Wednesday, June 30, 2021


On the blog today we have a 1975 "not so missing" card for former third baseman Ray Knight, who made his MLB debut in 1974 with the Cincinnati Reds:

Knight came up as a September call-up at the age of 21, appearing in 14 games and hitting .182 over that time, collecting two hits in 11 at-bats.
He'd spend the next two years in the Minors, but in 1977 he made it all the way back, appearing in 80 games and hitting .261 with 24 hits and 92 at-bats.
The 1978 season was more of the same for him, playing in 83 games and hitting an even .200, before putting in an excellent 1979 campaign when he'd end up fifth in the National League MVP race, hitting .318 with 175 hits, 37 doubles and 79 RBIs.
He would make his first All-Star team in 1980, eventually ending up with a .264 average over 162 games, collecting 163 hits with a career-best 39 doubles in 618 at-bats.
After one more season in Cincinnati, he moved on to the Houston Astros, where he'd suit up for two and a half years before finding himself in Queens, NY as a New York Met, becoming a part of those rough and tumble 1986 World Champions, helping the team by hitting .298 while driving in 76 runs.
In 1987 he moved on to the Baltimore Orioles, where he had a solid season, playing in 150 games and hitting .256 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs, followed by what turned out to be his final year in the Majors, now with the Detroit Tigers in 1988, hitting .217 with 65 hits over 299 at-bats in 105 games.
All told he finished his playing career with a .271 batting average, collecting 1311 hits in 4829 at-bats, with 490 runs scored and 595 RBIs, making two All-Star teams.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Today's blog post has the latest addition to my long-running celebration of Negro League Legends, this one honoring the great catcher Louis Santop:

Often called the “first Negro League superstar”, Santop was a presence behind the plate with his 6’4”, 240-pound frame, garnering the nickname “Big Bertha” once he made his debut in 1909 with the Fort Wayne Wonders.
Shortly after, he moved on to the Philadelphia Giants where he became battery-mates with another all-timer, “Cannonball” Redding, becoming the “kid battery” while also developing into a force at the plate, consistently hitting above .350, with a .400+ season thrown in.
Over the course of 14 seasons in the Negro Leagues, Santop became a top drawing card and fan favorite, even playing outfield and the corner infield positions throughout his career.
Officially, Santop is credited with a career .333 batting average between 1911 and 1926, hitting as high as .412 in in 1918 split between the Philadelphia Hilldale Club and Brooklyn Royal Giants.
Thankfully, in 2006 Cooperstown came calling, selecting him for enshrinement over 60 years after his death in 1942.

Monday, June 28, 2021


On the blog today, a career-capping "not so missing" 1973 card for former American League Rookie of the Year Ron Hansen, who played the last games of his 15-year career in 1972 with the Kansas City Royals:

Hansen appeared in only 16 games for the Royals in his final Big League campaign, hitting only .133 with four hits over 30 at-bats while putting in time at third, second and short.
Back in 1960 he was Rookie of the Year after hitting 22 homers while driving in 86 runs for the Baltimore Orioles, also finishing fifth in the MVP race at season's end.
In between he was a solid shortstop, getting some MVP attention in 1964, 1965 and 1967 while playing with the Chicago White Sox, but never having a season again like he did in 1960.
All told, by the time he retired, Hansen finished with a career .234 average, with 1007 hits and 106 homers over 1384 games and 4311 at-bats, getting named to one All-Star  team.

Sunday, June 27, 2021


On the blog today, a nifty expanded 1973 league leader card for the National League's top RBI men of 1972, three future Hall of Famers with some serious fire-power:

Leading the league in 1972 was none other than Johnny Bench, with 125 runs batted in, and giving him his second RBI title in three years after his monster 1970 campaign that saw him drive in 148 at the age of only 22!
Just behind Bench in RBIs for the 1972 season was Chicago Cubs great Billy Williams, who drove in 122 runs while also taking home the N.L. batting title with his .333 batting average.
Sadly for him, his TWO best Major League seasons happen to come when Bench had HIS two best seasons, so there you have Billy Williams coming in second place for MVP, both times behind Bench. That is some tough luck!
Coming in third place in the RBI race for 1972, "Pops" Willie Stargell, who drove in 112 runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates, his fourth time reaching the 100-RBI mark, and funny enough, helping him finish third in the N.L. MVP voting by season's end.
So here you have the top 3 RBI guys in the National League, and they all finished first through third in MVP voting as well, in the same order!
Fun stuff!
Next up, we move on to the American League and their top three RBI men for 1972!

Saturday, June 26, 2021


Next up in my on-going 1978 sub-set celebrating the "30 Home Run Club" members of the 1977 season is Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith:

Smith joined what was at the time an exclusive club when he hit the 30th home run of the 1977 season, becoming one of only a few to hit 30+ homers in a season in both the American and National Leagues, eventually settling for 32 homers.
On top of that, it was also an even MORE exclusive club when three other Dodger teammates, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Dusty baker, also hit 30+ homers, becoming the first team in baseball history to have four such sluggers in a season.
It's easy to forget just what a nice career "the other Reggie" put together over the course of 17 seasons.
Not only was he a legitimate home run threat (finishing his career with 314), but he hit .300 or better seven times during his run, and even managed to swipe 137 bases as a Major League player.
He'd finish his career with over 1000 runs scored, 1000 runs batted in, 300 homers and 2000 hits between 1966 and 1982, playing for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Friday, June 25, 2021


Up on the blog today, you know I'll take any excuse to create a card for one of the great under-appreciated players of his era, Vada Pinson, who was one of the coaches on the inaugural Seattle Mariners team of 1977:

Pinson signed with the Brewers as a Free Agent in January of 1976 after a year with the Kansas City Royals.
Sadly, the Brewers released Pinson right as the season started on April 4th, deying us an extra season of the man trying to chase 3000 hits.
Well, what would a man of his stature do with all that free time?
Take his knowledge of the game and put it to good use as a coach!

I’ve always loved his career, and wonder had he not played the bulk of his Big League time in the shadows of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson, would he have made it all the way to the Hall of Fame.
Four-times he’d collect over 200 hits, seven times over 20-home runs, nine times over 20-stolen bases, and the man only made two All-Star teams!
Just an awesome career that saw him finish with over 2700 hits, 250 homers and 300 stolen bases, while also collecting over 480 doubles and 120 triples.
Sadly, he passed away far too soon after suffering a stroke at the age of 57 in 1995.

Thursday, June 24, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1976 card for former infielder/outfielder Paul Dade, who began his Major League career with the California Angels in 1975:

Dade appeared in 11 games for California that season, hitting an even .200 with six hits in 30 official at-bats, four of those hits doubles.
The following season he'd appear in only 13 games, hitting .111 with a hit in nine at-bats, scoring two while driving in one.
In 1977 he'd get a real chance and did very well, hitting .291 over 134 games, scoring 65 runs and stealing 16 bases for his new team, the Cleveland Indians, while seemingly playing everywhere: all three outfield positions, third and second, as well as DH.
He took a bit of a drop in 1978, appearing in 93 games and hitting .254, but would have a decent year in 1979 when he split the season between Cleveland and the San Diego Padres, hitting .278 over a combined 120 games, with a career-best 25 stolen bases.
Sadly though, he would only play in 68 games in 1980 for the Padres, hitting .189 with 10 hits in 53 at-bats, in what turned out to be his last action in the Majors.
He would play in Japan in 1981, not really finding his groove to the tune of a .219 average over 37 games for Hanshin in the Central League, before coming back and playing in the Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League system in 1982, hitting a torrid .405 over 37 at-bats with 15 hits, but that would be it, and he'd retire by season's end.
All told, over 439 games, Dade hit a very respectable .270 with 355 hits over 1313 at-bats, scoring 186 runs and driving in 107, with 57 steals and ten homers between 1975 and 1980.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021


Imagine coming up as a pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers system with the name Sandy Vance!? I mean, you are conjuring up the legends Dazzy Vance AND Sandy Koufax all at the same time. Man the pressure.

Anyway, today's blog post is a "not so missing" 1972 card for Mr. Vance, he of 30 Big League games over two seasons, the last of which was 1971:

Vance made his Big League debut in 1970 with 20 games, fairing well with a 7-7 record and a nice 3.13 earned run average over 115 innings.
1971 was not as kind, as he would appear in only ten games, and while a 2-1 record is not bad, his bloated 6.92 ERA over 26 innings is.
That earned him a Minor League start to his 1972 season, and sadly he was never able to make it back to the Majors, as he would spend both 1972 and 1973 in the Minors before retiring shortly after.
All told, his two seasons yielded a record of 9-8, with an ERA of 3.83 over those 30 games, with a couple of complete games among his 21 starts.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have the FIFTH "not so missing" card creation for the blog over the years for former infielder/outfielder Doug Howard, who got NO love from Topps during his five year Major League career, this one a 1973 edition:

I believe the only card ever created for him was an OPC 1977 Toronto Blue Jays card, for whom Howard never ended up playing for, finishing his career in 1976 with 39 games as a Cleveland Indian.
Howard made his MLB debut in 1972, appearing in 11 games with the California Angels, hitting a respectable .263 with 10 hits in 38 at-bats.
He went on to go 2-21 at the plate in 1973, which translates to an .095 average along with a run batted in and walk for the Angels, which sadly for him was a "typical" year for him over his Big League tenure.
He’d play parts of five seasons in the Majors, also playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians.
All told he ended up playing in 97 games, batting .212 with 46 hits in 217 at-bats over 97 games, with five doubles, a triple and a home run.

Monday, June 21, 2021


On the blog today, a fun one to add, a 1975 "not so missing" card for Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve, who made his MLB debut with eight games in 1974:

Tekulve, who I absolutely loved as a kid during his playing career, posted a record of 1-1 over those eight games, with an earned run average at 6.00 over nine innings as a 27-year-old.
I never realized he made his Big League debut so late!
Tekulve really is an under-appreciated reliever in the games history, posting three seasons of 90+ appearances, the last which came at the age of 40 while with the Philadelphia Phillies!
Of course his best years were with Pittsburgh, twice finishing top-5 in the Cy Young race, saving 30+ games twice and 20+ four times.
He really put together an excellent 16-year career coming out of the 'pen, ending with a 94-90 record with 184 saves in 1050 games over 16-years with the Pirates, Phillies and Reds, all in relief (which I believe is still a Major League record for games without a single start in a career).
Just a great arm to depend on coming out of the bullpen.

Sunday, June 20, 2021


Moving along on my new “Expanded League Leaders” thread, we now hit the American League’s top home run hitters for 1972, shown here on my redone 1973 card:


Turns out there was a bit of a twist for this one, as there was a tie for third place, so it was a “squeeze” to get them in there along with the top two thumpers.

Leading the pack of course was the A.L. MVP Dick Allen of the Chicago White Sox, who had himself some season, almost winning the Triple Crown, led by his 37 homers while also pacing the league with 113 RBIs, and falling 10 points off the batting title to Rod Carew’s .318 average.

Behind Allen in the Home Run race was none other than New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Bobby Murcer, who smacked 33 homers that season in the middle of a great run during the Yankees “dark years”, allowing people to forget just how good Murcer was for a period of time.
In third place, as I mentioned earlier, was a tie between Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew and (surprise) the Oakland A’s Mike Epstein, who each hit 26 homers in 1972.

Of all the Oakland A’s hitters, like Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Joe Rudi and Gene Tenace, who would have thought it was Epstein that would place third in the league’s home run race?

This is the main reason I love creating these expanded league leader cards, as we all remember the first place finishers, but some of these second and third place guys seem out of nowhere!

Too much fun!

This is going to be a great thread as we head through 1973, then on to 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978 and finally 1979!

Saturday, June 19, 2021


On the blog today, a fun "On-Card All-Star" card to add to my on-going 1974 project, a totally redone card for Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk:

Being that Fisks' card in 1974 was of the landscape variety, it did not fit with the blazing bold "All-Star" banner I created for this thread, so I figured, why not just create a new portrait-oriented version?
Carlton Fisk immediately made his impact on the game, unanimously winning the 1972 Rookie of the Year Award by hitting .293 and leading the league with nine triples along with 22 homers and 61 runs batted in.
Of course, we all know he’d go on to star for both the Red Sox and then the Chicago White Sox over the next 21 seasosn, 24 overall, becoming one of the greatest catchers in the history of the game.
He'd be named to eleven all-star games, collect 2356 Major League hits, and slam 376 home runs with 1330 runs batted in and 1276 runs scored.
Of course, he’d also give us one of baseball’s all-time moments, hitting the game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series versus the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds, the image of him waving the ball fair a part of Major League history.
After eleven years in Boston, he would go on to play 13 more with the White Sox, playing until the age of 45! A tank of a man, and continue to put in solid season after season.
In 1985 at the age of 37, he set career highs in home runs (37) and Runs batted in (107), while tying his career high in stolen bases (17) while catching 130 games. Just amazing.
After missing out on a Hall of Fame selection in 1999 (how the Hell did that happen?), he made it in the following year when he was named on 79.6% of ballots, joining other all-time catchers like Campanella, Berra and Bench in baseball immortality.


Friday, June 18, 2021


I came across this magnificent photo of former slugger Jimmy Wynn a while back and just knew I would have to re-do his Topps 1977 card, so today is the day:

I mean, this would have been such a great card to go along with the '77 Mark Fidrych, to brighten anyone's day!
Though at the tail-end of his career,  Wynn put up some solid years during his excellent 15-year Big League run.
Eight times he'd top 20 homers, with three of them 30+, while also driving in 100+ runs twice, scoring 100+ runs four times and topping 100 walks six times, two seasons of which he'd lead the National League, with a high of 148 in 1969.
While slugging away, he was also a threat on the base paths, as he'd go on to swipe a total of 225 before retiring, with a high of 43 in 1965.
After a handful of games with the Milwaukee Brewers in the latter half of 1977, he called it a career, finishing with 1100+ runs scored, 1665 hits, 291 homers and 964 runs batted in, with a .250 average thrown in.
Just a fun card to add to my "virtual" collection. Hope you all agree!

Thursday, June 17, 2021


About four years ago I redesigned the 1977 Dave Pagan card to show a photo of him suited up with the Seattle Mariners, making up for the Topps' issued airbrush classic. But today I thought it'd be fun to take a closer look at the original, so here goes:

Pagan originally came up with the New York Yankees in 1973 and played with them through the 1976 season before being traded as part of a blockbuster 10-player trade on June 15th that included Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Ken Holtzman and Doyle Alexander.
After 20 appearances with the Orioles the second half of 1976, he found himself as one of the original Mariners in 1977, appearing in 24 games, all but four out of the bullpen and posting a 1-1 record with a 6.14 earned run average over 66 innings.
But on July 27th of that season he found himself on the move yet again, this time to the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he’d play one game, the last game of his MLB career, pitching three innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts.
After two years in the Pirates Minor League system in 1978 & 1979, he was out of pro ball for good, leaving the game with a 4-9 record along with a 4.96 E.R.A., 147 strikeouts and four saves over 85 appearances, 18 of them starts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Up on the blog today, a fun card to add to my long-running "Nicknames of the 1970's" thread, a 1971 edition for former California Angels pitcher Clyde "Skeeter" Wright:

Wright had himself his best Major League season in 1970, winning 22 games while pitching to a 2.83 earned run average and making his only All-Star team, while finishing sixth at the end of the year in the Cy Young race.
On July 3rd of that year he would also reach the pinnacle of his career with a brilliant 4-0 no-hitter over the Oakland A's at Anaheim Stadium.
He would go on to post two more sub-3.00 ERA's in both 1971 and 1972 while winning 16 and 18 games respectively, but would follow that up with a 19-loss season in 1973 with an ERA a full run higher at 3.68.
His 1974 season wasn't any better, as he would be now pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers, and he would go on to post a record of 9-20, with an ERA of 4.42 over 38 appearances, 32 of them starts.
He would have one more season, this one with the Texas Rangers in 1975, finishing up with a record of 4-6 over 25 games, 14 of those starts, with an ERA at 4.44 over 93.1 innings.
He would then take his talents to Japan, where he pitched with the Yomiuri Giants for three years, winning 22 games, before retiring for good.
For his MLB career, he won exactly 100 games against 111 losses, with an ERA of 3.50 over 329 appearances, 235 of them starts, with nine shutouts and 667 strikeouts in 1728.2 innings.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Today's blog post is a fun one for me to add, a "not so missing" 1970 card for Ron Blomberg, who eventually became the very first batter to ever hit as a "designated hitter" a few years later while with the New York Yankees:

Blomberg made his Major League debut in 1969 with four games, hitting .500 going 3-for-6 at the plate with a walk thrown in.
After a full season of Minor League ball in 1970, he was back in the Big Leagues for good in 1971, appearing in 64 games for the Yankees, hitting an impressive .322 with 64 hits in 199 at-bats, with 30 runs scored and 31 RBIs.
In doing some quick research for this post, though I was familiar with the man, the #1 overall pick in the 1967 draft by the Yankees, I never realized what kind of athletic stud he was coming out of High School!
Playing out of Druid Hills High School, Blomberg went on to become the only athlete ever chosen for the Parade All-American teams in football, baseball and basketball.
He also reportedly received about 125 scholarships for basketball, and over 100 football scholarships, instead signing with the Yankees for what amounts to $500,000 in today’s money ($75,000 in 1967).
Sadly repeated injuries curtailed his Big League career, going through four knee and two shoulder injuries over time, resulting him to never play a full-season and retiring by the age of 30 after only one season with the Chicago White Sox after signing as a Free Agent.
Nevertheless, the did retire with a very nice .293 career average, serving mainly as a DH with some time at first base as well as in the corner outfield positions.
All told, he spent parts of eight years in the Majors, playing 100 or more games only twice with 107 and 100 games in 1972 and 1973 respectively.

Monday, June 14, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1973 card for former outfielder Pepe Mangual, who made his Big League debut in 1972 with the Montreal Expos:

Mangual appeared in eight games and hit a nice .273 with three hits over 11 at-bats, with two runs scored and a walk.
The following season he went on to play in 33 games for the Expos, batting .177 with 11 hits over 62 at-bats.
He’d play in only 23 games during the 1974 season before having the only full season of his brief 6-year career in 1975, appearing in 140 games and batting .245 with 126 hits in 514 at-bats, scoring 84 runs and stealing 33 bases for the Expos.
But in 1976 he’d be back to a part-timer, splitting the season between the Expos and New York Mets, appearing in 107 games and batting .237 over 385 plate appearances, before getting into only seven games in 1977, the final games of his career.
He’d finish with a career .242 average, with 235 hits and 155 runs scored in 319 games, with 64 stolen bases, yet would continue to play in the Minor Leagues through the 1984 season, the final six years in the California Angels system before retiring for good at the age of only 32.

Sunday, June 13, 2021


On the blog today, the next 1977 slugger who reached the "30 Home Run Club" for that season, none other than "should be" Hall of Famer (in my eyes) Steve Garvey of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Garvey hit 33 home runs for the National League champs, the only time he reached 30+ for a season in his career actually.
Turns out it was perfect timing as he joined fellow teammates Dusty Baker, Ron Cey and Reggie Smith to become the first team in Major League history to have four such home run hitters in a season.
Garvey was humming through the mid-70's, driving in over 100 runs five times, collecting 200 or more hits six times, and taking home five Gold Gloves.
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a few hundred times: the fact that this man is NOT in the Hall of Fame, representing his era of Major League baseball, is a joke. Flat out nonsense. Beyond the numbers, the personality, the leader of a team that was shattering attendance records, helping popularize the game further, the man was an All-Star year in-year out.
In my book, seeing that the most support he ever received was 42.6%, which was in his second-year of eligibility in 1994, is nothing short of a black mark on what the Hall of Fame is.

Saturday, June 12, 2021


The next league leaders we tackle in my new "expanded league leader" card series is National League home run leaders for 1972:

We begin with the great Johnny Bench, who took home his second home run title in three years with his 40 jacks, leading to his second N.L. MVP Award.
He also drove in a league-leading 125 runs while helping the Cincinnati reds make their second trip to the World Series in three years. Not too shabby!
Coming in second place in the home run race was San Diego Padres slugger Nate Colbert, who hit 38 taters for the young Padre franchise, while also driving home 111 runs, getting him some MVP attention to the tune of an eighth place finish by season's end.
In third place, in what was easily an MVP year any other year a guy named Johnny Bench didn't win the award, was Chicago Cubs great Billy Williams, who hit 37 homers while leading the league in hitting at a .333 clip.
Once again the man took a second place finish in the league MVP race, as he did in 1970, to Johnny Bench, and I'm sure it was enough to make anyone crazy!
Nevertheless, Williams got the ultimate reward years later when he joined Bench in the Hall of Fame, so it all works out to a point!
There you have it, the top three home run hitters of 1972 on an expanded 1973 league leader card!
Next up, the American League's top-3 homer guys...

Friday, June 11, 2021


Next up in my on-going "on-card all-stars" thread for 1974 is the great Brooks Robinson, who of course was the starting third baseman for the American League in the 1973 All-Star game:

It was the man's 14th straight All-Star nod at third base for the Junior Circuit, and it would also be his 14th straight Gold Glove, on his way to 16 before he was through.
In 1958 he’d play his first full season in the Big Leagues, and it was all cruise control from there, as the great third baseman would go on to grab those 16 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award in 1964, appear in 15 All-Star games, and help guide the Baltimore Orioles to two Championships and four A.L. Pennants.
By the time he hung up that golden glove after the 1977 season, he finished with 2848 hits, 1357 runs batted in, 268 home runs and 1232 runs scored in 2896 games.
Needless to say, by the time Cooperstown came calling, he was voted in on his first try, receiving 92% support in 1983.

Thursday, June 10, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for former reliever Will McEnaney, who played in a half-dozen games during the 1978 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates:

McEnaney, who came over to the Pirates after a year North playing for the Montreal Expos, appeared in six games, not factoring in a decision, while pitching to an unsightly 10.38 ERA over 8.2 innings of work.
It was a far cry from his first three seasons in the Majors, 1974-1976 when he was part of the juggernaut "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds, winners of back-to-back championships in 1975 & 1976.
While there he had his best seasons in the Big Leagues, going a combined 9-9 with 24 saves over 149 games.
In 1979 he found himself a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, where it turned out he played the last games of his MLB tenure, appearing in 45 games and posting a record of 0-3 with an ERA of 2.95 in 64 innings, along with two saves.
However, he would spend two of the next three seasons in the Minors, never getting a chance at the Majors again, finishing up with a career 12-17 record over 269 games, with an ERA of 3.76 and 29 saves.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jerry martin, who made his Big League debut during the 1974 season with 13 games:

Martin hit .214 over that initial Major League action, collecting three hits over fourteen at-bats with two runs scored and an RBI.
He would appear in 57 games during the 1975 season, hitting .212 with 24 hits in 114 at-bats, scoring 15 runs and hitting the first two homers of his career.
He’d go on to play for another nine years before hanging them up after the 1984 season after 51 games with the New York Mets.
In between he suited up for the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals, putting in his best seasons with the Cubs in 1979 and 1980 when he hit a combined 42 home runs with 146 runs batted in.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1979 card for former catcher Ike Hampton, who appeared in just under two dozen games for the California Angels during the 1978 season:

Hampton played in 19 games that year, hitting .214 with three hits over fourteen at-bats while picking up a little time behind the plate and at first base.
Originally up with the New York Mets in 1974, he would play the rest of his abbreviated six-year Big League career with California, batting .207, with 28 hits over 135 at-bats, with four homers, 15 runs scored and 18 RBI’s, with most of his games as a catcher with some action at first, short and third.

Monday, June 7, 2021


On the blog today, yet another "not so missing" card for future Hall of Fame manager Tany LaRussa, this time a 1970 edition after his brief action in 1969:

LaRussa appeared in only eight games during the 1969 season, going 0-8 at the plate, all as a pinch hitter.
He came up in 1963 for a brief cup of coffee with the Kansas City Athletics, but wouldn't make it back up to the big leagues again until 1968, when he appeared in only five games, good for three at-bats.
Actually, in his six year playing career, he never really got a chunk of playing time in any one season.
However, ironically enough, the MOST action he ever saw was during the 1970 season while still playing for the A's, when he got into 52 games at second base, good for 106 at-bats.
He didn't make much of the opportunity, batting .198 with 21 hits and six runs batted in.
However, if there was EVER a year where Topps should have given the guy a baseball card you think it would be the only year he scraped together more than 100+ plate appearances, no?
Yet Topps didn't have a LaRussa card in their 1971 set, even though he WAS included in their sets in 1964, 1968 and 1972.
Nevertheless, between 1979 and 2011, a span of 33 years, he managed three teams (White Sox, A's and Cardinals) to 2728 victories, six pennants, three world championships, and 12 first place finishes. Easily one of the great managerial resumes out there.
And this past season he was named White Sox manager once again, returning to baseball after a lengthy absence.
Baseball lifer indeed.

Sunday, June 6, 2021


Next up in the 1978 special sub-set "30-Home Run Club", celebrating the big sluggers of 1977, is none other than all-time great third baseman Mike Schmidt, who blasted 38 taters that season:

Now, you think the 38 homers, which was the third year in a row, would have been cause for celebration.
But not in the Schmidt house, as after two straight seasons of leading the league with such a number in 1975 and 1976, as well as a home run title in 1974 with 36 homers, the 38 in 1977 was only good for fourth in his league.
However the season he had in 1977 was no slouch, as he also drove in 101 runs while hitting .274 with 104 walks, he made his third All-Star tea,. took home his second Gold Glove, and finished tenth in the MVP race.
Of course, we all know now that Schmidt still had another five home run titles ahead of him, on his way to 548 for his career, as well as three MVP campaigns and a World Championship.
Not too shabby!
All of this would eventually get him in the Hall of Fame, recognized as one of, if not THE greatest third baseman the game has ever seen.
All Hail "Schmitty"!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2021


Up on the blog today we have my "updated" 1974 Bert Capaneris card, with an added All-Star banner blazing across the front, just the way I would have liked as a kid way back when:

I was, and always will be a fan of base-card all-star designations, and always wished Topps stayed the course past the 1981 set.
For "Campy", it was his second straight All-Star nod, third overall, and he would have three more before he was done.
He was a consistent spark plug for the Athletics organization since he came up in 1964 and making quite a splash by hitting two home runs in his Big League debut off Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim Kaat.
He’d go on to lead the American League in stolen bases six times, while getting named to six All-Star teams along the way.
Of course, he would also be an important member of the three-time World Champion Oakland A’s of the mid-70s along with Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi and Catfish Hunter just to name a few.
He would end up playing 19 Major League seasons, all the way to 1983, finishing up with 2249 hits, 1181 runs scored and 649 stolen bases over 2328 games.
I fondly remember his time with the New York Yankees in 1983, this last action before retiring. Just seemed like a fun veteran to have around giving tips to youngsters like Don Mattingly.

Friday, June 4, 2021


On the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1977 card for former catcher Tim Hosley, who split his 1976 season between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A's:

Well, "technically" he split his season, as he opened the year with the Cubs but only appeared in one game before moving on to the A's.
Combined, Hosley appeared in 38 games, hitting .161 with nine hits over 56 at-bats, with a homer and four runs batted in as well as four runs scored.
He would go on to play nine seasons as a back-up catcher between 1970 and 1981, toiling in the Minors all of 1972, 1979 and 1980.
The most action he ever saw in a season would be in 1975 when he was with the Chicago Cubs and appeared in 62 games, hitting .255 with 36 hits in 141 at-bats, pretty much setting career-highs across the board in every category.
By the time he retired, he finished with a .215 batting average with 79 hits over 368 at-bats in 208 Big League games, playing for the Tigers, Oakland A’s and Cubs.

Thursday, June 3, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1977 card for former catcher John Tamargo of the St. Louis Cardinals, who made his Big League debut in 1976:

Tamargo appeared in 10 games for the Redbirds that year, hitting an even .300 with three hits over ten at-bats, with two runs scored and an RBI.
He'd be back in 1977, though only appearing in four games, going 0-for-4 at the plate while picking up some time behind the plate.
In 1978 he’d end up splitting the season between St. Louis and the San Francisco Giants, batting .224 over 42 games, with 22 hits in 98 at-bats.
The following year he’d end up splitting between the Giants and Montreal Expos, hitting .247, before playing out what would be his last as an active player in 1980 with the Expos, hitting .275 over 37 games, with 13 runs batted in, both career highs.
Overall for his major League tenure, Tamargo ended up hitting .242 with 59 hits in 244 at-bats, scoring 19 runs while driving in 33 over 135 games.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Time to go and give former speedster Lonnie Smith a 1979 "dedicated rookie" since I absolutely abhor the black and white multi-player rookie cards Topps had in their set that year:
Smith appeared in only 17 games for his Big Leaguer debut in 1978, going 0-4 at the plate though stealing four bases along with four walks as a 22-year-old.
It would be more of the same in 1979 when he appeared in another 17 games, hitting .167 with five hits and three runs batted in.
In 1980 he played in only 100 games, but he made them count, helping the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Championship when he hit .339 with 33 steals, scoring 69 runs while driving in 20, good for a third place finish in the league's Rookie of the Year race.
Two years later, now a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, he'd have his finest season in the Majors when he helped the team win a championship, hitting .307 while stealing 68 bases, leading the league with 120 runs scored while collecting a career-best 182 hits and receiving the only All-Star nod of his career.
Though he'd never reach those lofty numbers over the rest of his career, he did put in 17 seasons of solid ball, finishing up with a .288 career average, with 370 stolen bases, 909 runs scored and 1488 hits over 1613 games and 5170 at-bats.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021


On the blog today we have a do-over for former batting champ Tommy Davis and his 1970 card, which had some generic image of him while being depicted as a Houston Astros player:

I found a really nice image of him suited up with the Astros, so I figured I'd "fix" the original, which also adds a little more color as a bonus because of the uniform.
Davis began the 1969 season as a member of the one-year wonders Seattle Pilots before finding himself down South with Houston.
Combined he put together another solid season, driving in 89 runs while hitting .266 with 142 hits and 32 doubles between the two teams.
It would be a hectic period for the former two-time batting champion, playing for no less than NINE teams between 1967 and 1976 after starting his career with eight years as a Los Angeles Dodger.
The highlight of his career is easily his 1962 season when he won the first of his two straight batting titles, hitting .346 with 230 hits, 27 homers, 153 RBIs and 120 runs scored.
Incredibly, those numbers only got him a third place finish in the National league MVP race at season's end, with teammate Maury Wills taking the award and Willie Mays seemingly robbed with a second place finish.
By the time he finished up, he played in 1999 games, with a nice .294 lifetime average, 2121 hits, 153 homers and 1052 runs batted in.
The advent of the Designated Hitter prolonged his career between 1973 and 1976, as the previous few years were sporadic efforts at best with no less than five teams: the White Sox, Pilots, Astros, A's and Cubs.
As a D.H. he found new life with the Baltimore Orioles as their main "man with the bat" between 1973 and 1975.
One last thought: interesting to remember that between 1949 and 1998, Tommy Davis was the ONLY Major League player to reach 150+ runs batted in for a season, when he did so in 1962, funny enough the ONLY time he even topped 100 in his 18-year career.


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