Thursday, October 15, 2020

#139 Tim McCarver

Top of the line of NL backstop in the mid to late 1960s until the intro of Johnny Bench…From 1963 to 1967 was probably the best “true” catchers in the circuit passing by an aging Del Crandall and Ed Bailey… Arguably Joe Torre hit better and got more All Star appearances than Tim but Joe often took the role of infielder….Caught the eye of the Cardinals organization at age 17 who signed him in 1959….spent first year pro ball mostly in low minors up the Mississippi River at Keokuk Iowa…his .360 BA earned him a late September call up….The nurturing Red Birds then assigned their young prospect to his hometown of Memphis to engage the AA Southern League competition….responded well to home cooking hitting a .347 clip a two game call up…Given his press billing the climb to AAA in 1961 was a step backward….rebounded enough the next year to get an opening day birth on the 1964 Cardinal team….Never looked back, establishing himself as a regular nearly instantly….hit .289, 14 points higher than his AAA BA….hit also better than ROY award winner Pete Rose…but McCarver was 11 at bats past the criteria putting McCarver ineligible for the award….1964 stats were a clone of the year before but Tim’s pinnacle was his .478 BA in the world series as the Cards defeated  the Yankees….Next two years McCarver maintains his yeoman work…led NL in triples 1966, surprising batting stat for a catcher….1967 registers personal highs home runs,  RBIs, and full season BA….McCarver finished second in MVP voting to teammate Orlando Cepeda…. did not reprise his 1964 WS production but Red Birds get their second crown in the 60’s…..1968 and 69 McCarver down shifts to solid journeyman… but the birds make it to the 1968 October classic and hits .333 but Cards were downed by the Tigers….McCarver’s decade long relationship with St Louis is sidetracked with a trade to the Phillies….spends two and a half years with floundering club….Phillies starting to clean house in mid 72 ship him to Expos who are marginally better….from this time on McCarver is frequently traded and evolves to job sharing platoon work with younger talent….1973 reunites with the Cardinals for a full season and part of 1974….acquired by the Red Sox who use him sparingly….McCarver viewed his release by the Sox as the end of his playing days….A well liked and known personality returns to Philly looking for a broadcasting opening….pressed into service to provide veteran leadership for the up and coming Phillies….proceeds to stay for all or a portion of 6 seasons...became Steve Carlton’s requested backstop….added three playoff appearances….Once playing days were over Tim then sidesteps to a highly successful broadcast booth career which exceeded his time as a player….Retired from the booth in 2013…during playing days listed dancing and collecting matchbooks as his hobbies.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Back with #140 Pat Dobson

A prospect raised of the pitching rich 60's, beneficiary of expansion in the 70's...not immediate success but in the same vain as peers Mike Marshall and Dick Drago, …Never seemed to get a lot of love for his efforts....began by toiling in the Detroit farm systems circa 1960....roughed up at first...started to make in roads around 1965 making forward progress to higher tiers....Was able to crack the Tiger staff in a mixed reliever/starter role in 1067...pitched in 3 1968 World Series all in losing efforts; but the Tigers prevailed with the championship....Spends one more year in Tiger town but is shipped to the Padres for the 1970....Becomes the pitching leader for the sophomore team taking 14 victories in win starved team and broke free of his swing man label....Despite this effort, dealt to Orioles in six player deal....With the trade, joins a top flight offense, pitching, and defense... As a result he joins incumbents Mike Cuellar, Jim Palmer, and Dave McNally in a 20 win club...a feat that most likely will not be repeated again....Since the Orange Birds were reigning World Champs as case of the rich got richer and poor get unfulfilling prospects....Despite his 20 wins, gets little love in his time with the O's....sits out ALCS and has only one World Series start in 1971....1972 improves his effectiveness with personal bests in ERA and WHIPs....a team offensive slowdown resulted in a 16 wins and 18 losses....recognized by the league with a spot on the all star team, his only time named....Nevertheless Baltimore sends Pat to Atlanta....A direct flop with the 1973 Braves....Traded back to the AL East mid season...this time latching on to the Yankees and Dobson rebounds.....gets 9 wins in the second half of 1973 and racks up 19 victories in 1974....sticks around until 1976 when he was traded to his fourth AL East team, the Cleveland Indians....once again he put together another 16 win campaign....Comeback is short lived however for 1977 performance falls off dramatically....end result 3-12 record....released in April 1978...moved on to coaching at the minor and major league level....Passed from leukemia in 2006....known to be very funny to his contemporaries despite appearing often serious and humorless in early pictures....could have been an excellent broadcaster. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Well I guess that’s it.....Figuratively I’ve reached the Elbe River where I’ve  met up with the individual who started the blog on the Topps 1972 card set starting from cards #1 to #140....Some people brought up if would I go on to complete the set...I could look into it but I think to go on I’d just be reporting what has already been written....But let me what you think in comments....the opinions of a reading audience (real people not those robots that drop in a weird comment) of what else can be done with this or something else….It's been a nice ride 559 entries and at least one computer....Good night and glad I made it.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

#141 Mets Rookie Stars

Seedlings:  Buzz Capra, Leroy Stanton, Jon Matlack….Each of these prospective Mets left marks on 70’s baseball....Only one would make that mark with the Metropolitans franchise....Starting up;  AKA Buzz;  real name Lee William Capra....came off a 13-3 W-L and 2.19 ERA AAA campaign to gain a September call up....3 outings; first two contests five inning scoreless, 3rd came into the 10th inning of a close 1-1 pitcher duel....proceeded to  give up 5 earned runs throwing ERA to in 1972 and 73, Buzz takes on more work but with little result, being demoted to minor in both years....excluded from playing in the NY Mets WS series run....sold to Braves for 74.....Started out as middle or late relief....Pressed as a starter on May 11 Buzz goes on a tear buzzing through NL lineups....finishes season on 16-6 run and NL ERA leader...picking quickly up on the Capra buzz, he is named to the All Star Team....The MoJo never returns, a massive fail due to arm problems circa 1975, appeared in only 12 games, 4 wins 7 defeats surrendering 2 more runs a game....1976 even worse sat out most of year making it to only 5 games and at a surrender rate near a run per inning....Capra is able to compete in 1977 and for a brief time regains the title of starter....shows flashes of his old self but ultimately defaults on his bid to escape one season wonder status....subsequently took several coaching and managing resides in Elgin....Leroy Stanton....another prospect with impressive AAA stats...included in the Nolan Ryan trade a debacle for the Mets....While never leaves the journeyman label, middle of the road standing,  his  insertion in the deal added insult to injury....As an Angel delivers some pop to chronically offensively challenged squads from 1972 to 1976.....highlight is leading the Halos in RBIs during 1975....his 82 runs driven in was 26 better than his peers....low point was inconsistency  for in the following year Stanton fails to hit above .190 along with a measly 2 homers, bringing in 25 runs.....Jettisoned to the 1977 expansion draft;  taken in the 40th round by the Seattle Mariners....responds with his pinnacle effort;  27 homers, 90 driven in and solid  .275 BA.....helps the franchise escape the routine 100 loss first year expectation of the time.....1978 turned to be a reprise of  1976 debacle ....BA free fell to .182 and  home run total age 32 not worth the risk for another comeback....overcame very humble beginnings to play in 829 MLB games.....Jon Matlack  prospect paying out in NY.....consistent in a Mets excellent compliment to Tom Seaver or Jerry Koosman or altogether....NL Rookie of the Year ....won 15 and while Seaver was a 21 game winner Matlack had better ERA and one more shutout....surrendered  the 3,000th and last hit to Roberto Clemente....Matlack took more losses than wins in 1973 but continues to be a cog in effective quartet of Seaver, Koosman, and George Stone....spearheaded the playoff run to WS....heroic in  a losing cause, Mets going silent.....Next three Matlack continue solid yet unappreciated work with 13, 16, and 17 wins....stumbles along with the Mets in 1977,  Matlack losing twice as many wins....Traded to Texas as Mets clean house...Responds with formidable 15-13 record and personal best ERA 2.27....Matlack never reaches those heights over next 5 campaigns.....lost a good chunk of 1979 to arm surgery,  10 win .500 year 1981 was member of player’s union negotiating committee during the strike....effected his performance and felt his role was a reprisal that shunned future work....released 1983 falling one game short of a .500 record going 125-126....given his very strong years a testimony that win loss is not the only measure of pitching quality.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

#142 Chris Chambliss

What does the 1970 AAA Rookie of the Year do in his next season? the 1971 AL rookie of the year....debuted with no prior MLB experience and only a single year and month at AAA Witchta....Would have been called up but had military commitments....Highly touted but a godsend and bright spot for the struggling team....Replaced a rapidly aging Ken Harrelson at first detouring his outfielder training....became a Cleveland fixture for two more seasons....strangely after a great start in 1974 Chris and tribe parted ways, transforming into a  NY Yankee...Chambliss’ bat cooled considerably  in his first Yankee year but appeared to have settled in with new experiences, namely winning, nationwide exposure, and watching other engrossed in controversy...Chambliss regains his batting stroke and exceeds his Cleveland output....gained more power....apex of which was 1976, his best year....hit 17 over the fence in the regular season....then became unstoppable in ALCS  topping off with series ending walk off homer....set an iconic visual; seemingly swimming upstream from the frenzied Yankee faithful who had stormed the field to touch home base....Chris’ steadiness made him a favorite of Billy Martin...Chambliss continues his steady consistency over 1977-79, acquiring two WS rings in tow...the latter year being tarnished with the death of Thurman Munson....Chambliss was the linchpin of trade to Toronto for young backstop Rick Cerone....Chris never appeared in a  Blue Jay uniform, quickly flipped to the Atlanta Braves....on the surface it appeared to be a return to the NL answer to Cleveland, but the Braves were buoyed by draft picks, Ted Turner’s deep pocket, and the first coming of skipper Bobby Cox....after a couple of season of near .500 ball efforts were rewarded with his last postseason appearance in 1982....Chambliss sticks around as regular in 83, yielded playing time for 84, dropping  to limited use reserve for 1985 and 1986 effectively the end....returned to Yankees as moment of short handedness in 1988, signed a three day contract to take his last at bat as a Yankee....fittingly.

Friday, January 25, 2019

#143 Garry Jestadt

Padres utility infielder...expansionist on the roster of both Expos and Padres in the first three years of their existence....1968 taken off the Cubs roster in the 43rd round by Montreal Expos in the expansion draft....mostly confined to the minor was able to sneak in 6 at bats in Montreal....reacquired by the Cubs early on in 1970.....spent all of the year in the minors....made the Cubs roster for 1971....little used and sent to AAA....swapped to SD for catcher Chris Cannazaro..... stayed with Padres for rest of year....little power and started very slow.....gathered speed towards the end of the year hitting incredibly good figure for team that hit .233 as a collective.... made the most of 189 at bats hitting 13 doubles and RBIs....4 doubles and one RBI better than Enzo Hernandez who had three times as many at bats...Jestadt couldn’t quite follow up in 1972...stayed with club all year batting .244 with 6 home runs 22 RBIs.....lost his spot on the Friars roster....played minor and Japanese league baseball thereafter.

Monday, January 21, 2019

#144 Marty Pattin

Leading game winner for the first two years of the Milwaukee Brewers....traded to Boston for 1972 in nine player deal....responded with a career high 17 beginnings started with Angels organization....was able to split evenly a total of 8 decisions in 1968 as a reliever....picked in expansion by Seattle, a case of the new franchise taking a player who had AAA history in the city....turned him into a starter....after a fast start  had so-so going in the Pilot’s only year with a 7-12 record and +5 ERA....followed the franchise east to Milwaukee and yielded two less runs per game and win figure doubled....continued success with Boston going 17-13 for 1972 and 15-15 in 1973....signature was his high leg kick delivery....traded to Kansas City for 1974....while he had spent 5 years prior as a starter, fails to establish one singular role in best 2.46 ERA in 9176 was offset by 8-14 able to win ten games twice however....finishes his career in KC  until to the 1980 season....last appearance was in 1980 World Series....turned to coaching/managing primarily for Kansas University.....born, raised, schooled (bachelor's and master's s degrees from Eastern Illinois University) and passed away in Charleston, Illinois, while visiting friends in October 2018