Thursday, September 19, 2019

1970 NFL Rookies of the Year

Another crazy-busy summer.  I just haven't found the time to post.  I am working on getting a few more baseball sets based on rejected Topps designs and will be posting them soon. In the meantime, here are a few more football Rookies of the Year card that never were.  We're already into the 3rd week of the season, so lets get into the '70s.

1970 was the first year of the newly merged NFL. The Steelers, Browns and Colts moved to the AFC. Other than that the conferences maintained the "old" NFL teams in the NFC and the AFL teams in the AFC. The breakdown of the divisions was difficult, too. Because there was no consensus among owners, the top five plans were thrown into a hat and the winner was drawn by Pete Rozelle's secretary.

There were also still 5 different presenters for the Rookie of the year. You'd think combining the league would reduce the awards. Instead, TSN and UPI began giving ROY awards to AFC and NFC. AP and PFW still gave out separate offensive and defense ROY's. NEA still gave out only one overall ROY award.

The breakdown went like this: the NEA gave its sole award to Raymond Chester, TE Raiders. AP and PFW agreed on the offensive ROY Dennis Shaw QB Bills. They also agreed defensively. Bruce Taylor CB 49ers was their choice. Oddly these were the same picks for TSN and UPI. Shaw was their AFC pick and Taylor was the NFC ROY.

Dennis Shaw and Bruce Taylor made their Topps debut in the 1971 set. Raymond Chester waited until the 1972 set for his rookie card.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Angels No-Hit Tribute to Tyler Skaggs

Two days in a row, I'm creating tribute cards. Yesterday was Jim Bouton who was 80 years old.  A genuine loss to all baseball fans.  Last night the Angels paid tribute to Tyler Skaggs.  Today would have been his 28th birthday.

The tribute wouldn't have been believed if it were scripted.  The entire team wore his uniform, name and number. His mother, a former softball player, threw out the first pitch.  From the mound.  A perfect strike. 

Taylor Cole opened the game by striking out the first batter. Normally a relief pitcher, he only went two innings.  Both of them perfect.  In the Angels first, Fletcher led off with a double, then Mike Trout launched the first pitch 454 feet to put the Angels up 2-0.  Trout would also get a double in that 7 run first inning.

Felix Pena came in and pitch 7 near-perfect innings. He allowed one walk in the 5th before retiring the next 14 in a row.  After celebrating the 13-0 no-hitter, the players all laid their #45 jerseys on the  mound. 

There was so much going on that there is no way to capture it all on one card.  Instead, I made a card in the style of the 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills crediting all three pitchers. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

1965 Alt-Topps Jim Bouton


There is not much to say about Jim Bouton that he hasn't already written.  If you are reading this blog, you are obviously an avid baseball fan.  If you haven't read "Ball Four" you are doing yourself a disservice.  This week baseball lost a great voice.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

1989 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Carl Yastrzemski & Don Drysdale

The 1989 ASG was played under the "Big A" in Anaheim. Once again neither Honorary Captain had ties to the host team.

The AL Captain was newly minted Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.  The 1989 class consisted of two first-ballot superstars, Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski. The veteran's committee also selected Red Schoendienst and umpire Al Barlik. Yaz's stats read the way you would expect of a first-ballot HOFer; Triple Crown winner, AL MVP, All Star Game MVP, 18 All Star Games, 7 Gold Gloves.  But there was controversy too.  Yaz was accused of a lack of hustle when he thought the play or game wasn't important.  This led to a much publicized rift that may or may not have caused the Sox to trade Tony Conigliaro to the Angels.

The NL Captain was Dodgers great Don Drysdale. Had he not been forced into early retirement (age 32) due to shoulder soreness, Drysdale might have been a first-ballot HOFer, too.  He was an imposing pitcher at 6'5" and he had a 2 for 1 rule: "If one of my teammates got knocked down, then I knocked down two on the other team”.  His stats bore that out. In his 14 season career, he was in the top-ten of Hit-By-Pitch 12 times. If you are wondering if this was intentional or not, he also finished in the top-ten for strikeout to walk ratio 10 times in 14 years.

Here are the Topps versions of the Captains Cards that appeared as inserts in the 1990 set.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1988 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Bobby Doerr & Willie Stargell

Continuing with my revived All Star Break Tradition, the Honorary Captains.  Spoiler alert: this is in no way as exciting as last night's duel between Guerrero and Pederson. 

In 1988 the game was played in Cincinnati. Often there's one or more players with ties to the host team.  If there's a connection here, I'm missing it. 

The AL Captain was Bobby Doerr. He spent his entire MLB career with the Red Sox. Missing only the 1945 season to serve in the Army, he played from 1937-1951Doerr was a 9 time All Star who played in the shadow of  Teddy Ballgame in his prime.  It took the Veteran's Committee to induct him in 1986.

In the NL was first-ballot 1988 inductee, Willie Stargell.  Pops was a seven time All Star. In 1979 he won the NL MVP, the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP.

Again, the honorary captains appeared on the All Star Glossy inserts in 1989 Topps rack packs.