Wednesday, March 30, 2016

no. 517 - charlie fox

Who is the man: Charlie Fox was coming off his first season as the Giants' manager when this card was issued. He'd go on to lead the Giants to the N.L. West title in 1971 and was named the league's manager of the year.

Can ya dig it: Fox's four manager cards for the Giants are very similar. About the only thing that changes is the shading on his glasses.

Right on: Fox appears to be in mid-conversation.

You see that cat Fox is a bad mother: Fox is often credited for helping to develop Hall of Fame slugger Willie McCovey.

Shut your mouth: Fox gained the Giants job when Clyde King was let go after the Giants squandered an 8-0 lead and lost to the Padres 17-16 in 15 innings. Fox, who was managing the Triple A team in Phoenix, was listening to the game on the radio when Phoenix GM Rosy Ryan walked in and asked how things were going. Fox told him about the Giants game on TV, explaining that King was using up his entire pitching staff and had a doubleheader the next day. "He's in real trouble," Fox said to Ryan. Then Ryan said, "Oh, no, you're in trouble. You're the manager tomorrow."

No one understands him but his woman: Fox punched out Expos pitcher Steve Rogers in the clubhouse during an argument in late July, 1978. Fox, the general manager for Montreal, loudly criticized shortstop Chris Speier for his game performance the previous night. Rogers, the team's player rep, took offense and an argument followed. Fox challenged Rogers several times and Rogers shoved Fox, causing Fox to belt Rogers in the jaw. After the season, Fox was demoted and the incident with Rogers was cited as the main reason.

(A word about the back): Fox really did manage way back in 1947. As the bio says, he was a player-manager for a decade in the minor leagues for the Giants.

Monday, March 28, 2016

no. 516 - ted kubiak

Who is the man: Ted Kubiak was coming off by far the most productive season of his 10-year major league career when this card was issued. He appeared in 158 games, one of only four seasons in which he reached 100 games played, and the second most was 121 games.

Can ya dig it: I enjoy Kubiak's swooping T signature.

Right on: Kubiak was probably a member of the Cardinals by the time this card was pulled out of packs. He was traded by the Brewers at the end of July in 1971.

You see that cat Kubiak is a bad mother: Kubiak received three World Series rings as a reserve for the Oakland A's during their 1972-74 run of world championships.

Shut your mouth: Kubiak spent 21 seasons as a manager in the Cleveland Indians organization. During the late 1990s, he was in Watertown, N.Y., and managed the team our newspaper covered. There was a little friction involved between Kubiak and the paper. Nothing major. Kubiak just didn't like the way we were asking questions, I guess.

No one understands him but his woman: Kubiak spent almost his entire career as a utility player. When the Padres renewed Kubiak's contract by cutting his salary in 1977, he walked out of camp at age 34 and never played again.

(A word about the back): The club mark for triples that Kubiak tied was initially set by Mike Hegan, who had six triples for the Seattle Pilots in 1969.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

no. 515 - carl morton

Who is the man: Carl Morton was the reigning N.L. Rookie of the Year when this card was issued. He beat out second-place Bernie Carbo and third-place Larry Bowa.

Can ya dig it: This card can be found with the black line traveling into Morton's cap and without it. In some cases the black line is more pronounced than it is here. Weird.

Right on: Love that glove so close to the camera. Cool shot. Also, this is the eighth rookie trophy card and the first since card No. 263, which featured a similar pose.

You see that cat Morton is a bad mother: Morton was the first pitcher to excel for the Expos. He won 18 games for last-place Montreal.

Shut your mouth: Morton is often cited as one of the more forgettable rookies of the year in history. Part of that is because he suffered one of the most precipitous sophomore drops for a rookie of the year ever. He went 10-18 in 1971, his strikeouts plummeted and his ERA soared.

No one understands him but his woman: Morton started his pro career in the Braves organization, as a hitter. He struggled at the plate though and was converted to pitcher in 1967.

(A word about the back): All right I'm going to be that guy and say Morton set an Expos mark for walks, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

no. 514 - ron woods

Who is the man: Ron Woods was entering the 1971 season after a second year as a part-time outfielder for the Yankees, but he wouldn't stay with New York long. In June he was traded to the Expos for Ron Swoboda.

Can ya dig it: Another very cool card. It closely resembles another Yankees' player's card from this set.

Right on: Dig the full name in the signature -- Ronald Lawrence Woods.

You see that cat Woods is a bad mother: Woods was traded for two notable players in N.Y. baseball history. There was Swoboda, a World Series hero for the Mets, and Tom Tresh, the former AL Rookie of the Year for the Yankees.

Shut your mouth: I said in the last post that the Nolan Ryan card was the second-to-last action card in this set. I goofed (it's since been corrected). THIS is the second-to-last action card in the set.

No one understands him but his woman: This is Woods' first card in which he looks like a ballplayer. On both his 1969 two-player rookie card and his 1970 card, he's featured simply as a head shot, without a cap.

 (A word about the back): Interesting that White is mentioned in the bio and his card is so similar to Woods'.

Friday, March 18, 2016

no. 513 - nolan ryan

Who is the man: Nolan Ryan was entering his final season with the New York Mets when this card was issued. He made some modest gains in the 1970 season, starting in what was then a career-high 19 games.

Can ya dig it: What a fantastic card. I could stare at it for hours. For my money it's the best Ryan card ever made, I don't care what this says. I've often wondered whether there was any intent behind the Royal Crown Cola banner being featured so prominently behind Ryan.

Right on: I'm very pleased that I managed to trade for this card as a teenager. No cents were spent on this rather pricey item.

You see that cat Ryan is a bad mother: I'll take the easy way out and say there ain't nothing more bad-ass than leading the entire world in career strikeouts.

Shut your mouth: Enjoy this action shot. It's one of the last ones in the entire set.

No one understands him but his woman: After the 1971 season, Ryan reportedly told his wife he was considering retiring because the results weren't there. There are conflicting reports on whether Ryan said he would retire if the Mets didn't trade him or whether he was simply considering retiring.

(A word about the back): Has one player done so much for putting a town on the map like Ryan has with Alvin, Texas?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

no. 512 - red sox rookie stars

Who is the man: Dick Mills and Mike Garman spent the vast majority of their 1970 seasons with Triple A Louisville. Only Mills appeared in the majors, getting in two relief appearances for the Red Sox in September, 1970.

Can ya dig it: This is the second Red Sox rookie stars card in the set. The first one featured players that made more of an impact for Boston.

Right on: It appears to be a more pleasant day where Garman is than where Mills is.

You see these rookies are bad mothers: Pssssh. These two? You know they're rookies, right?

Shut your mouth: Mills went on to become a notable pitching coach and teacher before his death last year. His website (with the most appropriate web address ever) is now headed by his son, Ryan, who pitched seven seasons in the minors.

No one understands him but his woman: Garman is the first player from Idaho to be picked in the first round of MLB's amateur draft. The Red Sox selected him third overall and he remains the highest draft choice for any Idahoan who played in the majors.

 (A word about the back): Those two games that Mills hurled were the only major league experience he ever had.

Monday, March 14, 2016

no. 511 - chris short

Who is the man: Chris Short was coming off his so-called comeback season when this card was issued. He missed almost the entire 1969 season due to back problems and gave the Phillies 36 starts in 1970, but he wasn't quite the same as he was from 1964-68.

Can ya dig it: This is one of my favorite cards in the set -- action shot with Pete Rose leading off second base and an Alpo dog food advertisement on the outfield wall.

Right on: The best part is the dog peering between Short's legs.

You see that cat Short is a bad mother: Short won 20 games for the Phillies in 1966, and won 19 and 18 games two other seasons.

Shut your mouth: Short struggled for the Phillies early in his career, once prompting manager Gene Mauch to say he'd trade him "for a bale of hay."

No one understands him but his woman: Short was called "Styles" by teammates because he wore mismatched clothes and carried them around in a brown paper bag.

(A word about the back): Short blew the National League's lead in the sixth inning of the 1964 All-Star Game, setting up Phillies teammate Johnny Callison's game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th for the NL. Short fared better in the 1967 game, pitching two shutout innings (the 9th and 10th) in the NL's 15-inning victory.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

no. 510 - ken harrelson

Who is the man: Ken Harrelson was entering his final season when this card was issued. He played in just 17 games in 1970 after breaking his leg sliding into second base during a spring training game.

Can ya dig it: This is the Hawk's final card.

Right on: This card was practically shedding as I was scanning it. I think it's time for an upgrade.

You see that cat Harrelson is a bad mother: At the height of Harrelson's popularity while playing for the Red Sox, a local band called the Val Perry Trio created a song called "Don't Walk The Hawk."

Shut your mouth: I am one of the many who can't take Harrelson's broadcasting. His outspokenness doesn't bother me, but he is the biggest broadcasting homer that I have ever heard (and I listened to Phil Rizzuto for many years), and that not only turns me off, but I find it painful to listen to -- I feel embarrassed for the whole scene and I have to change the channel.

No one understands him but his woman: Harrelson had to be convinced by commissioner Bowie Kuhn to report to Cleveland after he was dealt to the Indians by the Red Sox. A shocked Harrelson retired rather than go to the Indians, creating mass confusion among the two teams and the five other players involved in the deal.

(A word about the back): Harrelson gets a card number ending in a zero despite his lost 1970 season. Topps apparently was still rewarding Harrelson for his 1968 and 1969 seasons.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

no. 509 - jim grant

Who is the man: Jim "Mudcat" Grant enjoyed his most productive season as a relief pitcher in 1970. He appeared in 80 games (no starts), saved 24, and recorded a 1.82 ERA.

Can ya dig it: Thanks to good timing, Topps was able to sneak in a card of Grant as a Pittsburgh Pirate. He was dealt from Oakland to Pittsburgh in mid-September 1970. Then, in August 1971, the A's purchased Grant back from the Pirates.

Right on: This was part of the first '71s I traded for in a deal with a friend (this is an upgraded version). I didn't fully appreciate Grant's mutton chops at the time.

You see that cat Grant is a bad mother: Grant pitched two victories in the 1965 World Series for the Twins -- both complete-game victories -- and in one of the games, he hit a three-run home run.

Shut your mouth: Grant wrote a book in 2005 called "12 Black Aces," which covered the 12 black pitchers who had won 20 games in a season at that time (they are: Grant, Vida Blue, Al Downing, Bob Gibson, Dwight Gooden, Fergie Jenkins, Sam Jones, Don Newcombe, Mike Norris, J.R. Richard, Dave Stewart and Earl Wilson). The group organized formally, partly in a bid to help develop more African-American players.

No one understands him but his woman: Grant received his nickname in an Indians tryout camp. A fellow camper and future minor leaguer, Leroy Bartow Irby, decided Grant was from Mississippi (he was actually born in Florida) and decided to call him "mudcat."

 (A word about the back): That is one righteous stat line for 1970.

Friday, March 4, 2016

no. 508 - roger repoz

Who is the man: Roger Repoz was entering his final full season in the majors when this card was released. He set career highs in almost every offensive category in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Another fine '71 Topps action shot. Enjoy the few that are left, because there are no action cards in the final 232 cards in the set.

Right on: Repoz featured a strong uppercut swing and you can see it with his backswing in this photo.

You see that cat Repoz is a bad mother: During the late 1960s, Repoz set a major league record by going 894 at-bats without hitting into a double play.

Shut your mouth: When Repoz was coming up with the Yankees in the early 1960s, he was compared to both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.

No one understands him but his woman: After his major league career, Repoz played five years in Japan and put up the best numbers of his career. In 1976, there were reports of Repoz, Charlie Manuel and Clyde Wright getting into a fight with the East German Olympic hockey team at Tokyo disco. Repoz claims it was just a verbal argument and no punches were thrown.

 (A word about the back): I'm assuming by the last sentence that Topps named a Player of the Month in the International League during that period.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

no. 507 - george stone

Who is the man: George Stone was entering his third season in the Braves' starting rotation when this card was issued. Stone enjoyed his first full season in the rotation in 1970 after switching between the rotation and the bullpen in 1969.

Can ya dig it: Still liking those old Braves pinstripe uniforms.

Right on: Stone's 1971 card is similar to his 1970 card.

You see that cat Stone is a bad mother: Stone is remembered by Mets fans for his 1973 season. In his first year with the team, he won his final eight decisions, helping New York into the postseason.

Shut your mouth: In one of the more disputed World Series decisions of the '70s, Mets manager Yogi Berra passed over a well-rested Stone in order to start Tom Seaver on short rest for Game 6. The Mets were ahead 3-2 in the Series and Berra wanted to finish off the A's with his ace. But the A's beat Seaver and then won Game 7 to take the title. Years later, Berra insisted he had no regrets about his decision.

No one understands him but his woman: Stone was the first Louisana Tech player ever drafted by a major league team. He still holds several La Tech records.

(A word about the back): Stone's home run came against the Astros' Tom Griffin in the seventh inning of game Sept. 12, 1969 in Atlanta. The two-run homer put the Braves ahead 4-0 and it proved crucial as Atlanta ended up winning the game 4-3.