Tuesday, May 31, 2022


Today’s blog post has a career-capping “not so missing” 1971 card for former New York Yankees pitcher Joe Verbanic, who played the last of his Big League games during the 1970 season:
Verbanic appeared in seven games for the Yankees that season, making it back to the Majors after spending all of 1969 in the Minors, posting a record of 1-0 with a 4.60 earned run average over 15.2 innings of work.
Originally up in 1966 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies when he went 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA over 17 appearances and 14 innings, he spent the next two years with the Yankees, going a combined 10-10 with an ERA around 3.00 in 177 innings pitched.
He would go on to spend all of 1971 and 1972 in the Minors, for both the Yanks and Phillies organizations, but never get a shot back at a Big League mound again, finishing with a record of 12-11, with an ERA of 3.26 in 207 innings pitched, with three complete games, two shutouts and six saves picked up along the way.

Monday, May 30, 2022


On the blog today, thought it’d be fun to create a 1979 “Dedicated” manager card for Baltimore Orioles skipper Earl Weaver, who put together a Hall of Fame managerial career that lasted 17 seasons between 1968 and 1986:
Weaver was on his way to a wonderful 1979 campaign, leading the Orioles to an American League championship before falling to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.
It was his fourth trip to the Fall Classic, winning it all back in 1970 along with A.L. Pennants in 1969 and 1971.
His 1979 team finished the year with 102 wins against 57 losses, led offensively by Ken Singleton and Eddie Murray, while having a pitching core that included the Cy Young Award winner in Mike Flanagan, who won 23 games, as well as future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, “El Presidente” Dennis Martinez, Steve Stone and Scott McGregor.
Of course, their bullpen was also stacked deep with the likes of Sammy Stewart, Tippy Martinez, Don Stanhouse and Tim Stoddard, who combined for 28 saves and 28 wins between them.
I loved Earl Weaver as a kid, who paired up nicely with my favorite manager, Billy Martin: fiery, combative, and always ready to stick his neck out for his team.
By the time he retired after the 1986 season, Weaver finished with a record of 1480 wins against 1060 losses, for a very nice .583 winning percentage, with four Pennants and a World Championship, posting a winning season every year of his tenure except his very last, when he finished 73-89.
In 1996 he was voted into the Hall of Fame as a manager, celebrating one of the most colorful managers of the era, and rightly so!

Sunday, May 29, 2022


On the blog today, we move on to the American League and their top winning pitchers for 1974, on a 1975 “expanded league leader” card:
The top spot with 25 victories was shared by two future Hall of Famers, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Fergie Jenkins, who both had monster seasons and finished first and second respectively in the Cy Young race by season’s end.
For Hunter, he finally brought home the Cy Young Award after going 25-12 for the Oakland A’s, helping them win their third straight World Championship, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He also led the league with a 2.49 earned run average, starting 41 games and completing 23, with six shutouts and 143 strikeouts in 318.1 innings of work, edging out Jenkins 90 points to 75 for pitching’s greatest award.
For Jenkins, he just missed out on becoming the first pitcher to take home the award in both leagues, as he would go 25-12 with a 2.82 ERA over 41 starts, completing 29 while tossing six shutouts himself, striking out 225 batters for the surprising Texas Rangers.
It was the last of his seven 20-win seasons in the Majors, as he would go on to finish with 284 wins over his stellar 19-year Big League career.
In third place with 22 wins apiece are four solid starters from the decade, including one Hall of Famer: Nolan Ryan, Mike Cuellar, Steve Busby and Luis Tiant.
All four of these guys put in Cy worthy years for their respective teams, with Ryan leading the league with 367 strikeouts, Cuellar leading the league with his .688 winning percentage, Tiant leading the league with his seven shutouts and Busby tossing the second no-hitter of his young career, becoming the first pitcher to ever toss two no-no’s in his first two full seasons in the Majors.
Well there you have it! SIX top-notch pitchers of the era represented on a fun card to create for the blog!


Saturday, May 28, 2022


The next card from my 1963 Fleer "LOST SECOND SERIES" set released a few months back, the great Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves:

Mathews was a beast at the plate, hitting 30 or more homers in a season ten times during his career, with four of those seasons totaling over 40.
He’d also drive in over 100 runs five times and score over 100 eight times while topping a .300 batting average on three occasions while leading the National League in walks four times, homers twice, and getting named to nine all-star teams.
Twice a runner-up in Most Valuable Player voting, he played for the Braves from Boston, to Milwaukee and their inaugural season in Atlanta in 1966, the only player to do so.
By the time he finished his stellar career Mathews collected 512 homers, 1453 runs batted in, 1509 runs scored and a .271 average along 1444 walks and a .509 slugging average.
Until a guy by the name of Mike Schmidt came along, he was THE power-hitting third baseman in the game's long history.
Incredibly overlooked these days!

Friday, May 27, 2022


I was recently asked by one of the blog readers to create a "dedicated" 1970 card for tragic figure Miguel Fuentes, the young pitcher for the Seattle Pilots that was killed during the off-season between 1969 and 1970 after making his MLB debut with the Seattle Pilots.
Thought I'd share it here with you all:

Back in November of 2013 here on the blog, I turned his one Topps card, a split rookie card in the 1970 set, into a "In Memoriam" card, but my buddy Rich found this image of him and hoped I'd create a dedicated solo card.
Here's the original write-up on Fuentes from way back when:

"The last player to throw a pitch for the short-lived Seattle Pilots franchise was a young 23 year old from Puerto Rico named Miguel Fuentes.
Called up in September of 1969, he managed to get into a few of the last games played by the Pilots, as no one knew that the franchise wouldn't make it out of Spring training the following year.
They abruptly moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers just five days before opening day, 1970.
Sadly, no one was to also know that Fuentes would never see a game as a Brewer, or a Major Leaguer for that matter, because of tragedy.
During the off-season back home in Puerto Rico, Fuentes was playing for Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
While there, on January 29th, he was involved in a bar fight, where he was shot and killed.
With cards already in production, what was to be his rookie card was issued along with the rest of Topps' 1970 set, showing Fuentes along with another Seattle pitching prospect, Dick Baney.
Sad to see a player who was considered one of the top prospects in that organization cut down at such a young age.
All told, Fuentes appeared in eight games for the Pilots, good for 26 innings. His final record was 1-3 with a 5.19 E.R.A.
Sadly it seems the 1970's had an inordinate amount of young players passing away during their playing days.
As usual I've added the memoriam stripe along the bottom of his photo, as I have done with the other subjects of this thread."


Thursday, May 26, 2022


The next player in my on-going 1970 “In-Game Action” set to get a card is “Le Grand Orange”, Rusty Staub, an overlooked player who in my opinion deserves a bit more Hall of Fame love than he normally gets:


Staub was in the middle of his three-year run North of the border playing for the Montreal Expos, for whom he put in three successive All-Star seasons over the organization’s first three years as a Major League ball club.

He started out as a 19 year old kid in Houston in 1963 and went on to play for Montreal, Detroit, Texas and the New York Mets for two stints, with whom he retired with after the 1985 season.
And for those last five seasons with the Mets, he became one of the top pinch-hitters in the game and endeared himself to the Met faithful, even opening up a couple of well-liked restaurants in NYC along the way.
A few little "extras" about his career: Staub is one of three players (along with Ty Cobb and Gary Sheffield) to hit home runs as a teenager and as a 40-year old, and he is also the only player to amass 500 hits with four different teams (Astros, Mets, Expos and Tigers).
He was also the first player to play all 162 games in a season strictly as a Designated Hitter, which was for Detroit in 1978.

Lost in the crowd that was Rose, Bench, Jackson, Carew, etc. was this player who built a 23 year career, finishing up with over 2700 hits, 292 homers, 1466 R.B.I.'s, and six all-star appearances.To me, he is a Hall of Famer who deserves a spot in Cooperstown.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


On the blog today, taking a closer look at my "missing" 1966 card for Hall of Fame lefty Steve Carlton, who was just about to embark on an incredible Big League career that would have him standing shoulder to shoulder with All-Time greats by the time he was done, from my "Whole Nine" card set released last year:

Carlton made his major League debut during the 1965 season, appearing in 15 games, with two of those starts, not factoring in a decision while pitching to a 2.52 earned run average as a 20-year-old.
In 1966 it would be more of the same, as he'd appear in only nine games, going 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 52 innings of work, striking out 25 while walking 18, also tossing the first shutout of his young Big League tenure.
1967 would see him begin his next level of play, as he'd go 14-9 with a 2.98 ERA over 30 appearances and 193 innings, with two shutouts and 168 strikeouts, helping the St. Louis Cardinals win it all, their second championship in three years.
For Carlton, all he did the rest of the way was top 300 wins, 4000 strikeouts, 50 shutouts and 700 starts in his 24 year career!
The first guy to take home four Cy Young Awards, he led his league in wins four times, strikeouts five times, E.R.A. once and was named to ten all-star teams.
Needless to say, by the time he was eligible for the Hall of Fame, he was in on his first try, getting named to 436 of 456 ballots.
Sure we already had "Lefty" Grove, and "Lefty" Gomez, but Carlton was more than worthy of the same nickname for all of his accomplishments.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


The next Negro League Legend spotlighted from my custom set released last year, one of the greatest sluggers there ever was, Mule Suttles:

Suttles played between 1921-1941 and was known for both his prodigious power and hitting for average, leading his league in home runs twice as well as doubles, triples and average once each all between 1926-1930 while with the St. Louis Stars.
While playing for the Newark Black Eagles in the late-1930’s and early-1940’s, he played along other Negro League legends Dick Seay, Willie Wells and Ray Dandridge, part of what was knows as the “Million Dollar Infield”.
According to available documentation, Suttles finished his NBL career with a .329 batting average and 129 homers, second only to yet another legend, Turkey Stearns who has credit for 176 in league play.
Baseball author Bill James ranked Suttles as the 43rd greatest player of all-time in ANY league back in 2001, as well as the second-best left-fielder in Negro League history.
In 2006, his place in Cooperstown was rightly given, getting elected by the special Negro League Committee.

Monday, May 23, 2022


On the blog today, capping off former pitcher Gary Jones and his brief two-year Big League career with a "not so missing" 1972 card:

Jones originally came up to the Majors in 1970, appearing in two games for the New York Yankees, tossing two innings and pitching shutout ball with two strikeouts as a 25-year-old.
In 1971 he was back, appearing in 12 games, again all out of the bullpen, this time getting hit hard over his 14 innings, allowing 14 runs for a bloated 9.00 earned run average, striking out 10 while walking seven.
He would spend all of 1972 in the Cleveland Indians Minor League system, appearing in 40 games, but would call it a career by season's end.
All told, he finished his Major League career with 14 appearances, no decisions, and a 7.88 ERA over 16 innings of work.

Sunday, May 22, 2022


On the blog today, we move onto the National League’s top winning pitchers for 1974 in my 1975 “Expanded League Leaders” card in my long-running thread:
For 1974 we had two pitchers tied for the top spot in wins with 20, Andy Messersmith of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Hall of Famer Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves.
For Messersmith, it was a banner season for the righty, as he’d finish second behind record breaking teammate Mike Marshall for the league’s Cy Young Award, based on his 20-6 record, with a very nice 2.59 ERA and 221 strikeouts for the N.L. Champs.
Tied with Messersmith with 20 wins, the great knuckler Phil Niekro, who had himself his second 20-wins season, and first since 1969, as he’d go 20-13 over 41 appearances, all but two starts, leading the league with his 18 complete games and 302.1 innings pitched.
He would also complete six games, toss a shutout, and strikeout 195 batters while also picking up a save, which all would get him a third place finish in the Cy Young race at season’s end.
In third place with 19 wins each, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Don Sutton and Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Billingham, with Sutton going 19-9 over 40 starts, with five shutouts and 179 strikeouts, and Billingham going 19-11 for his second straight 19-win season, while also posting an ERA of 3.94 over 36 appearances, with three shutouts and 103 strikeouts, good for a sixth place finish in the Cy Young race.
Four solid starters putting in good seasons for their respective teams.
Next week, we take a look at the American league’s top winners of 1974!
See you then!

Saturday, May 21, 2022


On the blog today, we go and add the great Ernie Banks to my "Lost 1963 Fleer Second Series" set, which was released last year as a 20-card pack with cookie:

What needs to be said about the man?
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!

Friday, May 20, 2022


Hello everyone!

Today something special here on the blog, as I came across this incredible image of an uncut 1977 printing sheet, with some obvious early drafts of cards that ended up differently when released. Really some amazing stuff:


Now, I do plan on doing a more focused close-up spotlight on these in the future, “zooming in” so to speak and looking at the variations more closely, but for today I wanted to share this sheet image for those that appreciate the 1977 set and what was originally mocked up before release.

For starters, of course there’s the ever famous Reggie Jackson card that shows him suited up with the Baltimore orioles, though called out on the card as a New York Yankee player after his Free Agency signing.

Some of the other variations that were later swapped out: Steve Stone, called out as a Chicago White Sox player though clearly dressed in Cubs attire; an incredible looking Gene Tenace card, with him still an Oakland A’s player on a San Diego Padre card; same for Hall of Fame reliever Rollie Fingers on the lower right. You can also see that the final “stage” of applying facsimile autographs wasn’t applied yet.

Really some amazing stuff!

Hope you enjoy this image as much as I do!

Keep your eyes open here on the blog for focused posts on individual cards here.


Thursday, May 19, 2022


Thought it'd be fun to give former pitcher Ken Brett a do-over for his 1974 Topps card, which originally showed him airbrushed into a Pittsburgh Pirates uni after coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies:

So here we have a 1974 card for Brett showing him with the team he suited up for in 1973, the Phillies, for whom he went 13-9 over 31 appearances, 25 of those starts, with 10 complete games and a shutout thrown in.
For those that need a refresher on the original Topps had out there, here you go:

Brett was traded over to the West side of Pennsylvania from the Philadelphia Phillies for Dave Cash. Somewhat of a lopsided trade as Cash gave the Phils a guy who’d get on base on front of sluggers Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski.
Brett on the other hand would win 22 games for the Pirates over two seasons before heading to the Bronx as part of the Doc Medich/Dock Ellis/Willie Randolph big swap in December of 1975.
Nevertheless he did put in a solid 14 years in the Major Leagues, retiring after the 1981 season and 349 appearances.
He wound up with an 83-85 record playing for 10 teams between 1967 and ’81, starting just under half of his games.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


The next Negro League Legend profiled from my custom set released last year is one of the best to ever play the game, Martin Dihigo:

Between 1922 and 1953, yes, over 30 years, the pitcher/second baseman managed to star in the Negro Leagues, Mexican League, Cuban League and Venezuelan League.
He set the Mexican League record with a .676 career winning percentage, the Cuban record with 107 career wins along with 121 complete games on his way to four league MVP Awards, and was a two-time Negro League all-star.
Just to get an idea of this versatile stars abilities, in 1938, playing in the Mexican League, Dihigo posted an 18-2 record with a microscopic 0.90 E.R.A., while leading the league in batting with a .387 average!
According to some statistic gathering, he even posted a ridiculous 0.15 E.R.A. one season in the same league, finishing up with a 119-57 record along with a .317 average.
In the Cuban league, he finished with a 107-56 record along with a .298 average, while ending his Negro League career with a 26-19 record and a .307 average.
Combining all his stats, he would finish his pro career with a 252-132 record while batting .302 along with 130 homers (with over a decade of home run stats missing from this total).
The man was so good that he was elected to no less than FIVE Halls of Fame: American, Cuban, Mexican, Venezuelan and Dominican Republic!
Incredible journey for one of the games all-time greats.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


The next card from my "Whole Nine" set released last year to get the spotlight here on the blog is my "missing" 1965 card for enigmatic slugger Tony Horton:

Horton originally came up with the Boston Red Sox in 1964 as a 19-year old, appearing in 36 games, hitting .222 with a homer and eight runs batted in.
After a couple of more sporadic seasons bouncing between the Majors and Minors with Boston, Horton was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 1967 for pitcher Gary Bell, and finally got some full-time work with the parent club.
After a couple of decent years he really came into his own in 1969, hitting .278 with 27 homers and 93 runs batted in on 174 hits in 625 at-bats.
1970 started out well for the young slugger, as he had a three-homer game against the Yankees as well as hitting for the cycle on July 2nd against the Orioles, but after a prolonged slump and constant booing from the fans, the emotional toll finally came to a head for Horton as he took himself out of a game on August 28th against the Angels.
It was the second game of a double-header, and he voluntarily left the game after the fifth inning.
Sadly, later that evening he attempted suicide, but luckily survived and eventually got treatment for his problems.
But as for his baseball career, he'd never appear in another Major League game again.
His former manager, Alvin Dark, stated that in his long baseball career, the Horton situation was the "most sorrowful incident I was ever involved in, in my baseball career."
Tony Horton was only 25 years old when he left the game, after only 636 games and seven years, and has always been a stark reminder of the pressures professional athletes have day to day that fans can easily overlook as they're entertained on an almost nightly basis for six-motnhs out of every year.

Monday, May 16, 2022


Thought it'd be fun to revisit a post from just over eight years ago here on the blog, where I redid the 1972 "Minor League Player of the Year" special with an actual image celebrating the player so honored in 1971, Bobby Grich:

For those of you who don't remember the somewhat bland sub-set, here's the original as issued by Topps:

"Again, not that attractive a card, and something that NEVER would have happened later on when "rookie-mania" took hold in the late 80's! But nevertheless, it WAS cool that Topps had such a card for minor league awards. Would have been nice if they kept such a practice in place.
Now, not that you would have any idea who actually won the award(s) unless you scanned the back of the card, but the 1971 Minor League stud was none other than future all-star second baseman Bobby Grich, then of the Baltimore Orioles.
So with that, I went and redesigned the card with Grich as the subject, not the awards themselves.
I had to totally recreate the whole card, and make it a portrait orientation to accommodate the photo used, but I think it still came out ok, no?
As for Grich himself, before carving out an excellent Major League career, he had a monster 1971 season playing for the Orioles' Triple-A farm club in Rochester.
In 130 games as a shortstop, Grich POUNDED the International League, hitting .336 while smashing 32 homers with 83 runs batted in and 124 runs scored with 299 total bases.
These were NOT middle infielder numbers you often saw during the 1960's and 1970's!
And it was for those numbers that Grich was a solid pick for Minor League Player of the Year.
Once he jumped to the Majors for good in 1972, he became one of the best second baseman in the game for the rest of the decade, considered one of the best fielders at his position, winning four Gold Gloves as well as leading the league in putouts, double-plays and assists multiple times.
But he was no slouch at the plate, as he retired with almost 2000 hits, 224 homers, 1000+ runs scored and 864 runs batted in after seven years in Baltimore and ten years in California as a member of the Angels before hanging them up after the 1986 season.
It's funny how initial perception stays with you. My first over-the-top maniacal card-collecting year was 1977, and the guys that were designated as "All-Stars" on their cards remained somewhat legendary to me, and Grich was one of them.
Even though later on I learned the game and understood where guys like Toby Harrah, Ron LeFlore and even Grich stood as far as "star players" were concerned, those 1977 "All-Star" cards stayed with me to this very day, giving those players and extra bit of status that never faded after almost four decades.
Next up on this "awards" sub-set thread: card #625, "Rookie of the Year". 
Keep an eye out for it in the near future…"

Sunday, May 15, 2022


Up on the blog today, we add "Hondo" Frank Howard, the "Capitol Punisher" to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" sub-set:

Howard was in the middle of an insane run of three 40+ home run seasons, with two titles and three 100+ RBI campaigns as well between 1968 and 1970 for the Washington Senators.
Those efforts got him top-10 finishes in the league MVP voting each year, finishing 8th, 4th and 5th respectively between 1968 and 1970.
An absolute beast at the plate, he would be the last Big League player until Jay Buhner (1995-97) to hit 40+ homers three years in a row from 1968-1970, with a high of 48 in 1969, though leading the league in 1968 and 1970 with 44.
He was also one of the early players to join the 30-home runs in each league club, hitting 31 with the Dodgers in 1962 before reaching the plateau again in 1967 when he slammed 36 taters.
All told, he finished his career with 382 homers over 16 seasons, before moving on to a coaching and managerial career, making him somewhat of a baseball lifer.
I loved him when he was with the New York Yankees later in his coaching career! I mean, how often do you get to appreciate a guy who was so nasty as a player that he had TWO great nicknames: “The Capital Punisher”, and “Hondo

Saturday, May 14, 2022


Continuing with my 1963 "Lost Second Series" Fleer custom set, today we spotlight my card for Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning:

As a baseball player he put in 17-years of all-star play, winning 20 games once, but putting together four 19-win seasons along with three 17-win seasons, while leading his league in strikeouts three times and shutouts twice.
The seven-time all-star threw a no-hitter in each league, with his National League no-no a perfect game against the New York Mets in 1964.
He also won 100-games in each league, becoming the first to do so since the great Cy Young at the beginning of the 20th Century.
But I would love to mention one more time how this guy's career record is deceptive (224-184), as he posted multiple no-hitters, the aforementioned 100 wins as well as 1000 strikeouts in BOTH leagues before it became somewhat more frequent with the growth player movement from team to team, league to league.
Also, at the time of his retirement after the '71 season he was second all-time in Major League history with his 2855 strikeouts.
In 1996, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining contemporaries such as Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax and Whitey Ford.
By then he was already a Representative of Kentucky’s 4th District  for nine years before becoming a State Senator in 1999, a position he would hold until January 2011.
A great life to say the least. Though I like to think of it as incredible actually. To do any ONE of these things he accomplished is a life’s great achievement, and Bunning did them all.
Amazing man.

Friday, May 13, 2022


Hello Everyone!

Hope you are all well and safe.

Series Ten is now available to purchase!



Adding to the previous nine “regular” 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.

Again, as with the last Series pack, sadly, as with everything else these days, my costs were jacked up a bit by my printer, so packs now are $12 each, with a one-time postage fee of $4.50. Sorry about this! I was able to lower the cost $1 from last time.

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

As usual, all paypal payments can be made to the usual email address: slogun23@gmail.com

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

Take Care



It's been a while since I added anyone to my fun 1971 "Minor League Days" thread, so today I go ahead and do just that, with former New York Yankees under-appreciated great Roy White:

The photo used here was during White's time with the (I can't believe this name) Columbus Confederate Yankees in 1964/1965, when he was 20 to 21 years of age.
By the end of the 1965 season White was in the Big Leagues, where he would play all the way through the 1979 campaign before making his way to Japan to finish up his pro career.
He became a dependable starting outfielder within three years, on his way to a career that spanned the “dark years” in the Bronx from 1965 through the end of the decade through to the successes of the “Bronx Zoo” teams that won two World Series and three pennants.
Even though the man was a New York Yankee "lifer", playing 15 years between 1965 and 1979 wearing only the Yankee pinstripes, White was often overshadowed by the likes of Mantle, Munson, Murcer, Nettles and Jackson.
Nevertheless he put in a very solid career, amassing over 1800 hits, with just under 1000 runs scored, 160 home runs and 233 stolen bases.
After his Major League playing days he even put in three good years in Japan, playing for the Yomiuri Giants between 1980-1982.
Just a quiet, solid player who more than did his job while between the foul lines, year in and year out.
I've mentioned this earlier here on this blog: years later I would end up befriending and DJ-ing in the same club scene here in NYC with his son Reade, even though he never DID tell me who his father was!
I'd only find out years later from a mutual friend after I was long gone from the club-circuit…
Would have been nice to try and schmooze a conversation or two with the senior White in the early-90's!

Thursday, May 12, 2022


The next star featured in my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" series is Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson, aka the "Human Vacuum Cleaner":

In 1958 he’d play his first full season in the Big Leagues, and it was all cruise control from there, as the great third baseman would go on to grab 16 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award in 1964, appear in 15 All-Star games, and help guide the Baltimore Orioles to two Championships and four A.L. Pennants.
By the time he hung up that golden glove after the 1977 season, he finished with 2848 hits, 1357 runs batted in, 268 home runs and 1232 runs scored in 2896 games.
Needless to say, by the time Cooperstown came calling, he was voted in on his first try, receiving 92% support in 1983.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


Up on the blog today, just for the fun of it, a do-over for two-year Major League pitcher Greg Garrett and his 1971 card:

Originally, Topps went ahead and created a card showing him as a member of his new team, the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he'd suit up for only two games in 1971, the last two games of his brief career.
For those that need a refresher on his original Topps card of 1971, take a gander:

I found this image of him as a California Angel, the team he came up with in 1970, so here you go!
He had a very good debut in the Majors in 1970, appearing in 32 games, seven of those starts, tossing 74.2 innings and pitching to an impressive 2.65 ERA, with 53 strikeouts against 44 walks, posting a record of 5-6.
Some five years ago I created a 1972 "not so missing" card for him here on the blog, showing him as a Reds player for 1971, capping off the career that lasted parts of two seasons.
For the Reds that year he appeared in two games, going 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings, striking out two while walking 10.
Turns out those two brief seasons would be it for his Major League career, ending up with a 5-7 record, a very nice 2.48 E.R.A., 55 strikeouts and 54 walks over 83.1 innings and 34 appearances.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


On the blog today, we take a closer look at my "missing" 1963 "Lost Second Series" Fleer card from my set released last year of Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts:

Roberts resurrected his career somewhat in 1962, his first season with the Baltimore Orioles, posting a very nice 2.78 earned run average over 27 appearances, going 10-9 with six complete games.
This was after a disastrous 1961 season that saw him go 1-10 over 26 appearances, with a bloated 5.85 ERA in his last year with the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he came up to the Major Leagues back in 1948.
Roberts was a freaking machine during the 1950’s pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, posting six 20-win seasons with  a 19 and 17 win season thrown in as well.
He led the league in wins four times with a high of 28 in 1952, while also leading the National league in strikeouts twice, complete games five times, innings pitched five times and shutouts once.
By the time he retired after the 1966 season, he finished with 286 wins and a 3.41 earned run average, with 45 shutouts and 2357 strikeouts over 676 games and 4688.2 innings pitched.
Between 1950 and 1956 he was named to the all-star team each year, while also garnering MVP attention every season.
To be honest how he didn’t win the MVP in 1952 is beyond me, as the award went to Chicago Cubs slugger Hank Sauer.
Granted the Phillies finished in fourth place with an 87-67 record, 9.5 games behind the Dodgers.
But the Cubs finished in fifth place, with a 77-77 record.
So what went on there is something worth looking into considering all Roberts did was go 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA, three shutouts, 148 strikeouts and 30 complete games out of his 37 starts!

Monday, May 9, 2022


Today on the blog I thought it'd be fun to create a 1975 dedicated manager card for Al Dark, who was at the herm of that three-peat Oakland A's team, coming off of a World Championship season in 1974:

Dark took the team to a 90-72 record that season, and eventually to the aforementioned third straight championship for the Oakland franchise since taking over managerial duties after Dick Williams headed South to manage the California Angels after guiding them to their first two Series wins.
Funny enough, after the 1975 season that had Oakland win 98 games, Dark was let go as manager after the team was beaten in the A.L. Championship series by the Boston Red Sox, and with Free Agency looming, the Oakland A’s would see themselves go from elite team to cellar-dwellers overnight.
As a player, Dark cannot be overlooked, as he was a versatile player who played almost every position throughout his 14-year Big League career, winning the 1948 Rookie of the Year Award while finishing third in MVP voting.
He’d end up collecting over 2000 hits, hitting .289 and scoring 1064 runs, all while entering the league at the age of 26 (after 15 games in 1946) because of World War II. If not for the war he had a decent shot at 3000 hits, among other milestones like 1500 runs and 500 doubles.
A true baseball "lifer".

Sunday, May 8, 2022


Up on the blog today, we're spotlighting my custom 1963 "Missing" card for Maury Wills, who as we all know was not on a Topps set until 1967:

The card is from my custom "Whole Nine" set released last year, which featured missing cards from the 1950's, 1960's, and 1970's,  outside the usual WTHBALLS realm.
The fact that Wills was missing from the 1963 sets was especially significant since he was the reigning National League MVP.
Of course we know 1962 was the pinnacle of his career where he took home the National League's top award after setting the new single-season stolen base record with 104 while collecting 208 hits and 130 runs scored for the Dodgers.
This was right in the middle of a six-year run of leading the league in stolen bases, while also appearing in five all-star games and taking home a couple of Gold Glove Awards.
Overall he retired with a .281 batting average based on 2134 hits in 7588 at-bats with 586 stolen bases and 1067 runs scored in 1942 games.


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