Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#521 Alan Foster

Carved out a modest career spanning 10 seasons....Five  team starting out with the outposts in the  Dodgers farm system....Called to LA for cups of coffee 1967and 1968.... made more permanent residence in 1969 moving up to 3rd starter status in 1970....After materializing 10 wins with his colleagues in Chavez Ravine in 1970 , was traded to Cleveland...So so by Lake Erie with a 8-12 record in 1971....Alan’s 1972 journey to California resulted in banishment to minors aside from 12 innings of work....Purchased on lark by Cardinals and responded with far and away best season at 13-9 and 200 innings....Did not repeat performance in 1974 with 7-10 record....traded to Padres as part of a veteran movement....floundering with 6 wins in two years in abbreviated action....claim to fame: could be the worst airbrush job of the entire 1972 set.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#522 Los Angeles Dodgers Team Card

The storied franchise....the team of dominant legends know by one moniker: #42, Vance, the Duke, PeeWee, Drysdale, Koufax, Garvey, and most recently Kershaw,....A team mythic only next to Yankees....Beginning in Brooklyn 1884....team had various monikers until 1931 when the Dodger name stuck....place of residence: 1913-1957 Ebbets Field....Legendary but nestled in a residential neighborhood with limited seating and poor parking....On the field the bums were typically very good but were snake bit come World Series time...spell was broken in 1955 with a victory over the Yankees....1958 negotiations new stadium fell through and with the promise of prime land and a new stadium and market, the team traveled west to Los Angeles....Convinced the NY Giants to follow suit to San Francisco...subsequently the 5 other World Championships....First championship was in 1959 was a cooperative effort with no one dominant player....the next two were carried on the left arm of Sandy Koufax in the years 1963 an d 1965...After Koufax's departure the team had to rebuild....The team was able to return to the World Series in 1974, 1977 and 1978 but came up short in all three....1981 were able to use strike shortened year and extract revenge against NYY....most recent  WS win was in 1988 topping the A's payback for 1974 loss....Only Duke Snider  home run record has been broken, three times and Shaun Green holds the top spot with 49....the only pitching record broken, as typical of most franchises,  is total games for Mike Marshall still holds the top spot with 104 set not so recently in 1974.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#523 Chuck Dobson

Hometown product born in Kansas City and attended U of Kansas was signed by Athletics in their KC days 1965....From 1965 to 1966 jumped from minors to majors despite less than great 0-6 record in AA ball...used sparingly at first, gradually collected the sequence of 4, 10, and 12 wins in space of 1966-68....prime years were 1969-1971 when Chuck garnered 15, 16, and 15 wins for Oakland....Could had more wins in 1971 but did play until May....Bottom dropped out in 1972 when he had arm surgery in off season...only action seen in 1972 was an 0-3 record in AA (what’s with this a total AA record of 0-9  for a guy who won 72 games in the bigs?)....continued in minors 1973 and pitched one last game for the Atlethics....released before 1974 and eventually was picked up by California....compiled a 2-5 record in two partial seasons in Anaheim.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

#524 Reds Rookie Stars

Two players both very short careers...one would not make front page news for another three years....

Ed Armbrister....short, unremarkable career if wasn’t for one incident in 1975....Was batting in 1975 World Series hit a bunt  to advance runner, hesitates to go to first, Ed and catcher Carlton Fisk converge, once Fisk gets the ball over throws to second base winning the game for the Red....Incident is controversial to this day and the Red Sox of title for many years....Played sparingly for two years mostly as a defensive replacement.....245 Ba in 265 AB for a career....Ed is from Nassau, Bahamas, a place with a surprising poor baseball lineage unlike the nearby Dominican Republic....

Mel Behney...already one season past his final MLB game...career with Reds occurred in 1970 and ranged from debut game on August 14th to Sept 20th....went 0-2 with 4.50 ERA...played in minors up to the 1973 season.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#525 Carlos May

Younger brother of Lee May....but played in a different manner....more speed and line drives....a fixture in either the White Sox outfield or first base....most famous for being able to play effectively despite losing part of a thumb while in military service during his rookie year...Incident occurred in later 1969....that season infused a then traditionally hitting challenged team with a .281 BA and 18 home runs....from then on hit better for average in each season pinnacling in 1972 with .308....1973 BA dropped somewhat  but had career bests in home runs (20) and RBI (96)..... numbers became more pedestrian in subsequent seasons.....after poor start in 1976, exiled to Yankees where he was a semi regular as he brought his BA up to above lifetime average....could not repeat in 1977 as he served as a reserve....in 1978 took his bat to Japan were he feasted on pitching for 3 seasons.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

#526 Bob Bailey

Journeyman 3rd baseman who put up solid yet unspectacular numbers....best years came about with expansion Expos.... Started in the early 60’s with Pittsburgh working his way to regular status and improving BA....hit .257 with the Bucs.... to Dodgers as the team was retooling after Koufax...Bob had strangely identical seasons 1967-68 hitting .227 in 322 ABs....experiment was failure for both LA and Pitt...When purchased to the Expos Bob squeezed in 85 games at 1st base after Don Clendenon vacated...for next couple of years was a positional vagabond.....splitting outfield and customary third base....Best season 1970 was an efficient effort and his OPS was one of best in league (but had too few at bats to be in top rankings)....thereafter had  years of 14, 16, 24, and 20 home runs....lost playing time starting in 1975....finished career as a reserve with Reds and Red Sox for three years...still showed pop in Cincinnati hitting .298 with 6 home runs in 124 At Bats for 1976 but did not play in the Reds post season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#527 Dave Leonhard

A part timer...the occasional fifth starter....pitched well in first two seasons but never got enough starts to rack up major numbers....could be called a poor man’s Jim Palmer...  very impressive minor league journey including a 20 win season in AA, a feat unheard of in today’s game....after 1969 his career encountered considerable struggles...spent entire 1970 with the Birds but was not effective..... Spent a portion of 1971 in the minors and once up was able to bounce back with a ERA 2.80 but forgotten the milieu of 20 game winners that was the bird hill aces of 1971....1972 was similar to 1970 in he stayed for the full season but used very little....it was also his last season....was able to break free from Baltimore and try his luck with other team but spent three more years in minors without a return to the majors.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

#528 Ron Stone

This Phillie had some press billing as “promising” but career turned out to be less than noteworthy....spent time in Orioles chain...did have a cup of coffee with KC A’s in 1966 and returned to Baltimore...traded to Philly for Clay Dalrymple....power for power....best output was hitting .262 in 1970.....was known to play  a handful of games at first base....MLB work ended with .167 BA in 1972....Oh hell, Jim from Downingtown writes Ron up much better..... http://1970topps.blogspot.com/2012/10/ron-stone-218.html

Thursday, December 3, 2015

#529 Dave Nelson

Line drive hitting speeder pressed into service at 3rd base, as the Senator franchise traded away traditional third basemen Ken McMullen and Aurelio Rodriguez...was more accustomed to playing 2nd base....which he did when he broke in 1968 in Cleveland as light hitting backup...for the two subsequent years had trouble hitting with both Indian and Senator clubs....started 1971 in AAA Denver but called up as newcomers Don Wert and Joe Foy were flops in DC….Was the Rangers regular in 1972 and unleashed speed stealing 51 bases….Deficit was hitting .2296….Returned to his natural 2nd base in 1973 and responded with a career season .286 BA and all star berth….BA plunged by 50 points in 1974….injuries limited playing in 1975….traded to Royals for Nelson Briles…little used back up finishing his playing in 1977….continue in baseball with multiple roles and teams most recently pregame commentator for Milwaukee Brewer telecasts.

Monday, November 30, 2015

#530 Don Sutton

Entering 7th season as a future Hall of Fame pitcher...after 1972 would play 15 more campaigns... winning  11 games or more in 13 one them...the sequence of wins after this card came out was 19, 18,19,16, 21,14,15, 12, 13 while being a post-Koufax icon of Dodger blue (1966-1979)....broke in during Sandy K’s last year of 1966....had consecutive losing seasons (1967-69) as his LA retooled....took his trade to Houston for 1 ¾ solid seasons; pitched solidly...trade in late 1982 sparked Brewer’s surge to their only WS berth... still considered a force to reckoned in years 1983-1985with despite service with second division teams...trade to Angels late 1985 returned him to playoff contention....made last league championship playoff appearance, a venue he did well at in both AL and NL....made short return to Dodgers in 1988....played last game August 9th in 6-0 losing effort.... trademarks were longevity, durability and control.......total line was formidable,  23 seasons, 756 starts, 325 wins, 3574 strikeouts, career ERA of 3.25...well done.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#531 Fred Patek

The sparkplug player held most accountable as KC’s surprised  the baseball world by going from fourth in the AL West during 1970 to second place 1971... Acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh had career year by leading the AL in triples and a personal best .267 BA....subsequent seasons did not hit as well but his fielding and speed (top ten stolen bases 8 years in a row) was his value....took free agency after 1978 but playing time diminished as an Angel... out of majors after 1980.....biggest claim to fame was the smallest player @ 5’5” in majors at the time.... 3 time All Star.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#532 Fred Kendall

Played for San Diego for 10 of the franchise’s first 12 years....first two years were in the team’s equally fledgling farm system...worked his way up from being a call up to regular in team’s first five year...hit his pinnacle in 1973 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI’s, and .282 BA....all career bests....followed up with a 8 HRs and 45 RBIs 1974....1975 was a lost year with no home runs and .199 BA....despite a modest come back in 1976 took his tools of ignorance to the AL for two years one in Cleveland then Boston... returned to Padres for two more season ending in 1980.... More successful was son Jason Kendall,  who was a 3 time all star at catcher.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#533 Ralph Houk

Forever melded with the Yankees and the Mantle/Maris/Berra/Ford years....Won back to back WS in first two years 1961-62...One more year in World Series and promoted to GM....with a down turn of Yankees fortunes returned to dugout early 1966....not the same as before the team collectively hovered around .500 in his tenure lasting until 1973...1972 squad was a few percentage points better the 1971 team....Over saw a huge improvement in bullpen....After the Yankees, took over an aging Tiger team in 1974....had a losing record in Detroit but was able to win season in last season....after a short retirement managed for the Red Sox 1981-1985....3150 games managed-88 games over .500...as a player was a little used back up catcher for the Yankees.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#534 Jim Hickman

Average outfielder with one exceptional year...1970:  31 home runs 115 RBI, .315 BA....beginnings went back to 1956 when he was signed up by Cardinals as a free agent....climbed his way up the system....was picked in the NY Mets in 36th round of expansion draft based on excellent 1960 season in the Texas league...Was the first Met Centerfielder ever....OK year hitting .245 for the pitching poor Mets... held the regular CF spot for four more years....injuries cut into playing time in 1966...A 1967 trade to the Dodgers had disastrous results....thrown in as part of trade to the Cubs...after a stint with 2 AAA plus the big club in 1968, started to reawaken in 1969 with 21 HRs....had the memorable hit that drove in Pete Rose in 70 all star game...had two more above average seasons....playing time waned with age and retired mid 1974....career national leaguer.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#536 Doug Rader

Distinctive red hair...steady, above average 3rd baseman for the Astros franchise...excellent  fielder taking five consecutive gold glove awards  equaling Ron Santo’s string at the time....bat showed good pop hitting 20+ HRs three times mostly in a difficult park...usually placed 2-3rd in Astros home runs for a season....moved on to the Padres for 1976 as part of their veteran movement....sold to the first year Toronto mid season...finished final season 14 home runs started to get into managing in 1980....Started his skipper career with San Diego’s AAA affiliate Hawaii....three winning seasons later, entered into Texas Rangers dugout for 1983....dismissed early in 1986 season...next big chance was with Angels in 1989...won 91 games....next season and a half  team hovered barely at .500...not good enough for Gene Autry and was replaced by Buck Rogers in 1991.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

#535 Ed Brinkman

Long time Senator shortstop mainstay...traded to Tigers for 1971 season ending a long time tenure as Washington’s shortstop...trade boosted the Tigers veteran crew for a few more years and destroyed the Senators...Brinkman while not huge improvement at the bat from incumbent César Gutiérrez he did bring a good glove, stability, and just a bit more power thanks to Detroit’s short fences....thought of so highly finished 9th in MVP voting despite hitting .203 in 1972... did play in every (new) Senator season becoming a regular after his and their first season...struggled at the plate for many years never hitting above .230...a reformation came in the form of manager Ted Williams in 1969....for next two seasons hit .264 mark greatly above his career BA at the time...Had a career power surge with 14 dingers in his last full season 1974....shuffled about  with three teams in 1975...passed away in 2008....along with Chuck Brinkman first active playing brothers depicted in this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

#537 Bob Locker

a pure fireman never started a game.... started up with the White Sox in 1965...after a season middle relief took over closer role...far and away career season was 1967 when he lead AL 77 appearances...had 20 saves and 2.09 ERA....after a serviceable follow up in 1968, had a poor start in 1969 and wound up in Seattle where he regained effectiveness...traded to Oakland in 1970 as the club was becoming a contender....a  cog in exceptionally effective Oakland A’s bullpen by committee...certainly not as notable as Fingers or Knowles but chipped in...went 13-3 in 1971-72....Surprisingly did not play a strong role in playoff run of 1972....traded to Cubs for 1973 where he once re-established himself as a closer...success was short lived, did not play in 1974 and had a failed comeback in 1975.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

#538 Charlie Sands

Typical story of many rule 5 draftees...up the entire 1971 (by rules) with the Pirates...used sparingly 28 games, 25 at bats, 5 hits, .200 BA....his number of hits equaled RBIs, a rarity...Charlie started in Baltimore and then NYY farm system...had trouble getting regular work even in minors at that time....In 1973 briefly traded to Detroit (1 AB in AAA) and then Angels....Had best professional season hitting .301 in AAA with 22 home runs....capped off season by hitting .273 in 33 at bats for the parent club....stayed with Angel 1974 entire year hitting .193....last two seasons were with Oakland system and had a brief appearance with big club (like many other veterans of the time)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#539 Terry Forster

Let’s get it out of the open and state the quote from the glib David Letterman...”Fat tub of goo” when in later phase of his career when Terry weighed in at 270 pounds...at the time of 1972 card he was 20 years of age and a trim(er) 210 lbs....Like a lesser Rich Gossage both were a product of the White Sox’s successful overhaul of their pitching staff headed by coach Johnny Sain...OK rookie season of 1971 give his age....Shined in 1972 as the pitching staff made further gains....had 29 saves and was named to all star team....the following years were a mixed bag tarnished by injuries (1975, 1979-81) and  two failed ventures to a starting role (1973, 1976)....1978 was a standout 22 saves, 1.93 ERA closing out a very strong Dodger starting staff...Terry’s years in Atlanta 1983-86 represented his best effort for any team; a 2.29 ERA in 127 games...finished off career with California Angels 1987....exceptionally good hitter, unusual for a relief pitcher, with .397 BA the all time best mark for a player over 50 At Bats....ever.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

#540 Felix Millan

One of NL’s best in his position at the time….choked up so far on the bat it was a miracle he hit any home runs…hit 22 home runs in 5700+ AB....benefit was excellent bat control  and taking the #1 spot on strikeout to AB ratio...Resume:  Atlanta Braves 1966-1972;  New York Mets 1973-1977....Was a starter starting 1968-1976....consistent hitter with a BA ranging from .257 to .310 those years...also racked up being named to 3 consecutive all star games 1969 to 1971 laced with two Gold Gloves 1969 to 1972...hit very well in two NLCS playoffs not so well in his only in his World Series appearance....like his successor in Atlanta Dave Johnson, played a couple of years in Japan after his MLB days were over.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#541 Roger Repoz

A slugging outfielder 1st baseman who could not hit for average enough to go beyond benchplayer….broken in with NYY just as their fortunes began to wane into second division….despite a fast start in 1966 was traded to Kansas City A’s and then California an inconsistent also ran…another second division club…. found greater status, stats, and compensation playing in Japan….not a fast runner but somehow set a MLB record for most at bats without hitting into a double play….going from 1967 to 1970…1970 was also memorable because he hit a career high 18 home runs good for second on the Angels squad….hit .199 in last full season 1971 but had one of the league’s most impressive sideburns.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

#542 Jack Billingham

Early on was a shuffled vagabond due to unusual circumstances but found a home in the Big Red Machine….product of pitching rich Dodger organization of the later 1960’s….impressive limited rookie season of 1968, appeared in 50 games, 2.16 ERA a career best…despite this offered up in expansion draft…taken by Montreal…never played for them….offered as alternative compensation when Don Clendenon refused to report to Astros….built up resume in Houston despite losing record….had better ERA in Texas than in his glory days with the Reds….Twin 19 win seasons for the Reds represented the pinnacle of career….lead NL in innings, shutouts,  plus gained an all star berth in 1973…added two more  15 win seasons, one with Reds another an late career excursion  to Detroit…. Hung up spikes in 1980….Career ERA did not indicate Superstardom but he was so very, very, good in consistency and endurance….career record of 145-113.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#543 Duane Josephson

A career abruptly ended…. Heart condition, specifically pericarditis, an inflammation of the membranes that surround the heart, and it had not only truncated his 1972 season but forced him to retire from the Red Sox and the game….A native Iowan the only non pitcher to make the bigs from Northern Iowa University…there he was a teammate of Oriole Eddie Watt…Drafted and crawled up the White Sox organization…two late season call up and after one season on the bench became a regular in 1968….named to AL all star squad that year…hit .247 which was “good” for that year….after a year of diminished playing time to Ed Hermann, Duane turned in a sparkling .316 average in 1970….He and Hermann combined for 23 home runs, 93 RBI’s, and .299 BA….This one of lone bright spots of White Sox worst year to date….With catching a relative strength, Duane was traded to the rouge hose….Hit a personal best 10 home runs as the #1 catcher….Was contesting that position with Carlton Fisk in 1972 when the forced retirement was announced….Duane returned to Iowa and lived for another 24 years before succumbing to his condition.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#544 Ted Martinez

Ted, short for Theodoro….light hitting, reserve infielder who stayed in majors for a surprisingly long time….best  body of work was with at the end of his career in LA (1977-79) after an exile in the minors during 1976….hit .280 in Dodger blue….started as a Met….fall call up in 1970 after hitting .306 in AAA…started 1971 in minors but was called up to stay in early July….hit .288 for the New Yorkers….Remained in near regular status 1972-74…had career high 43 RBI’s but the .219 BA in 334 in last season did him in as a Met…had a poor start after being traded to Cardinals in 1975….acquired by Oakland in their typical Kelly Girl round up for playoff run….Released and picked up by the Reds (see 1976 reference above)….Pick up by LA in rule 5 draft….finished American baseball career in AAA Albuquerque…played 3 season Mexican Leagues…nearly all his cards with a write up use the word versatile.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#545 Wayne Granger

Tall and lanky, at 6’2” and 165 pounds….The previously St. Louis farmhand was once the all time record holder for games played in season by a pitcher….set the mark of 90 games in 1969 as a Cincinnati Red….held record for 4 years….then along came Mike Marshall who continues to hold the record for over 40 years….Under Sparky Anderson was more a pure closer in 1970 holding the top honors for saves for two years running….In 1971 ERA rose and saves dropped by two thirds….still had league best mark with 70 appearences….Traded to Minnesota….did OK garnering 19 saves but stayed only one season….his trade back to St Louis his career never materialized into a comeback to his Reds performance…pitched OK but unspectacularly for NYY, ChiSox, Houston, and Montreal in years 1973-76…made a brief resurface in AAA level Inter-American League along with several ex MLB players.