Wednesday, August 31, 2016

no. 570 - jim palmer

Who is the man: Jim Palmer staked his claim as a certified star in 1970 by winning 20 games for the first time in his career (what would be the first of eight 20-win seasons in nine years).

Can ya dig it: Obviously this card has been around the town a little bit, but I'm in no hurry to upgrade.

Right on: It looks like a casual day of spring training there.

You see that cat Palmer is a bad mother: Palmer led the decade of the 1970s in victories and is the Orioles' all-time victories leader. For those of you who don't care about victories, Palmer also never allowed a grand slam in his 19-year career.

Shut your mouth: Orioles manager Earl Weaver in one of his back-and-forth insult sessions with Palmer once said, "Someone once asked me if I have any physical incapacities of my own. 'Sure I do,' I said. 'One big one -- Jim Palmer.'""

No one understands him but his woman: Palmer has been married three times. Two of those women are named Susan.

(A word about the back): I get giddy anytime I see anyone with 300-plus innings pitched in a season.

Monday, August 29, 2016

no. 569 - ivan murrell

Who is the man: Ivan Murrell was coming off the most productive season of his 10-year major league career when this card was issued. He'd appear in 100 games only one more time, in 1971.

Can ya dig it: This is another one of the semi-high numbers that I owned among the first '71s in my collection.

Right on: Murrell looks like quite the slugger there. He was tied for fifth on the team with 12 home runs in 1970.

You see that cat Murrell is a bad mother: Murrell hit .325 for Triple A Oklahoma City when he was in the Astros' chain in 1967. That led to the Padres selecting him in the 1968 expansion draft with their 20th pick.

Shut your mouth: Murrell, a native Panama, was an accomplished boxer and soccer player, but claimed baseball was tougher than both of those in a 1969 article. "Baseball looks easy, but I find it tougher than soccer and boxing."

No one understands him but his woman: Murrell became well-known for helping out youth players after his playing career. He coached and ran camps and was the helpful type, whether it was giving kids a ride across town for a game or raising money for players to go to the Caribbean. At gae 63, he died from stomach cancer two days after being diagnosed.

(A word about the back): You're looking at career-highs in games played, runs, hits, home runs and RBIs for Murrell in 1970.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

no. 568 - sal campisi

Who is the man: Sal Campisi came over to the Twins from the Cardinals in a trade in late October 1970. He pitched in 37 games for St. Louis in 1970, all in relief.

Can ya dig it: I could've sworn Campisi was an outfielder. I know I should have looked at the bright yellow letters that say "pitcher," but the photo isn't exactly helping me out here.

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

You see that cat Campisi is a bad mother: Campisi led the Dominican Winter League in earned run average during the 1969-70 offseason with a 0.74.

Shut your mouth: Campisi apparently gained a reputation for eating too much when he was in the minor leagues. This article says it stemmed from when Warren Spahn was coaching him. Campisi had lost 12 pounds but then gained a few pounds back and Spahn talked to him about it. Campisi told him, "Do you want a fat winner or a skinny loser?"

No one understands him but his woman: Campisi won the first American Association Most Valuable Player award for pitchers in 1969 while playing for Tulsa. Later pitchers to win the award included Jim Kern, Bryn Smith, Jay Howell, Pascual Perez and Rick Helling.

(A word about the back): That airbrushed Twins logo looks far too big for that cap.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

no. 567 - walt alston

Who is the man: Walt Alston managed the Dodgers to a second-place finish in the NL West in 1970, his 17th year as manager of the club. It was the team's highest finish since 1966.

Can ya dig it: Alston seems absolutely thrilled with whoever he spotted in the mezzanine.

Right on: This photo likely was taken at the same time as the photo on Alston's 1972 Topps card. Not only is he staring in the same general direction, but those two standing, jacketed people behind Alston are in both shots.

You see that cat Alston is a bad mother: Alston managed the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 1955. And he added championships in 1959, 1963 and 1965 for good measure.

Shut your mouth: Alston lasted longer as a manager with one team than everyone except Connie Mack and John McGraw. "He's not irritating," Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley once explained. "Do you realize how important it is to have a manager who doesn't irritate you?"

No one understands him but his woman: Dodgers player Tommy Davis once said of Alston: "He's a straight guy, know what I mean? Really straight. I respect the man. I just don't understand him."

(A word about the back): It's a little crazy to see someone born in 1911 on the back of a baseball card.

Friday, August 19, 2016

no. 566 - tim cullen

Who is the man: Tim Cullen provided another season of good-glove, no-hit action for the Senators in 1970. He was entering his final year with Washington.

Can ya dig it: This card is a little too grungy for my liking. Gum-stain remnants, scuffing all the way around, and a well-nibbled top right corner.

Right on: Look that ball into your glove, Tim!

You see that cat Cullen is a bad mother: Cullen was named to the Topps Rookie All-Star team for 1967. He features one of those giant trophies on his 1968 Topps card.

Shut your mouth: Cullen's nickname was "The Worm" for the way he hit the dirt to get a groundball. I suppose it's appropriate now that this card is dingy.

No one understands him but his woman: Cullen is the last nonpitcher to bat ninth in an American League game prior to the start of the designated hitter in 1973. While playing for the White Sox against the Yankees in 1968, Cullen started at second base and hit ninth and White Sox pitcher Gary Peters hit sixth.

(A word about the back): I like the brevity of the last sentence in the write-up. "Briefly with Chisox," when "briefly with the White Sox" would work, too. Also, it's true Cullen played just four months with the White Sox in '68 before being traded back to the Senators -- for the same player he was traded to the White Sox for, Ron Hansen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

no. 565 - jim wynn

Who is the man: Jim Wynn enjoyed another solid season as the Astros' slugger in 1970, hitting 27 home runs in 157 games played. But he was actually entering a string of inconsistency that would ultimately lead him to being traded to the Dodgers.

Can ya dig it: Wynn isn't exactly at home plate, or wearing a helmet, but otherwise, he looks pretty locked in to whatever is coming his way.

Right on: Very jealous of Astros fans who received many cards of Wynn as an Astro. All I've got of Wynn as a Dodger are cards I can count on one hand.

You see that cat Wynn is a bad mother: Wynn's most notable home run season came in 1967 when he hit 37, including several memorable shots (three in one game against the Giants, the longest  in Crosley Field history). He was in a race with Hank Aaron for the home run title until Aaron pulled away. Aaron paid Wynn a compliment when he mentioned that Wynn had to play in the spacious Astrodome.

Shut your mouth: Wynn initially didn't like his nickname, "The Toy Cannon," because he regarded it as another slight on his 5-9 height. But he later came around and his nickname was the title of his autobiography.

No one understands him but his woman: Wynn has been married three times. He was stabbed in the stomach by his first wife, Ruth, during an argument on their wedding anniversary in December 1970. Wynn brought an unloaded shotgun into the argument and his wife a 4-inch steak knife. Wynn didn't press charges, later saying it was his fault.

(A word about the back): I know I've complained about this once before on a different card, but the start of this write-up is the most tortured opening I've read on a baseball card.

Monday, August 15, 2016

no. 564 - al fitzmorris

Who is the man: Al Fitzmorris pitched in his first full season in 1970, appearing mostly in relief for the second-year Royals.

Can ya dig it: Those palm trees on either side of the telephone pole. I dig that.

Right on: This is Fitzmorris' first solo card.

You see that cat Fitzmorris is a bad mother: Fitzmorris finished fifth in the American League in ERA in 1974 at 2.79. He was second on the Royals staff behind Steve Busby's 18 victories with 16 win in 1975.

Shut your mouth: Fitzmorris admits to butting heads with two Royals managers of the 1970s, Jack McKeon and Whitey Herzog. Knowing the personalities of both of those managers, I'm sure just about everyone butted heads with them.

No one understands him but his woman: Fitzmorris has been a singer and musician most of his life, including during his baseball career. When he was first arriving in the major leagues, he was the singer for a five-man rock band called Blond Cobra.

(A word about the back): Fitzmorris came to bat 406 times in 1966 while in the minors with the White Sox. Pitchers who started out as hitters in the pros always interest me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

no. 563 - giants

Who is the man: The San Francisco Giants dipped a bit in 1970. After five straight years of finishing second, they dropped to third, behind the Reds and Dodgers, with an 86-76 record. Manager Clyde King was fired in May and replaced with Charlie Fox.

Can ya dig it: Whoever cropped this photo heartlessly chopped out half of an equipment manager or trainer from the photo on the right-hand side.

Right on: You probably can tell that this card is miscut -- diamond cut, in fact. If you can't tell, you will be able to when I show the back of the card.

You see that cat Fox is a bad mother: It's difficult to make out faces in this photo, but I'm guessing that manager Charlie Fox is not in this picture, since he didn't show up until May, and team photos were typically shot during spring training. If previous manager Clyde King is in the photo, the odd thing is the guy who looks most like him, is the guy in the glasses standing up next to the second row on the left. But he's not wearing a uniform.

Shut your mouth: The Giants of this period featured some notable players -- and some tall players. Bobby Bonds is the first guy on the left in the third row. Move three players to the right and that's Willie McCovey. Gaylord Perry is over on the other end of the row, second guy from the right. I'm fairly sure Willie Mays is the first guy on the left in the second row, next to that guy who really looks like Clyde King. But the blurriness makes me less certain.

No one understands him but his woman: I think they mixed some bat boys with some regular players on the bottom row. It makes the second guy from the left look like a giant (get it?).

(A word about the back): There's that diamond-cut action. ... The Yankees and Dodgers have met a record 11 times in the World Series. But the Yankees and Giants are right behind with seven meetings, all before 1963.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

no. 562 - dave giusti

Who is the man: Dave Giusti was in the middle of his second season with the Pirates when this card was issued. His first season was a smashing success. Converted to a reliever, he saved 26 games in 1970.

Can ya dig it: The mind reels over who the Pirates in the dugout might be. Sanguillen? Stargell? Clemente?

Right on: Whoever those guys are, I think one of their moms should show up and tell him to sit up straight.

You see that cat Giusti is a bad mother: Giusti led the league in saves with 30 in 1971 and got the save in Game 4 of the World Series that year. Between 1970-74, he finished in the top 10 in Cy Young Award voting three times.

Shut your mouth: Giusti was passed over for an All-Star berth by Reds manager Sparky Anderson in 1971. Anderson instead picked his team's reliever, Clay Carroll, saying, "My guys got me the job of managing All-Stars. Clay was one of them."

No one understands him but his woman: Giusti's wife, Virginia, said Dave's first word was "ball". Someone must have relayed that to her, as I don't think his wife was around when he was a year old.

(A word about the back): Giusti's Astros RBI mark lasted for 23 years. In that game, he also pitched a complete-game shutout.

Friday, August 5, 2016

no. 561 - syd o'brien

Who is the man: Syd O'Brien played the 1970 season with the White Sox and enjoyed the most productive year of his four-year major league career, playing in 121 games.

Can ya dig it: O'Brien has just been entered into the contest for the largest blacked-out cap in the 1971 Topps set. That thing is the star of the show.

Right on: Even though O'Brien had his best season with the White Sox, he never appeared on a Topps card with them (other than the hint of a jersey he is wearing). He was traded to the Angels on Nov. 30, 1970.

You see that cat O'Brien is a bad mother: O'Brien was known for his flashy fielding style. He could range far to his right to backhand a ball and then leap into air to send the throw to first.

Shut your mouth: Red Sox manager Ralph Houk once said of Syd: "O'Brien could be one helluva ballplayer."

No one understands him but his woman: Even though O'Brien was a backup infielder his first major league season with Boston in 1969, he had his own fan club that continued to exist even after he was traded to the White Sox.

(A word about the back): Nice of Topps to get O'Brien's dad in there.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

no. 560 - rusty staub

Who is the man: Rusty Staub was in his final season with the Expos when this card was issued. He was traded to the Mets in April 1972.

Can ya dig it: This is also Staub's final Topps card until the 1974 set. He didn't appear in the 1972 and 1973 sets (except for a famously airbrushed appearance in right field) because of a contract dispute with Topps.

Right on: Staub seems mighty impressed with his pretend drive to right-center field ... or into the seats behind home plate.

You see that cat Staub is a bad mother: Staub received his nickname "Le Grand Orange" in Montreal, and his No. 10 was the first number the Expos retired.

Shut your mouth: Staub's manager in Montreal, Gene Mauch, said of his slugger: "I always knew Rusty had beaucoup power before I knew what beaucoup meant."

No one understands him but his woman: Staub won over Montreal fans by his willingness to learn French. Then during the offseason between 1969 and 1970, instead of returning to his native New Orleans, he worked the banquet circuit in Canada.

(A word about the back): Billy Williams' then-NL record playing streak would end in 1971. Meanwhile, Staub played in all 162 games in 1971.

Monday, August 1, 2016

no. 559 - rookie stars, american league

Who is the man: Terry Cox, Bill Gogolewski and Gary Jones each spent the majority of 1970 in the minor leagues. Each also made their major league debuts that year.

Can ya dig it: This is the American League counterpart to the National League rookie stars card that appeared 30 cards ago. The National League rookie stars fared a lot better than these three.

Right on: The AL card does have one advantage on the NL card. All three players are wearing their correct caps. Not an airbrushing in sight.

You see these rookies are bad mothers: Way, way off. They're not bad-ass at all. Only Gogolewski was still a major leaguer when this card was issued.

Shut your mouth: Cox and Jones wouldn't appear on another Topps baseball card.

No one understands him but his woman: Gogolewski allowed the first home run hit at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. It was hit by John Mayberry in 1973.

(A word about the back): Gogolewski's 1970 stats are from his season in Double A Pittsfield, Mass.