Thursday, May 21, 2015

no. 413 - pat kelly

Who is the man: Pat Kelly spent the 1970 season with the Royals. He was traded to the White Sox on Oct. 13, 1970.

Can ya dig it: One of the stranger cards in the 1971 set. How they got Kelly to pose with his cap that far up his head I don't know. Also, he is shifted so far down (to obscure the Royals script on his jersey) and so far to the right (to get the signature in there) that the entire card looks out of kilter.

Right on: Kelly is featured on his 1970 Topps with a blacked out cap. He doesn't appear on his own card with a cap with a logo until the 1972 set (He is wearing a K.C. logo on his 1969 Topps card, but he shares that with two other players on a rookie stars card).

You see that cat Kelly is a bad mother: Kelly had been in the majors for 10 years already when he won fame as one of the Orioles' platoon hitters in 1979. He hit .364 in three games for the O's against the Angels in the ALCS.

Shut your mouth: In an article by Skip Hollandsworth of the Dallas Times Herald, he relayed a conversation between Kelly and manager Earl Weaver. Kelly asked Weaver if he could use his office to hold chapel. After Weaver said yes, Kelly said, "Don't you want to join us?" Weaver responded with "Hell, no."

Kelly persisted: "But Earl, don't you want to walk with the Lord?"
Weaver said: "I'd rather have you walk with the bases loaded."

No one understands him but his woman: Kelly is the first of three Pat Kellys to make the major leagues.

(A word about the back): A word about the "total bases" column. I'm so used to RBI following HR that it's jarring to see a stat splitting up the two. Hell, doesn't even do that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

no. 412 - jerry johnson

Who is the man: Jerry Johnson was acquired by the Giants from the Cardinals in May 1970 and was entering what would be the best season of his career when this card hit packs.

Can ya dig it: Johnson had appeared on three Topps cards at this point and on each one he is with a different team (1969: Phillies; 1970: Cardinals).

Right on: I believe Johnson is posing in Dodger Stadium.

You see that cat Johnson is a bad mother: Johnson finished sixth in the Cy Young Award voting in 1971 as he appeared in 67 games (all in relief) and saved 18.

Shut your mouth: Johnson had issues with his temper, especially early on in his career. Longtime manager Roy Hartsfield worked with Johnson in controlling his emotions.

No one understands him but his woman: Johnson began his career as a third baseman in the Mets organization in 1962. He began pitching in the minors by 1964.

(A word about the back): Not sure what's going on with Johnson's face here. He looks like a doll.

Friday, May 15, 2015

no. 411 - george spriggs

Who  is the man: George Spriggs had just completed his busiest season in the major leagues, appearing in 51 games and compiling 130 at-bats in 1970 after four partial years in the bigs. He'd never have another at-bat in the majors.

Can ya dig it: This is Spriggs' only solo card (he's on multi-player rookie cards in the 1968 and 1969 Topps sets). It's a pretty great card for your only one.

Right on: Is that Thurman Munson making another cameo in the 1971 Topps set?

You see that cat Spriggs is a bad mother: A noted speedster, Spriggs stole 335 bases over 10 minor league seasons.

Shut your mouth: Spriggs' son, Geno, was a low-level prospect in the Pirates organization in the late 1980s. He died at age 20 in a car accident. A baseball field in Maryland is named after the younger Spriggs. It's called Geno's Field.

No one understands him but his woman: Sure, he's being thrown out on the play, but Spriggs' created a pretty cool picture by rolling into second base.

(A word about the back): Everything the bio is saying is that Spriggs is fast. Everything the numbers are saying is that speed didn't help him hit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

no. 410 - ken holtzman

Who is the man: Ken Holtzman was coming off his best season with the Cubs in 1970, but 1971 would be his last year with Chicago.

Can ya dig it: That's quite a look on Holtzman's face. He looks like he's in the middle of giving a speech.

Right on: That's not the Holtzman I know. Ken Holtzman has long hair, a mustache and wears green and gold.

You see that cat Holtzman is a bad mother: Ken Holtzman hit a home run in the 1974 World Series and is one of 13 pitchers to go yard in the Series. Until the Phillies' Joe Blanton hit a home run in the 2008 World Series, Holtzman was the last one to do it.

Shut your mouth: Holtzman spent much of the 1967 season in the military but still went 9-0 in 12 games. He received his first pass from the Army that year by giving two pints of blood and then proceeded to beat the Phillies in the first game of a doubleheader. Holtzman said he didn't donate the blood just to get the pass: "It goes to Vietnam, I know how much it's needed."

No one understands him but his woman: Holtzman is one of just two pitchers who have thrown a no-hitter without striking anyone out. It happened in 1969 against the Braves.

(A word about the back): Holtzman wouldn't strike out 200 in a season again in his career.

Monday, May 11, 2015

no. 409 - don pavletich

Who is the man: Don Pavletich played 32 games in his first season with the Red Sox in 1970. He'd play just one more season and in very limited fashion.

Can ya dig it: You can tell that Pavletich just pounded his mitt as he prepares to give the pitcher a good target.

Right on: The photo is off-center. But at least you get to see the base paths.

You see that cat Pavletich is a bad mother: Pavletich was a bonus baby with the Reds. Required to be carried on the Reds' roster, he appeared in one game in 1957 before entering the military. The back of his 1959 card is interesting in that his stats list exactly one game and one at-bat in his career.

Shut your mouth: In spring training in 1971, Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko said one of his mistakes the previous year was not using Pavletich more and that he was going to give him a long look at the starting catcher position. Pavletich then played just 14 games in '71.

No one understands him but his woman: Even though Pavletich's career ended when 1971 ended, he has a card in the 1972 Topps set. He's listed with the Brewers, but he never played a game for them. He was released by Milwaukee in March.

 (A word about the back): Pavletich was pinch-hitting for Hal Jeffcoat in 1957.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

no. 408 - rafael robles

Who is the man: Rafael Robles spent 143 games in the minor leagues in 1970, yet the 23 games he played for the Padres that year were good enough for him to get a card in the 1971 set.

Can ya dig it: This photo may have been taken in 1969 as I believe the patch Robles is featuring on his sleeve commemorates the 200th anniversary of the city of San Diego, which was in 1969.

Right on: This is the only solo card of Robles during his career. He's featured on two- and three-player rookie cards in the 1969 and 1970 sets, respectively.

You see that cat Robles is a bad mother: Robles was the first batter in San Diego Padres history. On April 8, 1969, he led off and reached on an error by Astros second baseman Joe Morgan. He proceeded to steal second base, but was stranded at third.

Shut your mouth: Robles' son is a rapper named Young Sosa.

No one understands him but his woman: Robles started the third triple play in Padres history. It happened in his final season in 1972 against the Cubs. Playing shortstop, he fielded a ground ball from Randy Hundley, tagged Carmen Fanzone coming from second base and threw to Derrel Thomas to force out Jose Cardenal at second. Thomas then threw to Nate Colbert at first base to get Hundley and complete the triple play.

(A word about the back): Those are not impressive stats.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

no. 407 - joe rudi

Who is the man: Joe Rudi had just completed his first 100-game season when this card hit packs. He played in 106 games, batting .309.

Can ya dig it: Terrific shot of a common scene at first base that you don't see a lot on a baseball card. How can you beat Rudi in that gold-and-green ensemble?

Right on: I don't know my early '70s Yankees well enough to identify a player with a shadow across his face. My guess is Curt Blefary.

You see that cat Rudi is a bad mother: Rudi hit the game-winning and Series-clinching home run in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series against the Dodgers.

Shut your mouth: Rudi has been a longtime ham radio operator going back to his playing days.

No one understands him but his woman: It took several years for Rudi to stick with the Oakland A's. In 1969, five years after Rudi's first year in pro ball, manager Joe McNamara said of Rudi: "It's hard to say what his future might be with the team. There are a number of question marks."

(A word about the back): Rudi's .309 batting average in 1970 was the best of his 16-year career.