Friday, January 31, 2020


Up on the blog today is a truly “not so missing” 1975 card for former Texas Ranger Dave Moates, who appeared in one game during the 1974 season, his first game in the Big Leagues:

Moates appeared as a pinch runner for first baseman Jim Spencer on September 21st of 1974, somewhat of an unusual MLB debut.
He’d be back in the Majors the following season, appearing in 54 games and hitting a nice .274 with 48 hits over 175 at-bats, with three homers and 14 runs batted in.
In 1976 he’d play in 85 games for the Rangers, hitting .241 with 33 hits in 137 at-bats, but as it turned out it was the last Big League action he’d see as he would go on to spend the 1977 season split between the Rangers and New York Yankees Minor League systems, hitting .308 with 40 stolen bases, but never getting a call-up.
Don’t know why, but he called it a career at that point, still only 29 years of age, finishing his career with a .260 batting average, with 81 hits in 312 at-bats over 140 games, all for the Rangers between 1974 and 1976.

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Up on the blog today, a 1974 “not so missing” card for former Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Paul Powell, who appeared in only two games during the 1973 season:

Powell came over from the Minnesota Twins, for whom he played in 20 games making his Big League debut in 1971 as a centerfielder.
After coming over to the Dodgers in October of 1971 for Bobby Darwin, he spent all of 1972 in the Minors before getting back to the Big Leagues with those two games in ‘73, going 0-for-1 at the plate, striking out, while playing some left field.
After another full season in the Minors for 1974, he’d be back on Big League grass for eight games in 1975, now also putting in time behind the plate, going 2-for-10 at the plate while catching seven games, with one other game out in the outfield.
Definitely a rarity to see an outfielder come back as a catcher like that. And fun to bring up on the blog!
For his career, Powell played in 30 games, hit .167 with seven hits in 42 at-bats, with a homer, two RBIs and nine runs scored.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former Atlanta Braves infielder Rob Belloir, who played the last of his Major League games in 1978:

Belloir only appeared in two games during the 1978 season, going one-for-one at the plate with a double, in what I’m sure was not expected to be the last taste of his Big League action.
Originally up in 1975 with 43 games, he played parts of those four seasons between 1975 and 1978, hitting a combined .216 with 36 hits over 167 at-bats, all for Atlanta.
Those 43 games in 1975 would be the most appearances he’d see in his brief career, playing in 30 the following season then only six and two respectively in 1977 and 1978.
It is funny to me that he got a card in the 1978 set considering he played in only six games the previous season, but lord knows I stopped trying to figure out Topps selection process years ago.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Here’s a fun card to create, a 1977 “not so missing” card for 21-game Major League infielder Ken Pape, who played his one season under the Big League sun for the Texas Rangers in 1976:

Pape hit .217 over those 21 games, hitting one home run while driving in four over 23 at-bats, scoring seven himself while collecting five hits.
Sadly for him, he’d spend the next four seasons toiling in the Minors for the Texas, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners organizations before calling it a career in 1980, still only 28 years of age.
Nevertheless, for those 21 games in the Bicentennial Summer he was a Major League player, something I’m sure we can ALL say we’d wish for ourselves!

Monday, January 27, 2020


Time to add a 1973 ”not so missing” for former reliever Elias Sosa to the wthballs stable, marking his Big League debut in 1972 with eight appearances:

Sosa was 22-years-of-age when he got his first taste of the Majors in ‘72, going 0-1 with a nice 2.30 earned run average over 15.2 innings for the San Francisco Giants.
In 1973 he would have an excellent year, going 10-4 over 71 appearances, posting an ERA of 3.28 with 18 saves as an official rookie, pitching 107 innings and making one start.
He would go on to have a very nice, under-the-radar Major League career that spanned 12 seasons, between 1972 and 1983, going 59-51 with 83 saves and a 3.32 ERA in 601 appearances.
His finest season would arguably be 1979 while with the Expos when he went 8-7 with a brilliant 1.96 ERA over 62 appearances and 96.2 innings pitched, along with 18 saves while closing out 41 games.
He would play for eight different teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers for whom he’d get the only World Series experience of his career in 1977, and the Montreal Expos where he’d see the only other Post Season action in 1981.
Seems the 1970’s had a bunch of these “forgotten” relievers who put in solid seasons year after year, without the gaudy numbers but effective nevertheless.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


I can never have enough Mark Fidrych customs in my stable here on the blog, and today I post up another creation for the young man who took the baseball world by storm in 1976:

We all know the story: that Monday Night game, how he ended up starting the all-star game, how he won 19 games and led the league in earned run average, how he was given the nickname "Bird" and the antics he displayed on the mound.
Sadly we also know how his career was derailed because of injuries, how he was never able to make it back successfully, and how years later he was tragically killed in an accident at the young age of 54.
But the "Bird" legend will always be around, and for those of us lucky enough to have witnessed it, it was incredible.
His 1977 Topps card is STILL one of my all-time favorites solely because I feel it captured that "essence", that personality he had, as a character that comes along all too rarely.
In 1976 I was seven years old and just starting to pay attention to baseball, and all I kept seeing was this phenomena of “The Bird”, his act on the mound, that smile, and of course images of him with Sesame Street’s “Big Bird”.
This man came across as a God to my young impressionable mind, and when ripping open packs of 1977 cards soon after, and pulling that card of his, jeez, it was like nothing else.
What an icon of the game for that era. Perfect.

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Always fun to look at stuff like today’s blog entry, the 1974 original image of future multi-batting champ Bill Madlock as a Texas Ranger before Topps took an airbrush to it:

Of course, as you can see from the image of his actual rookie card, he was already airbrushed over to his new team, the Chicago Cubs, for whom he’d immediately make an impact with two consecutive batting championships in 1975 and 1976.
But as you can see, the original image had him suited up with his first Big League club, the Texas Rangers, with whom he hit a blistering .351 in his first taste of Major League action over 21 games in 1973.
Nevertheless, after the blockbuster trade that saw him head North while former Cubs ace Fergie Jenkins went to Texas in October of 1973, Madlock did NOT disappoint, hitting .313, .354 and .339 over the next three seasons before the Cubs moved him to San Francisco before the 1977 season.
“Mad Dog” would go on to win another two batting titles while with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1981 and 1983, and finish with a career .305 average over his 15-year career which concluded after the 1987 season.
If I’m not mistaken he is still the only eligible player to win four or more batting titles and not be in the Hall of Fame.

Friday, January 24, 2020


As I was about to write up this post for my 1970 “missing” Mike Marshall, I realized I already created one and posted it over six years ago, so please forgive me as I use this one anyway and post up a SECOND 1970 card for the reliever extraordinaire:

Here’s my original write-up back in December, 2013 for the first 1970 creation:
I already designed a "missing" 1979 card for him, which I posted here a while back, and I'm in the middle of designing a 1978 card for him in a Texas Rangers uniform ("Photoshopping" a Texas uniform is turning out to be quite a b*tch!).
But for today, allow me to present to you all a "missing" 1970 edition of the Mike Marshall hit-parade, showing the former all-star reliever in a Seattle Pilots uniform, for whom he played in 1969 totaling 20 games and 87.2 innings of work.
For the somewhat forgettable season he posted a 3-10 record along with a 5.13 earned run average.
But things would change rather quickly for Marshall, as he soon became arguably THE relief pitcher in the Majors by 1972, pitching for the Montreal Expos before moving on to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
1972 would see him post his first truly great year, as he went 14-8 with 18 saves and a sparkling 1.78 earned run average over the course of 65 games of relief work.
It was a sign of things to come.
While over in L.A. he'd win a Cy Young Award in 1974 when he posted a season for the ages, appearing in a still-record 106 games, going 15-12 with a 2.42 E.R.A., saving a league-leading 21 games while totaling a mind-boggling 208.1 innings out of the 'pen!
As I stated in my previous post regarding Marshall, he was a constant headache for Topps, at first refusing to pose for a photo on a baseball card, and eventually refusing to appear on a card all-together.
Hence the missing Marshall cards in 1978/79/80.
His missing 1970 card seems to be more of a decision by Topps rather than Marshall himself, since his playing time in '69 was a bit sparse. But I can't be 100% sure.
Anyway, here's a design I whipped up for a 1970 Mike Marshall card showing him in that great Seattle Pilots foam-green uniform before they became the Milwaukee Brewers the following year.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1974 card for former Chicago White Sox catcher Pete Varney, who made his Big League debut during the 1973 season:

Varney made his MLB debut during the 1973 season, appearing in only five games and going 0-4 at the plate then following it up with nine appearances in 1974 when he went 7-for-28, good for a .250 batting average.
In 1975 he’d see the most action in any one season, playing in 36 games for the White Sox, batting .271 with 29 hits in 107 official at-bats, including 12 runs scored and eight runs batted in.
That amount of face-time In the Big Leagues was good enough to get him a card in the classic 1976 Topps set, but it sadly wouldn’t last, as he would appear in only 19 games in the Majors during the Bicentennial season, split between Chicago and the Atlanta Braves, for whom he’d play the last games of his career with.
That season he’d bat a combined .216 with 11 hits in 51 at-bats, connecting for three homers with five RBIs and five runs scored.
Turns out that would be the last action he’d see in the Majors, as he’d play all of 1977 in the Minors for Atlanta before retiring as a player, finishing up with a career .247 average, with 47 hits over 190 at-bats, with 18 runs scored and 15 RBIs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


I never realized until recently that I never created a career-capping 1979 card for former All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi, so here goes:

Fregosi closed out a very nice 18-year career in 1978 with 20 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, hitting an even .200 with four hits over 20 at-bats.
Although he is largely remembered for being "the guy traded for Nolan Ryan", he was arguably the best shortstop in the American League in the 1960's while with the Angels (sorry Luis Aparicio! NOT as clear cut as people would think for you).
Between 1963 and 1970 he was a six-time all-star and garnered M.V.P. votes each and every year, finishing as high as seventh in 1967.
After his playing days he immediately went on to a managerial career, in 1978 as a matter of fact, leading his former team the California Angels between 1978 and 1981 before moving on to head the Chicago White Sox (1986-1988), Philadelphia Phillies (1991-1996) and Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000).
He was the 1993 Phillies manager that led them to the World Series, famously won by the Blue Jays on a Joe Carter home run off of Mitch Williams if you don’t remember.
Just a great MLB career that gets overshadowed because of “that trade”, which wasn’t as ridiculous at the time as you would think.
The Mets had an abundance of young pitching (Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, etc), and Ryan wasn’t exactly in control of his mechanics yet, so acquiring a six-time All-Star who was still only 29 wasn’t too absurd.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Up on the blog today I have a “not so missing” 1978 card for 12 game Major League infielder Mike Sember of the Chicago Cubs, who made his MLB debut with three games in 1977:

Sember made his debut in August of 1977 and went on to hit .250 over his brief taste of the Big League life, going 1-for-4 at the plate while playing some second base.
He’d make it back to the Majors the following season, albeit for only nine more contests, hitting a robust .333 with 1 hit over three at-bats, along with two runs scored and a walk.
He’d play all of 1979 in the Minors for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, hitting only .150, which would be the last professional action he’d see in his career.
Overall, Sember finished his Big League tenure with a .286 average, with two hits over seven at-bats over 12 games while playing second, short and third base.

Monday, January 20, 2020


Time to go ahead and cap-off Jose Pagan’s very nice 15-season MLB tenure with this “not so missing” 1974 card after playing the last games of his career in 1973:

Pagan played in 46 games during the 1973 season with the Philadelphia Phillies, finishing up with a .205 batting average with 16 hits over 78 at-bats while filling in everywhere defensively.
Before his one season in the sun for the Phillies, Pagan played the previous seven and a half years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, including their World Champion 1971 season, generally as a man out of the dugout to fill in wherever needed.
Between 1959, his rookie year, and the middle of 1965 he suited up for the San Francisco Giants, where he played shortstop full-time for a few seasons, even getting some MVP attention in 1962, finishing eleventh in voting for his help getting the Giants to the World Series.
Over his 15-year Big League career Pagan hit an even .250, with 922 hits over 3689 at-bats, playing in 1326 games and playing on two Pennant winners and one World Series champ, hitting .316 in Post Season play with 12 hits over 38 at-bats.

Sunday, January 19, 2020


Thought I’d go ahead and create a 1977 “Traded” card for former pitcher Mike Torrez, who found himself in the Bronx pitching for the eventual World Champion New York Yankees after an early season trade from the Oakland A’s:

Now, though I have always been a huge fan of his actual 1977 Topps card because he looked like a dude right out of my Bensonhurst, Brooklyn neighborhood (think Saturday Night Fever at that time), Torrez was dealt East on April 27th for three players, including Dock Ellis, so Topps understandably couldn’t get him airbrushed in a N.Y. uni in time for their 1977 set.
Torrez would go on to help the Yankees, winning 14 games after posting three wins for Oakland, giving him 17 on the season, while in my opinion was the Yankees MVP (outside of Reggie Jackson of course) of the World Series when he went 2-0 over two starts, with two complete games and a 2.50 ERA with 15 strikeouts.
I’ve always been fascinated by Torrez’s run between 1974 and 1978 when he posted 15+ wins each and every year, playing for a different team each and every season!
In 1974 he won 15 for the Montreal Expos, then 20 for the Baltimore Orioles in 1975, then 16 for the Oakland A’s, then the aforementioned 17 combined wins with the Yanks and A’s in 1977, then finally 16 for the Boston Red Sox in 1978.
Toss in his 16 wins for the Expos in 1972 and then another 16 for the Red Sox in 1979, and we are talking a solid eight-year run of dependability that gets overlooked.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season, Torrez fashioned himself a solid 18-year career that saw him go 185-160, with a 3.96 E.R.A., 1404 strikeouts and 15 shutouts over 494 games, 458 of which were starts.
He also won two games in the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers, pitching a complete game in both starts, yielding a 2.50 E.R.A. with 15 strikeouts. Not bad at all…

Saturday, January 18, 2020


Back in 2015 I created a “missing” St. Louis Cardinals 1970 card for Jim Grant, aka “Mudcat”, since Topps left him out of their set after a 1969 season that saw him put in substantial time on a Big League mound.
Today, just for kicks, I want to post up my Montreal Expos version:

I can create cards for “Mudcat” all day long, and I can't really understand why Topps didn't include him in their 1970 set since he appeared in 41 games in 1969, posting an 8-11 record with a 4.42 earned run average in 114 innings of work, split between the Montreal Expos and St. Louis Cardinals.
He'd go on to pitch two more seasons, for both the Oakland A's and Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring at the end of the 1971 season.
Overall he put in a very nice 14-year career that saw him go 145-119 with a 3.63 ERA and 1267 strikeouts over 571 games and 2442 innings pitched.
His finest season was 1965 for the American League champ Minnesota Twins when he finished with a 21-7 record, the win total leading the league, as well as leading in winning percentage (.750) and shutouts (6).
But I also have to point out his incredibly underrated 1970 season.
That year, in what turned out to be his second to last in the Majors, Grant was used as a reliever, appearing in 80 games with the Pirates and A's, good for 135.1 innings, while posting fantastic numbers by season's end, going 8-3 with 24 saves and a sparkling 1.86 E.R.A.!
Not too shabby!

Friday, January 17, 2020


Here’s a card for a guy I thought actually had a spot in Topps’ 1971 set, but much to my surprise (and relief) is a new creation for me, a “not so missing” 1971 card for former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher John Lamb:

I previously created a 1972 and 1974 edition for Lamb, thinking for some reason he was on a multi-player rookie card in the 1971 set.
But again, I was surprised I imagined such a card and happily created this “dedicated rookie” for a pitcher who saw enough action in 1970 to actually get something by Topps.
In 1970, his MLB debut, Lamb appeared in 23 games for the Bucs, tossing 32.1 innings and going 0-1 with a nice 2.78 earned run average with three saves.
Can’t imagine why a pitcher with 23 appearances wouldn’t at the very least get a spot on a multi-player card in the 1971 set, especially with some of the players that actually did.
Anyway, in 1971 he didn’t factor in a decision while pitching 4.1 innings of scoreless ball in his brief time up in the Big Leagues.
He’d spend the entire 1972 season in the Minors, but would make it back in 1973 in what would end up being his last taste of the Majors, going 0-1 over 22 appearances and 29.2 innings, with a bloated 6.07 ERA with a couple of saves.
He’d be back toiling in the Minors the following year, and would stay there through the 1974 season before retiring for good, leaving the Majors with an 0-2 record over 47 games and 66.1 innings, with an ERA of 4.07.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Let’s go and give 15-year Major League veteran Kurt Bevacqua a “not so missing” 1973 card today on the blog based on his 19 games played with the Cleveland Indians during the 1972 season:

Bevacqua was in his second year as a Big Leaguer in 1972, hitting only .114 with four hits over 35 at-bats with the Tribe while picking up both infield and outfield duties along the way as a 25-year-old.
He would go on to put in a solid career in the Major Leagues as a guy off the bench through the 1985 season, playing for six teams and playing all positions except for catcher and centerfield.
By the time he retired as a player, he finished with a career .236 batting average with 499 hits over 2117 at-bats in 970 games, hitting 27 homers and driving in 275 runs.
While with the San Diego Padres he had perhaps the highlight of his career when he hit .412 in the 1984 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, hitting two homers with four RBIs and easily would have been the series MVP had they upset the heavily favored Tiger team who steam-rolled through the season as wire-to-wire beasts.
As a card-collector of course, I’d say the highlight of Bevacqua’s career was that sweet 1976 Topps card celebrating his win as the Bubble-gum bubble-blowing champion!
I started collecting cards a year after that, but got many 1976 cards and as an eight-year old I loved that card. Still do!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Up on the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1975 card that really could be considered a straight-up “missing” card for former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jim Kremmel:

Kremmel appeared in 23 games during the 1974 season, going 0-2 with an earned run average of 5.23 over 31 innings, with two of those games being starts.
I would consider that borderline MLB time to get a slot in the 1975 Topps set considering some other players who got a card with less action.
Kremmel made his MLB debut a season earlier when he appeared in four games for the Texas Rangers, posting an identical record of 0-2, with a bloated 9.00 ERA in nine innings of work.
Sadly for him however, he would go on to spend the next two seasons in the Cubs’ Minor League system, but never get another shot at a Big League mound, retiring after 1976 and finishing up with a MLB record of 0-4, with an ERA at 6.08 over 27 appearances and 40 innings.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Today on the blog I’ve come to a “not so missing” card creation that had me second-guessing myself: do I go and create a card for a man who hurt others as well as himself later in life?
I do my best to stay away from such things on the blog, but I went ahead and created a 1976 card for former reliever Donnie Moore, a tragic figure in Major League Baseball’s history:

Moore made his MLB debut in 1975 with four appearances, one of those a start, for the Chicago Cubs, posting and earned run average of 4.15 without a decision in 8.2 innings.
He would go on to spend the rest of his 13-year Major league career as a reliever with the Cubs (1975-1979), St. Louis Cardinals (1980), Milwaukee Brewers (1981), Atlanta Braves (1982-1984) and California Angels (1983-1988), having his best years with the Angels.
In 1985 he would be named to his only All-Star team and get both MVP and Cy Young consideration when he went 8-8 with an ERA of 1.92 along with 31 saves, easily his best year in the Big Leagues.
Between 1975 and 1988, he’d finish his career with a record of 43-40, with an ERA of 3.67 and 89 saves over 416 appearances and 654.2 innings pitched.
Sadly, he will always be remembered for what happened about a year after his career ended when he shot his wife (who survived), and then killed himself in their home, with some unscrupulous journalists taking this as a chance to try tying it to his blown save in the 1986 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.
On a personal note, when this happened I was a journalism major in college, eventually finishing up my degree a couple of years later, but this was one of the nails in my coffin as far as continuing as a reporter/journalist was concerned.
The way sports writers tried twisting the story to connect it to baseball to garner more eyes to their columns was disgusting, and helped me see what a joke it all was.
Just my two cents for what it’s worth.

Monday, January 13, 2020


Today the blog offers up a “not so missing” 1977 card for former pitcher Lerrin LaGrow, who was coming off somewhat of a transitional year in his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1976:

LaGrow appeared in only eight games for the Birds that season, two of those as a starter, going 0-1 with a 1.48 earned run average over 24.1 innings of work.
In 1977 he’d hit his stride, finding success as a full-time reliever and going 7-3 over 66 appearances, with a very nice 2.46 ERA and 25 saves over 98.2 innings, helping the team to an excellent 90-72 season.
Though not as great a season in 1978, he was still effective, going 6-5 with 16 saves with a bump in ERA at 4.40 over 52 appearances, before splitting the 1979 season between the White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Combined between the two teams he went 5-4 with a bloated 5.27 ERA over 42 appearances, saving five games, while finishing the year with a nice 5-1 run with Los Angeles with four saves and a 3.41 ERA over 31 appearances.
Still only 31 years of age entering 1980, turns out it would be his last, joining the Philadelphia Phillies and going 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA over 25 appearances, saving three games, but he’d get released in July of that year as the Phillies would go on to win a World Championship.
LaGrow would hang them up, never even playing a Minor League game after that, finishing with a 10-year Big League career that saw him go 34-55 with a 4.11 ERA over 309 appearances and 779 innings pitched, with two shutouts and 54 saves between 1970 and 1980.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Here was a fun card to create, a 1970 coach card for Sal “The Barber” Maglie, who was acting as pitching coach for the one-year Seattle Pilots organization in 1969:

Maglie came to the Pilots to lend his expertise after a few seasons with the Boston Red Sox, where he was credited by 1967 Cy Young winner Jim Lonborg of helping him have his magic season by teaching him about pitching inside, for which Maglie was notorious for when he was an active pitcher.
Funny enough, if you’ve ever read Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four”, you’ll remember that Maglie was NOT shed in a good light for his Seattle coaching tenure, labeled as “indifferent” and a walking contradiction in his handling of pitchers.
I’ve always found Maglie’s playing career  so incredibly interesting, as he made his MLB debut in 1945 at the age of 28, then was banned from playing until 1950 for his jump to the fledgling Mexican League.
When he came back to the Big Leagues in 1950, all he did was go 18-4 for the New York Giants, leading the National League with a 2.71 earned run average, five shutouts, and a winning percentage of .818 over 47 appearances, with only 17 of those starts.
The following season he easily would have been the N.L.’s Cy Young winner had there been such an award yet after going 23-6 with a 2.93 ERA and three shutouts along with four saves, helping the Giants make it all the way to the World Series where they’d lose to the New York Yankees juggernaut.
So basically, except for those five wins in 1945 before he got banned, Maglie’s entire career was accomplished after he turned 30, as he wound up with a record of 119-62, with a 3.15 ERA, 25 shutouts and 14 saves by the time he retired in 1958 at the age of 41.
Imagine him pitching through his 20’s in the 1940’s, we could possibly be looking at a 250+ win pitcher had he come up earlier or had not been banned for the league jumping.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


Time to go and add former catcher Alan Ashby’s 1977 card to the long-running “airbrushing through the 1970s” thread, with a closer look at the original touched up image used:

Nice job of the airbrusher turning what was originally a shot of Ashby in a Cleveland Indians uniform into a shot of him in a Blue Jays uni, especially when one considers there really wasn’t much reference yet as the team hadn’t played a single MLB game at the time this was created.
As for Ashby, after being traded to the Jays from the Cleveland Indians in November of 1976, Ashby would go on to put in two seasons for the expansion team before moving on to play for the Houston Astros  for the next eleven years. I never realized that his career to him all the way to the doorsteps of the 1990 decade, finishing up with 22 games for the Astros in 1989 after 17-years as a Major League catcher.
In those 17 seasons he batted .245 while playing in 1370 games, collecting 1010 hits with 90 home runs and 513 runs batted in over 4123 official at-bats. After his baseball career ended as a player he hung around the game as a coach in the Astros system as well as a broadcaster for the Astros in both radio and television.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Up on the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1975 card for former Montreal Expos infielder Pat Scanlon, who made his MLB debut a year earlier:

Scanlon appeared in two games for Montreal as a late-season call-up, going 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored while getting some time out at third base.
He would go on to play 60 games the following year, the most action he’d see in any one season during his brief four-year career.
Over those 60 games he hit .183, with 20 hits over 109 at-bats with a couple of home runs with 15 runs batted in, along with five runs scored while playing third and first defensively.
It would be the only season where he'd see any significant playing time,  as he'd only get into 11 games the following year before moving on to San Diego for the 1977 season, where he managed to get into 47 games with 91 plate appearances (for which he did get a card in the 1978 set, airbrush and all).
However Scanlon would never play another game on the Major League level again, finishing up his career with 120 games, 219 at-bats, 41 hits and a lifetime .187 batting average.

Thursday, January 9, 2020


Fun card to add to the blog today, a “not so missing” 1974 card for former reliever Ken Tatum, who appeared in one single game during the 1973 season:

Tatum threw four innings in his one appearance of the 1973 campaign, getting hit hard and allowing four runs for an unsightly 9.00 earned run average.
It was a far cry from his Big League debut in 1969 that I feel is grossly overlooked, when he came up with the California Angels and proceeded to go 7-2 over 45 appearances as a 25-year old dedicated reliever.
Over that time he posted a sparkling 1.36 ERA over 86.1 innings of work, saving 22 games for the Angels while finishing 33 games.
That showing was good enough to finish fourth in the A.L. Rookie of the Year race, while even getting some MVP points for his efforts.
He’d follow that up with another nice season in 1970, saving 17 games and posting a record of 7-4 with a 2.94 ERA over 62 games and 88.2 innings.
But after a trade to the Boston Red Sox in a multi-player deal that saw Boston favorite Tony Conigliaro head West before the 1971 season, Tatum would never find that groove again, appearing in 36 games for the Bosox and going 2-4 with a 4.19 ERA before coming back with 22 games in 1972 and that one game in 1973.
In what turned out to be his last season as a Big League pitcher in 1974, he found himself taking the mound for the Chicago White Sox, appearing in 10 games and pitching to a 4.79 ERA over 20.2 innings, not factoring in a decision.
All told, Tatum finished up with a career 16-12 record, with a nice 2.93 ERA and 52 saves over 176 appearances and 282.2 innings pitched between 1969 and 1974.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


Today on the blog we have a “missing” 1970 card for an original Kansas City Royal, former 1st Baseman Chuck Harrison, who played in 75 games for the new franchise in their inaugural 1969 season:

Harrison hit .221 for Kansas City in their first season as a Major League franchise, collecting 47 hits over 213 at-bats, both scoring and driving in 18 runs while solely playing at First Base.
He’d spend all of 1970 in the K.C. Minor League system before making it back to the Big Leagues a year later where he played in 49 games, the last of his five-year career, hitting .217 with 31 hits over 143 at-bats, driving in 21 while scoring 9.
He’d play in the Texas Rangers system in 1972, appearing in 46 games for the Denver Bears, but would retire without getting back to another MLB game, finishing up with a career .238 batting average over parts of seven seasons, with 241 hits over 1012 at-bats, scoring 94 runs while driving in 126 playing for the Houston Astros and Royals between 1965 and 1971.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


Time to go and add former San Diego Padres infielder Tucker Ashford to my long running “not so missing” thread, with a 1977 card to mark his MLB debut a season earlier:

Ashford had himself a nice Big League debut during the Bicentennial season, going 3-for-5 at the plate in four games as a September call-up, with a double and two stolen bases.
In 1977 he’d get what turned out to be the most action in any of his eventual seven years in the Majors, playing in 81 games for the Friars, hitting .217 with 54 hits in 249 at-bats, scoring 25 runs while driving in 24 himself.
He’d play in 75 games a year later, hitting almost 30 points higher with a .245 clip, but would spend all of 1979 in the Minors before coming back in 1980 for 15 games with the Texas Rangers.
The rest of his career plays out as such, appearing in three games for the New York Yankees in 1981, back to the Minors in 1982, then 35 games with the New York Mets in 1983, and finally nine games in 1984 with the Kansas City Royals, which turned out to be the last as an active player in the Big Leagues.
Over parts of seven Major League seasons between 1976 and 1984, Ashford played in 222 games, hitting .218 with 111 hits in 510 at-bats, suiting up for five different teams, while playing all infield positions and even catching for one game while with the Mets in 1983.

Monday, January 6, 2020


Up on the blog today we have a 1979 “not so missing” card for former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dan O’Brien, he of two brief MLB seasons, with 1978 being his Big League debut:

O’Brien appeared in seven games for the Cardinals during the 1978 season, going 0-2 with an earned run average of 4.50 over 18 innings, with two of those games as a starter.
In 1979 he’d be back on a Major league mound, albeit for only six appearances, going 1-1 with a bloated 8.18 ERA over eleven innings, all out of the bullpen.
He’d go on to play two more seasons in the Minor Leagues for both the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros organizations, but never get back to the Big Leagues, retiring as a player after the 1981 campaign.
All told, he’d finish his career with a career 1-3 record, with a 5.90 ERA over 13 appearances and 29 innings of work under the Major League sun.

Sunday, January 5, 2020


Time for another “Nicknames of the 1970s” card, and today we have a 1971 edition for former reliever Ken Sanders, who had himself quite a season that year:

Sanders, whose career was sputtering for about six seasons before he found himself playing for the Milwaukee Brewers, hit his stride in 1970 when he pitched to a 5-2 record with a brilliant 1.75 earned run average coming out of the bullpen, saving 13 games over 50 appearances.
He gained the nickname “Bulldog” from Brewers manager Dave Bristol in 1970 because he was “so mean, tough and stubborn out on the mound.”
In 1971 he had the best season of his career when he went 7-12 with a 1.91 ERA, leading the American League with 83 appearances, 77 finished games and 31 saves, pitching 136.1 innings and striking out 80.
Sadly it didn’t last, as he’d pitch another five years in the Big Leagues, playing for five teams between 1972 and 1976, never coming close to those two seasons of 1970 & 1971.
By the time he retired he finished with a record of 29-45, with 86 saves and a very nice 2.97 ERA over 409 appearances and 656.2 innings pitched between 1964 and 1976.

Saturday, January 4, 2020


Love it or hate it, the designated hitter has now been a part of Big League baseball for almost 50 years now, going back to Opening Day 1973 when Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees strolled up to the plate against the Boston Red Sox.
I figured it was about time some sort of “special” card was created to mark the occasion, so here goes:

In that “DH” debut on April 6th of 1973, Blomberg walked with the bases loaded against Luis Tiant, and from there went on to have a very nice season that saw him hit .329 over 100 games and 301 at-bats.
I’ve always flip-flopped about whether I like the designated hitter or hate it over the years, as I understand it gave players like Orlando Cepeda, Don Baylor et. Al extension on their MLB playing days, which I’ll never complain about.
However, it does create a difference of type-of-play between the American League and National league: power-ball versus small-ball to an extent.
As is usually the case with my feelings with the way Major League baseball handles things, they totally screwed the whole thing up by NOT making it a league-wide decision: either make it ALL of MLB using the DH, of disregard the idea from the start.
Anyway, and so it goes right?
On another note, in doing some quick research for this post, though I was familiar with Ron Blomberg, the #1 overall pick in the 1967 draft by the Yankees, I never realized what kind of athletic stud the man was coming out of High School!
Playing out of Druid Hills High School, Blomberg went on to become the only athlete ever chosen for the Parade All-American teams in football, baseball and basketball.
He also reportedly received about 125 scholarships for basketball, and over 100 football scholarships, instead signing with the Yankees for what amounts to $500,000 in today’s money ($75,000 in 1967).
Sadly repeated injuries curtailed his Big League career, going through four knee and two shoulder injuries over time, resulting him to never play a full-season and retiring by the age of 30 after only one season with the Chicago White Sox after signing as a Free Agent.
Nevertheless, the did retire with a very nice .293 career average, serving mainly as a DH with some time at first base as well as in the corner outfield positions.
All told, he spent parts of eight years in the Majors, playing 100 or more games only twice with 107 and 100 games in 1972 and 1973 respectively.

Friday, January 3, 2020


Way back in 1979, when I was ten-years-old, I was playing in the schoolyard in my Bensonhurst, Brooklyn neighborhood when some kids were ripping open trash bags that were dumped nearby.
Typical delinquent kids that we were, we were flinging stuff around, punting boxes, etc, when something caught my eye, it was what turned out to be a 1973 Topps card of former catcher Carl Taylor, shown here:

Why is this a big deal?
This was literally the very first “old” card I ever saw. That is, the first card I ever saw that was NOT from a year I bought cards, which I started in 1976 when I was seven.
It boggled my mind.
In the days before card magazines, or even the internet, unless you had an older brother, etc, you were not going to just come across older cards.
I grabbed the card and instantly adored it, walking home and putting it with my other cards of the past few years.
My friends, I was HOOKED!
I knew right there that I had to try and find “older” cards to collect, and that year I began something I’m still doing today, collecting vintage baseball cards.
I still have this card somewhere, stashed away with what I consider “commons”. But I realize I have to find it, dig it out, and frame the bastard so I can always remember when this obsession of mine began, 40 years ago.
To this day I can still tell you what my “first” cards of ever year were as I started hunting them down in 1979, 1980.
I remember getting a 1963 Bob Bruce, a 1960 Johnny Callison, a 1966 Bob Henley, 1970 Hank Allen and Jack Aker, a small stack of 1971’s that included Dick Drago, Dick Such and Tommy John, and the list goes on and on.
What a ride!
Any of you out there have a similar story? Would LOVE to hear it!

Thursday, January 2, 2020


Came across this image a while ago and felt it would make a nice “special” for the 1977 set, the Philadelphia Phillies starters who helped them end up in first place during the 1976 season, Steve Carlton, Jim Kaat and Jim Lonborg:

Chugging to a final record of 101-61 in 1976, the Phillies were led on the mound by these three, who won a combined 50 games between them with Carlton (of course) leading the way with a 20-7 record, followed by Lonborg’s 18-10 year and Kaat’s 12-14 record.
Of course the Phillies were also helped by their three thumpers: Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Dick Allen, but they had a solid staff that also included Larry Christenson who won 13 games, and rookie Tom Underwood, who went 10-5.
Sadly for the Phillies, they had to deal with the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati reds juggernaut followed by the Los Angeles Dodger teams of the late-70’s, keeping them from possible multi-World Series appearances, but they’d finally make it all the way to the top in 1980 when they’d be champions after beating the Kansas City Royals.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Time to go and give long-time Major League pitcher a “not so missing” 1974 card celebrating his Big League debut with one single appearance during the 1973 season with the Texas Rangers:

Waits threw a total of one inning for the Rangers in 1973, facing the Chicago White Sox on September 17th and giving up a run on one hit and a walk for an ERA of 9.00.
After spending all of 1974 in the Minors, and a trade to the Cleveland Indians as part of the blockbuster Gaylord Perry deal that saw Jim Bibby and Jackie Brown head to the Tribe as well, Waits became a solid MLB pitcher over the next 10 seasons or so, winning as many as 16 games in 1979, as well as posting a career-best 3.20 ERA in 1978.
By the time he retired after the 1985 season after two-and-a-half years with the Milwaukee Brewers, Waits finished with a record of 79-92, with an ERA of 4.25 over 317 appearances and 1427 innings pitched, with 10 shutouts and eight saves along the way.


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