Monday, February 28, 2022


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former pitcher Jim Willoughby, who did manage to get into 18 games during the 1974 season but was left out of the 1975 Topps set:

Willoughby posted a record of 1-4 over those 18 games, pitching to an earned run average of 4.65 over 40.2 innings, starting four games along the way.
He would actually find himself with the Boston Red Sox for the 1975 season, getting traded in October of 1974 to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tom Heintzelman, for who he'd never suit up, before another trade in July of 1975 to the eventual American League champs. Talk about great timing!
He’d go on to play eight years in the Big Leagues, finishing up with a career 26-36 record, with an ERA of 3.79 over 238 appearances, 28 of those starts, with a shutout and 34 saves thrown in.
His best season could arguably be 1972 when he appeared in eleven games, all starts, and completed seven games, going 6-4 with an ERA of 2.36 over 87.2 innings pitched.

Sunday, February 27, 2022


An added post today because of some absent-mindedness on my part!
It's been pointed out to me that I've missed posting some of the recent custom card sets I've put out, here on the blog. 
Totally an oversight by myself!
In my excitement to post on Twitter or email I forgot to also post it here on the blog, so here goes:

SERIES 7 (Released August, 2021)

SERIES 8 (Released September, 2021)

SPECIAL "MISSING" 1972 ALL-STAR SUB-SET ( (Released February, 2022)


Hope this brings everyone here up to speed on the printed output!
Thank you all for the interest and support!


Moving on to the American League this week in my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, which has us expanding on the 1975 card celebrating the top-3 batters in the Junior Circuit for 1974:

Of course we lead off with Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who hit a blistering .364 during the 1974 season, also leading the league in hits with 218 and on-base-percentage with a .433 mark.
It was the fourth batting title for the Minnesota twin, outhitting the second place finisher by 48 points!
Those numbers would get him a seventh-place finish in the MVP voting at season's end, but as we all know, he wasn't nearly done tearing up A.L. pitching, going on to win three more batting titles, including a career-best .388 mark in 1977 when he'd also bring home the MVP Award at last.
Speaking of the second place finisher in the A.L. batting race for 1974, we come to Chicago White Sox second baseman Jorge Orta, a fine batter who put in a very nice season, hitting .316 with 166 hits, 31 doubles, 73 runs scored and 67 RBI's in his first true full season in the Majors.
Orta put in a solid 16 year Big League career between 1972 and 1987, switching to the outfield before becoming a full time DH the last five years of his career.
By the time he was done, he finished with a very respectable .278 batting average, with 1619 hits over 5829 at-bats in 1755 games.
Coming in third hitting at a .310 clip is Kansas City Royals DH-extraordinaire Hal McRae, who reached the .300 mark for the first time in his excellent 19-year career.
He'd reach the .300 mark six more times before he was through, hitting a career-best .332 in 1976, but falling just short of the batting title, losing to teammate George Brett on the last game of the year, under a somewhat controversial situation.
McRae was a workhorse of a hitter, finishing his career with over 2000 hits, 191 home runs, 1097 RBIs and a very nice .290 batting average in 2084 games between 1968 and 1987.
Next week, we move on to the N.L.'s top Home Run hitters for 1974! See you then!

Saturday, February 26, 2022


Today on the blog we add the great "Cyclone" Joe Williams in my on-going spotlight of my custom "Negro League Legends" set that was produced back in July of 2020:

One of my favorite custom sets that I've created, it was certainly worth all the work put into it, and I promise you it was a ton of work!
Pitching an incredible 27-years, he starred in the Negro Leagues as well as the Mexican and Caribbean Leagues between 1907 and 1932.
According to some sources, some of his pro seasons included records of 28-4, 20-2 and 32-8 playing for teams such as the Chicago Leland Giants and Homestead Grays.
While the great Satchel Paige gets much of the attention of baseball fans and historians, there is a frequent debate as to whether Williams is in fact the greatest pitcher to toe the rubber in Negro League history, even being recognized as such in a 1952 poll held by the Pittsburgh Courier.
Even noted Baseball historian Bill James named Williams the 52nd greatest player (and 12th greatest pitcher) in baseball history when he released his “100 Greatest Players in Baseball History” some 20-years ago.
In 1999, Cooperstown gave Williams his rightful place in their hallowed halls, electing him for enshrinement by the Veteran’s Committee.


Friday, February 25, 2022


On the blog today, the final "missing" 1972 All-Star card in my thread celebrating perhaps the greatest All-Star game there ever was, the 1971 epic contest held in Detroit, Michigan, and this one is none other than the A.L.'s starting pitcher, Vida Blue:

Of course, we all know that Vida Blue absolutely exploded onto the Major League scene in 1971, on his way to capturing both the Cy Young and MVP Awards by season's end.
All he did in this epic season was post a record of 24-8, with a league-leading 1.82 earned run average, striking out 301 batters and tossing eight shutouts.
Oh yeah, he was only 21 years of age!
His WHIP of 0.952 and strikeouts-per-nine-innings of 8.7 also led the league, and he completed 24 of his 39 starts, putting in 312 innings of work for the upstart Oakland A's, who were about to go on the three-peat championship run between 1972 and 1974.
Blue would go on to post 209 career victories in the Majors, having some successful seasons with the San Francisco Giants, even starting the 1978 All-Star game for the National League, while finishing up his 17-year career in 1986.
It’s amazing for me to remember that when Blue started that NL All-Star game in 1978, he wasn’t even 30 years old, yet to me he already seemed to be an aging veteran by then.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


On the blog today, we add the great Harmon Killebrew to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" set, which will be a printed two-series set in the near future:

Killebrew was coming off his MVP 1969 season when this card would have seen the light of day, matching his career-best with 49 home runs while setting a new best with his 140 runs batted in, 145 walks and .427 on-base-pct, all numbers that led the American League.
After a second-place finish for the MVP in 1967, a third-place finish in 1962, and two fourth-place finishes in 1963 and 1966, he finally brought home the hardware, finishing ahead of the Orioles Boog Powell, 294 points to 227.
The man was amazing!
He was an absolute BEAST at the plate, crushing 573 lifetime homers, MOST of them during the pitching-era of the 1960's into the '70's.
Eight 40+ home run seasons, nine 100+ runs batted in seasons, seven 100+ base-on-balls seasons, an M.V.P. in 1969 (with five top-5 finishes in M.V.P. voting as well), and a Hall of Fame induction in 1984.
A favorite player of mine "before my time" since I first discovered him when I flipped over his 1973 card, not believing the numbers I was seeing as a 10-year-old in 1979 at my cousin's house.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


For no particular reason, I thought it'd be fun to revisit an old blog post from 2014, where I created a nifty 1972 "Nickname" card for former pitcher John "Blue Moon" Odom:

It was the very first 1972 nickname card I created for the blog, and I was really happy with the result, with splashes of color shooting out at you from every angle!
Here's the original write-up I had to accompany the card:
"Odom spent all or parts of 12 of his 13 Major League seasons with the A's organization: the first four when they were still in Kansas City (1964-1967), and the next eight in Oakland.
I used a 1972 template for him since 1972 was his best season in the 1970's, as he posted a 15-6 record with a 2.50 E.R.A. And two shutouts over 30 starts.
After that season his career sort of went downhill from there, finding himself playing for Oakland, Cleveland, Atlanta and the Chicago White Sox all in 1975 and 1976.
However, as I profiled in one of my "Highlights of the 1970's" a little while back on this blog, one of his last Major League starts, in 1976 as a member of the White Sox, was a combined no-hitter against the Oakland A's (ironically enough), along with teammate Francisco Barrios.
By the time he wrapped up his career after 1976, he posted an 84-85 record, with a 3.70 earned run average, 15 shutouts and 857 strikeouts over 295 games, 229 of which were starts.
And he also left us with one of the best nicknames of the era, along with former teammates "Catfish" Hunter and "Mudcat" Grant."

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1978 card for former Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Bacsik, who appeared in only two games during the 1977 season:

Bacsik was hit hard in those two games, to the tune of a 19.29 earned run average over 2.1 innings of work, while not factoring in a decision.
Originally up to the Big Leagues in 1975, he'd go 1-2 and 3-2 in his first two seasons before his brief 1977 work and would spend all of 1978 in the Minors before making it back as a member of the Minnesota Twins, for whom he'd pitch in 1979 and 1980.
After 10 appearances in 1980, going 0-0 with a 4.30 ERA over 23 innings, he'd call it a career, ending up with a record of 8-6, posting a final ERA of 4.43 over 73 appearances and 172.2 innings.
Years later, his son Mike Jr would make the Majors, playing in parts of five seasons between 2001 and 2007 for four different organizations.

Monday, February 21, 2022


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1977 card for former St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Mike Potter, who made his Big League debut during the 1976 season:

Potter, who also got a "not so missing" 1978 card here on the blog about a month ago, gets today's card based on his nine game debut in 1976, which saw him go a rough 0-16 at the plate with six strikeouts.
The following year he'd only appear in five games, going 0-7 with two strikeouts, which sadly for him, would be the last action he'd see in the Majors.
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, February 20, 2022


On the blog today, time to add the great Frank Robinson to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" sub-set, which will be printed as a two-series special set in the coming months:

Robinson, called-out in 1965 as an "old 30" by Cincinnati's front office, was enjoying a fantastic run while with the Baltimore Orioles at the time this card would have seen the light of day, helping the Orioles to a world championship in 1966, and another World Series berth in 1969 when they lost in a shocker to the upstart New York Mets.
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.

Saturday, February 19, 2022


The next "Negro League Legends" custom from my set released a few motnhs back to get the spotlight, that of all-time great "Bullet" Joe Rogan, truly one of the great "two-way threats" the game has ever seen:

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.


Friday, February 18, 2022


This week's re-done 1977 "former" Oakland A's star is All-Star third baseman Sal Bando, who signed on with the Milwaukee Brewers before the 1977 season began, thus ending his great run as an Athletic after 11-years:

Bando broke many a heart in Oakland on November 19th of 1976 when he signed with the Brewers, part of the mass exodus of Oakland's stars that brought the city three straight World Championships between 1972 and 1974.
A huge cog in that machine of the mid-70's, he would end up making four All-Star teams over his career, while placing top-4 in MVP votes three times with a high of second place in 1971 when teammate Vida Blue took home the honors.
Bando put together a very solid 16-year career that saw him take home three championships, participate in four all-star games, and finish in the top-10 in MVP voting three times.
His five 20-homer and two 100+ RBI seasons were a nice compliment to Reggie's offensive exploits, and with Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace and Bert Campaneris thrown in you can see why those A's teams were so strong.
Then again, with starting pitching like Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Rollie Fingers et al, yeah, they were going to kick-ass no matter what…
Sadly for Milwaukee however, though he did stick with them for the last five years of his Big League career, he never reached the solid numbers he put up while with Oakland, topping out at 17 homers, 82 RBI's and a .285 batting average as highs between 1977 and 1981 before retiring at the age of 37.

Thursday, February 17, 2022


Time to add the great Reggie Jackson to my on-going "1970 In-Game Action" thread, which will eventually be a two=part custom card set released in the coming months:

Jackson truly arrived with his 1969 season, exploding for 47 home runs with a league-leading 123 runs scored, while driving in 118 runs.
He also led the league with his .608 slugging percentage and 20 intentional base-on-balls, making his first All-Star game at the age of 23.
Those numbers got him a fifth-place finish in the MVP race at season's end, and we all know he was FAR from finished.
Truly one of the eternal icons of the game, the man was just destined for baseball greatness since his days at Cheltenham High School in Pennsylvania.
Recruited by pro teams and colleges alike, he went on to Arizona State where he was actually on a football scholarship.
Of course we all know the story of the 1966 amateur draft, where the New York Mets held the #1 pick, and opted for high school catcher Steve Chilcott instead of who many considered the true #1 overall amateur, Jackson.
With the second pick, the Kansas City Athletics (later Oakland) picked the slugger and the rest is history, as he would eventually lead the organization to three straight championships between 1972-1974 before being traded in a blockbuster to the Baltimore Orioles where he’d play for one season in 1976.
As a highly coveted free agent before the 1977 season, Jackson signed with the New York Yankees, and with Reggie in NYC, the legend exploded as he helped the Yankees to two championships in 1977-78.
With his larger than life persona, New York ate it up and before you knew it, he was known around the world, even getting his own candy-bar by the end of the decade.
For a kid like me growing up in Brooklyn in the ‘70’s, Reggie was like a God, larger than life, and before he finished up his career in 1987, putting in 21 seasons, he would put together a Hall of Fame career with 563 homers, 1702 runs batted in, an MVP Award in 1973, and five championships.
Add to that 14 all-star nods, four home run titles, a legendary homer in the 1971 All-Star Game against Dock Ellis, his 1977 World Series performance, and you can see why he goes down as one of the most well-known baseball personalities the game has ever seen!


Wednesday, February 16, 2022


Really fun card to add to the blog today, a "not so missing" 1975 card for 12-game Major League outfielder Mike Reinbach of the Baltimore Orioles, who played the entirety of his career over the first couple of months of the 1974 season:

Reinbach hit .250 over his 12 games for the Orioles between April 7th and June 1st of 1974, collecting five hits in 20 at-bats with two runs scored and two runs batted in with a double.
However, after spending all of 1975 in the Minor Leagues, he took his talents to the Far East, playing in Japan for Hanshin between 1976 and 1980, hitting as many as 27 home runs in a season and hitting as high as .326.
Sadly in 1989, just short of his 40th birthday, Reinbach was killed in an automobile accident in California as he was driving to Palm Springs. At the time, he was a successful businessman in the home-computer industry post-playing career.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


On the blog today, we go and give former pitcher Mike Kilkenny a career-capping "not so missing" 1974 card, closing out a five-year Big League career that began in 1969 with the Detroit Tigers:

Kilkenny appeared in five games for the Cleveland Indians in 1973, not factoring in a decision and getting hit hard, to the tune of a 22.50 ERA over two innings of work.
The previous season he played for no less than four teams: Detroit, Oakland, San Diego and Cleveland, combining to go 4-1 over 29 appearances, with a 3.78 ERA over 64.1 innings.
Sadly for Kilkenny, his best Big League season was his first, in 1969 with the Tigers, when he posted a record of 8-6 with a 3.37 ERA, appearing in 39 games, 15 of those starts, and tossing four shutouts while saving two.
The following year he did go 7-6 over 36 games, but had his ERA balloon to 5.16, which was almost the same in 1971 as well when it"dropped" to 5.00 over 30 appearances.
Overall, by the time he retired, he finished with a record of 23-18, with a 4.43 ERA in 139 appearances and 410 innings pitched, striking out 301 batters while stuck with those initial four shutouts in his rookie year.

Monday, February 14, 2022


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1979 card for 20-game Major League pitcher Duane Theiss, who played parts of two seasons in the Big Leagues with the Atlanta Braves:

I also created a 1978 custom for Theiss about three years ago here on the blog, as he was never given any love by Topps back then.
Theiss made his Major League debut during the 1977 season, appearing in 17 games for Atlanta, going 1-1 with a 6.53 earned run average over 20.2 innings, all in relief.
Lord knows Topps had a few guys who appeared in less games in that set!
The following season, Theiss only made it into three games, again for the Braves, not factoring in a decision while posting a nice 1.42 ERA over 6.1 innings pitched.
He’d actually play in the Minors through the 1980 season, still with Atlanta, but never get back on a Big League mound again.


Sunday, February 13, 2022


The next Negro League Legend spotlighted from my recently produced custom set, the great and terribly overlooked pitcher Hilton Smith:

Often overshadowed by his teammate Satchel Paige (who wouldn't be?!), Smith Played for the Monarchs from 1936 through 1948, officially posting a record of 71-31 with a 1.68 earned run average, while making six all-star teams and winning the Negro League championship in 1942.
According to Negro League Museum Director Bob Kendrick, the old saying was, "...if you were going to hit anything, you better hit it off Satchel because you weren't going to touch Hilton Smith."
The reason for this was because there were many games where the great Satchel Paige would start and pitch about three innings to appease the crowd before Smith would come in to finish the last six innings,often with great results.
Fellow Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, who played in both the Negro Leagues and big leagues, said: “He (Smith) had one of the finest curveballs I ever had the displeasure to try and hit. His curveball fell of the table. Sometimes you knew where it would be coming from, but you still couldn’t hit it because it was that sharp. He was just as tough as Satchel was.”
But he was also a very good hitter, posting a career .323 batting average over his career.
Though he passed away in 1983, thankfully this baseball great was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Saturday, February 12, 2022



Today we move along to the 1975 Topps set, and start an "Expanded League Leaders" set to make up for the released league-leaders that only had the top statistical leader of each league.
Here we expand and create dedicated league cards showing the top-three performers in each category, to spread the love to the second and third place guys:

We begin with the National league's top hitter for 1974, the "Roadrunner" Ralph Garr who had a magnificent year, hitting a blistering .353, while also leading the league with 214 hits and 17 triples.
The batting average topped his previous best of .343 back in 1971 when he collected 219 hits in his breakout season, scoring 101 runs and stealing 30 bases for the Atlanta Braves.
By the time he hung them up, he finished with a .306 career average, with 1562 hits in 5108 at-bats in 1317 games between 1968 and 1980.
In second place, some 32 points behind Garr, one of my favorite players from the era, Al Oliver of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who hit .321 on 198 hits in 617 at-bats, while scoring 96 runs and driving in 85, earning him a seventh place finish in the N.L. MVP race at season's end.
It was a "typical" year for the great hitter, as he would finish his career with 2743 hits over 9049 at-bats, a .303 career average, and a batting crown in 1982 while with the Montreal Expos while also leading the league in RBIs with 109, hits with 204 and doubles with 43.
In third place, and a fun player to have on this card, rookie Greg Gross of the Houston Astros, who played his first full season in the Big Leagues after 14 games in 1973, and he did not disappoint, hitting .314 with 185 hits in 589 at-bats over 156 games, scoring 78 runs, earning him a second place finish in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting at the end of the year.
For Gross, he also put in a very nice lengthy Major league career, retiring after the 1989 season, and hitting .287 with 1073 hits in 3745 at-bats in 1809 games, playing the bulk of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies between 1979 and 1988.
Well there it is! The start of the 1975 expanded league leader cards, and next we move on to the American League's top three hitters of 1974. See you then!

Friday, February 11, 2022


Up next in my on-going "missing" 1972 All-Star set is the new Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, who was on his way to a third batting crown in 1971 while also being voted as a starter for the classic 1971 game:

Oliva would actually not play in the game due to injury, but nevertheless he made his eighth straight All-Star team since bursting onto the baseball world with his Rookie of the Year winning 1964 campaign.
All he did to start his career was win two straight batting titles in 1964 and 1965, also leading the A.L. in hits both years as well as runs and doubles in 1964.
Injuries would nag him throughout his career, however in 1971 he would go on to cop his third batting title, hitting .337 while also leading the league with his .546 slugging percentage.
Of course, all he would do over his 15-year Major League career is have one of the greatest rookie seasons in 1964, easily taking home the top rookie honor in the AL while finishing up fourth in the MVP race, finish second in the MVP race the following season when he helped guide the Twins to their first World Series appearance (though many including myself feel he was robbed of the award, ironically by his own teammate Zoilo Versalles), and lead the league in hits five times, batting three times, doubles four times, while topping .300 seven times.
He was an All-Star eight times while garnering MVP attention eight straight seasons, with three top-5 finishes, and if it wasn’t for injuries we’d be talking about a 3000-hit player with more than three batting titles.
What a great player that gets lost in the shuffle of the glory days of 1960 among legendary names like Aaron, Mantle, Mays and Clemente.

Thursday, February 10, 2022


Today we go and add the fire-baller Sam McDowell to my on-going 1970 "in-Game Action" sub-set, a future custom printed set in 2022:

At the time this card would have seen the light of day had it been released in 1970, the man was a beast on the mound, already a four-time league leader in strikeouts, with a high of 325 1965 when he also led the league with a brilliant 2.18 ERA.
In 1970 he'd put in arguably his finest as a Big Leaguer, winning 20 games while leading the American League with 304 strikeouts, completing 19 of 39 starts while tossing a league-leading 305 innings.
Those numbers gave him a third-place finish in the Cy Young race by season's end, as well as his fifth All-Star nod in six years.
Over his 15-year career he was at times unhittable, six times topping 200 strikeouts, two of those seasons saw him top 300.
He’d go on to lead the league in K’s five times during his amazing run between 1965 and 1970, along with a 20-win season in 1970 and a career low 1.81 ERA in the “Year of the Pitcher” 1968.
It’s a shame he only had ten full seasons during his career, seeing as he ended up with 2453 career strikeouts with a 141-134 record and a nice 3.17 ERA.
Once he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Gaylord Perry after the 1971 season his career went downhill quickly, barely hanging on the final four years before retiring after 1975.
Nevertheless between 1964 and 1971 he was a monster on that mound, striking fear in opposing batters while racking up the K’s and getting named to six all-star teams.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


Fun card to add to the WTHBALLS "stable", a dedicated 1977 manager card for Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon, who was just about to take over the helm of the Chicago White Sox:

Somehow Topps was able to have Lemon shown on the White Sox team card for the 1977 set, even though he hadn't managed yet, so that's why you have this card created here.
After an earlier managerial stint with the Kansas City Royals between 1979 and 1972, Lemon was back at the head of a Major League team, leading the South Siders to a very nice 90-72 season, giving us that potent line-up with guys like Oscar Gamble, Richie Zisk and Eric Soderholm.
He'd start off the 1978 season with Chicago, but would get the ax 74 games into the season after a 34-40 start, good for fifth place in the American League West.
But don't fret for the guy, as his fortunes would be incredibly improved, getting hired by the New York Yankees, for whom he coached before his White Sox stint, and all he would do is guide the Yankees straight to a World Championship.
Of course, to get there the Yanks had to overcome a huge gap between them and the first place Boston Red Sox, culminating with a dramatic one-game playoff that gave us Bucky Dent and his home run heroics.
A true baseball “lifer”, Lemon would also find his way to Cooperstown in 1976, elected by the BBWAA based on his 207 wins, all with the Cleveland Indians, which included SEVEN 20-win campaigns in only ten full seasons. Amazing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022


Today's blog post has a "not so missing" 1979 card for former catcher Bob Davis, who at this point in time put in parts of five seasons with the San Diego padres since coming up in 1973:

The 1978 season was a typical one for Davis, appearing in only 19 games while hitting .200 with eight hits over 40 at-bats, scoring three while driving in two.
Originally up during the 1973 season, he never appeared in more than 51 games (1976) for the Padres in any one season, eventually going on to put in eight years in the Big Leagues.
Over that time he would play for the Padres, Toronto Blue Jays and California Angels between 1975 and 1981, hitting just below the “Mendoza Line”, finishing his Big League career with a .197 batting average, with 131 hits over 665 at-bats and 290 games.

Monday, February 7, 2022


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1976 card for former Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Joe Simpson, who made his Big League debut in 1975 with nine games:

Over those nine games Simpson hit .333 with two hits over six at-bats, with three runs scored, while playing out in left and center fields.
in ‘76, Simpson he was back in the Majors and collected four hits over 30 at-bats, hitting an anemic .133 with a double and two runs scored while playing all three outfield positions.
He’d go on to play two more seasons for the Dodgers, never getting much playing time for the National League champs over those two years, before finding himself in Seattle, where he would get to play more over the course of the next four years.
Between 1979 and 1982 he averaged about 110 games a year before ending up with the Kansas City Royals in 1983 in what would end up being his last year as a Major League player.
Overall, Simpson finished his nine-year career with a .242 average based on his 338 hits in 1397 at-bats, with 166 runs scored and 124 runs batted in, while also leaving his mark on a pre-teen kid who’d constantly see “Joe Simpson” on what seemed every other card in the early-80’s.


Sunday, February 6, 2022


The next card profiled from my recently released custom "Negro League Legends" set is former shortstop Dick Lundy:

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

Saturday, February 5, 2022


Today on the blog I begin something I have been meaning to do for some time, create proper Oakland A's cards for all the stars that were airbrushed into new uniforms by Topps in the 1977 set, beginning with their All-Star shortstop Bert Campaneris:

And for those not familiar with his original as-issued card, here you go:

"Campy" found himself a member of the Texas Rangers before the 1977 season, signing as a Free Agent in November of 1976 as many of his former teammates did (Joe Rudi, Sal Bando, etc), and Topps had the unenviable job of scrambling to try and get them in their new uni's for the upcoming set.
For me however, I'm of the "show them for whom they played last season" type of guy, so here you go.  And I'll also be doing this for the other Oakland Players who left after the 1976 season, so keep an eye out for them!
As for his time with Texas, let's just say it didn't go nearly as well as anyone would have hoped, playing only one full season (1977), leading the league in caught-stealing while swiping 27, but never coming close to the success he had while with Oakland between 1964 and 1976.
But he wasn't finished as a player yet!
By the time he was done as a Major League player in 1983 at the age of 41, he’d finish with 2249 career hits with 1181 runs scored with six all-star game nods in 19 years.
I fondly remember his time with the New York Yankees in 1983, this last action before retiring. Just seemed like a fun veteran to have around giving tips to youngsters like Don Mattingly.

Friday, February 4, 2022


Today on the blog we go and give former Chicago Cubs outfielder Jim Tyrone a "not so missing" 1976 card, after getting the "WTHBALLS" treatment with a "not so missing" 1975 card over six years ago:

Tyrone appeared in only 11 games for the Cubs during the 1975 season, hitting .227 with five hits over 22 at-bats while playing left field.
He would spend all of 1976 in the Minors, playing for Wichita  in Double-A, before making it back to a Major League game in 1977, now as a member of the Oakland A's.
Ironically, his time with the A's provided him the most action he'd see in any Big League season, appearing in 96 games and getting 294 at-bats, hitting .245 with 72 hits, five home runs and 26 RBIs.
However, after spending all of 1978 in the Minors again, he decided to take his talents to Japan, where he would play for both Seibu and Nankai between 1979 and 1982, hitting as many as 35 homers in a season (1980), before retiring for good at the age of 33.
All told, on the Major League level, Tyrone finished with a .227 batting average, collecting 92 hits over 405 at-bats, with 52 runs scored and 32 RBIs in 177 games between 1972 and 1977.


Thursday, February 3, 2022


On the blog today, continuing with my "1970 In-Game Action" sub-set and adding the great Rod Carew, who was at the beginning of his eventual Hall of Fame career, going down as one of the great hitters of the modern game:

Carew was coming off his first batting title in 1969 when this card would have seen the light of day, hitting .332 while making his third straight All-Star team and even finishing 10th in the league's MVP voting.
What else really needs to be said about the greatest hitter of his generation?
The man topped .300 15 years in a row, with a high of .388 in 1977 on his way to a Most Valuable Player Award and capturing the public’s attention with his .400 chase late in the season.
A clear-cut Hall of Fame player, he was inducted on his first year of eligibility in 1991 when he garnered 90.5% of the vote, which leaves me with the question: who the hell are the 9.5% who DIDN’T vote for him!!!???
3053 hits, a .328 career average, 353 stolen bases and 15 straight seasons of .300+ batting.Just incredible.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


Super-fun card to add to the "WTHBALLS" stable, a 1979 career-capper for long-time Major League catcher Andy Etchebarren, who finished up a nice 15-year Big League stint with a handful of games as a Milwaukee Brewer:

Etchebarren appeared in four games for Milwaukee in 1978, hitting an even .400 with two hits in five at-bats.
It was his only time with the Brewers after two and-a-half years with the California Angels, who he went to after eleven and-a-half years with his first team, the Baltimore Orioles.
Over his time with the Orioles, Etchebarren was a part of two Championship teams in 1966 and 1971, while also participating in two more World Series, in 1969 and 1971.
Over his 15-year career, Etchebarren finished up with a .235 batting average, with 615 hits in 2618 at-bats, spread out over 948 games between 1962 and 1978.
In 1965, his first on only "full" season in the Majors, he even got MVP attention when he finished in 17th place, making the first of his only two All-Star games.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022


Up on the blog today, I redo one of my own "missing" cards, this one my 1974 Ron Lolich, which originally appeared on the blog using a sub-par image (in my mind anyway), on July 1st of 2014:

Today I use a much better, Topps-shot image, which I will always prefer over other photos I come upon along the way.
Here's the original write-up I had for the entry way back when:
"Lolich (a cousin of left-handed pitcher Mickey Lolich) saw Major League action three years, between 1971 and 1973.
Granted, the extent of his 1971 action was two games and eight at-bats for the Chicago White Sox.
1972 saw him get into 24 games with his new team, the Cleveland Indians, good for 80 at-bats and a .188 average with 15 hits and a couple of homers.
But it was 1973 that had Lolich see the bulk (and rest) of his playing time wearing a Major League uniform.
That year, while playing left and right field as well as some time at D.H., Lolich played in 61 games, good for 140 at-bats and a .229 batting average.
He garnered 32 hits, 16 runs, two homers and 15 runs batted in, but as I stated earlier, that would be the last of his playing days at the Major League level.
The following two years would find Lolich playing over in japan for the Nankai team, slamming 49 home runs combined with 128 runs batted in, before moving on to the Kintetsu organization in 1976, where he played sparingly.
That would be it for the "pro" side of the game for Lolich.
I did see that he played some Mexican League ball afterwards, but I can't find any stats to back that up.
That all being said, it's fun to scour baseball rosters of the 1970's looking for players with a decent amount of playing time in a season that didn't get a card the following year.
If you like this sort of stuff, then keep watching this blog for many more in the near future."


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