Wednesday, August 31, 2011

#637 - Ted Martinez

Card fact: I've lost track of the number cards in which the signature doesn't match the name listed on the bottom. But here is another example. Ted Martinez refers to himself as "Teddy."

What I thought about this card: I first saw this card in the possession of my friend Jamie, the Mets/Yankees lover.

What I think about this card now: It's a great '70s card. The pinstriped Mets uniform, the Shea Stadium scoreboard, the American flag.

Other stuff: Martinez played nine seasons in the major leagues, mostly at shortstop. But he also played a lot of second base and the outfield. He was mostly a backup, but did appear in over a 100 games in 1972, 74 and 75. He played for the Mets, Cardinals, A's and Dodgers.

Martinez played on pennant-winning teams with the Mets (1973), A's (1975) and Dodgers (1977-78). But he never played in the postseason with L.A. Interestingly, it was with the Dodgers where he revived his career (after not playing in 1976), as a utility infielder.

Martinez managed and coached in the Dodgers organization after his playing career.

Back facts: That cartoon always freaked me out as a kid. "What happened to his legs?"

Other blog stuff: Former Tiger/Ranger/Rockie/Red Sox/Brewer/Ray Gabe Kapler was born on this date in 1975.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#636 - Charlie Moore

Card fact: This is Charlie Moore's first solo card. He appeared on a four-player rookie card in the 1974 Topps set.

What I thought about this card then: No knowledge of it.

What I think about this card now: Moore is one of those guys that uses circles instead of dots for his "I"s. In fact, it's a rather stylish signature all around.

Other stuff: Moore played all but one of his 15 major league seasons for the Brewers. His last year was with the Blue Jays.

Moore split time behind the plate until the late '70s when he became the Brewers' principle catcher. But then in 1982, Moore was shifted to right field, and he played more during that period than he ever had. Moore had quite a bit of speed for a catcher, making him versatile enough to play other positions. From '82-84, his primary position was outfield. Then in 1985, he returned to catcher.

Moore hit .462 against the Angels in the 1982 ALCS, and he continued his hot hitting in the World Series that year, batting .346 against the Cardinals.

After his career, Moore returned to his native Alabama and worked in sales.

Back facts: Topps slathered it on a little thick with the "one of the A.L.'s up and coming star receivers" line. Good player, sure, but he was no Fisk/Munson/Bench/Simmons.

Other blog stuff: On this date in 1979, the first hurricane I ever heard of -- Hurricane David -- hit the Caribbean and the eastern U.S. By the time it was gone, more than a thousand people had died. Can you imagine what the Weather Channel would have done with that hurricane?

Monday, August 29, 2011

#635 - Chuck Dobson

Card fact: Chuck Dobson is wearing an airbrushed Angels cap and uniform. Dobson was acquired by the Angels in June of 1974. This is also Dobson's first Topps card since the 1972 set and the final Topps card issued during his career.

What I thought about this card then: Never saw it.

What I think about this card now: I like the stacked signature in the corner. It's a bit unusual.

Other stuff: Dobson pitched fairly successfully for the Kansas City and Oakland A's from 1966-71. Known as a strikeout pitcher, he won in double figures from 1967-71 and led the American League in starts with 40 and shutouts with five in 1971.

Arm and shoulder problems plagued him and eventually cost him the 1972 season and most of the 1973 season. He was property of the Mexican League Mexico City Tigers when purchased by the Angels. He pitched for the Angels in '74 and '75 and in the minors in 1976.

Dobson is known for two other things. One is being Reggie Jackson's roommate as the two were the first regular interracial roommates in baseball history. Also, Dobson appears in dramatic fashion on one of the best-known baseball cards, but it's not his card.

(EDIT: Dobson died at age 77 on Nov. 30, 2021).

Back facts: Dobson gets a card number ending in "5" strictly based on his performance of at least three years prior to this card.

Other blog stuff: Since I made a statement that this card was the only one I had in regular, mini and OPC form, I have since acquired the Dobson card in all three forms. Why Chuck Dobson? Hey, you take what you can get with the '75 set.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

#634 - Cy Acosta

Card fact: This is the final Topps card of Cy Acosta.

What I thought about this card then: I had no idea Acosta existed.

What I think about this card now: I'm fairly certain that this photo is from the same photo shoot as Acosta's 1974 Topps card. In that photo, he is wearing the road White Sox uniform while standing near a dugout.

Other stuff: Acosta is the only player named "Cy" since the mid-20th century (his actual first name is Cecilio). As you might know, "Cy" was a pretty common name for ballplayers during the 19th and early 20th century.

Acosta came to the White Sox from the Mexican League. He was used as a reliever and enjoyed a decent season for Chicago in 1973, pitching in 48 games with a 2.23 ERA, 10 victories and 18 saves. But he didn't fair as well in '74 and was purchased by the Phillies before the 1975 season. He played in six games for Philadelphia.

After '75, Acosta returned to the Mexican League and pitched there until 1986.

Acosta is also known as the first American League pitcher to bat after the designated hitter was installed. In 1973, DH Tony Muser was used as a defensive replacement for Dick Allen in the eighth inning. Allen was not used as the DH, and Acosta struck out in his at-bat.

Back facts: Players with Mexican League stats fascinated me as a kid. All those strange team names.

Other blog stuff: The pink-yellow border combination moves into the overall lead with its 54th card.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#633 - Paul Casanova

Card fact: This is the final Topps card issued of Paul Casanova during his playing career.

What I thought about this card then: I had the mini card. I didn't have any thoughts except I would always confuse him with long-ago Cubs all-star Phil Cavarretta. This can be attributed solely to the fact that both of them have the initials of P.C., because they are not alike in any way.

What I think about this card now: Casanova looks pretty happy in most of his cards. But in this one he seems like he has an idea that he's at the end of his career.

Other stuff: Casanova was a strong defensive catcher who spent most of his career with the Washington Senators. He played for them for seven seasons from 1965-71, winning an All-Star selection in 1967, his best season.

Casanova actually was signed by two other major league teams before the Senators -- the Indians twice, and the Cubs, but he didn't stick until playing for Washington. His hitting declined in the '70s and he was dealt to Atlanta, where he worked as a backup catcher through 1974.

Casanova's son, Raul, was a major league catcher from 1996-2008, most recently with the Mets (the transactions file on Raul Casanova is amazingly long).

(EDIT: Casanova died on Aug. 12, 2017).

Back facts: Niekro's no-hitter came against the Padres before a whopping 8,000 fans in Atlanta.

Other blog stuff: I'll show the mini next to the regular sized card:

Dueling Casanovas!

Friday, August 26, 2011

#632 - Morris Nettles

Card fact: This is Morris Nettles' rookie card.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it.

What I think about this card now: This is the first 1975 O-Pee-Chee card I ever obtained. When I was trying to complete the set in 2004, the dealer that I went to a lot owned rows and rows of '75s. There were some OPC's mixed in, too. Not knowing that it was an OPC card at the time, since the fronts of the '75s are the same as Topps, I bought it and didn't realize it wasn't Topps until I got home.

I went through the same process several other times in '04 and now I have about 15 OPC cards from '75.

Other stuff: Nettles came up to the Angels in 1974 and found a spot in the outfield later in the season. The following season, the Angels rewarded the speedy player with the starting center field job. But a young Mickey Rivers took over the position in no time, Nettles was moved aside, and he managed just a .231 average in 1975.

Nettles was dealt to the White Sox after the season in the Bill Melton trade. Nettles never made it to the majors again, playing the 1976 season in the Chicago and Cleveland organizations.

Back facts: If I'm being picky -- and I am -- the cartoon figure is not standing in the on-deck circle.

Other blog stuff: On this date in 1991, No. 1 draft pick Brien Taylor signed a record $1.55 million contract with the Yankees. All your Brien Taylor cards just laughed at you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

#631 - Lee Lacy

Card fact: This is the final Dodger card in the 1975 Topps set.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it. It was one of the last Dodger cards I needed to finish the team set.

What I think about this card now: It's a happy card as Lee Lacy poses there in Dodger Stadium.

Other stuff: Lacy was a backup infielder for the Dodgers throughout the 1970s before becoming a role player with the Pirates in the '80s and then a starter later in his career with Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Lacy had trouble breaking through the Dodgers' vaunted infield in the '70s. He was one of those players that I wished would get a chance to be a starter -- preferably pushing Bill Russell out of the starting shortstop role. I was disappointed that Lacy was traded to the Braves in the Dusty Baker deal, figuring that would be Lacy's big break.

But it wasn't. Lacy returned to the Dodgers a year later as L.A. sent pitcher Mike Marshall to Atlanta. He enjoyed a pretty good World Series against the Yankees in 1977, going 3-for-7 with two RBIs in four games. But after 1978, he signed as a free agent with the Pirates.

Lacy moved to the outfield with the Pirates and was on the 1979 World Series-winning team. He hit above .300 four of the five years he was with Pittsburgh. He appeared in his most games between 1984-86 when he was in his late 30s.

Lacy's daughter, Jennifer Lacy, plays in the WNBA.

Back facts: "Singled" is not capitalized. Just want to make that clear one more time for all the grade school kids out there.

Other blog stuff: 1970s pop icons Gene Simmons and Rollie Fingers were each born on this date.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#630 - Greg Luzinski

Card fact: This is the seventh time that there has been back-to-back cards of players wearing powder blue uniforms. Five of those occasions involved Phillies players.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it. The first Greg Luzinski card I saw was his glorious 1976 Topps card.

What I think about this card now: If you stare at Luzinski, without knowing him, he looks like a bad guy in one of those '80s movies about teenage kids in the '50s.

Other stuff: Luzinski was your prototypical 1970s slugger, a popular player in Philadelphia and then in Chicago with the White Sox. Luzinski hit more than 30 home runs in a season four times, when hitting 30 home runs a year was a big deal.

Luzinski broke out for the Phillies in 1973, but had injury issues in 1974 as he played in just 85 games. He bounced back big-time in 1975, driving in 120 runs and finishing second in the National League MVP voting. He finished second again in 1977.

He played in the postseason four different years for the Phillies. I remember him being a nemesis for the Dodgers in the NLCS in 1978. He also wore out the Astros in the 1980 NLCS.

After a down year in 1980, Luzinski was purchased by the White Sox. He settled in as a designated hitter for Chicago, grew a beard, and enjoyed four decent seasons before stepping away after 1984.

Luzinski later became a high school coach. His son, Ryan, played in the Dodgers organization, but never made the majors. Luzinski later opened a barbecue restaurant at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.

Back facts: Luzinski may have been a natural 1st sacker, but he played only 32 games of his 15-year major league career at first base. Thirty of those games came in 1971 and 1972.

Also, "The Garden" is a term with which I'm unfamiliar.

Other blog stuff: The blog crossed the 60,000 unique views threshold in the past 24 hours. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#629 - Joe Hoerner

Card fact: This is Joe Hoerner's penultimate Topps card. His final card is in the 1977 set as a Ranger.

What I thought about this card then: This was a card that I obtained early in the '75 season and I traded it in that deal for some '75 minis.

What I think about this card now: That's some funky hair that Hoerner's got going there.

Other stuff: Hoerner was a full-time, sidearm relief pitcher for 14 seasons and 493 games, not a start among them. He was one of the early left-handed relief specialists, and he especially made his mark pitching for the World Series champion Cardinals in 1967. His best seasons were in the late '60s and early '70s for the Cardinals and the Phillies.

Hoerner came up with the Colt .45s in 1963. His first major league appearance came in a gimmick game for Houston as the team fielded an all-rookie starting lineup against the Mets.

He was traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies in the famed Curt Flood deal. After his time with the Phillies, his performance fell off as he pitched for the Braves, Royals, Rangers and Reds. His final big league pitch, in 1977, hit the Pirates' Frank Taveras, who charged the mound. Hoerner punched Taveras, and after the brawl, was tossed from the game.

After his career, Hoerner did some promotional work with the Cardinals and was involved in charitable causes. He died in a farming accident at age 59 in 1996, reportedly getting pinned between a tractor fender and a tree trunk.

Back facts: I have no idea what the average number is for players making their major league debut in a season. Obviously, the number is much higher now than it was in 1974. But I don't know if 144 was a lot more than in 1973 or 1975, for example.

Other stuff: On this date in 1980, Charlie O. Finley got out of the baseball business, selling his Oakland A's team to the Haas family for $12.7 million.

Monday, August 22, 2011

#628 - Ron LeFlore

Card fact: This is one of the cards that I pulled out of those first three packs of cards I ever bought.

What I thought about this card then: It helped me become a Tigers fan at an early age, since I also pulled the Mickey Stanley and John Hiller cards out of those first packs, too.

What I think about this card now: This is such an iconic card in my collecting history that I can't appreciate it for what it is -- Ron LeFlore's rookie card.

Other stuff: LeFlore was one of the big names in baseball when I was growing up, mostly because of his criminal past as a teenager. His life on the streets and prison time was made famous by a made-for-TV movie, called "One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story." I remember waiting with anticipation to watch this movie on TV. But I can't recall anything about it.

LeFlore didn't play organized ball growing up. His first experience with that was in prison with inmates while he was serving time for armed robbery. Tigers manager Billy Martin was tipped off to LeFlore's ability and he went to the prison to see LeFlore play. LeFlore was eventually signed by the Tigers.

LeFlore made an immediate impact with Detroit, which was going through tough times in the mid-1970s. Together with Mark Fidrych, the Tigers became a national presence in 1976. LeFlore ranked among the league's leading base stealers and he hit for a high average.

After six years with the Tigers, he was traded to the Expos for pitcher Dan Schatzeder, a trade I couldn't figure out. LeFlore stole a National League best 97 bases in his one year for Montreal in 1980. He signed as a free agent with the White Sox after the season, and had relatively limited playing time for Chicago in 1981 and 1982. He was released by Chicago at the start of the 1983 season.

After his career, he worked outside of baseball. He later managed some in independent leagues, and encountered child support issues that led to arrests.

Back facts: LeFlore's birth date on this card is incorrect. LeFlore was actually born in 1948, not 1952, so he was 26 at the time this card came out, not 22.

Other blog stuff: This might be the last time I get to show a card that was pulled in those first packs I bought in April of 1975. So here it is:

Love it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

#627 - Tom Walker

Card fact: Tom Walker is the father of current Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. That makes this the second straight card that featured a player whose son played in the majors also.

What I thought about this card then: Never saw it.

What I think about this card now: Walker seems to be strategically placed in front of the Coca-Cola sign that graces so many of the Expos' cards.

Other stuff: Walker pitched between 1972-77, mostly with Montreal. He was a reliever most of the time and was dealt to Detroit for Woodie Fryman after the 1974 season (Topps could only manage a blurb about the trade on the back of Walker's card).

Walker ended his career with stints with St. Louis, the Expos again, and the Angels.

(EDIT: Walker died Oct. 23, 2023 at age 74).

Back facts: OK, the cartoonist clearly is doing a lot more work than the biographer on this card.

The cartoonist draws a moose at the plate, which can't be easy to do.

The biographer? Well, it's obvious he had nothing to write about, so he stared at the stats for awhile and realized Walker never had a losing record and, viola, a write-up was born. Also, Walker was not exclusively a reliever. In fact, in 1974, he started eight games.

Other blog stuff: Kenny Rogers -- the singer, not the pitcher -- was born on this date in 1938.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#626 - Larry Haney

Card fact: Like the Steve Busby card, the player pictured in this card is not the player listed. That is a photograph of Dave Duncan on Larry Haney's card. So, Haney is actually not pictured in the 1975 set. (Interestingly, Duncan is shown as an Indian on his card, but also appears in the set as an Oakland A).

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it.

What I think about this card now: Wow, was baseball THAT unpopular in 1974? The attendance looks the same as a random high school game in my area.

Other stuff: Haney was a career-long backup catcher known for his defensive ability. He played for the Orioles, Pilots, A's, Cardinals and Brewers and never had more than 177 at-bats in a season.

After his playing career, which lasted from 1966-78, he became the bullpen coach for the Brewers. He was also a pitching coach for a couple of years in the 1990s.

Haney's son, Chris, was a pitcher in the 1990s for the Royals, Indians, Red Sox, Expos and Cubs. He was also a member of my fantasy teams in the mid-90s.

Haney also has another notable baseball card as his 1969 card features a reverse image of the photo that appeared on the 1968 Topps card and shows him as a left-handed catcher.

Back facts: There have been seven World Series since that unfortunate one in 1966 that went just four games. The most recent was the 2007 Series when the Red Sox beat the Rockies in four straight.

Other blog stuff: A happy 69th birthday to "Shaft" singer Isaac Hayes. Shut your mouth.

Friday, August 19, 2011

#625 - Boog Powell

Card fact: This card really marks the homestretch for this set. With the exception of two cards, it is all players from here on out.

What I thought about this card then: Oh, my goodness, it was a laugh riot. It was the funniest card we ever saw at that young age.

What I think about this card now: The card was the very first Cardboard Appreciation subject on my other blog. It was the first one for all the reasons you can think of -- and for a few more that you can't think of because you're not 9 anymore.

Other stuff: Boog Powell made up the meat of the order for the Orioles' lineups through the 1960s and into the 1970s. He was at the tail end of his Orioles career at this point, as this is his final Topps card as an Oriole.

Powell won AL MVP honors in 1970 and finished second behind Harmon Killebrew in 1969. He hit six home runs in the postseason. He absolutely wore out the Twins in back-to-back ALCS.

Powell was traded to the Indians in February of 1975, so he was already with another team by the time this card came out. He finished his major league career in 1977 with the Dodgers. Powell is now known just as much for his barbecue as his playing career.

And just one more thing:


Back facts: I missed posting on Powell's 70th birthday by two days.

Other blog stuff: The orange-brown border combination bounces back to join the pink-yellow combo at the top with its 53rd card.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#624 - 1975 Rookie Pitchers

Card fact: This is the last Dodger player card I needed to complete the team set for '75 Topps. Those 4-player rookie cards always eluded me.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it. In fact I didn't see it for quite awhile after 1975.

What I think about this card now: What a bad-ass crew, even if they weren't the most successful pitchers. I think Jim Otten is airbrushed, and I don't know why the background is blurred out.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Doug Konieczny, Astros: 1976 Topps (his only solo Topps card)
Gary Lavelle, Giants: 1976 Topps
Jim Otten, White Sox: none
Eddie Solomon, Dodgers: 1978 Topps (he was alternately known as Eddie and Buddy on his cards. He died in a car accident at age 34).

Most successful career: Lavelle was a relief workhorse and two-time All-Star for the Giants, for whom he pitched for most of his 13-year major league career.

Most awesome middle name: For the second straight card, I have to go with the player without a middle name, Eddie Solomon.

Other blog stuff: The pink-yellow border combination takes the overall lead with its 53rd card. Also, this marks the end of the last subset in the '75 set. Up next, a player who just celebrated a milestone birthday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#623 - 1975 Rookie Infielders

Card fact: I'm trying to determine whether Phil Garner is airbrushed into an A's cap and uniform. Something doesn't look quite right, but Garner came up with Oakland. Perhaps he is actually wearing a minor league uniform. He played in Tucson most of the 1974 season.

What I thought about this card then: I didn't see it.

What I think about this card now: Keith Hernandez looks like a whole other human being. Tom Veryzer is definitely a "dude looks like a lady" candidate.

Other stuff: Each player's first Topps solo card:

Phil Garner, A's: 1976 Topps (great card)
Keith Hernandez, Cardinals: 1976 Topps
Bob Sheldon, Brewers: 1976 Topps (his only one)
Tom Veryzer, Tigers: 1976 Topps (with the rookie cup)

(EDIT: Tom Veryzer died at age 61 on July 7, 2014)

Most successful career: If you combine "Scrap Iron" Phil Garner's playing career with his managing career, he has an argument. But Keith Hernandez easily is the best of the four players.

Most awesome middle name: For the first time, we have a player without a middle name on these rookie cards. That was always awesome to me, so I'm going with Keith Hernandez.

Other blog stuff: The pink-yellow border combination has tied the orange-brown and green-purple combinations for the overall lead with 52 cards each.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#622 - 1975 Rookie Outfielders

Card fact: The Cincinnati Reds are abbreviated as the "Cinn. Reds" on this card. Apparently someone thought they were the "Cinnamon Reds."

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see it.

What I think about this card now: This was the toughest of the rookie cards for me to obtain and one of the toughest cards in the whole set to finally land. No one likes giving up their Fred Lynn rookies. That's why this one is off-center, miscut and there's a weird printing flaw next to Lynn's head.

The funny thing is I found another version of this card in a rummage sale a couple years ago. It's in similar shape -- maybe slightly better -- and I've replaced this card with the rummage sale one.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Ed Armbrister, Reds: 1976 Topps
Fred Lynn, Red Sox: 1976 Topps (with the rookie cup!)
Tom Poquette, Royals: 1977 Topps (with the rookie cup!)
Terry Whitfield, Yankees: 1978 Topps

Most successful career: Lynn was a huge favorite in Boston, my brother's favorite player, an MVP his rookie year, and hit more than 300 career home runs.

Most awesome middle name: As intrigued as I am about what a land of Berts might look like, I have to go with "Rosanda." It sounds like something you'd get tattooed on your chest underneath a giant heart.

Other blog stuff: A happy 81st birthday to former Monday Night Football announcer Frank Gifford.

Monday, August 15, 2011

#621 - 1975 Rookie Pitchers

Card fact: This is the first of the rookie cards to feature a player who never made the majors. Juan Veintidos was featured here on the strength of his 14-5 record in the minors in 1974, but he never got the call in 10 minor league seasons.

What I thought about this card then: If it's an orange-yellow bordered rookie card then I never saw it.

What I think about this card now: Veintidos appears to be the happiest of the four, yet he didn't enjoy the success of the others. I guess you had to be cold and ruthless to succeed as a major league pitcher in 1975.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

John Denny, Cardinals: 1976 Topps
Rawly Eastwick, Reds: 1976 Topps
Jim Kern, Indians: 1977 Topps
Juan Veintidos, Twins: no solo card

Most successful career: Both Eastwick and Kern got off to quick success as relief pitchers, Eastwick becoming a force for the Big Red Machine in the '75 World Series, and Kern wowing Cleveland fans with his arm and quirky behavior. But each faded almost as quickly. I'm going with starter John Denny, who pitched 13 fairly consistent seasons and won the Cy Young for the National League champion Phillies in 1983.

Most awesome middle name: Jackson is not as awesome as Rawlins, but there's not much to go on here.

Other blog stuff: For those of you who spend all of your time in vintage cards and vintage only, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that there is a new set out this month that pays tribute to the 1975 Topps minis. Current and past players are featured on mini cards that are similar in size and look to the '75 minis. They are inserted randomly into packs of 2011 Topps Lineage.

Unfortunately, the backs do not feature the '75 backs we all know and love. And the cards are made from that same slick crap that has plagued the Topps base set for the last decade. But I appreciate the thought by Topps and am trying to collect as many as I can. I owe it to my 9-year-old self.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#620 - 1975 Rookie Catchers-Outfielders

Card fact: This is the first rookie card -- as rookie cards were known back in the '70s -- that I ever saw.

What I thought about this card then: I had the mini card, which was quite fortunate of me because it is Gary Carter's rookie card. But what I thought about the most was the fact that there were two Tigers on the bottom. That seemed unusual to me. It still does.

What I think about this card now: It's in semi-rough shape compared with most of the other cards I have from the set. I was probably trying to save cash by getting it on the cheap.

Also, Hill's cap is airbrushed.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Gary Carter, Expos: 1976 Topps (with the rookie cup!)
Marc Hill, Giants: 1976 Topps
Danny Meyer, Tigers: 1976 Topps
Leon Roberts, Tigers: 1976 Topps

Most successful career: Carter is a Hall of Famer. (EDIT: He died on Feb. 16, 2012 at age 57)

Most awesome middle name: Kauffman edges out Edmund.

Other blog stuff: It's been quite awhile since I've featured the mini card next to the regular card. This is as fine a time as any to resume that practice:

C'est bon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

#619 - 1975 Rookie Outfielders

Card fact: I'm quite certain that is an airbrushed White Sox cap atop Nyls Nyman's head. Tommy Smith's cap may or may not be airbrushed, too.

What I thought about this card then: No knowledge of it.

What I think about this card now: No future stars there, eh? Also, Topps must have struggled to find a shot of Jerry Turner. You don't see the absolute profile shot too often.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Benny Ayala, Mets: Not until 1980 Topps, with the Orioles.
Nyls Nyman, White Sox: 1976 Topps. His only one.
Tommy Smith, Indians: 1977 Topps. As an airbrushed Mariner. Also his only solo Topps card.
Jerry Turner, Padres: 1977 Topps

Most successful player: Turner and Ayala both played 10 seasons, with Turner playing in more than 300 more games than Ayala. Turner also has slightly better stats. Even though Ayala got into a few postseason games with the Orioles as one of Earl Weaver's platoon favorites, I'll give the edge to Turner.

Most awesome middle name: Nyls Nyman already has the best first name. Throw in Rex and Wallace as your middle names and it's no contest. Also, where did John Webber Turner get "Jerry"?

Other blog stuff: The pink-yellow border combination becomes the third border combo with 50 cards. It is just two off the overall lead with a few more rookie cards to go.

Friday, August 12, 2011

#618 - 1975 Rookie Pitchers

Card fact: Scott McGregor is featured as a Yankee on this card, but he never pitched in the majors for the Yankees. He was dealt to Baltimore before his big-league playing career began.

What I thought about this card then: No knowledge of it. It took me a long time to figure out that there were Dodgers on these 4-player rookie cards.

What I think about this card now: I think it'd be both cool and creepy if Topps arranged it so the players on these cards were staring directly at each other. You see that Easterly is attempting to do so, but Johnson will have none of it.

Also, both Easterly and Johnson were on future cards in which my brothers and I looked at the backs and said promptly, "holy crap, look at that ERA! He's not good!" Easterly, though pitched for 13 seasons.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Jamie Easterly, Braves: 1976 Topps
Tom Johnson, Twins: 1976 Topps
Scott McGregor, Yankees: 1978 Topps
Rick Rhoden, Dodgers, 1976 Topps

Most successful player: A slight edge to Rhoden over McGregor as Rhoden has a slim advantage in most career stats and pitched a few more years. Throw in Rhoden's golfing career, and his success skyrockets.

Most awesome middle name: McGregor should have insisted on at least ending his career with the Astros.

Other blog stuff: I apologize for skipping out on you the last few days. Usually I try to give some warning, but vacation departure came a lot quicker than originally planned. I should be back for awhile now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#617 - 1975 Rookie Infielders

Card fact: You never knew Reggie Sanders played for the Tigers, did you? But it's not that Reggie Sanders.

What I thought about this card then: Did not see it.

What I think about this card now: Manny Trillo is not wearing a live Cubs hat. It is most likely an airbrushed A's cap.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Mike Cubbage, Rangers: 1976 Topps
Doug DeCinces, Orioles: 1976 Topps
Reggie Sanders, Tigers: no solo card. His career lasted 26 games in 1974. He died in 2002.
Manny Trillo, Cubs: 1976 Topps

Most successful player: Toss-up between Doug DeCinces and Manny Trillo. DeCinces played 19 seasons in the majors and hit 237 home runs. Trillo played 17 seasons, was an All-Star for the Cubs and Phillies and had a great 1980 NLCS.

DeCinces was just in the news last week for a bit of ugliness.

Most awesome middle name: U.S.-born players are so boring. Have to go with Manuel Marcano.

Other blog stuff: On this date in 1975, actress Charlize Theron was born. The world would never be the same.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#616 - 1975 Rookie Outfielders

Card fact: The first pink-yellow rookie card also is one of the more coveted rookie cards in the entire 1975 set, as it's Jim Rice's rookie card.

What I thought about this card then: I vaguely recall seeing it. But not because of Jim Rice. I only recall the two guys on the top, Dave Augustine and Pepe Mangual.

What I think about this card now: This card wasn't terribly difficult to obtain. There is another rookie card coming up that was more of a chore finding.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo Topps card:

Dave Augustine, Pirates: Never had one.
Pepe Mangual, Expos: 1976 Topps
Jim Rice, Red Sox: 1976 Topps (with a rookie cup)
John Scott, Padres: 1978 Topps (his only one, as a member of the Blue Jays)

Most successful player: Rice is in the Hall of Fame.

Most awesome middle name: Jose "Pepe" Manuel Mangual seems like a mouthful. I'll go with that one.

Other blog stuff: Former Mets pitcher Victor Zambrano was born on this date in 1975. Remember him?

Friday, August 5, 2011

#615 - 1975 Rookie Pitchers

Card fact: We've got back-to-back "rookie pitchers" cards here. Unlike the previous one, I believe everyone is wearing a non-airbrushed cap.

What I thought about this card then: Never saw it.

What I think about this card now: Hank Webb looks like he's just spotted the team mascot that has always freaked him out.

Other stuff: Each player's first solo card:

Pat Darcy, Reds: 1976 Topps
Dennis Leonard, Royals: 1976 Topps
Tom Underwood, Phillies: 1976 Topps (with a rookie cup!)
Hank Webb, Mets: 1976 Topps (his only solo Topps card)

Most successful player: Dennis Leonard was a three-time 20-game winner who won three postseason games. Tom Underwood, who died in November 2010, pitched for 11 seasons.

Most awesome middle name: Gaylon Matthew proves that more is better. Also, how cool is it that two players on this card have "Patrick Leonard" in their name?

Other blog stuff: On this date in 1975, the first seven Phillies who come to bat in a game against the Cubs get a hit against starter Bill Bonham to set  a major league record. Mike Schmidt hit a home run to make it 5-0 and send Bonham to the showers. The next batter, Johnny Oates, proceeds to single for the eight straight hit. Pitcher Dick Ruthven's sacrifice bunt is the first out.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#614 - 1975 Rookie Pitchers

Card fact: Welcome to the rookie portion of the '75 Topps retrospective. Sometimes called "rookie stars," sometimes "rookie prospects," Topps took the understated route in 1975 and merely described the players by their respective position.

This was the period when Topps featured four rookies on one card, which is the format that I know and love best. Topps went with this format from 1974-1978. After (and before), Topps featured three or even two rookies per card.

What I thought about this card then: I never saw it. Topps used the orange-yellow border combination and the pink-yellow border combination for its rookie cards. But I only saw the pink-yellow combination when I was collecting in 1975.

What I think about this card now: That is a lineup of mediocrity right there.

Other stuff: For the rookie cards, I thought it'd be interesting to note what each player's first solo card was -- if they ever had a first solo card.

Jack Kucek, White Sox: 1977 Topps (his only solo card).
Dyar Miller, Orioles: 1976 Topps
Vern Ruhle, Tigers: 1976 Topps
Paul Siebert, Astros: no solo card, unless you want to include the late '80s Pacific Senior League set.

Most successful player: Vern Ruhle, who had cards every year from 1975 through 1987 and was later a longtime pitching coach. Unfortunately, he's also the only deceased player of the four.

Most awesome middle name: Dyar Miller has a "K," baseball scorekeeping shorthand for a strikeout, as his middle name, and he was a pitcher. That is fantastic.

Other blog stuff: As you can see, I'm mixing it up a little bit for the rookie cards. I'm not going into detail about the players, because that's really too much work. Hope you like it.