Thursday, July 28, 2016

no. 558 - hector torres

Who is the man: Hector Torres played in just 31 games for the Astros in 1970 before he was traded to the Cubs, for shortstop Roger Metzger, in October.

Can ya dig it: Torres is likely wearing the Astros jersey over the collared warm-up jacket that he was wearing on his 1970 Topps card.

Right on: Even though he is featured as a Cub on both his 1971 and 1972 cards, Torres is not wearing any sign of Cubs gear on either card. His '72 card is very similar to this one.

You see that cat Torres is a bad mother: Torres pitched the Monterrey, Mexico, Little League team to the LL World Series title in 1958.

Shut your mouth: After appearing in the '72 Topps set, Torres disappeared from Topps cards until he was playing with the Padres in the 1976 set. Torres, who was a good fielder but struggled at the plate, played the entire 1974 season for the minor league Hawaii Islanders.

No one understands him but his woman: Torres was the first player to play for both Canadian major league teams. He played for the Expos in 1972 and he played in 91 games for the expansion Blue Jays in 1977. You can only find Torres as an Expo on a team issued postcard. And you can only find him as a Blue Jay on a team post card or on one of those Sportscaster series cards.

 (A word about the back): Torres was the first Mexican Little League alumnus to be signed to a major league contract.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

no. 557 - tom satriano

Who is the man: Tom Satriano appeared in 59 games (with just 165 at-bats) in 1970, which would be his final season. He retired after the season.

Can ya dig it: I really get a kick out of "catcher squatting" photos. I should start a mini-collection.

Right on: Final card!

You see that cat Satriano is a bad mother: Satriano was an original Los Angeles Angel, playing 35 games at third base as a 20-year-old in 1961.

Shut your mouth: During his final season, Satriano became the personal catcher for Sonny Siebert. Satriano said the arrangement happened by accident. The two were talking during pregame, and Satriano suggested that Siebert be more aggressive with hitters. Satriano caught Siebert's next start and Siebert pitched well. From that point on, Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko made sure Siebert and Satriano were a battery. Siebert went 15-8 in 1970.

No one understands him but his woman: Satriano's daughter, Gina, was the first girl to play Little League Baseball in Southern California. Gina Satriano later pitched for the Colorado Silver Bullets, the all-female team that played male baseball teams during the mid-1990s.

(A word about the back): Satriano went 8-for-19 during that 10-game string in 1962. He also hit two home runs.

Friday, July 22, 2016

no. 556 - jim mc glothlin

Who is the man: Jim McGlothlin had just compiled the best season of his career when this card was issued. In 1970, McGlothlin won a career-high 14 games in a career-best 210 innings and started Game 2 of the World Series for the Reds.

Can ya dig it: This is McGlothlin's first card as a Cincinnati Red, as he was traded by the Angels to the Reds in November 1969 and appears as an Angel on his 1970 Topps card.

Right on: Check out what appears to be a gloved hand in the lower right. Is it possible someone is winding up behind McGlothlin? Odd.

You see that cat McGlothlin is a bad mother: McGlothlin tied for the league lead with six shutouts in 1966. He pitched in the All-Star Game that year, getting Orlando Cepeda to hit into a double play and striking out Dick Allen.

Shut your mouth: At one point in '66, McGlothlin pitched 36 straight innings without giving up a run, but shrugged off compliments. "I'm just a hillbilly," he said. "I like John Wayne and country music."

No one understands him but his woman: McGlothlin died from a rare form of leukemia at age 32, less than two years after his career ended. His wife, in this article, published 40 years after his death, remembered the time when her husband playfully brushed her off the plate during an exhibition game between players and their wives.

(A word about the back): That period between May 16 and June 24, with the four complete games and three shutouts -- that's about three years' worth for a lot of pitchers today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

no. 555 - walt williams

Who is the man: Walt Williams slumped a bit in 1970, batting just .251 in 110 games after hitting over .300 in '69. He'd bounce back in 1971.

Can ya dig it: Man, Williams has got some muscles.

Right on: There is a dude standing behind Williams and it kind of takes away from an otherwise great shot. They should have asked Williams to flex a muscle so the guy would disappear.

You see that cat Williams is a bad mother: Williams featured one of the greatest baseball nicknames of all-time, "No-Neck." (Chris Berman couldn't come up with that if you spotted him the "neck"). The photo tells the story, but he got the name because of his compact build and short neck. The story goes that Williams received a vaccine injection in his neck as a toddler, but it caused his neck to shrink.

Shut your mouth: Famed sportswriter Jim Murray once quoted a scout about Williams, who said: "He looks as if somebody tried to cram him into a suitcase when they heard the cops coming."

No one understands him but his woman: Williams' second wife, Ester, said her husband didn't like his nickname much at first, but quickly accepted it with good humor.

(A word about the back): Williams probably didn't deserve a card number ending with a "5" after his 1970 season. This was reward for 1969, when he was one of just six American League hitters to top .300.

Monday, July 18, 2016

no. 554 - lowell palmer

Who is the man: Lowell Palmer was coming off the most active season of his five-year career when this card was issued. He appeared in 38 games, all but nine in relief, in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Powell is reprising his role on his 1970 Topps rookie card as the Joe Cool of major league baseball.

Right on: Powell is featured on just three Topps cards (1970-72). He's wearing dark glasses on two of them and slightly less-tinted glasses in '72.

You see that cat Powell is a bad mother: I'm going to cite this post one more time. Everything in it, especially the comments, will explain everything you need to know.

Also, there's this lead to a 1971 story: "A gorgeous redhead walked into the Philadelphia minor league complex here.

"'It has to be one of Lowell Palmer's girlfriends,' a bystander said."

Shut your mouth: Powell was inducted into the Sacramento Area Baseball Hall of Fame in February. In a comment about the news on the Hall's Facebook page, a woman posted: "Make sure you tell him his 'Padrette' girlfriend has never forgotten! Remember Sheiba!" I don't fully know what that means, but Palmer did end his major league career with the Padres in 1974.

No one understands him but his woman: While pitching for Triple A Syracuse in 1974, Palmer's "lady friend" drove his sports car from California to Syracuse. In a Syracuse-Herald Journal story, Palmer said the car was sideswiped near Buffalo, rolled over eight times and was totaled. The girlfriend was hospitalized and Palmer drove to Buffalo to check on her before returning to Syracuse and pitching a six-hitter in a 5-1 victory.

(A word about the back): There aren't a lot of card photos of Palmer without his frames. This particular photo is from the 1970 Philadelphia Phillies yearbook.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

no. 553 - kevin collins

Who is the man: Kevin Collins was entering his final major league season when this card was issued. He'd play in just 35 games for the Tigers in 1971.

Can ya dig it: Collins is wearing an "I'm just happy to be here" expression there in Yankee Stadium.

Right on: The "infield" designation is interesting. Collins did play all over the infield in his minor and major league career, mostly skipping between third, short and second. But in 1970, Collins was used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter for Detroit and the lone position he played was first base. So "infield" should read "first base."

You see that cat Collins is a bad mother: Collins was 18 years old when he made his MLB debut for the Mets in September 1965.

Shut your mouth: Collins was involved in a pivotal trade between the Mets and Expos in midseason 1969. The Mets traded Collins, pitcher Steve Renko and minor leaguers Jay Carden and Dave Colon to the Expos for first baseman Donn Clendenon, who helped lead New York to the World Series title that season. The next spring, when Collins saw his old Mets teammates, he said, "I did more work for you guys than anybody on the Mets. I was the one who got traded for Donn Clendenon."

No one understands him but his woman: Collins gave up pro ball in 1974 to help raise his family. His team at the time, the Indians, wanted him to go into coaching, but he declined.

(A word about the back): Collins' pinch home run came in a game against the Angels on Aug. 25, 1970. It was a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning and at the time had turned a 4-3 Angels lead into a 6-4 Tigers lead. But the Angels scored six runs in the ninth to win 10-6.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

no. 552 - buddy bradford

Who is the man: Buddy Bradford split his 1970 season between the White Sox and the Indians. He would be back with the White Sox by 1972 and then return to the White Sox again in 1975.

Can ya dig it: That's a great scene. The whole photo says, "going to work."

Right on: This is one of those first 1971s that I had in my collection. It's one of the few semi-high numbers I owned. I don't think it's the highest number I had back then, but we'll see.

You see that cat Bradford is a bad mother: Bradford led all of baseball in batting the first month of the 1969 season, hitting .420.

Shut your mouth: Bradford and four neighborhood kids from the same block in Pacoima, Calif., all ended up playing professional baseball. Two of them, Bradford and Gary Matthews, made the majors.

No one understands him but his woman: Bradford's last season of pro ball was spent playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan in 1977.

 (A word about the back): Does anyone today get into 107 games if they bat .193? I guess maybe if they hit 25 home runs.

Friday, July 8, 2016

no. 551 - frank linzy

Who is the man: Frank Linzy, who had pitched his first six major league seasons for the Giants, spent much of 1970 with a new team, the Cardinals, after being acquired in a trade in May.

Can ya dig it: I don't envy anyone with a name that ends in "zy". That's difficult to write in cursive.

Right on: Linzy looks like your friendly accountant, but he threw hard.

You see that cat Linzy is a bad mother: Linzy finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1965 when he compiled a 1.43 ERA in 57 games for the Giants, saving 21 of them.

Shut your mouth: In 1973, when Linzy was pitching for the Brewers, Milwaukee went on a hot streak, moving within a game of first place in the AL East after beating the Twins. After the game, manager Del Crandall explained the hot streak by saying, "Frank Linzy, Frank Linzy, Frank Linzy, Frank Linzy. End of interview." But it actually wasn't the end of the interview because the Brewers had won 10 of their last 11 games.

No one understands him but his woman: Linzy was called "Country" by his teammates, and after his career ended, he retired to his native Oklahoma and spent his days hunting and fishing.

(A word about the back): Those 18 complete games in 1963 are interesting. In the majors, Linzy started just two games out of 516 appearances.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

no. 550 - harmon killebrew

Who is the man: Harmon Killebrew was coming of his eighth-and-final 40-home run season when this card was issued. A year removed from his MVP season, he remained a feared slugger.

Can ya dig it: Killebrew appears to be in the depths of the batting cage here. Good shot.

Right on: Nice acting by Harmon. By the expression on his face, he seems to be admiring a titan blast.

You see that cat Killebrew is a bad mother: When Killebrew retired, he was fifth all-time in career home runs with 573. (He's currently 12th). Oh, and his nickname was "Killer".

Shut your mouth: David Letterman once dedicated an entire episode of his show on NBC to Harmon Killebrew. The Late Show had decided to host a Holiday Film Festival and asked various celebrities to create films that could be aired on the show. Letterman grew up a fan of Killebrew and asked him to make a movie. Killebrew didn't want to, but Letterman prodded him until Killebrew did. When the show aired, they ran out of time to air Killebrew's film. Letterman felt bad about that and decided to devote an entire separate show to Killebrew.

No one understands him but his woman: Killebrew was married twice. He had nine children.

(A word about the back): Killebrew is now sixth all-time in home run frequency. The top 10 is: Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Jim Thome, Ralph Kiner, Killebrew, Giancarlo Stanton, Sammy Sosa, Ted Williams and Manny Ramirez.

Monday, July 4, 2016

no. 549 - jim brewer

Who is the man: Jim Brewer was at the most productive point of his career when this card was released. He was one of the most reliable relievers in the National League and totaled a career-high 24 saves for the Dodgers in 1970.

Can ya dig it: There's some sort of optical illusion going on with the clouds in the background. They appear too close, like they're swallowing up the light pole in the background.

Right on: That's some loop on Jim's first name.

You see that cat Brewer is a bad mother: Brewer is ranked third all-time in pitching appearances for a Dodger with 474. Only Don Sutton (550) and Don Drysdale (518) have more. (Surprisingly, Jonathan Broxton is eighth).

Shut your mouth: Brewer was famously involved in a brawl with Billy Martin during a game in 1960. After Brewer hit Martin with a pitch, Martin flung his bat at Brewer. When Brewer went to hand Martin the bat, Martin punched Brewer in the eye, breaking Brewer's jaw. Brewer later sued Martin and received $10,000 in damages.

No one understands him but his woman: While Brewer recovered from Martin's punch in the hospital, his wife Patsy and his young son had to stay with Cubs teammate Ron Santo's family until Jim was released.

(A word about the back): Brewer was born in California, but went to high school in Broken Arrow, Okla. It's the same high school attended by former Dodger pitcher Brad Penny.