Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Thought it'd be fun today to take a closer look at former All-Star Gene Tenace and the airbrushing done for his 1977 Topps card:

Tenace was coming off yet another solid year for the Oakland A's in 1976 before fleeing via this new-fangled "Free Agency, along with a slew of other teammates, and decided to sign with the San Diego Padres down the road a bit, as did A's teammate Rollie Fingers.
Topps definitely had their hands full with the former A's and their new teams, having to put the airbrushing tools through some extensive work to get them on the correct team for the 1977 set.
Tenace was as solid as they came for the juggernaut A's dynasty of the mid-70s, giving the team a versatile leader who was an on-base machine with some decent "pop" in his bat.
As a matter of fact in three different seasons Tenace collected more walks than hits in full seasons where he walked over 100 times.
Part of the first big wave of Free Agency, as stated earlier he’d move on to the San Diego Padres in 1977 where he’d play for four seasons before playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1981 & 1982, then one last season in the Big Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983.
By the time he retired he ended up with a .241 career average, with 201 homers and 674 runs batted in, with 1060 hits and 984 walks over 1555 games and 4390 at-bats, with an All-Star start in 1975.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


Today up on the blog, we celebrate the great Dick Seay, Negro League legend and part of the famed "Million Dollar Infield":

The only member of that famous infield to still wait for his place in the Hall of Fame, Seay played alongside Ray Dandridge, Willie Wells and Mule Suttles to form one of the great infields in baseball history.
A light-hitting player known for his defensive skills, he was particularly known on the offensive side of things as a bunt-specialist and hit-and-run guy.
He eventually put in 16 years in the Negro Leagues, hitting .216 and making three All-Star teams along the way, appearing in 535 "official" games while accumulating 412 hits over 1905 at-bats.

Monday, August 29, 2022


Good day all!

Thought it'd be fun to create a "dedicated" 1977 manager card for Los Angeles Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda, in what was the first season of his legendary run:

Though he skippered the Dodgers for four games in 1976, the 1977 season was the first full year at the helm of the team, and it would lead to an incredible 21 year run that saw him win two championships (1981 and 1988), with two other pennants thrown in (1977 and 1978).
Between 1976 and 1996, Lasorda led the Dodgers to 1599 wins and a .526 winning percentage, while becoming an icon in the baseball and cultural realm.
Funny enough, Lasorda would guide the Dodgers to 98 wins in his first full season as manager, and that would be the high-mark in a season for wins during his tenure.
However, he would lead the team to seven different seasons of 90+ wins, as well as seven first place finishes in the National League West.
He grew to be a legend in Los Angeles, and growing up as a kid loving baseball in the 70's and 80's his legendary status made its way East to Brooklyn, New York with my friends and I in our Italian neighborhood!

Sunday, August 28, 2022


Up on the blog this fine day, moving on to the American League for their top three stolen base thieves of the 1976 season on an "expanded" 1977 league-leader card:

We start off with the Oakland A's Bill North, who took home his second stolen base crown in three years with his 75 steals in 1976.
Prior to the 1976 season he led the league with 54 in 1974, and would top 50 steals only one more time in his career, in 1979 with 58 for the San Francisco Giants.
He'll finish his career with 395 steals between 1971 and 1981, while also hitting .261 with 1016 hits over 3900 at-bats, spread out over 1169 games.
In second place with 58 steals during the 1976 season, Detroit Tigers All-Star outfielder Ron LeFlore, who had his breakout season that year, hitting .316 with 93 runs scored, 172 hits and eight triples.
Over the next three seasons for the Tigers, he'd be incredible, scoring 100+ runs each year, with a league-leading 126 in 1978, top 180+ hits each time, with a high of 212 in 1977, and taking home the first of his two career stolen base crowns, with 68 in 1978.
In 1980 he would lead the National League with 97 steals, before moving on to the Chicago White Sox for the 1981 and 1982 seasons, retiring at the age of 34 with 455 steals between 1974 and 1982.
In third place with 54 steals, a guy who already had six stolen base crowns under his belt, Oakland A's All-Star shortstop Bert Campaneris.
Turns out it was the seventh and final time he would top 50 steals in a season over his career, finishing up with 649 steals over his 19-year Big League career.
Well there you have it, the top three stolen base guys from the American League in 1976.

Saturday, August 27, 2022


On the blog today, we move on to the 1974 Major League All-Star game celebrated on a 1975 card, in my on-going thread that should wrap up in a few weeks:

For the 1974 "Midsummer Classic", all eyes were on the Los Angeles Dodgers up and coming star first baseman Steve Garvey, who was a write-in vote to start the game, and did NOT disappoint the Three Rivers Stadium fans.
While the American League stars were held to two runs on four hits, Garvey himself went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI, helping the N.L. to yet another victory, 7-2.
N.L. starter Andy Messersmith allowed two runs in his three innings, while the rest of the staff blanked the A.L. on two hits over the last six innings.
It was the third of what would eventually be eleven straight All-Star wins for the N.L., with the A.L. finally winning one in 1983.

Friday, August 26, 2022


On the blog today, we add the great Steve Carlton, aka "Lefty" to my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" thread, celebrating my two-series custom card set released the past few months:

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.

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Today on the blog, a nice addition to my long-running "Negro Baseball Leagues All-Time Legends" thread, including one of the great pitchers the game has ever seen, John Donaldson:

The man's career spanned approximately 30 years, and it is estimated that he won over 400 games, struck out over 5000 batters, amassed 86 shutouts and finished with a ridiculous earned run average at 1.37.
He is also credited with 14 no-hitters, a perfect game, and DOZENS of one-hitters, while also recording TWO 30-strikeout games, and 30 other games with over 20 strikeouts.
Oh, and by the way, could he hit? The man also finished his career with a .334 clip in over 1800 at-bats.
Legendary manager John McGraw stated about Donaldson, "I think he is the greatest I have ever seen."
Sadly, he is STILL waiting for his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame, something he fell just short of in 2021 when he received 8 of the necessary 12 votes for induction.
Hopefully this will be taken care of sooner than later.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Up on the blog today, we go with my 1976 "Dedicated Rookie" for former All-Star outfielder of the Montreal Expos, Ellis Valentine:

Valentine had his first taste of the Big Leagues in 1975, hitting a blistering .364 with 12 hits in 33 at-bats as a September call-up.
His 1976 season was solid, hitting .279 over 94 games, with seven homers and 14 stolen bases while scoring 36 runs and driving in 39.
Between 1977 and 1979 he became a solid, Gold Glove winning outfielder along with Andre Dawson and Warren Cromartie.
Just an amazing young trio of outfielders to come up at the same time and give the team a bolt of energy.
For Valentine, between 1977 and 1979 he put in three very good seasons that saw him top 20 homers, 76 RBIs and hit at least .276 getting named to the NL All-Star team in '77 while taking home his lone Gold Glove the following year.
Sadly, on May 30th of 1980, already putting together another solid campaign, Valentine was hit in the face with a pitch by St. Louis Cardinals Roy Thomas.
He would miss over a month before coming back with the famous football guard on his batting helmet, hitting .331 the rest of the way to end up at .315 for the abbreviated season.
Other injuries began to plague him, from a pinched-nerve, his wrist, and even a hamstring pull, and just like that Valentine managed to play parts of the next few seasons for the New York Mets, California Angels and finally the Texas Rangers in 1985.
Still only 30, he played what turned out to be that last of his Major League games, finishing up with a .278 average with 123 homers, 474 RBIs, 380 runs on 881 hits over 3166 at-bats.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Good day everybody!

Thought it'd be fun to revisit a blog post from December of 2015, featuring my do-over for slugger Jimmy Wynn and hgis 1976 card:

Way back when this was part of the "1976 Project" for my man Jim, who had me create a bunch of 1976 variations for his master set.
We BOTH loved the idea of recreating Wynn's All-Star appearance, which was while he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, not the Atlanta Braves as Topps had him issued.
Here's the original post:

"A fun card to create since he was one of the “all-stars” in my all-time favorite set, and I was never a fan of his 1976 card showing him in an airbrush job with the Atlanta Braves.
Wynn didn’t have nearly the success in 1975 that he had the year before, hitting 18 homers with 58 runs batted in and 80 runs scored, with a low .248 average.
Nevertheless he started his second straight all-star game for the Dodgers, his only two years in Los Angeles.
He put together a very nice 15-year career that saw him hit 291 homers, drive in 1224 runs and walk 1427 times, including a league-leading 148 in 1969 while with the Houston Astros, while finishing with a .250 batting average."

Monday, August 22, 2022


On the blog today, we add Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins to my thread spotlighting my two-series custom set released these past few months, "1970 In-Game Action":

Fergie was smack in the middle of an incredible run of six straight 20-win seasons, as well as five straight 200+ strikeout campaigns.
As we all know, he put together a Hall of Fame career, topping 280 wins, 3000 strikeouts, with 49 shutouts, a Cy Young Award in 1971 and four other top-3 finishes in the award voting.
In 1991 he capped off his career with an induction into Cooperstown on his third try, just getting the 75% of the vote with 75.4% support.
On a geeky side-note, “Fly” was also the first pitcher to ever regsiter 3000+ strikeouts while issuing less than 1000 base on balls.
Love stuff like that!
Jenkins was just plain awesome. And he went about being awesome while pretty much performing under the radar.

Sunday, August 21, 2022


Next up in my on-going "expanded league-leaders" thread, we come to the National League's top three stolen base players from 1976, which is actually four players since there's a tie for third place:


We begin with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Davey Lopes, All-Star second baseman, who topped the Senior Circuit with 63 swipes in 1976.

It was his second straight stolen base crown, after his career-best 77 steals led the N.L. in 1975, on his way to a cool 557 career steals between 1972 and 1987.
Behind him with 60 stolen bases, the league's MVP, Joe Morgan of the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds, World Champs in both 1975 and 1976.
All Morgan did in 1976 was take home his second straight MVP, his second straight championship, while leading the league in On-Base Percentage and Slugging, while bringing home his fourth straight Gold Glove at second base.
Tied for third with their 58 stolen bases in 1976, Fran Taveras of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cesar Cedeno of the Houston Astros.
For Cedeno, it was business as usual in 1976, hitting .297 with 18 homers, 89 runs scored and 83 RBIs while taking home his fifth straight Gold Glove.
The man was such a great all-around player the first 10 years of his career, stealing bases, hitting for average with some decent "pop" in his bat.
For Taveras, it was a sign somewhat of what was to come, as he would end up leading the league with 70 steals the following season, after his breakout 58 in 1976, his first full year in the Big Leagues.
He'd put in a string of solid years for the "We Are Family" Pirates from 1976 to 1979, and would retire with 300 steals on the nose over his 11-year career.
Next week, on to the American League's top base stealers of 1976!

Saturday, August 20, 2022


Today's blog post has us moving on to the 1973 Major League All-Star game with a highlight card for the 1974 set, something Topps (for some reason) never did:

Held in Kansas City, MO at Royals Stadium, the National League once again came out on top, with a commanding 7-1 win where they doubled the American League with hits, 10 to 5.
The N.L. actually trailed 1-0 going into the third inning after an Amos Otis RBI single in the bottom of the second.
However, they proceeded to score all seven runs unanswered, hitting three homers: Johnny Bench in the fourth, Bobby Bonds (pictured here on the card) in the fifth, and Willie Davis in the sixth accounting for five of the seven runs.
Bert Blyleven, Bill Singer and Nolan Ryan were the A.L. pitcher tagged for all the runs, while N.L. starter Rick Wise gave up the sole A.L. run, giving way to shutout ball from the rest of the N.L. staff.
The A.L. didn't know it yet, but they'd have to wait another TEN years before they would win their next All-Star game in 1983, and as an A.L. fan myself growing up in that period, it was frustrating to say the least!

Friday, August 19, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1975 card for former New York Mets pitcher Craig Swan, who was left out of the set by Topps after having a spot on a multi-player rookie card the year before:

Swan appeared in seven games during the 1974 season, going 1-3 with a 4.45 earned run average in 30.1 innings of work.
This after making his MLB debut in 1973 with three games, going 0-1 and pitching to a 8.64 ERA over 8.1 innings.
He would spend the bulk of his Big League career with the Mets, playing in all but two games with them between 1973 and 1984, finishing with the California Angels.
His best years were 1978 and 1979, when he'd go a combined 23-19 over 64 games, even leading the N.L. with a 2.43 ERA in '78.
Overall, he finished his career with a record of 59-72 over 231 appearances, with a 3.74 ERA in 1235.2 innings, with seven shutouts and two saves thrown in.

Thursday, August 18, 2022


Thought it'd be fun to revisit an old blog post from November 2014, celebrating the great slugger Frank Howard, with my 1974 "Career-Capper", that was also part of (I Believe) my third pack-release a few years back:

As any of you here know, I have always been a fan of "Hondo" Frank Howard, and will use any excuse to create a card for the prodigious slugger.
Here's my original write-up for that post so many moons ago:
"Let's pay some respect to the "Capital Punisher", Frank Howard with a 1974 card capping off his awesome career.
You can even consider this a "Missing in Action" card since Howard put in 85 games and 251 plate appearances in his final season before calling it a career.
At 6' 7" and 250+ pounds, the man was an absolute beast!
A Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1960, he had his best seasons as a member of the Washington Senators between 1965 and 1971, posting three consecutive years of 40+ homers, leading the league in 1968 and 1970 with 44 each time.
In between those two he slammed 48 homers, but fell one short of the league lead behind Harmon Killebrew's 49.
By the time "Hondo" retired he hit 382 lifetime home runs, with 1119 runs batted in, 864 runs scored, and 1774 hits in 16 seasons.
I'm definitely going to design a "nicknames of the 70's" card for him, especially since he had TWO cool ones (mentioned earlier).

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Time to go and add former All-Star catcher for the Chicago Cubs Randy Hundly to my "forever-running" thread of Nicknames of the 1970's, with him nom-de-plume "Rebel":

Hundley, father of future catcher Todd of the New York Mets, was a solid catcher over a four-year stretch between 1966 and 1969 for the Cubs, picking up a Gold Glove, getting some MVP attention, and making two All-Star teams.
In 1968 he set a standard of catching 160 games (147 complete), an incredible fear considering the wear and tear on the legs.
Over the 1969 season, though heartbreaking at its end, Hundley contributed just as well as his Hall of Fame teammates, giving the Cubs 18 homers with 64 runs batted in, scoring 67 while drawing 61 waLKS.
By the time he retired after the 1977 season, he finished with a .236 lifetime average, with 82 homers and 381 RBIs in 1061 games and 3801 at-bats spread out over 14 years.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022


I haven't created one of these in a long while here on the blog, so I figured I'd go ahead and add a 1978 "Traded" card for former pitcher Rick Wise to the mix:

Wise found himself traded over to the Cleveland Indians on March 30th of 1978 from the Boston Red Sox along with Ted Cox, Bo Diaz and Mike Paxton in a blockbuster for Dennis Eckersley and Fred Kendall.
He had a rough first season with the Indians in 1978, leading the league with 19 losses.
However, toiling for the hapless Indians did not reflect his efforts on the mound, as his 4.34 earned run average  and 1.34 WHIP would show.
He'd fare a lot better the following season when he posted a record of 15-10 over 34 starts, with a 3.73 ERA and two shutouts.
It's easy to forget that the guy put together a really solid Major League career, finishing with a 188-181 record to go along with a 3.69 earned run average, 30 shutouts and 1647 strikeouts over 506 games (455 starts) between 1964 and 1982.
Yes he'll always be remembered for being the "wrong" side of the Steve Carlton trade (ironically enough during the off-season after his no-hit year), but if not for an injury-plagued season in 1974 while with the Red Sox, he could have been a 200-game winner.
Go figure...

Monday, August 15, 2022


Up on the blog today, we add the great Lou Brock to my thread featuring the cards that were part of my two-series 1970 "In-Game Action" sets released over the past few months:

Brock really was an under-appreciated player in my book, having to get what little spotlight he could playing the outfield in the National league when you had guys like Mays, Aaron and Clemente there as well.
Nevertheless, the man made six All-Star squads, finished second in the MVP race for the National League in 1974, and would go on to a Hall of Fame induction thanks to 3000+ hits, an MLB record 938 stolen bases, and 1610 runs scored.
Did you know that between 1964 and 1974 the LEAST amount of hits he collected in any one season was 182?
As a matter of fact in those eleven seasons he collected over 190 hits eight times, while scoring less than 90 only once.
Just an incredible, “quiet” Major League career rarely matched before or since, without all the fan-fare outside of his 1974 season when he shattered the MLB stolen base record with 118.
Heck, even his last season of 1979, at the age of 40, Brock hit .304 with 21 stolen bases over 120 games and 436 plate appearances.
All-out legend.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


Today on the blog, we move on to the American League for their top three RBI men of the 1976 season, in my on-going “expanded league leaders” thread that seems to be a hit with many of you out there:
We begin with the “Big Bopper” Lee May, Baltimore Orioles slugger who led the A.L. with his 109 RBIs in the Bicentennial season, along with 25 homers and 61 runs scored.
The RBI total was one short of his career-best set back in 1969 while still with the Cincinnati Reds, when he also hit 38 homers, totaled 321 bases and made his first All-Star team.
It would be the third, and last 100-RBI season of his solid 18-year career, finishing up with 1244 over 2071 games and 7609 at-bats during somewhat of a “dead-ball” era in terms of offense.
Right behind him with 105 RBIs was the American League MVP for 1976, the New York Yankee captain Thurman Munson, who guided the team to their first World Series berth since 1964, hitting 17 homers, hitting .302 and even stealing a career-best 14 bases while making his fifth All-Star team.
Munson drove in 100+ runs three seasons in a row between 1975 and 1977, while also topping the .300-mark each time, as well as 180+ hits, anchoring an A.L. powerhouse team that would win-it-all in 1977 and 1978.
In third place with 102 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox, legend Carl Yastrzemski, who had yet another solid season on his way to a Hall of Fame resume by the time he was done with his MLB tenure.
For “Yaz”, his 102 RBIs were paired up with 21 homers, 71 runs scored and 80 walks, along with his 13th All-Star nod, while putting in time between first base and the outfield.
So there it is for the top RBI men of the American league in 1976, expanded here on a 1977 league-leader card.

Saturday, August 13, 2022


Up on the blog today, I thought it’d be fun to re-do the 1973 Topps Texas Rangers manager card to reflect the skipper at the helm of the team in their first season down is Texas, the great Ted Williams. So here you go:
Originally, Topps had an airbrushed card showing manager Whitey Herzog, who was about to lead the team in 1973, but I thought a card showing the Hall of Famer would be fun to add to the “virtual” collection.
Williams had a rough year in 1972, leading the team to a record of 54-100, a last-place finish in the American League West, after the team was moved from Washington DC after the 1971 season.
Except for his first season of managing in 1969, when he led the team to a nice 86-76 record, good for a fourth-place finish, Williams didn’t fare much better, losing 92 games in 1970 and 96 games in 1971.
With a new manager in place, the team didn’t do much better, going on to lose 105 games in 1973, with Herzog dumped as skipper 138 games later after guiding them to a record of 47-91, before getting Billy Martin to step in and lead the team for the last 23 games of the year, going 9-14.
Nevertheless, I’ll never complain about another Ted Williams card in ANY collection, even a manager card well into the 1970s!

Friday, August 12, 2022


On the blog today, we celebrate the 1972 baseball All-Star game with a 1973 highlight card, giving a spotlight to the "Midsummer Classic" that Topps for some reason never gave attention to aside from All-Star player cards:

The game, which was held at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on July 25th, was an extra-inning affair for the second time in three years, putting the National League back on the winning side after losing the 1971 game, their first loss since 1962.
The N.L. played late-inning heroics, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth before winning it the next inning on fundamental baseball, with the San Diego Padres slugger Nate Colbert leading off the inning with a walk, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Chris Speier of the San Francisco Giants.
With Colbert on second, the Cincinnati Reds Joe Morgan was on to face Baltimore Orioles pitcher Dave McNally, and "Little Joe" did not disappoint the Atlanta citizens on hand, rapping a single to drive home Colbert, giving ther N.L. the win, the first of what would be 11 in a row until the 1983 game.
Morgan would get the game's MVP nod, with the New York Mets' Tug McGraw getting the win in relief, while McNally took the loss.
Other notes from the game: Hank Aaron hit a two-run homer off Gaylord Perry in the sixth inning, while the Kansas City Royals' Cookie Rojas hit the only A.L. homer, a two-run job in the eighth.
Oakland A's star Reggie Jackson was the only player with more than one hit in the game, going 2-for-4 with a double.


Thursday, August 11, 2022


On the blog today, adding the "Dominican Dandy" Juan Marichal to my 1963 Fleer "Lost Second Series" thread:

As much as Marichal is celebrated as an all-time pitching legend, you still have to feel for the guy when you consider the timing of all his banner years in the big leagues.
In 1963 he has his breakout year, going 25-8 with a 2.41 E.R.A., but takes a back seat to another guy who has a breakout year, Sandy Koufax.
In 1966 he wins 25 games again, but again takes a backseat to a now dominating Koufax, who wins 27 along with a bunch of other eye-popping numbers.
In 1968 he sets a career high of 26 wins to go along with a 2.43 earned run average, but wait, a guy named Bob Gibson has a year for the ages, winning both the Cy Young Award and the M.V.P.
But when you look at the decade as a whole, there wasn't a better pitcher in the game from 1960-1969, as Marichal went on to win 191 games, winning 25 or more wins three times, post seven sub-3.00 E.R.A. seasons,  top 200+ strikeouts six times , and get selected as an all-star every year between 1962-1969.
What a BEAST on the mound!
Easily would have been the first 3-time Cy Young winner if not for Koufax and Gibson.
Ah well, I’m sure his spot in Cooperstown makes it a bit easier to take.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Thought it'd be fun to go way back and revisit my blog post from March 14th of 2014, featuring a "fantasy" rookie card featuring four pretty good infielders making their Big League debuts about that time:

Now, would THAT have been a rookie card to collect or what!?
Of course three of the four would indeed have their rookie appearances in that wonderful 1978 set: Paul Molitor, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.
However that fourth player, legend Ozzie Smith, would have to wait until the following year to get his baseball card debut.
Here's the original post I wrote up back then:

"Yeah I know, I'm pushing it imagining a once in a lifetime rookie card like this.
Topps didn't even have a rookie card for "infielders" in their 1978 set.
But man, what a card THIS could have been! Two Hall of Famers and two others who arguably should find their way in at some point.
Of course we all know that Molitor and Trammel were on the same card in the 1978 set, making for an already fantastic rookie card for collectors.
But with Whitaker on another card, and Ozzie Smith ignored altogether that year, I took all four of them and created a "dream-card" for people that care about these things!
It reminds me of the dream-card they gave out at a card convention years ago that featured Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan on a 1967 rookie card.
Can you imagine how incredible that would have been?! To have a rookie card featuring THOSE two?! 
Could have been THE rookie card for the decade…
Oh well, hope you all can at least enjoy THIS creation here…"

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


Up on the blog today, I came across an amazing unissued 1977 proof card for former outfielder Pat Kelly, showing him a member of the Baltimore Orioles after coming up with the Chicago White Sox. Take a look:

After six relatively successful seasons with Chicago, Kelly found himself a member of the Orioles after being traded for catcher Dave Duncan in November of 1976.
Topps had enough time to get him airbrushed into his new uniform, but not before laying out their sheets for the upcoming 1977 set, giving us some unique proof-cards that were "fixed" before printing began.
For those that need a refresher, here's the as-issued Topps card that year:

A solid fourth-outfielder over his 15-year Major League career, Kelly was an All-Star in 1973 while with the White Sox, pretty much setting career-bests across the board while hitting .280 with 154 hits and 77 runs scored.
By the time he retired after one season with the Cleveland Indians in 1981, he finished with a career .264 average, with 1147 hits over 4338 at-bats in 1385 games between 1967 and 1981, playing all three outfield positions while getting some DH time in as well.

Monday, August 8, 2022


On the blog today, we have a 1970 "Nicknames of the 1970's" card for Gold Glove outfielder Paul Blair of the Baltimore Orioles:

Though a decent hitter in his own right, Blair was a superstar fielding outfielder for the O's, taking home eight Gold Gloves for his excellence in the field, seven consecutively between 1969-1975.
He was known to taunt hitters by playing shallow, then sprinting deep to track down fly balls.
A member of four world champion teams (Orioles in 1966/70; Yankees 1977/78), Blair put together an excellent 17-year career playing between 1964 and 1980 for the Orioles, Yanks and Reds.
He'd finish with a .250 batting average with 1513 hits, 134 homers and 171 stolen bases over 1947 games and 6673 plate appearances.

Sunday, August 7, 2022


Up on the blog today, we proceed in my on-going “expanded league-leaders” thread to the top three RBI men of the National league for 1976, on a 1977 imagined card:
Of course, we begin with Cincinnati Reds slugger George Foster, who put it all together for his first of three straight RBI crowns, leading the league with 121 in 1976.
Foster would put together three straight MVP caliber seasons between 1976 and 1978, actually taking home the award in 1977 after the greatest offensive season of the decade with his 124 runs, 149 RBIs and 52 homers, all leading marks for the N.L., while also hitting .320 with 197 hits for the Reds.
In 1978 he led the league in homers and RBIs again, with 40 and 120 respectively, giving him a sixth place finish in the MVP race by season’s end after his win in 1977 and a second place finish in 1976.
Behind him with 111 RBIs in 1976, none other than Foster’s MVP teammate Joe Morgan, who was also in the midst of an incredible run, leading the league with a .444 on-base-percentage and .576 slugging percentage for the World Champion Reds, while also stealing 60 bases and scoring 113 runs, second in the league only to another teammate, Pete Rose, who scored 130 himself.
In third place with 107 RBIs is Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, who led the league with 38 homers, his third straight home run title, while also scoring 112 runs and swiping 14 bases for the N.L. East champs.
Great expanded card to create showing three of the major thumpers of the National League for the 1970’s, all MVP worthy, comprising an eventual six MVPs between them!
Hope you enjoy the “card”!

Saturday, August 6, 2022


The next OPC variation to get the spotlight is the 1977 card for Otto Velez, one of the players shown with the new Toronto Blue Jays franchise that was about to begin play that season:

Topps version

OPC version
OPC was laying out the red carpet so to speak for the new Canadian team, and with that came better photography for the player cards instead of airbrushed examples when possible.
After playing for the New York Yankees in parts of four seasons between 1973 and 1976, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in their inaugural expansion draft before the 1977 campaign.
He was the 53rd pick in the 1976 expansion draft, and would have a decent year for the Jays in 1977 when he batted .256 with 16 homers and 62 runs batted in.
He would stay with the team for the next five seasons, hitting as many as 20 homers (1980) as well as matching his 1977 RBI total that very same year.
In 1983 he would find himself with the Cleveland Indians, where he would play what turned out to be the final 10 games of his career, hitting only .080 with two hits over 25 at-bats, with a run scored and an RBI.
Velez would put 11 years in the Major Leagues, batting .251 with 78 homers and 272 runs batted in, while collecting 452 hits in 1802 at-bats over 637 games.

Friday, August 5, 2022


Up on the blog today, how about a "not so missing" 1979 card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bruce Taylor, who appeared in one single game during the 1978 season:

Taylor tossed one full inning for the Tigers in 1978, retiring all three batters faced, good for a sparkling 0.00 earned run average.
He appeared in 19 games for the Tigers during the 1977 season in his Big League debut, posting a 1-0 record with a 3.38 earned run average and two saves in 29.1 innings of work.
It was his first taste of the big leagues, and the most active, as he would only appear in the aforementioned single game during the 1978 season, followed by 10 games in 1979, when he posted a 1-2 record with a 4.82 ERA in 18.2 innings.
That would be it for the righty, as he’d finish his Major League experience with a 2-2 record, along with a 3.86 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 49 innings spread out over those 30 games in parts of three seasons.

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Next up in my on-going 1970 "In-Game Action" series is the great Hank Aaron, all-time slugger and perhaps the greatest of them all:


Aaron was coming off a season that saw him hit 44 homers in 1969, while driving in 97 runs, scoring an even 100 and hitting .300 for the Braves, a "typical" Hank Aaron year.
Those numbers would help Atlanta to a first place finish in what was the first year of division play, with the Braves topping the West and New York Mets leading the East.
Aaron would also end up third in the National League MVP race, his highest finish since 1963 in which he also finished third.
The man was simply out of this world...
Let his numbers do all the talking: 2174 runs scored, 3771 hits, 624 doubles, 98 triples, 755 home runs, 2297 runs batted in, a .305 batting average no less than 21 all-star selections!
Just tremendous!
He also had eight top-5 finishes for MVP, including taking home the award in 1957, as well as three Gold Gloves won consecutively between 1958-1960.
It's incredible to look at his 15 years of topping 100 or more runs scored, 11 seasons of 100 or more runs batted in, five more seasons of 90+ RBI's, and TWENTY STRAIGHT years of 20 or more home runs.

Rest in Peace to one of the absolute greats of the game, Mr. Henry Aaron...aka "Hammerin' Hank"!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


Thought I'd go back eight years and revisit my blog post from November of 2014 featuring my "dedicated rookie" of eventual four-time batting champ Bill Madlock:

I found this really sweet image of "Mad Dog" batting during the 1974 season, his first in Chicago.
Madlock initially came up with the Texas Rangers at the end of the 1973 season, and was part of the mega-trade that sent former Chicago pitching-ace Fergie Jenkins to the Rangers in October.
Topps did get the "fixes" in time to have a Texas Rangers Jenkins card, while Madlock was portrayed as a Chicago Cub on the multi-player rookie (which I happened to profile the other day as part of my "#600" post!) he made his debut on.
As I stated at the top, Madlock was a four-time batting leader, which is easy to forget sometimes.
He led the National League in back-to-back seasons in 1975 and 1976 with the Cubs, then in 1981 and 1983 while a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In between he put in two and a half seasons on the West Coast with the San Francisco Giants, then after his Pittsburgh days he went on to suit up for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers before retiring in 1987.
A three-time all-star, Madlock finished off his career with a .305 average, 2008 hits, 163 homers and 860 runs batted in over 1806 games and 7372 plate appearances.
I pose this question: does four batting titles make you a Hall of Famer?
Madlock is the only eligible four (or more) title holder to not be in. Something to ponder...

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


Just couldn't help myself!

I know I've created a redone 1973 Johnny Bench card a while back, and even printed it up as part of my old Series 2 pack, but coming across this image made me desperately want to use this for another 1973 edition:

Just a beautiful up close and personal in-action shot of the great catcher in his prime with the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds.
I don’t know about you, but the 1973 Johnny Bench card has always irked me.
I hated the image they used for the reigning National League MVP and uber-star.
Of course, at the time this card would have been pulled from a pack we had Johnny Bench pretty much taking over the baseball world with his second MVP Award in three years, and STILL only 24 years of age, when he slammed a league-leading 40 home runs with 125 runs batted in while taking the Cincinnati Reds back to the World Series.
It was the beginning of the monster we’d get to know as the aforementioned “Big Red Machine”, with other future Hall of Fame members like Tony Perez and Joe Morgan, along with Pete Rose. But it was Bench that was the on-field general leading the way for one of the all-time great runs by an organization.
He wasn’t all offense mind you, as evidenced by his fifth straight Gold Glove. His fifth, and again I have to mention he was only 24!
Incredible talent.
Genuinely a once in a lifetime player.

Monday, August 1, 2022


Time to go and throw the spotlight on another of my custom "missing" 1963 Fleer cards, this one of New York Yankees legend Whitey Ford, the "Chairman of the Board":

What needs to be said about quite possibly the greatest Yankee pitcher of all?
Cy Young winner in 1961, winner of 236 games against only 106 losses (a nifty .690 winning percentage), a 2.75 career earned run average, and a member of six world championship clubs.
He led the league in wins three times, winning percentage three times, ERA twice, shutouts twice, and was named to eight all-star teams during his 16-year career.
His 10 World Series wins (along with his eight losses) are Major League high marks to this day, and who knows how much more he could have padded all of his numbers had he not lost two seasons to the military in 1951 and 1952!
When the Hall of Fame came calling he was inducted on his first try, getting named to 284 of 365 ballots in 1974.
Obviously there's so much more to get into with Whitey, but I could end up writing a book here if I did, so I'll leave it up to the Wikipedia's out there to fill anyone in who wants to learn more.
I only wish Ford didn't try to hang on those last couple of years in 1966 and 1967, when he went a combined 4-9, thus eliminating the chance of him being only the second pitcher to this day to retire with 200+ wins and LESS than 100 losses (the other being 19th-century pitcher Bob Caruthers, who finished at 218-99 between 1884-1893).
Oh well, I know I'm nitpicking here…It's the nerd in me I guess.


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