Thursday, June 30, 2016

no. 548 - don mason

Who is the man: Don Mason managed just 36 at-bats for the Giants in 1970. He was traded to the Padres in the offseason.

Can ya dig it: This is the third straight card featuring a player in an airbrushed cap. Yup, we're getting to the higher numbers.

Right on: I have a difficult time believing that someone who played 46 games in 1970 necessitated an "infield" designation. Did he even have time to play three or four infield positions?

You see that cat Mason is a bad mother: Really digging here. Mason was acquired by the Padres partly because of his speed. He finished tied for third on the team in 1971 with six stolen bases.

Shut your mouth: He also finished third in the National League in errors committed at second with 15.

No one understands him but his woman: Mason is arguably the most productive hitter from Parsons College, a now-defunct school in Fairfield, Iowa. The school was known more for producing pitchers, including Charlie Williams, Rich Folkers and Jim Todd.

(A word about the back): Yeah, don't look at those current stats. Bask in the glory of his minor league season in 1965.

Monday, June 27, 2016

no. 547 - pat dobson

Who is the man: Pat Dobson pitched the 1970 season for the Padres, serving as San Diego's ace for one season before being traded to the Orioles after the season.

Can ya dig it: Why, in fact, Dobson is wearing a Padres uniform (and hat) in this photo! (EDIT: Probably actually a Tigers hat).

Right on: Are we keeping you awake, Pat?

You see that cat Dobson is a bad mother: Dobson won 20 games in his first season with the Orioles in 1971, becoming part of the famed Baltimore rotation with four 20-game winners.

Shut your mouth: Dobson wasn't afraid to speak his mind and it got him in trouble sometimes. While with the Tigers, he complained in the offseason that general manager Jim Campbell was afraid to make trades. That offseason, Campbell traded Dobson to the Padres.

No one understands him but his woman: Dobson met his wife, Kathe, when he was in his first years in minor league baseball, with the Tigers' affiliate in Durham, N.C. Kathe was a hostess for the Durham Bulls.

(A word about the back): The airbrushed Oriole on Dobson's cap looks slightly perturbed.

Friday, June 24, 2016

no. 546 - john matias

Who is the man: John Matias played his only season in the major leagues in 1970. He appeared in 58 games for the White Sox, batting .188.

Can ya dig it: Matias was traded from the White Sox to the Royals in October 1970. It's convenient that the White Sox wore light blue colors at the time because all Topps did was airbrush Matias' cap.

Right on: Matias' hands are strategically blocking any sign of Chicago White Sox lettering on the person behind him.

You see that cat Matias is a bad mother: Matias, a Hawaiian native, hit four home runs in four at-bats during the high school state championship game in 1962. It was such a big deal in Hawaii that the Honolulu Advertiser did a story on it 42 years later.

Shut your mouth: Matias returned to Hawaii after his career and remains there. He said of his 4-home run game, "Every time I run into someone, they swear they were at that game."

No one understands him but his woman: Matias' two career home runs both came against the Oakland A's.

(A word about the back): Matias seemed to be a streaky hitter. During the 1970 season, he went 8-for-12 in three games in late May.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

no. 545 - dick dietz

Who is the man: Dick Dietz enjoyed the year of his career in 1970. Allowed to become the Giants starting catcher for the first time, Dietz set career highs in virtually every category.

Can ya dig it: That's the calmest expression ever for someone attempting to throw out a runner.

Right on: Every time I think of Dietz, I think of a cartoon on the back of one of his cards.

You see that cat Dietz is a bad mother: Dietz was named to the Topps all-rookie team in 1967. Other players on that team included Tom Seaver, Rod Carew, Reggie Smith and Lee May.

Shut your mouth: Dietz may have been blackballed by baseball for his enthusiastic support for the players' union and the strike in 1972. Giants owner Horace Stoneham released Dietz, the Giants' playe representative, as soon as the strike ended. And after he was released by the Braves in the spring of 1974, despite a decent 1973, nobody picked him up.

No one understands him but his woman: Dietz is remembered for not attempting to avoid a pitch that hit him during Don Drysdale's record-setting scoreless streak. In the ninth inning of what would be Drysdale's fifth straight shutout, the bases were loaded when Dietz was hit on the elbow by a pitch. But umpire Harry Wendelstedt ruled Dietz failed to get out of the way. Dietz proceeded to fly out to end the game. The Giants argued the call, but teammate Ron Hunt remembered that Dietz "stood there like a post. It was a high slider and he didn't make an attempt."

(A word about the back): 159 walks -- that's almost Barry Bonds territory.

Monday, June 20, 2016

no. 544 - vida blue

Who is the man: Vida Blue was in the midst of the season of his career when this card was released. After appearing in just six games as a September call-up in 1970, Blue would be the talk of baseball in 1971.

Can ya dig it: One of the most memorable cards in the set. A fortuitous bit of photography taken before anyone knew that Blue would win 24 games in 1971.

Right on: I knew this card from the 1975 Topps set. It appeared on one of the MVP subset cards that was in one of the first packs that I ever bought.

You see that cat Blue is a bad mother: Blue was the first pitcher to start for both the AL and the NL in the All-Star Game.

Shut your mouth: When Blue was named starting pitcher for the AL for the 1971 All-Star Game, the Pirates' Dock Ellis said that NL manager Sparky Anderson would never name Ellis the starter for the NL because Anderson didn't like him, and also because "they wouldn't pitch two brothers against each other." Anderson named Ellis the NL starting pitcher.

No one understands him but his woman: Blue appeared on the cover of Time on Aug. 23, 1971, one of the few major league players to ever appear on a Time cover (others include Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Pete Rose, Dwight Gooden and others, but the most recent baseball cover as far as I can tell is in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series).

(A word about the back): Blue's no-hitter against the Twins occurred in just his 16th major league appearance. And he threw a complete-game one-hitter against the Royals just 10 days earlier.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

no. 543 - yankees

Who is the man: After five straight seasons finishing fifth or worse, the Yankees enjoyed a resurgence in 1970, winning 93 games and taking second behind the Orioles in the AL East. It wouldn't last though.

Can ya dig it: The team logo the Yankees trotted out for these photos is interesting. Is that made of cardboard? Metal? The team posed in front of the sign on their team cards from 1970-75. (They also did it some in the '60s).

Right on: I believe the Yankees are posing in Yankee Stadium.

You see that cat Houk is a bad mother: Veteran manager Ralph Houk is sitting right above the sign.

Shut your mouth: The Yankees aren't helping identify people in this photo without numbers on the front, and my vision isn't what it used to be. I do know the tallest guy in the back (fifth from the left) is pitcher Steve Hamilton, because he was 6-foot-7.

No one understands him but his woman: The man in the suit could be general manager Lee MacPhail.

(A word about the back): Topps really shrunk the type size on the back to get in all the Yankees championships.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

no. 542 - bob miller

Who is the man: Bob Miller had solidified his reputation as a peripatetic pitcher when this card was issued. He pitched for three team in 1970, the Indians, White Sox and the Cubs. And he wasn't even with the Cubs when this card was issued. The Cubs released him in May 1971 and the Padres signed him.

Can ya dig it: One of the majorly miscut cards that I own from this set. I believe this is one of the late-arriving cards when I was just trying to get the damn thing finished. I need to upgrade.

Right on: I am rather impressed that Miller is shown in a Cubs uniform, given that Chicago signed him at the start of September in 1970. That's the advantage of issuing a set in multiple series.

You see that cat Miller is a bad mother: Miller played for three World Series champions, the 1963 and 1965 Dodgers and the 1971 Pirates (after the Padres signed him, they traded him to the Pirates in August).

Shut your mouth: When Miller pitched for the expansion Mets in 1962, manager Casey Stengel couldn't remember his name. He would call Miller "Nelson," calling down to the bullpen to say, "get Nelson ready." He even introduced Miller as "Nelson."

No one understands him but his woman: Miller's 12 straight losses for the Mets to start the '62 season tied a major league record. It was later broken by another Mets pitcher, Anthony Young.

(A word about the back): You know it's a 1971 Topps back when the Legion ball highlights crowd out the World Series highlights.