The 1970’s, A To Z: Don Mincher to George Mitterwald

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


DON MINCHER

1970 Kellogg’s #75

Played 1960 – 1972
1970’s Teams: A’s, Senators, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Lead the 1970 A’s with 27 homers, 4 more than Reggie Jackson; started at 1st base in first ever Rangers game; His last Major League appearance came with the A’s in the 1972 World Series

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1967 and 1969; Was the Seattle Pilots first pick in the 1968 expansion draft and hit 25 homers for the team; Was the GM of the Huntsville Stars in the 1980s, became a team owner, and eventually became president of the Southern League up through his retirement in 2011

Fun Stuff:
Mincher was the only player to play for the original Senators, the “new” Senators and for he two teams that each team became after moving: The Twins and Senators; Hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat (1965)


MINNIE MIÑOSO

1977 Topps #262

Played 1946 – 1980
1970’s Teams: White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
On September 12, 1976 when he was 53 years old he got a hit, a single off of the Angels’ Sid Monge. At the time he was named the oldest player to hit safely but that was based on an incorrect birthdate (1922 instead of 1925)

Career Highlights:
Was a 7-time All-Star and a 3-time Gold Glove; Finished 2nd to Gil McDougald in 1951 AL Rookie of the Year voting even though he batted .326, scored 112 runs, drove in 76 and lead the league with 14 triples and 31 stolen bases; Lead the AL in hits in 1960, and led the league in stolen bases and triples multiple times during the Fifties; In 1956 he set a White Sox single season mark with 23 HBP and also holds the team’s career mark with 145 HBP

Card Stuff:
Before appearing in the 1977 Topps “Record Breakers” subset, his last major baseball card was in 1964 Topps


GREG MINTON

1978 Topps #312

Played 1975 – 1990
1970’s Teams: Giants

1970’s Highlights:
I’ll admit; Minton’s success came largely in the 1980s, but he’s included here mainly for his infamous 1978 card which used a colorized black and white photo; Prior to this card, he’d pitched in just 16 Major League games, only two of which were in 1977

Career Highlights:
In 1982 he was named an All-Star, got 30 saves and 10 wins with a 1.83 ERA and finished a distant 6th in NL Cy Young voting; Held a record (since broken) for most games pitched in a season without allowing a home run (68 games in 1980); Finished 2nd in the league in saves in 1981 and 1982, and 3rd in 1983

Fun Stuff:
A shortstop with a live arm in high school, he’d never pitched before being drafted by the Royals, who converted him during his first instructional league; Got a reputation as a flake for stunts like stealing the team bus


GEORGE MITTERWALD

1972 Topps #302

Played 1966 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Twins, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Starting catcher for the Twins in three seasons; In his 5th game with the Cubs (after a December 1973 trade) he went 4-for-4 with a walk, double, three home runs (one a grand slam) and 8 RBI… A Cubs catcher would not have 3 homers again until Dioner Navarro in 2013; Went 4-for-8 with 2 runs and 2 RBI against the Orioles in the 1970 ALCS; On 9/3/71 he hit a walk-off homer off of eventual Cy Young winner Vida Blue to give the Twins a 2-1 win over Oakland

Fun Stuff:
His nickname was “Baron von Mitterwald”

Card Stuff:
His first two card, both “Rookie Stars” cards, had to shorten his first name to “GEO.” to get his name to fit


The 1970’s, A To Z: Dan Meyer to John Milner

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


DAN MEYER

1978 Topps #57

Played 1974 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Mariners’ starting first baseman for their first two seasons and stayed with the team longer than any other original Mariner; Got the first RBI in Mariner history during the team’s 3rd game, as the M’s had been shut out by Frank Tanana and Nolan Ryan in the first two games; Was the first Mariner to be named the AL Player of the Week (Aug, 7, 1977) and the first to be named Player of the Month (June 1979 after batting .369/.417/.730, 9 HR, 23 RBI over 28 games)

Card Stuff:
Shares a rookie card with Gary Carter and two others


GENE MICHAEL

1971 Topps #483

Played 1966 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Yankees, Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
A light-hitting defensive player, Michael was the Yankees’ starting shortstop from 1969 to 1973; Signed with the Red Sox for the 1976 season but never played another game in the Majors

Career Highlights:
Is best known as the manager and General Manager of the Yankees in the 1980s and 1990s, but also managed the Cubs in the late 1980s

Fun Stuff:
His nickname was “Stick”; Pitched 3 innings without giving up an earned run (although he gave up 5 unearned runs)

Card Stuff:
I associate Gene Michael so thoroughly with the Yankees that I’m forever weirded-out by this 1976 SSPC card which shows him with the Tigers


FÉLIX MILLÁN

1978 Topps #505

Played 1966 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Braves, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Set a Mets team record with 185 hits in 1973 and broke his own record with 191 in 1975 (Lance Johnson would break that record with 227 in 1996); Holds a Braves team record by getting 6 hits in a 9-inning game on 7/6/70; Got the first hit at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium and then scored the first run when Hank Aaron followed up with the first Riverfront home run, 6/30/70; In a 25-inning game in 1974, the longest game of the 1970s by innings played, he tied a record for the most plate appearances in an extra-inning game (12) and went 4-for-10 with a run scored;  Played for Japan’s Yokohama Taiyo Whales from 1978 to 1980

Career Highlights:
A three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner; Considered a tough batter to strike out, Millán never whiffed more than 35 times in a season (and that was over 652 ABs)

Fun Stuff:
Was known for choking way up on his bats, something every kid in my neighborhood imitated while playing Wiffle Ball;  In a game in 1975 he singled in four straight at-bats and each time Joe Torre immediately grounded into a double play

Damning with faint praise:
The text on the back of his 1974 Kellogg’s card starts off “Felix’s 1973 output proves all Mets’ deals aren’t bad”. OUCH!

Card Stuff:
That’s Dave Parker sliding into 2nd on the featured card; Millán was included in the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set


RICK MILLER

1976 SSPC #416

Played 1971 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
A dependable fielder, he won a Gold Glove with the Angels in 1978; Had been the Red Sox starting center fielder in 1973, but would come to lose time to young prospects Fred Lynn and Jim Rice

Fun Stuff:
Married Janet Fisk, teammate Carlton Fisk’s sister


JOHN MILNER

1978 Topps #304

Played 1971 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Mets, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Got a vote for 1972 NL Rookie of the Year (teammate Jon Matlack was the winner) and was named the 1st baseman on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Like Felix Millan in the same game (see above), he is tied for the record for most plate appearances in an extra inning game; Set a Mets record with 5 career Grand Slams (Mike Piazza holds the currrent record with 6);  Won a World Series with the 1979 Pirates

Career Highlights:
Has a .306 career World Series batting average (1973 and 1979)

Fun Stuff:
His nickname was “The Hammer”; His cousin Eddie Milner played for the Reds and Giants

Card Stuff:
He and Rick Miller share this rookie card

The 1970’s, A To Z: Denis Menke to Roger Metzger

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


DENIS MENKE

1970 Topps #155

Played 1962 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Astros, Reds

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1970; In 1973 he had a .368 on-base percentage which is notable because his batting average was .191; Was involved in turning a triple play against the Mets, 7/16/71; Was part of the blockbuster trade between the Reds and Astros which also involved Joe Morgan, Lee May, Cesar Geronimo, Tommy Helms and Jack Billingham

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1969; Over his career he was a regular at each of the four infield positions; Had previously held a Braves record for home runs by a shortstop (20 in 1964), broken this year by Dansby Swanson; Participated in 5 double plays in a single game in 1969, tying a record held by many shortstops

Stupid Irrelevant Stuff:
Whenever I see “Menke”, I think of Inspector Clouseau saying “Monkey”

Card Stuff:
His final card in 1974 shows him with the Reds, but he was traded back to the Astros before Spring Training; Has a ‘cameo appearance’ on the World Series Game 6 card in 1973 Topps


JIM MERRITT

1975 Topps #83

Played 1965 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Reds, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970 he won 20 games, was an All-Star and tied for 4th in Cy Young voting; He was the first Reds pitcher to win 20 games since Eppa Rixey in 1925; Started and got the win in Game 2 of the 1970 NLCS vs. the Pirates; Threw 21.2 consecutive shutout innings in August and September of 1971

Career Highlights:
Went 17-9 with the Reds in 1969; Allowed only 322 walks in 1,483 career innings; Picked Maury Wills off 2nd base in the 1965 World Series

Fun Stuff:
As a teenager he’d been a batboy for the Los Angeles Dodgers


ANDY MESSERSMITH

1976 SSPC #70

Played 1968 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Angels, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Was a four-time All-Star (1971, 1974, 1975, 1976) and a two-time Gold Glove winner (1974 & 1975); Was the starting pitcher in the 1974 All-Star game; Lead the league with 20 wins in 1974; Got 5 first place Cy Young votes in 1974 but finished second to teammate Mike Marshall; lead the league in complete games (19) and shutouts (7) in 1975; Won 20 games in 1971 and 19 in 1975; Started 2 games in the 1974 World Series but lost both; Was involved in the same 1972 Angels/Dodgers deal that also saw Frank Robinson and Bobby Valentine go to the Angels

Career Highlights:
Best known these days for his role in establishing free agency in Major League baseball… He played 1975 withough a signed contract then challenged MLB’s reserve clause; His 211 strikeouts in 1969 was an Angels team record… until Nolan Ryan struck out 329 batters in 1972

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; His 1977 Hostess card (airbrushed into a Braves cap) used the same photo as his 1976 Topps card


BUTCH METZGER

1977 Topps #215

Played 1974 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Giants, Padres, Cardinals, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Won the first 12 decisions of his career, spanning from 1974 with the Giants to 1976 with the Padres; In 1976 he went 11-4 with 16 saves, 77 relief appearances and a a 2.92 ERA and was co-winner of the NL Rookie of the Year after he and Reds starting pitcher Pat Zachry both getting 11 first place votes (the Cardinals’ Hector Cruz got 2 votes); Was named to the Baseball Digest Rookie All-Star team (but not the Topps All-Star Rookie team) and was named the Sporting News NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year; After the 1974 season, he and Tito Fuentes were traded to the Padres, with Derrel Thomas going to the Giants

Fun Stuff:
He and Zachry would end up teammates on the 1978 Mets; “Metzger” is German for “Butcher”


ROGER METZGER

1974 Topps #224

Played 1970 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Astros, Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Played in 1 game for the Cubs before being traded to the Astros for Hector Torres; In his rookie season of 1971, he tied Joe Morgan and Freddie Patek for the Major League lead in triples (11);  His 14 triples in 1973 also lead the league and remains an Astros team record; Was the shortstop on the 1971 Baseball Digest Rookie All-Star team (Chris Speier was the Topps All-Star Rookie shortstop); Won a Gold Glove in 1973; Was involved in turning four triple plays during the 1970s

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in the movie “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”

The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave McNally to Mario Mendoza

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


DAVE McNALLY

1975 Hostess #150

Played 1962 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Orioles, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Lead the AL with 24 wins in 1970 and got five 1st place votes in AL Cy Young voting, but finished second to Jim Perry; One of three Orioles to win 20 games in 1970; Was the first pitcher to hit a grand slam in the World Series, doing so against the Reds in the 1970 Series; In 1971 he lead the Orioles with 21 wins and was one of four O’s to win 20 games (Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson being the other three); Was traded to Montreal in what would be a lopsided deal, bringing Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez to Baltimore in exchange for Rich Coggins and 12 games of Dave McNally before he retired; Was the Orioles Opening Day starter in 1970, 1971 and 1973, and the Expos’ opening day starter in 1975; Was an All-Star in 1970 and 1972

Career Highlights:
Won 184 career games and had a 7-4 record in the postseason; Shut out the Dodgers in Game 4 of the 1966 World Series; Won 20+ games in 1968 and 1969; Was named to the 1969 All-Star team; Set two Orioles single-season records in 1968: a 0.84 WHIP in 1968 and a .182 Batting Average Against; Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1978

Fun Stuff:
In 1974 he gave up Al Kaline’s 3000th hit and Robin Yount’s first Major League hit

Card Stuff:
It’s probably blasphemy to feature a card of McNally with the Expos, but I’ll remind you that I feature my favorite card, and I love me some oddballs. This card is the only one from during his career that showed him with Montreal


HAL McRAE

1975 Topps #268

Played 1968 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Reds, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Hit a Royals team record 54 doubles in 1977; Tied a MLB record with 6 extra base hits (5 doubles and a home run) on 8/27/74; In 1976 he lost the batting title by one point (.333 to .332) to teammate George Brett and Rod Carew was one point behind McRae; Was an All-Star in 1975 and 1976

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1989; Won a World Championship with the Royals in 1985; In 1982 he was an All-Star and lead the league with 46 doubles and 133 RBI; Managed the Royals and the Devil Rays and was a hitting coach with several teams

Fun Stuff:
Hal is the father of Brian McRae who played with the Royals, Cubs, Mets and other teams from 1990 to 1999; Hal was Brian’s manager in KC for four years

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every Topps flagship set of the 1970s (although his 1970 card is a combined “Reds Rookie Stars” card with Vern Geishert and Wayne Simpson); Was also in all 5 1970s Hostess sets


GEORGE “DOC” MEDICH

1974 Topps #445

Played 1972 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Yankees, Pirates, A’s, Mariners, Mets, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the Baseball Digest Rookie All-Star team in 1973; Won 19 games for the 1974 Yankees; Was the Yankees opening day starter in 1975 and the Pirates in 1976; Was named the July 1974 AL Player of the Month when his 7 starts resulted in a 1.88 ERA, 2 shutouts, 6 complete games and 5-2 record; The Yankees sent Medich to the Pirates in a trade that nobody in the Bronx regrets, obtaining prospect Willie Randolph as well as Ken Brett and Dock Ellis

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL with 4 shutouts in 1981

Doc’s whirlwind 1977 season
Medich moved around a lot in 1977… He was traded from the A’s to the Pirates during spring training, sold to the Mariners in mid-September (where he went 2-0 in 3 starts), and was selected off waivers by the Mets and made one more start with them (taking the loss). In November he signed with the Rangers as a free agent and is shown in 1978 Topps with an airbrushed Rangers’ cap

Fun Stuff:
“Doc” isn’t just a nickname, Medich became a medical doctor during his Major League career and when he was with the Rangers he went into the stands to administer CPR to a fan

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card has a different and airbrushed photo to show him on the A’s


BILL MELTON

1975 Hostess #8

Played 1968 – 1977
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Angels, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970 Melton set a White Sox team record with 33 home runs, and he tied that record (plus lead the league) in 1971; Was the first White Sox batter to lead the league in home runs; He was named an All-Star in 1971; Went 3-for-6 with a double, homer, 3 runs, 4 RBI in White Sox 22-13 win over Red Sox 5/31/70; At the time he was traded to the Angels (after the 1975 season), he was the White Sox career leader with 154 home runs… he currently ranks 9th

Card Stuff:
Although he came up through the White Sox system, his 1969 rookie card shows him without a cap and his 1970 card shows him in an airbrushed cap


MARIO MENDOZA

1978 Topps #383

Played 1974 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Got an RBI in the 1974 NLCS; Was a regular with the Mariners after being acquired in a December, 1978 trade; Set a record for most games played by a sub-.200 batter (148 game and a .198 average); Pitched two innings of mop-up relief a 13-3 loss in the second game of a doubleheader in 1977

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000

Fun Stuff:
Mendoza has been immortalized through the phrase “The Mendoza Line”, which refers to a batting average of .200… although he did bat a career-best .245 over 277 at-bats in 1980; He played 9 seasons with a career .215 batting average, and just from that you can tell that he was well-regarded for his defense; His nickname was “Manos de Seda”, which translates to “silk hands” (according to Google Translate, anyway)

The 1970’s, A To Z: Tug McGraw to Denny McLain

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


TUG McGRAW

1973 Kellogg’s #21

Played 1965 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Mets, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
His “Ya Gotta Believe” became the rally cry of the 1973 pennant-winning Mets; Was the winning pitcher in the 1972 All-Star Game after pitching the games final two innings; Also in 1972 he had a 1.70 ERA and a career-high 27 saves; Was also an All-Star in 1975 but did not pitch in the game; At the time he was traded to the Phillies he held the Mets team record for career saves and games pitched

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Phillies Wall of Fame; Famously got the final out of the 1980 Phillies’ World Championship, striking out Kansas City’s Willie Wilson; Has 3 World Series saves and 5 LCS saves (the latter is a record)

Fun Stuff:
Tug is the father of Country music star Tim McGraw; In the 1970s Tug and Mike Witte created a syndicated comic strip called “Scroogie” about a relief pitcher for the “Pets” (You can read a brief article about that at the Baseball Hall of Fame website)

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every Topps flagship set of the 1970s


SCOTT McGREGOR

1978 Topps #491

Played 1976 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
In 1976 he was traded by the Yankees to Baltimore as part of a 10-player deal which also included Ken Holtzman, Grant Jackson, Doyle Alexander, Elrod Hendricks, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May and Rick Dempsey; Started out as a reliever and got 5 saves before moving to the starting rotation; Lead the AL with a 1.076 WHIP in 1979

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1990; Won 20 games in 1980; was an All-Star in 1981; Won a World Championship with the 1983 Orioles; Had a career 2.12 World Series ERA

Fun Stuff:
McGregor was a high school teammate of George Brett

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1975 Topps as a Yankees “Rookie Pitcher”, but he never pitched for the Bronx Bombers


DAVE McKAY

1977 O-Pee-Chee #40

Played 1975 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Twins, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Selected from the Twins in the Expansion Draft, McKay was the starting 3rd baseman in the first-ever Blue Jays Game, drove in the winning run in that game and was the first Canadian to play for the Jays; Was involved in turning a triple play against the Yankees on 9/21/1979

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001; Is currently the first base coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks

Fun Stuff:
His son, Cody McKay, pitched for the A’s and Cardinals

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card replaced the airbrushed Topps image with a spring training photo


DENNY McLAIN

1970 Topps Super #17

Played 1963 – 1972
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Senators, A’s, Braves

Note: McLain’s career is so much about five seasons in the 1960s, but they were such dominant years and there’s enough 1970s stuff to go along with it that I wanted to include him here

1970’s Highlights:
Holds Senators/Rangers single-season record with 22 losses in 1971; After so many innings pitched in the 1960s, McLain’s performance fell off a cliff and he bounced around a little before being out of baseball at the age of 28

Career Highlights:
Won two consecutive Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1969 and was the 1968 AL MVP; In 1968 he went 31-6 (the last player to win 30 games), with a .838 winning percentage, 1.96 ERA, 6 shutouts and a league-leading 28 complete games (!); Despite his dominance during the 1968 season, during the 1968 World Series he lost Games 1 and 4 before getting a blowout win in Game 6; In 1969, he went 24-9 with a 2.80 ERA, a league-leading 9 shutouts (still a Tigers record); Was a three-time All-Star; Although he pitched 10 seasons, 108 of his 131 career wins came during his five “core” seasons of 1965 to 1969

Fun Stuff:
McLain was a noted organist, put out two albums with Capitol Records in the late 1960s and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show (video of this at the end of the post);  Hit his only career home run during his first Major League start

Card Stuff:
From 1970 to 1973, McLain notably appeared in four Topps flagship sets with 5 different teams – Tigers (1970), Senators (1971), Rangers (1972), A’s (1972 Traded subset) and Braves (1973)… For the record, he never pitched for the Rangers and didn’t pitch after 1972


Here’s that video of McLain (misspelled “McClain”) playing “The Girl From Ipanema” on the Ed Sullivan Show. Bob Gibson would later come out and play guitar along with the Denny McClain Quartet, but I couldn’t find a good video of that

The 1970’s, A To Z: Tim McCarver to Sam McDowell

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


TIM McCARVER

1971 Topps Super #34

Played 1959 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Cardinals, Expos, Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Caught no-hitters thrown by Bill Stoneman (Expos, 10/2/72) and Rick Wise (Phillies, 6/23/71)

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1966 and 1967 while with the Cardinals; lead the NL with 13 triples in 1966, the first catcher in NL history to do so; Finished 2nd to Orlando Cepeda in the 1967 NL MVP voting (although he got no first place votes); Won two World Series with the Cardinals (1964 and 1967); Is among the few who played in four different decades; In the 1964 World Series he batted .478 and stole home in Game 7

Fun Stuff:
Has been a baseball broadcaster since 1980; Had a small role in the movie The Naked Gun; Was a high school teammate of Phil Gagliano

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every Topps flagship set of the 1970s


WILLIE McCOVEY

1974 Topps “Washington Nat’l Lea.” variation #250

Played 1959 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Giants, Padres, A’s

1970’s Highlights:
Reached 500 homers on 6/30/78 with a shot off the Braves’ Jamie Easterly; was the starting NL 1st baseman in the 1971 All-Star Game; Was named the 1977 NL Comeback Player of the Year; Became the first player to hit 2 homers in an inning twice — in the 4th inning on 4/12/73 and 6th on 6/27/77

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Basball Hall of Fame in 1986; Was named the 1959 NL Rookie of the Year; Was named the 1969 NL MVP; His #44 has been retired by the Giants; 6-time All-Star and the 1969 All-Star Game MVP; Lead the league in homers and slugging percentage 3 times; lead the league in RBIs twice

Fun Stuff:
The inlet beyond the right field wall at San Francisco’s Oracle Park is called “McCovey Cove” in his honor

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every Topps flagship set of the 1970s; Giants fans will probably think it outrageous that I featured a card showing Stretch with the Padres, but I pulled this card from a pack in 1974 and if I were forced to make my collection fit in a team bag, this card would be in there


TOM McCRAW

1971 Topps #373

Played 1963 – 1975
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Senators, Indians, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
Was the first DH in Angels history; On 10/3/71 he was caught stealing 2nd to make the final Senators out in team history

Career Highlights:
After retiring he had a long career as a Major League batting coach, serving in that position for the Indians, Giants, Orioles, Mets, Astros, Expos and Nationals

Fun Stuff:
Set a record in 1966 for the fewest at-bats by a player who appeared in 150+ games… his 389 AB’s would not have qualified him for a batting title

Card Stuff:
Appears in 1972 Topps as a Texas Ranger, but he was traded to Cleveland just before the start of the 1972 season


LINDY McDANIEL

1970 Topps #493

Played 1955 – 1975
1970’s Teams:
Yankees, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Had 29 saves with the 1970 Yankees, good for 2nd in the AL; I wasn’t able to verify if this is still the case, but as of 6 years ago McDaniel was the last Yankees pitcher to hit a home run, having done so on 9/28/72 at Tiger Stadium; Was traded to the Royals late in 1973 with Lou Piniella being one of the two players heading to the Yankees

Career Highlights:
Generally considered to be among the most dominant relievers of his era; Had Saves been an official statistic before 1969, McDaniel would have lead the NL in Saves three times; Was an All-Star in 1960; Won a career-high 15 games as a starter in 1957; Broke into the Majors as a 19-year-old ‘bonus baby’ in 1955; When he retired his 987 games were second-most in Major League history after Hoyt Wilhelm

Fun Stuff:
His brother Von pitched for the Cardinals in 1957 and 1958


SAM McDOWELL

1971 Topps Super #16

Played 1961 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Indians, Giants, Yankees, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
1970 Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year (he got 4 first place votes in a split Cy Young vote that saw 7 different pitchers get first place votes… winner Jim Perry got 4); In that 1970 season he went 20-12 with a 2.92 ERA and 304 strikeouts (tops in the AL); Was named to the All-Star team in 1970 and 1971; After the 1971 season he was traded to the Giants for HOFer Gaylord Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Indians HOF in 2006; In 1965 he lead the league with a 2.18 ERA and lead in strikeouts with 325 (a career high); In total, he lead the league in strikeouts five times and was an All-Star 6 times; Over his career he had nearly as many strikeouts (2453) as innings pitched (3492.1)

Fun Stuff:
Nickname is “Sudden Sam”

The 1970’s, A To Z: John Mayberry to Bake McBride

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JOHN MAYBERRY

1974 Topps #150

Played 1968 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Astros, Royals, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting 1st baseman on the 1973 AL All-Star Team; Finished 2nd to Fred Lynn in 1975 AL MVP voting for a season where he hit 34 homers with 106 RBI and 95 runs scored; Holds a Royals team record with 122 walks in 1973; Set and broke his own Royals team record with 100 RBI in 1972 and 1973, then 106 RBI in 1975 (Al Cowens would break it in 1977 and the others after that); Never lead the league in RBI’s, but was either 2nd or 3rd in those three seasons; lead the league in walks twice and in On-Base % in 1973; Hit for cycle 8/5/77 vs. White Sox; Got the first hit, also the first homer, at Royals Stadium, 4/10/73; Was involved in turning three Triple plays: Astros vs Reds 9/17/71, Jays vs Chisox 4/22/78 and Jays vs Indians 9/7/79; Drove in 7 runs in a game he did’t start, 6/26/78

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the KC Royals HOF, 1996

Fun Stuff:
Father of John Mayberry Jr. who played with the Phillies, Blue Jays and Mets from 2009 to 2015

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s


WILLIE MAYS

197* Topps #xxx

Played 1948 – 1973
1970’s Teams: Giants, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Hit his 3000th career hit on 7/18/70; Was the starting All-Star center fielder from 1970 to 1972; Got his final Major League hit in Game 2 of the 1973 World Series, an RBI single off Rollie Fingers in the 12th inning which would put the Mets on top to stay; Was traded back to New York in 1972 when the Giants sent him to the Mets in exchange for pitcher Charlie Williams

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979; Was named the NL MVP in 1964 and 1965; Was named the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year; Was named the All-Star Game MVP in 1963 and 1968; Appeared in 24 All-Star games, including each year from 1954 to 1973; Won 12 Gold Glove Awards; Was the 1954 Batting leader; Became the first player with 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases; At the time he retired, he was third on the All-Time career home run list; Was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015

Fun Stuff:
Played himself on several episodes of The Donna Reed Show and also on Mr. Belvedere; Is the Godfather of Barry Bonds

Card Stuff:
Was the last player from 1952 Topps to appear in a Topps set as an active player; Makes an “uncredited” appearance in 1974 Topps on the Game 4 card of the 1973 World Series subset


LEE MAZZILLI

1978 Topps #147

Played 1976 – 1989
1970’s Teams: Mets

1970’s Highlights:
The Mets 1st overall pick in 1973 and from Brooklyn, he was the starting center fielder in the late 1970s and one of the players a desperate fanbase looked towards (not that I would know anything about *that*…);  A legitimate case can be made that Mazzilli should’ve been the MVP of the 1979 All-Star game… Coming in as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning, he hit a solo home run off of Jim Kern to tie the game at 6-6, and then in the 9th he drew a bases-loaded base-on-balls off of Ron Guidry to drive in the game’s winning run;

Career Highlights:
In the long term, the biggest impact that Mazzilli had on the Mets was an indirect one… in April, 1982 he was traded to the Rangers for pitching prospects Ron Darling and Walt Terrell (who would later be sent to the Tigers for Howard Johnson); Would manage the Orioles for a year and a half

Fun Stuff:
Before playing pro baseball, Mazzilli was a speed skater who had won several championships;  His son L.J. Mazzilli currently plays for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League


DICK McAULIFFE

1970 Topps #475

Played 1960 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Tiger’s starting 2nd baseman in the early 1970s; Hit a homer in the 1972 ALCS vs. Oakland

Career Highlights:
Three-time All-Star; Lead the league with 95 runs in 1968; In 1968 he didn’t ground into a single DP over 151 games; Won a World Championship with the 1968 Tigers


BAKE McBRIDE

1975 Hostess #41

Played 1973 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
In his 1974 rookie season he batted .309 with 81 runs, 56 RBI and 30 stolen bases, he Was named the NL Rookie of the Year and was also named an outfielder on the Topps All-Star Rookie team; Was an All-Star in 1976; Scored (unearned) winning run on botched pickoff in 25th inning of Cardinals 4-3 win over the Mets, 9/11/74 – The longest game of the 1970’s by innings played

Career Highlights:
Had a .299 career batting average and batted over .300 7 times in 11 seasons; Won a World Championship with the Phillies in In the 1980 World Series he hit a home run in Game 1 and scored the winning run in Game 2

The 1970’s, A To Z: Carlos May to Rudy May

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE CALENDAR SAYS, IT’S “MAY DAY” IN THE 1970s: A-Z!


CARLOS MAY

1974 Topps #195

Played 1968 – 1977
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Yankees, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1972; Got some MVP votes in 1972 and 1973; Played in the postseason with the 1976 Yankees

Career Highlights:
Made the All-Star team during his rookie season; Was named the Sporting News 1969 AL Rookie of the Year (in the official AL ROY voting, Lou Piniella won a tightly-contested fight with May in 3rd); Was named to the 1969 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Played four seasons in Japan with the Nankai Hawks

Fun Stuff:
Is the Younger brother of Lee May (featured later in this post); Between his last name and his uniform number, May wore his birthday (MAY 17) on the back of his jersey; Lost the tip of his right thumb due to a mortar accident while serving with the Marine Reserves in 1969

Card Stuff:
His 1970 card should have featured a Topps All-Star Rookie trophy but did not; His last Major League card was a 1977 Burger King Yankees card; Appeared in the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set


DAVE MAY

1976 Hostess #148

Played 1967 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Braves, Rangers, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the 1973 AL All-Star Team; Was the key player traded to the Braves when Hank Aaron was sent back to Milwaukee late in 1974; Had a 24-game hitting streak, 1973; Lead the league in total bases in 1973; His 189 hits in 1973 stood as a Brewers team record for a few years (currently ranks 19th)

Fun Stuff:
His son Derrick played for 6 Major League teams including the Cubs and Astros


JERRY MAY

1970 Topps #423

Played 1964 – 1973
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Royals, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Caught Dock Ellis’ no-hitter, 6/12/70

Career Highlights:
Was the Pirates starting catcher in 1967 and 1968


LEE MAY

1971 Topps #40

Played 1965 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Reds, Astros, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting 1st baseman for the AL in the 1972 All-Star Game and was also an All-Star in 1973; Lead the league with 109 RBI in 1976; Hit 2 homers in the same inning 4/29/74; Got the last hit and last home run at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, 6/24/70; Voted the Reds MVP in 1971, but got traded to Houston that winter as part of the deal that brought Joe Morgan to Cincy; In the 1970 World Series he batted .389 with 2 homers, 8 RBI and 6 runs

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Orioles HOF in 1998 and the Reds HOF in 2006; Hit 354 career home runs and had 3 seasons of 30+ home runs; Was named to the 1967 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Played in the postseason with the Reds, Orioles and Royals

Fun Stuff:
His brother, as mentioned, is Carlos May… they both played in the same All-Star game in 1969; Lee’s grandson, Jacob May, played 15 games for the White Sox in 2017

Card Stuff
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s


MILT MAY

1975 Topps #279

Played 1970 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Astros, Tigers, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Hit the home run which resulted in Bob Watson scoring baseball’s millionth run, 5/4/75; Was 1 for 2 with an RBI in the 1972 World Series; Primarily a backup catcher, he started for the 1974 Astros and 1977 Tigers

Fun Stuff:
Son of former Phillie Pinky May

Card Stuff:
Milt May’s 1975 Hostess card (#35) shows Lee May (Lee has his own 1975 Hostess with a correct photo)


RUDY MAY

1976 Topps #481

Played 1965 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Angels, Yankees, Orioles, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting pitcher in the first game at renovated Yankee Stadium, 4/15/76; Won a career-high 18 games with the Orioles in 1977; Started and pitched twelve 3-hit innings with 13 K’s in the A’s 20-inning 1-0 win over California, July 9, 1971

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL with a 2.46 ERA and 1.044 WHIP in 1980

Fun Stuff:
Was a high school teammate of Joe Morgan

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s

The 1970’s, A To Z: Jon Matlack to Gene Mauch

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JON MATLACK

1977 Topps #440

Played 1971 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Mets, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
was named the 1972 NL Rookie of the Year and was the LHP on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Shut out the Reds in Game 2 of the 1973 NLCS; Was the winning pitcher of Game 4 of the 1973 World Series; Got a first place vote in 1976 NL Cy Young voting, but finished 6h behind winner Randy Jones; Was a 3-time All-Star; Matlack and Bill Madlock were named co-MVP’s of the 1975 All-Star game… in Matlack’s case, he pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief, got the win and struck out Rod Carew, rookie sensation Fred Lynn and two others; Was the Rangers’ opening day starting pitcher in 1978; Twice lead the league in shutouts; Set a Mets single season record for left-handed pitchers by striking out 205 batters in 1973; Had four seasons with 15 or more wins

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Mets Hall-of Fame this past weekend; was the 4th overall pick in the 1967 draft

Fun Stuff:
Matlack gave up Roberto Clemente’s 3000th and final hit, a double in the next-to-last game of the 1972 regular season; Gave up Gary Carter’s first hit, a pinch hit single, 9/18/74


GARY MATTHEWS

1974 Topps #386

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Giants, Braves

1970’s Highlights:
Won the 1973 NL Rookie of the Year award after batting .300 with 22 doubles, 10 triples, 12 homers, 74 runs scored and 58 RBI; Was named to the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; In 1979 he was named to the All-Star team and had a career year, getting career-high numbers for batting (.304), homers (27), and RBI (90)

Career Highlights:
Was named the MVP of the 1983 NLCS after batting .429 with 3 homers and 8 RBI; Lead the NL with 103 walks and a .410 on-base % in 1984; Has a .323 postseason bating average, as well as 7 postseason homers and 15 RBI

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “Sarge”; His son, Gary Jr., played for 7 teams between 1999 and 2010; Nationals manager Dave Martinez played with both Sr. and Jr.

Card Stuff:
The featured card is one of my favorites from the 1974 set and shows Mets 3rd baseman Wayne Garrett and Giants 3rd base coach John McNamara


GENE MAUCH

1978 Topps #601

Played 1944 – 1957
Managed 1960 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Expos, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the NL Manager of the year in 1973 after keeping the Expos in contention for much of the season and ultimately guiding the Expos to a 79-83 record and a 4th place finish

Career Highlights:
Was the Expos first manager, taking the team to a 52-110 record; Managed in the Majors every season from 1960 to 1982, and then again from 1985 to 1987; Won division titles in 1982 and 1986

Fun Stuff:
Mauch is the uncle of Roy Smalley III (who played in the Majors from 1975 to 1987) and the brother-in-law of Roy Smalley Jr (who played from 1948 to 1958 and is Roy III’s father)

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1951 Bowman and 1957 Topps as a player, and the “PLAYER” photo on the featured card is the same image that was used on his 1957 card

The 1970’s, A To Z: Juan Marichal to Dennis Martinez

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JUAN MARICHAL

1974 Topps #330

Played 1960 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Giants Opening Day Starter from 1971 to 1973; Was an All-Star in 1971; Pitched just two games for the Dodgers in 1975, giving up 9 runs over 6 innings

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983; Was a 6-time 20-game winner, an All-Star in 9 seasons and lead the league with a 2.10 ERA in 1969; In his first Major League game in 1960 he pitched a 1-hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Phillies; No-hit the Colt .45’s in 1963; was named the MVP of the 1965 All-Star Game

Fun Stuff:
Marichal is the father-in-law of former pitcher José Rijo

Card Stuff:
His final baseball card as an active player came in the 1974 Topps Traded set, after his contract was sold to the Red Sox


MIKE MARSHALL

1975 Topps #330

Played 1967 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Astros, Expos, Dodgers, Braves, Rangers, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Won the Cy Young Award in 1974, a season where he made a record-setting 106 appearances and lead the league with 21 saves, on top of his 15-12 record; The 106 games remains a Major League record; Came in a strong second to 1973 Cy Young winner Tom Seaver, getting 9 first place votes to Seaver’s 10; Won the 1973, 1974 and 1979 Fireman of the Year awards; Lead the league in Saves three times; Was an All-Star two times; Got MVP votes in four different seasons, a notable accomplishment for a reliever; Set still-standing team records for games in 1973 with the Expos (92 games) and in 1979 with th Twins (90 games)

Fun Stuff:
Has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Michigan State University; Is related to current Rays pitcher Brent Honeywell; Started his career in the Phillies system as a shortstop

Card Stuff:
Was uncooperative with Topps photographers and Topps in general… Many of his cards feature either on-field shots taken from some distance or older, airbrushed photos (according to Keith Olbermann, his 1973 and 1974 Traded cards featured a photo taken in 1968 with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens); His final Topps card came in 1977, but he did appear in 1982 Fleer with the Mets


Fun stuff linking Marichal to Marshall: the featured cards for Marichal and Marshall are both card #330 from their respective sets, and they were briefly teammates with the 1975 Dodgers


BILLY MARTIN

1978 Topps #721

Managed 1969 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Rangers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Established a reputation for winning games and wearing out his welcome; Managed the Twins, Tigers and Rangers before famously managing the Yankees in five different stints between 1975 and 1988; Won a pennant with the 1976 Yankees and a World Championship with the 1977 Yankees; Won the AL East with the Tigers in 1972 and took the previously woeful 1974 Texas Rangers to 84 wins and a 2nd place finish

Career Highlights As A Manager:
Won six division titles and had a career winning record with three of his 5 teams, and the other two were nearly .500… He went 137-141 with the Rangers and 215-218 with the A’s; Was named the 1981 Manager of the Year; His uniform number (1) was retired by the Yankees in 1986

Career Highlights As A Player:
Played from 1950 to 1961, but missed all of 1954 and much of 1955 to military service; Was a star of the 1953 World Series, getting 12 hits in 6 games, including a double, two triples and two home runs… All told he scored 5 runs and drove in 8; Has a career .333 World Series batting average in 28 games over five seasons; Played for 7 different teams over the last 5 seasons of his playing career

Fun Stuff:
Played himself in the TV movie “One In A Million: The Ron LeFlore Story”

Card Stuff:
His notorious 1972 Topps card seems to show him giving the finger to the Topps photographer; Appeared on 1962 Topps and Post cards, but had been released at the end of spring training and decided to retire as a player


DENNIS MARTINEZ

1978 Topps #119

Played 1976 – 1998
1970’s Teams: Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Had five complete games in his 1977 rookie season; Lead the league in 1979 with 18 complete games and 292.1 innings pitched; Pitched for the Orioles in the 1979 ALCS and World Series

Career Highlights:
Was the first Nicaraguan in the Majors; Was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2002, the Latino Baseball HOF in 2011 and the Canadian Baseball HOF in 2016; In the strike-shortened 1981 season he lead the league with 14 wins, but had only 5 losses; Although he never won more than 16 games in a season he still totaled up 245 career wins, which had been a record for pitchers born in Latin America until it was broken by Bartolo Colon (Juan Marichal had 243, since I’m sure many of you are wondering that right now); Martinez was a four-time All-Star even though he was named to his first All-Star team at the age of 36

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “El Presidente”