Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1966 Topps NL Leading Firemen: Abernathy, Linzy, McCool

In 1965 the Fireman of the Year awards went to Chicago pitchers on the North Side and the South Side. On the North Side, Abernathy also led the league in Saves with 31. His nearst competition came from Frank Linzy and Billy McCool with 21 saves each. Both Linzy and McCool had 9 wins but Linzy had the better record with 3 losses compared to McCool's 10.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

1966 Topps AL Leading Firemen: Kline, Fisher, Miller

Once again the pitcher with the most saves was not the "Fireman of the Year". I've given up trying to figure out how The Sporting News determined the leaders. So I've ranked them once again strictly by save totals.

 In 1965 Ron Kline led the AL with 29 saves but the Sporting News Fireman of the Year award went to Eddie Fisher. Fisher had 5 fewer saves but also had 4 fewer blown saves. He had the most pitching appearances and a 15-7 won-loss record compared to Kline's 7-6. Fisher also pitched the final 2 innings of the 1965 All Star Game. He surrendered a single hit to crosstown rival Ernie Banks. Rounding out the top 3 was Stu Miller. Miller was tied with Fisher with 24 saves but had 14 relief wins compared to Fisher's 15.

Friday, April 25, 2014

2024 Topps Heritage

This year's 1965 design for the Heritage set is one of my favorites. And I don't think I am alone. But it seems that every year, just after the set has been out for a little while, people start anticipating next year's set. But what I am really looking forward to the set 10 years from now. The 1975 set included one of my favorite subsets: the MVP cards. 1975 was the 25th year for Topps Baseball cards but 2024 will only be the 24th year of the heritage sets because they never made a set for the 1951 cards. 

In anticipation of this set, I've cobbled together a few MVP cards I hope will be included in their set.

I had to cheat on this one because Ichiro was not included in the initial heritage set but he did have a card in the 2006 Topps '52 set. Close enough.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1979 Topps Rookie Prospects

There were 9 different players receiving Rookie of the Year votes in 1979. Only 4 appeared on cardboard that year. In my past posts I made cards for Rick Sutcliffe and John Castino. I also made a card for Alfredo Griffin on the Blue Jays. Just to satisfy my O.C.D. I needed to create a card for the other Rookie of the Year candidates.

Jeffery Leonard, Mark Clear and Ron Davis were left out of the 1979 Topps set. Rather than make individual cards for them or remaking the team prospect cards, I put them all on one card. The 1979 prospects cards were not great looking cards. They look like they took the photos directly the team media guide. Many of them had the players wearing their minor league uniforms like the photo I used of Mike Clear. 

The remaining players receiving ROY votes were Scot Thompson of the Cubs, Pat Putnam of the Rangers and Russ Baumgarten of the White Sox.

Monday, April 21, 2014

1979 Topps Rick Sutcliffe

Rick Sutcliffe was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1979. Although he came up for a cup of coffee with the Dodgers in both 1976 and 1978, he would finally make an impact in 1979.  He won 17 games and lost only 10 on a sub-five hundred team. He would later win the Cy Young award in 1984.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

1979 Topps John Castino

In 1979 John Castino was co-ROY with Alfredo Griffin of the Toronto Blue Jays. Castino did not have a card in the 1979 Topps set. Also the 1979 Topps set did not include horizontal cards. When I came across this picture, I knew I had to make a horizontal card to accommodate it. 

Castino put up solid numbers during his career and was named as one of the "50 Greatest Twin Players" by the Minnesota Twins as part of their 50th anniversary celebration in 2010. His career was cut short by chronic back pain. In 1984 at the age of 29 his playing days were over.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1979 Topps Alfredo Griffin

In 1979 Alfredo Griffin was the AL co-Rookie of the Year along with John Castino of the Minnesota Twins. Griffin was the only one of the 3 ROYs in 1979 to have a card in the Topps set. Unfortunately the card he appeared on was a Cleveland Indians Prospects card. Griffin had made breif appearances for the Indians in 1976, 77 and 78 before they traded him to the Blue Jays for pitcher Victor Cruz. Victor Cruz was featured on the Blue Jays Prospect card.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1964-65 Topps Hockey Checklist - Cards That Never Were - 23rd Series

The majority of this series is the seemingly never ending stream of 1973 All Star cards. The truth is I really enjoyed playing around with this set and creating different cards that were consistent with the original set designs. I followed that theme up with a football and a hockey card. I keep vowing to myself that I will incorporate more football and hockey cards into this blog but I always fall short. If nothing else, there are some nice looking football and hockey checklist cards that I can adapt. This one in particular I had to really squeeze to fit all 25 cards. But I think it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1972-73 Topps Conn Smythe Trophy - Bobby Orr

In the 1972-73 hockey set Topps made cards of the trophies rather than the trophy winners. This is similar to what they did in their 1972 baseball set. A while back I updated those cards to make them more appealing to me. Now I am giving the same treatment to the hockey cards. 

The Conn Smythe Trophy is given to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1972 it was awarded to Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins. Orr actually accumulated quite a bit of hardware for his 1971-72 efforts, but more on that later. The card itself originally looked like this:

I modified it a bit to include the player's name while trying to be consistent with the set. Here is Bobby Orr's base card from that set:

Monday, April 7, 2014

1957 Topps Jim Brown

In 1957 Jim Brown was named the NFL Rookie of the Year by the United Press as well as the Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press and The Sporting News (Y.A. Tittle was the UPI MVP). The Cleveland Browns 1st pick (6th overall) led the league in rushing his rookie year. He would go on to be the league leading rusher in 8 of his 9 years in the NFL.

I think Topps missed an opportunity when making their 1994 Football Archives set. They could have included cards like this one and cards of the other key players and rookies missing from the original set similar to the Baseball Archives sets.

In 1955 United Press International began recognizing the top rookie in the NFL. Since then there have been several incarnations of the NFL Rookie of the Year award. Many of them were overlapping. But NFL cards have lagged badly. Oddly the very first ROYs were included in the 1955 Bowman and 1956 Topps sets.

But from 1957 until 1988 there was exactly 4 ROYs included in all the sets from Topps, Fleer and Philadelphia. 1 NFL and 2 AFL ROYs from Topps and 1 AFL ROY from Fleer.

 It wasn't until 1989 when rookies began to appear.  In 1989 Topps added a "Traded" series. That series was in response to the new competition from Score and Pro Set who included several rookie players in their sets. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1973 Topps All Star Cards - American League West

The Oakland A's is where I really have to stretch this concept. With seven All Stars (including coach Dick Williams) but only 1 starter, I attempted to make a manager/coach type card. But 6 photos were too many to squeeze into the coach boxes. This was the next best option.

For the White Sox I was able to use the same format as the Mets. With Dick Allen Starting and May and Wood in reserves, this style fit nicely.

Carew was the sole representative from the Twin Cities so I didn't need a new card for him.

The Royals boasted 6 All Stars but no starters. One of the more questionable moves of the All Star game was when Cookie Rojas pinch hit for Rod Carew against Bill Stoneman. Having a right hander who was hitting .261 in 1972 pinch hit for a left hander who led the league in batting average, against a right handed pitcher? Crazy, right? Nope, 2 run homer! Earl Weaver is a mad genius.

Nolan Ryan was the sole rep of the California Angels but never saw action. I broke from using action shots on the individual All Star cards because this is just a great picture. Ryan never actually played in this uniform. By 1972 the hats had a capital "A" and they had adopted the same elastic waistband look that dominated baseball in the 1970s. This must have been a promo shot after his trade in 1971 or possibly they were still wearing these unis in spring training in 1972. Either way it was too cool to pass up.

In their first year in Texas, the Rangers sent Toby Harrah to represent the team in the All Star game. He didn't play.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

1973 Topps All Star Cards - National League West

The Reds had 2 starting All Stars on their roster, Johnny Bench and the All Star MVP Joe Morgan. Clay Carroll and Gary Nolan were both reserves. For Nolan it was his only All Star game. For Carroll it was his second and final. Neither pitcher left the bullpen.

Don Sutton was the Dodgers' sole representative in the 1972 game. He pitched 2 scoreless innings giving up only 1 hit no walks and striking out 2.

Both Astros would play a part in the NL win in the 1972 ASG. Cedeno came in to relieve Willy Mays in centerfield in the 6th. He would single and score an Hank Aaron's 2 run blast to put the NL ahead in the 6th inning. Lee May was the starting first baseman for the NL and drove in the tying run in the 9th.

Hank Aaron was the only Brave on the NL roster. 

The Giants were represented by Chris Speier and manager Charlie Fox who acted as 3rd base coach in the 1972 ASG.

Nate Colbert scored the winning run in the wrong uniform. In 1972 both the home and away uniforms for the Padres were mustard colored the only distinction between home and away was that the home unis had "Padres" across the chest while the away had "San Diego". Colbert wore the one with "San Diego" despite playing in Atlanta with the NL hosting.