Thursday, February 28, 2019


Today on the blog we have a 1974 “not so missing” edition for former pitcher Chuck Dobson, who appeared in one single game during the 1973 season after coming back from arm troubles, forcing him to miss all of 1972 and most of ‘73:

Dobson was a solid starter for the A’s between 1967 and 1971, giving them about 200+ innings every year while averaging about 15 wins.
In 1971, after going 15-5 over 30 starts and a 3.81 earned run average, he developed elbow pain which led to surgery to remove growing calcium deposits.
The surgery caused him to miss the next two seasons, making only that one appearance in 1973 when he pitched 2.1 innings, giving up four runs, two of them earned, before finding himself a member of the California Angels in 1974.
He’d only appear in 14 games over those two seasons in California, going 2-5 before retiring for good, his career effectively ended because of the elbow surgery .
Overall, Dobson finished with a career 74-69 record, with an ERA of 3.78 over 202 appearances and 1258.1 innings pitched, tossing 11 shutouts including a league-leading five in 1970.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Here was a fun card to create, a 1971 “Traded” card for future National League MVP George Foster, who was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds on May 29th of 1971, adding yet another key component of the “Big Red Machine”:

I found this great shot of Foster leading off first base with none other than Cubs legend Ernie Banks holding him on, making for a really fun card!
As for Foster’s career, all he would go on to do is give the Reds another big time bat along with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, with Joe Morgan soon joining them in 1972, forming the eventual two-time World Champion “Big Red Machine” dynasty of the mid-70’s.
Between, Foster, Bench, Rose and Morgan, it would give the Reds five MVP seasons in the decade, just insane, with Foster having his career-year in 1977 when he slammed 52 homers along with 149 RBIs and 124 runs scored, all leading numbers in the National League.
He’d go on to play 18 years in the Big Leagues, finishing in the top-3 in MVP voting three times, while making five All-Star teams and retiring with 348 home runs, 1239 RBIs and just under 2000 hits with 1925.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Here’s a 1978 “not so missing” card for former San Diego Padres shortstop Enzo Hernandez, forever remembered for his rookie season of 1971 for all the wrong reasons:

Hernandez appeared in only seven games for the Padres in 1977, going hitless in three at-bats after pretty much being a regular player for them five out the past six seasons.
In 1971, as a 22-year-old, he’s remembered as driving in only 12 run over the course of 549 at-bats and 618 plate appearances, setting a standard of run producing futility not seen since.
Nevertheless, he was the Padres primary shortstop through the 1976 season before those meager seven games in 1977.
In 1978 he’d find himself suiting up for the eventual National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, but for only four games, the last of his Major League career.
All told, Hernandez hit .224 with 522 hits in 2327 at-bats in 714 games, scoring 241 runs and driving in 113, playing parts of eight seasons under the Big League sun.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1975 card for former career-New York Met outfielder Bruce Boisclair, who made his Major League debut during the 1974 season:

Boisclair appeared in seven games for the Mets, hitting .250 with three hits over 12 at-bats, in what would end up being a five year career in the Big Leagues, all with the Mets, between 1974 and 1980.
After a full season in the Minors in 1975, Boisclair was back to stay in 1976, in what would be three straight seasons of full-time action, hitting as high as .293 in 1977, while playing all three outfield positions with some first base thrown in.
He’d appear in only 59 games in 1979, which would turn out to be the last of his career, ending up with a .263 average with 241 hits over 917 at-bats in 410 games, scoring 114 runs and driving in 77.

Sunday, February 24, 2019


Today we look at the airbrushing done to get former catcher Duffy Dyer in the proper uni for the Topps 1975 set, getting him in some Pittsburgh Pirates gear after getting traded from te New York Mets:

On October 22 of 1974, Dyer was traded to the Bucs for Gene Clines after spending the first seven years of his Big League career with the Mets.
As you can see, once the card went into production the saturation of the bright Yellow of the cap was toned down a bit (thankfully).
Not the worst Topps job, but not really a winner either!
Dyer spent 14 seasons in the Major League sun, appearing 722 games while hitting .221 for four teams: Mets, Pirates, Montreal Expos and Detroit Tigers between 1968 and 1981.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


Time to go and give former pitcher Jim Perry a “traded” card from the 1974 set. Not one of my favorite Topps designs but I figured I’d give him one of these rather than the reformatted layouts I’ve done before:

The 215-game winner sort of bounced around his final three years in the Majors, going from Minnesota to Detroit, to Cleveland then to Oakland between 1972 and 1975.
This trade had him going from the Tigers back to the team he came up with, also allowing him to team up with his Hall of Fame brother Gaylord.
Perry didn’t disappoint, going 17-12 with a 2.96 earned run average over 36 starts, tossing three shutouts, all at the age of 38 in his 16th season in the Big Leagues.
By the time he retired after 1975, he finished with those 215 wins, along with a 3.45 ERA and 32 shutouts over 630 appearances, winning 20 games twice, including his Cy Young winning 1970 season with the Twins when he won a career-high 24, teaming up with his brother to combine for over 500 MLB wins.

Friday, February 22, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1979 card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Fernando Arroyo, who had only two appearances during the 1978 season:

Arroyo spent most of the year down in the Minors, not factoring in a decision while pitching to an unsightly 8.31 earned run average over 4.1 innings.
The previous season he was one of Detroit’s starters, appearing in 38 games, with 28 of them starts, posting a hard-luck record of 8-18 as evidenced by his 4.17 ERA along with eight complete games and 209.1 innings.
He would go on to play through the 1986 season, though not appearing in a Major League game between 1982 and 1986, ending up with the Oakland A’s and making one appearance in that final year, walking the only three batters he’d face.
All told, between 1975 and 1986 Arroyo went 24-37, with an ERA of 4.44 over 121 appearances, 60 of them starts, with 12 complete games in 535.2 innings of work.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Though still only an up-and-coming star for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time this card would have come out, I had to add “should be” Hall of Fame outfielder Dave Parker to my on-going 1975 In-Action sub-set:

Parker was going to have his first (of many) great seasons in the Big Leagues in 1975, driving in 101 runs with 25 homers while hitting .308 for Pittsburgh in what was going to become a fantastic 19-season career.
He would go on to win two batting titles, back-to-back in 1977 and 1978, while also taking home the National League MVP Award in 1978, get named to seven All-Star teams, collect three Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger Awards, and also finish in his league’s top-5 in MVP another five time aside from his win.
“Cobra” would retire after the 1991 season with 339 homers, 154 stolen bases, 2712 hits, a .290 batting average, 526 doubles, 75 triples and 1493 runs batted in, with 10 seasons of 90 or more, yet never getting more than 24.5% support for his place in Cooperstown.
I have to call BS on that one. If Jim Rice, Orlando Cepeda, Ron Santo et al are in, this guy needs to be in!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for former Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Dick Davis, who made his Major League debut in 1977:

Davis appeared in 22 games for the Brewers in 1977, hitting .275 with 14 hits over 51 at-bats, scoring seven runs while driving in six.
He would go on to play five more seasons in the Big Leagues, 1978-1980 with Milwaukee while finishing up with a year and a half with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981/82, then on to some games with the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates in 1982 as well.
Over his six MLB seasons Davis hit .265 with 323 hits in 1217 at-bats, hitting 27 homers while driving in 141 over 403 career games.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


I always love any chance to add to my favorite set of all-time, 1976 Topps, so today we have a “not so missing” card for former outfielder Tommy Smith taking up another spot:

Smith only appeared in eight games for the Cleveland Indians in 1975, collecting one hit over eight at-bats yet driving in two runs.
In 1976 he’d see the most playing time of his five Major League seasons, appearing in 55 games while hitting .256 with 42 hits in 164 at-bats, driving in 12 runs and scoring 17 himself.
In November of 1976 he would be drafted by the new Seattle Mariners organization as part of the expansion draft, where he would go on to play the last games of his career, 21 to be exact, where he hit .259 with seven hits in 27 at-bats.
All told, Smith played in 121 games in five seasons, hitting .232 with 63 hits, driving in 21 while scoring 28 over 271 at-bats.

Monday, February 18, 2019


Here’s another “traded” card to throw into the long-running sub-set through the decade, a 1978 edition featuring former slugging outfielder Ben Oglivie:

Oglivie, who never really got a full-time shot playing in Detroit the previous few seasons, found himself heading to the Milwaukee Brewers on December 9th of 1977 for two pitchers, Rick Folkers and Jim Slaton.
Oglivie immediately made an impact, hitting .303 with 18 homers and 72 runs batted in in 1978, followed by 29 homers with 81 RBIs the next year.
But of course it was his 1980 season that had him bust out, tying the Yankees Reggie Jackson for the American League lead with 41 homers while driving in a career-high 118 runs, hitting .304 and picking up a Silver Slugger Award along the way.
He’d play through the 1986 season, all with Milwaukee, before retiring with 235 homers, 901 RBIs with a .273 batting average over 16 seasons, collecting 1615 hits in 5913 at-bats.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Here was a fun card to create symbolizing that wild decade of the 1970’s, a 1975 Oakland A’s card featuring the studs of the three-time World Champions as well as their eccentric owner, Charlie Finley:

When this card would have come out the A’s were on top of the baseball world, coming off of their third straight championship with a team still intact and seemingly on their way to more success.
With a line-up that featured All-Stars like Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando and Gene Tenace, as well as a pitching staff loaded with arms like Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman and Rollie Fingers, they seemed unstoppable.
However, it was all gone in an instant, with Hunter leaving to sign with the New York Yankees before the 1975 season in the new era of Free Agency, only to be followed by Bando, Rudi, Tenace and Bert Campaneris, and compounded by the blockbuster trade of slugger Reggie Jackson to Baltimore.
Within a couple of seasons Oakland went from baseball’s elite to a last-place team, led by owner Charlie Finley, who tried dealing some of his star players in a fire-sale reminiscent of Connie Mack decades before, only to have Major League leaders nullify the transactions.
What an era of flash, brash and flat-out insanity! Oh, and loads of facial hair!

Saturday, February 16, 2019


Next up in my on-going journey celebrating no-hitters through the 1970’s is the very first gem tossed for the Braves after relocating to Atlanta, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro’s No-No tossed against the San Diego Padres on August 5th:

Niekro used a mix of fastballs and sliders during the first seven or so innings of the no-hitter, then switched to a heavy knuckleball for the final two innings, striking out four while walking three, improving his record to 11-5 and lowering his earned run average to 3.44 in the 9-0 win.
Dusty Baker and Frank Tepedino both helped the cause with two RBIs each, while lead-off hitter Ralp Garr went 3-for-3 with three runs scored for the bulk of the Braves offense.
Niekro finished his no-hitter on this Sunday afternoon in just under 2 1/2 hours in front of only 8,748 in attendance watching two teams struggling to stay out of the basement, the Padres at 37-73 and the Braves at 52-64.

Friday, February 15, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1971 card for former California Angels outfielder Tom Silverio, who saw the first of his Major League action during the 1970 season:

Silverio put in 6 and a half seasons of Minor League ball for the Angels franchise before finally getting into 15 games in 1970, though it was a rough one as he proceeded to go 0-for-15 at the plate with four strikeouts.
He’d only get into three games the following year, collecting one his in three at-bats, before coming back in 1972 and going 2-for-12 over 13 games, the last of his Big League experience.
There’s no record of any professional ball after 1972, so I don’t know if he played elsewhere. Nevertheless, he finished his MLB career with three hits over 30 at-bats in 31 games, hitting .100 with two runs scored.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Time to go and give a catcher who I believe should be in the Hall of Fame, Ted Simmons, a “Nicknames of the 1970’s” card for his “Simba” tag:

Simmons was already firmly established as a top-notch catcher  in the Major Leagues. But sadly for him he happened to be playing at the same time that guys like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Thurman Munson and then Gary Carter were doing the same, easily allowing people to lose him in the shuffle.
But look at this guys career!
Simmons went on to post a Big League resume that included eight All-Star nods, six seasons of 20+ homers, eight 90+ RBI campaigns and seven years of a .300 or better average.
By the time he retired after the 1988 season, he finished with 2472 hits, 248 homers, 1389 RBIs and a .285 average.
At the same time, playing in the era of the free-swinging 70’s and 80’s, he struck out only 694 times in 9685 plate appearances while twice leading his league in Intentional Base on Balls.
I have always been stunned at the fact that “Simba” garnered a meager 3.7% vote in his first chance at the Hall of Fame, thus becoming a ridiculous “one and done” candidate.
Flawed system to say the least!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1973 card for former outfielder Bob Gallagher, who got his first taste of the Big Leagues in 1972 with seven games as a Boston Red Sox player:

Gallagher went 0-5 at the plate for Boston, striking out three times, then would go on to play the next two seasons with the Houston Astros as a man off the bench.
He would hover around the “Mendoza Line” in those two years with Houston, never getting more than 153 plate appearances in either season before then moving on to play what would end up being the last games of his career, now with the New York Mets in 1975.
In 33 games with the Mets, Gallagher hit .133 with two hits in 15 at-bats before spending all of 1976 in the Minors for the San Francisco organization, having a decent year but nevertheless retiring for good.
All told, his MLB time resulted in a .220 batting average with 56 hits in 255 at-bats, scoring 34 runs and driving in 13 with a couple of homers in 213 games.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for former infielder Larry Brown, who appeared in a handful of games with the Baltimore Orioles during the 1973 season but was left out of the 1974 Topps set:

Brown only got into 17 games the previous year, hitting .250 for the Birds with seven hits over 28 at-bats with five runs batted in and four runs scored.
By the time the 1974 season opened he’d be a member of the Texas Rangers, where he’d play 54 games, the last of his 12-year Major League career, hitting .197 with 15 hits in 76 at-bats.
Over his 12 Big League seasons, the first eight-plus with the Cleveland Indians, Brown hit .233 with 803 hits in 3449 at-bats in 1129 games, playing second, short and third throughout his tenure.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Here’s a card I’ve been meaning to create for some time, and I know there are a few of you out there waiting for it, my 1975 “not so missing” card for two-game Major League catcher Jim Deidel of the New York Yankees:

Deidel made his MLB debut on May 31st of 1974, followed up by what would be his last game on June 5th, going 0-for-2 at the plate.
It was back to the Minors for him where he’d play through the 1975 season before retiring, having played out his entire nine-year professional career with the Yankees organization between 1967 and 1975.
I’d say about five followers of this blog have contacted me about creating a card for Deidel over the past few years, hope this fills that need!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


About three years ago I created a 1976 Ed Goodson card featuring him as an Atlanta Braves, to mark the 1975 season before his trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the “1976 Project” for my buddy “Reader Jim”.
Recently I found the airbrushed image that was used for his actual 1976 Topps card, so I decided to post it here along with the card I created way back when. Check it out:

Goodson was part of the trade between Atlanta and Los Angeles that included Dusty Baker going West while Lee Lacy, Tom Paciorek, Jerry Royster and Jim Wynn went East.
Seems like a lopsided deal no?
Anyway, Topps had to scramble for all those players to get them on their “current” team for the 1976 set, giving us some memorable airbrushing.

Saturday, February 9, 2019


I haven’t created a 1975 “traded” card in a while, even though I love the way they look, so here’s a Gaylord Perry edition for the two-time Cy Young Winner and Hall of Famer:

Perry was coming off of a successful three year run with the Cleveland Indians in 1975 when he was traded over to the Texas Rangers for Jim Bibby on June 13th.
He wouldn’t disappoint, as he’d go 12-8 with a 3.03 earned run average and four shutouts the rest of the way over 22 appearances, all starts.
He would win another 30 games for the Rangers over the next two years before finding himself as a member of the San Diego Padres in 1978 at the age of 39, and all he’d end up doing for his new team is lead the league with 21 wins and take home his second Cy Young Award, the first to win the award in both leagues.
He’d end up his career with 314 wins, an excellent 3.11 ERA and 3534 strikeouts, with 53 shutouts over 777 appearances, 303 of them complete games.
In 1991, he finally got in the Hall of Fame after missing the cut his first two eligible years on the ballot.

Friday, February 8, 2019


The next no-hitter up in my ongoing “No-Hitters through the 1970’s” thread is the first No-Hitter thrown for the Texas Rangers franchise, Jim Bibby’s gem on July 30th, 1973:

Fresh from coming over to the Rangers from the St. Louis Cardinals just under two months prior, Bibby faced the World Champion Oakland A’s at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium and proceeded to strike out 13 batters, though walking six, on his way to baseball history.
Relying on his fastball, Bibby outdueled Oakland’s ace Vida Blue, and even had Reggie Jackson state that in the ninth-inning, after striking out, “That’s the fastest ball I ever saw. Actually I didn’t see it. I just heard it”.
Bibby would go on to pitch well for the Rangers over the rest of the season, finishing up with a record of 9-10 for the hard-luck team, with an ERA at 3.24 with two shutouts over 23 starts.
He’d pitch through the 1984 season, ending up with a record of 111 and 101, winning 19 games twice (1974 and 1980), and being part of the 1979 World Champion “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates team.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


Here’s a “missing” 1975 card for a guy who got shafted by Topps the first TWO seasons of his career, this being the first, former Minnesota Twins infielder Luis Gomez:

Gomez appeared in over 80 games in each of his first two Major League seasons: 1974 and 1975, yet Topps for some reason left him out of the following year’s sets, getting his first card in the 1977 set.
In 1974 Gomez made his Bog League debut, playing in 82 games and hitting .208 with 35 hits over 168 at-bats at the age of 22.
The following season he’d play in 89 games, hitting .139 with 10 hits over 72 at-bats, and yes, while I understand that he didn’t really “deserve” a card with those stats, for me it’s about playing time, and he certainly had enough to warrant cards in the 1975 and 1976 sets.
For Gomez, he’d go on to play eight seasons in the Big Leagues, finishing up with the Atlanta Braves in 1981, ending up with a career .210 average with 263 hits over 1251 at-bats in 609 games between 1974 and 1981.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for former White Sox pitcher Ken Kravec, who made the first two appearances in his Major League career during the 1976 season:

Kravec went 0-1 with a 6.23 earned run average in 4.1 innings, walking eight while striking out one batter.
He’d have a decent three year run between 1977 and 1979 when he gave the White Sox a reliable arm, averaging about 200 innings a year, with a high of 250 in 1979.
That 1979 season saw him win 15 games with three shutouts and 10 complete games, but apparently took its toll as he went from a 15-13 record with an ERA of 3.74 to a dismal 1980 campaign which saw him go 3-6 with a 6.94 ERA in 20 appearances, 15 of them starts.
He would play two more seasons, though now for the Chicago Cubs in 1981 and 1982, going a combined 2-7 with ERA’s North of 5.00 over 37 appearances, finishing his career with a record of 43-56 along with an ERA of 4.47 over 160 appearances and 858.2 innings of work.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Here’s a “not really missing” 1972 card for former pitcher Bill Burbach, who played all three of his abbreviated Major League seasons with the New York Yankees between 1969 and 1971:

Burbach appeared in only two games for the Yanks in 1971, going 0-1 with an earned run average of 10.80 in 3.1 innings of work.
This was after a 1970 season that saw him go 0-2 with an ERA of 10.26 in 16.2 innings over four appearances, all starts.
His rookie year of 1969 showed some promise, after finishing up with a record of 6-8 in 31 appearances, 24 of them starts, with a couple of complete games and an ERA of 3.65 in 140.2 innings pitched.
Nevertheless, after a year in the Minnesota Twins organization during the 1972 season, he’d retire, still only 24 years of age.
All told Burbach’s MLB resume sports a record of 6-11 with an ERA of 4.48 over 37 appearances and 160.2 innings pitched, again all with the Yankees.

Monday, February 4, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1977 card for former catcher/first baseman Ed Putman, who played the first games of his Big League career with the Chicago Cubs in 1976:

Putman appeared in five games for the Cubs as a 22-year-old, hitting a robust .429 with three hits over seven at-bats.
After spending all of 1977 in the Minors, he made it back to Major League ball in 1978 when he played in 17 games, hitting .200 with five hits over 25 at-bats along with three runs batted in.
After a trade to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Dillard in the 1978/79 off-season, Putman played in what turned out to be the last games of his career, playing in 21 games, going on to hit .231 with nine hits in 39 at-bats, apparently enough playing time to warrant a card in the 1980 Topps set. Go figure.
He’d spend the next two seasons in the Minor Leagues, for both the Detroit and Baltimore Orioles organizations, but would never play Big League ball again, retiring before the 1982 season.

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Hello Everyone!
Happy to finally announce that issue #15 of "WTHBALLS", the "Dedicated Rookie" edition, is now available!
 Full-color 'zine features all the "Dedicated Rookies" from the blog to this point, including the '73 Schmidt, '72 Fisk and '78 Molitor.
In addition, every order includes a '70 Thurman Munson postcard (to size, so just cut and save as shown in image below).
24pgs. $8pp. email: to reserve/order.
I also have extra copies of every back issue so far, so if you want to order others let me know.


I posted about this card a few years ago and never got an answer to my plea: why did Topps feel the need to airbrush the cap on the 1973 Tony Taylor card?
Take a look:

Taylor was obviously suited up in Tigers gear in this image, having already played a year and a half at this point for the organization.
But why the paint-job on the logo on the cap? I understand the Tigers had the orange “D” logo in effect on the caps, but if you go through other Detroit cards in the set, it was about 50/50 between the classic white or the new orange “D”.
So why mess with the image, especially when the result was this sloppy mess?
Anyone know what happened here?
As for Taylor, he put together a very nice 19-year Major League career, collecting 2007 hits and scoring 1005 runs while swiping 234 bases, mainly for the Philadelphia Phillies for whom he played 15 seasons.

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Here’s a card that could arguably be considered “missing” from the 1978 set, a card for former first baseman and outfielder Dan Briggs of the California Angels:

Briggs appeared in 59 games for the Angels in 1977, though only accumulating 83 plate appearances while hitting .214 with 12 hits over 74 at-bats.
Funny enough, after appearing in only 15 games in 1978 for the Cleveland Indians, he’d get a card from Topps in 1979, as well as 1980 and 1982.
All told, Briggs’ Major League career spanned 1975 through 1982, playing seven seasons where he hit .195 with 134 hits over 688 at-bats, hitting 12 home runs with 53 runs batted in and 67 runs scored in 325 games.

Friday, February 1, 2019


Up on the blog today we have a “missing” 1970 card for former pitcher Bill Landis of the Boston Red Sox, who appeared in what would turn out to be the final games of his four-year Major League career during the 1969 season:

Landis appeared in 45 games for the Red Sox, going 5-5 with an earned run average of 5.25 over 82.1 innings of work.
Ironically it was the most action he’d see in any of his years on a Big League mound, but he would end up playing in the Minors for all of 1970 and 1971, the latter season in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
Originally up for a taste of the Majors in 1963 with Kansas City at the age of 20, he appeared in one game, lasting 1.2 innings or scoreless ball.
But it would be only after three full seasons toiling in the Minors would he make it back, now with Boston during their American League champion 1967 campaign, where he’d play out his career until 1969.
All told, Landis appeared in 102 games, going 9-8 with an ERA of 4.46 over 169.2 innings, collecting four saves while starting seven.


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