Thursday, September 30, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former outfielder/first baseman Otto Velez, who appeared in a couple dozen games during the 1974 season:

Velez, who actually had a spot on a multi-player rookie card in Topps' 1974 set after 23 games in 1973, hit .209 during his 1974 Big League action, with 14 hits, nine runs scored and 10 runs batted in for the New York Yankees.
He would only appear in six games for the Yanks in 1975, followed by 49 games during their American League championship season of 1976, before being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in their inaugural expansion draft before the 1977 campaign.
He was the 53rd pick in the 1976 expansion draft, and would have a decent year for the Jays in 1977 when he batted .256 with 16 homers and 62 runs batted in.
He would stay with the team for the next five seasons, hitting as many as 20 homers (1980) as well as matching his 1977 RBI total that very same year.
In 1983 he would find himself with the Cleveland Indians, where he would play what turned out to be the final 10 games of his career, hitting only .080 with two hits over 25 at-bats, with a run scored and an RBI.
Velez would put 11 years in the Major Leagues, batting .251 with 78 homers and 272 runs batted in, while collecting 452 hits in 1802 at-bats over 637 games.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021


Fun card to add to the WTHBALLS stable today, a "not so missing" 1979 card for long-time Major League pitcher Mike Morgan, who made his Big League debut in 1978 as an 18-year-old with the Oakland A's:

Morgan had three starts in his first taste of the Majors, going 0-3 with a bloated 7.30 earned run average in 12.1 innings of work.
He wouldn't fare much better the following season when he went 2-10 over 13 games, posting an ERA of 5.94 in 77.1 innings, still a teenager.
However, after spending all of 1980 and 1981 in the Minors, he was back in 1982 as a member of the New York Yankees, where he put in a solid year, going 7-11 over 30 games, finishing up with a respectable 4.37 ERA over 150.1 innings.
In 1983 he would find himself as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, where he appeared in only 16 games, posting a record of 0-3 with a 5.16 ERA, and would take a step back even further the following year where he spent the season in the Minors.
However, in 1985 he was back for good, and as it turned out would spend the next 18 years as a Major League pitcher, becoming a specialist out of the bullpen in the last half, appearing in a total of 597 games before retiring after the 2002 seasons.
Morgan led the league in shutouts in 1990 with four while a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and won a career-best 16 games while with the Chicago Cubs just two years later, going 16-8 with a very nice 2.55 ERA over 34 starts.
At the age of 41 in 2001, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he finally got a taste of a championship, as the Diamondbacks beat the three-peat champ New York Yankees in the World Series in dramatic fashion.
All told, Morgan finished with a record of 141-186, appearing in 597 games, 411 of those starts, with 10 shutouts and eight saves, striking out 1403 batters while walking 938.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1970 card for former pitcher Phil Hennigan, who made his MLB debut in 1969 as a member of the Cleveland Indians:

Hennigan was a 23-year-old when he appeared in nine games for the Tribe in 1969, going 2-1 with a 3.31 earned run average over 16.1 innings of work.
He would go on to play four seasons with the Indians, generally out of the bullpen, before one last hurrah in 1973 as a member of the National League champion New York Mets.
All told, in his five years under the Big League sun, Hennigan finished with a record of 17-14 over 176 games, posting an ERA of 4.26 in 280.2 innings, with 26 saves and 188 strikeouts.
Not a bad little career at that.

Monday, September 27, 2021


On the blog to start off a new week, we have a "missing" 1976 traded card for former outfielder Willie Crawford, who found himself heading East from Los Angeles to the St. Louis Cardinals:

Crawford spent the first 12 years of his Big League career with the Dodgers before heading to the Cardinals in a deal for Ted Sizemore on March 2nd, 1976.
He would play well in what turned out to be his only year there, hitting .304 over 120 games and 392 at-bats, driving in 50 runs while scoring 49.
But his time there was brief, for on October 20th of 1976 he was traded to the Giants as part of a six-player trade that included John Curtis and Vic Harris going to San Fran, while Mike Caldwell, John D’Acquisto and Dave Rader came to St. Louis.
 As if that wasn't enough change of scenery, on March 26th of 1977, just before the season started, Crawford was on the move again, getting traded to the Houston Astros.
But it didn't end there! After just 42 games with Houston, Crawford found himself playing for the Oakland A’s after getting traded for Denny Walling and cash.
Turns out that time with Oakland playing out the 1977 season would be the last of his Big League career, as he would go on to play in the Mexican league over the next two years before retiring for good as an active player.
Over 14 MLB seasons, Crawford hit .268 with 921 hits over 3435 at-bats, playing in 1210 games between 1964 and 1977.

Sunday, September 26, 2021


Ok now!

Today we move on to the American League in my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, celebrating the top-3 hitters of the Junior Circuit for 1973:

Of course we begin with the great Rod Carew, who obliterated the league with his .350 batting average, 44 points ahead of the second place batter!!!
Carew took home his third batting title that year, aloso leading the league with his 203 hits and 11 triples, while making his seventh straight All-Star team and finishing fourth in the MVP race at season's end.
Seriously, the man was just eons ahead of anyone else at this point as far as hitting, heading straight for the Hall of Fame and cementing his place as one of the game's greatest natural hitters.
Surprisingly, the second and third place finishers in the A.L. batting race, both tied at .306, were a slugger who posted his career-best average, George Scott, and a man who made a big comeback, resurrecting his MLB career as a Designated Hitter, former two-time batting champ Tommy Davis.
For Scott, his .306 average was accompanied by his 24 home runs and 107 runs batted in, while leading the league with 295 total bases.
He also took home his fifth Gold Glove Award, and would end up with eight such awards before his career was over.
For Davis, who was the Baltimore Orioles full-time DH in its first year in existence, he came back to have his best year in the Big Leagues since 1967 when he was a New York Met, giving the "O's" 89 RBIs in addition to his second place finish in the batting race, garnering a tenth-place finish in the MVP race.
The 35-year-old found new life as a DH, and would give Baltimore another solid season the following year when he'd hit .289 with 84 RBIs with 181 hits, his last truly full season in the Majors before retiring after 1976.
Next up, we move on to the National League's top home run hitters of 1973. See you next week!

Saturday, September 25, 2021


On the blog today, a special edition of my on-going "On-Card All-Star" cards, where I slap a bold and beautiful "All-Star" banner across a players' base Topps card, which was always my favorite way to go instead of a separate All-Star sub Set.

In this case, I had to create a "correct" card for the National League's 1973 All-Star game starter, Rick Wise, who was sent packing to the Boston Red Sox in the off-season, leading to Topps airbrushing him into a BoSox uni for their 1974 offering:

Makes for a very nice unique addition to all our 1974 sets!
It's easy to forget that the guy put together a really solid Major League career, finishing with a 188-181 record to go along with a 3.69 earned run average, 30 shutouts and 1647 strikeouts over 506 games (455 starts) between 1964 and 1982.
Yes he'll always be remembered for being the "wrong" side of the Steve Carlton trade (ironically enough during the off-season after his no-hit year), but if not for an injury-plagued season in 1974 while with the Red Sox, he could have been a 200-game winner.
Go figure...

Friday, September 24, 2021


On the blog today we add Joe "Hard Luck" Horlen to my long-running "Nicknames of the 1970s" thread, celebrating the hard-luck pitcher who'd have himself a very nice 12 year Major League career:

Horlen, who pitched 11 of his 12 Big League careers with the Chicago White Sox before one last season as an Oakland Athletic in 1972, was a solid starter who would consistently post ERA's below 3.00, yet never seem to get the support, leading to a pedestrian 116-117 career record which was terribly not representative of his talents.
For example, in 1964 he posted a sparkling 1.88 ERA over 210 innings, only to finish with a record of 13-9 for the White Sox.
In 1966 he finished the season with an ERA of 2.43 over 37 appearances and 211 innings, only to finish with a record of 10-13.
The only season where he seems to have gotten the help he needed from the offense was in 1967 when he finished second in the A.L. Cy Young race, posting a record of 19-7, leading the league with his 2.06 ERA and six shutouts.
By the time he retired in 1967, his 116-117 record did not represent his career, which resulted in a 3.11 ERA over 361 games, with 18 shutouts.
Definitely "Hard Luck"!

Thursday, September 23, 2021


On the blog today, we have a 1974 "not so missing" card for former Chicago White Sox pitcher Denny O'Toole, who put in parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues, yet never picked up a decision:

O'Toole played the last of his 15 Major League games in 1973, appearing in six games and pitching 16 innings.
As per what turned out to be the usual in his career, he didn't pick up a win or a loss, pitching to a 5.63 earned run average with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Originally up in 1969, O'Toole would go on to appear in the aforementioned 15 total games over his career, appearing in at least one game for Chicago between 1969 and 1973.
Over those games he finished with a career ERA of 5.04, with 30.1 innings pitched, striking out 22 and walking 10, all out of the bullpen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


I am SO happy with a new previously unseen image of Dave McNally suited up as a Montreal Expo! So much so that I am today giving myself a "do-over" of one of my early "missing in action" cards and posting it up here:

Man, I have been searching for a better image of McNally at his last Big League stop for so long I almost gave up hope (kind of like I did with Sam McDowell as a Pittsburgh Pirate!).
But out of nowhere I stumble across this image, and to top it off it is high resolution enough to even be printed for one of my future "packs", so keep an eye out for that for you card purchasers out there!
Here's my original post writing from way back on May 27th, 2014:

For the 1975 season, McNally started 12 games for the Expos, and posted a 3-6 record with a 5.24 E.R.A and 33 strikeouts in 77.1 innings pitched.
However it was how he ended up playing in 1975 that made history.
Never intending to play beyond 1974, McNally actually retired before being convinced by Player's Union Executive Director Marvin Miller to add his name to the grievance the Player's Union filed contesting the age-old "Reserve Clause" along with star pitcher Messersmith.
As explained online under the "Seitz Decision" (named for the ruling arbitrator Peter Seitz):

"In 1975, Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers and McNally of the Montreal Expos had had their 1974 contracts renewed by their teams on the basis of this reserve clause. Since neither signed a contract during that option year, both insisted that they were free to sign with other teams the following season. The owners disagreed, arguing that under the reserve clause the one-year contracts were perpetually renewed.
The two players submitted the grievance to arbitration, and Seitz later issued his ruling that Messersmith and McNally were free to bargain with other teams because organized baseball could only maintain a player's services for one year after expiration of the previous contract."

This was HUGE, as it led to what we all know today as Free Agency.
For McNally, he ended up retiring at the young age of 32, leaving behind quite a resume: four 20-game winning seasons, two World Championships, a 184-119 career record, and a title-winning shutout in the 1966 World Series where the Orioles upset the favored Dodgers, sweeping them 4 games to none.
McNally threw a four-hit shutout against losing pitcher Don Drysdale to go along with shutouts thrown by teammates Wally Bunker and Jim Palmer.
He's also the only pitcher to hit a grand slam in the World Series, doing so in Game 3 of the '70 series against the Reds, and only one of two pitchers (Roger Clemens the other) of winning 12 straight decisions three times in his career, including 17 straight over the 1968 and 1969 seasons.
On top of all of that, he also came into the big leagues with a bang, tossing a 2-hit shutout against the Kansas City Athletics on September 26th, 1962 at the ripe old age of 19! Nice…
So call this a "career capper", or a "missing in action" card, but let's close the books on McNally and his solid career with one last card.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Up on the blog today we have a career-capping 1973 card for former catcher Frank Fernandez, who finished up a six year Major League career with three games for the Chicago Cubs in 1972:

Fernandez went 0-3 at the plate in that limited play, striking out twice while getting some time behind the plate.
The year before, Fernandez began the season with the Oakland A's after coming over to them from the Yankees in the Al Downing-Danny Cater deal a year earlier, before being dealt to the Washington Senators after only two games out West.
Turns out Oakland would come along and purchase his contract about a month and a half later, but again, he’d only play two games for them before getting traded to the Cubs for Adrian Garrett two months later.
All told, Fernandez played in 39 games in 1971, batting a cool .138 with 11 hits over 80 at-bats in those four stints.
For his career, he played in 285 games, mainly for the team that drafted him, the New York Yankees, batting .199 with 145 hits over 727 at-bats, hitting 39 homers with 116 runs batted in, which is not that bad considering the at-bats to home runs.

Monday, September 20, 2021


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former Montreal Expos outfielder Jerry White, who made his MLB debut with nine games during the 1974 season:

White hit a nice .400 at the plate, with four hits in ten at-bats for the Expos when he made his Big League debut at the age of 21 that year.
He would be with the Expos 10 of his 11 seasons in the Majors, playing half a season with the Chicago Cubs in 1978 and finishing up with 25 games as a St. Louis Cardinal in 1986, with some time in the Japanese League in 1984 and 1985.
Never a full-timer, the most action he ever saw in any one season was 114 games in 1976, hitting .245 over 309 plate appearances and 278 official at-bats.
By the time he did retire after those 12 seasons, he finished with a .253 batting average, with 303 hits in 1196 at-bats over 646 games, with 155 runs scored and 109 runs batted in, stealing 57 bases and hitting 21 homers.

Sunday, September 19, 2021


OK now! Today we move on to 1974 with my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, creating league leader cards for EACH league celebrating the top 3 in a category instead of the combined top players of both leagues on one card.

With that we begin with the National league and the top 3 batters of 1973:
We start off with the great Pete Rose, who took home the third (and final) batting title of his career in 1973 when he hit .338, a healthy 18 points ahead of the second place batter.
During that season he collected a career-best 230 hits, while scoring 115 runs with 64 runs batted in for the Cincinnati Reds.
Behind him with a very nice .320 batting average is Houston Astros young stud Cesar Cedeno, who matched the same batting average from 1972.
As a matter of fact his 1973 season was almost the mirror-image of his 1972 performance, with him collecting 168 hits and 35 doubles, with 25 homers and 70 RBIs, with 56 stolen bases thrown in for good measure.
Those numbers are almost exactly the same as his 1972 numbers, and indeed that is a very good thing! The man was a budding superstar back then.
Just one point off of Cedeno in 1973 was a little bit of a surprise, none other than Garry Maddox, the "Secretary of Defense", who had a very nice first truly full season in the Big Leagues with his .319 batting average along with 187 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 11 homers, with 76 RBIs and 81 runs scored.
Just two years later he'd find himself East as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, where he'd take home eight Gold Gloves for his stellar defensive play, and be part of some solid teams with others like Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Larry Bowa.
Well there you have it! The top-three batters of the National League in 1973.
Next week, the American League!

Saturday, September 18, 2021


Next up in my on-going "On Card All-Star" thread where I slap a big beautiful All-Star banner on a player's base card instead of the dreaded separate All-Star card Topps created in none other than the greatest backstop there ever was, Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds:

Bench was coming off his sixth straight All-Star nod in six full seasons in the Big Leagues, as well as taking home his sixth straight Gold Glove.
Bench already had two MVP’s under his belt by the time this card would have hit the market, and was just about to become a two-time world champion with two straight World Series wins in 1975 and 1976 against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees respectively.
He would put together a career rarely seen by ANY player, let alone a catcher: 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.

Friday, September 17, 2021


Coming up to the end of my long-running 1978 "30 Home Run Club" series, and today we have another Chicago White Sox slugger, Richie Zisk, who had himself an excellent 1977 campaign:

Zisk, who was sent from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the White Sox in the Rich Gossage deal, had one of his best years in the Majors in his only season there, hitting a career high 30 home runs and 101 runs batted in.
He was named All-Star for the first time, and was part of the "South Side Hitmen" lineup that included Oscar Gamble, Eric Soderholm and Chet Lemon, fan favorites who hit a (then) high 192 homers as a team.
Though he'd have a few more solid years left as a Major Leaguer, he'd never reach more than 22 homers in any one season before he retired in 1983.
He'd end up playing for 13-years, hitting 207 home runs with 792 RBI's and 681 runs scored with a nice .287 batting average over 1453 games and 5144 at-bats.

Thursday, September 16, 2021


Time to go and add former All-Star catcher Ray Fosse, aka "The Marion Mule" to my long-running "Nicknames of the 1970's" thread started so many years ago:

The catcher, forever remembered for being on the wrong end of a Pete Rose collision at home plate in the 1970 All-Star game, had a nice run between 1970 and 1973 when he put up very nice numbers for a catcher in the era.
In 1970 he hit 18 homers while batting .307, with 61 runs batted in and 62 runs scored, along with the first of his two Gold Gloves.
Contrary to what many believe, the All-Star injury at the hands of Pete Rose did not derail his career, as other injuries along the way in the following years also contributed to his drop in performance.
Nevertheless, by the time Fosse retired after a brief stint with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1979, he finished with a .256 average, with 758 hits over 2957 at-bats, driving in 324 runs while scoring 299 himself over 924 Big League games.
On another note, you really have to wonder how good those Cleveland Indians could have been by the late-70’s had they NOT traded away players like Graig Nettles, Dick Tidrow, Chris Chambliss and Fosse.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


On the blog today, we have a career-capping "not so missing" 1973 card for former pitcher Archie Reynolds of the Milwaukee Brewers:

Reynolds appeared in five games for Milwaukee in what turned out to be his final MLB action, going 0-1 with a bloated 7.23 earned run average in 18.2 innings of work.
He made his Big League debut in 1968 with the Chicago Cubs, appearing in seven games and going 0-1 with an ERA at 6.75 over 13.1 innings before getting into only two games the following year.
In those two appearances of 1969, he went 0-1 with an ERA of 2.45 in 7.1 innings of work, starting both games and striking out four while walking seven, with 11 hits allowed.
Turns out he didn’t have much luck the rest of his stay in the Majors, going on to play another three seasons, with only 36 appearances over those five campaigns, and sadly for him never picking up a win.
However, in every single one of his Big League years he’d go on to pick up at least one loss, eventually ending up with a career record of 0-8 with an earned run average of 5.73 over 36 appearances and 81.2 innings pitched.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1971 card for a guy I have created other such slabs in the past, former infielder Ed Goodson of the San Francisco Giants:

Goodson made his Major League debut in 1970, appearing in seven games and hitting .273 with three hits over eleven at-bats with a run scored.
He would appear in 20 games the following year, hitting .190 with eight hits over 42 at-bats, with four runs scored and a run batted in.
Basically a player off the bench his entire career, he had a very nice 1973 season for San Fran when he batted .302 with 12 homers and 53 runs batted in over 102 games, easily his best season in the Major League.
Overall for his eight-year MLB career, Goodson finished with a .260 batting average, with 329 hits over 1266 at-bats, with 108 runs scored and 170 runs batted in, with 30 homers in 515 games between 1970 and 1977.

Monday, September 13, 2021


Up on the blog today to start off a new week, we have a "not so missing" 1970 card for former first baseman Bob Spence of the Chicago White Sox, who made his Big League debut in 1969 at the age of 23:

Spence, who looks like he's actually some 40 year old accountant rather than a 23-year-old ballplayer here, appeared in 12 games, hitting .154 with four hits over 26 at-bats, with three runs batted in.
He'd play in 46 games in 1970, which turned out to be the most action he'd see in any one of his three MLB seasons, hitting .223 with 29 hits over 130 at-bats, hitting four homers with 15 RBIs.
In 1971 he'd appear in only 14 games, the last action of his Major League career, hitting .148 with four hits over 27 at-bats.
He would play parts of the next two years in the Philadelphia Phillies Minor League system, but never get the shot at the big time again, closing out with parts of three seasons, collecting 37  hits over 183 at-bats, with 13 runs scored and 19 RBIs along the way.

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Today we come to the last 1973 "expanded league leaders" card in my recent thread of creating dedicated league leader cards celebrating the top 3 in their respective category, and this one is for the American League Firemen of 1972:

We start off with the New York Yankees Sparky Lyle, who had himself quite a year with his league leading 35 saves and 44 points.
Lyle posted a record of 9-5 with a very nice 1.92 ERA over 107.2 innings in his first season with the Bronx Bombers.
Of course, he would take home the A.L. Cy Young Award five years later when he'd go 13-5, with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA for the eventual World Champion Yanks, on his way to a Hall-worthy (in my opinion) career that saw him appear in 899 games, all out of the bullpen, saving 238 games while winning 99.
In second place with 35 points is former Chicago White Sox reliever Terry Forster, another pitcher who put in a nice lengthy MLB career.
It was Forster's first full season in the Big Leagues, and he did not disappoint, going 6-5 over 62 appearances, with a nice 2.25 ERA over 100 innings, saving 29 games. He would eventually finish up with 16 seasons under his belt, saving 127 games while appearing in 614, with a final ERA of 3.23.
In third place with 32 points, none other than future Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who was still in the beginning of what would be an excellent 17 year Major League career.
In 1972 Fingers helped the Oakland A's to the first of their three straight championships, going 11-9 with 21 saves, posting an ERA of 2.51 over 111.1 innings of work.
Of course, he would go on to put in season after season of excellent relief work, starring for the A's, then the San Diego Padres, followed by the Milwaukee Brewers, for whom he'd take home a Cy Young and MVP Award in 1981 when he helped them make the postseason for the first time in their franchise's history, posting a microscopic 1.04 ERA over 47 games, with a league-leading 28 saves in the strike-shortened campaign.
By the time he was done in 1985, he finished with a (then) MLB record 341 saves over 944 games, with an excellent 2.90 ERA and seven All-Star nods.
Well there you have it! 1973 "expanded league leaders" is a wrap.
Next we move on to 1974 and tackle those stats, giving the top-3 in each league the props they deserved!

Saturday, September 11, 2021


On the blog today, on to the next 1974 All-Star "fix", this time for the electric Cesar Cedeno, who at the time was an up and coming superstar for the Houston Astros:

I just cannot say enough about how awesome Cedeno was in the beginning of his career, as a young player who was a threat with the long ball, stealing a base, or hitting for average.
Cedeno was coming off his second straight season of hitting .320, along with a league-leading 39 doubles.
He also took home his second straight Gold Glove while finishing eleventh in the N.L. MVP race.
For 1974 it was more of the same as he'd drive home a career-best 102 runs with 26 homers, also a career-high, while stealing 57 bases and scoring 95 runs.
The man could do it all!
I would love to know the numbers he could have put up had he not played in the cavernous Astrodome for the first 12 years of his career!
By the time he was done after the 1986 season, he retired with 199 homers and 550 stolen bases, along with a very nice .285 batting average and 2087 hits.
An excellent player who was easily overshadowed by contemporaries of the era.

Friday, September 10, 2021


The next 1977 slugger featured in my on-going 1978 "30 Home Run Club" sub-set if former Boston Red Sox third baseman Butch Hobson, who joined in all the fun with a career-year, hitting 30 homers:

Boston's already potent line-up was given an added boost by their young third sacker, who was playing his first full season in the Major Leagues during the 1977 season.
All Hobson did with that chance was hit 30 homers while driving in 112 runs, scoring 77. All career best numbers.
Between 1977 and 1979 he would be the Red Sox starting third baseman, having that top-notch year in 1977.
However in 1980 an elbow injury limited his play to only 93 games before getting traded in the off-season along with Rick Burleson to the Angels for Carney Lansford and Mark Clear.
He'd spend only one year with the Angels, appearing in 85 games and hitting .235 before moving on to the New York Yankees in 1982, appearing in only 30 games and hitting only .172 in that time.
Between 1983 and 1985 Hobson would play solely in the Yankees Minor League system, never getting an opportunity to play in the Big Leagues again, retiring as a player by season's end of '83.
All told, Hobson finished his playing career with a .248 batting average, with 98 homers and 397 RBIs over 738 games.
Post-playing career Hobson went into coaching, before getting a chance to manage the Red Sox from 1992 to 1994, finishing his managerial career with a record of 207-232.

Thursday, September 9, 2021


On the blog today, another "do-over", this one a redo of former Cleveland Indians infielder Eddie Leon's 1973 card:

Leon, who was originally shown on an airbrushed 1973 Topps card as a member of the Chicago White Sox, played for the Indians in 1972, so I figured with a nice photo I came across recently, it would make for a great revision.
For those that don't remember the original, here you go:

Leon was traded from the Cleveland Indians over to the Chicago White Sox for Walt “No Neck” Williams on October 19th, 1972, necessitating the art you see here.
Leon had a couple of seasons under his belt as a starter for Cleveland early in the decade, appearing in 152 and 131 games in 1970 and 1971 respectively before getting in a half season in 1972.
For Chicago, he was back to full-time, appearing in 127 games for the White Sox, batting .228 with 91 hits over 399 at-bats.
1974 saw him only play in 31 games, before getting traded in December of that year to the New York Yankees, where he’d play one single game during the 1975 before being released in May.
He would go on to play in the Mexican League in 1976 before retiring as a player, finishing his MLB career with a .236 batting average wit 440 hits in 1862 at-bats in 601 games.
Always fun to see how Topps would crop an airbrushed image, in this case you can see the very top of the “Cleveland” across his chest on the released card, with the crayon-like paint job on his hat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


On the blog today we finally go and give former pitcher Claude Osteen a "do-over" for his 1975 Topps card, replacing the absolutely classic airbrush job thrown into packs for us kids to gawk at way back when:

For those sadly not familiar with the original, you can thank me later:

What a hilarious card. As a matter of fact the Cardinal TEAM seemed to have a bunch of great airbrush cards in the 1975 set, something I profiled here on the blog years ago:

Just some great fun I must admit!
As for Osteen, fell just short of 200 wins in his career with 196, as he posted a 7-16 record with the "South-Siders" in 1975 over 37 starts and 204.1 innings of work.
But he did have a solid career nevertheless, winning 20 games twice (1969 and 1972), throwing 40 shutouts (with a high of seven in 1969), and finishing with a 3.30 earned run average, with four seasons posting a sub-3.00 figure.
Coming over from the Washington Senators in 1965, he must have been overjoyed becoming a Dodger, teaming up with Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax (and soon enough Don Sutton), to form quite the formidable rotation.
He was part of a World Championship team right off the bat in 1965 as the Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins, but was also part of the Dodger team that got swept in the series the following year by the Baltimore Orioles.
A three-time All-Star, Osteen is also in the top-50 all-time in shutouts and games started (with 488).

Tuesday, September 7, 2021


Time to go and give former All-Star second baseman Dave Cash, aka "Action Dog, a "Nickname's of the 1970's" card in my long running thread here on the blog:

Cash, who played the first five years of his Big League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, came over to the “City of Brotherly Love” in October of 1973 in a trade for pitcher Ken Brett, and did not disappoint the Phillie faithful, having his three best years as a Major Leaguer between 1974-1976.
In those three seasons Cash averaged over 200 hits a season, along with a .300 average while playing pretty much every single game, even setting the MLB record (since broken) of 699 at-bats during the 1975 season.
He’d sign with the Montreal Expos in the Winter of 1976 as a Free Agent, and would have one more very good year in 1977 before quickly having his career turn South.
After an injury-plagued 1979 season he found himself with the San Diego padres in 1980, where he hit .227 over 130 games, before retiring at only 32 years of age.
All told, Cash finished with a very nice .283 career average, with 1571 hits over 5554 at-bats and 1422 games between 1969 and 1980, stealing 120 bases and scoring 732 runs.

Monday, September 6, 2021


On the blog today, the third "not so missing" card created for former catcher Tim Hosley here on the blog, this one a 1975 edition:

Hosley appeared in 11 games for the Oakland A;s during the 1974 season, hitting .286 with two hits over seven at-bats with three runs scored and an RBI.
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.

Sunday, September 5, 2021


Rolling right along in my on-going "expanded league leader" series, we move on to the national League's finest relievers of 1972, aka "Firemen", determined by simply adding a pitcher's wins and saves for a "point" total:

The leader in this department for 1972 was Cincinnati Reds reliever Clay Carroll, who had an impressive season with six wins and 37 saves, good for 43 points.
Carroll finished fifth in the Cy Young race that year, finishing with a record of 6-4 with an ERA of 2.25 for the National League champs, appearing in 65 games while making his second straight All-Star team.
Right behind him with 35 points was New York Mets reliever Tug McGraw, who posted a record of 8-6 while saving 27 games, pitching to a brilliant 1.70 ERA over 54 appearances.
He made his first All-Star team that year and it was also the second straight season with a 1.70 ERA.
So over 105 games between 1971 and 1972, the man was incredibly "light's out" with that miniscule ERA.
In third place with 32 points, and giving us a small glimpse of what was about to happen, is iron-man pitcher Mike Marshall, who posted a record of 14-8 for the Montreal Expos with 18 saves.
Marshall was just getting started as the premier reliever in the National League for the next few seasons, the pinnacle of which was his 1974 Cy Young Award winning campaign when he appeared in a STILL MLB record 106 games while going 15-12 with 21 saves and a 2.42 ERA over 208.1 innings, ALL out of the bullpen!
By the way, I'm sure you've already noticed that as per the usual back then, I also recycled an airbrushed image of Marshall since there really are none of him during that period, as he avoided Topps photographers, leaving us with nothing to use on custom cards all these years later.
Nevertheless, a fun card to add to the "collection"! Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, September 4, 2021


Time to go an add the great Pete Rose to my "On-card All-Star" thread, where I slap a bug beautiful All-Star banner on a player's base Topps card in the years Topps decided to have a separate All-Star card in their set:

For Rose it was business as usual, no matter what position he was playing, as he would get the All-Star nod throughout the first 20 years of his incredible career, whether it was at second base, the outfield, or first.
In 1973 he took home his only MVP Award after winning his third batting title while collecting a career-high 230 hits, scoring 115 runs for the potent Cincinnati Reds team that would soon win two straight championships in 1975 and 1976.
In the ten years spanning 1970-1979, he was on two world champion teams, four pennant winners, had six 200-hit seasons, and led his league in no less than 13 offensive categories!
And that's not all: in NINE of those years he received Most Valuable Player consideration, taking home the award as I stated earlier in 1973.
As a player, the man was incredible.
A Hall of Famer. The all-time hit leader in Major League baseball’s 150+ year history.

Friday, September 3, 2021


Fun card to add to my long running "nicknames" thread, one for baseball patriarch Sandy Alomar Sr., aka the "Iron Pony", who had himself a very nice 15 year Major League career before giving way to two sons who did the same years later:

Alomar the Senior was to have his finest year in the Big Leagues in 1971, hitting .260 with 179 hits, leading the A.L. with 162 games played and 689 at-bats for the California Angels.
He was coming off his only All-Star season of 1970, where his numbers pretty much matched his 1971 output, with 169 hits, a .251 average and a career-best 82 runs.
Alomar came up with the Milwaukee Braves back in 1964, but didn’t get to play full-time until he joined the California Angels in 1969, where he would play until he was purchased by the New York Yankees in July of 1974.
He’d play the last two seasons of his career with the Texas Rangers, retiring after the 1978 season before moving on to coaching for various organizations.
Of course, he also had a couple of sons who became pretty good baseball players themselves, 1990 American Rookie of the Year Sandy Alomar Jr, and future Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar.
Not a bad baseball family tree!

Thursday, September 2, 2021


Today's blog post has us up to former Detroit Tigers slugger Jason Thompson in my on-going 1978 subset, "30 Home Run Club", celebrating the big bashers of the 1977 season:

Thompson had a breakout year in 1977, his second in the Big Leagues, though first truly full-time season.
Besides the 31 jacks, he drove in a career-best 105 runs while hitting .270 over 158 games and 585 at-bats, scoring 87 runs and getting his first All-Star nod.
He would remain consistent with his numbers over the next four seasons for Detroit, though never hitting 30+ homers or driving in 100+ runs again.
Nevertheless he hit 20+ each year, while reaching 90 RBIs as well except for his 79 in 1979, yet he found himself traded to the California Angels for Al Cowens just after the start of the 1980 season.
He only played for them that year, hitting 17 homers while driving in 70 over 102 games, certainly good production for his new team.
However, yet again, just before the 1981 season he was on the move again, this time traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mickey Mahler and Ed Ott.
Thompson would play for Pittsburgh for the next five years, reaching 30+ homers again in 1982 when he also topped 100 RBIs with his 101, hitting .284 and making his third All-Star team.
He became (at the time) one of the rare batters to reach 30 homers in both the A.L. and N.L., and as a nerdy baseball 13 year old back then, I took notice of that!
After three more somewhat productive seasons for the Pirates, Thompson found himself North of the border in 1986, playing for the Montreal Expos, where he only appeared in 30 games in his 31-year-old season, with a combination of bad knees and an upstart young man named Andres Galarraga outperforming him causing Thompson to be released on June 30th.
Sadly, he never found another gig so even though only 31 years old, his career was over, hitting 208 homers with 782 RBIs over 11 seasons, with a .261 batting average and 1253 hits to his credit.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1978 card for former Houston Astros pitcher Doug Konieczny, who already played what were to be the last MLB games of his career in 1977:

Konieczny appeared in only four games for the Astros in 1977, all starts, going 1-1 with an earned run average of 6.00 over 21 innings.
He spent all of 1976 in the Minors after pitching parts of the previous three seasons in the Big Leagues, with the 1976 season being the only of his brief four year career that saw him get any substantial playing time.
In that campaign, Konieczny appeared in 32 games, with 29 of those starts, going 6-13 with a 4.47 ERA over 171 innings of work, throwing four complete games including a shutout, striking out 89.
All told, his Major League career comprised 44 games, 38 starts, going 7-18 with a 4.93 ERA in 221 innings, with 110 strikeouts and the aforementioned shutout between 1973 and 1977.


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