The 1970’s, A To Z: Vic Harris to Dave Heaverlo

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.


1976 SSPC #321

Played 1972 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Harris was named the May 9, 1976 NL Player of the Week after batting .464 with 7 RBI, 5 runs, a double and a triple; Was sent from the Rangers to the Cubs in the deal that also involved Fergie Jenkins and Bill Madlock

Career Highlights:
Played 3 seasons for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in the 1980s

Fun Stuff:
Played every position but pitcher, catcher, first; Was seen as having “superstar potential” early in his career; Did not get a hit until his 13th Major League game, going 0-for-36 to start his career


1976 SSPC #507

Played 1972 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Orioles, Braves, Indians, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Harrison was the last American League pitcher to homer before the DH rule went into effect for the 1973 season, having hit one off of Cleveland’s Ray Lamb on 10/3/72; Six of his fifteen career hits were homers and three more were doubles; Despite the fact that I’m listing only hitting highlights for a pitcher, Harrison’s career average sits at .121

Fun Stuff:
Is the only Major Leaguer with the name ‘Roric’; While a minor leaguer, he was involved in the trade that all fans of Ball Four know: Jim Bouton to Houston for Dooley Womack and Roric Harrison… Harrison never played for the Pilots or Brewers, he made his Major League debut after another trade sent him to the Orioles organization

Card Stuff:
Was airbrushed in a Tigers cap in 1978 Topps, but never played for Detroit… he was released in spring training and pitched that season for the Twins, his final Major League outings


1978 Topps #73

Played 1971 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Angels, Royals, Red Sox, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Made his Major League debut as a 19-year-old in 1971 and was the third-youngest player in the Majors that season; Had the third-best ERA (2.61) in the AL in 1974 but still finished with a 7-11 record; Started games in the 1976 and 1977 ALCS vs. the Yankees; One-hit the Indians on 7/2/77

Fun Stuff
Although Hassler played for six different teams and did two stints with the Angels, he was never traded for another player… He was either sold to another team or signed elsewhere as a free agent


1974 Topps #238

Played 1969 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Giants, Royals, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Caught both of Steve Busby’s no hitters, vs Tigers 4/27/73 and vs Brewers 6/19/74

Career Highlights:
Selected in the 1968 Expansion draft from the Cleveland Indians; Was a broadcaster for the Yankees and Mets

Fun Stuff:
Healy’s father played in the Cardinals organization and his uncle, Francis Healy, played 42 games for the New York Giants and Cardinals in the 1930s

Card Stuff:
The featured 1974 card shows Thurman Munson sliding into home… a couple of years later, Healy would be the backup to Munson; Healy’s photo was mistakenly used on Steve Busby’s 1975 card


1978 Topps #338

Played 1975 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Giants, A’s

1970’s Highlights:
In 1975 he was a non-roster invitee with the Giants and not only did he make the team, but his 2.39 ERA lead the team that season; Went from Giants to the A’s in a cross-bay deal that sent Vida Blue to San Francisco; His 10-saves for the 1978 A’s was second only to closer Elias Sosa; Made 60+ appearances in four of his seven seasons

Fun Stuff:
Heaverlo seems like an interesting guy… He stuck with the non-roster uniform number he was assigned when he first made the Giants (#60) — one of his cards and a cartoon on Al Fitzmorris’ 1977 card referenced this as the highest in the Majors; He was the first player I was aware of to shave his head… Not surprisingly, his nickname was ‘Kojak’

2021 TSR Daily: An Intro To My New Custom Card “Set”

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been sharing custom cards here since 2012. Each year I’ll have a ‘set’ that I use as an example of what I’d like to pick up when I’m in a certain retailer stocking up on shaving cream and cat litter.

Aside from just enjoying it in general, it’s also become a way for me to relax a bit… I suppose it’s like knitting or coloring books for adults (I don’t like the phrase ‘adult coloring books’ because that sounds like the images are… well… you know)

Last year I had two custom baseball sets and… Well, I’m not even going to count up how many customs I did because I’m not sure I want to know. We’ll just say it was over two hundred, which includes every Met and Oriole who appeared in a game, and also a handful of Curling customs (and that’s the Olympic sport of Curling, I haven’t lost my mind and made customs of Kellogg’s 3-D cards which are curling because they weren’t kept in toploaders… OK, my brain is clearly all over the place this morning).


The direction I’m taking my customs in this year comes mainly from two places:

  • I know I’m going to make a lot of customs this year, and…
  • If I’m resigned to making a lot of customs, maybe I should make more of an effort to making a cohesive set representing all of the teams

This project is also going to span two platforms as I’ll be tweeting out a custom card each day (@Shlabotnik_Rpt, if you didn’t know), and then do a summary “pack” here on the blog each week.  I plan on having more in the blog than out on Twitter, but I’m still working out what I’m going to do.

I really want to go into great detail about all of this right now, what went into designing them, how I’m picking out the checklists, what other plans I have for 2021, but I’m going to let my rational side take over and hold stuff back for future posts.  I will tease this much:  This year’s design started out as a riff on a vintage non-baseball Topps set.

OK, well let’s open our “pack” now!

I plan on having a specific reason for including any players in this set, but I don’t think you have to rationalize including the reigning American League MVP.  Abreu also lead the Majors with 60 RBI and the American League with 76 hits.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa won a Gold Glove at 3rd base and raised his batting average from .238 to .280 in a similar number of games.

Clayton Kershaw’s career achievements speak for themselves.  As for 2020, he went 6-2 in the regular season and 2-0 in the World Series.  I love the way this custom came out;  with photographers socially distant during games and warmups, there should be more photos like this on cards (real and otherwise) in 2021.

Soak in this Madison Bumgarner custom, because it may be as close as you’ll get to a licensed MadBum card.  He must not have a contract with Topps, as he hasn’t been on a Topps card since 2017.

Alex Verdugo will always carry the Mookie Betts trade around like a monkey on his back, but in 2020 he lead Red Sox with a .308 average and finished 12th in AL MVP voting.  12th isn’t great, but it isn’t nothing.

I still like Jonathan Schoop from his time with the Orioles, which seems a long time ago now.  He’ll be back with the Tigers in 2021, the first time since 2018 that he’ll start the season with the same team for the second year in a row.

Brad Keller went 5-3, 2.47 for a losing Royals team, and is the pride of Flowery Branch, GA.  His one shutout in 2020 tied him with four others for the American League lead.

Kenta Maeda was certainly a solid pickup for the Twins, going 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and leading the Majors with a 0.75 WHIP.  He finished 2nd to Shane Bieber in AL Cy Young Voting.

Brian Anderson lead the Marlins with 11 homers and 38 RBI.  The biggest move the Marlins made this offseason was signing Adam Duvall, but they still concern this Mets fan.

And speaking of the Mets, Jacob deGrom was Jacob deGrom in 2020, making a run at a 3rd straight Cy and leading the NL with 104 K’s.

OK, so that’s this week’s “pack” of customs.  We didn’t pull any inserts this time around, but there will be some in future packs.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Mike Hargrove to Bud Harrelson

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.


1978 Topps #172

Played 1974 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Padres, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the 1974 AL Rookie of the Year and also the first baseman on the 1974 Topps All-Star Rookie team; An All-Star in 1975; Lead league in walks in 1976 and 1978; Was Involved in a triple play vs. A’s on 8/8/77

Career Highlights:
Lead the league with a .424 on-base percentage in 1981; Holds Rangers career mark with .399 OBP; Managed the Indians from 1991 to 1999, the Orioles from 2000 to 2003 and the Mariners from 2005 to 2007 and made the postseason five times; Inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall Of Fame in 2008

Fun Stuff:
His nickname was “The Human Rain Delay” because of number of times he stepped out of the batter’s box and took pitches; Was a three-sport star in high school, but didn’t play for the school baseball team

Card Stuff:
Appeared in all five of the 1970s Hostess sets, and his 1975 Hostess is a rookie card; On the featured 1978 card, the #4 and black armband on Hargrove’s sleeve was for Danny Thompson, an active Texas Ranger who died of Leukemia at the age of 29 in December 1976


1972 Topps #377

Played 1967 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Did not have a plate appearance in the 1976 NLCS but did score a run after pinch-running for Bob Boone; set a Major League record for 2nd basemen with 18 chances in a 9 inning game, 6/12/71; his .284 average in 1972 was best on the Phillies; the first of his four career homers was an inside-the-park home run on 8/30/72

Card Stuff:
Shares a high #ed 1969 rookie card with Darrel Cheney and Duffy Dyer; Although he was a utility player his entire career, he appeared in every Topps set from 1969 to 1978


1970 Kellogg’s #74

Played 1962 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Red Sox, Angels, A’s, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970, Harper became the American League’s first-ever 30/30 player (31 homers, 38 stolen bases); Was named to the All-Star team in 1970; Receieved a first-place vote in 1970 AL MVP voting; Was the first batter in Brewers history and scored the first Brewers run; Lead the league with 54 stolen bases in 1973

Career Highlights:
In 1969 he lead the league with 126 runs; His 73 stolen bases in 1969 lead the league and established a still-standing Pilots/Brewers team record; Lead the league with 126 runs scored in 1965; Stole 408 career bases; Was named to the 1963 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Was the third player taken in the 1968 American League expansion draft

Card Stuff:
Played for the Angels for the first half of the 1975 season but never appeared on a baseball card with that team; His 1977 Topps card has his complete career statistics, as he was cut by the A’s during spring training and retired to become a minor-league instructor with the Yankees


1976 SSPC #264

Played 1969 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Senators, Rangers, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1976 All-Star Game; Was the starting shortstop in the first-ever Texas Rangers game; Was the Rangers’ first-ever All-Star in 1972; His 109 walks lead the league in 1977; On August 27, 1977, Harrah and Bump Wills hit inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches by the Yankees’ Ken Clay; Involved in triple play vs. A’s 8/8/77

Career Highlights:
Was a four-time All-Star; Inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2009; Managed the Rangers for the 2nd half of the 1992 season

Fun Stuff:
On June 25th, 1976, Harrah played an entire double-header without a single fielding chance; Was the last member of the expansion Senators to be playing in the Major Leagues; Threw a no-hitter in American Legion ball

Card Stuff:
Appeared in all five 1970s Hostess sets; His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card does not have the “AL ALL STAR” banner that the Topps card does; His name is incorrectly printed in black ink on his 1976 Topps card (this is an uncorrected error)


1970 Topps #634

Played 1965 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Mets, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting shortstop for the 1971 National League All-Star Team and was also an All-Star in 1970; In 1970 he tied a Major League record for shortstops by playing 54 consecutive games without an error; Won a Gold Glove in 1971; Was a member of the pennant-winning 1973 Mets; Is famous for the fight he had with Pete Rose in the 1973 NLCS; His 95 walks in 1970 was a team record until Keith Hernandez broke it in 1984

Career Highlights:
Was a key member of the 1969 “Miracle Mets” team; Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1986; Managed the Mets in 1990 and 1991; Harrelson is part-owner of the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks, and was the team’s first manager

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond; One of many ballplayers to appear in a 1980 movie called “It’s My Turn”; Had an uncredited appearance in the 1968 Odd Couple movie

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every Topps flagship set of the 1970s; His 1971 Topps card has a ‘cameo appearance’ by Nolan Ryan; Had three cards in 1972 Topps (base, In Action, Boyhood Photos)

Dead Parrot Frankenset: February 2021 Edition

This is the latest in a series on an ongoing project, a “Dead Parrot” Frankenset which features cards of NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). The Frankenset consists of a binder containing 44 sheets and the goal is to have it filled with cards numbered from 1 to 396, with each slot filled with a card featuring a hockey team that has gone to meet its maker.

All of the challengers in this post were provided by Shoebox Legends and are presented in card # order

In fact, the first two cards are cards #1 and #2 from the same relatively recent set.  The challenger for slot #1, representing 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Hockey and the Atlanta Thrashers, is Ilya Kovalchuk!

Already in slot #1, representing the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers and 1990-91 Topps Hockey, it’s The Great One, Wayne Gretzky!

Even while the Gretzky card is an after-the-fact tribute card, it’s gonna be hard to displace Gretzky as an Indianapolis Racer, and Kovalchuk is not up to the task.


Next up, challenging for slot #2 and also representing 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Hockey and the Atlanta Thrashers, it’s Eric Perrin!

Defending Slot #2, representing 1994-95 O-Pee-Chee Premier Hockey and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Darren Turcotte!

This Turcotte card entered the Dead Parrot Binder back this past August, but at the time I said that it wouldn’t take much to dislodge this fairly generic card (which would be fine as part of a Whalers collection, but is a little uninteresting within this project). Add to that the fact that I have many Whalers but only a couple of Thrashers, and the decision is an easy one.


Our third challenger is for slot #64 and represents 1993-94 Upper Deck SP and the Hartford Whalers… it’s Chris Pronger!

There is no card currently in slot #64 so Pronger goes in unopposed… and completes Page 8!

I’m happy with this page, it has a pretty nice cross-section of teams in it.

The fourth challenger, which has slot #97 in its sights, is from the 2007-08 In The Game: Between The Pipes set. Representing the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers, it’s Michel Dion!

I’ve loved the Stingers’ logo since I was a child, so this challenger is going to be hard to beat.

Currently in slot #97, representing 1995/96 Leaf and the Quebec Nordiques, it’s Jocelyn Thibault!

This Thibault entered the binder in the same August post as the Turcotte card earlier in this post, and I do like this card… but it’s going to meet the same fate as Turcotte.


…and the Challenger updates Page 11!

Here’s page 11 before…

…and Page 11 as it currently stands

Five WHA cards (including two different Stingers uniforms), a California Golden Seal and a Kansas City Scout… Not too shabby!  At some point I would like to do something about that 1995 Fleer card in the upper left, but I’ll worry about upgrades when I’m closer to filling all of the pages.

The final challenger is card #255 from the 1990/91 Upper Deck set. Representing the Quebec Nordiques, it’s Daniel Dore!

I didn’t remember Dore at all, so I looked him up… He was drafted 5th overall but played in just 17 NHL games, 16 of which came before this card was issued.  So much for that “Star Rookie” designation.

Holding down the #255 slot, representing 1990/91 Bowman and the Hartford Whalers, it’s Peter Sidorkiewicz

Sidorkiewicz is another recent addition to the binder, having entered this past October. At the time I waffled between this card and a different Upper Deck Nordique card, but I settled on the Bowman Whalers card. I’ve grown more comfortable with that choice, and to be honest if I were going to switch this card I’d go back to that original Joe Sakic card… but nothing of the sort is happening today.


And so, to wrap up…  We added a card to the binder and completed a page.  That puts us at 326 out of a possible 396 cards (82.3%) and 17 completed pages out of 44 total pages (38.6%).

The next time around I’m going to dip into some 1970s hockey cards I got at a show a year ago.

I Stand Corrected! A 1974 Transaction I Missed In My Recent Post on 1975 Topps

A few days ago I posted about how different 1974 transactions were reflected in 1975 Topps, and for the “Earliest in-season transaction that still got the airbrush treatment” I listed the June 5, 1974 sale of Joe Lis by the Twins to the Indians.

Well, I was set straight in the comments by Bryan, who correctly pointed out that several Indians got airbrushed images as result of the following trade which came about 6 weeks earlier:

April 26, 1974
The Cleveland Indians traded Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw to the New York Yankees for Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson.

Naturally, since many of the photographs used by Topps were taken in New York, the players obtained by the Yankees were all shown in their pinstripes (and all at Shea Stadium, the Yankees home for the 1974 & 1975 seasons)

However, all four of the players obtained by the Indians had not been photographed by Topps during the remaining 5 months of the season!

In going through my 1975 Topps to scan these cards, I realized that the 1975 Topps Indians team set has a LOT of airbrushing and one capless rookie card.  I thought it would be fun (and add to the “value” of this mea culpa post) to run through them all and see how long each player had been with the Indians by the time 1975 Topps was designed and printed.

But first it made me wonder if it was possible that NONE of the 1975 Topps Indians team set featured photos from 1974.  I don’t think you call tell the difference between 1973 and 1974 by the uniforms, but as I mentioned earlier, you could potentially tell from the stadium in the background. Original Yankee Stadium closed after the 1973 season for renovations, and the Yankees played home games at Shea Stadium in 1974 and 1975.

This George Hendrick card, for example, has a photo that must be from 1973.  That’s clearly Yankee Stadium (and the Bronx County Courthouse) behind him, so it’s clearly before 1974… But Hendrick was acquired from Oakland in March, 1973 so the photo obviously can’t be any older than that.

On the other hand, John Ellis and at least two other cards look like they were taken at Shea Stadium, so there was some photography going on at Indians – Yankees games.

After my careless error I decided that I should do more than just issue a correction, and I thought it would be interesting to run through the complete list of 1974 Cleveland Indians transactions which would affect 1975 Topps Indians cards… Starting with this Spring Training deal:

March 19, 1974
Received Jim Perry from the Detroit Tigers as part of a 3-team trade

Jim Perry made 36 starts for the 1974 Indians, won 17 games and yet he is shown in an airbrushed Tigers uniform.  No respect, I tell ya!

March 28, 1974
Selected Leron Lee off waivers from the San Diego Padres

The twin light towers and bullpen on the left, the batters eye with the flagpole behind it on the right.  Yup, that’s Shea.

April 3, 1974
Traded Pedro Guerrero to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Bruce Ellingsen.

Before we get into Ellingsen, I’ll point out that the Pedro Guerrero the Dodgers got for Ellingsen is THAT Pedro Guerrero… World Series MVP, Five-time All-Star Pedro Guerrero.  At the time of the trade, he was a 17-year-old with 44 professional games under his belt, all with the Rookie Ball GCL Indians.

Ellingsen pitched 16 games for the 1974 Indians, mostly in relief.  BTW, this is his only Topps card.  When I was a kid, we used to make fun of Bruce Ellingsen’s seemingly huge head.  To quote one of Mike Myers’ characters in So I Married An Axe Murderer, “It’s a veritable planetoid!”

The Indians’ season opener was Saturday, April 6th at Shea Stadium

April 26, 1974
Traded Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw to the New York Yankees. Received Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson.

Fritz pitched in 29 games in 1974.

Buskey pitched 51 games for Cleveland.

Kline pitched in 16 games.

Beene pitched in 32 games, all in relief.

June 5, 1974
Purchased Joe Lis from the Minnesota Twins.

Lis played in 57 games.

June 15, 1974
Traded players to be named later to the San Diego Padres. Received Steve Arlin.

10 starts and 1 relief appearance for Arlin.  BTW, that light tower looks like Shea as well, but that’s not surprising since Arlin was with the Padres whenever this photo was taken.

July 17, 1974
Purchased Tommy McCraw from the California Angels.

45 games… Pretty sure this is Yankee Stadium, but that’s academic.

August 17, 1974
Purchased Rico Carty from Cordoba (Mexican).

33 games

September 12, 1974
Traded a player to be named later, Ken Suarez and cash to the California Angels. Received Frank Robinson.

Frank Robinson only appeared in 15 games for Cleveland in 1974.  I should point out that Frank was also airbrushed in the little “Manager thumbnail” on the Indians team photo/checklist card, but I didn’t see the point of scanning that as well.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Don Gullett to Larry Haney

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.


1977 Topps Burger King #6

Played 1970 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Reds, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Twice lead the league in win percentage (.727 in 1971 and .778 i 1977); Factored into Cy Young voting twice, finishing 7th in 1974 and 5th in 1975; Was the Reds’ Opening Day starter in 1973 and 1975; Made 5 postseason appearances and got two NLCS saves before his 20th birthday (1970); Was named the July 1974 Player of the month after going 6-1, 1.82 with 3 shutouts and 42 strikeouts; Over his postseason career (6 years) he batted .292 with 3 runs and 6 RBI and a home run; Injuries ended his career before he turned 30

Career Highlights:
1st round pick (14th overall) of the Reds in 1969; Inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2002

Fun Stuff:
Gave up Willie Mays’ last home run (#660) on August 17th, 1973

Card Stuff:
His three different cards featuring the 1977 Topps design – Topps, O-Pee-Chee and Burger King – used three different head shots. Topps and OPC are airbrushed, the Burger King card featured here shows an actual Yankees cap


1974 Topps Traded #616T

Played 1970 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Yankees, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Got MVP and Cy Young votes in 1978, a season where he went 16-4 with a 2.72 ERA and two shutouts; Made 5 ALCS appearances from 1976 to 1978

Career Highlights:
Twice won 18 games in the 1980s; In 1969 he was an All-American and named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team; Was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Arizona State University Hall of Fame in 1978; Was an All-Star with the Royals in 1980; Never pitched lower than AAA ball

Fun Stuff:
Was a teammate of Bill Lee, Lenny Randle, Gary Gentry, Jim Crawford, Lerrin LaGrow and Craig Swan at Arizona State

Card Stuff:
You may notice that his 1974 Traded card (featured above) shows Gura with the Texas Rangers, but I don’t list the Rangers among his 1970s teams… That’s because in between his being acquired from the Cubs in December 1973 and his being traded to the Yankees in May 1974 he pitched only for the Ranger’s AAA team in Spokane

Larry Gura wraps up the G’s, and we now move into H!


1978 Topps #107

Played 1974 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Threw a no-hitter against the Mets on 8/24/75 and struck out 10 Mets while walking just two;  one-hit the Expos in 1978; Had a streak of 25.2 consecutive scoreless innings in 1976; Lead the league with a 1.060 WHIP in 1978; Won 16 games in 1977

Fun Stuff:
I don’t know if there is a relationship, but there was a back named Ed Halicki who played in the NFL from 1929 to 1930 for the Frankford Yellow Jackets and the Minneapolis Red Jackets (which, as I discovered, was not just the Yellow Jackets relocating and changing their color)


1973 Topps #555

Played 1965 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Twins, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Won 18 games in 1970 as part of an impressive top of the rotation with teammates Fergie Jenkins (22 wins) and Ken Holtzman (17 wins)

Career Highlights:
Won 20 games with the 1969 Cubs; originally came up in the Giants organization and went to the Cubs (along with Randy Hundley) for Lindy McDaniel and Don Landrum

The transaction which left this Mets fan dumbfounded:
On February 24, 1976 the Rangers traded Bill Hands to the Mets for George Stone.

I saw that transaction line and said “Bill Hands was on the METS?”



From what I can tell, both pitchers decided to retire before the 1976 season.

Card Stuff:
Although he last pitched in 1975, Hands appears in both 1976 Topps and 1976 SSPC


1970 Topps #648

Played 1966 – 1978
1970’s Teams: A’s, Cardinals, Brewers

1970’s Highlights:
Played in two games in the 1974 World Series, but didn’t get a plate appearance; Was a backup catcher through most of his career, but was valued enough to play for 12 Major League seasons

Career Highlights:
Was an original Seattle Pilot before being traded to the A’s for 2nd baseman John Donaldson; Homered in his Major League Debut in 1965, the only Oriole to do so until Jonathan Schoop duplicated the feat in 2013

Fun Stuff:
Larry’s son Chris Haney pitched in the majors from 1991 to 2002 and Larry’s cousin is Mike Cubbage (who got the 1970s: A-Z treatment back in September); Haney acquired by the A’s three times, twice after being sold by the A’s and then brought back again

Card Stuff:
The negative on his 1969 Topps card was reversed and made him appear to be a left-handed catcher; Haney’s 1975 Topps card actually shows fellow catcher Dave Duncan


I ran across this brief clip and thought it worth sharing; it’s a segment of what appears to be a TV news report on Ed Halicki’s no-hitter and shows the last out being recorded.  The batter is Wayne Garrett, the first baseman is Willie Montañez.  The first player running over is 2nd baseman Derrell Thomas, the catcher is Dave Rader, then we see shortstop Chris Speier and 3rd baseman Bruce Miller, and I think that #5 who runs over at the end is coach Joey Amalfitano

1975 Topps And How It Reflects Transactions from Late 1974

Sheesh, the title of this sounds like an academic paper.

This is the third post in a series with no real point other than my finding it fun and interesting to see which trades from one season got updated in the following season’s Topps sets.  I’ve gotten some positive comments when I’d done similar research into 1974 Topps and 1981 Topps, and that gave me the motivation to do another.

For the record, the transaction information comes from Baseball Reference

The earliest transaction I could find which resulted in an airbrushed photo in 1975 Topps is the June 5, 1974 sale of Joe Lis from the Twins to the Indians.

I should point out that it isn’t out of the question that a player acquired before the 1974 season still got airbrushed for 1975 Topps, but I draw the line at changes made because of transactions, as opposed to Topps saying “Shoot, we don’t have a current photo of this guy!”

UPDATE:  Bryan left a comment on this post correctly pointing out that there was an earlier transaction than the one I just highlighted:

April 26, 1974
The Cleveland Indians traded Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw to the New York Yankees for Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson

All three of the players acquired by the Yankees got photographed in pinstripes for the 1975 set, but all four of the players acquired by the Indians are airbrushed for 1975 Topps

Thank you for keeping me honest, Bryan!

The latest in-season transaction which was captured by a Topps photographer rather than an airbrush artist was the June 24th waiver claim of Ollie Brown by the Phillies (from the Astros)

The first significant transaction of the postseason – interestingly this happened *during* the World Series, something that is forbidden today – was the October 13th trade where the Mets sent Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore to the Cardinals for Joe Torre… Sadecki and Torre were dutifully airbrushed in 1975 Topps.

Tommy Moore never appeared on a Topps card, but *did* appear in the 1990 Pacific Senior League set.

The latest transaction to be completely reflected in 1975 Topps – I’ll explain the “completely” part shortly – is the November 8th trade where the Braves sent Danny Frisella to the Padres for Cito Gaston.

“Completely” applies to the previous transaction because there was a related pair of trades on November 18th where only one of the six Major Leaguers involved was updated in 1975 Topps.  In the first half of the deal, the Tigers obtained Nate Colbert from the Padres.  Colbert was airbrushed for 1975 Topps, but like Frisella and Gaston the airbrushing was of the “Player is watching a passing airplane so we’ll just do a quick airbrush of his jersey” variety.

Going to San Diego in exchange for Colbert were Dick Sharon, Bob Strampe (who only appeared on a 1973 “Rookie Pitchers” card) and Ed Brinkman.  The Padres immediately flipped Brinkman to the Cardinals for Rich Folkers, Alan Foster, Sonny Siebert and the proverbial Player To Be Named Later.

If you went solely by 1975 Topps it would appear that Colbert, Brinkman and Sharon were teammates in 1975, but in reality they were on three different teams… or more than three, really, because Brinkman would also play for the Rangers (1 game!) and Yankees in 1975.

(Side note: Writing this post was beneficial to me because I made me realize that this well-loved Dick Sharon card is, by even my lax standards, in need of an upgrade)

The cards for Siebert and Foster included a “Traded to San Diego Padres” note on the back, but none of the other cards reflect the deal in any way.

If you were wondering, the PTBNL was Danny Breeden, a catcher who appeared on “Rookie Stars” cards in 1969 and 1970 Topps.

I’m going to wrap this up with another pair of trades which probably had someone at Topps pulling their hair out.

On August 19th, 1974 the Twins traded Jim Holt to the A’s for Pat Bourque.  Holt got some minimal airbrushing in 1975 Topps.

I would image that similar steps were taken to get an image of Bourque to show him with the Twins, but on October 23rd, Borque was traded back to the A’s for “Disco Dan” Ford (whose rookie card came in 1976) and a minor leaguer.

Bourque ends up in 1975 Topps with the A’s…

And the back of this card starts off by saying he “came to the Twins” and then ends with “He returned to A’s during off-season”.

(FYI, I adjusted the brightness and contrast of this image to make it easier to read… the card doesn’t actually look like this)

The kicker of all of this is that Bourque didn’t play for the A’s in 1975… he was cut during Spring Training and would play the next four seasons in the Mexican League.

2012 Topps New York Mets Retail Team Set

I’m a recent convert to those team sets that are sold in retail stores, the kind which are 17 card sets in a little hanger package, and with their own individual numbering.

I ignored these for the longest time because I collect the flagship Mets team sets and I said “Why do I want these cards, I’ve already got cards which are essentially the same!”

Some recent acquisitions have made me change my tune on these, and I’ve decided that I will chase team sets I’ve missed and those going forward.

One of the team sets that are the most fun for a holdout like me is the 2012 Mets team set, which has one card which is unique to that set, and six more which use different photos… I’m going to run through those in this post.

First off, the unique card features Cit Field, the Mets home.  It seems like Topps stopped including ballpark cards at some point, which is kind of a pity.  I’d rather have a header card like this than the “combo card” approach that Topps has used for the past few years.

As always, the silver foil text scans as black and gets lost against the black stripe on the “surfboard” part of the 2012 design.

Dillon Gee was a pretty good pitcher for a couple of seasons… these cards saw him coming off of a 13-6 season.  The “regular” Topps card is on the left, the team set card is on the right.

Frank Francisco was the Mets closer in 2012 and had been signed as a free agent the previous December.  I don’t know why they’d go with not-great photoshopped image on the right for the team set.

Jon Niese, who went 13-9 in 2012, was second only to Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey in the Mets rotation.

This next pairing almost tripped me up.  At first I thought the team set version of Mike Pelfrey’s card was the same photo with slightly different cropping until I noticed a key difference:  He’s wearing pinstripes in the card on the left, but not in the one on the right!

The Mets were still wearing their black alternate jerseys back at this time, much to my dismay.  I know some of the younger fans like them because the team had a notible amount of success when wearing them, but I don’t ask anyone to bring back the 1980s “racing stripe” uniforms just because of the World Champion 1986 team!  By the way, this is shortstop Ruben Tejada.

The retail team set photo is a downgrade in my book, although I understand if someone wanted an image with less visual clutter.

Last one is for the recently-retired Daniel Murphy.  If the Mets knew how much he would come back to haunt them, they surely wouldn’t have let him leave as a free agent.

The remaining 10 cards in the retail team set are pretty much the same as the flagship Topps cards, just with different numbering.

I’ll be back with another post featuring the cards from the 2011 and 2016 Mets retail sets.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Wayne Gross to Ron Guidry

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.


1978 Topps #139

Played 1976 – 1986
1970’s Teams: A’s

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie team and was the A’s representative at the 1977 All-Star Game; Involved in a Major League record three Triple Plays in 1979 – May 7th vs. the Orioles, June 19th vs. the Royals and June 23rd vs. the Rangers

Career Highlights:
Hit a homer in the 1981 ALDS; Pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in a 16-5 loss to the Twins 5/18/83


1976 Topps #143

Played 1963 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Mets, Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the All-Star team in 1974; Played in the 1973 World Series with the Mets and the 1977 and 1978 World Series with the Dodgers; Set a Major League record with 20 putouts in the 1970 game where Tom Seaver struck out 19 Padres

Career Highlights:
A member of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”, Grote was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1992; caught a 24-inning game without an error in 1968

Fun Stuff:
Grote and several other 1969 Mets appeared in an episode of the TV series “Everybody Loves Raymond”; On September 27, 1963 the Houston Colt .45’s had a starting lineup made up entirely of rookies, including Grote, Joe Morgan, Jim Wynn and Rusty Staub

Card Stuff:
Had cards in the 1971 Topps “Baseball’s Greatest Moments” set and in 1976 Hostess; Didn’t appear in 1977 Topps despite playing in 101 games in 1976


1976 SSPC #130

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Padres, Indians, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Represented the Padres in the 1974 All-Star Game; was named to the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Was named as an outfielder on the 1970 College World Series All-Tournament team; set a Padres record with 36 doubles in 1975 (He’s currently tied for 16th on the Padres list with Tony Gwynn and Bip Roberts)

Career Highlights:
While with the Tigers he got a hit in the 1984 World Series; Made his last MLB appearance in the 1987 ALCS vs. the Twins

Fun Stuff:
Was a college teammate of pitcher Mac Scarce at Florida State

Card Stuff:
His 1975 Kellogg’s card says that he collects baseball cards “such as this one”; His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card has an airbrushed photo after he was traded to Cleveland; His 1974 rookie card has a “Washington Nat’l Lea.” variation


1971 Topps #518

Played 1961 – 1972
1970’s Teams: Senators, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Joe is here mainly as an answer to several trivia questions… He threw the final pitch and got the final out in Senators history before fans stormed the field and caused the game to be forfeited to the Yankees; Got the Senators’ final win two days earlier and final save before that

Card Stuff:
Pitched in 56 games scattered over four Major League seasons before getting a rookie card in 1969 Topps (14 years after he broke into pro ball as an 18-year-old)


1978 Topps #135

Played 1975 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
In 1978 he won the Cy Young Award and was named The Sporting News MLB Player of the Year while leading the league with 25 wins, a 1.74 ERA and 9 shutouts (a Yankees team record)… he also struck out 248 batters (also a Yankees record) and pitched 16 complete games; Received 8 first place votes in 1978 MVP voting and finished second to Jim Rice; His .893 winning percentage (25-3) in 1978 is a Major League record for a starting pitcher;  Lead the league in ERA (2.78) in 1979;  Struck out 18 Angels on June 16, 1978 to set a Yankees team record and an American League record for lefties; Was the Yankees’ opening day starter in 1978 and 1979;

Career Highlights:
Was a four-time All-Star;  Won five consecutive Gold Glove awards in the 1980s;  Also won 20 games in 1983 and 1985;  Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1984;  Has three career World Series wins and 2 career ALCS wins

Fun Stuff:
His nicknames are “Louisiana Lightning” and “Gator”;  Gave up Dick Allen’s final homer (#351) in 1977

Card Stuff:
Guidry’s 1979 Topps Burger King card uses the photo from his 1979 Topps “Record Breaker” subset card

State Of The Streamlining? Purge? De-cluttering? (Weigh-In #69)

I’ve actively collected baseball cards every year since 1974 when I was a wee Shlabotnik.  There have been years I went nuts buying cards, there have been years where I cut way back on my acquisitions, but needless to say there’s never been a year like the one just passed.

For me it was sometimes hard but it wasn’t completely bad.  The sudden downturn in incoming cards allowed for the opportunity to look around my cluttered mess of a mancave and think about what I’m trying to do and where I’m going.

For the nine year’s I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve stated that I want to reduce the size of my collection.  Thing is, I’ve never had a straightforward plan for how to do that.  I’ll admit I envy those people who can make wholesale changes along the lines of “I’m going to get rid of everything but ________” or maybe “I’m ditching anything that was issued after I hit puberty”.

I do have some bits of strategy, though.

One thing I’ve decided on is that I’m sticking with the amount of shelf space that I currently have, and I’m not going to get any more binders than won’t fit in that space.  I can upgrade bindes or change binder size, but I can’t go on just adding binders.  There are binders I haven’t pulled out in years, and what’s the point of having binders if you never look at them?

I’ve also been pulling out some of those binders and realizing that “Hey, I haven’t looked at these binders in years and I didn’t miss a lot of these cards”.

I’ve also started using a variation on a decluttering technique.  They say that instead of going through your clothes in your closet and then going through the clothes in each drawer that you should instead pull all of your clothes out and then put them back, because that’s the only way you’ll realize that you have 527 concert t-shirts (or whatever).

I’ve discovered the same is true for card sets.  I might look at my 1991 Upper Deck cards and say “Well, I don’t collect Wade Boggs but the dude’s a HOFer so I’ll keep the card where it is”, and then later I look at 1991 Bowman and 1991 Leaf and 1991 Stadium Club and say the same thing each time.  It’s only when I pull out all of my 1991 cards and go through them as a whole that I realize “Holy crap, I’ve got seventeen 1991 cards of a guy I don’t collect!”

I’m doing this with a couple of years so far, most recently with 1991 (341 cards removed so far) and 2005 (721 after the first pass).  Not earth-shattering, but it does help me get rid of cards where I wouldn’t otherwise realize the redundancy in my collection.

So that’s what I’ve been doing… As for *how* I’ve been doing, let’s get into the “Weigh-In” numbers for the 4th quarter of 2020.  To visually spice things up I’ve added in some random cards I got at my last card show which, sadly, was a year ago this month.

So let’s kick things off as usual with my mission statement:  Posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 10/11/2020 to 1/5/2021):
Net change in the collection: -11 (779 added, 790 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +684 (777 in, 93 out)

Having my collection reduced by 11 cards might not seem like much to you, but this was exciting to me. It’s the first time this number has gone down in a while.

Year-end numbers for 2020:
Net change in the collection: +279 (1,905 added, 1,626 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +2,113 (2475 in, 362 out)

My “In/out of the house” numbers are stunted because it’s only showing cards sent out in trades and junk wax cards which have gone into the recycling. I normally give away cards at Halloween, but that didn’t happen this year. I didn’t send any cards to COMC because they suspended the cheap procesing option I normally use (I don’t sell many big $$$ cards). I also haven’t dropped any cards off at Goodwill because I just haven’t.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 14,929
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,357

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 52,946
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -13,161

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 71,003
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,494 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $66.54

This quarter’s spending consisted of a 2020 Topps Factory set and a handful of retail packs. Almost all of my hobby time has been spent organizing.

Average per month for 2020: $76.66
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016: $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016.  The spending for the first two years is lower because there weren’t any card shows local to me at that time.

One thing that’s very telling about my spending this year… I spent more in the first quarter ($271.71 spent at two card shows and on still-available retail) than I did the whole rest of the year ($188.23)

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 981 set definitions (up 14 from the last weigh-in) and 244,564 card definitions (up 3,316 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.