Contrast & Compare: Will & Woodie Show Us Two Sides Of A Trade

On December 16th, 1976 there was a trade made between the Montreal Expos and the Cincinnati Reds. This trade happened too late for Topps to maake any changes to their 1977 set, but O-Pee-Chee went to press later and – in the inaugural year for the Toronto Blue Jays – made an effort to update player who got missed by Topps.

The Reds traded Tony Perez and Will McEnaney to the Expos for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. I’ve already featured the Perez cards here, and Dale Murray didn’t appear in the 1977 O-Pee-Chee set, but today I’m going to feature both the Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions of the Will and Woodie cards.

…And just for fun I’ll discuss how each player did in the 1977 season with their new teams.

Here are the Topps Will & Woodie cards that many of you are familiar with.
1977 Topps Will McEnaney
1977 Topps Woodie Fryman

On his OPC card, Will McEnaney looks like a guy who’s satisfied about having been updated without being airbrushed (many of the Expos and Blue Jays photos used exclusively by OPC were taken in Spring Training).
1977 OPC Will McEnaney
McEnaney was a reliever who didn’t have a huge amount of success with the 75-87 Expos. He was 3-5 with a 3.95 ERA. Interestingly enough, he finished 32 games and yet had only 3 saves.

McEnaney was one-and-done with the Expos; just before the 1978 season he was traded to the Pirates.

Woodie Fryman was coming off an All-Star season with the Expos, going 13-13 for a team which lost 107 games.  He also looks less-than-thrilled to be airbrushed into a Reds cap and a generic jersey (which isn’t even the pullover the Reds wore at the time).
1977 OPC Woodie Fryman
Woodie was 5-5 for the Reds when he suddenly retired mid-season, later deciding to return only if he was traded away from Cincinnati. During the off-season he got his wish and was traded to the Cubs.

Dale Murray went from the Expos to the Reds and, as I’d mentioned before, did not appear in the 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball set.  You’ll have to make do with the Topps card which shows Murray still in the Expos’ rouge, blanc et bleu.
1977 Topps Dale Murray
Murray worked out of the Reds’ bullpen and went 7-2 with a 4.94 ERA. He lasted slightly longer than a season with the Reds, as he was traded to the Mets the following May.

Also involved in that trade was Tony Perez:
1977 OPC Tony Perez
When I went to compare the 1976 and 1977 stats for Tony Perez, the numbers were so weirdly similar that I thought it was some sort of glitch with baseball-reference.com.  Perez improved his batting average from .260 to .283 and scored fewer runs, 71 down from 77. Here’s where the freaky-deaky part comes in: In both 1976 and 1977, he had 32 doubles, 6 triples, 19 homers and 91 RBI. The exact same numbers in four prominent categories. But I’ve confirmed it using several sources, so I’ll just go with and and proclaim it to be weird as anything.

1976 SSPC #323: Jose Morales (Expos)

1976 SSPC #323 Jose Morales
Jose Morales… played for 9 years in the Minors before making his debut at age 28, and even with the late start he still had a 12 year MLB career as an outstanding pinch-hitter and DH. At one point he had the third-most career pinch hits, but he’s been passed by Lenny Harris and others.  According to baseball-reference.com, Jose currently sits at 8th all-time (after the 2011 season).

Morales played for the A’s, Expos, Twins, Orioles and Dodgers.  He’s one of just 11 Major Leaguers from the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Among the others are Elrod Hendricks, Horace Clark, Jerry Browne, Joe Christopher and Midre Cummings.

In 1976, Jose… had 25 pinch hits, breaking a record set by Dave Philley in 1961 and tied by Vic Davalillo in 1970.  Morales’ record would stand for 19 years.  This record-breaking feat was commemorated by a 1977 Topps card and a 1977 O-Pee-Chee card (Pssst!  In 1977, OPC used different photos for both his record-breaker and his regular card).

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

I’m putting this down as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 51
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 14
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Jose is largely 1970’s-free.
Total Cards: 80
1970’s Sideburns: 40
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 25
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 18

1976 SSPC #323 Jose Morales back

Bright, Shiny New Uniforms Of 1969

One of the 73 different ways I collect – and I’m not being facetious, I made a list – is to obtain the later-series 1969 cards which feature players in their new expansion team uniforms. 

I generally like to collect cards that show any team’s first year, it’s sort of my take on the rookie card… but I really enjoy the high-numbered 1969 expansion team cards. The way it took shape that year is sort of like The Wizard Of Oz… For the first four series that year, the expansion teams were represented by bareheaded guys, or guys with blacked-out caps… drab and mundane like Dorothy’s B&W life in Kansas..
1969 Dick Selma
…And then in the 5th series – BAM! – we’re in Oz with Technicolor blues and reds and yellows and browns.

Shall we wander down the Yellow Brick Road a bit?

John Boccabella was the 56th pick in the N.L. expansion draft, having been selected from the Cubs.  I’ve always thought of him as a catcher, but it turns out that with the Cubs he was primarily an OF/1B with a handful of games behind the plate.  After the Expos drafted him, he was made more of a full-time catcher.
1969 Topps John Boccabella

Jose Arcia played in the farm systems for the Colt .45’s, Tigers, Indians and Cardinals before making his Major League debut in 1968 with the Cubs.  He’d be the 9th pick in the N.L. expansion draft, and would play 2 years with the Padres.  These days, Arcia would be called a “supersub” as he played short, second, third, left, center and first during his 293 game career.
1969 Topps Jose Arcia
Arcia appears in the 1973 Topps set as an airbrushed Royal, but he never played in a Major League game after 1970.

Tom Burgmeier was a reliever who was selected from the Angels with the 47th pick in the A.L. expansion draft (both leagues were separate entities then, and each league’s two expansion teams were stocked with players from the 10 established teams in that league).
1969 Topps Tom Burgmeier
Burgmeier is still pretty young here, but he would go on to pitch until he was 41, appearing in 745 games over 17 seasons. Of those 745 appearances, just three were starts.

It’s not clear to me when or how Gus Gil joined the Pilots, but it wasn’t through the expansion draft.
1969 Topps Gus Gil
Even though the Pilots lasted just one year before moving, Gil played in Seattle for two straight years; he spent 1968 with the Seattle Angels, which was California’s AAA team.

From a Pilots fan’s point of view, the most unfortunate thing about 1969 is that it only shows the spring training uniforms, which didn’t have anywhere near the glitz that the regular season Pilots unis had… No Pilots logo on the uniform, no sleeve striping, no “scrambled eggs” on the bill of the cap… None of the awesome stuff that Don Mincher had going on in 1970…
1970 Kellogg's Don Mincher
…after the team had already skipped town for Milwaukee.

Contrast And Compare: More 1977 O-Pee-Chee And Topps Baseball

1977 was one of the few times where Topps’ Canadian partner O-Pee-Chee attempted to build upon the Topps baseball set. This was likely due to the excitement over having two Canadian teams for the first time, as 1977 was the first year for the Toronto Blue Jays.

This first card I’m featuring is an example of Topps getting screwed by the roster shuffling of expansion teams.

Shortly after the end of the 1976 season, the Blue Jays purchased several players from the Padres, including Catcher/3rd Baseman Dave Roberts (not to be confused with 1970’s pitcher Dave Roberts).
1977 Topps Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts was the first-overall draft pick in 1972, and like Dave Winfield the following year, Roberts went straight to San Diego. He played 100 games as a rookie and made the Topps Rookie All-Star team. Roberts had some success in 1973, struggled in 1974, spent much of 1975 and all of 1976 in the minors, and it was during that time that the Padres decided to convert him to a catcher.

But then in February, 1977 the Jays traded Roberts back to the Padres for pitcher Jerry Johnson. Topps’ airbrush artists said “Son of a —-” and O-Pee-Chee said “Where are the Roberts photos that haven’t been airbrushed?”
1977 OPC Dave Roberts
Roberts would play one more season with the Padres before being involved in a five-player trade that would send him to to Texas.


Wayne Garrett was acquired from the Mets in July, 1976 and Topps used a photo of Wayne taken in Shea that August or September.
1977 Topps Wayne Garrett

O-Pee-Chee figured they could do better by their Canadian teams, so they got a more current photo taken during Spring Training in home whites.
1977 OPC Wayne Garrett
With the Mets, Garrett was a member of the 1969 Miracle Mets, and also the 1973 NL Champion Mets. Wayne lasted exactly two years with the Expos; they acquired him on 7/21/76 and sold him to the Cardinals on 7/21/78. He would finish out the season in St. Louis and then spend two seasons in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons.

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?

No Goals Here, Just Some 1977 O-Pee-Chee Baseball

I tried goals in the early days of The Shlabotnik Report. It kinda sorta helped at first, but once I got past that initial hump and my collection shifted from an ungodly mess to a merely ugly mess, the goals didn’t seem as relevant.

What are my current goals?  Knock cards off my wantlist and have fun.

How did 2013 go for me?  I knocked some cards off my wantlist and I had fun.

Some of the cards I knocked off my wantlist were 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards. For those who aren’t familiar with the significance of 1977 in the annals of O-Pee-Chee-dom, it was the year the Blue Jays entered the American League, and it was the year that O-Pee-Chee decided to make some significant changes on the Topps set that they had previously copied pretty faithfully.

There are a lot of variations in how much OPC varied from Topps; some guys who shared a Topps rookie card with 3 other guys got their own OPC card. Some guys got updated into new uniforms, or got real photos in a new uniform rather than airbrushing. Other guys had their replica autograph shifted 3 millimeters to the right, or lost their “All-Star” designation. I’m only collecting the cards that have a different photo or a significantly altered photo (usually airbrushing or lack thereof).

Here are a few of my latest and greatest, with the been-in-my-collection-since-the-Seventies Topps counterparts included.

Blue Jays’ manager Roy Hartsfield is one of the guys who gets to stretch out in his own card, rather than sharing it with 4 of his coaches.
1977 OPC Roy Hartsfield

Here’s the Topps Blue Jays team card:
1977 Topps Hartsfield and Coaches

The 4 coaches also got their own card in 1977 OPC, but I don’t have that one yet.

Gary Woods was one of the lucky rookies who was given his own card by OPC.  Gary was drafted from Oakland in the expansion draft.
1977 OPC Gary Woods

Here’s the Rookie Outfielders card that Gary Woods was condemned to in 1977 Topps:
1977 Topps Rookie Outfielders Armas et al

Tony Armas and Steve Kemp had longer careers than did Gary Woods, yet they don’t get liberated from Rookie Purgatory;  sucks to be them, they should’ve played for the Blue Jays.

Jesse Jefferson was a member of the Blue Jays’ first starting rotation. While he lost 17 games in 1977, he was fortunate to not even have the most losses on his team. The Jays lost 107 games that first year, so there were plenty of losses to go around.
1977 OPC Jesse Jefferson

The OPC card is a distinct improvement over the airbrushed Topps card.
1977 Topps Jesse Jefferson
Until I pulled this card out so I could scan it, I’d completely forgotten that someone had taken a ballpoint pen and poked little holes in Jesse’s eyes, nostrils and mouth.  I promise you, it wasn’t me who did that.  I normally don’t bother upgrading the cards I’ve had since I was a kid, but I think I should make an exception in this case.

The Expos’ Jerry White got a new photo for no apparent reason… The OPC card showcases a lovely 1976 Montreal Olympics patch on his sleeve.
1977 OPC Jerry White

Here’s the Topps version…. Both are similar Spring Training photos, but apparently OPC felt he should be pictured batting from the left.
1977 Topps Jerry White

These weren’t the only 1977 O-Pee-Chee cards I’d picked up in 2013, but the rest can wait for another day.

Happy 2014, everybody!

1976 SSPC #349 – Steve Rogers (Expos)… and QUISP!!!!

1976 SSPC #349 Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers… was one of the more dominating pitchers of the late 1970’s and spent his entire 13 year career with the Expos.  He was an All-Star five times, lead the NL in ERA in 1982, and was a runner-up in Cy Young voting (1982 – Steve Carlton won) and Rookie Of the Year (1973 – Gary Matthews won).

In three postseason starts (all in 1981), he went 3-0 with a shutout of the Phillies in Game 5 of the NLDS.  His only postseason loss unfortunately came in a relief appearance in Game 5 of the NLCS;  he gave up a homer to Rick Monday in the 9th, and the Dodgers would go on to win the game 2-1 and the series 3-2.

Rogers holds the Expos/Nationals all-time career records for games started, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts.  He’s also tied with three others for most shutouts in a season (5).

In 1976, Steve Rogers… lead the NL in losses, going 7-17 for an awful Expos team which finished with 107 losses.  Four of his seven wins were shutouts.

Shea-o-meter:  I think this is Shea, but I can’t be sure.
Shea:  27
Pretty sure it’s Shea:  6
Can’t tell:  5
Not Shea:  5

Betcha didn’t know… Steve Rogers pitched a one-hit shutout in his second Major League game, and pitched another shutout in his third.

1976 Joe says… I love the goofy expression!

2013 Joe says… I love the goofy expression!

Cardboard History: Steve Rogers’ rookie card was in 1974 Topps, and he’s one of the players whose 1977 O-Pee-Chee card has a different photo than  his Topps card.

1976 SSPC #349 Steve Rogers back

Cereal From 1976:

I was in the supermarket the other night, and I ran a display featuring a brand of cereal which I ate an awful lot of in the 1970’s:
Quisp!

I think it’s been two years since I’ve seen this in a store. If I remember correctly, it’s been sold online for quite a while, and I guess my local supermarket trots it out every year or two to see if it takes off.

For those who are cartoon geeks like I am, Daws Butler was the voice of Quisp in the commercials.

Still Recovering From The Past Week

I’m as close to being “carded out” as I’ll ever be.

I’ve spent much of the last week signed on to COMC – pricing the 500 cards I just sent in, setting up the Black Friday promotion, shopping for cards to buy, handling offers, making offers… you get the idea.

By the way, the images here are not cards I just bought on COMC, but are similar to cards I did buy. I got some 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards similar to this Ken Griffey…
1977 OPC Ken Griffey
…like the other OPC’s I bought, this Griffey uses a different photo than it’s Topps counterpart. The Topps card has a candid photo of Griffey with a bat, but his face is covered in shadow.

I spent a lot of time shopping, because I shopped in a large number of ways… Trying to complete sets, trying to complete Mets team sets, shopping from vintage sets I’m not working on completing but still like, looking for unusual cards of players I collect, looking for players to fill gaps in my “current 40 man roster” binders…

…and, of course, looking for my own copies of the awesome cards I see in everybody else’s blogs.

This is not one of those cards, that would take effort and like I said, I’m a bit burnt out.
1963 Topps Cliff Cook

BTW, the COMC promotion continues until the end of today. Check out my stuff here.

So the whole point of this is that I’ve spent most of the past 7 days sitting in front of my laptop, looking at images of cards… So forgive me if I don’t feel much like writing about cards today.

1979 Topps Andre Dawson

So have a good Cyber Monday, as well as “Last day to tender contracts to artibration-eligible players” day.

I’ll be back tomorrow with… something.

In the meantime, celebrate Britney Spears’ birthday by listening to the most incredibly awesome cover of a Britney song ever done by five guys singing  a-capella in German.

Update on 12/28/13:  Due to ongoing technical problems, I’m removing all recent embedded videos.  You can see the band Wise Guys performing “Baby, Noch Einmal (Baby, One More Time)” here.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

You’re welcome.

Saved From The Purge: More Early 1990’s Upper Deck

I’ve been purging most of the Upper Deck cards from my collection, and what follows are cards that were spared my wrath, even though they wouldn’t normally fit in my collection.

I saved this one because I liked the fairly unusual angle of this action shot.
1991 Upper Deck Carlos Martinez
Two trivial facts about Carlos Martinez:
1) He hit the home run in 1993 that bounced off of Jose Canseco’s head
2) He is the first of three Major Leaguers named Carlos Martinez. Number 3 is currently in the Cardinals bullpen.

Photobomb!
1991 Upper Deck Scott Ruskin Back

As long as I’m dishing out the trivia, Scott Ruskin started out as a 1B/OF in the Pirates system, and switched over to pitching in 1989, the year before his MLB debut.

She’s got legs, she knows how to use ’em…
1992 Upper Deck Jack Morris back
…and sensible shoes and an early ’90’s jacket…

For some reason, I really enjoy “Being interviewed on ESPN” shots. I might have to make a theme out of that.

Jack Morris lead the American League in wild pitches three straight years and five overall.

At various points he also lead the AL in less-interesting categories like wins, strikeouts, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched…

Expos R Us: 1977 O-Pee-Chee Edition

One of my current goals is to collect all of the 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball cards which are significantly different than the Topps equivalent — “significantly” meaning cards which have differences beyond cropping or leaving off the “All-Star” banner.  Even with my restrictions, that leaves a lot of awesome cards to collect.

I’ve fallen behind on sharing a bunch of the cards I’ve picked up.  Here are a few Expos from the set…

1977 Topps has an action photo of Chip Lang pitching.  The Topps photo is a better one, but I’m guessing that “1977 spring training photo” trumped anything taken during the 1976 season.
1977 OPC Chip Lang
As it turns out, this is a boon for Chip Lang collectors; I don’t think he appeared on a card outside of 1977, but at least he has two distinct rookie cards.

Here’s your Shlabotnik fact of the day: Chip Lang is the brother-in-law of former Major Leaguer Tom Walker, and the uncle of Pirates 2B Neil Walker.

For Del Unser, the fake batting pose used by Topps is replaced by a different fake batting pose.
1977 OPC Del Unser
The Topps photo was taken at Shea Stadium during 1976 and this photo was taken during spring training of 1977.  Del grew a mustache during the winter, which is the most noticeable difference.

1977 Topps, of course, doesn’t have individual cards for the managers, just a team photo with a tiny little insert photo of Dick Williams. O-Pee-Chee was having none of that!
1977 OPC Dick Williams
…Not for the Canadian teams, anyway. Managers of American teams were out of luck.

Here’s another example of OPC substituting a portrait for an action shot.  The guy broke a record that involved  hitting, so Topps showed him hitting a baseball.  That’s apparently not the O-Pee-Chee way, however.
1977 OPC Jose Morales RB
Most likely this is another case of “We’ve got this photo from spring training, let’s use it!”  Like Del Unser, Morales grew a mustache during the winter (or at least after the 1977 Topps photo).

As always, if you want to know more about O-Pee-Chee baseball cards which differed from the Topps equivalent, you should check out the no-longer-active but still fun and informative O, My O-Pee-Chee blog.