Fast Five: Card #383 from 1974 to 1978 Topps

I’ve done this type of post before as a way to do a quick post that requires little thought, but also gives me a chance to revisit cards from my first five (and favorite five) baseball card sets.

I said “Requires little thought” but in truth I had to do some math…  I was going to stick to my theme of using the Julian date, but card #18 from these sets includes 2 team cards which didn’t give me much to talk about, so I extended 2017:  18 + 365 = 383.

…And it’ll actually be *six* cards when I’m done, but “Fast Six” doesn’t have the alliteration going for it.

Card #383 from 1974 Topps – Phillies Team

…and of course I start with a team card.  The 1974 Phillies went 80-82 under Danny Ozark.  The best players were Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton… I’ll leave it to someone else to find those two in the photo.

Card #383 from 1975 Topps – Jim York

Jim York was a reliever who spent most of his career splitting seasons between the Majors and AAA.

I can’t find a whole lot to say about him – sorry, Jim – other than this:  Searching on “Jim York Baseball” brings up everybody named ‘Jim’ who ever played baseball for a New York team.

Card #383 from 1976 Topps – John Ellis

John Ellis played 13 seasons in the Majors and was the Indians’ first designated hitter.  He was traded to the Rangers during the Winter Meetings in December, 1975…

…which leads to the “Bonus Card” for this post…

Card #383T from 1976 Topps Traded – John Ellis

The Topps airbrush guy got a break with this one… he basically had to change the Indians’ navy blue to the Rangers’ royal blue.  Ellis was traded for Ron Pruitt and Stan Thomas.

Card #383 from 1977 Topps – Stan Bahnsen

Stan Bahnsen was the 1968 A.L. Rookie of the Year, going 17-12, 2.05 with the Yankees that year.  Bahnsen would pitch for 16 years with 6 teams.

Bahnsen’s nickname was “The Bahnsen Burner”… I’d never heard that before, but I really like that.

The cartoon from the back of Bahnsen’s 1977 card is a bit… racier… than you’d expect on a baseball card.

All of the adolescent boys were probably thinking “Hmmm… ‘Damn Yankees’, huh?  I’ll have to check that out…”

Card #383 from 1978 Topps – Mario Mendoza

As soon as I saw this card, the first thing I wanted to know is whether Mario Mendoza hit above The Mendoza Line in 1978.

Yep, he batted .218 in 57 games.  He was traded to the Mariners for the 1979 season, played a career-high 148 games… and batted .198.  Needless to say, he was an exceptional defender.

…and after 40 years I’m still not sure how I feel about those Pirates gold and black pinstripes…

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Fast Five: Card #349 from 1974 to 1978 Topps

Today is the 349th day of 2017 and I’m featuring five cards numbered 349 from 1974 through 1978 Topps. The first time I did this, the response was “crickets”… but that’s better than “sad trombone”, so I decided to give it another try.  Perhaps this time I’ll move up from “crickets” to “Whuh?”

Card #349 from 1974 Topps – John Vukovich
John Vukovich was the 10th overall draft pick in 1966, but he’d never play more than 74 games in any Major League season. While he struggled to hit above The Mendoza Line, he was a defensive standout and a favorite among fans and teammates. He spent 24 seasons in a Phillies uniform as a player and coach, and would be inducted into the Phillies’ Wall of Fame in 2007.

Card #349 from 1975 Topps – Ray Sadecki
Ray Sadecki pitched 18 years in the majors, put in two stints each with the Cardinals and Mets, won 20 games in 1964 and lost 18 in 1967. In 1966 he was traded straight up for future HOFer Orlando Cepeda.

Card #349 from 1976 Topps – Walter Johnson from the All-Time All Stars subset
Walter Johnson… What do I say about Hall-Of-Famer Walter Johnson? For a quick visual representation of how dominant a pitcher he was, go look at how his Baseball Reference page is peppered with bold “league leader” type.

Card #349 from 1977 Topps – Jim Holt
Jim Holt didn’t play in the Majors after 1976; he spent 1977 with two teams in the Mexican League, and that ended his career. Before that he played 9 seasons with the Twins and A’s, and went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI in the 1974 World Series.

Card #349 from 1978 Topps – Rick Camp
Rick Camp pitched 9 years for the Braves and his only career homer came against the Mets at 3:30am in the bottom of the 18th inning of a game which started on July 4th, 1985 and which the Braves had been losing 11-10. The Mets would score 5 runs in the top of the 19th, the Braves would score two in the bottom of the 19th and Camp took the loss. The final linescore: Mets scored 16 runs on 28 hits and 2 errors, the Braves scored 13 on 18 hits and three errors.

…Oh, and the post-game fireworks show went off as scheduled… at 4am.

Fast Five: Card #339 From 1974 – 1978 Topps Baseball

Why #339?  Today is the 339th day of 2017.

Why 1974 to 1978?  Those are the first five sets I collected, the first five I completed and among my all-time favorite sets.

Yeah, OK… but WHY?  Because I need to devote time to organizing my collection, which means I wanted some ideas for posts I could do without much mental effort… and featuring five different cards with the same card number from those five sets seemed like a potentially fun idea.  I guess we’re about to find out if this is the case…

#339 from 1974 – All-Star Pitchers (Jim Hunter and Rick Wise)

You’re probably not surprised at Catfish Hunter starting the 1973 All-Star Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the most you know about Rick Wise is that he’s the guy the Cardinals got for Steve Carlton in 1972.

In the All-Star game, Rick Wise pitched 2 innings and got the win.  Hunter got a no-decision.  Rick Wise had also been traded after the 1973 season, so his regular 1974 card shows him airbrushed into a Red Sox cap.

#339 from 1975 – Jim Fregosi
Speaking of players who were traded for future HOF pitchers… Jim Fregosi was a 6-time All-Star, but those days were well behind him in 1975.

You know what struck me about this card when I was pulling it out of the binder?  Yes, it’s miscut, but why is there a strip of yellow at the top?  Every 1975 Topps uncut sheet I’ve seen is laid out so that the bottom color of one card is the top color of the card below it on the sheet…  A  miscut 1975 Fregosi like this should result in more red at the top, not a yellow strip.  Anybody have any insight into this?

#339 from 1976 – John Denny

John Denny’s 2.52 ERA in 1976 was best in the N.L., and he was just 23 years old.  He’d win the Cy Young in 1983 with the Phillies.

#339 from 1977 – Adrian Devine

Adrian Devine actually played for the Rangers in 1977, after a 12/9/76 trade.  His 1978 card shows him with the Rangers… but Devine had been traded back to the Braves on 12/8/77.  Just to screw with Topps one more time, Devine was traded back to the Rangers on 12/6/79, but he appeared with the Braves in the 1980 set.

#339 from 1978 – Mario Guerrero

Guerrero played his last game with the Angels in 1977.  He signed with the Giants as a free agent in November 1977… and at the beginning of the 1978 season, he was sent to the A’s as the “Player To Be Named Later”  in the trade which sent Vida Blue to the Giants.

Just to make it even more fun from a baseball card standpoint, Guerrero’s first game of 1978 was against the team he’s pictured with.

Cards That Ain’t Never Been: 1976 Topps Larry Milbourne

…Because the name “Cards That Never Were” has already been taken…

While researching yesterday’s post, I stumbled across a nice photo of Larry Milbourne in the Astros uniform of the mid 1970’s.  I said to myself “I can’t NOT make a custom out of this baby.”

And so…
1976 Cards That Ain't Never Been Larry Milbourne

Larry Milbourne’s rookie card was 1975 Topps, but even though he appeared in 73 games in 1975 and 53 games in 1976, he did not appear on another Topps card until 1978 (with the Mariners).  Looking back with 20-20 vision, I think Larry deserved a 1976 card more than Tommy Helms (64 games in 1975),  Jerry DaVanon (32 games), or maybe Skip Jutze (51 games, but you have to cut him some slack because he was a backup catcher).

 

I Don’t Normally Do Things Like This, But……… 1,000th Post! Yay!

Holidays and blog anniversaries come and go with little mention from me, but there’s something about the odometer rolling over that makes me want to do something special!

Something like…

…uhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmm…

…like…

…like…

Oh, bloody hell.

What can I do that’s special?

Wait a minute… there is something I can share that’s truly one of a kind…

Back when I was a kid, I wanted to be the guy who worked for Topps and painted the new caps on guys who had been traded.  I loved baseball cards, I had a modicum of artistic talent, what better way to put those together into a career?

At some point I decided to give it a try myself… Only I didn’t have any idea of what they used to do this.  I went ahead and used what I had at hand:  The paint brushes and Testors paint we used for painting our model cars.  My canvas would be some doubles I had laying around.

The results were… Interesting.

Brushed 1974 Bill Robinson

Bill Robinson got traded from the Phillies to the Pirates before the 1975 season;  I don’t know if my artwork was necessarily done before there were any other cards that showed Bill Robinson as a Pirate, but I certainly gave it a try.  It’s a shame that the scan doesn’t do justice to my (*ahem*) interesting brushwork.

Some months before Robinson moved to Pittsburgh, a Chicago Legend got traded to the A’s.  Again, I made an attempt to update a card I had.

Brushed 1974 Billy Williams

The card already came with a yellow background, so maybe I shouldn’t have given him a yellow jersey… But I will point out that I sweated the details on this one and painted in Williams’ stirrups and sleeves.

This next card is kind of sloppy, but it shows that I wasn’t afraid to go rogue…

Brushed 1976 Ed Halicki

I clearly wanted to practice painting a guy into a yellow-paneled Brewers cap (which I always liked for some reason), but the thing is that Ed Halicki never pitched for the Brewers.  Maybe I had to make do with the cards I had on hand.

This next cards is fairly easy to put a date to… Manny Sanguillen was sent from the Bucs to the A’s in November, 1976, and then back to the Pirates in April, 1978.  This next card was clearly made in between those two dates:

Brushed 1974 Manny Sanguillen

My updating Joe Rudi into a Angels uniform is one of the worst attempts I made, but I give myself bonus points for painting the whole jersey white and trying to do the numbers.
Brushed 1974 Joe Rudi

This is another card that was probably attempted in 1977 (Rudi’s first year with the Angels).  In case you’re wondering what the deal is with that weird marking which runs from his face into the corner of the photo… that’s a printing flaw, and most likely the reason why I chose this card for my experimentation.

The last card I’m going to share with you is one where I’m not sure what I was doing… Maybe just cleaning excess paint off my brush. It made me laugh, though…
Brushed 1975 Reggie Jackson
It shows that my dislike for Reggie Jackson clearly goes back many years.


So there we have it, post # 1000.  I still enjoy the blogosphere, I’ve got hundreds of scanned images and many, many pages of blogging ideas, so I promise you I’m not going anywhere anytime soon… not unless all of you leave first, and then it all becomes fairly pointless.  It sounds trite, but it’s all of you who keep this fun for me, and I appreciate all the feedback I’ve received over the past 3+ years.

What 1970’s Caps, Jerseys Or Logos Would You Revive?

I’ve got this theory about baseball uniforms.

More so than other sports, over the past 10-20 years, baseball uniforms have gotten more “traditional”, and I put “traditional” in quotes because tradition often means whatever you grew up with… Just like the best year there ever was for music was whatever year it was when you were twelve.

A lot of the current bunch of owners grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, and when they think of what a baseball uniform should look like, that era is what they go to.

If I’m right about this, then it won’t be long before another group of owners come in, owners who grew up in the 1970’s, the decade of polyknits and powder blue road unis and elastic waistbands.

Throwing back to the Seventies may not be an entirely bad thing.  Baseball uniforms have gotten overly conservative in color and design, and it might be time to bring back a little “Seventies” in the same way that the current Blue Jays uniforms are updates of their original 1977 unis.

1978 Topps Rick Cerone

With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to run through some of the 1970’s hats, jerseys, or logos that I’d like to see brought back, even if just as an alternate.

…and don’t worry, I won’t suggest anything to do with these leisure suit monstrosities:

1978 Topps Kevin Bell

I’ve so much disdain for those White Sox uniforms that I didn’t even go back and correct the scan.

…But here is what I would like to see…

The red Red Sox cap (1975 – 1978)

I’ve never been a fan of the Red Sox, but I’ve always liked the 1970’s red and navy cap.  I liked the cap so much in my younger days that I even owned one… and looking back on that, wearing a Red Sox cap on Long Island may not have been one of my better ideas… not that anyone ever gave me grief over it, but still…

1976 Topps Cecil Cooper

By the way, the Red Sox have tweaked their road jerseys for 2014, and the lettering will be basically the same what Cecil Cooper is wearing — something I see as a definite improvement.

The angular Cleveland Indians cap logo (1973 – 1977)

I’m going to suggest this Cleveland Indians cap logo as an improvement not because it’s an inspired design, but simply because it’s the best Indians cap logo from the past 50 years… at least it is to me, but it’s what they wore the first four years I followed baseball, so I’m biased.

1976 Topps Buddy Bell

From a purely visual standpoint, it may not be as good as Chief Wahoo, but even if you take the stance that naming a team “Indians” is meant to honor Native Americans, you can’t say the same about Chief Wahoo.  Chief Wahoo is just flat-out mean spirited, and I wouldn’t suggest that as an option.

the Brewers’ Yellow Panel Road Cap (1974 – 1977)

What the Brewers have now… it’s  not bad, but it’s… I don’t know.  It leaves me cold.  If you’re going to be blue and gold, be BLUE and GOLD.  I like the yellow-panel cap, and I’m partial to the the “typeface M” cap, but I know the “M-B Glove” logo is popular and would definitely be an improvement over what they have now.

1978 Topps Charlie Moore

The Tigers’ road Jersey (1972 – 1993)

Road jerseys that have solid navy or black lettering with no trim to offset the darkness are just “blah”…  Too “Dark Knight”.  I want to see something else.  Hell, even the Yankees have white trim to offset the navy, and that makes it “pop” a little bit.  The Tigers could do a lot worse than going with something like this:

1977 Topps Ben Oglivie

I won’t ask for the road cap as well…  It’s not bad, but the standard Tigers cap is a classic you don’t mess with.

Padres

I was going to gather together some Padres caps and jerseys that I like, but I quickly realized that it would probably be a post of its own.  I’ll summarize my take on the Padres uniforms in two words:

Brown.

Gold.

“Fauxback” alternates I’d like to see:  The Nationals wearing pseudo-Expo uniforms

Honorable Mention:  I know the Nats downplay their Montreal roots, but how cool would it be if they did Expos throwbacks, complete with tri-color cap?  They could swap the curly W for the Expos logo, but go with everything else.

1976 Topps Larry Parrish

WhICH uniform elements from the 1970’s would you like to see teams bring back?

Do you think I’m totally off-base on these?  Would you rather see the Astros’ “rainbow” jerseys or the return of powder-blue road jerseys?

…or would you leave the Seventies dead and buried?

Take Two Mets And Call Me In The Morning

At the beginning of the week I was talking to my friend Frieda, who’s a Braves fan. Forgetting who was playing who after the wild card games, I said that the only matchup that could result in my rooting for the Braves was if they’d played the Dodgers. As a kid in the 1970’s I took a general dislike to the Dodgers, and I’ve never completely let that go.

Frieda said, “The Braves do play the Dodgers on Thursday, so are you going to root for the Braves?”

The rivalry hasn’t been much over the past 5 years, the Braves aren’t AMERICA’S TEAM! anymore, and Chipper’s gone, so I grudgingly said I would try… although I’d still be rooting for the winner to get no further than the NLDS.

So I happened to have the beginning of the game on last night. The foam tomahawks came out, the extremely obnoxious chanting started, and that was as much as I could take. Sorry, Frieda.

So my more realistic assessment of the series is that I hope it’s a high-scoring, extra-innings 5-game affair that will leave the winner worn out for the NLCS.

…and I feel a strong need to cleanse the palate…

1976 Topps Tom Seaver RB

1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Todd Hundley

…Aaaaah, that’s better.