Saturday, August 19, 2017

#290 Sonny Siebert 

Cog in the Red Sox veteran starting staff…was quite old for a rookie (27) in 1964...two reasons, attended college and started pro ball as an infielder…..Once he established himself as a starter with Indians was reach back to back 16 win seasons plus a no hitter….lowered ERA but win output declined to thereafter to 12 and 10 wins….Started 1969 with the tribe after two starts was traded to Red Sox for the very popular Ken Harrelson….took awhile to earn Boston affection…started with 14 wins 1969, then 15, then 16 in 1971 best on the team….effectiveness due to control and breaking stuff rather than speed and power... record diminished to 12-12 1972 as the Sox looked forward to the rejuvenated Luis Tiant and Marty Pattin and company….Sonny started 1973 in Boston but played very little and was traded early on to Texas desperate for help…registered a 7-11 record….took diminished skills to St Louis 1974 to 8-8 record…last stop on train was 1975 when he was acquired by the Padres looking for veteran help…at age 38 not much was given…traded to Oakland for a few starts ended season and career….two time all star.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#291  Hal McRae  #292 Hal McRae  In Action  

Gifted player whose talent was mired in Red’s outfield depth…then a lynchpin in a savvy trade that catapulted KC into contender status far before their 1969 expansion siblings….latched on with Cincinnati 1970 in a limited role….got more opportunity in 1971 as Bobby Toland was out of action….hit .266 but the Reds faulted without Tolan….sat on bench most of 1972,,,,went west to KC 1973….first suffered from jitters, hitting .234….Kicked into overdrive 1974 starting with .310 BA….1976 participated in a heated batting Championship race….finished second to teammate George Brett…controversial in Hal’s opinion….morphed into an excellent run producer in the following years slightly lowering BA….Best year was 1982 when tallied a league leading 133 RBIs and personal best 27 home runs…twice took top honors of in doubles…slowed up gradually but still an asset….15 years in KC end in 1987…. Still had skills last season hit .313 in 72 at bats…fiery, hard working competitor who took that modality to managing….above .500 at KC but no flag…took over at Tampa Ray 2002…wasn’t able to right that ship….known for tirades about losing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

293  Danny Frisella 294 Danny Frisella  In Action

 Vagabond reliever who had an up and down career overshadowed by his tragic unusual death while driving a dune buggy outside his Phoenix home…took place Jan 1 , 1977….his beginnings were as a  Mets prospect….worked his way to the big club splitting time with AAA club 1967-68….got in enough work to lose Rookie status….sent to AAA for near duration of the 1969 missing out on the Championship run….got big league staying power beginning 1970 after learning forkball from Diego Segui…had best season 1971 with 12 saves and below 2.00 ERA….1972 was able to get 9 saves but arm troubles limited effectiveness…trade to Braves for 73-74 was not fruitful and production regressed…..Resurfaced in San Diego 1975 where his numbers improved but went to St Louis as his next stop….after limited work was sent to Brewers mid season….decent number in what would be his final year.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#295 Dick  Dietz  #296 Dick  Dietz In Action 

Another player like Clarence Gaston who’s high water mark was 1970.... mysteriously short theory is that he became problematic to front office because of union activity....greatest strength getting on base with hits and walks....biggest liability: defense....gradually brought up the Giants farm system....broken in with 56 games in 1967....moved up to platooning with Jack Hiatt getting about ½ playing time....with Hiatt’s departure Dick came into his own 1970....107 RBIs and.300 over 100 walks.....second best hitting catcher next to Johnny Bench....appeared in all star game....hit home and NL came back to win....1971 suffered a decline but was still considered one of better hitting backstops....19 home runs....strange events thereafter....put on waivers by Giants....picked up by Dodgers....Injured early on and never recouped his stroke...sold to the Braves for 1973....tried out at 1st, more than catcher....plate discipline resulted in .295 BA and 467 on base in 139 at bats....was his limited still related to a blacklisting?...released after the season ending his baseball career....not much else is known....passed away in 2005....would have been interesting to get his this

Monday, August 7, 2017

#297 Claude Osteen. #298 Claude Osteen In Action  

Dependable, consistent forged out the 50’s lasting to the mid 70’s....trouble was it took awhile with losing but noble with new edition of the Washington work was plentiful....was able to garner a then franchise high 15 wins....Inning eater extraordinaire...11 straight seasons of 200+ innings plus his last of career was spent in a LA residency bridging the Kofax and Drysdale era to Sutton, Messersmith, Tommy John....a four pitch craftman....Value as a Dodger was first proven by critical win in 1965 WS...trolled along as a LA winner 1967 sans Koufax...Upped his game to 20 wins 1969 and repeated in 1972.... 1973 final season in Dodger blue won 16....With so many starters Dodgers sent Claude  to Houston;  performed at par but as Astros sunk into mediocrity was traded to contending St Louis....mostly watched on sidelines as Claude was relegated to bullpen....marked a 9-11 record for the year 1974....Cards released him prior to 1975...was picked up by Chisox....opportunity to benefit from coach Johnny Sain’s tutorship....turned out not to be....returned prolific work (204 innings 37 starts) but was plagued by signs of age and wound up  7-16 to finish off his career.   

Friday, August 4, 2017

#299 Hank Aaron #300 Hank Aaron In Action  

Move over Babe, here comes Henry....A triumph of achievement despite forces against him....Whew!....what to say that hasn’t said.....alphabetically the first player on the baseball register for 50 years until David Aardsma's debut 2008....untainted and unquestioned home run king...said he never tried to hit a home run once at the plate....755 over the fence hitting mistakes later, Hank held the crown as of April 1974 until Barry Bond’s "better hitting through chemistry" credo came along.....Why are we not in hall yet Barry?....Strong ties to Wisconsin and Milwaukee with bike trails, streets, and stadiums named after him....signed out of the waning days of Negro League by the Boston Braves franchise....started professional ball in Eau Clare WI 1952....took flight to the majors 1954 after tearing up the SALLY league the year before...strong rookie debut (.280 BA) but his 13 home runs did not tell of things to come...jumped to 27 and 26 dingers in the next seasons in addition to raising his batting by 40 point ....fully entrenched into consistent superstar status 1957 in what would nearly become his status quo for the next 15 years....League leading 44 home runs, 132 RBIs...MVP....World Series hero as Bushville beat the Yankees....Followed the Braves to Atlanta where he reprised 1957 season NL best 44 home run, 127 RBIs....around 1969 he and Willie Mays were mentioned as contenders to surpass Babe Ruth’s home run mark....age caught up Mays but Hank hammered along with 44, 38, 47, and 34 in years 1969-72....National spot light 1973 as he was in striking distance of 712....Received death threats....nevertheless hit 40 over the fence to remain one short of tying the record....tied mark in Cincinnati 4/4....rested one game then went hitless in the other....Returned home to Atlanta for most anticipated regular season game ever.....First at bat took a Al Downing offering into the Braves’ bullpen...the rest of game was of the season for Hank was good but decidedly a letdown....age had started to show...traded to Milwaukee for 1975  as a homecoming for the city....featured highly in the Brewer’s promotion for the next two years doing part time DH work....called it quits 1976....To this day, still the career RBI and total bases leader..needless to say Hall of Fame....odd stat stole 190 bases in the 1960 to 1968...interesting fact despite incredible home run numbers in 60’s did not hit the most for the decade...that honor went to Harmon Killebrew...Oh Henry candy bar was not named after him but he put in there commercial...perfect in action shot.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#301 George Mitterwald #302 George Mitterwald In Action 

The Macing Mitterwald....Twins regular catcher for 1970-1971, 1973....solid work but nothing spectacular....greatest moment on back of card, a walk off home run off Vida Blue in his Cy Young award winning 1971 of the few Twin highlights that year as the team went from West Champion to also ran...Suffered a massive slump in 1972, BA of .176...sprung back 1973  with 16 homers, 64 RBIs, and .257 BA....Weakness was striking out, twice in top 10 AL....Twins realizing their need for pitching and George’s stock and trade its highest sent him the Cubs....never truly caught on with the Northsiders....platooning Cub season was his last...took the free agent route but was only able to play for the Seattle Mariners AAA club in San Jose.   

Saturday, July 29, 2017

#303  Joe Pepitone #304 Joe Pepitone-In Action

Groomed to be the next legendary Yankee....known for his 1960’s New York days, just like another Joe of NY Jets football fame....Pepitone never reached the stardom, notoriety, and controversy of Namath....although Namath was never shot in abdomen like Pepitone was....came on like gangbusters in second year of 1963 leading the Bronx Bombers....reached 100 RBIs in 1964 and hit a grand slam in the WS....future looked bright but the following years in NY were uneven...sometimes showing good power (31 HRs 1966) sometimes a disappointment (13, 1967) far off from Mickey’s body of work....BA did not deviate far from .250....Mostly a 1st baseman but had forays in Centerfield....unusal...NYY not foreseeing a major upgrade in output swapped Joe to Houston for Curt Belfrey for 1970....bad deal on both sides.....Joe free form style clashed badly with traditionalist Harry Walker (although production did not decline) refused to play.... trade to Chicago Cubs was a god send for two reasons....catalyst for playoff drive and could manage his chain of local hair stylist shops....Stuck around Wrigley-ville for 1971....had best BA of .307 about 50 point over career average....1972 Joe was stopped cold by injuries mid seasons....never fully recovered....bizarre comeback attempt in 1973....started in Chicago, then a month  Atlanta, released and tried his luck in Japan for few games....totally alienated (might have been a worst situation than Houston).... laid low for a few years....resurfaced in 1976 AAA Hawaii, baseball answers to a pseudo-retirement home....another ill fated adventure but at least it was a paid vacation trip for the three time all star and two time gold glovers....I like to think that’s how Joe looked at it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#305 Ken Boswell  #306 Ken Boswell In Action

Three year prime then relegated to the NYM and Houston bench....Handy player when on his game...liabilities were injuries and initial an inconsistent glove (bad in 1969, greatly improved 1970) then later on  had trouble at the plate....closely aligned with manager Gil Hodges.... his work with him is considered the source improvement with the glove...his sudden death, a possible cause of his decline at the plate.... most impressive in the first NLCS when he hit 2 home runs, especially given Ken only hit 3 out of park in 362 regular season at bats.... came of age as simultaneously with many of his Miracle Met prodigies... acquistion of Felix Millan cut into his playing time....stuck around NYC until 1975 when Boswell took his game to Houston for 3 more years.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#307 Steve Renko #308 Steve Renko In Action

Nice acquisition at the time by the prospect seeking Expos...a hopeful with the Mets given up to the fledgling Expos for WS hero Don Clendenon...pressed into a starter usually in the #2 position behind Stoneman, Morton, Torrez....College athlete played with Gale Sayers at Kansas.... Began baseball as an outfielder 1st power but BA was poor....using his 6-5 frame converted to the mound mid 1967....once with advances along with more starts and wins....noted 15 wins seasons in between a horrid 1972....1973 his best year although Mike Marshall got the top billing.... 1974-75 were mediocre stints....1976: First few games convinced Montreal Renko was not returning to 1973 status and put up trade....starting session of four different clubs for different four years, Cubs, White Sox (‘77), A’s (‘78), and Red Sox (’79)....Was able to stick around Boston for 1980...won 20 games over two years....took the free agent route to the Angels 1981-1982...won 19 for two years work...finished playing days with Royals 1983....won 134 as opposed to 146 losses...never played in post season.    

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#309 Roberto Clemente #310 Roberto Clemente In Action 

Maybe one should break the fourth wall with Roberto....Do not report facts but tell what was important to you and how he affected your life....I didn’t have the 1972 card but I have 3 of his 1973 cards...a sad and somber memento...his face obscured maybe intentionally in an in-action pose....his story begins as a signee by the Dodgers who recognized his pending stardom....placed in Montreal AAA squad in a pattern reminiscing of Jackie Robinson’s upbringing....only thing is didn’t play much in an attempt to hide  him from Rule 5 draft....still didn’t work, Pirates brass (Branch Rickey) had too much knowledge of the Dodger prospect and he was taken for a price of a measly 4,000 dollars...Overtook the Pirates spot immediately 1955....had an solid  body of work for 5 years (.282 BA, 26 home runs, 236 RBI cumulative)  but supercharged with power and RBI number with the start of the 1960’s....bravado, proud, possibly  narcissistic of his skills but he could back the talk....4 batting crowns...MVP 1966....hit under .300 only once in the decade....1961 started a string of 12 consecutive Gold Gloves augmented by a legendarily strong and accurate throwing the Baltimore Orioles found out in the 1971 WS....1969-1971 was nearly flawless hitting a .3456 clip....personal goal for 1972 was to reach the mile stone 3000 hits....battled viruses and a strained tendons resulting in only  403 plate appearances...the 3K mark was reached on September 30....a double off of Jon Matlack....last regular season hit ever....the Pirates lost out to the Reds in NLCS....Roberto was home when word of an earthquake devastating Nicaragua....continuing a personal commitment  to charitable work in Latin America to the beleaguer nation...As most people were celebrating the new year, his plane carrying relief went down a mile off the Puerto Rican coast...body never recovered....tragedy put a pale over the 1973 Pirates who descended into a losing record....In an act of highest reverence, inducted into Hall of Fame 1973 waiving the 5 year period....Other tributes poured in....Well remembered to this day..... Baseball also renamed the newly created Commissioner’s award to the Roberto Clemente award which is given the player combining good play and strong work in the community.

Note: Many of back sides of the In Action Card are the same promotional advertisement.  So I've left them out.  For Roberto I will show his 1973 card.

Monday, July 17, 2017

#311 Clay Carroll #312 Clay Carroll In Action

Ace reliever who took over as the anchor of the Reds bullpen an\ quiet, unsung asset...Carroll’s story starts with cups of coffee with the Braves waning years in Milwaukee....Took top spot in bullpen immediately once the Braves moved south.... Led NL pitchers in games 1966....suffered a terrible 1967....started 1968 with Braves but did not show improvement...flipped to the Reds early in the year where he immediately turned tables....a work horse tandem with Wayne Granger 1969-71 each alternating the closer role....Granger’s departure to the 1972 Twins put sole spotlight on Carroll, who responded with a NL best 37 saves and the NL Fireman award....Reds return to WS....held his part of the bargain in playoffs surrendering 5 runs in 32 innings....Carroll maintain a consistent status quo for the Redlegs up to 1976....that year traded to White Sox as Cincinnati was leaning towards a youth movement then a year later landed in St Louis both locations kept ERA in around 2.5 runs per game....took brief return to Chisox as they made an unexpected playoff run 1977...age caught up and finished out career with a few games for Pittsburgh.

Friday, July 14, 2017

#313-314 Luis Aparicio-In Action

Fiery competitor, an All star 10 times over....Made the squad 7 consecutive years, then 3 consecutive years later on....Synonymous with the position of Shortstop....took to the field in 2581 contests over 18 years, never deviating position.... an OK .262 BA lowered by the occasional off season....Value lay in stolen bases and glove; 9 time award winner and 9 consecutive times top AL base thief.... HOF material and he was inducted circa 1984....Illustrious career began with Go-go White Sox beginning 1954....moved over to the Orioles....Return trip to Chicago....hit a career best .313 1970 when the Sox were at their worst...acquisition by Red Sox was the team's answer to deficit at 3rd base....Rico Petrocelli shifted to over to the right as Luis took his spot... Results were a mixed bag...speed had diminished....Batting ranged .233 in 1971 to a .273 to 1973...Released spring training 1974....vetoed an offer from George Steinbrenner to take over Yankee’s SS spot....Diminutive but incredibly durable averaging 144 games a season in addition to playing 19 consecutive years of winter ball in native Venezuela...Rookie of the year 1956.