Monday, May 17, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1973 BILLY COWAN

On the blog today we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1973 card for former California Angels outfielder/first baseman Bill Cowan:


 
Cowan appeared in only three games for the Angels in what turned out to be the last action of his eight-year career, going 0-3 at the plate as a pinch-hitter.
Originally up with the Chicago Cubs in 1963, he would end up retiring with a .236 career average, with 281 hits in 1190 at-bats, along with 40 homers and 125 runs batted in for six different teams.
His only full season of action came in his rookie 1964 season when he appeared in 139 games for the Cubs, hitting 19 homers while driving in 50, setting personal bests across the board in all offensive categories.
On a side-note: he put up some monster seasons in the Minors his 1st three pro years between 1961 and 1963, slamming as many as 35 homers and driving in as much as 122 runs while dividing his time in various levels of the Chicago Cubs system.

 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

BY SPECIAL REQUEST- EXPANDED YEARLY LEADER CARDS: 1973 N.L. BATTING LEADERS

A short while ago a few of you asked or requested that I tackle the fact that over some years during the 1970's Topps created a simpler league leader card that featured two players, each leagues leader in a particular hitting or pitching category instead of expanded cards with the top three or so in each league, like the 1976 sub-set or 1972.

Well today we have the beginning of what will be a long thread creating just that, beginning with 1973, the first such year during the decade that went to the two-player format.
We'll start with the National League and it's top-3 hitters of 1972:
 


Betcha didn't have Dusty Baker in third that year huh?
Of course Billy Williams took home the batting crown that year, putting in another amazing year for the Chicago Cubs, yet sadly once again during another even BETTER year from some catcher on the Cincinnati Reds, Johnny Bench.
Ralph Garr, the runner-up in the NL batting race, of course would go on to top the league in 1974, so he'd eventually know the feeling of batting champ soon enough.
For Baker, it turned out it was his career-best with a .321 batting average, though he would hit .320 in 1981.
The 1972 season was actually his first full year as a Major Leaguer, and he did not disappoint!
That is why I do love the expanded league leader cards so much, since there were a great many players who ended up just short of glory that would surprise you.

We'll do this by category so the next card in the thread will be the American League batting leaders, with another player who may surprise some of you.


 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

JUST FOR FUN-TIME FOR ANOTHER 1974 HANK AARON REDO

My apologies, but I will always create Hank Aaron cards, even if I already created one for a particular year, as with today's card, yet another 1974 redo, this time as a portrait layout adding to my previous landscape orientation:


 
Just a great picture of the legend smiling, enjoying life, on his way to baseball history.
Just a few months back I posted my landscape 1974 card, and it was accompanied by the following post:

Of course all baseball talk was about Aaron at this time, with his overtaking Babe Ruth as the all-time Home Run champion as the 1974 season opened up, and rightly so!
The man was simply out of this world...
Let his numbers do all the talking: 2174 runs scored, 3771 hits, 624 doubles, 98 triples, 755 home runs, 2297 runs batted in, a .305 batting average no less than 21 all-star selections!
Just tremendous!
He also had eight top-5 finishes for MVP, including taking home the award in 1957, as well as three Gold Gloves won consecutively between 1958-1960.
It's incredible to look at his 15 years of topping 100 or more runs scored, 11 seasons of 100 or more runs batted in, five more seasons of 90+ RBI's, and TWENTY STRAIGHT years of 20 or more home runs.

Rest in Peace to one of the absolute greats of the game, Mr. Henry Aaron...aka "Hammerin' Hank"!


 

Friday, May 14, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1977 MANNY SANGUILLEN

Though I am actually a fan of the CLASSIC 1977 Topps airbrush job on Manny Sanguillen's card, I am finally creating a do-over, using the catcher actually suited up in Oakland's finest, so here you go:

Now, for those that really need a refresher on the original, here you go:

 


Absolutely stunning isn't it? Topps really went to town on this one!
Nevertheless, I had this great image of Sanguillen from the 1976 season and figured it was time to recreate the card for the blog.
Sanguillen really gets overlooked when it comes to how well he played during his 13-year career, all but 1977 spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was a catcher who hit over .300 four times, with a high of .328 in 1975, while also topping .280 another four times, before retiring with a robust .296 career average.
I personally think he may have been ripped off a Rookie of the Year in 1969 when he hit .303 with 62 runs scored and 57 runs batted in as a rookie catcher, losing to the Dodgers Ted Sizemore (a STRONG argument can also be made for Sanguillen's teammate Al Oliver, who also could have won).
He was named to three all-star teams, and even garnered some MVP support in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1975 as a member of the Bucs.
A very nice career for a solid catcher during the 1970's who gets forgotten among the Benchs, Fisks, Munsons and Simmons of the Majors…


 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

COMMENTS SECTION REMOVED

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to let you all know I've disabled the comment section until I can figure out how to prevent those annoying spam comments that have really gotten out of control.

Once I figure out how to do all that I'll have it back up!

Sorry about that! So freaking annoying!


NOT SO MISSING IN ACTION- 1975 JOHN WOCKENFUSS

Adding to my 1975 "missing" cards, today I throw in a "not so missing" card for former Detroit Tigers catcher John Wockenfuss, who also got a 1977 edition here on the blog a couple years back:


Wockenfuss made his Big League debut during the 1974 season, appearing in 13 games for Detroit, hitting .138 in limited play with four hits over 29 official at-bats.
He'd appear in 35 games the following season, hitting .229 with 27 hits, 15 runs scored and 13 runs batted in, with 13 extra base hits.
It would be more of the same with 60 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1976, batting .222 with 32 hits over 144 at-bats, easily enough action to have gotten a card in the set as mentioned earlier.
Wockenfuss was one of those players who was “always there” during my childhood, as I pulled his cards out of packs well into the 1980’s.
He put in twelve seasons in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1985, playing all but his last two years with the Tigers before finishing up with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1984 and 1985.
Never a full-time player, the only time he topped 100 games in a season was in 1981 when he played in 126 games for Detroit, setting personal bests across the board with the extra playing time.
He’d retire after the 1985 season with a .262 batting average, with 543 hits over 2072 at-bats, with 267 runs scored and 310 runs batted in over 795 games.

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER OF ONE OF MY OWN: 1970 JIM BOUTON

Waaaaay back in June of 2013, about a month after I started this blog, I created a "missing" 1970 card former pitcher Jim Bouton, using an action photo, something the 1970 set did NOT use.

So today, incredibly eight years later, I will re-do that card with a proper image:
 

Much more of a "realistic" 1970 card don't you think?
Here's my original post from back then...

"For a player who appeared in 73 games in 1969, totaling 122 innings pitched for two teams, it's surprising enough for Topps not to have a card for him the following year.
But when you then realize that we're talking about Jim Bouton, bad-boy ex-Yank and author of one of the all-time classic baseball books: "Ball Four", as well as being an established player who posted a 20+ win season for the Yanks in 1963, you have to wonder what was up with being left out of the card set.
Though his book wasn't "officially" released until June of 1970, it wasn't a secret as to what was in there, and Bouton certainly pissed off many in the Major League baseball world who found out about his tell-all tome.
Perhaps Topps could be included as those who had Bouton on their "persona-non-grata" list?
I can't really find anything on this, but I went ahead and created my own version of a "card that shoulda' been".
If I do go ahead and create more of these, I'll limit this to cards of players that had substantial playing time the season before, did NOT retire over the off-season, yet had no cards issued the following year.
Enjoy..."

 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 RICK SUTCLIFFE

Fun card to add to the blog today, a "not so missing" 1979 card for future NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe of the Los Angeles Dodgers:


 

Sutcliffe, who actually made his MLB debut in 1976 with a start of five innings as a 20-year-old, was back in the Big League for two games during the 1978 season, tossing 1.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits while not factoring in a decision.
In 1979 he'd be back and would put in an award winning season when he posted a record of 17-10 over 39 games, 30 of those starts, with a 3.46 earned run average and a shutout.
Of course we all know how his career ended up, going on to pitch 18 years in the Majors, winning the Cy Young Award in 1984 when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs after the season started and proceeded to go 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA and three shutouts, leading the NL in wins with 18 in 1987, leading the AL in ERA with 2.96 in 1982 while with the Cleveland Indians, and making three All-Star games along the way.
By the time he was done after the 1994 season, he finished with a record of 171-139, with an ERA of 4.08 over 457 appearances, throwing 18 shutouts while striking out 1679 batters.
The man was a true workhorse.

Monday, May 10, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 MIKE DIMMEL

Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1978 card for former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Mike Dimmel, who played parts of three seasons in the Big Leagues, totaling 39 games between 1977 and 1979:


Dimmel appeared in eight games for Baltimore during the 1978 season after making his Big League debut in 1977 with 25 appearances.
In the eight games of 1978 he never got an at-bat, either used as a pinch runner or out in the outfield, though he did score two runs while getting caught stealing once.
In his rookie year of 1977 he came to bat five times, but never collected a hit, scoring eight runs while stealing a base, putting time out in center and right field.
Come 1979, Dimmel found himself with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played what ended up being the last games of his MLB career, six to be exact, going 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a caught stealing.
He would go on to put a full season in the Cardinal Minor League system in 1981, but never get another Big League shot again, retiring after the season.
All told, Dimmel played in 39 games, hitting .125 with one hit over eight at-bats, with 11 runs scored and a stolen base.

 


Sunday, May 9, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- BILL FREEHAN

On the blog today, we have an addition to one of my favorite series I've created for the blog, my 1971 "Minor League Days" set, with the great and vastly under-rated Bill Freehan added:

  

Freehan was a 19-year-old stud just starting out with the Detroit system in 1961 when this photo was taken, as he would hit .310 over 77 games with 11 homers and 55 runs batted in for the Knoxville Smokies.

He'd get his first taste of the Majors at the end of the season, appearing in four games, then spending all of 1962 in the Minors perfecting his carft, before coming back to the "Big Show" in 1963, where he'd stay for good.
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."
This man belongs in the Hall of Fame!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

1978 SPECIAL SUB-SET- "1977 30-HOME RUN CLUB"

The next card in my new 1978 special sub-set, "1977 30 Home Run Club" is Atlanta Braves thumper Jeff Burroughs, former A.L. MVP and overall #1 pick:

  

Sure, we all know that George Foster led the Majors with his monster 52 home run season in 1977, but how many know that the second-most home runs hit by a player were the 41 by Burroughs?

Burroughs had a great year for the Braves in his first season with the blub, batting .271 with the aforementioned 41 homers, 114 RBIs and 91 runs scored.
Though he wouldn’t match those numbers again in his career, he would put together a very nice 16-year career that saw him hit 240 homers while driving in 882 runs between 1970 and 1985.
As stated earlier he would take home the 1974 A.L. MVP Award when he hit 25 homers and led the league with 118 runs batted in along with a .301 batting average, arguably his finest season in the big leagues.
A #1 pick in the amateur draft of 1969 out of Long Beach, California, he would be one of the first members of the 30-home runs-in-both-leagues club (30 with the Rangers in 1973/41 Braves in 1977), and actually one of the most successful #1 over-all picks at the time.
At the tail end of his career during the early-1980’s he was a potent bat off the bench for teams like the Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s and Toronto Blue Jays.

Friday, May 7, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 KEVIN SAUCIER

Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Kevin Saucier, who made his MLB debut in 1978 with one single appearance:


Saucier took the loss in his first Big League game, giving up four runs in two innings of relief work, while striking out two.
He would go on to pitch another two years for the Phillies, including their World Champion 1980 campaign where he posted his second finest season as a Major Leaguer, going 7-3 over 40 games, with a 3.42 ERA over 50 innings.
The following year, now with the Detroit Tigers, he put in his best year, going 4-2 over 38 appearances with a brilliant 1.65 earned run average, saving 13 games and working 49 innings.
He was back in 1982 and had another solid season, going 3-1 over 31 appearances with five saves, pitching to a 3.12 ERA over 40.1 innings, but began suffering a "tired arm" as he called it, leading to being placed on the disabled list.
While trying to work his way back in Minor League ball, he suddenly could not find the plate, walking 23 batters in 22 innings.
Concerned that he "didn't know where the ball was going to go", he retired from baseball, still only 25 years of age.
I do remember way back when the coverage of his struggles trying to find the plate, something that seemingly came out of nowhere for such a promising young pitcher.
Always stuck with me.

All told, he finished his five year career with a record of 15-11 over 139 appearances, with an ERA of 3.31 in 203.2 innings pitched, saving 19 games.


 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1978 PAUL MITCHELL

On the blog today we have a re-done 1978 card for former pitcher Paul Mitchell, who found himself North with the new Seattle Mariners franchise after starting the year with the Oakland A's:

  

For those that need a refresher on what the original Topps airbrush looked like, here you go:

  

Mitchell appeared in five games for the A's before he was purchased by Seattle on August 4th of 1977.

He was 0-3 with a bloated 10.54 ERA for Oakland before ending the year with a 3-3 run for the Mariners, posting a much better ERA of 4.99 over nine starts.
He would be one of the Mariners' starters in 1978, appearing in 29 games and gong 8-14 with an ERA of 4.18 over 168 innings, completing four and tossing two shutouts.
He'd split the 1979 season between Seattle and the Milwaukee Brewers, where he was traded for Randy Stein on June 7th, going a combined 4-7 over 28 appearances with an ERA of 5.32, starting half of those games.
Coming back in 1980 with Milwaukee, it turned out to be the last Big League action he'd see, appearing in 17 games and going 5-5 with a 3.53 ERA over 89.1 innings, even throwing in a shutout.
But after a 1981 season that saw him pitch in the New York Yankees Minor Leagues system, he retired at the age of 31.
All told Mitchell went 32-39 over his six year career, with an ERA of 4.45 in 621.1 innings of work, throwing four shutouts while saving one, starting 96 of his 125 appearances.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 FRANK LaCORTE

Up on the blog today we have a third "not so missing" card creation for former pitcher Frank LaCorte of the Atlanta Braves, this time a 1979 edition to go with his 1977 and 1978 customs:


LaCorte appeared in only two games for Atlanta in 1978, going 0-1 over 14.2 innings with a 3.68 earned run average.
That said it was a nice "comeback" of sorts since his 1977 campaign was a disaster, when he went 1-8 over 14 games, with an ugly 11.68 earned run average over 37 forgetful innings, walking 29 batter, giving up 67 hits and 48 earned runs.
He would go on to pitch ten seasons in the Big Leagues, becoming a decent arm out of the bullpen for the Houston Astros between 1979 and 1983 before one last year under the Major League sun in 1984 with the California Angels.
All told, he finished his career with a record of 23-44 along with an ERA of 5.01 and 26 saves over 253 appearances and 490 innings of work.

 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1976 RODNEY SCOTT

On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1976 card for former infielder Rodney Scott, who made his Big League debut with the Kansas City Royals during the 1975 season:

  

Scott appeared in 48 games for K.C. that year, going 1-for-15 at the plate while putting in time at short and second base.

1976 would bring a change of scenery for Scott, as he would collect four hits over ten at-bats for the Montreal Expos in limited play, stealing two bases while scoring three runs while playing both second base and shortstop over seven games.
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 3, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 STEVE KLINE

Fun card to add to the WTHBALLS stable, a "not so missing" 1978 card for former pitcher Steve Kline:


Kline had not pitched in the Big Leagues since 1974 before making it all the way back in 1977 with the Atlanta Braves, appearing in 16 games, all relief, and pitching to an earned run average of 6.64 over 20.1 innings, not factoring in a decision.
It would be the last action he'd see as a Major League pitcher, retiring after the season though still only 29 years of age.
Originally up with the New York Yankees in 1970, he put together a couple of solid seasons in 1971 and 1972, finishing with an under-3.00 ERA both year, with 1972 his best at 2.40.
He also went 16-9 that season, tossing four shutouts while throwing 236.1 innings, completing 11 of his 32 starts.

All told, he finished his career with a record of 43-45, with a very nice 3,26 ERA over 129 appearances, 105 of those starts, with six shutouts and a save between 1970 and 1977.


 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

THEN AND NOW- 1977 BILL FREEHAN

Time to go and add all-star catcher (and should-be Hall of Famer in my eyes) Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers to my "Then and Now" Super veterans series, celebrating the man's great Big League career:


It's easy to forget that Freehan was an eleven-time all-star, five-time Gold Glover, and finished in the top-ten in M.V.P. voting three times, with a second place finish in 1968 behind teammate Denny McLain.
1964, his first full year in the Majors, was arguably his finest season, as he hit .300 for the only time in his career along with 18 homers and 80 R.B.I.'s.
But for the rest of his career Freehan put up solid numbers year after year, while taking care of a Detroit pitching staff that featured guys like McLain, Mickey Lolich and Earl Wilson.
He really was ahead of the rest of the pack as far as A.L. catchers during the decade.
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.

As far as Major League catchers go, especially for that era, I feel he should be in the Hall, representing that era between Yogi Berra and Carlton Fisk in the American League.


 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- DAVEY JOHNSON

On the blog today, adding to my long-running 1971 "Minor League Days" thread with a card for Davey Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles, defensive wiz who had himself one of the most "where did this come from" seasons in baseball history years later with the Atlanta Braves:

  

Johnson was barely out of his teens when this photo was taken of him while playing for the Rochester Red Wings back in 1964.

He had some decent offensive seasons in the Minors before getting the call to the Big Leagues in 1965, playing 20 games for the O's.
Over the following eight seasons with the Orioles Johnson would make three All-Star teams and take home three Gold Glove Awards, recognized as one of the better fielding second basemen in the game.
He would find himself a member of the Atlanta Braves in 1973, and go on to put in one of the most anomalous years the game has ever seen.
Take away what was to become his breakaway 1973 season, and Johnson's top-five homer seasons in his 13 year career look like this: 18, 15, 10, 10 and nine.
Well, all Johnson proceeds to do is hit FORTY-THREE homers! 43!
Johnson's season was incredible when compared to the rest of his career. While playing second base, he slammed the team-leading 43 homers, drove in 99 runs (the next highest total for his career was 72 in 1971 for the Orioles), scored 84 runs (next highest was 68 in 1970), and slugged .546 (his next highest slugging average was .443 in 1971!).
If THIS isn't the strangest case of power surge in a players career, then it's definitely in the top-3!
Some may point to Brady Anderson's 50 homer year in 1996, or even Wade Boggs' 1987 season, but for me Johnson's 1973 season is the most shocking.
What makes things even more strange is the following season, still a full-time player, he falls back to earth and hits 15 homers, before playing in only one game in 1975 before moving on to Japan for two seasons before coming back with the Phillies in 1977.
It wasn't much of a comeback, as he'd play in 78 games for the Phils in 1977 followed by a split year in 1978 with Philadelphia and the Chicago Cubs where he hit four homers over 68 games before calling it a career as a player shortly after.
Of course, we all know years later he'd find success as a Major League manager, leading the wild New York Mets in the 1980's, the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles in the 1990's, Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999/2000 and finally the Washington Nationals from 2011 through 2013.
Over his 20 years as a manager he put in a very nice record of 1562 and 1226, good for a .560 winning percentage, winning it all in 1986 with the Mets.
A baseball lifer indeed!

Friday, April 30, 2021

LET'S DO A GUY A FAVOR- 1978 "DEDICATED" CRAIG MITCHELL

Been meaning to create a "dedicated" card for former Oakland A's pitcher Craig Mitchell for years now, and today here it is, a 1978 "dedicated rookie" that also serves as a "career-capper", a first for the blog:


You see, Mitchell was on three straight multi-player rookie cards between 1976 and 1978, and rightfully so to be honest, as he appeared in 1,1 and 2 games respectively in each season between 1975 and 1977.
But since I came across a nice image of him I figured let's give the guy his own card and celebrate the five games he appeared in during his Big League career!

All told, Mitchell finished 0-2 over those five games, throwing 12.2 innings and posting a 7.82 earned run average with three strikeouts and four walks, all with the Oakland A's.


 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- CHINO SMITH

Time to add the great Negro League legend Chino Smith to my long-running 1972 sub-set celebrating the greats of the Negro Baseball Leagues:


Smith, one of the most feared hitters in Negro League history, was called one of the greatest hitters by none other than Satchel Paige.
His career .434 batting average is 50 points ahead of the #2 player, Hall of Famer Larry Doby, while also finishing with a .335 career average in Cuban Winter play.
For a better idea of his hitting accomplishments, please click this link for his Baseball_Reference page, as it certainly does more justice to the man than I could here:


Sadly, in one of the great "what could have been" tales of the game, Smith contracted Yellow Fever in 1932, still only 29 years of age, and passed away, leaving behind an already stellar career but full of "what if's" we can only dream about.

 


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

GIMMIE A DO-OVER: 1975 MIKE WALLACE

Fun card to re-do today, replacing one of those classic 1970's Topps airbrush jobs with a nice image of former pitcher Mike Wallace as a New York Yankee for his 1975 card:



Love the fact that the new image has some serious facial hair going on!
For those that don't remember the original, as released by Topps, here you go:
 

 
Wallace was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Bronx during the 1974 season, and really pitched well, posting a 6-0 record with a 2.41 earned run average over 23 games, one of them a start, after going 1-0 with the Phils.
Yet with that nice showing, the 1975 season was a wash for him, appearing in only 12 games between the Yanks and the St. Louis Cardinals, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 6.23 ERA.
But a surprising note about this player was that he ended up with a very nice 11-3 career record over 117 games and 181.2 innings pitched, with a 3.91 ERA and three saves between 1973 and 1977, collecting three saves along the way.

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1970 LUIS PERAZA

Today's blog post is a fun one to add to the "collection", a "not so missing" 1970 card for eight-game MLB pitcher Luis Peraza of the Philadelphia Phillies:


Peraza's entire Big League career spanned April 9th to July 4th of 1969, not factoring in a decision while throwing nine innings, pitching to a 6.00 earned run average.
He'd miss all of 1970 before making it back to pro ball in 1971, still in the Phillies Minor League organization, but he'd never take the mound in a Major League game again, pitching in the Mexican League in 1973 at the age of 31 before calling it a career.

 

Monday, April 26, 2021

WTHBALLS SERIES 6 PACKS AVAILABLE! (SPOILER ALERT! PACKS IMAGES DOWN BELOW)


OK my friends it’s that time again!

 

 

The newest “WTHBALLS” pack is now available for purchase!

SERIES SIX has 15 more card selections from the blog over the years plus a glossy insert, neatly wrapped in a “WTHBALLS” wrapper as seen above.

 

SERIES 6 CARD SELECTIONS
BONUS ROBERTO CLEMENTE GLOSSY INSERT


In addition, everyone who orders this pack gets a little extra “special” something thrown in their package in appreciation for the support (not pictured here. It's a surprise!)!

As usual packs are $10 each, with a one-time postage fee of $4.50 (no matter how many packs you buy).

The same Paypal address: slogun23@gmail.com

If you have any questions please email me at this email address as well! 

Thank you all and be safe and well!

Take Care

Gio/WTHBALLS

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1977 GEOFF ZAHN

On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1977 card for former pitcher Geoff Zahn, who had a bumpy 1976 season that saw him appear in only three games for the Chicago Cubs:


Zahn entered the fourth year of his Big League career that season, already 30 years of age, and had a season to forget, going 0-1 with a 10.80 earned run average over 8.1 innings of work for the Cubbies.
However 1977 would see his career turn for the better, as he would find himself as a Minnesota Twin and go 12-14 over 34 appearances, all but two starts, pitching just under 200 innings.
He would remain a solid starter over the next eights years, pitching through the 1980 season with the Twins before playing the last five years of his career with the California Angels, where he'd have his best year in 1982 when he posted a record of 18-8 with a 3.73 ERA over 34 starts, with four shutouts.

Overall, in his 13 year career he would win 111 games against 109 losses, with a 3.74 ERA and 20 shutouts over 304 appearances, tossing 1849 innings with 79 complete games between 1973 and 1985.


 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

1978 SPECIAL SUB-SET- "1977 30-HOME RUN CLUB"

Fun new thread I'm starting today, as I have always been a fan of the 1977 Topps Football set with their "1000 Yard Rusher" designation, so Id decided to create a similar set for the 1978 baseball set, celebrating the 1977 baseball season and it's home run boom of sorts, beginning with the MLB leader, George Foster:


As a kid I remember Baseball Digest running a small article about the 1977 season and how it had a home run explosion, from George Foster becoming the first Big League batter to reach 50+ homers since Willie Mays in 1965, to the Chicago White Sox "South Side Hitmen" team with Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble et all almost reaching 200 homers (when that was actually something special).
And let's not forget the Boston Red Sox, who slammed a very impressive 213 home runs that year, let by American League leader Jim Rice who hit 39, followed by first baseman George Scott's 33 and third baseman Butch Hobson's 30.
It always stuck with me so I though creating a sub-set of the 19 players who hit 30 or more homers that year would be fun!
George Foster demolished the league’s pitching in 1977 by leading in runs (124), home runs (52), runs batted in (149), slugging (.631) and total bases (388) while also collecting 197 hits and posting a .320 batting average.
The man was an absolute beast! So much so that it actually makes people forget he was runner up to the league’s MVP Award the previous season, losing out to teammate Joe Morgan.
Nevertheless, Foster's amazing 1977 sadly overshadowed a man who had the year of his career that very same season, Jeff Burroughs, who hit a career-best 41 for the Atlanta Braves, but is somewhat forgotten in light of perhaps the season of the decade as far as power hitters go in the 1970s.

So watch for my Jeff Burroughs "30 Home Run Club" card in the next week or so as we go back and celebrate the power-year that was 1977!


 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

MINOR LEAGUE DAYS- HARMON KILLEBREW

Adding to one of my favorite sub-set creations on the blog today we have the great Harmon Killebrew as a fresh-faced 20-year-old suited up for the Charlotte Hornets back in 1956 before he tore up Major League pitching over the next 20 years or so:


Killebrew put in 70 games for Charlotte in 1956, hitting 15 homers and hitting a cool .325 before he finished the year at the Big League level with the Washington Senators.
He would also spend some time in both 1957 and 1958 toiling in the Minors before sticking "for good" in the Majors in 1959, which would also be the first of his six home run titles and first of eight 40+ home run campaigns!
If you know anything about me from my blog, you know I have a soft spot in my heart for certain players: Vada Pinson, Frank Howard, Dave Parker and "Killer" Harmon Killebrew!
I will take any excuse to create cards for these players, and I truly love each and every creation in their honor.
What does anyone need to be reminded of regarding Killebrew?
He was an absolute BEAST at the plate, crushing 573 lifetime homers, MOST of them during the pitching-era of the 1960's into the '70's.
Eight 40+ home run seasons, nine 100+ runs batted in seasons, seven 100+ base-on-balls seasons, an M.V.P. in 1969 (with five top-5 finishes in M.V.P. voting as well), and a Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
The man was amazing!

 

Friday, April 23, 2021

TRADED- 1975 WILLIE DAVIS

Up on the blog today we have a nifty 1975 "traded" card for "3-Dog" Willie Davis, who was heading South from the Montreal Expos to the Texas Rangers:


Coming off of a very nice 1974 season that saw him collect 180 hits and bat .295 with 89 runs batted in for the Expos, Davis was traded to the Rangers on December 5th of '74 for Pete Mackanin and Dan Stanhouse.
He would end up playing in only 42 games for Texas before being traded yet again on June 4th to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ed Brinkman and Tommy Moore.
Back in the National League, he'd hit .291 the rest of the way, driving in 50 runs over his 98 games there.
What an underrated career for the three-time Gold Glove outfielder: 2561 hits, 1217 runs scored, 182 home runs, 398 stolen bases and 1053 runs batted in over 18 seasons, 14 of which were with Los Angeles.
His best year in the Big Leagues was arguably his finest, collecting 198 hits and batting .309 while collecting the first of his three straight Gold Gloves.
Of course, being a National League outfielder through the 1960’s in the age of Mays, Aaron, Clemente and Robinson kept him from All-Star nods, and he only made two of them, in 1971 and 1973.
Nevertheless, by the time he retired he had quite the Major League resume, including leading the league in triples twice, 13 seasons of 20+ stolen bases, and two World Championships (1963 and 1965).

 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1979 TIM BLACKWELL

On the blog today we have a card that I never realized was "missing", though really "not so missing", and that is a 1979 card for former catcher Tim Blackwell, the subject of a few other creations here on the blog over the years:


Blackwell appeared in 49 games for the Chicago Cubs in 1978, hitting .223 with 23 hits over 103 at-bats, with eight runs scored and seven runs batted in.
It was his first year with the Cubs after splitting the 1977 season with the Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos after coming up with the Boston Red Sox, playing for them in both 1974 and 1975.
Never really a full-time player, the bulk of his MLB tenure was with the Chicago Cubs between 1978 and 1981, where he had his best year, in 1980 when he played in 103 games, hitting .272 with 87 hits and setting personal bests in pretty much every category because of the extra playing time.
After a couple of years with the Montreal Expos in 1982 and 1983, he retired, finishing up with a career .228 average, with 238 hits in 1044 at-bats in 426 games.

 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1970 OSCAR BROWN

On the blog today, a player who has been a subject of mine here on the blog a couple of times before, former outfielder Oscar Brown, brother of "Downtown" Ollie Brown, who today gets a "not so missing" 1970 card added to his resume:


Oscar made his Big League debut during the 1969 season, appearing in seven games for the West Champion Atlanta Braves and going 1-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored.
Brown would go on to finish up a brief five-year career in 1973, appearing in 22 games, with 62 plate appearances and 58 official at-bats.
He batted .207 with 12 hits, three of them doubles, and three runs scored that season, and finished his career with a .244 batting average, with 77 hits, 14 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 runs batted in over 160 games, all with Atlanta.

Never a full-time player, the most action he ever saw in any one season was in 1972 when he appeared in 76 games, with 168 plate appearances, almost three-times as many as he would have in any of his other four years as a Big Leaguer.


 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

NOT REALLY MISSING IN ACTION- 1974 GREG HEYDEMAN

Really fun card to create for the blog today, this one a "not so missing" 1974 card for one-game Major League pitcher Greg Heydeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gets the landscape treatment for his custom:

  

Heydeman was a 21-year-old when he made his Big League debut on September 2nd of 1973, pitching two innings and giving up one run on two hits while striking out and walking one batter each.

However he would be back in the Minors in 1974, having a disastrous season that saw him appear in 18 games, 12 of them starts, and pitching to an eye-opening 10.05 earned run average.
His 1975 season wasn't any better, going 1-11 in the Minors with a 6.87 ERA over 22 games, and he would play just one more year before retiring for good after the 1976 season.

I am always excited to create cards for players who have appeared in one single Major League game, so if there are any others out there I may have missed, let me know!

 

Monday, April 19, 2021

A DO-OVER OF ONE OF MY OWN: 1975 JESUS HERNAIZ

On the blog today, I am giving myself a do-over of an earlier "missing" 1975 card I created for the blog, one for former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jesus Hernaiz:
 

 
Originally posted up here around five years ago, the original image I used was a bit sub-par, so when I found this Topps image, I figured it would be a good time to "fix" it.
In his one season in the big leagues, Hernaiz posted a 2-3 record with a 5.88 earned run average over 27 games and 41.1 innings pitched during the 1974 season, never to appear in another game at the top level again.

He did put in about 15 years in professional ball, from the Minors to the Mexican League, pitching through the 1983 season, but that brief glory in the Summer of 1974 would be it as far as any MLB time.

 

 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

FOR FUN- 1977 PAUL RICHARDS MANAGER CARD

Up on the blog today we fill a hole somewhat for a manager that, if you were solely following Topps cards in the 1970's instead of the game itself, you wouldn't even know who managed the Chicago White Sox in 1976, Paul Richards:

I could not pass up the opportunity to create a card for the baseball lifer, who came back to manage Big League ball after 15 years, last managing the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 through 1961.

Richards led the White Sox to a record of 64-97 in 1976, sadly a last place finish.
His first managerial position in the Majors was with the White Sox themselves, leading the team from 1951 through 1954, with a fourth place finish and three third place finishes.
In the 1976 set Topps had Chuck Tanner shown as the team manager on the team card, and then had enough time to have Richards' replacement on their 1977 team card, Bob Lemon.
So there you go!

A wrong has finally been made right!


 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

NICKNAMES OF THE 1970'S- "THE FRANCHISE" TOM SEAVER (CARD #2)

Some seven years ago here on the blog I created a nickname card for the great Tom Seaver, a "Tom Terrific" edition for one of the best to ever toe the rubber.

Well today I wanted to post up a second such nickname card, since the man was so amazing he had two great nicknames, this one "The Franchise". So here you go:
 

For the New York Mets, this man certainly was the franchise, as it was he who began the turn-around from cellar-dwellars to miracle World Champions in 1969, just seven years after joining the league.
Seaver was a star baseball player before he was even a pro, commanding HUGE attention during his college days, eventually leading to some controversy when he originally signed with the Braves in 1966, only to have the signing voided, allowing the New York Mets to make arguably the best pick in franchise history in the 1966 amateur draft.
The man would end up 311-205 record with 61 shutouts and 3640 strikeouts along with a brilliant 2.86 ERA over 20-seasons and 656 appearances, 647 of which were starts, taking home three Cy Young Awards (and getting ripped off a fourth in 1981).
He was in prime form in the mid-70’s, putting together nine straight 200 strikeouts seasons while getting tabbed to ten all-star teams in his first eleven seasons.
God I loved Tom Seaver when I was a kid. More than any other pitcher of that era I was in awe of this man. He just seemed like a "super-hero" to me.

"The Franchise", "Tom Terrific", either way, one of the all-time greatest pitchers the game has ever seen.


 

Friday, April 16, 2021

DEDICATED ROOKIE- 1972 JIM BIBBY

On the blog today, we have a 1972 "dedicated rookie" for all-star pitcher Jim Bibby, who began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972, while also getting a spot on a multi-player rookie card in the glamorous 1972 set:

 

Bibby put in 12 years in the Major Leagues, posting two seasons with 19 wins, 1974 with the Texas Rangers when he went 19-19 over a staggering 41 starts, throwing 264 innings, and in 1980 when he made his only All-Star team while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 19-6 with a 3.32 ERA over 35 appearances, finishing third in the Cy Young race at season's end.

By the time he was done after the 1984 season at the age of 39, he finished with a record of 111-101 over 340 appearances, with an ERA of 3.76, tossing 19 shutouts while picking up eight saves along the way, winning a championship in 1979 with the Pirates, the famed "We are family" squad led by the great Willie Stargell.


 

 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NEGRO LEAGUE LEGENDS- HILTON SMITH

On the blog today, always happy to add another Negro League great to my long-running "Negro League Legends" 1972 sub-set, celebrating the greats of the NBL who were never given the chance to play Major League Ball:


Often overshadowed by his teammate Satchel Paige (who wouldn't be?!), Smith Played for the Monarchs from 1936 through 1948, officially posting a record of 71-31 with a 1.68 earned run average, while making six all-star teams and winning the Negro League championship in 1942.
According to Negro League Museum Director Bob Kendrick, the old saying was, "...if you were going to hit anything, you better hit it off Satchel because you weren't going to touch Hilton Smith."
The reason for this was because there were many games where the great Satchel Paige would start and pitch about three innings to appease the crowd before Smith would come in to finish the last six innings,often with great results.
Fellow Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, who played in both the Negro Leagues and big leagues, said: “He (Smith) had one of the finest curveballs I ever had the displeasure to try and hit. His curveball fell of the table. Sometimes you knew where it would be coming from, but you still couldn’t hit it because it was that sharp. He was just as tough as Satchel was.”
But he was also a very good hitter, posting a career .323 batting average over his career.

Though he passed away in 1983, thankfully this baseball great was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.


 

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