Sunday, May 31, 2020


On the blog to close out the week is my 1978 traded card for former pitcher Rudy May, who found himself North of the border when the Baltimore Orioles traded him to the Montreal Expos on December 7th, 1977:

May was traded to the Expos along with Randy Miller and Bryn Smith for Joe Kerrigan, Gary Roenicke and Don Stanhouse, which seems like somewhat of an even trade looking ahead to the future.
May just came off a very nice 1977 season that saw him post a career-high 18 wins, while also tossing four shutouts over 37 starts, with 11 complete games.
He’d go a combined 18-13 over two seasons with Montreal before playing out the final four years of his 16-year career with the New York Yankees between 1980-1983, even winning the ERA title in 1980.
It would arguably be his finest year, when he led the American League in E.R.A. with a nice 2.46 mark, WHIP at 1.044 and strikeouts-to-walks with a 3.41 number.
All told, he posted a 152-159 career record, with a 3.46 earned run average, 24 shutouts, 12 saves and 1760 strikeouts.

Saturday, May 30, 2020


Up on the blog today we have a 1976 coach card for former pitcher Stan Williams, who was lending his experience to the Boston Red Sox in the mid-70’s after a nice 14-year MLB career:

Originally a starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1958 and 1962, Williams even made the All-Star team in 1960 and gave the team a solid arm paired up with the likes of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
By the time the 1970 season was opening up, his career was in flux, but he found his groove as a reliever that season, going 10-1 with a brilliant 1.99 earned run average over 68 appearances and 113.1 innings of work.
At the age of 33, you’d think he was starting a second phase of his career, but sadly he’d only be in the Majors another two seasons, pitching for the Twins, St. Louis Cardinals and finally the Boston Red Sox in 1972, making only three appearances and getting lit up to a 6.23 ERA.
After taking 1973 off, he did pitch in the Minors for Boston in 1974, and performed very well, going 2-0 with a minuscule 0.47 ERA over five appearances and 19 innings pitched before moving on to coaching.
As for his playing days, he finished up with a 109-94 record over 14 seasons, with a nice 3.48 ERA and 1305 strikeouts in 482 appearances and 1764.1 innings, throwing 11 shutouts while collecting 42 saves along the way.

Friday, May 29, 2020


Today’s blog post is a little bit of a different animal.
It’s a “missing” 1977 card for former pitcher Steve Dunning, who definitely pitched enough in 1976 to warrant a Topps card the following year.
However, he split the 1976 season between the California Angels and Montreal Expos, finishing the season across the border up North, so technically this should be an Expos card, not Angels.
Well, since I cannot find a suitable image of him with the Expos, but DID find this great Topps photo of him as an Angel, we get the following:

Dunning spent all of 1975 in the Chicago White Sox Minor League system before making it back to a Big League mound in 1976, now a member of the Angels.
He only appeared in four games for them, pitching a total of six innings to a 7.50 ERA before he was purchased by the Expos on May 5th, 1976.
Once in Montreal he went on to appear in 32 games, with seven of them starts, throwing 91.1 innings and going 2-6 with a 4.14 ERA.
The combined 97.1 innings of work and 36 appearances should have gotten him a card the following year, so I don’t know why he was left out.
It’s especially funny when you consider that in 1977 he was now a member of the Oakland A’s and appeared in only six games, pitching 18.1 innings, and THAT got him a card in the 1978 set.
All told, Dunning put together a seven-year MLB career between 1970 and 1977, finishing up with a record of 23-41 with an ERA of 4.56 in 136 appearances, 84 of them starts, pitching 613.2 innings with a save and a shutout thrown in.

Thursday, May 28, 2020


On the blog today, a “not so missing” 1974 card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bill Slayback, who barely appeared in the Big Leagues during the 1973 season after a decent rookie showing in 1972:

He barely saw any Major League action in 1973 when he pitched in three games and only 2 innings, not factoring in a decision while posting an earned run average of 4.50, allowing five hits and an earned run in that time.
In  his debut year of 1972, he played the bulk of his total Big League playing time when suited up for 23 games, going 5-6 over 81.2 innings, starting 13 games and even throwing a shutout, with a nice 3.20 ERA.
But after a 1974 season that saw him appear in 16 games, four of those starts, posting a 1-3 record with a 4.77 earned run average in 54.2 innings of work, his time on a Major league mound was done, as he would toil in the Minors in both 1975 and 1976, retiring soon after.
All told he posted a 6-9 record in his Major League career, finishing with a 3.84 ERA in 42 games, 17 of which were starts, along with a shutout and three complete games over 138.1 innings pitched. Between 1972 and 1974.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Here’s a card that was requested by one of the blog’s readers, and though it took me a while to find a suitable image, here it is in all its beautiful 1976 glory, a “not so missing” card for long-time reliever Larry Andersen:

Andersen appeared in the first three games of his career in 1975 for the Cleveland Indians, for whom he’d play part of three seasons in between Minor League tenures between 1975 and 1979.
Over that time he’d appear in 22 games, all out of the bullpen, going a combined 0-1 with an earned run average around 5.50 with 19 strikeouts in 36.2 innings of work.
In 1981 he’d become a Major Leaguer for good, now as a member of the Seattle Mariners, and he would go on to put in 17 years as a reliable middle reliever playing for the Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and back to the Phillies for two last seasons in 1993/1994.
He’d appear in two World Series, both for the Phillies, in 1983 and 1993, sadly for him losing to the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, appearing in a combined six games between the two, not factoring in a decision and tossing 7.2 innings.
All told he would appear in 699 games, all but one out of the bullpen, collecting 49 saves along the way while compiling a record of 40-39 with a very nice 3.15 earned run average over 995.1 innings pitched.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1977 card for former speedster Rodney Scott, who appeared in seven games for the Montreal Expos in his first go-around with the team in 1976:

Scott collected four hits over ten at-bats for the Expos in his limited play, stealing two bases while scoring three runs while playing both second base and shortstop.
1977 would see him as a member of the Oakland A’s, where he saw the first full-time action of his young career, playing in 133 games and hitting .261 with 33 steals.
Another year, another team, as 1978 saw him suit up for the Chicago Cubs, where he played in only 78 games during the 1978 campaign, hitting a respectable .282 with 64 hits over 227 at-bats, stealing 27 bases in only a half-seasons’ worth of play. Not bad.
In 1979 he’d be back with the Expos and see two straight seasons of full-time work, having his best season as a Big Leaguer in 1980 when he led the National League with 13 triples, while also stealing a career-high 63 bases and scoring 84 runs.
Sadly for him, with the strike season the very next year, he hit only ..205 with Montreal, though he still stole 30 bases over his 95 games, scoring 43 runs, but it was a far cry from the previous year.
As it was, though still only 28, 1982 would see Scott play in what turned out to be his last in the Majors, splitting the year between the Expos and New York Yankees, appearing in only 24 games and hitting a combined .236, with seven steals and 10 hits over 59 plate appearances.
He would spend all of 1983 in the Montreal Minor League system before taking his talents South of the border, playing in the Mexican League between 1984 and 1986 for three different organizations: Toluca, Puebla and Tabasco.
All told, he finished his MLB career with a .236 batting average, with 504 hits in 2132 at-bats, stealing 205 bases and scoring 316 runs in 690 games between 1975 and 1982.

Monday, May 25, 2020


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1974 card for five-year Major league outfielder Tommy Smith, who made his Big League debut in 1973 with the Cleveland Indians:

Smith appeared in only 14 games for the Tribe, hitting .244 with 10 hits in 41 at-bats, including two homers and three runs batted in while playing all three outfield positions.
He’d play in 23 games the next season, though hitting only .097 with three hits in 31 at-bats, with a double and four runs scored thrown in.
He only appeared in eight games for the 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.

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Up on the blog today I’m adding Steve Busby to my long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread, with this 1975 “Buzz” cut:

Busby was making a pretty great name for himself by the time this card would have seen the light of day, already the author of a 22-win season (1974), TWO no-hitters (1973 & 1974), and only 24-years-of-age for the Kansas City Royals.
He had a very bright career ahead of him, and 1975 was equally as successful, winning 18 games while lowering his earned run average to 3.08 over 260.1 innings.
But sadly arm troubles took hold and he had rotator cuff surgery, causing him to miss most of 1976 as well as all of 1977 before making it all the way back for seven appearances in 1978.
But he could never again regain the form that allowed him to win 56 games in three seasons between 1973 and 1975.
He eventually retired after the 1980 season, a year which saw him appear in 11 games, pitching to a record of 1-3 with an ugly 6.17 E.R.A.
All told, he finished with a record of 70-54, with an E.R.A. Of 3.72 over 167 appearances, with 659 strikeouts and seven shutouts over 1060.2 innings pitched.

Saturday, May 23, 2020


Today’s blog post is something I have been meaning to do for a long time, replacing that classic 1977 Tommy Helms neon-glow airbrush job with a more “accurate” card showing him with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Well, I found an excellent image for one, so here it is:

Re-done card for the blog

Now, in case some of you forgot what the original was like, take a gander at this beauty:

Original card issued by Topps

The REAL funny aspect of the original airbrushed card is the fact that after being purchased by the A's from the Pirates in November of 1976, Topps went ahead and made the "fix" so they could have him depicted on the right team come the 1977 season.
Problem was, Oakland went ahead in March of '77 and included Helms in a package deal that saw him go RIGHT BACK to the Pirates in a nine player trade! This is definitely a case of, "damned if you do, damned if you don't"!
By the way- Pretty good deal for Oakland, as it brought them Mitchell Page (Rookie of the Year runner up to Eddie Murray in 1977), future slugger Tony Armas, and future workhorse Rick Langford among others.
Helms himself had a decent 14-year career, including a rather suspicious Rookie of the Year award in 1966 as a member of the Reds that really should have been Sonny Jackson from the Astros in my opinion.
Then again, 1965 saw the Astros also ripped off when Jim Lefebvre from the Dodgers won R.O.Y. over a clearly more deserving Joe Morgan (ironically who was traded to the Reds FOR Helms later on in 1971).
Regardless, Helms ended his career in 1977 playing out the season as a member of the Red Sox. (Funny enough, Topps had a card for him in their 1978 set, proper uniform and all).
Nevertheless, Helms finished his career with two Gold Gloves, two All-Star nods, and the aforementioned Rookie of the Year in 1966.
Not too shabby...

Friday, May 22, 2020


On the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1975 card for former outfielder Tony Scott, adding the the 1974 and 1976 editions I created over the years:

Scott appeared in 19 games for the Montreal Expos during the 1974 season, hitting .286 with two hits in seven at-bats while manning all three outfield positions.
He’d get into 92 games in 1975, hitting below the “Mendoza Line” at .182, collecting 26 hits in 143 at-bats, which pretty much led him to spend all of 1976 in the Minors before making it back for good in 1977, now as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
He would go on to play on through to 1984 in the Big Leagues closing out with 45 games for the Montreal Expos after starting the year with the Houston Astros.
All told,  he put in an 11-year career that saw him bat .249 with 699 hits in 2803 at-bats, playing in 991 games between 1973 and 1984.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


On the blog today, a “not so missing” card for two-year Major League pitcher Steve Shea, who threw the last of his Major League innings during the 1969 season as part of the inaugural Montreal Expos team:

Shea appeared in 10 games for the Expos, not factoring in a decision but posting a nice 2.87 earned run average over 15.2 innings, all out of the bullpen.
A season earlier he made his Big League debut, as a member of the Houston Astros, appearing in 30 games and posting a record of 4-4 along with an ERA of 3.38 over 34.2 innings of work.
He would go on to pitch in the Minors in both 1970 and 1971, but never get a shot back to the Majors, retiring with a career 4-4 record over 40 appearances, with a 3.22 ERA and six saves in his two seasons under the Big League sun.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Today we have a 1977 “not so missing” card for former pitcher Craig Skok, who made it back to the Major Leagues after spending the previous two years toiling in the Minors:

Skok, who made his MLB debut in 1973 with the Boston Red Sox, was now back on a Big League mound as a Texas Ranger in 1976, appearing in nine games and posting a record of 0-1.
It wasn’t the most successful return, as he got hit hard, giving up 13 hits along with three walks in just five innings pitched.
He would not play any pro ball at all in 1977 before coming back to the Majors in 1978, now with the Atlanta Braves where he’d finally get his first win, going 3-2 with a 4.35 ERA over 43 appearances and 62 innings of work.
In 1979 he’d be back with the Braves, going 1-3 with a 3.98 ERA in 44 appearances and 54.1 innings, but it would be the last time on a Big League mound, spending all of 1980 in the Minors before retiring from Pro Ball.
For his career he appeared in 107 games, all in relief, with a record of 4-7 and a 4.86 earned run average with five saves in 150 innings pitched.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


As promised a few days ago when I profiled his 1978 “mystery” card, today on the blog I give you my re-done alternate Dick Drago, showing him suited up for the team he finished the 1977 season with, the Baltimore Orioles:

Though I have always loved the original Topps release for Drago that year, I did come across this image of him as an Oriole.
Drago split the 1977 season with the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.41 earned run average over 49 games, all out of the ‘pen.
He’s put together a nice 13-year career between 1969 and 1981, finishing up with a 108-117 record, along with a 3.62 ERA over 519 games, 189 of them starts.
His best year was easily his 1971 season with the Kansas City Royals when he went 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and four shutouts over 34 starts and 241.1 innings pitched.
That effort even got him a fifth place finish in the American League Cy Young race as he led the Royals staff to a second place finish in only their third season in the league with a 85-76 record.
I like the idea of going back and seeing where Topps produced a player’s card in the team he was ABOUT to start playing with, rather than who he finished the previous year’s season with, and recreating a card to show the latter instead of the former.
Already have a bunch lined up so keep an eye out for them over the next few months here on the blog!

Monday, May 18, 2020


On the blog today, we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former Oakland A’s first baseman Jerry Tabb, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1978 season:

Tabb appeared in 12 games for Oakland in 1978, hitting .111 with a single hit over nine official at-bats, driving in a run, along with two walks.
This was coming off a 1977 season that saw him play in 51 games, hitting .222 with 32 hits in 144 at-bats, setting career-highs across the board since it was by far the most action in any of his three seasons in the Majors.
In 1976 he made his debut, but with the Chicago Cubs as a 24-year-old, hitting .292 with seven hits in 24 at-bats, then getting purchased by Oakland just before the season started on March 15th of 1977.
It seems he never played pro ball again after the 1978 season, as I can’t even find any Minor League action for him later on.
All told the Oklahoma native played in 74 career games, hitting .226 with 40 hits, 10 runs scored and 20 runs batted in along with six homers and three doubles.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


On the blog today we have my 1970 “dedicated rookie” for all-star designated hitter Hal McRae, who began his career as an infield prospect with the Cincinnati Reds:

McRae didn’t actually play in any Major League games during the 1969 season, but he did make his Big League debut in 1968 with 17 games, hitting .196 with 10 hits over 51 at-bats as a 22-year-old second baseman.
He’d be back in the Majors in 1970, where he would stay for the next 18 seasons putting together an excellent career, becoming one of the first true full-time designated hitters once he was traded to the Kansas City Royals before the 1973 campaign.
All McRae would end up doing once in a Royals uniform is put in a 15-year run where he became one of the best hitters in the league, with three All-Star nods, six .300+ batting average seasons, and MVP consideration four times.
By the time he was done, he retired with a career .290 batting average, with 2091 hits, 484 doubles and 1097 runs batted in over 2084 games and 7218 at-bats, making three All-Star teams and finishing top-5 in MVP voting twice (1976 and 1982).

Saturday, May 16, 2020


I just realized the card I was going to profile was something I already covered a few years ago, Dick Drago’s 1978 Topps card.
Since it’s been hot on my mind lately, I figure “why not?” and repost the entry today.

I never realized that Topps either used an old image for the '78 Drago card or did some incredible airbrushing.

I understand it can most probably be a photo from his first tour with the Bosox between 1974 and 1975, and it does seem to fit with “Boston” across his chest instead of ”Red Sox”.
However I stare at that cap and I’d swear it looks airbrushed to me. What do you all think?

Any of my Red Sox experts out there spot anything that can tell us for sure either way in this image?
I have always loved this card. Just one of those cards that looks perfect between image, layout and template that seem to mesh perfectly. 
Drago split the 1977 season with the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.41 earned run average over 49 games, all out of the ‘pen.
He’s put together a nice 13-year career between 1969 and 1981, finishing up with a 108-117 record, along with a 3.62 ERA over 519 games, 189 of them starts.
His best year was easily his 1971 season with the Kansas City Royals when he went 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA and four shutouts over 34 starts and 241.1 innings pitched.
That effort even got him a fifth place finish in the American League Cy Young race as he led the Royals staff to a second place finish in only their third season in the league with a 85-76 record.
In a few days I’ll have my 1978 “re-do” with Drago suited up as a Baltimore Oriole, since he did finish the 1977 season with them.
Keep an eye out for it here or on my Twitter feed!

Friday, May 15, 2020


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1974 card for the first Dominican catcher to play in the Major leagues, Freddie Velazquez, who played the last of his MLB games in 1973 with the Atlanta Braves:

Velazquez, whose only other Big League season occurred in 1969 as a member of those one-year wonder Seattle Pilots, appeared in 15 games for Atlanta in 1973, hitting a robust .348 with eight hits over 23 at-bats.
In his MLB debut of 1969, he played in six games with the Pilots as a 31-year-old rookie, collecting two hits over 16 at-bats, good for a .125 average.
A career Minor Leaguer, Velazquez made his American Pro debut back in 1958 in D-Ball with Panama City as a 20-year-old, going on to play 14 years in the lower levels before making it to the Big Show.
Nevertheless, over his brief two-year MLB career, he finished with a .256 average with 10 hits in 39 at-bats over 21 games.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


On the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1976 card for former reliever Don Stanhouse, who appeared in only four games the previous season with the Montreal Expos:

After his first three seasons in the Big Leagues as a member of the Texas Rangers, Stanhouse found himself North of the border with the Expos.
In those four appearances, three of which were starts, Stanhouse didn’t factor in a decision while throwing to a 8.31 earned run average over 13 innings of work.
After the Expos made him a starter in 1976, he had a season that saw him post a career high 184 innings on the mound, going 9-12 with a 3.77 ERA in 34 games.
But it was his 1978 and 1979 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles that got Stanhouse some attention when he posted sub-3.00 ERA’s and 20+ saves each year.
In 1979, he helped the Orioles make it all the way to the World Series, even making the only All-Star team of his career.
Sadly for him after finding himself in Los Angeles in 1980 after signing as a Free Agent, he never found that groove again, suffering injuries and limiting him to only 38 more games between 1980 and 1982, with only 51.2 innings pitched.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


Today’s blog post has a 1978 special celebrating the Toronto Blue Jays and their first regular season game on April 7th, 1977:

The Blue Jays had a victorious Opening Day for the season and their history, beating the Chicago White Sox 9-5 at Exhibition Stadium.
John Scott was their first batter, starting in Left, while Bill Singer was their Opening Day pitcher, though he didn’t get the win, that honor went to Jerry Johnson who came in during the fifth inning and pitched 2.2 innings, while Pete Vuckovich picked up the save with two innings of scoreless work.
Their hitting star that day was first baseman Doug Ault, who had quite the day going 3-for-4 with two home runs and four runs batted in, while second baseman Pedro Garcia also went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
For a better look at the historic game, here’s the Baseball-Reference link for the game box score:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


On the blog today is a card many before have also created, a 1970 edition featuring Fred “Chicken” Stanley, who made his Big League debut during the 1969 season with the one-year Seattle Pilots:

The 21-year-old played in 17 games and hit a very respectable .279 over that time, with 12 hits in 43 at-bats, scoring two runs and driving in four.
Though he would only play in six games the following year after the team moved to become the Milwaukee Brewers, he would go on to play 14 seasons as a Major league infielder.
Over that time he was a part of the “Bronx Zoo” New York Yankees teams that won back-to-back World Championships in 1977/1978, playing in the Bronx from 1973 to 1980.
After his New York tenure he found himself close out his career with two seasons with the Oakland A’s in 1980 and 1981, suiting up for former manager Billy Martin.
By the time he retired, he finished with a career .216 batting average, with 356 hits over 1650 at-bats in 816 games between 1969 and 198, scoring 197 runs and driving in 120.

Monday, May 11, 2020


Up on the blog today is a “not so missing” 1977 card for groundbreaking Los Angeles Dodger/Oakland A’s outfielder Glenn Burke:

Burke began his Major League career with 25 games during the 1976 season for the Dodgers, hitting .239 with eleven hits in 46 at-bats.
He’d play in 83 games in 1977, upping his average to .254 with 43 hits in 169 at-bats while filling in at all three outfield positions.
The following year, after starting off with 16 games in Los Angeles, he was traded on May 17th North to the Oakland A’s for speedster Bill North, where he play out the remaining year and a half of his MLB career.
By the time he hung up the cleats after the 1979 season in which he appeared in 23 games, he finished with a career .237 batting average with 124 hits in 523 at-bats over 225 games.
However, his baseball legacy comes outside of the world of statistics as Burke will always be remembered as the first Major League player to come out as Gay during his career, while on a more pop-culture level, he is credited as the first player to give a “High-Five” when he did just that to teammate Dusty Baker in 1977’s season finale when Baker hit his 30th home run of the year.
Certainly two different items from completely different aspects of life that nevertheless left a mark in sports history.
Sadly, Glenn Burke passed away in 1995 at the age of only 42, from  from AIDS-related causes.

Sunday, May 10, 2020


I love creating coach cards for the many famous former ballplayers who went on to lend their expertise to the “next generation”, and today I add former batting champ “Pistol Pete” Reiser into the mix with a 1973 edition:

Reiser was some thirty years removed from the time when he was full of nothing but extraordinary promise with the Brooklyn Dodgers, taking home a batting championship in 1941 at the age of 22 while also leading the league in runs, doubles, triples slugging and total bases.
That season got him a second place finish in the National League MVP race, with teammate Dolph Camilli taking home top honors and another teammate, pitcher Whit Wyatt finishing third.
Reiser arguably had the better season, but we all know how award voting leaves us wondering how decisions are made.
Nevertheless, Reiser was on his way to super-stardom until injuries, World War II, and his own recklessness on the field dramatically cut short his career.
After his amazing 1941 season he came back to have another great year in 1942, hitting .310  while leading the league with 20 stolen bases, making his second straight All-Star team.
The war had him serving military time from 1943-1945, and his first season back in 1946 was another solid year when he again topped the league with 34 stolen bases while hitting .277.
However he was already prone to making all-out attempts in the outfield that led him to serious injuries, having him taken off the field on a stretcher eleven times because of crashing into the outfield wall.
On one occasion he was temporarily paralyzed, on another he lost consciousness, and on yet another he fractured his skull.
Leo Durocher, who was Reiser's first major league manager and brought him onto his coaching staff with the Chicago Cubs, reflected many years later that in terms of talent, skill and potential, there was only one other player comparable to Reiser: Willie Mays.
He also said, "Pete had more power than Willie—left-handed and right-handed both. He had everything but luck."
With all of that he did manage to stick around the Majors until 1952, settling for a ten-year career that was full of such promise in the beginning but ended up with partial seasons playing for the Dodgers, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians the last five years of his career.
By the time he retired in 1952 at the age of only 33, he finished with a career .295 average, with three All-Star nods and three top-10 MVP finishes.

Saturday, May 9, 2020


Up on the blog today is a “nickname” card for the great Robin Yount, “The Kid”, who was a Major League starter at the age of 18 and just kept on going until he was justly given his place in the Hall of Fame some 25 years later:

Yount is one of those players I’m grateful to have been able to see play during my lifetime.
He broke into the Majors in 1974 at the age of 18, appearing in 107 games and hitting .250 with 86 hits over 344 at-bats, scoring 48 runs with 26 RBIs.
A Milwaukee Brewer for life, Yount finished his great career with 3142 hits, 1632 runs scored, 251 homers and 271 stolen bases, and still retired at the age of “only” 37.
I loved him as a kid and was in awe of the Brewers’ combo of Yount and Paul Molitor, watching them put in year after year of solid stats.
It’s amazing to realize that when he had his first true All-Star season in 1980, after what was already seven years in the Big Leagues, Yount was STILL only 24 years of age!
He was on cruise-control from then on, elevating his game to become one of the elite players in the American League, with 1982 the high point when he led the Brewers to the World Series and taking home his first MVP Award.
Now, I’ll be honest here, I never really remembered him with this nickname, but I’ve seen it listed for him in a few places since he’s retired so why not?
Hope you all enjoy it!

Friday, May 8, 2020


Time to add the “Big Bopper” Lee May to my long running 1975 “In-Action” sub-set, celebrating the steady first baseman who put in a very nice 18-year major League career:

You have to wonder what could have been with May, since he was already a feared slugger putting together a very nice career before he was traded to the Astros as part of the Joe Morgan trade before the 1972 season opened up.
Would the "Big Red Machine" have happened? If so, would May's legacy on the diamond have been elevated to the point of true stardom?
He put up big seasons with the Reds, the Astros, and then the Orioles before ending his career after two partial seasons with the Royals in 1982.
His total numbers are very good, especially for a guy who played the bulk of his career in the "dead" late-60's/early-70's: 959 runs, 2031 hits, 354 home runs and 1244 runs batted in.
He was also named to three All-Star teams while getting MVP consideration in six seasons between 1969 and 1976, finishing as high as ninth twice.
His last year in Cincinnati, 1971 was killer: 39 homers with 98 R.B.I.'s, 85 runs scored and a .278 average to compliment the likes of Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench.
Nevertheless, the swap to get Joe Morgan was key to the Cincinnati Reds and their “Big Red Machine” run, while May had nothing to be ashamed of to say the least.

Thursday, May 7, 2020


Up on the blog today is a “not so missing” 1974 card for infielder Rich McKinney, who I’ve already created a 1978 career-capper for a few years back:

McKinney appeared in 48 games for the champion Oakland A’s during the 1973 season, hitting .246 with 16 hits in 65 at-bats in limited play.
He would go on to appear in only 13 combined games over the next two seasons before spending all of 1976 in the Minors, but would come back in 1977 to play in 86 games for Oakland, which turned out to be the last Big League action of his seven-year career.
When it was all said and done, McKinney finished with a .225 batting average, with 199 hits in 886 at-bats over 341 games, with 20 homers and exactly 100 runs batted in and 79 runs scored.
Of course we’ll also remember that McKinney got two straight classic airbrush jobs on his Topps cards in 1972 and 1973, which I profiled years ago on the blog:


Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Today’s “not so missing” card is a fun one, a pre-Topps rookie slab for long-time reliever Tippy Martinez, who made his MLB debut during the 1974 season with the New York Yankees:

Martinez appeared in 10 games for the Yankees that season at the age of 24, not factoring in a decision while posting an earned run average of 4.26 over 12.2 innings of work.
He would go on to pitch another season and a half for the Yanks, pitching very well actually, before being traded as part of a blockbuster trade that saw New York send Rick Dempsey, Rudy may, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan to the Baltimore Orioles for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Elrod Hendricks, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson on June 15th of 1976.
While the trade  helped the Yankees short term, in the long-term it was Baltimore who came out on top of this swap, with Martinez, McGregor and Dempsey performing well for the team for a significant amount of years.
For Martinez, he’d pitch for 14-seasons in the Big Leagues, the first three with the Yanks, the next 11 for the Orioles, and one final campaign in 1988 with the Minnesota Twins for only three games.
Over that time he compiled a record of 55-42, with a 3.45 ERA over 546 appearances and 834 innings, with 115 saves, making his only All-Star team during the 1983 Orioles Championship season.
A steady reliever throughout the course of his career, I always seem to remember him at his best against the Yankees as a kid watching games throughout the 1980’s.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Today’s blog post has a “not so missing” 1972 card for one-year Major League pitcher Chuck Machemehl, who appeared in 14 games for the Cleveland Indians during the 1971 season:

Machemehl put in four years of Minor League ball before making it to the Majors at the start of the season, making his debut on April 6th of 1971.
Over his 14 games, which took place between April and May, he was hit hard, going 0-2 with an earned run average of 6.38 in 18.1 innings of work.
In those 18-plus innings he gave up 16 hits, 15 walks, while striking out nine, leading to 16 runs of which 13 were earned.
He’d be back in the Minors for the rest of the year before playing out his Pro career in 1972 with a split season between the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals systems.
Nevertheless, he made the “Big Show” for that one month in 1971, and kudos for that!

Monday, May 4, 2020


Up on the blog today we have a career-capping “not so missing” 1976 card for former shortstop Dal Maxvill, who finished up a nice 14-year career in 1975 with the Oakland A’s:

Maxvill appeared in 20 games for the A’s in 1975, hitting an even .200 with two hits over 10 at-bats, filling in at both short and second base in what was his last Big League action.
A member of four championship teams over his career (1964/1967 with the Cardinals and 1972/1974 with the A’s), Maxvill was pretty much a “Mendoza-Line” hitter, finishing with a .217 lifetime average with 748 hits over 3443 at-bats, topping .250 only once, in 1968.
Incredibly, he received MVP votes that year while taking home a Gold Glove for his defensive work. Easily the best season of his career.
Go figure while everyone else in 1968 was struggling at the plate in the “Year of the Pitcher”, this guy goes out and has his best season.
Gotta love baseball.

Sunday, May 3, 2020


I’ve always wanted to re-do the 1977 Bobby Grich card, since he was an All-Star the previous year in what was his final season with the Baltimore Orioles, so here goes:

The 1977 All-Star cards are some of my all-time favorites, so I’m always interested in “adding” to the checklist, and this one is a perfect fit, as it shows Grich in-action while still in a Baltimore uniform.
Granted, Topps was trying to do the right thing by showing him as a member of the California Angels before the 1977 season began, but for some reason I’ve always felt if a guy was coming off an All-Star or award-winning year with another team, there should be some love thrown that way (as in the 1975 Bobby Murcer card, etc).
He would win four Gold Gloves overall in his excellent 17-year career, while getting named to six All-Star teams and participating in five American League Championship Series, two with the Orioles and three with the California Angels.
Defensively he topped the league in assists three times, putouts four times and fielding percentage twice, generally considered one of the best fielding second baseman of his era.
I always felt his 1979 season was lost in the shuffle of some great years put in by the likes of Don Baylor, Fred Lynn and George Brett when he hit a career high 30 home runs with 101 RBIs to go with a .294 average, fantastic numbers for a second baseman in that era outside of a guy named Joe Morgan.
Two years later he’d be one of four players tied to lead the American League in homers with 22, while also topping the league in slugging (.543).
By the time he retired after the 1986 season he finished with a .266 career average with 1833 hits and 224 homers, with 864 runs batted in and 1033 runs scored.

Saturday, May 2, 2020


Today’s blog post has a 1970 “dedicated rookie” for long-time pitcher Jerry Reuss, who was just starting out his excellent Major League career in 1969:

Reuss had himself a wonderful Big League debut for the St. Louis Cardinals, tossing seven shutout innings with only two hits allowed on September 27th of 1969.
The man would go on to pitch 22 years in the Big Leagues, starting the 1975 All-Star game for the National League while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then going on to greater success with his time as a Los Angeles Dodger between 1979 and 1987.
During his time with the Dodgers he’d twice win 18 games, lead the league with six shutouts in 1980, and finish second to Steve Carlton that year in the Cy Young Award race.
Towards the end of his run he was hanging on for dear life in hopes of reaching 200 wins, and in 1988 he did just that, putting in a surprising year for the Chicago White Sox when he posted a record of 13-9 with a 3.44 earned run average at the age of 39, allowing him to join to 200-club.
After four games in 1990 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he retired for good, finishing up his career with a record of 220-191, with an ERA of 3.64 over 628 games, 547 of them starts, with 39 shutouts, 11 saves and 1907 strikeouts over 3669.2 innings of work.

Friday, May 1, 2020


On the blog today, a fun card to create, a 1979 “not so missing” example for two-year Major League catcher Greg Mahlberg of the Texas Rangers:

Now, stating “two-year” is being generous when you consider that Mahlberg played in one game during the 1978 season, his first taste of the Big Leagues. In that one game he went 0-1 at the plate, putting in four innings behind the plate defensively.
He’d be back in 1979, appearing in seven games this time, going 2-for-17 at the plate for a batting average of .118 with two runs scored and an RBI on his first and only home run.
He’d go on to play three more years in the Minors from 1980 through 1982, but never get a shot back a Major League game, finishing his Big League tenure with a .111 average, with two hits over 18 official at-bats in eight games.


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