Sunday, January 31, 2021


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


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


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


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


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


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:


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


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.


Sunday, January 24, 2021


Up on the blog today is a 1971 "Minor League Days" card for longtime New York Yankees ace, and underrated pitcher Mel Stottlemyre, who was finishing up a very nice final season in the Minor Leagues when this photo was taken:

Stottlemyre would go 13-3 for the Richmond Virginians in 1964 before getting called up for his first shot at the Big Leagues.
Along with that sterling record he also pitched to an incredible 1.42 earned run average over 30 appearances, 17 of them starts, while tossing two shutouts while striking out 95 over 152 innings.
Once in the Majors that year, he would add another nine wins, going 9-3 for the American League champions before they fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
Sadly for Stottlemyre, he made his Major League debut at a time that saw the Yankees fall from the league elites, not making another World Series, or even finishing in first place, for the rest of his 11 year career.
But no one can say it was because of their young star pitcher, as Stottlymyre would go on to post three 20-win seasons while also finishing five seasons of sub-3.00 ERA's, while throwing 40 shutouts,
By the time he retired after the 1974 season because of injuries, he would win 164 games in only 9-plus seasons of work, while making five All-Star teams.
When you look at his numbers and realize that he only had nine full seasons in the Big Leagues, they definitely grow in stature.
Of course we know that he later went on to become one of the most respected pitching coaches in the Majors from the 1980-s with the Mets on through to the "new" Yankee dynasty in the late-90's/early-00's, before retiring for good after the 2008 season.


Saturday, January 23, 2021


Next up on the blog is the final National League 1969 All-Star to get the red "All-Star" banner across the bottom of their 1970 card, starting pitcher Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals, who was already on his way to becoming a dominant force in the game over the next 15 years:

Carlton would actually get the win in the All-Star game, pitching three innings while giving up two runs on two hits while striking out two.
He would finish the 1969 season with his first truly great year in the Majors, going 17-11 with a 2.17 earned run average, with two shutouts, 12 complete games and 210 strikeouts, the first time he'd reach 200 in a season in his young career.
Of course, he would end up topping 200 strikeouts another seven times, with a career-best 310 in his historic 1972 season that saw him win 27 games while pitching to a 1.97 ERA, all league-leading numbers, for a last-place Philadelphia Phillies team, while completing 30 of his 41 starts. Just insane!
From then on he just pitched himself straight to the Hall of Fame, winning 329 lifetime games, with 55 shutouts, a 3.22 E.R.A. and 4146 strikeouts.
He was also named to 10 all-star teams and was the first pitcher to win four Cy Young Awards: 1972, 1977, 1980 and 1982.
Throw in six 20-win seasons, eight sub-2.00 E.R.A. seasons, and eight 200+ strikeout seasons, and you see why he was named on 436 of 456 ballots when Cooperstown came calling.


Friday, January 22, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1977 card for former infielder John Vukovich, who got into only four games in 1976 with the Philadelphia Phillies:

Coming over from the Cincinnati Reds before the season started, Vukovich went 1-for-8 at the plate in those eight games while playing some first and third base.
He would have a similar season in 1977, getting into only two games before spending all of 1978 in the Minors, before making it back in 1979 where he would (barely) play over the next three seasons, a total of 70 games between the three years, all with the Phillies.
All told he’d finish up with a .161 career average with 90 hits in 559 at-bats over parts of ten seasons, while playing all infield positions and playing for two World Champs (1975 Reds and 1980 Phillies), though he didn’t get into Post Season action himself.
He would also get two brief stints as manager, two games heading the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and nine games in 1988 with the Phillies.



Thursday, January 21, 2021


Came across this original Topps image of career Minor League pitcher Juan Veintidos, showing the COMPLETE colorization/airbrushing used for his slot in a multi-player 1975 rookie card, and just had to post it:

Veintidos spent his entire pro career in the Minors between 1967 and 1978 in both the New York Mets and Minnesota Twins organizations before heading South to Mexico, but did get his spot in a 1975 multi-player rookie based on a 1974 season that saw him go 14-5 over 29 appearances in his first season with the Minnesota organization.
Generally a starter, he did put in a few years where he was an arm out of the bullpen, especially in the beginning of his career in the Met's system.
Sadly, he would never get that shot in the Majors, finishing up with 80 wins over 280 appearances in his professional career, retiring at the age of 30 after the 1980 season.

Love finding stuff like this!


Wednesday, January 20, 2021


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1973 career-capper for four-year Major League infielder Syd O'Brien:

O'Brien split what turned out to be his last season as a Big Leaguer with the California Angels and finally the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing in 67 games, collecting 19 hits in 97 at-bats, good for a .196 batting average.
Originally up in 1969 as a member of the Boston Red Sox, he would also play with the Chicago White Sox in 1970, the Angels in 1971 and the aforementioned split season in 1972.

All told, O'Brien finished his major League career with a .230 batting average, with 242 hits in 1052 at-bats, over 378 games, with 135 runs scored and 100 runs batted in with 24 homers.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021


On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1974 card for pitcher Andy Hassler, who was still struggling to hang on to what ended up being a nice 14-year career that ended after the 1985 season:

Hassler appeared in seven games in his second season at the Big League level, going 0-4 for the Angels with a 3.69 earned run average over 31.2 innings of work.
The following season would see him a regular starter for the Angels, appearing in 23 games while tossing 10 complete games and two shutouts, posting a record of 7-11 with a very nice 2.61 ERA over 162 innings.
He'd have a rough 1975 season that saw him go 3-12 with a bloated 5.94 ERA over 30 games, 18 of them starts, and he'd find himself sent over to the Kansas City Roylas in 1976 after an 0-6 start, finishing the season at 5-12 with a 3.61 ERA over 33 games.
He would end up generally a relief pitcher starting with the 1978 season, pitching through to 1985 and finishing up with a record of 44-71, with an ERA at 3.88 over 387 appearances and 1123.1 innings, with five shutouts and 29 saves along the way.
I remember him as this "veteran" pitcher and am only now seeing that when he retired he was still only 33 years of age! Incredible.


Monday, January 18, 2021


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Montreal Expos Warren Cromartie, who was just beginning his very nice Major League career with a handful of games during the 1974 season:

Cromartie appeared in eight games for the Expos that season, hitting .176 with three hits over 17 at-bats, with two runs scored and a stolen base.
He would spend all of 1975 in the Minors before making it back in 1976, which led to a very nice 10-year Big League career.
What a great young team those Expos had! Along with Cromartie, you had Andre Dawson and Ellis Valentine coming up around the same time as well, giving Montreal quite a stud outfield.
Cromartie would have some solid years in the latter half of the 1970’s, collecting no less that 1972 hits in each season between 1977 and 1980, along with 30+ doubles and averaging about a .285 batting mark for the period.
But, after finding himself out of the Major Leagues prematurely in 1984, he would sign with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan and put in some monster seasons through 1990, even winning the league’s MVP Award in 1989 after batting .378 with 15 homers and 72 runs batted in.
After another solid 1990 season, he was invited by Kansas City to come to Spring Training, at the age of 37, eventually batting .313 in limited play before retiring for good after 69 games.
Quite a baseball adventure for the fan favorite in Montreal.


Sunday, January 17, 2021


The last National League All-Star starter to get the on-card all-star treatment in the 1970 set is all-timer Hank Aaron, who was named to his 15th such team in 1969, a season which saw him do what he always did, flat out rake:

Aaron went on to hit 44 homers in 1969, while driving in 97 runs, scoring an even 100 and hitting .300 for the Braves, a "typical" Hank Aaron season.
Those numbers would help Atlanta to a first place finish in what was the first year of division play, with the Braves topping the West and New York Mets leading the East.
Aaron would also end up third in the National league MVP race, his highest finish since 1963 in which he also finished third.
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.


Saturday, January 16, 2021


On the blog today we have the newest addition to my 1971 "Minor League Days" thread, pitcher Jim Kaat, who was finishing up his brief Minor League career before embarking on a Hall of Fame worthy 25-year Major League career in 1960 as a member of the Charleston Senators:

Kaat would go 7-10 in his only season with Charleston in 1960, with a 3.82 earned run average over 30 appearances and 146 innings of work.
The following year he would be a full-time Major Leaguer, appearing in 36 games for the Minnesota Twins and posting a record of 9-17, with an ERA at 3.90 along with eight complete games and 200.2 innings pitched.
All the guy would end up doing in his Big League career is win 16 Gold Glove awards, with 283 wins, 31 shutouts and 2461 strikeouts in 898 games, 625 of them starting between 1959 and 1983, easily getting some arguments for a Hall of Fame spot.
Post playing career he would also coach, and move on to broadcasting where I absolutely enjoyed his Yankees game announcing, giving brilliant and entertaining insight into situations and historical angles that only a 25-year Big League pitcher could offer.

Definitely one of my favorite Baseball personalities over the years.


Friday, January 15, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1977 card for former outfielder Larry Murray, who just came off his third season of tasting the Big League life in 1976:

Murray appeared in eight games for the Bronx Bombers during the Bicentennial year after two seasons of six games apiece in 1974 and 1975.
Over those eight games he collected one hit in ten at-bats, the first hit of his career, along with two runs scored and a run batted in.
The next year would find him as a member of the Oakland A's, where he would hit .179 with 29 hits over 162 at-bats after coming over as part of the deal that got them Mike Torrez.
He also scored 19 runs while stealing 12 bases while getting the first real taste of significant play after never getting any playing time with New York in the previous three years.
However, in 1978 he’d only play in eleven games, hitting .083 with a single hit over twelve at-bats, while coming back in 1979 and get the most playing time he’d see over a season when he appeared in 105 games, hitting .186 with 42 hits over 226 at-bats.
That action would get him his first Topps card in the 1980 set, only to never appear in a Major League game again.
After only 13 games in the Minor Leagues during the 1980 season, he’d be finished with pro ball, only 27 years of age.
Go figure.


Thursday, January 14, 2021


Another fun card to add to the "WTHBALLS" checklist, a "not so missing" 1976 card for 11-game Major League outfielder Art James, who got to play for his hometown Detroit Tigers during the Summer of 1975:

James made his Big League debut in April while playing what turned out to be his last game in August, collecting nine hits in 40 at-bats which comes to a .225 batting average, also scoring two runs while driving in one.

After that taste of the Majors he'd toil in the Minors for a few more seasons before taking his talents South of the border, playing in the Mexican League between 1980 and 1982, finally retiring from pro ball at the age of 29.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for three-year Major league first baseman Dorian (Doe) Boyland of the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Boyland made his Big League debut in 1978 with six games for the Pirates, hitting .250 with two hits in eight at-bats, scoring and driving in a run .
He would be back in 1979, albeit for only four games, going 0-3 at the plate with two strikeouts before spending all of 1980 in the Minors.
In 1981 he would make it back to a Major League field, in what turned out to be the last eleven games of his brief career when he went 0-8 at the plate, collecting a walk while striking out three times.
All told, he finished up with a 21-game career that saw him go 2-for-21 at the plate, with a run scored and an RBI.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021


On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former catcher Ike Hampton, who made his Big League debut in 1974 with four games:

Hampton went 0-4 at the plate with a run batted in in what ended up being a sporadic six-year career that saw him play for the Mets and California Angels between 1974 and 1979.
Over that time he hit .207 over 113 games, with 28 hits in 135 at-bats, with 15 runs scored and 18 runs batted in.
Never a full-timer, the most action he ever saw in a season was in 1977 while with the Angels when he played in 52 games, hitting a very nice .295 with 13 hits in 44 at-bats.


Monday, January 11, 2021


Up on the blog today, and completing an entire career here on the blog with "missing" cards, is my "not so missing" 1974 card for former pitcher Jim Panther, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1973 season:

Panther appeared in 23 games for the Braves in 1973, going 2-3 with an earned run average of 7.63 over 30.2 innings pitched.
It was his third straight year of Major League action, yet he never got a card from Topps, which as stated earlier I rectified here on the blog.
All told Panther got to see Major League action in three seasons, each one playing for a different organization.
He ended up with a 7-13 career record, with a 5.26 E.R.A. and 56 strikeouts over 130 innings of work in 85 games.


Sunday, January 10, 2021


Today's blog post has New York Yankees great Thurman Munson added to my long-running "Minor League Days" 1971 sub-set, though for him those days were not that far behind when this card would have seen the light of day:


The young catcher was already an American League Rookie of the Year, which he took home the previous season, giving the struggling franchise a glimmer of hope that would pay off later on when he'd help lead them back to glory, winning two straight championships in 1977 and 1978.

His stretch between 1975 and 1978 is also incredible since he averaged about 185 hits over the four-year span, something I believe hasn’t been matched by any other MLB catcher before him, and only Ivan Rodriguez since.
Such a great career cut short by tragedy, though as I recall, Munson was seriously considering retirement by the end of the decade because of nagging injuries and missing his family because of the grind of a full-season.
Nevertheless, a Rookie of the Year in 1970, an MVP in 1976, and two straight championships in 1977 and 1978.
A wonderful career for the New York Yankees legend.


Saturday, January 9, 2021


The next 1970 card to get the "on-card all-star" banner is New York Mets outfielder Cleon Jones, who had himself quite a season in 1969, including starting for the National League in that year's "Midsummer Classic":

Jones was on his way to a career-year, finishing up with a .340 batting average, along with 92 runs scored and 75 runs batted in and 164 hits, all career-bests, while helping lead the surprising Mets to their improbable World Championship over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
Those numbers got him a seventh-place finish in MVP voting, and a lot of love in NYC among Mets fans.
Jones would play twelve of his 13-years in the Major Leagues with the Mets, finishing up in 1976 with a scant twelve games playing for the Chicago White Sox.
He'd finish with a .281 career average, with 1196 hits in 4263 at-bats over 1213 games, and of course that World Championship with the 1969 "Miracle Mets".


Friday, January 8, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1973 card for former catcher Dennis Paepke of the Kansas City Royals, his second "missing" card here on the blog over the years after a 1972 edition  almost five years ago:

Paepke appeared in only two games for Kansas City in 1972, going 0-for-6 at the plate with a walk and two strikeouts.
He would spend all of 1973 in the Minors before making it back in what turned out to be the last action he'd see in the Majors with six games in 1974, collecting two hits in 12 at-bats.
Paepke actually appeared on a multi-player rookie card in the 1970 Topps set after playing in a dozen games during the inaugural 1969 season.
After being stuck in the minors for 1970, he made it to the big leagues again in 1971 and played in 60 games for the Royals, collecting 31 hits over 152 at-bats, good for a .204 average while splitting time behind the plate and out in the outfield.

But that would be the sum total of his Big League time, finishing up with a career .183 batting average with 36 hits in 197 at-bats over 80 games.


Thursday, January 7, 2021


Any time I can create a card for a guy who appeared in only a handful of games during his Major League career, I jump right to it! And today's blog entry is just that, a "not so missing" 1979 card for  eight game Big Leaguer Scott Meyer of the Oakland A's:

Meyer's entire Big League run was during the month of September 1978, with his last game coming on October 1st.
Over that scant time in the Majors he went 1-for-9 at the plate with that hit being a double, along with a run scored and four strikeouts while catching in seven of those contests.
In only his first year of pro ball, the 20 year old would sadly never get another call up to the Majors after that, spending the next three years in the Oakland system before retiring for good after the 1981 season.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021


Fun card to add to the WTHBALLS collection, a "not so missing" 1978 card for four-game Major Leaguer Tony Chevez of the Baltimore Orioles, whose entire Big League career spanned a couple of weeks in June of 1977:

Chevez never picked up a decision over that time, throwing eight innings while pitching to an earned run average of 12.38.
He would never get the call back up to the Majors, though he would pitch another two years in the Orioles' minor league system before retiring for good in 1979, playing the entirety of his professional career for Baltimore.

Apparently, it was that fourth Major League appearance in which he hurt his arm, thereby pretty much ending his career, one that made him only the second Nicaraguan to ever play Major League ball, behind Dennis Martinez, also of Baltimore.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021


Back in April of 2016 I created a "missing" 1975 card for former second baseman Angel (Remy) Hermoso of the Cleveland Indians, using an image that was not exactly to my liking. Today I'm happy to re-create the card with a much better image:

Hermoso made a comeback of sorts in 1974, seeing big league action for the first time since the 1970 season when he appeared in only four games with the Montreal Expos.
For the ‘74 season he appeared in 48 games for the Tribe, hitting .221 with 27 hits over 122 at-bats while playing second base.
It would be the most action he saw in any of his seasons in the big leagues, and as stated earlier would be the capper as well.
For his career he ended up with a .211 average with 47 hits over 223 at-bats in 91 games between 1967 and 1974.


Monday, January 4, 2021


Up on the blog today, how about a "not so missing" 1977 career-capper for Adrian Garrett, who played the last games of his eight-year Big League career in 1976 as a member of the California Angels:

Garrett appeared in 29 games for the Halos during the Bicentennial year, hitting .125 with six hits over 48 official at-bats.
It was a typical season for the catcher-outfielder, as he would never have even close to a full season of action over his career which began in 1966 with four games as an Atlanta Brave.

He would play for four organizations: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s and California Angels, ending up with a .185 batting average with 51 hits in 276 at-bats in 163 games, with 30 runs scored, 11 homers and 37 runs batted in.


Sunday, January 3, 2021


This week's addition to my now long-running 1971 "Minor League Days" thread is the great Luis Tiant, arguably a Hall of Famer who was putting in one last great season in the Minors in 1964 with the Portland Beavers:

Tiant would end up with a record of 15-1 that year with the Beavers, along with a sweet 2.04 earned run average over 17 appearances and 137 innings pitched, with 154 strikeouts and 13 complete games.
On TOP of all that, he also made his Major League debut that season with the Cleveland Indians, going 10-4 with a 2.91 ERA and three shutouts in only 19 appearances, completing nine of his starts as a 23-year-old.
By the time he finished his career in 1982, 18 years later, he finished with a 229-172 record, with a 3.30 E.R.A., 49 shutouts and 2416 strikeouts, with two seasons of sub-2.00 E.R.A., four 20-win campaigns as well as three 200+ strikeout years.
As a kid in Brooklyn, New York in the late 70's I remember him with the Yankees, and always thought he looked like some cool grampa who was always cracking jokes. In other words, I loved him!
After getting 30.9% support in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1988, he never got close again to those numbers, topping out at 18.0% in his final year of eligibility in 2002.
Do I think he's a Hall of Fame pitcher? Tough call based on statistics alone. However I do feel that when you add in his personality, his long-lasting mark on the game in that time and place, he should be in.

"El Tiante"!!!


Saturday, January 2, 2021


Today's blog post has a revised 1970 card for former all-star outfielder Matty Alou, who was one of the starters for the National League in the 1969 "Midsummer Classic":

Alou had himself quite a 1969 season, the best of his very nice 15-year career, leading the league with 231 hits and 41 doubles while also hitting .331 and stealing 22 bases for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Back in 1966 he was also a batting champ, leading the N.L. with a .342 average while collecting 183 hits in 535 at-bats in what was his first full season of his career.
Between 1966 and 1969 he never hit below .331, and he added another three years of .300+ averages as well.
By the time he left the game he totaled 1777 hits, with a .307 batting average, and was twice named to an all-star team.
Of course, we all know that he was part of a long-lasting baseball family, beginning with him and his two brothers, Felipe and Jesus, as well as cousin Jose, before they handed off the torch to Moises Alou and Mel Rojas later on.
Pretty cool in my book…


Friday, January 1, 2021



Hope everyone is safe and well! Onto 2021...

On the blog today we have a fun "not so missing" 1973 card for former catcher Sonny Ruberto, who saw the last Big League action of his brief career in 1972 with the Cincinnati Reds:

Ruberto, whose only other Major League time was in 1969 with the San Diego padres during their inaugural season, appeared in only two games for the National League champion Reds in 1972, going 0-3 at the plate.
Back in 1969 he played in 19 games as a 23-year-old for the new Padres franchise, hitting .143 with three hits in 21 at-bats.
Surrounding that brief Big League action were 13 seasons toiling in the Minors for both the St. Louis Cardinals and Reds between 1964 and 1976, leaving the game as a player at the age of 30.

From there he would go on to manage and coach in the St. Louis organization before sadly passing away in 2014 from cancer at the age of 68.



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