Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#748 Phil Henningan

Even though the Indians of the early 70’s were by in large unsuccessful squads they still have points of interest…Ken Harrelson turns pro golf, Tony Horton quits, Ray Fosse collision with Pete Rose and the fireball thrower Sudden Sam McDowell…and a pitching youth movement who came up seemingly simultaneously the year before....notiably in the bullpen, Ed Farmer, Steve Mingori, and …the Tribe’s top reliever for 1971 Phil Hennigan …14 saves but a less than impressive 4.97 ERA… also 5th  in AL game appearences ....next year Hennigan’s appearances and saves are cut nearly in half but so is his ERA. ..Hennigan's win loss record with the tribe is 17-10 pretty good for teams that lost more than won…He is traded to the Mets after the 72 season but is ushered out of baseball after an 0-4 start.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

#749 Walt Alston

HOF…23 years as manager of both Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers…nineteen of them with a winning record…Four times a world champs…Managed in the minors going back to 1940…but only his managerial AAA record is known….His time in Los Angeles was benefited from an exceptional pitching and small ball hitting…Greatest challenge was recovering from the departure of Sandy Koufax which resulted in two losing seasons…despite consistent winning records Walt never won another WS past 1965…a well known fact he worked under a series of one year contracts.….Had one AB in career as a player...Last year as Dodger's skipper was 1976, giving way to Tom Lasorda for the last four games....passed away in 1984.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

#750 Willie Horton

Now back to the individual cards…Long time Tiger mainstay Willie Horton…Grew up in Detroit....Part of one of the most stable lineups of the mid 60’s to early 70’s…unfortunately for the Tigers there was little new talent coming in past 1972 until 1976…Four time all star…Uniform number is retired by Detroit....Best season was 1968 when achieved career marks for home runs and slugging while leading the Tiger to a WS title…Especially impressive in a pitching dominated year…Horton played longer than most of his 1968 teammates by virtue of the designated hitter rule…Despite the stability of Horton’s time as a Tiger, he played on five AL teams within two years at the end of his big league career…had problems with injuries from 1970 until 1974…He got healthier at the end playing 162 games for the Mariners in 1979 his second to last season in the bigs...incredible dedication to the game…still played two more years in PCL, belting 39 home runs plus a one year run in the Mexican League. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

#752-754 Traded Series

#754 Frank Robinson

The Trade:  December 2, 1971: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with Pete Richert to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Doyle Alexander, Bob O'Brien, Sergio Robles and Royle Stillman.
It is strange to see a picture of a man in Dodger blue who was so famous as a Red or Oriole.

What it was;  a case of prospects for two veterans…Baltimore realizing that despite it success would need to influx new blood in pitching and provide opportunity for players like Terry Crowley and Don Baylor..Robinson stint in LA is something of a bust with limited playing time…He is traded across town…Richert  plays two seasons in Dodger blue in more of bullpen by committee situation than is custom to today…As for Baltimore the only player of significance is Alexander…He plays for 18 more seasons, but only 3 ½ of them for the birds.... Alexander becomes incredibly well traveled wearing the uniforms of 8 teams.

#753 Denny McClain

The Trade:  March 4, 1972: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Oakland Athletics for Jim Panther and Don Stanhouse.   Stanhouse would eventually become a quality closer in late seventies but not for the Rangers; the collective win loss record for the Panther and Stanhouse Texas stint was 9 wins, 26 losses.  Actually worse than McClain 1971 record…Denny was run out of Oakland before the end of June 1972 and pitched his last games for the pitching starved Atlanta.

This was not trade of any consequence.  Oakland rolled along to the playoffs.  The big trade was a year and change earlier:   October 9, 1970: Traded by the Detroit Tigers with Elliott Maddox, Norm McRae and Don Wert to the Washington Senators for Ed Brinkman, Joe Coleman, Jim Hannan and Aurelio Rodriguez.   This gave Detroit a left side of the infield and Coleman who had his best years, Washington was put in a tailspin, arguably resulting in their exit to Texas.   Dennis was even worse for Oakland and shipped to the minors and Atlanta by the end of the year.  

#752 Joe Morgan

The Trade:  November 29, 1971: Traded by the Houston Astros with Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart. 

It will always be slanted towards the Reds, a steal…Take away Armbrister and Stewart, There is hardy player who didn’t take an active role in their respective clubs.  On the Houston side, Tommy Helm continues a successful career, Lee May maintain the power numbers he shown in Cincy…Houston didn’t hurt themselves massively they just maintained offensive status quo…for about 3 years without any added pitching….The Reds got greater and greater longevity;  six, seven, and eight years of prime production from Billingham, Geronimo, and Morgan respectively.   Morgan’s advantage with the Reds is three fold, protection from an all star line up, relative health, and an incredible batting eye leading to walks or hits the leading to best on base percentage for 4 out of the next 5 years.

*Nothing like 10 inches of heavy snow to make you want to put up more posts...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#755-757, #751 Traded Series

First of all Merry Christmas....The next 4 are in a bundle (I was going for 7 but too hard downloading card images)….The last Traded Card series of the 1972 set…The original player card may have been featured on the original 72 Topps blog…I’ve referenced the blog for each card…what I will add is the historical significance of the trade…There two famously big trades here...but let's start with ...

#757 Jose Cardenal

The Trade:  December 3, 1971: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Brock Davis and Earl Stephenson to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jose Cardenal.
Historically significance:  a good trade for the northsiders but with problems, Cardenal becomes a regular with the Cubs logging in 821 games and a .291 batting average… …problem it comes during a decline in the Cubs fortunes… Jose becomes a big fish in a small pond…the trade is even for both teams, albeit a shorter benefit for Brewers who get the prime of Jim Colborn’s career…Colborn wins 20 for the Brewers in 1973, which for the Brewers a pitching feat rarely accomplished.

Next Up #756 Rick Wise for #751 Steve Carlton 

Lopsided, yes…and mystifying in its player for player simplicity… Wise does OK he does what he typically does wins 16 games in two consecutive seasons…he doesn’t breakdown…he is a Cardinal rep in the all star game in 1973…he had a long career ending in 1982…but he is not Carlton who becomes a Philly legend winning 241 games over 15 years…wins 27 games on team that won 59 games, 30 complete games on a team where next highest number was three … A book was written about that season... The list of seasonal and career accomplishments are too numerous to mention…Topps makes much Wise’ hitting a factor in the trade…turned out for a career Carlton hit .201 for the Phillies, 9 hr, 119 RBI…Wise hit .182 in a Cardinal uniform.   


Historic Steal #755 Jim Fregosi  original card is here

Sometimes cited as the second biggest one side trade in baseball history…slated to be the Mets franchise long search for a consistent third baseman trades that transpired into costly trades….apparently the Mets failed to notice the diminished production and playing time in 1971… Now the cost:  one Nolan Ryan which all pretty much all that needs to be said, to add insult to there were some add ins pitcher Don Rose, catcher Frank Estrada and LeRoy Stanton, a serviceable outfielder for Halos …In reality, Fregosi’s first year with the Mets are almost identical to his last year in California…Next season he’s on the same track and by early July is shipped off to Texas…In Texas he does better in a limited role… keep looking Mets.   

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#758 Gil Garrido

Alphabetically very close to teammate Ralph Garr…This long time Giant farmhand shortstop broke in with the Giants in 1964 but spent most of his time in MLB fill in/substitue with the Braves…Best shot for a regular gig was in 1970 taking over for injured Sonny Jackson…put up career numbers that year and fairly decent BA.…almost no power…1 hr in nearly 1000 Abs…HR took place on May 27, 1970 …Out of place on a team know for a launching pad ballpark and gentlemen by the name of Aaron, Cepeda, Carty, Baker…Last season was 1972 when he hit .267 in 87 ABs....Had 207 hits for a career but only 20 were for extra bases....Panama native. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

#759 Chris Cannizzaro

Chris was the first Padre all star…There is an argument I have with myself…who is the worst all star ever to be named to a team…My apologies to you, Chris but it may be you….and Time magazine agrees ranking #3....At the time of 1969 classic Chris was hitting .247 but ended up hitting .220 for the season…1970 was well more deserving of All star status (still one of the best hitting team in SD franchise history) but the catcher position was well represented and it was Cito Gaston's career year that represented the Padres spot on the roster… picked by the Mets in 1961expansion drafts but was dealt to Padres just prior to their 1st season….well traveled with five teams…The years of 1971 and 1972 Chris found considerable playing time as he slotted to be a fill in for the Cubs Randy Hundley then LA's catcher by committee approach.....didn’t really solve either team's deficit…was well know as very slow runner…Finished career at SD where he had his best success.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#760 Bill Mazeroski

I'm going to confess that Bill been covered recently by several others blogs....so this is short and covers stuff already said...
Bill is a Hall of Famer as deemed by the Veteran’s Committee in 2001…Landmark moment was the walk off home run that won the WS against the Yankees in 1960…A fair hitter having some power but above his peers with his glove leading most 2nd baseman in fielding during the 60’s…for nine consecutive years he was an all star or gold glover sometimes both…By 1972 he had surrendered more playing time to Dave Cash...Later became a Pirate coach.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#762 Wayne Simpson (out of sequence*)

Every once in a while you get a pitcher who has a career like Wayne Simpson's....Wayne came out of nowhere in a rookie and dominates most games…an amazing 14-3 record, 2nd in ERA, and an all star appearance in 1970…Extra surprising given he lost almost twice as many games as he won in the minors in ’69…then the bottom fell out… the first sign was in 1970, when lost 3 out of the last 4 decisions and did not pitch in the last two months or playoffs….Follow up in 1971 was an utter disappointment a 4-7 record and a return to the minors…1972 brought a minor comeback in a winning record but not significant to stave off a trade to KC...not much success afterwards …joins company with Mark Fidrych, and Wally Bunker as the one season rookie phenoms of the late sixties and early seventies.

*Screw up on my part, I write most of my entries on word and somehow the Wayne's entry got in after #761.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#761 1972 A.L.-N.L. Rookie Card

A rare trans-league Rookie Card with two future star...(Sorry Ben I'm a little light on your bio)

 Ron Cey:  One of the mainstays of the Dodgers for next decade, then the Cubs…ROY…A consecutive six time all star …In 1972 Ron came off an incredible AAA season in Spokane(32Hr,123-RBIs, .328 Avg).  For whatever reason the Dodgers kept him down another where Ron basically repeated his performance in Albuquerque (23Hr,102-RBIs, .329 Avg).  This is odd given the Dodgers problems at third base at the time…Playing for Spokane was a natural for the native of Washington and attend school at nearby Washington State…his stint in Albuquerque was a return to where he played in the Texas league…A model of consistency in both bat and field...Next year Cey’s card is paired with Mike Schmidt, a card highly valued by collectors...Spent 4 years with the Cubs as vital cog in the club resurgence in 1984.

Ben Oglivie:  Unlike Cey Ben stay with the big club in 1972…but was only a bit player for both the Red Sox and then Detroit…stardom came with a trade to the Brewers although he never obtained the Cey’s notoriety and press billing.... but did hit more home runs in a season than the Penguin…had a career year in 1980 leading the AL in Home Runs plus an all star appearance and Sliver Slugger Award.

Bernie Williams: Bernie wasn’t even close to put the numbers of his card mates…See more information on the 1973 card blog site:  http://1973toppsphotography.blogspot.com/2011/12/other-bernie-williams.html  Williams career with the Giants was a case of bad timing for Gary Matthews and Garry Maddock were in the wings

Saturday, November 23, 2013

#763 Ron Hansen

A short career in KC…  This serious man who would only make 30 plate appearances for the Royals… Last card…What is interesting he was acquired by the Royals April 5th, the photo looks un-airbrushed so it must be from spring training in taken in a 10 day span from to April 15th opener …Was released June 27th.
Know for a only player to complete an unassisted triple play from 1927 to 1992…Took place on July 30, 1968 in very interesting three  days;  performed the feat with the Washington Senators, proceeded to strike out six consecutive times over the triple play game and the next, comes back to hit a grand slam on the third day , and on the fourth day is traded back to White Sox for one of the same players he was traded before season began….Since 1992 it has now been done 6 times…All unassisted have been completed the same way…a caught ball at shortstop, a step on second, and tag out of the oncoming runner… Rookie of the Year 1960…. In his prime he was something very rare a shortstop with power….career was hampered by injuries and commitment to military service, resulting in inconsistency. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#764 Dusty Baker

Young man whose big league cups of coffee are finished…The Braves organization was patient with this prospect giving four call ups between 1968 to 71…in 1972 he delivers big time hitting .321 with 17 home runs and he stays for good…Despite many fine season some have argued that he did not live up to expectations… Hailed as a the new Hank Aaron.... minor league performance did not indicate subsequent MLB  power numbers…Was the Dodgers best home run hitters in late 70's to early 80's....A two time all star relatively late in his career…Hit 242 homers, 1013 RBI,plus a .278 AVG…. Later a manager famous for the World Series where his young son serving as bat boy nearly got run over at home plate…Rules were changed after that incident…It  over shadowed the fact he is a three time manager of the year and won 103 in his first year....has managed at the big league for 19 of last 20 years...and rumored to be Tigers new skipper.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

#765 Ken McMullen

The Man Who Kept Coming Back to southern California….Ken McMullen's picture is almost identical to Jim Fregosi’s….This veteran was the regular thirdbase for the Senator and Angel franchises…Was the best offensive player on a woefully underachieving 1971 Angels team....Lead team in home runs that year....
Ken had start out in the Dodger organization one of a rabble of prospective candidates for the thirdbase spot…A position the Dodgers had trouble filling from their Brooklyn days until the Ron Cey came along in 1973…Ironically Ken returned to the Dodgers in 1973 after over 1200 AL games, that year to compete with Cey for third base…Cey won the job hands down and McMullen became an exclusive pinch hitter… Had a reputation as a good fielder with above average power…His power numbers did not wane with diminished playing time…Best year was 1969 with the Senators….In their infinite wisdom traded him to the Angels with a month into the 1970 season for Rick Reichardt and Aurelio Rodriguez, another third baseman…one of series a misguided Senator/Ranger moves that buried to a period of last place finishes.   

Saturday, November 9, 2013

#766 Steve Hamilton

The Floater man  I think Steve Hamilton had fun a baseball player...At least twice he threw a slow motion high arching ball high called the Folly Floater that got Cleveland’s Tony Horton out on foul catch by Thurman Munson 7/24/70…captured by the miracle of Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFvp7kMraAw … The Yankee Stadium crowd roared with delight…Horton is left crawling into the dugout…Maybe it’s the reason why Horton quit baseball next year (DK)…Also should be happy given he is in Giant’s uniform(airbrushed with a Cubs cap) having escaped early from the 1970 White Sox, a 106 game loser…Hamilton was the mainstay Yankee relief pitcher in the mid to late sixties…in 140 pinstripe appearances had a 34-20 record with 2.78 ERA, 36 saves…Like Ron Reed was also a NBA player Steve was a Minneapolis Lakers 1958-60…Prematurely grey which only added to a colorful career….Finished career with Cubs in 1972, 1-0 W-L, 4.76 ERA …Passed away in  1997 at age 63.

Friday, November 8, 2013

#767 Tom McCraw

Tom McCraw…(Not McGraw)  Texas Rangers…..or in the 1972 Topps world the team with the plain red cap….. with no insignia Tom and for that matter all the Texas Rangers who either had a camera up pose or had the Senator “W” air brushed …this would never go these days …It didn’t matter for McCraw who never was a Ranger anyway…Was traded to Cleveland on April 3, 1972 (before the late season began) and this is indicated on back of card (the advantages of the high number)…had a surprisingly long career given a generally low average and limited power…Sometimes was an outfielder….At the time of this card Tom was coming off two off years….unusual career trajectory for he hit best at the beginning and end of his career (as a pintch hitter deluxe)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

#768 Denny Doyle

Denny Doyle  Red head working Hard to Meet Expectations….Great things were anticipated with Doyle coming out the Phillies Farm system in late 1969....was PCL MVP in 1969..Came up with Larry Bowa and expected to be the future of the Phillies infield…Doyle played several seasons under expectations….A total bust in 1970, stats improved somewhat in 1971...According to the write up in 1972 Baseball Guidebook (Yes I still have my original copy) by the time this card came out he was already trade bait…Low power, good glove…Slowly Doyle was able to improve his output in '72 and '73....After a short stint with the Angels, he eventually had the season that was expected of him with the 1975 Red Sox hitting .310 after coming over from a trade with California in June….the move ignited the Red Sox who vaulted to the historic 1975 World Series….Released after the 1977 season despite being the Red Sox regular second baseman and setting a personal best for RBI’s...Brother of Yankee Brian Doyle who wouldn't appear in the majors until Denny's playing days were over.   

Saturday, November 2, 2013

#770 Jim Wynn

Toy Cannon Jim Wynn…The face and offensive leader of the Astros, as opposed to the former Colt .45s…Jim held many of the early franchise records, now taken over by Berkman and Bagwell…He still remains 5th in Astro homers and 7th in RBIs…All done in the less than hitter friendly Astrodome….Became a full timer with the onset of the Astrodome era…1971 was a terrible year, especially in the power dept,  one in present day may have resulted exit from the club…Rebounded nicely in 1972…A subpar 1973 resulted in a trade to the Dodger where he became a major cog in pennant winning team…Twice the leader in base on balls the last year was being 1976 at the tail end of his career with Atlanta....Finished career with Milwaukee...Hit one of the longest home runs in history of MLB at Cincinnati Crosby’s field…the ball was last seen bouncing down the I-75 interstate over the left field wall…the grainy footage is seen here.  


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#771 San Francisco Giants

*  author's note this one is going to be tricky the first team card...

 Depicted are the 1971 San Francisco Giants who made the divisional playoffs with a 90-72 record beating the Dodgers by one game. They were the first losing team to win a game since the start of divisional series taking the first game 5-4 over the eventual champs Pittsburg Pirates.  The nucleus of the team was a holdover from the teams of 1960’s that was often in a playoff hunt only to fall short (finishing 2nd five times from ’65 to ‘69).  This aging team was in its last hurrah, for in 1972 the Giant would revert to a 69-86 record, 26.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds (the season was 7 games shorter because of a labor dispute).  Attendance almost dropped in half from 71 to 72.  This is was team that needed an overhaul.

About the team card:  This is my first team card, so I have a lot to say.  Here goes…I don’t hate team cards but they are…wasteful.  The picture is too small to discriminate players (although the size of McCovey and distinctive look of Willie Mays can be made out here).  That stats on back have no bearing on the 1971 season (even making the divisional playoffs is not indicated) and this is the case for most of the team cards. 
Then and now… Hitting: Eclipsed batting records are Double (4x’s), total bases, home runs (Barry Bonds 2001)  

Here's a look at 1972 team records compared to Baseball reference.  A key difference is that baseball reference includes records from 1883 on, whereas Topps excludes all records from the 19th century or have a different minimum.
Batting Record in 1972
2013 status on Baseball Reference
Now M Tierman with 147 (1889)
Eclipsed 4 times Jeff Kent is now the leader.
1893 George Davis with 27.
Home Runs
Barry Bonds..insert comment here. Mays 52 hrs is now second.
Total Bases
Now Barry Bonds with 411
Run Batted In
Batting Average
2013 Status
The record is elipsed many times over Wilhelm’s mark.
Complete Games
Whihelm’s .833 is now beat by Felix Rodriquez based on 9-1 record in 2001.

Pitching:  This is a difficult analysis; The Giants have 120 plus years of seasonal records, the nature of pitching has changed massively.  Some statistics have gone a massive change out (games appearances  some not at all (wins, losses, ERA), some records have changed by what Topps or MLB considered criteria at the time.   

Sunday, October 27, 2013

#772 Ken Tatum

Rookie season was incredible…Second best relief ERA in decade that was dominated by pitching…plus great win loss pct…39 Saves in his first two years, very good for relievers at that time....the back of the card says it all, was fast becoming a relief standout then hit in the head with a line drive in an accident in Baltimore...The info is Boston split the series but not before their key reliever, Ken Tatum, was struck by a batting practice line drive before their May 23 twin bill, fracturing his jaw in three places, requiring plastic surgery and keeping him on disabled list....On further investigation there is another event that was part of Tatum’s career…one occurring almost exactly a year earlier....also against Baltimore....On May 31, 1970 Paul Blair was beaned by California Angel pitcher Ken Tatum and suffered a broken nose. Blair recovered quickly, finishing the season batting .267 but many feel Blair was never the same…Traded for #774 Luis Alverez...Finished career with White Sox.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#773 Ron Brand

  A journeyman at the end of his career … usually always a catcher but in later years added infielder…last two cards give him the unusual position of catcher/infielder although his versatility was mentioned as far back as 1968...Started in the Pirates organization where he was the closest to being a regular ….an original Expo drafted last from Houston in the expansion pool of players….After 1971 Never appeared in the majors again although Baseball reference indicates he did make the 1972 but did not appear on the field…Did spend half the 72 in Montreal’s AAA farm club in Peninsula Whips a team out of Hampton Roads Va….had a brief appearance in California League in 1975…This Brand’s only card with a bat…Has a cool 1969 card that simulates in action of taking off the catcher’s mask….This card’s stadium shot:  My guess is Shea stadium based on the tall lights and no advertisement in the outfield wall…Very religious, was a ordained Deacon at age 12…Pro Debut was with Las Vegas/San Jose franchise in the California League in 1958 along with pitcher Bob Veale….The Las Vegas team moved in mid season and is sometimes referred in cards as Las Vegas or San Jose…Did not have a 1967 card despite being in the bigs all year…Never hit well enough for a consistent regular gig….Little pop; 3 hrs in 1340 Abs.