Friday, August 31, 2018


Here’s another “traded” card to add to the collection, a 1970 edition for what was going to be the American League batting champ for that season, Alex Johnson of the California Angels:

After spending two very good seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, in which he batted .312 and .315 respectively in 1968 and 1969, Johnson was dealt to the Angels on November 29th as part of a five-man deal that brought Pedro Borbon and two others to the eventual N.L. West champ Reds.
Initially, it looked like a steal for the Angels, as Johnson went on to collect 202 hits with 85 runs scored and 86 runs batted in while edging out Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski for the league batting title.
Still only 27 years of age, it seemed like Johnson was on his way to a solid if not star career in the Majors with his new club.
Sadly, Johnson’s time with the Angels was full of controversy, running afoul  of manager Lefty Phillips, eventually getting benched for “loafing” among other things that spilled into the next season.
After numerous more run-ins with management, he was benched indefinitely, leading to only 65 games played in 1971, batting only .260, a 69 point drop from his batting champ campaign the year before.
Finally on October 5th of 1971, he was granted a trade and dealt to the Cleveland Indians for, among others, the great Vada Pinson, with Cleveland hoping the change of scenery would bring him back to All-Star status.
However, though he had a couple of decent seasons over the next few years of his career, he never again reached the level of play between 1968-1970, done as an active player after the 1976 season at only 33 years of age.
By the time he retired, he finished with a  very nice .288 batting average, with 1331 hits over 4623 at-bats in 1322 games, but sadly never again able to reach that level of play that made him one of the more promising young talents in 1970.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Today we have on the blog a “not so missing” 1975 card for a guy I could have sworn played longer in the Majors, former infielder Ray Busse:

Busse finished up his three year Big League career in 1974 with 19 games as a Houston Astro, batting .206 with seven hits over 34 at-bats.
For some reason I really thought he played further into the decade, but nevertheless, by the time he was done as an active player he finished with a .148 average with 23 hits over 155 at-bats playing with the Astros in 1971, the second half of 1973 and 1974 and a brief 24 game spell with the St. Louis Cardinals to open the 1973 season.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Here’s a great nickname from the 1970’s, “Scrap Iron” for former second baseman Phil Garner, who really made his bones with the “We are Family” 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates:

Originally up with the Oakland A’s in 1973, Garner found himself traded to the Pirates before the 1977 season as part of a massive nine-player deal that also involved Tony Armas, Tommy Helms and Mitchell Page among others.
Just two years later he was a World Champ, giving the team a solid infielder who’d hit a career-high .293 with 76 runs scored and 51 extra base hits over 151 games.
He’d end up putting in 16-seasons in the Big Leagues, finishing up with a career average of .260 with 1594 hits and 780 runs over 1860 games.
After his playing career was over he’d turn to coaching and managing, the latter of which he did for 15 seasons: the Milwaukee Brewers from 1992 to 1999, the Detroit Tigers 2000-2002 and the Houston Astros from 2004 to 2007, including the 2005 National League champion squad that had the “Killer B’s” of Bagwell, Biggio and Berkman, as well as Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.
Not a bad “baseball life”!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for former infielder Jerry DaVanon, who appeared in 41 games for the California Angels in 1973 after spending all of 1972 in the Minors:

DaVanon made it back to the Big Leagues and hit .235 for the Angels in 1973 while playing three infield positions with a little DH-ing thrown in.
Originally up in 1969 with the new San Diego Padres, he then played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles before spending all of 1972 playing in both the Baltimore and California Minor League systems.
1974 would see him back with the Cardinals before he moved on to the Houston Astros for the 1975 and 1976 seasons, before having a third stint with St. Louis in 1977, albeit only nine games, the last of his MLB career.
All told, he finished up with a .234 career average over 262 games, with 117 hits in 499 at-bats, with 73 runs scored and 50 runs batted in over eight seasons.

Monday, August 27, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1973 card for a guy I already tackled, previously for a 1974 edition, former pitcher Jim Foor:

Though my first card for him was for his brief tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates, this one has him with the team he came up with, the Detroit Tigers, for whom he collected his only Major League decision when he went 1-0 over seven appearances during the 1972 season.
To be honest those seven appearances were not pretty, as he posted a bloated 14.73 ERA over 3.2 innings of work, giving up six earned runs on six hits and six walks (ouch!).
He got his first taste of the Big Leagues the year before when he appeared in three games with the Tigers, pitching one inning in total.
In 1973 he’d find himself with the Pirates, and appear in what would be the last three games of his short career, not factoring in a decision while tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless ball.
He would spend the last three seasons of his pro career in the Minors, pitching for the Kansas City, St. Louis and Oakland organizations, before calling it a career after 1976.

Sunday, August 26, 2018


The next no-hit gem on the thread is the one tossed by Chicago Cubs pitcher Ken Holtzman, who would also throw yet another before he was through with his Major League career:

Holtzman took the mound on August 19th of 1969 and faced a tough Atlanta Braves team, led by Hank Aaron of course, while facing future Hall of Famer Phil Niekro.
After keeping the Braves hitless in the top of the first inning, Holtzman was given a three-run lead to work with when Ron Santo blasted his 25th homer of the season with two men on board.
Well, all Holtzman did was go the rest of the game, not only surrendering NO hits, but also doing it without the aid of a strikeout!
While he did walk three, he ended up winning his 14th game against seven losses, lowering his ERA to 3.12, throwing the games fifth no-hitter of the season.
Two years later, Holtzman would throw another no-hitter, and once again, would do it against the eventual Division champions, this time the Cincinnati Reds, loaded with the likes of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez.
That’s two no-hitters against top-notch teams! Just amazing.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Time to go ahead a “fix” the 1979 Paul Molitor Topps card, his first “solo” card after being on a multi-player card the year before with another future Hall of Famer, Alan Trammell. On the 1979 card, I’ve gone ahead and placed the Topps “All-Star Rookie” trophy, which Topps stopped using in 1978:

Molitor finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year race in 1978, to Trammell’s teammate and another (hopefully) future Hall of Famer, Lou Whitaker.
Molitor put in a wonderful rookie year, hitting .273 with 73 runs scored and 30 stolen bases, over 125 games and 521 at-bats.
Of course, all he’d do the rest of the way was put in 21 seasons of All-Star baseball, topping 200 hits four times, 100 runs five times, batting over .300 12 times, and finishing up with over 3000 hits, a .300 avergae, 600 doubles and just under 1800 runs scored.
I was always mesmerized by the seasons he put in the 1990’s, as it seemed like he got BETTER in his 30’s, shaking the injury-bug, driving in 100 runs for the only two times in his career, collecting three of the four 200-hit seasons and topping a .320 batting average five times!
The man was incredible.
I can only imagine what his final stats would have been had he not missed about three seasons worth of playing time earlier in his career.
Nevertheless, he was a cinch for the Hall of Fame, getting elected on his first year of eligibility in 2004.

Friday, August 24, 2018


Let’s go and fill-out former lefty Larry Gura’s card resume with a “not so missing” 1972 card, when he was still just getting started in the Big Leagues:

Gura did have a card in the 1971 set, but after only six appearances for the Chicago Cubs that year, in which he tallied only three innings, Topps didn’t give him a card in the 1972 set, and rightfully so.
He didn’t factor in a decision during those six appearances, finishing up with a bloated 6.00 earned run average, and he really never got started as far as his Major League career until he was 30 years of age, when he went 16-4 for the Kansas City Royals in 1978 with a very nice 2.72 ERA over 35 appearances, 26 of which were starts, with a couple of shutouts.
Over the next five years he’d be an all-star arm for KC, winning 18 games twice and posting a sub-3.00 ERA three times.
After an 18-win season in 1982, he ended up losing 18 games in 1983 to lead the league, before bouncing back with a 12-9 season in 1984 for the Western Division champs, though his ERA was an unsightly 5.18.
Sadly for him, after starting the 1985 season with the Royals, he was released in May, signing on with his original club the Cubs, only to see Kansas City go on to win the World Series.
That must have hurt a bit!
After five forgetful games with Chicago in 1985, he called it a career, finishing up with a record of 126-97, with an ERA 3.76 over 403 appearances, with 16 shutouts and 14 saves.

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Here’s another one from the “who knew?” pile, my 1970 “not really missing in action” card for former first baseman Tony Muser, who I never realized originally started his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox in 1969:

Muser appeared in two games for Boston in 1969, his first taste of the Big Leagues, collecting a hit over nine at-bats with a run batted in.
After spending all of 1970 in the Minors, he was back in 1971, now as a member of the Chicago White Sox, where he’d play into the 1975 season before getting traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Jesse Jefferson, before playing out his nine-year career with 15 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1978.
Never truly a full-time player, he retired with a .259 batting average, with 329 hits over 1268 at-bats in 663 games, with 123 runs scored and 117 RBIs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Here’s a new “coach” card to add to the collection, this one of former Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Johnny Podres, who was lending his experience to the San Diego Padres staff in the early 1970’s, so I created a 1973 edition:

Podres last pitched in the Big Leagues during the Padres’ initial season of 1969, going 5-6 over 17 appearances, then stuck around to coach.
Those early Padres seasons were tough ones, in this case a 58-95 finish for the team led by Don Zimmer after Preston Gomez was let go of his managerial duties just eleven games into the campaign of 1972.
For Podres, he’d go on to coach for some 23 seasons between 1973 and 1996 with the Padres, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Philadelphia Phillies.
Of course, all will remember him for his World Series performance in 1955 as the Dodgers finally topped their rivals, the New York Yankees, as he went 2-0 in the series with two complete games, including a 2-0 masterpiece in Game 7 to clinch the championship, making him an instant hero in the borough of Brooklyn.
Over his 15-year playing career, Podres finished with a record of 148-116 over 440 appearances, tossing 24 shutouts and being a part of three championship teams: 1955, 1959 and 1963.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1973 card for former outfielder Don Hahn, who suited up for the New York Mets in 1972, though not enough to warrant a card by the folks at Topps the following year:

Hahn appeared in only 17 games during the 1972 season, batting .162 with six hits over 37 at-bats while getting time out in center and right fields.
Originally up with the Montreal Expos for four games during their inaugural season of 1969, he came over to the Mets right before the 1971 season for Ron Swoboda.
Never a full-time player, he put together a seven-year career in the Big Leagues, finishing up with a .236 batting average with 235 hits over 997 at-bats in 454 games.
After spending the first six seasons with the Expos and Mets, he played out his career in 1975 with no-less than three teams: Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Sa Diego Padres.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Even after all these years of obsessing over baseball cards, specifically those of the 1970’s, you’re never too old to realize something new, as in the case of former pitcher Dick Baney, who had two cards for his MLB tenure, yet they were five years apart:

Baney spent parts of three seasons in the Big Leagues, 1969 with those one-year wonders the Seattle Pilots, and then two consecutive seasons with the Cincinnati reds in 1973 and 1974.
He appeared in nine games for his first taste of the Majors in 1969, going 1-0 over 18.2 innings of work for Seattle with a 3.86 ERA.
Back on a Big League mound in 1973, he went 2-1 over 11 appearances with a nice 2.93 ERA in 30.2 innings, following it up a year later with a 1-0 record, though sporting a bloated 5.49 ERA in 22 appearances and 41 innings pitched.
After a couple of Minor League seasons in 1975 and 1979, he called it a career, finishing up with a 4-1 record and a 4.28 ERA in 42 appearances and 90.1 innings pitched.
Always fun to see quirky stuff like this, even decades later!

Sunday, August 19, 2018


Always loved the 1978 Mike Paxton card, which along with the Greg Minton card from the same set and the Mike Jones card from 1977, made for some strange imagery on Topps baseball cards:

While Topps did it’s thing to airbrush caps and uni’s in the 1970’s to portray guys on the correct team, this one went above and beyond!
Looking at it, I’m assuming it was either a Minor League color image, or a black and white image that was colorized.
Classic Topps from the era!
Paxton had himself a very nice rookie year for the Red Sox in 1977, going 10-5 with a 3.83 ERA over 29 appearances, 12 of them starts.
Of course, the ultimate irony is that Paxton didn’t even PLAY for the Red Sox in 1978, as he was part of the Dennis Eckersley deal in March of 1978, sending him to the Cleveland Indians, where he had another nice year that saw him post a record of 12-11 with a 3.86 ERA in 33 appearances, 27 of which were starts, with two shutouts and a save.
Sadly for him, he developed arm trouble the following season, seeing his ERA balloon to 5.92 while going 8-8 before managing to appear in only four games in 1980 before calling it a career.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Time to go and give Jim “Catfish” Hunter a card in my on-going 1975 “In-Action sub-set, in all it’s beautiful Oakland A’s glory:

I can never get tired of those uniforms!
Hunter was just completing his incredible run with the A’s, which saw him win three straight championships between 1972 and 1974, while also posting four straight 20-win seasons stretching back to 1971.
But he wasn’t done just yet, going on to be one of the first big time Free Agents and signing with the New York Yankees and winning another 23 games in 1975 to lead the American League after doing the same with 25 the year before.
After posting 17 wins for the Yankees in 1976, helping them get to the World Series for the first time in 12 seasons, Hunter developed arm problems, playing out his Hall of Fame career with 24 wins over the next three seasons before calling it a career in 1979.
I still marvel at his 1975 season with the Yanks, which saw him complete 30 of his 39 starts, throwing 328 innings while finishing second in the league’s Cy Young race.
To think he retired at the age of only 33!

Friday, August 17, 2018


We take a big leap forward some five seasons with the “Missing Rookie Cup” series since Topps did well in presenting all winners between 1975 and 1978. So today we have Oakland A’s first baseman Dave Revering, who had himself a nice debut in 1978:

Revering put together an excellent rookie season in ‘78, batting .271 with 16 home runs and 46 runs batted in over 152 games, the first of his MLB career.
He’d actually go on to have another two straight solid seasons for Oakland in 1979 and 1980, batting .288 and .290 respectively, with 19 and 15 homers.
However in 1981 he’d be traded to the New York Yankees for Jim Spencer and Tom Underwood in May, and before you knew it, he’d be out of baseball a season later after playing for no less than three teams: Yanks, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.
It’s really something to see a young talent produce for the first three years of his career, then be “done” so quickly.
After a Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers in which the team offered a Minor League assignment in 1983, he decided to retire instead, just 29-years-old.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Here’s a card that came out nice, my “not really missing” 1974 card for former Expos third baseman Coco Laboy:

Laboy, who was the National League runner up for Rookie of the Year in 1969 in Montreal’s first season, quickly found himself down to a part-timer by his third season of 1971, then ultimately done as a Major league player by 1973 after appearing in only 22 games.
Over those 22 games for the Expos, he batted .121 with four hits over 33 at-bats, with a couple of runs scored and runs batted in.
In 1969, he put in a very nice rookie year, batting .258 with 18 homers and 83 runs batted in, along with 29 doubles after toiling in the Minors for 10 years.
But in 1970, the Sophomore jinx took full charge as he hovered around the Mendoza-line, finishing up at .199 with only five homer and 86 hits.
According to Baseball_Reference, it seems he never played any type of Pro Ball after 1973, just wrapping up his Big League tenure with a career. 233 average on 291 hits in 1247 at-bats in 420 games.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Here’s another nickname card I’ve been meaning to create for some time now: a 1971 edition for former Los Angeles Dodger center fielder Willie Davis, aka “3-Dog”:

What an underrated career for the three-time Gold Glove outfielder: 2561 hits, 1217 runs scored, 182 home runs, 398 stolen bases and 1053 runs batted in over 18 seasons, 14 of which were with Los Angeles.
I chose a 1971 card for him since that year was arguably his finest, collecting 198 hits and batting .309 while collecting the first of his three straight Gold Gloves.
Of course, being a National League outfielder through the 1960’s in the age of Mays, Aaron, Clemente and Robinson kept him from All-Star nods, and he only made two of them, in 1971 and 1973.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired he has quite the Major League resume, including leading the league in triples twice, 13 seasons of 20+ stolen bases, and two World Championships (1963 and 1965).

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1973 card for former Detroit Tigers first baseman Joe Staton, who appeared in the first six games of his brief two-year Major League career as a September call-up in 1972:

Staton went 0-2 at the plate in that brief action, playing some first base while also pinch-running, scoring a run while also striking out once.
The following season he got into nine games for Detroit, collecting four hits over 17 at-bats, good for a .235 batting average, with three runs batted in and two runs scored.
But that would be it as far as Big League action for the 25-year-old, as he would go on to play the next two seasons in the Mexican League before retiring in 1975.
All told he got to play in 15 games in the Majors, finishing up with a .211 average with four hits in 19 at-bats.

Monday, August 13, 2018


Today’s blog post has a 1974 career-capping “not so missing” card for former reliever Ron Perranoski, who finished up a nice 13-year Major League career with eight appearances for the California Angels:

Perranoski really made a name for himself with his tenures for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins, which spanned 1961 through the 1970 seasons before playing out the final three years of his career with the Detroit Tigers, Angels, and a brief return with L.A.
He appeared in only eight games during the 1973 season, going 0-2 with an ERA of 4.09 over 11 innings of work for the Angels.
He had some really good seasons during his career, including 1963 with the Dodgers when he went 16-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 21 saves over 69 appearances and 129 innings pitched. Those numbers were good enough for a fourth place finish in the National League’s MVP race that year.
Some years later he would end up leading the American League in saves with 31 and 34 in 1969 and 1970 respectively, giving the Twins a solid closer as they were fighting for the newly formed American League West championship.
By the time he retired after that 1973 campaign, Perranoski finished with a record of 79 and 74, with 178 saves and a very nice 2.79 ERA over 737 appearances and 1174.2 innings of work.
All but one of those appearances were out of the bullpen.

Sunday, August 12, 2018


The next No-Hitter profiled in my new thread for the blog is Jim Palmer’s gem, which he threw against the Oakland A’s in August of 1969:

Palmer, who many may forget was thought to be “done” before the 1969 season began because of injuries over the last few years, regained his form and cruised into this match-up with a 10-2 record.
Two hours and 22 minutes later, he got his name in the baseball history books with an 8-0 win which saw him strike out eight batters while walking six, lowering his ERA to a sparkling 1.77 on his way to a 16-4 record along with a final ERA of 2.34 over 26 appearances, 23 of which were starts.
Beginning in 1970, all Palmer would end up doing is post eight 20-win seasons over the next nine years, winning three Cy Young Awards and marching his way towards the Hall of Fame after finishing up with 268 wins and an ERA of 2.86, with 53 shutouts.
Think about this one second: Palmer was actually available to any team that wanted him in 1966, yet no one decided to sign him for the $25,000 signing fee.
Is it even possible to think of him with any team other than the Baltimore Orioles?
Incredible to even imagine so.

Saturday, August 11, 2018


Here’s a “nickname” card I’ve been meaning to create for a while now, a 1974 edition doe former Houston Astros Gold Glove third baseman Doug “The Red Rooster” Rader:

It’s easy to forget that the man put together a string of solid seasons for the Astros in the first part of the 1970’s, with the five straight Gold Gloves between 1970 and 1974, as well as three 20+ home run seasons and four 80+ RBI seasons.
As a matter of fact, I really would love to know why he hung up the cleats after the 1977 season at the age of only 32, considering he hit 18 homers while driving in 67 runs with a .251 average split between the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays.
Seems he could have had a few more productive years left in the tank, no?
Nevertheless, he retired with a batting average of .251, along with 155 homers and 722 RBIs over 11 years and 1465 Big League games before moving into coaching and them managing, which he did for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox (for two games in 1986), and California Angels between 1983 and 1991.

Friday, August 10, 2018


Today we post up a career-capping “not so missing” 1975 card for former pitcher Jim McAndrew, who finished up his Major League career with the San Diego Padres in 1974:

McAndrew, who played the first six years of his career with the New York Mets, appeared in 15 games with San Diego in his final Big League season, posting a record of 1-4 with an ERA of 5.62.
Though only 30 years of age, he called it a career after appearing in 161 games over his career, which began in 1968 when he started 12 games and went 4-7 with a brilliant 2.28 ERA.
The following season he was a member of the “Miracle Mets” as a fifth starter, going 6-7 over 21 starts and 27 appearances, throwing two shutouts and posting a 3.47 ERA in 135 innings of work.
By the time he retired, he finished with a record of 37-53, with a 3.65 ERA over 771.2 innings pitched, with six shutouts and four saves.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


Next in line for a quick-fix with a “missing” Topps rookie all-star trophy is future all-star catcher Bob Boone, who set the tone for what would be a great 19-year Major League career in 1973 with a fine rookie year:

Boone played his first full season in the Big Leagues in 1973 and didn’t disappoint his Philadelphia Phillies, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting with a .261 batting average, along with 10 homers and 61 runs batted in over 145 games.
Over the course of the next two decades, he’d be named to four all-star teams, help guide the 1980 Phillies to a World Championship, and win seven Gold Gloves, which include four after the age of 38!
As a matter of fact Boone won four straight Gold Gloves from the age of 38 through 41! Just incredible when you think about how grueling the catching position is.
By the time he retired after the 1990 season, he finished up with a .254 average with 1838 hits over 7245 at-bats, while setting the high-mark for games caught before a guy named Carlton Fisk broke that record a few years later.
One of the rare members of a three-generation baseball family, his father Ray played, as did his sons Bret and Aaron, who now manages the New York Yankees.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Always love creating cards for “one year wonders”, in this case former Kansas City third baseman Dave Cripe. So here you go:

Cripe has the gross misfortune of being a third baseman during the prime of Hall of Famer George Brett’s career in Kansas City.
He appeared in the first and only games of his MLB career in 1978, 18 games to be exact, batting .154 with two hits over 13 at-bats during his September call-up for the American League West champs.
That would be it for the 27-year-old, as he would play another two years in the Minor Leagues before calling it a pro career after the 1980 season, which he spent in the Houston Astros organization.
Nevertheless, the man got to taste some Big League action, a dream we all would love to experience!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Today we post up a missing 1977 card for San Diego padres pitcher Jerry Johnson, who would have his final card the following year in the 1978 set as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays:

Johnson, who I always remember as the man with the “iron jaw”, appeared in 24 games for the Padres in 1976, going 1-3 with a bloated 5.31 earned run average over 39 innings pitched.
In 1977 he would be a member of the inaugural Blue Jay team, his last season in the Big Leagues, going 2-4 with an ERA of 4.60 over 43 appearances and 86 innings pitched.
His finest season would have to be 1972 when he was with the San Francisco Giants, a year which saw him post a record of 12-9 with a nice 2.97 earned run average over 67 appearances, all out of the bullpen, with 18 saves in 109 innings pitched.
All told, by the time he retired, he finished up with a record of 48-51, with an ERA of 4.31 and 41 saves over 365 appearances and 770.2 innings of work.

Monday, August 6, 2018


Here was a fun card to produce, while also dealing with a somewhat sub-par image that took a lot of Photoshopping, a 1976 card for former Houston Astros pinch-hitter (and outfielder) Jesus De La Rosa:

Though he only appeared in three games for the Astros in 1975, all as a pinch-hitter, De La Rosa was generally an outfielder in his pro career, along with some first base action thrown in.
In those three games as a Big Leaguer, he went 1-for-three with a double and run scored, all over the first week of August of that Summer.
Sadly for him that would be the sum total of his Major League career, though his pro career started back in 1969 when he was only 15 years old.
He played eleven seasons in the Minors along with two in the Mexican League, before calling it a career after the 1980 campaign.
Though I wasn’t 100% happy with the image I had to use, it was indeed a Topps image, and I cleaned it up as best as the software would allow.
Nevertheless, a decent addition to the 1976 “missing card” collection.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


Time to go and give Los Angeles Dodger “lifer” Bill Russell a 1975 In-Action card in the long-running series, as he was just about getting started in his 18-year career as a player before moving on to coaching and managerial positions with the organization later on:

Russell came up with the Dodgers along with their other All-Star infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Ron Cey, a rare instance that was really fun to witness as a baseball fan through the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Originally up as a 20-year-old in 1969, he’d go on to play through the 1986 season before eventually getting a chance to manage the team for parts of three seasons between 1996 and 1998.
For his playing career, Russell hit .263, with 1926 hits and 796 runs scored, with three All-Star nods over 2181 games, again, all with the Dodgers.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


Next up in the “missing rookie cup” parade is the 1974 card for future Cy Young winner Randy Jones, who came up in 1973 and had himself an excellent freshman showing with the San Diego Padres:

Jones made his Big League debut in June of 1973 and went on to post a record of 7-6, with a nice 3.16 earned run average over 20 appearances, 19 of them starts.
Though he would have a forgettable sophomore season in 1974 which saw him lead the National League with 22 losses, along with an ERA of 4.45, we all know how that could have easily been different had he pitched for a better team.
Regardless, over the next two seasons he arguably could have taken home the Cy Young BOTH times, as he’d go on to post records of 20-12 and 22-14, leading the league in ERA with a 2.24 in ‘75 and posting another nice 2.74 mark in his Cy season.
His 1976 season was something, as he’d complete a league-leading 25 games (out of his 40 starts), while logging 315.1 innings, tossing five shutouts and facing 1251 batters. Incredible.
Sadly, all that work took a toll on his arm, and the following season he was reduced to just under 150 innings and only 27 appearances, seeing his ERA balloon to 4.58 before getting back to a 2.88 figure in 1978.
After a couple of more mediocre seasons in San Diego, he’d end up with the New York Mets, where he stumbles, posting a combined 8-18 record in 1981/1982, retiring at the young age of 32 after the ‘82 season.
All told, he finished his career with a record of 100-123, with a decent 3.42 earned run average over 305 appearances and 1933 innings pitched, with that 1976 Cy Young Award and a second place finish the year before.

Friday, August 3, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Joe Henderson, who had a spot on a multi-player rookie card the previous year, his only Topps card showing:

Henderson, who originally came up with the Chicago White Sox in 1974 for the first five games of his career, appeared in four games with the Reds in 1976, then seven games in 1977, accumulating a record of 3-2 over that brief Big League tenure.
Turns out that would be it for him in the Major Leagues, and it seems even professional ball altogether, at the age of 30, originally turning pro with the California (Los Angeles) Angels at the age of 18 in 1965.
He had a couple of excellent seasons in the Minors over that time, going 17-8 and 17-4 in 1968 and 1973 respectively for the Angels and White Sox organizations.
Nevertheless, he’d finish his MLB career with that 3-2 record, with an ERA of 6.69 over 35 innings and 16 appearances.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Next up in the “No-Hitter” thread I just started a couple weeks back is a no-hitter thrown the day AFTER this pitchers team was no-hit by my last entry Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds, and that would be Don Wilson of the Houston Astros:

Incredibly, just the day after Maloney’s 13-K no-hit gem, Wilson matched him with 13 K’s of his own on his way to a no-hitter against a Reds team that had Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez in the line-up.
Wilson did walk six batters, but he easily overpowered the Reds’ line-up that day, improving his record to 2-3 and lowering his ERA to 3.46 on the young season.
For Wilson it was his second career no-hitter, with the first coming in 1967 against the Atlanta Braves, with Hank Aaron being the final out.
Wilson would go on to have arguably his best season in the Big Leagues in 1969, finishing up with a record of 16-12 with an ERA at 4.00 with 235 strikeouts over 34 starts.
He’d match those 16 wins a couple of years later, his high-water mark for a season, with another 15 wins the following year, with ERA’s under 3.00 each time.
A bright star on the Houston Astros team, tragically, on January 5th of 1975 he passed away under mysterious circumstances in his home of carbon monoxide poisoning in his car, which also took the life of his 5-year-old son who was sleeping upstairs above the garage. Wilson was only 29-years-old.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Here’s a guy I’ve known as a player very well, yet until I came across this image, I never knew him to start his MLB career with the Texas Rangers in 1976, thus leading me to create this “not so missing” 1977 card, Greg Pryor:

I’ve always known Pryor as a Chicago White Sox player, then on to the Kansas City Royals, for whom he played through the 1986 season before retiring.
Yet, here we are, turns out Pryor’s first taste of the Big Leagues was in 1976 as a member of the Rangers, for whom he appeared in five games, collecting three hits over eight at-bats while playing the infield.
Turns out he was originally drafted by the Washington Senators back in 1971’s Amateur Draft, and after he had that brief taste of the Majors in 1976, he was traded to the New York Yankees in February of 1977 for Sandy Alomar.
He spent the entire year in the Minors, before being granted Free Agency in November of that year, leading him to be signed by the White Sox, for whom he’d play between 1978 and 1981.
Pretty much a platoon or guy-off-the-bench player throughout his career, he did see full-time action in 1979 when he played in 143 games for Chicago, batting .275 over 525 plate appearances, scoring 60 runs while collecting 131 hits.
By the time he retired, he finished with a .250 lifetime average, with 471 hits in 1883 at-bats, scoring 204 runs while driving in 146 himself, while also being a part of the 1985 World Champion Royals team.


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