Wednesday, September 15, 2021

1976 NFL Rookies of the Year

It's been a while since my last NFL Rookies of the Year post.  We left off with the 1975 ROYs.

1976 still had five different organizations each presenting two different NFL Rookie of the Year awards for a total of ten trophies.  In an unusual happenstance, the top NFC rookie was an offensive player and the top AFC rookie was a defender. All five organizations were in unanimous agreement for the first time.  The NFC/Offensive Rookie of the Year was Sammy White. The AFC/Defensive Rookie of the Year was Mike Haynes. Haynes and White had their actual rookie cards in the 1977 Topps set.  Both of them had All Pro banners across the top as well.


White spent his whole career in Minnesota making the Pro Bowl his first two seasons.  His final season was in 1985. In 1998 he returned to his Alma Mater, Grambling State as a coach until 2009.

Mike Haynes was a nine time All Pro.  He played 14 seasons, seven with the Patriots and seven with the Raiders.  He retired in 1989 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2000 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Topps All-Star Misses: 1968 NL Outfield

The 1968 Topps All Star cards for the National League outfield mirrored the 1967 All Star Game starting outfield.  Perennial All Stars Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente were all there.  But the cards themselves say "The Sporting News 68 All Star Selection."  The actual 1968 Sporting News All Star outfielders were Billy Williams, Curt Flood and Pete Rose. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Topps All-Star Misses: 1969 AL Infield

 Topps 1969 American League All Star Infield was another head scratcher.  At second Topps had Rod Carew who was the 1968 All Star starter and a 1969 Sporting News All Star selection.  Similarly, third base was Brooks Robinson.  He was the 1968 ASG starter and a 1969 Sporting News All Star. There if falls apart.  

Topps had Bert Campaneris at shortstop. The actual 1969 Sporting News All Star was Luis Aparicio. The 1968 MLB All Star Game Starter was Jim Fregosi.

At first it gets really strange.  Topps had Ken Harrelson who had been used primarily as an outfielder since being dealt to the Red Sox in 1967.  In fact, he was named to The Sporting News All Star team in 1969 as an outfielder, not a first baseman. He also appears to be in his A's uniform despite being traded in 1967.  The actual 1969 Sporting News All Star in 1969 was Boog Powell and the starting first baseman in the 1968 All Star Game was Harmon Killebrew.

Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1969 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway?
Bert Campaneris:

We'll give Topps a pass for Hawk Harrelson because he was a Sporting News Selection in 1969, although in the OF not 1B.  But Campy made his first ASG appearance in 1968 as a reserve and wouldn't be named to The Sporting News team until 1973. Additionally, the pinstriped uniform in the picture hasn't been worn by the A's in the regular season since 1961. How old is this picture? 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Topps All-Star Misses: 1970 NL Battery

 In a strange turn of events, Topps had the 1959 American League All Star infield and the 1958 National League outfield correct (by my narrow definition). The 1959 AL infield cards reflected the 1958 ASG starting lineup; Moose Skowron at first, Nellie Fox at second, Luis Aparicio at short and Frank Malzone at third.  The Sporting News All Stars in 1959 were combine AL and NL with only Nellie Fox of the White Sox representing the AL.

Similarly, the Topps 1958 NL Outfield All Stars were a reflection of the 1957 MLB All Star Game starters. Frank Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron were the 1957 ASG starters and Mays and Aaron were named to The Sporting News All Star team in 1958.  So we skip ahead to the 1970 NL Battery.

In 1970, Topps had Jerry Koosman (LHP), Juan Marichal (RHP) and Johnny Bench (C) on their "Sporting News" All Star Cards. Only Bench was actually named to the 1970 Sporting News All Star team.  He was also the only of the 3 to start in the 1969 ASG.  

The actual 1969 All Star Game starter was Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals. Carlton followed up his 1969 All Star season, with a league leading 19 losses in 1970.

The first right hand pitcher to make an appearance for the NL in the 1969 ASG was Bob Gibson.  Gibson was also The Sporting News All Star selection for 1970.

Jim Merritt (LHP) was The Sporting News All Star selection in 1970.  He was also the first lefty to pitch in the 1970 ASG following starter Tom Seaver.  He was 4th in Cy Young voting in 1970 and 21st in MVP voting.

Who probably didn't merit inclusion in the 1970 Topps All-Star set, but was in it anyway?
Koosman and Marichal:

Both were reserves in the 1969 MLB All Star Game but only Koosman left the bullpen. Neither were named to The Sporting News All Star team in 1970 and neither were selected for the 1970 MLB All Star team.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

1975 Topps Joe Namath


I've been wanting to make this card for a while now.  If you're of a certain age, you might remember the short lived World Football League.  It existed in only 1974 and 1975.  In 1974 Chicago fielded a team called the Fire. The Fire started out hot (sorry) but after QB Virgil Carter's injury, lost the final 10 games of it's only season. 

In 1975 there was a new team, the Chicago Winds.  The owner pursued Joe Namath who was without a contract.  He offered $4 million for 4 years.  They even changed their colors from red to green to appeal to Namath.  Ultimately, the deal broke down and Namath remained on the Jets.  The ill fated Winds didn't even last the whole 1975 season.  Two different investors pulled out and the league dissolved the team mid-season and distributed their players to other teams via a special draft,

This is a card of what could have been.  Could Broadway Joe have saved the league?