Thursday, March 31, 2022


Today's blog post has me beginning a thread over the next couple of months spotlighting cards from my "Whole Nine Yards" custom set released a few months back, focusing on cards from the 1950's through the 1980's that I normally wouldn't create for the blog, beginning with a 1958 Topps base card for St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial:

Of course we all know the story by now as to Musial not having a Topps card through the 1950's (a tragedy for us collectors!), finally getting his first card in the 1958 set, but NOT a base card but rather an All-Star card, before getting that first base card the following year in 1959.
For Musial, his MLB numbers are just absurd: Seven batting titles, two R.B.I. titles, five triples titles and eight doubles titles, with career numbers of 475 home runs, 1951 runs batted in and a .331 career average. Throw in his 725 doubles, 177 triples and 3630 hits along with 1949 runs scored and the numbers are staggering. 
And don't forget that Musial also lost a year to military duty, easily putting him over 500 homers, close to 3900 hits and around 2100 runs batted in if he played in 1945.
Funny thing is I always felt Stan Musial was often overlooked in the decades since his playing days ended after the 1963 season.
When talk of "Greatest Living Player" came up it was always Williams, DiMaggio, Mays or even Aaron that would come up. But Stan Musial would always kind of be that after-thought.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


Today's blog post has yet another "not so missing card" for former outfielder Larry Murray, who appeared in a scant six games for the New York Yankees during the 1975 season:

Murray, who made his Big League debut in 1974 also with six games, went 0-1 at the plate over his brief playing time for the Yanks in '75, scoring a run.
He appeared in eight games for the Bronx Bombers during the Bicentennial year after those first two seasons of six games apiece in 1974 and 1975.
In those eight games he collected one hit in ten at-bats, the first hit of his career, along with two runs scored and a run batted in.
The next year would find him as a member of the Oakland A's, where he would hit .179 with 29 hits over 162 at-bats after coming over as part of the deal that got them Mike Torrez.
He also scored 19 runs while stealing 12 bases while getting the first real taste of significant play after never getting any playing time with New York in the previous three years.
However, in 1978 he’d only play in eleven games, hitting .083 with a single hit over twelve at-bats, while coming back in 1979 and get the most playing time he’d see over a season when he appeared in 105 games, hitting .186 with 42 hits over 226 at-bats.
That action would get him his first Topps card in the 1980 set, only to never appear in a Major League game again.
After only 13 games in the Minor Leagues during the 1980 season, he’d be finished with pro ball, only 27 years of age.
Go figure.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


On the blog today, wanted to give former flame-thrower Jim maloney a do-over on his 1972 card, reflecting his time with the California Angels in 1971, the last season of his very nice 12-year career:

Maloney appeared in 13 games for the Angels in 1971, going 0-3 with a 5.04 earned run average over 30.1 innings of work.
He tends to get overlooked as far as pitching stars of the 1960’s go.
Granted when you’re up against guys like Koufax, Marichal, Drysdale and Gibson, it’s easy to see why.
Nevertheless, in Maloney’s seven full seasons of Major League ball, he posted five seasons of sub-3.00 ERA, four 200+ strikeout years, and six 15+ win seasons, with two of them topping 20.
The guy was a machine! 29 of his 30 lifetime shutouts were in those seven years, with four seasons of five or more.
And consider this: until Major League officials changed the rules of what a no-hitter was years later, Maloney was considered as one of the few to throw THREE or more such gems.
In 1965 Maloney not only threw a 10-inning no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on August 19th, in which he became the first pitcher to go more than nine-innings and complete a no-hitter, he also, earlier in the season on June 14th against the New York Mets, LOST a no-hitter in the 10th inning when Mets player Johnny Lewis led off the 11th with a homer, thus handing Maloney a loss after going ten innings with a no-no.
Then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, Maloney went and threw a no-hitter on April 30th of 1969 against the Houston Astros, this time mercifully given a huge lead, eventually winning the game 10-0.
So while credited with two “official” no-hitters for his career, he came ever so close to three.
1963 can arguably be considered his best year on a big league mound, when he posted a 23-7 record with a 2.77 ERA and 265 K’s to go along with six shutouts over 33 starts and 250.1 innings pitched.
Sadly for him there was a guy named Koufax dominating the world of baseball that year, easily taking home not only a Cy Young Award but an MVP Award as well.
By the time Maloney wrapped up his career after the 1971 season because of injuries at the young age of 31, he finished with a very nice 134-84 record, with a 3.19 ERA and 1605 strikeouts over 302 games and 1849 innings pitched, and a reputation as one of the hardest throwing pitchers in the game during the 1960’s.
eryone down.
He twice won 20+ games, with a high of 23 in 1965 when he posted a record of 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 strikeouts over 33 starts and 250.1 innings pitched.
Two seasons later, he pitched one “official” and one “unofficial” no-hitter, going 20-9 with an ERA of 2.54 (his career best), with 244 strikeouts over 33 appearances and 255.1 innings of work.

Monday, March 28, 2022


Today's blog post has a special request custom created for my buddy Max, who wanted a 1979 "dedicated rookie" for former Chicago White Sox catcher Mike Colbern:

Happy to oblige!
Colbern really could have had a dedicated card in the 1979 set instead of a slot in one of those horrid black and white multi-player rookie cards based on his 48 games during the 1978 season, his Big League debut.
Over those 48 games, he hit a very nice .270 with 38 hits over 141 at-bats, driving in 20 while scoring 11 runs himself.
In 1979 he'd be back, but only appearing in 32 games for the White Sox, hitting .241 with 20 hits in 83 at-bats, spending the bulk of the year with Iowa in Double-A ball.
Sadly for him, he'd never make it back to the Majors, playing the next three years in the Minors for both Chicago (A.L.) and the Atlanta Braves before calling it a career after 1982.
All told, he finished up his MLB tenure with a .259 batting average, collecting 58 hits over 224 at-bats in 80 games, driving in 20 and scoring 16.

Sunday, March 27, 2022


Next up in my ongoing "Expanded League Leaders" series is the 1975 A.L. Runs Batted In leader card featuring the top three RBI men of the 1974 season for the Junior Circuit:

We start off with the top RBI man, the Texas Rangers' Jeff Burroughs, former #1 overall pick and young stud, who paced the league with 118 "ribbies" in 1974.
Burroughs was still only 23 years of age by season's end, hitting 25 homers with a very nice .301 batting average to go with the RBIs all leading to him taking home the American League MVP Award and making his first All-Star team.
He would end up putting in a very nice 16-year Major League career, hitting 240 homers before he was done by the end of the 1984 season.
In second place with 103 RBIs is a man that is terribly overlooked these days, Oakland A's All-Star third baseman Sal bando, who topped 100 RBIs for the second and final time over his excellent 16-year career.
Bando would finish third in the MVP race for 1974, helping the A's to their third straight championship, hitting 22 homers and making his fourth All-Star team, this after coming in fourth in 1973 and second in 1972.
The man was so good yet gets forgotten these days when talking about 1970's baseball.
In third place with 99 RBIs for the 1974 season, another Oakland A's star, Joe Rudi, who finished second in the MVP race that season, the second time doing so in three years.
Rudi led the A.L. with 39 doubles, hitting .293 with 22 homers and taking home his first of three Gold Gloves while making his second All-Star team for the loaded A's offense.
Incredibly, as with the other two players featured today, he also put in exactly 16 seasons as a Major Leaguer, with three All-Star nods, three Gold Gloves and two second place MVP finishes to go with his three championship rings.

Saturday, March 26, 2022


Today we celebrate a grossly-overlooked star of the Cuban and Negro Leagues, Jose Mendez, who was a dominant pitcher and threw some legendary games against Major and Minor league teams in the early part of the 20th Century, with a closer look at the card I created for him in me "Negro League Legends" custom set from last Summer:

Mendez, whose career spanned 20 seasons between 1907 and 1926, put up some monster years in the Cuban League, posting documented records of 15-6, 11-2, 10-0 and 7-0 while winning three pennants in six years with Almendares.
His performance in 1908 made him a legend when he pitched 25 consecutive scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds including a one-hitter, then a few days later throwing a couple of shutouts including a no-hitter against a Minor League All-Star team, giving him 43 consecutive shutouts innings pitched.
His career record in the Cuban League was an incredible 76-28, good for a sparkling .731 winning percentage.
In the very first Negro League World Series in 1924, pitching for the Kansas City Monarchs, he appeared in four games against the Hilldale Club, going 2-0 with a shutout in the final game.
An early member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, elected in 1939 1939, he would add to that honor by being inducted to the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame  in 2006.

Friday, March 25, 2022


Today I start a fun new thread, profiling each card I created for my custom "Lost" 1963 Fleer set I produced a few months back, beginning with my Mickey Mantle card:

The set contained 22 cards, 20 "missing" 1963 Fleer cards as well as two special 1961 Fleer "Greats", Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.
I'll profile about one a week from this set to bring them to those who didn't pick a set up when available for purchase.
Mantle was coming off his third MVP season when this card would have seen the light of day, helping the New York Yankees win another World Series, his seventh and final championship of his incredible career.
Mantle is one of those guys I really don't think we need to get into as far as his accomplishments on the baseball diamond. It'd be kind of like a joke to start writing about his career since it would take up a book's worth.
But alas, 500+ homers, a bushel of World Championships, three Most Valuable Player Awards, and the hearts of more fans than we can even imagine to this day.
"The Mick" in all his glory, enshrined in his rightful place in Cooperstown, along with his longtime buddy Whitey Ford in the same HOF class.
Not too bad a Hollywood script...

Thursday, March 24, 2022


The next baseball star featured in my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" sub-set is none other than Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks:

What needs to be said?
The most beloved baseball player in the North Side of Chicago, two-time Most Valuable Player (1958 and 1959), 500+ home runs, 2500+ hits, 11-time all-star and all-around great guy.
Oh, I may as well throw in the 1300+ runs scored, 1600+ runs batted in, 400+ doubles and 90 triples he chipped in as well, setting him on a straight path to the Baseball Hall of Fame with his 1977 induction, a no-brainer in anyone's book!
"Mr. Cub", wish there were more like him!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


On the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1972 card for former pitcher Daryl Patterson, who split the 1971 season across three teams, the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A's, and finally St. Louis Cardinals:

Combined, he'd finish 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA over 41.2 innings of work for the three organizations, appearing in 29 games, all but two out of the bullpen.
Originally up with the Detroit Tigers in 1968, his finest season was 1970 when he finished 7-1 over 43 games, all in relief, pitching to a 4.85 ERA in 78 innings, saving two and striking out 55.
He'd spend all of 1972 and 1973 in the Minors before making it back for 14 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 2-1 but getting hit hard, to the tune of a 7.29 ERA in 21 innings, the last of his career.
All told, he finished 11-9 with a 4.09 ERA over 142 appearances, with three starts, saving 11 games and striking out 119 batters in 231 innings

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Today's blog post has a career-capping 1974 card for four-year Major League outfielder Jorge Roque, who put in 25 games with the Montreal Expos in 1973:

That 1973 season was the only one for Roque North of the border, hitting .148 with nine games in 61 at-bats, scoring seven while driving in six.
Between 1970 and 1972 he suited up for the St. Louis Cardinals, appearing in only 40 games combined, collecting 10 hits in 78 at-bats with a homer, seven runs scored and 6 RBIs.
After his brief time in the Majors he’d go on to put another six seasons in the Mexican League, playing for a few different teams before retiring for good at the age of only 29 in 1979.
All told, his MLB tenure finished with a career .137 batting average, with 19 hits in 139 at-bats over 65 games between 1970 and 1973.

Monday, March 21, 2022


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1978 card for former Big League infielder Rafael Landestoy, who made his Major League debut in 1977 with the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Landestoy appeared in 15 games for L.A. in 1977, hitting .278 with five hits over 18 at-bats with six runs scored and a couple of stolen bases.
He'd open the 1978 season in the Minors before finding himself traded to the Houston Astros in July for former catcher Joe Feruson, and he'd go on to play 59 games for Houston during the season.
In that time he'd hit .266, collecting 58 hits in 218 at-bats, scoring 18 while driving in nine with seven stolen bases.
In both 1979 and 1980 he'd get regular playing time, the only instance of that over his eight-year career, hitting .270 and .247 over a combined 278 games, pretty much setting seasonal career-bests across the board.
Between 1981 and 1984 he'd play sporadically, never more than 73 games in any one season for three teams: Houston, Cincinnati and Los Angeles, never even reaching the "Mendoza Line" (.200).
By the time he finished after the 1984 season, he retired with a .237 batting average, with 291 hits in 12340 at-bats over 596 games, scoring 134 runs and driving in 83.

Sunday, March 20, 2022


Moving on to the National League and their top three Runs Batted In kings of 1974 celebrated on my 1975 "Expanded League Leaders" thread today:

We begin with the top RBI man of the National League for 1974, Cincinnati Reds legend Johnny Bench, who topped the league in that category for the third time in five years, with his 129.
He had yet another wonderful season for the Reds, scoring a career-best 108 runs, while hitting 33 homers and leading the league with 315 total bases, all good enough for a fourth place finish in the MVP race by season's end.
Behind him with 116 RBIs in 1974, the new elite slugger on the scene, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt, who made his presence known with his first home run title to go along with a league-leading .546 slugging percentage, getting named to his first All-Star team while finishing sixth in the MVP race.
Of course, we all know now that the man would go on to top 100+ RBIs eight more times before he was done, along with eight home run titles, and most importantly three MVP Awards.
Let's not forget, the man also had some wheels in the beginning of his career, swiping 23 bases that season, followed by 29 in 1975.
In third place with 111 RBIs in 1974, the league's MVP, who had himself a fantastic first full season in the Big Leagues, Los Angeles Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey.
Garvey had quite a year, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series, collecting 200 hits, scoring 95 runs, with 32 doubles, 21 homers and a .312 batting average while making his first All-Star team and picking up the first of his eventual four Gold Gloves.
Not too shabby a trip right here!

Saturday, March 19, 2022


The next "Negro League Legends" card from my custom set released last Summer to get the spotlight is a whopper, all-time great John "Pop" Lloyd, elite shortstop and manager:

Lloyd, who played in organized Negro League play between 1906 and 1923, was widely considered the greatest to play his position, and that opinion was shared by none other than Babe Ruth himself!
On top of that, he was often referred to as the “Black Honus Wagner”, to which Wagner himself is quoted as stating “It’s an honor to be compared to him”.
Coming up he played for none other than Negro League icon Sol White, before moving on to play for yet another legend, Rube Foster, where he led a team some consider the greatest of all-time, the Chicago Leland Giants.
Depending on what research you believe, Lloyd batted between .337 and .343 in league play before moving on to playing semi-professional ball in Atlantic City, New Jersey up until 1942.
Of course, once the greats of the Negro Leagues were considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame in the 1970’s, Lloyd eventually given his rightful place in Cooperstown, getting elected by special committee in 1977.

Friday, March 18, 2022


For all my custom card friends out there, check this out! Custom card creator Dave Burns has taken on a HUGE project: a 165-card definitive set for the much-loved 1969 Seattle Pilots team!
Allow me to have Dave give the specifics on the set here. If anyone wants to order, or wants more info on this set, please contact him directly at the email address below.
Check out the photos of the first pack at the bottom of this post:

Dave Burns:
"Pack 1 of my Seattle Pilots Mega set is complete. They are back from the printer and I LOVE how nice they turned out. Each pack has 11 cards plus an insert card. There will be 165 cards in the set plus 15 insert cards total. Included in the set are players, coaches, team leaders, key game recap cards, the Starting 9 (from inaugural game), rookie cards, etc.  Packs will be $10 each plus $4.50 total shipping (no matter how many packs you buy per series) .
Time to start working on pack 2! 
Thanks, Dave - -



Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1976 card for former outfielder Jerry Mumphrey, who appeared in a scant eleven games for the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1975 season:

Mumphrey hit a blistering .375 over those eleven games, going 6-for-16 at the plate with two runs scored and an RBI as a 22-year-old.
In 1976 he’d finally get substantial playing time, hitting .258 over 112 games with 22 stolen bases, a common theme throughout the rest of his career.
In 1980 he’d have arguably his best year, playing with the San Diego Padres and hitting .298 with a career-high 168 hits and 52 stolen bases.
By the time he retired after the 1988 season he finished with a very nice .289 career average, with 1442 hits in 4993 at-bats over 1585 games, stealing 174 bases and scoring 660 runs, with one All-Star nod, that in 1984 while with the Houston Astros when he drove in a career-high 83 runs.
I was a fan of his while he played for the New York Yankees between 1981 and the first part of 1983, as he hit over .300 while giving the Yanks a bit of speed on the base paths with some pop every now and then.

Thursday, March 17, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1979 card for Keith Drumright, who played parts of two seasons in the Majors, including his Big League debut in 1978 with the Houston Astros:

Drumright appeared in 17 games for Houston in 1978, hitting .164 with nine hits over 55 at-bats, scoring five runs while driving in two.
He'd spend the next two seasons in the Minors before making it back to the Majors, now as a member of the Oakland A's, playing in 31 games and hitting a nice .291, with 25 hits over 86 at-bats, scoring eight and driving in 11.
Sadly for him however, that nice showing in 1981 didn't get him any more playing time in the Majors, as he would play out the 1982 season with Tacoma in the Oakland system, hitting a very nice .329, but to no avail, retiring after the season.
All told, Drumright hit .241 over his Big League tenure, collecting 34 hits in 141 at-bats, scoring 13 while driving in 13, collecting a double and a triple along the way.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022


Thought it'd be fun today (especially for the new followers out there) to revisit my post from October, 2013 celebrating the great Jim Rice, when I posted a "Dedicated Rookie" card for the former MVP.

However there's a bit of a twist today, as the card I originally posted with the blog differs with what I actually printed for my Series Six pack about a year ago, so I'll post both. First the original:

Now for the re-do when printed up:

Now here's the original write-up I had on the post way back when:
"Today's dedicated rookie card goes to Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who's first card was one of those lame multi-player jammies I was never a fan of. (see below).
1975 turned out to be one of the better sets, if not THE best set of the decade when it came to Hall of Fame rookies (Gary Carter, Robin Yount, George Brett), and joining that superstar crew was Rice in 2009 with his induction to the Hall.
Sadly, unlike Brett and Yount, who had their own dedicated rookie cards, Rice was lumped in with the likes of Dave Augustine, Pepe Mangual and John Scott on HIS card, leaving us with a ho-hum rookie of one of the most feared sluggers of the era.
It's funny, because I remember back in 1983 or so, it was the Fred Lynn rookie of the same set that was all the rage, and I must proudly say that I was buying up all the Jim Rice rookies I came across since I thought HE was the future Hall of Famer with the stats he was putting up year after year.
I'm STILL amazed with Rice's run from 1977 through 1979! Even though he only pulled in one M.V.P., he was an absolute terror at the plate.
Over 200 hits each year, along with 39, 46 and 39 homers, as well as averaging 124 runs batted in and a .320 average.
Then you notice that the dude hit 15, 15 and 6 TRIPLES those years, leading the league in homers AND triples in 1978.
I mean, that is just plain RAKING at the plate!
Man, Rice used to terrify me as a young Yankee fan. He was just plain brutal to opposing pitchers, and it was a shame that he had to wait so long to get elected into Cooperstown. 
Now if only Dave Parker and Steve Garvey can get some love from the Veteran's Committee in the future, THEN we'll be cooking with gas!
Time will tell…"

Tuesday, March 15, 2022


On the blog today, a career-capping "not so missing" card for former Boston Red Sox pitcher Jose Santiago, who finished up a nice 8-year Major League career with eight games in 1970:

Santiago was suffering from an elbow injury suffered back in 1968, and was hit hard over those eight games in 1970, to the tune of a 10.32 earned run average over 11.1 innings, going 0-2.
The previous season he appeared in only 10 games, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 3.52 ERA over 7.2 innings, striking out four while walking four.
In the seasons between 1966 and 1968 he was a very effective arm who could both start and come out of the bullpen, with his finest season 1967 when he posted a record of 12-4, leading the A.L. with a .750 winning percentage, helping the Red Sox make it back to the World Series before they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals.
He spent the first three years of his career, 1963-1965 with the Kansas City Athletics, going a combined 1-6 over 42 games, with eight starts thrown in.
All told, by the time he left the Majors, he finished with a record of 34-29 over 163 appearances, tossing three shutouts and saving eight games and posting a final ERA of 3.74 over 556 innings of work.

Monday, March 14, 2022


On the blog today, a card that I should have tackled a long time ago, a "Nickname" card for former infielder Fred Stanley, aka "Chicken":

Now, why he was tagged with that nickname I have no idea, but it was a nickname I remember as a kid during his time with the New York Yankees in the late-70's/early-80s.
But for fun, I created a 1973 card of him for this, showing him as a member of the San Diego Padres, for whom he played only the second half of the 1972 season.
Stanley originally came up with the Seattle Pilots in their lone 1969 season, moving with them to Milwaukee in 1970 before playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1971,
He’d start the year with the Indians, but get shipped off to San Diego after only nine games, appearing in another 39 games for the mustard and brown clad Padres where he’d bat an even .200 with 17 hits over 85 at-bats.
Of course, by the time the new season started in 1973 he found himself as a member of the New York Yankees, where he would go on to play the next eight years, including two championship seasons in 1977 and 1978.
He’d finish off his 14-year career with two seasons in Oakland, playing through the 1982 campaign before retiring with a career .216 batting average, along with 356 hits over 1650 at-bats while generally playing short and second with some third base work thrown in through the years.

Sunday, March 13, 2022


Good day everyone!

On the blog today, we come to the American League's top three home run hitters for the 1974 season in my ongoing "expanded league leaders" thread, proudly shown on a 1975 card:

Leading the way of course is Chicago White Sox slugger Dick Allen, who took home the home run crown for the second time in three seasons with his 32 taters.
Two years prior Allen led the league with 37 homers, along with his 113 RBI's, falling short of a Triple Crown with his .308 average to Rod Carew and his .318 clip.
Incredibly, though still only 32 years of age, it would be Allen's last All-Star season in the Majors, playing in only 119 games in 1975 for the Philadelphia Phillies, then 85 in 1976 and only 54 games in 1977 with the Oakland A's.
Right behind Allen with 29 homers is the 1973 Home Run champ, Reggie Jackson, who would also share a home run crown the following year in 1975 with his 36 "jacks".
For Reggie, he was in his prime and well on his way to topping 500 homers, winning four homer titles (oddly, sharing three of them with three different Brewer sluggers), before calling it a Hall of Fame career after the 1987 campaign.
His 1974 output of 29 homers, 93 RBIs and a nice .289 batting average would get Reggie a fourth place finish in the MVP race after taking home the award in 1973.
In third place with 26 homers in the American League in 1974, a teammate of Jackson, slugging catcher/first baseman Gene Tenace, who put in a solid year for the three-peat Oakland A's with 73 RBIs to go along with the aforementioned 26 homers, and a league-leading 110 base-on-balls helping set the tables for the other A's batters.
The following year Tenace would make his only All-Star team, enroute to hitting a career-best 29 homers while once again topping 100 walks, while driving in 87.
Not a bad set of A.L. sluggers right here!
Next week, we move on to the N.L. and their top-three RBI men. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 12, 2022


Time to go and add the great Tom Seaver to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" sub-set, which will see the light of day as a two-series printed set this Summer:

What needs to be said about the greatest New York Met to ever suit up?
When this "card" would have hit the shelves in 1970, Seaver was coming off his first of three Cy Young Awards, leading the Mets to their improbable World Championship against the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
In that Cy Young campaign all he did was go 25-7, with a 2.21 ERA, five shutouts and 208 strikeouts over 273.1 innings of work, completing 18 of 35 starts at the age of 24.
The man would end up with a 311-205 record along with 61 shutouts and 3640 strikeouts to go with a brilliant 2.86 ERA over 20-seasons and 656 appearances, 647 of which were starts.
He was in prime form in the mid-70’s, putting together nine straight 200 strikeouts seasons while getting tabbed to ten all-star teams in his first eleven seasons.
God I loved Tom Seaver when I was a kid. More than any other pitcher of that era I was in awe of this man. He just seemed like a "super-hero" to me.
Just look at all my other posts dedicated to the man here on this blog. He was other-worldly to me growing up in New York City as a kid in the 1970's.
Even if he WAS a Met, to this young Yankee fan he was unquestionably the best pitcher in the game at that time.
Rest in Peace "Tom Terrific"!


Friday, March 11, 2022


Time to go ahead and add Joe Rudi to my recent run of recreating the 1977 Oakland A's stars who fled Charlie Finley for greener pastures elsewhere:

As with Bando, Tenace, Campenaris, etc, Rudi headed for the hills and signed with the California Angels after a wonderful run with the Oakland A's beginning in 1967.
The outfielder first baseman was twice the runner-up for an A.L. MVP, in 1972 and in 1974, helping the juggernaut Oakland A's to three straight World Series crowns.
He led the league with 181 hits and nine triples in 1972 along with doubles (39) and total bases (287) in 1974 while also giving the A’s a flexible fielder that could play all three outfield positions as well as first base.
Such a solid player, he teamed up with the likes of Sal Bando and Gene Tenace that made the A’s much more than just superstars like Reggie Jackson and Jim “Catfish” Hunter.
Sadly however, as with the other Oakland players who signed elsewhere before the 1977 season, he didn't continue his star status with his new team, suffering injuries and playing only one full season out of his three with California, moving on to the Boston Red Sox in 1981 and back to Oakland for one last hurrah in 1982.
By the time Rudi retired, he finished up with a career .264 average, with 179 homers and 810 RBIs over 1547 games and 5556 at-bats playing for the A’s, California Angels and Boston Red Sox between 1967 and 1982.

Thursday, March 10, 2022


Up on the blog today, thought it'd be fun to finally go ahead a re-do his 1971 Topps card, which originally showed him airbrushed into a Montreal Expos uni:

Of course by now we all know that Marshall was a player who gave Topps fits by not allowing them to photograph him. Yet apparently Topps did have rights to issue a card of him, so they would keep recycling images of him from his Detroit Tigers days.
1971 was really the beginning of his incredible run as a reliever over the next few years, culminating with a Cy Young Award in 1974 with the Dodgers when he appeared in a (still) Major League record 106 games, all in relief.
In those 106 games he went 15-12 with a 2.42 earned run average, 21 saves and 143 strikeouts in 208.1 innings of work!
Later in the decade he had a couple more great years with the Twins in 1978 and 1979, finding his groove again, putting in two seasons of Cy Young caliber relief work saving 53 games and appearing in 144 games between 1978 and 1979.
By the way, thanks to Marshall’s medical background, having multiple degrees in medicine, he’s also remembered for allegedly being the person suggesting to teammate Tommy John to undergo this radically new surgery when Tommy John’s career was seemingly over.
Of course, John did so and eventually the surgery would end up being so associated with him that it took on his name, “Tommy John Surgery”, and extending John's baseball career an astounding 14 years!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022


Today on the blog, yet another "not so missing" card for former Chicago White Sox infielder Hugh Yancy, who made his Big League debut in 1972, appearing in three games:

For Yancy, those three games would be (tied) for a career high, as he would appear in three, one (1974) and three games (1976) in his brief Major League career.
I also created "not so missing" cards for the other two seasons he appeared in the Majors, so this card today closes out his career as far as cardboard is concerned.
He appeared in three games for Chicago during the 1976 season, going 1-for-10 at the plate while playing some second base, the last action he'd have in a Big League uniform.
For Yancy and his career, as I mentioned earlier he saw three games in 1972 and just one game in 1974, giving him a career total of seven games played, with two hits over 19 at-bats for a .105 batting average.
He would go on to play in the Minor Leagues through the 1979 season but never make it back to a Major League game.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022


Hello everyone!

Hope you are all well and safe.

Series Nine is now available to purchase!

Adding to the previous eight card packs, it features 15 card selections from the blog over the years, along with an added glossy insert held together in the customary wrapper.


Sadly, as with everything else these days, my costs were jacked up a bit by my printer, so packs now are $13 each, with a one-time postage fee of $4.50. Sorry about this! Nothing I could do…

Remember, no matter how many packs you buy the postage stays the same.

Also something new for 2022: I wanted to start creating one-off special releases, and to keep prices as low as possible (saving on added postage), I’ll be releasing them at the same time as my “regular” packs so if anyone wants to pick any up, there will be NO added postage fees.

The very first of these special releases will be a “Missing” 1971 Milk Duds complete box of Mickey Mantle, celebrating his career that ended just a few years before these collectible boxes were released.


These Mantle Milk Duds boxes are true to the originals in size, color and card stock, and are in limited number.

The full, folded box comes inside a rigid holder with special sticker, and kept safe inside a team bag with small color card (see photos). If anyone wants to purchase any, they are $7 each and can be added to your Series Nine order.(No extra postage!)

I plan on a few of these special edition releases, focusing on oddball sets from the past, and already have a few of them completed and ready! Very fun stuff to be adding to the WTHBALLS stable! These are all creations that don’t “fit” the usual releases either in size or theme.

As usual, all paypal payments can be made to the usual email address:

Thank you all for the continued interest and support! It is very much appreciated!

Take Care



On the blog today, a closer look at the (slightly) airbrushed image Topps used for Bob Aspromonte and his 1971 card, designating him a New York Met after a couple of seasons with the Atlanta Braves:

Aspromonte, who by the way comes from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn as yours truly, found himself traded to the Mets for pitcher Ron Herbel on December 1st of 1970, thus the attempt by Topps to have him with his "current" team.
Didn't take much work to just blacken out the "A" of the Atlanta Braves batting helmet, so it certainly does not fall into one of the classic airbrush cards of the 1970's.
Aspromonte wrapped up a decent 13-year career in 1971, playing for the Dodgers, Colt .45's/Astros, Braves and Mets.
For the Mets in his final season, he appeared in 104 games, hitting .225 with 77 hits over 342 at-bats, driving in 33 runs while scoring 21 himself.
In 1324 games played for his career, he collected 1103 hits over 4369 at-bats, good for a .252 average with 60 homers and 457 runs batted in.
His brother Ken was also a long time Major League player as well as manager. He even appears in the 1972 set on a card I profiled a while ago because it looks like the photo was taken in the middle of the street in my old neighborhood. I kid you not. (Look it up. So odd).

Monday, March 7, 2022


On the blog today, a career-capping "not so missing" 1979 card for Atlanta Braves reliever Maximino Leon, who appeared in a handful of games during the 1978 season:

Leon appeared in five games for Atlanta that year, the last games of his six-year Major League career that began in 1973.
The entirety of his Big League tenure was with the Braves, usually out of the bullpen with a spot start here and there.
In 1978 his five appearances were all as a reliever, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 6.35 ERA over 5.2 innings.
His numbers in the big leagues totaled a 14-18 record, with a 3.71 earned run average and 13 saves over 162 games and 310.1 innings pitched.

Sunday, March 6, 2022


On the blog today, we return to my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread, going through the 1970's and expanding on the years that Topps only had the top performer of each league for a particular category on a league-leader card.

Today we move on to the 1975 N.L. League Leaders for Home Runs, featuring three thumpers who'd make any line-up a threat:

We begin with Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who took home the first of what would eventually be eight Home Run titles over his stellar career, pacing the league with 36 "jacks" in 1974.
He would lead the league the next two seasons as well, then go on to do the same in 1980 and 1981, 1983 and 1984, and finally 1986 when he would also take home his third MVP Award.
The man was a machine, topping 30+ homers 13 times and driving in 100+ runs nine times before he was through, while also performing on the defensive end of the game with his ten Gold Glove Awards.
In second place with 33 home runs in 1974 is another future Hall of Famer, Cincinnati Reds all-timer Johnny Bench.
Bench had himself another wonderful season in 1974, hitting the aforementioned homers while leading the league with his 129 RBIs, the third time he led in that department.
He also scored a career-best 108 runs that year, while leading the league with 315 total bases, all numbers that would get hima fourth place finish for the MVP Award at season's end.
He wasn't done yet, as he'd play another nine seasons, through the 1983 campaign, finishing up with two MVP Awards, 14 All-Star nods and 10 Gold Glove Awards. Elite to say the least!
In third place with 32 home runs, the "Toy Cannon", Jimmy Wynn of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who helped the team return to the World Series in 1974.
Wynn had an excellent year in 1974, driving in 108 runs, which were a career-best, while also scoring 104 runs, stealing 18 bases, and drawing 108 walks to give him a very nice .408 on-base-percentage.
All of that got him a fifth-place finish for the MVP Award, which was taken home by teammate Steve Garvey.
Well there you go, the top-three home run hitters in the National League in 1974, shown in all their glory on an expanded 1975 league-leader card.
Next up, the American League's best three sluggers for 1974. See you then!


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