For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.
This post looks like it is coming in just under the wire. The Indians are up three games to one in the ALCS with a game this afternoon. Here are two Hall of Fame pitchers who landed on unfamiliar teams late in their careers
1992 Topps Hal Newhouser
Hal Newhouser played for the Detroit Tigers from 1939-1953. He was a six time All-Star and the American League MVP in 1944 and 1945. In 1945 he was the starting pitcher in games 1, 5 and 7 of the 1945 World Series. He lost game 1 getting shelled for 7 runs in just 2.2 innings but came back with complete game victories in game 5 and game 7, The Tigers beat the Chicago in the Cubs last World Series appearance 71 years ago.
After the Tigers released him in 1953, he signed with the Indians and made a brief appearance in the 1954 World Series. He came into Game 4 with the Giants up 3 games to none. The Giants were also winning the game 3-0 when Newhouser relieved Bob Lemon in the 5th inning. He gave up a bases-loaded walk to Hank Thompson then a two-run single to Monte Irvin. In 1955 he pitched just 2.1 innings in relief for the Indians before being released in May.
Newhouser's career may have been devalued by Hall of Fame voters because his best seasons were when the league's talent was somewhat diminished due to the war effort. But in 1992 the veteran's committee inducted him into the Hall.
Perhaps the greatest knuckleballer of all time, Phil Niekro spent 21 of his 24 MLB seasons with the Braves. He pitched for the Yankees and the Indians late in his career as well. But in 1987 he pitched three games for the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 0-2 and was released. Atlanta picked him up for the month of September and he was able to retire as a Brave. With 318 career wins he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.