Random Team Review: 1975 Topps New York Yankees

Although I’m a life-long Mets fan, I also liked the Yankees when I was a kid in the mid-1970’s.

There, I’ve gotten that off of my chest. I’ve been meaning to write about that for… well, since the beginnings of this blog in late 2011.

…But to summarize: For my first three years of collecting (1974-1976), I also enjoyed having cards of the other New York team. I was young and naïve, everything was sunshine-y and there were no villains, just different strata of heroes.

So let’s get into the Yankees team set from 1975 Topps …


The 1975 Yankees went 83-77 and finished in 3rd place in the American League East. At the time, Yankee Stadium was undergoing an extensive renovation (and having all of its personality surgically removed), so the Yankees were in their second year of playing their home games at Shea Stadium. I’m still weirded out by any photos which show the Shea scoreboard with a Yankees logo featured up top. Heresy!!!

George Steinbrenner had purchased the team in 1973, and while I was too young at the time to know who Steinbrenner was, looking back it seems like 1975 was when the Yankees reached significant levels of Steinbrennerosity. GM Tal Smith resigned during the season, and manager (and Shlabotnik favorite) Bill Virdon was fired and replaced by Billy Martin… one of numerous reasons why Billy Martin was a first-ballot inductee into my “Hall Of Disdain”.

Best Position Player:
Thurman Munson was in his prime, batting .318 with 83 runs, 102 RBI and 12 homers. He was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and finished 7th in MVP voting..

Munson played in 157 games in 1975, 130 games as a catcher and most of the rest as a DH. He also made appearances at 1st, 3rd and in the outfield.

Best Pitcher Appearing in the set as a Yankee:
George “Doc” Medich was in his final season with the Yankees; he went 16-16 with a 3.50 ERA, 2 shutouts and 132 strikeouts.

Best Pitcher; Best Player Pictured With Another Team
Jim Hunter had his best season as a Yankee in his first season as a Yankee. He lead the league in wins and complete games, went 23-14 with a 2.58, 7 shutouts, 177 K’s and a 1.009 WHIP. Hunter was an All-Star and finished second to Jim Palmer in Cy Young voting after winning the award in 1974 with the A’s.

1975 was the 5th straight season he won 20 games, and the last season he would do so.

Favorite Card and Best On-Field Photo:
This photo of Bill Sudakis might not look great on a 2018 card, but it was pure gold in 1975.

Had there been a 1975 Traded set, Sudakis may have appeared in it as he had been traded to the Angels in December 1974 for reliever Skip Lockwood. My reaction to this information was “Skip Lockwood pitched for the Yankees?” only to find out that he didn’t make it to opening day; he was cut by the Yankees in early April, picked up by the A’s and later sold to the Mets.

Best Rookie card:
Easily the best career of any Yankee on a 1975 Topps rookie card belongs to Scott McGregor… and he never actually pitched for the Yankees.  In the Major Leagues McGregor was a career Oriole who would win 20 games in 1980.

I found out something fascinating about McGregor while researching this post.  Before the 1974 season A’s manager Dick Williams, who had quit his position in Oakland, was the Yankees first choice to be their manager.  The A’s demanded compensation for Williams, however, and at one point the two teams agreed on outfielder Otto Velez and Scott McGregor.  George Steinbrenner then decided that prospects were more important than managers and scuttled the deal.  The Yankees instead hired Bill Virdon, who had been let go by the Pirates.

Best 1975 Yankees Position Player Who Didn’t Appear On A 1975 Card:
I couldn’t decide on one player who should represent the “Best who didn’t appear on a 1975 card” category, so I split it into two categories. Walt Williams is the best Yankees position player not to appear in the 1975 Topps set.

In 1975 – his final season – Williams appeared in 82 games, batted .281 with 27 runs and 16 RBI.

Best 1975 Yankees Pitcher Who Didn’t Appear On A 1975 Card:
Tippy Martinez would have half as many appearances as Sparky Lyle, yet managed to lead the team with 8 saves.

Favorite Cartoon (on the back of Bill Sudakis’ card):

Best Name:
As a kid, I thought “Cecil Upshaw” sounded like a British movie character, perhaps played by Terry-Thomas… Someone who would say “Oh, drat!” after giving up a home run.

Best Nickname:
Fred “Chicken” Stanley – Fred’s a baseball lifer (currently a Special Assistant with the Giants) and every time I see him referenced somewhere, I think of him as “Chicken”.

You may be thinking “Hello?  Catfish Hunter?”, but I would rank Catfish no higher than 4th on this team, behind “No Neck” Williams and “Doc” Medich.

Most Notable Airbrushing:
This Yankees team had a lot of roster turnover, so there were plenty of airbrushing jobs to pick from, but there’s no doubting which is the most… ahhh… NOTABLE.

What makes this even more… um… interesting is that the Yankees had purchased May from the Angels the previous June… Rudy May pitched in 17 games, 15 of them starts, in 1974.  There really should’ve been a photo of May in a Yankees uniform, but then we wouldn’t have had THIS.

Card which looks terribly odd to any Orioles fan:
Rick Dempsey is so thoroughly associated with the Orioles these days that it’s strange to see him pictured with the Yankees… even though that’s how I first knew him.

The previous cards of Tippy Martinez and Scotty McGregor also fall into this category.  All three of them were involved in the same 10 player, June 1976 trade which saw Doyle Alexander, Ellie Hendricks, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson heading to the Bronx.

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Random Team Review: 1973 Topps Detroit Tigers

The 1973 Detroit Tigers finished with a 85-77 record, 12 games behind the Orioles.  They had, however, finished in 1st place the prior year, finishing a half-game ahead of the Red Sox before losing to the A’s 3 games to 2 in the ALCS.

The 1973 Tigers were 1st place as late as August 14th, when they went into a skid and fell to 3rd place, 7.5 games out of first, which contributed to the firing of…

Billy Martin, who would be replaced by coach Joe Schultz for the remainder of the season.  Schulz would not be brought on full time;  Ralph Houk would be the Tigers manager in 1974.

Funny thing… I don’t think I’d ever noticed that Joe Schultz’s name is missing from this card.

Best Starting Pitcher
Joe Coleman went 23-15 with a 3.53 ERA, 13 complete games, 2 shutouts and 202 K’s.

File this under “It was a different time…”:  Despite his 23 wins, Coleman didn’t get any Cy Young votes.  He did finish 23rd in the MVP voting, though.

Best Relief Pitcher
John Hiller went 10-5, 1.44 with 38 saves.  He had 124 K’s in 125.1 innings pitched.

Hiller finished 4th in Cy Young voting… By the way, this happened after Hiller suffered a heart attack at the age of 28.  I wrote about John Hiller a couple of years ago, if you want to know more.

Best Offensive Player
This team was not an offensive juggernaut.  There was nobody who stood out in this category so I’m going to go with Willie Horton who was an All-Star, lead the team with a .316 batting average and had 17 homers and 53 RBI.  Arguments could also be made for Norm Cash and Mickey Stanley.

Best on-field photo; Favorite card
Without a doubt:

The Yankees’ Celerino Sanchez evades Bill Freehan’s tag… I’m guessing I’m not the first person to try to figure this play out, but I believe it’s from August 8th, 1972.   In the bottom of the 4th the was game tied 1-1, Mickey Lolich on the mound, one out and Felipe Alou had singled. Sanchez was hit by a pitch, moving Alou to 2nd.  Ron Swoboda singled, scoring Alou and sending Sanchez to 2nd base.  Gene “Stick” Michael flied out to right and then pitcher (and Shlabotnik favorite) Fritz Peterson – FRITZ!!! – singled, but the throw from left fielder Willie Horton nailed Sanchez at the plate.

Best Name
Aurelio Rodriguez

Best (relatively speaking) Rookie Card
There are three rookie cards in this team set. All three feature pitchers. None of them had a long or ourstanding careers. I ruled out Bob Strampe from consideration (he shared a “Rookie Pitchers” card with Jesse Jefferson and Dennis O’Toole), but I couldn’t decide between the other two, so I decided to just feature them both.

As I was finishing this post I discovered two things about Bill Slayback which would’ve put him over the top from the start, had I only realized…

First off, Slayback no-hit the Yankees through 7 innings in his 1972 Major League debut.  Johnny Callison led off the 8th inning with a single, which broke up the No-No, but Slayback would get the win (and Seelbach got the Save).

The other thing which really floored me was that Bill Slayback wrote a song with Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, Slayback would record that song… and it’s a song I know!  …Although, to be fair, it’s a song I know from a CD called “Baseball’s Greatest Hits”… but still!

And now we have a long-distance dedication… Here’s Bill Slayback with “Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)”

I’ve got another music-related comment about Bill Slayback that I’ll save for the end of the post.

Best Cartoon #1

Here’s another MLB debut of note… On April 11th, 1963, Chris Zachary came in to pitch the 9th for the Houston Colt .45’s against the San Francisco Giants.  With the Colts down 4-1, Zachary walked Willie Mays, gave up a single to Willie McCovey (sending Mays to third) and then gave up a 3-run homer to Orlando Cepeda.  A rough debut for sure… but then Zachary settled down and got Tom Haller, Felipe Alou and Jose Pagan to get out of the inning.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I have to mention it:  The awesomely-named Conrad Cardinal also made his MLB debut in that game, pitching the 6th, 7th and 8th for the Colts.  Cardinal’s entire MLB career consisted of 6 games in 1963 with Houston, so Cardinal never pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Even more sad:  His only baseball card, a 1963 Rookie Stars card shared with Dave McNally, Don Rowe and Ken Rowe, lists him as Randy Cardinal.  Bummer.

Best Cartoon #2

Best Cartoon #3

Best Cartoon #4


THE BILL SLAYBACK!

James Brown had a song in 1973 called “The Payback”, and when I look at Bill Slayback’s card I hear James Brown singing “Gotta get ready for the Bill Slayback!” I’d have to think that somebody on the team gave him grief over that.

I don’t know karate, but I know ca-razy!
(Some of the lyrics found on the internet say “…But I know ka-razor”.  Really?  “Ka-razor”????  NEVER trust internet lyrics.)

Random Team Review: 1975 Topps Milwaukee Brewers

This post is one of those times I put my thumb on the randomizer’s scale; I wanted to do a 1975 Topps team set, but the choice of team was random.

The 1975 Milwaukee Brewers finished the season with a 68-94 record, which put them in 5th in the American League East… 28 games behind the Red Sox.

Manager Del Crandall was fired before the final game of the season, and rumors were flying that Hank Aaron would be the new manager.  As it turned out, the Brew Crew would be managed by Alex Grammas in 1976, and the team wasn’t any better under him.

Before we get off the team card, I want to show the back of this card, which was dutifully checked-off by me back in 1975.

That’s what you do with checklists… You check them (or color in the squares in my case).

I’m going to get the two most obvious cards out of the way from the start…

Best Rookie card
Duh.

I’m working on two of these “Random Team” posts simultanously.  The other team has a rough choice of rookie cards.  Not the case with this set.

Robin Yount – who I should point out didn’t turn 20 years old until September, 1975 –  batted .267 with 67 runs, 52 RBI and 28 doubles.

Most Notable Airbrushing
Another “Duh”.

41-year-old Hank Aaron returned to Milwaukee to hit just 12 homers in 1975, his career-lowest for a season with at least 500 PA’s.  He’d also be an All-Star for the 25th and final time (He did play in 1976 but didn’t make the All-Star team).

Best Offensive Player;  Best On-Field Photo

In 1975 George “Boomer” Scott was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and lead the AL with 36 homers and 109 RBI.

Top Pitcher (shown on a card with the Brewers)

Jim Colborn went 11-13, 4.27 with 2 saves in 29 starts and 7 relief appearances.

Top Player pictured with another team:

Pete Broberg had the best record and ERA of anyone in the starting rotation.  He had been acquired in a trade at the 1974 Winter Meetings, and went 14-16, 4.13 with 7 complete games and 2 shutouts.  He also was tops in the American League by hitting 16 batters.

Best Name;  Best Nickname
Stormin’ Gorman Thomas

I should point out that Stormin’ Gorman wouldn’t stand a chance in the “Best Name” competition if Lafayette Currence, a pitcher who made 8 appearances in 1975, was included in 1975 Topps… Let’s not forget Sixto Lezcano, who was a regular in 1975 but whose rookie card was in 1976 Topps.

Best Cartoon

Most Obvious Hint For A Trivia Question

Card With The Most Personal Significance
As I’ve mentioned here before, back in 1975 or possibly 1976, this Ed Sprague was the final card I needed for my 1975 Topps set.

Random Team Review: 1974 Topps Texas Rangers

After moving from Washington to Dallas for the 1972 season, the Texas Rangers lost 100 and 105 games in their first two seasons.  In 1974 the team turned it around and went 84-76, finishing in second place in the A.L. West, 5.0 games behind the eventual World Champion Oakland A’s.

The Rangers were managed by Billy Martin, who took over late in 1973 after being fired by the Detroit Tigers.

Despite his success in 1974, Martin didn’t last through the 1975 season, the third time in his managerial career he went from fiery to fired.

Billy Martin wins this team’s “Notable Airbrushing” award;  you can see that he’s actually wearing a Tigers jersey.

BEST PITCHER
Hall-of-Famer Fergie Jenkins went 14-16, 3.89 as a 30-year-old with the Cubs in 1973.  The Cubs traded him to Texas for then-minor-leaguer Bill Madlock and Vic Harris.  Fergie reacted by going 25-12, 2.82.

Jenkins finished 2nd to Catfish Hunter in Cy Young Voting and 5th in A.L. MVP voting.  He’d fall back off again in 1975 and would get traded to the Red Sox after that season.

BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER
No arguments against Jeff Burroughs as the team’s best offensive player.  I’d mentioned that Fergie Jenkins was 5th in MVP voting?  Well, Burroughs was the MVP.

Burroughs lead the league with 118 RBI and batted .301 with 33 doubles, 2 triples and 25 homers.

BEST ROOKIE
Well, this is more “Best Rookie Story” than “Best Rookie”.  David Clyde was a Texas high school pitching phenomenon who was drafted first overall by the Rangers and went straight into the majors to pitch for a team desperate for a box office draw.

While he pitched an 8 K 1-hitter in his debut, he was inconsistent in his career and you can’t help but wonder how his career would’ve played out if he were allowed to develop in the minors.

BEST PLAYER NOT ON A 1974 CARD
It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized how award-winning the Rangers were in 1974.  Mike Hargrove was the 1974 A.L. Rookie of the Year (George Brett was 3rd in voting) and, as you can see, got a little Topps trophy on his 1975 card.

In his rookie season, Hargrove batted .323 with 57 runs and  66 RBI

BEST ON-FIELD PHOTO
No deliberating on this one… this card is easily my favorite in this team set.

Check this out… on August 30, 1974 Dave Nelson walked to lead off the bottom of the first, stole second while Cesar Tovar was at bat, stole third while Jeff Burroughs was at bat and then stole home while Mike Hargrove was at bat.  At the end of the inning the Rangers had scored one run on no hits and no errors.

BEST CARTOON
This is from Jim Shellenback’s card:

BEST NAME
Jim Gogolewski  (Yes, the top left corner is missing… looks like I should upgrade this card)

“BEFORE HE WAS WHO HE WAS” GUY
Current Phillies manager Pete Mackanin’s rookie card came after he appeared in 44 games in 1973.  He’d only appear in two games in 1974 and would get traded to the Expos after the season.

This card features Mackanin’s only cardboard with the Rangers, Manny Trillo’s only card with the A’s, and John Gamble’s only card, period (he appeared in 13 career games, all before this card came out) .

Dave Chalk appeared on a bunch of cards with the Angels… the spoilsport.

MOST CONSISTENT (IN A WAY) PITCHER
Jim Bibby won 19 games in 1974… and lost 19 games as well.  41 starts, 38 decisions, 11 complete games, 2 shutouts.

Bibby was originally signed by the Mets but went to the Cardinals in a 1971 8-player trade which included such luminaries as Art Shamsky, Jim Beauchamp and Chuck Taylor.  Bibby served in Vietnam, no-hit the A’s in 1973, was part of a trade which brought Gaylord Perry from Cleveland to Texas, and started Games 4 and 7 for the Pirates in the 1979 World Series (getting a no-decision in both games).

Bibby’s brother Henry played in the NBA from 1972 to 1981 and his nephew Mike (Henry’s son) played in the NBA from 1998 to 2012.

Random Team Review: 1980 Topps Cleveland Indians

The 1980 Cleveland Indians had a 79-81 record and finished 6th in the AL East ahead of the 4th year Blue Jays (67-95).  Finishing a couple of games under .500 *and* in 6th place says a lot about how strong the AL East was (and how many bad teams were in the AL West).

The Indians were a young team, with a starting lineup which featured three 25-year-olds and nobody over the age of 31.

Best Offensive Player:
This was a tough call because there were several players who had very good seasons, but nobody who truly dominated offensively. I finally let Baseball Reference’s 1980 Cleveland Indians page make the decision for me; they have Toby Harrah as the top player with a 4.4 WAR.

Harrah played 160 games at third, batted .267 with 100 runs scored and 72 RBI.

The only candidate for “Best Offensive Player” who doesn’t get featured elsewhere in this post is Jorge Orta, who was the team’s representative at the All-Star game.

Best Pitcher:
Len Barker went 19-12 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP.  He also lead the league with 187 strikeouts.

Best Name:
Andre Thornton missed 1980 due to a knee injury, but he’s got the best name on the team.

Best Nickname and Best Full Name:
Mike Hargrove used to take forever (relative to the day) to get ready for each pitch, thus earning the nickname “The Human Rain Delay”.

His full name is Dudley Michael Hargrove, and he was also a candidate for best offensive player (.304, 85 RBI, 86 runs)

Favorite Card:
Nothing much to say about this Bo Diaz card, just a nice candid shot.

Best In-Game/Action Shot:
This team set is not full of tremendous action shots, but I like this shot of Duane Kuiper ready for action in Yankee Stadium II.

Best Rookie Card:
Hassey was the starting catcher in 1980, and still batted .318 with 65 RBI.  He was also a candidate for “Best Offensive Player”.

Hassey would play for 14 years with 6 different teams.  He caught two different perfect games (Len Barker in 1981, Dennis Martinez in 1991) and between December, 1985 and July, 1986 he was traded from the Yankees to the White Sox, traded back to the Yankees and then traded back to the White Sox.

Best Cartoon:
The cartoons in 1980 Topps were kinda short on goofy appeal, but I liked this Tom Veryzer cartoon that shows him winning half a trophy.

Best player not on a card:
“Super Joe” Carboneau had a breakout year in 1980, won the A.L. Rookie and captured the attention and imagination of Cleveland.  He was also a candidate for “Best Offensive Player”. This is his rookie card in 1981 Topps:

“Super Joe” batted .289 with 23 homers, 83 RBI, 76 runs, 17 doubles and 2 triples..  Due to back problems his celebrity faded as quickly as it came and he became the early 1980’s cautionary tale towards investing in rookie cards.  In 1981 he batted .210 over 48 games, his numbers dropped further in 1982, and then he was gone from Major League baseball.

Best player pictured with another team:
When I was looking at Baseball Reference’s “Top 12” players from this team, I was surprised to see Miguel Dilone in there with a 3.0 WAR.  As it turns out, Dilone was purchased from the Cubs on May 7th and went on to have a career year.

Dilone batted .341 (3rd in the league), stole 61 bases (also 3rd in the league) and finished tied with Tony Perez for 22nd in the AL MVP voting.

Most Notable Airbrushing:
I was about to write off this category completely and declare that there is no airbrushing at all in this team set… and then I took a closer look at Bobby Cuellar on this card:

Even though he looks to be wearing the same uniform as his card-mates, the logo on his cap looks a bit odd… So I’m going to venture that he’s got an airbrushed cap because he’s wearing the cap of an Indians farm team.

Random Team: 1974 Topps Philadelphia Phillies, Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m breaking this long Team Set post into two parts because for all the time it’s taken me to do what was meant to be “a fun and relatively quick post”, I want to get one day’s worth out of it.

Favorite Card
I just love this candid shot of Greg Luzinski sitting in the dugout. I like the Carlton and Bowa cards (from the prior post) as well, but this one is top of the heap.

Greg Luzinski played only 85 games in 1974 due to injuries, but he broke out in 1975, hitting 34 homers and leading the league with 120 RBI.

Best Cartoon
Catcher Mike Ryan

Best Rookie Card
Dick Ruthven, just because he had a decent career and he’s faking a pitching pose in front of the Shea Stadium bullpen.

In 1973 Ruthven had gone straight from Cal State–Fresno to the Phillies. He didn’t pitch in the minor leagues until 1975, when he spent a good chunk of his 3rd pro season at AAA Toledo. He’d go on to pitch in 14 seasons with the Phils, Braves and Cubs.

Best Name, Front Of The Card
Aurelio Monteagudo is referred to on the back of the card as a “journeyman reliever”. He was acquired from the Angels in an early December trade.

He would never pitch for the Phillies, or appear in the Majors after 1973, but still…

Aurelio Monteagudo.

Best Name, Back Of The Card
Mac Scarce is a pretty good name…

…but “Mac Scarce” hasn’t got anything on “Guerrant McCurdy Scarce”!

Two Best Variations
There are two Rookie Pitchers cards which include Phillies and have variations; the variations don’t involve the Phillies pitchers, but I’m going to share these here anyway.

Because it involves a Mets pitcher, the best variation is the one where Bob Apodaca’s name is misspelled “Apodaco”.

Mike Wallace would pitch for four teams over five seasons, and was traded to the Yankees in May, 1974. He appeared on three Topps cards in his career, and this is the only one which isn’t airbrushed; In 1975 Topps he was airbrushed into a Yankees cap, and in 1977 Topps he was airbrushed into a Rangers cap. He did appear in 1976 SSPC in a Cardinals uniform.

The second-best variation is the card which labels Dave Freisleben as being with “Washington”. This is, of course, part of the whole “Washington Nat’l. Lea.” thing.

Ron Diorio made 23 appearances in 1973 and 2 in 1974, all in relief. He did pitch well in 1973, flashing a 2.33 and 1.241 WHIP while getting a save.

Best insert
OK, one of the “Traded” cards would probably qualify as a better insert, but the unnumbered team checklist card will also do nicely.


Don’t forget to check out the series that I didn’t realize I was “borrowing” from: Night Owl’s “Joy Of A Team Set”!

Random Team: 1974 Topps Philadelphia Phillies, Part 1

Once again, I’ve fired up the Random-itron 2000 and it generated the next team set in this series; the 1974 Topps Philadelphia Phillies.

…But before I get started, you may be wondering what’s up with the “Part 1” in the subject line. Executive Summary: I spent too much time on this post and want to get at least two posts out of the work I put in. Detailed summary is down below.

Anyway…

The 1974 Phillies went 80-82 and finished 3rd in the 6 team NL East (8 games behind the division-winning Pirates).

The Phillies were managed by Danny Ozark, who was born Daniel Leonard Orzechowski.

He played 18 years in the Dodgers organization without ever making it to The Show, and was a coach with the Dodgers for a number of years before getting the managing job with the Phillies. He would manage the Phils for 7 years in the 1970’s, finishing in 1st place 3 years in a row, but never winning the NLCS.

Best Offensive Player
Mike Schmidt was a 24-year-old in his second full season, made his first All-Star team and lead the Majors in homers (36) and the N.L. in slugging percentage (.546).

He also had 28 doubles, 7 triples, 116 RBI and for good measure he stole 23 bases.

For anyone who is not familiar with this card, I will direct your attention to the Phillies bullpen cart parked on the left-hand side.

Best Pitcher
Steve Carlton was an All-Star in 1974, went 16-13, 3.22 and lead the league in K’s (240) and BB’s (136). He also had 17 complete games, which was 2nd in the NL.

This card was a finalist for “Best Action Shot” and “Favorite Card”, but I’ll admit I didn’t want to have one card represent three categories.

Best Player In A Supporting Role
I always forget that Jim Lonborg won a Cy Young award with the Red Sox in 1967. That year he went 22-9, 3.16, had a 1.138 WHIP and lead the league with 246 K’s.

In 1974, Lonborg went 17-13, 3.21 and pitched 16 complete games with 3 shutouts.

Here’s a fun Lonborg fact courtesy of Baseball-reference.com: “In the TV show ‘Cheers’, the picture behind the bar that was supposed to be Sam Malone pitching for the Red Sox is actually a picture of Lonborg.”

Most Notable Airbrush Job; Best Offensive Player In A Supporting Role
On 10/18/73, the Phillies acquired Dave Cash from the Pirates for Ken Brett.  This card and Ken Brett’s 1974 card both feature good airbrushing jobs, which goes to show that the airbrush artists could do good work when they weren’t up against a tight deadline.

Cash was an All-Star in his first season with the Phils and batted an even .300 in 1974, with 11 triples, 89 runs scored and 58 RBI.

Best Action Shot
Larry Bowa was also an All-Star in 1974, batted .275 and scored 97 runs.

Picking the “Best Action Shot” card was a tough decision, but I’ll stand by the Bowa card.

Best Player Not On A 1974 Card
Jay Johnstone had been in the Majors since 1966, but since he only appeared in 23 games in 1973, he did not appear on a 1974 baseball card… and even if he had, it wouldn’t have shown him with the Phillies, who picked him up in early April after the Cardinals cut him loose near the end of Spring Training.

Johnstone started the year with AAA Toledo and got called up in early July. Over the second half of the season, he appeared in 64 games and batted .295 with 30 runs scored and 30 RBI. Needless to say, he did get a card in 1975.

I will get into the rest of the categories in Part 2. And speaking of parts 1 and 2…


The original idea behind these posts was that they were supposed to be relatively quick… Scan and post a bunch of cards from a particular team, and let the cards do the talking.

Then, of course, my own tendencies took over, I started researching the players and the team and the cards and the next thing I know, I’m spending just as much time on these posts as any other I write.

Since this post was already in progress when I realized I was waaay down the rabbit hole in terms of research, I broke it down into two parts because I figured I might as well get two days’ worth of posts out of all the research I did.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do for the next team. I’ll probably cut back on the research and just go with the original idea of “This guy is good, this card is cool, this action shot is the best” and leave it at that… but we’ll see.


Don’t forget to check out the series that I didn’t realize I was “borrowing” from: Night Owl’s “Joy Of A Team Set”!