Friday, October 20, 2017

no. 715 - horace clarke

Who is the man: Horace Clarke totaled a career-high 686 at-bats -- tops in the league -- in 1970, producing 172 hits, the second-best of his career.

Can ya dig it: Those glasses are so big they seem like they're holding up his helmet.

Right on: Growing up where I do, I automatically assumed I knew all Yankees players throughout history. Then I was hit with people like Horace Clarke and Jerry Kenney when I started collecting early '70s cards and it opened up a wonderful new world.

You see that cat Clarke is a bad mother: Clarke's 151 career stolen bases ranks in the top 20 all-time for the Yankees.

Shut your mouth: Clarke was chosen as the symbol of one of the least productive eras in Yankees history, from 1966-74. The period of CBS ownership of the team became known as "The Horace Clarke Era".

No one understands him but his woman: Clarke wore his helmet in the field, explaining after his career "I had some really unusual things happen to me (on the field)."

(A word about the back): Clarke and Joe Mauer are the only two batters to break up as many as three no-hitters in the ninth inning, but Clarke's feat happened all within one month!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

no. 714 - dick williams

Who is the man: Dick Williams spent the 1970 season as a coach with the Expos. He was hired by Oakland owner Charlie Finley to lead a bunch of hard-headed talents for the 1971 season. The A's would win 101 games in Williams' first year.

Can ya dig it: One of the most memorable painted caps in any baseball card set. That hat is straight out of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Right on: You can see the hint of Red Sox lettering on Williams' jersey. Williams managed the Red Sox until 1969.

You see that cat Williams is a bad mother: Williams led three teams -- the Red Sox, the A's and the Padres -- to the World Series. Only one other manager can say that.

Shut your mouth: Williams looked at the Oakland A's as 25 versions of himself and said the animosity they held for the team's owner, Finley, worked in his favor. "It's impossible for even baseball players to truly hate two of their bosses at once," Williams said.

No one understands him but his woman: Williams was married to his wife, Norma, for 57 years. They died 28 days apart in 2011.

(A word about the back): Williams was on the verge of his second AL Manager of the Year award when this card was issued.

Monday, October 16, 2017

no. 713 - mike marshall

Who is the man: Mike Marshall arrived in 1970 with the team on which he'd build his reputation. He was traded from Houston to Montreal in June of that year.

Can ya dig it: It appears that Marshall is wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey. Marshall last played for the Tigers in 1967.

Right on: The "b" on the airbrushed cap looks quite puny. And it looks like the artist missed a spot around the left neck area.

You see that cat Marshall is a bad mother: Marshall set the major league record by appearing in a still amazing 106 games in relief in 1974. He pitched 208 1/3 relief innings and won the Cy Young Award.

Shut your mouth: During his career, Marshall refused to sign autographs because he thought kids shouldn't look up to players as heroes. I also read somewhere a long time ago that he refused to pose for baseball card photographs midway through his career and that's why you saw nothing but action shots of him from 1975 onward (and why his cards always looked bitchin').

No one understands him but his woman: Marshall, whose advanced knowledge of the science of kinesiology and his support for unconventional pitching methods is well-known, last worked for a major league organization in 1981.

(A word about the back): Marshall spent his first six seasons in pro baseball as shortstop. He hit .280 in 2,026 at-bats in the minor leagues during those years.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

no. 712: jose martinez

Who is the man: Jose Martinez played in the final 19 games of his major league career in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Don't you think the two guys behind Martinez should be facing him? He's the star of the show here!

Right on: This is the second of just two Topps cards of Martinez. The other is in the 1970 Topps set. That card was No. 8, while this is No. 712. It makes me wonder if this is the widest disparity between card numbers for someone who had just two Topps cards.

You see that cat Martinez is a bad mother: Martinez reached the majors after nine years in the minor leagues. He hit .268 as a bench player for the Pirates in 1969.

Shut your mouth: Royals general manager Dayton Moore remembered Martinez fondly after his death in 2014. Moore said during spring training when both Martinez and Moore were with the Braves, Martinez would cook fish late at night and tell stories.

No one understands him but his woman: Martinez worked for 20 years as a special assistant to the general manager with Atlanta. He'd work with getting foreign-born minor leagues acclimated to baseball in the U.S.

(A word about the back): That's interesting. Martinez played third, second and shortstop in 1970, so three different gloves then.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

no. 711 - larry stahl

Who is the man: Larry Stahl split the 1970 season between the Padres and the team's Triple A team in Salt Lake City.

Can ya dig it: The tarp is on the field and there is some sort of object on the mound.

Right on: It's another day at Shea.

You see that cat Stahl is a bad mother: Stahl went 2-for-4 for the Reds during the 1973 NLCS against the Mets. He appeared in four of the five games as a pinch-hitter each time.

Shut your mouth: Stahl was the batter who received a walk with two outs in the ninth inning, breaking up the perfect game bid by the Cubs' Milt Pappas in 1972. Umpire Bruce Froemming called a controversial ball four against Pappas, which upset Pappas for years. "I called Bruce Froemming every name you could think of," said Pappas, who did get his no-hitter one batter later.

No one understands him but his woman: Stahl's first appearance on a Topps card was a rookie stars card in the 1966 set while with the Kansas City A's. He didn't appear on another card until the 1969 Topps set despite playing in 124 games combined with the Mets in 1967 and 1968.

(A word about the back): Topps' habit of capitalizing extra base hits throughout much of the '70s is amusing to me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

no. 710 - sonny siebert

Who is the man: Sonny Siebert had completed his second season with the Red Sox in 1970, winning 15 games for Boston. His 1971 season would be even better.

Can ya dig it: Home plate is the over there, Sonny.

Right on: You can see why Siebert was called Sonny from the signature. Siebert's full first name is Wilifred.

You see that cat Siebert is a bad mother: While with the Indians, Siebert pitched a no-hitter against the Washington Senators on June 10, 1966.

Shut your mouth: Before leaving for the ballpark on the day he threw the no-hitter, Siebert's wife kidded him about several recent poor outings on the mound. Siebert said, "promise you'll get off my back and I'll pitch a no-hitter."

No one understands him but his woman: Siebert is the last American League pitcher to hit two home runs in a single game.

(A word about the back): That grounder that just got through the infield was hit by the Angels' Jay Johnstone to lead off the third inning during that July 31st game.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

no. 709 rookie stars outfielders

What a card: Two of the three players on this card made their major league debuts in 1970. Tom Paciorek went 2-for-9 in eight games in his debut with the Dodgers. Don Baylor went 4-for-17, also in eight games, with the Orioles in his debut. Dusty Baker was making his third stint in the majors in 1970. He appeared in 13 games and batted .292 in 24 at-bats.

Can ya dig it: This is the most difficult of the high numbers to obtain. As you can see, mine is cut weirdly and contains a crease in the left corner. And if that's not enough, I still need a second one for my Dodgers collection.

Right on: OK, this is another variation on the rookie stars cards. Let's update the list:

Team-oriented, two-player
Team-oriented, three-player
National League, three-player
American League, three-player
Pitchers, three-player
American League pitchers, three-player
Outfielders, three-player

You see these rookies are bad mothers: Well, I hate to say it, but even though all three enjoyed solid MLB careers and the careers of Baker and Baylor were exceptional, they are not bad-ass. Not right now.

Shut your mouth: Baker's nickname of "Dusty" is so identified with him that few know his actual first name is "Johnnie". Paciorek's nickname of "Wimpy" is also well-known. Baylor's nickname was "Groove," which is new to me.

No one understands him but his woman: Baylor breaking his leg while catching a first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero in 2014 is still one of the strangest on-field injuries I've seen. Baylor, down on one knee on his left leg, reached across his body to backhand Guerrero's throw and his right leg collapsed with a broken thigh bone.

(A word about the back): Sadly, the youngest of the three is no longer alive.

Monday, October 2, 2017

no. 708 - russ nagelson

Who is the man: Rusty Nagelson played in 45 games for the Indians and Tigers in 1970, the most playing time he'd enjoy in a single major league season.

Can ya dig it: That might be the most tilted background I've ever seen on a baseball card. The Yankee Stadium bleacher seats are at a 30 degree angle.

Right on: Nagelson's only solo card. He also appears on an Indians' two-player rookie card in the 1970 Topps set.

You see that cat Nagelson is a bad mother: Nagelson played on the 1966 Ohio State national champion baseball team. It's the last baseball team from the Big Ten to win an NCAA championship.

Shut your mouth: Nagelson was traded during the 1970 season for the player featured in the previous post, Fred Lasher. That's pretty neat.

No one understands him but his woman: When Nagelson was recruited by Ohio State, he was a star quarterback in high school. He wanted to be a quarterback at Ohio State. But Buckeyes football coach Woody Hayes said Nagelson would be a guard. Nagelson ended up playing baseball instead.

(A word about the back): Other major leaguers on that 1966 Ohio State team are Steve Arlin and Chuck Brinkman.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

no. 707 - fred lasher

Who is the man: Fred Lasher split his 1970 season between the Tigers and the Indians. He was acquired by the Angels in the Rule 5 Draft in late November of that year.

Can ya dig it: That's quite a mess on Lasher's hat. It looks like they erased and re-erased the attempt at an Angels logo. All for the 1 1/3 whole innings that Lasher would pitch for California.

Right on: Lasher looks like a kid I knew in elementary school who had the last name of Lasher. Now I'm wondering if they're related.

You see that cat Lasher is a bad mother: Lasher pitched two scoreless innings for the Tigers in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series against the Cardinals. St. Louis was ahead 6-1 at that point and would go on to win 10-1, but at least none of the runs came against Lasher.

Shut your mouth: Lasher won five games for the Tigers in 1968. Every one of those games was a 5-4 Tigers victory.

No one understands him but his woman: Lasher was suspended for the remainder of the season when playing for the Indians in 1970. Disgusted with being removed from a game against the Orioles by Indians manager Alvin Dark, Lasher threw the ball down to the ground and launched his glove into the stands. Dark said that Lasher would never pitch for the Indians again.

(A word about the back): The 55 games Lasher pitched in 1970 was a career high.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

no. 706 - joe foy

Who is the man: Joe Foy was in his final season in the majors when this card was issued. He was picked up by the Senators for the 1971 season in the Rule 5 Draft but released in July.

Can ya dig it: This is Foy's first card in which he isn't featured without a cap or in an airbrushed cap since the 1968 Topps set.

Right on: I know Foy was hassled for weight issues during his career, but the windbreaker under the uniform isn't helping. He looks about 30 pounds heavier than he is here.

You see that cat Foy is a bad mother: While with the Mets in 1970, Foy went 5-for-5 with two home runs against the Giants in a 7-6 victory.

Shut your mouth: Foy acquired a reputation for using alcohol and drugs. When he was asked about it by a reporter in 1971, Foy answered, "How many young people in New York do you know who haven't smoked grass?"

No one understands him but his woman: Foy is part of what's considered one of the worst trades in Mets history. New York traded a young Amos Otis to Kansas City for Foy, who disappointed during his time in New York.

(A word about the back): I don't know what the NL record for consecutive games with a base on balls is now, but I'm willing to bet that Barry Bonds holds the record.

Friday, September 22, 2017

no. 705 - dick selma

Who is the man: Dick Selma was coming off the best season of his career when this card was issued. Installed in the bullpen by his new team, Selma saved 22 games for the Phillies, fifth in the NL, and was second in appearances with 73.

Can ya dig it: I like those Phillies uniforms so much.

Right on: Has there ever been a study done on people who dot the I in their name with a circle?

You see that cat Selma is a bad mother: Selma started the first game in San Diego Padres history. He struck out 12 in a complete game, 2-1 victory over the Astros.

Shut your mouth: Selma was punched out by the Phillies' traveling secretary, Eddie Ferenz, a former minor league hockey player. Selma was harrassing Ferenz about a long-delayed plane trip to Newark, N.J. By the time the team arrived in Newark and baggage handling issues followed, Ferenz had enough of Selma's needling and knocked him cold in the airport.

No one understands him but his woman: Selma was popular with the Cubs' bleacher fans during his one season in Chicago in 1969. From the bullpen, he would lead the fans in raucous cheers.

(A word about the back): Selma did indeed record the last Phillies strike at Connie Mack Stadium, a ninth-inning whiff of the Expos' Jim Fairey. He also struck out at the plate to start the bottom of the 10th against the Expos' Howie Reed. But Selma got the win on Oscar Gamble's RBI single later that inning that scored Tim McCarver.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

no. 704 - j.c. martin

Who is the man: J.C. Martin was in the midst of his second season with the Cubs when this card was issued. He spent his time with his final major league team backing up Randy Hundley behind the plate.

Can ya dig it: I appreciate this blog because I can figure out for the first time that "J.C." stands for "Joseph Clifton".

Right on: Martin is posing in his former home, Shea Stadium. He played for the Mets in 1968 and 1969.

You see that cat Martin is a bad mother: Martin put away Game 1 of the 1969 NLCS when he hit a three-run single in the top of the eighth inning to give the Mets a 9-5 lead over the Braves. New York entered the inning trailing 5-4.

Shut your mouth: After his career, Martin worked in the White Sox broadcasting booth with Harry Caray for one season. But he didn't get along with Caray and was done at season's end. "He didn't want to work with me. We didn't hit it off at all," Martin said.

No one understands him but his woman: Martin, while catching White Sox knuckleballers Eddie Fisher and Hoyt Wilhelm in 1965, set a modern record with 33 passed balls in a season. The record stood until 1987 when Geno Petralli broke it.

(A word about the back): It's the rare unkind word from the card back bio writer! You know you're in trouble when the word "dubious" appears on the back of your card.

Monday, September 18, 2017

no. 703 - mike kekich

Who is the man: Mike Kekich split time between starting and the bullpen for the second straight year with the Yankees in 1970. In 1971, he'd reach double figures in wins for the first time.

Can ya dig it: The dude in yellow on top of the dugout looks like he's having a good time.

Right on: This is the first time Kekich is pictured in a Yankees uniform on a Topps card despite being listed with the Yankees in both the 1969 and 1970 Topps sets. He's featuring an airbrushed cap in '69 and hatless in '70.

You see that cat Kekich is a bad mother: Kekich, who was touted by some as a future Sandy Koufax while in the Dodgers' chain, pitched one of the best games by a Dodgers pitcher against the Mets in Dodger Stadium. Kekich tossed a complete-game, one-hitter in a 2-0 victory for L.A. in 1968. Kekich struck out 11 and walked two.

Shut your mouth: While pitching in Venezuela, Kekich ruptured his spleen while trying to break up a fight between players on the field. Kekich has said he was "20 minutes from death" after the injury.

No one understands him but his woman: Kekich emerged as the odd-man-out in the famed "family swap" that he made with Yankees teammate Fritz Peterson in 1972. Kekich had fallen for Peterson's wife, Marilyn, and the couples agreed to switch lives. Susanne Kekich became Fritz Peterson's wife and Marilyn Mike Kekich's wife. They also swapped kids and dogs. But while Susanne stayed married to Fritz, Marilyn and Mike split after just a few months. Mike Kekich later remarried.

(A word about the back): Hey! A floating head! It's been awhile.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

no. 702 - milt ramirez

Who is the man: Milt Ramirez made his major league debut in 1970, appearing in what would be a career-high 62 games for the Cardinals.

Can ya dig it: Bunting! Remember that?

Right on: This is Ramirez's only Topps card.

You see that cat Ramirez is a bad mother: Ramirez played a handful of games for the Cardinals in 1971 but spent the majority of the season in the minor leagues. From there, he played in double A and triple A for the next seven years for St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston, L.A. and Oakland. Then, when he was 29, he was called up by the Oakland A's in 1979 and he played 28 games. After eight years!

Shut your mouth: The 1979 Oakland A's were a bad, bad, bad, bad baseball team.

No one understands him but his woman: Ramirez has a terrific minor league card. You miss this kind of stuff if you don't collect minor league cards.

 (A word about the back): It may be difficult to see on the scans, but this card is slightly taller than your average 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 card. It slopes up on the top from left to right (if you're looking at it from the front) and slopes out on the left from top to bottom (if you're looking at it from the back).

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

no. 701 - bob garibaldi

Who is the man: Bob Garibaldi played in the minors for the Giants' Triple A Phoenix team in 1970. He was traded to the Royals in October 1970. He never played a regular season game for K.C. He was dealt to the Padres in April 1971.

Can ya dig it: This is Garibaldi's final Topps card. He has just two, the other one also a high number in the 1970 set.

Right on: At a distance, say the player in the background in this photo, the Royals of this time period look like hospital orderlies.

You see that cat Garibaldi is a bad mother: Garibaldi was a college phenom who led Santa Clara University to the College World Series title in 1962. He was signed by the Giants for a record bonus of $150,000 and went straight to the majors.

Shut your mouth: Garibaldi had already played his final major league game when this card was issued.

No one understands him but his woman: Despite all of his accolades in the early '60s (this guy would have been all over Bowman cards if he was just starting out today), Garibaldi managed to pitch just 15 major league games over a 10-year period in pro ball.

(A word about the back): Another high-number player with no 1970 stats. But, I admit 20 complete games in one season in the minors is a bit impressive.

Friday, September 8, 2017

no. 700 - boog powell

Who is the man: Boog Powell was coming off his MVP season when this card was issued. Even though his traditional stats were slightly off from his 1969 performance, his advanced stats were slightly better and he was rewarded with the AL honor.

Can ya dig it: There you see by the signature that Powell's actual first name is John, not that anyone has called him that.

Right on: Wondering who the guy in the distance is.

You see that cat Powell is a bad mother: Powell's 339 career home runs still rank in the top 100 all-time (98th at last report).

Shut your mouth: I just clicked on a Boog Powell link and it turned up that dude on the A's calling himself Boog, and that still annoys me way more than it should. Find your own nickname.

No one understands him but his woman: Powell's last season in 1977 was as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers. He appeared in 50 games and all but one was in a pinch-hitting role. He started one game at first base on Aug. 15, the second game of a doubleheader against the Giants. He went 1-for-3 from the No. 5 spot. He was released 16 days later. And I'm still mad I didn't get a Topps card of Powell as a Dodger.

(A word about the back): The centerfield hedge at Memorial Stadium used to be the marking point for legendary home runs. Clear that and you had walloped one. Harmon Killebrew hit a famous hedge-clearer off of Milt Pappas two years after Powell's.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

no. 699 - jim britton

Who is the man: Jim Britton was playing in his final major league season when this card was issued. He appeared in 16 games for the Expos in 1971, starting six of them.

Can ya dig it: Britton is 6-foot-5 and I can almost tell on this card even though it's basically a mug shot.

Right on: Britton is a native of North Tonawanda. N.Y. Right on! Know it well.

You see that cat Britton is a bad mother: Britton pitched briefly in the first NLCS when the Braves played the Mets in 1969. He threw one-third of an inning during Game 2 with the Braves down 9-6.

Shut your mouth: Britton surrendered the first home run Johnny Bench ever hit in his major league career. It was a three-run shot hit on Sept. 20, 1967.

No one understands him but his woman: Britton supposedly became an FBI agent after his career. I can find only a couple of references to it and they're not the most reliable sources, but I have no reason to doubt it.

(A word about the back): Britton had no stats in 1970 because he missed the entire year with an arm injury.

Monday, September 4, 2017

no. 698 - brewers

Who is the man: The Milwaukee Brewers finished in fourth place in the AL West in 1970, their first season as the Milwaukee Brewers. They jumped two places from the previous year, when they were the Seattle Pilots, even though they were just one game better than they were in 1969.

Can ya dig it: The Brewers are getting right into the spirit of being the "Brewers" by displaying a Miller High Life ad.

Right on: Having everyone on the team stand for the team photo is not usual procedure, but the Brewers did it a few times in their Topps team cards.

You see that cat Bristol is a bad mother: Manager Dave Bristol, in his first season, is in the second row, the fourth guy from the left.

Shut your mouth: Thanks to this handy key, I can identify the entire team. I'll spare you every name and just mention a few: Tommy Harper, the team's top hitter in 1970, is in the third row, the second guy from the right. To the left of Harper is the team's top pitcher in 1970, Marty Pattin. Famed Seattle Pilot Mike Hegan is the fourth guy from the right in the fourth row. Next to Hegan on the right is Terry Francona's dad, Tito. Slugger Dave May is in the top row, second guy in on the right.

Also, it's interesting to see the traveling secretary, Tom Ferguson, get such a prominent spot (he's the dude in the suit).

No one understands him but his woman: The guys in the letter jackets look like athletes from the local high school but they're actually clubhouse men, the equipment manager and the trainer.

(A word about the back): Harper and Pattin rewrote the franchise record book in 1970.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

no. 697 - rickey clark

Who is the man: Rickey Clark spent the whole 1970 season in the minor leagues. After making a breakthrough in 1967 in which he pitched in 32 games, Clark had barely played in the majors since 1968.

Can ya dig it: Clark is called "Rickey" here but he signed his name "Rick". Clark's full name is actually Rickey Charles Clark, but Topps would finally agree to "Rick" in the 1973 set.

Right on: This photo is a cropped version from the same photo shoot as Clark's 1970 Topps card. Probably just a frame or two off.

You see that cat Clark is a bad mother: Clark finished sixth in the American League in ERA his rookie season, posting a 2.59 in 1967.

Shut your mouth: Despite Clark being a regular in the Angels' rotation in 1967 and 1968, he did not appear in a Topps set until 1970.

No one understands him but his woman: Clark's 1970 card back reads that he pitched 7 no-hitters and 3 one-hitters in a single season as a 13-year-old in "amateur ball". I'm assuming that's Babe Ruth League baseball or something similar.

(A word about the back): This photo is either exactly the same as the photo on the front or a click off. It's as close as we've come anyway to having the front photo and back photo match up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

no. 696 - jerry morales

Who is the man: Jerry Morales spent the majority of the 1970 season playing for Triple A Salt Lake City. He played just 28 games for the Padres.

Can ya dig it: This is Morales' first solo card after appearing on a two-player rookie card in 1970.

Right on: I know Morales as a mustachioed Chicago Cub. This does not compute.

You see that cat Morales is a bad mother: Morales was the Cubs' All-Star representative in the 1977 All-Star Game. He got hit in the knee by a pitch from Sparky Lyle for his effort.

Shut your mouth: Morales is most known in card collecting for his 1974 Topps card, in which he's shown wearing the bright gold uniform of the Padres but listed boldly in pink as playing for the Cubs.

No one understands him but his woman: Morales would regularly make basket catches in center field. The only exceptions were when diving or making a catch on the run.

(A word about the back): Gee whiz, bio writer, we can see the stats, what happened after that fine spring?

Friday, August 25, 2017

no. 695 - joe niekro

Who is the man: Joe Niekro was coming off his best season with the Tigers when this card was issued. In his first season in Detroit, he won 12 games in 38 appearances. But he was entering the lowest point of his career, which would last until the Astros acquired him in the mid-'70s.

Can ya dig it: I like to pretend the air bubbles are sparkles in the sky. It's better than running right out and buying another high-numbered Niekro card.

Right on: I've mentioned this before, but it's very weird seeing Niekro as anything but an Astro.

You see that cat Niekro is a bad mother: Niekro pitched back-to-back 20-win seasons in 1979 and 1980.

Shut your mouth: After Niekro was famously ejected from a game in 1987 after umpires caught him discarding an emery board from his pockets, he went on David Letterman's show to discuss the incident. Equipped with a tool belt and carrying a sander, he insisted he didn't scuff baseballs. "You're telling me you don't doctor baseballs," Letterman quizzed. "Do I look like a doctor to you?" Niekro said.

No one understands him but his woman: Niekro was purchased by the Astros from the Braves in 1975 for a mere $35,000, that's how washed up he seemed. He proceeded to win 135 games over the next 10 years.

(A word about the back): Well, this is a particularly timely (and painful) write-up. Niekro lost his no-hitter after 8 1/3 innings when the Yankees' Horace Clarke singled.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

no. 694 - rick renick

Who is the man: Rick Renick appeared in a career-high 81 games for the Twins in 1970 and set career highs in several categories.

Can ya dig it: Renick is displaying the yellow-bordered "Minnie and Paul" logo that the Twins have worn on their sleeves from the start.

Right on: I dig the distant American flag.

You see that cat Renick is a bad mother: Renick hit a home run off of the Tigers' Mickey Lolich in his first major league at-bat in 1968.

Shut your mouth: Renick managed in the minor leagues during the 1990s, most notably with the White Sox. One of his pitchers was Jason Bere, a brief sensation for the White Sox around 1993. Bere was cruising during one minor league start when Renick came out to remove him from the game. "Did you think you could have gone another inning," Renick asked Bere. "Yes," Bere said. "Do you think you can go another inning Thursday in Kansas City?" Renick replied. Bere looked at him. "Congratulations. You're in the major leagues," Renick said.

No one understands him but his woman: When Tom Kelly was named the Twins' manager before the 1987 season, Renick replaced Kelly as the Minnesota third base coach.

(A word about the back): You can tell by the 179 at-bats in 81 games that Renick pinch-hit a lot. His pinch-grand slam in that June 30th game turned a 5-2 Royals lead in the sixth inning into a 6-5 Twins lead (the Royals actually led 5-1 when the inning started but Harmon Killebrew led off with a solo homer).

Monday, August 21, 2017

no. 693 - jose pena

Who is the man: Jose Pena appeared in 29 games in relief in his first season with the Dodgers in 1970. He was picked up from the Reds in the Rule V draft.

Can ya dig it: I should have scanned the Pena card that's in my Dodgers collection. This one is miscut two different ways.

Right on: I like the batting cage in the distance.

You see that cat Pena is a bad mother: After his major league career ended in the early 1970s, Pena pitched the rest of the decade in Mexico. He won more than 200 games in Mexico and is among the top pitchers in career victories in the Mexican League.

Shut your mouth: Pena won 35 games in 1966, 19 in the Mexican League and 16 in winter ball.

No one understands him but his woman: If you can believe wikipedia, Pena was married for a time to Barbara Enright, who was the first woman to be inducted into the World Series Poker Hall of Fame. (She was the first woman to make the WSOP's final table in 1995). Enright, who grew up in southern California and was a hairdresser for celebrities in the early 1970s, was definitely married to a Dodgers pitcher then, but only wiki names the pitcher as Pena.

(My observation on the back): The write-up causes me to wonder what he did in his last 17 outings in 1970 to come up with that 4.42 ERA.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

no. 692 - rookie stars a.l. pitchers

Who is the man: Each of these pitchers made their major league debut in 1970. Hal Hayden appeared in four games in relief with the Twins; Rogelio Moret pitched in three games, one start, for the Red Sox; and Wayne Twitchell two games in relief for the Brewers.

Can ya dig it: I'm curious about the airbrushed cap that Twitchell is wearing. Could it be a Seattle Pilots hat? He was traded to Seattle in early 1969 but played in the minors.

Right on: This is yet another variation on the rookie stars cards in this set. Let's review what we have so far:

Team-oriented, two-player
Team-oriented, three-player
National League-three-player
American League, three-player
Pitchers, three-player
American League pitchers, three-player

You see these rookies are bad mothers: Even though two of them appeared in the glorious 1975 Topps set, no, they are not bad-ass.

Shut your mouth: Twitchell was already a member of the Phillies when this card appeared in packs. He was traded to the team for which he'd spend most of his career in April of 1971.

No one understands him but his woman: Haydel never appeared on his own Topps card. He showed up again in the 1972 set as one of three Twins rookie stars.

(A word about the back): The pitchers' heights get taller as you progress down the card.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

no. 691 - bob heise

Who is the man: Bob Heise appeared in 67 games in 1970, his first year in the majors when he wasn't a September call-up. But by the time this card was issued, he had already been dealt to the Brewers in June 1971.

Can ya dig it: This is the last time that Heise is referred to as "Bob" on his cards. After this, he's "Bobby."

Right on: One of those people who dots his eyes with a circle. I notice that on his 1975 Topps card he doesn't do that.

You see that cat Heise is a bad mother: Heise played for the AL champion Boston Red Sox in 1975, although he didn't get into the postseason. During a doubleheader against the Indians in July of that year, he went 4-for-7 with five runs batted in.

Shut your mouth: Heise hit the only home run of his career off of the Padres' Danny Coombs while playing for the Giants. He received a phonograph record of the home run call.

No one understands him but his woman: Heise played for four pennant-winning teams -- the 1969 Mets, 1971 Giants, 1975 Red Sox and 1977 Royals but never made the postseason.

 (A word about the back): Heise's position is listed as "infield" and in 1970 he did play second, shortstop and two games at third.