Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#396  Paul Lindblad

Save for 7 games with the Yankees at the very of his career, spent his career alternating between Athletics and Senators/Rangers organizations...good reliever but not #1 at any one time....just part of the effective phalanx of Oakland fireman.....season best  total of saves topped out at 9....Career span from 1965 to 1978....dabbled with starting at first but was fast stationed in a whole collected 64 saves bringing an average of 6 a year....high point was leading the AL in games 1972 with 66 with the first year Texas Rangers....two less than his career best during 1974 as a Oakland A’s

Sunday, November 27, 2016

#397 Philadelphia Phillies team card

New stadium bad team....1972 squad scarcely put out a .387 win pct....a low that has not been reached since....Season would have been far worse if not Steve Carlton.... It been a tough go for the Phillies:  133 season as a baseball playing entity....Over 1100 games under .500 closest is Baltimore being 843 games below .500....despite the futility the Phillies, since 1972, have appeared in 5 World Series, winning started in 1893 known as the Quakers in first 7 settled into Baker Bowl Stadium in 1895, the Shibe park/Connie Mack Stadium from 1938 to 1970....Veterans Stadium was the home 1971 to 2004....Since this card several sluggers have broken the Phillie mark for home runs...only pitching record that has fallen is total games....otherwise Phillie records stand tall on the shoulders of Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

#398 Larry Hisle

To me  this one greatest returns on a minor league trade ever by the Twins....Seemingly had two careers maybe three...Broke in as a highly touted, can’t miss Phillie....Strong Rookie season with good power and decent average...batting average crashed the  next 2 seasons in Philly...was sent to minors 1971...hit well there so he was still considered a prospect....traded to LA for 1972....spent entire season as one of the top AAA hitters....but no fall call season was traded to Cardinals and then quickly flipped to the opportunity at the right right in and each season was an improvement from the previous....1977 was his best and last year in Minnesota when he led the AL in 117 RBIs….took the free agent route to land across state lines in Milwaukee….1978 produced nearly identical numbers from the year before, propelling the Brew Crew to the upper echelon of AL East ….fast start to 1979 derailed by a torn rotator cuff and lost for the season….never had a recovery of any significance…short comebacks marred by re-injury ending in 1982…..continued with baseball related employment but has remained in the Milwaukee area….manufactures and markets bat grips.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

#399 Milt Wilcox  

A late bloomer....didn’t reach full effectiveness until 1978 his 9th season after his MLB debut in 1970.... Had consideration for Comeback Player of the Year and then quipped  “How can I come back when I’ve never been anywhere before?”….Milt was right about himself…. On the margins of Reds pitching staff and the minors…traveled cross state to Cleveland….got plenty of work but never overwhelming….fortunes rode parallel to that of the Indians….a jump in ERA started a period of re-tooling in AAA….that road led to Evansville Indiana home of the top farm club of the Tigers…an impressive start there in 1977 got him a call up to the big club…6-2 record in 14 starts….for next five seasons had winning record and a consistent starter winning either 11, 12, or 13 games….stepped it up in 1984 with career best pitching line of 17-8 as Tiger bulldozed the competition to the World Series….with an injury in 1985 bottom dropped out and quickly….went 1-11 over two seasons….has dabbled in many activities since retiring….was scheduled to pitch the second half of a doubleheader of Disco Demolition Night….most everybody knows the rest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

#400 Tony Oliva 

A Minnesota Twin through and through....End of one phase of an amazing run......a career rescued just in time by the new DH rule....injured an already fragile knee at the end of June 1971.....story has it he fell on a sprinkler head... still held on to be AL batting champ...the lingering effects however virtually wiped out 1972 season.....Amazing 1964 debut, taking the AL batting crown and Rookie of the Year honors....Repeated batting crown in three years (falling in the second dead ball era) Tony finished in the top 10 in batting...nifty run of 8 consecutive all star games....starting in 1969 racked up three consecutive .300+ seasons...lead AL in hits five times...taking over exclusive DH duties for three seasons hit .291, .285, .270 respectively...robbed of higher numbers because he had lost all speed similar to Orlando Cepeda...had more knee surgeries after 1975 season....retired mid season 1976...A Minnesota icon and the Minnesota populace vehemently support his induction to the HOF....achievements of note:  hit first DH home run...continued with the Twins in a variety of roles too numerous to mention....hit from the left side with so much intensity that the bat flew off his hands sometimes landing in the stands....Has visited his native Cuba many times....his statue stands at Target Field. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

#401 Jim Nash 

Rookie one half season wonder....oh so good in 1966 with a 12-1 record in 18 starts....2.06 ERA too...part of the early stages of a youth movement that ushered the A’s franchise out of perennial loser column....never achieved those heights again but was able eke out a regular rotation spot for A’s and Atlanta...mixed results took on 17 losses along with teammates Lew Krause and Catfish Hunter in 1967...had an excellent 2.28 ERA in 1968....regressed to 8-8 in 1969....subsequently went 22-16 over two season in Atlanta but a rising ERA highlighted a loss of effectiveness....With a ballooning ERA was traded by the Atlanta Braves with Gary Neibauer to the Philadelphia Phillies for Joe Hoerner and young Andre Thornton...negating trade, Nash lost all eight games he started...while Hoerner who was having a decent season also floundered in his new digs.

Friday, November 11, 2016

#402 Bob Heise 

Reserve infielder never holding one position...well traveled with 7 teams over 11 seasons...light hitter in the Duane Kupier mode; one home run in a 1000+ at bats....last name pronounced Hi-see like the kid’s drink......Started with Mets, most of his work came in travels to San Francisco and Milwaukee, ….Did short stints with Cards, Red Sox, Angels and Royals…. at his best was 1972 when he hit in .266 in over 271 at bats…..nearly twenty points better than his career .247 mark....played 2nd, 3rd, and to keep a roster spot up to the 1977 season with KC…. after baseball worked in law enforcement…has battled Cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#403 John Cumberland 

Glory was gone after this card was of several candidates struggling for multiple vacant spots after Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal in the Giants’ starting rotation….was able to begin 21 games, 17 in middle relief, and finished 7....his 1971 9-6  record was a career pinnacle....second on team in ERA....bottom dropped out 1972 with 1-5 record starting with the Giants then the Cardinals...had beginnings  in Yankees organization... never did break through to regular work....most significant output in pinstripes was 3-4 record over 15 games covering 64 innings....had a brief resurface with Angels in 1974.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

#404 Jeff Torborg   

Sold to cross town to Angels for 1971...known mostly for catching no hitters by Dodger pitchers Sandy Koufax, Bill Singer, and the Angel's Nolan Ryan ... Took the express route to the Dodgers based on his college days at Rutgers.... Always a backup, behind Roseboro, Haller,  never could hit well enough to justify more work...His time with the Angels was closer to a regular gig having to compete with the likes of fellow cast offs John Stephenson, Art Kusnyer, Jerry Moses to name a few....suffice to say at this time offensive output at catching was not an Angel strong suit...closest he came to regular status was 1973...220 At bats, 18 RBIs, .220 BA, 56 hits all career highs....oddly enough last season as a player...Broke on the managerial scene 1977 and became the skipper for Indians, White Sox, Mets, Expos, and Marlins....high point being two second place finishes in 1990 and 1991 in Chicago.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#405 Ron Fairly

Be fair in an overview; a Canadian fixture and a veteran influence on both their fledgling teams...a talented hitter with good consistency....Started as Dodger fixture 1960’s...his offensive status enhanced by the team philosophy of pitch definitely, hit maybe....drove in six of L.A.’s 21 runs in the pitching heavy 1965 World Series....with the departure of Sandy K went into offensive funk for t he rest of his L.A. days....One theory, the Dodger infield grass was longer to slow up ground ball, problem was the home team lived or died via the line drive... Trade to Montreal allowed a new start and rejuvenation...Hit well despite cold northern air....Veteran presence and consistent home run and RBI numbers....was tops in many offensive categories along with Rusty Staub or Bob Bailey....With Staub’s departure takes over team hitting honors 1972...Road eventually led to St. Louis and late season acquisition to Oakland 1976... Trade to Toronto starts his second go round with a Canada expansion team...put up numbers that rival his best Dodger or Expo days....first Blue Jay all star rep....his last season 1978 finishes back in So Cal with the Angels....21 seasons in all