Monday, July 30, 2012

1969 Topps Carlos May

In 1969 Lou Piniella won the MLB Rookie of the Year award but Carlos May was selected The Sporting News Rookie of the Year. Despite the fact that his season ended prematurely when he lost his thumb as a Marine Reserve, he put up better numbers than Lou Piniella. Their batting averages were nearly identical, .282 for Sweet Lou and .281 for Carlos. But May had a much better on base percentage because of a better strike out to walk ratio. He also had more power hitting 18 homers to Piniella's 11 despite playing in 35 fewer games. May was also the only Rookie of the Year candidate to play in the All Star game. He struck out on Hall of Famer Phil Niekro's knuckleball. Meanwhile his brother, Lee May of the Reds, was playing 1st base and trying to hide his laughter.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

1975 Topps 1969 Rookies of the Year

The 1969 Rookies of the Year were far from unanimous winners. 9 different players received votes. Ted Sizemore got 58% of the vote among 4 others in the National League. Lou Piniella received a mere 38% of the AL vote, beating out the 3 other AL candidates. Both Piniella and Sizemore would go on to have productive MLB careers and both of them received MVP votes in 1969. However, strictly by looking at their numbers arguments could be made for other candidates. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

1969 Topps Ted Sizemore

Ted Sizemore was an All American catcher at the University of Michigan when the Dodgers drafted him in 1966. He played catcher in single A ball in 1966. In 1967 he played every position except pitcher for the Dodgers' AA club in Albuquerque but most of his time was spent behind the plate. In 1968 he played catcher and in the outfield  for AAA Spokane. 

Even though the 1969 Topps Rookie Stars card listed Sizemore as "2B-C" he didn't don the "tools of ignorance" as a Major Leaguer until 1976. During his 12 year career he would spend a total 13 innings behind the plate. 

As a rookie in 1969 Sizemore started the season at shortstop but moved to second base when the Dodgers re-acquired Maury Wills. He went on to play at 2nd most of his career. He was voted Rookie of the Year in 1969 and after the 1970 season was dealt to the Cardinals for Dick Allen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1969 Topps Lou Piniella R.O.Y.

This is my second 1969 Topps Lou Piniella card. The first one I made he was on the Seattle Pilots. Both the Pilots and the Royals were American League expansion teams in 1969. In Ball Four, Jim Bouton writes of Piniella's time in Seattle: "Lou Piniella has the red ass. He doesn't think he's been playing enough....He says they know they don't want him and that he's going to quit baseball rather than go back to AAA."

Lou was right, they didn't want him. He was a 25 year old "prospect" with a reputation as a troublemaker and the Pilots traded him just before the start of the season to Kansas City for outfielder Steve Whitaker and relief pitcher John Gelnar. Whitaker played in less than half the games that season hitting .250. Gelnar posted a 3-10 record with 3 saves. Piniella won the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Monday, July 23, 2012

1975 Hostess Gary Carter

Montreal Expos CTNW Favorites #1

Although Gary Carter would have a Hall of Fame career behind the plate, most of his rookie season was spent in the outfield. The Expos primary backstop was Barry Foote. Foote was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team in 1974 and Expos manager Gene Mauch called him "the next Johnny Bench". Meanwhile "The Kid" was selected to the All Star team as an outfielder and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. During his career he was selected to 10 more All Star teams (twice winning the All Star MVP) and won 3 Gold Gloves. All of them as a catcher.

On a side note, the 5 players I picked for my favorite Expos all had great nicknames. This wasn't deliberate, just a lucky coincidence.

"The Rock"

"The Big Unit"

"Rusty" and "Le Grand Orange"

"The Hawk"

"The Kid"

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1976 Topps Andre Dawson

Montreal Expos CTNW Favorites #2

After blowing through the Expos AA and AAA affiliates with 28 homers and a batting average of .352 he was called up the the Big League in September of 1976. In 1977 he would win the NL Rookie of the Year award. He would continue to garner awards including 8 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers and the 1987 NL MVP.

When I was looking up stats on Dawson I came across this article from The Chicago Tribune from the week he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It is loaded with factoids about the source of his nickname, his multiple knee surgeries and why he is so beloved in Chicago. It captured so much of what I wish I could say about "The Hawk".

Click the link above and read it for yourself.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1969 Topps Rusty Staub All Star

Montreal Expos CTNW Favorites #3

Rusty Staub was selected to his 3rd All Star team in 1969. He was the Montreal Expos' sole representative. He was also the only Expo selected in 1970 and 1971. In those 3 games as the sole Expo All Star, Staub would only see action once. In the 1970 All Star game he pinch hit for Tom Seaver. He popped out to short center and never took the field.

Staub spent only 4 seasons of his 23 year MLB career in an Expos uniform, but was well loved by the fans.  He was the first Expo to have his number retired. He would later be joined by Andre Dawson, Tim Raines and Gary Carter. Oddly both he and Dawson had the same number retired, 10. When the Expos became the Washington Nationals, the Expos retired numbers went back into circulation. The Montreal Canadiens honored the Expos by hoisting a banner of the retired Expos numbers at the Bell Centre.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1988 Donruss Randy Johnson

Montreal Expos CTNW Favorites #4

In single-A ball in 1986 Randy Johnson averaged 10 strikeouts every 9 innings. The next year in Double-A he averaged 10.5. At AAA Indianapolis he had 111 K's in 113.1 innings when the Expos called him up in September of 1988. He had an immediate impact going 3-0 in 4 starts and hurling 25 K's in 26 innings. Although his time in Montreal was brief he showed signs of the pitcher he would become. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1981 Fleer Tim Raines

Montreal Expos CTNW Favorites #5

Rock Raines was an outstanding leadoff hitter, clutch hitter and a terror on the basepath. Unfortunately he spent his entire career overshadowed by the ultimate leadoff hitter and all-time stolen base leader, Rickey Henderson. Several arguments could be made for Raines' entrance into the Hall of Fame.
In 1981 he finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting. He received MVP votes in 7 seasons. He was selected to 7 All Star Teams. Despite battling injuries, drug addiction and Lupus disease, his maintained a .294 batting average. He had 2605 career hits. He is #5 on the all time stolen base list. Numbers 1-4 are already in the Hall. He has more stolen bases than any other switch hitter. He has 1571 runs scored. Of the 70 players with over 1500 runs scored only 19 are NOT in the Hall. That 19 includes 6 active players, 5 retired players that are not yet eligible and 4 dead-ball-era players. That leaves 4 modern players: Pete Rose, Rafael Palmiero, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Video Checklist - Series 8

Here is the 8th series of Cards That Never Were all in one place. You can see them all at once with no boring words to slow you down. As an added bonus I've added a totally unauthorized music track.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1969 Topps Luis Aparicio

Horizontal Variations

There is really no legit reason for making this card. I just really hated the no-hat 1969 Topps Luis Aparicio card that was the exact same crappy no-hat picture from his 1968 card. The 1969 set had such a clean, classic look. It is one of my favorite designs. I think if Topps incorporated some horizontal action cards it would have been even better. 

Even if you are the most old-school traditionalist card collector, I have to ask: Which card would you rather find in that stack of 1969's at a dealers table

This:or this?

Monday, July 9, 2012

1973 Topps 1972 All Star Game

Tonight is the All Star Game Home Run Derby. How better to commemorate this occasion than an All Star card featuring the Home Run King. Here he is in 1972 crossing the plate after his 2 run blast put the N.L. ahead 2-1 in the 6th inning. The A.L. regained the lead with their own 2 run blast by Cookie Rojas. Billy Williams would score the tying run in the bottom of the 9th on a fielder's choice. In the 10th Joe Morgan got the game winning RBI and the MVP.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

1967 Topps Checklist - Cards That Never Were - 8th Series

I've been at this for just over a year now and this is my 8th series of 25 cards. That's 200 cards all together not including the checklists themselves. If you are wondering whose floating head that is, It is Bruce Pearson of the New York Mammoths, aka Robert DeNiro in "Bang The Drum Slowly". There are a lot of really good baseball movies but this is one of the all time greatest. It was filmed at Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium. Some of the "extras" include Tony Perez, Brooks Robinson, Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer.

Friday, July 6, 2012

1971 Topps 1970 All Star Game

Next week is the All Star game. Here is a card that should have been made to commemorate one of the most memorable plays in All Star history. 

The AL was ahead 4-1 going into the bottom of the 9th. Dick Dietz (shown here in the foreground on deck still wearing his shin pads) homered off of Catfish Hunter to start the comeback. Hunter gave up 2 more singles before being relieved by Fritz Peterson who gave up an RBI single to Willie McCovey. He was replaced by Mel Stottlemyre. Roberto Clemente hit a sac-fly to send it into extra innings. 

In the Bottom of the 12th, Angel's pitcher Clyde Wright retired the first two batters before giving up 3 consecutive singles. Cubs' 1st baseman Jim Hickman hit the game-winning single on which Pete Rose scored from second. In the process bowling over Ray Fosse and separating his shoulder.

The All Star Game MVP award was given to Carl Yastrzemski who had 4 hits in the game. It was the second time a player on the losing team was awarded the MVP. In 1966 Brooks Robinson won in another extra inning game.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1957 Topps Stan Musial

Horizontal Variations

A couple weeks ago I posted a 1953 Topps Ted Williams which was a horizontal variation of the original design. I thought it might be a cool idea to make horizontal cards out of vintage sets with vertical designs. I asked for feedback but only got one response. (Thanks Johngy) Here is another horizontal variation that I made around the same time. Again, I like the way horizontal variations look and the way they lend themselves to action shots. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Top 10 Posts from My First Year

I started making cards for this blog just over a year ago. I started out with a blog on Ron Santo but found that it started getting stale and that what I enjoyed more was making Ron Santo cards that never were. Over the past year these are the cards that have been viewed most often. While these are not necessarily my favorites (possibly another post?) or even your favorites, they are the ones most people have stumbled upon for whatever reason. 

10. 1976 Rookie Pitchers.  I wanted to make a rookie card for Mark Fidrych so I put him on a card with some other famous pitchers who also were rookies in 1976 but didn't have a card that year. What I didn't realize when I made this card is that the other 3 pitchers paths would cross again on the biggest stage in baseball. Game 7 of a World Series. All 3 would be playing on different teams by then. In 1982, Andujar and Vuckovich would be the starting pitcher for Game 7. Andujar would get the win and Sutter the save as the Cardinals defeated the Brewers. Vuckovich pitched into the 6th and would leave the game with the score tied at 3.

9. 1962 Topps Buck O'Neil.  This is one of my earliest and one of my favorite cards that I made. 

8. 1981 Fleer Minnie Minoso.  I'm glad this post made the top 10. As a long time White Sox fan, I love Minnie and think he really should be in the Hall of Fame.

7.  1984 Topps Mickey Mantle. Overall one of the most popular subjects is Mantle. Personally, my favorite Mickey Mantle Cards That Never Were didn't even make the top ten viewed. I like the 1971, 1976 and 1983 the best. The reason this particular Mantle card made the top 10 is that I included pictures of all the different 1954 Mantle cards out there as part of the post.

6. 1963 Topps Pete Rose.  This is certainly not the first time somebody has made a '63 Rose card.  It is kinda a no miss. Rookie card, famous (infamous?) player, good looking set. No surprise it is so popular.

5.  1991 Topps Jim Thome.  This card was somehow being used in ESPN's fantasy baseball. That was the boost it needed to make the top 5 most viewed from my blog.

4.  1963 Topps Gary Peters. I'm sure most people who stumbled upon this card did it by accident. There is another Gary Peters who is a U.S. Congressman from the suburbs of Detroit.

3.  1969 Topps Joe DiMaggio. The popularity of the Yankee Clipper evidently surpasses the ridiculousness of this uniform.

2. 1972 Topps Mickey Mantle.  I'm not sure why this is the most popular of the Mantles.  It is one of my favorite years for Topps. 

1. Rush Baseball Cards.  My most popular post was also my most unusual post. I had created cards featuring Rush in honor of 2112 (February 1, 2012) aka "International Rush Day". This must've given me a nice crossover audience. Or maybe more web surfers are into Classic Rock than baseball cards.