Card fact: This card was in the first pack of the three packs that I bought as the first purchased packs of my so-called collecting career. For a time, I thought this was the first card that I pulled from that first pack, but I think it was merely my favorite card from that pack (I'm pretty certain the first card was Darold Knowles or maybe Hal McRae).
As mentioned before, the John Hiller card was one of three Tigers I pulled in that pack.
What I thought about this card then: Well, I thought it was amazing. Looking at the card now, I have no idea why, but it was a real favorite.
What I think about this card now: Still trying to process why it was such a favorite.
Other stuff: Hiller was one of the great relief pitchers of the 1970s. He once held the record for most saves in a season when he saved 38 games in 1973. That remained until Dan Quisenberry broke the record in 1983. Hiller continues to hold the record for most victories in one season as a reliever. He won 17 games in 1974.
I didn't know it at the time I pulled this card, but the most amazing part of Hiller's career is he suffered a heart attack just a few years into his major league career. In January of 1971, Hiller had the heart attack and it sidelined him until mid-season 1972. In view of that, his 1973 season was phenomenal and he won Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Hiller played with the Tigers his entire career up through the 1980 season. A native of Ontario, Canada, Hiller was inducted into the Canadian Baseball and Sports halls of fame. He lives in Michigan.
Back facts: Look at that won-loss record in 1974 -- 31 decisions in relief! That'll never happen again.
Also, Hank Gowdy played for 17 seasons between 1910-30, mostly for the Boston Braves.
Other blog stuff: Ross Grimsley, one of baseball's true characters of the 1970s, was born on this date and is 61 years old today.