Coming Back On Stage To Play “Freebird”

Since I came back from “vacation” I’ve featured 2015 Bowman, non-sport cards, oversized oddballs and customs. I kinda feel like some of you might look at this like one would regard a concert by a famous rock musician who insists on playing all the stuff from his new album instead of the stuff that everybody really came to hear.

With that in mind, here’s a post featuring nothing but vintage cards which fit in a 9-pocket sheet… Well, except for one card which goes in an 8-pocket sheet.

I’m slowly working towards the 1968 Topps “Game” insert set, and here’s a card I just got featuring MLB’s PeteRose-a non grata…
1968 Topps Game Pete Rose
I’m not particularly a fan of Mr. Rose, but I like this card…  Not even sure why.  It’s kind of funny that the all-time hits king should have a “ground out” on his game card, but I guess somebody had to.  My own thoughts are that Pete Rose will eventually get in the HOF, but not until after he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.

In order to keep my efforts from getting too scattershot – yeah, right – I’m trying to focus my Kellogg’s acquisitions on Mets and the 1976  set… But that doesn’t mean I won’t pick up a cheap 1972 Kelogg’s when I see one…
1972 Kelloggs Dick Drago
Dick Drago was never a star player, but he was one of the better players in early Royals history.  In 1971 he was the Royals’ Pitcher Of The Year, going 17-11 with a 2.98 ERA, 15 complete games and 4 shutouts.

This 1972 Richie Scheinblum has a classically bad airbrush job. I think everybody should take a moment to appreciate the poorly-placed logo on the airbrushed cap.
1972 Topps Richie Scheinblum
1972 was Scheinblum’s only season as a regular, and he batted an even .300 while making the All-Star team.

I’ve been making something of an effort to get a better representation of the 1950’s in my collection.  Being a Mets fan from a young age, it’s not surprising that I have relatively few cards from before the Mets’ first season in 1962.  I’m also an Orioles fan, but I became one much later in life, so I don’t quite have the emotional attachment to vintage Orioles.  As a result, I’m often left with few budget-friendly cards to go after from the 1950’s.  Instead, I often go after guys who would later be Mets coaches from when I was a kid in the 1970’s.
1954 Bowman Eddie Yost
Eddie Yost was a Mets coach from 1968 to 1976.  Known as “The Walking Man” for his ability to draw a base on balls, he has a higher career on-base percentage than HOFers like Rod Carew, Joe Morgan, Honus Wagner, Tony Gwynn and Willie Mays (as well as Derek Jeter and Pete Rose).

I’ve been thinking of shopping for 1950’s cards using my 1956 modus operandi – go for the beautiful commons, regardless of who’s featured on them…  Cards like this:
1956 Topps Roy Sievers

If anyone’s got suggestions on any Bowman or pre-1956 Topps that fit this category, please leave me a comment (and if it’s a card you’ve featured in your blog, a link would be greatly appreciated). Thank you in advance!

“Action” Is His Middle Name

As I mentioned in a prior post, many of the photos from the 1972 Topps “In Action” cards were taken at Candlestick Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants for many years.

As it happens, a lot of those cards also happen to feature Dick Dietz, the Giants’ starting catcher at the time.  Mr. Dietz wore #2 in his time with the Giants, but you’ll figure that out soon enough…

OK, for starters here’s Dick Dietz on his own “In Action” card…

1972 Topps Dick Dietz

…and here he is on Ollie Brown’s card…

1972 Topps Ollie Brown

…and on Cito Gaston’s card….

1972 Topps Clarence Gaston

…and on Ron Santo’s card…

1972 Topps Ron Santo

This is just what I found from going through my own collection… I know he’s also on the Pete Rose In Action card, but I don’t have that one yet, so I have to borrow an image from the good people at COMC:
1972 Topps #560 - Pete Rose IA - Courtesy of

I’ve even heard that Dick Dietz pops up in the “Action” video by Sweet… but I think that’s just a rumour.

…And that’s why everybody wants a piece of the action
Everybody needs a main attraction
I’ve got what everybody needs
Satisfaction guaranteed
But everybody needs a piece of the action!

The Funny Hats Of ’76!!!!

Yesterday’s post was about America’s bicentennial in 1976.  Something else that happened in 1976 was the National League’s Centennial.  Several teams observed the Centennial in ways which people confused for observing the Bicentennial.

Of course, everybody knows the Pirates wore funny hats…
1977 Topps Jerry Reuss

The Cardinals wore funny hats almost as much as the Pirates…
1977 Topps Al Hrabosky

…and did the Pirates one better by wearing funny helmets to match their funny hats…
1977 Topps Lou Brock

…The National League All-Stars wore funny hats (but not during the game)…
1977 Mets yearbook Photo of 1976 all-stars

…The Mets wore funny hats (but not much, and the only image I could find in my collection was this shot from 1976’s Old Timers’ Day: This is Don Cardwell and Sal Maglie)…
1977 Mets yearbook photo of Don Cardwell and Sal Maglie

The Reds and Phillies and NL umpires also wore funny hats, but I couldn’t find any decent images of them.

…and every team, funny hat or no funny hat, wore a “National League Centennial” patch like Manny Mota has.
1977 Topps Manny Mota

Everybody but the Pirates would abandon the funny hats after the season.  The following year the Pirates would add funny uniforms to go with the funny hats, and would continue to wear those up through the mid-1980’s.

Baby, Baby, Where Did My Cards Go? Part 3: 1973 Topps

One of the things about completing the 1973 set which frustrates me is that as I work closer to completing the set, I could swear that I had many of these cards at one point, but I don’t have them now.  Naturally, we’re not talking about a checklist or Bob Didier, we’re talking about Roberto Clemente and Johnny Bench and Joe Torre.  I suppose it’s possible that I’ve seen those cards often enough that familiarity has convinced me that I owned the cards, but I’m also not ruling out the possibility that, as a child,  I had some friends who were less than trustworthy.

The worst part about all this?  I have a complete run of Topps sets from 1974 to 1978, all of which I completed in the 1970’s.  Now, I’m getting paranoid and wondering if I really have complete sets, or if any of those cards have walked off on me.  *Sigh* …Time to do some inventory, I guess…

By the way, my nicely miscut Roberto Clemente shows him batting at Shea Stadium, and Jerry Grote is the catcher.  Pete Rose below is batting… um… at Candlestick Park?  Did I mention I’m not good at this?

1964 Topps Giant Ken Johnson: The story behind one of my favorite cards

Just the fact that this card is a 1964 Giant puts it in the top 10% of my collection… I absolutely love that set.

That’s a nice enough photo on the front of the card, but the reason this card is one of my favorites is because of the back;  more specifically, the story told in the headline:

OUCH!  This story just intrigued the hell out of me when I got this card in the 1980’s, but back then researching it probably meant going to the library and going through newspapers on microfilm… and that was enough of a project that I just never got around to it.

The other day I was looking at this card and I said “Hey, I can look it up on!”  I was further surprised when I went to look for the boxscore.  The card came out in 1964, so I’d always assumed that when the copy referred to April 23rd, they meant 4/23/1963… but that’s not the case, this card is referring to something which had happened earlier in 1964.  I also didn’t realize that baseball-reference has a brief ‘play-by-play’ listing.  So here we go, top of the 9th, no score, Reds batting:

Johnson gets opposing pitcher Joe Nuxhall to ground out to third; one away.

Pete Rose reaches on an error by Ken Johnson;  Rose ends up on second, so it seems safe to say it’s a throwing error.  (In Googling, I found a reference to Rose bunting, which seems reasonable, but I couldn’t confirm this.)

Third baseman Chico Ruiz grounds out 1-5-3;  I guess Johnson was trying to go for the DP, but Charlie Hustle got to third too quickly.

Center fielder Vada Pinson reaches on an error by Houston second baseman Nellie Fox, and Rose scores an unearned run.

Marty Keough comes in to pinch run for Pinson, but right fielder Frank Robinson flies out to end the inning.

Attendance 5,426  (The game was on a Thursday, most likely in the afternoon)

Time of game 1:56

It’s also worth mentioning that winning pitcher Joe Nuxhall pitched a complete game shutout.   Nuxhall is known for being the youngest player in Major League history,  having pitched for the 1944 Reds at the age of 15.