…Did He Just Say “Marvell Wynne”???

This time of year, the only live sports I watch – aside for the few spring training games we get –  is when I kill a few minutes by watching some hockey (NCAA or NHL) or soccer (EPL or MLS). I enjoy watching both sports, but catching little bits here and there is as involved as I get. I really don’t know much about the teams or athletes.

So when I was I was idly watching the closing moments of an MLS game between San Jose and Chicago a little over a week ago, it came as a surprise to me when the announcer made reference to something Marvell Wynne had done.

What the WHAT????

Did he just refer to one of the soccer players as Marvell Wynne???

I backed up the Tivo a bit and listened to it again. Yep, Marvell Wynne.

For those of you who don’t know why I nearly fell off of my couch, I’ve only ever known there to be one Marvell Wynne…
1988 Topps Marvell Wynne
…The speedy outfielder who played with the Pirates, Padres and Cubs… and who I always think of as a Met even though his 2.5 years in the upper levels of the Mets organization never included a game in the Majors.

I didn’t see it as likely that two athletes named Marvell Wynne were not related, and after some research I found that Soccer Marvell is the son of Baseball Marvell.

Soccer Marvell was born in 1986 in Pittsburgh, one month after his father had been traded from the Pirates to the Padres. The MetroStars (who were about to become the New York Red Bulls) traded up to take him with the first overall pick in the 2006 SuperDraft, and he was signed to a Generation Adidas contract. Please don’t ask me what that means, because I just went “Whuuuuuuuuuh??” when I read about SuperDrafts and “Generation Adidas”.

Soccer Marvell is in his 10th year in MLS. Aside from New York and San Jose, he has also played for Toronto and Colorado. He was a regular on the 2011 MLS Cup-winning Colorado team.

Most importantly for me and possibly others reading this, Soccer Marvell has soccer cards! Here’s one of his cards I found out on COMC…

2014 Topps MLS #126 – Marvell Wynne – Courtesy of COMC.com

Even now, some 10 days after my initial discovery, it’s weird to see a card of someone named Marvell Wynne playing soccer.

At any rate, the main positive to come out of this is that I have a new soccer player to chase after… along with the three guys I saw play for the Long Island Rough Riders in the 1990’s, and the guys who have names which amuse me (Fred and Kaka…. Hee hee hee, “Kaka”).

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.

1976 SSPC #196 – Rudy Meoli (Angels/Padres)

1976 SSPC #196 Rudy Meoli
Rudy Meoli… was given the starting shortstop job as an Angels rookie in 1973. His .223 average combined with other Angel options resulted in his being turned into a utility player, a role he never escaped despite having success in AAA.

Aside from the Angels, he also played briefly in the majors for the Cubs and Phillies.

In 1976, Rudy Meoli… went to Spring Training with the Padres after being the Player To Be Named Later in a trade that sent Bobby Valentine to the Padres for pitcher Gary Ross. Before the season started, Meoli was traded to the Reds for Merv Rettenmund, and he spent the entire season with the Reds’ AAA team in Indianapolis.

Betcha didn’t know…Meoli hit only two career homers, but one of them was an inside-the-park job against the Royals on 7/28/73.

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 can tell by the “396” on the outfield wall, plus the light poles in the parking lot beyond, that this is Shea.
Shea: 49
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 11
Not Shea: 6

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…

Rudy had 1970’s sideburns and a moustache… this brings the totals to:
Total Cards: 74
1970’s Sideburns: 37
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 23
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 16

1976 SSPC #196 Rudy Meoli back

“Hot Stove”: Rollins And Kemp, By Popular Demand

Last week I ran a poll to see which “Hot Stove” custom cards I should do next. The two players who got the most votes were Matt Kemp and Jimmy Rollins. Naturally, both trades also took the longest to become official, but today I have them in all their photoshopped-into-new-uniforms glory.

For those new to The Shlabotnik Report or my “Hot Stove” set, these are the latest in a series of custom baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s 3-D set, and featuring players who have changed teams over the baseball offseason. OK, that’s out of the way for another week…

After 15 years with the Phillies, Jimmy Rollins waived his no-trade clause and got shipped off to the Dodgers. Halfway through digitally removing every single red pinstripe from J-Roll’s uniform, I started to feel the pain that many Phillies fans are experiencing.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #15 Jimmy Rollins
You can just barely see the number behind the bat, but I did not give Rollins the #11 he wore with the Phillies because it’s currently possessed by (checking the spelling several times) Erisbel Arruebarrena.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a clubhouse deal made to get the number from… Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. from Erisbel.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Dodger fan with all the changes they’re making this year.  It’s clear that new GM Andrew Friedman is determined to put his mark on the team.

Matt Kemp was sent from the Dodgers to the Padres in one of the offseason’s bigger trades. Unlike Jimmy Rollins, Matt Kemp has been with the Dodgers a paltry 9 years.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #16 Matt Kemp
I wanted to get the “Western Metal Supply” building into the background because I’ve found that hard edges in the background – preferably colorful hard edges – often do a better job of selling the faux 3-D.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Padres fan with all the changes they’re making this year.  It’s clear that new GM A.J. Preller is determined to put his mark on the team…. Wait a minute!  Didn’t I say that before?  I’ve got this terrible feeling of deja vu…

I haven’t decided who’s next to get immortalized on a “Hot Stove” custom next, but Dee Gordon of the Florida Marlins got the second-most votes, and as he’s not a player who has pinstripes to remove or piping to add, there’s a decent chance that I’ll give myself a break and do him next.

It’s not too late – indeed it’s never too late – to put in your own request!  OK, that’s not true, it will be too late when Spring Training starts, because I’m not going to keep doing this after you can see photos of these guys actually wearing their uniforms.

…Are We Not Stars? 1982 Topps Padres Future Stars

…In which we address the age-old question “Who are these guys?”

Today’s post has an extra air of excitement about it… Not only do we cover Doug “Eyechart” Gwosdz, but also Fred Kuhaulua!

1980 Topps Padres Future Stars

Mike Armstrong:
Appeared in 197 games over 8 years, mainly as a reliever – he has one start on his record.  Also pitched for the Royals, Yankees and Indians.  Was the primary setup man to Dan Quisenberry in 1982 and 1983.  Finished 94 career games but had just 11 saves. 

In 1979 he was traded straight-up for Paul O’Neill!  …Only it’s not THAT Paul O’Neill.

Doug Gwosdz:
Was largely a backup to Terry Kennedy and played 69 games over 4 years with the Padres, batting .144 in the process.

Fred Kuhualua:
Fred Mahele Kuhaulua was born in Hawaii… I know!  Who saw that coming?

He  had  two “cups of coffee” in the Majors… 1977 with the Angels (3 games, 1 start, 6.1 innings, 15.63 ERA) and 1981 with the Padres (1-0, 2.45 in 5 games, 4 starts).

On October 1st, 1981 he shut out the soon-to-be-World-Champion Dodgers over 8 innings. Eric Show closed out the 1-0 win.  Fernando Valenzuela was the hard-luck loser, giving up an unearned run and taking the loss.

Fred’s only Major League hit was an RBI single off of Phil Niekro on 9/20/1981.

I believe this is Kuhaulua’s only Major League card.

Closest To Being A Star:
Although it’s tempting to go with the guy who outpitched Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Armstrong was the only one to have a Major League career, so I guess that makes him closest to being a star.

1976 SSPC #131 – John Scott (Padres)… PLUS A 1979 TCMA Japanese John Scott BONUS!!

1976 SSPC #131 John Scott
John Scott… was the second overall pick in the January, 1970 draft (after Chris Chambliss) and was one of the Padres’ top prospects in the early 1970’s. His prospect status didn’t translate into Major League success, as he played a grand total of 118 games, mostly with the 1977 Blue Jays. Despite his lack of MLB time, he played 13 years as a professional, including three years with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League.

In Japan he won two Diamond Glove Awards (similar to the Gold Glove) and made the 1980 Central League All-Star team.

In 1976, John Scott… spent the year with the AAA Hawaii Islanders, batting .315 with 15 homers, 82 RBI and 38 stolen bases.

Betcha didn’t know… John Scott was among the first players ever on the Blue Jays’ roster. Shortly before the expansion draft, the Padres sold Scott, Dave Hilton and Dave Roberts to the Jays; the first player ever on the Jays roster was catcher Phil Roof, who was traded by the White Sox the day before.

Cardboard History: John Scott didn’t appear on many baseball cards, but he has a strong presence in the “slightly oddball” category. Aside from sharing a rookie card with Jim Rice…

1975 Rookie Outfielders Augustine Mangual Rice Scott

…he also shared a 1977 Rookie Outfielders card with Andre Dawson, had his own card in the 1977 O-Pee-Chee set – a card I don’t yet own, but you can see it on the always-useful “O, My O-Pee-Chee” blog – and he was also in the 1979 TCMA Japanese set:
1979 TCMA Japanese John Scott

Shea: 38
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 7
Can’t tell: 6
Not Shea: 5

1976 SSPC #131 John Scott back

You Can’t Spell “Korea Baseball Organization” Without A Couple Of O’s

Is it just me, or has the quality of baseball players going over to Korea significantly improved this winter?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Kia Tigers had discussions with Robinson Cano, but it seems like the names involved are a bit more notable this year… From a baseball card perspective, there will be players in Korea who have been appearing in Topps sets fairly regularly in the past.

It could be that it just seems notable to me because I’ve seen several of the players when they played for the Orioles.

The most notable former Oriole to go to Korea is Luke Scott, who will be playing for the SK Wyverns.
2012 Topps Luke Scott
Luke peaked in 2010 and has been on the downslope since then, but since when does a guy with 9 years of MLB service, a guy who was a Major League regular for several years, go to the KBO?

Most Orioles fans will remember Josh Bell. He was obtained from the Dodgers in the George Sherrill trade, and was supposed to be the Orioles’ Third Baseman of the future, but he never batted better than .214 in the Majors.2012 Topps Josh Bell
Josh Bell will be playing for the LG Twins next year.

Incidentally, LG is the electronics company. Like Japanese baseball, the teams are owned by corporations which promote themselves through the teams.

The final former Oriole in our trilogy is Félix Pie, will be playing for the Hanwha Eagles…
2011 Topps Felix Pie
Pie was a former top Cubs prospect and even though he’s spent much of the last two seasons in the minors, he had been on the Pirates 40-man roster and asked for his release so he could play in Korea.  I think that’s what started catching my attention – the fact that a couple of the guys going there weren’t castoffs, but guys who were on the 40-man.

The Hanwha Eagles have a pretty cool logo;  I’d wear a cap with this on it:

Hanwha Eagles Logo

It’s not just former Orioles going over to Korea; Jorge Cantu, who has a couple of 100 RBI seasons on his resume, is going to the Doosan Bears.

2011 Topps Update Jorge Cantu

By the way, over on MLBTradeRumors.com there was an interesting interview with C.J. Nitkowski, who’s pitched in the Majors as well as Japan and Korea.  You can link to it here.

CRY – 1, STK – 0

While we’re on the subject of non-North American leagues, my new favorite game on the weekend is to turn on the English Premier League match and try to figure out the two teams just from the three-letter abbreviation use for the score at the top of the screen.

While I enjoy watching soccer, I’m far from a fan.  Most of my knowledge of the EPL comes from British TV, music and other bits of popular culture. I know the “biggies” like Manchester United and Arsenal, but my expertise goes rapidly downhill from there.

This morning’s score threw me a bit. I guessed that “STK” meant Stoke City, and I turned out to be right… But “CRY”? What the heck is “CRY”?

The match was in the 85th minute, so I waited it out to find that the final score showed Stoke City losing to…

…drum roll please…

Crystal Palace. D’OH! I should’ve gotten that.

Another Low-Tech Custom I Made “Back In The Day”

1975 Topps Jerry Moses CustomI found this little beauty in a shoebox filled with crap like an old video store ID card and a Playboy wall calendar from the early 1980’s (Psst… Don’t tell my wife!)

On April 28, 1975, Jerry Moses was sold by the Mets to the Padres. In case you were wondering why the Mets were involved when the photo shows him in a Tigers uniform, he was sold by the Tigers to the Mets on 1/30/75. As if that weren’t enough, the Padres would later sell him to the White Sox that July.

…But anyway, sometime between transactions I made this custom.  You see those lines around the edges of the yellow part of the card?  Those are staples.  I cut the yellow header off a Padres card — I want to say it was Chris Cannizzaro — and stapled it to this Jerry Moses card.

The funny thing is that Moses didn’t appear in a game with the Mets, he appeared in five games with the Padres and just one with the White Sox.  After that, his career was over.

1976 SSPC #124 – Tito Fuentes (Padres)

Tito Fuentes… was a fan-favorite with the Giants, Padres, Tigers and A’s, and is also a favorite with collectors. In 1973, he made only 6 errors while playing 160 games at 2B. He’s currently part of the Giants’ Spanish-language broadcast team.
1976 SSPC #124 Tito Fuentes

In 1976, Tito Fuentes… was the starting 2B for the Padres, batted .263 and scored 48 runs.

Betcha didn’t know… that Tito was the last player signed directly out of Cuba before embargo went into place.

1976 SSPC #124 Tito Fuentes back