Friday, May 31, 2013

no. 180 - al kaline

Who is the man: Al Kaline played in 131 games for the Tigers in 1970 for the second straight year. He'd have one more 130-game year in '71 before the numerous injuries he suffered during his career began to wear him down.

Can ya dig it: Out of the 1971 Topps cards that I obtained in a trade with my friend back in the late '70s, the two gems were the Nolan Ryan card and this card. I haven't bothered to upgrade either.

Right on: The Tigers players seem to match well with this set.

You see this cat Kaline is a bad mother: It's well-known that Kaline suffered from osteomyelitis as a child, which led to a deformed left foot. The condition affected him throughout his career, but yet he is one of a handful of major leaguers to reach 3,000 hits.

Shut your mouth: One of the major differences between playing today and playing during his day, Kaline said, is the schedule. "The schedule is a little ridiculous," he said in an interview. Indeed it is, Mr. Kaline. MLB is trying to do too many things.

No one understands him but his woman: Kaline retired with 399 home runs. Three nine nine.

(A word about the back): At this moment, both of my year-tribute blogs feature major leaguers who never played in the minors. Kaline and Dave Winfield are two of less than a 100 players in history to do that.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

no. 179 - mike corkins

Who is the man: Mike Corkins had completed his first full season in the major leagues upon the arrival of this card. He appeared in 24 games and was a spot starter for the second-year Padres.

Can ya dig it: This card is miscut and I never noticed it until I scanned it.

Right on: Are the Padres and the Cleveland Browns the only pro teams to feature brown as their predominate color? It seems like such an odd choice. (I suppose the old St. Louis Browns did, too).

You see this cat Corkins is a bad mother: Corkins is featuring his name on his glove in the photo. Just in case anyone gets any ideas about stealing it. He'll mess you up.

Shut your mouth: Corkins is mentioned briefly in Ball Four by Jim Bouton. During a poor outing after being called up by the Padres in 1969, Astros infielder Marty Martinez yells to Corkins, "Welcome to the National League, kid!"

No one understands him but his woman: Corkins is best known for giving up Willie Mays' 600th career home run. Even Mays remembers that Corkins did that.

(A word about the back): Corkins' eyes are freaking me out. Are there any pupils in there?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

no. 178 - dave duncan

Who is the man: Dave Duncan was coming off his most successful season to date when this card came out of packs. He appeared in a career-high 86 games and hit .259, the first time his average had made it above .200.

Can ya dig it: At some point the simple "A" on Oakland's caps must have bothered someone, because they have been wearing the now-familar "A's" caps for a long time.

Right on: That target that Duncan is setting is so low that it's almost out of the frame.

You see this cat Duncan is a bad mother: During Duncan's long career as a pitching coach with the White Sox, A's and Cardinals, he oversaw four Cy Young Award winners. LaMarr Hoyt, Bob Welch, Dennis Eckersley and Chris Carpenter.

Shut your mouth: Duncan was a key figure in manager John McNamara getting fired after the 1970 season. Duncan said some unpleasant things about owner Charlie Finley and also roomed with coach Charlie Lau. Finley saw both of these as no-nos and axed the lenient McNamara in part for not keeping Duncan in line.

No one understands him but his woman: Duncan was the youngest player in the American League when he made is debut as an 18-year-old in May of 1964. After 25 games that year, he wouldn't appear in the majors again until 1967.

(A word about the back): You can practically hear the giddiness in the biographer's writing as he can finally write something worthwhile about the player who at last cracked the .200 mark.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

no. 177 - hal mc rae

Who is the man: Hal McRae enjoyed his first full season in the major leagues in 1970, playing in 70 games and getting 165 at-bats.

Can ya dig it: This is McRae's first solo card. He shares time on "rookie stars" cards in the 1968 and 1970 Topps sets.

Right on: It's very odd to see McRae in anything other than a Royals uniform.

You see this cat McRae is a bad mother: This.

Shut your mouth: Easily summed up in one quote: "Don't ask me these stupid ass questions." If you don't know what I'm referring to, then all I can say is, "Welcome to the internet. You've got a lot of catching up to do."

No one understands him but his woman: McRae was involved in a famous batting race with teammate George Brett during the 1976 season. In the final game of the season against the Twins, with the two players separated by a percentage point and each down to their final at-bat, Brett hit a flyball that fell in left field for an inside-the-park home run. McRae then grounded out. McRae fumed after the at-bat, accusing the Twins of purposely playing too deep so as to allow Brett to get the hit. "Things have been like this for a long time," he said in a Sporting News article.

(A word about the back): McRae's first game came against the Giants. He singled twice against Gaylord Perry.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

no. 176 - red sox rookie stars

Who is the man: Bob Montgomery and Doug Griffin each made their first trips to the majors in 1970, but with different teams. Montgomery played in 22 games for the Red Sox. Griffin participated in 18 for the Angels.

Can ya dig it: Griffin is airbrushed out of an Angels cap. He was dealt from the Angels to the Red Sox in October of 1970 in the bombshell Tony Conigliaro deal.

Right on: I wonder if Topps had some other player in mind for the bottom space before Griffin was traded?

You see these rookies are bad mothers: If I've said it once, I've said it 14 times. Rookies are never bad ass.

Shut your mouth: Montgomery was a broadcaster for Red Sox TV for 14 years, between 1982-95. He was hired for the job after Conigliaro, who also interviewed for the job, suffered a stroke.

No one understands him but his woman: The combination  of these two players is very interesting given one particular aspect -- their hats. Montgomery didn't wear a helmet during his career and was the last player to do so as all players who weren't already playing in 1971 were required to use helmets. He escaped with no beaning incidents. Meanwhile, Griffin wore a helmet like all other players and suffered two horrible beanings at the hands of Nolan Ryan and Dick Bosman that basically shortened his career.

(A word about the back): Playing baseball in Hawaii sounds fantastic. But I'm sure the road trips were hell.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

no. 175 - jim hickman

Who is the man: I'm sure that's exactly what baseball people were asking during the 1970 season when Jim Hickman hit .315, homered 32 times and drove in 115 runs. In the preceding eight years in the majors, Hickman had never hit more than 17 homers or 57 RBIs in a single season and had hit above .250 only once.

Can ya dig it: Hickman is posing in Shea Stadium, where he spent the first five years of his career.

Right on: I do dig the Cubbie bear logo on the sleeve, although it looks terribly dated.

You see this cat Hickman is a bad mother: Hickman was the first Met to hit three home runs in a single game, doing so in 1965 against the Cardinals.

Shut your mouth: If you were really mean, you could blame Hickman for the ruin of Ray Fosse's career, as he was the one who delivered the hit in the 1970 All-Star Game that caused Pete Rose to barrel into Fosse to score the winning run in the 12th inning.

No one understands him but his woman: Hickman pitched a game for the Dodgers in a mop-up role in 1967. He allowed a home run to Willie Mays.

(A word about the back): I missed posting on Hickman's birthday by four days. As a veteran set blogger, I can tell you one of the ultimate goals of any set blogger is to post on a player's birthday. ... OK, it's just my ultimate goal.

Friday, May 10, 2013

no. 174 - dave la roche

Who is the man: Dave LaRoche was entering his sophomore season when this card was released. He pitched 38 games in relief his rookie year in 1970.

Can ya dig it: This is another beaten up card from the first 1971 cards I received in a trade as a teenager. I've got some upgrading to do in the second series.

Right on: Rookie card!

You see this cat LaRoche is a bad mother: This "This Week in Baseball" highlight of LaRoche is awesome. Anyone who throws that pitch to Gorman Thomas three times in one at-bat is bad ass.

Shut your mouth: In a well-told story, Rod Carew and Dave LaRoche had it out in a closet after Carew told LaRoche to quit his negativity and LaRoche responded with "what are you going to do about it?"

No one understands him but his woman: LaRoche's actual last name is Garcia and he's of Spanish ancestry. But he changed his surname to "LaRoche" after his stepfather, causing some people to think his background was French. I guess that means we could have known LaRoche's son, the Nationals Adam LaRoche, by "Adam Garcia."

(A word about the back): I'm just realizing that win percentage is a stat on the backs of these cards. That's how useless win percentage is.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

no. 173 - gil garrido

Who is the man: In 1970, Gil Garrido received the most playing time he would ever have as a major leaguer. He played in 101 games and delivered 97 hits in 367 at-bats.

Can ya dig it: Garrido is choking up on the bat, which was standard procedure for a 5-foot-8 shortstop in 1971.

Right on: Garrido's initials are G.G.G. I love it.

You see this cat Garrido is a bad mother: Well, to pitcher Denny Lemaster, Garrido was a bad ass. Garrido's only home run in 872 major league at-bats came against Lemaster in an 8-1 Braves victory in 1970. Of course, Lemaster gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings that game, too.

Shut your mouth: Garrido appeared on a rookie stars card with the Giants in 1964 and then didn't appear on another card until 1969 when he appeared on a Braves rookie stars card. A five-year absence apparently didn't lessen his star power.

No one understands him but his woman: At least one report says that Garrido, who is from Panama, was called up to the Giants in 1961 but because he couldn't speak English, he couldn't find Candlestick Park, and was sent back down to the Pacific Coast League.

(A word about the back): That one career stolen base came in his first season with the Giants in 1964. He would steal another base in his final season in 1972, for a grand total of two for his career.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

no. 172 - duke sims

Who is the man: Duke Sims arrived in spring training of 1971 fresh off his most productive season. He established career highs in home runs, RBIs, batting average and hits.

Can ya dig it: Sims was already a member of the Dodgers when this card appeared in packs. He was traded by the Indians in December 1970.

Right on: Sims is posing in his future home. He played for the Yankees briefly in 1973 and 1974, hitting the last home run in Yankee Stadium before its renovation after the '73 season.

You see this cat Sims is a bad mother: Sims holds the record for the most career home runs by someone born in Utah. He hit 100 in 11 seasons.

Shut your mouth: Sims seems like a character, judging by this interview. "What do you remember most about Cleveland?" "I don't know. I drank a lot then and I don't remember a whole lot."

No one understands him but his woman: Sims is the most recent major leaguer to go by the first name "Duke." You'd think there'd be more, but there isn't.

(A word about the back): The write-up ain't lying. Among Sims' achievements against the Yankees in 1970: A 3-for-5, two-home run performance in a 4-3, 13-inning win on May 23; and another two-home run performance, including the game-winning shot in the 11th, in a 4-3 win on Sept. 12.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

no. 171 - bobby wine

Who is the man: Ten-year veteran Bobby Wine had just played in a career-high 159 games for the second-year Montreal Expos when this card was created.

Can ya dig it: This is another one of those first 1971s that I received in a trade for a bunch of late '70s Yankees when I was a teenager. You can see the creases, especially in the lower right corner.

Right on: I love this pose. Don't see it enough. And the chain-link fence is a bonus.

You see this cat Wine is a bad mother: Wine played 12 seasons in the majors despite a career .215 batting average. That's what a hell of a bad-ass throwing arm will do for you. Oh, and playing in the 1960s.

Shut your mouth: Wine managed 41 games on an interim basis for the Braves in 1985. During an end-of-the-season assessment of the roster with owner Ted Turner, Wine went on an hour-and-half tirade, complete with cursing, on the sorry state of the organization. Chuck Tanner was hired as manager for 1986.

No one understands him but his woman: Wine was passed over four different times for the Phillies managerial job during the 1980s. After the last time, in 1983, Wine moved on to the Braves and then the Mets.

(A word about the back): Wine still holds the National League record for double plays in a season by a shortstop with his total in 1970. Rick Burleson of the Red Sox holds the overall record of 147 in 1980.