Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Time again to give former Cincinnati Reds catcher Don Werner a "not so missing" card, this time a 1977 edition to go with his 1976 and 1977 creations from years back:

Werner of course had the misfortune of backing up the greatest catcher of them all, Johnny Bench, on one of the greatest teams of them all, the mighty "Big Red Machine" juggernaut from the mid-70's.
In 1976 he appeared in only three games, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a double and an RBI, his second taste of the Big Leagues after seven games in 1975.
Werner made his Big League debut at the age of 22 and went 1-for-8 at the plate, good for a .125 batting average over seven games.
Werner actually saw substantial playing time in 1978, appearing in 50 games for Cincinnati, with 17 hits over 113 at-bats, for a .150 batting average with 11 runs batted in and seven runs scored.
Actually not a bad hits-to-RBI ratio!
Anyway, he would not see Major League action in 19
79 though would make it back in 1980 before moving on to the Texas Rangers in 1981 and 1982.
For his seven year career Werner hit .176 with 49 hits in 279 at-bats over 118 games, all while catching behind the plate.

Monday, August 30, 2021


On the blog today, we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1973 card for former pitcher Paul Doyle, who saw the last of his MLB action with two games for the California Angels in 1972:

Doyle, who spent all of 1971 in the Minors, made it back to a Big League mound in 1971, appearing in two games, throwing a total of 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, though not factoring in a decision.
He came up to the Big Leagues in 1969 and went 2-0 with a very nice 2.08 earned run average for the Western Champ Braves, appearing in 36 games while picking up four saves.
After the season he was purchased by the Angels, where he would go 3-1 with a 5.14 ERA over 40 games before finding himself finishing the 1970 season with the San Diego Padres, going 0-2 the rest of the way with a 6.43 ERA.
He would appear in the aforementioned two games in the big leagues 1972, before closing out his short three-year career, finishing with a 5-3 record with a 3.79 ERA in 87 games and 90.1 innings with 11 saves.

Sunday, August 29, 2021


Next up in my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, where I give each league a dedicated league leader card with the top-3 finishers in each statistic as opposed to one card featuring the top in both leagues, is the 1973 A.L. strikeout leader card, with some top-notch arms:

First up, the arrival of Nolan Ryan, who made his first season as a California Angel a big one, striking out 329 batters in 1972, something we would all get used to for the next TWENTY years!
Ryan would go one to post an incredible six 300 strikeout campaigns, the last of which was in 1989 when he was 42 years old!
I mean, come on!
By the time the "Ryan Express" was done after a magnificent 27 year career, he'd make a joke out of the strikeout category, finishing with an astounding 5714.
The man posted fifteen 200+ strikeout seasons over his career, while going on to win 324 games, throwing seven no-hitters and 61 shutouts.
Just absurd.
Behind him in second place was a man who once held the Major League record for career strikeouts by a left-hander, Detroit Tigers ace Mickey Lolich, who whiffed 250 batters in 1972, the fifth time he reached 200 strikeouts in a season.
Lolich was coming off a 1971 season that saw him lead the league with 308 strikeouts, while also leading the league with 25 wins, good for a second place finish in the Cy Young race behind wunderkind Vida Blue of the Oakland A's.
By the time Lolich retired after the 1979 season, he finished with 2832 strikeouts, the most ever collected by a left-hander in MLB history.
Coming in third place in the A.L. with 234 strikeouts was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry of the Cleveland Indians, who took home the Cy Young Award with his 24-16 record, with a 1.92 ERA and five shutouts, while tossing an amazing 342.2 innings over 41 appearances, all but one starts.
It was the fifth time for Perry reaching the 200-mark in strikeouts, something he'd do another three times before he was done, finishing with 3534 for his career.
Three super-stud arms finishing 1 through 3 in strikeouts, making for what would have been a nice card to add to the collection had it been done differently by Topps.

Saturday, August 28, 2021


Up on the blog today we have the next National League player to get the "on-base-card" All-Star treatment, Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams, aka "Sweet Swingin' Billy from Whistler":

It is amazing when you consider all the great ballplayers that came out of Alabama.
Just yesterday I profiled Oscar Gamble, also from the same state, as well as thumpers like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Lee May, George Foster, Rudy York, Mule Suttles, Heinie Manush and Monte Irvin to name just a FEW!
Anyway, for Williams, it was to be the last All-Star nod of his great 18-year career, the sixth overall honor in his age-35 season.
By the time he retired, he finished with 2711 hits, 1410 runs scored, 426 home runs, 1475 runs batted in and a .290 batting average over 2488 games.
Along with his Rookie of the Year in 1961, he was a two-time runner-up to the MVP Award (thanks to Johnny Bench each time) in 1970 and 1972 and a six-time All-Star.
What a career he put together, yet always in the shadows of giants like teammate Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Nevertheless, though it took him six years of eligibility to make it, he was elected for a rightful place in Cooperstown in 1987 when he received 85.7% of the vote.
Just a great player all around.

Friday, August 27, 2021


Today on the blog we come up to Oscar Gamble in my on-going 1978 sub-set celebrating the 30-home run hitters of 1977, "30 Home Run Club", somewhat of a rip-off of the great 1977 Topps football "1000 Yard Rushers" idea:

As any of you know, I love Oscar Gamble, and any time I can have an excuse to create another custom for the man, I will!
In Gamble's lone season with the White Sox, as part of their celebrated "South Side Hit Men" lineup, he hit an amazing 31 homers in just 408 official at-bats.
The 31 homers were a career high, though it was not because he never found that stroke again, as he would have seasons such as 1979 when he hit 19 homers over 274 at-bats, 1980 when he hit 14 homers in 194 at-bats, and 1982 when he hit 18 homers in 316 at-bats.
The man really was a homer machine, as evidenced by his 200 career homers in just 4502 at-bats.
Nevertheless, he still put in a very nice 17-year Big League career, playing between 1969 and 1985, seeing the most time with the New York Yankees, for whom he played seven years.
An icon of 1970's baseball, sadly Gamble passed away in January of 2018 at the age of 68, and he is terribly missed by yours truly.

Thursday, August 26, 2021


Came across this nice image of former pitcher Grant Jackson suited up with the New York Yankees, and thought it would make for a great re-done 1977 card, since he was originally shown as one of the upcoming "original" Seattle Mariners, for whom he never actually ended up playing with. So here you go:

Jackson was sent over to the Bronx in mid-season in 1976, and boy did he contribute to the Yankees reaching the World Series for the first time in 14 years, going 6-0 over 21 appearances, with two starts thrown in and a shutout, posting a wonderful 1.69 earned run average.
Already a veteran of eleven Big League seasons by the 1976 campaign rolled around, he would eventually go on to pitch 18 years in the Majors, winning a championship in 1979 as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting an All-Star nod back in 1969 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
His final numbers were solid, posting a record of 86-75, with a 3.46 ERA over 692 appearances and 1358.2 innings, saving 79 games while throwing five shutouts.
I always loved when players were shown on cards for teams they never ended up playing for, as with Jackson in 1977.
He was drafted in the expansion draft of 1976 by Seattle on November 5th, but was traded to Pittsburgh about a month later for Craig Reynolds and Jimmy Sexton, thus the "Mariners" call-out you see on his 1977 card.
Gives you a clear cut idea of when Topps would go to press for their baseball cards.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Fun card to add to the "wthballs" virtual card collection, a "not so missing" 1970 card for Gold Glove winning outfielder Cesar Geronimo, who you may remember later on as part of the juggernaut "Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds teams of the mid-70's:

Geronimo made his Big League debut with 28 games in 1969 with the Houston Astros, hitting .250 with two hits over eight at-bats, including a double.
Over the next two seasons he'd never really get any full-time action with Houston, and that would all change when he was part of the famous Joe Morgan trade before the 1972 season, sending him to the rising Cincinnati Reds team.
Geronimo would flourish, winning four straight Gold Gloves between 1974 and 1977, hitting as high as .307 in 1976, and give the two-time World Champion Reds a solid defender out in centerfield through the rest of the decade.
In 1981 he found himself in Kansas City, where he played through the 1983 season, never playing more than 59 games in any one season, retiring at the age of 35.
All told, Geronimo hit .258 over 15 seasons, with 977 hits in 3780 at-bats and 1522 games, winning two championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976, and the aforementioned four Gold Gloves for his defensive prowess.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Well, I thought today's blog post was an oversight on my part, however I JUST found that I originally added the great "Bullet Joe" Rogan to my "Legends of the Negro Leagues" way back in 2017, not too long after beginning this sub-set. In that case, let us revisit the man and his greatness:

Casey Stengel once claimed Rogan was, “one of the best, if not the best, pitcher that ever lived.”
According to some records, Rogan won the most games in Negro Leagues history, while ranking fourth all-time in career batting average!
Consider these numbers: 116-50 career win-loss record, along with a 2.59 earned run average, as well as an incredible .338 batting average. Just amazing numbers.
In 1924, the man would hit .395 while going 18-6 on the mound, leading the Kansas City Monarchs to their second title, then going on to defeat the Hilldales of the Eastern Colored League in the very first Black World Series.
The following year, all he would do is post a record of 17-2 while batting .381, once again leading the Monarchs to a league title, though he would injure his knee before a rematch with Hilldale in the World Series, in which the Monarchs lost in six games.
Historian Phil Dixon compiles all of Rogan’s stats in all league play over his 23 years and has him at over 350 games won with over 2000 strikeouts, while also collecting over 2500 hits with 350+ home runs and over 500 stolen bases!
Just an amazing pro career that needs further appreciation, though the ultimate compliment would come Rogan’s way in 1998 when Cooperstown came calling.

Monday, August 23, 2021


Not too long ago my buddy Jason Schwartz asked me to create a "dedicated" 1972 Harmon Killebrew highlight card celebrating his 500th Major League home run, which he hit in 1971. 

Originally on the blog some years ago, I created a highlight card that combined both 500th homer milestones for Killebrew and Frank Robinson, who also reached the mark in 1971. Well here's the "dedicated version" to celebrate "Killer's" 500th:

The future Hall of Famers reached the milestone almost a month apart during the 1971 season, with Killebrew getting there first on August 10th, and Robinson joining him on September 13th.
The pair would eventually end up with 1159 home runs between them! Killebrew smashed 573 lifetime homers while Robinson topped him with 586.
As a kid getting into baseball history in the late-70's/early-80's I became obsessed with Killebrew, since I never knew about him (getting into baseball around 1976/1977), so seeing his career numbers blew me away.
573 lifetime home runs, six-time American League home run champ, 100+ runs batted in nine times, 11-time All-Star, and Hall of Fame induction in 1984.

Sunday, August 22, 2021


Today on the blog we move on to strikeouts in my on-going 1973 "expanded league leaders" project, where I give each league a dedicated league-leader card, and this one is one doozy, featuring three of the best pitchers of the era:

We begin of course with Steve Carlton, "Lefty", who was coming off his epic "triple crown" season of 1972, dominating the league on his way to the first of his four Cy Young Awards.
Carlton struck out 310 batters over his 346.1 innings, winning 27 games for a last place team, along with eight shutouts.
The man COMPLETED 30 of his 41 starts, and pitched to a sparkling 1.97 earned run average, giving up only 76 runs. Incredible.
Behind Carlton in the strikeout race is another legend, Tom Seaver of the New York Mets, who was the N.L. strikeout king in both 1970 and 1971, this time runner-up with 249 K's.
Seaver was in his prime, winning 21 games, tossing three shutouts and finishing the season with a 2.92 ERA over 262 innings of work.
His 8.6 K's per nine innings actually led the league, something he would do six of seven seasons between 1970 and 1976!
In third place with 208 strikeouts in 1972 is yet another Hall of Fame hurler, Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals who finished with 208, the last of his nine 200-strikeouts seasons over his amazing career.
For Gibson, 1972 was the final "great" season of his 17-year career, posting a record of 19-11 with a 2.46 ERA over 34 starts, completing 23 of them with four shutouts.
In 1974 he would become (at that time) only the second pitcher to ever reach 3000 strikeouts, with only legend Walter Johnson ahead of him in the category.
Well, there you have it! The National League's top strikeout guys. Now onto the American League next week!

Saturday, August 21, 2021


Moving right along in my long-running "On-Card All-Star" thread where I slap a big beautiful "All-Star" banner on a player's base Topps card, we have the National League's starting third baseman in 1973, Ron Santo:

Now, as I did with Carlton Fisk, I needed to recreate Santo's base 1974 Topps card since his original was a landscape layout, so I came up with this one, which presents well I believe.
Santo was named to his ninth, and final All-Star team in 1973, as he entrenched himself as THE National League third sacker during the era, just like Brooks Robinson did over in the American League.
Santo was winding down a wonderful 15 year career by then, one that would see him finish with five Gold Gloves, 342 homers, 2254 hits, 1331 runs batted in and the aforementioned All-Star nods.
Sadly however, Cooperstown dropped the ball and finally selected him for Hall of Fame enshrinement two years after his passing in 2012.
Really is a shame he wasn't given that honor beforehand, which he deserved.

Friday, August 20, 2021


Today on the blog we move on to "Mr. October", the great Reggie Jackson in my on-going "30 Home Run Club" sub-set for the 1978 set, celebrating the game's top sluggers of 1977:

Now, I am NOT even going to try and top what could be the greatest Topps card ever in Reggie's base 1978 card. Personally, my second all-time favorite card (behind the 1976 Johnny Bench).
But I tried to emulate it as much as I could without repeating it, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Reggie did NOT disappoint in his first season with the Yankees, hitting 32 homers while driving in 110 runs, along with a very nice .286 batting average and 93 runs scored.
Of course, it was the 1977 Postseason that really paid off for the Bronx, as he'd launch the Yankees to their first championship in 15 years by demolishing the Los Angeles Dodgers almost single-handedly, hitting .450 with five homers and eight runs batted in with 10 runs scored in six games!
The man certainly was already a star by then, but this was the defining moment where he became baseball royalty!
What an icon not only of the era, but of baseball's long and rich history!

Thursday, August 19, 2021


On the blog today we have a re-do for Bob Aspromonte and his 1971 card, which originally had him in one of those subtle airbrush Topps jobs with his upcoming team, the New York Mets, but here showing him with the Atlanta Braves, for whom he played in 1970:

For those that need a refresher on his original 1971 card, here you go:

Nothing crazy, just a nice little upgrade to reflect where he played the previous year in that classic Braves uni of the time.
Aspromonte wrapped up a decent 13-year career in 1971, playing for the Dodgers, Colt .45's/Astros, Braves and Mets.
For the Mets in his final season, he appeared in 104 games, hitting .225 with 77 hits over 342 at-bats, driving in 33 runs while scoring 21 himself.
In 1324 games played for his career, he collected 1103 hits over 4369 at-bats, good for a .252 average with 60 homers and 457 runs batted in.
His brother Ken was also a long time Major League player as well as manager. He even appears in the 1972 set on a card I profiled a while ago because it looks like the photo was taken in the middle of the street in my old neighborhood. I kid you not. (Look it up. So odd).

Wednesday, August 18, 2021


On the blog today, we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1973 card for former pitcher Ron Klimkowski, who finished up a brief four-year Major League career with 16 games as a New York Yankee in 1972:

Klimkowski came up with the Yanks as a 25-year old in 1969, having a nice debut where he threw 14 innings over three games, allowing only one run to the tune of a sparkling 0.64 ERA.
The following year he appeared in 45 games, going 6-7 with a very nice 2.65 ERA in 98.1 innings, even throwing the only shutout of his career while also collecting a save.
1971 saw him with the Oakland A's, where he appeared in 26 games and post a record of 2-2 with a nice 3.38 ERA in 45.1 innings, saving two games while spending all year as a reliever.
In what turned out to be the last action of his Big League tenure, Klimkowski was back with the New York Yankees in 1972, appearing in 16 games, going 0-3 with a 4.02 ERA, starting three games and collecting one save, striking out 11 and walking 15.
He would spend all of 1973 in the Yankees' Minor League system, without getting another shot at Major League ball again, retiring after the season.
All told, the man had a very nice 2.90 ERA over his career, appearing in 90 games and going 8-12 with a shutout, four saves, and 79 strikeouts in 189 innings of work.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Today the blog offers up a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Los Angeles pitcher Greg Shanahan, who played a total of 11 games in his brief two-year Major League career:

Shanahan, who was originally up with the Dodgers for seven games in 1973, came back for four games during their 1974 season which saw the team go all the way to the World Series before losing to the three-peat Oakland A's juggernaut.
For Shanahan, he never factored in a decision over his career, posting an earned run average of 3.57 in 22.2 innings of work, striking out 13 while walking nine.
After the 1974 season he'd toil in the Minors in 1975 and 1977 for both the Los Angeles and Kansas City Royals organizations, but never get a shot back to the Big Leagues again.

Monday, August 16, 2021


On the blog today I thought we'd take a look at a Topps negative I found floating around the web for former pitcher Bob Johnson's 1974 traded card:

As always, just interesting to see how Topps went about their airbrushing to have a player on their "new" team, in this case for their new idea of a "traded" sub-set, which they would repeat two years later in 1976.
Johnson was sent to the Cleveland Indians from the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he pitched for three years after coming up with the Kansas City Royals in 1970.
What I always remember about Johnson is that he had a hard-luck year in 1970 when he became the only pitcher to strike out 200 or more batters in a season, yet fail to win 10 or more games.
Pitching for the Royals that year, Johnson went 8-13 with a 3.07 earned run average, while whiffing 206 batters, tossing four shutouts and completing ten of his 26 starts.
That is a nice rookie year in the Majors if you ask me!
The following year he found himself in Pittsburgh and won a championship with them, even starting a game in the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
All told, he posted a career 28-34 record, with a 3.48 ERA and 507 strikeouts over 183 games, 76 of which were starts, and 692.1 innings.

Sunday, August 15, 2021


On the blog today we go and give San Francisco Giants shortstop Chris Speier a blazing "All-Star" banner on his 1974 base card, as part of my on-going "On-Card All-Star" thread:

Speier really started his career in fine form, making the All-Star team three of his first four seasons, even getting some MVP consideration in 1972 after hitting 15 homers with 72 runs batted in with 151 hits at the age of 22.
Though he couldn't keep up the production of his early years in the league, he did eventually put in 19 seasons in the Big Leagues, retiring after the 1989 season with 1759 hits, a .246 batting average and 770 runs scored.
Will always remember that he was a staple of my childhood baseball card packs growing up in the late-70's/early-80's, pulling what seemed to be DOZENS of Chris Speier cards out of packs in 1981 when he was a member of the Montreal Expos.

Saturday, August 14, 2021


This week's "Expanded League Leader" card is one for the American League's top three winning pitchers of 1972. Three studs if there ever were any:

We begin with the two tied for first with 24 wins each, knuckle-baller Wilbur Wood and Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
For Wood, it was his second of four straight 20-win seasons, as he was racking up the innings with an astounding 376.2 in 1972. Think about that for a minute!
The man STARTED 49 games for the Chicago White Sox, completing 20 of them, tossing eight shutouts along the way and striking out 193, with a final record of 24-17.
All of those numbers were good enough for a second place finish in the Cy Young race at the end of the year because of the next guy, Gaylord Perry.
Perry, who led the National League in wins in 1970 with 23 as a member of the San Francisco Giants, took to his new league immediately, winning 24 games for the Cleveland Indians, finishing with a record of 24-16 over 41 appearances, 40 of those starts, with a brilliant 1.92 earned run average and five shutouts.
He too racked up the innings, completing 29 of those starts and finishing with 342.2 innings of work, with 234 strikeouts.
THOSE numbers would be the ones that brought home a Cy Young Award, the first of his two over his storied career.
Next up with 22 wins is the league leader from 1971, Detroit Tigers pitcher Mickey Lolich, who would have won himself a Cy Young of not for the previous two guys, as he'd finish the year with a record of 22-14 over 41 starts, completing 23 of them and tossing yet again an incredible 327.1 innings with four shutouts and 250 strikeouts.
It would get him a third place finish in the Cy Young race, this after his incredible 1971 season which saw him finish second after leading the league with 25 wins, throwing an astounding 376 innings when he completed 29 of 45 starts, striking out a leading 308 batters while throwing four shutouts.
Three workhorses who really put up astounding numbers in 1972!

Friday, August 13, 2021


Next up in my on-going "30 Home Run Club" 1978 sub-set is "Boomer" Geaorge Scott, who had a great return year to his original Big League franchise, the Boston Red Sox in 1977:

Scott, who originally came up to the majors with the Red Sox in 1966 and played with them through the 1971 season, returned to Beantown and did NOT disappoint, hitting 33 homers while driving in 95 for a stacked Boston lineup in 1977.
That production gave him his third All-Star berth, and even gave him some MVP attention by season's end.
He put together an excellent career playing for the Red Sox, Brewers, Royals and Yankees between 1966 and 1979, slamming 271 home runs with 1051 RBI's, 1992 hits and a .268 batting average.
Defensively all he managed to do was take home eight Gold Gloves for his work at first base, and though he was only named to three all-star games, he garnered MVP attention in seven seasons, or half his career!
And of course, when we all look back to that great decade of the 1970's, and we look at some of the "bad-ass" players that graced Major League teams, "Boomer" undoubtedly comes up alongside Dick Allen, Frank Howard, etc!

Thursday, August 12, 2021


On the blog today, we have a 1974 "Nickname" card for former reliever Danny Frisella, aka "Bear", who tragically died just a few years later at the age of 30 in a dune-buggy accident:

Frisella was drafted by the New York Mets in 1966 out of Washington State University and made it up to the Major Leagues the following year.
He pitched for New York over the next six seasons, having his best year in the big leagues in 1971 when he went 8-5 with a sparkling 1.99 E.R.A. to go along with 12 saves in 53 games after learning to throw a forkball from Diego Segui over the Winter in Venezuela.
In November of 1972 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with pitcher Gary Gentry for George Stone and Felix Milan and stuck around for two years before going over to the San Diego Padres in 1975.
Though he posted a record of 1-6, he did have decent numbers overall, but San Diego shipped him to St. Louis after the season, where Frisella started the season in 1976.
But after only 18 games, he was once again traded, this time to the Brewers where he appeared in 32 games, posting impressive numbers of a 5-2 record and a 2.74 E.R.A. as a man out of the bullpen.
Sadly, Frisella never made it back to a Major League mound.
While riding a dune buggy near his home on January 1st, his vehicle tipped over and Frisella was not able to escape in time. He was caught underneath the roll bar as the vehicle rolled over his body, crushing him. He was only 30 years old with a wife and two sons.
His final numbers were: 34-40 record, 3.32 ERA and 57 saves over 351 appearances and 609.1 innings pitched between 1967 and 1976.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


Let's go and give former Major League infielder and Manager Bobby Wine a "not so missing" 1973 career-capper shall we? Here you go:

Wine finished up a 12-year playing career in 1972, appearing in 34 games for the Montreal Expos, for whom he played between 1969 and 1972.
A light-hitting, good fielding type, Wine took home a Gold Glove in 1963 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies and led the league in fielding in 1967.
In 1970, playing with the Expos, Wine participated in a (then) record 137 double-plays, the only season in his career that can really be considered a "full" season of work.
Over the course of his career he hit .215, with 682 hits in 3172 at-bats spread out over 1164 games playing for Philadelphia and Montreal.
Post playing career he got into coaching, and even managed the Atlanta Braves for 41 games during the 1985 season, going 16 and 25 in that time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


Today on the blog we have a "not so missing" 1975 career-capper for former outfielder Any Kosco, who finished up a 10-year Major League career with 33 games with the Cincinnati Reds in 1974:

Kosco hit .189 in that limited action, collecting seven hits over 37 at-bats with three runs scored and five runs batted in.
Originally up in 1965 with the Minnesota twins, Kosco was generally a part-timer, with only two full seasons of action over his Big League tenure, 1968 with the New York Yankees and 1969 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That 1969 season was easily his best, hitting 19 homers with 74 RBIs for the Dodgers, scoring 51 runs and hitting .248.
By the time he was done, he finished with a .236 batting average, with 464 hits in 1963 at-bats, hitting 73 homers and driving in 267 runs over 658 games between 1965 and 1974.

Monday, August 9, 2021


On the blog today, we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1970 card for former Big League infielder and Manager Chuck Cottier:

Cottier played what turned out to be the last games of his nine-year playing career in 1969, appearing in two games for the California Angels.
Over those two games Cottier went 0-for-2 at the plate, with some time at second base, calling it a career on the very day yours truly was born, May 9th.
Originally up with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959 at the age of 23, Cottier only saw one truly full-time season in the Majors, that being in 1962 when he appeared in 136 games for the Washington Senators, collecting 107 hits over 443 at-bats, good for a .242 batting average.
He finished his playing career with a .220 career average, with 348 hits over 1584 at-bats in 580 games, with 168 runs scored and 127 runs batted in.
He'd go into coaching after his playing days were done, eventually getting a shot as manager with the Seattle Mariners from 1984 to 1985, compiling a record of 98 and 119.

Sunday, August 8, 2021


On the blog today, we move on to the National League's top winners for 1972 in my on-going "Expanded League Leader" card series, featuring some big time studs of the era:

Of course we start off with the great Steve Carlton, who led the world in everything for 1972, winning 27 games on his way to the first of his four Cy Young Awards.
The man was just incredible, especially given that the Philadelphia Phillies won only 59 games that year!
Coming in second that year in wins was another future Hall of Famer, Tom Seaver of the New York Mets who posted 21 victories, his third 20+ win season of his young career.
The righty also posted his fifth of what would end up being nine straight 200+ strikeout seasons, also making his sixth straight All-Star team.
Tied for third among N.L. pitchers with 20 wins apiece are Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins and Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Claude Osteen.
For Jenkins, it was his sixth straight 20+ win campaign, coming off a Cy Young winning season in 1971 when he himself led the N.L. with his 24 wins, completing an incredible 30 of his 39 starts!
In Osteen, the Dodgers got a pitcher who put in his second career 20-win season, the first which came in 1969.
Osteen paired his 20-wins with a nice 2.64 earned run average, along with four shutouts while completing 14 of his 33 starts, tossing 252 innings.
Well there you go, four pitchers making the cut here on this card, as we go ahead and move on to the American League next week!

Saturday, August 7, 2021


Next up in my on-going 1978 "30 Home Run Club" sub-set is New York Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles, who put in his top Big League power season in 1977 with 37 homers, good for second place in the American League after leading the league the previous year:

Nettles, coming off a 32 homer campaign in 1976 which was good for the league crown, followed that up with 37 homers for the Yanks in 1977, two behind leader Jim Rice and tied with Bobby Bonds of the California Angels.
Nettles also drove in a career-best 107 runs and scored 99 himself, giving him his second All-Star berth as well as a fifth place finish in the MVP race at season's end.
It wasn't until recently I also realized that for a guy who was considered a "slugger", he never struck out much!
I really never realized in all these years that he never struck out 100+ times in a season over his 22 year career, but incredibly, for someone who hit 390 homers, he only AVERAGED 55 strikeouts a year over his career!
Think about that. That is absolutely wild.
When it was all said and done, Nettles played for those 22 seasons, finishing up with 390 homers, 2225 hits, and 1314 runs batted in, with 1193 runs scored and a reputation that still has him considered one of the finest defensive third basemen in history.

Friday, August 6, 2021


On the blog today, we move on to the great Joe Morgan and add him to my on-going "On-Card All-Star" thread where I slap a big beautiful "All-Star" banner on the base cards of starting players in years Topps had separate All-Star cards:

To refresh everyone's memories, I was never a fan of separate All-Star cards as a kid. I loved when Topps had the All-Star designation on the players base card, giving it that extra iconic element that made them instant classics.
Between 1975 and 1981 Topps did just that, and I was absolutely heartbroken when I ripped open my first packs of 1982 cards, and came upon a Reggie Jackson card, then noticing it was a dedicated All-Star card.
Anyway, as for Mr. Morgan, the man was just beginning a run that would send him straight to the Hall of Fame, while helping build a juggernaut of a team forever known as the "Big Red Machine".
They'd win two straight Wold Series in 1975 and 1976, and field teams with the likes of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, George Foster and Ken Griffey Sr.
Morgan was the National League's starting second baseman in the 1973 Midsummer Classic, and would go on to finish the year with a .290average, with 116 runs scored, 35 doubles, 26 homers and 67 stolen bases, good enough for a fourth place finish in the MVP race, while also taking home the first of his five Gold Gloves.
Just a juggernaut himself!

Thursday, August 5, 2021


Today we add the great Bobby Bonds to my on-going 1978 "30 Home Run Club" thread celebrating the big boppers of the 1977 season:

Bonds finished up yet another great year in 1977, playing for the California Angels, reaching his fourth 30-30 campaign with 37 home runs and 41 stolen bases.
The man was just electric!
The 37 home runs were just two short of American League leader Jim Rice, and were Bonds' second highest total after his 39 in 1973, when he fell one short of becoming the first 40-40 man in Major League history.
By the time he left the Majors after the 1981 season, he retired with 332 homers and 461 stolen bases, along with 1258 runs scored and 1024 runs batted in over 1849 games and 7043 at bats.
It’s a shame that by the time he turned 34 his best days were behind him. I never really understood why he dropped off the radar so quickly after a really good season with the Cleveland Indians in 1979.
The following year he found himself with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he would only play in 86 games, before just 45 games in ‘81 with the Chicago Cubs, the last of his career.
An incredible talent, just seems that after his first seven seasons with the San Francisco Giants, no one really wanted to keep him around, playing for seven teams in seven years between 1975 and 1981.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021


Today up on the blog we have a "not so missing" 1974 card for three-year Major League pitcher Jim Strickland of the Minnesota Twins, who appeared in just seven games during the 1973 season:

Strickland was hit hard over those seven games, to the tune of an 11.81 earned run average over 5.1 innings of work, going 0-1, all out of the bullpen.
He'd appear in four games with the Cleveland Indians in 1975 after spending all of 1974 in the Minors, coming over from Minnesota in October of 1973 as part of a four-player trade.
Over those four appearances he didn’t factor in a decision, but sported a very nice earned run average of 1.93 over 4.2 innings.
Between 1971 and 1973 Strickland appeared in 56 games for the Twins, going 4-2 over those games, along with five saves and an ERA at around 2.75.
Overall for his career, he’d finish at 4-2 with his earned run average a nice 2.68 over 60 appearances and 77.1 innings pitched, with five saves and 60 strikeouts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former catcher Larry Johnson, whose Major League career was 12 games spread out between 1972 and 1978:

Johnson appeared in one single game for the Cleveland Indians in 1974, scoring a run without even being credited with a plate appearance.
It was his first MLB action since 1972 when he made his debut with one game, going 1-for-2 at the plate at the age of 21.
In 1975 he’d again appear in only one game, which must be a record for a player to appear in only one game over the first three years of his career.
This time that one game was with the Montreal Expos where he went 1-for-3 at the plate, hitting a double while driving in the first run of his career.
1976 would see him break that one-game streak when he appeared in six games for the Expos, collecting two hits over 13 at-bats for a .154 batting average.
But all that got him was another full-season in the Minors for 1977 before coming back, now with the Chicago White Sox, for what ended up being the last taste of the Big Leagues, playing in three games and going 1-for-8 at the plate, good for a .125 average.
He’d go on to play another four professional seasons, the last of which was in the Mexican League in 1982, before retiring for good.
All told, he finished his MLB career with a .192 average, with five hits over 26 at-bats in 12 games, with two doubles, an RBI and run scored.

Monday, August 2, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" card for longtime Big League infielder Ivan DeJesus, who was yet to become a full-timer as the 1977 season approached:

DeJesus appeared in 22 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .171 with seven hits over 41 at-bats, this after playing in 63 games in 1976 and three games in his MLB debut in 1975.
It really wasn't until 1977, now as a Chicago Cub, that he would become a full-time Major League player. 
By the time he retired as a player after the 1988 season, he played for the Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees, Giants and Tigers over the course of 15 seasons, and finished with a .254 average with 1167 hits and 194 stolen bases.
Between 1977 and 1980 he had some solid seasons for the Cubs, even leading the National League in runs scored in 1978 with 104, and twice topping 40 stolen bases (in 1978 and 1980).

Sunday, August 1, 2021


On the blog today we move on to the American League Earned Run Average leaders for 1972, featuring three big time pitchers, two Hall of Famers and someone who arguably should be in:

Starting off, we begin with a pitcher who made quite a comeback, resurrecting his Big League career in 1972, Luis Taint, who led the league with a brilliant 1.91 ERA in his first full season with the Boston Red Sox.
After going 21-9 with a league leading 1.60 ERA in 1968 while with the Cleveland Indians, Taint's career took a nosedive, losing 20 games in 1969, appearing in only 18 games in 1970 with the Minnesota Twins, then going 1-7 with a 4.83 ERA in Boston.
However, in 1972 he was back on top, going 15-6, tossing six shutouts and saving three over 43 appearances, 19 of which were starts.
He'd go on to win 20+ games in three of his next four seasons, eventually retiring after the 1982 season with 229 wins, 49 shutouts and a 3.30 ERA.
Just behind him in the ERA chase was Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, who had his first Cy Young season in 1972, coming over to the Cleveland Indians after the big trade for Sam McDowell, and Perry would not disappoint, going 24-16 over 41 games, throwing a monster 342.2 innings and sporting a 1.92 ERA,with five shutouts and 234 strikeouts.
Six years later, when many thought he was "done", he'd win his second Cy Young, now with the San Diego Padres, becoming the first pitcher to win the award in both leagues, going 21-6 with a 2.73 ERA over 37 starts at the age of 39. Not too shabby!
Third in the league with a 2.09 ERA in 1972 was another Hall of Famer, former Oakland A's ace Jim "Catfish" Hunter, who had himself a very nice season helping the A's to the first of what would be three straight World Championships, going 21-7 with 191 strikeouts and five shutouts over 38 appearances, all but one as a starter.
It was his second of five straight 20-win seasons, as he'd finish up with 224 wins after arm troubles set in, tossing 42 shutouts and posting a career 3.26 ERA over 15 seasons, though still only 33 when he hung up the spikes.
Well there you have it, three studs who finished 1 through 3 in the league ERA category!


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