Thursday, August 25, 2016

no. 568 - sal campisi

Who is the man: Sal Campisi came over to the Twins from the Cardinals in a trade in late October 1970. He pitched in 37 games for St. Louis in 1970, all in relief.

Can ya dig it: I could've sworn Campisi was an outfielder. I know I should have looked at the bright yellow letters that say "pitcher," but the photo isn't exactly helping me out here.

Right on: This is Campisi's only solo card. He appears on a three-player rookie stars card in the 1970 Topps set.

You see that cat Campisi is a bad mother: Campisi led the Dominican Winter League in earned run average during the 1969-70 offseason with a 0.74.

Shut your mouth: Campisi apparently gained a reputation for eating too much when he was in the minor leagues. This article says it stemmed from when Warren Spahn was coaching him. Campisi had lost 12 pounds but then gained a few pounds back and Spahn talked to him about it. Campisi told him, "Do you want a fat winner or a skinny loser?"

No one understands him but his woman: Campisi won the first American Association Most Valuable Player award for pitchers in 1969 while playing for Tulsa. Later pitchers to win the award included Jim Kern, Bryn Smith, Jay Howell, Pascual Perez and Rick Helling.

(A word about the back): That airbrushed Twins logo looks far too big for that cap.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

no. 567 - walt alston

Who is the man: Walt Alston managed the Dodgers to a second-place finish in the NL West in 1970, his 17th year as manager of the club. It was the team's highest finish since 1966.

Can ya dig it: Alston seems absolutely thrilled with whoever he spotted in the mezzanine.

Right on: This photo likely was taken at the same time as the photo on Alston's 1972 Topps card. Not only is he staring in the same general direction, but those two standing, jacketed people behind Alston are in both shots.

You see that cat Alston is a bad mother: Alston managed the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 1955. And he added championships in 1959, 1963 and 1965 for good measure.

Shut your mouth: Alston lasted longer as a manager with one team than everyone except Connie Mack and John McGraw. "He's not irritating," Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley once explained. "Do you realize how important it is to have a manager who doesn't irritate you?"

No one understands him but his woman: Dodgers player Tommy Davis once said of Alston: "He's a straight guy, know what I mean? Really straight. I respect the man. I just don't understand him."

(A word about the back): It's a little crazy to see someone born in 1911 on the back of a baseball card.

Friday, August 19, 2016

no. 566 - tim cullen

Who is the man: Tim Cullen provided another season of good-glove, no-hit action for the Senators in 1970. He was entering his final year with Washington.

Can ya dig it: This card is a little too grungy for my liking. Gum-stain remnants, scuffing all the way around, and a well-nibbled top right corner.

Right on: Look that ball into your glove, Tim!

You see that cat Cullen is a bad mother: Cullen was named to the Topps Rookie All-Star team for 1967. He features one of those giant trophies on his 1968 Topps card.

Shut your mouth: Cullen's nickname was "The Worm" for the way he hit the dirt to get a groundball. I suppose it's appropriate now that this card is dingy.

No one understands him but his woman: Cullen is the last nonpitcher to bat ninth in an American League game prior to the start of the designated hitter in 1973. While playing for the White Sox against the Yankees in 1968, Cullen started at second base and hit ninth and White Sox pitcher Gary Peters hit sixth.

(A word about the back): I like the brevity of the last sentence in the write-up. "Briefly with Chisox," when "briefly with the White Sox" would work, too. Also, it's true Cullen played just four months with the White Sox in '68 before being traded back to the Senators -- for the same player he was traded to the White Sox for, Ron Hansen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

no. 565 - jim wynn

Who is the man: Jim Wynn enjoyed another solid season as the Astros' slugger in 1970, hitting 27 home runs in 157 games played. But he was actually entering a string of inconsistency that would ultimately lead him to being traded to the Dodgers.

Can ya dig it: Wynn isn't exactly at home plate, or wearing a helmet, but otherwise, he looks pretty locked in to whatever is coming his way.

Right on: Very jealous of Astros fans who received many cards of Wynn as an Astro. All I've got of Wynn as a Dodger are cards I can count on one hand.

You see that cat Wynn is a bad mother: Wynn's most notable home run season came in 1967 when he hit 37, including several memorable shots (three in one game against the Giants, the longest  in Crosley Field history). He was in a race with Hank Aaron for the home run title until Aaron pulled away. Aaron paid Wynn a compliment when he mentioned that Wynn had to play in the spacious Astrodome.

Shut your mouth: Wynn initially didn't like his nickname, "The Toy Cannon," because he regarded it as another slight on his 5-9 height. But he later came around and his nickname was the title of his autobiography.

No one understands him but his woman: Wynn has been married three times. He was stabbed in the stomach by his first wife, Ruth, during an argument on their wedding anniversary in December 1970. Wynn brought an unloaded shotgun into the argument and his wife a 4-inch steak knife. Wynn didn't press charges, later saying it was his fault.

(A word about the back): I know I've complained about this once before on a different card, but the start of this write-up is the most tortured opening I've read on a baseball card.

Monday, August 15, 2016

no. 564 - al fitzmorris

Who is the man: Al Fitzmorris pitched in his first full season in 1970, appearing mostly in relief for the second-year Royals.

Can ya dig it: Those palm trees on either side of the telephone pole. I dig that.

Right on: This is Fitzmorris' first solo card.

You see that cat Fitzmorris is a bad mother: Fitzmorris finished fifth in the American League in ERA in 1974 at 2.79. He was second on the Royals staff behind Steve Busby's 18 victories with 16 win in 1975.

Shut your mouth: Fitzmorris admits to butting heads with two Royals managers of the 1970s, Jack McKeon and Whitey Herzog. Knowing the personalities of both of those managers, I'm sure just about everyone butted heads with them.

No one understands him but his woman: Fitzmorris has been a singer and musician most of his life, including during his baseball career. When he was first arriving in the major leagues, he was the singer for a five-man rock band called Blond Cobra.

(A word about the back): Fitzmorris came to bat 406 times in 1966 while in the minors with the White Sox. Pitchers who started out as hitters in the pros always interest me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

no. 563 - giants

Who is the man: The San Francisco Giants dipped a bit in 1970. After five straight years of finishing second, they dropped to third, behind the Reds and Dodgers, with an 86-76 record. Manager Clyde King was fired in May and replaced with Charlie Fox.

Can ya dig it: Whoever cropped this photo heartlessly chopped out half of an equipment manager or trainer from the photo on the right-hand side.

Right on: You probably can tell that this card is miscut -- diamond cut, in fact. If you can't tell, you will be able to when I show the back of the card.

You see that cat Fox is a bad mother: It's difficult to make out faces in this photo, but I'm guessing that manager Charlie Fox is not in this picture, since he didn't show up until May, and team photos were typically shot during spring training. If previous manager Clyde King is in the photo, the odd thing is the guy who looks most like him, is the guy in the glasses standing up next to the second row on the left. But he's not wearing a uniform.

Shut your mouth: The Giants of this period featured some notable players -- and some tall players. Bobby Bonds is the first guy on the left in the third row. Move three players to the right and that's Willie McCovey. Gaylord Perry is over on the other end of the row, second guy from the right. I'm fairly sure Willie Mays is the first guy on the left in the second row, next to that guy who really looks like Clyde King. But the blurriness makes me less certain.

No one understands him but his woman: I think they mixed some bat boys with some regular players on the bottom row. It makes the second guy from the left look like a giant (get it?).

(A word about the back): There's that diamond-cut action. ... The Yankees and Dodgers have met a record 11 times in the World Series. But the Yankees and Giants are right behind with seven meetings, all before 1963.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

no. 562 - dave giusti

Who is the man: Dave Giusti was in the middle of his second season with the Pirates when this card was issued. His first season was a smashing success. Converted to a reliever, he saved 26 games in 1970.

Can ya dig it: The mind reels over who the Pirates in the dugout might be. Sanguillen? Stargell? Clemente?

Right on: Whoever those guys are, I think one of their moms should show up and tell him to sit up straight.

You see that cat Giusti is a bad mother: Giusti led the league in saves with 30 in 1971 and got the save in Game 4 of the World Series that year. Between 1970-74, he finished in the top 10 in Cy Young Award voting three times.

Shut your mouth: Giusti was passed over for an All-Star berth by Reds manager Sparky Anderson in 1971. Anderson instead picked his team's reliever, Clay Carroll, saying, "My guys got me the job of managing All-Stars. Clay was one of them."

No one understands him but his woman: Giusti's wife, Virginia, said Dave's first word was "ball". Someone must have relayed that to her, as I don't think his wife was around when he was a year old.

(A word about the back): Giusti's Astros RBI mark lasted for 23 years. In that game, he also pitched a complete-game shutout.