Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Here was a fun card to create, a 1977 “Nickname” card for former middle-reliever Dick Tidrow, aka “Dirt”, who carved out a very nice 13-year career for himself in the Major Leagues:

Tidrow originally came up as a starter with the Cleveland Indians, having two solid years in 1972 and 1973 before getting traded over to the New York Yankees, where he would become an important, while overlooked piece in the Bronx bullpen over the next 5+ seasons.
While it’s easy to see how he could be overlooked when you have teammates like Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry and Rich Gossage, if you take a look at Tidrow’s contributions to the Yankee dynasty of 1976-1978 you can see how he really had quite the impact, both as a reliever and a spot starter.
After his Yankee days, in which he picked up two World Championships and three American League Pennants, he moved on to the Chicago Cubs, where he’d lend his arm over the next four years before a season with the cross-town White Sox and finally, the New York Mets in 1984.
All told, “Dirt” played 13 years, compiled a record of 100-94, with an ERA of 3.68, 55 saves, five shutouts and 620 appearances between 1972 and 1984.
Not a bad baseball resume to say the least.

Monday, July 30, 2018


Today we have a “Not So Missing” 1975 card for former first baseman Jack Pierce of the Atlanta Braves, who just played in his second season of Major League ball in 1974:

Pierce appeared in only six games for Atlanta, batting .111 with a hit over nine official at-bats, with a run scored thrown in.
This was after his MLB debut a season before when he appeared in 11 games, coming up to bat 20 times while collecting yet another lone knock.
In 1975 he’d find himself as a member of the Detroit Tigers, and get some decent playing time, appearing in 53 games while batting .235 with 40 hits in 170 at-bats, scoring 19 runs and driving in 22.
Sadly for him, that would be the last Big League action he’d see, as he would go on to play another 12 years of pro ball, but all split between the Minors, Japan and finally Mexico, where he played eight seasons before retiring as a player after the 1987 season.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


Next up on the “Missing Rookie Cup” line is a fix for the 1974 Steve Rogers card, when Topps decided to do-away with the cool rookie trophy:

Rogers, who would go on to play all 13 years of his career with the Montreal Expos, had himself a wonderful rookie campaign in 1973, finishing second in the league’s rookie of the year voting with a 10-5 record along with a microscopic 1.54 earned run average with three shutouts over 17 starts and 134 innings pitched.
I always felt he should have won the award over Garry Mathews actually, completing seven of his starts and giving up only 23 earned runs while striking out 64.
Of course Rogers would go on to become an all-star pitcher, having five such nods over his career, while finishing second in the Cy Young vote in 1982, then coming in fourth the following season.
Arm trouble cut his career somewhat short at the age of 35 in 1985, as he retired with a record of 158-152, pitching on some tough losing teams early in his MLB tenure.
Nevertheless, the man put in some stellar performances on a Big League mound, leading the league in shutouts twice, ERA in 1982, and ending up with 37 shutouts over 399 appearances.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


The next no-hitter on my new thread showcasing the gems through custom cards is the second no-no thrown by former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jim Maloney, who also threw a 10-inning no-hitter before losing it in the 11th:

Maloney’s second “official” no-hitter came on April 30th, 1969 when he kept the Houston Astros line-up that included Joe Morgan and Jim Wynn without a knock, while striking out 13 batters on his way to a 10-0 win.
Funny enough, the very next day, Don Wilson returned the favor and threw a no-hitter of his own against the Reds on behalf of the Astros.
Needless to say, expect THAT no-hitter to be profiled next on the blog!
For Maloney, he’d go on to post a record of 12-5 with an ERA of 2.77 in 1969, which would tunr out to be that last productive season of his 12-year career.
He would play 1970 and 1971 but be limited to only 20 games combined, finally retiring for good after 13 games with the California Angels in 1971 when he went 0-3 with a 5.04 ERA.
He twice won 20+ games, with a high of 23 in 1965 when he posted a record of 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 strikeouts over 33 starts and 250.1 innings pitched.
Two seasons later, when he pitched one “official” and one “unofficial” no-hitter, he went 20-9 with an ERA of 2.54 (his career best), with 244 strikeouts over 33 appearances and 255.1 innings of work.
Definitely one of the forgotten power-arms of the decade with four straight 200+ seasons between 1963 and 1966.

Friday, July 27, 2018


Been meaning to re-do this card for a long while, my 1975 “Career-Capper” for Hall of Fame slugger Orlando Cepeda, who finished up his stellar career with the Kansas City Royals in 1974:

Re-done/ 2018

For those who never knew, my original mock up of the card was actually a Photoshop job way back when with a KC cap worked onto Cepeda’s image.
Not the worst job in the world, but it did always irk me that I released that version years ago on the blog.
I did finally find an excellent image of Cepeda during his days in KC, so here we go with the much better version you see above.
Here’s the original “write-up” I had posted with the first version back in October, 2013:

“Today I want to cap off the career of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, the "Baby Bull".
His last "official" card has him in a Boston Red Sox uniform in the 1974 set (#83). However by the time the season opened up Cepeda was released and didn't sign with another team until August, when he hooked up with Kansas City.
Original from 2013
He only appeared in 33 games for the Royals, hitting .215 with a homer and 18 runs batted in before finally retiring for good. So I went and designed a "final" card for him in a Royals uniform, "photoshopped" from a shot of him in '73 with Boston.
Would have been nice to have a card for Cepeda in that awesome 1975 set (I'm a sucker for the 1975 & 76 sets)!
Anyway, hope you enjoy it.
While Cepeda's career was productive enough to get into Cooperstown, it's well known that if not for his bad knees, his final statistics could have been mind blowing.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired, he posted final numbers of: 379 homers, 1365 runs batted in, 2351 hits and a .297 average, with a Rookie of the Year (1958) and M.V.P. award (1967) thrown in.
It took a little while, but he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after being selected by the Veteran's Committee.
What a power trio San Francisco had in Cepeda, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey! Power to the ultimate degree!”

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1972 card for former catcher Frank Fernandez, who had himself a whirlwind 1971 season playing for three teams, including the Oakland A’s two DIFFERENT times:

Fernandez began the year with Oakland after coming over to them from the Yankees in the Al Downing-Danny Cater deal a year earlier, before being dealt to the Washington Senators after only two games out West.
Turns out Oakland would come along and purchase his contract about a month and a half later, but again, he’d only play two games for them before getting traded to the Cubs for Adrian Garrett two months later.
All told, Fernandez played in 39 games that year, batting a cool .138 with 11 hits over 80 at-bats in those four stints.
He’d only go on to appear in three games for the Cubs in 1972 before retiring for good as an active player after the 1973 season, toiling in the Minors for (yet again) the Oakland organization as well as Detroit.
For his career, he played in 285 games, mainly for the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees, batting .199 with 145 hits over 727 at-bats, hitting 39 homers with 116 runs batted in, which is not that bad considering the at-bats to home runs.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Time to add the “Big Red Machine’s” all-star shortstop to the on-going 1975 “In-Action” sub-set, Dave Concepcion, who was smack in the middle of his arguably Hall of Fame worthy career:

Concepcion was a cog in the Reds’ two-time championship squad of 1975 & 1976, on his way to nine all-star nods, with five Gold Gloves and two top-10 MVP finishes during his prime.
He would end up putting in 19-seasons in the Major Leagues, all with Cincinnati, finishing up with 2326 hits and a .267 batting average over 2488 games and 8723 at-bats between 1970 and 1988.
He played in all four of the “Big Red Machine” World Series appearances and batted a cool .297 over his Post Season action, with 30 hits in 101 at-bats over 34 games.
I’ll never forget opening up a pack of 1979 cards and seeing that the “All-Star” banner was NOT on his card. I was stunned since he was always the National league All-Star shortstop since I started collecting in 1976.
For me, he became somewhat of a baseball institution, playing through my youth straight through college, retiring at the age of 40.
Anyway, once he became eligible for Hall of Fame induction, he was on the ballot all 15 years and never got more than 16.9% (1998), but really, if it IS called the Hall of “Fame”, I think you can make a pretty good argument for the guy since he was indeed in that upper-echelon during the wild-70’s.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Today’s blog post has a career-capping “missing” 1973 card for former pitcher Wade Blasingame, looking oh-so-70’s with his porn ‘stache as he finished his 10-year career with 12 appearances with the New York Yankees after coming over from the Houston Astros mid-season:

Blasingame pitched to an 0-1 record in his time with the Yanks, throwing 17 innings and ending up with an ERA of 4.24, with one of those appearances a start.
Overall on his last season in the Big Leagues, he appeared in 22 games, with that one loss as the only decision and a bloated 5.68 ERA over 25.1 innings of work.
His finest season was back in 1965 while still with the Milwaukee Braves when he posted a record of 16-10 along with a 3.77 ERA over 38 appearances, 36 of them starts, tossing ten complete games including one of his two career shutouts.
Overall, he finished up his Big League career with a record of 46-51, with a 4.52 ERA over 222 appearances, 128 of them starts, and 863.2 innings pitched.

Monday, July 23, 2018


Today on the blog I post up a career-capping “not so missing” 1971 card for former catcher Dave Ricketts, who finished up his six-year career as a Big Leaguer with the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Ricketts appeared in 14 games for the Pirates in 1970, hitting .182 with two hits over 11 at-bats, while filling in at catcher in seven of those games.
He played the other five seasons in the Majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, even playing in both the 1967 and 1968 World Series.
Never a full-time player, the most action he ever saw in any one season was 1967 when he played in 52 games, collecting 27 hits in 99 at-bats, scoring 11 runs with 14 RBIs, all career-highs.
All told, he finished his career with a .249 batting average, with 53 hits over 213 at-bats, scoring 15 runs and driving in 20 in 130 games.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Here’s a fun card to add to my long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” series: a 1973 card for “The Gravedigger”, Richie Hebner, who put together a very nice 18-year career between 1968 and 1985:

He got the nickname because of his job (which players needed back then!) of working at a cemetery in the off-season that was run by his family.
Hebner played the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he came up to the Big Leagues, and had some solid seasons lost amid the years of the Roses, Stargells et al.
The third baseman hit as many as 25 homers, which happened in 1973, while also driving in as many as 82 runs, which he did for the Detroit Tigers in 1980.
By the time he retired in 1985 after a couple of seasons with the Chicago Cubs, he finished with a .276 batting average, with 1694 hits over 6144 at-bats in 1908 games, while also hitting 203 homers and driving in 890 runs.
Those numbers are actually pretty good considering the era he played in!
After his playing career, Hebner went on to coach, as well as do some managing in the Minors, all the way through the 2010 season at last check.

Saturday, July 21, 2018


Next up in the “Missing Rookie Cup” brigade through the 1970’s is none other than 1973 National League Rookie of the Year, Gary Matthews, aka “Sarge”, who had himself a very nice start to an excellent 16-year Major League career:

Matthews broke into the Big League scene with the San Francisco Giants, and hit an even .300 with 162 hits over 540 at-bats, with 74 runs scored and 58 runs batted in during the 1973 season.
It would pretty much be steady straight from there, as he’d go on to consistently put similar numbers up through his tenures with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs until he’d retire after a brief stint with the Seattle Mariners in 1987.
By the time he left the game as an active player, he racked up a lifetime .281 average, with 2011 hits and 234 home runs to go with his 1083 runs scored and 978 RBI’s.
He’d also put in some excellent postseason performances, as he’d hit .323 over 19 games with seven home runs and 15 RBIs, including an MVP performance in the NL Championship series while with the Phillies when he hit three homers and drove in eight runs in only four games against the Dodgers, helping the “Wheez Kids” make it to the World Series.
Seems I gotta make up a “Sarge” nickname card soon for my “Nicknames of the 1970’s”!

Friday, July 20, 2018


Time to add former all-star Manny Trillo to the “Dedicated Rookie” sub-set I’ve been creating over the past few years, so here we go with a 1974 card:

Trillo broke into the Major Leagues with the Oakland A’s in 1973, not bad since they were smack in the middle of their three-year reign as World Champions.
He appeared in 17 games for Oakland in 1973, collecting three hits over 12 at-bats, with the following year pretty much being the same for the young second baseman.
But in 1975 he found himself playing for the Chicago Cubs after being included in the trade that brought Hall of Famer Billy Williams out West.
This would be the break Trillo needed as he became a full-time player, appearing in 154 games, batting .248 with a surprising 70 runs batted in.
Over the next fourteen seasons he’d put together an excellent career that saw him win a World Championship with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980, win three Gold Gloves between 1979 and 1983 and get tabbed for four All-Star games.
By the time he retired after the 1989 season he finished up with 1562 hits over 5950 at-bats, good for a .263 average, with 598 runs scored and 571 runs batted in.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


I’ve been meaning to begin a new sub-set thread for a while now: no-hitters in baseball between 1969 and 1978 to feature as special cards in the Topps sets between 1970 and 1979.
So today we begin with one of the earliest no-hitters in history, which also happened to be for a new franchise playing in only their ninth game ever, Bill Stoneman and his gem against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 17th, 1969:

The Expos, who were at Connie Mack Stadium sporting a record of 3-5 over their first eight games, had Stoneman starting his third game of the season, with the first two forgettable as he gave up eleven runs over nine combined innings, with six of those being unearned due to shoddy fielding behind him.
But on this day everything fell into place as he’d go on to strikeout eight batters, though walking five, picking up his first win of the year and entering the record books, giving the new franchise a quick moment in Major League history with their first no-hitter.
The Expos went on to win the game 7-0, as opposing starter Jerry Johnson gave up four runs over eight innings before relievers let the game get out of control with another three runs in the ninth inning.
Ironically, Stoneman went on to toss yet another no-hitter, this one at the END of a season, on October 2nd, 1972, joining (especially at the time) a very exclusive club of multiple-no-hit pitchers with yet ANOTHER 7-0 win, this one over the New York Mets.
Despite the heroics here, Stoneman went on to win only 54 games over his eight-year career, finishing up 54-85 with an ERA of 4.08 over 245 appearances and 1236.1 innings pitched, with the 1971 easily his finest when he went 17-16 with an ERA of 3.15 and 251 strikeouts, along with three shutouts over 39 appearances and 294.2 innings.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Another one of those Topps airbrush jobs from the 1970’s today, the 1974 Joe Lahoud of the California Angels, formerly the Milwaukee Brewers:

From the original uncropped image you can clearly see the “Milwaukee” across his jersey, and with the convenient “up-shot” so common for Topps back then, all they had to do was a minor touch-up on the brim of his cap while cutting off the bottom of the photo.
Just like that we have Lahoud on his new team, for whom he’d end up playing the next two seasons before moving on to the Texas Rangers, then Kansas City Royals for the last three years of his Big League career.
All told Lahoud played 11-years in the Majors, the first four with the Boston Red Sox, ending up with a career average of .223 over 791 games, with 429 hits over 1925 at-bats while playing the corner outfield positions with some DH-ing thrown in.
Never a full-time player, the most appearances he ever made in a season was the 127 in 1974 for the Angels, to which he batted .271 with 88 hits and 44 runs batted in, all career-highs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Today we have a 1970 “not so missing” card for former pitcher Joe Decker, who began what would be a nine-year Major League career back in 1969 with the Chicago Cubs:

Decker appeared in four games for Chicago in 1969, going 1-0 with an ERA of 2.92 over 12.1 innings pitched with one start, striking out 13 and walking six.
He’d go on to start 17 games for the Cubs in 1970, appearing in 24 games overall, going 2-7 with an ERA of 4.64 in 108.2 innings pitched, before dropping to a handful of games over the next two seasons before finding himself with the Minnesota Twins in 1973.
He’d have his two best seasons in the Majors in 1973 and specifically 1974 when he went 16-14 with an ERA 3.29 over 37 starts, with 158 strikeouts and a shutout over 248.2 innings of work.
Sadly for him arm troubles took over the next year, which saw him appear in only 10 games, going 1-3 with a bloated 8.54 ERA in only 26.1 innings pitched.
After another disappointing abbreviated season with the Twins the following year, he’d be out of the Big Leagues until a brief return in 1979 with the Seattle Mariners, where he posted a record of 0-1 in nine games, two of them starts, with an ERA of 4.28 over 27.1 innings.
For his career, he finished up at 36-44 with an ERA of 4.17 in 152 appearances and 710 innings on a Big League mound, with 377 strikeouts and four shutouts.

Monday, July 16, 2018


Up on the blog today I have a career-capping 1975 card for former catcher Mike Ryan, who played out his 11-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1974:

Ryan appears in 15 games for Pittsburgh that season after six years with the Philadelphia Phillies, the final games of his Big League career.
Over those 15 games he batted .100 with three hits over 30 at-bats while filling in behind the plate for Manny Sanguillen.
Ryan originally spent the first four years of his career with the Boston Red Sox, including their magical 1967 season when they went straight to the World Series before losing to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Nevertheless, over his eleven seasons Ryan batted .193, with 370 hits in 1920 at-bats over 636 games for the three teams mentioned above: Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Today's post has a 1977 "Traded" card for former Detroit slugger Willie Horton, who found himself way South in Texas after 15 stellar years with the Tigers:

Horton was dealt to the Rangers for pitcher Steve Foucault in April of 1977, where he would go on to post a very solid season for s new team.
He would go on to hit .289 with 15 homers and 75 runs batted in for the Rangers, with 150 hits over 519 at-bats in 139 games.
But surprisingly, he would be dealt again in the off-season, this time to the Cleveland Indians along with former overall #1 pick David Clyde, for Tom Buskey and John Lowenstein.
Now 35 years of age, he'd put in a half season with the Tribe before finding himself playing with TWO more teams that year: the Oakland A's and Toronto Blue Jays.
However 1979 saw him put in one last All-Star season in the Big Leagues, now playing for the Seattle Mariners, when strictly a Designated Hitter he'd play all 162 games and slug 29 home runs with 106 runs batted in while batting .279.
Not bad for a 36 year old who played for five teams over the past two years!
After a partial season in 1980, which saw him play 97 games, he retired as a player, ending up with 325 home runs and 1163 RBIs, along with a very nice .273 batting average over 2028 games, with four All-Star nods and a World Championship in 1968 with the Tigers.

Saturday, July 14, 2018


You know I love those wacky airbrushed photos of the 1970’s, so today we take a look at a crayon-colored (or so it seems) image Topps used for former Houston Astros (more on that later) Keith Lampard, who appeared on a 1972 Montreal Expos rookie card:

Lampard was already a couple of years from the last Big League action he saw, with the Houston Astros, for whom he suited up his only two seasons under the MLB sun, 1969 and 1970.
Though I cannot find ANY documentation of a transaction to Montreal, apparently he was either dealt or sold to the Expos at some point after 1970, giving us this great image for the card.
Nevertheless, Lampard’s days as a Major League outfielder were already over, as he’d play out the rest of his Pro career in the St. Louis and Philadelphia organizations through the 1973 season.
Still, I’d love to know why Topps thought he was a member of the Montreal organization come 1972.
Anyone have any info on Lampard and some time with the Expos?
All told, Lampard played two seasons in the Big Leagues, batting .238 with 20 hits over 84 at-bats in 62 games, all for the Houston Astros.

Friday, July 13, 2018


Next up in the on-going “missing rookie cup” series through the 1970’s is former San Diego padre Johnny Grubb, who was a Topps All-Star Rookie for his 1973 rookie year, thus the “fixed” 1974 card:

Grubb had himself a very nice rookie campaign, finishing up the season hitting .311 with 121 hits over 389 at-bats, scoring 52 runs while collecting 33 extra base hits.
He would go on to have a nice 16-year career in the Big Leagues, easily overlooked with his .278 batting average playing for the Padres, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers between 1973 and 1987.
Sadly for him, though he did stick around for 16 seasons as a Big Leaguer, that .311 batting average in 1973 turned out to be a career-high, and it was also arguably his finest season in Major League ball.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired he left the game with 1153 hits over 4154 at-bats, along with 553 runs scored and 475 runs batted in, while also being a member of the World Champion juggernaut 1984 Detroit Tigers team that went wire to wire.
Not too shabby...

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Here’s a career-capping “not so missing” 1974 card for former infielder Jerry Kenney, who finished up his six-year Major League career with a handful of games with the Cleveland Indians in 1973:

Kenney, who played the first five years of his career with the New York Yankees during the “dark era” between 1967 and 1972, appeared in five games for Cleveland in 1973, collecting four hits over 16 at-bats while playing some second base.
That would be all for the 28-year old as far as his Big League career, which started with the Yankees in 1967, before becoming their full-time third baseman in 1969.
By the end of his run in the Majors, Kenney finished with a career average of .237 with 325 hits over 1369 at-bats, appearing in 465 games, all but those last five with the Yanks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Here’s a “missing” 1973 career-capper for former Major League centerfielder Ted Uhlaender, who finished up his eight-year Big League career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1972:

Uhlaender appeared in 73 games for the eventual National League champs, batting .159 with 18 hits over 113 at-bats, a far cry from the steady bat he displayed through his career.
Just the previous season he hit .288 for the Cleveland Indians, with 144 hits over 500 at-bats, and a few years earlier he batted .283 for the Minnesota Twins when the league-leader was Carl Yastrzemski’s .301 during the “Year of the Pitcher” of 1968.
All told, Uhlaender finished up with a career average of .263 with 772 hits over 2932 at-bats in 898 games, playing for Minnesota, Cleveland and Cincinnati that last year of 1972.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


I haven’t done one of these in a long while, so I thought it’d be fun to create a “Dedicated Rookie” for former California Flame-thrower Frank Tanana, who broke into the Major Leagues as a fire-balling 19-year old in 1973:

Tanana went 2-2 in his first taste of the Big Leagues in 1973, posting an ERA of 3.08 and striking out 22 batters over 26.1 innings of work.
It was just a glimpse of what the Angels fans were in for, as he’d go on to team up with Nolan Ryan to give California a nifty one-two punch, with Tanana going on to strikeout over 200 batters three years in a row between 1975 and 1977, including a league-leading 269 in 1975.
He would also lead the American League in ERA in 1977 with a 2.54 mark, along with seven shutouts, all at the age of 23, while posting a record of 15-9 with 205 strikeouts.
1978 brought more of the same, as he’d post a record of 18-12 with four shutouts over 33 starts, but his strikeouts dropped dramatically, with only 137 over 239 innings.
Turns out he developed arm problems that could have easily ended his career. However he turned into a completely different style of pitcher, and went on to pitch another 15 seasons, winning 240 games while tossing 34 shutouts through the 1993 season.
It really is amazing how he switched gears and remained an effective Major League starter, putting together a very nice 21-year Big League career where most others would have struggled to even hang on for another season or two.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for speedster and future NL stolen base champ Omar Moreno, who had his first taste of the Major Leagues in 1975 as a September call-up:

Moreno only got into six games in 1975, going 1-for-6 and stealing his very first base, but he would go on to steal another 486, including 71 and 77 in 1978 and 1979 respectively to lead the league.
Funny enough, the next season, in 1980, he would steal a career high 96, yet fall one stolen base short of the lead when Ron LeFlore of the Montreal Expos stole 97 in the “year of the steal”.
In 1979 he would collect 196 hits for the eventual World Champs, yet bat only .282, a career-high for him, but because of his league-leading 696 at-bats, he fell far short of the .300 mark.
Nevertheless he would put together a nice 12-year career, batting .252 with 1257 hits over 4992 at-bats in 1382 games between 1975 and 1987.
One thing that stood out for me as I was writing this: he never once made an All-Star team. For some reason that surprised me. Go Figure.

Sunday, July 8, 2018


The next player featured in my on-going 1975 “In-Action” sub-set is a forgotten player who put in some solid seasons for the Chicago White Sox in the middle of the decade, second baseman Jorge Orta:

Orta came up for the White Sox in 1972 and immediately became a fixture for the organization, just putting in solid all-around years between 1973 and 1978, hitting as high as .316 in 1974 and driving in as many as 84 runs in 1977.
In 1974, when he hit that career high of .316, he finished in second place in the batting race in the American League, albeit a distant second, behind Rod Carew’s .364 average.
Nevertheless, Orta was a productive player for some time, though easily overlooked when you played in the era of Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Pete Rose and Johnny Bench.
Even his position contemporary, Joe Morgan, was getting all the attention, and rightly so with two straight MVP’s in 1975 and 1976, playing for the “Big Red Machine”.
By the time Orta retired after the 1987 season after four seasons with the Kansas City Royals, he’d finish with a nice .278 batting average, with 1619 hits over 5829 at-bats, along with 733 runs scored and 745 runs batted in, with 130 homers and 79 stolen bases.

Saturday, July 7, 2018


The next rookie card from the 1970’s that we “fix” is the 1974 Rich Coggins, who now has the special “Rookie All-Star” cup that should have been there in the first place:

Coggins had quite a nice rookie season for Baltimore in 1973, batting .319 with 124 hits over 389 at-bats in 110 games.
He would finish sixth in Rookie of the Year balloting, behind eventual winner, and teammate, Al Bumbry.
The following season saw him fall back to earth a bit, getting sufficient playing time but seeing his average drop to .243, while appearing in 113 games, though stealing 26 bases, a career high.
Over that off-season, he would end up getting traded as part of somewhat of a big deal, seeing pitcher Dave McNally going to the Montreal Expos, with pitcher Mike Torrez and outfielder Ken Singleton coming to Baltimore.
For Coggins however, the change of scenery didn’t help his career, as he would play only 13 games North of the border before seeing himself with the New York Yankees, who purchased him in June of 1975.
For the Yanks the rest of the way, Coggins hit .244 , giving him a combined .236 average for the season, playing in a combined 64 games between the two teams.
In 1976, he opened the year with the Yankees, but was traded over to the Chicago White Sox in the Ken Brett deal, and would play 32 games for the South-Siders, in what would end up being the last games of his five-year Major League career.
All told, Coggins finished with a .265 career average, with 287 hits over 1083 games in 342 games played, along with 125 runs scored and 90 runs batted in.

Friday, July 6, 2018


Here’s a 1977 “Not so missing” card for a familiar face to baseball fans of the era, former Atlanta Braves player Junior Moore, who would actually get his first Topps card the following year, though on an airbrushed card showing him as a Chicago White Sox:

Moore actually played the first 20 games of his career during the Bicentennial year of 1976, batting .269 with seven hits over 26 at-bats, with a couple of runs batted in and a run scored.
He’d get some full-time play with the Braves in 1977, playing in 112 games and batting .260 with 94 hits over 361 at-bats, playing second and third with some outfield thrown in.
During the 1977/78 off-season, after being granted Free Agency, he would go and sign with the White Sox, where he would go on to play the last three years of his career, through the 1980 season, generally as a player off the bench, averaging around a .270 average while again playing the infield and outfield.
All told, Moore finished with a career .264 average, collecting 204 hits over 774 at-bats, scoring 83 runs and driving in 73 in 289 Big League games.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former Atlanta Braves pitcher Mike Davey, who played the last handful of Big League games of his brief two-year career in 1978:

Davey appeared in three games for the Braves, throwing 2.2 innings of scoreless ball while not factoring in a decision, giving up only one hit while issuing a single walk.
The previous season he played the first 16 games of his Major League career, again not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 5.06 ERA over 16 innings, striking out seven while giving up 19 hits and nine base on balls, picking up two saves.
He’d go on to pitch another two seasons in the Minor Leagues for the Seattle and Pittsburgh organizations in 1979 and 1980, but would ever make it back to a Big League mound before retiring after going 1-0 for the Portland Beavers over 21 appearances, making one start.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


On the blog today we have a “missing” 1971 card for long-time Major League righty Orlando Pena, who was back in the Big Leagues after two-years in 1970, now with the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Pena appeared in 23 games for the Pirates, going 2-1 with a 4.78 earned run average and two saves, all out of the bullpen at the age of 36 after spending two seasons in the Minor Leagues for the Cleveland, California and Kansas City organizations.
Originally up in 1958 with the Cincinnati Reds, he arguably had his finest seasons in the Majors with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963 and 1964, even though he led the American League in losses with 20 in 1963.
However the record was not true to his performance, as we’ve seen numerous times over the years, with Pena posting and ERA of 3.69 along with three shutouts for a team that went 73-89, good for an eighth-place finish.
All told, Pena pitched for 14 seasons in the Majors, finishing up in 1975 at the age of 41 with the California Angels, and ending up with a lifetime record of 56-77 with a 3.71 ERA over 427 appearances and 1202 innings of work.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Today we have a 1975 “not so missing” card for former Oakland A’s infielder Gaylen Pitts, who played the first handful of Major League games of his brief two-year career in 1974:

Pitts appeared in 18 games for the eventual three-time World Champion A’s, batting .244 with 10 hits over 41 at-bats, while playing some first, second and third base.
The following season he’d appear in 10 games, but only getting three plate appearances, in which he went 1-for-3 with a double, run scored and RBI.
Sadly for him that would be it in the Big Leagues, as he’d go on to play a couple more seasons in the Minor Leagues for Oakland and the Chicago Cubs before retiring as a player after 1977.
Later on he’d go on to coach and manage in the Minor Leagues, while also coaching with the St. Louis Cardinals under Joe Torre between 1991 and 1995.
Today he is still in baseball, serving as a special assistant to the coaching staff for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, pushing 55 years in the Big Leagues in some capacity or another.

Monday, July 2, 2018


Today on the blog we have a “not so missing” 1970 card for a two-game Major League pitcher, Gary Timberlake, who played for those one-year Seattle Pilots in 1969:

Timberlake didn’t post a decision in his two-game stint in the Big Leagues, pitching to an earned run average of 7.50 over six innings of work, with four strikeouts and a whopping nine base on balls.
Only 20 years old at the time, he’d go on to pitch another six years in the Minor Leagues, the last five with the Oakland organization, but never getting another shot in the Majors, retiring for good after the 1975 season.
With those Oakland staffs of Hunter, Blue, Holtzman, etc, I can see why a young starter would have had a hard time breaking into that rotation during the early to mid 1970’s.

Sunday, July 1, 2018


The next card in the “Missing Rookie Cup” hit parade is the 1974 Dan Driessen card, who put together a very nice rookie year for the Cincinnati Reds in 1973:

Driessen, who would eventually be thought highly enough for the Reds to deal future Hall of Famer Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos a few years later, hit .301 in his Major League debut, driving in 47 runs while scoring 49 himself in only 102 games.
In 1977, with Perez now with the Expos, Driessen put together his finest Big League season of his 15-year career, driving in 91 runs while hitting .300, with 31 doubles and 17 home runs along with 75 runs batted in.
He would play all the way through the 1987 season, finishing up with the St. Louis Cardinals, and end up with 1464 career hits with a .267 batting average, hitting 153 homers and driving in 763 runs and stealing 154 bases.


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