Monday, October 31, 2011

1976 Topps Rangers Strikeout Leaders

Since I made one for the Cardinals, I needed  to make one last franchise leader card for the Rangers. Again, I used the 1976 Topps leader format for the last card in my World Series leader theme. 

Charlie Hough leads the Rangers with 1452 all-time strikeouts. Hough made his only All Star appearance in 1986 with the Rangers. Although he had 3 strikeouts in 1 2/3rds innings, catcher Rich Gedman had a hard time with his knuckleball with a wild pitch and a passed ball leading to the NL's only runs in a 3-2 AL victory.

Nolan Ryan is now the Owner/President/CEO of the Texas Rangers and is shown repeatedly during telecasts of this Series. He threw the final 2 of his record 7 no-hitters in a Rangers uniform.

C.J. Wilson had a career high 206 strikeouts this year. He also had 26 K's in the 2011 post-season.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Shout Out

This is one of my favorite websites. If you are a baseball card geek like I am you will recognize the name. Bob is the Editor of the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards.  His blog is full of information and quit a few custom cards.

His creations are head and shoulders above any I have seen on the web. He is obviously a perfectionist and it shows.

His cards all have a front and a back that is both true to the original set issue format and informative.

I could (and I have) spend hours going through his blog. Also if you are so inclined, he sells a limited number of hard copies of his creations. 

I really had a hard time narrowing down the cards to include on this page. I had to include Wheaton, IL native John Belushi and Brian Piccolo (note Lemke spelled his name correctly but Topps did not).  I love to see cards of famous players on unfamiliar teams (Robinson, Doby, Namath) or people who never had cards (Madden, Pride). I don't want to give away too much but go visit his blog. If you are like me, it's like being a kid in a candy store. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

1960 Topps The Champs Celebrate

2011 Champs borrowing the 1960  Topps World Series card format.

1976 Topps Cardinals Strikeout Leaders

After a wild 11 inning game 6 the Cardinals have forced a game 7 in St. Louis. This time I used the 1976 Topps leader format in my World Series leader theme.

Bob Gibson the Hall of Famers 3117 strikeouts, all with the Cardinals puts him second to only Walter Johnson for total strikeouts with one team.

"Happy Jack" Stivetts pitched for the St. Louis Brown Stockings from 1889-1891. During those 3 seasons he won 72 games with an ERA of 3.01. He also hit .288 with 14 homers.

Chris Carpenter is rumored to start tonight's game 7 on 3 days rest. He is 3-0 in 5 appearances this post-season.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

1973 Topps Rangers Home Run Leaders

(The Steroid Free Version)

This was a tricky one for me. I didn't know whether I should put asterisks next to the steroid inflated records or ignore the steroid users completely. So I decided to do one of each. For the Rangers, I went 'roid-free, for the Cards I used the asterisk.

Frank Howard led the league in homers in 1968 and 1970 but his career best of 48 in 1969 was second to MVP Harmon Killebrew. Alex Rodriguez hit 57 home runs for the Rangers in 2002 and 52 in 2001, the year he tested positive for steroids. He later admitted using performance enhancing drugs from 2001-2003. Juan Gonzalez has a total of  372 homers with the Rangers. Although he still denies steroid use, his trainer was detained by Canadian police for picking up a package containing steroids that he claims were for Gonzalez. Rafael Palmeiro had 321 home runs in a Rangers uniform. Of course we all remember Palmeiro vehemently denying using steroids under oath in front of Congress in March of 2005 then being suspended by Major League Baseball in August of that same year for testing positive for steroid use. Both Palmeiro and Gonzalez were also implicated by Jose Canseco in his book "Juiced". To include these 3 cheaters at the expense of Frank Howard, just feels wrong.

Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler both hit 32 round-trippers during the 2011 season. After Beltre led the league in homers with 48 in 2004, there was speculation that he used performance enhancing drugs, but it was based on opinion only with no evidence to back it up. Kinsler's 32 homers is a career high. He also stole 30 bases. This is the second 30-30 season for him. His first was in 2009 with 31 HR and 31 SB.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1973 Topps Cardinals Home Run Leaders

(The Asterisk Version)

This was a tricky one for me. I didn't know whether I should put asterisks next to the steroid inflated records or ignore the steroid users completely. So I decided to do one of each. For the Rangers, I went 'roid-free, for the Cards I used the asterisk.

Stan Musial was a 3 time MVP and appeared in 24 All-Star games in his 22 seasons. His highest season total was 39 which ties him for 13th in the all time Cardinals list. But it is his consistency and longevity that puts him on top.

Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998. After years of denial he finally came clean. Well, almost. He claimed taking steroids for "health purposes". I don't remember where I heard it first but I'll repeat it. "Without steroids, Mark McGwire is Dave Kingman."

Albert Pujols has never hit fewer than 32 home runs in any season of his 11 year career. He is at #2 on the Cardinals all-time list at 445 and should surpass Musial next year assuming he is still healthy and wearing a Cardinals uniform. He is also #3 on the single season list with 49 homers behind Mark McGwire's suspect totals in 1998 and 1999.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1971 Topps Cardinals Leading Firemen

Cardinals lost game 5 by a score of 4-2. A couple of the interesting side stories is the emergence of Mike Napoli as an unlikely hero. He has had 4 multi-RBI games in the series which ties him with Mickey Mantle for the record. The other interesting story is the breakdown in communications to the bullpen which ended up with the wrong pitcher being sent to the mound for the Cardinals.

Jason Isringhausen actually surprised me. The Cardinals have 2 Hall of Fame closers who are conspicuously missing from this card, Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley. Another potential Hall of Famer, Lee Smith only shares a frame with Isringhausen. Although he has 300 saves and 2 All-Star appearances over 15 years and 4 teams, he's hardly a household name.

Lee Smith was a 7 time All-Star and led the league in saves 4 times, totaling 478 saves in his 18 year career.

Fernando Salas led the Cardinals with 24 saves this season but it is Jason Motte who has assumed the closer position in the post season with 9 saves.

Monday, October 24, 2011

1971 Topps Rangers Leading Firemen

The save was not an official MLB record until 1969. The official record as we now know it was created by Chicago sportswriter Jerome Holtzman and used in The Sporting News since 1960. Topps didn't start making save leader cards until 1973. Back then they were referred to as Leading Firemen. What is now called the closer used to be referred to as the "Fireman". I think the last time Topps had a "Leading Firemen" card was in 1984. If I am wrong, please leave a comment to correct me.

John Wetteland was the Yankees closer before Mariano Rivera. He was the World Series MVP in 1996. Rivera was his set up man. He played for the Rangers from 1997-2000.

Francisco Cordero pitched for the Rangers from 2000-2006. His 49 saves in 2004 was second to Mariano Rivera's 53.

Neftali Feliz closed out game 4 pitching the last 2/3rds of the 9th without getting the save. He had 40 saves in 2010 and was named AL Rookie of the Year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1984 Topps Cardinals Stolen Base Leaders

Albert Pujols hit a record-tying 3 homers in a  16-7 win in game 3. Turning what could have been a controversial game into an offensive showcase. 23 runs, 28 hits, 3 errors but not a single stolen base. Too bad. Might've made this post more relevant. Anyway, this is the Topps 1984 active career leader card format adapted to continue my World Series theme.

Lou Brock was the MLB stolen base leader at the time he retired with 938 overall.  He also held the official single season record for stolen bases with 118. Both records have since fallen to Rickey Henderson.

Arlie Latham has the most stolen bases in franchise history with 129 in 1887 for the St. Louis Brown Stockings. Because of several rule changes, pre-1900 stolen base records are not officially recognized. Stolen bases were at times credited for advancement of the runner in several different scenarios including errors, sacrifice flies, taking extra bases on a hit ball, etc. To give an example of how different it was the 1887 Brown Stockings had 581 stolen bases and 39 home runs. The 1974 Cardinals (Brock's record season) had 172 stolen bases and 83 home runs.

Tyler Greene led the Cardinals with 11 stolen bases in 58 games this season. He also had 19 stolen bases for the AAA Memphis Redbirds. Tyler is not even on the World Series Roster.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

1984 Topps Rangers Stolen Base Leaders

This time I took the 1984 Topps Active Career Leader card format to compare the historical franchise stolen base leaders to the World Series teams. The Rangers card features some sweet fros as well as one of the heroes of game 2. 

Bump Wills is the son of speedster Maury Wills. His father led the league in stolen bases 6 years in a row from 1960-1965. Bump put up consistent if not spectacular numbers during his 6 years in the majors. After a stint in Japan he returned to the Rangers organization as a coach.

Elvis Andrus scored the winning run in game 2 and has led the Rangers in stolen bases all 3 years of his major league career.

Friday, October 21, 2011

1969 Topps Cardinals Victory Leaders

The Rangers came back from a 1-0 deficit in the ninth on 2 singles and 2 sacrifice flies to even the series with the Cardinals. Here again, I'm taking the 1969 Topps league leader card format to compare the World Series teams to their historic franchise leaders.

Bob Gibson topped the Cardinals with 251 career victories over 17 years. Bob also help himself with his fielding. He was a Gold Glove winner 9 years straight from 1965-1973.

Silver King, born Charles Frederick Koenig, "musta been something before electricity" to quote Rodney Dangerfield. He put up 45 wins for the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1888. It was a different ballgame back then. He started 64 games in 1888 and finished every one of them. Regardless, no other pitcher in Cardinals history has won more than 45 games in one season and it is doubtful than anybody ever will.

Kyle Lohse won 14 games this season to lead the team in 2011. The Cardinal's pitching staff had 6 pitchers with double digit wins. Kyle McClellan started the season in the rotation due to Adam Wainwright's injury returned to the bullpen when the Cards acquired Edwin Jackson from the White Sox. Jackson had 12 wins including the 7 he earned on the White Sox.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1969 Topps Rangers Victory Leaders

Game 1 is in  the books. The Cardinals won 3-2 with Carpenter getting the win and Wilson the loss. Speaking of wins, Here are the Rangers franchise win leaders using the 1969 Topps league leader format.

Charlie Hough pitched for the Rangers from 1980 through 1990. During that time the knuckleballer amassed 139 victories. Hough also started more games than any other Rangers pitcher and pitched more innings than any other. He averaged over 6 and 2/3 innings per outing and had 98 complete games during those 11 years.

Fergie Jenkins won 25 games in his first season with the Rangers. Jenkins pitched for the Rangers in 1974 and 1975 then again from 1978-1981. Jenkins was also a workhorse for the Rangers with 90 complete games in just 6 years and averaging over 7 innings per game.

Derek Holland went 16-5 this season and is 1-0 in the post season. Holland also had 4 complete game shut outs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1981 Topps Cardinals Batting Leaders

Rogers Hornsby played for the Cardinals from 1915-1926 and again in 1933. During that time he averaged .359. In 1924 he hit an astounding .424. There have been only 3 .400 hitters since then. Hornsby again in 1925 with .403, Bill Terry in 1930 with .401 and Ted William in 1941 with .406

Yadier Molina hit a career high of .305 in 2011. Yadier and brothers Jose and Bengie are all catchers and all have World Series rings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1981 Topps Rangers Batting Leaders

Today's franchise leaders card is based on the 1981 Topps Rookie Prospect format.

Al Oliver spent only 4 of his 18 season in a Rangers uniform. The career .303 hitter averaged .319 while in Texas.

Josh Hamilton hit .359 during his MVP season with the Rangers. In the 4 years he has been a Ranger his batting average has been .311.

Michael Young hit .338 in 2011 placing him 3rd in the American League. He spent all 12 of his MLB seasons with the Rangers and appeared in 7 all Star games

Monday, October 17, 2011

1982 Topps St. Louis Cardinals Leaders ERA

The Cardinals are in and game one is on Wednesday night. I'm using the 1982 Topps team leaders design to compare the 2011 team leaders to the historical franchise leaders.

John Tudor played on 2 Cardinal World Series teams, 1985 and 1987 but only won a ring when he pitched for the Dodgers in 1988. In 1985 he had career highs with 21 wins, 14 complete games, 10 shut outs, 169 strikeouts, and a 1.93 ERA.

Bob Gibson spent his entire 17 year career in St. Louis. An 8 time All Star, 9 time Gold Glove, 2 time Cy Young award winner, 2 time World Series MVP, and 1968 NL MVP. Although the Cardinals lost the 1968 World Series, Gibson won 2 games, finishing all 3 games he started.

Kyle Lohse lost both post series games he started this season despite leading the club with a 3.39 ERA.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

1982 Topps Texas Rangers Leaders ERA

The Rangers have advanced to the World Series for the second year in a row and I've hijacked the 1982 Topps team leader cards to show how the 2011 World Series team stack up against their franchise historic leaders.

Darold Knowles pitched for the Washington Senators from 1967-1971 before the franchise moved to Texas. Knowles had a respectable career ERA of 3.12 and his 5 years with the Senators was among his best with a 2.46 ERA in 271 games.

Dick Bosman pitched for the Senators/Rangers from 1966-1973. He had a career season in 1969 going 14-5 and leading the league with a 2.19 ERA despite missing part of the season with an elbow injury. 

C.J. Wilson placed 7th among AL pitchers in 2011 with a 2.94 ERA. Wilson was selected to the All Star team this year. He pitched the 4th inning giving up 3 hits including a 3 run homer to Prince Fielder earning the loss. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Video Checklist -Series 2

Here's the second 25 cards created for this blog and of course the series 2 checklist. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1977 Topps Mickey Mantle

Taking a break from the post season to bring another Mantle card.  Speaking of post season, Mantle hit .257 in 65 post season games. Since Mantle retired before there were divisions, all of his post season games were World Series games. His best Series was in 1960 when he hit 4 homers, 11 RBIs and hit .400 in a losing effort against the Pirates.

Monday, October 10, 2011

1978 Topps Managers: 2011 N.L. Playoff Edition

In the divisional series we compared the team broadcasters as players. For the championship series we can compare the managers as players.

Ron Roenicke was an utility outfielder and pinch hitter who played on 6 major league teams from 1981-1988 hitting a meager .238.

Tony La Russa broke into the majors in 1963, then bumped back and forth from 1968- 1973. He primarily was in the Athletics organization but also played in the Braves and Cubs organizations. He was a middle infielder who hit .199 in 176 at bats.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

1978 Topps Managers: 2011 A.L. Playoff Edition

In the divisional series we compared the team broadcasters as players. For the championship series we can compare the managers as players.

Jim Leyland never made the majors as a player and in case you haven't picked up on it yet, that isn't really his picture as a player. I couldn't find one anywhere but I heard they found a drawing from his playing days on a cave wall somewhere in Eastern Michigan.

Ron Washington was a utility infielder with a .261 lifetime batting average. He played 10 seasons in the majors, in 1977 and from 1981-1989.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

1962 Topps Checklist - Cards That Never Were - 2nd Series

Here is a checklist of the 2nd series of cards produced for this blog. The second 25 cards took a lot less time than the 1st 25 cards. That can be credited to a few multiple card blogs; the 3 fantasy football cards, the 2 White Sox manager cards and the 7 broadcaster cards I made for the playoff teams.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Broadcasters Playoff Edition: Rays vs. Rangers

The post season is upon us and here is how the ex-players match up in the broadcast booths.

Brian Anderson is finishing his first full season as the Rays color commentator. He pitched on 5 teams in 13 seasons and had an 82-83 record.

Tom Grieve has been broadcasting for the Rangers since 1995. He and his son, Ben Grieve, were both 1st round draft picks. A career .249 hitter, his best year was 1976 when he hit 20 homers with 81 RBIs as a DH on the Texas Rangers. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Broadcasters Playoff Edition: Cardinals vs. Phillies

The post season is upon us and here is how the ex-players match up in the broadcast booths.

The "Mad Hungarian" vs. "Sarge"

2 great nicknames and the closest match-up as far as playing careers. Hrabosky is remembered for his intimidating ritual on the mound and his Fu-Man-Chu mustache. He was a solid reliever in the mid '70's and led the NL in saves in 1975. But Matthews was Rookie Of the Year in 1973, NLCS MVP in 1983 and was an All Star in 1979.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Broadcasters Playoff Edition: Tigers vs. Yankees

The post season is upon us and here is how the ex-players match up in the broadcast booths.

Paul O'Neill is a 5 time All Star with 5 World Series rings and has appeared on "Seinfeld". Rod Allen hit .220 in 50 MLB at bats but Rod has 2 local Emmy's and a viral video of him chasing a pitcher around while playing in Japan. That's gotta count for something.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Broadcasters Playoff Edition: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

The post season is upon us and here is how the ex-players match up in the broadcast booths.

As a player the edge goes to Mark Grace who had more hits than any other major leaguer in the '90's. But in the booth Bob Uecker is a Hall of Famer.

Six Degrees of Ron Santo - Video Checklist

Here are all the cards I made for the website Six Degrees of Ron Santo. I also added a few I never published.