Wednesday, December 27, 2017

no. 738 - russ gibson

Who is the man: Russ Gibson had completed his first season with the Giants when this card was issued. He played in a mere 24 games, much less than he was used to playing for his hometown Red Sox.

Can ya dig it: Gibson has five Topps cards. This is the only one in which he isn't squatting in a catcher's pose.

Right on: Gibson is a circle dotter.

You see that cat Gibson is a bad mother: Gibson nearly caught a no-hitter in his major league debut. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees and fellow rookie Billy Rohr was pitching. Rohr had a no-hitter until the final out in the ninth when Elston Howard hit a single. Rohr finished with a one-hitter and the Red Sox won, 3-0. Gibson went 2-for-4 and scored a run.

Shut your mouth: Gibson spent 10 years in the minors before he made his big league debut. In 1966, he was a late cut by the Red Sox and drove from Florida to Arizona to join the minor league team. When he got there, he told Red Sox manager Dick Williams that he was thinking of quitting. Williams told Gibson, "Don't quit. I'll make you a player-coach." But instead Gibson didn't quit and was on a major league roster the next year.

No one understands him but his woman: Gibson was the starting catcher in Game 1 of the 1967 World Series. He's noted for a play in which he tagged out the Cardinals' Julian Javier, although photos showed he may have tagged Javier with an empty glove.

(A word about the back): The Giants' starting catcher, Dick Dietz, played in 148 games in 1970, so there wasn't much room for a backup catcher.

Friday, December 22, 2017

no. 737 - preston gomez

Who is the man: Preston Gomez managed the second-year Padres to another last-place finish in 1970. It'd be more of the same in 1971.

Can ya dig it: Gomez sure looks like he knows what he's doing for someone leading a team that lost 99 games.

Right on: Another spotless and sharp 1971 high number. Love it.

You see that cat Gomez is a bad mother: Gomez was the Dodgers' third base coach when they reached the World Series in 1965 and 1966 and 1977 and 1978.

Shut your mouth: Gomez's first name is actually "Pedro". He was nicknamed "Preston" after his hometown of Central Preston, Cuba.

No one understands him but his woman: Gomez is known for lifting pitcher Clay Kirby in the eighth inning for a pinch-hitter while Kirby was pitching a no-hitter against the Mets. The Padres were trailing 1-0 but after Kirby was out of the game, the Mets added two more runs to win 3-0. The Padres still haven't pitched a no-hitter.

(A word about the back): A testimonial from Smokey!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

no. 736 - mel queen

Who is the man: Mel Queen was back in the majors in 1970 after spending most of 1969 in the minors with the Reds. The Angels purchased him in late October, 1969.

Can ya dig it: A rare full-body nonaction shot from 1971. Nice.

Right on: I don't know what I did to deserve such a sharp specimen of a high-numbered 1971.

You see that cat Queen is a bad mother: Queen is one of those fascinating major leaguers who played in the big leagues as both a pitcher and a position player. He can be found on cards early in his career listed as an outfielder. But the best one is his 1967 Topps card in which his position is listed as "P-OF".

Shut your mouth: Queen later became a very well-known pitching coach, development coach and farm coordinator in the Blue Jays organization during their heyday in the 1990s. Queen is credited with developing several notable Jays, the last of which was Roy Halladay. "There's no one I made that drastic a change to and verbally abused the way I did Doc," Queen once said after Halladay won his first Cy Young Award in 2003.

No one understands him but his woman: Queen was married to the sister of pitcher Jim Lonborg.

(A word about the back): Queen's game-winning hit in the final game of the 1970 season came after the White Sox had gone ahead in the top of the 13th on a home run by Bill Melton. Queen was pinch-hitting for catcher Joe Azcue.

Monday, December 18, 2017

no. 735 - mike shannon

Who is the man: Mike Shannon endured a difficult 1970 season after being diagnosed with a kidney disease in spring training. He was allowed to return to playing in May, but he struggled and by August his condition had worsened and doctors ended his season.

Can ya dig it: This is Shannon's final Topps card issued during his career.

Right on: The setting for this photo is very similar to the one on his 1970 card, except Shannon is not wearing a jacket under his uniform on his '70 card.

You see that cat Shannon is a bad mother: Shannon hit a couple of key World Series home runs for the Cardinals. He launched a game-tying home run off of Whitey Ford in Game 1 of the 1964 Series. In 1967, he hit a homer off of the Red Sox's Gary Bell in the second inning of Game 3, putting the Cardinals up 3-0 in an eventual 5-3 victory.

Shut your mouth: Shannon has been a broadcaster for the Cardinals for more than 45 years. He started the year after his baseball career ended, joining Jack Buck in the booth.

No one understands him but his woman: Shannon married his longtime girlfriend, Lori Bergman in 2015. His first wife of 48 years, Judy, died of cancer in 2007.

(A word about the back): Sorry, hopeful Topps bio writer, Shannon would not be back before the end of the season. Those are his career-final totals.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

no. 734 - rob gardner

Who is the man: Rob Gardner spent most of the 1970 season pitching for Triple A Syracuse in the Yankees' organization. Playing an hour away from his hometown of Binghamton, he put on a sterling display, going 16-5 with a 2.53 earned run average.

Can ya dig it: Gardner is wearing a Cubs uniform, which he had not worn since the 1967 season. This is an ooold photo.

Right on: This is Gardner's first Topps card since the 1968 set.

You see that cat Gardner is a bad mother: Gardner pitched 15 scoreless innings in his fifth major league appearance, a no-decision against Chris Short and the Phillies in 1965. The game between the Mets and Phillies was called a tie after 18 innings due to curfew.

Shut your mouth: Rob's first name is actually Richard. His mother called him "Robin" as a nickname but Gardner hated it, so it was shortened to "Rob" and stuck.

No one understands him but his woman: Gardner found out he was starting his first major league game from watching TV in his hotel room. He was called up from Buffalo and arrived too late to to go to the ballpark. He went to his hotel, switched the game on and saw on the scoreboard that he was starting the next day.

(A word about the back): That one victory that Gardner received for the Yankees in 1970 was his 20th victory of the season.

Monday, December 11, 2017

no. 733 - lee maye

Who is the man: Lee Maye played most of the 1970 season with the Senators. He was acquired off of waivers by the White Sox in September of that year.

Can ya dig it: This is subtle airbrushing compared with some of the other final-series airbrush jobs.

Right on: This is Maye's final card of his career.

You see that cat Maye is a bad mother: Maye's best season came in 1964 with the Braves when he led the National League in doubles with 44.

Shut your mouth: Maye also tried to hold down a singing career while playing baseball. His song "Half Way (Out of Love)" that came out in 1963 sold nearly 500,000 copies. Maye said he would go home from the ballpark and sing into a tape recorder. That's how he wrote songs.

No one understands him but his woman: Maye struggled to find a job in baseball after his playing career ended. He had several fights with teammates and disagreements with others in the game and he encountered racism as well.

(A word about the back): One of the more interesting write-ups in 1971 Topps, but I don't think Maye was actually a member of the Platters. He sang with friends of his, a few of which went on to become part of the Platters, the Penguins, and other singing groups.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

no. 732 - bob reed

Who is the man: Bob Reed enjoyed his longest stay in the major leagues in 1970, appearing in 16 games for the Tigers.

Can ya dig it: I love seeing wide expanses of green with the grandstand in the distance, as well as a vehicle and possibly palm trees.

Right on: Those giant "TV" numbers are so 1960s.

You see that cat Reed is a bad mother: Reed was a fourth-round selection by the Tigers in the very first major league draft in 1965. He was one of just nine players selected by the Tigers that year that made the majors.

Shut your mouth: This is Reed's only solo Topps card. He also appears on a two-player rookie prospects card in the 1970 set.

No one understands him but his woman: Reed was done pitching in the majors in 1970 and through with pro baseball period by 1972. There's not much else out there about him.

(A word about that back): That "Life" line truly is. That's the life of his major league career.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

no. 731 - jim qualls

Who is the man: Jim Qualls spent most of 1970 in the minors in the Cubs and Expos organizations. He was then traded to the Reds on March 31, 1971.

Can ya dig it: I'm certain that on a clear day you can spot this card from 10 miles away.

Right on: I just love this card for the ludicrously loud airbrushed cap. Yep, that's definitely a RED(s) hat!

You see that cat Qualls is a bad mother: Qualls is known in Mets history as the guy who broke up Tom Seaver's perfect game with a one-out single in the ninth inning in July, 1969.

Shut your mouth: Qualls said he received hate mail after breaking up Seaver's no-hitter -- from kids. "You could tell by the handwriting it was just kids, little Mets fans: 'You bum, don't show up in New York.'" Qualls said.

No one understands him but his woman: Qualls played two years in Japan after his major league career ended in 1972. He said he enjoyed playing there, but once when he was asked to play right field in Hiroshima, he said, "No way, not a white guy, not there. There were bottles coming out of the stands!'"

(A word about the back): The late trade has Topps all confused: "Jim is Expos' only switch-hitter." The bright red cap says otherwise.

Friday, December 1, 2017

no. 730 - jim rooker

Who is the man: Jim Rooker won 10 games in his second full season with the Royals in 1970. He was the only starter on the staff to reach double figures in wins.

Can ya dig it: The scoreboard is the star of the show on this card. I'm assuming that's a Coca-Cola sign.

Right on: Going through a pitching motion in the outfield with the warning track in the background isn't fooling anyone.

You see that cat Rooker is a bad mother: Rooker was a mainstay in the Pirates' starting rotations of the mid-1970s and one of the team's most consistent pitchers.

Shut your mouth: Rooker famously said, "if we don't win, I'll walk back to Pittsburgh," when he was broadcasting a Pirates game from Philadelphia in 1989. The Pirates scored 10 runs in the top of the first, prompting Rooker's statement in the bottom of the first. The Phillies wound up winning the game, 15-11. After the season, Rooker fulfilled his promise with a charity walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

No one understands him but his woman: Rooker ran for political office twice. He lost both times.

(A word about the back): Rooker hit .201 for his career, but, by far, his best hitting seasons were the 1969 season mentioned (.281, 4 home runs) and the 1974 season (.305, 5 doubles, 2 triples).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

no. 729 - dick billings

Who is the man: Dick Billings spent most of the 1970 season with Triple A Denver. His minor league season was such a success that he was called up in September for 11 games.

Can ya dig it: Those red helmets look so cool with the black-border design. I know I've mentioned this before, but it's all I think of when I see these Senators cards.

Right on: Dick signed his card "Rich Billings." I think he should've stayed with Rich.

You see that cat Billings is a bad mother: Billings was the catcher when the Rangers' Jim Bibby threw his no-hitter against the Oakland A's in 1973.

Shut your mouth: Billings was drafted in 1965 and made his major league debut in 1968 but didn't become a catcher until the 1969 season.

No one understands him but his woman: Billings batted clean-up in the Senators' final game in 1971. "That tells you how bad a team we had," Billings once said.

(A word about the back): Lifetime .181 batting average. These are the cards that we couldn't wait to get rid of as kids.

Monday, November 27, 2017

no. 728 - rookie stars n.l. outfielders

Who is the man: Bernie Williams made his first appearance in the majors in 1970, playing in seven games. Keith Lampard had the most time in the majors that year with 53 games. Wayne Redmond was in the minors in 1970.

Can ya dig it: This is a spin-off on the last rookie stars card, which was titled simply "outfielders." These guys didn't fare nearly as well as the players on the previous card.

Right on: Redmond is shown with the Phillies (and an airbrushed cap), but he never played for the Phillies. He was dealt from the Tigers in October of 1970 and then returned to the Tigers in early April, 1971.

You see these rookies are bad mothers: No. Not now, not ever.

Shut your mouth: Two of these three players were through with their major league careers when this card was issued. Only Williams would play in the majors again. That makes this card kind of an anti-prospect card.

No one understands him but his woman: Now that another Bernie Williams went on to a much more famous career, it's not easy to track down info on the earlier Bernie.

(A word about the back): Redmond is from Detroit, but he did play for the Angels' Triple A team in Honolulu in 1970, so maybe that's why Hawaii is listed as his home.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

no. 727 - ray lamb

Who is the man: Ray Lamb pitched 35 games in relief for the Dodgers in 1970, going 6-1. He was traded to the Indians in December 1970.

Can ya dig it: Lamb looks drugged.

Right on: Thanks to the final series, we get to see Lamb in a real, live Indians uniform.

You see that cat Lamb is a bad mother: Lamb's first complete-game victory was a 7-hitter against the Yankees, a 2-1 win for last-place Cleveland in Yankee Stadium on May 14, 1971.

Shut your mouth: A Sports Illustrated archive says Lamb appeared in a movie as an extra during the 1970-71 offseason, but I can find no other mention of it.

No one understands him but his woman: Lamb is the last Dodgers player to wear the No. 42 before the Dodgers retired the number in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1972. Lamb wore the number in 1969.

(A word about the back): That write-up gets you up to date on Mr. Lamb right to the end.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

no. 726 - paul popovich

Who is the man: Paul Popovich was back in Chicago for a full season in 1970 after being dealt from the Cubs to the Dodgers in 1968. He hit a respectable .253 in 78 games.

Can ya dig it: I like this card. Nice tight shot from below. It makes up for some of Popovich's hatless, airbrushed 1960s cards.

Right on: This is the third straight card featuring a player with an alliterative name.

You see that cat Popovich is a bad mother: After Don Drysdale pitched a then-record 58 2/3 scoreless innings, he reportedly credited Popovich's infield play for helping preserve the streak.

Shut your mouth: The cartoon on the back of Popovich's 1970 Topps card says that "in 1968, 50 fans named Popovich came to root for Paul."

No one understands him but his woman: Popovich is a member of the West Virginia University Athletic Hall of Fame. He played on the Mountaineers basketball team, sharing time on court for one year with another Hall of Famer at the college ... Jerry West.

(A word about the back): One at-bat, one hit. OK, it was nice for Popovich, I'm sure, but I can't say I'm impressed about that 1.000.

Friday, November 17, 2017

no. 725 - gary gentry

Who is the man: Gary Gentry endured a bit of a sophomore slump in 1970 with all of his numbers dipping from his rookie year in '69.

Can ya dig it: Two things: It's great to see the windbreaker under the uniform again. It classes up the joint. Also, Gentry signs his name like I do, before I got sloppy.

Right on: I regret to say that I think of Gentry as a mustachioed Atlanta Brave. That's from coming of baseball age during the 1975 season.

You see that cat Gentry is a bad mother: Gentry won Game 3 of the 1969 World Series as a rookie. He hit a two-run double in that game.

Shut your mouth: The Angels sought Gentry in a trade that would send Jim Fregosi to the Mets. But the Mets wouldn't bite. The Mets sent the Angels Nolan Ryan instead.

No one understands him but his woman: Gentry had a temper during his career and let it show during games. A native of Arizona, he once complained "New York is a dirty, dirty town. I can't leave soon enough when the year's out."

(A word about the back): Some weird capitalization in that write-up, especially "in 1969, he Shutout Cards." (Also, it's "shut out" when used as a verb).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

no. 724 - tom tischinski

Who is the man: Tom Tischinski appeared in 24 games for the Twins in 1970. He came to the plate 56 times, just like he did in 1969.

Can ya dig it: It's rather odd how Tischinski is sitting all the way to the right of the card. It makes me wonder what is to the right side of Tischinski that Topps didn't want in the photo.

Right on: Tischinski appears on just two Topps cards, 1970 and 1971. He is squatting in each one. He is A Catcher.

You see that cat Tischinski is a bad mother: Tischinski played just 82 games in his big league career so facts are few and far between. But I did find a photo of him attempting to upend Tony La Russa at second base when both were in the minor leagues.

Shut your mouth: Tischinski left a bit of an odd reply to an autograph request once.

No one understands him but his woman: Tischinski holds the Twins record for going the longest from the start of his career without recording an extra base hit. He went 90 at-bats over 1969 and 1970 managing nothing but singles.

 (A word about the back): You can see the dismal batting averages. Tischinski never made it to .200 during his major league career.

Monday, November 13, 2017

no. 723 - vicente romo

Who is the man: Vicente Romo pitched for the Red Sox in 1970. He spent most of the time in the bullpen with a spot start or two. But he didn't fair as well in his starting assignments as he did in 1969 and was traded to the White Sox in March 1971.

Can ya dig it: We are in prime "magic hat" territory in the 1971 set. Here is another one. Topps wants you to believe that this is anything major leaguers were wearing in 1970-71.

Right on: Romo is sporting some prime sideburns.

You see that cat Romo is a bad mother: A star of the Mexican League, Romo made a comeback with the Dodgers in 1982, eight years after his last major league appearance. He won his first game since 1974 with a seven-inning shutout against the Expos in July 1982.

Shut your mouth: Romo's nickname is "huevo," which is "egg" in Spanish. It originated when he was a child as others thought his face was egg-shaped.

No one understands him but his woman: Romo disappeared from the team while with the Red Sox. He told his roommate, Jose Santiago, he was going out for dinner. He didn't return until 11 a.m. two days later, saying he became ill after drinking and forgot to alert the team. He was docked only a day's pay.

(A word about the back): "One of the few successful graduates of Mexican League ball" ... that is a questionable statement given that Romo said he and other Mexicans were not given opportunities during that period to succeed in the majors. Players like Fernando Valenzuela and Teddy Higuera opened the door for the current group of Mexican MLBers.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

no. 722 - astros

Who is the man: The Houston Astros in 1970 finished two games worse than they did the previous year yet moved up from fifth to fourth in the standings; the Braves had fallen on hard times, plummeting from first to fifth.

Can ya dig it: Jiminy, what a disaster this thing is. Not only are the high-numbered team cards a bear to find in solid shape, but there are so many weird things going on with the photo. No. 1, they couldn't even get all the guys in the frame! The top row is cropped off! Secondly, the rows are in disarray. There's a guy between rows two and three that seems to have started a row all by himself.

Right on: Digging the old guy on the right with the glasses.

You see that cat Walker is a bad mother: Manager Harry Walker is grinning away in the middle of the first row, fourth seated guy from the right.

Shut your mouth: No numbers on the front and I couldn't find another version of this photo with an ID key so I won't try to guess anyone here. Although I believe Joe Morgan is weirdly peaking out from behind a teammate as the second guy on the left in the second row.

No one understands him but his woman: It still amuses me that there is a clubhouse guy dressed all in white crouching down who is shown prominently on this card, yet players have their heads cut off.

(A word about the back): The yearly standings show zero winning seasons. The Astros' first winning year would be 1972 when they went 84-69.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

no. 721 - john morris

Who is the man: John Morris appeared in what was then a career-high 20 games in 1970 for the Brewers. He would surpass that with 43 appearances for Milwaukee in 1971.

Can ya dig it: This is Morris' first Topps card in which he's in full uniform. In the 1969 set, he's listed with the Pilots, wearing no hat and cropped so that those not paying attention would miss that he's wearing red pinstripes from his Phillies days ... in 1966!

Right on: Morris is 28 or 29 in this photo. He looks 42.

You see that cat Morris is a bad mother: Morris was the player to be named in a trade that helped the Phillies land Orioles relief specialist Dick Hall in 1967.

Shut your mouth: Despite appearing in 43 games in 1971, Morris does not have a card in the 1972 Topps set.

No one understands him but his woman: Morris is the most notable baseball player from Lewes, Delaware, a resort community on the Atlantic coast.

(A word about the back): Those are some pretty impressive starts for Morris in 1970. Unfortunately, a kidney infection derailed him for about a month and he was back in the bullpen for the rest of the season.

Friday, November 3, 2017

no. 720 - matty alou

Who is the man: Matty Alou appeared in 155 games for the Pirates in 1970, coming to the plate an NL-high 677 times and producing 201 hits.

Can ya dig it: I've always liked this card just because you could spot that red hat from about 100 feet away.

Right on: This is the second straight card in which the final series allowed Topps to get a player that was traded during the 1970-71 offseason into his new team's uniform. Alou was dealt from the Pirates to the Cardinals in late January of 1971. In fact, the two players that went to the Pirates in exchange for Alou, Nelson Briles and Vic Davalillo, are featured in the '71 set as Cardinals.

You see that cat Alou is a bad mother: Alou won the 1966 NL batting title by hitting .342 for the Pirates.

Shut your mouth: Alou was dealt to the Cardinals in part to make room for a young outfielder named Al Oliver. But Alou never forgot his Pirates days. "I think of myself mostly as a Pirate," Alou said. "Because they gave me confidence, they treated me good, and I had the best years of my life there."

No one understands him but his woman: After Alou married his wife, Maria, he, his brother Felipe and Juan Marichal all lived together with their wives in the same house in San Francisco during the 1963 season.

(A word about the back): Matty and Felipe are still the only brothers to finish 1-2 in batting.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

no. 719 - jerry may

Who is the man: Jerry May was in his first season with the Royals when this card was issued. He appeared in 51 games for the Pirates in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Love that the photographer or photo editor left the old-school scoreboard in the background.

Right on: May is shown in a catcher's pose on his 1967, 68, 69 and 71 cards. He was known for his defensive skills.

You see that cat May is a bad mother: May led the National League in caught-stealing percentage in 1970. He gunned down 50 percent of runners stealing that season.

Shut your mouth: May was killed at age 52 in a farming accident. A rotary brush cutter fell on him.

No one understands him but his woman: May was the catcher when Dock Ellis threw his famed LSD no-hitter against the Padres. Ellis said he was so high on acid that he often couldn't see May, but saw the signals because May wore reflective tape on his fingers.

(A word about the back): "Broke up games" isn't a phrase you hear much now, but I'm assuming it means that May had a "walk-off" hit in each case.

Monday, October 30, 2017

no. 718 - billy wynne

Who is the man: Billy Wynne appeared in 12 games for the White Sox in 1970 before being traded to the Angels in a six-player deal on Nov. 30.

Can ya dig it: Another comical airbrush with vertical lines.

Right on: This is the last of the six players in that trade to be shown from this set. All of them except Jay Johnstone featured an airbrushed hat. Johnstone isn't wearing a hat.

You see that Wynne is a bad mother: Wynne started 20 games for the White Sox in 1969. He went 7-7 in 128 2/3 innings.

Shut your mouth: Wynne was also involved in another large trade. He went from the Mets to the White Sox in a deal that landed New York two key Miracle Mets players, Tommie Agee and Al Weis.

No one understands him but his woman: Wynne's first major league victory came in Milwaukee's County Stadium -- against the Seattle Pilots. The White Sox played several home games in Milwaukee in 1968 and 1969 in an agreement to help Milwaukee's cause for a major league team to replace the Braves.

(A word about the back): Four of Wynne's eight major league wins were versus the Angels and he won none while with the Angels, appearing in just three games for them.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

no. 717 - tommie aaron

Who is the man: Tommie Aaron was playing in his final major league season when this card was issued. He played in 25 games for the Braves in 1971, spending most of the year in the minors.

Can ya dig it: The Laughing Brave logo appears to be laughing at Aaron.

Right on: This is the final card of Aaron made during his career.

You see that cat Aaron is a bad mother: Aaron is part of the most successful home-run hitting brother combo with his older brother, Hank. Of  course, that's a goofy stat as Hank hit 755 of the 768 total.

Shut your mouth: Aaron, a seldom-used utility player, went 5-for-15 during his career against Juan Marichal.

No one understands him but his woman: The debate around Tommie Aaron was whether he received preferential treatment because of his brother or had to work harder because of his brother. The two were teammates for the length of Tommie's career.

(A word about the back): The two home runs mentioned in the write-up were the last two home runs Aaron hit during his career.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

no. 716 - dave leonhard

Who is the man: Dave Leonhard worked the bullpen for the Orioles in 1970, struggling to a 5.08 earned run average.

Can ya dig it: We're way up in the high numbers now, meaning cards that are off-center or have other issues (this has some gum-staining, too) are more commonplace in my collection.

Right on: But look at that fantastic signature!

You see that cat Leonhard is a bad mother: Leonhard made an appearance in the 1971 World Series, pitching a scoreless inning of relief in Game 5.

Shut your mouth: Leonhard pitched several years of winter ball in Puerto Rico, but got into some hot water after the '71 season when an article about Leonhard's experiences in Puerto Rico played up his complaints about cockroaches and lice. He was booed for a period on the island, until his team and the newspaper smoothed things over.

No one understands him but his woman: Leonhard and his second wife, Doris, opened up a Christmas tree stand after his career and that turned into a owning a series of greenhouses and flower shops.

(My observation on the back): Leonhard's ERA in 1970 is listed as 5.14 here because his innings that year are rounded down from 28 1/3. Also 23 games and 28 innings sounds like a lot of one-batter-only outings ... or getting shelled a lot.

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.