Saturday, April 30, 2022


The next Negro Leagues legend to be spotlighted here on the blog from my custom set released last year is pitcher Leon Day:


The seven-time Negro League all-star is not remembered as much as some of his contemporaries such as Satchel Paige, but is often in the conversation when “best pitcher” comes up with those who know Negro League history.
According to records on hand, Day’s career record stood at 64-29 with an earned run average of 2.98, spanning 1934 and 1950.
In 1937, with the “Million Dollar Infield” behind him, he had his best season, going 13-0 with a 3.02 E.R.A., while also batting .320 with eight home runs.
A versatile player, over the course of his career Day would play every position outside of catching when he wasn’t on the mound, and many suggested that he would have been better suited to play the outfield on a full-time player so his bat would be in the line-up everyday.
But it is hard to argue the simple fact that Day was a master pitcher, setting the Negro League record for strikeouts in a game with 18 when he threw a one-hit shutout against the Baltimore Elite Giants.
On opening day, May 5th 1946, as he returned from serving in the military, Day promptly tossed a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Stars, beating them 2-0, on his way to leading the league in wins, strikeouts and complete games.
A soft-spoken and reserved man, Day was not one to boast of his talents, or to draw attention to his on-the-field accomplishments, and many suggest that this is why many do not know of his greatness as an all-around ballplayer, both on the mound and at the plate.
Nevertheless, as stated before, Day was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame just days before his passing in 1995 at the age of 78, fulfilling a dream of his, and rightfully so.

Friday, April 29, 2022


Hello everyone!
For those of you who enjoyed my buddy Dave Burns' first series of Seattle Pilots cards about a month ago, the second series is now available from him!
Take a look:

Here's his email that went out to everyone this morning:

"Hello Fellow Pilots Fans!!

Cards arrived today, they look great!!!  I will need the weekend to start packaging them and can start sending them out Monday and Tuesday.  Packs remain $10 a pack.  I take PayPal at (no fees to me please) and now I take Venmo (thanks to my umpiring group) - @davidsb623.  Postage is one flat rate of $4.65 unless you live on the west coast and it is $5.00 (sorry, blame USPS) no matter how many packs you purchase.  

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Take care,

So for those of you who didn't receive an email from him and are interested in picking one up, email/pay at the address just above.

For those that want a little more background on the project, here's a link to the original post with the overall scope:


Thanks! Happy Friday!



On the blog today, I spotlight my "missing" 1959 card for Ted Williams, which was part of my custom "Whole Nine" set released last Summer:

Of course we all know that Williams was left out of the Topps sets in 1959 and 1960 because of his deal with Fleer, but that just gives us an opportunity to create our magic all these years later!
“The Splendid Splinter” was just incredible as a hitter. The last .400 hitter, 521 home runs, a .344 lifetime average with SIX batting titles, and the man missed MULTIPLE years in his prime due to war and his service in the military.
I remember as a kid (nerd alert) I used to love averaging out the three seasons before and after his missed seasons and then factoring them into his final career numbers, and they were insane!
If I remember correctly (‘cause I ain’t doing it now) he would have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 home runs, 3500 hits, 2000+ runs scored and runs batted in along with the slugging and on-base percentages that would have made his already monster career just other-worldly!
The man was truly a “hitting-machine”, perhaps the greatest pure hitter ever (or the Babe? Or Cobb? Musial?).
By the way, by today’s rules, Williams should have won SEVEN batting titles, but in 1954 he lost out to the Cleveland Indians Bobby Avila, who hit .341 with the THEN required official at-bats instead of 501 plate appearances.
Williams hit .345 with 526 plate appearances based on his 386 at-bats and 136 walks, but under the rules of the day was denied that seventh title.

Thursday, April 28, 2022


On the blog today, a "not so missing" 1971 card for 63-game Major Leaguer Bob Taylor, who played the entirety of his career in 1970 with the San Francisco Giants:

Taylor made his debut in April of 1970, and played through September, hitting .190 over that time with 16 hits in 84 at-bats, with 12 runs scored and 10 runs batted in.
Sadly for him he'd never get a shot in the Big Leagues again, as he would put in a few more Minor League seasons as well as two years playing in Japan before retiring for good in 1978, still only 34 years of age.
Before his MLB debut in 1970, Taylor spent the previous eight years in the San Francisco system, thus spending all of his Major League time in the Giants organization.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


The next player from my recently released 1963 "Lost Second Series" custom set to get featured here on the blog is "Little Louie", Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio:

Aparicio really was some kind of baseball talent!
From 1956 through 1964 he led his league in steals every single time, that’s nine straight years, with a high of 57 in 1964 playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
He was both a member of the “Go-Go” Chicago White Sox in 1959, helping them reach the World Series, as well as the surprising 1966 World Champion Orioles, who shocked the world by sweeping the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
The ten-time All-Star also took home nine Gold Glove Awards, teaming up with Nellie Fox to form one of the greatest double-play combos of all time.
He led the AL in fielding percentage eight straight years, between 1959 and 1966, while also leading in assists seven times, putouts four times and double-plays twice.
But let's not forget the man retired with 2677 hits and 1335 runs scored, so it wasn't as if he was ALL defense.
So with that, in 1984 he was rightfully selected for Cooperstown by the BBWAA, joining former teammates like Frank & Brooks Robinson & Early Wynn, with others like Nellie Fox and Jim Palmer joining him later on.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


Up on the blog today, thought it'd be fun to revisit my blog post from August 19th of 2014, some seven and a half years ago, celebrating the incredible pitching brother duo of Gaylord and Jim Perry, with my 1971 "Highlights of the 1970's" card.

I have always been impressed when members of the same family make it to the big leagues.
That being said, I am incredibly impressed when those family members BOTH succeed on an all-star level.
In 1970 brothers Jim and Gaylord Perry both led their respective leagues in wins, and that is about as cool as it gets for me...
So I wanted to celebrate that feat with a "highlight" card in the 1971 set.
Check out my design:

Jim Perry even took home the Cy Young Award for the American League that year, while brother Gaylord finished second in the National League behind Bob Gibson! 
Again, as cool as it gets!
Jim recorded 24 wins in his award winning season with the Minnesota Twins, while younger brother Gaylord won 23 for the San Francisco Giants.
Combined, the brothers ended up pitching for 39 years! And their win total was a staggering 529!
Just awesome!

Monday, April 25, 2022


Thought it'd be a good time to add a 1973 "dedicated rookie" for "Sarge", Gary Matthews, to the WTHBALLS stable, so here goes:

Matthews was coming off his major League debut of 1972, when he appeared in 20 games for the San Francisco Giants, hitting a very nice .290 with 18 hits over 62 at-bats with four homers and 14 runs batted in.
In 1973, he would really make his mark, hitting an even .300 with 162 hits over 540 at-bats, with 74 runs scored and 58 runs batted in during the 1973 season.
Those numbers would be good enough to take home the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award, easily finishing ahead of the Montreal Expos Steve Rogers for top freshman honors.
It would pretty much be steady straight from there, as he’d go on to consistently put similar numbers up through his tenures with the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs until he’d retire after a brief stint with the Seattle Mariners in 1987.
By the time he left the game as an active player, he racked up a lifetime .281 average, with 2011 hits and 234 home runs to go with his 1083 runs scored and 978 RBI’s.
He’d also put in some excellent postseason performances, as he’d hit .323 over 19 games with seven home runs and 15 RBIs, including an MVP performance in the NL Championship series while with the Phillies when he hit three homers and drove in eight runs in only four games against the Dodgers, helping the “Wheez Kids” make it to the World Series.

Sunday, April 24, 2022


On the blog this Sunday, we move on to the top three pitchers in the National League in Earned Run Average for 1974 in my on-going "expanded league leaders" thread:

Leading off, coming out of nowhere was Atlanta Braves pitcher Buzz Capra, a New York Mets cast-ff, who had the season of his career in 1974 when he led the league with a sparkling 2.28 ERA, completing eleven of his 27 starts while tossing five shutouts.
Those five shutouts would end up being the only ones of his seven-year Big League career, while the 16 wins represented just over half of his 31 wins.
He'd struggle with injuries after his banner year, and would play parts of the next three seasons before calling it a career at the end of 1977, still only 29 years of age.
Right behind Capra with a very nice 2.38 ERA is teammate Phil Niekro, who also led the league with his 20 wins in 1974, throwing six shutouts while completing 18 games in his 39 starts.
It was the second 20-win season of the Hall of Famer's career, and the fifth season of sub-3.00 ERA to that point.
Incredible to think that although already 35 years of age in 1974, he STILL had 13 years to go in his career, eventually finishing up with 318 wins by the time he retired after the 1987 season.
In third place with a 2.41 ERA is New York Mets pitcher Jon Matlack, who was the league leader with his seven shutouts in 1974 on his way to an unfortunate record of 13-15, completing 14 of 34 starts while striking out 195, making his first All-Star team.
There you have it! The top three ERA men of the Senior Circuit for 1974, as we move along next week for the American League.

Saturday, April 23, 2022


On the blog today, we add Hall of Famer Jim Palmer to my 1970 "In-Game Action" thread, part of what will be a 50-card, two-part set, with Series One just released:

Palmer was coming off a 1969 season that saw him come back from a season and a half injury hiatus in 1967 and 1968, almost curtailing his career at only 20 years of age.
His 1969 season saw him go 16-4, leading the league with his .800 winning percentage, while completing 11 of 23 starts, with six shutouts and 123 strikeouts.
On August 13th of the 1969 season, he crowned his comeback with an 8-0 no-hitter against the up-and-coming Oakland A's at memorial Stadium, improving his record to 11-2 at that time.
From there, all the man did was top 20-wins in eight of the next nine seasons, winning three Cy Young Awards, the first American League pitcher to do so, helping the Orioles to another championship in 1970, eventually finishing with a career 268-152 record along with a brilliant 2.86 ERA and 53 shutouts before he was done in 1984.
Easily the premier pitcher in the American League for the 1970's, I always paired him up with New York Mets great Tom Seaver as my favorite hurlers from the decade for their respective leagues as a kid.

Friday, April 22, 2022


Today on the blog we take a closer look at my "missing" 1963 Fleer card for Hall of Famer Nellie Fox, who was included in my custom set released last year:

Fox put together a brilliant Major League career, first as a Hall of Fame second baseman mainly for the Chicago White Sox, then as a coach later on, a true baseball life before sadly passing away at the young age of 47 in 1975.
He led the AL in hits four times in the 1950’s, and of course would lead the Chicago White Sox to the 1959 World Series, taking home the league’s MVP Award for his efforts.
By the time he retired as a player after two years with the Houston Astros in 1964-65, he finished with 2663 hits and a .288 batting average, with twelve all-star nods and three Gold Gloves.
Defensively, it’s incredible to see he led the American League in putouts every single season between 1952 and 1961, while leading the league’s second basemen in fielding percentage six times, double-plays five times and assists six times.
In 1997, the Veteran’s Committee selected Fox for the Hall of Fame, joining former teammates Luis Aparicio and Early Wynn from that 1959 pennant winning team.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


On the blog today, a 1979 "not so missing" card for former pitcher Mike Barlow, who appeared in one single game for the California Angels in 1978:

After a 1977 season that saw him appear in 20 games for the Halos, where he posted a record of 4-2 with a 4.58 earned run average over 59 innings, Barlow spent most of the 1978 season in the Minors as a reliever with Salt Lake City, putting up solid numbers to the tune of 17 saves to go with a record of 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA over 77 innings.
In his one game, he threw two innings, giving up a run while striking out one, allowing three hits without issuing a walk.
He'd come back in 1979 to appear in 35 games, going 1-1 with a 5.13 ERA over 86 innings before moving on to the Toronto Blue Jays for what tuned out to be the last two seasons of his Big League career, appearing in 52 games combined and going 3-1.
For his career, Barlow would end up with a record of 10-6 over 133 appearances, with a 4.63 ERA in 246.2 innings of work, striking out 96 while giving up 104 walks.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022


Today on the blog we go and focus on my custom Judy Johnson card from my "Negro League Legends" custom set released last Summer:

One of the All-Time great third basemen to take the field, Johnson played between 1918 and 1936 for the Hilldale Club, the Bacharach Giants, Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords, and compiled a career .293 average, though he batted as high as .389 (1925) and .376 (1929) when he was also named MVP.
Beyond his playing field performance, he is also credited with discovering and mentoring the great Josh Gibson, just as Negro League legend John Henry Lloyd did for him when he first came up.
By then a player-manager for the legendary Homestead Grays, the squad featured no less than five future Hall of Fame players: Johnson, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson.
Post Negro leagues, Johnson became a scout in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Athletics before moving on to the Braves, Phillies and Dodgers.
From 1971 through 1974 Johnson was also on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Committee on the Negro Leagues, helping to find a rightful place in Cooperstown for inductees like Paige and Gibson before being elected himself in 1975.
A wonderful baseball life that spanned decades, and to a greater extent, worlds in respect to how American baseball evolved between 1918 and the mid-70’s.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


The next Oakland A's, or should I say, "FORMER" Oakland A's player to have his 1977 card re-done is Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers, who was originally shown airbrushed into a San Diego Padres uniform, a shock to us young kids everywhere:

For those who need a refresher on the original Topps card, here you go:

Of course, as we all know, Oakland lost their stable of champion players to Free Agency, and Fingers was one of them, leaving behind the madness, albeit three-time champion Oakland franchise, heading South along with teammate Gene Tenace, to the Padres.
The man would NOT disappoint, leading the National League in saves both in 1977 and 1978, averaging about 100 innings a year solely out of the bullpen, posting sub-3.00 ERA's three of his four years as a Padre.
Yet, it’s amazing to think his best year was still ahead of him, as he’d go on to Milwaukee, where he’d take home the AL MVP and Cy Young in 1981 when he led the Brewers to the playoffs with a remarkable 1.04 ERA and a league-leading 28 saves during the strike-shortened season.
By the time he retired after the 1985 season after some injury-plagued years, he was at the top of the career saves list with 341, while posting a very nice 2.90 ERA over 944 appearances and 1701 innings pitched in 17-seasons.
In 1992, in what was his second year of eligibility, he was selected for the Hall of Fame with 81.2% of the vote, making him only the second career-reliever to be so honored, following the great Hoyt Wilhelm who was selected for induction in 1985.

Monday, April 18, 2022


Time to go an add the great Tony Perez to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" thread and set, celebrating the great players of the era:

Perez was at the beginning of his RBI-machine career, coming off his second of seven 100-RBI seasons, third of 12 90+ RBI campaigns.
Perez truly was an overlooked star on a team that would also have guys like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, just to name a few, and it’s just plain criminal considering he logged 10 seasons in a row over 90+ runs batted in, with six of them over 100 as stated earlier as a Red.
With a batting average hovering around .280, he was a solid and steady force at the plate and out in the field for a team that would become legendary, on their way to two straight championships in 1975 and 1976.
He would play for 23 seasons in the Major Leagues, and end up with 379 homers, 1652 RBI’s, 2732 hits and a very nice .279 average before he left the game at the age of 44.
The “Big Dog”, Sparky Anderson always stated that what killed the “Big Red Machine” from dominating longer was trading away their slugging first baseman in December of 1976 to the Montreal Expos for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray, a trade that still baffles me.
Nevertheless, after nine tries, he finally made it into the Hall of Fame in 2000, and rightly so. Hopefully Pete Rose can also join his former teammates someday as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2022


On the blog today, we have the 1975 "expanded league leader" card for the American League's top base stealers of the previous season, with a fun surprise at third place:

Starting off with the top stolen base player for the Junior Circuit in 1974, the Oakland A's Bill North,  who paced the league with his 54 steals, the first of two crowns for him in the next three years.
North just missed what would have been his first stolen base crown the year prior, in 1973, when he fell one short of sharing the lead with Tommy Harper of the Boston Red Sox.
Two seasons later in 1976 he'd have his best year in the Majors, leading the league with 75 steals while scoring 91 runs with a .276 batting average, collecting a career-best 163 hits.
In second place, and far back with 38 steals, Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who hit a blistering .364 while also leading the league with 218 hits and a .433 on-base-percentage for the Minnesota twins.
It's easy to forget that Carew would go on to steal 353 bases over his stellar career, with a high of 49 in 1976, as well as 41 in 1973.
In third place, and this is exactly the reason I wanted to do expanded league leaders in the first place, is a player many would be shocked to see here, the Cleveland Indians' John Lowenstein, who stole 36 bases while quietly putting together a nice season, collecting what turned out to be a career-best 123 hits over 140 games.
Of course we'll all remember him years later as a great bat off the bench for the Baltimore Orioles, with 1982 a fantastic season for him when he hit .320 with 24 homers and 66 runs batted in over just 310 at-bats, platooning with Gary Roenicke to give the O's a potent tandem no matter who was on the opposing mound.
And there you have it, the A.L.'s top base=stealers of 1974. On to pitching leaders!

Saturday, April 16, 2022


Today on the blog, we take a closer look at my custom 1963 "Lost" Fleer Willie McCovey card, which was part of my "Lost Second Series" released last year (it even came with a cookie!):

When he got called up to the Big Leagues in 1959, all he did was tear the seams off the ball by hitting .354 with 13 homers and 38 runs batted in along with 32 runs scored in only 52 games, copping a Rookie of the Year Award and setting the tone for his 22-year career.
In 1969 he had his finest season, as he made his fifth All-Star team, on his way to taking home the league MVP Award after a year that saw him lead the league with 45 homers, 126 RBIs, a .453 OBP and a .656 slugging percentage, as well as a whopping 45 intentional base on balls.
The man put it ALL together that year!
By the time he retired in 1980, he crushed 521 home runs, collected over 2000 hits, drove in over 1500, and left his mark as one of the most feared sluggers of his generation.
In 1986, his first year of eligibility, he was voted into the Hall of Fame with 81.4% of the ballots cast.
Man, what a threesome McCovey, Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda made back in the 1960's for San Francisco, huh?
Just incredible.

Friday, April 15, 2022


Up on the blog today, we finally get around to creating a 1978 "career-capper" for pitcher Mike Cuellar, who finished up a very nice Major League career with two games as a California Angel in 1977:

Cuellar got hit hard over those two games, to the tune of a 18.90 ERA in 3.1 innings of work, giving up nine hits and three walks.
Nevertheless, the man was as solid as they came over his career, which began in 1959 with the Cincinnati Reds as a 22-year-old.
He ended up putting in a nice 15-year career that saw him win 185 games, post four 20+ win seasons, win a Cy Young Award (shared with Tigers pitcher Denny McLain in 1969) and post four sub-3.00 E.R.A. Seasons.
I never realized that even though he came up in 1959 with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in two games as a 22-year old, he didn't make it back to the Major's until 1964 at the age of 27, now as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Considering his lifetime win total mentioned above, he could have possibly approached 250 wins had he not missed those four-plus years in the early-1960's.
His lifetime numbers nevertheless were impressive: the 185 wins mentioned above, a 3.14 lifetime E.R.A., 36 shutouts and 1632 strikeouts over 453 games, 379 of which were starts, completing almost half of them with 172.

Thursday, April 14, 2022


The next card from my "Whole Nine" custom set released last year to get the spotlight treatment is my 1957 "missing" Harmon Killebrew:

One of my favorite players, I'll use ANY excuse to create a card for "Killer" Killebrew, and this one was a pleasure to create!
Still in the infancy of his Major League career, the 20-year-old appeared in only 44 games for the Washington Senators in 1956, hitting five homers while driving in 13 over 99 at-bats while playing third base.
Of course this was but a small glimpse into what he'd accomplish over his amazing career!
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.
What a player!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


On the blog today, a career-capping "not so missing" 1978 card for former pitcher Joe Hoerner, who played out the last of his Big League action with eight games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977:

Hoerner didn't pick up a decision over those eight games as a 40-year-old reliever, posting an ERA of 12.71 over 5.2 innings of work.
That ERA was NOT a good sign of the solid 14-year career he'd put in the big leagues, as he'd finish with a 2.99 figure over 493 appearances and 563 innings pitched.
Between 1963 and 1977 he'd play for the Colt 45's (Astros), Cardinals, Phillies, Braves, Royals, Rangers and Reds, and took home a championship in 1967 while with the Cards in St. Louis.
A true man out of the 'pen, he never started a Major League game, with all of his 493 appearances coming in relief, and he'd go on to finish with 98 saves with a high of 17 in 1968, his finest season, as he also went 8-2 with a sparkling 1.47 ERA over 47 games for the National League champ St. Louis Cardinals.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022


The next "Negro League Legends" custom card to be spotlighted here on the blog is the great Jud Wilson, who starred at both first and third base over his Hall of Fame career:

Wilson put in 23 seasons in the Negro Leagues, as one of the most powerful and fiery players of his day, and finished his incredible career with a .351 batting average, the fifth highest in league history.
He topped .300 sixteen seasons, including four of over .400, while also going on to bat a combined .372 over six Cuban Winter League campaigns.
Against Major League pitchers in two seasons of the California Winter League, Wilson hit .469 and .385, including hits off of future Hall of Famer Lefty Grove.
Stories of his temper abound, and are something to read about. It seems no one wanted to mess with the short yet powerfully built player. Players and umpires were at the wrong end of his wrath. Look it up, they are unique anecdotes of a man’s competitive nature!
On July 30, 2006, Wilson was posthumously elected for the Hall of Fame, joining his former teammates and contemporaries with his rightful place in baseball history.
As I often state with a lot of these Negro League stars, please do yourself a favor and look up their bio’s to really get a sense of the player, the teams and the league’s. Some incredible stuff out there to get acquainted with the history of the leagues for those who haven’t done so already.

Monday, April 11, 2022


Really fun card to add to the WTHBALLS stable, a 1977 "not so missing" card for 30-game Major Leaguer Wayne Tyrone, brother of Jim Tyrone:

Wayne played the entirety of his Big League career between July and September of 1976, hitting .228 with 13 hits over 57 at-bats for the Chicago Cubs.
Over that time he scored three runs while driving in eight, with a double and a homer with three walks as he played the corner outfield spots, third and first.
Sadly for him it was the only Major League action he'd see, as he would spend the next few years in the Minors before taking his talents South to the Mexican League in 1980 and 1981, playing for both Yucatan and Monterrey.
Nevertheless, the man made the "Big Show" as did his brother Jim, which is certainly not something to sneeze at in my book!

Sunday, April 10, 2022


On the blog today, the latest "expanded league leaders" card, this one the 1975 National League stolen base edition celebrating the top three base stealers of 1974:

Of course this was a monumental card since it starts off with the great Lou Brock and his record breaking 118 steals of 1974, breaking the record set by Maury Wills in 1962.
For Brock, it was ironically the last stolen base title of his Hall of Fame career, his eighth crown over nine seasons.
It's easy to forget when Brock set the record, he was 35 years of age! Not exactly a Spring chicken!
He also hit .306 for the season with 194 hits and 105 runs scored, good for second place in the MVP race at season's end.
In second place, waaaaay back with 59 stolen bases in 1974 is the guy who would end up leading the league the following two seasons, Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In his second full season as a Major League second baseman, Lopes helped the Dodgers get to the World Series, scoring 95 runs while hitting .266 with 26 doubles, 3 triples and 10 homers.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season, he'd have 557 stolen bases under his belt, not too shabby!
In third place with 58 steals in 1974, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, who was in the prime of his incredible career, using the stolen base as a facet of his offensive arsenal.
Along with those 58 steals, Morgan scored 107 runs, hit 22 homers and drove in 67 runs for the loaded Cincinnati Reds line-up, finishing eighth in the MVP race while picking up his second Gold Glove Award.
Of course he would follow up that season with two straight MVP Awards in 1975 and 1976, leading the "Big Red Machine" to two straight Championships, cementing his place as an All-Timer at second base.
There you have it! Next week we move on to the American League and their top three base stealers.

Saturday, April 9, 2022


The next player up in my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" set is none other than Richie Allen (Topps was still using "Rich" or "Richie" instead of "Dick"), who was coming off yet another marvelous season for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1969:

Allen hit 32 homers in baseball's centennial season, along with 89 runs batted, 79 runs scored and a .288 batting average.
He would find himself part of a blockbuster trade on October 7th of 1969 when he was shipped off to the St. Louis Cardinals with Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas for Byron Brown, Joe Hoerner and Curt Flood.
Allen would fare well for the Cardinals in 1970, hitting 34 homers while driving in 101 runs in only 122 games, yet would be on the move again, this time being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he'd suit up in 1971, driving in 90 while hitting 23 homers, hitting .295 over on the West Coast.
The man was a beast at the plate, putting up numbers that were consistently up in the league-leaders year after year.
Needless to say, he took home the Rookie of the Year in 1964, and in 1972 would take home the MVP trophy while with the White Sox when he paced the American League with 37 homers and 113 RBI's, while just missing out on the Triple Crown, batting .308, just ten points off the league-leading mark by perennial winner Rod Carew.
By the time he left the game at the age of 35, Allen hit over 350 homers, batted .292 and scored 1099 runs with 1119 RBI's.
The seven-time all-star also led his league in triples once, walks once, on-base-percentage twice and slugging three times.
I'm not saying the man is a lock-tight Hall of Fame candidate, but I do think in light of some of the guys already in, HE should also be in there.
The fact that the most support he got was an 18.9% showing in 1996 seems like a joke to me.
What do you all think?


Friday, April 8, 2022


The next card from my "Lost Second Series" 1963 Fleer set released last year to get the spotlight treatment is Richie Ashburn, who was wrapping up a Hall of Fame career in the Big Leagues with the upstart New York Mets:

Ashburn just completed his 15th and final season in the Major leagues in 1962, hitting a very impressive .306 for the Mets in their inaugural season and making his fifth All-Star team in the process.
The former anchor of the Philadelphia Phillies, he won two batting titles over his career (1955 & 1958), while leading the league in hits three times, triples twice, stolen bases once, walks four times and on-base-percentage four times between 1948 and 1962.
By the time he hung up the cleats, he finished with 2574 hits, a .308 batting average, 1322 runs scored, 109 triples and 234 stolen bases in 2189 games.
Often overshadowed by contemporaries, the man was about as solid as they came, rarely missing a game during his prime and giving the Phillies a defensive whiz out in centerfield, leading the league in putouts every season between 1949 and 1958 except for 1955, while pacing the league in assists three times and "range factor" (for you new-stat guys) 10 times.
It's amazing to me that he was never selected for the Hall of Fame by the BWAA, and had to wait until 1995 to be selected by the Veteran's Committee for his rightful place in Cooperstown.

Thursday, April 7, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "missing" 1978 card for "original" Blue Jay Dave McKay, who mysteriously was left out of the set after 93 games during the inaugural 1977 Toronto season:

McKay hit .197 over those 95 games, picking up 54 hits in 274 at-bats, scoring 18 while driving in 22 after spending parts of his first two Big League campaigns with the Minnesota Twins in 1975 and 1976.
He would put in eight seasons as a Major League infielder, playing for the Twins, Blue Jays and Oakland A's between 1975 and 1982, with the 1978 season being his only full-time year, appearing in 145 games with 537 plate appearances.
Overall he would bat .229 for his career, collecting 441 hits over his 645 games and 1928 at-bats before becoming a long-time coach, putting in almost 40 years in that capacity between 1984 and the present day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


On the blog today, thought it'd be fun to revisit an old blog post from July 21st, 2015, where I created a "missing" 1978 card for former outfielder/1st baseman:

Tolan appeared in 64 games in 1977, 15 with the Philadelphia Phillies and 49 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, good for 97 plate appearances and 90 at-bats.
He hit .189 with 17 hits, eight runs scored and 10 runs batted in, with a single stolen base.
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.
He missed all of 1971 after a fantastic 1970 season after rupturing his achilles tendon while playing basketball, violating a clause in his contract, but did make it back to win the 1972 "Comeback Player of the Year" Award in 1972.
Sadly for him however, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Clay Kirby after the 1973 season, which saw his performance drop dramatically, hitting only .206, thereby missing out on the tremendous "Big Red Machine" run the next few years.
Dig the awesome 1970's sideburns-into-'stache going on with him on this 1978 card! Love it!
He'd actually make one more "comeback" of sorts in 1979, this time for the Padres, after being out of baseball all of 1978, appearing in 22 games though hitting only .190 with four hits over 21 at-bats, retiring soon after.
In all he'd finish with a .265 average with 193 steals and 1121 hits over 1282 games and 4238 at-bats, as well as a World Series ring as a member of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


On the blog today, a 1976 "not so missing" card for former Oakland A's infielder Gaylen Pitts, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1975 season:

Pitts appeared in only 10 games for Oakland in 1975, going 1-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI in that limited play.
The previous season he made his MLB debut, appearing in 18 games for the eventual World Champs, hitting .244 with 10 hits in 41 at-bats, scoring four while driving in three.
Sadly for him that would be it in the Big Leagues, as he’d go on to play a couple more seasons in the Minor Leagues for Oakland and the Chicago Cubs before retiring as a player after 1977.
Later on he’d go on to coach and manage in the Minor Leagues, while also coaching with the St. Louis Cardinals under Joe Torre between 1991 and 1995.

Monday, April 4, 2022


Today on the blog I spotlight my 1957 "Career Capper" for Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, from my custom "The Whole Nine" set released last year:

Feller finished up an incredible 18-year Major League career in 1956, one that saw him win 266 games, toss 44 shutouts including three no-hitters, and striking out 2581 batters between 1936 and 1956.
And don't forget, the man lost almost FOUR seasons in his prime serving in the military from 1942 through 1945, easily bringing him close to 400 wins, 3500 K's and 60 shutouts if it wasn't for the war.
What an unsung hero all-around!
He led the league in wins six times, strikeouts seven times, shutouts four times and earned run average once, completing 279 of his 484 career starts.
The eight-time All-Star finished in the top-3 for league MVP three straight seasons between 1939 and 1941, winning 24, 27 and 25 games before sailing off to fight in World War II at the age of 23.
Just an astounding man who incredibly gets left out of the conversation when we talk about all-time greats, especially post-war.

Sunday, April 3, 2022



Greetings everyone!
That time again!
The newest WTHBALLS custom set is upon us!
The first of what will be two series of 1970 "In Game Action" cards. The first series is 25 cards along with a sticker and vintage 1970 Baltimore Orioles Kelloggs Decal, all packaged inside an Ultra Pro two-piece 25-card hard case with color wrap!
Sets are $21 each plus $4.50 postage. Of course as usual, if you buy more than one set postage always stays the same.
See photos attached for the cards and packaged sets.
My paypal is the usual:
Thank you all for the continued support and interest!
Be well and safe!



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