Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cards That Never Were - 31st Series Checklist - Yogi Berra

Despite spotty posting at best recently, I have amassed more than enough cards to require another checklist. With the passing of Yogi Berra this past September, I decide to include his photo on this checklist.  Coincidentally, Yogi also appeared in this series. He was part of the All Star Game Honorary Captains series I created a couple months before his passing.  Given the retro seventies/eighties design of my checklist, I chose a photo of Yogi during his stint as a coach on the Astros. This series, as usual, 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. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

1980 Topps Ken Griffey All Star MVP

Going Horizontal

Been gone for a while, but I have some unfinished business. Here is one of my running themes. I've been making horizontal cards in sets that didn't normally have them. For the subject I've been using the All Star Game MVP from that season. And yes, I do understand that the 1980 All Star MVP would not be included in the 1980 set, but my blog, my rules.  In 1980 the senior Griffey showed why the NL (at that time) was the "Senior Circuit".

Coming off a 48 home run season, the Cubs Dave Kingman was the fans choice in left field for the 1980 All Star game. But Kingman was also just coming off the disabled list with a shoulder injury. In the third inning Kingman re-injured his shoulder trying to throw Rod Carew out at second. Ken Griffey Sr. came in and went 2 for 3 with a homer. The National League went on to win their 9th straight All Star Game 4-2.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It ain't over 'til it's over....

With the passing of a baseball legend, I just wanted to pay tribute in the only way I know. Here are a couple cards I made in the past featuring Yogi.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Checking in with "Rating the Rookies"

This has been a busy time for me and I haven't really had the time to commit to this blog. Although I haven't been very busy on this blog, I have still been occasionally creating Cards That Never Were for my other blog, Rating The Rookies.


Here is a 1975 Topps card for Lloyd Allen and a 1973 Topps card for Winston Llenas. They shared a 1970 Rookie Stars card while on the Angels. You can see that post here.


Craig Reynolds, Lamar Johnson, Johnnie LeMaster and Jerry Manuel all share a Rookie Infielders card in the 1976 Topps set. 


Jim Miles and Jan Dukes were both on a Senators Rookie Stars card in 1971. Here they are representing the same team in 1968 and 1971 repectively.



Sammy Ellis and Mel Queen were both on the 1964 Reds Rookie Stars card.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Do You "Bunt"?

Apparently, I do.   

I never really saw the point of collecting "virtual" cards. Especially since I've been making virtual cards for this blog for the past 4 years or so. But curiosity finally got the best of me and I had to check out Topps Bunt. To my surprise, I came across this Harmon Killebrew Topps Bunt Card using the same design I used for the 1971 Topps All Star Cards That Never Were.

 Admittedly, the design was not entirely mine. I lifted it from the World Series cards from that set. 

 Nonetheless, I'm kinda stoked that they used a design that I had a hand in creating. 

And I am not the only blogger who's CTNW designs were used by Topps Bunt. Over at The Baseball Card Blog, the writers created a 1965 Topps All Star set. Their design was also incorporated into Topps Bunt.  Here is their design. Basically they made an All Star designation for the regular issue 1965 cards. This is The Baseball Card Blog's version of a 1965 Topps Brooks Robinson All Star card: 

And this is the Topps Bunt version:

On these cards, Topps Bunt utilized the design element that we had also used to create our Cards That Never Were. But on this card of Yogi Berra, the entire card was identical to the one created by Uncle Doc's Closet. Here is the one by Topps Bunt:

And here is the Uncle Doc version:

Did some Topps intern not realize that this was a fake card? Or did he know it was fake and just didn't care? In reality, the design belongs to Topps in the first place and they probably actually paid for the rights to use Berra's image.

I can't speak for the other bloggers, but I am not the least bit upset, offended or otherwise outraged by the Topps Bunt versions of these cards. Quite the opposite. I'm hoping that they use more of our designs. The whole reason I made most of these cards is because I thought Topps should have made them themselves. With the recent addition of Archives, Heritage and now Bunt cards, Topps will have more chances to create the cards they missed the first time around.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1964 Philadelphia Charley Taylor

1964 NFL Rookie of the Year

In August of 1964 Charley Taylor was the MVP of the College All-Star game versus the NFL champion Chicago Bears. The All-Stars lost 28-17. Taylor, who is best known as a wide receiver for the Redskins, played halfback for Arizona State.  Taylor figured in all 3 score for the All Stars. He made a leaping 29 yd reception to set up the field goal to give them the early 3-0 lead. He recovered a muffed punt by the Bears, then threw a touchdown pass to Colts draft pick, Ted Davis to regain the lead. In the second half he was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from 49ers draft pick George Mira.  

The entire 1964 Philadelphia NFL set had only 198 cards and Charley Taylor was not not included. After winning the Rookie of the Year, he would be included in all major issues from 1965-1976. He was selected to the Pro-Bowl 8 of his 13 NFL season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.

The AFL Rookie of the Year, Matt Snell was included in the 1964 Topps set.  In 1964 Topps lost the license to make NFL cards and gained the rights to the AFL from Fleer. Snell was a 3 time AFL All-Star for the Jets, and rushed for the first touchdown in the Super Bowl III upset over Johnny Unitas and the Colts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

1983 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Ernie Banks & Joe Cronin

Last night the American League won their 3rd straight All Star Game. In 1983 the AL had won their first ASG after losing 11 straight.  The game was at Comiskey Park in Chicago. It was the 50th anniversary of the original ASG which was part of the Chicago Worlds Fair.  

The National League's honorary captain was Ernie Banks. Although the game was played on the south side, Ernie's name is synonymous with Chicago baseball. He played his entire 19 season career in a Cubs uniform. An All Star 14 times and a back to back NL MVP (1958 & 1959), "Mr. Cub" was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1977.

Joe Cronin was chosen as the AL's honorary captain. Cronin was the starting shortstop for the American League in the first ever All Star game. Back then he was a member of the Washington Senators. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. The AL won 4-1. Cronin was runner up for the AL MVP in 1933 finishing behind fellow Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx.

In 1933 Cronin was in his first year acting as player/ manager of the Senators. The following year he would manage and play shortstop in the 1934 All Star Game. The Red Sox traded for Cronin after the 1934 season. They gave up their starting shortstop, Lyn Lary and $225,000 (roughly $4 million in today's dollars). Cronin would serve as player manager of the Sox for 11 years and just manager for 2 more. In 1956 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.


About the game: A former Southern Illinois University "Saluki", Dave Stieb was the starting pitcher. He pitched 3 inning of no-hit ball. But he gave up an unearned run on 2 errors to the game's first 2 hitters. Both were grounders to the pitcher. The first was an error on Stieb's throw to first. The second was on first baseman Rod Carew's catch. After spotting the Nationals a one run lead, Stieb was lights-out. He retire 9 of the next ten hitters, striking out 4 and allowing only one baserunner on a walk to Al Oliver

MVP honors went to Fred Lynn of the Angels. Lynn belted a Grand Slam as part of the AL's 7 run 3rd inning. Atlee Hammaker, in his only All Star appearance gave up 3 singles, a triple, an intentional walk and 2 homers including Lynn's slam. The final score was 13-3 with the decisions going to both starting pitchers. Steib got the win and Mario Soto got the loss.

About the cards: In 1982 Topps went back to having separate all star cards rather than incorporating an all star designation on their regular issue cards. I struggled with whether to use regular issue cards or use the All Star cards from that years set. I actually think the 1983 AS cards are decent looking but the regular issue cards are much nicer. And as we move further into the '80s the divide only gets worse. If anybody that reads this far down into the text has an opinion on this subject, please leave a comment. Hopefully, I will still be blogging by the next All Star break and I am really undecided on how to proceed, but we have plenty of time.

About the photos: Normally, I use photo's from the playing days, but Cronin retired from playing and managing in 1947 so I could not find a decent color photo. I did find this picture of him wearing a mid '70 era Red Sox uniform. I'm not sure what the occasion for this was. 

At the '83 All Star Game he was looking good in a vintage Washington Senators uni. It doesn't look exactly authentic for the era (no pinstripes and the '60s era curly "W"), but it was a nice looking throwback uni anyway and I wish I could have found a decent photo of it to use on his card. But since I didn't here is a video I found on Youtube. It is the AL introductions for the All Star game. At the end Banks an Cronin come out. 

Banks is also wearing an inaccurate uniform. He never had his name on the back of a home uniform during his playing days. In fact the Cubs didn't have names on the backs of their home jerseys until 1993. Ten years after Banks appeared in this video with his name on the back of his jersey.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

1982 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Duke Snider & Yogi Berra

Tonight is the All Star game, so as part of my annual ritual, here are some more Honorary captains. These are the 1982 captains. For the first time since 1974, Topps had separate cards for the All Stars. The 1975-1981 sets had an All Star design incorporated into the regular issue cards of the players.

For the first time in MLB history, the 1982 All Star Game was played outside the United States.The Montreal Expos hosted the event in Olympic Stadium. The Captain of the National League was Duke Snider. Snider played briefly for the Montreal Royals in the 1940's before being called up to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The 8 time All Star centerfielder was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Yogi Berra was the AL honorary captain as well as a member of the Yankees coaching staff in 1982. A 3 time MVP and 18 time All Star catcher, Yogi had 10 World Series rings as a player and 3 more as a coach. I'm not sure which is the bigger travesty; that the writers took 11 votes before inducting Duke Snider into the Hall or that it took them 2 to induct Yogi.  

The AL jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the 1982 All Star Game.  Lead-off -man-extraordinaire Rickey Henderson scored on a Reggie Jackson sac-fly. After that it was lights out. The Nationals took the lead on MVP Dave Concepcion's 2 run homer in the bottom of the 2nd inning and the NL won the game 4-1. This was the NL's 11th straight All Star victory.

Monday, July 13, 2015

1981 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Warren Spahn & Bob Feller

The All Star break in upon us once again. So here a few additions to my All Star Game Honorary Captain collection.

Warren Spahn represented the National League as Honorary Captain in the 1981 All Star Game.  Spahn's heroics on the field earned him 17 All Star appearances and 13 20-win seasons, He led the league in ERA 3 times, strikeouts 4 times, shutouts 4 times, victories 8 times and complete games 7 times. He earned The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award 4 times, The Cy Young award in 1957 and The Lou Gehrig Award in 1961. In 1973 he was voted into the Hall of Fame.

The hometown hero, Bob Feller represented the American League as honorary captain at the 1981 All Star game in Cleveland. Feller was a triple crown winner in 1940, leading the league with a 2.61 ERA, 27 wins and 261 strike outs. He was an 8 time All Star and led the league in victories 6 times and in strikeouts 7 times. He had 3 career No-Nos and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.

It is worth noting that both of these pitchers left the comfort of the MLB to join the armed forces in their prime. Feller was the reigning pitching champion, having led the league in victories 3 consecutive years leading up to his 3+ years serving as an anti-aircraft gunner chief aboard the USS Alabama. In his first full season back he led the league again and was selected to the AL All Stars.

Although Spahn was a rookie before serving, in his first full season back he led the league in ERA and was selected to the NL All Star Team. Spahn's military career held nearly as many awards as his baseball career. He was a combat engineer who fought in the "Battle of the Bulge". He received a Purple Heart after taking shrapnel to his foot. His unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Emblem and he received a battlefield commission to second lieutenant.

As for the game itself, this would be the 4th and final time the game would be held at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium. The game was rescheduled to August 9th because of the baseball strike. It still holds the attendance record for All Star games with 72,086 and the most players used with 56. The NL won 5-4 with all of its runs scored via the long ball. Gary Carter had 2 solo homers and was named MVP. Dave Parker also soloed and Mike Schmidt had a 2 run homer to give the NL the victory.

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, then 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