Friday, March 31, 2023


On the blog today, we move on to Game 4 of the 1965 World Series, which was left out of the 1966 Topps set for some reason:

The Los Angeles Dodgers came back to tie the Series up two games apiece after the Twins stunned everyone, taking the first two games for a commanding lead.
Thanks to pitcher Don Drysdale, who took the Game 1 loss, the Dodgers won Game 4 7-2, with Drysdale throwing a complete game, striking out 11 batters while walking two.
Wes Parker and Lou Johnson hit solo homers for the Dodgers, while Ron Fairly drove in three runs, giving Drysdale all the support he needed.
For the Twins, opening game winner Jim "Mudcat" Grant took the loss, giving up five runs in five innings, while Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva hit homers in the losing cause.
Next up, game 5!

Thursday, March 30, 2023


On the blog today, we have my 1968 "dedicated rookie" for all-time legend Johnny Bench, who made an immediate splash in the Majors and became the game's greatest catcher:

All the man would do in his first full season at the age of 20 was catch a staggering 154 games, hitting .275 with 15 homers and 82 RBIs, with 67 runs scored and 40 doubles, easily taking home the Rookie of the Year Award.
Of course as we all know, he would go on to put together a career rarely seen by ANY player, let alone a catcher: TWO N.L. MVP Awards, 14 all-star games, 10 Gold Gloves, two home run titles and three RBI titles, all while donning the “tools of ignorance” for 17 seasons, all with the Reds.
As a kid growing up in the 1970’s, this man was a mythic figure, a “god”, and he and the rest of his "Big Red Machine" teammates were steamrolling through the league towards two straight championships in 1975 & 1976, while appearing in two other series in 1970 and 1972.
It still amazes me that they didn't win any other titles during the 1970's, especially after adding Tom Seaver in 1977.
Go figure...

Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Adding to my fun thread celebrating the 100th anniversary of National League baseball, we have Los Angeles Dodgers ace Don Sutton in my 1977 "Centennial" thread:

Sutton was in the middle of a wonderful 23-year run in the Major Leagues, reeling off win after win for the Los Angeles Dodgers since he came up as a 21-year-old in 1966.
In 1976 he would post his only 20-win season of his long career, winning 21 and finishing third in the Cy Young race at season's end.
The man was a machine, and while some people think incredible steadiness like this doesn’t warrant a Hall of Fame selection, I do! There is something to celebrate when a player performs year after year over a long period of time (think Eddie Murray) without having a “mega-season” along the way.
By the time Sutton left the game after the 1988 season, he finished with 324 wins, a 3.26 earned run average, 58 shutouts and 3574 strikeouts in 774 appearances, 756 of them starts.
Needless to say, in 1998, on his fifth try, he made it into Cooperstown, joining former teammates Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, with 81.6% of the vote.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Adding to my new thread celebrating all the 20-game winners of 1969, we have Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Bill Singer in my 1970 "20 Win Circle" sub-set:

Singer made his first All-Star team that year, posting a record of 20-12 over 41 appearances, with a 2.34 earned run average over 315.2 innings, completing 16 games while tossing two shutouts.
It was the third season in a row posting an ERA under 3.00 for the righty, while setting a career-high with 247 strikeouts.
During his career he posted two 20-win seasons and three 200-strikeout seasons, including 241 in 1973, which helped set a new record along with teammate Nolan Ryan’s 383 for most strikeouts by teammates with 624.
Sadly, though still only 33, arm troubles led him to retiring after the 1977 season, finishing up his career with a record of 118-127, with a nice 3.39 ERA over 322 appearances, with 24 shutouts and 1515 strikeouts.

Monday, March 27, 2023


On the blog today, a card many have (rightfully) created since Topps inexplicably left out of their 1967 set, a "career-capper" for all-time great Sandy Koufax, who shocked the sports world by retiring after taking home his third Cy Young Award because of an arthritic elbow:

Koufax was unstoppable yet again in 1966, posting an incredible 27-9 record along with a 1.72 earned run average and 317 strikeouts in 41 starts, along with five shutouts and 27 complete games.
Along with an easy Cy Young Award, giving him an unprecedented third such claim to baseball’s top pitching prize, he finished second to the Pirates’ Roberto Clemente for league MVP.
It was the fifth season in a row that Koufax overpowered National League batters, leading the league in ERA each and every time, along with THREE 25+ win & 300+ strikeout campaigns.
But sadly and shockingly, Koufax would have to retire at the top of his game because of recurring arm problems that could have left him without the use of his left arm the rest of his life.
Rather than suffer long-term injury, Koufax left the game and many of us to wonder so many “what-if’s” had he been able to continue on into the 1970’s.

Sunday, March 26, 2023


Up on the blog today, we head on over to the American League for their top three home run hitters of 1978, proudly displayed on a 1979 “expanded league leader” card in my long-running thread:


Of course we begin with the A.L. MVP himself, a man who not only led the league with his 46 home runs, but also mind-blowingly led the league with his 15 triples, Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who had an all-world season in 1978.

Let’s see, all Rice did that year was score 121 runs, collect 213 hits, collect 86 extra base hits, drive in 139 runs and hit a cool .315 while becoming the only player in the decade to top 400 total bases, with 406.

The man was a complete stud, helping the Red Sox go to the wire before falling to the New York Yankees in their 163rd game for the A.L. East title. Certainly not any fault of his own!

While many think of Rice as a premier power hitter, they can often forget that over the course of his career he collected 200+ hits four times, while hitting .300+ seven times! Just an amazing player who rightfully got his spot in Cooperstown after retirement.

In second place with 34 home runs, the man who would end up taking home the league MVP Award in 1979, California Angels thumper Don Baylor, who also scored 103 runs while driving in 99, giving everyone a prelude to his monster 1979 campaign that would see him hit 36 homers with 139 RBIs and 120 runs scored.

I loved Baylor during his tenure with the New York Yankees between 1983 and 1985!

A great hitter who could also steal a base for you, as evidenced by his 285 career steals, including 52 in 1976 in his only season with the Oakland A’s. As a matter of fact Baylor would top 20 steals in a season eight times in his career, something you’d never think was possible seeing he was built like a tank.

Tied with Baylor with 34 homers in 1978, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Larry Hisle, who had a very nice first season for his new team after coming over from the Minnesota Twins.

Hisle also scored 96 runs while driving in 115, this a year after driving in a league leading 119 in 1977, while hitting a very nice .290.

Sadly for him, he would suffer a torn rotator cuff in 1979, effectively ending his career, playing only 79 games over the final four years of his career before retiring in 1982.

Well there you have it, the top-3 home run hitters in the A.L. for 1978, on an “expanded” 1979 league-leader card.

Saturday, March 25, 2023


I just realized recently that for some reason I stopped creating any more "Greatest Moments" cards, my all-time favorite Topps oddball set, so let's get it started again with one for the great Tom Seaver:

Here we celebrate his 1969 campaign that saw him take home the first of his three (shoulda been four) Cy Young Awards while leading the New York Mets to a shocking World Championship over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.
In that Cy Young campaign all he did was go 25-7, with a 2.21 ERA, five shutouts and 208 strikeouts over 273.1 innings of work, completing 18 of 35 starts at the age of 24.
He was in prime form in the mid-70’s, putting together nine straight 200 strikeouts seasons while getting tabbed to ten all-star teams in his first eleven seasons.
Seaver was a star baseball player before he was even a pro, commanding HUGE attention during his college days, eventually leading to some controversy when he originally signed with the Braves in 1966, only to have the signing voided, allowing the New York Mets to make arguably the best pick in franchise history in the 1966 amateur draft.
Talk about a colossal "what if" had the Braves been able to keep that signing!

Friday, March 24, 2023


Giving the great Dick Allen his second post here on the blog this week, this time with a 1977 N.L. Centennial special in my on-going thread celebrating the Senior League's 100th anniversary of 1976 with a special sub-set:

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Dick Allen, even as a kid before I knew of all the controversy surrounding the lightning rod of a personality that the "Wampum Warrior" was throughout his career.
Sounds absurd, but it started way back in 1976 when my cousin (who was a few years older and got me into collecting cards) kept joking about the name "Dick Allen". Really makes no sense now, but it had us in stitches all day long, and ever since then I was hooked on this guy with the funny name and killer stats.
No one can take away from what he accomplished as a major leaguer: Rookie of the Year in 1964, Most Valuable Player in 1972, near Triple Crown that year, and leading his league in twelve statistical categories over his career.
It's easy to overlook the fact that in only 6332 career at-bats the man had 351 homers, 1119 runs batted in and 1848 hits.
To put that in perspective, Hank Aaron had almost DOUBLE the career at-bats as Allen. 
Now, I'm not trying to say that Allen could have been as consistent as Aaron was throughout his career, but it IS amazing to see what Allen accomplished at the plate in 6000+ at-bats.
The man was a force when he was healthy, but sadly, he just couldn't sustain it over the course of a nice, long, FULL career.
There are some guys I'll find ANY reason to design a card for, and Allen is definitely one of them!
Hope to have more here in the future…

Thursday, March 23, 2023


On the blog today, a card I have been meaning to "re-do" for some time, a 1970 do-over for the great and horribly under-appreciated Curt Flood:

Flood pretty much sacrificed his career by the early-70’s , fighting MLB for their handling of players “as cattle” in regards to trades, releases, eventually opening the doors for Free Agency and allowing players some control over their own careers.
You have to understand how HUGE this was, as it was something players have been trying to do since the late-1800’s (think of the failed Players League of 1890).
Sadly for Flood, while it did end up helping ballplayers soon after he left the game, his own playing career was over by the age of 33, really 31.
Beginning in 1962 Flood strung together eight fantastic seasons starring for the St. Louis Cardinals, consistently batting over .300, two 200-hit seasons, and seven straight Gold Glove Awards, right up to the 1969 campaign.
Then it all began with a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies along with others including Tim McCarver for superstar slugger Dick (Richie) Allen and a couple of other players.
Flood refused to report to his new team, eventually forcing the Cardinals to send prospect Willie Montanez to complete the deal, essentially ending his career as a player while he fought to have control over his own career, fighting the “reserve clause”.
After sitting out the season in 1970, the Phillies eventually sent him to the Washington Senators, where Flood played the last 13 games of his career before leaving the team within the first month, abruptly closing out a great career that could have been Hall of Fame worthy had he played longer.
If you’re not familiar with Flood’s case, and his teaming up with Players’ Union head Marvin Miller, you MUST read up on this to understand the state of the game today.
I just touched upon some brief points here, but the case and Flood’s decision to pursue this cause is incredible.
Every single player today has much to thank Flood and his sacrifice, allowing the Free Agent boom of the mid-70’s to change the game forever, leading to the salaries and benefits even the average players have today.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


We are going way back today to the very first month I started the blog, in May of 2013, revisiting a fun post talking about the very first Topps card to show a player with a mustache, the 1971 card for super-dude Dick "Rich" Allen:

I can't remember when I heard it for the first time, but I just could NOT believe that it was true that between 1951 and 1970 there was not one card that had a player sporting facial hair.
But it was true, and there is the original write-up about it:

"It seems incredible to believe, but there was a time in the not too distant past that men wearing mustaches was NOT appropriate for "appropriate" society. As a matter of fact, for professional baseball, we were already a couple of years into the 1970's before a player showed up to Spring training wearing one. Problem is, baseball has what is becoming one of those legends that is actually NOT true, so let's set the record straight and give credit where credit is due.
As you know, legend has it that in 1972 Reggie Jackson showed up to Spring training wearing a "scraggly" mustache (as Rollie Fingers would state years later), and it lead to a challenge for all players to grow one of their own, all in the name of publicity for the eternal showman owner Charlie Finley. Of course, as we all know by now, this team of rebellious ball players with nicknames like "Catfish" Hunter and  "Blue Moon" Odom were on their way to three consecutive championships, and were as colorful a bunch as any in baseball history.
Problem is, though they are credited as the players (specifically Reggie) to usher in the hairy decade that was the 1970's, it was another, even MORE rebellious player who sported the first "soup strainer" to be seen on a baseball card in the modern era: Richie Allen and his 1971 regular issue Topps card (#650).
Allen, who some would say re-defined the term "head case", played his only season as a Dodger in 1971. But since Topps issued him as part of their last series of the set, they were able to have him in the correct uniform, and as history would have it, sporting his 'stache for all to see and admire.
As a short-print card in a later series on an already above-average valued set (because of the sensitive black borders and card condition), the card carries a decent price tag. But for all you quirky sub-set collectors out there, this may be the easiest "1st" out there: the very first Topps baseball card to show a mustachioed player."

On a side note: I can't believe this blog is approaching TEN YEARS of posting every day!
I thank you all for the interest in my baseball card obsession and hope to continue for as long as  this entertains!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


On the blog today, we move on to Game Three of the 1965 World Series in my 1966 sub-set, which Topps inexplicably left out of their set:

With the Minnesota Twins shocking everyone, taking a two-games-to-none lead by beating Los Angeles Dodger aces Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, the Series moved to L.A. and the Dodgers needed a win badly.
Luckily for them, young pitcher Claude Osteen was up to the challenge, tossing a complete game shutout with a 4-0 win, striking out two while issuing two walks and allowing five hits.
Twins starter Camilo Pascual allowed three runs over five innings, with Lou Johnson and John Roseboro driving in the three runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
The game was completed in an economical two hours and six minutes, giving the Dodgers life in trying to recapture the Title that they last won two seasons earlier in 1963.
Incredibly, there were only three strikeouts TOTAL in the game, something I cannot imagine nowadays! Incredible.

Monday, March 20, 2023


Up on the blog today, we have my 1967 "dedicated rookie" for the great Tom Seaver, from my 1960's Dedicated Rookie set released in 2020:

I loved creating this set featuring all the Hall of Famers at the time who appeared on a multi-player rookie card during the 1960's.
What needs to be said about the greatest New York Met to ever suit up?
The man would end up with a 311-205 record along with 61 shutouts and 3640 strikeouts to go with a brilliant 2.86 ERA over 20-seasons and 656 appearances, 647 of which were starts.
He was in prime form in the mid-70’s, putting together nine straight 200 strikeouts seasons while getting tabbed to ten all-star teams in his first eleven seasons.
God I loved Tom Seaver when I was a kid. More than any other pitcher of that era I was in awe of this man. He just seemed like a "super-hero" to me.
Just look at all my other posts dedicated to the man here on this blog. He was other-worldly to me growing up in New York City as a kid in the 1970's.
Even if he WAS a Met, to this young Yankee fan he was unquestionably the best pitcher in the game at that time.
Rest in Peace "Tom Terrific"!

Sunday, March 19, 2023


Up on the blog today, we move on to the National League’s top three home run hitters of 1978, proudly displayed on a 1979 “expanded league leader” card in my long-running thread:



Of course, if we’re talking home runs in the late-70’s we begin with Cincinnati reds basher George Foster, who took home his second straight home run tile in 1978 with 40 dingers, after his MVP blockbuster season of 1977 that saw him hit 52.


The man was an absolute monster at the plate between 1976 and 1981, and it wasn’t just power numbers, as he’d hit .300 or better three times while driving in 90+ runs each and every year.

Right behind Foster with 35 homers of his own, perhaps the greatest “forgotten” slugger in Major League baseball during the late-70’s, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Greg Luzinski, who put in yet another MVP-worthy year, his fourth such season in a row.

“The Bull” drove in 101 runs for the Phillies to go with those 35 homers, while also drawing 100 walks, though for the first time in four years he failed to hit .300 or better.

Nevertheless, if it wasn’t for the Cincinnati Reds and their “Machine”, we may be looking at a MULTIPLE MVP winner in Luzinski, easily worth the award in 1975 and 1977, while also arguably the winner in 1976.

Teamed up with hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, the Phillies had an absolute mashing due smack in the middle of their line-up during their success between 1975 through to their Championship in 1980.

In third place, with 30 home runs in 1978, the MVP of the National League, Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star Dave Parker, “Cobra”, who took home his second straight batting title with a .334 average while driving in 117 runs and scoring 102 of his own while collecting 194 hits.

He also threw in 20 stolen bases, which is shocking thinking about the hulking player that he was back then, while following it all up with another 20 steals the following season when the Pirates would win it all as the “We Are Family” team that won over fans across the country.

Three great players that truly represented the Senior League during that era, not just for hitting home runs but for hitting for average as well. A rarity these days!

Saturday, March 18, 2023



Greetings everyone!
YEP! It's that time again!
The newest WTHBALLS custom set is here, and it's the "SERIES 13" set , (Un)Lucky for some, but let it ride!
Like the first twelve "regular" series sets, this features 15 cards, but once again, instead of the glossy '70's style hockey insert, I included another special card that will make you all happy to add to your collections!
Of course, the sets come wrapped inside a "WTHBALLS" wrapper following the other "Series" set packs from the past.
The "packs" are $13 each plus $4.50 postage. Of course as usual, if you buy more than one set, postage always stays the same at $4.50.
SPOILER ALERT! See photos attached for the cards in this set. Again, I'm keeping the insert a secret until you all receive them, so no images of it here.
My paypal is the usual:
Thank you all for the continued support and interest!
Be well and safe!


Up on the blog today, we add former Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star second baseman Davey Lopes to me 1977 "N.L. Centennial" special, celebrating the Senior League's 100th season the year prior, which was expressed with a specially designed patch worn by N.L. teams in 1976:

Lopes would go on to become a four-time All-Star who would lead the league in stolen bases twice while topping 1000 runs scored, 550 stolen bases and even hit 155 home runs, helping the Dodgers reach four World Series, winning it all in 1981.
On occasion he’d also show some “pop”, as he did in arguably his finest season in the big leagues when he hit 28 homers to go along with 44 stolen bases, 109 runs scored and 97 walks in 1979, starting the All-Star game alongside his teammate Steve Garvey.
By the time he retired after the 1987 season, he finished with a .263 batting average, collecting 1671 hits over 6354 at-bats and 1812 games.
And to think, he didn’t play his first full season until the age of 28 in 1973. I never realized he got such a late start in his MLB career.

Friday, March 17, 2023


Today on the blog we have my 1967 "career-capper" for Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who closed out a fantastic Big League career in 1966 with a split season, suiting up for the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs:

He'd go 5-8 in his last season with a 4.82 ERA over 24 appearances, tossing a shutout and picking up a save at the age of 39, throwing 112 innings.
Roberts was a 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!


Thursday, March 16, 2023


About a month ago here on the blog, I posted a "do-over" for Pete Vuckovich and his 1977 Topps card, showing him with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he pitched the 1976 season for, instead of the airbrushed Toronto Blue Jays card that we all pulled out of packs way back when.

Well today we take a look at that airbrushed card and how it differed from its OPC counterpart released North of the border in Canada:

OPC version

Topps version
Obviously, a much nicer card for the OPC kids out there, given the benefit of a later release date, allowing for actual photography of players in the new franchise uniforms.
In his first full season in the Big Leagues in 1976, Vuckovich appeared in 33 games, seven of them starts, going 7-4 with a 4.65 ERA over 110.1 innings, completing one and striking out 62 batters.
In what turned out to be his only season with the Blue Jays before being shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978, Vuckovich went 7-7 with a respectable 3.47 ERA over 53 games, all but eight of those appearances out of the bullpen, tossing a shutout while saving eight games.
It’s easy to forget the rather pedestrian career Vuckovich had leading up to his 1982 Cy Young Award when he led the Milwaukee Brewers to an American League title, eventually losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
Some may even question if Jim Palmer or even Dan Quisenberry were more worthy recipients of the award (I thought “Quiz” was ripped off three awards to be honest, from 1982 to 1984).
Nevertheless, Vuckovich had his high-point that season, going 18-6 with a 3.34 earned run average, beating out future Hall of Fame Orioles pitcher Palmer for the Cy Young honors.
Sadly for Vuckovich, however, he came up with arm troubles the following year and only appeared in three games before missing the entire 1984 season before returning in 1985, playing for two more seasons before retiring for good after the 1986 season.
He’d win only eight games after his award winning season, finishing with 93 career wins against 69 losses over 11-years and 286 appearances.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


Starting a fun new thread today on the blog, a 1970 "20-win club" sub-set that I hope to print up as a special set later in 2023, celebrating all the 20-game winners in the Majors in 1969, beginning with Chicago Cubs hurler Bill Hands:

I always wanted to create a "20-win club" sub-set for the 1969 season since an astounding FIFTEEN starters reached the plateau that year. Kind of reminiscent of the 1977 Topps football "1000 Yard Rushers" call-out that always stuck with me.
Hands had himself a very nice 1969 campaign, winning 20 games for the first time with a final record of 20-14 over 41 starts, posting an earned run average of 2.49 over exactly 300 innings, with three shutouts and 18 complete games, giving the Cubs a fantastic 1,2,3 trip in Hands, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins and All-Star Ken Hotlzman, who combined for 58 wins.
The previous season was the first successful year of his thus-far brief career, when he posted a record of 16-10 with a 2.89 ERA over 38 appearances, 34 of those starts, with four shutouts and 11 complete games.
All told, he retired with a 111-110 record and 3.35 E.R.A in 374 career games between 1965 and 1975, pitching for the Giants, Cubs, Twins and Rangers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Today on the blog we have a "missing" 1966 World Series card, this time for Game 2 of the 1965 "Fall Classic" between the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers, which Topps (for some reason) left out of their set:

Shocking the Dodgers and their starter Don Drysdale for a win in Game 1, the Twins would do it again against L.A.'s ace Sandy Koufax, with young Jim Kaat outdueling the reigning N.L. Cy Young winner by a final score of 5-1 to take a commanding 2-0 lead, winning both their games at home at Metropolitan Stadium.
The game was scoreless into the bottom of the sixth inning until Kaat himself drove in the first two runs of the game with a single, giving himself a 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers would cut that lead in half the next inning with a run, but the Twins answered back quickly, scoring a run in their half of the inning before breaking it open in the eighth with two more, with Kaat shutting them down in the top of the ninth for the win.
The Twins would be set up very nicely as the Series would shift to Los Angeles for Game 3, resting on a two game lead, both wins against the L.A. aces in Drysdale and Koufax.
Next week, my card for Game 3!

Monday, March 13, 2023


On the blog today, we spotlight my 1965 "dedicated rookie" for all-time great Steve Carlton, from my 1960's Dedicated Rookie" set released in 2020:

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.


Sunday, March 12, 2023


On the blog today, we move on to the American League with my “expanded league leaders” thread, and celebrate the top three hitters for the 1978 season:


Of course, we begin with Hall of Famer Rod Carew, who took home his seventh and final batting title that year, hitting .333 in his final season with the Minnesota Twins before heading for sunnier pastures in California.

Carew was a machine, plain and simple, winning six of seven titles in his incredible run between 1972 and 1978, with a high of .388 during his MVP season of 1977, including his only 100 RBI season of his storied career.

By the time he retired after the 1985 season, he topped 3000 hits and finished with a .328 average for his 19-year Big League tenure, putting him in rare company, especially for the Post-War era.

In second place with a .324 batting average, the quiet man who just kept on hitting, “Scoop” Al Oliver, who had a very nice first season with the Texas Rangers after coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oliver would collect 170 hits and drive in 89 runs for Texas in 1978, with 35 doubles and 14 homers, numbers he’d pretty much duplicate the next season before topping them in 1980 when he’d collect 209 hits and 117 RBIs along with a .319 average.

The man was such an under-the-radar All-Star player throughout his great 18-year career, a Hall of Fame career in my personal opinion, finishing with over 2700 hits, 200 homers and 1300 RBIs, while hitting .303 before hanging them up in 1985.

In third place, hitting at a .315 clip, the A.L. MVP for 1978, the great Jim Rice, who was an absolute beast that year, leading the league in hits, triples, homers, RBIs, slugging and total bases, demolishing Major League pitching while putting together an unbelievable three year run of 200 hits, 100 runs scored, 39+ homers, 100+RBIs and .315+ batting.

Just insane!

Of course his career path would eventually lead him to the Hall of Fame like Carew, finishing up with a .298 average with 382 homers and 1451 RBIs over 16 seasons, easily forgetting that the man also had four 200-hits seasons in addition to his power numbers.

There you go, the A.L.’s top hitters of the 1978 season, on display here on an “expanded league leader” card.

Saturday, March 11, 2023


Good day everyone!

Up on the blog today we have another 1975 "Stars Retire" card, this time celebrating the fine MLB careers of Ron Santo and Norm Cash, who both called it a career after the 1974 season:

Santo hit only .221 as mainly their Designated Hitter in what was his 15th and final Major League campaign, retiring soon after at only 34 years of age.
Of course it was his stalwart career with the Chicago Cubs that eventually got him his rightful place in Cooperstown, hitting .277 with 342 home runs and 1331 runs batted in while playing stellar third base.
Between 1963 and 1973 Santo was selected for nine All-Star games, received five Gold Gloves for his defensive work, and four-time finished Top-10 in the National League MVP race, with a high of fourth in 1967.
Post-playing career, Santo moved on to broadcasting, where he was a beloved color commentator over the years, working with guys like Harry Caray, Thom Brennaman and Steve Stone.
But it was mainly his working relationship with Pat Hughes on the radio that were enthusiastically known as the “Pat and Ron Show”.
Sadly, Santo would die from bladder cancer and complications from diabetes in December, 2010, and would not live to see himself selected for the Hall of Fame, as that would come almost a year later when he was the only player selected by the Golden Era Committee.
Just a crying shame if you ask me.
Cash of course is generally remembered for that incredible 1961 season when he led the American League in batting with a .361 figure, along with an incredible .487 on-base-percentage.
Sadly for him however, he happened to have such a season the very same year a couple of guys from the Bronx, Maris and Mantle, have a “chase to 61”, leading to Maris taking home the MVP with Mantle not far behind.
Throw in a career year for Baltimore Orioles slugger Jim Gentile, and you have Cash ending up fourth in that season’s MVP race.
Incredibly, in Cash’s 17-year career, he never even reached a .300 batting average in any one season again! As a matter of fact if we’re looking at full seasons, the next highest average he reached was .283 in 1971, when he had his last great year, hitting 32 homers and driving in 91 for Detroit.
Overall, by the time he retired after the 1974 season, Cash finished with a .271 average, with 377 homers and 1104 runs batted in, with four All-Star nods.
Five times he topped 30 home runs, while driving in over 80-runs six times while scoring over 80 four times during what many consider a “pitcher’s era”.
Two incredibly under-appreciated players from the '60's who hung up the cleats in 1974, proudly displayed on this 1975 custom.

Friday, March 10, 2023


Today's blog post has a special 1970 card celebrating the Kansas City Royals making their franchise Major League debut in 1969 with their first game on April 8th of 1969 against the Minnesota Twins:

After the Kansas City Athletics packed their bags and headed West to Oakland, the city found themselves without a Big League team for the first time since 1954, leading to a perfect location for MLB expansion in 1969 (along with San Diego, Montreal and Seattle).
Opening up at home at Municipal Stadium, the Royals came out victorious with a 12-inning win, with Moe Drabowsky picking up the "W".
The franchise's first starter was Wally Bunker, who pitched five innings and allowed five runs, while their hitting star that day was eventual A.L. Rookie of the Year Lou Piniella, who went 4-for-5 at the plate with a double, run scored and RBI.
Of course as we all know, the franchise would end up being one of the more successful "new" teams in league history, finding somewhat immediate success later in the mid-70s as a West powerhouse led by players such as George Brett, Hal McRae and Amos Otis.
As for the initial 1969 season, the Royals would finish fourth in the West with a record of 69-93-1, with Bunker leading the team with his 12 wins, while Piniella led the way at the plate with a .282 average, with 68 RBIs and 11 homers.

Thursday, March 9, 2023


Today's blog post has us adding the great Dave Winfierld to my 1977 "Centennial Special" sub-set, celebrating the N.L.'s 100th season of 1976 (technically 101st huh?):

One of my favorite players growing up a Yankee fan in Brooklyn, NY during the 1980's,in 1976 he was still a young up-and-coming star with the San Diego Padres.
Winfield would become the favorite player of many young kids in the San Diego area during the 1970’s, giving the Padres a new-look outfielder, bringing a whole new type of athleticism (along with Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Andre Dawson of the Montreal Expos), with speed, stellar defense, a gun for an arm, and power at the plate.
By the time he retired after the 1995 season, his 22nd as a Big Leaguer, he finished with eight 100-RBI seasons, 15 20-home run seasons, 3110 hits, 1669 runs scored and 1833 RBIs.
He made the All-Star team 12 times, took home seven Gold Gloves, finished Top-10 in MVP voting seven times and was awarded six Silver Slugger Awards.
Man I loved this guy! I’ll never forget his line-drive home runs deep into left field at Yankee stadium as a kid, wondering what he would do in a stadium like today where he wasn’t looking at 430 to left-center.
One of the game’s greatest all-around athletes!


Wednesday, March 8, 2023


Thought it'd be fun today to revisit the original "action" variation 1976 "Career-Capper" I created for Hall of Famer Bob Gibson here on the blog way back in July of 2013 before I re-created it with a close-up portrait image used for my custom set printed up some seven years later in Series 2:

I can't believe we are coming up on TEN YEARS with this blog in a few months!
I'll have to think up some special releases celebrating the milestone, and I think I already have a cool idea in mind!
Here's the original write-up I posted back then with this card:
"Bob Gibson has always been one of my favorite all-time players and competitors. Besides the obvious things to love about the guy as far as his stats go, it was the over-the-top drive and no-nonsense play that had me hooked.
Ever hear Tim McCarver tell the story of the first time he saw Gibson after Tim was traded to the Phillies in Octover of 1969? If not here goes:
Before a game between the Cardinals and the Phillies in 1970, both teams were on the field loosening up and getting ready. Tim, who was a teammate of Gibson for about ten years before being traded, figured he'd go say hello to him. Not only were they teammates for so long, but they came up in the Cardinals system together in the late-50's.
Well as Tim says it, he went up to Gibson near the batter's box, stuck out his hand and went to say "hi", and knew immediately he was done for. Gibson just stared him down and walked away.
First time McCarver was up at the plate, Gibson delivered his first pitch and brushed him back.
Message delivered: they weren't teammates anymore, and while ON the field, they were enemies.
How can you NOT love that!?
The man was a force on the mound, and of course his 1968 season is the stuff of legend. I STILL wonder how on earth he managed to have 9 losses with a season E.R.A. of 1.12!!! Just incredible.
Needless to say, the Hall of Fame was sure to call in 1981 and an obvious choice for induction was granted.
Well, here is my design for a 1976 card had Topps wanted to have one last card for the sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Nice and colorful. Just what you'd expect for a card in that fantastic 1976 set.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023


Up on the blog today we have my 1966 "Career-Capper" for All-Time Great Yogi Berra, from my special custom set released a few years back:

Let's see, the man was a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, a FIFTEEN-TIME all-star, and received Most Valuable Player votes every single year between 1947 and 1961. As a matter of fact, between 1950 and 1956 he never finished lower than fourth for the MVP, with three wins, and two second place finishes!
That's seven top-4 finishes in seven years! Just awesome.
Except for four scant games in 1965 with the New York Mets, Berra played the rest of his 19-year career with the Bronx Bombers, amassing 358 homers, 1430 runs batted in and a .285 average.
One other note about his amazing career: the man only struck out 414 times over 8359 at-bats!
YOGI!!! I loved that man!
A true baseball treasure…

Monday, March 6, 2023


Today on the blog, we begin a 1960's "missing" thread, this one the missing cards from the 1966 set covering the 1965 World Series:

For some reason in 1966, Topps decided to scrap the popular World Series sub-set from their set, which a few of us were discussing on Twitter a few months back, so I thought it's be fun to whip-up a quick set highlighting each game, seven in total since the Series went the full seven games.
The Los Angeles Dodgers faced the Minnesota Twins in the World Series, a match-up that had the Dodgers who had their aces Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale battling the heavy-hitting Twins, with players like Harmon Killebrew and young stud Tony Oliva.
In Game 1 at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis, Drysdale would open the series up against Jim "Mudcat" Grant, and by the time the game was over the Twins surprised everyone with an 8-4 win, knocking Drysdale out of the game by the third inning.
Grant would toss a complete game, allowing only two runs on ten hits, while Drysdale was roughed up, allowing seven runs in 2.2 innings, three of those runs earned.
The hitting stars of the Twins that day had Don Mincher and 1965 A.L. MVP Zoilo Versalles with both hitting homers, Versalles also driving in four runs.
The lone stand-out batter for L.A. would be Ron Fairly, who hit a solo-homer in the 2nd inning, while Maury Wills would go 2-for-5 at the plate.
Next week, a Game 2 highlight card!

Sunday, March 5, 2023


Good day everyone!

Up on the blog today, we move on to 1979 in my on-going “Expanded League Leaders” thread, showcasing the top three players in each category on a league leader card, beginning with the top three hitters in the National League for 1978:


We begin with Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Dave Parker, who took home his second straight batting title with a .334 average, following his .338 number the year before.

Parker was in the prime of his career, also chipping in 30 home runs and 117 runs batted in with 23 stolen bases to take home the league MVP Award.

He would not disappoint in 1979 either, as he would hit .310 with 25 homers and 94 RBIs while collecting 193 hits and scoring 109 runs, helping the team to a World Championship with the fan favorite “We Are Family” club.

This is a Hall of Famer in my book! I will never waiver on this.

In second place with a .316 batting average, another guy who I feel is a Hall of Famer, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, who put in another “Garvey-esque” season with 202 hits, 89 runs scored, 21 homers and 113 runs batted in.

It was the fourth of his six 200-hit seasons, while also posting his third 20+ homer campaign, as well as third 100+ RBI campaign.

Analytics be damned, there is no way anyone can convince me this guy isn’t a Hall of Famer considering for the better part of a decade he was THE N.L. first baseman, which carries a lot of weight in my eyes.

Just behind Garvey with a .315 batting average in 1978, underrated Houston Astros star Jose Cruz, who put in another great under-the-radar year with 178 hits, 83 runs batted in and 79 runs scored.

A quiet yet steady hitter for over 10 years, Cruz gave the Astros an anchor in the middle of their line-up who could hit for average, show some “pop” in his bat, and drive in runs until the late-80’s.

A great trio of batters here, two of which I believe should have their place in Cooperstown, while all three collected over 2000 hits over their careers.

Saturday, March 4, 2023


Next up in my on-going special 1977 sub-set celebrating the National League's 100th season of 1976, the great Dave Parker of the Pittsburgh Pirates:

An all-around super-star, Parker hit for average, for power, had a cannon for an arm, and would even steal some bases if needed.
By the time he retired after the 1991 season, a nice 19-year career, he posted over 2700 hits, 1200 runs scored, 500 doubles, almost 1500 runs batted in, 339 home runs and over 150 stolen bases!
He was a seven-time all-star who also finished in the top-10 in M.V.P. voting six times, with three Gold Gloves thrown in for good measure.
The fact that Dave Parker never garnered more than 24.5% of the BBWA Hall of Fame vote (1998) before becoming ineligible in 2011 is just criminal in my eyes.
This man should be in the Hall of Fame. Plain and simple!
As for this "Centennial" sub-set, look for it to be issued as a two-series set in the near future!

Friday, March 3, 2023


Up on the blog today, a fun card from my "Minor League Days" Series One release a few months back, the special checklist card featuring the 1970 "Minor League Player of the Year" Don Baylor of the Rochester Red Wings:

Baylor was an up-and-coming stud for the Baltimore Orioles when he took home the award after a brilliant season that saw him hit .327 with 22 homers, 107 runs batted in and 26 stolen bases.
He'd follow that up with another great year in Rochester in 1971, hitting .313 with 20 homers and 95 "ribbies", along with 25 steals.
When he finally got a shot at the "big time", Baylor had himself a nice rookie campaign in 1972, hitting 11 home runs while also stealing 24 bases in only 102 games and 320 at-bats for the Baltimore Orioles, and getting named to the Topps all-rookie team for his efforts.
It was just a small glimpse of what was to come as he would go on to hit 338 home runs during his career, with 285 stolen bases thrown in to make him a legitimate double-threat.
During the course of his career, he’d hit as many as 36 home runs, during his AL MVP 1979 season while with the California Angels, while stealing as many as 52 bases, in his lone season with the Oakland A’s in 1976 after being traded for Reggie Jackson.
He would also finish his career in a great way, reaching the World Series the last three seasons, each as a member of a different team: Boston Red Sox in 1986, Minnesota Twins in 1987 and Oakland A’s in 1988.
I loved his time with the New York Yankees from 1983 to 1985, teamed up with Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly to give them quite the offensive trio.
RIP “Groove”.


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