The 1970’s, A To Z: Jay Johnstone to Mike Jorgensen

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JAY JOHNSTONE

1970 Topps #485

Played 1966 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Angels, White Sox, A’s, Phillies, Yankees, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Went 7 for 9 with a double, a triple, a run scored and 2 RBI in the 1976 NLCS against the Reds; Was the first batter at Olympic Stadium, 4/15/1977; Won a World Series with the Yankees in 1978

Career Highlights:
Johnstone played 20 years in the Majors with 8 different teams, even though he only exceeded 500 AB’s in a season one time; Won a World Championship with the 1981 Dodgers; Made his last Major League appearance with the Dodgers in the 1985 NLCS

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in the 1988 movie “The Naked Gun” as the first Mariners batter in the baseball game sequence; As part of the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” (with Jerry Reuss, Rick Monday, and Steve Yeager) they recorded a version of “We Are The Champions” after the 1981 World Series (and screwed up the lyrics pretty badly)

Card Stuff:
Appeeared in the 1978 Kellogg’s set


CLEON JONES

1975 Kellogg’s #21

Played 1963 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Mets, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Batted .292 with 8 runs, 4 RBI, 4 doubles and a homer in the 1973 Postseason against the Reds and A’s; Went 3-for-9 with an intentional walk, a homer, 2 runs and 2 RBI in Mets 25-inning 4-3 loss to Cardinals 9/11/74 (Longest game of the 1970’s, by innings played); Batted .319 in 1971

Career Highlights:
Was named to the 1966 Topps All-Star Rookie team and got a single vote in NL Rookie of the Year voting; In 1969 he started in the All-Star Game and went 2-for-4;  Lead the 1969 “Miracle Mets” in batting, on base percentage, slugging, hits, doubles, stolen bases and walks;  Hit .429 in the NLCS and caught the final out of the 1969 World Series; His .340 average in 1969 was a Mets record for nearly 30 years before bested by John Olerud in 1998; Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1991

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and had an uncredited appearance in the 1968 Odd Couple Movie; His wife is a cousin of Billy Williams


RANDY JONES

1976 Kellogg’s #4

Played 1973 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Padres

Randy Jones’ career was so much about two seasons that I’m going to break the highlights down chronologically

1973 – 1974 Highlights:
Played just a season and a half in the minors; Was named the left-handed pitcher on the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie team; In 1974 he lead the NL with 22 losses (still a Padres record) and was one of five pitchers to lose 20 games that season (the other 4: Bill Bonham, Steve Rogers, Mickey Lolich and Clyde Wright)

1975 Highlights:
Randy Jones put it all together as he went from losing 22 games the year before to winning 20 games and finishing 2nd behind Tom Seaver in the Cy Young Award voting; Lead the league with a 2.24 ERA; Was named to the All-Star team; Finished 10th in MVP voting, far behind winner Joe Morgan; Was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year (editorial comment: one could argue that he couldn’t ‘come back’ when he hadn’t been there before); Set a still-standing team record with 6 shutouts;

1976 Highlights:
Was named the NL Cy Young winner after winning a career-high 22 games and leading the league in starts, innings pitched and complete games; Won 16 games by the All-Star break (a National League record); Was the starting (and winning) pitcher at the All-Star Game; Had a streak of 68 consecutive innings without walking a batter; Won the April and May Pitcher of the Month awards; Set still-standing Padres records for wins in a season, games started (40), innings pitched (315.1), complete games (25) and WHIP (1.02), plus he tied his own shutout record from the previous season

Post-1976 Highlights:
After the 1976 season, Randy Jones had surgery to fix a nerve injury, was never quite as good afterwards and went from 22 wins to never again having a winning record; After the 1980 season he was traded to the Mets for a couple of prospects; Signed with the Pirates for the 1983 season but did not make the team and his career would be over

Career Highlights:
His #35 was retired by the Padres and in 1999 he was part of the inaugural inductee class of the Padres Hall of Fame


RUPPERT JONES

1978 Topps #20

Played 1976 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Was the first player selected by the Mariners (from Kansas City) in the 1976 Expansion Draft, the starting center fielder in the first-ever Mariners game and the Mariner’s representative in the 1977 All-Star Game; Was named to the 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Hit an extra-inning walk-off grand slam with the Yankees in 1980 and did it again in 1985 with the Angels, becoming the first player to do that twice; Was an All-Star in 1982 while with the Padres; Won a World Series with the Tigers in 1984

Card Stuff:
Was in the 1978 and 1979 Hostess sets


MIKE JORGENSEN

1977 Topps #368

Played 1968 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Mets, Expos, A’s, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Moved from the Mets to the Expos as part of the Rusty Staub trade;  Hit a home run in his first at bat with the Expos;  Won a Gold Glove at first base in 1973;  Lead the 1975 Expos in homers, On-base % and Slugging, and was second to Gary Carter with 67 RBI;  Was involved in turning two Triple Plays – 6/3/72 Expos vs Astros and 6/13/73 Expos vs Padres;

Career Highlights:
Managed the 1995 Cardinals after Joe Torre was fired, but after the end of the season he returned to his farm director duties and was replaced by Tony LaRussa

Fun Stuff:
Was born on the day Babe Ruth died (August 16, 1948)

Card Stuff:
His stint managing the Cardinals was never reflected on a baseball card (managers weren’t put on cards in the mid 1990s); His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is cropped tighter than the Topps counterpart; Was in the 1975 and 1976 Hostess sets


NOTE: Mike Jorgensen wraps up the letter “J”. We’ll pick up with the first “K” in the next post.

Here’s Jay Johnstone’s big moment on the silver screen

2021 TSR Daily: A Weeks Worth, Plus Four No-Hitter Get Their Due

Time for another virtual pack of custom cards I call 2021 TSR Daily (because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ).  As many of you are aware, I’m trying to create a set which would represent the best eight-or-so players from each team.

Australian Liam Hendriks won the 2020 Mariano Rivera Award as the best reliever in the American League and also got some votes for Cy Young and MVP.  Over his career he has more K’s than hits allowed

Kris Bryant was named the NL Player of the Week for the week of April 26 – May 2 after hitting 3 homers (including a grand slam), 3 doubles and batting .417 with 10 RBI and 6 runs.

This Albert Pujols custom became interesting just through poor (or great) timing.  I Tweeted it out one morning and not 4 hours later came the surprising news that the Angels were cutting ties with the future HOFer.  Someone will give Pujols a shot since they will have to pay him just the Major League minimum, and I’ve been thinking that I might need to come up with a “Traded” version of my customs… something along the lines of 1972, 1974 and 1976 Topps

Tyler Glasnow has a 4-2 record with a 2.37 ERA, leads the league in innings pitched, has more than double the strikeouts of any other Rays pitcher and his combined record from 2019 to 2021 is 15-4

Yuli Gurriel had a hot April – .344, 4 homers, 11 runs, 16 RBI – and his May numbers aren’t bad either.  I was moderately surprised to find out he’ll turn 37 in June, but that’s because he made his MLB debut at the age of 32 after defecting from Cuba.

So far this season Marcus Stroman has a 2.12 ERA and leads the Mets pitching staff with 3 wins… yeah, yeah, I know that deGrom would have more if the Mets would just get some frickin’ hits when he pitches.  Stroman is the 4th player (and first pitcher) to wear #0 for the Mets.

Jon Gray has a third of the Rockies wins this year and has the best ERA and WHIP of any Rockies pitcher who would qualify for an ERA title

Nolan Arenado, obtained in a trade this past February, leads the Cardinals in doubles and RBI.

OK, now it’s INSERT TIME!

When the Orioles’ John Means no-hit the Mariners last week, I figured it was time to get off my tush and create a “2021 Highlights” template… and since I was doing that for Means, I figured I’d also do the other three no-hitters plus the unofficial no-no pitched by Madison Bumgarner.

Joe Musgrove started off the fun by no-hitting the Rangers, which was notable in that it was the first San Diego Padres’ no-hitter and it came in the franchise’s 53rd season.

Carlos Rodón took a perfect game into the 9th inning, hit the 2nd batter but hung on to no-hit the Indians.  Rodón had Tommy John surgery two years ago, and became the first pitcher to throw a no-no so soon after having TJ.

Madison Bumgarner no-hit the Braves in the 2nd game of a doubleheader, and since the game was scheduled to be 7 innings, MLB had declared before the season that such games would not be deemed to be a no-hitter.  MadBum still got credited with a complete game shutout.

John Means shut down the Mariners, got the first Orioles no-hitter in 30 years, and the first Orioles single-pitcher no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969.  Means became the first Orioles pitcher to win AL Player of the Week honors since 1994 (when it was Arthur Rhodes, for you curious O’s fans).

Wade Miley no-hit Cleveland, and it was the second time the Indians had been no-hit in this short season.  I thought about doing a “Lowlights” custom for the Indians, but figured it would be kinda mean (plus I didn’t know what kind of photo to use)

And that wraps it up for another week!

The 1970’s, A To Z: Davey Johnson to Tim Johnson

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


DAVEY JOHNSON

1974 Topps #45

Played 1963 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the starting All-Star 2nd baseman in 1970; Was named the 1973 National League Comeback Player of the Year; In 1973 he broke Rogers Hornsby’s record for most home runs by a second baseman in a season (43); Won Gold Gloves in 1970 and 1971; After being cut by the Braves in April, 1975, Davey played in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants that season and the next, then returned to the US to play for the Phillies and Cubs

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Mets HOF in 2010; Named the 2nd baseman on the 1966 Topps Rookie All-Star team; Managed the Mets, Reds, Orioles, Dodgers and Nationals and won two Manager of the Year awards (1997 with the Orioles and 2012 with the Nationals); Won 2 World Series as a player and one as a manager

Fun Stuff:
Played with two home run kings – Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh; Played Little League baseball with future Falcons linebacker Tommy Nobis

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1979 Topps with the Cubs, but in 1979 he was a player/manager with the Miami Amigos of the ill-fated Inter-American League (which folded on June 30th of it’s first and only season)


DERON JOHNSON

1971 Topps #490

Played 1960 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Phillies, A’s, Brewers, Red Sox, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Had a career-high 34 homers in 1971; When the A’s traded for him in early 1973, he became one of the first players acquired to be primarily a designated hitter; Won a World Championship with the 1973 A’s

Career Highlights:
Lead the NL with 130 RBI in 1965; Got MVP votes in 3 different seasons but was never an All-Star

Fun Stuff:
Came up through the Yankees system and was one of many labeled as the “next Mickey Mantle”; coming out of high school he turned down several football scholarships, including one from Notre Dame

Card Stuff:
Appeared on three Topps cards as a Yankees prospect (all three using the same photo), but only played 19 games for the Bronx Bombers before being shipped off to the Kansas City Athletics; His stops with the Brewers (49 games) and White Sox (148 games) were never shown on a baseball card


JERRY JOHNSON

1972 Topps #36

Played 1968 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Astros, Padres, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Had 12 wins and 18 saves with the 1971 Giants, which got him votes for both the Cy Young and MVP awards; Was the first pitcher to win a game for the Blue Jays, pitching 2.2 innings of relief of starter Bill Singer in the Jays’ 9-5 opening day win over the White Sox

Fun Stuff:
Started as a 3rd baseman in the Mets system

Card Stuff:
Although he made 39 appearances for the Indians in 1973, he did not appear on a 1974 Topps card; Appeared on a 1978 Topps card with the Blue Jays but was cut in 1978 Spring Training

Because I’m an impulsive fool with poor time management skills…
…and because nobody like When Topps Had Balls had already made a 1974 custom of Jerry Johnson with the Indians, I whipped one together.  Usually when I get an idea to create a “card that never was”, someone has always beaten me to the punch.  That wasn’t the case here, so I couldn’t resist.

I feel I should note that since he was traded to Houston that offseason for Cecil Upshaw, who was in the 1974 Traded set, Johnson could’ve theoretically also been in the 1974 Traded set… but I’m not so foolish as to create a Traded custom…

… at this moment…


JOHN HENRY JOHNSON

1979 Hostess #39

Played 1978 – 1987
1970’s Teams: A’s, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Originally a Giants prospect, John Henry Johnson was shipped to Oakland in the March 1978 8-player trade which sent Vida Blue across the bay to San Francisco; That season, Johnson beat the Mariners in his Big League debut and had a winning record (11-10) for a 93-loss A’s team; Was named to the 1978 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Card Stuff:
Is one of the fairly rare players to have a Hostess rookie card; Although he pitched in 33 games in 1980, Johnson did not get a card in 1981 Fleer or Donruss.

Bonus card of an unrelated Football HOFer with the same name:


TIM JOHNSON

1977 Topps #406

Played 1973 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Brewers starting shortstop in 1973 before being replaced by teenaged Robin Yount in 1974;  After his rookie season he was used as a utility player, appearing at all four infield positions plus 2 games in left field;  Has no Major League home runs despite appearing in 516 games with 1408 plate appearances

Career Highlights:
Managed the Blue Jays to an 88-74 3rd place finish in 1998, but was fired before the next season when it became known that he’d lied about having military service in Vietnam

2021 TSR Daily: What Have I Done?

I’m starting to fully realize how much I’d committed to when I decided to do a custom card each day (as part of my set called TSR Daily because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ), and while I’m fully prepared to soldier on, I’m finding that I don’t have a lot of extra time to create the “inserts” I have in mind, as well as other hobby things I’d planned.

However, I do have a blog-exclusive insert card this time around, and I think it’s a fun one… but I guess we’ll see if you think it’s fun as well.

On April 26 Fernando Tatis was just named co-winner of the NL Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Madison Bumgarner (who already has a custom in this set).  For the week in question, Tatis batted .385 with nine runs scored, 10 hits, a double, five home runs, seven RBI, four walks and four stolen bases. He also became the first player in history to homer multiple times in consecutive games against former Cy Young Award winners (Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer).

I’m one of the many people who didn’t expect the Royals to have the best record in the Majors in early May. Carlos Santana, who looks odd in KC blue, leads the team in batting, on-base % and slugging %.

Byron Buxton has been on a tear this season; he leads the league with an .842 slugging %, plus he’s batting .408 so far.

D-Backs catcher Carson Kelly is another player who’s off to a hot start; through 20 games he has 13 runs, 17 RBI and leads the league with a .487 on-base %

Cedric Mullins is among the league leaders in hits and lead the Orioles in runs, hits, doubles, batting, on-base % and slugging.

José Ramírez, a 2020 Silver Slugger winner, is leading the Indians in runs, hits, homers and on-base %

Nick Solak was a 2nd round pick of the Yankees and spent some time in the Rays system before coming to Texas in a 2019 trade.  He was a utility man last year, but this year he’s the starting 2nd baseman and leads the Rangers in runs, homers and batting average

Insert time!

Masahiro Tanaka won double-digit games in 6 straight seasons with the Yankees, was a two-time All-Star and finished his MLB career with a .629 winning percentage… so there are probably a number of Yankees fans ready to induct him into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  For the 2021 season he’s returned to the Rakuten Golden Eagles team in Japan’s Pacific League, where he currently has a 3-1 record with a 2.12 ERA.  I’ve long been intrigued by Japanese baseball, so Tanaka is the lastest to get a “Shlabotnik’s Picks” custom.

I would love to do more customs involving former Major Leaguers in Japan and Korea, but as always the issue is in finding images I can use.

 

The 1970’s, A To Z: Fergie Jenkins to Darrell Johnson

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


FERGIE JENKINS

1975 Topps #60

Played 1965 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the 1974 AL Comeback Player of the Year and finished second to Jim Hunter in 1974 Cy Young voting (Jenkins got 10 first place votes); Was named the July 1971 NL Player of the Month after going 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 7 starts; Lead the league in wins in 1971 and 1974; Was the Cubs Opening Day starter from 1970 to 1973, the Red Sox Opening Day starter in 1976 and 1977 and the Rangers Opening Day starter in 1975 and 1979; Threw the first shutout in Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, 4/24/77

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 (the first Canadian-born player to earn the honor), the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2004; Was in Top 3 of Cy Young voting five different times (including his winning season); A three-time All-Star; Holds the Cubs career record with 347 starts and 2,038 strikeouts; Holds the Rangers career record with 17 shutouts; Holds or is tied for several Rangers single-season records including shutouts (6), wins (25), games (29) and innings pitched (328.1); Had 6 consecutive seasons where he won 20 games and 14 consecutive seasons of double-digit wins; He’s the only pitcher in history to strike out more than 3000 batters while allowing fewer than 1000 walks; His #31 has been retired by the Cubs

Fun Stuff:
Played for the Harlem Globetrotters in the offseason from 1967 to 1969; Gave up Roberto Clemente’s final homer (240 in 1972) and George Brett’s first (1974)

Card Stuff:
Was in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


TOMMY JOHN

1976 SSPC #69

Played 1963 – 1989
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
At the end of the 1974 season he went under the knife for the first successful Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) surgery, a procedure that is now referred to as “Tommy John surgery”; Was an All-Star in 1978 and 1979; Was the 1976 NL Comeback Player of the Year; Got three first place votes in 1977 Cy Young voting, but finished a distant second to Steve Carlton; Had three 20-win seasons, all after his surgery; Was the White Sox Opening Day starter in 1970 and 1971

Career Highlights:
Pitched 26 years in the Majors after breaking in with Cleveland in 1963; Was a four-time All-Star; won 288 games and struck out 2,245 batters

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


ALEX JOHNSON

1974 Topps #107

Played 1964 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Angels, Indians, Rangers, Yankees, Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970 he was named to the All-Star team and narrowly won the AL batting title over Carl Yastrzemski – Both show up as battting .329, but Johnson batted .32899 to Yaztrzemski’s .32862; Johnson’s average and 202 hits in 1970 set Angels franchise records which have since been broken; Was one of the first full-time designated hitters in the AL

Career Highlights:
Won the 1968 NL Comeback Player of the Year award; Was a member of the World Champion 1968 Cardinals team, but didn’t play in the World Series

Fun Stuff:
His brother Ron Johnson was an NFL running back, mainly with the NY Giants; Alex was a high school teammate of Willie Horton

Bonus card (added nearly 12 hours after this post was published)


CLIFF JOHNSON

1977 Topps #514

Played 1972 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Astros, Yankees, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Although Cliff Johnson came up as a catcher / first baseman, he was better suited to be a DH and his defensive games declined once he was in the American League; Won two World Series with the Yankees in 1977 and 1978; On June 30, 1977 he hit two home runs in the 8th inning, both off Blue Jays pitchers named Jerry (Garvin and Johnson), as the Yankees blew the game open with an 8-run, 11-batter inning

Career Highlights:
Held a record with 21 home runs as a pinch hitter, a record which stood until 2010 when Matt Stairs broke it; was good at drawing walks and finished with 568 career bases on ball and a .355 On-Base %

Fun Stuff:
Is the brother-in-law of OF/DH Mike Easler

Card Stuff:
His 1978 card jams “DH-C-1B” into the little baseball in the top right


DARRELL JOHNSON

1978 Topps #79

Played 1952 – 1962
Managed 1974 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Managed the 1975 Red Sox to an AL Pennant, but lost to the Reds in 7 games; After the 1975 season he was named the AL Manager of the year; Was fired just past the halfway point of the 1976 season and then got hired to manage the Seattle Mariners in their inaugural season; in that season he avoided finishing in last place and losing 100 games, but the team didn’t improve on that start in the following seasons

2021 TSR Daily: A Pack From The Dollar Store

I apologize… Last week was a little crazy, and today I’m feeling under the weather, so my virtual pack of custom cards (called TSR Daily because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ) is base cards only, like a pack you would get from a Dollar store… if they even do that anymore.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in a Dollar store.

Oh, just remembered that there *is* one insert, but it’s not one I made. You’ll see that at the end, but first let’s roll through the base cards for the week.

In 2020, Germán Márquez lead the league in starts and Innings Pitched, and lead the Rockies with 73 strikeouts

When I Tweeted this I neglected to mention that this custom marks the end of “Series 2”. I don’t know how long I can stick to this, but my “mission statement” for this custom set is that I’m going to make an equal number of customs for each team, and for now I’m doing this by doing one for each team and then going back and doing each team again. With Márquez, I’ve finished my second “lap” around the Majors.

J.D. Martinez was an early winner of the AL Player Of the Week and currently leads the league in hits, home runs and RBI (although he’s tied with others on a couple of these.

Current card sets don’t have enough portraits, IMHO.

The danger of pasting my original Tweets into this post… At the time I tweeted this custom of Ronald Acuña Jr. I’d mentioned that he was leading the Majors in a number of categories. A little less than a week later, he doesn’t lead the Majors as much, but he does lead the NL in runs and slugging %.  Oh, he was also named the NL Player of the Week last Monday.

Since his debut in 2017, Walker Buehler has a .735 winning % (25-9) and a .750 postseason winning % (3-1)

Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is 12 short of 500 home runs and 131 short of 3000 hits.  If he more or less duplicates his 2019 season, he has a shot at achieving both milestones this year…. or maybe not.

Steven Matz, who is currently tied for the Major League lead with 4 wins and a 1.000 winning percentage, was obtained from the Mets in January for Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Díaz and a minor leaguer.  I was sorry to see him go, but I’m happy that this fellow Long Islander is doing well with the Jays

Jazz Chisholm has been a Top 100 prospect for a couple of years and earlier this month he hit his first Major League home run off of Jacob deGrom. I’ve been told that Chisholm is fun to watch, I’ll be keeping an eye out for him.

Here’s the “insert” I almost forgot about, this one is created by Phungo (Tweety Phungo and Bloggy Phungo). The card commemorates one of the best moments of the past week, when Kole Calhoun was “robbed” of a catch by a fan in the stands.

If you didn’t see the moment, here it is.

And that’s the end of the pack.  Have a good week, everybody!

The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim “Catfish” Hunter to Reggie Jackson

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JIM “CATFISH” HUNTER

1974 Topps #7

Played 1965 – 1979
1970’s Teams: A’s, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Won the Cy Young Award in 1974 while leading the league with 25 wins and a 2.49 ERA; Got 7 first place votes for the 1975 Cy Young but finished second to Jim Palmer (98 to 74); Also in 1975 he lead the league with 23 wins and 30 complete games; Won three World Championships with the A’s (1972, 1973 and 1974) and two more with the Yankees (1977, 1978); Compiled a 5-3 record with a 3.29 ERA over six World Series (9 starts and 3 relief appearances); Won 21 games or more from 1971 to 1975; Was the A’s Opening Day Starter in 1973 and 1974 and the Yankees’ Opening Day starter in 1976 and 1977; Holds A’s Single season mark (set in 1972) with a .189 Batting Average Against; Was the AL’s starting pitcher in the 1973 All-Star Game; Pinch hit (and struck out) in 20th inning of the A’s 20-inning 1-0 win over California, July 9, 1971

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987; Inducted into the inaugural class (2018) of the Athletics HOF and had his #27 retired by the team; An eight-time All-Star; Pitched a perfect game against the Twins on May 8, 1968; Never pitched in the minor leagues

Fun Stuff:
Wrote two cookbooks in the 1970s

Card Stuff:
Appears in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970’s


TOM HUTTON

1975 Topps #477

Played 1966 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Blue Jays, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Had spent 7 years in the Dodgers system before being traded to the Phillies for Larry Hisle before the 1972 season; Was named the 1st baseman on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookie team (although his 1973 card doesn’t show the trophy)

Career Highlights:
Hutton had Tom Seaver’s number, batting .320 against him lifetime

Fun Stuff:
His 75th birthday was this past Tuesday! (4/20); He married Phillies teammate Dick Ruthven’s twin sister

Card Stuff:
Had three “Rookie Stars” cards in 1967, 1969 and 1972 before getting his own card in 1973;  Appeared in 1978 Hostess with the Blue Jays, his only nationally-issued card appearance with the Jays


Moving from H to I (however briefly…)


MIKE IVIE

1976 SSPC #127

Played 1971 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Padres, Giants

1970’s Highlights:
First overall pick – as a catcher – in the 1970 draft; Named the 1st baseman on the 1975 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Lead the 1976 Padres with a .291 average and 70 RBI

Career Highlights:
Played in 857 games over 11 seasons, but never had more than 489 ABs in a season

Card Stuff:
Appeared on Rookie Stars cards in 1972 and 1973, but didn’t get a solo card until 1976


…And moving from I to J…


GRANT JACKSON

1978 Topps #661

Played 1965 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Orioles, Yankees, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Lead the 1973 Orioles staff with a 1.90 ERA; As a relief pitcher he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the World Series and picked up the win… it was his 4th appearance in that series and he gave up no runs to the Orioles; Was part of a big 11-player June 1976 trade begween the Orioles and Yankees; Despite pitching well for the Yanks in the regular season, he was left exposed in that Fall’s expansion draft, was selected by the Mariners and then flipped to Pittsburgh a month later

Fun Stuff:
Pitched for the Orioles against the Pirates (1971 World Series) and pitched for the Pirates against the Orioles (1979 World Series)

Card Stuff:
Appears in 1977 Topps with the Mariners, a team he never played for, yet never appeared in a nationally-issued set as a Yankee, a team he pitched for in the World Series; Appears in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970’s; I picked the featured card because I love the warmup jacket.


REGGIE JACKSON

1978 Topps #200

Played 1967 – 1987
1970’s Teams: A’s, Orioles, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Was voted the AL MVP in 1973, a year when he lead the league with 99 runs, 32 homers, 117 RBI and a .531 Slugging Percentage; Was the starting AL right fielder in the 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1977 All-Star Games; Was also named to the All-Star teams in 1971 and from 1978 to 1984; In 1977 he became the first player to hit five homers in a World Series and in Game 6 that series, he hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches by three different pitchers; Was he first player since Babe Ruth to hit three home runs in a World Series game

Career Highlights:
Incucted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993; 14-time All-Star; MVP of the 1973 and 1977 World Series; Was the 2nd overall draft pick in 1966 (the Mets famously drafted catcher Steve Chilcott with the first pick); Like with Jim Hunter, was inducted into the inaugural class (2018) of the Athletics HOF; Is the only member of “The 500 HR Club” to have never homered 30+ times in consecutive seasons; Inducted into the Arizona State University Hall of Fame in 1975; Holds the Major League career record with 2,597 strikeouts; Holds the Athletics team record for most intentional bases-on-balls in a career (84); Lead the AL in home runs four times; His #9 has been retired by the Athletics and his #44 has been retired by the Yankees

Fun Stuff:
Had appearances in Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, MacGyver, The Love Boat, Mr. Belvedere, Blossom, Malcolm In The Middle and of course The Naked Gun (“I must kill the Queen”); The Orioles were the only team that Reggie played for without a corresponding All-Star appearance; Had a candy bar (the “Reggie! Bar”) named after him in the late 1970s; He’s a distant cousin of Barry Bonds

Card Stuff:
Appears in every “regular” Topps and Hostess set of the 1970’s; Appeared as an Oriole in the very rare 1977 Topps Proofs


PWE Playhouse: 3 From “A Cracked Bat”, More From “Dime Boxes”

I don’t write much about new cards these days, because there generally aren’t any for me. I’ve recently received some PWEs from hobby friends of mine, Julie of A Cracked Bat and Nick of Dime Boxes.

We’ll start off with the three cards from Julie… of late, Julie has a knack of getting cards to me at the end of rough days, and these were no different, having come at the end of a poopy work day.

FIrst up we’ve got this card from 2017 Topps Allen And Ginter. Now I’m not an A&G guy… I count 55 A&G cards out of the over 80,000 cards in my collection. However, I do appreciate the *right* A&G cards, and William Shatner definitely falls into that category.

As a somewhat-lapsed Trekker I, of course, appreciate Shatner for his portrayal of Captain Kirk… But I also loved him as Denny Crane on “Boston Legal” and in a number of other things he’s done. I even like a couple of songs he’s been featured on.

This card is from the “Flipping Out” insert set from last year’s Big League set. I’ve cooled a little on inserts over the past few years, but I’m not walking away from an insert featuring The Polar Bear!

One last one, a 1990 Swell Football Hall of Fame card of Steelers defensive tackle Ernie Stautner.  Ernie was well before my time as a Steelers fan – he retired in 1963 and I started to follow the Steelers 20 years after that – but of late I’ve been picking up cards of Steelers from before their 1970s dynasty.

BTW, there are three Swell cards of Stautner and all three feature this same photo… So those other two are on my “Sure, if they fall into my lap” list rather than my want list.

Thank you, Julie!  Cards from you are always appreciated!

Let’s move on to more cards from Nick…

Mike Mussina should’ve stayed an Oriole as far as I’m concerned… and I would’ve been happier if he just signed with the Indians as a free agent instead of going to The Dark Side…. But I don’t hold it against him… too much. This is from last year’s “Decade’s Best” set.

Also from last year is this Topps Sticker Back of the Mets Brandon Nimmo (who’s off to a very nice start this season). Topps is changing the format of their sticker packs this year (again), and it sounds like I wouldn’t like the changes made… not that it matters because I never see anything as exotic as unopened packs.

I got another sticker where the Met was on the sticker side. Pete Alonso again!

My 2021 Topps Series 1 set stands at 75 cards with the addition of this Mets combo card. I don’t know how hard I’m going to chase after this set, TBH. I started out thinking they were horrible, then swinging to “Well, they’re not as bad as the preview image made them look” and now back to “Yeah, I’m not feeling it”.

And guess what? It’s Pete Alonso AGAIN! Plus Michael Conforto. If you can’t read the text (which is a definite possiblity) it says “GET UP!” on the first line and “METS STARS CELEBRATE” on the second.

Wrapping up with another Swell card… This one a 1990 Swell card of former Mets manager Gil Hodges, who was an early (1982) inductee into the team’s HOF and whose #14 has been retired since his untimely passing in 1972. Gil was a Mets player in 1962 and at the beginning of 1963, and then came back as a manager from 1968 to just before the 1972 season when he’d suffered his fatal heart attack.

Thanks again, Nick! 

Your Weekly Pack Of “2021 TSR Daily”

By now, many of you are familiar with my set of custom cards I call 2021 TSR Daily (because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ), I decided to compile the “checklist” as if I were creating a real set which would represent the best eight-or-so players from each team.

I’ll admit, I’m rushing through this post a bit because I don’t have a lot of time to to do it…

Mark Canha lead the 2020 Athletics in Runs (32), Hits (47), Doubles (12), Triples (2), Walks (37) and Average (.246).

During his monster 2017 Rookie-of-the-Year season Aaron Judge lead the league in home runs, RBI, runs, walks… and strikeouts.

By the way, it’s a darn shame that (as of the morning of April 19th) the Yankees have the worst record in the American League. Yep, a real shame.

(I’m a fan of the Mets and Orioles, I have to get my jollies where I can… no matter how short-lived it might be)

Ke’Bryan Hayes, one of the top prospects in baseball, finished 6th in last year’s ROY voting and is still eligible this year.

Oh, look, it’s an insert! This is from the “Shlabotnik’s Picks” insert set. Since the “base set” is being done as if this were a real, commercial set which fairly represents each of the 30 teams, I wanted to have another set where I could feature whomever I wanted to feature. For this one, I’m giving a custom to Jay Bruce, who announced his retirement over the weekend. Even though I still think of him as a Red, I gained an appreciation for him during his time with the Mets, and I wish him well in the next phase of his career.

Former 1st round pick, Rookie of the Year and MVP Buster Posey is back behind the plate after sitting out the 2020 season.

Another insert… if you want to call it that… or a variation… or a subset… or whatever.  There will be probably end up being a number of customs of this mysterious player named Joe Shlabotnik, who seems to be with a different team every time we see him.

Last year Trea Turner lead the Majors with 78 hits and lead the NL with 4 triples. He also got some MVP votes, finishing 7th.

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart won a Gold Glove in 2020 (At the time I Tweeted this, he lead Cincinnati in slugging percentage, but that’s no longer the case… as if any of that matters in mid-April)

Former 1st round draft pick Evan White won a Gold Glove in 2020

And I’ll wrap up with on more insert. Infielder Sean Kazmar (who often got confused for pitcher Scott Kazmir) made his Major League debut with the Padres in August of 2008. After spending the rest of that season with the Padres, he spent 11 seasons in Triple-A, including 7 seasons with the Braves Triple-A team in Gwinnett, GA, before making it back to the Majors and pinch-hitting this past Saturday. I love to see that kind of perseverance get rewarded.

And that’s the pack for this week.  I hope some of you are having better luck than I’ve had in finding reasonably-priced wax packs.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Roy Howell to Ron Hunt

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


ROY HOWELL

1979 Topps #101

Played 1974 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the Blue Jays’ representative at the 1978 All-Star Game; Had 9 RBI in one game against the Yankees on 9/10/77, which is tied for the Blue Jays team record… Howell hit two homers, two doubles and a single; In 1975, at the age of 21, he became the youngest player in “New” Senators/Rangers history to hit a grand slam, a record which would stand until Rougned Odor hit one at the age of 20 in 2014; Lead the expansion 1977 Blue Jays with a .316 average; Was involved in turning a Triple Play for the Blue Jays against the Indians, 9/7/79

Card Stuff:
Made it into 1979 Hostess and Kellogg’s sets


AL HRABOSKY

1977 Topps #495

Played 1970 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Won the 1975 NL “Fireman” award while leading the league with 22 saves *and* a .813 winning % (13-3); Got 2 first place votes for the 1975 Cy Young Award, but finished 3rd behind winner Tom Seaver; Was the July 1975 NL Pitcher of the Month when he had a 0.43 ERA, a 6-0 record and 3 saves over 13 games and 21 innings

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “The Mad Hungarian” (although I seem to remember that he’s not ethnically Hungarian, it’s just a nickname); Is a member of the Cardinals broadcast team; Played himself in the 1985 film “The Slugger’s Wife”… other players who appeared in that movie (and who have all been done already in this A-Z series) were Mark Fidrych, Bucky Dent and Bernie Carbo


TERRY HUMPHREY

1977 Topps #369

Played 1971 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Expos, Tigers, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
was considered a candidate to be the Expos starting catcher when he was coming up through their system, but was eclipsed by Barry Foote and Gary Carter, and played only as a backup for Montreal; Was the Angels starting catcher for most of 1977 after being acquired from the Astros in a trade; Initiated a 2-5-3-6 Triple Play for the Expos against the Astros on 6/3/72

Fun Stuff:
Was the last Tigers player to wear #47 before Jack Morris; Was the second Expos draft pick to make it to the Majors (pitcher Balor Moore was the first)

Card Stuff:
Appears in 1976 Topps with the Tigers, but he’d already been traded to the Astros after 18 games with Detroit (and he’d never play for Houston)


RANDY HUNDLEY

1970 Kellogg’s #31

Played 1964 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Twins, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Caught two no-hitters in 1972: Burt Hooton’s on 4/16/72 and Milt Pappas’ on 9/2/72

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1969; Won a Gold Glove in 1967;  In 1966 he set records for most home runs by a rookie catcher (19) and most games caught by a rookie;  Was named the catcher on the 1966 Topps All-Star Rookie Team;  Hit for the cycle against the Astros on 8/11/66

Fun Stuff:
Father of Mets catcher Todd Hundley; Randy’s legal name is Cecil Randolph Hundley


RON HUNT

1974 Kellogg’s #25

Played 1963 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Giants, Expos, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Was the first baserunner at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia (walked and stole 2nd base)

Career Highlights:
Was the first Met to start an All-Star game; Finished 2nd to Pete Rose in 1964 NL Rookie of the Year voting;

OW!
Holds the Expos/Nationals career record with 114 HBP and single-season record with 50 HBP in 1971; Holds the Giants single-season mark with 26 HBP in 1970;  Lead the NL in HBP each season from 1968 to 1974

Card Stuff:
He appeared in 1975 Topps (airbrushed into a Cardinals cap), but was released in Spring Training and didn’t play in the Majors after 1974;  Hunt’s 1971 O-Pee-Chee card featured a different photo, and based on the uniform the photo appears to have been from no later than 1967