Saturday, August 31, 2019


Time to go and add long-time Major Leaguer and former batting champ Bill Buckner to my 1975 “In-Action” sub-set, as “Billy Buck” was just coming off of his 1st excellent Big League season in 1974, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers reach the World Series:

Buckner, who first came up in 1969 as a 19-year-old, hit .314 in 1974, with 182 hits and 31 stolen bases for the National League champs, even getting a little MVP attention when the year was over.
He would go on to have a borderline Hall of Fame 22-year career which included a batting crown in 1980 when he hit .324 while playing for the Chicago Cubs, as well as three 100-RBI seasons, his last two as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
By the time he retired in 1990, becoming one of those rare four-decade players, Buckner finished with a very nice .289 career average, with 2715 hits, 174 homers and a surprising 183 stolen bases over 2517 games and 9397 at-bats.
Extremely underrated career that has been marred by one play, which sadly seems to be the way it goes in professional sports. Sad.

Friday, August 30, 2019


It’s always fun to create 1978 cards for the inaugural Toronto Blue Jays or Seattle Mariners, and today I present just that, a “not so missing” card for one-year Major League pitcher Dennis BeBarr of the Toronto Blue Jays:

DeBarr was picked by Toronto as the 26th overall selection in the Expansion Draft from the Detroit Tigers, who originally drafted him back in 1971.
He would make his Big League debut in May of 1977 and proceed to play in 14 games, going 0-1 with a 5.91 earned run average over 21.1 innings, all out of the bullpen.
Turns out those 14 games would be the only appearances for DeBarr in his Big League tenure, as he would go on to play another two seasons in the Cleveland, Chicago (NL) and Oakland Minor League systems before retiring after 1979.

Thursday, August 29, 2019


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1979 card for former Boston Red Sox outfielder Sam Bowen, he of a brief three-year Big League career between 1977 and 1980:

Bowen, for whom I created a 1978 “not really missing” card some time ago for his MLB 1977 debut of three games and two at-bats, gets the 1979 edition after his six games and seven at-bats in 1978.
I had to get a little creative with the photo, taking him out of the “wrong” time appropriate uni and Photoshopping him into the correct red cap uni of 1978.
Bowen collected his 1st Major league hit in 1978 as he went one-for-seven at the plate, making it a home run while driving in one and scoring three runs.
After playing the 1979 season entirely in the Minor Leagues, he’d make it back to the Big Leagues in 1980, appearing in seven games, the last of his brief career, going 2-for-13 with a stolen base and a couple of base-on-balls.
Over his brief three-year career, he ended up hitting .136 with three hits in 22 at-bats, appearing in 16 games on a Major League field.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Sometimes I come across an image and just know it’ll be a card someday, like today’s great shot of two legends, Al Kaline and Brooks Robinson:

Arguably two players who became the faces of their respective organizations in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Kaline and Robinson were winding down their Hall of Fame careers by the time this card would have come out of packs in the Spring of 1974.
Kaline, the youngest batting champ when he took home the title in 1955 at the age of only 20, was also on his way to 3000 hits while leading the Detroit Tigers for 22 seasons, while Brooks Robinson rewrote the record books with his 16 Gold Gloves while helping the Orioles win two championships (1966, 1970) and four American League titles over 23 seasons.
It’s amazing to think that even today, they somehow get lost in the “legend” shuffle even though they are both still with us.
I feel they should be celebrated so much more while they are still alive, NOT after they’re gone, as is usually the case with so many other icons (Buck O’Neill, Bob Feller, Stan Musial).

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1971 card for former catcher Bill Plummer, who sadly had a guy named “Johnny Bench” in front of him while a member of the Cincinnati Reds:

Needless to say, when the Reds already have a guy named “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.

Monday, August 26, 2019


Today on the blog I offer up a “not so missing” 1972 card for former first baseman Pat Bourque, who made his MLB debut during the 1971 season with the Chicago Cubs:

Bourque appeared in 14 games for the Cubs, hitting .189 with seven hits over 37 at-bats, including the first triple and home run of his brief four-year career.
He’d go on to play for the Cubs, Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins between 1971 and 1974, hitting .215 with 12 homers and 61 runs batted in over 201 games and 405 at-bats, along with 87 hits and 36 runs scored.
In 1973 he played in the World Series for Oakland against the New York Mets, going 1-for-2 at the plate as the A’s went on to win their second straight championship, surely the high-point of his Big League tenure.
Now I need to find a usable image of him with his short time as a Minnesota Twins player at the end of his career in 1974!

Sunday, August 25, 2019


Next up in my long-running “1975 In-Action” series is New York Yankees All-Star third baseman Graig Nettles, one of my childhood favorites:

Nettles came over to the Yanks from the Cleveland Indians before the 1973 season and did nothing but perform, helping them head straight to three straight American League Pennants and two World Championships by the end of 1978.
Along the way he also led the A.L. with 32 homers in 1976, then following that up with a career-high 37 in 1977, while also taking home two Gold Gloves and getting named to five All-Star teams.
Of course, the man was also known for his stellar glove work, especially in the Fall Classic when he put on a clinic against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game 3 in 1978, helping the Yanks win the game and swing the series momentum.
A master a quips as well, I’ll always remember “You went from Cy Young to Sayonara”, which he stated to Cy Young winning reliever Sparky Lyle after the Yankees acquired Rich Gossage, as well as "[w]hen I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player and join the circus. With the Yankees I have accomplished both”, about his time in the Bronx.
When it was all said and done, Nettles played for 22 seasons, finishing up with 390 homers, 2225 hits, and 1314 runs batted in, with 1193 runs scored and a reputation that still has him considered one of the finest defensive third basemen in history.

Saturday, August 24, 2019


Today I’m adding 15-year Major League veteran Enos “Big E” Cabell to the long line of “nicknames of the 1970’s” stable, with a 1977 edition:

I always loved the man’s actual names as a kid, and adding the “Big E” makes it even better!
Cabell was just coming into his own around the time this card would have seen the light of day, coming off his first full season in the Majors, hitting .273 with 160 hits and 85 runs scored for the Houston Astros.
In 1978 he had his best season, collecting 195 hits and batting .295 with 92 runs and 71 RBIs, even getting some MVP attention at the end of the year.
He would go on to play 15 years in the Big Leagues, hitting a very respectable .277 while collecting 1647 hits and 238 stolen bases over 1688 games and 5952 at-bats between 1972 and 1986.
“Big E”!

Friday, August 23, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for former Houston Astros pitcher Tom Dixon, who made his Big League debut in 1977 at the age of 22:

Dixon appeared in nine games for Houston that season, going 1-0 with an ERA of 3.26 over 30.1 innings, including four starts.
He’d be back in 1978 and appear in 30 games, starting 19 of them, going 7-11 with an ERA of 3.99, tossing two shutouts and striking out 66 over 140 innings.
However in 1979 he’d only get into 19 games, going 1-2 with a bloated 6.66 ERA over 25.2 innings before spending the next four seasons in the New York Mets and Montreal Expos Minor League systems.
At the end of the 1983 season he made it all the way back to the Big Leagues, throwing 3.2 innings for the Montreal Expos, but to little success as evidenced by his 0-1 record with a 9.82 ERA, so he called it a career.
All told, he finished with a record of 9-14, with an ERA at 4.33 over 62 appearances and 199.2 innings of work, with two shutouts and a save over parts of four seasons.

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Time to whip up another of my favorite templates to use, a 1976 “traded” card, moving away from the style used by Topps in what is my all-time favorite set, this one for Cy Young winning relief pitcher and record-setter Mike Marshall:

Just two seasons from his historical season of 1974 when he took home baseball’s top pitching prize, setting the (still) MLB record of appearing in 106 games for the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Marshall was traded to the Atlanta Braves on June 23 for Lee Lacy and Elias Sosa.
Turns out it was a lopsided trade in favor of the Dodgers since Marshall never really got anything going during his two half-seasons there, before getting traded to the Texas Rangers for the rest of the 1977 season.
Once he moved on to the Minnesota Twins in 1978 however, he found his groove again, putting in two seasons of Cy Young caliber relief work again, saving 53 games and appearing in 144 games between 1978 and 1979.
In 1980 his career took a steep downturn, appearing in only 18 games while posting an ERA of 6.12 before he moved on to the New York Mets for a year in 1981, having a nice year where he went 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA at the age of 38.
Of course, we’ll all remember that 1974 season when he went 15-12, with an astounding 208.1 innings pitched and 21 saves and an ERA at 2.42, ALL out of the bullpen for the Dodgers, setting records for appearances and consecutive games pitched with 13.
Thanks to Marshall’s medical background, having multiple degrees in medicine, he’s also remembered for allegedly being the person suggesting to teammate Tommy John to undergo this radically new surgery when Tommy John’s career was seemingly over.
Of course, John did so and eventually the surgery would end up being so associated with him that it took on his name, “Tommy John Surgery”.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Going back-to-back with one-year Major League ballplayers today after Glenn Redmon yesterday, with former Minnesota Twins’ outfielder Mike Poepping, who played 14 games in 1975, the sum total of his Big League career:

Poepping was another September call-up who hit .135 over that time with five hits in 37 at-bats, with a double and one run batted in.
The 24-year-old finally got his chance at the Big Show after spending eight years in the Minnesota system, coming up as a 17-year-old in 1968.
After another full-season in the Minors in 1976 he called it a career, finishing up with just those 14 games in 1975, which is more than I can say, so “cheers” to you Mike Poepping!
In my book a nine-year professional baseball career is definitely something to be proud of.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Here was a fun card to create, a 1975 “not so missing” edition for seven-game Major Leaguer Glenn Redmon of the San Francisco Giants:

Redmon’s Big League career spanned a late-season September call-up in 1974, hitting .235 over those seven games, with three doubles among his four career safeties with four runs batted in in 17 at-bats. Not bad!
A decent hitting infielder with no power over his eight years as a professional in the Minor Leagues, he played for the White Sox, Giants and Indians organizations before retiring after the 1976 season, never getting that chance to suit up in a Big League game again aside from that wonderful month in late-1974.

Monday, August 19, 2019


Today we have a “missing” 1973 career-capper for three-year Major league infielder Rafael Robles, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1973 season:

Robles played all three of his seasons with the San Diego Padres, appearing in 18 games in 1972, hitting .167 with four hits over 24 at-bats.
He played all of 1971 in the Minor Leagues after coming up in 1969, playing in six games while coming back in 1970 and appearing in 23.
All told, he played in 47 games for the new San Diego franchise, hitting .229 while collecting 25 hits over 133 at-bats, with seven runs scored and three runs batted in, along with four stolen bases over three seasons under the sun.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Been meaning to add this “nickname” card to the long-running thread for some time now, a “Bull” Bob Watson edition for the All-Star first baseman, and future co-architect of the New York Yankees dynasty teams of the late-1990’s/early-00’s:

Watson was in the prime of his career when this card would have come out, putting in consistent seasons year in and year out for the Houston Astros, with whom he came up with back in 1966 as a 20-year-old.
After 14 seasons in the Houston sun (under a dome), he’d move on to the Boston Red Sox for half a year in 1979, then on to the Yankees, where I got to see him play for two-and-a-half-years until he moved on to the Atlanta Braves for the last 2+ years of his 19-year career.
He’d finish with a very nice .295 career average, with 184 homers and 989 runs batted in, while collecting 1826 hits with two All-Star nods.
Later on, he moved into coaching and then became GM of the Yankees in 1993, helping the team draft wisely, refrain from dumb trades (ala George Steinbrenner), helping the team build up their young core that would lead to World Series titles in 1996, 1998-2000.
Truly a baseball lifer and underrated player in my book.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


Thought it’d be fun to create a special 1975 card with these two superstars of baseball, Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson in the prime of their careers:

By the time this card would have come out, these two already had three MVPs between them, while heading towards a couple of World Championships for Bench and five total championships for Jackson.
Nothing short of Cooperstown was ahead of them, becoming two of the everlasting icons of Major League baseball in the 1970’s.
Bench would have two home run titles in his career (1970 and 1972), while Jackson would finish with four titles, funny enough, three of which were shared with three different Milwaukee Brewer sluggers: George Scott (1975), Ben Oglivie (1980) and Gorman Thomas (1982).
Go figure...

Friday, August 16, 2019


Today we close out the career of three-year Major League pitcher Steve Blateric, who I created the second “not so missing” card for on the blog, this one the Cincinnati Reds:

Blateric made his Big League debut in 1971, appearing in two games for the eventual National League champs, not factoring in a decision while posting an ERA of 13.50 over 2.2 innings pitched.
The following year he would suit up for the New York Yankees, where he appeared in one game, throwing four innings of scoreless ball while striking out four.
After spending all of 1973 and 1974 in the Minors, he made it back to a Major League mound in 1975, now as a member of the California Angels, once again not factoring in a decision over two games and 4.1 innings, allowing three earned runs for an ERA of 6.23.
That would be it for his career, spending two more seasons in Minor League ball before retiring in 1977, finishing up with a total of five appearances, no decisions, and an ERA at 5.73 over eleven innings pitched, with 13 strikeouts against only one walk.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


How about we go and give five-game Major League outfielder Jeff Yurak a “not so missing” 1979 card shall we? Well here you go:

After five years toiling in the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Minor League systems between 1974 and 1978, Yurak finally got the call up to the Big-Time by the Brewers on September 15th of 1978 after an excellent season with the Holyoke Millers of the Double-A Brewers affiliate that saw him hit .321 with 21 homers and 89 runs batted in.
Over those five games in the Big Leagues however, Yurak went 0-5 at the plate with a walk, generally as a pinch-hitter along with one game in the outfield.
In 1979 he’d find himself back in the Minors, this time seeing his batting average drop to .245 though he did hit 16 homers and drive in 57 in 114 games.
But sadly for him it wasn’t enough for another shot at a call-up, and he retired after that last season in the Minor Leagues.
But hey, we’d all wish to have at least those five games as a Major League ballplayer. Am I right?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


OK. Here’s one of my favorite “creations” for the blog, an ever-so-cool “not so missing” 1973 card for that shaded bad-ass bastard Lowell Palmer, who kept the funk going in 1972 with a split season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians:

Lowell, who pitched the previous three years of his MLB career with the Philadelphia Phillies, found himself a member of the Cardinals when the 1972 year began, going 0-3 over 16 appearances, with a 3.89 earned run average in 34.2 innings of work.
After being selected off waiver by the Indians on September 18th, he appeared in one game, tossing two innings and allowing one earned run on two hits.
He’d spend all of 1973 in the Indians’ Minor League system before making it back for one last hurrah in 1974, now a member of the San Diego padres, going 2-5 with a 5.67 ERA over 22 appearances and 73 innings.
After a couple of more Minor League seasons in 1975 and 1977, he called it a career, finishing up with a 5-18 record, along with an ERA of 5.29 over 106 appearances and 316.2 innings pitched in five Major League seasons.
But of course his ever-lasting legacy as a Major League player were those cool baseball card photos, sporting the shades and exemplifying that sweet decade of the 1970’s.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Fun card to add to the “wthballs” collection, a 1976 “not so missing” card for 15-year MLB catcher Ernie Whitt, who made his Big League debut in 1975 as a member of the American League champion Boston Red Sox:

Whitt only played in eight games with the Sox before being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays with the 34th pick in the Expansion Draft.
Over those eight games he hit .222 with four hits over 18 at-bats, including two doubles and a homer, while driving in three and scoring four.
After two seasons of very little play in 1977 and 1978, he spent all of 1979 in the Minor Leagues for Toronto before coming back for good in 1980, playing in 106 games and on his way to a very nice career, the next 10 with the Blue Jays.
He was their regular catcher over that time, even making the All-Star team in 1985, and I’ll always remember him hitting three home runs in the record breaking game where the Blue Jays hit 10 taters in a single game.
He would play his last two years of 1990 and 1991 with the Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles respectively, before retiring at the age of 39, finishing up with a .249 average with 134 homers and 534 runs batted in over 1328 games and 3774 at-bats.

Monday, August 12, 2019


I found this excellent photo of former outfielder Sam Mejias a while back, showing him with his first MLB team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and thought it’d make a great 1977 card, replacing his rookie multi-player appearance in the set as a Montreal Expo, so here goes:

Mejias made his Big League debut during the Bicentennial year, playing in 18 games for the Cardinals, hitting .143 with three hits over 21 at-bats while playing all three outfield positions.
In November of 1976 he was traded over to the Montreal Expos, just in time for Topps to have him airbrushed and placed into a multi-player rookie card for their 1977 set, so there was never any card depicting him with his first team.
He’d go on to play two seasons with the Expos before moving on to the Chicago Cubs for part of 1979 before playing out his career with parts of three years with the Cincinnati Reds, playing his last professional game in 1981.
He finished his MLB tenure with a .247 average, with 86 hits over 348 at-bats in 334 games, hitting four homers and driving in 31 runs while scoring 51 himself.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


I found another great image of Hall of Famer Duke Snider during his brief tenure as a Montreal Expos coach, so I wanted to create a 1975 edition to add to my 1974 version that I created a few years ago, so here goes:

After a Hall of Fame career between 1947 and 1964, mainly slugging his way into the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers record books, Snider took on a successful role as a play-by-play analyst for both the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos beginning in 1969 straight through to the late-80’s.
In between, during the 1974 and 1975 seasons, he was the Expos hitting coach, so why not create a coach card for the legend?
I may even go and create a 1976 edition as well in the near future if I can snag another image from the period.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


Time to go and add “The Jet” Chet Lemon to my “nicknames of the 1970s” thread, with a 1978 edition celebrating his first All-Star season:

Lemon was only 23 when he made the first of three All-Star teams during his career in 1978, a career that saw him play for the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers between 1975 and 1990.
Over that time he hit .273, with 215 home runs while being a part of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers team that steam-rolled to the championship when they ran 1st place from wire-to-wire.
Never putting up any gaudy numbers, Lemon was just a great consistent player who put in solid statistics year in and year out.
He did lead the American League with 44 doubles in 1979, while also leading the league with hit-by-pitches four times between 1979 and 1983, but it was his reliable, steady performance that made him a valuable player over his 16-year Big League career.
A little fun fact I picked up this morning that I never realized: Lemon’s last career game, on October 3rd of 1990, was a game I attended and will always remember because that was the highly anticipated final game of the year against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and we all wondered if breakout slugger Cecil Fielder could hit his 50th homer of the season to become the first since George Foster in 1977 to reach that mark.
Of course, as we all know, Fielder did not disappoint as he crushed TWO bombs that game, settling on 51 homers in his first season back to the Majors after a year in Japan.
Fun stuff!

Friday, August 9, 2019


What can I say? I will never get tired of creating 1977 Reggie Jackson cards featuring him as a Baltimore Oriole, replacing the airbrushed horror I always felt his actual 1977 Topps card was. It’s like his one season in B-More never happened, so here goes yet another addition to the custom-card world:

After the blockbuster deal that brought him East from the Oakland A’s, Jackson had himself a very nice year with the “O’s”, hitting .277 with 27 homers and 91 runs batted in.
Remember, this was a season that had the New York Yankees Graig Nettles lead the American League with only 32 homers, so Reggie’s 27 was up there.
Of course, he’d go on to sign with the Yankees over the Winter as a Free Agent, add two more World Championships and a “Mr. October” moniker to his resume, and head straight to the Hall of Fame as one of the enduring icons of American sports to this day.
As a kid growing up a Yankee fan in the late-70’s/early-80’s, it was just awesome witnessing this personality first-hand!
And yes, I ate a ton of those “Reggie” bars, and they WERE great!

Thursday, August 8, 2019


Here’s a fun card to add to the blog, a not so missing” 1975 card for one year pitcher Leon Hooten of the Oakland A’s, who actually got a spot on a multi-player rookie card a few years later in the 1977 Topps set as a member of the inaugural Toronto Blue Jays:

Hooten appeared in six games for the A’s during their 1974 season, the third straight World Championship season for the franchise.
He didn’t factor in a decision, but put up a nice 3.24 earned run average, allowing three runs over 8.1 innings, with a strikeout and four walks.
He’d spend the next two years in the Oakland Minor League system before getting selected by the upstart Blue Jays in the Expansion Draft as the 59th pick, but he would never play for them, not even in their Minors system.
But he did walk away with an appearance on a Topps card, getting a spot in their “Rookie Pitchers” card #478 along with Jim Gideon, Mark Lemongello and Dave Johnson.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019


Today we have a 1977 “not so missing” card for two-year Major league pitcher Jose Sosa, cousin of the Alou brothers, who pitched the last of his Big League games in 1976:

Sosa appeared in only nine games for the Houston Astros in 1976, his second year in the Majors, which would be the entirety of his career.
In those nine games he didn’t factor in a decision and had an earned run average of 6.94 over 11.2 innings, all out of the bullpen.
In his rookie year of 1975 he played in 25 games, faring much better when he posted a record of 1-3 with an ERA of 4.02, also picking up a save in 47 innings of work, with two of those appearances starts.
But after two seasons in the Houston Minor League system in 1977 and 1978 without a call-up, he called it a career and finished with that 1-3 record over 34 appearances, with an ERA at 4.60 in 58.2 innings pitched.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019


On the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1974 card for former pinch-runner Matt Alexander, who managed to swipe 103 bases during his nine-year MLB career while only collecting 36 hits:

Alexander played in the first 12 games of his Major League career during the 1973 season as a member of the Chicago Cubs, hitting an even .200 with one hit over five at-bats while scoring four runs and stealing two bases.
After getting traded to the Oakland A’s for Minor Leaguer Buddy Copeland in April of 1975, he’d go on to average about 20 steals a season over the next three years, occasionally playing the field while collecting only 12 hits combined.
Much like the more famous “designated runners” Herb Washington and Larry Lintz, was a speedster who found his niche (though I’m sure he would have rather have just PLAYED than pinch-run), playing out his nine-year MLB career with four seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, including the World Champion 1979 edition, when he appeared in 44 games, hitting .538 with seven hits over 13 at-bats, with 16 runs scored and 13 steals.
Overall, after retiring in 1981, Alexander finished with a .214 career average, with 111 runs scored on 36 hits, with 103 steals over 374 games and 168 at-bats.
As a quirk in MLB history, he is one of only seven players (excluding pitchers) to have played at least 100 games and have more games played than at-bats.

Monday, August 5, 2019


Up on the blog today is a “not so missing” 1971 card for former infielder Bob Johnson, who finished up an 11-year Major League career with 30 games in Oakland during the 1970 season:

Johnson, who originally came up with the Athletics (when they were in Kansas City) back in 1960 as a 24-year-old, hit .174 in those last 30 games in 1970, with eight hits over 46 at-bats with six runs scored and two runs batted in.
His best season was 1962 when, with the Washington Senators, he hit .288 in what turned out to be his only full-season of play, appearing in 135 games and collecting 134 hits over 466 at-bats and 504 plate appearances.
In all his other Big League seasons he never even had 300 plate appearances or 100 games played, averaging about 75 games a year.
By the time he retired, he finished with a very nice .272 batting average, with 628 hits in 2307 at-bats in 874 games, playing for seven different teams and five different positions.
Not a bad “under-the-radar” MLB tenure.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


Today we take a look at the airbrushed image used for the 1973 Gary Gentry card after the former pitcher found himself traded from the New York Mets to the Atlanta Braves in November of 1972:

Gentry, a mainstay of the Mets starting rotation since the 1969 World Champion team, was traded to Atlanta with Danny Frisella for Felix Milan and George Stone on November 3rd of 1972.
That forced Topps to get to work on an airbrushed image, shown here, to reflect his new digs.
Sadly for the Braves, Gentry’s best days were behind him, as he’d never win more than four games in a season over the next three years before retiring after 1975.
With the Mets between 1969 and 1972, he averaged about 10 wins and 200 innings pitched, tossing eight shutouts while completing 22 games, good numbers for a guy who was in a rotation with the likes of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack.
After just seven appearances in 1975, which saw him go 1-1 with a 4.95 ERA over 20 innings pitched, he called it a career, finishing up with a record of 46-49, with a 3.56 ERA over 157 appearances and 902.2 innings pitched.

Saturday, August 3, 2019


Found a great image of Dave Duncan suited up with the Chicago White Sox, so I went and created a 1977 “re-do” for his classic Topps airbrush. Check it out.
But first the original as released by Topps:

Now the re-do:

The irony is that Duncan never ended up appearing in a game with the White Sox.
As a matter of fact he never ended up appearing in another Major League game period, moving on to become a celebrated coach later on.
Before the 1977 season Duncan, who played the previous two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, was traded straight up for Pat Kelly.
But on March 30th, just before the season started, the White Sox released Duncan, who decided to retire and finish up his 11-year playing career.
Originally up with the Kansas City Athletics in 1964 as an 18-year old, Duncan had a decent career, hitting as many as 19 home runs one season and making the American League All-Star team in 1971.
After his days with the A’s he went to the Cleveland Indians for two years in 1973 and 1974, before his stint with Baltimore the following two seasons.
Of course, he will always be remembered as the celebrated pitching coach between 1979 and 2011, generally while working with Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, in which he’d list no less than four Cy Young winners under his guidance and being a part of three World Champion teams: 1989 A’s and 2006 & 2011 St. Louis Cardinals.

Friday, August 2, 2019


Here’s a fun card to create and add to the “wthballs” stable, a “not so missing” 1974 card for one of the Cruz brothers, Tommy, who played all of seven games during his brief MLB career:

Cruz made his Big League debut in 1973 with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing in only three games while not getting a plate appearance.
He appeared in one game out in left field while also pinch running, leading to a run scored during his first taste of the Big Leagues.
He’d go on to play four years in the Minor Leagues between 1974 and 1977 before making it back to a Major League game in 1977, now as a member of the Chicago White Sox, appearing in four games and going 0-2 at the plate while again scoring one run.
Sadly for him however that would be it for his MLB career, as he’d go on to play the 1978 and 1979 seasons in the New York Yankee organization, putting in good years averaging over .300 combined.
But it never got him another shot on the Big League level, finishing with those seven appearances and an 0-2 showing with two runs at the plate.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Time to go and give three-time American League batting champion Tony Oliva a card in my long-running “1975 In-Action” thread, celebrating his Hall of Fame worthy 15-year career:

Oliva was coming towards the end of his great career by the time this card would have come out, but was still a solid hitter who hit .291 and .285 the previous two seasons.
He’d hit ..270 in his last full season, 1975, before falling to only .211 in 1976, which turned out to be his last, all with the Minnesota Twins, with whom he first came up in 1962.
Of course, in between, all he would do is have one of the greatest rookie seasons in 1964, easily taking home the top rookie honor in the AL while finishing up fourth in the MVP race, finish second in the MVP race the following season when he helped guide the Twins to their first World Series appearance (though many including myself feel he was robbed of the award, ironically by his own teammate Zoilo Versalles), and lead the league in hits five times, batting three times, doubles four times, while topping .300 seven times.
He was an All-Star eight times while garnering MVP attention eight straight seasons, with three top-5 finishes, and if it wasn’t for injuries we’d be talking about a 3000-hit player with more than three batting titles.
What a great player that gets lost in the shuffle of the glory days of 1960 among legendary names like Aaron, Mantle, Mays and Clemente.


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