Wednesday, October 30, 2013

no. 228 - wayne garrett

Who is the man: Wayne Garrett had completed his sophomore season in the majors upon the arrival of this card. He made the same number of plate appearances (454) as he did his rookie season, but hit 36 points higher (.254-.218).

Can ya dig it: That is almost the same pose that Garrett is striking on his 1972 Topps card. In fact, Garrett is shown fielding on his first three cards.

Right on: I wonder if the guy behind Garrett is on the same team? It doesn't look quite like a Mets uniform but that's probably because it's so far away. Nobody on the Mets wore a number in the 50s on the 1970 team, but it could be a coach.

You see this cat Garrett is a bad mother: Garrett was a big reason why the Mets reached the World Series in 1973. He hit .333 in September with six home runs, then hit two more in the World Series against the A's.

Shut your mouth: Garrett was nicknamed "Red" because of his hair. But he was also called "Huckleberry Finn" because of his youthful looks. He didn't like that nickname.

No one understands him but his woman: Garrett spent much of 1971 fulfilling a military obligation and hit only .213 in limited time. Despite a strong 1970 season, the Mets felt they had a hole at third base and before the 1972 season famously traded pitcher Nolan Ryan to the Angels for infielder Jim Fregosi, who they expected to start at third.

(A word about the back): Garrett played 70 games at third and 45 at second in 1970. It'd be the last season he'd split time between the two positions until 1976. He spent most of his time at third between 1971-75.

Monday, October 28, 2013

no. 227 - floyd weaver

Who is the man: Floyd Weaver had enjoyed his most productive season since 1965 by appearing in 31 games for the White Sox in 1970. In fact, '65 was also the most recent time he had pitched in the major leagues.

Can ya dig it: This has the appearance of a night card, but I think Weaver is simply posing in front of a darkened dugout.

Right on: This is Weaver's final card. He had only three.

You see this cat Weaver is a bad mother: Weaver still holds the record for the most strikeouts in a game for an NJCAA pitcher. He struck out 21 for Paris Junior College on May 10, 1961 in Grand Junction, Colo.

Shut your mouth: Floyd is not a first name you hear much anymore. The most recent major leaguer with the first name of Floyd was pitcher Floyd Bannister, although Butch Henry, who pitched as recently as 1999, had the given name of Floyd. Meanwhile, Weaver's given name was actually David.

No one understands him but his woman: Weaver married his wife, Betty, in 1968, a year in which he was out of baseball. No word on whether he took the year off to marry Betty.

(A word about the back): "Floyd was sent to Tucson, 11-70" sounds ominous. But the Brewers did pick up Weaver in 1971 and he pitched in 21 games for them (albeit not very well). He spent 1972 and 1973 pitching in the minors for the Cubs. After his baseball career, he became an X-ray technician.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

no. 226 - bill russell

Who is the man: Bill Russell was still roaming the outfield in 1971 after his second part-time year in the majors. In 1970, he played in a few more games and hit a little better than in '69.

Can ya dig it: The '71 Russell card in my Dodger binder is in much better shape than this one. I feel like I gave you leftovers here.

Right on: Those old-style black batting gloves make it look like the player is about to knock some heads.

You see this cat Russell is a bad mother: Russell just helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of the start of the longest running infield, which featured himself, Steve Garvey, Dave Lopes and Ron Cey. The four were starters for the Dodgers between 1973-81.

Shut your mouth: Russell received a lot of criticism for his fielding when he was with the Dodgers. But manager Tommy Lasorda stuck with him through it all. Later, after Russell succeeded Lasorda as Dodgers manager, they had a falling out as Russell believed Lasorda was responsible for his firing.

No one understands him but his woman: Russell came into a tough situation when he took the Dodgers manager job in 1996 after Lasorda suffered a heart attack. It didn't get any better as he encountered problems with some of the Dodger pitchers, catcher Mike Piazza was traded in a highly controversial deal, and the O'Malleys sold the team to Fox.

(A word about the back): I don't know why I always think Russell is from Oklahoma. Kansas is not Oklahoma.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

no. 225 - gary peters

Who is the man: Gary Peters had completed his first season with the Red Sox, after being traded from the White Sox in 1969, when this card was issued. He won 16 games with a 4.05 ERA, capitalizing on the productive Boston lineup.

Can ya dig it: Peters is known as a White Sox pitcher, as he had his greatest success in Chicago and spent 11 seasons there. But I saw this card very early in my collecting career and had never heard of Peters, so I equate him with being a Red Sox pitcher.

Right on: That's a pensive look on his face.

You see this cat Peters is a bad mother: The American League Rookie of the Year in 1963, Peters won 29 games in his first two full seasons with the White Sox.

Shut your mouth: Peters hit so well that he was used often as a pinch-hitter. In 1971, he pitched in 34 games, but played in 19 more, hitting .271 with three home runs, four doubles and 19 RBIs.

No one understands him but his woman: It took Peters four call-ups to the White Sox before he finally stuck. He was considered by some as nothing more than a decent Triple A pitcher.

(A word about the back): Peters gave up almost exactly a hit per inning in 1971. Good thing the Red Sox batted .262 as a team that year (the league average was .250).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

no. 224 - alan gallagher

Who is the man: Alan Gallagher broke into the Giants' lineup after five years in the minors and hit .266 in his first 109 major league games in 1970.

Can ya dig it: When I was first learning about players who appeared on cards just before I started collecting, I was fascinated by players like Gallagher, who began their careers just a few years before I started buying cards but were no longer on cards anymore. Who was this Alan Gallagher? And why was his career so short?

Right on: This is the fifth rookie trophy shown so far on the blog. Right now, we have a catcher, pitcher, two outfielders and a third baseman.

You see this cat Gallagher is a bad mother: Gallagher's nickname was "Dirty Al," which he received when he played in college. During a 25-game hitting streak, he refused to change his uniform or even his underwear.

Shut your mouth: Gallagher was a prized draft pick by the Giants, but struggled to meet expectations. Sent to instructional league in 1969, his manager, Hank Sauer told Gallagher that he couldn't take instructions. Gallagher decided to show his manager and appeared at 8 a.m. each day to work with Sauer.

No one understands him but his woman: Gallagher was regarded as flaky during his big-league career (perhaps the not-changing-the-uniform thing may have tipped them off). He wore wildly colorful clothes that didn't necessarily match and sometimes would practice his slide techniques in the airport terminal when the team was waiting for a flight.

(A word about the back): That's the rare profile shot. I should see how many of those are in the set.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

no. 223 - cecil upshaw

Who is the man: Cecil Upshaw did not pitch a single game in 1970, suffering a freak injury in spring training. But he still received a card.

Can ya dig it: With the way the clouds in the background are positioned, it appears as if Upshaw's left ear is smoking.

Right on: Upshaw looks a little bit like Randolph Mantooth, the actor who is probably known more now for roles in soap operas, Sex in the City and Sons of Anarchy but I knew as John Gage in the '70s paramedic show, Emergency! Granted, Upshaw is not nearly as dreamy.

You see this cat Upshaw is a bad mother: Upshaw was a key part of the 1969 National League West champion Braves, serving as the closer on that team and saving 27 games.

Shut your mouth: Upshaw was the player representative for the Braves during a time of labor strife in baseball. His declining skills probably didn't help but Upshaw was dealt from the Braves to the Astros to the Indians to the Yankees to the White Sox all between 1973-74.

No one understands him but his woman: Depending on which account you read, Upshaw was injured in 1970 because he either took his teammates up on a bet that he couldn't touch an awning or because he was demonstrating his dunking skills. Either way, the ring on his pitching hand caught in the awning and doctors had to reconnect the resulting severed artery in his ring finger.

(A word about the back): Upshaw's injury is often listed as one of baseball's most bizarre/infamous, so it's amusing to see the bio merely mention "a finger injury." I suppose nearly severed fingers don't go well with bubble gum.

Friday, October 11, 2013

no. 222 - bob watson

Who is the man: Bob Watson received the most significant amount of playing time in his young career in 1970, playing in 97 games after trips back and forth from the minors from 1966-69.

Can ya dig it: "Bull" looks like a little kid in this photo, not at all like the large man with tinted glasses that I remember from his later cards.

Right on: This is another one of the first 1971 Topps cards I ever saw. Someone I knew must have had it but I don't remember who. Watson was also one of the first 1975 Topps cards I ever owned. So I became pretty familiar with his career early on.

You see this cat Watson is a bad mother: Watson was the guy who got the crowd on the side of the Bad News Bears in  the movie "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training." When Watson says "come on, let the kids play!," it sparks a "Let Them Play" chant by the entire Astrodome crowd.

Shut your mouth: When Bob Watson was playing for the Braves in 1983, he said, "we're only one player away from being the best team in baseball -- Steve Carlton."

No one understands him but his woman: Watson worked for MLB as the vice president  in charge of discipline, rules and on-field operations. He handed out penalties after baseball brawls and got a lot of grief for it. Then there was the time when he said that Red Sox manager Terry Francona couldn't wear his pullover during games, calling it a "nightshirt."

(A word about the back): Losing players to military service was a very real fact of life for teams in 1970. This article documents how many teams lost dozens of players for weeks at a time in the middle of the 1970 season. Watson started two weeks of service on Aug. 1 of that year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

no. 221 - dave morehead

Who is the man: Dave Morehead was finished with his major league career by the time this card came out. He was released by the Royals in spring training of 1971.

Can ya dig it: Final card of his career.

Right on: I remember seeing this card as a young teenager. I thought he looked pissed as hell.

You see this cat Morehead is a bad mother: For a long time, Morehead was known as the last Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter. He pitched one against the Indians in 1965 and another Red Sox pitcher wouldn't throw a no-no until Hideo Nomo in 2001.

Shut your mouth: Morehead is no older than 28 in this picture.

No one understands him but his woman: After Morehead pitched his no-hitter, the Red Sox took his spotlight away by announcing in a postgame press conference that they were firing the general manager.

(A word about the back): Morehead pitched a 10-strikeout shutout in his major league debut. You'd think that would be mentioned instead of some high school trophies.

Friday, October 4, 2013

no. 220 - ron santo

Who is the man: Ron Santo put up another solid season for the Cubs in 1970, but it was just the second time in an 11-year span that he was not named an All-Star.

Can ya dig it: That's a good look at the Cubs face patch that I believe first appeared on Cubs uniforms in the early 1960s. It has a certain out-of-date charm.

Right on: That bat looks pretty tiny.

You see this cat Santo is a bad mother: One of the finest fielders the Cubs ever had, Hall of Famer Santo consistently led the league in assists, chances and double plays turned.

Shut your mouth: Santo became just as well-known for his broadcasting after his career. He was a rather passionate and rambling announcer. Here are some appropriate examples.

No one understands him but his woman: Just this week, there was a story in Chicago about how some Cubs employees threw away some Santo memorabilia. Bartenders from Murphy's bleachers bar dug it out of a dumpster and kept it at the bar.

(A word about the back): For some reason, Santo looks younger in the photo on the back than he does on the front.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

no. 219 - elrod hendricks

Who is the man: Elrod Hendricks was coming off his second season as the primary catcher for the Orioles. He enjoyed possibly his most productive season in 1970, although '70 and '71 are similar.

Can ya dig it: This is one of the first 1971 Topps cards I ever saw. At an early age I marveled at how low he was in his crouch. I began to think that this was a major league skill, like a good fastball or the ability to hit a slider.

Right on: Topps started out calling Hendricks "Rod" on his 1969 card. Then it switched to "Elrod" in 1970 and 1971. After that it was "Ellie," which is how he signed his name on this card.

You see this cat Hendricks is a bad mother: Hendricks just came off of a terrific postseason. He batted .375 in the ALCS and World Series and hit a home run in Game 1 of the Series.

Shut your mouth: Hendricks was born in the Virgin Islands and his accent and way of speaking delighted his teammates and others in baseball. Former umpire Ron Luciano in his book "The Umpire Strikes Back" said Hendricks had "the nicest way of arguing of anyone in baseball."

No one understands him but his woman: Hendricks didn't want to sign a pro deal because he thought his mother would get mad. So his uncle signed for him.

(A word about the back): First year of pro ball, 1959. Hendricks didn't reach the majors until he was 27.