Friday, December 30, 2011

1963 Fleer Checklist - Cards That Never Were - 4th Series

Here is my fourth checklist with cards from 76-100. Seems like a nice even number to end the year on. My first checklist used the 1961 Topps format. I chose that because it was the first year Topps produced checklists as part of the set instead of unnumbered inserts or on the back of team cards. I followed with 1962 and 1963 Topps checklists.  For the 4th series I decide to use the 1963 Fleer checklist instead of going straight to 1964. It's a nice looking card from a good looking set, just too hard to pass up.

I started this blog in June. Since then there have been 100 cards plus 4 checklists. 2012 looks to be a good year for baseball cards. The Topps base set looks nice and the Heritage set is base on the 1963 set which I always liked. Plus Topps is putting out another Archives set. 

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

1969 Topps Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio was a Bay Area native and began his professional baseball career at the age of 17 playing for the San Francisco Seals. He also ended his baseball career in the Bay Area. When the Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland, the "Yankee Clipper" was their batting coach in 1968 and 1969.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

1955 Bowman Santa Claus

I was looking to do a few "Christmas Cards" and wanted to see what else was out there before I started. That's when I came across the 2007 Topps Christmas Set. See images below. I had no idea these existed. I may have to pick up a set on eBay.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

1970 Topps Nellie Fox

I came across this picture of Nellie Fox as coach for the Senators standing next to Frank Howard and thought it needed to be shared. Baseball-Reference has Nellie listed as 5'10" 160lbs (a bit generous) and Hondo at 6'7" 255lbs. Even with Fox standing on first base, Howard dwarfs him. 

Nellie Fox's last Topps card showed him as "2nd Base-Coach" for the Astros in 1965. Although he played his last game in 1965 he continued as coach for the Astros through the 1967 season. He coached the Senators from 1968-1971 and moved with the franchise to Texas for the 1972 season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1965 Topps Traded Warren Spahn

At the end of the 1964 season the Braves sold the 44 year old Spahn's contract to the New York Mets. Span pitched and acted as coach for the Mets until he was released on July 17th. Two days later the Giants signed Spahn who went 3-4 for the remainder of the season. After retiring from the mound, Spahn coached in the Cardinals, Indians and Angels organizations. He also coached in Japan and the Mexican Baseball League.

Friday, December 16, 2011

1954 Topps Ralph Kiner

The 1954  Topps set did not include Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner. That's not surprising given the issue with players signing contracts at the time exclusively with either Topps or Bowman. What is disappointing is that his card also wasn't included in the 1994 Archives set. Topps expanded the 1953 set in its 1991 Archives by 57 cards but the 1994 Archives set was only expanded by 8 "Rookie Prospects". I think they missed an opportunity to include several great players like Kiner.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1981 Donruss Willie McCovey

Even though his last game was in June of 1980, Fleer included a card of Willie McCovey in its 1981 set. Topps didn't make a 1981 McCovey Card but if you would like to see what it might have looked like check out Uncle Doc's Closet. With those two cards out there, I felt that Donruss needed some representation. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

1975 Topps 1959 Rookies of the Year

Here is the 1959 edition of my recurring theme putting the ROY's on the 1975 Topps MVP cards.

In 1959 Topps made the first of its Rookie Stars cards which featured mostly forgettable players and the American League Rookie of the Year, Bob Allison. I considered making Willie McCovey's card similar to Allison's but made a regular issue card because I thought it would look better on this card. It gives the 1975 card a better representation of the 1959 set.

Allison played for the Senators until they moved to Minnesota in 1961. He continued to play for the Twins until he retired at the end of the 1970 season.

McCovey Played for the Giants until 1973 when he was traded to the Padres. He was purchased by the A's at the end of the 1976 season. He returned to San Francisco in 1977 where he retired in 1980.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1959 Topps Willie McCovey

Willie McCovey's 1959 season started with him hitting 29 homers for the Giants' AAA team in Phoenix. In late July he was brought up to the Giants where he hit .354 with 13 homers in just 52 games. He was the unanimous winner of the N.L. Rookie of the Year. 

The Giants already had 1958 Rookie of the Year, Orlando Cepeda, at first base but had to make room for McCovey so they sent Cepeda to the outfield. Over the next several seasons both natural firstbasemen would have all-star seasons in the outfield as well as at first for the Giants.

Friday, December 9, 2011

1963 Fleer Ernie Banks

With only 66 cards issued before Topps slammed the door shut, the 1963 Fleer set has a lot of potential for "Cards That Never Were". Here is one of my all time favorite players who didn't make the first series. Ernie Banks was one of several Hall of Famers not in this set. In 1998 and 2003 Fleer created cards of several missing players for their "Tradition" Sets, but an Ernie Banks card was not one of them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

1968 Topps Luke Appling

After his Hall of Fame playing career ended, Luke Appling coached in minor and major league organizations of the White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, Indians, Braves and Athletics.  His only chance as a big league manager came in late 1967 after the A's parted ways with Alvin Dark. Appling managed the team to just 10 wins in their last 40 games. By the start of 1968 the A's were in Oakland and Bob Kennedy was their new manager.

Monday, December 5, 2011

1976 Topps Ron Santo Hall of Famer

Today Ron Santo has finally been elected to the Hall of Fame. He received 15 of 16 votes by the veteran's committee.  This is a repost of a card I made for my other blog Six Degrees of Ron Santo

Sunday, December 4, 2011

1979 Topps Mickey Mantle

Here is the final Mantle card of the '70s. Mantle's final game was in 1968 and his final regular issue Topps card was in 1969. But in 2006 Topps issued a Wal-Mart exclusive insert in the 1970 format and earlier this year a 1975-mini version was included in the 2011 Lineage set. The other 8 can all be found on this blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

1974 Topps Traded Orlando Cepeda

This is my first attempt at the airbrushed cap that Topps did so well in the '70s. (Ok maybe not well but often) 

The former Rookie of the Year injured his knee in 1971 with the Braves and his numbers began to decline. He was traded to the A's in 1972 where he played in 3 game without a hit then underwent another surgery to his knee. 

When the MLB created the designated hitter, Cepeda was signed by the Red Sox as the first player contracted to DH exclusively. He played one more year in Kansas City playing part time and retired at the end of the season.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1975 Topps 1958 Rookies of the Year

Here is the 1958 edition of my recurring theme putting the ROY's on the 1975 Topps MVP cards.

Once again with more series and a larger set, Topps managed to produce cards for both Rookie of the Year players in 1958. 

 Albie Pearson struggled after his rookie year and was traded to Baltimore. In 1960 he was selected in the expansion draft by the L.A. Angels where he got back on track. He was the starting centerfielder on the 1963 A.L. All Star Team and went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. He retired in 1966 with back ailments.

Orlando Cepeda went on to a Hall of Fame career. He played for the Giants, Cardinals, Braves, A's, Red Sox and Royals, had 7 All Star seasons and won the M.L. MVP in 1967. He retired in 1974 but if the AL hadn't added the designated hitter his career might have ended with the Oakland A's in 1972.

Monday, November 28, 2011

1961 Topps Traded Don Larsen

A few months ago I posted a 1967 Don Larsen card in a Cubs uniform. He also played on the South side of town. In June of 1961 he was traded from the Kansas City Athletics to the White Sox in an 8 man trade. By November he was traded to the Giants as part of a 6 man trade. As a result he never appeared on a Topps card as a White Sox player. In 1961 his card had him on the Athletics and in 1962 his card had him on the Giants. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1963 Menko Larry Doby

I found a black and white photo of Larry Doby in his uniform for the Chunichi Dragons and felt compelled to turn it into a card. This is a fairly decent representation of a 1963 Menko card. The characters on the right are from top to bottom: Chunichi (2 Characters), 7 (his uniform number), Larry (3 characters), Outfielder (3 characters). The cards themselves were 1 13/16" x 3" and had baseball related drawings on the back. They were meant to be used for flipping which some of us older guys remember doing to our cards as kids.

Doby played for the Dragons in 1962 along with Don Newcombe who was the NL MVP and Cy Young award winner in 1956.  Newcombe played 1st base for the Dragons instead of pitching. Doby did have a 1962 Menko card which is why I made mine in the 1963 style.

 Here is his actual 1962 Meko card:

This card recently sold at Prestige Collectibles for $486. As you can see by the original that my crappy colorizing fits right in with the originals. You can also see the beating this card took as it was probably used the way it was intended, kids flipped and traded it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Video Checklist -Series 3

Cards 51-75 plus the 3rd checklist.  Most of these cards are multiplayer  post season cards and every one of them is based on a Topps design. Next series will have more variety, I promise.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1958 Topps #145 Ed Bouchee

In 1957 Ed Bouchee came in second place to his teammate Jack Sanford for Rookie of the Year and was co-winner of the Sporting News Rookie of the Year along with Sanford.  In 1958 Topps had him slated for card #145. That card was never printed and may not have even been made. There are rumors of its existence but I have never seen it. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

1967 Topps Traded Jack Sanford

Jack Sanford started his career beating out Phillies teammate Ed Bouchee for Rookie of the Year in 1957. His career ended when he was released by the Kansas City Athletics in August of 1967.  He started the 1967 season on the Angels and appeared in the 1967 Topps set in an Angels uniform. I played with the idea of making a 1968 card of Sanford on the A's but decided on 1967 because he was released before the season ended.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1975 Topps 1957 Rookies of the Year

In 1957 Topps had 5 series and 407 cards. The most since 1952 and for the first time both Rookies of the Year had Topps cards issued in the original set.  

Tony Kubek played his entire 9 year career win the Yankees. He then went on to Broadcast on NBC until 1989 then locally for the Yankees until 1994. In 2009 he was awarded the Ford C. Frick award for Broadcasting by the Hall of Fame.

Jack Sanford beat out Phillies teammate Ed Bouchee for the Rookie of the Year. He led the league in Strikeouts and had 19 wins. He would go on to play for the Giants, the Angels and the Athletics until 1967.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Managers of the Year

The selection of 2011 Managers of the year surprised no one. Madden and Gibson were the favorites but I had a sneaky feeling that LaRussa would somehow get the nod out of sentimentality. I have to admit the Gibson card was made for the NL Championship Series but never got posted because they were eliminated. But the Madden card is freshly made.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011 Rookies of the Year

I posted these cards last week of what I perceived to be the favorites in the Rookie of the Year running. I also posted a poll asking who you though should win the ROY.

For the National League Kimbrel won the poll and also the Rookie of the Year award. In the AL the winner was Jeremy Helickson but I never put him on the Rookie Stars card or include him in the AL poll. There was one vote for "Other" but whoever cast that vote didn't leave a comment.

Here are the complete results:
National League
Kimbrel 3
Espinosa 2
Worley 1
Other 1
Freeman 0

American League
Trumbo 4
Hosmer 3
Nova 1
Other 1
Walden 0

Monday, November 14, 2011

1961 Topps Baseball Thrills Johnson & Vance

The last time pitchers from both the National League and American League won the Triple Crown was 1924.  Hall of Famer Walter Johnson led the A.L. with 23 wins 158 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.72 for the World Series Champion Washington Senators.  Another Hall of Famer, Dazzy Vance had 28 wins 262 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.16 for the Brooklyn Robins who came in 2nd in the N.L.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Topps Pitching Triple Crown Winners

The Cy Young Awards will be announced this week. Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw both led their respective leagues in victories, strikeouts and ERA, the pitcher's equivalent of the triple crown.  Does this make the shoo-ins for the Cy Young award?  I think Verlander will be the unanimous winner but Kershaw has some competition.  Since the creation of the Cy Young Award in 1956, no  triple crown winner was denied the award. The last time there was both an American League and National League triple crown winner was in 1924.

Friday, November 11, 2011

1963 Topps Checklist - Cards That Never Were - 3rd Series

Here is my 3rd checklist already. This one went by even faster with all of the playoff and World Series cards. As far as checklists go, the 1963 Topps was pretty bland. Also this was the first time all 25 cards that I made used Topps Baseball format.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1978 Topps Mickey Mantle

Mantle played his final game in 1968 and yet here I am making a 1978 Mickey Mantle card.  From 1971 on it seem as though more and more action or candid shots made their way onto cards. In 1978 Topps seemed to feature a lot of posed head-shots.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 N.L. Rookie Stars - 1974 Topps Format

A week from today MLB will announce the 2011 Rookies of the Year.  Using the same 1974 Topps Rookie format, I put together 4 on the top National League rookies. I am also posting a poll in the side-bar. Let me know who you think should win the N.L. Rookie of the Year.

Danny Espinosa (2B): Washington Nationals
21 66 17 6 57 166 .236

Freddie Freeman (1B): Atlanta Braves
21 76 4 4 53 142 .282

Vance Worley (RHP): Philadelphia Phillies
11 3 3.01 0 46 119 1.230

Craig Kimbrel (RHP): Atlanta Braves
4 3 2.10 46 32 127 1.039

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 A.L. Rookie Stars - 1974 Topps Format

Next Monday MLB will announce the Rookies of the Year for 2011. Borrowing from the 1974 Topps rookie cards, here are 4 of the top AL rookies.

Eric Hosmer
19 78 11 5 34 82 .293
Mark Trumbo
29 87 9 4 25 120 .254
Jordan Walden
5 5 2.98 32 26 67 1.243
Ivan Nova
16 4 3.70 0 57 98 1.331

I am also posting a poll in the side-bar. Let me know who you think should win the A.L. Rookie of the Year.

Friday, November 4, 2011

1976 Topps Frank Robinson

After winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1956 Robinson continued to play until 1976. Robinson appeared on the 1976 Topps Indians team card in the lower right corner as the manager but he did not have a regular player card even though he appeared in 49 games in 1975 and 36 in 1976. The Hall of Famer continued to appear in various sets as a manger until 2006.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1975 Topps 1956 Rookies of the Year

Now that the post-season is over I can return to some of my recurring themes. Here is the 1956 edition giving the Rookies of the Year the same treatment Topps gave the MVPs in 1975. 

1956 is the first year that both Rookies of the Year went on to Hall of Fame careers. While Luis Aparicio had a card in the 1956 Topps set, Frank Robinson first appeared on a Topps card in 1957. 

 The Robinson card I included here was produced by Topps and given away in VIP packages at the 2006 National Sports Card convention.  I actually have one problem with this card. In 1956 the team was officially called the Redlegs. This was the height of the McCarthy era and the Reds changed names rather than be confused with communists. As ridiculous as it was to change the name, it seems disingenuous to ignore the name change on a reissue. A few days ago I include Bob Lemke's version of  Robinson' "rookie" card. His properly identified the team as Redlegs. Check it out.

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.