Thursday, December 5, 2013
Who is the man: Red Schoendienst and the Cardinals had fallen on hard times in 1970. After going to the World Series in 1967 and 1968, Red and the boys plummeted to a 76-86 mark in 1970, the franchise's worst record since 1959. The Cards would rebound in 1971 though.
My observation on the front: This is another one of my early 1971s, complete with a crease in the southeast corner and not a single sharp edge.
Right on: You can call him Al ... or maybe you can't.
You see this cat Schoendienst is a bad mother: Schoendienst's longevity is astounding. Nineteen years as a player, 14 years as a manager, 30-plus more years as a coach and 90 years on this earth. He'll be 91 in February. It's totally cool that you can find a card of Schoendienst in the 1948 Bowman set and the 1990 Topps Traded set.
Shut your mouth: Schoendienst fought a well-publicized battle with tuberculosis in the late 1950s, but in a Sports Illustrated article, he fumed over the attention he received for coming back from the disease. "For over a year now it's been TB, TB, TB. I'm a ballplayer, not a doctor or a patient. This story you wrote here is just too dramatic for me. It just wasn't that tough."
No one understands him but his woman: On the same day Schoendienst got married, his new bride, Mary, watched him play a game a third base. During the game, a line drive nearly decapitated Schoendienst. After the game, the team's manager congratulated Mary on her marriage. She thanked him, then said, "Please get Red off third base before he gets killed."
(A word about the back): That .993 fielding mark mentioned lasted until Ryne Sandberg broke it in the mid-1980s.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Who is the man: Chuck Dobson. continuing with a solid five-year stretch for the A's, set career highs in 1970 for games pitched, innings pitched, wins, complete games and shutouts. He also set career highs for walks, home runs allowed and runs allowed.
Can ya dig it: I've said it before, I'll say it again, I don't think there's really a ball in that glove.
Right on: There is something odd but also funky about the A's old caps that just said "A" on them. They're like The Fonz's team.
You see this cat Dobson is a bad mother: Dobson is featured on the fifth card in this set in most memorable fashion.
Shut your mouth: Dobson was known to voice his opinion and it got him in trouble with regard to amphetamines. He admitted to using "greenies," and when Commissioner Bowie Kuhn cracked down on players' use of the drug in spring training of 1971, Dobson told the Sporting News: "If the commissioner says we can't use them anymore, then the next time someone asked me whether I use them, I'll say no, go around the corner and pop." Dobson and Kuhn had a conversation after that.
No one understands him but his woman: Dobson and Reggie Jackson were the first interracial roommates in baseball history in 1968.
(A word about the back): At least one of those league-best shutouts in 1970 was pitched by Dobson on an amphetamine high.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Who is the man: Cesar Cedeno made his major league debut in June of 1970 and went on to hit .310 in 355 at-bats, finishing fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting (he received one vote).
Can ya dig it: Cedeno cards were always cool in the 1970s. Love the old Astros logo patch. That's how I remember the Astros logo.
Right on: Rookie card! He's no older than 19 in this photo.
You see this cat Cedeno is a bad mother: Anyone compared to Willie Mays early in their career is a bad mother. Thank you, Leo Durocher.
Shut your mouth: Durocher, expanding on his Cedeno-Mays comparison in a UPI article in 1973: "What I've said is there will never be a better player than Willie Mays. In my opinion anyway. At this stage of his career though, Cesar Cedeno is as good as Willie was when he was 22. He's a fantastic ballplayer. Positively fantastic. He could turn out to be as great as Willie. Like I say, though, I don't think there'll ever be a better ballplayer than Mays."
No one understands him but his woman: There are a lot of directions I could go here, as Cedeno had well-known, even tragic, experiences with women. But let's go with this Cedeno quote:
"I never get any endorsements or commercials. I've never understood why. I have an accent, but so does Ricardo Montalban."
(A word about the back): Just to give younger collectors an idea of the build-up for this guy, here are snippets from the first few Cedeno card backs:
1971: "Cesar has the potential to be a super-star."
1972: "Hailed as NL's next super-star ..."
1973: "One of the major league's most exciting players ..."
1975: "Perhaps baseball's next super-star ..."
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Who is the man: Bob Humphreys was wrapping up his major league career with this card. He pitched in 28 games with the Brewers in 1970 after being released by the Senators in midseason.
Can ya dig it: Humphreys looks like a grumpus on most of his cards. This is as close to a smile as he showed on seven years of Topps cards.
Right on: Final card right here.
You see this cat Humphreys is a bad mother: Humphreys played for the World Series champion Cardinals in his first full season in the major leagues in 1964. He appeared in one game against the Yankees in that Series, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth in an 8-3 loss by the Cardinals in Game 6.
Shut your mouth: Humphreys said he learned how to throw a fastball and curve ball as a kid from a pamphlet put out by Wheaties. "There was no coaching," he said. "When I was in high school, we had a coach who was a Spanish teacher. He didn't know squat about baseball."
No one understands him but his woman: Humphreys was told in a 1963 major league evaluation, "you can't make it." He wrote that sentence down in his glove and used it as motivation at the start of a nine-year MLB career.
(A word about the back): "Bob had 3 saves for the Brewers in 1970." ... That's a hell of a lead.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Who is the man: Nate Colbert was becoming the first big slugger in Padres history at the time this card appeared. He slammed a career-high 38 home runs for San Diego in 1970.
Can ya dig it: The crop job on this card is a little odd to me. It makes me wonder what is on the ground by Colbert's feet that we aren't supposed to see.
Right on: I know I'm done with this set, but seeing a card in such great condition like this one makes me want to upgrade a bunch of the '71s I have. And that would get expensive.
You see this cat Colbert is a bad mother: All these years later, Colbert still holds the Padres' mark with career home runs with 163.
Shut you mouth: When Colbert was playing for the Astros near the start of his career in 1966, Houston was playing the Yankees in an exhibition game in the Astrodome. Mickey Mantle was taking batting practice and it was Colbert's first time seeing The Mick. "Oh, my gosh, hey guys, that's Mickey Mantle!" Colbert said to his teammates. His teammates replied calmly, "I know."
No one understands him but his woman: Colbert retired at age 30 because of back problems. If not for that, he could have become one of the great sluggers of the 1970s and '80s.
(A word about the back): I would assume setting the record for games played is like getting the perfect attendance certificate in school. You're not turning down the award, but you're not exactly bragging about it either.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Who is the man: For the second straight card, we have someone making their solo card debut. Jim Lyttle appeared on a two-player rookie card in the 1970 set, but after having the most productive season of his eight-year major league career, he earned his own card in the '71 set.
Can ya dig it: Lyttle's beady little blue eyes match the skyline.
Right on: This is an upgrade of a really ratty version of this card that I had. It was once one of the most beat-up cards in my set.
You see this cat Lyttle is a bad mother: I think his 1976 SSPC card is fantastic, and I must have it some day.
Shut your mouth: Lyttle has just three solo Topps cards, one each with the Yankees, White Sox and Expos. I just found out doing research that Lyttle ended his MLB career with the Dodgers in 1976. It's rare that someone from this time period plays for the Dodgers and I don't know it. I'm kind of stunned.
No one understands him but his woman: After his MLB career ended in 1976, Lyttle went to Japan where he became a successful slugger. He hit 33 homers and drove in 100 runs with a .318 batting average in 1981. He also won the Japanese League gold glove award four times.
(A word about the back): "Jim showed well." I don't know if that's an actual thought.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Who is the man: The always prickly Larry Bowa had finished off his rookie season as this card appeared in packs. He placed third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1970, behind the Expos' Carl Morton and the Reds' Bernie Carbo.
Can ya dig it: So much going on this photo. It looks like the team's headed off the field and the photographer grabbed Bowa for a shot. But Bowa's wearing a batting glove. And then there's the random discarded glove on the ground. I'm so confused.
Right on: This is the sixth rookie trophy so far in the set. The left side of the infield is complete, along with the catcher, pitcher and two outfielders.
You see this cat Bowa is a bad mother: Bowa's temper tantrums on and off the field both as a player and manager are well-documented. He wore out his welcome with the Phillies, Cubs and Padres.
Shut your mouth: Bowa famously called out Cubs manager Jim Frey in his autobiographical book, "Bleep" during the 1980s. Bowa was upset because Frey sat him for the much younger Shawon Dunston. He called Frey a "minor league bum" for not playing in the majors and said Frey preferred three-run homers to singles. Who wouldn't?
No one understands him but his woman: Bowa has ended his gig as an analyst at the MLB Network to coach for the Phillies in 2014. Like many of the MLB Network analysts, I didn't find him very informative.
(A word about the back): Bowa's father, Paul, played for mostly Class C California teams between 1941-47 and managed in 1946 and 1947. Also, I don't know what the hell the bio is talking about here. Bowa's "fine" on-base average was .277 in 1970.