2021 TSR Daily: With HR Derby, Draft Picks and… HOCKEY?!?

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

Freddy Peralta was named to his first All-Star team and is top 5 in the NL in strikeouts and WHIP

Charlie Blackmon could be in another uniform this time next month… and in my twisted custom logic I wanted to make sure I got him in this set as a Rockie because I’m running short on Rockies candidates for my checklist. I can always give him an “update” custom if need be.

If there are any Rockies fans out there, I’m open to nominations. Other than Blackmon I’ve already done Trevor Story, German Márquez, Jon Gray and Ryan McMahon.

Anthony DeSclafani has the league lead with 2 shutouts and has 10 wins against 3 losses. He’s one of the players who has flown under my radar because I’m not doing fantasy baseball this year… and I do kinda miss it, even if it does take a fair amount of time. I’ll have to see what I can do about 2022

I’ve watched home run derbies on TV… A couple of years ago I went to a minor league home run derby… So it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction when I say that home run derbies are dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. But I felt like I should watch this year because of Trey Mancini and Pete Alonso. It turned out that my two guys in this competition made it to the finals… and I struggled to stay awake. But I have to make a custom, right?

I made sure to get Mets bench coach Dave Jauss included in the custom, because he put on a show of a different sort by throwing pitch after pitch in the same place.

Jean Segura leads the Phillies with a .315 average, plus is among the the league leaders in a number of defensive statistics

Rookie 2nd baseman Jonathan India leads the Reds in On-Base % and stolen bases, plus he’s been hit by a pitch 14 times, tied for the most in MLB. You’d have to think he’s a ROY candidate.

Aroldis Chapman was named to the All-Star team even though his stats are not particularly impressive. I will assume I’m missing something, unless it’s mainly about his reputation and being the Yankees closer

I made up a couple of Draft Picks customs, and since I don’t want to overload on Mets customs I’ll feature the second one I made – #2 overall pick Jack Leiter, drafted out of Vanderbilt by the Texas Rangers.

One thing about Jack Leiter that I hadn’t realized until I watched the draft is that Jack looks a whole lot like Steve George.

Ha, you’re welcome 1988 Topps fans.

Jack Leiter is the son of former Major Leaguer Al Leiter, and Jack looks a lot like his old man. He also wears #22, which Al wore with the Mets and Marlins.


One more custom… this is a sort of “promo card” for a project I’ve been slowly working on for months, and which I hope that you’ll appreciate the work that went into it, even if — well, sorry, but it’s not baseball.

A little backstory… I was a big hockey fan for about 20 years and a devoted fan of the Washington Capitals, but in the late 1990’s a series of disappointing moves by the Caps and the NHL, compounded by my moving from hockey-mad Long Island to “Hockey? Whuzzat?” Shlabotsylvania made me lose interest in the league as a whole. I still enjoyed watching hockey, especially in the Olympics, but I gave up on the NHL. Over the last couple of years I’d thought about starting over with another team, since the Caps of today are still more the “ex” I grew apart from than the team I fell in love with. I made an attempt with the Rangers and Blackhawks before the pandemic, but that didn’t completely take.

I decided I’d give it one last try with the expansion Seattle Kraken, who will start play in October. They’re a bit problematic in that they are clear across the country from Shlabotsylvania, but I got a good vibe from the organization and I decided to go for it.

I haven’t paid much attention to the NHL over the past 15 or so years, so I decided I would get to know the players on my new team by making customs of them. Somewhere along the line I had the idea of making card backs as well, which is very much out of character for me.

To this former Capitals fan (and retroactive fan of the Kansas City Scouts), 1974/75 Topps is the set that most says “EXPANSION!” to me, and I kinda like the cheesy attempts to show players in uniforms which clearly weren’t for the expansion team in question.

Like Topps in 1974, I didn’t want to put a huge amount of effort into this custom set.

…But as I tend to do, I got carried away with things. I had a lot of fun trying to duplicate the card backs, something I’d never really tried to do before. I also wasn’t sure what to do about duplicating the cartoons, which was a whole ‘nother rabbit hole for me.

Quick apology – if I knew I’d be writing this much about my hockey customs, I would’ve made it a separate post. Too late now. :-)

Anyway…

We’re just days away from the expansion draft… Oh, excuse me, from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft™ presented by Upper Deck. I just recently learned that it’s sponsored by Upper Deck, which I thought was an interesting sponsorship.

ANYWAY…

The expansion draft is this Wednesday, NHL rosters are already frozen in preparation and I’m ready to hit the ground running with these things. I’ve already tweeted out team-related customs and one of head coach Dave Hakstol, but the only Kraken player’s card I’ve created so far is this BLOG EXCLUSIVE card of Luke Henman who became the first player under contract to the Kraken after he was signed out of the Juniors.

I cheated a bit with the cartoon portrait of Gordie Howe on the back of the card… I tried doing it free hand but ended up digitally tracing a photo of him and used that as the ‘cartoon’.

OK, that’s enough babbling from me for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! (or “Have a good day!” if you’re reading this later)

The 1970’s, A To Z: Sparky Lyle to Rick Manning

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.


SPARKY LYLE

1974 Topps #66
(I recently upgraded to a card without paper loss, but this particular card remains in the ‘appendix’ of my 1974 binder)

Played 1967 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Won the 1977 Cy Young Award – the first time an American League reliever won that award – in a season where Lyle went 13-5 (and remember this is as a reliever) with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA;  Was named the 1972 AL Fireman of the year and got a first place vote in 1972 MVP voting; Was a three-time All-Star; Went 3-0 in postseason games, but only got 1 save out of 13 appearances; Lead the league in saves in 1972 and 1976; Got the save (and, while batting, a bases-loaded walk) by pitching a scoreless 1.1 innings in the Red Sox wild 22-11 win over White Sox, 8/30/70

Career Highlights:
Managed the Somerset Patriots, then of the independent Atlantic League, for the team’s first 15 seasons and won 5 league championships

Fun Stuff:
Famously co-wrote a book, “The Bronx Zoo”, about his 1978 season with the Yankees

Card Stuff:
Was featured in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s


FRED LYNN

1976 Topps #50

Played 1974 – 1990
1970’s Teams: Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
His 1975 season was a rookie season for the ages and won him AL Rookie of the Year, AL MVP and Gold Glove awards – the first time that anyone won the ROY and MVP in the same season (Ichiro later duplicated that feat); In that 1975 season he lead the league with 103 runs and .566 slugging %, plus also hit .331 with 21 homers and 105 RBI; This came after a September 1974 call-up where he batted .419 with 5 runs, 10 RBI and 2 homers over 15 games;  In 1979 he lead the league in batting, on-base and slugging (.333 / .423 / .637);  Hit a homer and had five RBI in the 1975 World Series; Was the AL’s starting center fielder in the 1976, 1978 and 1979 All-Star games; His 16 total bases on 6/18/75 set an AL record (3 homers, a triple and a single) and that game made him one of a fairly small number of players with 10 or more RBI in a game

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in nine straight seasons; Won four Gold Gloves; Was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007; Was a two-time College All-American; Was named the MVP of the 1982 ALCS even though his Angels lost to the Brewers; Hit a grand slam in the 1983 All-STar game and was named the game’s MVP

Fun Stuff:
At USC, was a teammate of Rich Dauer, Steve Kemp and Roy Smalley; Did a guest appearance on Fantasy Island

Card Stuff:
His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is missing the All-Star banner;  In the 1982 Topps/K-Mart MVP box set, Lynn’s multi-player 1975 rookie card was turned into a solo “card that never was”


Moving on to the letter M


GARRY MADDOX

1977 Kellogg’s #37

Played 1972 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Giants, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Was named an outfielder on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookies team (although his 1973 card did not show the All-Star Rookie Cup logo); Finished with the 3rd-best batting average in 1973 and 1976

Career Highlights:
One of the premier center fielders of the 1970s, Maddox won eight Gold Gloves over his career; Was named the winner of the 1986 Roberto Clemente Award for players who combine good play with strong presence in the community; Won a World Championship with the 1980 Phillies; Was inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 2001

Fun Stuff:
Mets broadcaster and baseball HOFer Ralph Kiner once said “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.”; Garry appeared with his Phillies teammates in a “1980 World Series edition” of the Family Feud (video below)

Card Stuff:
His 1979 Burger King card is cropped somewhat differently from his 1979 Topps card


BILL MADLOCK

1977 Topps #250

Played 1973 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
During the 1970s he lead the NL in batting twice (1975 and 1976) and batted no worse than .298; After playing 21 games for the Rangers as a September call-up, he was one of two prospects traded to the Cubs for Fergie Jenkins; Was named the 3rd baseman on the 1974 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Finished 3rd in 1974 NL Rookie of the Year voting; Was the co-MVP (along with the Mets’ Jon Matlack) of the 1975 All-Star Game… Madlock hit a 2-run single in the top of the 9th to put the NL ahead to stay; Got a 1st place vote in 1979 MVP voting but still finished in 18th behind co-winners Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell; Won a World Championship with the Pirates in 1979 after starting that season in San Francisco

Career Highlights:
Was a batting leader four times and has a career average of .305; Was an All-Star three times; Holds the Cubs career record with a .336 batting average; Was in the postseason with the Dodgers in 1985 and Tigers in 1987

Fun Stuff:
Played in 1988 for the Lotte Orions in Japan

Card Stuff:
His O-Pee-Chee card has a different photo that’s been airbrushed to place him on the Giants after a February, 1977 trade; His 1975 Hostess card has a corrected error where he’s listd as a pitcher


1977 O-Pee-Chee #56


RICK MANNING

1976 Topps #xxx

Played 1975 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Was the 2nd overall draft pick in 1972, after the Padres selected IF/C Dave Roberts; Named to Baseball Digest’s – but not Topps – 1975 All-Star Rookie team;  Known as an outstanding defensive center fielder, he won a Gold Glove in 1976

Career Highlights:
Caught the final out of Len Barker’s 1981 perfect game

Fun stuff:
Has been a member of the Indians’ broadcast team since 1990, the longest tenure of any Indians TV broadcaster and as long as Indians’ radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton

Scandalous stuff:
I don’t normally include scandalous info in these writeups, but since this affected the future of two franchises, I decided it was worthwhile.

While recovering from a back injury in 1978, Manning stayed at the house of his best friend, Dennis Eckersley… but Manning became “involved” with Eck’s wife. Because of the resulting tensions between the two players the Indians knew they had to trade one of them and Eckersley was traded to the Red Sox just before the 1978 season

Card Stuff:
Has a rookie card in 1976 Hostess, as well as Topps, O-Pee-Chee and SSPC;  His 1976 SSPC card shows Duane Kuiper and likewise Kuiper’s card shows Manning

Kuiper’s card showing Manning (#522)

Manning’s card showing Kuiper (#529)


Here’s an episode of Family Feud 1980 World Series edition, Phillies vs. Royals… It’s clear from watching this that there were similar episodes before and after. The video quality starts out pretty poor, but it does get better

The Hostess Lowdown

Recently in my 1970s: A-Z series I’ve been making note of those players who appeared in all five Hostess sets of the 1970s.  In the comments of the most recent post, San Jose Fuji wondered how many players are represented in all five sets.

“Good question”, I thought… and here we are.

There are 33 players who are featured in all five Hostess sets.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back with another post soon!


Oh, right, like I would let an opportunity like this to go by without my over-analyzing what I found by querying my card database. As it turns out, this also gives me an opportunity to show off three Hostess cards I got at the Water Buffalo Lodge show… how fortuitous!

…Cards like this 1975 Hostess Steve Garvey.

Steve Garvey…

…make sure you’re sitting down…

STEVE GARVEY HAS ONLY FOUR HOSTESS CARDS!!!!!

Some people are outraged that Garvey isn’t in the HOF, but it’s not the only slight of his career. Apparently starting the 1977 All-Star Game, winning a Gold Glove and driving in 115 runs was not sufficient to get Mr. Garvey into the 1978 Hostess set. Go figure.

Steve Garvey is not alone.  Some other players who surprised me by not appearing in all five Hostess sets include Steve Carlton (missing from 1976), Don Sutton (1976), Carlton Fisk (1978), Rollie Fingers (1979) and Carl Yastrzemski (1978 & 1979).

Before I go any further, let’s take a quick break to show off another Hostess acquisition and then take a step back to look at the big picture.

This is the first of three Hostess cards for Rich “Goose” Gossage (1976, 1977, 1979)

There are 5 Hostess sets – 1975 to 1979 – with 150 cards each.  That gives us a total of 750 cards.  According to my findings, there are 332 different players featured in at least one Hostess set, which would average a little over 2.25 cards per player.

As I mentioned, there are 33 players who appear in all five sets:  Bill Madlock, Bobby Murcer, Buddy Bell, Cesar Cedeño, Dave Concepción, Dave Kingman, Dave Lopes, Dave Winfield, Gary Matthews, Gaylord Perry, Gene Tenace, Graig Nettles, Greg Luzinski, Hal McRae, Jim Palmer, Jim Sundberg, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Mike Hargrove, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Phil Niekro, Reggie Jackson, Rick Reuschel, Robin Yount, Rod Carew, Ron Cey, Ted Simmons, Thurman Munson, Toby Harrah, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell.

UPDATE:  There are *34* players who are in all five sets… I missed Bobby Grich because one of his Hostess cards was listed as “Bob Grich” in my database, so it didn’t sum up right.  Thanks to Dime Boxes Nick for catching that!

Robin Yount is a fairly surprising member of this list, as his 1975 Hostess card came out the same season as his official rookie card.  “Rookie year” cards don’t often show up in Hostess… for example, George Brett is also well-known for his 1975 rookie card, but didn’t show up in 1975 Hostess (and unlike Yount he got some 1974 Rookie of the Year votes).  Brett appeared in every Hostess set from 1976 to 1979.

Even more surprising on the list of Five-Timers are Mike Hargrove (who was, at least, the 1974 AL ROY) and Rick Reuschel… (FYI, this Reuschel is not one of my new cards)

As you might think, there are more players with four cards than there are with five.  I won’t list them all, but there are 42 of them.  Some of the somewhat surprising players who did appear in 4 cards include Freddie Patek, John Candelaria, John Mayberry, Jorge Orta and Willie Montañez.

…and Larry Hisle.  This well-loved example is the last of my new Hostess acquisitions.

Breaking it down the rest of the way, there are also 42 players with 3 cards, 76 with 2 cards and 139 with 1 card.

Part of why there might be a weird discrepancy of who gets in the sets and who does not is because Hostess tried to keep each team equally represented, more or less.  Generally speaking there are 5 or 6 cards per team in any given Hostess set, so that might be why 1978 has no Garvey but does have Oakland’s Earl Williams and his 38 RBI.

One thing I discovered, and which is something that isn’t all that surprising, is that there are fewer cards of the Expos and Blue Jays than there are of the other teams.  This makes sense since Hostess snack cakes weren’t sold in Canada.  Yes, the Blue Jays were an expansion team in 1977 and didn’t have much in the way of good players, but they still had about half as many cards as their partners in expansion, the Seattle Mariners.

I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could slice ‘n dice the checklists in a number of other ways, but I think this is enough for now.

2021 TSR Daily: Like Father, Like Son

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

Former Top 100 prospect Austin Hays is among the Orioles leaders in Wins Above Replacement.  I’m getting to the end of the 5th “series” in my custom set, and I’m telling you now that it’s getting more difficult to figure out which players on the last place teams deserve a custom.  My goal at the start was to have 8 customs for each team, but I’m not sure I can justify that going forward, especially after some teams will trade anyone who has any value.  We’ll see what happens.

Mike Zunino was name to the AL All-Star team for the first time in his career..

One sign of a return to normalcy is the increasing number of people throwing out the first pitch before Major League games. I ran across some photos of Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings as he was about to throw out the first pitch before a Mariners game, and I couldn’t resist giving him the Shlabotnik’s Picks treatment.

Emmanuel Clase leads Cleveland in Saves and ERA, and is one of the players received in exchange for Corey Kluber.

David Fletcher leads the league in singles and sacrifice hits and has scored more runs than any Angel not named Ohtani.

I’m still catching up on my season highlights, and I do intend to do one for Padres pitcher Daniel Camarena whose first Major League hit was a grand slam… But for now, let’s address the backlog of no-hitters and feature the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull whose no-no of the Mariners is undoubtedly one of the season’s high points for Detroit.

Closer Ryan Pressly was named to his 2nd All-Star team. This year, he’s 4-1 with 16 saves, a 1.42 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, 11.4 strikeouts per 9 innings and 9.60 strikeouts per walk

The Mets signed Taijuan Walker as rotational depth, but the newly-named All-Star with a 7-3 record and a 1.033 WHIP has made that signing an act of genius, especially when the Mets are still without Noah Syndergaard and winter acquisition Carlos Carrasco.

Cardinals closer Alex Reyes has 20 saves, 5 wins, a 1.52 ERA and was named to the National League All-Star team

One more insert to close out the “pack”…

At the Orioles game this past Friday night there were a number of fans who were there to cheer on White Sox rookie Gavin Sheets, a Baltimore native who was playing his first game at Camden Yards.  I thought this was pretty cool – I remember a Mets game in the 1990s where I got caught up in joining people around me who were cheering for Cardinals pitcher and Queens native Allen Watson.

As it turns out, it got a bit cooler because Gavin Sheets is the son of former Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets.  Gavin and his fellow second-generation Major Leaguers – there seem to be a lot of them right now – inspired me to create a new custom card I’ve been meaning to do for a year or two, one based on subsets found in 1976 and 1985 Topps, but done in the style of my current TSR Daily set.

I’ve got a couple of tweaks in mind for this, but I’m largely happy with how it turned out.  For what it’s worth, I wasn’t strictly limiting myself to Topps cards of Larry Sheets, but I thought this particular card from 1985 Topps Traded was well-suited to these purposes.

I plan on doing more of these, and I’m welcome to suggestions.  I’d like to focus on some of the lesser-known ones, as everybody already knows about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. & Sr as well as Fernando Tatis Jr. & Sr.

OK, that’s it for this week.  As a coming attraction, I’m working on insert cards for some of the players who were selected in last night’s Major League Draft.  You can bet that this Mets fan will be including Kumar Rocker… I’m still surprised that he fell down to the Mets at #10.

…And that there’s *another* player named Max Muncy… but we’ll get to that.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Davy Lopes to Greg Luzinski

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 LOPES

1977 Topps #180

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Was part of the famed Dodgers infield (along with Garvey, Russell and Cey) who played together from 1973 to 1981; Won a Gold Glove in 1978; Started the 1979 All-Star game and was also an All-Star in 1978; Was named the 2nd baseman on the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; Set a Major League record in 1975 with 38 straight stolen bases without being caught… Gary Carter ended the streak on Lopes’ 4th attempt of the 14-inning game, 8/24/75; In the 1978 postseason he hit a combined 5 homers, 10 runs and 12 RBI while batting over .300

Career Highlights:
Stole 557 bases in his career; Played in 4 World Series and won a championship with the 1981 Dodgers

Card Stuff:
Was in all five 1970s Hostess sets


JOHN LOWENSTEIN

1977 O-Pee-Chee #175

Played 1970 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Indians, Rangers, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was a member of the 1979 Orioles team which beat the Angels in the ALCS but lost to the Pirates in 7 games; Hit a walk-off pinch-hit homer to win Game 1 of the 1979 ALCS; Hit a pinch-hit two-run double in Game 4 of the 1979 World Series; Was obtained by the Blue Jays in a December 1976 trade with the Indians, but was traded back to Cleveland at the end of Spring Training, so he never played for the Jays

Career Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the Orioles in 1983; Was inducted into Orioles Hall of Fame in 2015; Over his career he played every position except for pitcher and catcher

Fun Stuff:
Has played the most Major League games of anyone born in Montana; Majored in Anthropology at UC Riverside

Card Stuff:
His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card shown above features a Spring Training photo and a note about being traded back to Cleveland; His 1978 Burger King Texas Rangers card was an “update” of 1978 Topps, where he was pictured with the Indians

1978 Burger King Texas Rangers #21


MIKE LUM

1975 Topps #154

Played 1967 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Braves, Reds

1970’s Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the 1976 Reds; Had career highs in 1973 in average (.294), runs (74), RBI (82) and homers (14); In the first game of a doubleheader on July 3, 1970, Lum hit 3 homers and drew a bases-loaded walk in his four plate appearances

Career Highlights:
Was the first American of Japanese ancestry to play in the Majors… his mother was Japanese, and his father was an American serviceman and he was adopted by a Chinese-Hawaiian family; Was the first Hawaiian to play in the postseason; Was one of just six players ever to pinch hit for Hank Aaron

Fun Stuff:
Was the record holder of games played by anyone born in Hawaii until he was passed earlier this season by Kurt Suzuki; Was a football star in high school and got a football scholarship at Brigham Young; Played a season in Japan for the Taiyo Whales

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Shares a high #’ed 1968 rookie card with Larry Hisle


GREG LUZINSKI

1974 Topps #360

Played 1970 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
One of the top sluggers of the 1970s; Luzinski was the NL’s starting left fielder in the 1976, 1977 and 1978 All-Star Games, and was also named to the team in 1975; Hit the final homer at Montreal’s Parc Jarry, 9/26/76; Finished 2nd to Joe Morgan in 1975 NL MVP voting; Finished 2nd to George Foster in 1977 NL MVP voting with 9 first place votes; His 34 homers in 1975 was 3rd in the NL and 4 behind teammate and league leader Mike Schmidt; Played in the NLCS in 1976, 1977 and 1978 and hit 4 homers over the combined 11 games

Career Highlights:
Had four seasons of 100+ RBI; Hit 307 homers over his career; Was a four-time All-Star; Won a World Championship with the 1980 Phillies; Played for the White Sox in the 1983 ALCS

Card Stuff:
Appeared in all five 1970s Hostess sets; His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card does not have the All-Star banner at the bottom (so you can see his knees)

2021 TSR Daily: Yoán, Yusei, Ozzie and Gwen

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

Ozzie Albies was named to his 2nd All-Star team and his 59 RBI leads the league

Yoán Moncada is 3rd in the Majors with a .403 on-base % and was a finalist in All-Star voting (although after all the dust settles on injuries and such, he could still make the team)

Earlier this season Josh Donaldson was credited with scoring Major League Baseball’s 2 millionth run. There are rumors that the Mets are interested in him, which makes long-time Mets fans shudder at the thought of another “young prospect for an aging 3rd baseman” deal.

Time for the fist insert… 60 years ago, a girl name Gwen Goldman wrote the Yankees and volunteered her service as a bat girl. This type of thing just wasn’t done in 1961, and the Yankees politely declined her offer. This past week, she was brought to Yankee Stadium as a guest of honor and got to throw out the first pitch. It’s a fun story I’m not doing justice on, so go search on “Gwen Goldman” to get a better recap.

The D-Backs are 3-26 since June 2 and Merrill Kelly has all three of those wins, going 3-1 over that same span. In his last start (July 1st) Kelly got an RBI single for his second career hit and first since 2019

The Rangers’ Kyle Gibson, who was recently named to the AL All-Star team, is 6-0 with a league-leading 1.98 ERA. This is even more impressive when you consider that on Opening Day he was staked a 5-run lead in the top of the first, was rocked for 5 runs in the bottom of the 1st and his ERA was 135.00 after that first game. The Rangers are in last place and on a pace to lose 98 games, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kyle Gibson pitching somewhere else come August.

Sean Manaea leads the league in CG’s (2) and Shutouts (2), and was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for June.

Yusei Kikuchi was named to the 2021 AL All-Star team, Kikuchi’s first such honor in the USA. He’s currently 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 93 K’s

I think I’ve seen too many TV commercials recently, because in thinking of Kikuchi my brain keeps ‘playing’ Lisa Loeb singing “Yusei, I got a crack in my windshield…”

I’ve been on a custom kick this past week, so I got to catch up on my highlights inserts (but I won’t share them all right now, there was quite a backlog). It seems only fitting that I pair up a couple of highlights which both happened on June 25th…

First off, four Cubs pitchers combine to no-hit the Dodgers. Ho-hum.  For me, the Dodgers involvement is the highlight of this no-no.

I’ve got another two no-hitter “Highlights” customs to share, and maybe by then there will be a couple of more to add to my backlog.

That same day in Queens, Aaron Nola struck out 10 consecutive Mets to tie a National League record set by Tom Seaver.  I’m happy for Nola, a guy I semi-collect after seeing him pitch in the minors, but did it *have* to be the Mets?  On the other hand, it’s cool that both events happened on more-or-less the same site given that Citi Field was built next to Shea Stadium.

And that’s it for this week!

The 1970’s, A To Z: Paul Lindblad to Jim Lonborg

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.


PAUL LINDBLAD

1974 Topps #369

Played 1965 – 1978
1970’s Teams: A’s, Senators, Rangers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
In the 1973 World Series, Lindblad got the win after pitching two scoreless relief innings in Game 3;  In that same game he was the last pitcher to face Willie Mays, getting him to ground out in a pinch-hit at bat; Combined with Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott and Rollie Fingers to no-hit the Angels on the last day of the 1975 season;  was on three World Championship teams (1973 & 1974 A’s, 1978 Yankees);  would’ve gotten the last win in Senators history had the game not been forfeited because of fans rushing the field;  His 66 appearances in 1972 was the most in the American League

Career Highlights:
Had 385 consecutive errorless games

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Appeared in 1979 Topps with the Yankees, but had been purchased by the Mariners in November 1978 and then cut at the end of 1979 spring training


BOB LOCKER

1970 Topps #249

Played 1965 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Brewers, A’s, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the A’s in 1972; In the fall of 1972 Locker was traded from the A’s to the Cubs for Bill North… a year later he was traded back to the A’s for Horacio Pena… a year after that he went back to the Cubs as part of a package for Billy Williams; Got the first save in Brewers history in an 8-4 win over the White Sox 4/11/70

Career Highlights:
Pitched in 576 career games without a single start;  lead the AL with 77 appearances in 1967;  pitched for the Seattle Pilots and moved with the team to Milwaukee

Card Stuff:
Locker’s 1973 card has him airbrushed into a full Cubs uniform… but very clearly without a number on his back; Because he ‘rode the shuttle’ between the A’s and Cubs, his 1974 Topps Traded card has an actual photo of him in an A’s uniform, rather than the typically airbrushed uniform. Similarly, his 1975 card has him in a Cubs uniform while the other three players in the same deal are all airbrushed


SKIP LOCKWOOD

1976 Topps #166

Played 1969 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Angels, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Was a starting pitcher with the Brewers but was converted to a reliever when he was traded ot the Angels; His 19 saves with the Mets in 1976 was 2nd-most in the NL; Was part of a 9-player trade between the Brewers and Angels in October 1973

Career Highlights:
Broke into the Majors in 1965 as an 18-year-old “Bonus Baby” infielder with the Kansas City A’s and was converted to a pitcher in 1968

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Shares a 1965 rookie card with Jim Hunter and John Odom; His 1975 card has a note on the back about his being traded to the Yankees, but he never played for the Bronx Bombers, instead having been released at the beginning of the season; Appeared in 1981 Topps and Donruss, but not 1981 Fleer


MICKEY LOLICH

1975 Hostess #6

Played 1963 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Mets, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Had two 20-win seasons and two seasons where he lead the league in losses; In 1971 he won 25 games, lead the league with 308 strikeout and got 9 first place votes while finishing 2nd to VIda Blue in AL Cy Young voting; His 300 K’s that year is still a Tigers’ single-season record; In 1972 he won 22 games, struck out 250 and finished third behind Gaylord Perry in Cy Young voting; Got a Save in the 1971 All-Star Game; In 1975 he passed Warren Spahn as the lefty with the most career strikeouts and he finished with 2,832, but has since been passed by Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson; Lolich retired after the 1976 season with the Mets, but came out of retirement to pitch in relief for the Padres in 1978 and 1979

Career Highlights:
Was named the MVP of the 1968 World Series after winning 3 complete games and finishing with a 1.67 ERA and 21 strikeouts; Holds Tigers career records with 459 Games Started, 2,679 strikeouts and 39 Shutouts; Won 217 career games; Held a Tigers record with two 16 strikout outings, a record since broken by Anibal Sanchez

Fun Stuff:
Was a natural righty, but learned to throw lefty as a boy because of a broken right arm; Played “First Security Guard” in a 1977 movie called “The Incredible Melting Man”; His one career home run came in the 1968 World Series; His cousin Ron Lolich was an outfielder and appeared on a 1971 Topps White Sox “Rookie Stars” card

Card Stuff:
Because he was retired in 1977, he did not appear in 1978 Topps, but he otherwise appeared in every Topps flagship set from 1964 to 1980


JIM LONBORG

1974 Topps #342

Played 1965 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched just one season for the Brewers sandwiched between two large multi-player deals, but Lonborg left a mark on the team… He had a team-high 14 wins and 143 strikeouts; He was the last Brewers pitcher to bat before the implementation of the DH; Pitched a scoreless 22nd inning to get the save in the Brewers 22-inning 4-3 win over Twins 5/12/72; Had a resurgence with the Phillies, winning 17 games in 1974 and 18 games in 1976

Career Highlights:
Won the 1967 Cy Young award while he was with the Red Sox… That season he went 22-9, 3.16 with 246 strikeouts, 15 complete games and 2 shutouts and lead the league in wins and Strikeouts; Had 2 CG wins in the 1967 World Series; Was inducted into the Stanford University Hall of Fame

Fun Stuff:
Got a degree in dentistry after he retired as a player, and maintained a practice until 2017; In the TV show “Cheers”, the photo behind the bar that was supposed to be Sam Malone during his playing days was actually a picture of Lonborg

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s

Impulse Buys At The Water Buffalo Lodge Show

So this past weekend I went to my first card show in 16 months.  It was a small, local show, but it was a show, so I gladly went and was relatively free-spending… By my standards, anyway.  I went many years without having a local show, so as an attempt to make it worthwile for the show promoter and dealers to maintain a local show, I try to be a little less cheap at this show than I would normally be.

I’m going to get at least a few posts out of my card show haul, but since the vast majority of you wouldn’t know (or care) which local show it was, I figured I’d have a little fun with it… so as far as you’re all concerned, I went to the show at the Shlabotsylvania Water Buffalo Lodge.  I even dusted off my Water Buffalo hat for the occasion!

As I mentioned, I was a tiny bit loose with the cash, and part of that was making some impulse purchases which aren’t for any defined goals of mine.  As it turned out, my impulse buys fell into two categories:  Houston Colt .45’s cards, and 1963 Post Cereal cards.

You may be familiar with my “Dead Parrot” project involving hockey teams which no longer exist… well, that’s had the side effect of increasing my interest in baseball teams which no longer exist… at least, not under the same name.  That’s the main reason I threw a couple of Houston Colt .45’s in my pile.

The Colt .45’s  Bob Bruce won 15 games in 1964, and according to the back of this card he threw a one-hitter against the Reds in 1963, with Vada Pinson being the lone Red to get a hit.

Update:  I was informed (via Twitter) by Kurt Blumenau that Bob Bruce pitched a 12-inning CG shutout in the final game at Houston’s Colt Stadium.

I’m not a gun guy – it’s the proverbial “couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn” situation – but I do appreciate these Colts uniforms.

Hal Brown was wrapping up a 14-year Major League career in 1964. In 1963 he walked just 8 batters over 141.1 innings

I don’t know whether Topps used COLTS on these cards for artistic reasons, as shorthand or as a way of backing away from the gun theme, but I find that I end up referring to the team as the Colts, even when I’m just thinking about the team.

BTW, I did get another Colts card, but that’s going to get featured in a future post about a particular potential project.

The next batch are all 1963 Post cereal cards which came out of the same very large discounted vintage box.  I’m not chasing anything more than team sets and player collections from the various 1960s Post sets, but I’ve grown to love the sets and kind of had it in mind to accumulate as many cheap ones as I can find.

Lee Walls has an interesting place in Mets history, as is hinted at on his Post card. He was selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft.  The way I’ve heard it Walls told the team “I’d sooner retire”, so the Mets flipped him to the Dodgers. The Mets got Charlie Neal – one of the better 1962 Mets – out of the deal so I suppose it was all good.

Leo “Chico” Cardenas ended up in my stack as he’s a player I would’ve recognized when I was a kid — his last couple of cards came in 1975 and 1976 Topps.  At the time of this card he was still a promising shortstop, but he would be a 5-time All-Star with the Reds and Twins

In 1962 Norm Siebern scored 114 runs and batted in 117 for a KC Athletics team that lost 90 games.  I don’t really remember why I grabbed this card, I think I just like the KC Athletics hat

In quickly flipping through the box of cards, I mistook Ed Bressoud for Ed Bouchee, who was also taken by the Mets in the expansion draft. Bressoud was taken by the Colts in the draft, but flipped to the Red Sox.

This Jackie Brandt fits into my Orioles team collection, plus I kinda like that there’s a little piece of someone else’s card in the lower left.

I kinda like this Ken McBride card for reasons I can’t explain. Good thing I have a Baseball Encyclopedia in my house, otherwise I’d never know his career numbers.  McBride was a three-time All-Star and started the 1963 game, but “arm troubles” derailed his career.

So these 6 cards bring my 1963 Post “set build” up to 15 cards out of 200.  Woo-hoo!  I don’t see myself even attempting to actually build this set, but I enjoy slowly accumulating well-loved cards.

As I mentioned, I have a bunch more to show you from the Water Buffalo Lodge show… I’m thinking the next post will be about projects I’m thinking about but haven’t officially started… and that 3rd Colts card does fall into that category

2021 TSR Daily: Gang Aft Agley

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

While getting this post ready, I realized that all of the plans I’d had for “inserts” never got completed; I had intended to do a couple of Highlights from last week, plus I’ve been working on a 3-D insert, but you can blame my Pandemic Brain for the failure.  I got distracted by yet-to-be-released custom card project which is taking me in somewhat new directions that are giving me some fun challenges.

While ruminating on my missed opportunities, in my head I could hear the Scottish poet Robert Burns — “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley” — as read by my English teacher from 40 years ago.  Imagine an Italian-American woman from New York endearingly attempting a Scottish accent, and you’ll get the idea of why this stuck with me all of these years.

…Anyway…

There *is* one insert this week, I’ll leave that for the end.

Jake Cronenworth was the 2nd baseman on the 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie team, had tied for 2nd place in NL Rookie of the Year voting and is in the Padres’ top 3 in runs, hits, batting and On-Base %

I’ll admit, Pirates reliever Richard Rodríguez had escaped my attention… but in a Twitter conversation with a couple of Pirates fans (including Bob Walk The Plank), it was made known to me that he should have a card in flagship Topps, as well as my modest little custom set.  Rodriguez has 10 saves, a 3-1 record, a 1.78 ERA and a 0.692 WHIP while making 29 appearances for the 29-47 Pirates.

Casey Mize, ranked among the Tigers’ top prospects and top 30 in the Majors, rode a hot May into Rookie of the Year consideration.  In his five starts in May, he went 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 27 strikeouts.

Former All-Star Whit Merrifield currently leads the majors with 21 stolen bases.  He also leads the Royals in runs, hits and doubles.

Earlier this month Starling Marte was named the NL Player of the Week after going 14-for-28 with a double, 2 homers, 4 stolen bases, 8 runs and 5 RBI

Nathan Eovaldi leads the Red Sox staff with a 8-4 record and leads the league by allowing just 0.397 home runs per 9 innings pitched

Willson Contreras caught the Cubs’ no-hitter last week and is one of the finalists in 2021 All-Star voting

Here’s the insert, it’s of a little-known Yankees outfielder who is coincidentally named Joe Shlabotnik

Enjoy your week, everybody!

The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave Lemanczyk to Sixto Lezcano

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.


DAVE LEMANCZYK

1977 O-Pee-Chee #229

Played 1973 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Taken from the Tigers in the 1976 expansion draft, Lemanczyk would lead the Blue Jays with 13 wins in their first season, tying the Seattle Pilots’ Gene Brabender for the most wins by an expansion team pitcher… it was also a career high for him; Was the Blue Jays’ Opening Day Starter in 1978; Was named to the 1979 AL All-Star team

Fun Stuff:
Lemanczyk is the only player ever from Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) to make it to the Majors

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card (featured above) has a Spring Training photo to substitute for Topps’ airbrushed photo;  Lemanczyk’s son Matt was an outfielder in the Cardinals organization and had pre-rookie cards in 2004 Bowman and 2004 Topps Update, but never made it past Double-A


BOB LEMON

1978 Topps #574

Played 1946 – 1958
Managed 1970 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Royals, White Sox, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Took over as the Royals’ manager part way through the 1970 season and in 1971 he managed the team to a winning record (85-76) and a 2nd place finish (16 games behind Oakland) in just their 3rd season; Managed the 1977 White Sox to a 90 win 3rd place finish; During the 1978 season he was fired by the White Sox, hired by the Yankees and took them to a World Championship, but then fired during his second season because this was the Yankees did in the late 1970s

Career Highlights:
Was a Hall-Of-Fame pitcher who won 20 games seven times and lead the league in complete games five times; Was a 7-time All-Star; Got 10 shutouts in the 1948 season, including a no-hitter; His #21 was retired by the Indians in 1998; Was named The Sporting News’ PItcher of the Year in 1948, 1950 and 1954 (This was before the Cy Young Award was established); Won a World Championship with the Indians in 1948

Fun Stuff:
Broke into the Majors as an infielder; Replaced Billy Martin as Yankees manager and then was replaced by Billy Martin as Yankees manager; in the early 1980’s he similarly replaced and was replaced by Gene Michael


CHET LEMON

1979 Topps #333

Played 1975 – 1990
1970’s Teams: White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
All-Star in 1978 and 1979; lead the AL with 44 doubles in 1979; Started in the A’s organization as a third baseman, was involved in a June, 1975 trade which sent him to Chicago, and the White Sox moved him to the outfield; Was named to the 1976 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL in HBP 4 times; Was in the postseason twice with the Tigers and was a World Champion in 1984; Was very fast, but it mainly was about his fielding, he was caught stealing more often than he stole

Fun Stuff:
Played high school football with NFL running back Ricky Bell


DENNIS LEONARD

1978 Topps #665

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Royals

1970’s Highlights:
In 1977 he went 20-12 with 244 strikeouts, and receive 5 first place votes in Cy Young voting, but the first place votes were divided between 6 pitchers and Leonard finished 4th behind winner Sparky Lyle, Jim Palmer and Nolan Ryan; Was the Royals Opening Day Starter in 1978 and 1979; Set a still-standing Royals record with 40 starts in 1978; Holds the top 2 slots in the Royals all-time ranking of innings pitched in a season (294.2 in 1978, 192.2 in 1977)… interestingly enough, neither total lead the league

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame in 1989; Holds the Royals career records for complete games (103) and shutouts (23); Was a three-time 20-game winner and twice factored into Cy Young voting, but was never an All-Star; Pitched in the postseason 5 different seasons and pitched in the 1980 World Series (He was with the Royals when the won the 1985 World Series, but had missed most of that season with an injury)

Fun Stuff:
Appeared on Family Feud in 1980 when the Royals took on the Phillies in a World Series rematch


SIXTO LEZCANO

1977 Topps #185

Played 1974 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Brewers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1979 he won a Gold Glove and got some MVP votes during a season where he hit for a .321 average with 84 runs, 29 doubles, 28 homers and 101 RBI, all career-bests; Named the 1979 Brewers’ MVP; Lead AL outfielders in assists in 1978; Hit a grand slam on opening day in 1978 and teammates Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper hit grand slams in the following two games, marking the first time in Major League history that a team hit grand slams in three consecutive games

Career Highlights:
In 2014 the Brewers established a Wall of Honor with Lezcano being one of the initial honorees; Was the first player in MLB history to twice hit a grand slam on opening day… the first was in 1978, the second, in 1980, was a walk-off slam with two outs; Played in the 1983 World Series with the Phillies; Was part of two significant trades, the first between the Brewers and Cardinals also involved Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons… the second, between the Cardinals and Padres, saw Lezcano and Garry Templeton being sent to San Diego for Ozzie Smith

Fun Stuff:
His cousin, Carlos Lezcano, played 49 games for the Cubs between 1980 and 1981; Played in Japan for the Taiyo Whales