Monday, January 31, 2022


Moving right along with my "missing" 1972 All-Star sub-set, we come to the second starting All-Star outfielder for the American league in 1971's Midsummer Classic, the great Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles:

It was the eleventh All-Star nod for the legend, who would have himself another great year, finishing third in the A.L. MVP race at season's end, hitting .281 with 28 homers and 99 runs batted in.
Robinson is perhaps the “greatest underrated player” in Major League history.
A two-time Most Valuable Player, and the first to do it in both leagues, Robinson also took home a Triple Crown in 1966, was a twelve time All-Star, finished in the Top-4 in MVP voting outside his two wins, and oh yeah, as mentioned earlier was also the first African-American Manager in league history.
When he retired as an active player in 1976, Robinson was in the top-5 in so many offensive categories he was in the company of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.
Yet oddly enough, perhaps because of the era he played in, he would get buried in the “all-time greats” conversation in lieu of the aforementioned players along with guys like Ty Cobb, Roberto Clemente and Ted Williams.
I would say he and Stan Musial are the TWO greatest “underrated” players of all-time, and you could arguably throw in others like Bob Feller for good measure.
Just an all-out legend in so many ways.

Sunday, January 30, 2022


On the blog today, we come to the American League's top firemen of 1973 with my 1974 expanded league leader card:

Leading the way with his 48 'points" is Detroit Tigers reliever John Hiller, who had one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher during the 1970's incredibly after suffering a heart attack in 1971 at only 27 years of age.
Despite the real threat of having his career over because of the heart attack, Hiller made his way back and in 1973 dominated, appearing in a league-leading 68 games, setting a new record with 38 saves, and pitching to a sparkling 1.44 earned run average over 125.1 innings and a record of 10-5.
Those numbers got him a fourth place finish in both the Cy Young and MVP race at season's end, and set a standard for saves until guys like Dan Quisenberry and Bruce Sutter came along in the 1980's.
Behind Hiller with 32 points was New York Yankees reliever Sparky Lyle, who followed up a tremendous 1972 campaign with another great season, posting 27 saves to go with his five wins, finishing up with an ERA of 2.51 over 51 appearances, earning him his first All-Star nod in the process.
In third place with 29 points, future Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers, who helped the Oakland A's to their second straight championship with his 29 points, 22 saves to go along with his seven wins over 62 appearances, finishing up with a very nice 1.92 ERA over 126.2 innings pitched.
Just as with Lyle, these numbers would also get Fingers his first All-Star nod, something he would end up doing seven times before his great career would come to an end in 1985.
There you have it! The full 1974 "expanded league leader" series. Hope you're enjoying the ride!
Next we move on to the 1975 Topps set with a full run of expanded league leader cards.

Saturday, January 29, 2022


Next up in my recent custom set to be profiled here on the blog, all-time great Cristobal Torriente, who is grossly overlooked even when talking about legends of the Negro leagues:

Torriente holds the Cuban Winter League career high-water mark for batting average at .352, and also went on to retire with a .340 Negro League BA, winning titles in 1920 and 1923.
One of my favorite quotes in ANY baseball lore is one attributed to Indianapolis ABC’s manager C.I. Taylor, who stated, “If I see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, ‘There walks a ballclub.’”
From the pitching side of things, Torriente posted a career 13-7 record over 32 appearances, 23 of them starts, completing 13 games and tossing two shutouts with 60 strikeouts in 179.2 innings, with an ERA of 4.46.
In 2001 Bill James rated Torriente as the 67th greatest baseball player ever for his book “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.”
In 1939 he was one of the first to be elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, and though it took a long while, he was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Friday, January 28, 2022


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 19769 card for former Chicago Cubs infielder Mike Sember, who played the last of his brief Big League career during the 1978 season:

Sember appeared in nine games for the Cubs in 1978, this after making his Big League debut the season before with a scant three games as a 24-year-old.
Over those nine Major League appearances, he'd end up picking up two hits in seven at-bats, good for a .286 batting average, with two runs scored and a walk.
He’d play all of 1979 in the Minors for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, hitting only .150, which would be the last professional action he’d see in his career.

Thursday, January 27, 2022


I recently gave former pitcher Chuck Taylor a "do-over" for his 1974 Topps card, which originally had him airbrushed into a Montreal Expos uni after coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers.

Well today we backtrack a season and do the very same for him, as his original 1973 card had him airbrushed into a Milwaukee uniform:

It's funny because Taylor actually finished the 1972 season with five games as a Brewer, the only games he'd appear in for the franchise before moving North of the border with the Expos.
Yet for whatever reason Topps didn't get him photographed with his new team before the production of the 1973 cards (??).
Nevertheless, here you go, with a nice shot of him as a Milwaukee Brewer that, believe it or not, TOPPS took!
Taylor went over to Montreal after a split season in 1972 when he suited up for both the New York Mets and Milwaukee.
In his first year with the Expos, he appeared in eight games, going 2-0 with a very nice 1.77 earned run average over 20.1 innings of work out of the bullpen.
He had a decent run as a reliever the last three years of his career after coming up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 as a starter.
He would end up at 28-20 with an impressive 3.07 ERA over 607 innings and 305 appearances, all but 21 in relief.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


On the blog today, thought it'd be fun to take a look at the original airbrushed image used for former third baseman Ken Reitz's 1976 Topps card:

"Zamboni" would find himself traded to the San Francisco Giants from the St. Louis Cardinals straight up for pitcher Pete Falcone in December of 1975.
Reitz would have a nice 11-year career in the Majors, getting that Gold Glove in 1975 and making the National League All-Star team in 1980.
Of course, along the way he’d get the nickname “Zamboni” for his ability to suck up ground balls on the artificial turf of Busch Memorial Stadium playing the hot corner.
Six times in his nine full seasons of Big League ball would he go on to lead the N.L. in fielding percentage, which is amazing considering he played in the same era as contemporaries Mike Schmidt, Ron Cey and for a while even Pete Rose.
Talk about bum-timing! Kind of like being an excellent National League outfielder in the 1960’s when you had Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente keeping everyone back.
Nevertheless, by the time Reitz retired after the 1982 season, he finished with a .260 batting average, with over 1200 hits and as far as I can tell, at the time a fourth place spot as highest fielding percentage as a Third Baseman behind only Brooks Robinson, Floyd Baker and Rico Petrocelli (according to Baseball_Reference).
Not bad!


Tuesday, January 25, 2022


This week's 1970 "In-Game Action" card is none other than the great Johnny Bench, who was just beginning to build on what would become considered the greatest Major League catching career the game has ever scene:

Still only 22 years old, Bench was a Rookie of the Year in 1968, a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner by the end of 1969, and would go on to take home the first of his two MVP Awards at the end of the 1970 season.
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”.

Monday, January 24, 2022


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for two-year Major League pitcher Willie Mueller of the Milwaukee Brewers:

Mueller made his MLB debut during the 1978 season, appearing in five games and posting a record of 1-0 with an earned run average of 6.39 in 12.2 innings of work.
He would spend the next two seasons in the Minors before getting another chance at the Big League level with one solitary game in 1981, throwing two innings and allowing one run, for a 4.50 ERA, not factoring in a decision.
He'd find himself in the Montreal Expos Minor League system in 1982 before coming back to the Milwaukee system in 1983, but never getting another shot at Major League ball, retiring after that season.
All told, Mueller finished with six appearances and a 1-0 record, with an ERA of 6.14 over 14.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, January 23, 2022


On the blog today, we take a closer look at another of my custom "Negro League Greats" cards from my recently released set, this one of the great James "Cool Papa" Bell:

One of the most popular players of the Negro Leagues, Bell put in over 20 years, starting out with the St. Louis Stars in 1922, for whom he played through the 1931 season, before playing for various other teams including the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords.
An 8-time all-star, he finished with a Negro League career batting average of .316, yet he originally came up as a pitcher!
As a matter of fact the genesis of his all-too-familiar nickname came about because of a strikeout against legend Oscar Charleston early in Bell’s career.
But once he was switched to the outfield, it was ON!
Perhaps the fastest player to ever run the base-paths, the anecdotes and legendary stories of his speed are endless.
One of my favorites:
“Bell was so fast he could turn off the light and be under the covers before the room got dark.”- Satchel Paige.
Even at the age of 43, Bell was raking it, as evidenced by his .402 batting average over 95 games for the Homestead Grays in 1946! The year before? A cool .380!
A great player, and from everything I have read from his contemporaries, a great man.

Saturday, January 22, 2022


On the blog today, we move ahead with my on-going "missing" 1972 All-Star sub-set, with starting outfielder Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox:

"Yaz" made his eighth All-Star team in eleven seasons as a Major League superstar, already the possessor of an MVP Award and five Gold Gloves since bursting onto the Big League scene in 1961.
All he'd do is go on to make another ten All-Star teams before he was through after the 1983 season, along with two more Gold Gloves, eventually taking up his rightful spot in Cooperstown in 1989 on his first year of eligibility.
As someone who grew up in New York City during the second half of his career, it's really easy to forget that Yastrzemski was a Long Island, New York boy before he went on to become a New England legend.
And how could he NOT become a legend, what with 23 years of Major League ball, all with the Red Sox, turning in three batting titles, a Triple Crown in 1967 along with an MVP Award, seven Gold Gloves, 18 all-star nods, and 25 league-leads in primary offensive categories.
By the time he did the retirement tour in 1983, he scored 1816 runs, collected 3419 hits, 646 doubles, 452 homers, 1844 runs batted in along with a .285 batting average.
He was just plain awesome…

Friday, January 21, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for former utility player Dane Iorg, who didn't get his actual Topps RC card until 1980 even though he appeared in Big Leagues games as far back as 1977:

Iorg originally made his MLB debut in 1977, splitting the year between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, combining for 42 games and hitting .242 with 15 hits over 62 at-bats.
In 1978 he played in 35 games for St. Louis, hitting a decent .271 with 23 hits in 85 at-bats, putting in time in the corner outfield positions.
He would play 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, never a full-time player with only two seasons topping 100+ games (105 in 1980 and 102 in 1982).
However he would be a member of two championship teams, the 1982 Cardinals and 1985 Kansas City Royals.
His Postseason performance is incredible, playing in 13 games over the course of his career and hitting a stunning .522 with 12 hits in 23 at-bats!
In the 1982 Wolrd Series against the Milwaukee Brewers he was on fire, hitting .529 with nine hits over 17 at-bats, with four doubles and a triple in just five games!
Clutch doesn't even begin to describe that!
He'd finish his career with 90 games for the San Diego padres in 1986, ending up with a career .276 batting average, collecting 455 hits over 1647 at-bats in 743 games.

Thursday, January 20, 2022


On the blog today, we have the third "missing" card created here for former infielder/outfielder Mike Adams, who put in parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues:

Adams appeared in only two games for the Chicago Cubs during the 1977 season, going hitless in two at-bats.
In 1978 he'd find himself a member of the Oakland A's, where he'd play in 15 games, the last of his career which began back in 1972 with three games as a Minnesota Twin.
Those 15 games with the A's would end up not only being the last of his MLB career, but his professional career as well, retiring at the age of 29, playing parts of five MLB seasons and appearing in 100 games, hitting .195 with 23 hits in 118 at-bats, with 27 runs scored and nine runs batted in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


Today on the blog we have a career-capping 1976 card for former All-Star infielder Dick McAuliffe, who closed out a very nice 16-year career with seven games for the Boston Red Sox in 1975:

The long time Detroit Tiger infielder collected only two hits over 15 at-bats for the Red Sox before calling it a career at the age of 35, with an RBI and a walk.
However in 1974 he did appear in 100 games for Boston, batting .210 over 316 plate appearances.
Those two seasons would be the only ones where McAuliffe didn't suit up for the Tigers, for whom he played between 1960 and 1973 manning both second and shortstop.
He made three consecutive all-star teams between 1965 and 1967, and even finished seventh in MVP voting in 1968 when the Tigers won it all.
All told he batted .247 for his career, with 197 homers and 697 runs batted in over 1700 games, with 1530 hits and 888 runs scored and a World Championship with the 1968 Tigers, who defeated the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


Thought it'd be fun to give former outfielder Bobby Tolan a "do-over" on his 1974 Topps card, since the original had him hilariously airbrushed into a San Diego Padres uni after four solid seasons with the Cincinnati reds:

For those that need a refresher on the original, take a gander at this:

Tolan was traded to the Padres on November 9th of 1973 with pitcher Dave Tomlin for starter Clay Kirby, a trade that didn't work particularly well for either sides.
His best years were with the Cincinnati Reds between 1969 and 1973, topping .300 a couple of times and leading the league in stolen bases in 1970 with 57 and even slamming 21 home runs in 1969 with 93 runs batted in.
Sadly for him, the trade to the Padres had him miss out on the tremendous "Big Red Machine" run the next few years, and being a part of two world champion teams.
In all he'd finish with a .265 average with 193 steals and 1121 hits over 1282 games and 4238 at-bats between 1965 and 1979, as well as a World Series ring as a member of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox.

Monday, January 17, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1978 card for former St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Mike Potter, who put in parts of two seasons in a brief Major League career:

Potter appeared in only five games for St. Louis in 1977, and those turned out to be the last games of his 14 games career, going 0-7 at the plate after going 0-16 the previous season when he made his Big League debut with nine appearances.
He would spend all of 1978 and 1979 in the Minors, playing for both the St. Louis and Seattle organizations, before retiring for good shortly after that.
All told, sadly the man never picked up a Big League hit, going 0-23 with a walk in his taste of the Majors.
But hey, he made it to the Majors so can't take anything away from that!

Sunday, January 16, 2022


Up on the blog to close out another week, an expanded 1974 league leader card for the National League's top relief pitchers of 1973:

We begin of course with the Montreal Expos' reliever extraordinaire Mike Marshall who was the dominant "closer" of the era.
Marshall led the pack with his 45 "points", combining saves and wins at that time to determine the top arm to put out late-inning fires for his team.
Marshall was on his way to a dominant few seasons, with his 1974 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers the peak, as he would set the Major League record with 106 appearances, taking home the Cy Young Award and helping the Dodgers make the World Series for the first time since 1966 before losing to the three-peat Oakland A's.
Right behind him with 30 points is the New York Mets reliever Tug McGraw, who had a very nice 1973 campaign with 25 saves and five wins for the National League champs.
For McGraw, his 1973 season was actually a bit of a step DOWN from his previous two seasons where he posted ERA's of 1.70, with 19 wins and 35 saves combined.
Nevertheless, he was far from over as a Big League reliever, going on to the Philadelphia Phillies where he would close out games until 1984 and helping the team take home the championship in 1980.
One point behind McGraw with 29 points in 1973 was another long time Major League reliever, Dave Giusti of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who posted nine wins to go along with his 20 saves.
Giusti had a very nice 15 year career that saw him post 145 saves and a 100-93 record, leading the league in 1971 with 30 saves, helping the Pirates to their World Championship over the Baltimore Orioles.
The year prior, he finished fourth in the Cy Young race after he posted 26 saves while winning nine, even getting enough points in MVP voting to end up with a sixth-place showing.
Next week, we move on to the American League and their top relievers of 1973.

Saturday, January 15, 2022


Up on the blog today, the next card profile from my recently released "Negro Leagues Greats" custom set, the all-time great Buck Leonard:

Leonard played for the Homestead Grays between 1934 and 1950, often batting cleanup behind Josh Gibson, with whom he was nicknamed the “Thunder Twins” because of their legendary power.
The team were three-time Negro World Series Champions, in 1943, 1944 & 1948, while Leonard was a 13-time all-star selection at First Base and took home the batting title in 1948 with a .395 average.
After his Negro League playing days were over he went on to play in the Mexican League where he would continue playing until 1955, even though he was actually offered a Major League contract in 1952.
However, due to his age, he felt he would hurt the integration of baseball and embarrass himself, so he stayed in Mexico, playing for various teams such as Torreon, Xalapa and Durango.
Fittingly, in 1972 he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with former teammate Josh Gibson, and in 1999 he was ranked #47 in the Sporting News list of “100 Greatest Baseball Players”, only one of five players who played the bulk of their career in Negro League ball.

Friday, January 14, 2022


Thought it'd be fun today to take a closer look at Mike Torrez's 1977 Burger King image used for his card, an airbrushed "update" if you will over his regular Topps 1977 base card which showed him as an Oakland A's player:

The updated Burger King Card has him as a member of the New York Yankees, to whom he was traded just as the new season was underway.
Torrez was dealt East on April 27th for three players, including Dock Ellis, so Topps understandably couldn’t get him airbrushed in a N.Y. uni in time for their 1977 set.
Torrez would go on to help the Yankees, winning 14 games after posting three wins for Oakland, giving him 17 on the season, while in my opinion was the Yankees MVP (outside of Reggie Jackson of course) of the World Series when he went 2-0 over two starts, with two complete games and a 2.50 ERA with 15 strikeouts.
I’ve always been fascinated by Torrez’s run between 1974 and 1978 when he posted 15+ wins each and every year, playing for a different team each and every season!
In 1974 he won 15 for the Montreal Expos, then 20 for the Baltimore Orioles in 1975, then 16 for the Oakland A’s, then the aforementioned 17 combined wins with the Yanks and A’s in 1977, then finally 16 for the Boston Red Sox in 1978.
Toss in his 16 wins for the Expos in 1972 and then another 16 for the Red Sox in 1979, and we are talking a solid eight-year run of dependability that gets overlooked.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season, Torrez fashioned himself a solid 18-year career that saw him go 185-160, with a 3.96 E.R.A., 1404 strikeouts and 15 shutouts over 494 games, 458 of which were starts.
He also won two games in the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers, pitching a complete game in both starts, yielding a 2.50 E.R.A. with 15 strikeouts. Not bad at all…

Thursday, January 13, 2022


Today on the blog we have a 1973 "career-capper" for former Los Angeles Dodger Rookie of the Year and future manager Jim Lefebvre, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1972 season:

Lefebvre played in 70 games for the Dodgers in 1972, hitting .201 with 34 hits over 169 at-bats, before deciding to take his talents to japan where he played for the Lotte Orions between 1974 and 1976.
He made his Big League debut in 1965 and promptly took home the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award by season's end, somewhat controversial since many believe (including yours truly), that Joe Morgan of the Houston Astros deserved it.
Nevertheless, Lefebvre was a starter for the next two seasons in L.A., shifting back and forth between second and third base, even making the All-Star team in 1966.
Between 1968 and 1972 however, he never put in a full season again, topping out at 119 games in 1971 before the 70 games in 1972.
All told, for his major League tenure, he finished with a career .251 average over 922 games and 3014 at-bats, collecting 756 hits while scoring 313 runs.
Years later, beginning in 1989, he'd become a Major League manager, beginning with the Seattle Mariners for three years before moving on to the Chicago Cubs for the 1992 and 1993 seasons, then a partial season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999, finishing with a career 233-253 record over six seasons.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


On the blog today, we have a 1972 career-capping "not so missing" card for former Minnesota Twins catcher Tom Tischinski, who played the last of his Major League games during the 1971 season:

Tischinski, who made his Big League debut in 1969 with 37 games as a 24=year-old, appeared in 21 games for the Twins in 1971, hitting .130 with three hits over 23 at-bats, driving in two and collecting two doubles, the only doubles of his brief career.
He would play in the Minors between 1972 and 1974 before retiring for good, leaving the game with 82 career games over parts of three years, hitting .181 with 21 hits in 116 at-bats, scoring eight runs while driving in six, with a home run and the aforementioned two doubles.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022


With all the talk these days about the Hall of Fame and who is worthy or not, I thought it'd be fun to revisit my blog post from just about eight years ago, and my 1970 Hall of Fame "induction" card of former pitcher Jesse Haines:

Haines has always been one of the players held up as an example of the nepotism by the Veteran's Committee in the early 70's and who they selected for the Hall. And rightly so.
Here's the original post:
"One of the more controversial picks for induction, former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jesse Haines is the next member of my Hall of Fame sub-set, and the final one selected by the Veteran's Committee in 1970.
Admittedly, when taking a gander at Haines' final numbers, nothing really leaps out at you: 210-158 record, a high 3.64 earned run average, 23 shutouts and 981 strikeouts over 19-years.
But he WAS an important member of the "Gashouse Gang" Cardinal teams of the era, so I'm sure he got some help by former players who were part of the committee.
All told, Haines had three 20-win seasons, two sub-3.00 E.R.A. years, and went 3-1 in World Series play with a sparkling 1.67 E.R.A., including 2-0 with a shutout in the 1926 championship year for the Cards over the Yankees.
Personally I don't see how Haines made the cut, but then again I didn't see him pitch so I'll chalk it up to the Veteran's Committee knowing what they were doing.
But Bill James and his awesome book "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame" has something to say about it. Worth the read if you haven't already."

Monday, January 10, 2022


On the blog today, we move on to the starting third baseman for the American League in that classic 1971 All-Star game, the great Brooks Robinson:

Of course Robinson pretty much had the third base position on lock-down for some 15 years in the A.L., and 1971 was no different.
It was the man's 12th straight All-Star nod at third base for the Junior Circuit, and it would also be his 12th straight Gold Glove, on his way to 16 before he was through.
In 1958 he’d play his first full season in the Big Leagues, and it was all cruise control from there, as the great third baseman would go on to grab those 16 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award in 1964, appear in 15 All-Star games, and help guide the Baltimore Orioles to two Championships and four A.L. Pennants.
By the time he hung up that golden glove after the 1977 season, he finished with 2848 hits, 1357 runs batted in, 268 home runs and 1232 runs scored in 2896 games.
Needless to say, by the time Cooperstown came calling, he was voted in on his first try, receiving 92% support in 1983.


Sunday, January 9, 2022


Hello everyone! Today I wanted to begin devoting a bit of time to my recent Negro League custom set that was a hit with many of you a few months back when I had them printed up.A few of you who didn't pick one up asked if I could profile some of the cards here on the blog (or on Twitter), and it makes perfect sense! 

So we begin with all-time great catcher Biz Mackey:

Here's my original write-up for the man when I profiled him for my 1972 "Negro Baseball Legends" thread some four years ago:
"Today we celebrate who many consider the greatest catcher in Negro Leagues history, even over the legendary Josh Gibson, fellow Hall of Fame member Biz Mackey, in my running “Negro Baseball Leagues All-Time Legends”
Though certainly no slouch at the plate, as evidenced by his .329 career average in league play including four recorded seasons of batting over .400, it was at defense that many consider Mackey the superior player over Gibson.
While playing the position full-time even into his 40’s, he was even a mentor to a young Roy Campanella, who openly stated that Mackey taught him everything he knew about playing the position.
Mackey put in 24 seasons in Negro League play, while also playing in the California Winter League for 26 seasons, ranking third all-time in that league’s home run list, behind only two other Hall members, Turkey Stearnes and Mule Suttles.
On top of all of his exploits in the Negro Leagues, he even spent a year traveling in 1932, which took him to Japan where he helped influence the formation of their professional league.
Quite a baseball life!
Read up on his biography for so much more on the 2006 Cooperstown inductee!"

Saturday, January 8, 2022


The next card in line in my on-going "expanded league leaders" sub-set is the A.L. 1974 strikeout leaders card:

Of course we begin with the great Nolan Ryan and his record breaking 1973 campaign, when he broke the MLB strikeout record by one, with 383 K's.
Ryan was beginning his insane run at the record books, reaching 300+ strikeouts for the second straight year, in what would be five times out of six seasons between 1972 and 1977.
In addition to the strikeouts, he reached 20 wins for the first time in his career with 21, while posting a 2.87 ERA and four shutouts over 41 appearances, 39 of those starts.
Behind him with 258 strikeouts is another future Hall of Famer, Minnesota Twins ace Bert Blyleven, who reached 200+ K's for the third of what would be six seasons between 1971 and 1976.
Blyleven also reached 20 wins, the only time he would do so over his long career, tossing a league-leading nine shouts and posting an ERA of 2.52 over 40 starts.
Incredibly, after his 1976 season, he wouldn't reach 200-K's again until 1985 when he'd lead the A.L. with 206 in a season split between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins.
In third place in the American League with 241 strikeouts in 1973, is another California Angels pitcher, Bill Singer, who had a great first season with his new team.
Coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Singer posted his second 20-win season, going 20-14 over 40 starts, with a 3.22 ERA and two shutouts, and helping set a new Major League record for strikeouts by teammates with Nolan Ryan, an astounding 624 between the two.
The record would stand until almost 30-years later when two dudes by the name of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling would seemingly strike everyone out in 2001, reaching 665 K's between them.
Well there you have it! The three top strikeout pitchers in the American League for 1973, expanded on a 1974 League Leader card.

Friday, January 7, 2022


Adding to my new 1970 "In-Game Action" thread, we have the great Pete Rose, a Hall of Famer in my book, and smack in the middle of his career-peak when this card would have seen the light of day:

Rose was coming off his second straight batting title, hitting .348 after a league-leading .335 in 1968.
He also reached 200+ hits for the fourth of what would end up being a record ten such seasons, with 218 in 1969.
Those numbers got him a fourth place finish in the MVP race at season's end, along with a Gold Glove for his work in the outfield after coming up as a second baseman.
Growing up in the 1970's as a baseball nut, Pete Rose was an almost mythic figure. Even though his Reds steamrolled through "my" Yankees in the 1976 World Series, Rose, along with his all-star teammates, seemed like something made-up, not real.
I guess a part of that could be that the very first Pete Rose baseball card I ever saw, at the age of seven, was his 1976 Topps masterpiece, which had that glare of his, staring down the camera, showing that intensity that created the "Charlie Hustle" legend.
What a player, a Hall of Fame player. But I won't get into THAT here.
The "Player of the Decade" for the 1970's, Rose etched his name into the history of the game many times over.
Really, along with guys like Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson, you just can't have too many Pete Rose cards from the 1970's in my eyes.

Thursday, January 6, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a 1979 "not so missing" card for former Big League infielder Mickey Klutts, who saw brief action during the 1978 season as a member of the New York Yankees:

Klutts appeared in one single game for the Yanks during their World Champion 1978 season, and he made the most of it, going 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and a run scored.
It was the third year in a row he got a taste of the Big Leagues, appearing in two games in 1976 and five games during the 1977 season.
In 1979 he would find himself a member of the Oakland A's, where he would play the next four years before one final season in 1983, as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Never a full-time player, the most action he ever saw in one season was 1980 when he played in 75 games for Oakland, hitting .269 with 53 hits in 197 at-bats, scoring 20 and driving in 21, all career-bests.
By the time he retired after the 1983 season he finished with a .241 career average, with 129 hits in 536 at-bats, scoring 49 runs while driving in 59, hitting 14 homers over 199 games.


Wednesday, January 5, 2022


Today's blog post has a career-capping "not so missing" 1978 card for former pitcher Mickey Scott, who finished up a five-year Big League career with 12 appearances for the California Angels in 1977:

Scott went 0-2 with a 5.63 earned run average in those 12 games, throwing 16 innings out of the bullpen with five strikeouts and four base on balls.
Originally up in 1972 with the Baltimore Orioles, his finest Big League season was in 1975 which was his first year in California, when he appeared in 50 games as a reliever, going 4-2 with a 3.29 ERA over 68.1 innings, striking out 31 while saving a game.
All told, between 1972 and 1977 Scott finished with a record of 8-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 133 appearances, pitching 172 innings, saving four, with all of his action out of the bullpen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a 1977 "not so missing" card for former Montreal Expos pitcher Bill Atkinson, who made his Big League debut during the 1976 campaign with four appearances:

Atkinson didn't pick up a decision in his first go around in the Majors, pitching five innings of scoreless ball with four strikeouts and a walk.
He'd have a nice 1977 season that saw him go 7-2 over 55 appearances out of the bullpen, with a 3.35 ERA and seven saves in 83.1 innings.
His 1978 season was pretty good, going 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA over 29 appearances and 45.1 innings, with three saves and 32 strikeouts, again out of the bullpen
In 1979 he had a very good partial season, appearing in 10 games for Montreal and going 2-0 with a brilliant 1.98 ERA over 13.2 innings, but for some reason that was it for his Major League career, pitching in the Chicago White Sox Minor League system for the next four years without getting another shot in the Big Leagues.
He retired from Pro Ball after the 1983 season, still only 28 years of age, with a very nice 11-4 career record, with a 3.42 ERA over 98 appearances and 147.1 innings, saving 11 games and striking out 99 batters.

Monday, January 3, 2022


On the blog today, we have a 1972 "not so missing" card for former speedster Frank Taveras, who made his MLB debut with one single game in 1971:

Taveras didn't have an official plate appearance in his first Big League appearance, and the following season only had him appear in four games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 0-3 at the plate with some time out at shortstop.
He'd spend all of 1973 in the Minors before finally getting some substantial playing time in 1974, appearing in 126 games, hitting .246 with 82 hits over 333 at-bats, 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, January 2, 2022


The next legend featured in my new 1970 "In Game Action" sub-set is "The Great One", Roberto Clemente, who was already well on his way to a Hall of Fame career by the time this card would have seen the light of day:

In November of 1954 the Pittsburgh Pirates made one of the all-time greatest moves when they purchased Clemente in the Rule 5 Draft, having him become one of the greatest, if not THE greatest player in franchise history.  
Clemente's career is the stuff of legend: His fiery play on the field, his good deeds, and his absolute adoration by teammates and fans alike.
On the field Clemente's numbers were incredible: four batting titles, five seasons batting over .340, four 200 hit seasons, 12 all-star nods, 12 Gold Gloves and a Most Valuable Player Award in 1966.
Throw in his 3000 hits, 1416 runs scored and 1305 runs batted in and you see how the man was a lethal threat at the plate.
And a prime example of Clemente's importance to the game was his immediate induction into Cooperstown by special committee in 1973, waiving the standard five-year wait before a player joins the Hall ballot, as well as the establishment of the "Roberto Clemente Award", given every year to the player that exemplified "outstanding baseball playing skills who is personally involved in community work."
Just an amazing human being.

Saturday, January 1, 2022


Happy New Year everyone!

I totally spaced out and forgot to post my newest custom set!

Thank you all who ordered my latest release, "1963 Fleer Lost Second Series", featuring 20 stars who never made it into the original release before Topps shut that door.

Along with the 20 1963's, there are also two bonus 1961 Fleer "Greats" cards of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, a Second Series Checklist card, and of course, a cookie!

For those that missed out, I do still have some available at $17 per set, plus one-time $4.50 postage fee, no matter how many you buy. Email me at: to order or ask any questions.

This was a really fun set to get produced! Glad I finally got around to it.


Next up in the "expanded league leader" thread is my 1974 National League Strikeout kings celebrating the top three pitchers of 1973 for the N.L.:

Leading the way with 251 strikeouts is all-time great Tom Seaver, who took home his third K-Crown after leading the league in 1970 & 1971.
Seaver would go on to lead the league two more times before he was through, on his way to 3640 strikeouts over his illustrious career which also saw him post 311 wins, a 2.86 earned run average and 61 shutouts between 1967 and 1986.
Behind him with 223 strikeouts, thN.L. league leader the year before, Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who came off his 310 K's of 1972 with another 200+-K season.
For Carlton, 1973 was a tough one as he would lead the league with 20 losses against his 13 victories, tossing three shutouts while posting an ERA some two runs higher than his 1972 number at 3.90.
Needless to say, "Lefty" would bounce back on his way to a cool 329 wins, 55 shutouts and 4136 strikeouts over 24 Big League seasons, chiseling his name into the Major League record books as one of the best to ever toe-the-rubber.
In third place with 205 strikeouts we have another New York Mets pitcher, the Rookie of the Year for 1972 Jon Matlack, who followed up his award-winning rookie year with another solid season, finishing up 14-16 with a 3.20 ERA over 34 appearances, tossing three shutouts to go along with his impressive K-total.
Matlack would go on to have a very nice 13-year Major League career, splitting his tenure with the Mets and Texas Rangers, posting a record of 125-126 with a 3.18 ERA over 361 appearances, throwing 30 shutouts while striking out 1516 batters.
Not a bad three to start ANY rotation!
Next week, we look at the American League's top-3 strikeout pitchers for 1973!


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