Monday, January 6, 2014

no. 248 - hoyt wilhelm

Who is the man: Hoyt Wilhelm was a Cub for all of three games at the end of the 1970 season. He spent most of the season with the Braves, coming on in relief in 53 games and winning his first All-Star mention since the 1962 season.

Can ya dig it: This is a good job of getting Wilhelm in a Cubs uniform for the '71 set. He was picked up off of waivers by the Cubs on Sept. 21, 1970. In fact, it was too good of a job because Wilhelm was dealt back to the Braves in November of 1970, before the '71 set hit shelves.

Right on: I picked up this card at a card show at the community college near where I live. It kicked off my second attempt to collect the 1971 set, even though I wouldn't fully commit to a return to card collecting for a few more years.

You see this cat Wilhelm is a bad mother: A true pitching pioneer, Wilhelm paved a path for hundreds of relievers and a separate one for knuckleball pitchers. The Hall of Famer still holds the record for career wins as a reliever (124) and nearly pitched to his 50th birthday.

Shut your mouth: Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said he would investigate the Cubs' acquisition of Wilhelm after the Braves reobtained the pitcher. A number of late September waiver moves were made that year in what was perceived as attempts by contending teams, like the Cubs, to bolster their team for what few games remained without giving anything up.

No one understands him but his woman: When Wilhelm died in 2002, it was discovered that he was born in 1922, not 1923. During his career, wherever he went, baseball fans would bring up how old he was. Little did they know that he was even older.

(A word about the back): Seeing "a future Hall of Famer" on the back of a card is a bit different. I would assume that the general feeling in 1970 was that Wilhelm was going to the Hall of Fame -- if Topps was willing to write that on a card. But Wilhelm didn't actually make the Hall until 1985.


  1. This is probably my favorite card from the '71 set. It's the subject of my most beloved player collection in a uniform he only wore for three games. So cool.

  2. Great card. In researching info on Wilhelm for an upcoming post, I discovered his '71 O-Pee-Chee card has him as a Brave, along with the "Traded to Braves" text. Gotta find it!