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.