Judging by the picture; oh, happy man....veteran entering his last big league season....came out of the Twins organization a decade earlier....never really got an established role but did pitch well at times....had a nice albeit short stint in 1963with 4-1 record, 2.57 ERA....could not follow up in 1964....demoted to AAA as Twins went to World Series 1965....comeback a long struggle....got in 35 inning 1967 for Twins, 61 in ’68 in full season...sold to Oakland next season...responded by having best campaign going 5-1 with 2.19 ERA....next two season held his own but workload was halved as the A’s bullpen developed...could not get untracked in 1972, a drifter for 3 teams, A’s, Yankees, and Texas....released thereafter with no comeback attempt....passed away in 2010.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
By the time this card came out Gil had passed away from a heart attack on April 2 1972 before the strike delayed season started...he was age 47....This sad event adds an eerie feeling to his picture....legendary player and manager but not in Hall of Fame....hit 370 home runs as a player mostly as a Brooklyn Dodger...rung up a string of 7 consecutive season of 100 RBI’s or more....hit over .290 in 4 out of 7 World Series but also went 0-21 in one too....excellent offensive player but never led league in any major category...many time all star, gold glover, and highly regarded man of outstanding character....went west with the Dodgers but his game was eroding...returned to NY as a player with the infant Mets 1962....started the 1963 but quit the club to manage Washington Senators...came back to NY again to manage Mets for 1968....hampered by team BA of .227 team captured only 73 win....1969: made history....not just happy with an amazing 27 game improvement, a sweep of the first NL League Championship followed....crowning achievement was overturning the heavily favored Orioles in the World Series...following two seasons had a winning records but ultimately let downs as the Mets failed to make the post season.....Yogi Berra took over in his place for 1972.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Longtime Astro reserve outfielder....From 1970 to 1971 was relegated from 4th outfielder to 5th or 6th.....closest to regular status: 1969 garnering 409 at bats, hitting .264, 50 RBIs ....decent but unspectacular....slumped the next year to .239...lost playing time thereafter....finished career in Atlanta in a very sparse role 1973-74.....blue collar player, hustling type who wanted to play...play semi-pro baseball at age 14....was a good football player in Van Nuys high school
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Enjoyed two seasons of prominence in the Big Apple....1971 and 1972 won 12 and 16 games respectively for Ying Yangs (a less than complimentary adolescent term for the Yankees)....Drafted in 1966 by NYY.....climbed up the organization’s chain....pressed into the NYY starting rotation on the heal of an impressive 8-2 record at Syracuse....decent account for himself with a 6-6 record with big club...most impressive of his 1971 season was 15 complete games....the year the Yankees did not have a bullpen...Arm troubles developed in 1973 and immediately lost effectiveness...fell to 4-7 record... a moderately good start early 1974 prompted Yankees to trade him to Indians where his ERA soared....Took 1975 off to recover...started a AAA comeback in 1976 in Toledo...was able to briefly re-surface for a month with the Atlanta Braves in 1977 earning his only career save.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Maybe one of the most ultimate AAA+ player in the post expansion age...way too good to be in minors not good enough for majors on a consistent basis...In 1971 flopped early in a Washington Senators uniform prior to AAA Denver demotion...took his frustrations out on opposing pitchers by hitting 25 home runs, 108 RBIs and .388 in only 374 at bats....possibly the success rubbed off to his most accomplished MLB season 1972...acquired by Kansas City he led the AL in batting for the first half of the year....made the All Star team....cooled down as year wound down but finished hitting .300 ....Rewarded by being traded to Reds....Steal for Royals getting Hal McRea....Started career by tearing up other minor leagues only to have call ups by Cleveland Indians and said chance with Senators met with failure.......Started slowly with Reds in 1973, which prompted a trade to Angels....game picked up and salvaged his season with a .307 BA...not so fortunate in 1974 struggled all season with 3 team complied BA of .174 and 4 RBIs....spent next two years in Japan.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Winner of the Fred Gladding I can’t hit award”...or is it the other way around and Fred won the “Ron Herbel I can’t hit award”...either way career .029 BA....long time west coast reliever (Giants, Padres) who finished his time on the East Coast (Mets, Braves).... Started out in Giants organization, getting work in a mix of starting and relieving role regular gig circa 1964.....21 wins in first two years....gradually assigned to the bullpen duties and four non-descript seasons...very few saves, averaging less than one a year for six years....changing teams to Padres trade resulted in the relief of 64 games in SD plus 12 for New York Mets for an NL leading 76...Saves total was 9 SD/1 NYM....Upside his NYM 1.38 ERA represents his best work as a pro: Downside 4.95 ERA with Padres was more indicative of arsonist than fireman.... 1971 season with the Braves had his customary one save and a less than impressive 5.23 ERA.... did not reappear in majors after 1971 but tried to catch on with Minnesota Twins finishing with their Tacoma AAA club during 1972....passed away in 2000
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Career in one word: Collison....At the 1970 All Star break Ray seemed to be on a trajectory for 30+ home run....then the bowl over by Pete Rose.....the persistent question, did it ruin his career...at the time of this card not apparently since he returned to the All Star game and had a fair .276.....so but the power never came back ....nevertheless an uneven career because various injuries....production dropped in the next two seasons to a lesser .248 playing for both the Tribe and then Oakland...did earn raves for handling of pitchers....this skill was greatly needed to justify work as Ray’s BA plunged to .173 in 74-75....In 1976, Ray was sold back to Cleveland then traded to Mariners... experienced a nice rebound with a .276 average in part time work...Injuries cancelled the 1978 and 1979 comebback attempt with Brewer didn’t take....Only big league player from Marion IL....has a park named after him...Oddly enough Pete spent some time there too.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Bee bee...a 1970 high draft pick pressed into service with big club within a year...part of a plethora of candidates to replace the traded Luis Aparicio...1971 started in starting role...hitting declined to .231 and was sent to minor for a few games....got called back up in Sept but hitting remained the same.....In many ways he was overwhelmed....was caught stealing more than stolen bases...dubiously led the AL shortstops in errors despite playing only 87 games...never really got the chance he had in 1971 again...spent most of career in minors getting call up from Chicago in 1972, 1974, and 1975....traded to St. Louis in 1976....much of the same...hit .176 in 91 at bats...released but continued a few years in the minors....hit very nicely, .300 for AAA Iowa in 1977, in younger days would have brought more notoriety for a big club.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Maybe George Lucas' favorite player....Just add “Sky” before his last name well you know the rest....Long and lanky lefthander...kind of a quiet, non-descript career, mostly with the Pirates....one very good season 1970 then a gradual decline....was the top man on the staff with 15 wins but was not a starter at beginning and end of year... got hot in September vaulting the team to be NL East champs....first made club in 1968....mixed bag winless but a 2.03 ERA....after two seasons was 4-10....took over starter role for 1971 but a diminished return at 10-8....hampered by a mid season injury which cost a month of action....lessened role for 1972 output 4-6 record....last season in Pittsburgh went 7-12 with sizeable ERA increase....1974: landed in Detroit....comeback never materialized at 5-5, 4.95 ERA....beset with health problems early in career including an emergency appendectomy.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
A highly versatile reserve who played on mostly winning teams....Italian heritage from Memphis TN....went to same high school as Tim McCraver.....Both signed by the Cardinals organization....funny line by Phil; “we were the gold dust twins, Tim got the gold, I got the dust”....a prototypical light hitter only had one shot for near regular work in 1965...tapped for 3rd base, but was passed in favor of converted outfielder Mike Shannon and his bat....After 1969 was used very little getting mustering less than 100 plate appearances for the rest of his career....passed from Cards to Cubs in 1970 highlight of an otherwise poor season....rebounded to hit a very efficient .324 with Boston 1971....took his trade to the Reds for 1973.....290 BA ....Swan song season of 1974 hit only .065 but showed an exceptional batting eye by drawing 15 walks, all during pinch hitting duties....put together with 61 plate appearances his OBP was a respectable .370....returned to St Louis after playing days were over.
Monday, May 9, 2016
All around athlete from Nebraska...excelled at football in high school...trade was Quarterback and punter, fought over by home state Nebraska and Norte Dame.....Golden Domers won out but could not break starting line up.....also dabbled in baseball.... MLB employment came with expansion via Reds farm system...The left hander was invaluable during the Expo’s first year...was second in NL pitching appearances....was very impressive at start of season at the bat...hit the first Expos home run ever against Tom Seaver while he was the first Expo reliever ever...got the game winning hit in the Expos first home game and his first career win...finished season with 3.96 ERA which was below team average...Returned for 1970 but lost effectiveness...finished with 7-10, record same as 1969, and a ballooned ERA...experiment with starting failed....1971 showed no improvement and lost playing time and had a stint in minors....Traded to the Chicago Cubs prior to 1972....found work but was winless in five decisions with ERA still near 6 runs a game....played one more year in the minors before retiring.
Friday, May 6, 2016
All three men made the Oriole Roster for 1972 and had eventual careers in the MLB, with a varying degree of success...
Don Baylor,...most promising of the three and possibly the best in prospect from the minors....very impressive in Rochester in 1970....had he been on another team would have had a starting position...played winter ball under his predecessor Frank Robinson who was to become Baylor’s greatest influence; Frank would be call on in the future to break slumps....held his own in Baltimore with an average of 14 home runs and BA .274 in 4 full seasons....not so well known was his youthful speed swiping 118 bases....after a quick stint in Oakland 1976, took the free agency road to Anaheim 1977....after two seasons of good power but average hitting put it all together in 1979....MVP season and personal bests in RBI’s, runs, and home runs....made his only all star team that year.... huge drop off 1980 especially in power due to injuries....returned in 1981 as a career DH....Eventually made his way to NYY, Boston, Minnesota, and a return to Oakland.... he was able to make the 3 consecutive WS with 3 his last three clubs.... ended playing career in 1988...proceeded to follow his mentor Frank Robinson as a manager and hitting coach....Was the first ever Colorado Rockies manager and got them to the post season in third season of existence.. only managed in NL despite being a career AL player....is fourth on all-time hit by pitch total...ouch
Roric Harrison, ..most obscure of the trio....Roric (only MLB player by that name) was a farmhand in Houston and Milwaukee systems....traded to Baltimore before 1971 season....win 15 games in AAA Rochester as a starter....unable to break the Oriole all star starting staff was able to find a role as a mop up....Career best ERA of 2.30....traded to Braves which used him as spot starter....won a career high 11 games in 1973....lost effectiveness but somehow eked out 10 wins between the Braves and Cleveland 1975 his last full season in majors....hung on in minors for a few years and had a short call up with Twins 1978....had 70 starts in 140 games appearedJohnny Oates....newcomer to Oriole catching corps....hit .261 in 1972 rookie season in the Orioles ever-present platoon system...An upgrade from the poor performance of incumbents Andy Echerbarren and Elrod Hendricks....Joined Roric in the Braves trade for 1973...output was for Braves was .236 BA, 5 HRs, 38 RBIs in part time work....trade to Phillies produced a .286 BA in first season which was his last season in a platoon versus backup role....later traveled to Dodgers and Yankees for years 1977-1981....hallmark of career was professionalism and solid work ethic making him a manager and team organization favorite wherever he played.....transformed this to coaching alternating managing in the minors then to MLB coaching staff...opportunity to big league management came in the form of 1991 Baltimore Orioles....No pennant but held a winning record in club’s first few season at Camden Yard....The 1994 strike ended his Baltimore days, but was picked up by Texas.....Took the helm for 7 years rought forth a stretch of 3 pennants in fours years....post season not so bright one win in ten games....Sadly died lost his 3 year battle with a brain tumor in 2004.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Highly sought after out high school...Won over by the Reds....after coasting one season in the minors, was a teenage phemon winning 14 games at age 18 for the Reds....The rest of his career was a series of rehabilitations due to arm trouble....when healthy one of the better pitchers in baseball...next two years saw partial seasons that included a stint in the minors....came back with a vengeance for the 1970 Reds going 18-7....did not pitch well in WS...had his only losing season in 1971....Reds fortunes went south that year too....another strong season Gary went 15-5 as the Reds returned to the WS....Notable to was a 1.99 ERA and NL best win %.....The injury bug in the form of calcium deposits hit again 1973-74 virtually wiping out both seasons....absence may have been a reason Reds did not make playoffs....Once again returned to form in 1975-76 going 15-9 in both years....Finally won a WS games in 1976 in his 7th start....Injuries at the onset of 1977 effectively ended career....Handsome player but was married at age 15.....One of a couple of Reds hurlers who claim Reds scoffed at arm soreness in the early 70's.