Saturday, June 30, 2018


I came across this image a long time ago and always wanted to create one of those 1960s era “special” cards, so here goes, a 1975 card featuring the awesome one-two punch of Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Rollie Fingers, future Hall of Fame members:

These two were an incredible tandem for the Oakland A’s, with Hunter rolling with four straight 20-win seasons between 1971 and 1974, including a Cy Young Award for his 25-win year of 1974, while Fingers would be collecting 20+ saves a year while notching around 10 wins, all out of the bullpen, pitching over 100-innings every single season.
Just an awesome pair of 1970’s players who would eventually team up once again in Cooperstown with another teammate, Reggie Jackson.
Three important cogs in the three-peat champion teams of 1972-1974 that also included guys like Joe Rudi, Sal Bando, Gene Tenace and another ace pitcher, Vida Blue.
Of course, Hunter would sign with the New York Yankees before the 1975 season, setting off the dismantling of the dynasty with everyone, and I mean everyone, soon gone, leading to Oakland becoming a last-place team within a few years.

Friday, June 29, 2018


A while back, I was sent the original image, untouched, used by Topps for the classic 1976 card of Fred Lynn, fresh off of his historic Rookie of the Year/ Most Valuable Player season of 1975.
While the original intent was to “redo” the card, using the clearer photo, as I kept looking at the images, touched and untouched, I realized that I preferred the touched image!
As with my all-time favorite card, the 1976 Johnny Bench, I actually think the saturated, contrasted work Topps did made everything come together much stronger.
Take a look at what I’m talking about:

While the original image is excellent, there’s something about that saturated red, co-existing with the red on the card design. It really seems to make it all “one”.
Now, I realize I’m just talking about a baseball card, but to me the art involved, the little masterpiece that was this 1976 sports card, makes me appreciate the execution, whether by accident or not, so much more.
Topps really did have a great run from 1975 through 1979 in my opinion. Cards like those mentioned above, the 1977 Dave Kingman, Rusty Staub cards, the 1978 Reggie Jackson, and the 1979 Rod Carew and George Brett, were just such perfect cards (along with others I didn’t mention!).
Just amazing to look at them now, and to think (at least for me), how much less of an impact they would have had on me had they not been messed around with by the folks at Topps.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Today’s “not so missing” card is a 1972 edition for former Houston Astros pitcher Buddy Harris, he of 22 Big League games, 20 of which came in 1971:

Harris, who was a massive 6’7” tall and 245 Lbs, originally came up in 1970, appearing in the first two games of his Major League career for the Astros, not factoring in a decision and posting an ERA of 5.68 over 6.1 innings pitched.
The following year, he appeared in 20 games, going 1-1 with an ERA of 6.46 over 30.2 innings, all out of the bullpen, with 21 strikeouts and 16 base on balls.
He’d go and spend the next two seasons in the Minor Leagues, 1972 for the Astros’ organization and 1973 in the New York Mets’ system, before retiring for good after a series of arm problems cut his career short at the age of only 24.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


For the second day in a row I’m posting up a “not so missing” Chicago Cubs pitcher, this time a 1979 card for former righty Manny Seoane, who had a brief two-season Major League career:

Seoane appeared in seven games for the Cubs in 1978, going 1-0 with a 5.40 earned run average over 8.1 innings of work, including one start.
The previous season he appeared in the first two games of his career, though with the Philadelphia Phillies, who drafted him out of High School in 1973 out of Tampa Bay, Florida.
In that action with Philly he didn’t factor in a decision, started one games, and pitched to an ERA of 6.00 with four earned runs over six innings pitched.
That would be it for him on the Big League level, though he’d continue to pitch through the 1981 season in the Minor Leagues, finishing up in the Detroit Tigers system in both Double and Triple-A.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1977 career-capper for former Chicago Cubs pitcher Tom Dettore, who played out his four-year Major League career with a handful of games in 1976:

Dettore appeared in four games for the Cubs in the bicentennial season, going 0-1 with an earned run average of 10.29 over seven innings.
Turns out those would be the last games of his Big League career, as he’d spend all of 1977 in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system before retiring.
Dettore had a mixed bag of a career, mainly as an arm out of the bullpen with occasional starts here and there, finishing up his career with 68 appearances, including 15 starts.
Overall he ended up with a record of 8-11, with a 5.21 ERA in 179.2 innings pitched, with 106 strikeouts and 78 base on balls issued, all with the Cubs except for the first 12 appearances of his career in 1970, with the team that drafted him, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Today we have a 1976 “Career Capper” for former Kansas City Royals slugger, perhaps the first slugger the organization ever had, Bob Oliver, who wrapped up his eight-year Major League career with a handful of games with the New York Yankees in 1975:

Oliver appeared in 18 game for the Bronx Bombers, batting .132 in more of a pinch-hitting role with some play at first base, collecting five hits over 38 at-bats.
Between 1969 and 1973 he put up some decent power numbers during the modern “dead ball” era, averaging about 20 homers a season, including his best season in the Big Leagues, 1970, when he hit 27 homers with 99 runs batted in for the new Royals franchise, with 83 runs scored.
For his career, he hit 94 homers with a .256 batting average, along with 419 runs batted in and 293 runs scored, over 847 games and 2914 at-bats.

Sunday, June 24, 2018


A few years ago I created a “missing” 1977 card for former White Sox player Buddy Bradford, “cheating” a little with an image that showed him in the (then) outdated classic red-and-white uniform instead of the newly adopted blue and white threads.
Since then I found a perfect image to use with appropriate attire, so here we go, a “fixed” 1977 card. But first, the original:

And now the corrected card:

Nevertheless, regardless of the uni, Bradford appeared in 55 games during 1976, with 184 plate appearances and a .219 batting average based on his 35 hits over 160 official at-bats.
He closed out a respectable 11-year career which saw him suit up for the White Sox three separate times, the Cleveland Indians, The Cincinnati Reds and  St. Louis Cardinals.
He hit .226 for his career with 363 hits in 1605 at-bats, with 50 doubles, eight triples and 52 homers on top of his 224 runs scored and 175 runs batted in.
Man, I do love that red and white White Sox uniform of the early 1970’s! Such a classic!

Saturday, June 23, 2018


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1970 card for former Montreal Expos second baseman Marv Staehle, who made it back to the Big Leagues in 1969 after a year in the Minors:

Staehle, who played the first four years of his Major League career with the Chicago White Sox, made it back to a Big League field in 1969 during the Expos inaugural season, appearing in just six games, collecting seven hits in 17 at-bats for a stellar .412 batting average with four runs scored and a home run.
The following year he would see the most playing time of any of his seven seasons, playing in 104 games and batting .218 with 70 hits over 321 at-bats.
Considering that the most action he ever saw in any of his other MLB seasons was 32 games with the White Sox in 1967, you can expect that he set personal highs across the board in 1970 except for home runs, of which he hit none.
In 1971 he found himself with the Atlanta Braves, where he appeared in 22 games, which would be the last of his career, batting .111 with four hits over 36 at-bats while playing some middle-infield.
All told, over those seven seasons as a Big League ballplayer, Staehle hit .207 with 94 hits in 455 at-bats over 185 career games, with 53 runs scored and 33 runs batted in.

Friday, June 22, 2018


Years before he became the “Hit Man”, and years before he eventually even got his first Topps card in 1978, here’s Mike Easler and a “not so missing” 1975 card with the team that drafter him and brought him up for his first taste of the Big Leagues, the Houston Astros:

Easler appeared in only 15 games for the Astros in 1974, collecting one hit over 15 at-bats as a pinch hitter ironically enough, this after appearing in the first six games of his career the previous year.
It would be a slow process for Easler to really break though, not getting any substantial playing time until the 1980 season playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, now 29 years of age.
However, he’d do alright over the next seven seasons, having some really good years with the Pirates, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees before retiring after the 1987 season.
By the time he did retire, he finished with a lifetime .293 batting average, with 118 homers and 522 runs batted in over 1151 games and 3677 at-bats.
It’s amazing to realize that of his 14 seasons as a Big League player, he only had four in which he even had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Next up in the on-going “Missing Rookie Cup” thread is former Minnesota Twins Jerry Terrell, who was the Topps All-Star Rookie shortstop for the 1973 season, and should have had the rookie cup on his 1974 card:

Terrell had a nice MLB debut in 1973, batting .265 with 116 hits over 438 at-bats, with 13 stolen bases and 43 runs scored in 124 games played.
Sadly for him that would be the most action he’d see in any of his eight Big League seasons, as he’d become a player “off the bench” over his next four years with Minnesota followed by his three years with the Kansas City Royals.
By the time he retired after the 1980 season, he finished with a .253 career average, with 412 hits in 1626 at-bats over 656 games, all with the Twins and Royals, while also pitching two games, one each in 1979 and 1980, throwing two scoreless innings in total.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Today’s blog post has a 1972 “not so missing” Skip Guinn card, who played three years in the Major Leagues, albeit totaling only 35 games spread out among those three seasons:

Guinn appeared in what would be the last four games of his career in 1971 for the Houston Astros, not factoring in a decision while pitching 4.2 innings of scoreless ball, collecting one save.
It was a comeback of sorts since he played all of 1970 in the Minor Leagues, mainly as a starter for the Oklahoma City 89ers in Double-A ball.
1969 saw him see the most action of his career when he appeared in 28 games for Houston, going 1-2 with a bloated 6.67 ERA over 27 innings pitched, all out of the bullpen, with 33 strikeouts and 21 walks.
Before that, he played the first three games of his MLB career in 1968 with the team that drafted him, the Atlanta Braves, throwing five innings and giving up two earned runs for an ERA of 3.60.
All told, Guinn’s career numbers were a record of 1-2 over 35 appearances, with an ERA of 5.40 in 36.2 innings pitched, with 40 strikeouts and 27 walks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Today we have a “missing” 1979 card for former Minnesota Twins pitcher Greg Thayer, who played one single season in the Major Leagues:

Thayer appeared in 20 games for the Twins in 1978, going 1-1 with a 3.80 earned run average in 45 innings of work, all out of the bullpen.
He spent six-plus seasons in the Minor Leagues for both the Minnesota and San Francisco Giants organizations before finally getting a taste of the Big Leagues, but sadly for him he’d find himself back in the Minors in 1979 and 1980, the latter with the Toronto Blue Jays, before retiring as a player for good.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1971 card for former outfielder and pinch hitter Len Gabrielson, who finished up a nine-year Major League career in 1970 with the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Gabrielson appeared in 43 games for the Dodgers in 1970, batting .190 with 8 hits over 42 at-bats in what turned out to be the final action he’d see on a Big League diamond.
Originally up with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, his career was pretty much evenly split up between five organizations: Dodgers, Braves, California Angels, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs between 1960 and 1970.
His final numbers were a .253 average with 446 hits in 1764 at-bats over 708 games, all as a player off the bench, with the most games played in any one season being 116 split between the Cubs and Giants in 1965.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


I’ve always gotten a kick out of the 1973 Chris Chambliss card, not just because of the Jim Kaat photobomb, but the great image used, the horizontal layout and those oh-so-cool Chambliss sideburns:

How classic “1970’s” is this shot!?
Chambliss was just off his Rookie of the Year season of 1971 with the Cleveland Indians, a year before getting traded to the New York Yankees, where he’d find baseball gold with two straight championships and a career-making highlight in the 1976 League Championship Series, hitting the game winning, series winning home run off Kansas City Royals reliever Mark Littell to send the Yanks to their first World Series since 1964.
By the time he was done, Chambliss put in 17 seasons as a Major League player, retiring with over 2000 hits and a nice .279 batting average.
Then you get wind-breaker clad Jim Kaat, who Chambliss is keeping close to first. Kind of funny since Kaat’s regular base card in the 1973 set is him batting! So I wonder if the at-bat was a precursor to him at first base. Love it!
All “Kitty” did in the Majors was put in 25 years, win 283 games, and appear in 898 games between 1959 and 1983, with a World Championship in 1982 while with the St. Louis Cardinals.
We are looking at 42 years of Big League service on this card!
One of my favorites in the 1973 set.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Found another gem of an airbrushing job from the 1970’s, so that always makes for a blog post, this one the photo used for the 1976 Mike Lum Traded:

The Hawaii native was traded over to the eventual repeating World Champion Cincinnati Reds for Darrel Chaney, where he’d put in a couple of seasons before coming right back in 1979.
He’d play for another few years in Atlanta before a appearing in 41 games with the Chicago Cubs in 1981 to close out his 15-year career.
His best season in the Big Leagues was easily his 1973 season, when the Braves seemed to have a few guys have career-years.
For Lum, he set career-highs with a .294 batting average,  74 runs scored, 16 home runs and 82 runs batted in on a team that featured three 40-home run guys (Aaron, Evans and Davey Johnson) and four 90+ RBI men.
Amazing that the team could only muster a record of 83-78 with lumber like that!
Nevertheless, Lum finished his career after the 1981 season, collecting a career .247 average with 877 hits and 431 RBIs over 1517 games, with Post Season appearances in the 1969 and 1976 League Championship Series.
Until writing this post I never realized he had that long a Major League career, coming up with the Braves back in 1967 as a 21-year old.

Friday, June 15, 2018


Here’s a card that I always wanted to create, but it wasn’t until I had a special request for it, with the image used sent to me, that I finally put it together for today’s blog post, a 1970 Sparky Anderson “Coach=Card” with the San Diego Padres:

Anderson, who was about to go on to an incredible 26 run as a Hall of Fame manager with the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers, first lent his skills as a coach with the new San Diego franchise in 1969 after some years as a Minor League manager throughout the 1960’s.
But after the Reds offered him the job to replace former manager Dave Bristol to head the upstart Cincinnati team, he jumped at the chance, and began what was to be an incredible run through the 1970’s that saw him appear in four World Series, winning two in a row in 1975/1976, with the team gaining the nickname “Big Red Machine”, loaded with all-stars like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose and Tony Perez.
After nine years with Cincy, he then moved over to guide the Detroit Tigers, where he’d be over the next 17 years, bringing home a championship in 1984 while winning 1331 games in the Motor City.
All told, the man would post 2194 Major League wins as a manager in 26 years, with five pennants, three championships and seven first-place finishes.
Great baseball lifer and story-teller. Miss him.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Here is a classic to add to the “Not Really Missing” collection, a 1973 card for one-game Major Leaguer Clint Compton of the Chicago Cubs:

Compton made is sole Big League appearance on October 3rd of 1972, throwing two innings and giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks.
Unfortunately for him, that was it as far as his Major League career, as he would spend the next season in the Minor Leagues, going 4-6 for Wichita in the Cubs’ system.
Turns out that 1973 season in the Minors would be his last as a Pro, closing out a six-year professional career that began in the Atlanta Braves’ system in 1968 as a 17-year old.
One MLB game, two innings, and this card created for the blog. Love stuff like this!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The next player who got “ripped off” a nice Rookie Cup by Topps in the 1970’s is none other than future Dodgers’ All-Star second baseman Davey Lopes, who broke into the Major Leagues with a very nice 1973 season:

Lopes hit .275 for Los Angeles in his rookie year, with 36 stolen bases and 77 runs scored, giving the team an idea of what he’d end up doing over the next eight years while making the All-Star team four times while also taking home a Gold Glove.
He’d would lead the National League in stolen bases two years in a row: 1975 and 1976, with a high of 77 in ‘75 and 63 in 1976.
What always amazed me about that 1976 total was that he stole those 63 bases on only 103 hits! Incredible to think he swiped so many bags on so few hits (along with 53 base on balls).
On occasion he’d also show some “pop”, as he did in arguably his finest season in the big leagues when he hit 28 homers to go along with 44 stolen bases, 109 runs scored and 97 walks in 1979, starting the All-Star game alongside his teammate Steve Garvey.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season, he collected 557 stolen bases and 1023 runs scored to go along with 1671 hits and a .263 batting average.
And to think, he didn’t play his first full season until the age of 28 in 1973. I never realized he got such a late start in his MLB career.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1978 card for a guy who is a bit of a mystery to me, Oakland A’s outfielder Mark Williams:

Williams appeared in three games for the A’s in May of 1977, going 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI after toiling for five years in the Oakland and Kansas City Minor League systems.
But it seems he was sent back to the Minors right after his short three day stint in the Majors, where he’d play a full season for San Jose of the Pacific Coast League.
But then the mystery is that after that action in 1977, nothing. Not only did he not play again in the Majors, but it seems he never played in the Minor Leagues again as well.
Anyone know what happened to him? He was only 23 years old at the time, and his Minor League season was a good one, hitting .277 with 88 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases.
I looked online and couldn’t find a thing.
All told, he spent three days as a Major League player, with those three games in May.
On top of everything else, I’m intrigued by the fact that he also had a nickname, “Cadillac”, which makes him all that more interesting to me!

Monday, June 11, 2018


Today’s blog post has a 1977 “Not really missing” card for former pitcher Frank Riccelli, who appeared in the first four games of his brief three-year MLB career in 1976:

Riccelli posted a record of 1-1 for the San Francisco Giants in his debut, pitching 16 innings and giving up 10 earned runs, good for an ERA of 5.63.
He’d spend all of 1977 in the Minor Leagues, before coming back to the Big Leagues in 1978 for two years as a member of the Houston Astros, where he’d go 2-2 generally out of the bullpen, even getting a Topps card in the 1980 set, though it turned out his MLB playing days were behind him.
After two seasons in the Minor Leagues playing for the Pittsburgh and Toronto organizations in 1981 and 1982, he retired for good.
For his Big League career, he finished with a record of 3-3, with an ERA of 4.39 over 17 appearances and 41 innings of work, with five of those appearances being starts.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Came across this nice in-game shot of former Gold Glove third baseman Doug Rader recently and wanted to redo his airbrushed 1978 “career-capper”, so here we go:

Original by Topps

Funny enough little did Topps know that Rader’s playing days were already behind him when this card would come out, finishing up a very nice 11-year career with 96 games in Toronto’s inaugural 1977 season.
Rader’s first nine years in the Big Leagues were spent with the Houston Astros, where he took home five straight Gold Gloves between 1970 and 1974 while showing some “pop” with his bat, topping 20 homers three times while driving in 80+ four times, with a high of 90 in 1972.
I was surprised to see he never made an All-Star team. I’m not saying the guy deserved to be a starter or anything, but I’d figured he made one or two as a back-up or replacement along the way.
After his playing career was over he went in to coaching, then managing, putting in six years leading the Texas Rangers and California Angels, the latter of which I have NO recollection, even though he had the Angels win 91 games in 1989, finishing third in a strong American League West division.
I’ll have to whip up a “Nickname” card for him soon! “The Red Rooster”!

Saturday, June 9, 2018


Hey everyone!
Hope you're all having a great weekend!
The newest custom baseball set, "1940 Stars of Baseball" is now available for purchase, and I'm really happy with the way they came out. Take a look:

The set features 40-cards along with a fold-out play board, dice roll-card (Lou Gehrig "Commemorative" card), line-up 20-page booklet to keep your line-ups, score sheets to score your game, a branded "1940 Stars of Baseball" pencil to help keep score, two dice and four stands to help you "run the bases" with your player cards (if you so choose!).
All of this comes inside a box with printed lid, and are limited to 40 sets, then they're gone.
The cards have all the stars of era: DiMaggio, Williams, Mize, Feller, Hubbell, etc, and have fully printed backs like the other sets I have produced in the past.
As an added element of the game, the backs of each card have a unique "Power-Roll" number, so if you roll that number for that individual player's at-bat, it's an automatic home run!
The sets are $28 postpaid, and will start shipping asap upon payment.
If you are interested in more than one, just ask and I'll see what I can do, depending on how fast they sell. But I did make more sets this time so it is a possibility.
Hope to hear from you! And thanks for all the support thus far!


Today I’m excited to post up a “special” card outside my usual “1970’s” focus, this one a 1969 card for one-game Major Leaguer Jophery Brown of the Chicago Cubs:

Jophery made his Big League debut on September 21st of 1968, pitching two innings and allowing a run on two hits, not factoring in a decision.
Turns out that would be the sum total of his Major League career, spending all of 1969 in the Minor Leagues before calling it a career.
Don’t feel too bad for the guy, turns out he already had a great career in place that he would ride for the next 40 years: as a Hollywood actor and stuntman!
Brown had already appeared on television some four years before his Big League debut as both an actor “Arrest and Trial” and stuntman “I, Spy”, before coming back full-time in 1973 with an uncredited role in the movie “Coffey”.
He would go on to act in 35 films and do stunts in 115.
Incredible story to his life in Hollywood as a stuntman and actor, doing work in films such as Scarface, Jurassic Park, Spider-Man and of course The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, the classic baseball movie starring James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor from 1975.
Jophery Brown passed away in January of 2014 at the age of 68, after battling cancer. But what a wonderful life he had.

Friday, June 8, 2018


Another fun card to create to fill out the awesome 1976 set, a card for former Milwaukee Brewers infielder Tommy Bianco, who played the only games of his brief MLB career during the 1975 season:

Bianco appeared in 18 games for the Brewers, batting .176 with six hits over 34 at-bats, with six runs scored while playing third and first base with some DH-ing thrown in.
Originally drafted as the third overall pick in the 1971 draft after Danny Goodwin and Jay Franklin, #’s 1 & 2 respectively, Bianco had some pop in his bat, hitting 28 homers with 81 runs batted in during the 1974 season at Triple-A Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League.
Sadly for him however, as mentioned earlier those 18 Big League games during the 1975 season would be it for him, as he’d play out the next four years in the Minor Leagues for the Milwaukee, Montreal, Detroit and Baltimore organizations.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Next up on the blog is a “Not So Missing” 1974 card for former Atlanta Braves first baseman Jack Pierce, who made his Major League debut during the 1973 season:

Pierce appeared in 11 games for the Braves in 1973, collecting a single over 20 at-bats while playing six of those games at first.
He’d go on to play another six games in 1974 before finding himself with the Detroit Tigers in 1975, playing in 53 games and hitting .235 with 40 hits in 170 at-bats, with eight home runs and 22 runs batted in.
But after that time with the Tigers, he’d go on to play two seasons in both the Mexican and Japanese Leagues in 1976 and 1977 before coming back to America in 1978, where he’d play for the Seattle Mariners organization for two years, never making the Big Leagues however.
After those two Minor League seasons for the Mariners, he went back and played in the Mexican League for the next eight years, retiring for good as an active pro player in 1987.
Overall, as a Major League player, Pierce batted .211 with 42 hits over 199 at-bats in 70 games between 1973 and 1975, with 20 runs scored and 22 RBIs along with eight home runs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Today’s blog post has a 1978 “Not Really Missing” card for former Milwaukee Brewers second baseman and designated hitter Bob Sheldon, who played all three of his Major League seasons in the Brew City:

Turns out Sheldon played the last 31 games of his brief Big League career in 1977, hitting .203 with 13 hits over 64 at-bats while DH-ing and playing a few games out at second base.
It was a return to the Majors for him, as he spent all of 1976 in the Minor Leagues after getting some MLB time in both 1974 and 1975, albeit part time.
In his first taste of the Big Leagues, he appeared in 10 games during the 1974 season, collecting two hits over 17 at-bats for a forgettable .118 average.
But in 1975 he played in 53 games, batting a very nice .287 with 52 hits over 181 at-bats, scoring 17 runs while driving in 14 with three doubles and three triples.
I couldn’t find out why, but after his Major League action I 1977, he never even played any Minor League ball after that, finishing up his career with an average of .256 with 67 hits in 262 at-bats over 94 games.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Here was a fun card to create for someone who had a huge impact on the sport beyond his actual playing days, former Detroit Tigers first baseman John Young, he of a two-game Major League career:

Young appeared in those two Big League games in September of 1971, going 2-for-4 with a double and run scored, thus the sum total of his playing career, even though he would hit very well in the Minor Leagues over the next six seasons for the Detroit and St. Louis Cardinals organizations.
By 1978 he was a Minor League instructor, before assuming other positions like scout and director of scouting for various teams.
It was while scouting that Young went on to organize “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities”, aka “RBI” to introduce and give inner-city kids a chance to play the game.
It was while scouting he saw that few kids in inner-cities got the chance to play baseball, eventually reporting his findings to Major League baseball and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, acquiring funds to launch the program in 1989.
The program exists to this day, now under direction of MLB, and continues to be an important part of kids from urban areas getting the chance to play organized baseball for the first time.
Sadly, Young passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 67 after suffering from diabetes, but his contributions to the game far exceed his action on a baseball diamond.
Really nice story to read about if you get the chance.

Monday, June 4, 2018


Next up in my on-going “Expansion Do-Overs” for the 1977 Blue Jays and Mariners cards is former shortstop Jim Mason, who went from the 1976 World Series, where he hit a home run for the New York Yankees, to the newly formed Toronto Blue Jays, and had this ridiculous photo used on his card by Topps, where it looked like he was crying:

Re-dome with a smile
Seriously, is he crying?

Topps really had some killer images in that 1977 set: Darrel Chaney, John Lowenstein, and this gem, which I replaced with an image that actually shows Mason smiling.

Originally a member of the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers between 1971 and 1973, Mason played for the Yankees between 1974 and 1976, getting his only full-time role during his nine-year career in 1974, appearing in 152 games and batting .250 with 110 hits in 440 at-bats.
Until writing this blog entry, I never realized that between 1975 and 1979, the last five seasons of his career, Mason never reached the .200 mark in batting!
His averages are as follows: .152, .180, .187, .190 and .183.
So in all fairness, we could be talking about the “Mason-Line” instead of the “Mendoza-Line” all these years later!
Nevertheless, Mason would end up hitting .203 over his career, collecting 322 hits over 1584 at-bats in 634 games, finishing up with the Montreal Expos in 1979.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


The next “Missing Rookie Cup” in the series is a 1974 card for former outfielder/first baseman Gary Thomasson, who would go on to put in nine-years in the Major Leagues:

Thomasson came up for a cup-of-coffee in 1972 for his first taste of the Big Leagues, appearing in 10 games for the San Francisco Giants and going 9-for27 for a .333 average.
In 1973 he would play in 112 games, putting in a nice rookie year, batting .285 with 67 hits over 235 official at-bats, scoring 35 runs while driving in 30.
Though he wouldn’t hit that high again during his career, he would pretty much put up the same numbers every year, becoming a solid platoon player, only having a truly full season of action once over the length of his career, in 1977 when he appeared in 145 games and had 534 plate appearances, hitting a career high 17 homers while driving in 71 runs.
After six seasons in San Francisco, he was part of the trade that brought the Giants pitching ace Vida Blue, with Thomasson and six others going to Oakland, where he would play through June before getting traded yet again, this time East to the eventual World Champion New York Yankees for Dell Alston and Mickey Klutts.
The trade allowed him to see the only Postseason action he’d get in his career, going 1-for-4 against the Dodgers, ironically the team he’d find himself playing for the very next season, where he would play out his active career in 1980, finishing up with a .249 batting average with 591 hits over 2373 at-bats and exactly 900 games.

Saturday, June 2, 2018


Came across this airbrushed image of Eddie Leon, which became the one used for his 1973 Topps card, thought it’d be fun to post:

Leon was traded from the Cleveland Indians over to the Chicago White Sox for Walt “No Neck” Williams on October 19th, 1972, necessitating the art you see here.
Leon had a couple of seasons under his belt as a starter for Cleveland early in the decade, appearing in 152 and 131 games in 1970 and 1971 respectively before getting in a half season in 1972.
For Chicago, he was back to full-time, appearing in 127 games for the White Sox, batting .228 with 91 hits over 399 at-bats.
1974 saw him only play in 31 games, before getting traded in December of that year to the New York Yankees, where he’d play one single game during the 1975 before being released in May.
He would go on to play in the Mexican League in 1976 before retiring as a player, finishing his MLB career with a .236 batting average wit 440 hits in 1862 at-bats in 601 games.
Always fun to see how Topps would crop an airbrushed image, in this case you can see the very top of the “Cleveland” across his chest on the released card, with the crayon-like paint job on his hat.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Another fun card to create for the 1977 set, a “Not So Missing’ card for former Second Baseman Doug Clarey of the St. Louis Cardinals:

Clarey made his Major League debut in 1976, appearing in nine games and collecting one hit, a home run over four at-bats with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
But that Big League action during the Bicentennial Year would be it for him, as he’d go on to play Minor League ball over the next two seasons before retiring, playing in the Milwaukee, New York Mets and Baltimore organizations through 1978.


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