Tuesday, December 29, 2015

no. 486 - steve huntz

Who is the man: Steve Huntz was coming off the most productive season of his major league career when this card was issued. He played in more than a 100 games for the only time in his career as a backup infielder for the Padres.

Can ya dig it: Huntz may be listed as a Giant, but he never played for the Giants. He was traded from San Diego to San Francisco in December 1970, then shipped from the Giants to the White Sox in March 1971.

Right on: These blacked out caps and helmets aren't nearly as jarring when the player is a Giant. Black hats, you know.

You see that cat Huntz is a bad mother: Huntz played in a whopping 1,332 minor league games for four organizations, the Cardinals, Padres, White Sox and Dodgers.

Shut your mouth: Huntz once hit two home runs in a game off of Tigers pitcher Mickey Lolich.

No one understands him but his woman: Huntz was the other player in the trade between the White Sox and the Dodgers that sent Dick Allen to the White Sox and Tommy John to the Dodgers.

(A word about the back): Love the positioning on the head of Huntz's ... um, Giants cap.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

no. 485 - ken mcmullen

Who is the man: Ken McMullen played his first season for the Angels in 1970 after being dealt from the Senators in late April of that year for outfielder Rick Reichart and third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez.

Can ya dig it: Another one of my early favorites from that first group of 1971 cards I obtained as a youngster.

Right on: I was oblivious to this when I first gained the card, but that is an excellent look at how the monuments in Yankee Stadium were in play before it was renovated in the mid-1970s. Since field dimensions were so deep, particularly in Yankee Stadium, it was fairly common to put foul poles and monuments in the outfield. They rarely interfered with play, although it did happen.

You see that cat McMullen is a bad mother: McMullen shed a reputation as a shaky fielder -- he led the league in errors in 1965 -- by establishing several fielding marks. He led AL third basemen in total chances each season from 1967-69 and once tied a record by starting four double plays in a game. He set an AL record with 11 assists in a game against the Red Sox, and was the league's putout leader at third in 1969.

Shut your mouth: McMullen's rookie card is one of my greatest white whales as a Dodger fan because the card is also Pete Rose's rookie card. I never liked that Rose guy.

No one understands him but his woman: McMullen's wife, Bobbie, died of breast cancer at age 30 in early April, 1974, mere months after giving birth to the couple's third child. McMullen continued to play in a backup role for the Dodgers, who wore black armbands in remembrance of Bobbie McMullen.

 (A word about the back): The write-up doesn't specify, but if you were collecting cards in 1971, you knew that Lefty Phillips was the Angels manager.

Monday, December 21, 2015

no. 484 - don wilson

Who is the man: Don Wilson was coming off a bit of a rocky season when this card arrived. A bout with tendinitis in his elbow at the start of the year put him on the disabled list. After striking out 235 batters in 225 innings in 1969, he managed just 94 in 184 innings in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Wilson appears to be unfazed by the photographer taking his picture.

Right on: I just mentioned on the 1985 blog that I so love the old Astros Astrodome logo.

You see that cat Wilson is a bad mother: Wilson had thrown two no-hitters by the time he was 23 years old.

Shut your mouth: Wilson told reporters after his second no-hitter, against the Reds, that he received extra motivation during the game from Reds manager Dave Bristol taunting him from the dugout, calling him "gutless."

No one understands him but his woman: There is much speculation about Wilson's premature death and whether it was a suicide or not. In January 1975, he was found in his car in the garage of their home with the motor running, and his death, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, was ruled accidental. Wilson's wife, Bernice, found Wilson unresponsive in the car. Police reported that she had an injured jaw, and her stories about how she received the injury changed, although she was sedated during most of her statements, having also suffered effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. She later quit cooperating with authorities and there is speculation that a domestic dispute between the two happened before the discovery of Wilson's body.

(A word about the back): Wilson's club record for strikeouts was broken by J.R. Richard nine years later when he struck out 303 batters. Richard then broke his own record with 313 whiffs in 1979.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

no. 483 - gene michael

Who is the man: After getting the Yankees' hopes up by batting .272/.364/.705 in 1969, Gene Michael was coming off a .214/.255/.548 season when this card was issued. It was all talk about his glove from this point forward.

Can ya dig it: "Stick" is swinging a stick!

Right on: This is the eighth action photo for the Yankees so far in this set. I'd wager they have the most, but I'll have to match them up against the Royals, Angels, A's and Mets.

Shut your mouth: Michael was known for his ability to pull off the hidden ball trick. According to a Baseball Digest article, he executed it successfully twice in one game against the Royals.

No one understands him but his woman: Michael nearly considered trading Mariano Rivera to the Tigers while working as the Yankees' GM in 1995. Rivera was struggling and barely hitting 90 mph on the radar gun. But new reports, right around the time Michael was talking to the Tigers about obtaining David Wells, said Rivera was hitting 95 consistently. Michael pulled Rivera from consideration.

 (A word about the back): Michael pitched 3 innings of relief against the Angels on Aug. 26, 1968. The Yankees were getting pounded and it was the second game of a doubleheader in what would be 3 consecutive days of doubleheaders for New York.

Monday, December 14, 2015

no. 482 - padres

Who is the man: The Padres were 11 games better in 1970 than their expansion season the previous year, but still finished last in the NL West. It was the second of six straight last-place finishes.

Can ya dig it: The team might be posing behind one of the on-deck circles.

Right on: Bring back the Swinging Friar.

You see that cat Gomez is a bad mother: The Padres' first manager, Preston Gomez, appears to be sitting in the center of the front row, fifth from the right.

Shut your mouth: Again, no numbers on the front of the jerseys so it's a little tough identifying players.

No one understands him but his woman: I'm throwing a guess out there and saying the tall fellow in the back at the far left is pitcher Earl Wilson. Wilson was at the end of his career when he came to the Padres and went 1-6 for San Diego.

(A word about the back): Every player with a team record on this list was on the 1970 Padres team, except for Joe Niekro and Frank Reberger. Both were traded after the 1969 season.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

no. 481 - daryl patterson

Who is the man: Daryl Patterson had completed his third season as a relief pitcher for the Tigers when this card came out. But he probably wasn't a Tiger anymore when this card hit packs. He was traded to Oakland in May of 1971 and then purchased by the Cardinals the following month.

Can ya dig it: From where Patterson is looking, his fake pitch may have sailed over the fake right-handed hitter's head.

Right on: This is Patterson's final card.

You see that cat Patterson is a bad mother: Patterson pitched in two games of the 1968 World Series during his rookie year. He pitched three innings, allowed just one hit and didn't allow a run.

Shut your mouth: Patterson was the victim in a famed brawl incident during his final year in 1974. As a member of the Pirates, Patterson was pinned to the ground by the Reds' Pedro Borbon. Borbon pulled out some of Patterson's hair then bit him in the side. The Pirates gave Patterson a precautionary tetanus shot.

No one understands him but his woman: Patterson started just three games in his career. His final start was Sept. 30, 1971 against the Mets and Tom Seaver. Patterson lost the game and Seaver won his 20th of that season.

(A word about the back): OK, floating heads on cards never bothered me, but this one is a little creepy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

no. 480 - manny sanguillen

Who is the man: Manny Sanguillen was coming off a season in which he finished third in the National League with a .325 batting average. But he was overshadowed by fellow NL catcher Johnny Bench, who had an MVP season in 1970.

Can ya dig it: A one-of-a-kind photo with this card. I don't know what Sanguillen is doing, but it seem like he's taking dinner orders for the entire stadium.

Right on: Love the double-hat look. That's a '70s/'80s staple.

You see that cat Sanguillen is a bad mother: Sanguillen hit .379 in the Pirates' victory in the 1971 World Series. He produced 11 hits and also caught every inning of all seven games.

Shut your mouth: Sanguillen's name was pronounced "San-GHEE-yen" when he played, but the Spanish pronunciation is actually "Sangee-YEN." The accent is over the "e" in his name.

No one understands him but his woman: Sanguillen was a very enthusiastic player, who swung at almost everything. He was sometimes accused of being a "hot dog" for the way he played.

(A word about the back): Sanguillen started his pro career in the New York-Penn League in Batavia, N.Y., a town I know very well. He's talked about not being able to speak English and trying to order in a Batavia restaurant. I'm dying to know which restaurant it is because I'll bet I've been in it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

no. 479 - dennis higgins

Who is the man: Dennis Higgins spent his first and only season with the Indians in 1970. He was traded from the Senators in December 1969. But by the middle of 1971, Higgins was already a St. Louis Cardinal.

Can ya dig it: For the second straight card, we have someone in a catcher's crouch in the background.

Right on: "Dennis Higgins" sounds like someone who would try to sell me a car.

You see that cat Higgins is a bad mother: Higgins was the closer for the Senators in 1969, the year that first-year manager Ted Williams led the team to an unexpected fourth-place finish. Higgins saved 16 games.

Shut your mouth: In 1998, members of the 1969 Senators club reunited in Washington, including Higgins and a wheelchair-bound Williams. Higgins presented a ball to Williams and asked if he would sign it. Williams did and then asked Higgins, 59 at the time, "What's the most difficult pitch to hit?" Higgins responded, "the slider." Williams smiled, "I knew you'd remember."

No one understands him but his woman: Higgins closed out the Senators' season-opening game against the Yankees in 1969 in Washington. He threw a scoreless ninth inning. It was part of 5 1/3 scoreless innings by Senators relievers. But the Yankees had scored eight runs in the first four innings and won 8-4.

(A word about the back): These parenthetical phrases that have nothing to do with the rest of the sentence are hurting me. "A veteran of American Legion ball, Dennis had 11 Saves out of the Tribe bullpen, 1970." So we just jumped about 15 years in a single sentence.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

no. 478 - bernie carbo

Who is the man: Bernie Carbo finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1970 but was entering what would be a sophomore slump of a season.

Can ya dig it: This was one of the prized cards of my budding 1971 collection when I was a teenager.

Right on: I believe I can see a catcher crouching for a pitch in the batting cage behind Carbo.

You see that cat Carbo is a bad mother: Carbo's three-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series set up Carlton Fisk's famous game-winning blast in the 12th inning.

Shut your mouth: When Carbo was traded to the Indians by the Red Sox in 1978, Carbo's good pal Bill Lee staged a walkout, calling Red Sox management "gutless" for not informing Carbo of the trade before he left the park after the game. This was also the same conversation in which Lee called manager Don Zimmer "a gerbil."

No one understands him but his woman: After his career, Carbo went to cosmetology school and operated a hair salon for eight years.

(A word about the back): The Sporting News named Expos pitcher Carl Morton the Rookie of the Year in 1970, so "Rookie Player of the Year" must have been something different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

no. 477 - earl weaver

Who is the man: Earl Weaver just finished leading the Orioles to the only World Series title of his 17-year managerial career when this card was issued. The 1970 Orioles went 108-54 and mowed over the Twins and Reds to become world champs.

Can ya dig it: Four palm trees and a light tower in the background. I do dig it.

Right on: This is the first Weaver card issued in which you can see his waist. But Weaver never had much of a gut (all that arguing kept him fit), so the waist is a waste!

You see that cat Weaver is a bad mother: Weaver, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996, is 10th all-time in career winning percentage by a manager at .583 (1,480-1,060).

Shut your mouth: Weaver is third all-time in manager ejections with 94 total.

No one understands him but his woman: Weaver's first wife left him, saying, "Earl, the only thing worse than you being gone is you being home." His second wife, Marianna, was married to him until he died in 2013.

(A word about the back): All of those All-Star teams came in the minor leagues (or maybe the write-up is referring to Legion or high school ball) because Weaver never played in the majors.

Monday, November 23, 2015

no. 476 - dal maxvill

Who is the man: Dal Maxvill continued his reputation as a good-field, no-hit shortstop in 1970, playing in 152 games and batting .201 with zero home runs.

Can ya dig it: Oh, my goodness, this was one of my favorite 1971 cards as a kid. Viewing it then, Maxvill seemed at least 18 feet off the ground.

Right on: Still a wonderful early '70s card. So much going on over three-quarters of the photo and then absolutely nothing happening in the upper right quadrant.

You see that cat Maxvill is a bad mother: Maxvill played in five World Series during his career, three with the Cardinals and two with the A's.

Shut your mouth: Maxvill caught the final out to give the Cardinals the 1964 World Series over the Yankees.

No one understands him but his woman: Maxvill went 0-for-22 in the 1968 World Series, which set a record for the most Series at-bats without a hit.

(A word about the back): Again, those are some feeble 1970 stats.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

no. 475 - ron perranoski

Who is the man: Ron Perranoski saved a career-high 34 games for the Twins in 1970. He finished seventh in Cy Young Award voting.

Can ya dig it: Perranoski is looking considerably chunkier in this photo than on his previous cards.

Right on: Perranoski may have a been a member of the Tigers when this card was issued. He was acquired off of waivers by Detroit at the end of July, 1971.

You see that cat Perranoski is a bad mother: Perranoski is forever associated with his 1963 season in which he went 16-3 as the Dodgers' main reliever, posting a 1.67 ERA in 69 games.

Shut your mouth: Perranoski was traded from the Dodgers to the Twins in a big offseason deal in 1967 that turned out quite well for Minnesota. The Twins dealt starter Jim "Mudcat" Grant and shortstop Zoilo Versalles to the Dodgers for Perranoski, catcher John Roseboro and pitcher Bob Miller. Grant and Versalles were key parts of the Twins' 1965 World Series team that played the Dodgers to seven games. But neither did well with L.A., while Perranoski and Roseboro were very productive for the Twins. When the deal was announced, Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale made a reporter repeat it several times before he would believe it.

No one understands him but his woman: The offseason after Perranoski's big 1963 season, his wife filed for divorce.

(A word about the back): Ah, the Fireman Derby. Today, nobody has any idea what "41 points" means. It was calculated by giving a reliever three points for a save, two points for a win, and negative two points for a loss.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

no. 474 - jim fairey

Who is the man: Jim Fairey had just finished his first full season with the Expos when this card was released. He played in 92 games for Montreal in 1970, batting .242.

Can ya dig it: The stands appear to be packed to see Jim hit.

Right on: This is Fairey's first card in an actual Expos uniform. In the 1969 Topps set, he's airbrushed out of a Dodgers uniform (one of those dreaded blackened caps from '69). He doesn't have a card in the 1970 set.

You see that cat Fairey is a bad mother: Fairey could be considered one of those 4A hitters. He beat the snot out of minor league pitchers, hitting over .300 three straight years in the Dodgers organization. But he batted just .235 in the majors.

Shut your mouth: Fairey was once called out while unconscious. The story goes that when Fairey was playing for Triple A Hawaii in the mid-1970s, he attempted to steal third base. The throw from catcher Larry Himes, hit Fairey in the ear, knocking him out. Gordy Coleman, the third base coach, grabbed Fairey instantly when he saw where Fairey was hit. When he realized that Fairey was unconscious, he laid him on third base, and the umpire ruled Fairey out because of coach's interference.

No one understands him but his woman: Fairey was often confused with Ron Fairly, another player who played for both the Dodgers and Expos.

(A word about the back): "NCAA College Division" sounds redundant to me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

no. 473 - gary wagner

Who is the man: Gary Wagner completed his first full season with the Red Sox in 1970 after coming over from the Phillies in a trade in 1969. He appeared in 38 games, all in relief, and saved seven.

Can ya dig it: Final card!

Right on: I really hope Wagner is actually rubbing a baseball because if he's fake rubbing a baseball that's just weird.

You see that cat Wagner is a bad mother: Wagner's best season was his rookie year in 1965 when he went 7-7 with 91 strikeouts in 59 games and 105 innings pitched.

Shut your mouth: In a write-up in late January, announcing that Wagner would appear on a TV show in Bangor, Maine, a newspaper article closes with a quote from Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko, who says Wagner "will be around this ball club for a long while." Wagner was released by the Red Sox less than three months later.

No one understands him but his woman: I get Gary Wagner confused with 1960s White Sox pitcher Gary Peters (they are both Red Sox in this set). In fact, I nearly typed Peters' name instead of Wagner's four times in this post. I'm sure confusing a well-established pitcher like Peters with a sometimes major leaguer like Wagner makes me a whipper-snapper in the eyes of some fan from the 1960s. I don't care. In fact at my age, being called a whipper-snapper is kind of nice.

(A word about the back): It's always a little sad when the write-up mentions minor league performances that take place after the player's first game in the majors.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

no. 472 - ken rudolph

Who is the man: Ken Rudolph split his 1970 season between the majors and minors. On the Cubs, he was the catching backup to the backup (J.C. Martin) to the backup (Jack Hiatt). (FYI: Randy Hundley was the starter).

Can ya dig it: Not much imagination with this photo.

Right on: I like the look of that old-style Cubs cap.

You see that cat Rudolph is a bad mother: Rudolph was selected by the Cubs in the second round of the first major league amateur draft in 1965. He was chosen 26th overall. Meanwhile, Johnny Bench was selected 36th overall (To be fair, six catchers were drafted before Bench).

Shut your mouth: Rudolph was one of many major league players who left their teams in 1970 to serve required military duty. Terms of service ranged from two weeks in summer camp to weekend meetings with reserve units.

No one understands him but his woman: Rudolph was a high school baseball coach in Phoenix, Ariz., until recently. He retired two years ago.

(A word about the back): I think those stats say he wasn't in the majors for his hitting.

Monday, November 9, 2015

no. 471 - tom griffin

Who is the man: Tom Griffin endured a doozy of a sophomore slump in 1970. One year after striking out 200 batters in his rookie year, he fell to a 5.64 ERA and a 3-13 mark, fanning a mere 72.

Can ya dig it: In the distance, I think I see a white school bus. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with school buses that were not painted school-bus yellow. White school buses, green school buses, blue school buses, they were all great. (If that is not a school bus, please don't be a joy ruiner and keep it to yourself).

Right on: Are those bats on the ground behind Griffin or kindling?

You see that cat Griffin is a bad mother: Two hundred whiffs in your rookie year. It doesn't get much more bad-ass than that.

Shut your mouth: Griffin led the league in hit batters in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 1980 and 1981 while with the Giants.

No one understands him but his woman: Griffin was selected by the Astros in the first major league draft held in January. He was the fourth overall pick in January 1966, one of only 3 future major leaguers picked in the first round.

(A word about the back): The two home runs Griffin hit in 1969 were the first of 10 he hit during his career.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

no. 470 - bob oliver

Who is the man: Bob Oliver enjoyed the best season of his career in 1970, setting career highs in virtually ever category.

Can ya dig it: Another action-packed Royals card (this is the sixth one). If I collected as a kid in 1971, I would have fallen in love with this one.

Right on: I even like the signature on this card. It has everything -- except you can't see the bat.

You see that cat Oliver is a bad mother: Oliver hit the first grand slam in Kansas City Royals history. It was on July 4th against the Seattle Pilots' Jim Bouton.

Shut your mouth: When Oliver was with the Angels in 1973, he told Jet magazine that what the team needed was "a black superstar" to draw fans. (The nearby Dodgers drew many more fans and featured several standout black players). Oliver didn't consider himself that superstar, but the Angels had just acquired an almost over-the-hill Frank Robinson from the Dodgers and he thought Robinson was that guy.

No one understands him but his woman: Oliver's son is Darren Oliver, the longtime lefty pitcher. Darren Oliver said that his mother, Hazel, worked a 9-to-5 job when Darren and his brother were kids. But when they played school sports, their mom was always there to watch.

(A word about the back): Oliver's first major league appearance may have been in 1965 (three whole games), but he didn't make a return to the majors until 1969.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

no. 469 - bob aspromonte

Who is the man: Bob Aspromonte played in just 62 games for the Braves in 1970, batting .213. After the season he was traded to the Mets for pitcher Ron Herbel.

Can ya dig it: Aspromonte appears to be trying very hard to see the blacked-out logo on his helmet. I'm assuming it's a blacked-out Braves logo, as Aspromonte is wearing a Braves helmet on his previous two Topps cards.

Right on: It is totally cool that Aspromonte spent most of his career with the Astros, and I know everyone agrees because he became known as "Aspro the Astro."

You see that cat Aspromonte is a bad mother: Aspromonte supplied the first hit and the first run in the history of the Houston franchise in 1962, when they were known as the Colt .45s.

Shut your mouth: Aspromonte is part of a famous story about a young boy who was blinded by a lightning strike during a Little League game. Aspromonte was the boy's favorite player and Aspromonte visited the boy in the hospital. The boy asked Aspromonte, who was not a home run hitter, to hit a home run for him. Aspromonte hit a home run that night. A year later, the boy returned to Houston for a second round of eye surgeries. Aspromonte visited him and the boy asked his favorite player to hit another home run. The boy was there at the game to see that home run. Six weeks later, the boy came back again for a third and final set of surgeries and asked again for an Aspromonte home run. Wouldn't you know, Aspromonte hit a home run that game, too -- a grand slam.

No one understands him but his woman: Aspromonte was the last Brooklyn Dodger to retire. He managed one at-bat for Brooklyn in 1956.

(A word about the back): Aspromonte's pinch-hit home run in 1969 came on the last day of the regular season. He was pinch-hitting for the pitcher Mike McQueen in the third inning, even though McQueen had given up just one run.

Friday, October 30, 2015

no. 468 - frank fernandez

Who is the man: After a few years as a backup with the Yankees, Frank Fernandez played his first season with Oakland in 1970. He hit just .214 in 252 at-bats, but he hit 15 home runs.

Can ya dig it: I remember seeing this card when I was first getting acquainted with 1971s as a youngster. I was fascinated with how colorful it was. And then I wondered how a player I had never heard of had received such a wonderful card.

Right on: This is the final card of his career.

You see that cat Fernandez is a bad mother: Fernandez is fascinating to stat heads. He produced a freakish career in which he accumulated both more walks and strikeouts than hits. His on-base percentages were astronomical when compared with his batting averages and he's known as the greatest baseball player to hit below .200 for his career.

Shut your mouth: Fernandez is remembered for an incident against the Orioles in 1970 in which he hit a liner so forcefully that it hit third baseman Brooks Robinson in the shin and ricocheted into the hands of shortstop Mark Belanger, who threw wide to first for an error. What had been a hit when it left Fernandez's bat became an error and Fernandez, who didn't get many hits, seethed at second base. When he scored later on a hit by Bert Campaneris, he flung his helmet into the air toward the press box and was promptly ejected. Broadcaster Harry Caray observed, "All Fernandez is making all the fuss about is whether he hits .200 or .198 this season."

The story gets more interesting when Fernandez comes across the official scorekeeper a week later while both are watching boxer George Foreman work out.

No one understands him but his woman: Fernandez played for three different MLB teams in 1971 and for the A's twice. Oakland traded him to the Senators in May, then purchased him from the Senators in June, then traded him to the Cubs in August.

(A word about the back): Fernandez's HR on Opening Day 1968 came against the Angels' George Brunet in the second inning. Brunet allowed just three hits in seven innings but took the loss.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

no. 467 - al santorini

Who is the man: Al Santorini endured a brutal sophomore slump in 1970, after tying for the team lead in pitching wins for the expansion Padres in 1969. Santorini and Joe Niekro each won a team-high eight games in '69.

Can ya dig it: Santorini appears to have a spectator for his photo session.

Right on: This is one of those ubiquitous tilted backgrounds that you find on '70s cards.

You see that cat Santorini is a bad mother: Santorini was the No. 11 overall pick in the 1966 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves.

Shut your mouth: Santorini struck out 12 Mets in a 4-0 complete game shutout while with the Cardinals in 1972. "Never since I was in high school have I had 12 strikeouts," Santorini said after the game.

No one understands him but his woman: Santorini is referred to as "chunky" in the same article. It's the first word of the AP story.

(A word about the back): Oof, That 1970 pitching line has to be one of the worst in the entire set.

Monday, October 26, 2015

no. 466 - ken berry

Who is the man: Ken Berry played the last of his nine seasons with the White Sox in 1970. He was traded to the Angels in November 1970 in a six-player deal.

Can ya dig it: Berry is pictured in full White Sox gear, but Topps has airbrushed the Sox logo from his cap.

Right on: I'm always fascinated by writing under the bill of the cap. I don't know what the writing says here -- probably something mundane like "Ken Berry" -- but I want to know.

You see that cat Berry is a bad mother: Berry had a reputation as a fine fielder who made outstanding leaping catches. He won two Gold Glove awards, including his first in 1970.

Shut your mouth: Berry plays a heckler in the movie "Eight Men Out," based on the book about the Chicago Black Sox scandal. He is seen standing up in the stands, hands cupped around his mouth, yelling at Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Hey professor! Read any good books lately?" After Jackson hits a triple, Berry the heckler stands up again and says, "Shoeless Joe! Can you spell cat?" to which Jackson responds, "Hey, Mister, can you spell shit?"

No one understands him but his woman: Berry, who was an advisor on the Eight Men Out film, was originally supposed to play the part of the thug who threatens to kill Lefty Williams' girlfriend if he doesn't throw the last game. But the person in charge of casting changed his role after hearing his voice and thinking it'd work as the heckler.

(A word about the back): A 1.000 fielding percentage for a season is pretty good for an outfielder, but Berry doesn't make it in the all-time list. There have been 10 outfielders who have recorded a 1.000 fielding percentage while playing more than 150 games in a season (Nick Markakis and Brett Butler have done it twice). Berry played in just 130 games for his 1.000 in 1969.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

no. 465 - tim mc carver

Who is the man: Tim McCarver had completed his first season with the Phillies when this card was issued. He appeared in just 44 games for Philadelphia in 1970 after breaking his finger on a foul tip off the bat of Willie Mays.

Can ya dig it: This is McCarver's first card appearance in a Phillies uniform. He's listed with the Phillies in the 1970 Topps set, but his photo is a close-cropped head shot so you can't see McCarver's Cardinals uniform.

Right on: Lots of stuff going on in the background. Security on the left side. Phillies lined up on the right.

You see that cat McCarver is a bad mother: McCarver set a major league record for the most triples in a season by a catcher when he hit 13 in 1966.

Shut your mouth: I could go the broadcasting route here, but instead I'll go here.

No one understands him but his woman: McCarver and his wife, Anne, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just last year.

(A word about the back): When I was a kid, I didn't know a thing about the minor leagues. I often wonder while reading the minor-league-heavy '71 write-ups whether the kids collecting then had any idea what they were reading.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

no. 464 - aurelio rodriguez

Who is the man: Aurelio Rodriguez played for the Senators in 1970. In his only season with Washington during his 17-year career, he set career highs in home runs (19), RBIs (83) and stolen bases (15).

Can ya dig it: Rodriguez is airbrushed out of an Angels helmet there in Yankee Stadium. He played for the Angels from 1967-69 and I guess Topps never got him in a Senators uniform.

Right on: Rodriguez was traded to the Tigers in the big eight-player deal with the Senators that famously sent Denny McLain to Washington. With this card, this blog has now featured seven of the eight players in the deal. The only one yet to be featured -- McLain -- won't be seen for awhile.

You see that cat Rodriguez is a bad mother: Rodriguez  won the Gold Glove in 1976, signaling the end to Brooks Robinson's 16-year reign as the Gold Glove third baseman for the American League.

Shut your mouth: Rodriguez is the original A-Rod.

No one understands him but his woman: Rodriguez is famously absent from his 1969 Topps card. In his place is the California Angels' bat boy Leonard Garcia. Some have surmised that Rodriguez was playing a prank, although that's doubtful because he barely spoke English when he came up to the majors in the late '60s. The mistake more likely happened in a mix-up in the Topps archives as it searched for a photo of Rodriguez (this was during the time when current players were not posing for Topps because the players union believed they were not being adequately paid).

 (A word about the back): The Mexican Center League was a feeder league for the Mexican League and lasted from 1960-78. Among the other future major leaguers who began there was Fernando Valenzuela.

Friday, October 16, 2015

no. 463 - tom kelley

Who is the man: Tom Kelley spent all of the 1970 season in the Braves' minor league system after being acquired by Atlanta in May of that year. The Braves and Topps must have known something because in 1971, he would pitch in 28 games, his first significant major league work since 1966.

Can ya dig it: Kelley is wearing an Indians jersey, and the photo, at the most recent, is from 1969. But I suppose it could be as early as 1967 as that's the last time Kelley actually played for Cleveland in a major league game.

Right on: Kelley's hair is much too neat. Go run some wind sprints, sir.

You see that cat Kelley is a bad mother: Kelley's 1965 season for the Triple A Portland Beavers was something to behold. He went 16-3 with a 2.38 ERA, struck out 190 and pitched a no-hitter.

Shut you mouth: Kelley died just 21 days ago. At age 71.

No one understands him but his woman: Look up Tom Kelley and you're going to get more than enough references to the former Twins manager, which is not spelled the same way.

(A word about the back): Look at that sterling 1970 record. Kids pulling this card must have wondered what the hell.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

no. 462 - senators

Who is the man: The era of good feeling in the nation's capital ended after just a year. After finishing fourth under new manager Ted Williams in 1969 with an 86-76 record, the Senators fell back to last in 1970 at 70-92.

Can ya dig it: I don't know what the team is standing/sitting on in front of the seats. Is it dirt around the field? Is it concrete? I don't think it's grass. It looks gray or blue.

Right on: You would think this would be the last Senators team card. But technically it's not. Even though the Senators moved to Arlington, Texas, for the 1972 season and Topps airbrushed all of the Senators players' individual cards and listed them as Rangers, the Rangers' team card that year features this exact photo. You can clearly see "Senators" on all of their jerseys, but the team name at the top of the card says "Rangers".

You see that cat Williams is a bad mother: Ted Williams is in the first row, fifth from the left.

Shut your mouth: Identifying players when they don't have numbers on the front of their jerseys is difficult, especially when the photo is taken from this distance. I'm going to assume the tallest guy in the back row is Frank Howard, but beyond that I can't venture a guess.

No one understands him but his woman: The man in the dark jacket on the right certainly gets a prominent position in the photo. I don't know who it is, but it looks like it could pass for Senators owner Bob Short, the man who moved the team.

(A word about the back): This is the second incarnation of the Senators and they had been around for only 10 years at this point. Still some pretty good seasonal records considering the bottom standings say the team finished ninth, tenth, tenth, ninth, eighth, eighth, sixth, tenth, fourth and sixth.