Friday, June 26, 2015

Catching up with "Rating the Rookies"



More often than not lately, I'm having trouble making new blog posts. It's not due to a lack of ideas. It's more a lack of free time.  In the mean time here are several Cards That Never Were from my other blog, Rating the Rookies. The three above are from this post. Enos Cabell, Pat Bourque, and Gonzalo Marquez shared a rookie card in the 1973 set.


Steve Jones shared the 1969 Royals Rookie Stars card with Ellie Rodriguez. Since I had already created a Card That Never Was for Rodriguez as part of the 1973 All Star set, I only needed to create a card for Jones.


In 1966 Lee EliaDennis Higgins and Bill Voss shared a White Sox Rookie Stars card. Again I had already created a card for one of the players. In this case it was Dennis Higgins who appeared on the 1969 Topps AL Leading Firemen card.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

1970 Topps NL Stolen Base Leaders: Lou Brock, Joe Morgan, Bobby Bonds


For the 4th year in a row, Lou Brock was the NL stolen base leader. He stole 53 bases for the Cardinals.  Joe Morgan once again was in the running with 49 stolen bases for the 1969 Astros. Morgan had missed most of the 1968 season after he was taken out by Tommie Agee breaking up a double play.  Bobby Bonds became the first 30-30 player since Hank Aaron in 1963. He stole 45 bases and hit 32 homers in 1969 for the Giants.

The real story of this card is whose photo is not on the card. After leading the league for 6 straight years, the placing in the top 3 from 1966-1968, Maury Wills fell to 4th in the NL with 40 stolen bases. He began the 1969 season as an expansion draft pick for the Expos. In June he returned to the Dodgers in a 4 player trade. In honor of this monumental achievement, here are all of his fake stolen-base-leader cards:






Wednesday, June 17, 2015

1970 Topps AL Stolen Base Leaders: Tommy Harper, Bert Campaneris, Cesar Tovar


The 1969 Seattle Pilots didn't have much to celebrate. The team had an old stadium with poor attendance and an older team. With an average age of over 28 years, they were older than most established MLB teams and considerably older than the other 1969 expansion teams.  But Tommy Harper provided Seattle fans with a reason to cheer. The lead-off hitter got the Pilots first hit ever and also scored their first run. Harper also led the Majors with 73 stolen bases.

After leading the AL in stolen bases for 4 consecutive years, Bert Campaneris fell to 2nd place. His 62 swipes still matched his career high from the 1968 season. Additionally he was only caught 8 times compared to 22 in 1968.

Cesar Tovar stole 52 bases in the regular season and 1 in the NLCS for the Minnesota Twins. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

1970 Topps NL Leading Firemen: Fred Gladding, Wayne Granger, Cecil Upshaw


Fred Gladding was one of the "players to be named later" in the trade that sent Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews from the Astros to the Tigers in 1967. After an injury riddled 1968 season, Gladding led the NL with 29 saves, the first year that saves were an officially recognized statistic. Gladding spent his entire 13 season career as a relief pitcher. He made exactly 1 start in 450 appearances. In his only start he pitched 5 scoreless innings but didn't get the decision as the Orioles beat the Tigers with a Brooks Robinson 2 run walk off homer.

Wayne Granger and Cecil Upshaw tied for 2nd in the NL with 17 saves each.  Despite trailing Gladding in saves, Wayne Granger was named Sporting News Fireman of the Year. Granger also led the league in games pitched and games finished. The youngest pitcher of the group also had the lowest ERA with 2.80 and most relief wins with 9. Galdding had 4 wins and a 4.21 ERA, Upshaw won 6 and had an ERA of 2.91

Thursday, June 11, 2015

1970 Topps AL Leading Firemen: Ron Perranoski, Ken Tatum, Sparky Lyle


Ron Perranoski was the 1969 Sporting News Fireman of the Year. He led the majors with 31 saves. He also led the AL with 52 games finished. Hewon 9 games for the Twins in the regular season but got the loss in the first game of the ALCS. Ironically, the Orioles known for "pitching, defense and the 3-run homer" beat him by playing small-ball. He was called in with no outs and Brooks Robinson on second base in the bottom of the 9th and the game tied at 3-3. He managed to pitch his way out of the 9th. He also went unscathed in the 10th and 11th. But in the bottom of the 12th he gave up an infield single to Mark Belanger. A sac-bunt, and a grounder to short later and Belanger is on 3rd. Then with 2 out and a 1-1 count, Paul Blair laid down a perfect bunt scoring the winning run. The ball never left the infield.

In Ken Tatum's rookie season he came in 2nd in the AL with 22 saves. This was a career best for him as was his record of 7-2 and his microscopic ERA of 1.36. He finished 4th in Rookie of the Year voting in 1969 and although he would spend 6 seasons in the bigs with the Angels, the Bosox and Chisox, he would never match his rookie numbers.

Sparky Lyle would go on to lead the league twice in saves and win a Fireman of the Year award. But in just his 3rd MLB season Lyle was 3rd in the AL with 17 saves and an 8-3 record.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

1979 Topps Dave Parker All Star MVP

Going Horizontal


The 1979 All Star Game MVP was chosen not for his offensive contribution. Even though Dave Parker went 1 for 3 with an RBI sacrifice fly and an intentional walk. It was his arm that earned him the MVP. He threw out Jim Rice trying to stretch a double with the AL leading 6-5 in the bottom of the 7th. An inning later he preserved the 6-6 tie by throwing out Brian Downing at the plate. Downing was trying to score from 2nd on a Graig Nettles single with 2 outs in the 8th.

This is my second horizontal version for the 1979 set. as you can see, I took a few more liberties this time deviating a bit from the original design. The main reason is that I thought adding a second bar similar to this 1979 Rod Carew All Star would take up too much space for the picture if used horizontally. 
Below is a horizontal card I had previously posted for John Castino's Rookie of the Year season. For this one I used a more traditional 1979 Topps look.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cards That Never Were - 30th Series Checklist - Doug Buffone


Once again, I have stuck with a variation of my own checklist design. This time I featured former Chicago Bear, Doug Buffone.  Buffone passed away in April.  While looking for a suitable tribute card I discovered that despite a productive 14 year career, 8 of which he was defensive captain, Topps had made only 5 cards of him. As you can see by the first 8 cards on this checklist, I picked up the slack. This series also includes several Cards That Never Were that were originally posted on my other blog, Rating the Rookies.  As always you can click here to see all the cards from this series in one page or you can click on the checklists on the right margin.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Four More from "Rating the Rookies"

Here are a few more Cards That Never Were from my sister blog Rating the Rookies:


This is a 1964 Topps Giant card of Steve Hertz. He had a career stat line of 4 plate appearances, 3 strikeouts, no hits, no walks, yet somehow he scored twice. Click here for a link to his rookie card.


Here are a couple of career-capper Cards That Never Were for Bernie Allen and Phil Linz. They were featured on a 1962 Topps Rookie Parade card. This was the first year Topps put out multi-player rookie cards. Click here to see the rookie card they shared with Rich Rollins and Joe Pepitone.


This is a 1967 Card That Never Was of Rollie Sheldon showing him on the last MLB team he played for. Even though he was on a 1969 Topps card as a Seattle Pilot, he never made the team. Sheldon was a 24 year old rookie for the Yankees in 1961. When they signed him his birthdate and high school graduation years were off by 4 years. They thought they were signing a 20 year old phenom. But with their pitching staff depleted due to the expansion draft, he earned a spot in the bullpen even after his correct age was determined. Click here to see his rookie card.

Friday, May 22, 2015

1968-69 O-Pee-Chee Bill Masterton


It has been a while since I made a hockey card for this site. Now we're deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs, so I think it's time.

Each year the NHL awards the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey". Most often the award is given to a player who has overcome a serious injury or illness. 

Masterton played 3 years for the University of Denver winning the Frozen 4 Championships in 1960 and 1961.  At the time he graduated he was the Pioneers all time leading scorer. He was signed by the Montreal Canadiens but during the original 6 era there was very little opportunity for a minor league player. In 1967 the NHL expanded to 12 teams and opportunity knocked. He was signed by the Minnesota North Stars.

Masterton played just 38 games that season. On January 13, 1968 he was checked at center ice. His head hit the ice knocking him out, bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth. He briefly regained consciousness but his head injuries were too severe. He died 30 hours later.  

There have been several award cards bearing his name but Bill Masterton has never had a card of his own. Even though the league expanded to 12 teams in 1967-68 the hockey cards issued that year only featured Original 6 teams. In the 1968-69 set expansion teams like the North Stars had cards as well. But Topps and O-Pee-Chee never made a card for Masterton. I created this one for Bill Masterton and borrowed the "In Memoriam" banner from the 1964 Topps Ken Hubbs baseball card.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Remake of the 1974 Topps Fergie Jenkins

Texas Rangers CTNW Favorites #1


Let's face it, sometimes Topps just makes terrible looking cards. The 1974 Fergie Jenkins was one of them:


I mean, just look at it.  Poor Fergie obviously just took off his Cubs hat and never had a chance to comb out the hat-head (just barely a step above bed-head). He deserved better. Topps should have given him the full traded card experience. First a nice card for the Cubs like I posted above. Then a decent looking card of him on his new team, like I have below:


Granted, the real Topps Traded card most likely would have either been a terrible airbrush job or perhaps the hatless bed-head picture they used on his regular 1974 card. In 1976 when he was traded to the Red Sox, Topps did give him the full treatment with both a regular and an airbrushed traded card.

Fergie pitched in 197 games for the Rangers in 1975-75 and 1978-81. He had an overall record of 93-72. He is 4th on the all-time list in wins for the Rangers and his 25 win season in 1974 remains a Texas Rangers record.

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