Saturday, December 31, 2022


On the blog today, a special 1970 "Highlight" card celebrating the San Diego Padres and their first Major League game on April 8th of 1969:

The Padres opened it all up with a 2-1 victory against the Houston Astros at San Diego Stadium, with starter Dick Selma going the full nine with only five hits allowed while striking out 12.
The Padres would actually win their first three games, though that wouldn't continue as they'd finish their inaugural season with a record of 52 and 110. Oof!
Nevertheless, the franchise is still around today, with a huge scare before the 1974 season when they were rumored to be moving to Washington D.C., giving us the 1974 Topps variations of "Washington N.L.".
The big stars of the initial team were slugger Nate Colbert and "Downtown" Ollie Brown, who both reached 20 homers, while their big winning pitchers were Joe Niekro and Al Santorini with eight wins apiece.
Some 53 years later and the team looks to be quite a force with players like Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr, Xavier Boegarts and Manny Machado stacking a formidable line-up!

Friday, December 30, 2022


On the blog today, my 1963 "dedicated rookie" for Pete Rose, from my special pack released a couple years back:

This young stud pictured here would go on to win the Rookie of the Year in 1963, three batting titles, an MVP in 1973, be selected as an All-Star at FIVE different positions, and end up the all-time hit leader with his staggering 4256 knocks over his illustrious 24-year career.
Growing up in the 1970's as a baseball nut, Pete Rose was an almost mythic figure. Even though his Reds steamrolled through "my" Yankees in the 1976 World Series, Rose, along with his all-star teammates, seemed like something made-up, not real.
I guess a part of that could be that the very first Pete Rose baseball card I ever saw, at the age of seven, was his 1976 Topps masterpiece, which had that glare of his, staring down the camera, showing that intensity that created the "Charlie Hustle" legend.
What a player, a Hall of Fame player. But I won't get into THAT here.
The "Player of the Decade" for the 1970's, Rose etched his name into the history of the game many times over.
Really, along with guys like Tom Seaver and Reggie Jackson, you just can't have too many Pete Rose cards from the 1970's in my eyes.

Thursday, December 29, 2022


Up on the blog today, a "not so missing" 1975 card for former #1 overall draft pick Mike Ivie, who hadn't yet become a regular Major League player even though that draft was in 1970:

Ivie did make it all the way to the Majors just a year after being the #1 overall pick by the Padres, appearing in six games as an 18-year-old and ripping the cover off the ball, hitting .471 with eight hits over 17 at-bats with three RBIs.
But he'd spend the next couple of years in the Minors before making it back in 1974 with 12 games, this time hitting only .088 with three hits in 34 official at-bats, though he did hit the first homer of his career.
Ivie was taken first by the San Diego Padres out of Decatur, Georgia's Walker High School as a catcher.
Although he managed to make it up to the Majors at the age of 19 in 1971, appearing in 6 games, he was sent down to the Minors for the next few years before getting called back up in 1974.
1975 saw his first substantial playing time, playing in 111 games, good for 411 plate appearances, but it was nothing really to write home about, as he hit .249 with eight homers and 46 runs batted in. (In all fairness those were some terrible Padre teams however, and he wasn't surrounded by the best guys).
Sadly for him (and the Padres), that first "full" season would pretty much represent his average seasonal output during his 11 year career.
In February of '78 San Diego traded Ivie to the Giants for Derrel Thomas, and in 1979 he gave San Francisco arguably his finest season, as he hit .286 with 27 homers and 89 runs batted in, doing so with only 402 official at-bats.
But that really would be it for Ivie as far as any substantial accomplishments on the big league level.
The Giants sent him to Houston during the 1981 season, playing sparsely until the Astros released him at the end of April, 1982.
After that he signed on with Detroit in May of the same year, but didn't manage much and was released about a year later, ending his career.
As far as 1st overall picks, Mike Ivie didn't pan out as the Padres hoped, but he did stick around for eleven years, good for 857 games, MUCH better than some of the other picks we'll see as I profile them one by one in the near future.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022


On the blog today, a "missing" 1972 card for former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher John Morris, who really should have gotten a card in the monster 1972 set:

Morris, who funny enough also got a "not quite missing" 1970 card created for the blog just a couple weeks ago, appeared in 43 games for the Brewers during the 1971 season, throwing a total of 67.2 innings, finishing up with a record of 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA with one save.
That is definitely enough playing time for a pitcher to get a card in that 787 card set!
Anyway, he'd go 6-5 over the next two years for the Brewers, used both as a starter and a reliever, before moving on to the San Francisco Giants where he'd pitch the final three years of his career, going a combined 2-1 out of the 'pen.
All told, between 1966 and 1974 Morris finished with a career record of 11-7 over 132 games, with an ERA of 3.95 with two complete games and two saves, throwing 232.1 innings.


Tuesday, December 27, 2022


Happy to post up a "do-over" that I think came out spectacular, a 1973 redo for "Boomer" George Scott, whose original 1973 Topps card was a mystery to many with the obviously "photoshopped" image.
First up, my color-bursting redo:

Just a great card with colors tying in together between image and card template!
His original, for those that don't remember, was an odd card where the background was obviously replaced with a strange shot of the crowd looking out into the outfield:

Really strange image, though I am always a sucker for the horizontal layout.
But really, what an odd card.
I profiled the original 1973 card way back in June of 2013 here on the blog. Here's the original write-up:

"The 1973 George Scott Topps baseball card, #263.
This card has held my fascination for over 30 years now. When I first saw it I thought it was a simple bad-airbrushing job. Then, as I took a closer look, I was confused because there was this odd outline around the players, especially Scott, that made it seem that they were cut out of one photo then pasted onto this another.
But wait, it continues!
Upon an even CLOSER look, I noticed that the crowd was looking somewhere else completely, and it was now obvious that indeed, the players and the crowd were from two different images.
Just look at it. What was going on here? 
And if all of that wasn't enough, another question I always had was that if Scott was playing first base, then you'd assume the play being shown was of a pick-off attempt with the A's Bert Campaneris just getting back to the bag before the throw. But look at Campy. It doesn't look like he's sliding back to the bag on a pick-off attempt, but that he's sliding into a bag at full steam, as if he's advancing, NOT sliding back to first. It's almost as if Scott was actually playing third base and was waiting for a throw while Campy was sliding in for a triple.
Now keep in mind that Scott did indeed play some third base for the Brewers in 1972, and I can't really confirm that he has a first baseman's mitt on. It could be a regular fielder's glove. Am I wrong? Anyone out there have any answers on this one? Is the crowd actually looking towards home? When looking to the left of the card, are you looking NOT to the outfield, but in the direction of home plate?
Such a strange card all-around. Where was that crowd image from then? Why the need to use a different background than whatever was originally there?
It's not a horrible card by any means, but just confuses me on so many levels I'd love to get the low-down on what went on here. 
It's cards like this that keep me coming back to the 1970's! Love it…"


Monday, December 26, 2022


Up on the blog today, we have a "not so missing" 1974 card for former pitcher Tom Dettore, who made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1973:

Dettore appeared in 12 games for Pittsburgh in 1973, going 0-1 with a 5.96 earned run average over 22.2 innings of work.
He'd be traded during the off-season to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Popovich and play out what was the remaining three years of his career with the organization.
He'd go 3-5 in 1974 and 5-4 in 1975 before appearing in only four games in 1976, his last year in the Big Leagues.
All told, he'd finish his career with a record of 8-10 over 56 appearances, with 15 starts, throwing 179.2 innings and posting an ERA of 5.21.

Sunday, December 25, 2022


Up on the blog today, we go ahead and move on to the top three stolen base guys in the National league for 1977, with a 1978 "expanded league leader" card in my long-running thread:

We begin with the Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Frank Taveras, who topped the league with his 70 stolen bases, this after stealing 58 bases the previous year.
Taveras had a nice run of four seasons between 1976 and 1979 where he topped 40+ steals every year, with the league-leading 70 his career high.
In second place with 61 steals, the perennial "top-3" stolen bases player in the N.L. during the 1970's, Houston Astros All-Star outfielder Cesar Cedeno.
The man was simply a machine through the 1970's, with six straight seasons of 50+ steals, with the 61 his career-best, on his way to 550 steals over his very nice 17-year career.
In third place, rookie Gene Richards of the San Diego Padres who set a Major League record with his 56 steals over the 1977 season.
Richards would finish in third place in the N.L. Rookie of the Year race for his efforts, hitting .290 with 152 hits and 79 runs scored, adding 11 triples.
Though he ended up having a short 8-year career, he'd finish with a career .290 average with 247 stolen bases and 502 runs, stealing as many as 61 bases in a season, that total in 1980 when he set career-bests across the board, including 193 hits and 91 runs scored for the Padres.
There you go! The top stolen base guys in the N.L. for 1977, celebrated on an "expanded league leader" card in 1978.
Next up, the A.L.!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2022


On the blog today, another 1960's "career-capper" from my card set released a couple of years ago celebrating the greats of the game that retired during that decade, this time a 1961 card celebrating perhaps the greatest hitter that ever lived, Ted Williams:

The Boston legend hung them up after the 1960 season, after 19 seasons of extraordinary baseball, losing parts of five seasons to military service, denying us some absolutely bonkers career statistics.
“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 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.


Friday, December 23, 2022


As a favor to my buddy Eric, today on the blog I went and created a 1971 "Minor League Days" fantasy card for former Los Angeles Dodgers great Don Drysdale, who retired a couple of years earlier:

"Big D" retired at a young 32 years of age, and it's fun imagining his career extending into the mid-70's or so, something we didn't get to see.
The fresh-faced 18-year-old you see here on this card went 11-11 for the Montreal Royals, posting an ERA of 3.33 over 173 innings, with three shutouts and only 80 strikeouts.
He'd make his MLB debut in 1956 and show the Brooklyn faithfull what he was capable of, going 5-5 with a very nice 2.64 ERA over 99 innings of work, completing two of his 12 starts while relieving in another 13 games for the eventual N.L. champs.
He'd go one to become a true ace, posting double-digit wins every full year of his career, making eight All-Star teams, taking home the Cy Young Award in 1962, and posting seven seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs.
Though he did eventually make the Hall of Fame, he retired with a 209-166 career record, a 2.95 earned run average and 2486 strikeouts. Excellent numbers of course, but arguably borderline stats for the Hall (think Jack Morris, Luis Tiant, etc).
So imagine if he was able to tack on some more wins and maybe even reach 3000 strikeouts, which at the time of his retirement only the great Walter Johnson had done in Major League history.
The man WAS a beast though, intimidating batters along contemporary hurler Bob Gibson like few before or since, five times leading the National League in plunked batsmen, just to let them know who was boss.
Love guys like that!
Only wish we would have been able to see him pitch more, and more importantly regale us with stories a lot longer than his short 56 years, shockingly passing away in 1993.

Thursday, December 22, 2022


On the blog today, we celebrate Fred Lynn's 10-RBI game in 1975, the year he set the baseball world on fire, making an unprecedented splash by going on to win the Rookie of the Year AND MVP Award:

On June 18th of that season, Lynn absolutely destroyed the Detroit Tigers, going 5-for-6 at the plate with three home runs and a triple, scoring four runs while driving in 10, just one off the A.L. record set by New York Yankee second baseman Tony Lazzeri 39 years earlier.
Though already making a splash in his first full Big League season, Lynn really made his presence known with this game as a young budding superstar.
Coming out of USC, Lynn was a second round pick by the Boston Red Sox in 1973, and got his first small taste of the Majors in 1974, playing 15 games and ripping it up to the tune of a .419 batting average in 43 at-bats.
That was a small sampling of what fans were to see the following year, as Lynn just took over and lead the charge for the BoSox, hitting .331 with 21 homers and 105 runs batted in.
He'd also lead the league in runs scored with 103, doubles with 47, and slugging with a .566 average.
On top of all of that, he'd even take home a Gold Glove for his defensive efforts as well!
He was "All-World" at that point!
The Red Sox would fall short of a truly magical year for Lynn, losing to the mighty "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati team in the World Series, but for Lynn it would the first full season of a very nice 17 year career which saw him hit over 300 homers, drive in over 1000 runs and stroke just under 2000 hits.
1979 would probably be his best season, when he lead the American League in batting with a .333 average, to go along with great power numbers of 39 homers, 116 runs scored and 122 runs batted in, all career highs.
He would also be the only Major Leaguer of the decade to lead the league in batting, on-base and slugging in the same season, with a slash-line of .333/.423/.637.
If it wasn't for an odd plethora of "awesome" years by Don Baylor, Ken Singleton and George Brett, Lynn could have won another M.V.P.
Nevertheless, that 1975 accomplishment of becoming the first player to ever win a Rookie of the Year AND Most Valuable Player Award in the year is something to be proud of.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


Today we go and revisit a blog post from almost eight years ago, my TWO nickname cards for Frank Howard, so good he needed more than one nickname:

"The Capital Punisher" or "Hondo", take your pick!
Here's the original write-up for the post, which first appeared here on February 18th of 2015:
I used the 1970 template since Howard was just mashing the ball at the turn of the new decade.
Between 1968 and 1970 he'd top 40+ home runs each year (becoming the last player to do so until Jay Buhner came along during the 1995-1997 seasons).
Howard led the American League in 1968 and 1970 with 44 taters, but fell one short of the league lead with 48 in 1969 thanks to another masher, Harmon Killebrew and his 49 blasts.
Howard was also one of the first players to top 30 home runs in both leagues, as he hit 31 home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962.
A National League Rookie of the Year in 1960, he'd finish in the top-10 for an M.V.P. Award four times during his 16-year career.
The man was a flat-out beast at the plate, hitting 382 home runs in only 6488 at-bats!
He also topped 100 runs batted in four times, leading the league once, and also topped a .500 slugging percentage seven times during the modern "dead-ball" era, leading the league once in that category as well.
He finally retired after the 1973 season, which saw him play in 85 games for the Detroit Tigers.
Now I'm not saying he's a Hall of Fame player, but I was surprised to see that he only garnered 1.4% of the vote when he became eligible in 1979, thus getting dropped immediately.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022


Up on the blog today, a fun card that I included in my Series 11 packs released last month, a re-done "missing" 1975 card for former flame-throwing pitcher Sam McDowell:

Way back when I originally created a "missing" 1975 card that showed him as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he would pitch in 1975, his last season in the Majors.
But I did realize that I would normally show him as a member of his previous years team, so I recreated it with this nice image and printed it up for one of my custom sets.
Sam McDowell is definitely one of those guys I always wondered about the "what if's"?
Because of personal and on-the-field problems, McDowell, who was one of THE fire-balling pitchers in the majors during the 1960's, had his career quickly decline and sadly was out of baseball by the age of 32.
You have to wonder what his career numbers would have been, especially his strikeout totals, if he was able to pitch into his late-30's.
As it was he ended up with 2453 K's in 2492.1 innings to go along with a 141-134 record over 15 years, 10 of which were full seasons. To put that K total in perspective, if McDowell was able to pitch some full seasons consistently AND add an extra few seasons under his belt, let's say pitch until he was 36 or so, his strikeout totals could have been well into the upper 3000's. At the time of his retirement in 1975 that would have made him the all-time strikeout king since the standing record was Walter Johnson's 3509.
Anyway, by the time 1975 rolled around, McDowell signed with the Pirates in April after a season and a half in the Bronx, which made me wonder why Topps decided to not have him in their 1975 set as a Yankee.

Monday, December 19, 2022


Up on the blog today, a 1974 "not really missing in action" card for former outfielder and pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo, whose career was in flux when this card would have seen the light of day:

Davalillo, a former All-Star and Gold Glove winning outfielder in the mid-60's, split the 1973 season between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A's, appearing in 97 games and hitting only .184.
This was after a 1972 season that saw him hit .318 over 117 games for the Pirates, which was more in line with his steady .280-.300 hitting in the first 11 years of his career.
Turns out he would spend the next three seasons playing in the Mexican League before coming back in 1977 with the Los Angeles Dodgers,where he'd play parts of the next four seasons.
An interesting player that gets overlooked these days, as I stated earlier he was an All-Star and Gold Glover in 1964 with the Cleveland Indians, his first full season in the Big Leagues, and would be a steady bat throughout his career, finishing up with a .279 average over 16 years, with 1122 hits in 4017 at-bats.
In the end with the Dodgers, he was primarily a pinch-hitter, hitting a combined .312 in 1977 and 1978 for the N.L. champs.
I'll always remember him as one of those players born in the 1930's when I was a kid buying 1979 cards at the age of 10. Not many of them around at that point.
Funny the little things you remember with collecting when you get older.

Sunday, December 18, 2022


Up on the blog today, another “Stars Retire” card in my new thread celebrating greats of the game with one final card, this one a 1975 edition celebrating Al Kaline and Orlando Cepeda, who hung up the cleats in 1974 before rightfully ending up in the Hall of Fame:

We begin with “Mr. Tiger”, Al Kaline.
What a player!
Kaline spent his entire career in the "Motor City", and went on to collect over 3000 hits, 399 home runs, 1583 runs batted in and 1622 runs scored.
Though he never took home a Most Valuable Player Award, he did finish in the top-10 in voting nine times, including a second-place finish in 1955 when he won the American League batting title at the age of 20!
As if that all wasn't enough, he also took home ten Gold Gloves and was named to 15 all-star teams!
Needless to say, as soon as he was eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1980, he was voted in, getting named on 340 of 385 ballots, capping off one of the greatest Detroit Tiger careers in the history of the storied franchise.
Next up, the great Orlando Cepeda, who wrapped up a wonderful Big League career with a 1974 season spent with the Kansas City Royals.
Cepeda was a much-heralded prospect coming up in the Minors before making his Big League debut in 1958, and of course, he would not disappoint, as he would take home the Rookie of the Year that season, hitting .312 with 188 hits, 25 homers, 96 RBIs and a league-leading 38 doubles, in what was to become a "typical" season for the future Hall of Famer.
While Cepeda's career was productive enough to get into Cooperstown, it's well known that if not for his bad knees, his final statistics could have been mind-blowing. 
Nevertheless, by the time he retired, he posted final numbers of: 379 homers, 1365 runs batted in, 2351 hits and a .297 average, with a Rookie of the Year (1958) and M.V.P. award (1967) thrown in.
It took a little while, but he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after being selected by the Veteran's Committee. 
What a power trio San Francisco had in Cepeda, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey! Power to the ultimate degree!”
Fun thread to work on, so keep an eye out for more of these over the next few months.

Saturday, December 17, 2022


Today on the blog I'm excited to begin posting a fun new 1977 sub-set, an N.L. Centennial special that I plan to release in two custom series in 2023.
I created a fun 1977 set celebrating the 1976 N.L. 100th anniversary season, showing all players with the commemorative 1976 patch worn during the year.
This will be a 40-card set released in two series of 20 cards, with a couple of surprises here and there! So keep an eye out for it in the new year.
Today we start it all off with the great Al Oliver:

Oliver was the model of all-star consistency through the decade, from his rookie year of 1969 when he was robbed of the Rookie of the Year Award (losing to the Dodgers’ Ted Sizemore), straight through to his being colluded against in the mid-80’s with many others, prematurely ending his MLB career.
All he did was hit between .280 and .300 every season, racking up hits, doubles, runs batted in, while other players got the accolades: Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter.
Of course when you get to play alongside these guys, it’s understandable how a man who put up the numbers year after year like Oliver did could go under-appreciated like he did.
But come on! Look at his career!
The seven-time All-Star finished his Big League tenure with 2743 hits, 529 doubles, 219 homers, 1326 RBIs, a .303 batting average, with ONLY 756 strikeouts over 9049 at-bats.
In 1982 he had his best season, leading the National League in batting, doubles, total bases and RBIs while also hitting 22 homers and scoring 90 runs, finishing third in MVP voting.
In 1980, thanks to guys like George Brett, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson in the American League, Oliver’s season went almost unnoticed as he collected career-highs with 209 hits, 96 runs scored, 117 RBI’s and 43 doubles while hitting .319.
I always felt he, Cecil Cooper and Miguel Dilone had great years at the wrong time (if there is such a thing), in 1980.
Seemed Oliver had a few of those years throughout his 18-year career.
Oliver for the Hall of Fame? I don’t know. I’d put him in along with Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, Vada Pinson and even Bob Johnson from the 1930’s, in appreciation for the HIGH level of play these guys put in over a long period, with brief moments of top-notch play.
Seems silly to see these careers get lost in the non-HOF shuffle for no other reason than not hitting those “magic numbers”.

Friday, December 16, 2022


On the blog today, we continue adding to my recent “expanded” 1971 “Baseball’s Greatest Moments” set with a card for Pittsburgh Pirates great Bill Mazeroski, celebrating his historic World Series winning home run in 1960:

In the seventh and final game of the 1960 World Series, the Pirates were tied with the New York Yankees 9-all, with the series also tied at three games apiece in Pittsburgh, thanks in great part to the Pirates exploding for five runs in the bottom of the eighth.
With a lead of 9-7 heading into the ninth, Pittsburgh fans were demoralized when the Yanks scored two in the top of the frame to tie it up, setting up one of the most historic moments in the game’s history.
With Ralph Terry on the mound, up came young Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski to lead off the inning, and on a 1-0 pitch, “Maz” hit the ball over the leftfield wall to the disbelief of the Yankees, especially Yogi Berra, who was playing left field and followed the ball to the wall, running out of space and seeing the championship fall away in that instant.
What’s especially incredible is that over the six games, the Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27, which included a 16-3 drubbing in Game 2, a 10-0 route in game # and a 12-0 romp in Game 6.
But it all means nothing as the Pirates managed to win games by scores of 6-4 in Game 1, 3-2 in Game 4, 5-2 in Game 5 and that final 10-9 score in Game 7, shocking the baseball world with their win over the perennial champion Yankees of the era.
For Mazeroski, even though he still had a full career ahead of him, retiring after the 1972 season, that home run would remain the pinnacle of his eventual Hall of Fame career, amusing since what he was especially known for was his glove work rather than his bat.
I’ll always remember the great Mickey Mantle stating, …losing the 1960 series was the only loss, amateur or professional, I cried actual tears over.”
Just one more chapter in the rich history of Major League Baseball.

Thursday, December 15, 2022



Good day everyone!

I am happy to finally announce that my next custom set, 1971 "Minor League Days" Series 1 is now available for purchase!
The 15-card set includes 14 "Minor League Days" cards you've seen on the blog, along with a special checklist card, packaged in a 1971-inspired wrapper.
The sets are $13 each, plus $4.50 1st Class postage with tracking. As always, the postage price is always the same, no matter how many packs you buy! If you buy two or three packs, the postage is still $4.50.
For those wanting to pick these up, my paypal is the usual:
Really a fun set to produce, and they look incredible sorted out into their full sets!
SPOILER ALERT! See photos attached for the cards in this series.
There will be a second series following this one, with another 14 cards plus special checklist card in new wrapper design!
Thank you all and Happy Holidays to you and yours, and all the best for 2023!



On the blog today, thought it'd be fun to re-do Amos Otis' 1970 card since I found a nice image of him from 1969:

Topps originally issued Otis' 1970 card as a non-descript no-cap image of him that helped have his designated as a Kansas City Royal, for whom he'd play in 1970.
But since he came up with the New York Mets and played in 48 games for the World Champs, I thought it'd be cool to have a Mets version.
Otis could very well be THE most overlooked player of the 1970's as he was nothing but steady through the entire decade, going on to be the American League's top run scorer with 861. driving in 90+ three times while stealing 30+ bases five times.
By the time he retired after the 1984 season after one year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he ended up with 193 homers, 341 stolen bases, 1092 runs scored and 2020 hits along with a batting average of .277 and 1007 runs batted in.
Considering the “dead ball” era of the early-70’s in the American League, his numbers are up there with the best of them, and it’s sad he gets lost among his contemporaries when looking back at that time in Major League baseball.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


Up on the blog today, we spotlight a card from my "1960 Career-Cappers" set released a couple of years ago, the 1960 "career-capper" for Hall of Famer Larry Doby:

Doby began his career in the Negro leagues between 1942 and 1947 before becoming the first African-American player in American League history in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians.
He would not disappoint the Cleveland faithful as he would help the team become a powerhouse, even if they kept falling behind the New York Yankees throughout the 1950's.
He would make seven All-Star teams while with Cleveland, with MVP consideration in four of those campaigns.
He'd lead the A.L. in homers twice with 32 in both 1952 and 1954, while leading the league with 126 RBIs in the latter season, one of five seasons he'd top 100.
Never given enough praise for his ground-breaking MLB debut, often overshadowed by Jackie Robinson's debut just before him, I'm happy to see his place in Big League history getting more and more attention as time passes.
Thankfully, he was also given his rightful place in the Hall of Fame, having been selected for enshrinement in 1998, though far too late in my opinion, but at least before he passed away, which he did on June 18th of 2003 at the age of 79.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022


Today's blog post has a "not quite missing" 1975 card for former All-Star catcher Randy Hundley, whose career was in flux when he played in only 32 games with the Minnesota Twins in 1974:

After eight somewhat successful years with the Chicago Cubs, Hundley found himself up in Minnesota with the Twins, barely getting any playing time and hitting .193 with 17 hits over  88 at-bats.
The  father of future catcher Todd of the New York Mets, he 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.

Monday, December 12, 2022


On the blog today, we post up a 1970 "not quite" missing in action card for former Seattle Pilots pitcher John Morris:

Morris appeared in only six games for the Pilots in their lone season of 1969, though he did stick around with the organization for two more years after they moved to Milwaukee, becoming the Brewers.
In his 1969 season, Morris didn't pick up a decision, pitching to a bloated 6.39 earned run average over 12.2 innings, allowing 10 earned runs while striking out eight, walking eight.
He'd go 6-5 over the next two years for the Brewers, used both as a starter and a reliever, before moving on to the San Francisco Giants where he'd pitch the final three years of his career, going a combined 2-1 out of the 'pen.
All told, between 1966 and 1974 Morris finished with a career record of 11-7 over 132 games, with an ERA of 3.95 with two complete games and two saves, throwing 232.1 innings.

Sunday, December 11, 2022


On the blog today, we move on to the American League and the top three runs batted in men of the 1977 season, displayed on a 1978 “expanded league leader” card:

We start off with Minnesota Twins slugger Larry Hisle, who had a breakout season in 1977, leading the league with his 119 ribbies, while also hitting 28 homers and hitting .302, with 95 runs scored.
It was Hisle’s ninth season in the Big Leagues, and he finally hit his stride at the age of 30, setting career bests across the board, making his first All-Star team and finishing twelfth in the MVP race.
He’d have an even better year in 1978 after signing with the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent, hitting 34 homers with 115 RBIs and a .290 batting average, good for a third-place finish in the MVP race at season’s end, again making the All-Star team.
Sadly, in 1979 Hisle absolutely wrecked his shoulder, suffering a torn rotator cuff, which pretty much ended his career, playing in only 29 games that season, followed by 17, 27 and nine games over the next three years before retiring.
In second place with 115 RBIs, the always electric Bobby Bonds, who had a wonderful 1977 season that saw him set a career-best in RBIs, with 103 runs scored, 37 home runs, 41 stolen bases and a .264 average for the California Angels.
It was the fourth time Bonds would reach 30 homers with 30 stolen bases, adding one more season the following year, splitting time between the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers with 31 homers and 43 steals.
In third place with 114 RBIs in 1977, budding uber-star Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox, who was about to launch himself into superstardom with an MVP season in 1978.
However in 1977 he handled himself well with a league-leading 39 homers, with the aforementioned 114 RBIs, with 206 hits and a .320 batting average, finishing fourth in the MVP race while making his first All-Star team.
Of course, in 1978 he elevated all of those numbers with an MVP year, leading the league in hits (213), triples (15), homers (46), RBIs (139), slugging (.600) and total bases (406), having perhaps the best offensive season in the American League during the 1970’s.
The man was an absolute beast at the plate, something he’d continue to do over the rest of his career, leading straight to the Hall of Fame, and rightly so in my book.
There you have it! The top three RBI men of 1977.

Saturday, December 10, 2022


On the blog today, we have a 1977 "Stars Retire" card celebrating two of the all-time greats of the game, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson, who both called it a playing career in 1976:

Beginning with Aaron, 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.

Yet somehow, as incredible as it may seem, Aaron was UNDERRATED! Think about that for a minute.
And speaking of underrated, next up we have possibly the most underrated player in Major League baseball history, the great Frank Robinson.
Frank put in a 21-year Big League career that saw him win Rookie of the Year in 1956 when he smashed a then record-tying 38 home runs as a rookie, win the NL MVP in 1961 when he helped the Cincinnati reds make it to the World Series, then become the first player to win the award in both leagues when he helped the Baltimore Orioles shock the world by sweeping the reigning champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966.
Oh yeah, he also won the Triple Crown that year, leading the American League in runs, homers, RBIs, batting, on-base-percentage, slugging percentage and total bases.
Just a killer year for a guy that was already established as one of the best players in the game.
Funny thing is that this was arguably NOT even his best season as a big leaguer at that point!
Just look at some of his season’s slugging and hitting his way through the first ten years of his career with the Reds!
Though he won the National League MVP in 1961, I always thought his 1962 season was the best of his career, when he hit .342 while collecting 208 hits, leading the league with 134 runs scored and 51 doubles, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 136, while throwing in 18 stolen bases and leading the league with a .421 OBP and .624 slugging! HUGE!
And to think that was only good for FOURTH in MVP voting that year, behind winner Maury Wills, Willie Mays and Tommy Davis.
Nevertheless, his Big League resume: 586 home runs, 1812 ribbies, just under 3000 hits, Rookie of the Year, and two M.V.P. awards (one in each league). You know his resume, I'm sure.


Friday, December 9, 2022


On the blog today, we spotlight my 1970 "In-Game Action" card for all-world shortstop Rico Petrocelli of the Boston Red Sox, from my "Series One" set released a few months back:

The fellow South Brooklyn native had quite a year for Boston in 1969, hitting a career-best 40 home runs along with 97 runs batted in and 92 runs scored, with a .297 batting average over 154 games.
All but the RBIs were career-bests for Rico, who would drive in 107 runs the following season for his best RBI year as a Big Leaguer.
He would spend his entire 13-year career with the Red Sox, coming up to the Big Show for a single game in 1963 as a 20-year-old before coming back for good in 1965.
In all, Petrocelli played 13-years of Major League ball, a fan-favorite in Boston, hitting 210 home runs with 773 RBI’s, 653 runs scored and 1352 hits, good for a .251 average over 5390 at-bats in 1553 games.

Thursday, December 8, 2022


On the blog today, another 1977 OPC image variation spotlight, this time for pitcher Dan Warthen of the Montreal Expos:

OPC version

Topps version

Seems to definitely be a more "current" image used for the lefty on the OPC card as opposed to the Topps version.
Warthen came up in 1975 and had a nice rookie year, going 8-6 with a 3.11 earned run average over 167.2 innings of work, making 40 appearances, 18 of those starts, with three saves and two complete games.
In 1976 he was generally used as a starter, but didn't have the same success, going 2-10 over 23 games, tossing a shutout while throwing 90 innings.
He'd split the 1977 season with Montreal and the Philadelphia Phillies going 2-3 over 12 appearances, while playing what was to be his last Big League season in 1978 with the Houston Astros, appearing in only five games, going 0-1.
All told, Warthen finished up a four-year career in the Majors with a record of 12-21 over 83 appearances, with a 4.32 ERA in 307 innings, throwing one shutout while saving three games.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Today on the blog, a "Special Request" card for my buddy Max Effgen, a "not quite missing" 1981 card for 21-game Major League outfielder Gary Cooper of the Atlanta Braves:

Cooper played out what was the entirety of his Big League career over the Summer of 1980 with Atlanta, collecting only two plate appearances while scoring three runs and stealing two bases.
By then he put in six seasons in the Braves Minor League system, before returning there in 1981, then calling it a career.
Over that time he stole 211 bases while hitting .234, with 647 hits in 2760 at-bats, scoring 446 runs spread across rookie-ball and Triple-A.
But for a few months during the 1980 season, he reached the pinnacle of the baseball world, playing as a Major Leaguer!


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