reds, going 11-5 with a 3.53 ERA over 23 appearances, all starts, and would go 9-7 and 2-1 over the last two years of his career, finishing up with a record of 75-83 along with an ERA of 4.01 over 300 appearances and 1487.1 innings between 1971 and 1980.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Time to go and add another card to the 1970 set, a favorite of mine to do! This time it’s a “not so missing” card for former White Sox pitcher Fred Rath:

Rath appeared in what tuned out to be the final games of his brief Major League career during the 1969 season, playing in three games, going 0-2 with a 7.72 earned run average over 11.2 innings of work.
The previous season was his first taste of the “Big Show”, appearing in five games as a 24-year-old, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a very nice 1.59 ERA over 11.1 innings, all out of the bullpen.
He’d spend the 1970 and 1971 seasons in the Minor Leagues, for both the White Sox and Minnesota Twins organizations, before retiring as a player for good.
All told his short stay on a Big League mound resulted in a record of 0-2 over eight games, with a 4.70 ERA in exactly 23 innings pitched.

Monday, April 23, 2018


On the blog today is a “not so missing” 1978 card for Leon Roberts, who would go on to put in 11 seasons in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1984:

After coming up with the Detroit Tigers for a brief spell in 1974, Roberts actually got some decent playing time during the 1975 season, appearing in 129 games and batting .257 with 115 hits and 10 homers in his first full-time action.
But in December of that year he was part of a multi-player trade to the Astros, and he’d only see part-time play in 1976, playing in 87 games, before dropping to only 19 games in 1977, seemingly lost in the mix down in Houston.
In that limited play he did hit .289 in 1976, but only .074 with two hits in 1977 before finding himself a member of the Seattle Mariners during their second year of existence in 1978 after being traded for Jimmy Sexton.
Turns out the 1978 season was easily his best as a Major League player, as he went on to bat .301 with 22 homers and 92 runs batted in while playing right field for Seattle, collecting 142 hits over 472 at-bats.
The following season was also somewhat successful, as he hit .271 with 15 homers and 54 RBIs over 140 games, the most games he’d play in any one season during his career.
But over the final four seasons of his career he’d see his time on a Big League field decrease, ultimately finishing up with the Kansas City Royals in 1984 when he appeared in 28 games, hitting .222 with a homer and three RBIs for the West Division champs.
Over his career, he appeared in exactly 900 games, hitting .267 with 78 homers and 328 RBIs, with 342 runs scored and 731 hits in 2737 at-bats.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


It’s been some time since I added to my “Negro League Legends” series, so today I’ll post a card for legend and Hall of Fame first and third baseman Jud Wilson:

Wilson put in 23 seasons in the Negro Leagues, as one of the most powerful and fiery players of his day, and finished his incredible career with a .351 batting average, the fifth highest in league history.
He topped .300 sixteen season, including four of over .400, while also going on to bat a combined .372 over six Cuban Winter League campaigns.
Against Major League pitchers in two seasons of the California Winter League, Wilson hit .469 and .385, including hits off of future Hall of Famer Lefty Grove.
Stories of his temper abound, and are something to read about. It seems no one wanted to mess with the short yet powerfully built player. Players and umpires were at the wrong end of his wrath. Look it up, they are unique anecdotes of a man’s competitive nature!
On July 30, 2006, Wilson was posthumously elected for the Hall of Fame, joining his former teammates and contemporaries with his rightful place in baseball history.
As I often state with a lot of these Negro League stars, please do yourself a favor and look up their bio’s to really get a sense of the player, the teams and the league’s. Some incredible stuff out there to get acquainted with the history of the leagues for those who haven’t done so already.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Time to go and give perhaps the most feared slugger of the American League in the mid-70’s, Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox, an “In-Action” card in my on-going 1975 project:

“The Wampum Walloper” was coming off of his second home run title in three years when this card would have been unwrapped from wax wrappers in the Spring of 1975.
However, shockingly, Allen would find himself traded twice before appearing in a single game that season, first from Chicago to the Atlanta Braves in December of 1974, then from the Braves back to the team he came up with back in 1963, the Philadelphia Phillies in May.
Nevertheless, I have him in an In-Action shot with the White Sox, and what he did in three seasons in the South Side of Chicago was nothing short of awesome. He hit over .300 each season, led the AL in homers in 1972 and 1974, came close to a Triple Crown in 1972, and took home the top individual prize for an individual player, the league MVP that very same year.
If not for an injury during the 1973 season, he very possibly would have had three straight home run titles based on his 16 homers in only 72 games, with the eventual AL homer champ, Reggie Jackson, hitting only 32 over a full season.
Allen would go on to play only three more seasons in the Majors, finishing up with a brief season out in Oakland in 1977 before retiring with 351 homers, a .292 average, along with a Rookie of the Year Award in 1964 and the aforementioned MVP in 1972.

Friday, April 20, 2018


While I know of Topps use of old photography in the late-60’s/early 70’s sets, I always found the case of the 1970 Ron Stone card so odd. Let’s take a look:

First off, the image used on the 1970 card was obviously from years before, since Stone played his only season with the Athletics in 1966, and was traded away from the organization in July of that year, and it is plainly obvious he is sporting the unique gold and green uniform of Kansas City.
But what I could never figure out is Topps evidently had an image of him as a Philadelphia Phillie player, as you can see here, as Stone is wearing the uniform the Phillies wore up until 1969, as they switched over to the “P” on the chest design beginning in 1970.
So why not use the photo? Was it compensation? Or problems with the Player’s Association?
What doesn’t make sense though is if they had issues with any of that, what was the difference in using one image from the other?
Does anyone know what the issues were?
I was always under the impression that Topps didn’t even bother taking “new” photography those years, but the image of Stone here seems to be from that very time.
Stone would end up playing parts of four seasons with the Phillies, the last four years of his Big League career, retiring as a player after the 1972 season, finishing up with a .241 batting average with 194 hits over 804 at-bats over 388 games.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Today’s “not so missing” card is a 1979 edition of one-year Major League player Darrell Woodard of the Oakland A’s, who spent nine years as a professional baseball player but only got to see MLB action for a couple of months in 1978:

Woodard appeared in 33 games for Oakland between August and October of 1978, with 14 of them at second base, while also seeing a lot of time as a pinch runner.
Though hitless in nine official at-bats, he went on to score 10 runs while stealing three bases in pinch-running duties, thus comprising the entirety of his Big League career.
After his time in the Big Leagues, he’d go on to play another four seasons of pro ball in the Minor Leagues, for the Cubs and Tigers organizations before retiring for good at the end of 1982.
Guys like this are exactly why I started doing the “Not Really Missing in Action” cards. Just too much fun discovering players I never knew about all these years later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1972 card for 16-game Major League shortstop Rich Hacker, who played for the Montreal Expos during the Summer of 1971:

Originally drafted and signed by the New York Mets in 1967, he finally made it to the Big Leagues in July of 1971, collecting four hits over 33 at-bats with a double and two runs batted in during his short stay.
He’d spend the next two seasons in Montreal’s Minor League system, then oddly, though I have NO record of him playing Pro ball from 1974 to 1978, it shows that he played for the San Diego Double-A Amarillo Gold Sox for six games in 1979. Odd.
Anyone know what went on here? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Adding to the “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread, here’s a card for the juggernaut we all know as the “Big Red Machine”, the back-to-back World Champion Cincinnati Reds of the mid-decade who packed a line-up about as good as any during the era:

It really is amazing that they didn’t win more than two championships. However when your dynasty is sandwiched between two other dynasties (Oakland & NY Yankees), it certainly wasn’t easy.
The Reds built their team through good old scouting, as well as shrewd trades, leading up to a team that had (at last count) three Hall of Famers in Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, as well as Pete Rose, whose a HOFer in my book anyway.
Throw in guys like George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr, Dave Concepcion, and it’s almost not even fair to the rest of the league at this point.
Though they didn’t have that top “Ace” that the era had with so many other teams, they had reliable, solid arms in guys like Gary Nolan, Don Gullett, Jack Billingham and Fred Norman, with a bullpen that was ahead of it’s time.
“Captain Hook” Sparky Anderson led the team, pretty much using a six-man rotation at time along with bringing in relievers at the drop of a hat, which was really not the norm at a time when pitchers still routinely reached 300-innings pitched.
An absolute steamrolling team that squashed THIS seven-year-old’s dreams when they swept my Yanks in the 1976 World Series, the very fist one I watched as a baseball fan.
It still amazes me that the team had SIX MVP’s during the decade: 2x Bench and Morgan, Pete Rose and George Foster! What a line-up!

Monday, April 16, 2018


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1973 career-capper for reliever Ron Taylor, who finished off a nice eleven-year Major League career in 1972:

After a five-year run with the New York Mets that included a World Championship in 1969, Taylor found himself with the San Diego Padres in 1972, but it was brief, appearing in only four games, the last four of his career, not factoring in a decision while posting an ERA of 12.60 over five innings.
Taylor also had the good fortune of being a member of the 1964 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, going 8-4 with an ERA of 4.62 over 63 appearances, two of them starts.
For the “Miracle Mets” of 1969, he posted a record of 9-4 with a 2.72 ERA over 59 appearances, saving 13 games while pitching 76 innings.
By the time he retired, he finished with a career record of 45-43 with a 3.93 ERA and 74 saves over 491 appearances and exactly 800 innings pitched between 1962 and 1972.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Next up in the on-going “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread is Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who was just about to take the torch from Johnny Bench as the premier backstop in the National League, if not all of baseball:

Carter came up as a full-time catcher for the Montreal Expos in 1975 and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year race to San Francisco Giants pitcher John Montefusco.
From there all he proceeded to do was string together nine 20+ home run seasons, four 100-RBI seasons, and a second place finish in 1980 and third place finish in 1986 for the NL MVP.
After 12 years North of the border, he found himself a member of the New York Mets, where he solidified his future place in Cooperstown when he guided the team to a World Championship in 1986, while leading a group of young talent to the franchise’s most successful run in team history between 1985 and 1988.
By the time he retired after the 1992 season, he finished with 324 homers, 1225 RBIs, 1025 runs scored and 2092 hits, along with three Gold Gloves and eleven All-Star nods.
Though it took six tries, Carter was finally selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 with exactly 78% of the vote, eventually being joined by former teammates Andre Dawson and Tim Raines representing a missed Montreal Expos franchise that was really killed by the 1994 baseball strike.
I still can’t believe he passed away at such a young 57 in 2012 after a long battle with cancer.
RIP “Kid”.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


On the blog today is a “not so missing” 1975 card for former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Larry Anderson, who would actually have a slot on a multi-player rookie card the following year:

Anderson made the first two appearances of his brief Major League career in 1974, throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless ball with three strikeouts as a 21-year-old.
The following year he appeared in eight games, with one of them a start, going 1-0 with a 5.04 earned run average over 30.1 innings pitched.
After a full season in the Minors in 1976, he’d make it back to the Big Leagues in 1977 with the Chicago White Sox, going 1-3 over six games and 8.2 innings, all out of the bullpen.
That would be the last Major League action of his three-year career, spending the final three seasons of his pro career bouncing around the Minors for SIX organizations: Phillies, Cubs, Astros, Braves, Tigers and finally Orioles in 1980.
As for his MLB career, he’d finish with a record of 2-3 with a 5.66 ERA over 16 games and 41.1 innings of work.

Friday, April 13, 2018


Moving on to the Most Valuable Players of the 1978 season, here’s the 1979 card reflecting the top players as voted by the BBWAA:

In the National League you had the (should be) Hall of Famer in my book, Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Dave Parker, who pun in a second straight batting title in 1978, along with 30 homers and 117 runs batted in, while also pacing the Senior Circuit in slugging and total bases.
The man was a beast, yet also stole a career-high 20 bases, which he would match in 1979, while also slapping a career-high 12 triples.
Really, there was nothing he couldn’t do when you also take into account his rifle of an arm in right field, which was put on display for all to see in the 1979 All-Star game.
By the time he retired, he put up similar numbers to his 1978 MVP cohort Jim Rice, though Rice finally got the support needed to get into Cooperstown years later.
Parker finished with 339 homers, two batting titles, an MVP, over 2700 hits, just under 1500 RBIs and a .290 batting average.
In the American League, we come to Jim Rice, who won the award over the New York Yankees Ron Guidry when he led the Junior Circuit in hits, triples, homers, runs batted in slugging and total bases.
He hit an incredible 15 triples while slamming 46 homers to go along with 25 doubles, making him one of the few players to top 400 total bases in the period between World War II and the “steroid era” with 406.
By the time Rice finished up his excellent MLB career, he hit 382 homers, batted .298 and collected 2452 hits along with 1451 RBIs.
Though it did take a while, as I stated earlier, he finally made the Hall on his 15th and final eligible year on the ballot, garnering 76.4% of the vote.
Two absolute thumpers at the plate and legitimate superstars for the era.

Thursday, April 12, 2018


On the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1974 Bob Barton card for the former Major League catcher, who appeared in only a few games for the Cincinnati reds during the 1973 season:

Barton played in only three games for the NL West champs in 1973 after coming over from the San Diego Padres, for whom he suited up the previous three years (remember the hilarious 1972 “In-Action” card?).
In those three games he went hitless in his sole at-bat, with a walk thrown in, while backing up Johnny Bench in two of those games.
In 1974 he’d find himself back with the Padres, where he’d play in 30 games during the 1974 season, batting .235 with 19 hits over 81 at-bats, which would end up being the final action he’d see in the Majors, closing out a 10-year career which started out with the San Francisco Giants back in 1965.
Overall, he’d finish his career with a .226 average, playing in 393 games and collecting 237 hits in 1049 at-bats, with 66 runs batted in and 54 runs scored.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Came across the original image airbrushed and used by Topps for former set-up man Danny Frisella’s 1975 card, another beaut from the era:

The paint-job reflected the righty’s move from the Atlanta Braves, where he pitched the previous two years, to the San Diego Padres, for whom he’d spent the 1975 season with.
Funny how they did a pretty good job with the jersey, getting shadows and folds in there, yet decided to just ignore that little bit of cap showing up top. Stuff like that kills me!
Frisella had a very nice 10-year career in the Majors, establishing himself as a reliable guy out of the bullpen, before tragically dying in a dune-buggy accident on New Years day, 1977 in Arizona.
His 1971 season was arguably his best as a Big Leaguer, when he posted a record of 8-5 with a sparkling 1.99 earned run average with 12 saves for the New York Mets, appearing in 53 games and throwing 90.2 innings.
But aside from the ERA, the numbers were somewhat consistent for him throughout his career, and when his career sadly cut short, his final numbers were: 34-40 record, 3.32 ERA and 57 saves over 351 appearances.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


Time to go and give former reliever Bill McCool a career-capping 1971 card, closing out his seven-year Major League career:

McCool, who played the first five of his seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, appeared in 18 games for the Cardinals in 1970, all out of the bullpen, going 0-3 with a 6.23 earned run average in 21.2 innings of work.
The year before, he was one of the original San Diego Padres, going 3-5 with a 4.30 ERA over 54 games for the new Major League franchise in their inaugural season.
As stated earlier, the rest of his time on a Big League mound was spent with the Reds, having a couple of good years back-to-back, 1965 and 1966, when he saved 21 and 18 games respectively.
As a 19-year-old in 1965, he had a really good season when he went 6-5 with a 2.42 ERA with seven saves over 40 games, though he didn’t pick up a single Rookie of the Year vote, the award being won by Jim Lefebvre in a rather lackluster campaign (actually Joe Morgan should have won the award).
Overall, McCool finished his career with a record of 32-42, along with an ERA of 3.59 and 58 saves over 292 appearances and 528.1 innings of work.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Here’s a bit of a “Special” card, a 1972 “Missing in Action” card for NYC-born Joy Foy, who wrapped up a six-year Major League career with the Washington Senators in 1971:

Of course, since the Senators relocated and began the 1972 season as the Texas Rangers, it left me with a little bit of a twist to have Foy on a card, so I went with the same format as the Curt Flood I did a long while back, using the “Traded” late-series sub-set template.
Foy came up to the Big League in 1966 with the Boston Red Sox and really had an underrated rookie year, scoring 97 runs while hitting 15 homers and driving in 63 with a a .262 batting average.
Over the next two seasons he’d pretty much keep those numbers consistent, giving the Red Sox a very good young shortstop for the future.
However, left unprotected in the 1969 expansion draft, the Kansas City Royals picked him as the fourth overall pick. So it was straight to the “second division” for Foy, where he once again had a solid year, batting .262 with 37 stolen bases and 72 runs scored for the new Major League team.
Of course, he would then become a part of one of those lopsided trades in the early-70’s, as the New York Mets acquired him for a young outfielder named Amos Otis, giving the Royals a player who would be a mainstay in the outfield over the next decade, while Foy fizzled out, hitting only .236 in Queens during the 1970 season, before that last season for Washington.
It seems that Foy developed some problems during his tenure with the Mets, apparently even showing up to games high on marijuana, thus leaving the Mets no choice but to leave him unprotected once again, enabling the Senators to take one last chance on the young infielder to no avail, when he hit .234 in a limited role.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


The nest player to be added to the 1975 “In-Action” series I’ve been running is relief pitcher extraordinaire Sparky Lyle of the New York Yankees:

Lyle was entering his fourth season with the Yanks after coming over from the Boston Red Sox, and was coming off of another brilliant season in 1974 that saw him go 9-3 with a sparkling 1.66 earned run average over 66 games and 114 innings of work.
In his 1st year with the Bronx Bombers, he was lights out, going 9-5 with a league-leading 35 saves and a 1.92 ERA, finishing third in the AL MVP race.
Just two years into the future, he’d put it all together when he’d win the AL Cy Young Award after going 13-5 with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA for the World Champ Yanks, throwing 137 innings over 72 games.
Of course, all that got him was a new teammate in 1978 by the name of Rich “Goose” Gossage, who would make Lyle trade-bait come 1979, leading to the ever-famous Graig Nettles line, “You went from Cy Young to Sayonara”.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired after the 1982 season, he appeared in 899 Major League games, all in relief, with 238 saves and a 99-76 record to go with his excellent 2.88 ERA over 16 seasons.

Saturday, April 7, 2018


Next up on the “70’s Nickname” parade is one of my favorite baseball people, longtime MLB lifer Jim Kaat, aka “Kitty”, who managed to stick around the game as a player, coach and announcer for close to 60 years:

Kaat came up to the Majors as a 20-year-old in 1959 with the Washington Senators, developing into an All-Star starter when the organization moved to Minnesota and became the Twins.
If there were a Cy Young winner for both leagues in place for the 1965 season, he most likely would have taken home the trophy when he posted a league-leading 25 wins to go along with a 2.75 ERA and 205 strikeouts for the American League champs.
After being selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox in 1973, he’d go on to post two straight 20-win seasons in 1974 and 1975, before moving on to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1976.
In 1979, at the age of 40, he’d transition to the bullpen, where he would carve out a niche for himself as a reliable reliever, pitching another five seasons, finishing up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1983, fresh off a World Championship in 1982.
One of the greatest fielding pitchers the game has ever seen, Kaat took home 16 straight Gold Glove Awards between 1962 and 1977. Incredible.
By the time he retired as a player, he appeared in 898 games, posted a record of 283-237 along with a 3.45 ERA and 2461 strikeouts, as well as 31 shutouts and 17 saves.
The man is a walking baseball resource who still shares his knowledge of the game. His time as a New York Yankees announcer was one of my favorites alongside other former players like Ken Singleton and Bill White.

Friday, April 6, 2018


Here’s a 1977 card for a player I’ve been meaning to tackle for some time now, former Red Sox first baseman (of a dozen games) Jack Baker:

Baker hit .130 over those 12 games in 1976, the first of his Major League career, collecting three hits in 23 at-bats with a homer and two runs batted in.
The following season would see him appear in only three games, which as it turned out were the last three Big League games he’d play in for his brief career, going 0-3.
In 1978, he would split the season between the Indians and Blue Jays organizations in Triple-A, but would never get the chance to play back on the Major League level, finishing his career with 14 games played, three hits, and a .115 batting average.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Gotta say, a friend of mine recently asked my why I didn’t create “Nickname” cards for the teams of the decade like the “Big Red Machine” or the “Bronx Zoo”.
So here’s the first team-nickname card, the Yankees and a 1978 “Bronx Zoo” card:

The Yanks were on their way to a second straight championship, both against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 1978, led of course by pitcher Ron Guidry who was mowing everyone down as he charged towards a 25-3 season, leading the league in wins, ERA at 1.74 and shutouts with nine.
On offense, the Yankees were stacked, with guys like Reggie Jackson, Chris Chambliss, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles and Lou Piniella, giving the team a balanced line-up that produced three 90+ RBI men.
Of course, this wasn’t all without drama, as the madness of Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, managerial changes and team fighting led to some memorable stories surrounding the organization.
From the “Straw that stirs the drink” to “You went from Cy Young to sayonara”, this team was epic when it came to side-shows, and as a kid in Brooklyn just about to turn 10, I loved every second of it!
I chose the image for this card for the very fact that in the middle of the pile-up there’s some strange teenager, front and center, reminding me of how wild it was back then when you could run out to the field and celebrate along with the players. Granted, not like the players liked it or anything.
But I do remember the sheer madness of the celebrations as the Yanks brought it home in ‘77 and ‘78!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


I'm proud to announce the availability of the next WTHBALLS custom card set, "1960 Baseball Stars":

The sets includes 40 cards to "cut-out" (not recommended), along with 10-stickers, a "hint" as to the following card project, and a packet of cherry flavored gelatin, all housed inside printed "WTHBALLS Gelatin" box.
The sets are strictly limited to only 20 sets this time, and they are $27 postpaid (a little higher because of weight).
For those interested please contact me for availability, and please note my next post office date is this coming Saturday.
Thank you all for the continued support!


Time to go and give former outfielder Bob Coluccio a “not so missing” 1978 card for his brief 1977 time with the Chicago White Sox. Take a look:

Coluccio, who went through some crazy physical transformation through the wild decade of the 1970’s (see my other post for him on the blog), appeared in 20 games for the White Sox in 1977, batting .270 with 10 hits in 37 at-bats.
It was his first action back in the Big Leagues after spending all of 1976 in the Minors, and sadly for him, pretty much the last chunk of time he’d get besides five games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978.
For his career, which began with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973 as a clean cut young man, he’d appear in 370 games, batting .220 with 26 homers and 114 runs batted in over 1095 at-bats.
Hopefully I can track done an image of him with the Cardinals to “cap-off” his career with a 1979 card sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


We’ve made it to the last season of the decade in my Awards thread, and today we have the Cy Young winners of 1978 for the 1st card in the 1979 sub-set:

In the National League, we had a 39-year old Gaylord Perry of the San Diego Padres showing that he certainly was not done as a pitcher, posting a record of 21-6 with a 2.73 earned run average, taking home his second such award while becoming the first to win one in each league after also winning in 1972 while with the Indians.
It’s especially interesting to note that the Texas Rangers felt Perry was “over-the-hill” when they traded him to San Diego for Dave Tomlin and $125,000.
He’d go on to pitch another five years, until his age-44 season, before retiring with 314 wins, 3534 strikeouts and an excellent 3.11 ERA over 22 seasons and 777 appearances, on his way to a Hall of Fame induction in 1991.
Over in the American League, we had the New York Yankees “Louisiana Lightning” Ron Guidry putting in a season for the ages, going 25-3, setting the record that still stands for winning percentage among 20-game winners with a brilliant .893, while also setting team records for shutouts with nine and strikeouts with 248, while leading the Majors with his microscopic 1.74 earned run average.
It’s easy to forget how Guidry was already 27 years of age then, only his second full season in the Majors, which would explain why he’d only pitch 14 seasons yet retire at the age of 37 in 1988.
Nevertheless, Guidry would go on to post three 20-win seasons, take home two ERA crowns, and two World Championships while forever being a fan favorite in the Bronx to this day.
I personally never got over him getting ripped off the MVP in 1978, losing out to an equally deserving Jim Rice. But then in 1986 the tables were turned, once again against the Yankees favor when Don Mattingly was ripped off MVP when it was given this time to a pitcher, the Red Sox Roger Clemens.
Some things never die with me...

Monday, April 2, 2018


I love adding to the 1970 checklist! So today I post up a “not so missing” 1970 card for former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Barry Lersch:

Lersch, who was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1969 set, was skipped in 1970 by Topps, and understandably so after only appearing in 10 games for the Phillies, all out of the bullpen while going 0-3 with a bloated 7.13 earned run average over 17.2 innings of work.
It was actually the first taste of Big League ball for Lersch, who would go on to post a nice season in 1970, going 6-3 with a 3.26 ERA, appearing in 42 games with 11 of them starts.
He would end up pitching six-years in the Major Leagues, all but his final season of 1974 with the Phillies, while his career-capper was with the St. Louis Cardinals where he appeared in one single game, throwing 1.1 innings.
All told, he finished with a career record of 18-32 over 169 games, with a 3.82 ERA in 570.1 innings, posting six saves and throwing a shutout.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Came across the airbrushed image of Cleveland Indians manager Ken Aspromonte‘s 1973 card and thought it interesting to post here:

Aspromonte, who is from the same part of Brooklyn I grew up in, Bensonhurst/Gravesend, just finished his first season at the helm of the Indians, finishing fifth with a team that had Cy Young winner Gaylord Perry, Graig Nettles, Chris Chambliss and a young Buddy Bell.
He’d go on to manage the Indians for another two seasons, finishing sixth and fourth respectively in 1973 and 1974, never to manage again.
As a player he put in seven seasons on a Big League mound, spanning 1957 through the 1963 season playing for six teams after getting signed out of Lafayette High School, the rivals of my alma mater New Utrecht, and former high school of Sandy Koufax.
As a matter of fact, it seems Aspromonte and Koufax just missed each other in High School, with Koufax coming in right when Aspromonte graduated. Not bad.
As for the paint job on the card, I’m surprised Topps went through all the hassle to get that red cap airbrushed, even though Aspromonte was already in Indians garb. Why bother?
As a side note: love Warren Spahn and Rocky Colavito on the manager card as coaches!


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