Monday, May 31, 2021


On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1973 card for former pitcher Jim Bibby, who made his MLB debut in 1972 with the St. Louis Cardinals:

Bibby appeared in six games for the Cardinals, going 1-3 with a 3.35 earned run average in 40.1 innings of work, all starts.
After six appearances with the Cardinals to start off the 1973 season, Bibby found himself down in Texas, and would soon go on to throw a no-hitter for his new team on July 30th against the eventual World Champion Oakland A’s.
He would go on to have a nice 12-year career that saw him go 111-101 with a 3.76 earned run average over 340 appearances, 239 of which were starts, tossing 19 shutouts along the way.
His best seasons would be his back-to-back years with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and 1980 that saw him go 31-10, leading the league in winning percentage both times, while being named to the National League all-star team in ’80 while finishing third in the Cy Young race.

Sunday, May 30, 2021


Ok now.

Today we move on in my new "Expanded League Leaders" thread to the American League and it's leading batters for the 1972 season on a 1973 card:

Of course, we start off with Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who won his second of what was to be seven batting titles, hitting .318, the lowest average of any of his titles, but still enough to get the job done.
Following him is a bit of a surprise, which really only goes to show you the impact of having expanded league leaders back then, as the second best hitter in 1972 for the Junior Circuit is "Sweet Lou" Piniella of the Kansas City Royals, who hit .312 while leading the league with 33 doubles, leading to his only All-Star birth.
Coming in third, just ten points of a Triple Crown, was the Wampum Walloper" himself, Dick Allen, who of course wound up with an MVP Award for his monster 1972 campaign when he led the league in homers, RBIs, walks, on-base percentage and slugging in his first season in the South Side.
I believe that if he collected about eight more hits over the course of the season he would have taken the Triple Crown!
Nevertheless, his 1972 season was brilliant, adding the MVP hardware to a Rookie of the Year Award of 1964.
Well, there you have it! Onto the next expanded leage-leader card, what will it be?
Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 29, 2021


Continuing with my new "on-card" All-Star project, the 1974 set, we move on to the starting second baseman for the American League in the 1973 Midsummer classic, Hall of Famer Rod Carew:


Again, trying to mimic what Topps did with their All-Star designation in other sports, "bold and beautiful"!

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.

Friday, May 28, 2021


On the blog today, a fun "Nicknames of the 1970s" card to add to the thread, a 1975 edition for "Mongo" Craig Kusick:

Kusick was still a young buck in 1975, his third season in the Big Leagues, appearing in 57 games for the Minnesota Twins and hitting .237 with six homers and 27 runs batted in.
He would go on to put in seven seasons as a big league player, all but 24 games of them with the Twins, with those aforementioned 24 with the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of his tenure in 1979.
All told he batted .235 for his career with 291 hits over 1238 at-bats, with 46 homers and 171 runs batted in in 497 games played.
I will always remember his 1979 Topps card, with his thick 'stache and goofy grin! I loved it from the moment I saw it. He looked like some weekend softball player rather than a Major League first baseman.

Thursday, May 27, 2021


Today's blog post has a fun card to create, a "not so missing" 1970 card for Ozzie Virgil, who saw his last action in a Major League game during the 1969 season, even though he was a coach at that time:


Virgil last saw Major League action in 1966, as a member of the San Francisco Giants, before he eventually went into coaching in 1969.

However, during that initial coaching season, he found himself with an opportunity to get a plate appearance on June 27th of that year, going 0-1 at the plate at the age of 37, returning to his coaching gig.
Originally up in 1956 with the New York Giants, Virgil put in nine seasons in the Big Leagues, hitting .231 with 174 hits over 753 at-bats in 324 games playing for five teams: Giants, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics.
His son Ozzie Jr. eventually became an All-Star catcher in the 1980's, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays between 1980 and 1990.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1973 career-capper for former outfielder/first baseman Mike Fiore, who played the last of his Big League games in 1972, splitting the season between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres:

Fiore combined to hit .063 with one hit over 16 at-bats in his abbreviated season, appearing in 24 games, 17 with the Cardinals and seven with the Padres.
Originally up with the Baltimore Orioles in 1968, the only season he saw any significant action was in 1969 when he played in 107 games for the new Kansas City Royals franchise, setting career-highs across the boars, hitting a respectable .274 with 93 hits over 339 at-bats, hitting 12 homers while driving in 35.
Over the course of his five seasons in the Majors, Fiore hit .227 playing for Baltimore, Kansas City, the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis and San Diego, collecting 126 hits over 556 at-bats spread out over 254 games, with 75 runs scored and 50 RBIs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1975 card for former pitcher Jeff Terpko, who made his MLB debut during the 1974 season with the Texas Rangers:


Terpko appeared in three games as a 23-year-old rookie, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 1.29 earned run average over seven innings.

He would spend all of 1975 in the Minors before coming back in 1976, appearing in 32 games for Texas, going 3-3 with a very nice 2.39 ERA over 52.2 innings, all out of the bullpen.
In 1977 he'd now play for the Montreal Expos after getting traded for Rodney Scott, and he would appear in only 13 games, going 0-1 with an ERA at 5.66 in 20.2 innings.
Turns out it would be the last Major League action he'd see, as he would go on to spend all of 1978 in the Baltimore Minor League system, retiring at season's end.
All told, for his Big League career he appeared in 48 games, going 3-4 with a nice 3.14 ERA over 80.1 innings, entirely out of the bullpen, striking out 41 while walking 48.

Monday, May 24, 2021


Here's a card that should have been for Tom Bruno, a pitcher who had a nice 1978 season, but instead was given a spot on one of those horrid black-and-white multi-player rookie cards in the 1979 set:


Bruno's 1978 season was excellent, with 18 appearances and 49.2 innings pitched, posting a record of 4-3 with a sparkling 1.99 earned run average, with three starts and a save thrown in.

I would think that would merit a dedicated card, especially when he was already in his third year of Big League ball, starting out with 12 games for the Kansas City Royals in 1976 before appearing in another 12 games for the Toronto Blue Jays during their inaugural season of 1977.
He’d finish his career after the 1979 season, posting a record of 2-3 with a 4.23 E.R.A., with 27 strikeouts over 38.1 innings and 27 appearances, ending up with a record of 7-7 with a decent 4.22 E.R.A., 80 strikeouts and a single save over 69 games and 123.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, May 23, 2021


Up next in my new 1978 sub-set celebrating the "thumpers" of 1977, "The Bull" Greg Luzinski's membership card in the "30-Home Run Club", finishing third in the Major Leagues for 1977 with his 39 taters:

Luzinski was in his prime when this card would have seen the light of day, coming off another second-place finish for N.L. MVP while driving in a career best 130 runs with those 39 homers and a nifty .309 batting average.
1978 would be more of the same, with 35 homers to go with 101 RBIs, 85 runs scored and 32 doubles, this time garnering him a seventh-place finish in the MVP race, along with his fourth straight All-Star nod.
Think about this: Luzinski retired after the 1984 season with 307 homers, 1128 runs batted in, and 1795 hits, and he was STILL only 33 years of age.
It’s easy to forget that he really put up great numbers while retiring at a relatively young age, even if he played for parts of 15 seasons between 1970 and 1984.

Saturday, May 22, 2021



After my 1970 "On-Card All-Star" project, where I added all-star banners on the actual base card of starters for the previous year's All-Star game, I've decided to move along to the 1974 set, trying to best mimic what Topps did with the All-Star cards from other sports that year.

Let's begging with the American League, and first base, which was Chicago White Sox great Dick Allen:

If you look at what Topps did with their hockey, basketball and football sets around that year, they went with a bold, in-your-face all-star field on cards.
I always liked the way the 1974 all-star cards looked in the other sports, especially football with their dedicated black templates which was totally different from "regular cards".
But for this, I leaned more toward the hockey and basketball card all-star designs, so here you have it.
For Dick Allen, it was his sixth All-Star nod, with one more to follow in 1974 in a career that is Hall-worthy in my opinion when taken in context of the era.
The man was a beast at the plate, putting up numbers that were consistently up in the league-leaders year after year.
Needless to say, he took home the Rookie of the Year in 1964, and in 1972 would take home the MVP trophy while with the White Sox when he paced the American League with 37 homers and 113 RBI's, while just missing out on the Triple Crown, batting .308, just ten points off the league-leading mark by perennial winner Rod Carew.
By the time he left the game at the age of 35, Allen hit over 350 homers, batted .292 and scored 1099 runs with 1119 RBI's.
The seven-time all-star also led his league in triples once, walks once, on-base-percentage twice and slugging three times.
I'm not saying the man is a lock-tight Hall of Fame candidate, but I do think in light of some of the guys already in, HE should also be in there.
The fact that the most support he got was an 18.9% showing in 1996 seems like a joke to me.
What do you all think?

Friday, May 21, 2021


Came across this great image of former pitcher Lowell Palmer and figured it'd be fun to create a "not so missing" 1973 card, St. Louis Cardinals version, after a Cleveland Indians version I created a while back:

Palmer began the 1972 season with the Cardinals, appearing in in 16 games and posting a record of 0-3 after coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies.
He'd finish that year with one game for the Indians, tossing two innings and giving up a run while striking out three.
He’d spend all of 1973 in the Indians’ Minor League system before making it back for one last hurrah in 1974, now a member of the San Diego Padres, going 2-5 with a 5.67 ERA over 22 appearances and 73 innings.
After a couple of more Minor League seasons in 1975 and 1977, he called it a career, finishing up with a 5-18 record, along with an ERA of 5.29 over 106 appearances and 316.2 innings pitched in five Major League seasons.
But of course his ever-lasting legacy as a Major League player were those cool baseball card photos, sporting the shades and exemplifying that sweet decade of the 1970’s.

Thursday, May 20, 2021


Been a little while since I added to my long running "Nicknames of the 1970s" thread, so today I post up my 1977 edition for former all-star second baseman Felix Millan, aka "The Cat":


Millan came to Shea from the Atlanta Braves, where he put up some excellent Major league seasons, getting names to three straight All-Star teams and winning two Gold Gloves.

While with the Mets he again was solid, collecting as many as 191 hits in a season (1975), which would stand for many years as the team record, hitting as high as .290 before a gruesome injury pretty much ended his career in 1977.
After Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Ed Ott tried to break up a double-play, Millan took exception to the slide and exchanged words, leading to Millan striking Ott with his fist.
Ott, who was a former wrestler, literally picked Millan up and slammed him down onto his knee, injuring Millan's shoulder so badly it ended his career. Just like that. Terrible.
All told, Millan played between 1966 and 1977, hitting .279 with 1617 hits in 5791 at-bats over 1480 games, scoring 699 runs and driving in 403 for the Braves and Mets.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021


On the blog today, a career-capping "not so missing" 1979 card for former pitcher Mark Wiley, who finished up a brief two-year MLB career with six games:


Wiley only had two years on the big league level, 1975 with the Minnesota Twins, when he appeared in 15 games, going 1-3, and again in 1978 when he split time with the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays for six appearances, finishing 1-0 for the year with an ERA at 6.10 over 10.1 innings

In between he was a workhorse in the Minors, logging some serious innings between 1970 and 1979, winning 120 games while tossing 21 shutouts.
All told, his career numbers: a 2-3 record with a 6.06 ERA, 21 appearances with four starts and 49 innings of work.
He later went on to be a pitching coach for a few teams: the Orioles,  Indians, Marlins and Royals.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021


On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Mike Rogodzinski, who was just about to start his third season in the Big Leagues:

Rogodzinski appeared in 17 games for Philadelphia in 1974, going 1-for-15 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI.
Rogodzinski batted .263 with five hits over 19 official at-bats for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1975, scoring three runs while driving in four.
He made his MLB debut during the 1973 season, playing in 66 games and hitting .238 with 19 hits in 80 at-bats, including the only two home runs he’d hit in his career.
It seems after this 1975 action he retired for good, without even any more Minor League time, finishing up with a .219 average, with 25 hits in 114 at-bats over 99 games, all for the Phillies between 1973 and 1975.

Monday, May 17, 2021


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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