Monday, January 30, 2012

1975 Topps 1961 Rookies of the Year

In 1961 the Rookie of the Year awards went to a pitcher for a 6th place team and an outfielder for a 7th place team. This was the first time both Rookies of the Year played for losing teams.

Don Schwall led the pitching staff on the Red Sox with 15 wins. That would end up being his career high. He was traded to the Pirates in 1962 and eventually to the Braves where he was released in 1967.

Billy Williams would go on to have a Hall of Fame career. He was a 6 time All Star and was runner-up in MVP voting twice. Both times losing out to Johnny Bench. He ended his career as a DH for the Oakland A's in 1976.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1961 Topps Don Schwall

Don Schwall's rookie season turned out to be the best season of his career. He won 15 games for the 6th place Red Sox and received 7 of the 20 votes cast for Rookie of the Year narrowly beating out future Yankee skipper Dick Howser. Another Red Sox rookie in 1961 was future Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.  Schwall pitched 3 inning of the 1961 All Star game held in Fenway Park. He surrendered the NL's only run as the game ended in a 1-1 tie at the end of 9 innings.

Friday, January 27, 2012

1980 Fleer Steve Stone

Finally in 1980 Fleer would have a significant change in its football card design.  Also in 1980 Fleer won the antitrust suit against Topps and the Players' Union. In 1981 they could begin printing cards but Topps retained a monopoly on cards packaged with gum. Fleer would insert sticker similar to those they sold in packs with gum in the '60s and 70's. Donruss would insert puzzle pieces. I understand that initially cards were used to help sell gum, but by 1981 the cards were the main attraction. Not the gum, not the stickers, not the puzzle pieces, certainly not the cookie inserted in the 1963 Fleer baseball card packs.

The 1980 AL Cy Young winner Steve Stone had a career year on a steady diet of curveballs. He ended up winning 25 games during the regular season but it took a toll on his arm. In the post season he only pitched 2 innings in relief giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. In 1981 he went 4 -7 and retired at the end of the season.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1979 Fleer Bruce Sutter

In 1979 the Fleer football set had a few minor changes by adding a little color to the same basic design. Still 2 years away from their re-entry into baseball, this was Fleer's sole sports card set.  

Bruce Sutter was the NL's Cy Young award winner in 1979 leading the league with 37 saves. He was the winning pitcher of the All Star game for the second year in a row in 1979. In the next two All Star games Sutter would record the Save.

Monday, January 23, 2012

1978 Fleer Ron Guidry

The 1978 version of the Fleer football cards were literally a just yellow border on the 1977 version.  Apparently the focus was on the action photos featured on the cards, not the design. 

The 1978 AL Cy Young award winner was Ron Guidry. Guidry led the league in wins, shutouts, ERA and was second only to Nolan Ryan in strikeouts. He also had a spectacular post-season. He won the one game playoff against the Red Sox. He won the final game of the AL Championship against the Royals. He also got a complete game win in game 3 as the Yankees beat the Dodgers 4 games to 2 in the World Series.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1977 Fleer Steve Carlton

In 1977 Fleer continued to make football cards featuring official logos but not the players' names. These cards advertised "Live Game Photos" which were few and far between on Topps cards of that era.  Here is 1977 Cy Young award winner Steve Carlton on what would have been a baseball version of that set.

In 1977 Carlton won his second of four Cy Young awards. His league leading 23 wins helped the Phillies win the NL East. His luck ran out in the playoff. He gave up 9 runs in 11 2/3 innings as the Dodgers won 3 games to 1.

Friday, January 20, 2012

1976 Fleer Randy Jones

After losing the battle to Topps in 1963 Fleer wouldn't make cards featuring active baseball players until 1981. They also stopped making football cards with Topps and Philadelphia printing AFL & NFL cards respectively. In 1976 Fleer began making football cards with active players again. They had a contract with the NFL but not with the Players' Union. So while Topps could print cards featuring players they could not use copyrighted team logos. Fleer on the other hand could use team and league logos but not the players' names.

Here is Randy Jones as he would have appeared on a 1976 Fleer issue. After coming in 2nd to Tom Seaver in the 1975 Cy Young voting he secured the 1976 Cy Young award by leading the league in wins and complete games. All this while playing for the 5th place Padres. He was named starting pitcher the All Star game. He pitched 3 scoreless innings and earned the win. After the 1976 season he had surgery and never regained his Cy Young form.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1962 Fleer Don Drysdale

In 1962 Fleer didn't issue a baseball card set. It did issue baseball stickers (see the Fleer Sticker Project). It also issued a nice looking set of AFL football cards. I used these cards to further my theme of putting active MLB players on pre-1981 Fleer cards.

The 1962 Cy Young award winner was Don Drysdale. He led the league in victories with 25 and strike outs with 232. He was named starting pitcher in the first of two 1962 All Star Games. He pitched 3 scoreless innings but didn't get the decision in the NL's 3-1 victory.

Monday, January 16, 2012

1961 Fleer Whitey Ford

In 1961 Fleer again put out a set of Baseball Greats. With Ted Williams retiring at the end of 1960, this set contain no active players. If Fleer had included active players in this set, this is what the 1961 Cy Young award winner's card might have looked like.

In 1961 Whitey Ford had a career high 25 wins. He also had his second highest career ERA but he had run support from Mantle and Maris in their chase for the home run record. Ford won the 1961 World Series MVP by pitching a complete game shutout in game 1 and pitching 5 innings of the game 4 shutout of the Reds.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

1960 Fleer Vern Law

In 1960 Fleer release a set of Baseball Greats. This set featured retired players, managers and executives plus one active player, Ted Williams. Continuing the theme, I put the 1960 Cy Young Award winner, Vern Law on a 1960 Fleer card.

Vern Law won 20 games for the 1960 World Series Champion Pirates. In the World Series he won game 1 and game 4 and started game 7. He left game 7 with the Pirates up 4-1 in the 6th but didn't get the decision. The Yankees stormed back and ultimately the Series was won on Mazeroski's memorable homer. Law also pitched in both All Star games in 1960. He earned the save (not an official stat in 1960) in the first game and the win in the second All Star game.

Vern Law was also the father of Vance Law a utility infielder for both the Cubs and the White Sox.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1959 Fleer Early Wynn

In 1959 Fleer had an exclusive contract to produce Ted Williams cards. Topps could not make cards featuring the Splendid Splinter and Fleer couldn't make cards of virtually every other active Major Leaguer. Over the next few posts I plan to make Fleer cards that might have been. I'll take Cy Young Award winners and put them on Fleer sports cards that were issued before 1981 when Fleer and Donruss began competing with Topps.

Here is the 1959 Cy Young Award winner as he might have appeared on a 1959 Fleer card if Topps didn't have a virtual monopoly on baseball cards. I used the format of the 1959 Fleer Ted Williams set.

In 1959 Early Wynn won the Cy Young and led the AL in wins for the AL Champs, the Chicago White Sox. He also came in 3rd in MVP voting behind teammates Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1975 Calbee Frank Howard

After being released by the Detroit Tigers at the end of the 1973 season, Frank Howard was signed by the Taiheiyo Lions. He had exactly one at bat in 1974. He struck out and injured his back. After retiring from playing Howard continued as a coach for several teams including the Brewers, Yankees, Devil Rays and Mariners and he managed the Padres and the Mets.

The 1975 Calbee cards came in  packages of chips and looked suspiciously similar to the 1975 Topps baseball cards. With a little help from Google Translator, I was able to figure out where to put his name, position and team on the card.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1975 Topps 1960 Rookies of the Year

In 1960 Frank Howard was selected NL Rookie of the Year with 50% of the votes powered by his 23 home runs. He went on to hit double digit dingers every year until leaving the Majors at the end of the 1973 season.

Ron Hanson received 22 of the 24 votes cast for AL Rookie of the Year. The other 2 votes went to Oriole teammates Chuck Estrada and Jim Gentile. In 1968 Hansen had the distinction of being traded for the same player twice in one year. In February the White Sox traded Hansen to the Senators in a 6 player trade that included Tim Cullen. In August the Senators sent Hansen back to the White Sox for Tim Cullen. It was the first time the same two players were traded for each other in the same season in the history of the MLB.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

1960 Topps Frank Howard

Yes, I know there actually was a Frank Howard card issued for the 1960 set. I wanted to make a base card of him for his Rookie of the Year season. I've had a running theme of putting the Rookies of the Year on the 1975 Topps MVP cards. Now I'm getting to a point in Topps history where if the player does have a card, many are on rookie cards or multi-player cards. I think that in order to give a good representation of that year's set, I need to have at least one standard issue card. 

After short stints in the majors in 1958 and 1959, Howard hit 23 homers and 77 RBIs in 1960 which was enough to put him at the top of a rookie class that included teammate Tommy Davis and future Hall of Famer, Ron Santo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

1974 Topps Glenn Beckert Redone

This post started out as a comment on a post on Wrigley Wax. (A fun site with quite a few custom Cub cards.) His blog suggested that Glenn Beckert was slighted by Topps in 1974 because rather than doing a typically terrible airbrush job, they left him in his Cubs uniform but on a San Diego Padres card. 

Personally, I liked the action shot Topps used in 1974 and suggested he should have appeared on a Cubs card and airbrushed into a Padres uniform on a 1974 Traded card. 

I took the original picture from Beckert's 1974 card and made it a Cubs card and took the airbrushed card that was posted on Wrigley Wax and turned it into a Traded card. I took the liberty of making it a Washington  "Nat'l Lea." short print just because I though it would look cool.

Thanks Paul for letting me borrow your image and letting me take your original idea and beat it like a dead horse.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1980 Topps Mickey Mantle

Topps is determined to put Mickey Mantle on every card that they ever made. I am determined to get to some of them in before they do. The first card I made for this blog was the 1971 Topps Mantle. At that point there was 25 years of Topps cards issued without Mantle (1971-1995). Shortly afterward, Topps included a 1975 mini in the Lineage set that came out last fall. Next month Topps will include a 1987 mini card as an insert in the 2012 base set. This is my first card in the '80 and my 9th Mantle overall of the 23 that Topps hasn't made. Yet.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Video Checklist -Series 4

Here is the 4th set of 25 cards. Last time around, I noticed that the 3rd series was all Topps. This time I promised more variety and I have Donruss, Fleer, Bowman, T-205 and even a Japanese Menko card.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1987 Topps Mickey Mantle

Just saw this one online. Topps is releasing this as in insert in the 2012 set.  Since I've started taking on the missing Mantles, Topps has put out the 1975 version in the Lineage set this Fall and now the 1987 version is going to be part of the 2012 base set. Both of these cards are minis. In 1975 Topps tested out the mini version regionally. In 1987 Topps did  issue a 77 card Mini Leaders set that had the same woodgrain background but was not the same design as the 1987 regular issue. But apparently the mini '87 inserted in this set are the same design as the 1987 regular issue cards.