Forgotten Franchises: The NHL’s Kansas City Scouts

The Kansas City Scouts began as a 1974 NHL expansion team, entering the league along with the Washington Capitals. At the time, the NHL was waging a war with the rival World Hockey Association, and both leagues were eager to get a foothold into new arenas before their rivals did… As a result, the 1970’s involved plenty of expansion and relocation for both leagues.
1974 Topps Hockey Kansas City Scouts
The original name of the team was meant to be the Kansas City Mohawks, but the Chicago Black Hawks objected that the name was too similar to theirs. As a result, the name “Scouts” was adopted. The name and the team logo both come from a famous statue called “The Scout”; it depicts a Sioux indian and overlooks downtown Kansas City.

The Scouts got off to a slow start in both play and attendance. Season ticket sales were much lower than projected, and the only NHL team with a worse record than the Scouts was the woeful Capitals.
1975 Topps Hockey Richard Lemieux

Both the team and attendance continued to be bad in the second season. The Scouts had trouble finding financial backing for the team. At one point they were to be bought by the NBA’s Kansas City Kings, their “roommates” in the Kemper Arena, but that deal fell through.
1976-77 Topps Gary Bergman
Problems continued for the Scouts, and the NHL realized that expanding to Kansas City was a mistake. Things got so bad that the league threatened to terminate the franchise if it were not sold. A buyer was found that moved the team to Denver after just two seasons… and no, the Scouts did not become the Colorado Avalanche. I’ll get into that in my next “Forgotten Franchises” post.

Kansas City has not seen major professional hockey since the Scouts left town. Both the Penguins and Islanders were flirting with the idea in recent years (or using KC as a bargaining tool, take your pick), but neither move took place.

I am a “franchise nerd”. For reasons I cannot explain, I am interested in the franchise histories of all sports, even the sports I don’t otherwise care about.

I don’t follow any particular soccer team or player, but I always keep an eye out for news about MLS expansion.

I don’t care for basketball and couldn’t give a damn about the NBA, and yet when I see a basketball card featuring a player for the Memphis Tams, I become intrigued.

When the “AAA” American Hockey League simultaneously shifted five teams to California last  month, it had zero effect on my life… but there I was Googling for more information about it.

I figure there must be others who find this stuff interesting. With that in mind, I’m starting this series on the basic histories of “dearly departed” franchises from most of the major North American sports. If there’s any particular teams you’d like to see covered, or if you have any other suggestions, you know what to do.

Doppelganger! 1994 Topps and Collector’s Choice Gerónimo Peña

Nick over at Dime Boxes recently featured a 1994 Collector’s Choice Gerónimo Peña card in his “Frankenset” voting.  Peña’s card lost to the 1991 Topps Walt Weiss (a most excellent card), but the Peña has something that the Weiss and other cards don’t have.

A Doppelganger!!!!!
1994 Topps - Collector's Choice Geronimo Pena

These were among the first – and maybe THE first – Doppelgangers in my collection.  A number of these doppelgangers occurred in 1994, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I started keeping them in a separate place in my binders.  (For those new to the blog, I keep a mini collection of cards which feature different photos of the same play, preferably from different manufacturers and different angles.)

I tried to pinpoint the play, but failed.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone’s attempted this before, maybe they had more success.  The guy underneath Peña is Brett Butler.  Using the pretty safe assumptions that the picture was taken in Dodger Stadium in 1993, the best I could do was to narrow it down to the series:  April 13 – 15, 1993.  Both players were in all three games, but Brett Butler got on base far too often for me to figure out which particular play we’re looking at.

You Get What You Get: Arbitrarily Chosen Cards, 2/22/15

More cards that haven’t fit into any of my other posts, but are too good to ignore (and, almost as important, already scanned).

I’ve been picking up some of these 1968 Topps Game inserts in a semi-effort to complete the set… Although it’s usually been along the lines of “As long as I’m at this show (or signed on to COMC), let’s see if there are any cheap ones…”
1968 Topps Game Harmon Killebrew
In 1966, two years before this card was issued, Killebrew hit a career-high 27 doubles, which was good for 10th in the league. In 1968, the year this card came out, Killer hit 7 doubles, which was a career-low for seasons in which he played at least 50 games. JINX!!!!

At some point in the semi-near future I’ll make completing this set a priority, but for now I’m happy being scattershot in my acquisitions.

Here’s a 1972 card featuring one third of Crosby, Stills and Nash.
1972 Topps Jim Nash
What? Naaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, that was Graham Nash, a Brit who may never have played baseball. This is Jim Nash, who went 12-1 with as a rookie with the 1966 KC Athletics. He may have peaked early, but the A’s and Braves got some above-average seasons out of him.

Normally with 1993 Leaf, I’ll feature the back and show the front as an afterthought… But Brady Anderson is so intense on this card I pulled from a repack that I just had to lead off with the front of the card.
1993 Leaf Brady Anderson
…But that’s not to say that I won’t feature the back…
1993 Leaf Brady Anderson back

His name is Cheslor Cuthbert.
2012 Bowman Prospects Cheslor Cuthbert
…You know, in case you were wondering why I’m featuring a Royals prospect. It’s because his name is Cheslor Cuthbert. At the time this 2012 Bowman Prospects card was made, Baseball America had him ranked as the 84th best prospect in baseball. Now he’s not even in the Royals’ Top 10. I couldn’t find anything concrete about his current status, but I’m guessing he falls into the category of “organizational depth”. That being said, he’s still young… and his name is Cheslor Cuthbert.

Hey, Japanese Card Guys… Is This A 1975-76 Calbee?

I think it's a 1975-76 Calbee
This card was a serendipitous pickup a few months ago.  It was part of a box of cards I acquired, but it was completely unlike anything else in the box (other than it being a baseball card).

Here’s the back:
I think it's a 1975-76 Calbee - back

I love Japanese baseball cards, but it’s hard to find much information on them, especially when one doesn’t understand Japanese.  Most of the box contained 1970’s and early 1980’s Topps cards, and from Googling I could see that the back looked similar to Calbee cards of the era… but which year? And which player?

“584” on the back appears to be a card number, and from the photo I could tell that the player in question was a pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants.

After various Googles had gotten me nowhere, I went to Assuming that it’s a 1970’s Calbee and knowing that the set in question had to have at least 584 cards, I started searching. Just that information alone helped me narrow it down to 1974-75 Calbee (936 cards) and 1975-76 Calbee (999 cards).

#584 from the 1974-75 set is Toshiyuki Mimura, a shortstop for the Carp… so he’s not the guy.

#584 from the 1975-76 Calbee set is Tsuneo Horiuchi, who was a pitcher for the Giants.

…And if you look at the back of my card, the second line under the flag has an “18” in the middle… That didn’t catch my attention at all until I did image searches on Horiuchi and found that he wore #18.  Looks like we’ve got a winner.

If it is Horiuchi, then I’ve got a decent card.  Horiuchi is a Japanese Baseball Hall Of Famer, having won three Sawamura Awards (roughly the equivalent of the Cy Young), as well as an MVP (1972) and Rookie Of The Year (1966).

So if anybody out there can confirm that this is a 1975-76 Calbee and/or Tsuneo Horiuchi, it would be greatly appreciated.

What’s The Matter, McFly? CHICKEN?!?

For many years I’ve had a lingering sense of shame about a gaping hole in my collection… A trio of cards that any collector from the 1980’s should have, and yet I did not.

I lived in disgrace for years, hiding my secret from other collectors for fear of being mocked, ridiculed, outcast.

But just like Marty McFly in “Back To The Future”, it took just one word to spur me into action…


…More specifically, San Diego Chicken.

I’ve always wanted these cards of The Chicken, but I never had any of them. This was despite the fact that I bought a lot of 1982 Donruss…
1982 Donruss Chicken

…and I bought some 1983 Donruss…
1983 Donruss Chicken

…and in 1984… well… I think I bought a pack. Maybe two.
1984 Donruss Chicken

It doesn’t matter. My lack of Chicken cards has been a tiny little grain of sand in my shorts for the past 30 years… but I finally broke down and bought all three from COMC.

Houston, The Chicken has landed.

We all have our “white whales”, but does anybody else have cards that they’d been meaning to get for years, but just never quite got around to?

Mets Pitchers And Catchers Report Today!

Today’s the day! Pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie!

1969 Topps Jerry Koosman

1967 Topps John Stephenson

1976 Topps Jon Matlack

1977 Topps Ron Hodges >

1988 Topps Dwight Gooden

1986 Topps Ronn Reynolds

1992 Bowman John Franco

1992 Ultra Mackey Sasser

2015 Topps Carlos Torres

2004 Topps Total Vance Wilson

2015 will be my 42nd season as a Mets fan, so I’ve learned not to let my expectations get away from me… but I have to say, I’m looking forward to this season. I don’t know if the Mets will be a contender, but I feel like they’ll at least be respectable… and at this stage, “respectable” would be a damn fine thing to be.

Let’s go Mets!

Three-Digit Yankee Uniform Numbers In Our Lifetime!

It was recently announced that the Yankees would be retiring 3 more uniform numbers for Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte… and it’s just a matter of time before they retire Jeter’s number.

But to be honest, the Yankees aren’t trying hard enough. If they really want to honor their glorious past, they need to retire more numbers!

I have some suggestions for numbers the Yankees could be retiring, if they’d only take this whole thing seriously.

Ron Blomberg was the first-ever Designated Hitter, the first pick in the 1967 draft, lead the team in batting average in 1973 and was the greatest-ever Jewish Yankee…. Let’s retire his #12.
1976 Hostess Ron Blomberg

Rickey Henderson has the top three slots in the single-season Yankee stolen base chart, and all-time he’s second only to His Jeterness.  Retire his #24!
1988 Topps All-Star Glossy Rickey Henderson

Catfish Hunter is a Hall Of Famer who won 20 games in 1975 and finished second in Cy Young voting.  Retire his #29!
1976 Hostess Jim Hunter

Mel Stottlemyre was a career Yankee who was a five-time all-star, won 20 games three times, started three games in the 1964 World Series, is 7th on the all-time win list, 7th in K’s and tied for 2nd in Shutouts.  He was the Yankees pitching coach for a decade and got 5 World Series rings that way. Retire his #30!
1973 Topps Mel Stottlemyre

Allie Reynolds threw two no-hitters, was the 1952 ERA leader, was a 5-time All-Star and won six world Series. Retire his #22!
Pacific Baseball Legends Allie Reynolds

Spud Chandler won 20 games, was the 1943 AL MVP and has the lowest ERA of any Yankee righty… Retire his #21!

1940 Play Ball Spud Chandler from web

1940 Play Ball from the web (I don’t own this one)

Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series and was the World Series MVP. Retire his #18!
Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Don Larsen

Johnny Mize is a Hall Of Famer who hit three homers in the 1952 World Series and won five World Series with the Yankees! Retire his #36!
1970 Fleer World Series 49 Yankees Dodgers

During the period from 1956 to 1962, Bill “Moose” Skowron was named to 5 All-Star teams and earned five World Series rings.  He hit a grand slam in game 7 of the 1956 World Series and a three-run homer in game 7 of the 1958 World Series, and hit 165 homers in 9 seasons as a Yankee.  Retire his #14!
Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Bill Skowron

Vic Raschi lead the AL in strikeouts in in 1951, was with six World Championship teams, a four-time all-star, won 21 games in three straight seasons and had a 120-50 record in his 8 years with the Yankees.  Retire his #17!
Pacific Baseball Legends Vic Raschi

Willie Randolph was the starting 2nd baseman for 13 straight seasons, was on the Topps Rookie All-Star team in 1976, the same year he played in the World Series against the Reds.  He represented the Yankees in five all-star games, and indirectly  made the Mets look bad when he was fired as their manager while flying out to the West Coast before a road trip.  Retire his #30!

1988 Score Willie Randolph

Dave Winfield is a Hall Of Famer who played 9 years in pinstripes (more games than with any other team), was an All-Star each of those 9 years, won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. Retire his #31!
1986 Topps Dave Winfield

Fritz Peterson has the lowest all-time ERA at Yankee Stadium and the lowest WHIP of any Post-WWII Yankee starting pitcher. Retire his #19!
1968 Topps Fritz Peterson

Dave Righetti is clearly the second-greatest closer in Yankee history, the 1981 Rookie of the Year and he no-hit the Red Sox.  Hell, for most Yankee fans just the “No-hit Boston” part is enough.  If you’re not going to retire #19 for Fritz Peterson, retire it for Rags!
1988 Score Dave Righetti

Bob Turley was the 1958 Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP. He won four World Series! If you’re not going to retire #19 for Peterson or Righetti, retire it for Turley!
Pacific Baseball Legends Bob Turley

How is it that Lefty Gomez’ number is not retired?  He’s more accomplished than many who already have had the honor.  He’s a Hall Of Famer, has the most wins of any Yankee left-handed pitcher, a four-time 20 game winner, pitched in five World Series while going 6-0, twice won the “Pitching Triple Crown” by leading the league in ERA, K’s and wins, has a .652 winning percentage while wearing pinstripes, started five All-Star games, and his Yankee career stats have him as 4th in wins, 4th in shutouts and 5th in strikeouts.  Rip that #11 away from Brett Gardner and retire it!

1941 Play Ball Lefty Gomez from web

1941 Play Ball from the web (I don’t own this one)

We can go on from here… Paul O’Neill (#21) was a four-time All-Star, a fan favorite and won four World Series!  David Cone (#36) threw a perfect game had two seasons where he had more than 200 K’s! Lou Piniella (#14) was a key member of the 1970’s Yankees, a fan favorite and managed the Yankees twice! Joe Pepitone (#25) was a three-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove and once hit two homers in the same inning!

If the Yankees follow my advice, they can retire an additional 14 numbers, bringing the total (with Jeter) to 34.  It would leave just 4 available numbers below 33.

Come on, Yankees! Go big or go home!

Three-digit uniform numbers in our lifetime!