Sunday, September 30, 2018


Next up in my “missing rookie cup” thread is former Kansas City Royals pitcher Rich Gale, who had himself an excellent rookie season in 1978, gaining him a 4th-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting, and a spot on Topps’ “Rookie All-Star” team:

Gale finished the season with a record of 14-8, with a very nice 3.09 earned run average over 31 appearances, 30 of them starts.
He threw 192.1 innings, with nine complete games and three shutouts while walking 100 batters along with 88 strikeouts for the Western Division champions.
Of course, when the 1979 Topps cards cam out, we kids saw that for some reason they decided to scrap the cool-looking rookie all-star cups we had grown accustomed to between 1975 and 1978.
Nevertheless, here we are some 40 years later, with a “fix” to remedy that decision.
For Gale, as we have seen so many other times, that rookie season would turn out to be the best of his 7-year Big League career, though he would go 13-9 two seasons later.
But by the time he left the Majors in 1984 after a brief stint with the Boston Red Sox, he finished with a career record of 55-56, with a 4.54 ERA over 195 appearances and 970 innings pitched, with five shutouts and 518 strikeouts.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


I’ve been meaning to create this 1978 “Then and Now” card for long-time catcher/utility-man Ed Kirkpatrick for some time now. Happy to get it out today:

Kirkpatrick put in 16 seasons in the Big Leagues between 1962 and 1977, coming up as a 17-year-old with the Los Angeles Angels, for whom he played the first seven years of his career.
In 1969 he was one of the original Kansas City Royals, having the best run of his career through 1973 with them, getting the only truly full-time work in the Majors in that period.
In 1974 he found himself as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he got to play in his only post-season action, coming in 1974 and 1975 during the National League Championship Series.
He played with the Pirates into the 1977 season before getting traded first to the Texas Rangers, then to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he played out the season, and his career.
Interesting note I never knew before: the trade that brought him to Milwaukee in his final season of 1977 was for slugger Gorman Thomas, who was sent to Texas!
Turns out that the Brewers purchased Thomas back and thus led to him becoming the slugging home-run champ we all got to know later in the decade, into the 1980’s.
As for Kirkpatrick, he finished his MLB career with a .238 batting average, with 824 hits in 3467 at-bats, appearing in 1311 games while playing every position except for pitcher and shortstop along the way.
Truly a utility man who could fill in anywhere.

Friday, September 28, 2018


Here’s another “not really missing” card for former infielder Jerry DaVanon, who I created a 1974 card for a little while back here on the blog, today is a 1972 edition:

DaVanon played in 38 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1971, batting .235 with 19 hits over 81 at-bats for the American League champs.
But he’d go an spend all of 1972 in the Minors, splitting time in the Orioles and California Angels organizations before making it back to the Big Leagues in 1973.
He’d play the next five seasons, albeit sporadically, for the Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros before retiring for good after the 1977 season, finishing up with a .234 career average with 117 hits over 499 at-bats, with 73 runs scored and 50 RBIs.
His son Jeff would eventually also make the Majors, even playing for the California Angels like his dad, putting in eight seasons under the sun before retiring in 2007.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Today we take a look at the airbrushed original for career minor-leaguer George Lopez, who found himself playing in the Cleveland Indians’ system at the break of the 1973 season:

The image would end up being used for a multi-player rookie in the 1973 set, seen here:

Lopez, who spent all 13 of his professional seasons in the Minors, came over to the Indians after splitting the 1972 season in the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers organizations.
A guy who a some pop in his bat, he hit as many as 22 home runs in a season (1971 for Syracuse), and hit 127 of them for his career.
Sadly for him, he’d never get that break to the Big Leagues, playing through the 1975 season before hanging them up for good at the age of 30.
For his pro career, he hit the aforementioned 127 homers along with a .263 average, with 908 hits over 3441 at-bats, and one nifty “70’s style” Topps airbrush job.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Here we have a “not so missing” 1970 card for former Minnesota Twins pitcher Jerry Crider, who made his Major League debut during the 1969 season:

Crider appeared in 21 games for the Western Division champ Twins during his rookie season, pitching 28.2 innings and picking up a win against no losses, along with an earned run average of 4.71.
In May of the following year he was traded over to the Chicago White Sox, where it turns out he’d appear in 32 games, compiling a record of 4-7 with an ERA of 4.45 in 91 innings of work.
Turns out those would be the last of his brief career, as he would go on to play in the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants Minor League systems the next three years before retiring as an active player after the 1973 season.
All told, he finished his career with a record of 5-7 along with an ERA of 4.51 over 53 appearances and 119.2 innings pitched with five saves thrown in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


We’re coming towards the end of the line for the “missing rookie cup” thread here, and today we “fix” the 1979 card of former Minnesota Twins outfielder Hosken Powell, who had a nice rookie year in 1978:

Powell appeared in 121 games for the Twins, batting .247 with 55 runs scored and 11 stolen bases along with 94 hits, 20 of them doubles.
He had an even better sophomore season in 1979, batting a career-high .293 with 99 hits in 338 at-bats, playing in 104 games, generally as a right fielder.
1980 would see him become a regular, appearing in a career-high 137 games with 523 plate-appearances, batting .262 with 127 hits and 14 stolen bases, scoring 58 runs while driving in 35, but turns out that would be the high-point of his Big League tenure, as the strike-shortened 1981 season had him play 80 games before moving on to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played sparingly over the 1982 and 1983 seasons, his last in the Majors.
He’d spend the 1984 season in the Milwaukee Minor League system before playing out his Pro career in the Mexican League in 1985 for the Saltillo Saraperos team.
For his career, Powell batted .259 with 470 hits and 241 runs scored in 594 games, stealing 43 bases while driving in 160 runs for Minnesota and Toronto.

Monday, September 24, 2018


Let’s throw up my 1972 “not so missing” Stan Perzanowski card for the former right-handed pitcher shall we?

Perzanowski appeared in the first five games of his Major League career in 1971, going 0-1 with a bloated 12.00 earned run average in six innings of work at the age of only 20.
He’d spend the next three years in the minors before making it all the way back in 1974, albeit in only two games, and again, getting hit hard to the tune of a 19.29 ERA in 2.1 innings pitched for the White Sox.
After a change in scenery, now with the Texas Rangers, he’d go on to have a nice 1975 season when he posted a record of 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA over 12 appearances, eight of them starts.
However the following year it was back to the rough times, as he posted yet another year of double-digit ERA, this time at 10.03 without registering a decision over five appearances and 11.2 innings of work.
After another year in the Minor Leagues in 1977, he was back on a Major League mound in 1978, now with the Minnesota Twins, where he went 2-7 with an ERA of 5.24 over 13 games, starting seven of them, which would end up being the last MLB action he’d see in his brief five-year career.
All told, he finished up with a career 5-11 record, with an ERA of 5.11 over 37 appearances and 142.2 innings pitched, with two complete games and two saves.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Next up in my on-going “No-Hitter” thread is the one tossed by former California Angels pitcher Clyde Wright on July 3rd, 1970 against the Oakland A’s:

Wright was having the greatest year of his career in 1970, a season after posting a dismal 1-8 record, with the team releasing him before he went to play Winter Ball where he developed an off-speed repertoire, making it back to the Big Leagues in star fashion.
On July 3rd, against a powerful Oakland A’s line-up, he put it all together and threw the first no-hitter at Anaheim Stadium, striking out one batter while walking three, improving his record to 12-5 and lowering his earned run average to a nifty 2.90.
The big blow of the game was a 4th inning three-run home run by third baseman Ken McMullen, while eventual league batting champ Alex Johnson also chipped in an RBI in the first.
For Wright, it was a season that would see him win the A.L. Comeback Player of the Year Award, as he posted a record of 22-12 with a 2.83 ERA over 39 starts and 260.2 innings of work.
He’d go on to post two more seasons of sub-3.00 ERA’s in 1971 and 1972, at 2.99 and 2.98 while putting up 16 and 18 wins respectively.
Come 1973 however, his ERA would go up nearly a full run while posting a record of 11-19, only to see him lose 20 games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1974, before a final season, this one with the Texas Rangers in 1975, finishing up with a record of 4-6, which would be the last action he’d see as a Major Leaguer.
He would take his talents to Japan, where he pitched with the Yomiuri Giants for three years, winning 22 games, before retiring for good.
For his MLB career, he won exactly 100 games against 111 losses, with an ERA of 3.50 over 329 appearances, 235 of them starts, with nine shutouts and 667 strikeouts in 1728.2 innings.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Next up in my on-going 1975 “In-Action” series is the great Lou Brock, who put in one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career in 1974, setting a new Major League record with 118 stolen bases, doing so at the age of 35:

First off, I’d like to acknowledge that the image used for this card was found online by ELZ Photography.
I usually like to use Getty Images but this image was perfect for what I wanted, while also giving us a bonus Mike Schmidt photo-bomb in the background, so “Thank You” to ELZ!
Brock really was an under-appreciated player in my book, having to get what little spotlight he could playing the outfield in the National league when you had guys like Mays, Aaron and Clemente there as well.
Nevertheless, the man made six All-Star squads, finished second in the MVP race for the National League in 1974, and would go on to a Hall of Fame induction thanks to 3000+ hits, an MLB record 938 stolen bases, and 1610 runs scored.
Did you realize that between 1964 and 1974 the LEAST amount of hits he collected in any one season was 182!?
As a matter of fact in those eleven seasons he collected over 190 hits eight times, while scoring less than 90 only once.
Just an amazing 19-year career!

Friday, September 21, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for a guy who already got a “missing” 1970 card from me earlier this year, former pitcher Steve Kealey of the Chicago White Sox:

Turns out Kealey ended playing what would be the last seven games of his 6-year Major league career in 1973, not factoring in a decision while posting a bloated 15.09 earned run average over 11.1 innings of work.
The previous season he had perhaps his best as a Big Leaguer, going 3-2 while sporting an ERA of 3.30 over 40 appearances, saving four games and striking out 37 batters over 57.1 innings.
What I love about this card is the true “1970’s” affect the times had on Kealey, as evidenced by what he looked like just a few years earlier.
Check  it out:

Awesome! Like a totally different person.
All told, Kealey had a nice career that saw him go 8-5 with an ERA of 4.28 over 139 appearances, with eleven saves and even a shutout, with only four of those appearances being starts.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Next in line form a “rookie cup” fix is former Chicago White Sox outfielder Bob Molinaro, who put in a nice rookie debut in 1978 and was named to Topps’ rookie all-star squad:

Originally up with the Detroit Tigers in 1975 for a brief cup of coffee, Molinaro got a chance to put in some full-time work, albeit barely, in 1978 with Chicago, appearing in 105 games and batting .262 with 22 stolen bases and five triples in only 286 plate appearances.
Apparently it was good enough for Topps, though as we all know, they stopped using their cool Rookie All-Star trophy on cards.
The following season he had an even better year, batting .291 over 119 games and 384 plate appearances, collecting 100 hits and stealing 18 bases along with 48 runs scored and another four triples.
Sadly for him however those two would be the only seasons of his eight-year Big League career where he saw any decent amount of time on the playing field, as he would find himself reduced to filling in and pinch-hitting over the next three seasons.
After getting less than 100 plate appearances each season between 1981 and 1983 playing for Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit, he was done as an active player in the Majors.
All told he finished with a career average of .264 over 401 games, collecting 212 hits in 803 at-bats, with 46 stolen bases and 106 runs scored.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Today we have a 1978 “not so missing” card for another player who had the briefest of MLB careers, former Seattle Mariners shortstop Tom McMillan:

McMillan actually was on one of the multi-player rookie cards in the 1977 as a member of that inaugural Seattle team, but only ended up appearing in two games for the Mariners that year.
Over those two games he failed to collect a hit in five plate appearances, though played 10-innings of flawless shortstop over his four day September call-up.
He’d end up putting in another two seasons of Pro Ball in the Minor Leagues in 1978 and 1979, but would call it a career after that, finishing up in the Pittsburgh organization in Double-A, playing for Buffalo in the Eastern League.
But for those two games in September 1977, he was a Big League shortstop.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Now HERE is a fun card I wish Topps would have had out in 1977, a “not so missing” card for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Larry Monroe, in that famously short-lived experiment of a uniform:

Here we have the eight-game Major Leaguer in those White Sox uniforms with the shorts, pretty much the epitome of the “wild-70’s”.
I previously created a “Nickname” card for Ralph Garr a while back with an image of him in shorts, but this is the first with a “base card” for a player.
As for Monroe, he appeared in all eight games of his brief Major League career in 1976, going 0-1 with an ERA of 4.15 over 21.2 innings of work.
He stuck around pitching in the Minor Leagues through the 1979 season, but never was able to make it back to the “Big Show” before retiring.
Nevertheless, here he is, some 40 years later, still a Big League pitcher in this fan’s eyes.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Let’s go and give former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher John “The Candy Man” Candelaria a card in my long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread shall we:

The fellow native New Yorker out of LaSalle Academy had himself an excellent 19-year career in the Major Leagues, making an impact immediately as a 22-year old in 1976 for Pittsburgh, going 16-7 in his first full season, with a 3.15 earned run average over 32 appearances, with four shutouts.
The following season he had himself the best year of his career, going 20-5 while leading the league in both winning percentage (.800) and earned run average (2.34) over 33 starts, making his only All-Star game appearance while finishing fifth in the N.L. Cy Young voting.
By the time he retired as an active player after the 1993 season at the age of 39, he finished with a record of 177-122, good for a very nice .592 winning percentage, with 11 shutouts over 600 appearances, 356 of them starts, with a 3.33 ERA.
I loved his brief time with the New York Yankees in 1988 and 1989, with his ‘88 season a very good one, going 13-7 over 25 appearances, 24 of those starts.
“The Candy Man”!

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Time to go ahead and give one of my favorite under-appreciated pitchers Don McMahon, fellow Brooklynite, a coach card, this one a 1976 example:

McMahon moved on to coaching while still an active player with the San Francisco Giants in the early-70s before retiring as an active player for good after the 1974 season at the age of 44.
A couple of years later he was sharing his wisdom with the Minnesota Twins pitching staff, sharing what he himself picked up as a Big League pitcher for 18 seasons between 1957 and 1974.
Considering that McMahon was already 27 years of age when he debuted in 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves, it’s amazing he even threw for 18 years.
By the time he retired, he appeared in 874 games, and except for two starts for the Houston Colt .45’s in 1963, all others were out of the bullpen, establishing himself as a relief specialist on his way to 152 saves and 505 games finished, with a very nice 2.96 earned run average playing for seven organizations.
A product of the famous Erasmus High School in Flatbush Brooklyn, he’d finish his career with a record of 98-68 while also winning two championships, 1957 with the Braves and 1968 while with the Detroit Tigers.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


The next no-hitter featured in my new thread of gems through the decade is none other than that (in)famous no-no pitched by former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis, who supposedly threw this one while under the influence of LSD against the San Diego Padres on June 12th or 1970:

Now, whether or not he actually threw the no-hitter while “tripping” is something some believe to be false, while I tend to think is true.
Nevertheless, if you haven’t yet PLEASE watch the documentary “No-No”, which is not only an incredible work on the man himself, but gives some stark insight into the game at the dawn of the “wild-70’s”.
Now, as for the game itself, Ellis took the mound for a Pirates team who were at .500 with a 29-29 record, against the second-year San Diego Padres, who were on their way to another loooong Summer, and understandably so.
Ellis was 4-4 at the time, and side-story notwithstanding, went on to walk eight batters while fanning six, and was helped by Hall of Famer Willie Stargell, who clubbed two solo homers off Padres starter Dave Roberts, who pitched a really nice game himself.
By the time the game was over 2 hours and 13 minutes later, Ellis made history with the no-hitter, and of course into sports folklore with the assertion that he did so while on LSD because of he “forgot what day it was” until someone reminded him he was pitching later that evening.
Did it actually happen? Who knows. There are strong opinions on either side of the story from people close to the organization at the time.
But man does it make a great story! Especially as a symbol of that era!
I love me my 1970’s baseball, and this kicks off that decade nicely...

Friday, September 14, 2018


Time to go an add former Toronto Blue Jay Rick Bosetti to the role of “missing rookie cups” thread I’ve been running for a while:

Bosetti had himself a very nice rookie season in 1978, hitting .259 with 147 hits over 568 at-bats, with 25 doubles, five triples and five homers in 136 games.
Topps selected him as a “Rookie All-Star”, but sadly stopped using the cool trophy they ran for the previous four years.
As for Bosetti, I’d love to know what happened to his career, since he followed up the nice 1978 season with an even better sophomore campaign the following year when he played in all 162 games for Toronto, batting .260 with 161 hits, 35 doubles and 65 RBIS over 619 at-bats.
Not a bad year at all, yet he then only appeared in 53 games the following season, followed by only 34 in 1981, then only six in 1982, the last of his Major League career.
I can’t find anything on injuries, etc giving him such an abrupt end to a once promising career.
Anyone know?

Thursday, September 13, 2018


Here’s a “career-capping” not-so-missing 1976 card for a guy you have to feel for, former pitcher Chuck Dobson, who finished up a nine-year career in 1975:

Dobson appeared in nine games for California in 1975, going 0-2 with a 6.75 earned run average over 28 innings of work.
It was his second year with the Angels after coming over from the Oakland A’s, who released him just before the 1974 season started.
The reason I always felt bad for him was he actually wasn’t a part of the Oakland A’s since 1971 when he posted an excellent 15-5 record with a 3.81 ERA over 30 appearances, all starts.
He missed 1972, though he did appear in nine game down in the Minor Leagues, and appeared in one solitary game during the 1973 season, pitching a total of 2.1 innings.
So he started his Major League career in 1966 with the (then) Kansas City Athletics at the age of 22, put in a very nice string of six seasons where he posted double-digit wins, even leading the American League in shutouts in 1970 with five, only to miss out on the three straight championships his teammates went on to have between 1972 and 1974.
That had to hurt!
Kind of reminds me of Lee May, who had to watch all of the guys he came through the system with in the 1960’s go on to become the “Big Red Machine” while he was down in Houston after the Joe Morgan trade.
Nevertheless, Dobson had himself a nice nine-year career that saw him go 74-69, with an ERA of 3.78 over 202 appearances, with 11 shutouts and 49 complete games.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Well it took me long enough, but I’ve finally gotten around to “correcting” an awful move by Topps from 1975, having Bobby Murcer on a Yankee card instead of the terrible airbrushed specimen they put out:

I mean, come on! The Yankees were just coming out of the lean years, Murcer was our one bankable star who started the All-Star game the year before, and we opened packs to find him painted into a San Francisco Giants uniform, yet STILL having “A.L. All-Star” on the front.
For a kid back then, it was heart-breaking.
Anyway, I may have to actually print this one out to slip into my 1975 binder alongside the original to really make it all complete!
Murcer really did have a very nice career, especially those seasons between 1969 and 1977 when he drove in over 80 runs eight times, while topping 90 five of those seasons.
He hit as high as .331 (1971) while hitting as many as 33 homers (1972), while also leading the league in runs scored with 102 in 1972, OBP with a .427 mark in 1971 and total bases with 314 again in 1972.
He made five straight All-Star teams from 1971 through 1975, and was in the top-10 in MVP voting three straight years: 1971-1973.
Much more importantly, the man was one of the nicest human beings on the planet, as I can attest to, meeting him on more than a few occasions.
He was just as “real” as it got.
Rest in Peace Bobby. You are truly missed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Today on the blog we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former catcher Art Kusnyer of the Kansas City Royals, who I created a “missing” 1973 card a long time ago on the blog:

Kusnyer played the last nine games of his Major League career in 1978 for the Western Division champion Royals, batting .231 with three hits over 13 at-bats, one of them a home run.
It was his first action in the Big Leagues since 1976 when he appeared in 15 games for the Milwaukee Brewers, a triumph of sorts since he last played in the Majors before THAT in 1973 with the California Angels.
In 1972 he played in 64 games for California, with 198 plate appearances, yet Topps left him out of the 1973 set, leading to my “missing” creation mentioned earlier.
All told, Kusnyer appeared in 139 games during his six-year career, beginning in 1970 with the Chicago White Sox before moving on to the Angels where he played the bulk of his MLB tenure.
He finished with a career average of .176 with 55 hits over 313 at-bats, with three homers and 21 runs batted in.

Monday, September 10, 2018


Here’s a “not so missing” 1973 card for a player who had somewhat of an interesting career, former Chicago White Sox pitcher Dennis (Denny) O’Toole:

Why so interesting about his career?
Well, O’Toole played in five straight seasons, all with Chicago, appeared in 15 games over that time with 30.1 innings pitched, and never factored in a decision.
Sure, it’s not the most playing time, but odd to see five straight seasons of Big League ball for a pitcher without a win or a loss.
Originally up in 1969, O’Toole proceeded to appear in 2, 3, 1, 3 and six games between his rookie year and 1973, with a high of 16 innings in that final season, all in relief.
Over that time he fashioned an earned run average of 5.04, with 22 strikeouts and ten walks, finishing up nine of those games.
After a couple of seasons in the Minors for the Cleveland Indians in 1974 and 1975, he called it a playing career.

Sunday, September 9, 2018


Here was a card I’ve been wanted to create for a while now, a “nickname” card for former National League Rookie of the Year Earl Williams, aka “Big Money”, so I went ahead and created a 1973 example:

Williams’ successful Major League debut in 1971 was actually with the Atlanta Braves, but it’s really not that easy finding a time-appropriate image of him from that season, so I went and found this great image from his first season with the Baltimore Orioles in 1973.
In that award-winning 1971 season with Atlanta, Williams hit 33 home runs with 87 runs batted in while batting .260, certainly (at the time especially) a great rookie year, beating out Willie Montanez as the league’s top freshman.
After another excellent season in 1972, where he hit 28 homers with another 87 RBIs, Williams was dealt to Baltimore as part of a six-player deal that had Davey Johnson, Pat Dobson and Johnny Oates heading the other way in November.
He did not disappoint in his first year, hitting 22 homers while driving in 83 runs while catching and playing first base.
He had a bit of a drop off in production the following season, but still hit 14 homers with 52 RBIs in 118 games and 413 at-bats, before finding his way back to Atlanta again via trade, where he’d play another seasons and a half before playing out his career with the Montreal Expos for the second half of 1976 and the Oakland A’s in 1977.
Though he still had some pop in his bat, hitting 17 homers in 1976 split between the Braves and Expos, and 13 homers with the A’s in 1977, his average was hovering around the .230 mark with an OBP under .300.
He’d play the next two years in the Mexican League, but would never get back to the Big Leagues, retiring as a pro after 1980.

Saturday, September 8, 2018


The next Topps rookie card to get the “missing rookie cup” treatment is that iconic card from the 1979 set: Bob Horner’s first cardboard slab:

We all remember the hype, and the fact that for some time this was THE card to pull out of a pack because of the splash Horner made in his first season, just weeks after being drafted #1 overall by the Atlanta Braves in June of 1978.
An All-American out of Arizona State where he set NCAA records for home runs, Horner never broke stride after making his debut 10 days after being picked in the draft.
Over the final 89 games of the season, all he’d do is club 23 homers while batting .266, with 63 runs batted in and 50 runs scored, eventually getting picked for the National League Rookie of the Year Award, though I feel Ozzie Smith should have won it based on his full-season (he got shafted).
Horner would go on to hit over 30 homers in three of the next four seasons, the only time missing the mark due to the 1981 strike, while also topping 20 homers in three of the next four after that.
However, his career was essentially ruined due to the baseball owners colluding in 1986, purposely NOT offering any high-dollar contracts to him and others (Jack Morris, etc), eventually leading to Horner signing with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese League where he’d hit 31 homers in only 93 games.
He’d make it back to the Majors the following season, now with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988, but after getting injured after only 60 games, though batting a not-so-terrible .257, he’d call it a career at only 30 years of age.
Think about this: Horner hit 218 home runs with 685 RBIs and 560 runs scored in only 10 abbreviated seasons, in only 3777 at-bats, and a very decent .277 career average.
His last full season, 1986, at only 28 years of age, he hit .273 with 27 homers and 89 RBIs, yet had his career screwed because of collusion.
Years later he’d win a $7 Million settlement with baseball owners due to the nefarious act, but man, this guy could have easily hit 400+ homers with some other gaudy numbers had he been given his rightful chance to keep playing, even with his nagging injuries that held him to one season of 500+ at-bats, ironically that 1986 season.

Friday, September 7, 2018


On the blog today we have a 1974 “not really missing” 1974 card for former third baseman Doug DeCinces, who was just starting out on what would become an excellent 15-year Major League career:

DeCinces appeared in the first 10 games of his career in 1973, collecting two hits over 18 at-bats with three runs batted and two runs scored.
Of course, he’d have to wait for the all-time legend who happened to play in front of him on the Orioles, Brooks Robinson, to retire before he could take on full-time action.
But in the meantime he did get to see substantial time on the field in 1976 and 1977, also playing the other infield positions.
After nine seasons with the O’s, DeCinces was traded to the California Angels in 1982 for Dan Ford, and he would have his best season in the Big Leagues, finishing third in the league MVP race with 30 homers, 97 runs batted in and a .301 average, helping the team move on to the ALCS, where they’d lose to the Milwaukee Brewers.
After his last season in 1987, playing the last four games of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals after being released by the Angels, he took his talents to Japan where he played for the Yakult Swallows in 1988.
All told, as far as his MLB tenure went, he finished with 237 home runs, with 879 RBIs and 778 runs scored and a .259 average over 1649 games, playing for the Orioles, Angels and Cardinals.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Time to add the great Brooks Robinson to my on-going 1975 “In-Action” project, as the all-time great was nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career by the time this card would have been out:

Robinson would take home his 16th consecutive Gold Glove in 1975, solidifying his place as the top third baseman in Major League history.
The man was an All-Star 15 times, with an MVP in 1964, while also helping the power-house Orioles win two World Championships while appearing in two others between 1966 through 1971.
By the time he hung up that golden glove after the 1977 season, he finished with 2848 hits, 1357 runs batted in, 268 home runs and 1232 runs scored in 2896 games.
Needless to say, by the time Cooperstown came calling, he was voted in on his first try, receiving 92% support in 1983.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Up on the blog today we have my third card for former Montreal Expos second baseman Jim Cox, this one a 1976 edition:

I previously created 1975 and 1977 card for the man, as his only official Topps card was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1974 set.
Cox appeared in eleven games for the Expos during the 1975 season, hitting .259 with seven hits over 27 at-bats, hitting one of his three career homers while driving in five runs.
He’d go on to play in 13 games during the Bicentennial year, which would turn out to be the final games he’d play in on the Big League level.
He would put in three full seasons of Minor League ball from 1977-1979, but never get the call back to the “Big Show” again before retiring for good at the age of 29.
All told he appeared in 110 games in the Majors, all with Montreal, batting .215 with three homers and 66 hits over 307 official at-bats.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


The next no-hit gem profiled in my relatively new thread on the blog is Bob Moose’s masterpiece on September 20th, of 1969, thrown against the eventual World Champion New York Mets:

Moose was having himself an excellent season, coming into the game with a record of 11-3 with an ERA just about at 3.00.
Two hours and six minutes later he had himself the best start of his career, throwing nine no-hit innings against three walks while striking out six.
He’d finish the year with a record of 14-3, leading the league with an .824 winning percentage while posting a final ERA of 2.91 along with six complete games and four saves.
It was his finest season as a Big League pitcher, as he would finish his career with a record of 76-71 with a 3.50 ERA over 289 appearances and 1303.1 innings pitched in 10 years.
Tragically, just seven years later, on his 29th birthday, Bob Moose was killed in an automobile accident on his way to Bill Mazeroski’s golf course in Rayland, Ohio, in a decade that was awful for such tragedies in the sport (Mike Miley, Danny Frisella, Thurman Munson, etc).

Monday, September 3, 2018


Today we have a “not so missing” 1977 card for former outfielder Jimmy Rosario, who made it all the way back to the Big Leagues in 1976 after three years in the Minors:

Rosario last saw action on a Major League field in 1972, appearing in only seven games for the San Francisco Giants, the team he came up with just one season before as a 26-year-old rookie.
In 1976 he was now a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, and proceeded to hit .189 in limited play, collecting what would be the last seven hits of his brief career over 37 at-bats, scoring four runs and driving in five in 15 games.
The following year he would go on to the Japanese League where he’d play for the Crown Lighter Lions before playing out his pro career with five seasons in the Mexican League until the age of 37 in 1982.

Sunday, September 2, 2018


Next up in the “Missing Rookie Cup” thread is one of the great rookie cards of the decade, 1979’s Ozzie Smith, which in my opinion would have been oh-so-much better with that Topps Rookie All-Star trophy at the lower right corner:

Smith made an immediate impact in the Majors when he came up in 1978, finishing second to slugger Bob Horner (and all the hype) in the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Playing in 159 games for the San Diego Padres, Smith hit .258 with 152 hits, 69 runs and 40 stolen bases, giving everyone a good idea of what to expect for the next 19 seasons.
But of course it was his defensive wizardry that led him straight to the Hall of Fame, collecting 13 straight Gold Gloves between 1980 and 1992, while making 15 All-Star games and giving everyone thrills along the way.
“The Wizard of Oz” was incredible, and definitely one of those players I am so grateful to have had seen play in person.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Hey everyone! Happy to announce that the newest custom set, "19th Century Base Ball Champions" is now available for purchase!
Limited to only 24 sets, this edition has 25-cards in a cigarette pack with authentic 1890's Flag pin, custom "WTHBALLS" coupon, and as a bonus, each purchase also comes with a mounted 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings cabinet card.
The cigarette boxes are actually sealed with authentic 1890's U.S. Tax Revenue stamps as well!
The sets are $23 postpaid. Email me at: to order or if you have any questions!


I was psyched to find the original airbrushed image used for the 1973 Jose Arcia card! I have always loved this card for the 70’s-esque paint job on his “KC” cap, but really because of the wasted effort:

Arcia as it turned out, never played for the Royals.
As a matter of fact the last Major League action he saw was back in 1970 with the San Diego Padres (as you can see from the original image), for whom he played two of his three Big League seasons.
I guess Topps jumped the gun and figured he’d see some playing time in 1973, yet for Arcia it was just a three year run in the Royals’ Minor League system between 1973 and 1975, before playing out his Pro career with a season for the Houston Astros Double-A team in Columbus before calling it a career.
All told, his Major League career spanned the 1968 through 1970 seasons, the first being with the Chicago Cubs, where he accumulated a career .215 average with 132 hits over 615 at-bats in 293 games.


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