Saturday, July 31, 2021


On the blog today, we move on to the National League in my on-going "On-Card All-Star" thread where I slap a nice All-Star banner on a player's base Topps card from a particular year, and we begin with the great Hank Aaron at first base for the N.L.:

Of course I went and used my own Hank Aaron custom that I introduced on the blog a few months back, sticking with the base Topps design instead of the "special" that was originally used.
Just a great picture of the legend smiling, enjoying life, on his way to baseball history.
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, July 30, 2021


Today we head over to the American League in my on-going 1978 special "30 Home Run Club" sub-set celebrating the big bashers of 1977, with the Junior Circuit's leader, Jim Rice:

Rice took home the first of his three career home run titles in 1977 when he paced the league with 39 home runs, to go along with 114 runs batted in, a .320 batting average, 206 hits and an amazing 15 triples!
Really, I still say Rice does NOT get the accolades he deserves for his monster seasons between 1975 when he broke in as a stud rookie and 1986 when he reached 200 hits for the fourth time.
A monster at the plate: 2400+ hits, 382 homers, 1451 runs batted in and a .298 lifetime average.
Five times would he finish in the running for Most Valuable Player besides the year he took it home in 1978.
What. A. Player!

Thursday, July 29, 2021


On the blog today I'm happy to add to my long-running "Negro League Legends" series started years ago, today including shortstop Dick Lundy:

Considered one of the greatest shortstops in Negro League history, it’s a crime that Lundy hasn’t been selected to the Hall of Fame as of this release.
He spent 33 years years as a player and manager in the Negro Leagues, once hitting as high as .484 in 1921 and of course being one of the “Million Dollar Infield” along with Oliver Marcell, Frank Warfield and Jud Wilson, playing for the Baltimore Black Sox in 1929.
Nicknamed “King Richard”, he was both an incredibly gifted fielder with a cannon for an arm as well as a magnificent hitter, credited with a batting average of about .320 between 1916 to 1937.
As a player-manager of the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, he led them to a Pennant in both 1926 and 1927 in the Eastern Colored League.
Among the players he is credited with mentoring are future Hall of Famers Ray Dandridge and Monte Irvin.
When will Cooperstown give him his rightful place in their Museum? Long overdue.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Today's blog post has a 1972 "not so missing" card for former reliever Ramon Hernandez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who made it back to a Big League mound in 1971 after two years in the Minors:

Hernandez fared well in his 10 appearances for the World Champs, going 0-1 with a sparkling 0.73 earned run average over 12.1 innings, with seven strikeouts while closing out seven games with four saves.
He'd be a solid arm out of the pen for the Bucs over the next four seasons, putting in sub-3.00 ERA's each year while averaging about eight saves and logging 21 wins along the way.
In 1976 he'd be traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he'd be into the 1977 season before playing what turned out to be the last games of his career as a Boston Red Sox player.
All told Hernandez finished with a career 23-15 record over nine seasons, with a nice 3.03 ERA over 337 appearances and 430.1 innings pitched, saving 46 games and striking out 255.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


Hey, I can't help myself. When you find as sweet an image of Willie Mays as this one, you create a card for the man no matter what. So since I created a landscape edition 1974 "career-capper" here on the blog years ago, I will go ahead and create a portrait edition:

Mays capped off a tremendous career following the 1973 season, finishing up with the Mets in which he got to appear in his first World Series since 1962.
As a matter of fact, Mays actually did appear in the 1974 set, on card #473 which highlighted Game #2 of the series where the Mets won 10-7.
Anyway, not much to get into about arguably the best all-around player in baseball history. 3000+ hits, 660 homers, 1900+ R.B.I.'s., 1951 Rookie of the Year and N.L. M.V.P. in 1954 and 1965. But he was much more than just stats. He was the "Sey Hey Kid".
By the time the 1970's hit, he was a walking legend of the sport, and being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 was the cherry on top of it all.

Monday, July 26, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1971 card for former #1 overall draft pick and N.L. MVP Jeff Burroughs, who made his Big League debut in 1970 at the age of 19:

The #1 pick by the Washington Senators in 1969, Burroughs appeared in six games during the 1970 season, hitting .167 with two hits over 12 official at-bats, both scoring and driving in a run.
His next two seasons were more of the same, sporadic action for the Washington/Texas teams before 1973, when he played a full season and delivered big time, hitting 30 homers with 85 RBIs, hitting a very nice .279 at the age of only 22.
Of course the following season he'd give the Rangers a big-time year as he would go on to take home the MVP Award after hitting 25 homers, with a league-leading 118 RBIs and a career-best .301 batting average, making his first All-Star team.
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 overall 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.
He'd put together a very nice 16-year career that saw him hit 240 homers while driving in 882 runs between 1970 and 1985.

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Today we reach the final American League player to get the "on-base-card" All-Star banner for 1974, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter:

Hunter had himself quite a year in 1973, topping 20 wins for the third straight season with 21, going 21-5 with a 3.34 earned run average and 124 strikeouts over 36 appearances.
Along the way he tossed three shutouts while completing 11 games, pitching a total of 256.1 innings.
Of course more importantly he also helped the Oakland A's win their second straight World Series, and they weren't done yet as they'd march to their third straight championship in 1974, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course we all know Hunter would become one of the early big-time Free Agents, signing with the New York Yankees in time for the 1975 season, and he'd go on to enjoy another two championships, helping the "Bronx Zoo" Yanks win it all in both 1977 and 1978.
Sadly, though still only 33 years of age in 1979, he called it a career after injuries took their toll, finishing up with a record of 224 and 166, with an ERA of 3.26 with 42 shutouts and 2012 strikeouts over 500 games, 476 of those starts, completing 181.
In 1987 he'd be voted into the Hall of Fame, and sadly just 12 years later he would pass away at the age of only 53 due to ALS.

Saturday, July 24, 2021


Moving on to pitching categories now in my on-going "Expanded League Leaders" thread for 1973, we have the National League's top three pitchers in terms of earned run average:

Of course, if we're talking the N.L. and pitching performances for 1972, it's all about Philadelphia Phillies ace and future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who had himself a Triple Crown year after coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The lefty paced the Senior Circuit with a sparkling 1.97 ERA over 41 starts, tossing an incredible 346.1 innings and posting eight shutouts, with 27 wins and 310 strikeouts.
Needless to say, you'll be seeing Mr. Carlton in the first spot on future "Expanded League Leader" cards over the next few weeks!
Coming in second is someone you may have forgotten about, or perhaps not even known about, former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Gary Nolan, who was right behind Carlton with his own 1.99 ERA, which he ended up with after 25 appearances, all starts, with two shutouts and 90 strikeouts in 176 innings of work.
The righty helped the Reds make it all the way to the World Series with his 15-5 record, leading the team in wins as well as his crisp ERA.
Coming in third in the N.L. ERA chase is another future Hall of Fame pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers great Don Sutton, who posted a career-best 2.08 ERA along with a league-leading nine shutouts over 33 starts and 272.2 innings of work.
He also topped 200 strikeouts for the fourth time in seven seasons as a Big League pitcher, on his way to over 3500 before he was done.
Next up, the American League's best ERA guys, featuring another two future HOFers and one who many have made the case for!

Friday, July 23, 2021


Another National League addition to my on-going 1978 "30 Home Run Club" sub-set, another Los Angeles Dodger! 

Today's addition is "The Penguin" Ron Cey, who hit a career-best 30 to give the Dodgers four sluggers reaching the mark, a new Major League record at the time:

Cey had perhaps his finest season in the Big Leagues in 1977, hitting the aforementioned 30 "jacks" while also driving in a career-best 110 runs for the eventual National League champs, as he also made his fourth straight All-Star team while finishing eighth in the MVP race.
Over 17 seasons you could pretty much pencil him in for about 25 home runs, 80-85 runs batted in, and a .275 batting average.
After the 1982 season he moved on to the Chicago Cubs where he’d play for another four seasons, then finish up his career with a single season in Oakland.
By the time he retired, he collected 1868 hits, with 316 home runs, 1139 RBIs and 977 runs scored with a .261 batting average.
He was named to the All-Star team six straight seasons between 1974 and 1979, and garnered MVP consideration five seasons, with four of them consecutive from 1974 to 1977.
The man was as solid and dependable as they came between 1973 and 1985!

Thursday, July 22, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1978 card for former infielder turned manager Ron Washington, who made his major League debut during the 1977 with the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers:

Washington played in 10 games that season, finally making it to the "big show" after toiling in the Minors since 1971, and did very well, hitting a scorching .368 with seven hits over 19 at-bats.
Sadly though, he would spend the next three-plus seasons back in the Minors before appearing in 28 games for the Minnesota Twins in 1981.
He would play the next eight years in the Majors, with Minnesota through 1986 before moving on to the Baltimore Orioles in 1987, the Cleveland Indians in 1988 and finally the Houston Astros for seven games in 1989.
Never a full-time player, he played in a total of 564 games over his 10-year career, hitting .261 with 414 hits in 1586 at-bats, only once appearing in over 100 games (119 in 1982).
Post-playing career he would turn to coaching, then managing, guiding the Texas Rangers between 2007 and 2014, including two straight World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, as well as four straight 90+ wins seasons between 2010-2013.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


On the blog today, we have a 1973 "nickname" card for former pitcher Burt Hooton, aka "Happy", who had himself a very nice 15-year Major League career:

Hooton was just coming off his first full season in the Big Leagues when this card would have seen the light of day, posting an excellent 2.80 earned run average over 33 appearances with three shutouts.
The highlight of course would be April 16th of 1972, making just his fourth start of his career, when he no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies 4-0 at Wrigley Field.
As I stated earlier, he would go on to have an excellent 15-year run, mainly with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which saw him be a part of three National League champion teams, as well as a World Championship in 1981.
His post-season resume was very good, finishing at 6-3 with an ERA at 3.17 over eleven starts, with 33 strikeouts and a complete game.
His final regular season numbers: 151 wins against 136 losses, a very nice 3.38 ERA and 1491 strikeouts in 480 appearances (377 of those starts), and 2652 innings pitched, with 29 shutouts and seven saves.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1975 card for former New York Mets pitcher Nino Espinosa, who made his Big League debut with two games in 1974 at the age of 20:

Espinosa threw nine innings in that time, allowing five runs for a 5.00 earned run average while not factoring in a decision, starting one of those games.
He'd be back in 1975, when he went 0-1 with an 18.00 earned run average over three innings in another two games, giving up eight hits and six runs.
He would fare much better in 1976, going 4-4 with a respectable 3.67 ERA over 12 appearances, five of them starts, throwing 41.2 innings.
Over the next three years, he would be a solid starter for both the Mets in 1977 and 1978, then the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979 when he'd top 10+ wins each season, with a high of 14 in 1979, tossing over 200 innings each time.
Sadly for him though, 1980 would see him appear in only 12 games for the eventual World Champion Phillies, as he would finish with a record of 3-5 with a 3.77 ERA before splitting what turned out to be his last season in the Big Leagues in 1981.
In that final season, still only 27 years of age, he'd play for both the Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, appearing in 14 games, going 2-5 with an ERA of 6.15 over 73.2 innings of work, apparently leaving the game for good shortly after.
All told, he finished his Major League career with a record of 44-55 over eight seasons, with an ERA at 4.17 over 140 games and 820.1 innings pitched, with 24 complete games and five shutouts along the way.

Monday, July 19, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1970 card for 11-game Major League pitcher Mike Adamson, who played out his brief career with six appearances in 1969 with the Baltimore Orioles:

Adamson played the entirety of his career with the Orioles, throwing 25.2 innings between 1967 and 1969.
Over those 11 appearances and 25.2 innings he was hit hard to the tune of a 7.46 career eanred run average, giving up 21 runs and 28 hits along with 22 base on balls.
By the time he pitched his last game on May 7th of 1969 (two days before yours truly was born I might add!), he finished with a record of 0-4.
He'd go on to pitch two more seasons in the Minors in 1970 and 1971, but never make it back to a Major League mound, retiring at the age of only 23.

Sunday, July 18, 2021


On the blog today, we add vastly underrated Kansas City Royals outfielder Amos Otis to the "on-card All-Star" thread I've been working on for some time:

Otis, who really is so overlooked, made his fourth All-Star team in 1973, finishing third in the American League MVP race after hitting an even .300 with a career-best 26 home runs while driving in 93.
Two years prior, in 1971, he led the A.L. in stolen bases with 52, while also taking home the first of his three Gold Gloves.
He was nothing but steady through the entire decade, and was the American League's top run scorer with 861. driving in 90+ three times while stealing 30+ bases five times.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season after one year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he ended up with 193 homers, 341 stolen bases, 1092 runs scored and 2020 hits along with a batting average of .277 and 1007 runs batted in.
Considering the “dead ball” era of the early-70’s in the American League, his numbers are up there with the best of them, and it’s sad he gets lost among his contemporaries when looking back at that time in Major League baseball.

Saturday, July 17, 2021


Rolling along in my on-going "expanded league leaders" card series, we move on to the 1972 American League stolen base leaders:

We begging with the top base thief in the Junior Circuit, Oakland A's speedster Bert Campaneris, who led the league with his 52 stolen bases, the sixth and final time during his career he would take that crown.
"Campy" would end his 19-year Big League career with 649 steals, topping 50+ steals seven times, with a high of 62 in both 1968 and 1969.
Next up in the stolen base race, falling just one short of the lead is Dave Nelson of the Texas Rangers, whose 51 steals were easily his career-high.
Nelson played the first full season of his career in 1972, the first in Texas for the relocated Rangers (formerly Washington Senators), and though he'd hit only .226 he made it count, also walking 67 times.
He would steal 43 bases the following season while hitting a career-high .286, making his only All-Star team, but would be out of baseball by 1977 after to abbreviated seasons with the Kansas City Royals.
Speaking of the Royals, the third place finisher in stolen bases that year would be Freddie Patek, who swiped 33 bases after stealing 49 the year before.
Patek would eventually be a league-leader himself in 1977, stealing a career-best 53 to help Kansas City come in first in the West, while finishing up his career with 385 between 1968 and 1981.
There it is folks! The top three stolen base leaders in the American league during the 1972 season, shown in all their glory on an expanded 1973 league-leader card.
Hope you're enjoying this so far!

Friday, July 16, 2021


Today's blog post has the newest addition to my on-going 1978 "30 Home Run Club" sub-set, Dusty Baker, whose historic 30th home run clout of 1977 gave the Los Angeles Dodgers four batters reaching the mark that year, the first time ever accomplished by any one team:

Though certainly no slouch at the plate, it would be the only time Baker reached the milestone over his 19-year playing career.
It was a great year for him, as he hit .291 along with his 30 homers, with 86 runs batted in and 86 runs scored for the potent Dodger line-up that would help the team reach the World Series.
He’d go on to have a nice 19-year Major League career, hitting 242 homers with 1981 hits, 1013 RBI’s and a .278 average over 7117 at-bats in 2039 games.
When his playing days were over he coached and eventually became a manager himself in 1993, leading the San Francisco Giants for 10 years, culminating in a National League Championship in 2002 before losing to the Angels in the World Series.
From there he moved on to the Chicago Cubs for four years, then the Cincinnati Reds for another six seasons before taking the helm of the Washington Nationals this season.
Over 21 seasons as a manger he has won over 1700 games and counting, and adding to an already 40-year Major League career!

Thursday, July 15, 2021


On the blog today, a fun card to add to the virtual collection, a 1979 "not so missing" card for future ace Dave Stewart, who made his Big League debut with one single game in 1978:

Stewart pitched a total of two innings in his 1st taste of the Big Leagues, allowing one hit while striking out one for the eventual National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
He would be back in the Minors for all of 1980 before coming back for good in 1981, appearing in 32 games for the World Champ Dodgers.
His Major League career would be spotty at best for the first seven years of his career before he hit his stride in 1987, and hit it well, reeling off four straight 20-win seasons as a member of the powerhouse Oakland A's.
He was the ace of a staff that helped the A's make three straight World Series, winning it all in 1989 against the San Francisco Giants.
In those four seasons between 1987 and 1990 Stewart finished third, fourth, second and third again in the Cy Young races.
But he wasn't done yet, joining the Blue Jays in 1993 and helping them win a World Series when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies.
If you're keeping score at home, that is three World Championships for Stewart, with three different teams.
For a time there in the late-80's the man was about as dependable as there was, making 35+ starts each season, leading the American League each and every season between 1988 and 1991, as well as innings pitched twice.
By the time he retired after the 1995 season, he finished with a record of 168-129, with an ERA of 3.95 over 523 games and 2629.2 innings of work, throwing nine shutouts while collecting 19 saves along the way.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


On the blog today, a career-capping "missing" 1973 card for former relief pitcher Pete Mikkelsen, who finished up a very nice nine-year Major League career in 1972 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Mikkelsen appeared in 33 games for the Dodgers in 1972, going 5-5 with a 4.06 earned run average over 57.2 innings of work, while saving five games.
Originally up with the New York Yankees in 1964, Mikkelsen was a solid arm out of the bullpen his rookie year, posting a record of 7-4 over 50 games, all out of the 'pen, saving 12 games and striking out 63 batters in 86 innings.
In 1966 he found himself a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he had perhaps his best year in the Majors, going 9-8 with a 3.07 ERA and 14 saves over 71 games and 126 innings, career bests in all categories except for ERA.
Over his nine seasons under the Big League sun, Mikkelsen finished with a record of 45-40, posting a career 3.38 ERA over 364 games and 653.1 innings, with 48 saves and 436 strikeouts along the way.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


On the blog today, thought I would go ahead and give former pitcher Jerry (Gerry) Janeski a do-over on his 1971 Topps card, being that the original was quite a classic as far as "airbrushing" went:

Now, for those of you who don't remember the original, allow me to bestow the pleasure:

Not really much of an attempt by the fine people at Topps on this one to try and "create" anything close to a real cap.
Nevertheless, decades later it gave me the opportunity to create a revised version showing Janeski (is it "Gerry" or "Jerry"?), suited up for the team he played for during the 1970 season, the Chicago White Sox.
Nice action image that follows what Topps was slowly introducing with the 1971 set, alongside classic cards like Lindy McDaniel, Thurman Munson, etc.
After coming up as a rookie with the Chicago White Sox in 1970 and posting a 10-17 record over 35 starts and 205.2 innings pitched, Janeski was traded in February of ‘71 for former “Bonus Baby” Rick Reichardt.
Janeski would pitch three years in the big leagues, finishing up with a 11-23 record over 62 games, 46 of which were starts, including a 4.73 earned run average, a shutout and a save, with 105 strikeouts over 280 innings.

Monday, July 12, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1974 card for former catcher Elrod (Ellie) Hendricks, who really should have had a card in the years set after his 1973 playing time:

Hendricks appeared in 41 games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1973, going 18-for-101 with 15 runs batted in and 10 walks over 114 plate appearances.
It was somewhat of a typical season for the backstop, as he would never truly get full-time action in any of his seasons in the Big Leagues.
Between 1969 and 1971 he did manage to get into 100+ games, with a high of 106 in 1970.
But for the rest of his career it was always under the 100-game mark, filling in behind the plate wherever he was playing.
For his 12-year career spanning 1968 to 1979 he played in 711 games, with 415 hits in 1888 at-bats, giving him a .220 lifetime average with 205 runs and 230 runs batted in, playing two World Champions team: 1970 Baltimore Orioles and 1977 New York Yankees.

Sunday, July 11, 2021


Hello everyone!
For those interested, my newest custom set, "Negro League Legends", is now available for purchase! See below all photos for ordering instructions.
I've included images of every aspect of the set to give you all as full an idea of what went into this as possible:


There are 25-individual player cards, as well as a title card featuring Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. There is also a raised glossy insert celebrating one of the greatest ballclubs ever to take the field, the 1931 Homestead Grays.
I have also included a four-stamp panel of the stamps I had printed up for the packaging, figuring you'd all like a few of those thrown in to help complete the release.
All of this comes bound in gold foil, then packaged inside a special fold-out folio you see in the images attached.
These sets are numbered, and I have made 80, with an additional 20 possible if needed.
The sets are $20 plus $5.00 shipping, and if you buy more than one set the shipping stays the same, just like with my pack releases. So $5 shipping no matter how many sets you buy!
On top of all of that, once the sets are sold, I will ask you to check your sets to see which one of you ALSO had an extra tag inserted into your set. Only ONE of you will then also win at no extra charge the special 1-of-1 Josh Gibson card I mentioned last week.
I didn't add images here so as not to confuse anyone. But once the set is sold I will send out another email with all the images you need to see which one of you gets the special bonus card!
The 1-of-1 Josh Gibson card is mounted on a gold foil block, which was then mounted on the center panel of the fold-out folio, with special glossy photos of the all-time great decorating the sides. There is only ONE made, and it was a blast creating it!
If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask!
To order, it is the usual paypal address:
$20 per set, one-time $5.00 postage fee.
Thanks for looking!


Moving further along in my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, today we have the 1972 National League stolen base leaders in the 1973 set, featuring two future Hall of Famers and a guy who seemed well on his way early in his career:

Starting off, of course we begin with the great Lou Brock, who once again paced the league in stolen bases, this time with 63.
It was the sixth of eight stolen base titles for the St. Louis Cardinals great, who would take the baseball world over two seasons later when he'd swipe a then record 118 bases at the age of 35.
Right behind him with 58 stolen bases was another Hall of Famer, Joe Morgan, who made a splash in his first season with the burgeoning "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds, leading the league with 122 runs scored and 115 walks, as well as a .417 on-base-percentage while helping the team make it all the way to the World Series before losing to the three-peat Oakland A's.
Coming in third with his own 55 stolen bases in 1972 is Houston Astros young stud Cesar Cedeno, who was still only 21 years of age when he led the league with 39 doubles, collecting 103 runs scored and 179 hits while batting a cool .320 with 22 homers and 82 runs batted in.
Really, when look at Cedeno's first eight seasons, ending in 1977 while still only 26 years of age, it seemed certain he was going to go on to do incredible things in Major League ball before injuries hampered his progress, though he did go on to play 17 years, through the 1986 campaign.
Nevertheless, there you have it, three elite players who paced the league in stolen bases and went on to put in wonderful Big League careers.
Up next, the American League's top base-stealers!

Saturday, July 10, 2021


On the blog today, we add Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter to my on-going "30 Home Run Club" 1978 sub-set, celebrating the first of his two 30-homer campaigns, which occurred during the 1977 season:

The 23-year-old bounced back from an injury-riddled 1976 season to hit 31 homers along with 84 runs batted in for the Montreal Expos, on his way to taking over "best National League catcher" title from the great Johnny Bench a few season's later (sorry Ted Simmons!).
Actually I remember when Gary Carter really took over the "best catcher" regardless of league from Johnny Bench around 1981. It was like he was suddenly everywhere with that smile of his!
Sure you still had Carlton Fisk producing in the American League, but Carter really took over as the top backstop and held onto that title for pretty much the rest of the decade.
This was a guy who had nine seasons of 20+ homers and four 100+ R.B.I. seasons as a catcher. Not too shabby!
After finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1975, Carter also went on to have 11 All-Star game nods, five Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Gloves and seven seasons where he garnered M.V.P. votes, finishing in the Top-10 four times.
By the time he retired after the 1992 season, he finished with 2092 hits, 324 home runs and 1225 runs batted in.
Needless to say Cooperstown came calling, and in 2003 he easily got voted in after being selected on 387 of 496 ballots, securing his place in baseball history forever.
However, sadly years later Carter was diagnosed with brain cancer, and despite undergoing aggressive treatment he succumbed to the disease about nine months later in February of 2012.

Friday, July 9, 2021


Up on the blog today, let's go and give former Cy Young winner Steve Stone a do-over for his 1977 card since he was originally painted up with his upcoming team, the Chicago White Sox:

Stone spent the previous three seasons on the North Side of Chicago playing for the Cubs, winning 8, 12 and 3 games respectively between 1974 and 1976.
Funny enough, before his Cubs tenure he played one season with the White Sox in 1973, going 6-11 over 36 appearances with a 4.24 earned run average.
He'd have his best season yet in 1977 with the White Sox, winning 15 games against 12 losses, posting an ERA of 4.51 over 31 starts, with eight complete games.
He'd go on to win 12 more games in 1978 before finding himself in Baltimore for the 1979 season, where he'd go 11-7 with a 3.77 ERA over 32 starts.
Of course, the 1980 season was one for the ages, as he would come out of nowhere to win 25 games, make his only All-Star team, and eventually take home the A.L. Cy Young Award.
Along with the hefty win total he posted an ERA of 3.23 over 37 starts, with a shutout and 149 strikeouts in 250.2 innings of work.
However, sadly for him he would develop arm troubles during the 1981 season, and incredibly would see his Major league career end just like that, finishing 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA over 15 games, 12 of them starts, throwing only 62.2 innings.
All told, Stone finished with a record of 107-93 in 11 seasons, with a 3.97 ERA and seven shutouts over 320 games, 269 of them starts, and 1788.1 innings pitched.

Thursday, July 8, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1976 card for former second baseman and future big time MLB manager Davey Johnson, who appeared in one single game during the 1975 season before heading to the "Land of the Rising Sun":

Johnson was coming off a decent 1974 season with the Atlanta Braves that saw him hit 15 homers while hitting .251 over 136 games, this after his monster 1973 season that had him hit an incredible 43 homers along with 99 runs batted in.
However in 1975 after only one game where he'd single in his only at-bat, he was released by the Braves and ended up signing with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League, where he would play over the next two seasons.
Anyone have any idea why he was dumped by the Braves just four games into the new season? I never heard of why and am interested in the sudden move, especially by a cellar-dwelling team.
Regardless, he'd be back in the Majors in 1977, making his comeback with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Up on the blog today we are adding Bobby Murcer to my on-going "On-Card All-Star" project, slapping a big beautiful "All-Star" banner on the base card of starting All-Stars, as Topps did between 1975 and 1981:

Murcer really did have a very nice career, especially those seasons between 1969 and 1977 when he drove in over 80 runs eight times, while topping 90 five of those seasons.
He hit as high as .331 (1971) while hitting as many as 33 homers (1972), while also leading the league in runs scored with 102 in 1972, OBP with a .427 mark in 1971 and total bases with 314 again in 1972.
He made five straight All-Star teams from 1971 through 1975, and was in the top-10 in MVP voting three straight years: 1971-1973.
Much more importantly, the man was one of the nicest human beings on the planet, as I can attest to, meeting him on more than a few occasions.
He was just as “real” as it got.
Rest in Peace Bobby. You are truly missed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Really fun card to add to the blog today, a "not so missing" 1970 card for former N.L. MVP George Foster, who began his career with the San Francisco Giants:

Foster appeared in nine games for the Giants in 1969, hitting a robust .400 with two hits in five at-bats, with both a run scored and an RBI.
It was his first taste of the Majors, and he would again appear in nine games during the 1970 season, hitting .316 with six hits over 19 at-bats, including his first double, triple and home run.
The 1971 season would bring him incredible fortune when he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert, part of the building process that would eventually lead to the juggernaut "Big Red Machine" two-time champion Reds teams of the mid-70s.
As for Foster’s career, all he would go on to do is give the Reds another big time bat along with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, with Joe Morgan soon joining them in 1972, forming one of the all-time great line-ups the game has ever seen.
Between, Foster, Bench, Rose and Morgan, it would give the Reds five MVP seasons in the decade, just insane, with Foster having his career-year in 1977 when he slammed 52 homers along with 149 RBIs and 124 runs scored, all leading numbers in the National League.
He’d go on to play 18 years in the Big Leagues, finishing in the top-3 in MVP voting three times, while making five All-Star teams and retiring with 348 home runs, 1239 RBIs and just under 2000 hits with 1925.

Monday, July 5, 2021


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1973 card for former speedster Frank Taveras of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who was just starting out as a 22-year-old and a handful of games in the Majors in 1972:

Taveras appeared in four games during the 1972 season, this after one single game in 1971, and through those five combined games he failed to get a hit, going 0-3 at the plate with one walk and a strikeout.
He would spend all of 1973 in the Minors before getting substantial playing time in 1974 when he appeared in 126 games, hitting .246 with 13 stolen bases and 33 runs scored.
It would be more of the same in 1975, as he would hit .212 over 134 games, upping his stolen base total to 17, with 44 runs scored and 80 hits.
1976 would be a strong season for the shortstop, as he would hit .258 but steal 58 bases for the Pirates, scoring 76 runs over 144 games and 519 official at-bats.
Between 1977 and 1979 Taveras would have his best Major League seasons, collecting as many as 182 hits (1978), scoring as many as 93 runs (1979), and leading the league with 70 stolen bases in 1977.
In 1979, unfortunately for him, he was shipped off to the New York Mets after appearing in only 11 games for Pittsburgh, going from a team that would eventually win the World Series that year to the basement dwelling Mets.
He would play full-time over the next two years with the Mets before finding himself North of the border in 1982 with the Montreal Expos, appearing in only 48 games, the last of his Big League career, hitting only .161 with 14 hits in 87 at-bats, with four steals.
All told, Taveras played parts of 11 seasons, hitting .255 over 1150 games, collecting 1029 hits and stealing exactly 300 bases, with 503 runs scored and 214 RBIs.

Sunday, July 4, 2021


On the blog today, we move on to the American League and the top three Runs Batted In leaders of 1972 in my on-going "Expanded League Leaders" thread:

Of course we lead off with the great Dick Allen, who paced the league with his 113 RBIs in a season that saw him narrowly miss a Triple Crown.
His 113 RBIs were a career best and the third and final time he'd drive in over 100, all with different teams: Philadelphia Phillies (1966), St. Louis Cardinals (1970), and White Sox in 1972.
Coming in second in the RBI race is former Kansas City slugger John Mayberry, who enjoyed the first of what would be three 100-RBI seasons during his career when he drove in exactly 100 in 1972, along with 25 homers and a .298 batting average.
It was a breakthrough year for the 23-year-old after spending parts of the previous four seasons with the Houston Astros.
Right behind Mayberry in the RBI chase was former New York Yankees star Bobby Murcer, who was right in the middle of his prime when he drove in 96 runs, a career-best, while leading the league with 102 runs scored and 33 home runs, which was second best in the league behind Allen.
Well, there you have it! The top-3 RBI men in the American League for 1972, as we move on to the stolen base kings of the National League next week!

Saturday, July 3, 2021


On the blog today, let's go ahead and add the great Johnny Bench to my on-going 1978 sub-set celebrating the sluggers of 1977, "30 Home Run Club":

Bench was part of the gang with his 31 homers, the last time he'd reach that mark in his illustrious career.
Along with those 31 home runs he drove in 109 runs while hitting .275, making his tenth All-Star team and taking home his tenth straight Gold Glove.
All-time best at his position? I'd be hard-pressed to argue this.
Of course as we all know, he would go on to put together a career rarely seen by ANY player, let alone a catcher: TWO N.L. MVP Awards, 14 all-star games, 10 Gold Gloves, two home run titles and three RBI titles, all while donning the “tools of ignorance” for 17 seasons, all with the Reds.
As a kid growing up in the 1970’s, this man was a mythic figure, a “god”.

Friday, July 2, 2021


On the blog today, a new addition to my ongoing "On Card All-Star" series, where I imagine if Topps always had the "All-Star" designation on a player's base card through the 1970's, and today it is the great Reggie Jackson:

Sure, his 1974 card is a classic no-matter-what, but how awesome would it have been to have THIS coming out of a pack back then?!
The man was in his prime come 1974, coming off an MVP season where he helped the Oakland A's win their second straight World Championship, defeating the New York Mets.
And he wasn't nearly done yet!
The 1974 season would see him lead the A's to a third straight championship, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, before he would eventually help the New York Yankees win two straight in 1977 & 1978, where the legend of "Mr. October" was born, and I was GLAD to be growing up in NYC as a kid at that time to see it all!
The man made 14 All-Star teams, and was certainly an icon of the sport, AND of the era!

Thursday, July 1, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1971 card for former outfielder Larry Biittner, he of that crazy unique last name, as he made his Big League debut with two games in 1970:

Biittner (that surname always mesmerized me as a kid!), went 0-2 at the plate in his MLB debut, but was back the following season when he appeared in 66 games for the Washington Senators in their final season before relocating to Arlington Texas, becoming the Texas Rangers in 1972.
In his 1971 season he hit .257 with 44 hits in 171 at-bats, scoring 12 and driving in 16 at the age of 24.
He'd get a full season in during 1972, playing in 137 games and hitting .259 with 99 hits in 382 at-bats, scoring 34 runs and driving in 31.
For some reason he was left out of the ‘74 set even though he played in 83 games during the 1973 season.
In that campaign he he collected 65 hits over 258 official at-bats. Good for a .252 average with a homer and 12 runs batted in.
He’d go on to play straight through to the 1983 season before retiring, a nice 14-year career that saw him hit a very respectable .273 with 861 hits in 3151 at-bats in 1217 games
I’ll always remember him as a Chicago Cubs player, for whom he suited up between 1976 and 1980, even though he also played for the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds.


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