Thursday, January 31, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1973 card for former Chicago White Sox outfielder Hank Allen, who got to see his brother Dick have a monster of an MVP season in 1972, even if Hank appeared in only nine games that year:

Hank collected three hits over 21 at-bats over that time as he made it back to the Big Leagues after a 1971 season spent in the Minors.
He’d go on to play in what turned out to be the last 28 games of his career in 1973 before a handful of games in the San Diego system in 1974, retiring for good thereafter.
Originally up with the Washington Senators in 1966, he’d play the bulk of his career with them before a short stint with the Milwaukee Brewers in their inaugural season of 1970.
All told, Allen played seven seasons in the Big League sun, hitting .241 with 212 hits over 881 at-bats in 389 games, scoring 104 runs while driving in 57.
Besides his brother Dick, there was also brother Ron, giving the Allens that rare three-brother trio suiting up for a Major League team.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Fresh off of Nolan Ryan’s first no-hitter profiled here on the blog, we have his second, thrown just two months later on July 15th against the Detroit Tigers, forever made famous when Tigers’ slugger Norn Cash came to the plate with two-out in the ninth wielding a table leg instead of a bat:

Cash had the right idea since Ryan was on a brutal roll, mowing down batter after batter not only that game, but that season, when he would finish with a (still) Major League record 383 strikeouts while posting 21 wins and a 2.87 ERA.
On this Sunday in particular, Ryan faced the Tigers at Tiger Stadium and proceeded to strikeout 17 batters against “only” four walks, striking out every Tiger batter at least once, shutting them out 6-0.
According to game re-caps, Ryan didn’t even need any great plays behind him to keep the gem going. Only a sharp line drive off the bat of Gates Brown with one out in the ninth was even considered a “sure hit” if not for Rudy Meoli shading him a bit to the right, snaring the drive about a foot over his head.
The “Ryan Express” was steaming his way into the record books, and to think he STILL had 20 more seasons to go before he was done!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Let’s cap-off Ron Swoboda’s nine-year Major League career with a “not so missing” 1974 card after a few dozen games with the New York Yankees in 1973:

Swoboda played in 35 games for the Yanks in 1973, which would be the last of his career that spanned nine seasons, 1965-1973.
Over those 35 games he hit .116generally as a designated hitter, collecting five hits over 43 at-bats with a home run and five runs batted in.
Of course everyone remembers the outfielder from his World Series performance during the “Miracle Mets” improbable defeat of the mighty Baltimore Orioles in 1969, for which Swoboda is forever a fan-favorite in Queens, NY, when he made a spectacular play against Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson, while also hitting .400 with a game-winning RBI in the fifth and final game.
Over his career Swoboda would end up hitting .242 with 344 RBIs and 285 runs scored over 928 games and 2581 at-bats, suiting up for the Mets, Yankees and a short 39-game stint with the Montreal Expos in between during the 1971 season.

Monday, January 28, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for former pitcher Ray Bare, who you may remember as a Detroit Tiger later on in his brief career, but for whom started as a St. Louis Cardinal for a couple dozen games before then:

Bare appeared in 10 games for the Redbirds in 1974 after spending all of 1973 in the Minors, making his Big League debut in 1972 with 14 games.
Over those 24 games Bare posted a combined 1-3 record, pulling extremes in earned run average with a brilliant 0.54 over 16.2 innings in ‘72 then a bloated 5.92 mark over 24.1 in ‘74, generally out of the bullpen except for three starts in the latter season.
In 1975 he’d find himself in the Motor City with the Tigers, where he’d become a starter and go on to appear in 29 games, tossing six complete games and 150.2 innings, going 8-13 with a 4.48 ERA.
1976 would be more of the same, as Bare would appear in 30 games, 21 of them starts, posting a record of 7-8 with an ERA at 4.63, throwing two shutouts in 134 innings pitched.
However just like that, his career would be derailed in 1977 as he’d only appear in five games, going 0-2 with an eye-popping 12.56 ERA in 14.1 innings, where he allowed 24 hits along with seven walks, giving him a one-way ticket to the Minors, where he’d play out his pro career the following season in the Baltimore system before retiring for good.
All told, Bare finished with a record of 16-26, with a 4.79 ERA over 88 appearances, 49 of them starts, with nine complete games and three shutouts in 340 innings pitched.

Sunday, January 27, 2019


I’ve been sitting on this great image of Joe Torre and Lou Brock, waiting to create a “special” card, so today I whipped up a 1973 card for the two St. Louis Cardinals All-Stars:

Both players were magnificent trade pick-ups for the organization, Brock in the memorable trade in 1964 for pitcher Ernie Broglio, and Torre in 1969 for another future Hall of Famer, Orlando Cepeda.
Torre and Brock would produce 200-hit seasons, break records (Brock with his season and career stolen base totals) and even take home a National League MVP when Torre turned the trick in 1971 as he topped the league with his .363 batting average, 137 runs batted in and 230 hits.
Of course, Brock would go on to top 3000 hits, set a new career stolen base record when he retired with 938, and become a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he received 79.7% of the vote in 1985.
Torre would go on to have arguably an even better career as a manager, leading the New York Yankees to four championships, 13 first place finishes overall, and over 2300 managerial wins over 29 seasons.
Hope you enjoy these “specials” as much as I do. I’ve always wished Topps sprinkled them in through the 1970’s and 1980’s as they did the previous two decades.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


Today we take a look at the airbrushed image used on former batting champ Ralph Garr’s 1976 Topps “Traded” card:

Really not that bad when you look at the shadowing on the cap! The “Sox” logo really looks great as well.
Just two seasons removed from his batting champion year of 1974 when he hit .353 with the Atlanta Braves, Garr found himself in the South Side of Chicago when he was dealt along with Larvell Blanks for Ken Henderson, Dick Ruthven and Dan Osborn.
He wouldn’t really disappoint, though he didn’t reach the lofty numbers of his batting title campaign, Garr still hit .300 his first two seasons with the club, followed by a .275 mark in 1978.
The following year he’d start off by hitting .280 before the California Angels purchased him on September 20th of 1979, hitting .125 for the Halos over six games.
Though still only 34, Garr was hitting only .190 over the first 21 games in 1980 before getting released in June, ending his Big League tenure rather quickly considering he was still a career .306 hitter.
Nevertheless, the “Road Runner” left the game with that .306 mark, collecting 1562 hits over 5108 at-bats in 1317 games, topping 200 hits three times while also leading the league in triples twice.

Friday, January 25, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1977 card for a guy who already played the last of his Major League games by the time this card would have come out, former Chicago White Sox infielder Hugh Yancy:

Yancy, who also got a “not so missing” 1975 card here on the blog a couple of years ago, appeared in three games for Chicago during the 1976 season, going 1-for-10 at the plate while playing some second base.
He also saw three games in 1972 and just one game in 1974, giving him a career total of seven games played, with two hits over 19 at-bats for a .105 batting average.
He would go on to play in the Minor Leagues through the 1979 season but never make it back to a Major League game.
I plan on closing out his baseball card resume with a “not so missing” 1973 slab in the near future. For the complete “collectors” out there, keep an eye out for it!

Thursday, January 24, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1974 card for a guy we are all familiar with, former reliever Tom Burgmeier, who silently put together an excellent 17-year Major League career as a reliable arm out of the bullpen:

The St. Paul, Minnesota native had an injury-ridden 1973 season that saw him appear in only six games for the Kansas City Royals, not factoring in a decision while sporting a 5.40 earned run average over 10 innings.
However he’d bounce back and proceed to put in another eleven years of solid ball for the Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s through the 1984 season before retiring at the age of 40.
His career really was a good one, appearing in 745 games while earning a record of 79-55 with a very nice 3.23 ERA with 102 saves in 1258.2 innings.
Among his 745 appearances, only three were starts, two during his rookie year of 1968 while with the California Angels, and one in 1978 with the Red Sox.
Just one of those guys who was quietly reliable, year after year, making only one All-Star game, in 1980 when he ended up with a record of 5-4 and an ERA of exactly 2.00 with a career-high 24 saves for Boston.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


I love creating cards for guys that really had only a small taste of Majors League ball, and today we have another one, a 1978 card for former Seattle Mariners pitcher Greg Erardi:

The Upstate New York native appeared in five games for the new Seattle franchise during their inaugural 1977 season, going 0-1 with an earned run average of 6.00 with six earned runs allowed over exactly nine innings of work, while striking out five and walking six.
Originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 24th round of the 1972 draft, Erardi bounced around a bit in the Minor Leagues between 1972 and 1977, also playing in the Pittsburgh and New York Yankee systems before that September call-up in 1977.
Oddly, it seems that Big League action would be the last professional play he’d see, as there is no other evidence of any appearances Major or Minor to be found.
But I did find that he chose a life on Wall Street, earning an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Business and becoming a Managing Director at Salomon Brothers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Here’s a card that to be honest, I don’t know what took me so long to create, a 1970 “not so missing” card for the great Carlton Fisk, who made his Major League debut at the age of 21 during the 1969 season:

Fisk went 0-for-5 over two games for the Boston Red Sox in 1969, but at the age of 21 got his first taste of the “big show” before spending all of 1970 in the Minor Leagues.
He’d make it all the way back in 1971 for 14 games, before making a splash the following season, taking home the 1972 American League Rookie of the Year Award after a .293 batting average with a league-leading nine triples as well as 22 home runs to give Red Sox fans a look into what would be a Hall of Fame career over the next 22 seasons, 24 total.
Incredible to think, that when Fisk shocked the baseball world on March 18th, 1981 and signed with the Chicago White Sox after the Red Sox truly messed up and failed to get him paperwork before the deadline, he STILL had another 13 years of Major League ball ahead of him after the eleven seasons spent in Boston!
This as a veteran All-Star catcher, who would go on to play in 2499 games, hitting 376 home runs, drive in 1330, and even steal 128 bases.
The man was tough as nails, enough to play through the age of 45.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Today we have a “missing” 1978 card for former Oakland A’s outfielder Larry Murray, who really should have had a card after appearing in 90 games during the 1977 season:

Murray hit .179 with 29 hits over 162 at-bats for the A’s that season after coming over from the New York Yankees as part of the deal that got them Mike Torrez.
He also scored 19 runs while stealing 12 bases while getting the first real taste of significant play after never playing more than eight games with New York in the previous three years.
In 1978 he’d only play in eleven games, hitting .083 with a single hit over twelve at-bats, but he’d come back in 1979 and get the most playing time he’d see over a season when he appeared in 105 games, hitting .186 with 42 hits over 226 at-bats.
That action would get him his first Topps card in the 1980 set, only to never appear in a Major League game again.
After only 13 games in the Minor Leagues during the 1980 season, he’d be finished with pro ball, only 27 years of age.
Go figure.

Sunday, January 20, 2019


The next no-hitter in my on-going thread celebrating the gems of the decade will be the first of four such beauties by none other than Nolan Ryan, “The Ryan Express”:

In what would be an astonishing seven career no-hitters over the course of his incredible Hall of Fame career, Nolan Ryan set down the Kansas City Royals one-by-one, facing the minimum 27 batters even though he walked three.
Over those nine innings he whiffed 12 Royals, including clean-up hitter John Mayberry all three at-bats, picking up his fifth victory against three defeats, lowering his season earned run average to 2.71.
It was early in the record-breaking 1973 season for Ryan, as he would go on to post 21 wins with an ERA at 2.87, with four shutouts and a STILL MLB record 383 strikeouts over 41 appearances and 326 innings.
Thing about it: the man was in his seventh Major League season, and still had another 20 to go, as he would win 324 games, strikeout a ridiculous 5714 batters, and throw 61 shutouts to go along with those seven no-hitters.
His career still boggles my mind.

Saturday, January 19, 2019


Next up in my long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread through the decade is a 1972 card for “Kooz” Jerry Koosman, hard-luck pitcher who managed to win over 220 games and strikeout 2500+ batters, yet always take the back-seat to someone else:

Think about it, the man wins 19 games with an ERA of 2.08 in his rookie year, only to lose out on the Rookie of the Year Award to a guy named Johnny Bench, share his two-player rookie card with a guy named Nolan Ryan, and share a starting rotation with a guy named Tom Seaver!
Talk about hard-luck!
And then he endures an excellent Major League career generally pitching for second division teams over the course of his 19-year career.
Nevertheless, Koosman posted two 20-win seasons, one in each league, with four seasons of sub-3.00 ERA’s, while ending up with a record of 222-209 along with 2556 strikeouts and 33 shutouts.
I’ll always remember the anecdote of Koosman proudly telling people that his rookie card was worth hundreds of dollars (back in the early 90-s), then casually mentioning that Nolan Ryan was also on there.
Great career overshadowed by the big National League guns of the 1970’s like Seaver, Fergie Jenkins, Steve Carlton, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2019


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1976 card for former pitcher Buddy Schultz, who made his Major League debut in 1975 with the Chicago Cubs:

Schultz was a September call-up at the age of 24 and produced a 2-0 record over six appearances with an earned run average of 6.35 over 5.2 innings of work.
He’d pitch for the Cubs in 1976, making 29 appearances and going 1-1 with another 6.00+ ERA in 23.2 innings of work before moving on to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1977.
He’d fare much better for the Redbirds, going 6-1 over the 1977 season with a very nice 2.32 ERA over 40 appearances and 85.1 innings pitched, also making three starts along the way.
He’d spend the next two years with St. Louis, going 6-7 combined with an ERA hovering around 4.00 over 93 games, all out of the bullpen, before playing out his pro career in the Minor Leagues through the 1982 season before retiring.
All told, Schultz went 15-9 in his MLB career, sporting a 3.68 ERA over 168 appearances and 240 innings of work between 1975 and 1979.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1978 card for former pitcher John Pacella, who had the first taste of Big League action in 1977 with the New York Mets:

Pacella appeared in three games for the Mets during the 1977 season, all out of the bullpen, pitching four innings of shutout ball in his Major League debut at the age of 20.
He would spend all of 1978 in the Minor Leagues, going 8-14 with an earned run average at 4.26, never getting the call up to the Majors.
That would end up being the pattern for the rest of his career, which would last through the 1988 season, as he would come up, get some games in, then spend the next season in the Minors.
He’d spend most of 1979 in the Minors, with only four games in the Big Leagues, then getting his one truly active season as a Major League pitcher in 1980 when he made 32 appearances, 15 of them starts, going 3-4 for the Mets with an ERA at 5.14.
But again, he would spend 1981 in the Minors, then make it all the way back in 1982, now as a member of the New York Yankees and later the Minnesota Twins for 24 appearances, going 1-3 combined.
After another full year in the Minors in 1983 in the Baltimore system, he’d make it back in 1984, appearing in six games for the Orioles, going 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA over 14.2 innings.
Well, you guessed it, another full season in the Minors in 1985, now in the Detroit system, he’d make it back for what would be the final five appearances of his career, not factoring in a decision for the Tigers while sporting an ERA at 4.09 in eleven innings of work.
He’d spend the 1987 and 1988 seasons in the Minor Leagues for no less than three organizations, but would then retire from pro ball, still only 31 years of age.
All told, Pacella would finish his Big League career with a record of 4-10, with an earned run average of 5.73 over 74 appearances and 191.2 innings pitched between 1977 and 1986, collecting three saves along the way.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Today’s blog post has an interesting 1970 “traded” card for long-time Major League second baseman Cookie Rojas, who found himself a member of the Kansas City Royals after two trades within eight months:

Rojas, who had played the previous seven years with the Philadelphia Phillies, was traded in October of 1969 to the St. Louis Cardinals, just enough time for Topps to issue his 1970 card with a “generic” capless image of him and a “Cards” designation for team.
Turns out, after only 23 games with the Redbirds he would be dealt again, this time to the new Kansas City franchise in June of 1970, setting up this card pictured here some 50 years later by yours truly.
Turns out the 31-year-old wasn’t done as a player, going on to appear in four straight All-Star games between 1971 and 1974, even getting some MVP votes in 1971 and 1973.
He would play out his career with the Royals, being a part of the teams’ surge towards the top of the American League West at the end of the decade.
By the time he retired in 1977 at the age of 38, he put in an under-the-radar 16-year career, collecting 1660 hits and a .263 batting average while making five All-Star teams, while leading his league in fielding percentage three times.
Considering the Royals traded for Rojas straight up by sending the Cardinals Fred Rico, who ended up never playing a game for St. Louis, it was a really key trade for the young organization along the lines of Amos Otis, giving them some experienced players to go along with guys like Frank White and future Hall of Famer George Brett.
Not bad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


Today I post up a card I never realized could have been a “missing” card, a 1977 Johnny Wockenfuss for the former catcher:

Wockenfuss appeared in 60 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1976, batting .222 with 32 hits over 144 at-bats, easily enough action to have gotten a card in the set.
Wockenfuss was one of those players who was “always there” during my childhood, as I pulled his cards out of packs well into the 1980’s.
He put in twelve seasons in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1985, playing all but his last two years with the Tigers before finishing up with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1984 and 1985.
Never a full-time player, the only time he topped 100 games in a season was in 1981 when he played in 126 games for Detroit, setting personal bests across the board with the extra playing time.
He’d retire after the 1985 season with a .262 batting average, with 543 hits over 2072 at-bats, with 267 runs scored and 310 runs batted in over 795 games.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1970 card for former San Francisco Giants outfielder Frank Johnson, who spent all six years of his Major League career in San Fran:

Johnson appeared in only seven games during the 1969 season, collecting one hit over 10 at-bats along with two runs scored.
He would appear in a career-high (tied with 1968) 67 games in 1970, batting .273 with 44 hits and 31 runs batted in, also career-highs.
However in 1971 he would appear in what would end up being the last 32 games of his career, batting .082 with four hits over 49 at-bats, with four runs scored and five RBI’s.
He would go on to play another three seasons in the Minor Leagues, but never get back to Big League ball, retiring after the 1975 season.
All told, he finished with a career .211 batting average, with 92 hits over 436 at-bats in 196 games, all for the Giants between 1966 and 1971.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


Came across this great photo of Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew and just had to produce a 1975 special card, “Minnesota Royalty”:

What a pair of legends right here, the great Rod Carew who would win batting title after batting title during the 1970’s, and Harmon Killebrew, who would win home run title after home run title the previous decade, coming to a close on his Hall of Fame career.
For Carew, we’re talking seven batting titles and a .328 career batting average with over 3000 hits, while Killebrew chipped in 575 career home runs, leading to six home run titles and eight 40+ homer seasons.
Both would win an American League Most Valuable Player Award: Killebrew back in 1969 and Carew eight years later in 1977 when he flirted with .400, ending up at an incredible .388.
Man it must have been fun watching this team evolve in the late-60’s when you also throw in Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva among others!

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Today I post up a card I’ve been meaning to create for years, a “missing” 1974 card for former outfielder Ben Oglivie, who easily could have had a card in the Topps set after a decent amount of playing time during the 1973 season:

Oglivie appeared in 58 games for the Boston Red Sox that year, batting .218 with 32 hits over 147 at-bats and 161 plate appearances. Certainly enough playing time to get a card in the 1974 set.
He would get traded to the Detroit Tigers in the off-season for Dick McAuliffe, where he would continue to be played as a platoon-player over the next four seasons, averaging about 100 games a year, but nevertheless playing well as he showed power and a decent batting average hovering around .280.
However it wasn’t until he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Jim Slaton that he’d finally find full-time work, eventually becoming a legitimate slugger who’d lead the American League in 1980 with 41 homers, along with a career-high 118 runs batted in and 94 runs scored.
He would play with the Brewers through the rest of his 16-year career, until 1986, before going on to play in Japan for two seasons with Kintetsu, where he’d his 46 homers combined.
Overall in his MLB career, Oglivie batted .273 with 235 homers and 901 RBI’s, with 1615 hits over 5913 at-bats and 1754 games, getting three All-Star nods and a Silver Slugger for his Home Run champion 1980 season.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Here is a TRULY “not so missing” card, my 1979 example for former pitcher Dan Larson, who appeared in one game the previous season, for one inning:

Coming over from the Houston Astros, Larson threw one single inning for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978, striking out two while giving up one hit, a home run, for a cool 9.00 earned run average.
1979 would pretty much be more of the same, as he’d only get into three games this time, going 1-1 with an ERA at 4.26 over 19 innings of work.
His career would last through the 1982 season when he played his final 12 games for the Chicago Cubs, going 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA before calling it a career.
Overall, Larson threw to a record of 10-25 over 78 appearances, throwing 323.1 innings with an earned run average at 4.40.
Of his 78 games, 43 were starts, most in his first two seasons with the Astros, pitching six of his seven career complete games.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Today we post up my 1973 “not so missing” card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Phil Meeler, who appeared in what would be all seven of his Big League games during the early part of the 1972 season:

Meeler pitched 8.1 innings overall in those seven appearances, posting a record of 0-1 with an earned run average at 4.32, all out of the bullpen.
He would go on to pitch another two seasons in Detroit’s Minor League system before retiring for good after the 1974 season, with just those handful of games in 1972 on the Big League level.
He played eight years of professional baseball, all of them with the Detroit organization, including the 1969 season at Single-A with the Rocky Mount Leafs when he appeared in 54 games, saving 28 with a sparkling 1.50 E.R.A. over 96 innings of work.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Moving along in my thread of No-Hitters through the 1970’s, we come to the first gem of the 1973 season, Steve Busby’s no-no against the Detroit Tiers on April 27th:

Busby, making just the tenth start of his career, would face veteran pitcher Jim Perry at Tigers’ Stadium that evening, and would go on to fan four while allowing six walks in throwing the first no-hitter in Kansas City Royals history.
Thanks mainly to home runs by outfielders Ed Kirkpatrick and Amos Otis, Busby was able to go to a 3-0 win, improving his record to 2-2 on his way to a 16-15 rookie campaign that also saw him strikeout 174 batters over 37 starts and 238.1 innings.
Of course, 1974 would see Busby toss yet another no-hitter, this time against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 19th, becoming the first pitcher to ever throw no-hitters in his first two full seasons, while also winning a career-high 22 games while tossing three shutouts and striking out 198 batters in 38 starts and 292.2 innings.
Only 24 years of age, Busby had a very bright career ahead of him, and 1975 was equally as successful, winning 18 games while lowering his earned run average to 3.08 over 260.1 innings.
But sadly arm troubles took hold and he had rotator cuff surgery, causing him to miss most of 1976 as well as all of 1977 before making it all the way back for seven appearances in 1978.
But he could never again regain the form that allowed him to win 56 games in three seasons between 1973 and 1975.
He eventually retired after the 1980 season, a year which saw him appear in 11 games, pitching to a record of 1-3 with an ugly 6.17 E.R.A.
All told, he finished with a record of 70-54, with an E.R.A. Of 3.72 over 167 appearances, with 659 strikeouts and seven shutouts over 1060.2 innings pitched.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Today we have a 1976 “not so missing” card for former pitcher Jim Strickland, who you may remember for his three other Major League seasons with the Minnesota Twins before finishing up his four-year career with the a handful of games with the Cleveland Indians:

Strickland appeared in four games with the Indians in 1975 after spending all of 1974 in the Minors, coming over from Minnesota in October of 1973 as part of a four-player trade.
Over those four appearances he didn’t factor in a decision, but sported a very nice earned run average of 1.93 over 4.2 innings.
Between 1971 and 1973 Strickland appeared in 56 games for the Twins, going 4-2 over those games, all out of the bullpen, along with five saves and an ERA at around 2.75.
Overall for his career, he’d finish at 4-2 with his earned run average a nice 2.68 over 60 appearances and 77.1 innings pitched, with five saves and 60 strikeouts.

Monday, January 7, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1974 card for former pitcher Maximino Leon, who went on to have an eight-year Major League career, all with the Atlanta Braves:

Leon appeared in 12 games for the Braves for his first taste of the Big Leagues in 1973. Putting together a record of 2-2 with an earned run average of 5.33 over exactly 27 innings pitched.
He’d go on to be a arm out of the bullpen throughout his career, appearing in a career-high 50 games in 1975, saving as many as six games while averaging about 65 innings a year.
His final season of 1978 saw him appear in only five games while pitching to an ERA of 6.35 over 5.2 innings before retiring.
Overall he’d finish his career with a record of 14-18, with an ERA of 3.71 over 162 appearances and 310.1 innings of work, saving 13 games while starting 13 as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


Another “Nickname” card up today, and this one is for former American League Rookie of the Year Curt Blefary, aka “Clank” for “the sound of the ball hitting off his glove” by former teammate Frank Robinson:

It’s something you do not see these days, a nickname given to a player that is LESS than flattering that sticks and taken in a good-natured way.
Blefary came up in fine fashion during the 1965 season with the young and promising Baltimore Orioles, and he did not disappoint, going on to hit 22 homers and drive in 70 on his way to top Rookie honors.
He would go on to have two more solid seasons for the Orioles in 1966 and 1967, but his well-known temper and drinking began eating away at his talents, to the point where after a sub-par season in 1968 he was traded to the Houston Astros as part of the deal that brought them multiple 20-game winner Mike Cuellar among others.
For Blefary, even though he was still only 25 year-old, he could never put it back together, and after one season in Houston he found himself in the Bronx with the floundering New York Yankees, where he’d play for a season and a half before moving on to the Oakland A’s in 1971 after a mid-season trade.
In 1972 he once again was on the move, heading to the San Diego Padres where he’d hit under the “Mendoza Line” before being released at season’s end.
He did sign as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves to open 1973, but after only seven games in their Minor League system, he was done with Pro Ball for good as a player.
By the time he retired, he played eight seasons of Big League ball, hitting .237 with 112 home runs, driving in 382 runs while scoring 394, also winning a World Championship in 1966 when the Orioles shocked the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers in four straight.

Saturday, January 5, 2019


Today we take a look at the airbrushing on the 1975 Tom Buskey card, who went from the New York Yankees to the Cleveland Indians during the 1974 season as part of the trade that brought Chris Chambliss and Dick Tidrow to the Bronx:

What makes this so interesting is that Buskey went on to appear in 51 games for the Indians in 1974, yet Topps couldn’t seem to get an image of him in a Cleveland uni for the 1975 set?!
Really odd that Chambliss and Tidrow are photographed in their proper uniforms, yet Buskey was airbrushed into Indians garb.
Buskey would go on to appear in 258 games during his eight-year Major League career, all out of the bullpen, finishing up with a record of 21-27, with an ERA at 3.66 over 479.1 innings pitched along with 34 saves.
In 1978 he went to the Toronto Blue Jays as a Free Agent, where he played the last three seasons of his career, retiring after 1980.

Friday, January 4, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1972 card for former catcher Bill Plummer, who had the misfortune of coming up with a team that already had a pretty good catcher in front of him, the Cincinnati Reds:

Needless to say, when the Reds already have a guy named Johnny Bench behind the plate, you’re going to relegated to back-up duties, and that’s exactly what Plummer was from the time he came up in 1968 for a cup-of-coffee and 1977 before he signed with the Seattle Mariners for his last season of 1978.
Plummer appeared in 10 games for the Reds during the 1971 season, going 0-for-19 at the plate while playing four games at catcher with another two at third base.
Between 1972 and 1977 he’d average about 50 games a year along with 150 plate appearances, hitting the “Mendoza Line” while backing up the future Hall-of-Fame Bench.
Nevertheless, the man got to be a part of the “Big Red Machine” teams and even walking away with two championship rings in 1975 and 1976.
After that last season in the Big Leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Plummer finished with a .188 batting average, collecting 168 hits in 892 at-bats over 367 games before moving into coaching, then one season as a Major League manager, with the Seattle Mariners in 1992, where they went 64 and 98, finishing last in the American League West.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1971 card for hard-luck former San Diego Padres pitcher Steve Arlin:

Arlin appeared in two games for the Padres in 1970, going 1-0 with an earned run average at 2.84 over 12.2 innings of work.
The following season he would have the first of two straight tough years while pitching for the cellar-dweller San Diego clubs when he’d go 9-19, leading the National League in losses, while sporting a 3.48 ERA over 36 appearances and 227.2 innings, along with 10 complete games and four shutouts.
Of course, working for the Padres then would give any pitcher a headache, just ask others like Bill Grief or Randy Jones before his 1976 Cy Young season.
In 1972 Arlin would once again lead the league in losses, this time with 21 against 10 wins, while pitching to a 3.60 ERA with three shutouts over 38 appearances and 250 innings pitched.
It would only get worse for Arlin in 1973, though he wouldn’t lead the league in losses, he’d go 11-14 with an ERA of 5.10 over 34 appearances and 180 innings, though he did toss another three shutouts.
In 1974 he’d start the year with San Diego, going 1-7 with an ERA just under 6.00 before getting traded to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Brent Strom, but the change of scenery didn’t help mush as he’d go 2-5 the rest of the way with an ERA of 6.60.
Turns out it would be the last action he’d see on a Big League mound, retiring soon after without ever even pitching in Minor League ball as well, finishing his MLB career with a record of 34-67 along with an ERA of 4.33 over 141 appearances and 788.2 innings pitched, with 11 shutouts and 32 complete games.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1973 card for former St. Louis pitcher Santiago Guzman, who pitched all of his four MLB seasons with the Cardinals between 1969-1972:

Guzman appeared in one game during the 1972 season, throwing one innings and allowing one run, which would turn out to be the last Big League action he’d see even though he was only 22 years old at the time.
Originally up in 1969 as a 19-year-old, Guzman appeared in only 12 games over those four seasons, with a high of eight in 1970 when he picked up his only Major League win while starting three games and throwing a complete game.
After pitching in the Chicago White Sox organization during the 1973 season, Guzman was out of Pro Ball for good, finishing up with an MLB record of 1-2 with an earned run average at 4.50 over 32 innings of work, all for St. Louis.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Next up in the long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread is “Zamboni” Ken Reitz, with a 1975 edition as he’d go on to pick up a Gold Glove at the end of the season:

Reitz would have a nice 11-year career in the Majors, getting that Gold Glove in 1975 and making the National League All-Star team in 1980.
Of course, along the way he’d get the nickname “Zamboni” for his ability to suck up ground balls on the artificial turf of Busch Memorial Stadium playing the hot corner.
Six times in his nine full seasons of Big League ball would he go on to lead the N.L. in fielding percentage, which is amazing considering he played in the same era as contemporaries Mike Schmidt, Ron Cey and for a while even Pete Rose.
Talk about bum-timing! Kind of like being an excellent National League outfielder in the 1960’s when you had Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente keeping everyone back.
Nevertheless, by the time Reitz retired after the 1982 season, he finished with a .260 batting average, with over 1200 hits and as far as I can tell, at the time a fourth place spot as highest fielding percentage as a Third Baseman behind only Brooks Robinson, Floyd Baker and Rico Petrocelli (according to Baseball_Reference).
Not bad!


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