Thursday, May 31, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for former pitcher Mike Davey, who made his Major League debut during the 1977 season with the Atlanta Braves:

Davey appeared in 16 games, throwing 16 innings and going without a decision while sporting and ERA of 5.06 with two saves, all out of the bullpen.
The following season he’d appear in three games, again all in relief, tossing 2.2 innings without an earned run, not factoring in a decision.
Sadly for him he’d never make it back to a Big League mound, playing out the next two years in the Minor Leagues with Seattle and Pittsburgh before retiring as an active player after the 1980 season.
All told, Davey finished up with a 4.34 ERA over 19 appearances and 18.2 innings pitched, collecting two saves and striking out seven without a decision.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


The next player in my ongoing 1975 “In-Action” sub-set is “Scoop” Al Oliver, one of my favorites from the era. A consistent all-star player who put together a wonderful 18-year Major League career:

When this card would have come out, Oliver just put together his finest season yet in 1974, collecting 198 hits wit a .321 batting average while knocking in 85 runs along with 96 runs scored and 61 extra base hits.
He would go on to have excellent seasons for the Pirates, Texas Rangers and the Montreal Expos, for whom he had perhaps his best season in as a Major League ballplayer in 1982 when he led the National League in batting (.331), hits (204), doubles (43), total bases (317) and runs batted in (109), finishing third in the MVP race while getting named to his sixth All-Star team.
By the time he retired after the 1985 season (some say because of collusion), he collected 2743 hits, 529 doubles, 219 homers and 1326 RBIs with a .303 lifetime average.
A quiet yet excellent career that should have gotten more than a 4.3% showing in his first year of Hall eligibility in 1991, allowing him to fall-off the ballot.
THAT is a crime in my book. Such a shame.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I love creating cards like this, a 1979 Jim Gaudet, who played for the Kansas City Royals for a total of six Big League games, three in 1978 and three in 1979:

Gaudet came up as a September call-up in 1978 for his first taste of the Majors, going hitless in eight at-bats while getting in some catching duties.
The following season he’d be back up for a brief spell, collecting his one and only hit, which was over six official at-bats, again playing three games behind the plate towards the end of the season.
But that would it for him in the Big Leagues, as he’d spend the rest of his professional ball-playing days in the Minor Leagues, playing for the Royals and Detroit Tigers organizations before retiring for good as an active player in 1982.
It’s always fun creating cards for guys that really only had a cup-of-coffee in the Majors, yet never got a card along the way. Best part of running this blog!

Monday, May 28, 2018


Up on the blog today we have a career-capping “Missing” 1975 card for former Montreal Expos outfielder Boots day, who finished up a six-year Major League career in 1974:

Day played five of his six years in the Big Leagues with Montreal, coming over from the Chicago Cubs in 1970 for Jack Hiatt on May 12th.
He appeared in 52 games during the 1974 season, batting .185 wit 12 hits over 65 at-bats, scoring eight runs with a couple of runs batted in.
Originally up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 for eleven games, he was traded to St. Louis before the 1970 season, for whom he played in eleven games before the trade to the Expos.
His best season in the Majors would be 1971 when he batted .283 with a career-high 105 hits over 371 at-bats, scoring 53 runs while driving in 33, all career-bests.
He would find himself playing for the Detroit Tigers organization in 1975, and sadly for him he’d do just that through the 1980 season, never again getting back to the Big Leagues, retiring from Pro Ball for good after only 31 games in both A and AAA Ball.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


I always figured I’d come back to my 1977 Billy Williams “Career-capper” since I never really liked the image I used, and that day is today as I replace it with a much better shot:

“Sweet Swingin’ Billy from Whistler” wrapped up a Hall of Fame career in 1976 with the Oakland A’s, his second season with the team after 16 years with the Chicago Cubs.
Is it possible to be considered overshadowed and underrated yet still make the Hall of Fame? Williams is the perfect example!
By the time he retired, he finished with 2711 hits, 1410 runs scored, 426 home runs, 1475 runs batted in and a .290 batting average over 2488 games.
He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1961, two-time runner-up to the MVP Award (thanks to Johnny Bench each time) in 1970 and 1972 and a six-time All-Star.
What a career he put together, yet always in the shadows of giants like teammate Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Nevertheless, though it took him six years of eligibility to make it, he was elected for a rightful place in Cooperstown in 1987 when he received 85.7% of the vote.
Just a great player all around.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Time to honor All-Star outfielder and a major factor in the way the game is structured to this very day, Curt Flood, with a “Then and Now” card in the 1971 set:

Flood pretty much sacrificed his career by the early-70’s , fighting MLB for their handling of players “as cattle” in regards to trades, releases, eventually opening the doors for Free Agency and allowing players some control over their own careers.
You have to understand how HUGE this was, as it was something players have been trying to do since the late-1800’s (think of the failed Players League of 1890).
Sadly for Flood, while it did end up helping ballplayers soon after he left the game, his own playing career was over by the age of 33, really 31.
Beginning in 1962 Flood strung together eight fantastic seasons starring for the St. Louis Cardinals, consistently batting over .300, two 200-hit seasons, and seven straight Gold Glove Awards, right up to the 1969 campaign.
Then it all began with a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies along with others including Tim McCarver for superstar slugger Dick (Richie) Allen and a couple of other players.
Flood refused to report to his new team, eventually forcing the Cardinals to send prospect Willie Montanez to complete the deal, essentially ending his career as a player while he fought to have control over his own career, fighting the “reserve clause”.
After sitting out the season in 1970, the Phillies eventually sent him to the Washington Senators, where Flood played the last 13 games of his career before leaving the team within the first month, abruptly closing out a great career that could have been Hall of Fame worthy had he played longer.
If you’re not familiar with Flood’s case, and his teaming up with Players’ Union head Marvin Miller, you MUST read up on this to understand the state of the game today.
I just touched upon some brief points here, but the case and Flood’s decision to pursue this cause is incredible.
Every single player today has much to thank Flood and his sacrifice, allowing the Free Agent boom of the mid-70’s to change the game forever, leading to the salaries and benefits even the average players have today.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Up on the blog today I have a card that I’ve contemplated for a while now, a “fantasy” 1972 “Traded” Willie Mays card for the all-time legend:

I’m not the biggest fan of Topps 1972 Traded sub-set. To be honest I never liked them.
However I always wondered if Topps could have squeezed out a Mays version since he was traded to the New York Mets in May of the 1972 season.
I don’t know the print-schedule for the series regarding the 1972 set, but it must be pretty close, no?
Nevertheless, as we all know Mays was traded back to where it all began for him, New York, for pitcher Charlie Williams and $50,000 cash.
He’d end up playing through the 1973 season, even appearing in the World Series as his final action as a Major League player in a losing cause against the juggernaut Oakland A’s three-peat champions.
By the time he hung them up, he finished with over 2000 runs scored, 3000 hits, 660 home runs and 1900 runs batted in, while being named to 20 All-Star teams and winning 12 Gold Gloves.
Easily the greatest player of the last 50-years, if not ever.
“Say Hey” Willie Mays.


Thursday, May 24, 2018


On the blog today, we have a “missing” 1978 card for former Padres pitcher Dave Wehrmeister, who saw the most action of any of his six Major League seasons in 1977:

Wehrmeister appeared in 30 games for San Diego, six of them starts, posting a record of 1-3 with a 6.07 earned run average over 69.2 innings pitched.
He made his MLB debut in 1976, appearing in seven games while going 0-4 with a bloated 7.45 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched, with four of those games as a starter.
Sadly for him, he’d only appear in four games during the1978 season before spending 1979 and 1980 toiling in the Minors for both the Padres and New York Yankees organizations.
He’d make it back to a Big League mound in 1981, with the American League champ Yankees, appearing in five games , not factoring in a decision while throwing seven innings of work.
But again, he’d have to wait a few years before getting back to the Big Leagues, which he would do in 1984 with the Philadelphia Phillies where he got to appear in seven games for the reigning National League champs, pitching 15 innings without a decision.
In 1985, now finding himself in the South Side of Chicago with the White Sox, Wehrmeister would go 2-2 with a nice 3.43 ERA over 23 games, collecting the only two saves of his career while tossing 39.1 innings.
Yet again, the bump in action didn’t help him come the following season, as it turned out to be the last Big League action he’d see, pitching in Chicago’s Minor League system during the 1986 season, his last in pro ball.
All told, he finished his career with a record of 4-9 along with a 5.65 ERA over 76 appearances and 157.2 innings pitched.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Here was a fun card to create, a 1970 “Not So Missing” Ted Simmons card for a guy that should have gotten more Hall of Fame support for his stellar 21-year career:

Simmons was still a teenager when this card would have come out, appearing in five games for St. Louis and collecting three hits over 14 at-bats.
Of course, the man would go on to be one of the greatest hitting catchers of all-time, but sadly stuck in the shadows of guys like Johnny Bench and Gary Carter, never getting the attention he should have gotten in my opinion.
The eight-time All-Star went on to collect 2472 hits, with 483 doubles, 248 home runs and 1389 runs batted in, hitting an excellent .285 over his 2456 games.
He would drive in over 100 runs in a season three times, while also adding another five seasons of 90+, with six seasons of 20 or more homers.
Just look at this guy’s career. How on earth did he only get 3.7% support in his ONLY year on the Hall of Fame ballot?
I just do not get it.
One last stat I will leave you with: in 8680 career at-bats, Simmons struck out only 694 times. That is only 8 strikeouts per 100 at-bats over his entire career.
This man is a Hall of Fame catcher in my book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


The next “Missed Rookie Cup” in this new series is the 1973 Dick Tidrow, who was named to Topps “All-Rookie” team in 1972 for his fine Major League debut:

Tidrow posted a record of 14-15 for the Cleveland Indians, with an excellent 2.77 earned run average and 123 strikeouts over 39 appearances, 34 of the starts, with three shutouts and 10 complete games.
Pretty good rookie year to say the least.
He would go on to put in a solid 13-year career in the Big Leagues, both as a starter and reliever, appearing in 620 games with a record of 100-94 along with 55 saves.
The high point of his career would have to be his years spent with the New York Yankees between 1974 and 1979, becoming a dependable arm out of the bullpen as well as spot-starting, participating in both World Champion teams of the “Bronx Zoo” years.

Monday, May 21, 2018


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for former pitcher Steve Blateric, who finished up his brief Major League career with the California Angels in 1975:

Blateric appeared in only two games for California in his final Big League season, posting an ERA of 6.23 over 4.1 innings pitched, not factoring in a decision.
That action in ‘75 was his first since the 1972 season, when he appeared in one game for the New York Yankees, pitching four innings of scoreless ball, once again not factoring in a decision.
The previous year he made his Major League debut, with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in two games and giving up four earned runs over 2.2 innings for a bloated ERA of 13.50, and yet again, not factoring in a decision.
So his final numbers over his three-year career were a 5.73 ERA in five appearances and 11 innings pitched, without getting tagged for either a win or a loss, striking out 13 while walking only one.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Hey everyone!
Just a small preview to the next wthballs custom 40-card set, "1940 Stars of Baseball".
This edition will be a boxed baseball game that will include two dice, a Lou gehrig commemorative roll-card, fold-out playing field, and card stands to "run the bases" as you play the game with the player cards. All packaged in a 6" x 9" box with label.
Expect availability first week of June. Limited to about 30-35 sets.
Thanks to all who support the work!


Here’s a card I whipped up just because I came across a nice shot of former pitcher Bill Laxton in a Tigers uniform, for whom he pitched in 1976:

Re-do with 1976 team.
1977 card as issued by Topps

The reason I thought it’d make for an interesting card is because he was depicted in the 1977 Topps set as an upcoming Seattle Mariner, with all the bad airbrushing we got with those Mariner and Blue Jay cards, and for us “Yearbook” collectors, that is, people that think a card set should represent the previous year’s events, results, etc, it’d be nice to have a card of him with the team he actually pitched for. (Run-on sentence there. You get the gist).
Laxton appeared in 26 games for Detroit in 1976, going an unflattering 0-5 with an earned run average of 4.09 over 94.2 innings of work.
When the 1977 season started, he did pitch for the Mariners in their inaugural campaign. He’d go 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA over 43 games and 72.2 innings pitched before getting traded to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Ray Fosse in September, getting into two games for the Tribe before season’s end.
Turns out those would be the last games of Laxton’s Major League career, and he’d finish with a career record of 3-10 over 121 games and 243.1 innings with an ERA of 4.73.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


Next up in the “Nickname of the 70’s” parade is one of my favorite players from the era, “Mr Clean” Steve Garvey, who earned the alias early in his career because of his seemingly “squeaky-clean” image:

Though he’d go on to tarnish that image later in life, pretty much derailing his political ambitions post-baseball, he was indeed the poster child for the All-American boy from the moment he came up to the Majors through the early-80’s.
Hey, I don’t judge, so we’ll leave that aside and get to the fact that he was the premier first baseman in the National league from the mid-70’s through the mid-80’s, an All-Star year in and year out.
Modern metrics be damned, the man topped 200-hits six times, took home the NL MVP in 1974, won four Gold Gloves and strung together a run of 1207 consecutive games played, which is still the NL record.
The anchor of the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers teams of the era, they took over from Cincinnati as the preeminent team in the Senior Circuit in the late-70s, reaching the World Series three times over five seasons between 1977 and 1981, winning it all that final year, beating the New York Yankees and exacting some sweet revenge for their two losses in 77/78.
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a few hundred times: the fact that this man is NOT in the Hall of Fame, representing his era of Major League baseball, is a joke. Flat out nonsense. Beyond the numbers, the personality, the leader of a team that was shattering attendance records, helping popularize the game further, the man was a an All-Star year in-year out.
In my book, seeing that the most support he ever received was 42.6%, which was in his second-year of eligibility in 1994, is nothing short of a mark on what the Hall of Fame is.

Friday, May 18, 2018


Time to go and give Mike Schmidt a card in my on-going “1975 In-Action” thread, as he was just beginning to show the baseball world what a Hall of Fame third baseman he was when this card would have come out:

Schmidt was coming off his first successful Major League season in 1974, winning the first of his eight National League home run titles with 36 blasts, while driving in over 100, which would be the first of nine times in his 18-years in the Big Leagues.
What a career: 12 All-Star nods, 10 Gold Gloves, three Most Valuable Player Awards, all while anchoring a Philadelphia Phillies team that would reach their apex in 1980, taking home the World Series with a victory over the Kansas City Royals.
By the time he hung them up in 1989, he’d hit 548 home runs, drive in 1595 runs while scoring 1506, while also stealing 174 bases! Easy to forget he could steal a base or two. As a matter of fact, it’s real easy to forget that he came one stolen base short of joining the (then) exclusive 30-30 club back in 1975, slamming 38 homers to lead the league while swiping 29.
Nevertheless, “Schmitty” rode that success straight to a Hall of Fame induction come 1995, a lock if there ever was one.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Today I post up a “not so missing” 1977 card for former Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Kreuger, who appeared in eight games during the 1976 season and collected the only wins of his brief four-year career:

Kreuger originally came up in 1975, appearing in two games for Boston without factoring in a decision, pitching four innings and posting an ERA of 4.50.
The following year he went 2-1 over those aforementioned eight games, starting four and even throwing a complete game, with an ERA of 4.06 over 31 innings of work.
Though he’d spend 1977 in the Minors, he did get into one game for the Red Sox, but it wasn’t pretty, allowing two earned runs without getting an out, for that dreaded “inf” ERA, getting tagged for the loss to boot.
In 1978, he would find himself in Cleveland, pitching for the Indians, and would appear in the last six games of his Big League career, posting a respectable 3.86 ERA over 9.1 innings, all out of the bullpen.
Overall, over 17 Major League appearances between 1975 and 1978, he’d finish with a record of 2-2, with an ERA of 4.47 over 44.1 innings pitched.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1971 card for former pitcher Darrell Osteen, who played the final three games of his brief Major League career for the Oakland Athletics in 1970, going 1-0 with a 6.35 earned run average over 5.2 innings:

Osteen played the first three years of his career with the Cincinnati Reds between 1965 and 1967, accumulating a record of 0-4 with a bloated ERA over 26 games and 32.1 innings of work.
He’d miss the 1968 and 1969 seasons before making it all the way back to the Majors for that last tour, before spending all of 1971 in the Minors playing for both the Oakland and New York Yankees organizations.
All told, he finished his Big League career with a record of 1-4, with a 8.05 ERA over 29 appearances, with one of them being a start, in 38 innings pitched, with three saves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Been a little while since I created a “Coach Card”, so today I post up a 1973 Lew Burdette, as he was helping out old teammate and Atlanta Braves manager Eddie Mathews:

Burdette of course will always be known as the hero of the 1957 World Series when he pitched the (then) Milwaukee Braves to a surprising championship win over the favored New York Yankees, winning three games, all complete games, two of them shutouts.
He put in 18 seasons in the Big Leagues, winning 203 games while posting and earned run average of 3.66 along with 33 shutouts and 32 saves over 626 appearances.
Between 1956 and 1961 he averaged just under 20 wins a season for the Braves, with a high of 21 in 1959 which led the National League, as well as his four shutouts and 39 starts.
Great playing career for a baseball lifer, who’d retire after a couple of seasons with the California Angels in 1967 as an arm out of the bullpen at the age of 40.

Monday, May 14, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1972 card for former San Diego Padres outfielder Rod Gaspar, just a few years removed from his time with the World Champion New York Mets of 1969:

Gaspar was sent to the Padres for pitcher Ron Herbel in October of 1970, and appeared in 16 games for San Diego during the 1971 season, hitting .118 with two hits over 17 at-bats while spending the bulk of the year in their Minor League system.
Though playing pro ball through the 1976 season, Gaspar’s only other taste of the Majors would be 33 games in 1974, batting .214 for the Padres with three hits in 14 at-bats.
He’d finish his 4-year career with a .208 batting average along with 54 hits and 35 runs scored over 260 at-bats and 178 games, 118 of those games as a rookie during that unexpected NY Mets run to their improbable championship in 1969 when he hit .228 for the “Amazin’s”, with 49 hits over 215 official at-bats while playing all three outfield positions.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


I came across this really nice photo and decided to create a 1973 “Special” card of the great Willie Mays and emerging superstar Cesar Cedeno, who was following in the “Say Hey Kid’s” footsteps as a power-hitting speedster:

Of course, time would reveal that NO ONE is another Willie Mays, but Cedeno put together a wonderful 17-year career that saw him top 2000 hits, 500 stolen bases one one home run short of 200.
Along the way he also took home five Gold Gloves while making the All-Star team four times, topping 50 steals six straight seasons between 1972 and 1977.
As for Mays, what needs to be said? One of, if not THE greatest player to grace a baseball field. The man did it all, 20 All-Star teams, 12 Gold Gloves, two National League MVP’s while hitting 660 homers, stealing 338 bases and collecting over 3000 hits while driving in over 1900.
Even writing what I just wrote about the man seemed silly. It’s Willie Mays for God’s sake. L-E-G-E-N-D.
I would have loved to listen in on the conversation these two were having when the photo was taken!

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Next up in my ongoing series of “correcting” Topps cards that for some reason lacked the “Topps All-Rookie” cup is the 1973 Garry Maddox card:

Maddox, eventually to be known as the “Secretary of Defense” for his defensive prowess, came up with the San Fracisco Giants in 1972 and had a nice rookie campaign when he hit .266 with 122 hits, 12 homers and 58 runs batted in.
Those numbers got him selected for the Topps Rookie All-Star team, but as stated earlier, didn’t get him the “Rookie Cup” some of the other players selected got in the 1973 set.
Regardless, the man went on to have an excellent Major League career over the next 15-years, primarily with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he was traded in 1975 for Willie Montanez.
He’d go on to win eight Gold Gloves, all with the Phillies, while hitting .285 for his career, throwing in about 25 stolen bases a year.
In 1976 he’d even hit as high as .330, earning him a fifth place finish in the National League’s MVP race, batting in a line-up with other stars like Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
He’d retire just a couple of weeks into the 1986 season, finishing up with that .285 batting average, 1802 hits, 248 stolen bases, and a reputation as being one of the greatest defensive outfielders to play the game.

Friday, May 11, 2018


Here was a fun card to create, a 1975 “not so missing in action” Brock Pemberton of the New York Mets, who appeared in the first 11 games of his brief two-year career during the 1974 season:

Pemberton was a September call-up for the Met in 1974, and went on to collect four hits over 22 at-bats, good for a .182 batting average along with an RBI.
Sadly for him, that would be the bulk of his Big League action, as he would only appear in two games the following season, going 0-for-2 at the plate, thus concluding his career at the ripe old age of 21.
All told, his moment in the Big League sun came to a .167 batting average, with two hits over 24 at-bats, while playing four games out at First Base.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Next player up in my on-going 1975 “In-Action” sub-set is All-Star catcher of the Boston Red Sox Carlton Fisk, who was quickly asserting himself as arguably the best catcher of the American League by the time this card would have come out:

Fisk was already a Rookie of the Year with three straight All-Star nods and a Gold Glove by the time the 1975 season opened, and was about to help lead the Red Sox to their first World Series berth since 1967, giving us one of the game’s most memorable moments when he homered off the foul pole against the Cincinnati Reds in the 12th inning of Game 6, forcing a seventh and deciding game.
Incredibly, though playing the rough position of catcher, Fisk would go on to play 24 years in the Big Leagues, the final 13 with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he suited up between 1981 and 1993, playing across four decades!
By the time “Pudge” retired, he left behind 2356 hits, 376 homers, eleven All-Star selections and at the time, the career-record for home runs by a catcher with 351 and games caught with 2226, both since passed by Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez respectively.
To cap it all off, in 2000, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, even though he was inexplicably dissed his 1st eligible year, receiving only 66.4% of the vote.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Here’s a “Not So Missing” 1978 card for former Kansas City Royals pitcher George Throop, who actually was on one of those multi-player rookie cards in the 1976 set a couple years before:

Throop appeared in four games for the American League West champ Royals, not factoring in a decision with an earned run average of 3.38 over 5.1 innings of work.
He’d go on to post a record of 1-0 for Kansas City during the 1978 season, appearing in one single game and pitching three innings of scoreless ball, though walking three batters and giving up two hits.
The following year, he get traded to the Houston Astros just as the season began for a player to be named later, where he’d go 1-0 in 14 appearances, all out of the bullpen, thus closing out what would be a four-year MLB career that had him finish 2-0 with a 3.83 ERA over 30 appearances and 42.1 innings pitched.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Long overdue, it’s time to go and give Bert Campaneris, “Campy” a “Nicknames of the 1970’s” card, in his case a 1976 edition since I’ve always loved the color scheme of the Oakland A’s cards that year:

“Campy” was a consistent spark plug for the Athletics organization since he came up in 1964 and making quite a splash by hitting two home runs in his Big League debut off Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim Kaat.
He’d go on to lead the American League in stolen bases six times, while getting named to six All-Star teams along the way.
Of course, he would also be an important member of the three-time World Champion Oakland A’s of the mid-70s along with Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi and Catfish Hunter just to name a few.
He would end up playing 19 Major League seasons, all the way to 1983, finishing up with 2249 hits, 1181 runs scored and 649 stolen bases over 2328 games.

Monday, May 7, 2018


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1973 card for former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Lance Clemons, who appeared in three games during the 1972 season:

Clemons, who came up with the Kansas City Royals in 1971 for his first taste of the Big Leagues, came over to St. Louis as part of the John Mayberry trade, and proceeded to go 0-1 with a bloated 10.13 earned run average over 5.1 innings of work.
He’d spend all of 1973 in the Minor Leagues playing in the Boston Red Sox organization before making it back to the Majors in 1974, appearing in six games for Boston, going 1-0 with a 9.95 ERA over 6.1 innings.
That would be the last MLB action he’d see, spending all of 1975 in the Minors before retiring as a player.
All told his MLB tenure resulted in a record of 2-1, with a 6.06 ERA in 19 appearances, four of them starts, in 35.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Up next in the “Missing Rookie Cup” thread is a revised 1973 card for “Groove” Don Baylor, who was just starting an excellent Major League career that would last 19 seasons:

Baylor had himself a nice rookie campaign, hitting 11 home runs while also stealing 24 bases in only 102 games and 320 at-bats for the Baltimore Orioles, and getting named to the Topps all-rookie team for his efforts.
It was just a small glimpse of what was to come as he would go on to hit 338 home runs during his career, with 285 stolen bases thrown in to make him a legitimate double-threat.
During the course of his career, he’d hit as many as 36 home runs, during his AL MVP 1979 season while with the California Angels, while stealing as many as 52 bases, in his lone season with the Oakland A’s in 1976 after being traded for Reggie Jackson.
He would also finish his career in a great way, reaching the World Series the last three seasons, each as a member of a different team: Boston Red Sox in 1986, Minnesota Twins in 1987 and Oakland A’s in 1988.
I loved his time with the New York Yankees from 1983 to 1985, teamed up with Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly to give them quite the offensive trio.
I still can’t believe he passed away last Summer. Great man and great player. RIP “Groove”.

Saturday, May 5, 2018


Haven’t done one of these in a while, so here’s a 1972 “Then & Now” for former Cy Young winning pitcher Mike McCormick, who finished up a nice 16-year career in 1971 with the Kansas City Royals, though he appeared on a Topps card as a San Francisco Giant:

Turns out McCormick, who originally came up to the Majors in 1956 as a 17-year old with the New York Giants, signed with the team right before the 1972 season, then retired in June without appearing in a game that season.
McCormick had his best seasons in the Majors with the Giants, which included two tenures with the organization: 1956-1962 and 1967-1970.
In 1967, his first season back with his old club, he went on the win the NL Cy Young when he posted a record of 22-10 with a 2.85 earned run average along with five shutouts.
Back in 1960 at the age of 21 he led the NL with his 2.70 ERA while going 15-12 with four shutouts and three saves over 40 appearances.
By the time he retired, he finished his Big League career with a record of 134-128, with a 3.73 ERA and 23 shutouts along with 12 saves over 484 appearances, 333 of them starts, with 2380.1 innings pitched.

Friday, May 4, 2018


Well, here we are, the last installment of my “Awards” special sub-set through the 1970’s, and it is a 1979 card celebrating the 1978 Rookies of the Year: Bob Horner in the National League and Lou Whitaker in the American League:

Bob Horner made a huge splash in the Majors in 1978, going straight from being the #1 overall pick in the amateur draft that June to a Major League field for the Atlanta Braves, and he didn’t disappoint, slamming 23 homers while driving in 63 runs in only 89 games.
Though he only played slightly more than half a season, he beat out second-place finisher Ozzie Smith of the Padres for the National Leagues’ top rookie honor.
Over in the American League, Detroit’s Lou Whitaker took home the rookie honors, almost winning the award unanimously over the rest of the field as he went on to hit .285 with71 runs scored and 58 runs batted in while manning second base.
Both would go on to have nice Major League career, though Whitaker would go on to play 19 years for the Tigers and become a fan favorite alongside his teammate Alan Trammell, a double-play combination that would set the record for longest running 2B/SS combo in MLB history.
Nevertheless, two impressive debut seasons for Horner and Whitaker, and thus closing out this fun thread after 30 entries, covering Cy Youngs, MVP’s and Rookies of the year!

Thursday, May 3, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card today for former Atlanta Braves pitcher Gary Neibauer, who pitched the last 16 games of his 5-year Major League career in 1973:

Neibauer finished up with a 2-1 record for the Braves along with a bloated 7.17 earned run average over21.1 innings pitched, with a start thrown in.
He originally came up in 1969 with Atlanta, and pitched for them into 1972 before getting traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in June of that year, appearing in nine games for them the rest of the way.
Come 1973, he’d be released by Philly and would get picked up by the Braves again, where he made those last appearances of his career.
All told, he’d finish his Big League tenure with a record of 4-8 over 75 appearances, sporting an ERA of 4.78 in 148.2 innings of work.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


Today I post up a 1970 “not so missing” card for former New York Yankees pitcher John Cumberland, who appeared in a scant two games during the 1969 season:

Cumberland pitched four innings for the Yankees over those two appearances, allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks, not factoring in a decision.
The previous season he had his first taste of the Big Leagues, pitching in one game at the end of the year, throwing two innings and allowing two earned runs.
In 1970 he would be traded to the San Francisco Giants for veteran pitcher Mike McCormick, where he would have his best season as a Major Leaguer in 1971, going 9-5 with a nice .292 ERA over 45 appearances and 185 innings of work, including two shutouts.
However he would find himself struggling in 1972, going 1-5 with a bloated 7.71 ERA in 23 games, finding himself with the St. Louis Cardinals by season’s end, then spending all of 1973 in the Minor Leagues before making it back in 1974 with the California Angels where he appeared in the final 17 games of his 6-year career, going 0-1 with a 3.74 ERA over 21.2 innings pitched.
All told, he finished his playing career with a record of 15-16, with a 3.82 earned run average over 110 appearances and 334.1 innings pitched, with two shutouts and two saves.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Up on the blog today, and acknowledging that it is indeed an older photo of the player, here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for former Boston Red Sox outfielder Sam Bowen:


Try as I might, I could not find a good shot of him in the Boston red caps worn during the 1977 season, but I did come across this image of him, so it’ll do for now.

Thank you Bill!!! 

As for Bowen, he appeared in three games for the Red Sox in 1977, the first of his brief three year career, all with the Boston organization.
In his only two at-bats he went hitless, striking out both times, having to wait until the following season to collect his first knock, which was actually a home run for his only hit over a six game tenure.
After playing the 1979 season entirely in the Minor Leagues, he’d make it back to the Big Leagues in 1980, appearing in seven games, the last of his brief career, going 2-for-13 with a stolen base and a couple of base-on-balls.
Over his brief three-year career, he ended up hitting .136 with three hits in 22 at-bats, appearing in 16 games on a Major League field.
If anyone has a full-resolution shot of him in the red Boston cap, please send it along so I can “update” this card!


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