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.

Friday, August 11, 2017

no. 690 - bob moose

Who is the man: Bob Moose became a full-fledged member of the Pirates' starting rotation in 1970. In and out of the bullpen prior to this, Moose made starts in 27 of his 28 appearances.

Can ya dig it: One of my best-conditioned high-numbered cards in this set. Just beautiful.

Right on: How tremendous is it to have your own built-in nickname? Nobody had to deem Bob Moose "Moose" like with Mussina or Moustakas. His name was already Moose!

You see that cat Moose is a bad mother: Moose no-hit the soon-to-be Miracle Mets in late September of 1969.

Shut your mouth: Moose died on his 29th birthday. He was driving to a golf course owned by teammate Bill Mazeroski where they were going to celebrate his birthday. But Moose crashed into another car on a winding road. I didn't know until researching this that there were two women in Moose's car when he crashed. He had given them a ride after their car broke down. They were unhurt.

No one understands him but his woman: Moose's most memorable on-field moment is probably the wild pitch he threw that allowed the Reds to score the winning run and clinch the 1972 NLCS.

(My observation on the back): Gee whiz, bio writer, Moose actually did throw a no-hitter another time. Maybe mention that?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

no. 689 - frank baker

Who is the man: Frank Baker didn't receive a single major league at-bat in 1970. After debuting in 1969 and playing in 52 games, he played all of 1970 with Triple A Wichita.

Can ya dig it: Shucks, if the photo was zoomed out a bit we could get a better look at what I'm sure is a great old-school Pepsi ad.

Right on: Baker looks just a bit wary.

You see that cat Baker is a bad mother: Baker is a member of Franklin High School (Somerset, N.J.)'s football Hall of Fame.

Shut your mouth: Baker missed all of the 1967 and 1968 seasons to serve in the Vietnam War.

No one understands him but his woman: This is the second Frank Baker featured in the set. The first one, a shortstop, was featured back on card No. 213.

(My observation on the back): Baker looks wary on the back of his card, too. Probably trying to figure out why someone with zero 1970 stats is getting a card.

Monday, August 7, 2017

no. 688 - sparky anderson

Who is the man: Sparky Anderson was the toast of the town after the 1970 season, leading the Reds to the World Series in his first season as manager. But when this card was issued, Cincinnati was struggling and wound up finishing fourth in the NL West in 1971.

Can ya dig it: Anderson looked managerly right from the start.

Right on: I've known most of my life that Anderson's given first name was George, but it still looks odd written out.

You see that cat Anderson is a bad mother: The first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. That's all I gotta say.

Shut your mouth: Anderson liked to talk and reporters liked him because he liked to talk. I remember being taken aback, reading my Bill James Baseball Abstract in either 1983 or 1984 and James criticizing Anderson (probably over using Enos Cabell). It was the first time I read an unkind sports word about Anderson! Anderson's response to James was that James was "a little fat guy with a beard ... who knows nothing about nothing."

No one understands him but his woman: Anderson met his wife, Carol, in the fifth grade. They were married for 57 years.

(A word about the back): That is an impressive line for your first year managing. I'd say he's a fine leader.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

no. 687 - ron taylor

Who is the man: Ron Taylor was in the middle of his fifth and final season with the New York Mets when this card was issued. He appeared in 57 games in 1970, saving 13.

Can ya dig it: Taylor was one of the older members of the '69 Miracle Mets and it looks that way in the photo. Even though he had to be just 32 when this picture was taken, he seems older.

Right on: Awesome signature, especially for someone who would later become a doctor.

You see that cat Taylor is a bad mother: Taylor played an important part in two World Series games that proved key for his team, the eventual champion. In 1964, Taylor threw four no-hit innings of relief against the Yankees to give St. Louis the Game 4 victory and tie the series 2-2. In 1969, Taylor saved Game 2 of the Series, allowing the Mets to tie the series 1-1 with the Orioles.

Shut your mouth: Taylor retired from the majors in 1972 and entered medical school, inspired by overseas USO trips he took with fellow ballplayers that included visiting recovering soldiers in U.S. hospitals in Vietnam. He attended the University of Toronto but only after being interviewed by the dean of student affairs who looked over his resume and noted Taylor had graduated with a degree in 1961. "What have you been doing the past 11 years?" he asked. Taylor said: "Playing major league baseball." The dean responded by saying, "What's that?"

No one understands him but his woman: Taylor is the only person to have won four World Series rings, two as a player and two as a team doctor. He was the Blue Jays' team doctor when they won the World Series in 1992 and 1993.

(A word about the back): Taylor is not the first Canadian to play for the Mets but he was one of the first. He was raised in Toronto.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

no. 686 - chico ruiz

Who is the man: Chico Ruiz was in the middle of his most tumultuous (and final) season when this card was issued. In 1970, he appeared in 68 games in his first season with the Angels.

Can ya dig it: As a utility infielder in the '70s, you damn well better believe he would be bunting.

Right on: Ruiz's actual first name is "Giraldo," but you can see it is spelled with an "H" in the signature. That is because when Ruiz left his native Cuba to go to the U.S. (he was one of the last players to leave Cuba before the U.S.-Cuban embargo), immigration officials were confused by the "H" sound of Ruiz's first name and wrote it with an "H" (different times then, man). And it stuck.

You see that cat Ruiz is a bad mother: Ruiz's most infamous moment came when he was accused of waving a gun at teammate and former friend Alex Johnson in the Angels' clubhouse during the season in 1971. Johnson, who had problems of his own, accused Ruiz of trying to kill him. The Angels and Ruiz tried to deny Ruiz even had a gun, but they later admitted that was false. Ruiz was later demoted then released after the season.

Shut your mouth: Phillies fans have attributed their team's famous 1964 collapse to Ruiz's steal of home during a game between Philadelphia and Cincinnati in late September. Ruiz's shocking steal -- he made the decision on his own, with Frank Robinson at bat, and likely would have been out had Phillies pitcher Art Mahaffey not uncorked a wild throw -- won the game and touched off 10 straight losses by Philadelphia. The Phillies' collapse is often called "The Curse of Chico Ruiz".

No one understands him but his woman: Ruiz is on that unfortunate short list of major leaguers who died before the end of their careers. Ruiz was killed in a one-car highway accident in California on Feb. 9, 1972 after signing to play with the Royals that season.

(A word about the back): The Angels' first triple play came in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Royals with Kansas City leading 2-1. After the first two K.C. batters in the inning singled, Angels reliever Steve Kealey replaced starter Rudy May. Amos Otis came to the plate and hit a ground ball to Ruiz at third. Ruiz tagged third, threw to second baseman Sandy Alomar for out No. 2, and Alomar threw to first to Billy Cowan to retire Otis for the triple play.

Friday, July 28, 2017

no. 685 - moe drabowsky

Who is the man: Moe Drabowsky pitched for the World Series champion Orioles in 1970, contributing four victories in relief during the postseason. But he was dealt to St. Louis in November 1970 and is airbrushed into a Cardinals cap.

Can ya dig it: You can see Drabowsky's curls, which he wore during the late '60s and early '70s, peaking out from under the cap.

Right on: He appears to be admiring his new team name.

You see that cat Drabowsky is a bad mother: Drabowsky still holds the World Series mark for strikeouts in a game by a reliever. He struck out 11 in 6.2 innings after coming into Game 1 in the third inning for the Orioles against the Dodgers.

Shut your mouth: Drabowsky, one of the most famous baseball pranksters in history, was known to impersonate managers and others, including A's owner Charlie Finley. While holding out for more money in 1964, he called fellow teammates who were also holding out and pretended to be Finley. His teammates would reveal to the fake Finley what they were making by saying things like, "but Mr. Finley, $16,000 isn't enough!"

No one understands him but his woman: Drabowsky was married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth, was a flight attendant when they met in the late 1950s. Elizabeth was a baseball fan and admitted to having a crush on Gil Hodges since she was a kid.

(A word about the back): I enjoy a good Hod Eller reference on the back of a baseball card.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

no. 684 - curt motton

Who is the man: Curt Motton was in the middle of his final season with the Orioles when this card was issued. He'd be traded to the Brewers in December 1971.

Can ya dig it: The rare batting glove sighting!

Right on: Motton's final Topps card is in the 1972 set in which he's terribly airbrushed into a Brewers cap. I kind of feel bad for players whose last card isn't the best presentation.

You see that cat Motton is a bad mother: Motton capped his most effective season in 1969 by knocking in the winning run with a pinch-hit single in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS against the Twins. The Orioles won 1-0 and swept the series, 3-0.

Shut your mouth: Elrod Hendricks, roommates with Motton, considered Motton the worst driver he'd ever seen. He recalled a time when pitcher Luis Tiant was a passenger in a car Motton was driving. According to a Baltimore Sun story, Tiant said to Motton, "Please Mr. Motton, watch the road. Please Mr. Motton, you're going to get me keeled."

No one understands him but his woman: Motton tied an MLB mark by hitting home runs in consecutive pinch-hit appearances on May 15 and 17 in 1968. Both were three-run homers.

(A word about the back): The game on Aug. 2, 1970 was a wild one. The Orioles led 5-0 and 8-2 then held off Royals rallies to win 10-8.

Friday, July 21, 2017

no. 683 - bill burbach

Who is the man: Bill Burbach pitched in just four major league games in 1970. He spent the majority of the year in Triple A Syracuse.

Can ya dig it: This is Burbach's final Topps card (he has just three and one is a three-player rookie stars card).

Right on: Burbach had already been dealt to the Orioles when this card appeared in packs.

You see this cat Burbach is a bad mother: Burbach was the Yankees' No. 1 draft choice in 1965, the franchise's first amateur draft pick ever.

Shut your mouth: I admit I had no idea who Burbach was when I first scanned this card. It was a surprise to even see the card in the set.

No one understands him but his woman: Burbach is the first pitcher to wear the No. 50 for the Yankees. Ralph Houk was the first player to wear the number, back in 1947.

(A word about the back): Burbach's shutout of the Tigers in 1969 came in the Yankees' 11th game of the season, the second game of a doubleheader on April 20th. He pitched a five-hitter and didn't surrender a hit until the fourth inning when Al Kaline hit a two-out single.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

no. 682 - terry harmon

Who is the man: Terry Harmon appeared in 71 games for the Phillies in 1970 but received just 129 at-bats. He was establishing the role of utility infielder that would be his trademark for Philadelphia throughout the '70s.

Can ya dig it: Harmon, no surprise, is featured in several fielding poses on his cards. This one would be somewhat repeated in the 1975 Topps set.

Right on: I wonder who's ball and glove is behind him?

You see that cat Harmon is a bad mother: Harmon set a major league record on June 12, 1971 by fielding 18 chances without an error. Jim Bunning started for the Phillies in the game against the Padres. Even though the Padres outhit the Phillies 9-4, they lost the game 3-0.

Shut your mouth: Harmon worked in cable television after his career, mostly with home shopping networks, including a station that sold jewelry for 24 hours. Harmon didn't do any on-air hawking (at least none I can find). He was behind the scenes trying to get cable operators to air the station.

No one understands him but his woman: Harmon and his wife, Kay, visited the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in 2013. After that visit, Harmon donated the glove he used for his record game to the Hall.

(A word about the back): That could be the earliest reference to "game-winning RBI," the stat that later became enough of a craze in the 1980s that it was included on the back of every hitter's baseball card.

Monday, July 17, 2017

no. 681 - bill butler

Who is the man: Bill Butler was in his third year with the Royals when this card was issued. He was an original K.C. Royal and had been a member of the starting rotation in 1969 and 1970.

Can ya dig it: This is the first card in which Butler is wearing a non-airbrushed cap. He's airbrushed in a 3-player rookie card in the '69 Topps set and also airbrushed in the 1970 Topps set.

Right on: William F. Butler. That doesn't sound like a pitcher. More like a lawyer.

You see that cat Butler is a bad mother: Butler led the expansion Royals in strikeouts in 1969 with 156.

Shut your mouth: This is the final card of Butler until the 1975 Topps set. He bounced between the majors and minors from 1971-74.

No one understands him but his woman: This is the first of two Bill Butlers to player for the Royals. K.C. designated hitter Billy Butler is more well-known to younger fans and those who like big breakfasts.

 (A word about the back): Butler went 2-1 for the month of April in 1970. He appeared in five games and posted a 4.44 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. The Royals went 7-12 that month.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

no. 680 - don mincher

Who is the man: Don Mincher hit a career-high 27 home runs in his first season for Oakland in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Another one of those posed home run swings aimed in the wrong direction.

Right on: Mincher had been traded to the Senators by the time this card appeared in packs. The trade happened in early May of 1971.

You see that cat Mincher is a bad mother: Mincher returned to the A's in 1972 and retired with a World Series title at the end of the year. He went 1-for-1 in that World Series.

Shut your mouth: Mincher was one of five Minnesota Twins to hit a home run in the seventh inning of a game in 1966, setting a major league record. Rich Rollins, Tony Oliva, Zoilo Versalles and Harmon Killebrew also hit homers in the inning against Mincher's future team, the A's.

No one understands him but his woman: Mincher is the only Seattle Pilot to be named an All-Star.

(A word about the back): Mincher's home run in the 1965 World Series came off of Don Drysdale.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

no. 679 - don o'riley

Who is the man: Don O'Riley pitched in nine games for the Kansas City Royals in 1970, spending more of the season in the minors with Omaha. He was traded to the White Sox, along with infielder Pat Kelly, in October 1970 for Gail Hopkins and John Matias.

Can ya dig it: That airbrushed, very bright, sky blue cap is a sight and not a color the White Sox ever wore. It's interesting that the bill remains Kansas City Royal blue. It's also interesting that there's already been a look at the White Sox's new red caps in this set with the earlier Chuck Tanner card.

Right on: This is O'Riley's only solo card. He appears on a three-player rookie stars card with the Royals in the 1970 Topps set.

You see that cat O'Riley is a bad mother: O'Riley pitched for the Royals during their very first season in 1969. He came out of the bullpen for 18 games and recorded one save.

Shut your mouth: O'Riley was killed in a convenience store robbery in May of 1997 at age 52. Working as the store's manager, O'Riley pulled a gun and shot the robber, who shot back and hit O'Riley in the head, killing him. The killer was sentence to life in prison in 1999.

No one understands him but his woman: O'Riley never played for the White Sox. For whatever reason, he didn't play any pro ball in 1971 and then pitched in the Braves minor league system in 1972 and 1973.

(A word about the back): That write-up is a rarity in the '71 set in that it focuses on a single thought and doesn't skip around to various facts.

Friday, July 7, 2017

no. 678 - george thomas

Who is the man: George Thomas was in his final season in the majors when this card was issued. He was signed as a free agent by the Twins in June of 1971.

Can ya dig it: This card is in great shape for a high number, probably one of the finest I own.

Right on: Final card.

You see that cat Thomas is a bad mother: Thomas was a valuable bench player for the Red Sox during their Impossible Dream season in 1967. He played every position except pitcher during his career.

Shut your mouth: Like the best bench players, Thomas possessed a great Uecker-esque sense of humor. When an injury to a starter put Thomas in the lineup for four straight games, he joked to his manager, "I can't play all these games. Bench me or trade me!" Another time, during spring training, he spotted Johnny Bench and told him, "Oh, I see we both play the same position, only you have it written on (the back of) your uniform."

No one understands him but his woman: Thomas' daughter, Kristin, was shown on television while in the stands during the 2004 World Series, displaying a sign that said "Impossible Dream" and "George Thomas Fan Club".

(A word about the back): Thomas indeed was made a coach during the 1970 season after he was sidelined with a broken wrist, but was also eligible to play after his injury healed.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

no. 677 - jack di lauro

Who is the man: Jack DiLauro appeared in 42 games during his first year with Astros in 1970. Houston picked him up from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft during the offseason.

Can ya dig it: Kind of cool that DiLauro is shown at Shea Stadium, the pitcher's former home.

Right on: This is DiLauro's final Topps card. He has just two.

You see that cat DiLauro is a bad mother: DiLauro played on the 1969 Miracle Mets team, appearing in 23 games with a 2.40 ERA. He wasn't used during the postseason, however.

Shut your mouth: DiLauro was a veteran of six minor league seasons in the Tigers organization when he arrived with the Mets, but said he didn't get much of a chance with the team despite his status. He said he didn't feel comfortable around Mets manager Gil Hodges, mostly because Hodges never talked to any of the players.

No one understands him but his woman: When the Mets appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show after they upset the Orioles to win the '69 World Series, DiLauro did an impersonation of Sullivan. He is not identified in this video of the Mets collectively singing "You Gotta Have Heart," but as the camera pans out at the end, he appears to be the player on the bottom row dressed in a red shirt (the video is a hoot, by the way).

(A word about the back): The last line in the bio is a gut-punch. DiLauro wouldn't appear in the majors again after being sold to Hawaii.

Monday, July 3, 2017

no. 676 - tommie reynolds

Who is the man: Tommie Reynolds was in the midst of his second season with the Angels when this card was issued. He was purchased by the Angels in May of 1970 and played in 59 games for them that year.

Can ya dig it: Severely off-center card here. I can pick up a better copy for cheap and I should.

Right on: This is Reynolds' final Topps card even though he played in 45 games for the Angels in 1971 and 72 for the Brewers in 1972.

You see that cat Reynolds is a bad mother: Reynolds knocked in four runs while playing for the Kansas City A's against the Detroit Tigers on April 30, 1964. He hit a three-run home run off of the Tigers' Mickey Lolich in the first inning.

Shut your mouth: Reynolds' most famous card is his 1967 Topps card with the Mets in which there is a strange gap between his first and last name. The gap was explained through some research by famed card collector Keith Olbermann several years ago. Part of Reynolds' first name was likely erased because it was in error.

No one understands him but his woman: Reynolds was used as an emergency catcher for the Mets in 1967 during a game against the Dodgers on July 27 and it cost them. The Mets had already used John Sullivan as the starting catcher and then Jerry Grote, who pinch-ran for Sullivan in the seventh. Grote then was ejected from the game and Reynolds took Grote's spot behind the plate in the eighth for his only recorded major league catching appearance. The Dodgers won in the 11th inning when Nate Oliver scored from third on a passed ball by Reynolds.

(A word about the back): Floyd Robinson led the American League in doubles in 1962 with 45 and also drove in over 100 runs that year.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

no. 675 - dave boswell

Who is the man: Dave Boswell struggled with what proved to be a career-ending arm injury during the 1970 season. He went on the disabled list for good in August of that year, sporting a 6.39 ERA.

Can ya dig it: Boswell had been released by the Twins in April 1971, signed by the Tigers, let go by the Tigers and then signed by Orioles in May. None of that is reflected in this card. Perhaps March was the limit for airbrushing a player into his new duds for the last series.

Right on: This is his final Topps card.

You see that cat Boswell is a bad mother: Boswell won 20 games for the AL West champion Twins in 1969. He was known for being a no-nonsense, fearless hurler, although on the temperamental side.

Shut your mouth: Boswell's most famous moment is his fight with his own manager Billy Martin. Boswell supposedly got into an argument with pitching coach Art Fowler at a bar during the '69 season. Teammate Bobby Allison took a heated Boswell outside and ended up getting clocked by Boswell. Martin then came out of the bar and wailed on Boswell, knocking him out.

No one understands him but his woman: Boswell suffered his arm injury during the 1969 ALCS, throwing a slider to the Orioles' Frank Robinson in the 10th inning of Game 2. Boswell kept pitching though and was ineffective the rest of his career, which ended prematurely in 1972 at the age of 26.

(A word about the back): Regarding the 173 strikeouts in 1964, Boswell was a prodigy in high school and tore up the minor leagues. He was once referred to as the American League's answer to Sandy Koufax.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

no. 674 - expos

Who is the man: The Montreal Expos were in the middle of their third season of existence when this card was issued. The 1970 season was a bit more promising after an expansion year in which the Expos finished a whopping 48 games behind the first-place Mets. Sure, the Expos were still last in 1970, but they ended up just 16 out of first when the season finished.

Can ya dig it: I can't tell you how pleased I am to know that this photo was taken at 5:10 in the afternoon.

Right on: Having the players in the second row sit was not standard procedure for team photos at the time. It really makes the third row ... um ... stand out.

You see that Mauch is a bad mother: Manager Gene Mauch, like just about all of the managers in these team photos, is sitting dead center in the front row. He is No. 4.

Shut your mouth: Let's ID some Expos! Sitting on the far right in the front row is Ron Fairly. Past and future manager Dick Williams is two spots to the left of Mauch. Sitting to the left of Williams is Le Grand Orange, Rusty Staub. Now, let's go to the back row, starting from the second guy from the left. That's outfielder Jim Gosger. After that is someone named Fred Whitfield. Next to him is Marv Staehle (the guy airbrushed as an Atlanta Brave just a few cards ago) and then the famed John Bateman. After that it's pitchers Howie Reed and Steve Renko, Rich Nye, Adolfo Phillips, Mike Wegener, Mack Jones and Bob Bailey.

No one understands him but his woman: The Expos jackets -- I hope they're satin -- are wonderful. I'm glad we get to see a glimpse of them.

(A word about the back): You can see that 13 team records were set in 1970, six of them by Staub.

Friday, June 23, 2017

no. 673 - gerry janeski

Who is the man: Gerry Janeski was coming off his rookie season when this card was issued. He appeared in a whopping 35 games for the 1970 White Sox, going 10-17 for a team that won just 56 games.

Can ya dig it: The comically painted red cap makes this card look ancient to me, as if it's from a time long, long ago. The longer I look at it the sillier it looks.

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

You see that cat Janeski is a bad mother: Janeski threw a complete-game shutout in his second major league start. It came against the Oakland A's in Oakland and Janeski allowed just three hits. A grand total of 2,901 in the stands saw it.

Shut your mouth: Janeski was known as "the wheat germ kid" as a rookie. He took wheat germ and liver pills and other vitamins, ran three miles a day and did 70 push-ups at a time.

No one understands him but his woman: Janeski is listed as "Gerry" here and on baseball-reference, but almost everywhere else, he is "Jerry".

(A word about the back): Janeski tied for the league league in wins in 1969 while pitching in the Red Sox organization. He pitched in the minors for the Red Sox for five years until he was sent to the White Sox as compensation for an earlier trade. Boston earlier dealt pitcher Billy Farmer to the White Sox, but Chicago soon found out Farmer had a sore arm as the pitcher quit after tossing a few balls during the first spring workout because the pain in his arm was so intense.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

no. 672 - ed crosby

Who is the man: Ed Crosby made his major league debut in 1970, appearing in 38 games for the Cardinals with a .253 average in 95 at-bats.

Can ya dig it: I like how the bird is peaking out of the bottom right corner.

Right on: Rookie card!

You see that cat Crosby is a bad mother: Crosby was part of an impressive crew of Wilson High School (Long Beach, Calif.) alumni playing in the major leagues at the same time in the early 1970s. The others were Bobby Grich, Jeff Burroughs, Bob Bailey and Casey Cox.

Shut your mouth: Crosby scouted for the Orioles after his playing career. When the Orioles drafted Cecil Fielder out of high school in the 31st round in 1981, Crosby visited the Fielder house and said to him, "Cecil, stay in school." The Orioles didn't bother to offer Fielder a bonus.

No one understands him but his woman: Crosby is the father of 2004 American League Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby.

(A word about the back): 1971 Topps is capitalizing on the fact that nobody had the internet then. Crosby may have hit .360 on the road in 1970, but he hit .133 at home.

Monday, June 19, 2017

no. 671 - bill voss

Who is the man: Bill Voss played in 80 games for the Angels in 1970. He was dealt to the Brewers in January of 1971 in exchange for pitcher Gene Brabender, who was just featured five cards ago. At least Topps was able to get Voss in his proper uniform.

Can ya dig it: This is perhaps the best view yet of one of the Twin Buttes that is the backdrop for Tempe Diablo Stadium. It sits behind left field.

Right on: I'm happy to finally see a Brewers player who is not pictured in Yankee Stadium.

You see that cat Voss is a bad mother: Voss' first major league hit was a home run off of the Tigers' Denny McLain in 1965. He later hit a triple off of McLain in the same game.

Shut your mouth: Voss suffered a multitude of injuries and illnesses during his career. Angels manager Lefty Phillips once said of him, "Bill is a very valuable player to us, but he just doesn't have the stamina to play every day."

No one understands him but his woman: Voss was known for being small in stature. During one effort to gain weight, Voss' wife made him malted milks for breakfast and then again as a late-night snack.

(A word about the back): Voss is a Halloween baby.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

no. 670 - bill hands

Who is the man: Bill Hands was coming off the best three-year period of his career when this card was issued. A year after winning 20 games for the 1969 Cubs, he won 18 in 1970. He'd never win more than 12 the rest of his career.

Can ya dig it: It looks like Hands is warming up along the bullpen sideline before or during a game.

Right on: That crease is much more visible on the scan. It doesn't look too bad in my hands (ha).

You see that cat Hands is a bad mother: Only Fergie Jenkins won more games (21) than Hands for the 1969 Cubs. His 2.49 ERA that year was the second lowest for any Cubs starter since World War II.

Shut your mouth: Hands' nickname was "Froggy" and came about when players noticed how much his delivery resembled that of Don Larsen. Larsen was often called "Big Froggy," so Hands was called "Little Froggy" and then later just "Froggy."

No one understands him but his woman: Hands, who died in March, owned and operated a gas station on Long Island for a long time after his career. It was a popular place and many people knew him only as the service station owner because he didn't talk about his baseball career much.

(A word about the back): The Cubs trade sent pitcher Lindy McDaniel and outfielder Don Landrum to the Giants for Hands and catcher Randy Hundley.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

no. 669 - ike brown

Who is the man: Ike Brown played in 56 games for the Tigers in 1970, his second year in the majors after eight seasons in the minors.

Can ya dig it: As you can tell, this card is significantly off-center. With the high numbers, you sometimes take what you can get.

Right on: Brown is listed as a second baseman here, but he was really a man without a position. He played regularly at every nonpitching position except for catcher and center field.

You see that cat Brown is a bad mother: Brown did play all nine positions in a single game in the minor leagues.

Shut your mouth: Brown was often mistaken as the brother of Tigers teammate and roommate Gates Brown. They weren't related.

No one understands him but his woman: Brown was one of the last remaining former Negro League players in the major leagues. When he retired in 1974, only Hank Aaron was left.

(My observation on the back): Love those glasses ... Brown's first home run came off of the Yankees' Mike Kekich in the fourth inning. It was the second game of a doubleheader and the Tigers swept.