Sunday, November 29, 2009

#43 - Cleon Jones

Card fact: There are two players with the last name of Jones in this set. This is the first. A free pet rock to those who can guess the other player. And by free I mean, go to the park and get one yourself.

What I thought about this card then: A friend of mine had this card. He was one of those kids that you find in New York state who had to own everything that featured a Yankee or Met logo on it. He was an only child.

What I think about this card now: Jones is a former Cardboard Appreciation subject. As I mentioned in that post, Jones seems to feature a harder edge on his cards as his career goes along. This is one of the cards I was thinking of when I wrote that post.

Other than that, Jones is going to have a hard time running the bases on that field behind him, where a dash to third base is all uphill. Also, the fans will have to tilt their head to the right to read the scoreboard.

Other stuff: Mets cards were so cool when I was a kid. I'm not sure why I didn't end up being a Mets fan, because I really liked '70s Mets cards.

Back fact: You can see the decline in Jones' stats after he hit .340 in 1969. He had a strong season in '71 and then some struggles. The 1975 season actually was a very difficult one for him. He was arrested and then released by the Mets. This is Jones' final card featured during his career.

Other blog stuff: Approaching 400 cards scanned. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

#42 - Joe Coleman

Card fact: This is the first Tigers player presented in the 1975 Topps set. The first Tiger card was the team card/checklist.

What I thought about this card then: Another card that missed me as a kid. Because of that, I am woefully lacking in knowledge about a pitcher who won 20 games twice shortly before I started becoming interested in baseball. To this day, I confuse Coleman with Jerry Coleman, the former Yankees infielder and longtime baseball announcer.

What I think about this card then: I am officially keeping count of the number of players pictured with a chaw in their mouth. Here is #1.

Other stuff: Wikipedia says Coleman helped the Pirates win the 1979 World Series. Coleman pitched in 10 games for the Pirates in 1979, compiling a 6.02 ERA and did not pitch in the postseason.

Back facts: I am quite sure that if I had this card as a kid, I would wonder who the "Nats" were.

Other blog stuff: This is the first tan-light blue color combo card. I have covered almost all of the color combinations. When I do, I will list each of them. And that's because I know you have all waited years to figure out how many combinations there are.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#41 - Cesar Geronimo

Card fact: The first orange-brown card that is not a Highlights card.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't have it. But there are two things I remember about Geronimo. First, I knew of this particular Geronimo years and years before I knew of this Geronimo. And, no, it didn't take me until I pulled the '09 Allen & Ginter Geronimo card before I knew who he was.

Secondly, I remember Geronimo being praised for his defense more than any individual player from the late 1970s, except for maybe his teammate, Dave Concepcion. Personally, I was focused on Geronimo's pedestrian hitting skills, because I hated the Big Red Machine. And I couldn't wait for that No. 8 spot in the batting order to come around.

What I think about this card now: Severe tilting in the background of this card, and the card is miscut. But I do like that the Reds name is in red.

Other stuff: The Reds featured a good share of lefties in their lineup during their Machine days. Morgan, Griffey, Driessen, Geronimo. And Rose switch-hit.

Back facts: Cartoon violence! Who doesn't love the '70s?

Other blog stuff: The blog will be taking a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. But I'll see you real soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

#40 - Bill Singer

Card fact: Another player who was awarded a card number ending in zero based on his 1973 performance. Singer ran into injury problems in 1974 and pitched in only 14 games.

What I thought about this card then: Some cards just never register with you no matter how long you have them. I have had the mini of this card for almost 35 years, and I can tell you I never had a thought about Singer when I was a kid. I didn't know he was a Dodger up until two years before this card was issued.

What I think about this card now: I just noticed yesterday the mountains in the background of the photo. Scenic.

Other stuff: Singer has been traded for some top-flight pitchers. The Dodgers acquired Andy Messersmith from the Angels in a deal for Singer (the Dodgers also sent Frank Robinson, Bobby Valentine, Billy Grabarkewitz and Mike Strahler to the Angels in the deal and still came out on top). Later, the Rangers acquired Bert Blyleven by trading Singer and Roy Smalley to the Twins.

Also, Singer's racially insensitive remarks to Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng are well-documented. Let's just say Singer appears to have learned his lesson.

Back facts: Singer and Claude Osteen both won 20 games for the Dodgers in 1969 and L.A. still finished in fourth place. Wow.

Other blog stuff: It's not actually blog related, but today is the 61st birthday of the first Dodger I ever pulled from a pack of baseball cards in 1975. Happy birthday, Steve Yeager (card #376).

Monday, November 23, 2009

#39 - Andy Thornton

Card fact: This is Thornton's first solo card.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it, and this is a good example of: if a player wasn't on a baseball card, then he didn't exist. I never saw the Thornton card in the 1976 set either. Then Topps didn't issue a card of Thornton in the 1977 set. By the time I finally came across him somewhere in 1977, I thought he was rookie, when he had actually spent five years in the majors.

What I think about this card now: I had a difficult time typing "Andy" in the post title. I never heard anyone call Thornton "Andy." But you can see he signed his name "Andy" on the card. He's "Andy" again with the Cubs in the '76 set. Then, all of a sudden, in the '78 set he is "Andre," with the Indians, and that's how he stayed.

Other stuff: Indians fans can moan about their fate all they want, but hoodwinking the Expos by sending Jackie Brown to Montreal for Thornton is one of the biggest trade heists of the '70s.

Back facts: Thornton bounced around a lot before landing with the Indians. Not only did he play for both the Cubs and Expos in 1976, but he played for minor leagues teams in the Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago organizations from 1967-73.

Other blog stuff: I hope to make major progress in scanning this set as I'm on vacation this week. I'm up to 342 cards filed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

#38 - Buddy Bell

Card fact: Finally, we have reached our first dude who looks like a lady. Or at least that's what we thought when we were kids.

What I thought about this card then: "He looks like a girl."

What I think about this card now: It's quite the light-hearted card. Fresh-faced, long-haired "Buddy" offers a smile and a swing for the photographer. And we smile along with Bell as he admires his blast.

Other stuff: Bell is the third player in the set so far that went on to become a major league manager (Bill Russell and Dusty Baker are the other two).

Back facts: I think I mentioned this before, but Buddy's real first name, David, is also the first name of his son, former major league third baseman David Bell. His middle name, Gus, is the first name of his father, former major leaguer outfielder Gus Bell.

Also, a quick note about the birth dates. When we were kids, any player with a birth date in the 1950s, like Bell, was a youngster. An up-and-coming player. Of course, now all these guys are in their late 50s. I feel old.

Other blog stuff: This color combo just screams summer: blue sky/green grass. But I don't know what to call it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

#37 - Dave Freisleben

Card fact: The green-light green cards are starting to pull away from the other color combos. This is the fifth one featured on a player card. Only the orange-brown design of the Highlights cards has been featured more often.

What I thought about this card then: We didn't follow baseball regularly in 1975. We collected cards. But as far as sitting down and watching games on television, or tracking boxscores in the newspaper, that was still a couple years down the line. But even in that hazy state, we still knew the Padres were not a good team. Must've been something about those stats on the back.

What I think about this card now: How the heck do you pronounce this guy's last name? I tried to look it up a month or so ago with no success. Now, I'm too lazy to try it again.

Is it:

a) Freez-el-ben
b) Fries-el-ben
c) Friz-el-ben
d) Freez-lee-ben
e) Fries-lee-ben
f) Friz-lee-ben
g) Freez-lee-bin
h) OK, that's enough now
i) None of the above

I am semi-obsessed with the fact that I don't know how to pronounce so many early 1970s players' names.

Other stuff: Friesleben (man, I really have to focus in order to spell his name correctly) is now a pro golfer. Also, I'm not the only one wondering how his name is pronounced.

Back facts: Another Halloween baby. That makes two so far. Am I going to have to start a count on that? ... This is another one of my favorite cartoons from my childhood. I actually thought Ebbets Field had a roof like a gingerbread house.

Oldie but goodie: Here is the original 1975 Friesleben that I touched with my own 9-year-old hands:

No sharp corners on that thing. It's baby-proof!

Other blog stuff: I scanned card No. 333 a couple days ago. That means I've scanned more than half the set.

Friday, November 20, 2009

#36 - Joe Lovitto

Card fact: First guy in the set named Joe? Damn, I'm out of information here.

What I thought about this card then: This was another one of the coveted Rangers cards in our household. I don't know why my brother and I liked the Rangers so much, but there are several Rangers in this set that were our favorites as kids.

What I think about this card now: I love the bat swing pose on cards. This is the second one we've seen so far.

Other stuff: Lovitto was a speedy player with promise who was in the starting lineup for the Texas Rangers' first game in 1972. But he struggled to hit and injuries plagued his career. He was done in the majors by 1976.

Back facts: Lovitto's career batting average on this card is .216. We took note of that as kids. I would go through my cards and find the worst five batting averages, laying the cards out in a row on the floor and then sliding them into position when I found a batting average that should be included in the worst five.

Other blog stuff: Lovitto died at age 50 in 2001 after a seven-year battle with cancer. You'll note that I've added a "deceased" tag. I didn't want to do that, as it's been done before on other set blogs and it seems a bit morbid. But, I realized, I'm just as obsessed with death as anyone else, so what the hey.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

#35 - Ron Santo

Card fact: Ron Santo's final card during his playing career.

What I thought about this card then: I am kicking myself because I didn't scan the mini card that I picked up when I was 9 years old. It is probably the most miscut card I have in my collection. It is a sight to see because Santo's entire image is in the card, yet it is still extremely miscut. I'll have to post it later because my scanner isn't cooperating right now.

What I think about this card now: Is this the most painful card for a Cub fan to view? I mean, I would imagine it's something like this card. But that card depicted something that never happened. Santo as a White Sox happened.

Other stuff: I'm not from Chicago and I never saw Santo play, so take this for what it's worth: I think he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Back facts: I think it's great that the cartoon question is about Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. Two of Chicago's most famous baseball announcers -- Santo and Harrelson -- on one baseball card!

Other blog stuff: Unless someone stops me, I'm calling this color combo the "Oscar Mayer Weiner" design after the hot dog company's famed orange-and-yellow packaging and corresponding OMW mobile.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

#34 - Steve Renko

Card fact: This card looks startlingly similar to the previous yellow-blue card in the set. All of the yellow-blue cards have been pitchers, so far.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't have it. But the 1976 Topps card of Renko was one of my favorites. I don't know why. Now that I look at it, he's got an awful look on his face. In fact, I just looked at all of Renko's cards and there is only one (1983 Fleer) in which he seems to be smiling. Such pained expressions.

What I think about this card now: I love it when you can see advertising in the background. The Coca-Cola ad will pop up in later cards in the set.

Other stuff: You better hang on, Steve. That field has a rather steep incline.

Back facts: Satchel Paige's first name is spelled as "Satchell" in the cartoon. Also, the "fadeaway," could mean just about anything. Christy Mathewson's "fadeaway" was a curve ball. Carl Hubbell's "fadeaway" was a screwball. Bob Feller described it as a slider. And a knuckle ball has been called a "fadeaway," too. I wouldn't be surprised if Paige threw all four pitches.

Renko's 1972 season really stands out. What happened there? Also, you can see by the write-up that Renko was an all-around athlete. He did start at quarterback for Kansas during his college days.

Other blog stuff: I have the first 324 cards scanned. It's a race to see if I can get them all filed before my scanner quits this gig.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#33 - Dusty Baker

Card fact: There are just too many card photos taken in New York. But anytime you can feature the old-style scoreboard at Shea Stadium, then all is forgiven.

What I thought about this card then: I had the mini card of Dusty. I was not a fan of the green-green combination in the set as a kid. It just wasn't as colorful as the other designs. So players with this color combo were deemed boring. Perhaps not coincidentally, not a single Dodger card features the green-green combo.

What I think about this card now: The Braves wore some odd uniforms in the '70s.

Other stuff: Baker was a natural born hitter. He had some great years for the Dodgers, and he just annihilated the Phillies in the postseason. Then he had a falling out with L.A., ended up with the Giants (yuck!), and all the good will he had built up with me during his playing days began to deteriorate. I've never liked him as a manager, especially when he was with the Giants, and his managerial moves in general drive a number of fans insane. But perhaps his worst moments are as an ESPN commentator. Eesh. Painful.

Back facts: Johnnie B. Baker is one of the all-time greatest "real names" in baseball history. ... Also, beating out Hank Aaron as "The Brave of the Year" is mighty impressive. ... The cartoon contains a punctuation error. It should be Lefty Grove's, not Lefty Groves'.

Other blog stuff: Nothing new. Today is Tom Seaver's 65th birthday. He went 22-9 in 1975 and won the Cy Young Award.

Monday, November 16, 2009

#32 - Reggie Cleveland

Card fact: We have begun the second rotation of teams in the 1975 set. The rotation is a pattern that begins with the Red Sox, runs through all the major league teams, and ends with the Giants. The second go-around holds to the pattern, team by team with one exception, which you will see later. And then the pattern starts to go haywire after that.

What I thought about this card then: I had the mini card. My main fascination with Reggie Cleveland was that he is from Canada.

What I think about this card now: Tilted background, off-center card. Adults can be so critical.

Other stuff: Folks who don't remember Reggie Cleveland's career, probably know the name because of ESPN blogger/writer Bill Simmons, who created the "Reggie Cleveland All-Stars," which is catch-all title for a category of athletes whose names sound as if they are of a different race or ethnic background than they actually are. I always knew Cleveland was a white, fair-haired dude from Canada, so I think Simmons could have picked a different guy.

Back facts: You'll see in the bio info that Cleveland is from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I know Swift Current because it's been the home of a junior hockey team for years and plenty of college and NHL players have gone through there. The team has also been through some hardship over the years -- a deadly bus crash in the 1980s and a coach convicted of sexual offenses in the 1990s.

Other blog stuff: Nothing blog related. But Julio Lugo was born on this date in 1975. Keep on truckin', Julio. Just stay away from the Dodgers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#31 - Dave Rader

Card fact: Up until now, the Giants have not been featured on the blog. In fact, the Giants are the last team to have a card featured in the '75 set. The Giants. Dead last. I like that.

What I thought about this card then: Blast it, I never saw it. That's four cards in a row now. I was a deprived kid.

What I think about this card now: I have always liked the super close-up shots. I don't know why. It gives the card character, I guess. Rader seems awfully pensive in this photo.

Other stuff: Rader finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1972. Must've been a slow year.

Back facts: Topps really blew its opportunity with the cartoon. Featuring Sandy Koufax's uniform number, 32, on card No. 31? You couldn't wait one more card, Topps?

Other blog stuff: I now have the first 306 cards in the set scanned. You know what that means: Reginald Martinez has officially been scanned.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

#30 - Bert Blyleven

Card fact: I'm going out on a limb here, because I don't feel like going through every card in the set right now, but I'm going to say this is the only card in the set with a player blowing a bubble. (Interestingly -- or not so interestingly -- I just posted the Ken Reitz card a few days ago. Reitz is blowing a bubble on his 1974 Topps card).

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it. But I would have loved it if I did. This is my favorite color combo in the set.

What I think about this card now: My goodness, look at the dungeon they made the Twins sit in during games. Look at the walls. Look at the hooks. Blyleven is pictured in something out of a horror movie set.

Other stuff: A comment on the previous post mentioned Dave Parker and the Hall of Fame. Well, here is a player that a lot of bloggers believe should be in the Hall of Fame. I'm not 100 percent positive he should be there. I remember him being quite good with the Pirates. I also remember him giving up a lot of gopher balls. I think my view is skewed because he pitched for some lousy teams.

Back facts: "Rikalbert" is an awesome middle name. And "Zeist, Holland" is an awesome birthplace.

Also note Blyleven's 325 innings pitched in 1973. No one has pitched more than 300 innings in a season since 1980.

Other blog stuff: I very nearly made a big blooper in the posting of the card. For the longest time, I have had Dusty Baker in the sleeve that holds #30 in my '75 Topps binder, and Blyleven in the #33 sleeve. I have no idea why. I was ready to post the Baker card, but upon posting the back of the card, I noted that the card number was #33. Whoops.

Crisis averted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

#29 - Dave Parker

Card fact: Another rather seriously miscut card. Displaying these cards is making me realize how many of my '75s have miscut/centering issues. Not liking that at all.

What I thought about this card then: Did not see it. But in my formative baseball watching years, Mr. Parker was the MAN. He is the central figure in one of the first things I think of when someone says "All-Star Game." Parker's throw from right field that cut down Brian Downing at the plate during the 1979 All-Star Game in the Kingdome is my strongest All-Star memory. What an amazing throw that was.

What I think about this card now: I find early Dave Parker cards strange just because I cannot get used to the round hat on Parker's head. During those years I watched him with the Pirates, all I knew was the star-covered pillbox cap that he wore.

Other than that, I love the look on Parker's face. We also have the tilted background again. And Parker is displaying Clemente's number on his uniform, so I'm wondering how old this photo might be.

Other stuff: I always wondered what Parker thought of the whole "Pops" Stargell thing. Stargell giving out stars, being looked upon as the patriarch of The Family. Parker seemed to me to be able to take care of himself. He didn't need to call anyone "daddy."

Back facts: I get a kick out of the cartoon. Nothing like advertising beer on a bubble gum card. But what do you expect on the back of a card of someone in the "I'm Badass and You're Not Club"?

Other blog stuff: I'm thinking of calling this either the "Irish flag design" or the "University of Miami design." Or maybe I should ditch referencing the orange all together and simply call it the "lime design."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

#28 - Tom Murphy

Card fact: Other than that this is the first Brewers card in the set, I'm afraid I'm going with more opinion than fact by saying this is the dullest card in the set so far. Dull name, dull team, dull pose, dull career. I am seriously grasping here. I mean Murphy isn't even wearing the pterodactyl collar that he wore in the 1974 card with the Cardinals.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it, which is not helping.

What I think about this card now: Isn't it obvious?

Other stuff: One of the trademarks of 1970s cards is the tilted landscape behind the subject. It must have been the new craze in the photo industry to make players look like they were balancing precariously to avoid falling down and rolling to the left, all the way out of the photo.

Back facts: Murphy was a much-traveled pitcher who ended his career with the expansion Blue Jays. He began as a starter and was quite wild, leading the AL in wild pitches in 1969 and 1971. His 1974 season with the Brewers was perhaps his best, as he converted to relieving and took to it immediately with a 1.90 ERA in 70 games.

Other blog stuff: Nothing blogish today. How about this: both Sammy Sosa and Tonya Harding were born on this date. I find that vaguely amusing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

#27 - Ken Reitz

Card fact: This is Reitz's second-year card. Both his first- and second-year cards feature photos where his face is in the shadows. It's not until 1976 that we actually get to see what the guy looks like.

What I thought about this card then: It's about as "in-action" as 1975 Topps gets, so I liked it.

What I think about this card now: Well, it serves as a reminder of how much I liked third basemen when I was growing up. Of course there was Ron Cey, but somehow I wanted the Dodgers to trade for Ken Reitz, too. Oh, and that Mike Schmidt guy was pretty good, too. Let's see if we can get him in Dodger blue.

Other stuff: Reitz was known for a few things. He used to perform in rodeos. He often started the season red-hot then cooled off. He had a Paul O'Neill-like temper, right down to the destruction of equipment. But he was known mostly for his fielding. He was a Gold Glove winner and probably should have won more than he did, but Schmidt's reputation got in the way.

Back facts: The cartoon mentions Clint Hartung, who was a pitcher for the New York Giants in the late 1940s. His career ERA was 5.02. I'm not sure how he got so lucky to be mentioned in a cartoon trivia question on the back of a baseball card.

Apparently, he was a much-hyped rookie who now is the namesake for the Bill James "Hartung Award," which goes to the most overhyped rookie of the decade. I like that award. I love deflating hype.

Mini: Yes. Here it is. I've had this card for a long time, and I have no idea how it got this way. Origami practice?

Other blog stuff: After a brief lull, I have 290 cards from the set scanned. Next up: Bill Sudakis.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

#26 - Dave McNally

Card fact: This is Dave McNally's last card. He played for the Expos in 1975, but retired after the season and no card was made for him for 1976.

What I thought about this card then: I loved the pink-and-yellow cards. They were so overpowering that the player pictured on the cards was almost inconsequential.

What I think about this card now: Taking a photo of a person with his mouth hanging open is just mean.

Other stuff: McNally is known for several things: clinching the World Series for the Orioles in 1966 with a Game 4 shutout, hitting a grand slam in a game that he also won in the 1970 World Series. But I remember reading about him as a kid as he was one of the figures who helped bring down baseball's reserve clause and spawn free agency. He was kind of a side figure with Andy Messersmith (who was the real reason why I was interested in all this grown-up stuff, because Messersmith was a DODGER), but the name "McNally" stuck in my head.

Back facts: The cartoon is one of the most memorable of my childhood. How can a kid not love a picture of a ball moving so fast that it has both smoke trailing from it and drills a hole through the glove (and the hand) of the fielder?

Mark Koenig was an infielder for the New York Yankees. So, those of you who thought the fastest measured pitch was thrown by Nolan Ryan or Joel Zumaya -- think again.

Also, look at the freakish stats compiled by McNally. Four straight 20-win seasons. Crazy.

One final thing: McNally was born on Halloween.

Other blog stuff: I've given you enough to chew on. That's all I've got today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

#25 - Lee May

Card fact: This is one of five players with the last name May to be featured in this set. The others are Carlos May, Dave May, Milt May and Rudy May. Considering that baseball-reference.com says only 12 people with the last name of May have ever played major league baseball, that's a pretty good concentration right here in the '75 set.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it. I grew up thinking May was always an Oriole.

What I think about this card now: I really like the Astros' early 1970s uniforms. I think it's because the first Astros uniforms I knew were those warm-colored rainbow monstrosities that debuted in 1976. After seeing those for over a decade, anything else looks good in comparison. And these look a lot better than some of the recent Astros uniforms which are duller than HGTV.

Other stuff: This is the first card featuring the light blue-green combo. We still have several other color combos that we haven't come across yet.

(EDIT: Lee May died at age 74 on July 29, 2017)

Back facts: May had some awesome slugging numbers during the late '60s/early '70s. Another one of those guys who peaked right before I started paying attention to baseball.

Other blog stuff: The pink-and-yellow color combo reminds me of Easter colors. That's the early front-runner for the design name. But I'm not married to it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

#24 - Al Fitzmorris

Card fact: The first pink-yellow border in the set. I think this particular combo sums up the set and probably 1970s baseball cards in general. It is definitely FAR OUT.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it. However, his 1976 Topps card was one of my favorites, and he became one of my favorite players for a brief period of time. I know the card isn't anything special. I just thought the long hair and mustache was cool.

What I think about this card now: Not much, so I had to do some research. Fitzmorris is now heavily involved in writing and scripting music, including original music for a documentary. He's also friends with Danni Boatwright, who won the 11th season of "Survivor." The two are business partners in developing a high-fashion clothing line.

Other stuff: I am pretty sure I have referred to Fitzmorris as "Fitzsimmons" on more than one occasion. I'm also sure I'm not the only one who has.

Fitzmorris was one of the key arms for the Royals during their playoff runs of the mid-to-late 1970s. He once threw a 12-inning game in which he struck out just one batter.

Back facts: Fitzmorris is a Buffalo boy, which means he is a fine, upstanding individual, just like the Buffalo boy writing this blog.

Other blog stuff: I have received several emails thanking me for this blog. I am forever grateful for any reader who finds this blog interesting. My intent is to show my love for this set, one of the best and most unusual of all-time. I am glad that so many agree with me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

#23 - Bill Russell

Card fact: The first Dodger in the set (excluding the Mike Marshall highlight). Back in the day, I could name the first Dodger of every Topps set of my youth. Can't do that anymore.

What I thought about this card then: This was a card I knew only in mini form back in '75. Even then, I did not approve of brown-and-orange colors on a Dodger card.

What I think about this card now: A strikingly similar pose to the previous card featured on this blog. Other then that, all I see is a card that is off-center.

Other stuff: I have a problem with fans who are never satisfied with the players on their favorite teams. Yankees fans who crab about a team that is obviously destined for a World Series title. Phillies fans who boo the World Series MVP of a year ago. It makes me cringe.

But I'm just as guilty at times. One of those times was with Bill Russell. He was always one of my least favorite Dodgers on those successful teams of the 1970s and early 1980s. I was never satisfied with his hitting or his fielding. But when I look at his stats, he wasn't all that bad. And I have to remember, he was an outfielder who converted to the infield. Shortstop was not his natural position.

Back facts: The second straight cartoon that features gun play.

Other blog stuff: Time to consult the pop chart in 1975. The No. 1 song on this date in '75 was "Island Girl," by Elton John.

Friday, November 6, 2009

#22 - Dave Cash

Card fact: This is the first card of Dave Cash in an actual Phillies uniform. He is airbrushed into a Phillies cap on his 1974 card, which also features a teammate from the Pirates (Cash's old team) standing right next to him.

What I thought about this card then: Cash is one of those players that I had an inexplicable fascination with when I was a kid. He was one of my favorite players, based solely on this card.

What I think about this card now: Well, I'm trying to figure what it was about the card that made me so interested in Cash. All I can come up with is he had a stylish Afro and facial hair. I was one weird 9-year-old boy.

Other stuff: This is the first card in the set in which the player's entire body is in the photo. That won't happen again until card #58.

Back facts: Lots of stuff here:

1. This was one of my favorite cartoons in the set as a kid. I'm going to keep track of all those favorites and see if I can come up with my most favorite of the whole set.

2. Cash had a freakish number of at-bats in 1974 with 687. The following years he'd have 699, 666, 650 and 658. I thought it was so cool that he came to the plate that many times. But I'm wondering if it played a part in his career lasting only until 1980.

3. Players without middle names rocked. They still rock.

Oldie but goodie: Here is the Cash card I had in 1975. I may have traded for this card. I don't think I pulled it from a pack.

Other blog stuff: Exactly 277 cards scanned, 383 to go.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

#21 - Rollie Fingers

Card fact: Hey, it's a Cardboard Appreciation graduate! Mr. Fingers is also a finalist in the great Cardboard Appreciation vote-off on the other blog.

What I thought about this card then: I've already written about this, but I thought this card was amazing when I was 9. One of my favorite cards out of the whole set as a kid. Game-action shots were so rare back then, and even though I couldn't have possibly known how rare they were at that age, I did know that this card looked a lot different than most of the other cards in the '75 set.

What I think about this card now: Again, I've addressed this, but if Topps was to issue a photo like this in a set today, collectors would be complaining that you can't see his face.

Other stuff: A green-and-gold uniform with a blue-and-orange color scheme. Wow. The poster child for the '70s right here.

Also, we are on a serious run of notable players from the '70s with Tanana, Concepcion, Koosman, Munson and now Fingers all in a row. That will continue for a bit before calming down. Also, Fingers is the second straight pitcher featured here who has had his share of tax payment issues.

Back facts: Crazy ERAs like Fingers' 36.00 in 1968 always intrigued me as a kid. I think it made me feel better when I added up my own pitching stats when I played youth baseball.

Other blog stuff: I live in Syracuse University country, so I can't see this color combo without thinking of SU. However, I do not particularly like Syracuse, and I'd really rather not name a color combo after the university. So, the floor is open.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#20 - Thurman Munson

Card fact: One of the last cards I needed to complete the set. Those dastardly Yankees are always hard to find.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it. The first card of Munson's that I saw was his 1976 Topps card.

Munson was always "the enemy" in my household. No one liked him. There may have been a Dodger fan, a Red Sox fan and an Oriole fan in the house, but there was a common bond: hate the Yankees.

What I think of this card now: Munson is shot from so far away compared to most other posed cards in the set. He looks tiny.

Other stuff: I am SO glad people have stopped talking about getting Thurman Munson into the Hall of Fame. That drove me stark-raving loco. (OK, maybe they haven't stopped. You can find all kinds of Internet chat advocating his induction, claiming that Munson isn't in the Hall because he was grumpy to sportswriters. Yeah, that was it. Explain me Steve Carlton, Jim Rice and Eddie Murray then). Listen, I'm sorry he died at such a young age and that his career was cut short, but he didn't have the numbers in the 10 years he played in the majors. You can't extrapolate someone into the Hall of Fame.

Back facts: Munson received a card number ending in zero based on his 1973 season, because '74 was a down year for the captain.

Other blog stuff: I am really tempted to call this color combo the "fairy princess" design. Have you looked at toys marketed for little girls? Everything -- and I mean everything -- is purple and pink.