Saturday, February 27, 2021

SPOILER ALERT! A SMALL HINT AS TO THE NEXT WTHBALLS PACK! (DON'T LOOK AT IMAGE IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED)

For those that would like a small hint as to the next pack, see attached image.



Now what do all these players have in common as far as baseball cards go?
 
These right here will be randomly inserted, ONE to each pack of my next release, a 1960's "special".
A really fun pack to put together, and they look great! I still have to finish cutting wrappers and sorting all cards, but I should have them ready for release next week.
Of course, for those that want to have the whole 15-card insert set as well, they will be available to purchase, learning from my mistake from the "Dedicated Rookies" 1960's special a few months back! So no worries!
These inserts are like my old 1930's set released a few years ago: nice 2.5" x 2.5" velvet touch thick card stock. It makes for a very nice feel!
So keep an eye out for another email in about a week!
Hope everyone is well and safe!
Gio/wthballs

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- WILLIE HORTON

The next player added to my long-running 1971 "Minor League Days" lineup is former Detroit Tigers slugger Willie Horton, who tends to get overlooked for his era:


Horton was playing what turned out to be his final Minor League season in 1964, playing for the Syracuse Chiefs and having a very nice season that saw him hit 28 homers with 99 runs batted in as a 21-year-old.
He'd get the call up to the Majors at the end of the year, playing in 25 games, and would be up for good the following year, a season that saw him named to his first All-Star team while finishing eighth in the A.L. MVP race.
It's easy to forget how good a career Horton put together between 1963 and 1979 with all of his contemporaries stealing the spotlight, but a quick look at what he accomplished on the baseball diamond is nothing short of impressive.
In 18 years as a big league outfielder and designated hitter, Horton slammed 325 homers with 873 runs scored and 1163 runs batted in, with a .273 batting average and just under 2000 hits (1993).
14 of his 18 seasons in the sun were spent in the Motor City, where he was an important member of their world championship team of 1968, hitting a career high 36 home runs while driving in 85 and batting .285 (in a season where Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title with a .301 average).
He topped 20 homers seven times in his career with three 100+ RBI campaigns, on his way to four all-star selections and two top-10 MVP finishes (1965 & 1968).
He finished up his career as a designated hitter, and in 1979 had a comeback year at the age of 36 that saw him hit 29 home runs with 106 RBI's while collecting a career high 180 hits with the Seattle Mariners.
After a partial 1980 season that saw him play in only 97 games, he was released by Seattle just before opening day in 1981, and though he did sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates soon afterwards, he never played a Major League game again, closing out a nice career after 2028 games and 7298 at-bats.

 

Friday, February 26, 2021

FANTASY CARD- 1974 BILL MADLOCK

Here's a card I knew I'd be tackling one day, a 1974 fantasy card featuring a "dedicated rookie" for four-time batting champ Bill Madlock, the catch of course showing him as a member of the team he came up with in 1973, the Texas Rangers:


I already created a "dedicated rookie" years ago on the blog showing him as a Chicago Cub, but I figured another version as a Ranger would complete the "set".
He would put in 15-seasons under the Big League sun, hitting .305 with 2008 hits in 6594 at-bats over 1806 games between 1973 and 1987, while getting tabbed for three All-Star games.
Is he a Hall of Famer?
I’d say he falls a bit short, but then again, if there are NO other four+ batting title holders not in the Hall, does that raise the argument for Madlock?

Perhaps it does...


 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

FIXING AN ADMITTEDLY ALL-TIME CLASSIC: 1978 MIKE PAXTON

Today on the blog, I am finally "fixing" a card that I'm sure many of you would NOT want fixed, the classic 1978 card for former pitcher Mike Paxton, who had himself quite an airbrush job.

Here's what Topps had out there in the Spring of 1978:

And now here is my re-done card with real image:


Always loved the 1978 Mike Paxton card, which along with the Greg Minton card from the same set and the Mike Jones card from 1977, made for some strange imagery on Topps baseball cards.
While Topps did it’s thing to airbrush caps and uni’s in the 1970’s to portray guys on the correct team, this one went above and beyond!
Looking at it, I’m assuming it was either a Minor League color image, or a black and white image that was colorized.
Classic Topps from the era!
Paxton had himself a very nice rookie year for the Red Sox in 1977, going 10-5 with a 3.83 ERA over 29 appearances, 12 of them starts.
Of course, the ultimate irony is that Paxton didn’t even PLAY for the Red Sox in 1978, as he was part of the Dennis Eckersley deal in March of 1978, sending him to the Cleveland Indians, where he had another nice year that saw him post a record of 12-11 with a 3.86 ERA in 33 appearances, 27 of which were starts, with two shutouts and a save.
Sadly for him, he developed arm trouble the following season, seeing his ERA balloon to 5.92 while going 8-8 before managing to appear in only four games in 1980 before calling it a career.

 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 ODELL JONES

Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1979 card for former pitcher Odell Jones, who appeared in only three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978 after seeing significant playing time the year prior:

  

Coming off a 1977 season which saw him appear in 34 games, with 15 of them starts, for the Pirates, Jones was limited to only three games in 1978, going 2-0 with a 2.00 earned run average over nine innings.

In 1979 he would find himself a member of the Seattle Mariners, where he appeared in 25 games, starting 19, and posting a record of 3-11 with an ERA of 6.07 over 118.2 innings pitched.
After a year in the Minors in 1980 he was back in Pittsburgh in 1981, before spending another year in the Minors in 1982, coming back to the Big Leagues with two years with the Texas Rangers in 1983 and 1984.
1985 would have him back in the Minors, only to see him scrape his way back in 1986, now with the Baltimore Orioles before, you guessed it, another year in the Minors in 1987 before coming back in 1988 for what was his last year in the Majors, pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers and going an impressive 5-0 over 28 appearances.
Sadly, he would spend 1989 and 1992 in the Minors yet again, with the in-between years seemingly out of pro-ball, and retire soon after the 1992 season

All told, Odell finished his nine-year Major League career with a record of 24-35 over 201 appearances, posting an ERA of 4.42 over 549.1 innings of work, with four complete games and 13 saves along the way.

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

DEDICATED ROOKIE- 1976 CHET LEMON

On the blog today we have a nice 1976 "dedicated rookie" for "The Jet", Chet Lemon, who was just starting a very nice 16-year Big League career in 1975 at the age of 20:

 

Lemon was featured on a multi-player rookie card in my favorite all-time set, 1976, as he appeared in nine games for the Chicago White Sox in 1975, hitting .257 with nine hits over 35 at-bats.

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!


 

Monday, February 22, 2021

EXPANSION DO-OVER: 1977 JOE LIS

On the blog today we have a re-do for Joe Lis and his 1977 Topps card, which was originally part of the expansion madness that led to some memorable airbrushing.

However with the benefit of time I used a proper image of Lis as a Mariner, so here goes:

For those that do not remember the original, here you go:
 

Lis was about to play what turned out to be his final Major League season in 1977, as an inaugural member of the Seattle Mariners after two-plus seasons as a Cleveland Indian.
He ended up appearing in nine games for Seattle, hitting .231 with three hits over 13 at-bats.
He would eventually put in eight seasons in the Major Leagues, batting .233 with 182 hits in 780 at-bats over 356 career games, with 32 homers, 92 runs batted in and 96 runs scored.
The most he ever played in any one season was in 1973 while with the Minnesota Twins when he appeared in 103 games, hitting .245 over 286 plate appearances, with nine homers and 25 RBIs.
He’d eventually end his career with nine games playing fore the inaugural 1977 Seattle Mariners before playing a season in Japan in 1978, returning for one last Minor League season in 1979, his last as a pro.


 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- ORLANDO CEPEDA

This week we add the "Baby Bull" Orlando Cepeda to my ongoing 1971 "Minor League Days" thread, shown here as an 18-year-old with the St. Cloud Rox in his first season of professional ball in 1956:


Cepeda did nothing but destroy opposing pitching in the Minors, as was the case in 1956 when he hit .355 with 26 homers and 177 hits in 125 games for St. Cloud.
The following year he'd move on to the Minneapolis Millers, where he would hit .309 with 25 homers, 108 runs batted in and 91 runs before getting the call to start the 1958 season in the Big Leagues at the age of 20.
Of course, he would not disappoint, as he would take home the Rookie of the Year that season, hitting .312 with 188 hits, 25 homers, 96 RBIs and a league-leading 38 doubles, in what was to become a "typical" season for the future Hall of Famer.
While Cepeda's career was productive enough to get into Cooperstown, it's well known that if not for his bad knees, his final statistics could have been mind blowing.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired, he posted final numbers of: 379 homers, 1365 runs batted in, 2351 hits and a .297 average, with a Rookie of the Year (1958) and M.V.P. award (1967) thrown in.
It took a little while, but he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after being selected by the Veteran's Committee.
What a power trio San Francisco had in Cepeda, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey! Power to the ultimate degree!”

 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

ON-CARD ALL-STAR: 1970 RICO PETROCELLI

Next card up in my "On-Card All-Star" fix is a 1970 Rico Petrocelli, celebrating the slugging shortstop's starting spot in the 1969 All-Star game:


The fellow South Brooklyn native had quite a year for Boston in 1969, hitting a career-best 40 home runs along with 97 runs batted in and 92 runs scored, with a .297 batting average over 154 games.
All but the RBIs were career-bests for Rico, who would drive in 107 runs the following season for his best RBI year as a Big Leaguer.
He would spend his entire 13-year career with the Red Sox, coming up to the Big Show for a single game in 1963 as a 20-year-old before coming back for good in 1965.
In all, Petrocelli played 13-years of Major League ball, a fan-favorite in Boston, hitting 210 home runs with 773 RBI’s, 653 runs scored and 1352 hits, good for a .251 average over 5390 at-bats in 1553 games.

 

Friday, February 19, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 SILVIO MARTINEZ

On the blog today we have a "not so missing" card for former pitcher Silvio Martinez, who started his career with 10 games with the Chicago White Sox in 1977:


Martinez appeared in 10 games for the South-Siders in 1977, going 0-1 with an earned run average of 5.57 over 21 innings of work.
He would move on to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978 after a trade as a "player to be named later", and would go on to play for the Red Birds for the remainder of his Big League career.
Over those next four seasons he would primarily be used as a starter, having his best season in 1979 when he posted a record of 15-8 over 32 appearances, 29 of them starts, with an ERA of 3.27 along with seven complete games and two shutouts, all career-bests.

He would pitch until 1981 when he posted a record of 2-5 with a 3.99 ERA over 18 games, but after a season in the Cleveland Indians Minor League system in 1982 he would call it a career, finishing with a record of 31-32, with a 3.88 ERA over 107 appearances, with four shutouts and a save.


 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

AIRBRUSHING THROUGH THE 1970'S- 1973 KEN REYNOLDS

Here's a fun one for the blog, the airbrushed image used for former pitcher Ken Reynolds' 1973 card, a paint-job that ended up being all for nothing:


After playing his first three Big League seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Reynolds was traded over to the Minnesota Twins on November 30th of 1972.
The folks at Topps had just enough time to try and get him shown with his new team so they went ahead and created the airbrushed image you see here.
Only problem was that on March 27th of 1973, the Twins went ahead and traded Reynolds to the Milwaukee Brewers, so the card was already outdated before the 1973 season even began!
As for his Major League career, the bulk of his playing time were the 1971 and 1972 seasons with the Phillies, where he was a regular starter, throwing 162.1 and 154.1 innings respectively, winning seven games while losing 24 combined for those “second-division” teams.
By the time he retired from Big League play after 19 games with the San Diego Padres in 1976, Reynolds ended up with a record of 7-29, with an ERA of 4.46 over 103 appearances and 375.2 innings, with 51 of those appearances starts.


 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 HARRY PARKER

Up on the blog today we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1977 card for former pitcher Harry Parker, who played what turned out to be the last of his Big League games in 1976 as a member of the Cleveland Indians:


Parker appeared in only three games for Cleveland that season, his only campaign with the team after coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade just before the year began.
Over three relief appearances he pitched seven innings and didn't allow a run on only three hits, certainly a respectable showing if you ask me.
But it turned out that would be it for Parker as a Big League pitcher, retiring altogether from pro ball after a six-year career that saw him go 15-21 with a 3.85 ERA in 124 appearances, 30 of those starts, with 12 saves.

Over that time he had two stints with the Cardinals, along with two-plus seasons with the New York Mets and those last three games with the Indians.


 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 ERSKINE THOMASON

Fun card to add to the "WTHBALLS" checklist, a 1975 "not so missing" card for one-game Major League pitcher Erskine Thomason of the Philadelphia Phillies:


Thomason had his sole day in the sun on September 18th of 1974, facing the Chicago Cubs and throwing single inning, striking out one and not allowing a hit or a run.
Sadly for him it would end up being his only action on a Big League mound, returning the the Minors in 1975 before retiring for good after the 1979 season, still toiling in Philadelphia's system.
He spent all but one year with the Philadelphia organization, spending 1972 in the Texas Rangers' system before returning East.
But alas, aside from that one day at the end of the Summer in 1974, his career was as a Minor Leaguer between 1970 and 1979.

 


Monday, February 15, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER OF ONE OF MY OWN- 1977 JIM DWYER

Way back on October 9th of 2015 I created a "missing" 1977 card for Jim Dwyer, using an image of him with the New York Mets that wasn't 100% the quality I normally like to use.

Well I finally came across a much better photo of his brief stint with the team, so here's a do-over of one of my own:

Dwyer missed out on the 1977 Topps set after playing in 61 games in 1976, good for 119 plate appearances and 105 official at-bats, hitting .181 for both the Montreal Expos and New York Mets.
Not many usable photos of him out there donning the Mets uni, so I'm sure you're familiar with what you see here.
By the time Dwyer retired after the 1990 season, he appeared in 1328 games with 271 at-bats and 719 hits, good for a lifetime .260 average.
The highpoint of his career had to be as an often worked platoon guy off the bench for the 1983 World Champion Baltimore Orioles, when he hit .286 for the O's with 17 doubles and eight home runs in only 196 at-bats.
Not bad "Pig Pen"!

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- TOMMY DAVIS

I just had to give two time batting champ Tommy Davis, a fellow Brooklynite, a card in my long-running 1971 "Minor League Days" sub-set since I feel the man is a bit overlooked.

So here you go:

Davis was a 19-year-old Minor League stud when this photo was taken while playing for the Victoria Rosebuds back in 1958, a season split with the Montreal Royals that saw him hit .304 with 14 homers and 74 runs batted in over 136 games.
He would put in one more year in the Minors the following season, a monster, hitting .345 with 211 hits for Spokane before a late-season call-up where he appeared in one game for Los Angeles.
In 1960 he was off to the races, going on to play 18 years in the Big Leagues, the highlight being his 1962 season when he won the first of his two straight batting titles, hitting .346 with 230 hits, 27 homers, 153 RBIs and 120 runs scored.
Incredibly, those numbers only got him a third place finish in the National league MVP race at season's end, with teammate Maury Wills taking the award and Willie Mays seemingly robbed with a second place finish.
By the time he finished up, he played in 1999 games, with a nice .294 lifetime average, 2121 hits, 153 homers and 1052 runs batted in.
The advent of the Designated Hitter prolonged his career between 1973 and 1976, as the previous few years were sporadic efforts at best with no less than five teams: the White Sox, Pilots, Astros, A's and Cubs.
As a D.H. he found new life with the Baltimore Orioles as their main "man with the bat" between 1973 and 1975.

One last thought: interesting to remember that between 1949 and 1998, Tommy Davis was the ONLY Major League player to reach 150+ runs batted in for a season, when he did so in 1962, funny enough the ONLY time he even topped 100 in his 18-year career.
Go figure...


 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

ON-CARD ALL-STAR: 1970 ROD CAREW

Next up in my on-going "On-Card All-Star" parade is a small "fix" for Hall of Famer Rod Carew's 1970 card, celebrating what was his third straight All-Star nod as a Big Leaguer since coming into the league in 1969:


Carew of course would go on to play in 18 All-Star games, missing only his final season in the Majors in 1985. Just incredible.
The first nine seasons of his career were as an All-Star second baseman, while the last nine were as a first baseman.
Of course 1969 would be significant in that Carew would take home the first of what would be seven batting titles, hitting .332 for the Minnesota Twins, a 29-point increase from the year before.
It also helped the Twins take first place in the newly formed West division races, with the Baltimore Orioles taking first in the East.
What really needs to be said about the greatest hitter of his generation?
The man topped .300 15 years in a row, with a high of .388 in 1977 on his way to a Most Valuable Player Award and capturing the public’s attention with his .400 chase late in the season.
A clear-cut Hall of Fame player, he was inducted on his first year of eligibility in 1991 when he garnered 90.5% of the vote, which leaves me with the question: who the hell are the 9.5% who DIDN’T vote for him!!!???
3053 hits, a .328 career average, 353 stolen bases and 15 straight seasons of .300+ batting.

He was a God to me growing up!


 

Friday, February 12, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 DOUG HOWARD

Up on the blog today is my fourth "not so missing" card for former outfielder/first baseman Doug Howard, who put in parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues and never got a card (except a 1977 OPC card as an expansion Toronto Blue Jay).

Today's creation is a 1975 edition:

Howard played in 22 games for the California Angels during the 1974 season, hitting .231 with nine hits over 39 at-bats, with both five runs scored and RBIs.
He would appear in 17 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975, hitting .207 with six hits over 29 at-bats while putting in some First Base duties defensively.
The following season he would appear in 39 games for the Cleveland Indians, and batted .211 with 19 hits in 99 official at-bats.
It was the most time he saw in any of his five seasons in the big league, and his only season as an Indian.
After the 1976 season he'd be traded to the new Toronto Blue Jay franchise along with Alan Ashby for pitcher Al Fitzmorris, but would be released just before their inaugural season started on March 29th..
He originally came up with the California Angels in 1972 and played for them three years before moving on to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975, but he never did appear in a Topps set, even with his 97 career games and 233 at-bats.
All told he finished with a career .212 batting average, with 46 hits over 217 at-bats in 97 games, with 19 runs scored and 22 runs batted in.

 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

CAREER-CAPPER: 1977 NATE COLBERT

Up on the blog today we have a career-capping 1977 card for former San Diego Padres slugger Nate Colbert, who finished his Big League career with a short stint as an Oakland A's player at the tail-end of the 1976 season:


After starting the season with the Montreal Expos, Colbert found himself back out West, ending up appearing in two games for the A's, going 0-for5 at the plate with a walk and three strikeouts.
During his heyday in San Diego between 1969 and 1974, Colbert was one of the franchise's first stars, twice hitting 38 homers ( 1970 and 1972) while driving in as many as 111 runs in 1972.
Those efforts got him three straight All-Star nods between 1971 and 1973, and an eighth place finish in the National League MVP race in 1972.
Of course, that season also saw him have one of the most productive days any player has ever seen at the plate, when he hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs in a double-header against the Atlanta Braves.
I actually created a 1973 "Highlight" card for that feat, one of my first in that category, way back in July of 2014 right here on the blog:


Quite a day for a man who was ALSO in attendance back when the man whose five-home run record he tied, Stan Musial, set the record some 18 years earlier! He was at the game as a youngster with his father!

Just incredible!


 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 CHARLIE SPIKES

On the blog today, a card I never realized should have been created, a 1979 "not so missing" card for former outfielder Charlie Spikes, who spent a year in the Motor City, appearing in 10 games for the Detroit Tigers during the 1978 season:

Spikes hit .250 in that limited play, going 7-for 28 at the plate with a run scored and two runs batted in.

This was after five seasons playing for the Cleveland Indians, where he had some decent success, twice topping 20 home runs while driving in 73 and 80 runs respectively in 1973 and 1974.
After his time in Detroit, he went on to the Atlanta Braves where he'd play what turned out to be his last two years in the Majors, 1979 and 1980, appearing in 104 combined games, hitting about .279 with three homers and 24 runs batted in.
In 1981 he decided to go East, the Far East, playing one last pro season in Japan, playing for the Chunichi Dragons in Nagoya, appearing in only 26 games and hitting a woeful .122.

All told, he finished his Big League career with a .246 average, with 65 homers and 256 RBIs over 2039 at-bats in 670 games between 1972 and 1980.


 


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 DAVE ROSELLO

Today on the blog we have a "not so missing" 1973 card for former Chicago Cubs infielder Dave Rosello, who made his Big League debut with a handful of games in 1972:


Rosello hit .250 in that limited play, going 3-for-12 at the plate with a couple runs scored and three runs batted in.
He would appear in 16 games for the Cubbies in 1973, hitting .263 with 10 hits over 38 at-bats, both scoring and driving in two.
He did have a spot on a multi-player rookie card in the 1974 set after appearing in those 16 games the year before, so I wonder why he was left out of the ‘75 set considering the amount of playing time he got.
Rosello appeared in 62 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1974, certainly enough to warrant a card in 1975 I believe, hitting .203 over 148 official at-bats, with 30 hits.
Nevertheless, he’d go on to play with the Cubs through the 1977 season before spending all of 1978 in the Minors, making it back to the Big Leagues in 1978, now a member of the Cleveland Indians, for whom he’d play the next three years, the last of his nine-year career.
Overall, Rosello played in 422 games, hitting .236 with 206 hits in 873 at-bats, scoring 114 runs and driving in 76 between 1972 and 1981, playing second, short and third.

 

Monday, February 8, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1975 KEN SANDERS

Up on the blog today we have a do-over for former reliever Ken Sanders' 1975 Topps card, which goes from a classic airbrush-job to a nice clean image that I came across some time ago:

Re-done for blog


Original by Topps

From the front of his jersey on the original you can barely see the fact that he’s wearing a Cleveland Indians uni, from where he came over during the 1974 season after being released in June.

He was signed by California a week later, and went on to appear in only nine games for them the rest of the way, not factoring in a decision and posting an ERA of 2.79 over 9.2 innings with a save thrown in.
Funny enough he’d go on to spend all of 1975 with the New York Mets, putting in another good year with a record of 1-1 along with a 2.30 ERA with five saves in 30 appearances and 43 innings of work.
After that he’d one more season under the Big League sun, splitting 1976 with the Mets and Kansas City Royals, appearing in 31 games and again posting a sub-3.00 ERA, this time at 2.70.
Never an All-Star, he did have two straight seasons of sub-2.00 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 and 1971, with 1.75 and 1.91 respectively, along with a league-leading 31 saves in the latter season.
All told he finished up with a ten-year Major League career, appearing in 409 games and posting a record of 29-45, with 86 saves and a very nice 2.97 ERA over 656.2 innings, with only one start in his career, that for the K.C. Athletics way back in 1966.


 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

ON-CARD ALL-STAR: 1970 BOOG POWELL

The next starting 1969 All-Star to get an All-Star banner on their 1970 card is the American League first baseman for that year's "Midsummer Classic", the Baltimore Orioles Boog Powell:


Powell was having himself a great year in 1969, leading to a second-place finish for A.L. MVP with 37 homers, 121 runs batted in and a .304 batting average, the latter two figures being career-bests.
Of course in 1970 he would fare even better, going on to win the MVP Award while helping the Orioles take home the World Championship with a win over the Cincinnati Reds.
He would go on to finish his Major League career with 339 home runs, 1187 runs batted in and a .266 average, while being named to four all-star teams, taking home a Most Valuable Player Award in 1970, and two other top-3 MVP finishes in 1966 and 1969, playing for 17 Major League seasons.
Always a fan-favorite in Baltimore, Boog can still be seen around Camden Yards at his "Boog's Barbeque" restaurant.
And who can forget those awesome Miller Lite commercials in the 1980's!? Those were great!

 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- NOLAN RYAN

****UPDATE: REVISED CARD WITH IMAGE REVERSED****

Thank you "Unknown" for the heads up on the Ryan Image! I never even realized it was flipped!

Here's the corrected card below.

On the blog today, a wonderful addition to my on-going 1971 "Minor League Days" sub-set, adding the great Nolan Ryan, celebrating his great career:

Ryan was a 20-year-old flame-throwing kid when this photo was taken in 1967 while with the Jacksonville Suns.

He split the season in the Minors between three teams, appearing in only 12 games & posting a record of 1-1 in limited play.
Of course, he was well on his way to what would turn out to be a 27-year Big League career, pretty much making a joke out of "Father Time" by pitching into the 1993 season.
I know I don't have to state the obvious here, but we're talking: 300+ wins, 5000+ strikeouts, seven no-hitters, 11 strikeout titles with six of them being 300+ seasons, two E.R.A. crowns and an almost unanimous Hall of Fame induction.
The man was a machine! Just incredible...

 




Friday, February 5, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 BUTCH HOBSON

Up on the blog today we have a 1976 "not so missing" card for former Boston Red Sox third baseman Butch Hobson, who made his Big League debut in 1975:


Hobson appeared in only two games that year, going 1-for-4 at the plate with a couple of strikeouts before getting about a half-season's worth of playing time in 1976.
Between 1977 and 1979 he would be the Red Sox starting third baseman, having a top-notch year in 1977 when he hit 30 homers while driving in 112 runs, scoring 77 himself, all career-bests.
However in 1980 an elbow injury limited his play to only 93 games before getting traded in the off-season along with Rick Burleson to the Angels for Carney Lansford and Mark Clear.
He'd spend only one year with the Angels, appearing in 85 games and hitting .235 before moving on to the New York Yankees in 1982, appearing in only 30 games and hitting only .172 in that time.
Between 1983 and 1985 Hobson would play solely in the Yankees Minor League system, never getting an opportunity to play in the Big Leagues again, retiring as a player by season's end of '83.
All told, Hobson finished his playing career with a .248 batting average, with 98 homers and 397 RBIs over 738 games.

Post-playing career Hobson went into coaching, before getting a chance to manage the Red Sox from 1992 to 1994, finishing his managerial career with a record of 207-232.


 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

1974 SPECIAL- JIM AND MIKE HEGAN/FATHER & SON MAJOR LEAGUERS

Came across this nice picture of former New York Yankee coach Jim Hegan along with his son Mike Hegan, who was also in the Bronx at the same time, so I figured why not make a 1974 "Special"? So here you go:


The elder Hegan was a Major League player for 17 seasons, in addition to three "lost" years serving in the military during Worl War II, playing from 1941 through the 1960 season.
Over that time he was a five-time All-Star while catching for the Cleveland Indians, catching such Indian legends as Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Mike Garcia and Early Wynn.
When his playing days ended he went right into coaching, first for the Chicago Cubs in 1960 before eventually moving on to the Yanks where he served as bullpen coach, mentoring guys like Thurman Munson and Rick Dempsey.
During his last year as a coach for the Yankees he also had the opportunity to coach his son Mike, who came back to the Bronx for a second stint after starting his career with them between 1964 and 1967.
Hegan the younger put in a 12 year career in the Big Leagues, playing between 1964 and 1977, generally as a first baseman with some outfield work thrown in with the Yanks, Pilots/Brewers and A's.
That's just about 30 years of playing time between the two, with almost as much coaching time added on as well!

A baseball family indeed!


 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 SIXTO LEZCANO

Today the blog brings you a 1975 "not so missing" card for former Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Sixto Lezcano, who started his Big League career with a handful of game during the 1974 season:

Lezcano appeared in 15 games that year, hitting .241 with 13 hits over 54 at-bats, hitting two homers and driving in nine.

He would go on to have some pretty nice years with the Brewers, the high point being 1979 when pretty much set career-bests across the board with 28 homers, 101 RBIs, 84 runs scored and a very nice .321 batting average.
That season also brought him his only Gold Glove and some MVP consideration by year's end, finishing in 15th place.
In 1981 he found himself a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played for one season, before going to the San Diego Padres for a year and a half, then to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983 and 1984, and finally one year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, which turned out to be his last in the Majors.
He would play one year in Japan, this in 1987 with the Yokohama Taiyo Whales, appearing in only 20 games before retiring for good.

All told, for his Major League career Lezcano hit an admirable .271 with 1122 over 4134 at-bats, with 148 homers and 591 RBIs in 1291 games.


 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 BRIAN MILNER

Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1979 card for two-game Major League catcher Brian Milner, who funny enough would go on to have slots in multi-player rookie cards in 1981 and 1982:


Milner's only Big League action happened in June of 1978, actually making quite a torrid scene, going 4-for-9 at the plate with three runs scored and two runs batted in at the age of 18!
That works out to a nifty .444 batting average my friends!
Yet sadly for him it did NOT get him any more time on a Major League field, as he would go on to play another four years in the Blue Jay's Minor League system before retiring after the 1982 season, STILL only 22 years of age.
Major League ball is a wicked mistress!
How many players can say they "retired" with a .400+ career average?

Go figure...


 

Monday, February 1, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 CHARLIE WILLIAMS

Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1974 card for former pitcher Charlie Williams of the San Francisco Giants:


Willaims appeared in 12 games for the Giants during the 1973 season, going 3-0 with an earned run average of 6.65 over 23 innings of work.
Turns out he would end up pitching seven years for the Giants after starting out his Big League career with a rookie year with the New York Mets, eventually being famously traded along with $50,000 for Willie Mays in May of 1972.
He'd be used generally as an arm out of the bullpen with some solid years in the middle of the decade.
By the time he retired after the 1978 season at the age of 30, he finished his Big League career with a record of 23-22 over 268 appearances, with an ERA of 3.97 with four saves in 573.1 innings.

 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

ON-CARD ALL-STAR: 1970 BILL FREEHAN

Up on the blog today is the first American League All-Star from 1969 to get a "fix" on their 1970 Topps card, starting All-Star catcher Bill Freehan, who in my opinion should be in the Hall of Fame as the best catcher in his league for a significant amount of time:


Really, Freehan does NOT get enough credit for being the best backstop in the A.L. during the 1960's into the 1970's before guys like Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson came along.
The man was an eleven-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glover and received MVP consideration six times, finishing third and second respectively in 1967 and 1968.
A solid player through and through, he'd retire after the 1976 season with a .262 lifetime average, 200 homers and 758 runs batted in over 1774 games and 6073 at-bats and finished with a .993 fielding percentage while donning the "tools of ignorance".
Really, I need to give Freehan more attention on this blog.
Look for some other customs here in the near future!

 


Saturday, January 30, 2021

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- BEN TAYLOR

It has been nearly three years since I've added a player to my "Negro League Legends" thread, so today I present a card for Ben Taylor, former first baseman and manager:


Taylor spent over 20 years playing in the Negro leagues, beginning with the Birmingham Giants in 1908 through to the Baltimore Black Sox in 1928, while managing until 1938 when he led the Washington Black Senators.
Originally a pitcher when his career began, he eventually established himself playing for his brother. C.I. Taylor, who managed and owned the Indianapolis ABCs.
According to record books, Taylor hit .300 or better in all but one of his first 16 seasons, and even went on to mentor young Buck Leonard at first base.
He finished his career with a .318 batting average, hitting as high as .371 in 1922 with Indianapolis, while scoring 410 runs and driving in 354.
He also ended with a record of 8-6 as a pitcher, with a 4.30 earned run average over 24 appearances and 161.1 innings of work.
In 2006 he was given his rightful place in Cooperstown, being selected by the "Committee on African-American Baseball".

 

Friday, January 29, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 JIMMY ROSARIO

On the blog today we have a 1973 "not so missing" card for three-year Major League outfielder Jimmy Rosario, who barely saw any action during the 1972 season with the San Francisco Giants:


Rosario was coming off a rookie season in 1971 that saw him play in 92 games, hitting .224 over that time.
Sadly for him, 1972 wasn't as eventful as he appeared in only seven games for the Giants, going 0-2 at the plate with a run scored.
Turns out he would spend the next three years in the Minor Leagues before making it all the way back to the Big Leagues in 1976, now a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing in 15 games and hitting .189 with seven hits in 37 at-bats.
The following year he would go on to the Japanese League where he’d play for the Crown Lighter Lions before playing out his pro career with five seasons in the Mexican League until the age of 37 in 1982.

 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1972 BOB BURDA

On the blog today, we have a re-done 1972 card for former first baseman/outfielder Bob Burda, who was originally airbrushed into a Red Sox uniform for his upcoming tenure with his new team.

But on the blog, we give him a card showing him with whom he played for in 1971, the St. Louis Cardinals:
Re-done for blog
Original issue by Topps


Burda appeared in 65 games for St. Louis, a return of sorts since he originally came up with them back in 1962 at the age of 23.
It was a successful reunion of sorts, as he hit a career best .296 with 21 hits in 71 at-bats in his limited role, playing both first base and outfield.
Moving onto 1972, it would turn out to be his last in the Big Leagues, as he would play in 45 games for Boston, hitting .164 with 12 hits in 73 at-bats, with a couple of home runs and nine runs batted in.

For his career Burda would play in 388 games, hitting .224 with 142 hits over 634 at-bats, scoring 53 runs and driving in 78.



 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 NYLS NYMAN

On the blog today, how about a "not so missing" 1977 card for former Chicago White Sox outfielder Nyls Nyman?

Well here you go:

Nyman appeared in only eight games for Chicago in 1976, going 2-for-15 at the plate with two runs scored and a run batted in.
This was after a season of 1975 that saw him see the most action of any of his four Big League campaigns when he played in 106 games, hitting .226 with 74 hits over 327 at-bats, setting career highs across the board.
He would follow up the brief 1976 action with a single game in 1977 in what turned out to be the last game of his career, going 0-1 at the plate as a pinch-hitter.
All told, Nyman finished his career with a .238 average with 85 hits over 357 at-bats in 120 games, with 43 runs scored and 33 runs batted in.

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1973 DON ROSE

Today's blog post has a "do-over" for former pitcher Don Rose's 1973 Topps card since I came across this nice image of him as a California Angel, as opposed to the airbrushed image Topps had to go with back then:

RE-DONE
ORIGINAL AS-ISSUED


In 1971 he came up to the Majors with the New York Mets, appearing in a single game and pitching two scoreless innings before being a part of a pretty big trade in the off-season when he was included with a young flame-throwing Nolan Ryan in a deal with the California Angels to get perennial all-star shortstop Jim Fregosi.

Well we all know how that turned out...
Rose would go 1-4 in his lone season with the Angels in 1972, pitching to a 4.22 earned run average over 16 games and 42.2 innings.
During the 1974 season Rose appeared in two games with the San Francisco Giants after spending the previous season in the Minors.
Over those two games he didn’t factor in a decision, posting an earned run average of 9.00 in exactly one inning of work.
Those would end up being the last Big League games of his three-year career.
He would finish his career with 19 appearances and a record of 1-4 along with an E.R.A. of 4.14 over 45.2 innings pitched.


 

Monday, January 25, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 ROY LEE JACKSON

On the blog today we have a "not so missing" pre-rookie card for former New York Mets pitcher Roy Lee Jackson, who made his Major League debut during the 1977 season:


Jackson appeared in four games for the Mets, going 0-2 with a 6.00 earned run average over 24 innings of work as a 23-year-old.
He'd pitch another three years with the Mets, never really becoming a full-timer until joining his second team, the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, where he became a dependable arm out of the bullpen over four seasons.
In 1985 he joined the San Diego Padres for a season, going 2-3 with a nice 2.70 ERA over 22 games before playing what turned out to be his last Big League action in 1986 with the Minnesota Twins, going 0-1 over 28 games with a 3.86 ERA.

All told, in 10 Major League seasons, Jackson ended up with a career 28-34 record, with a 3.77 ERA and 34 saves over 280 appearances and 559 innings pitched.


 

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER...

@wthballs
Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.