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.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

no. 668 - gary neibauer

Who is the man: Gary Neibauer spent most of the 1970 season with Triple A Richmond, appearing in just seven games with Atlanta. It was quite a come down from the 1969 season when he pitched in 29 games for the Braves.

Can ya dig it: Here is another well-crafted signature that puts modern ballplayers' signings to shame.

Right on: This photo is the one that's used on Gary Neibauer's baseball-reference page. There are quite a few baseball card photos used on baseball-reference. Just shows you how available cards are in comparison to other kinds of photos.

You see that cat Neibauer is a bad mother: Neibauer pitched one inning in mop-up duty in Game 2 of the 1969 NLCS, an 11-6 victory for the Mets. Neibauer was the only one of six pitchers used by the Braves to surrender no runs in at least an inning of work.

Shut your mouth: Neibauer speaks like a proud MLB alumnus when he says about baseball, "There's nothing like it. Its grace. Its beauty. The sport continues to thrill me to no end."

No one understands him but his woman: Neibauer served on a special Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association committee that helped many former major leaguers who played between 1947-79 to finally receive pensions.

(A word about the back): The Basin League was a league in South Dakota that lasted from 1953-73. The teams consisted of college and minor league players and featured such players as Jim Palmer, Bob Gibson, Don Sutton and Frank Howard.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

no. 667 - pete ward

Who is the man: Pete Ward had wrapped up his major league career when this card was issued. He played his final season in 1970 with the Yankees.

Can ya dig it: This is Ward's only Topps card in a Yankees uniform. He's featured with the Yankees in the 1970 set but is airbrushed out of a White Sox uniform. (Why, oh why, did Topps interchange between "Yankees" and "Yanks" in the '70 set?)

Right on: The centering issue here is a common trait of this card. I have no desire to upgrade it though.

You see that cat Ward is a bad mother: Ward enjoyed a terrific rookie season in 1963, hitting 22 home runs, knocking in 84 and batting .295.

Shut your mouth: Ward was scheduled to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in early June, 1965 and a cover was even created. But it was pulled very late in order to feature the famed fight between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay.

No one understands him but his woman: Ward is often mistakenly called the Rookie of the Year for 1963, but he finished second in the voting to teammate, pitcher Gary Peters. The confusion comes because Ward was voted the top rookie that year by The Sporting News.

(A word about the back): Ward's birth year is now listed as 1937.

Monday, June 5, 2017

no. 666 - gene brabender

Who is the man: Gene Brabender pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 (it explains his appearance here in Yankee Stadium as many of the Brewers were photographed in Yankee Stadium for this set). He struggled tremendously, posting a 6.00 ERA in 29 games.

Can ya dig it: This is the fourth straight card with an airbrushed cap and once again we have the bright blue-red painted combination that was some artist's idea of a logoless Angels cap.

Right on: Brabender never pitched for the Angels. He didn't make the club out of spring training in 1971 and again in 1972.

You see that cat Brabender is a bad mother: Brabender, known as "Lurch" for his 6-foot-5 hulking stature, is featured often in Jim Bouton's "Ball Four". When the Seattle Pilots players were thinking up nicknames for the jovial Brabender, catcher Larry Haney mentioned how he saw Brabender bend in half the stakes that were used to pound in bases. Pitcher Gary Bell then suggested they call Brabender "Sir".

Shut your mouth: Both Brabender and his Orioles teammate Brooks Robinson liked to tell a story about when some players went out to dinner and were served by an obnoxious waiter in New York. The players didn't leave much of a tip and the waiter confronted the players about it. Brabender put his hand on the waiter's shoulder and said, "How far do you want to get tipped?"

No one understands him but his woman: Brabender was the first Wisconsin native to play for the Brewers.

(A word about the back): Brabender's expansion victories record of 13 was equaled in 1977 by the Blue Jays' Dave Lemanczyk and then surpassed in 1998 by both the Diamondbacks' Andy Benes and the Devil Rays' Rolando Arrojo when each won 14 games.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

no. 665 - ron swoboda

Who is the man: Ron Swoboda spent all of 1970 with the New York Mets. He was traded to the Expos at the end of March 1971. And then he was dealt to the Yankees four months later. I don't know when the final series of this set was released, but I think Swoboda may have been a Yankee by the time this card was in packs, meaning the airbrushing was all for naught!

Can ya dig it: Quite the combination, an Expos hat and Mets pinstripes.

Right on: Compared with the airbrushings on the previous two cards, this one is pretty good.

You see that cat Swoboda is a bad mother: Swoboda is famous in Mets lore for his outstretched, diving catch of a Brooks Robinson liner to right field with two runners on base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. The Mets would win that game 2-1 in 10 innings.

Shut your mouth: In the 1966 movie, "Penelope," starring Natalie Wood, Wood's character opens a pack of what appears to be 1966 Topps cards after requesting some gum from Peter Falk's character, a police lieutenant. As she opens it, she asks, "Who's Ron Swoboda?" Falk's character says dismissively, "I just chew the gum."

No one understands him but his woman: Swoboda owned the Mets record for most home runs hit by a rookie (19) until Darryl Strawberry broke it with 26 in 1983.

(A word about the back): If it wasn't for that Series catch, Swoboda might have been best know for his home runs in Carlton's 19-strikeout game.