Thursday, January 12, 2023

#1 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates team card

Per Topps tradition, the reigning World Champs take card #1....Beat the favored Orioles who were the seemingly invincible Goliath….upon inspection however Pirates did come in having scored more runs as their opponents….While the Bucs entered the fray with a middle of the road ERA, their bullpen corps was very advanced for time….Opposed to the Orioles pen corps possibly rusty.....Down to the wire Pirates took the 7th and deciding game....same two opponents would take the field to decide the 1979 champion....once again the 7 game series, their most recent title....Bucs have three other titles giving them 5 total....established 1882 Pirates are tied with the Reds as the third oldest team.... won the baseball championship in 1900 and 1901 before the World Series was established....A hitting club vs. pitching with multiple batting  crowns going to Honus Wagner(8), Roberto Clemente (4),  Paul Waner (3), and Dave Parker (2).....   Ralph Kiner ran a string of 6 consecutive home run titles....Willie Stargell captured two along with the Pirates mark for career homers.....Franchise as of the end of 2022 is 40 games above .500 having been 21,334 contests....A great franchise in the 70’s.....Since the start of the Millennium however, team has struggled on the field to establish consistent a winning record and is consistently relegated to second division status.

Friday, January 6, 2023

#2 Ray Culp

Veteran whose toe touched the rubber for 11 summers.....Servant to three teams, Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox.....impressive as a member of 1963 rookie all star team, 14 wins, and 3rd in ROY voting....sophomore season developed arm trouble and sub standard 8-7 two years were a mirror of first two....14 wins in 1965 and then a diminution to 7-4 record with a ballooned ERA....traded to Cubs for 1967....his 8-11 record did not reflect a substantially lowered ERA and general effectiveness.....Red Sox trade was a god send and Culp armed with new pitch, the palm ball, racks up 50 wins in first three years....took up the slack left in the absence of Jim Longborg....1971 was still functioning member of the rotation sporting  14 wins and 16 losses....In 1972 arm troubles reduced effectiveness to a 5-8 Win Loss record, lost rotation position, innings cut in half....was released but game to start in AAA....showed enough in the bush leagues and in light of his past body of work was given one last shot with the Bosox.....his exit season yielded nine starts, two wins, and six losses.....All those years missed out on post season play....closest being a member of the 1964 W-L record 122-101.