Monday, April 29, 2013

1983 Fleer Tom Seaver

New York Mets CTNW Favorites #1

The first player that pops into my mind when I think of the Mets has always been Tom Seaver. After 6 1/2 years on the Reds, Seaver returned to Shea Stadium for the 1983 season.  Although the trade was completed in December of 1982, apparently all the major card companies had already gone to print. The only 1983 card of Seaver on the Mets was the Topps Traded. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

1973 Kellogg's Willie Mays

New York Mets CTNW Favorites #2

Even though Mays was past his prime on the Mets, I couldn't resist making a card of him. He did appear in two All Star games and the World Series while wearing a Mets uniform. Mays retired at the end of the 1973 season at the age of 42.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1969 Topps Deckle Edge Nolan Ryan

New York Mets CTNW Favorites #3

In 1969 Nolan Ryan was an occasional starter and middle reliever for the Amazin' Mets. There were signs of his future greatness. In 89.1 innings he fanned 92 batters. Unfortunately for the Mets, his best years would come after they let him go.

Monday, April 22, 2013

1975 Topps Dave Kingman

New York Mets CTNW Favorites #4

In February of 1975 the Mets purchased Dave Kingman from the Giants for $150,000.  Kingman's 1975 Topps card depicted him as the Giants' first baseman. With the Mets he found a home in the outfield. Even before he wore a Cubs uniform he was a favorite in Chicago. Kingman was a local boy made good. His dad was employed by United Airlines in Chicago and Dave graduated from Prospect High in Mount Prospect, IL. While still on the Mets in 1976 he hit what might have been the longest homer out of Wrigley. An estimated 550 feet it landed on the porch of a house 3 doors down from the intersection of Waveland and Kenmore.

I once heard a sports commentator (I don't remember who)  say "Without steroids, Mark McGwire is Dave Kingman." I believe this to be a fair assessment. Both played 16 years and put up similar numbers, especially since you have to wonder how many of McGwires homers would have been warning track outs. 

Here is a breakdown of their 162 game average over their career.

Kingman 557 72 20 2 37 0.236 152
McGwire 535 68 22 1 50 0.263 138

Saturday, April 20, 2013

1969 Topps Donn Clendenon

New York Mets CTNW Favorites #5

As much as I enjoyed making the All Star sub-sets, I am going to take a break. So before I move onto 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972 and 1973 I am going to revisit some of my other running themes. 

I haven't done a "Fan Favorite" list in a while. It is basically a personal top 5 list of some of my personal favorite players from a particular team.

In 1969 Topps published 2 different version of card #208 Donn Clendenon. One showing him on the Astros and one on the Expos. Both actually showed him in an airbrushed Pirates uniform. 

With 1st baseman Al Oliver waiting in the wings, the Pirates left Clendenon unprotected in the 1968 expansion draft. He was picked up by the Expos who traded him to Houston for Jesus Alou and Rusty Staub. In the latter half of 1968 the Astros named former Pirate skipper Harry Walker manager. Clendenon was not fond of his former manager and decided he would retire rather than report to the Astros. The Expos kept Staub and Alou and compensated the Astros with 2 pitchers and $100,000.

Clendenon rejoined the Expos 10 games into the 1969 season then was traded to the Mets on June 15th. At that point the Mets were 11 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs. By the All Star break their lead had been cut to 4 1/2 games. Clendenon was credited for giving the Mets the spark they needed. The Mets were World Series champs and Donn Clendenon was the World Series MVP.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

2013 Topps Lollapalooza

These were too cool not to share. Packs of these cards were given out around Wrigleyville on April 8th, the Cubs' home opener. To check them all out click here.

There was even a chance to win 3 day passes to the sold out festival in the form of a 1990 Topps card.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The Managers

1964 Topps Al Dark AS

Alvin Dark made 3 All Star appearances as a player and 4 as a manager. As the manager of the NL Champion Giants in 1962, he was selected to manage the 1963 All Stars.  As manager of the 1974 World Series Champion A's he was picked to manage the 1975 All Stars.

In 1961 the first of 2 All Star games was played in Candlestick Park. Dark was the rookie manager of the San Francisco Giants.  Traditionally the hometown manager is chosen as coach. In 1969 he was selected again as coach. In 1968 he was named Manager of the Cleveland Indians, he took an 8th place team in 1967 and turned them into a 3rd place team. In 1969 however the Indians were the worst team in the league. Even the expansion Royals and Pilots finished with better records than the Indians. 

1964 Topps Ralph Houk AS

The Yankees' skipper returned in 1963 to manage the All Star team. He would also lead the Yankees to their 4th consecutive World Series appearance in 1963 but he would not manage the 1964 All Star team. In 1964 Houk moved to the Yankees front office with Yogi Berra taking the reigns. In 1966 Houk would return to the bench for an aging Yankee team. 1963 was his final pennant but not his final All Star appearance. In 1970 he was selected as an All Star coach. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The American League Battery

1964 Topps Ken McBride AS

Ken McBride was selected to the All Star team in 1961 and 1962 but would not see action outside the bullpen until he was chosen starting pitcher in 1963. Pitching the 1st 3 innings, he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks and 1 hit batter. He would leave the game tied at 3. The loss went to future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. Although Bunning pitched 2 hitless innings, he walked Tommy Davis who went to 3rd on an error by Bobby Richardson who was covering first on a slow-roller to third. Davis then scored the go ahead (unearned) run on a Willie Mays grounder to 1st.

1964 Topps Earl Battey AS

In 1963 Earl Battey was playing in his 3rd of 5 All Star games. He was 1 for 2 for the day with an RBI single driving in Frank Malzone for the tying run in the 3rd inning.

Friday, April 12, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The National League Battery

1964 Topps Jim O'Toole AS

Jim O'Toole had a great start to his 1963 season. He was 13-3 on June 20th and was named the starting pitcher for the NL All Stars. By the All Star break he was in the middle of a 6 game losing streak. He would end the season with a 17-14 record.

1964 Topps Ed Bailey AS

Ed Bailey played his 6th and final All Star game in 1963. In 2 plate appearances he walked and got a single to drive in Willie Mays. After the 1963 season he would be part of a 7 man trade with the Milwaukee Braves. That trade would bring 11 time All Star catcher Del Cranall to the Giants. Though only in their early 30s, both catchers were at the tail end of their careers. Crandall played part-time for the Giants, Pirates and Indians before retiring in 1966. Bailey would split time with Joe Torre on the Braves in 1964 before returning to the Giants then the Cubs before retiring in 1965.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The American League Infield

1964 Topps Joe Pepitone AS

At the age of 22, Joe Pepitone made his only All Star start. He would be selected to the All Star team in 1964 and 1965 and win the Gold Glove at first in 1965, 1966 and 1969.  

1964 Topps Nellie Fox AS

In his 15th and final All Star game, Nellie Fox went 1 for 3 but was tagged out at home trying to score on a fly out by Al Kaline. A career .288 hitter, Nellie turned it up a notch on the big stage. He hit .375 in the 1959 World Series (his only post-season appearance) and hit .368 over 15 All Star games from 1951-1963.

1964 Topps Zoilo Versalles AS

Zoilo Versalles had only 2 official All Star at-bats in his career, but reached base 4 times. He had 1 hit, 2 walks and was hit by a pitch. He was the starting shortstop in 1963 and was an All Star reserve in his MVP season, 1965.

1964 Topps Frank Malzone AS

Frank Malzone was the runner up in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1957. He was a 3 time Gold Glove third baseman and an 8 time All Star from 1957-1964. In the 1963 All Star game he went 1 for 3 with an RBI ans a run scored.

Monday, April 8, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The National League Infield

In 1963 the entire starting infield for the NL was made up of St. Louis Cardinals. The corner infielders, White and Boyer also earned Gold Gloves in 1963. In addition, their Hall of Fame teammate, Stan Musial, was making his final All Star appearance in his last MLB season. Despite the All Star infield and leading the league in Runs and Batting average, the 1963 Cards fell short in the pennant race. They were no match for the Dodgers pitching dominance. 

The Cardinals offence in the 1963 All Star game didn't mirror the regular season. Collectively, the Cardinal All Stars had just 2 hits in 18 at-bats.

1964 Topps Bill White AS

1964 Topps Julian Javier AS

1964 Topps Dick Groat AS

1964 Topps Ken Boyer AS

Friday, April 5, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The American League Outfield

1964 Topps Leon Wagner AS

The MVP of the second All Star Game in 1962 returned as a starter in 1963. He went 2 for 3 and scored the AL's first run. Although 1963 was Wagner's last All Star game, he would continue to put up good numbers in Cleveland over the next few years. As his numbers dropped he became a platoon player and a pinch hitter for the White Sox. After his retirement he got a few movie roles including a part in a very good baseball movie The Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings.

1964 Topps Albie Pearson

Albie Pearson was the 1958 Rookie of the Year while on the Washington Senators. In 1963 he made his only All Star appearance. He made the most of it. He was 2 for 4 on the day with a double and a run scored.

1964 Topps Al Kaline AS

Al Kaline had a .324 batting average over his 18 All Star games, but in 1963 he would go 0 for 3. In the 1st inning he flied out to left and Tommy Davis threw home in time to get Nellie Fox tagging up from 3rd.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

1964 Topps All Stars - The National League Outfield

The start of the baseball season is upon us and so far both Chicago teams are undefeated. Did somebody say "Subway Series"? No? Anybody? Bueller?

Moving on. I was going to spread these out a bit but I liked making the 1963 All Stars so I'm jumping right into the '64s. If you want to see where I stole... er... "borrowed" this idea from go to The Baseball Card Blog.  He made All Star cards for 1965. Topps had All Star cards for 1958-62 then again for 1968-70. Then nothing again until 1974. I'm going to fill in the blanks. Here is my version of what the '64s might have looked like. 

1964 Topps Tommy Davis AS

In 1963 Tommy Davis once again started in left field. He played the first 8 innings, netting a hit and a walk in 4 plate appearances.  He also scored an unearned run in the 5th following an error by Bobby Richardson. He was replaced in the 9th inning by Duke Snider who was making the final All Star appearance of his Hall of Fame career. It was also his only All Star game as a Met. 

1964 Topps Willie Mays AS

Mays was the MVP of the 1963 All Star game. He went 1 for 3 with a walk, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. In the 9th Roberto Clemente took over defensively in center.

Hank Aaron was the only difference in the starting outfield from the year before. He went 0 for 4 but reached base on a fielder's choice then scored on a single by MVP Willie Mays.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013