Saturday, November 19, 2016

1966 Philadelphia Johnny Roland

1966 NFL Rookie of the Year*

Johnny Roland was the UPI's pick for Rookie of the Year in 1966. He was an All American defensive back and running back for Missouri. Drafted by the Cardinals n the 4th round, he ran for 695 yards and 5 TDs in 1966. He also returned a punt for a TD and passed for a touchdown in his rookie year.

He played 7 seasons in the St. Louis backfield and was their all-time leading rusher when he left the team after the 1972 season. He played his final season in 1973 for the New York Giants then went onto a successful coaching career. In all He coached for seven different pro teams and for Notre Dame from 1974-2005.  He got his Superbowl ring as a coach for the Chicago Bears in 1985.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1966 Philadelphia Tommy Nobis

1966 NFL Rookie of the Year*

Tommy Nobis was a two-time All American playing both sides of the ball. He was an offensive guard and Linebacker for the Texas Longhorns. In 1963 the Longhorns won their first national championship. In 1965 he was the Outland Trophy Winner for best interior lineman and the Maxwell Award winner for the College Football Player of the Year. In 1981 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In 1966 he was the 5 player picked in the AFL draft and the number 1 pick in the NFL draft. The expansion Atlanta Falcons made Nobis their first ever draft pick. In his rookie year he had 294 tackles which is an unofficial NFL record. The reason it is unofficial is that tackles were not an official statistic in 1966 and thus open to interpretation. But given that the Falcons' 1966 opponents had a combine 699 rushes and completed passes that means that if you were tackled there was a better than 40% chance Nobis was in on it.

Overall Tommy Nobis played 11 years with the Falcons, appeared in 5 Pro-Bowls, was selected to the NFL's All 1960's team, was enshrined in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and had his number 60 retired by Atlanta.  He was named 1966 Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News and by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

Friday, November 11, 2016

1966 Topps Bobby Burnett

1966 AFL Rookie of the Year

With an exciting MLB postseason behind us, I can get back to where I left off. And that is making cards for all the NFL/AFL Rookies of the Year. I've posted cards from 1955-1965, but in 1966 it starts to get even more diverse with more and more ROY awards given out.

We'll start 1966 with Bobby Burnett, a player that both United Press International and The Sporting News agreed should be awarded the Rookie of the Year for the AFL. Burnett was drafted by both the Bills in the AFL and the Bears in the NFL. He chose not to share a backfield with 1965 Rookie of the Year, Gale Sayers

He had 1185 all-purpose yards and 8 touchdowns for the Bills and earned a spot on the All Star team. After winning the ROY, his 1967 season began with cracked ribs in training camp.  Burnett was used sparingly to protect his ribs. Then in a game against the Jets he took a hit to the knee that ended his career. The knee was dislocated, the tibia was broken. Cartilages and ligaments were torn. 

In 1968 he was picked up by the Bengals in the expansion draft but he was not healthy enough to play. In 1969 he signed with the Denver Broncos but played in just 3 games. He was given the ball a total of 5 time for just 9 net yards. He retired at the age of 26.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Every Chicago Cubs Card I Made

Lots of cards, mostly of Ron Santo.  This blog was actually an offshoot of my first blog Six Degrees of Ron Santo in which I would link random players to Santo in six cards or less. As you can imagine, that got boring real quick. Also for no other reason than to amuse myself, I remade every Santo card using the football card format. 

This championship reminds us of Santo, Banks, Brickhouse, and all of the former Cubs who never had a chance to see the Cubs go all the way. It reminds us of parents, grandparents, uncles and brothers who lived whole lives rooting for the Cubs without a championship. 

Here's to the Cubbies! World Series Champs!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 World Series: Cubs vs. Indians

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1973 Topps Monte Irvin

Monte Irvin was selected in to the Hall of Fame in 1973, not only for his performance in the Major Leagues but also for his play in the Negro Leagues. Irvin broke the color barrier for the Giants as a 30 year old rookie in 1949. By that time he had already played 9 seasons of professional ball for the Newark Eagles plus served 2 years active military duty in 1943 and 1944. In 1951 he led the league with 121 RBIs and placed 3rd in MVP voting behind Roy Campanella and Stan Musial

With his offensive numbers diminishing, the Giants sent him to the minor league Minor League Minneapolis Millers for the second half of the 1955 season. The Cubs shrewdly picked him up in the rule 5 draft. In 1956 he hit .271 with 15 homers in 111 games. A back injury forced him out of the game before the 1957 season at the age of 38. 

1985 Topps Hoyt Wilhelm

Hoyt Wilhelm was a well traveled Major Leaguer and a master of the knuckleball. In fact he played for both the Cubs and the Indians during his 21 year career. He was picked up via the waiver wire from the Cardinals in September of 1957 an played in Cleveland until August of 1958. He was again taken off waivers, this time by the Baltimore Orioles. 

Used primarily as a reliever, he put up a 3-7 record with 6 saves for the Indians over 32 games. In all he pitched for 9 Major League ball clubs over his Hall of Fame career. In 1985 he was the first relief pitcher to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. 
Again I'm a bit behind. This time because of a technical difficulty.  But now I'm on a new computer and fortunately, I had already made these cards but never had a chance to create the post.  I'm still in the process of transferring old files from my old hard drive to this computer. This may slow my postings down from the usual snail's pace.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 NLCS: Dodgers vs. Cubs

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1982 Topps Frank Robinson

After the 1971 season, the stars aligned and the Dodgers general manager Al Campanis was able to trade for the player he had been coveting for years, Frank Robinson. The Dodgers traded four young players including pitcher Doyle Alexander to the Orioles for veteran reliever Pete Richerty. This trade came about in part due to the trade of Dick Allen to the White Sox. This allowed Steve Garvey to move from outfield to third base and gave the Dodgers another right hand power hitter in the outfield.

The 36 year old Robinson who was the reigning All Star Game MVP, assured the Dodgers that he still had three good years in the tank. He also promised not to campaign for a manager's position during those three years. However after only starting in 94 games in 1972 Robinson told Campanis to either play him more or let him play somewhere else. So for the second time in two years Robinson was involved in a multiplayer blockbuster trade. This time with the Angels. The Dodgers got Andy Messersmith and Ken McMullen, the Angels got Robinson, Bobby Valentine, Bill Singer and two others.

Robinson played 1973 and part of 1974 with the Angels before being dealt to the Indians in 1974. He would make history by being named player manager in 1975. He continued to play though the 1976 season and was inducted on his first ballot in 1982 with 89% of the vote.

1975 Topps Ralph Kiner

On Jun 4th Ralph Kiner was taking batting practice before a game against the Chicago Cubs at Forbes Field when a messenger gave him the notice that he was traded to the Cubs. Kiner walked to the Cubs clubhouse where he took off his familiar #4 Pirates uniform and was given the #22 Cubs uniform. Eventually, Hal Jeffcoat would switch to #3 and Kiner would wear his #4.

There were ten players involved in the trade and four of them played that game. Kiner started and went 1-4 with a double against his old teammates. Joe Garagiola and George Metkovich both pinch hit for the Cubs. For the Pirates, Preston Ward started at first base and went 1-4 with a stolen base. 

After spending the 1954 season with the Cubs, Kiner was dealt to the Indians as the "player to be named" for pitcher "Toothpick" Sam Jones. Jones went on to lead the league with 20 losses for the Cubs in 1955.

Despite leading the league in homers for the first seven consecutive years of his MLB career it took the Baseball Writers until 1975 to induct Kiner into the Hall.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 ALCS: Indians vs. Blue Jays

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

This post looks like it is coming in just under the wire. The Indians are up three games to one in the ALCS with a game this afternoon. Here are two Hall of Fame pitchers who landed on unfamiliar teams late in their careers

1992 Topps Hal Newhouser

Hal Newhouser played for the Detroit Tigers from 1939-1953. He was a six time All-Star and the American League MVP in 1944 and 1945. In 1945 he was the starting pitcher in games 1, 5 and 7 of the 1945 World Series. He lost game 1 getting shelled for 7 runs in just 2.2 innings but came back with complete game victories in game 5 and game 7, The Tigers beat the Chicago in the Cubs last World Series appearance 71 years ago. 

After the Tigers released him in 1953, he signed with the Indians and made a brief appearance in the 1954 World Series. He came into Game 4 with the Giants up 3 games to none. The Giants were also winning the game 3-0 when Newhouser relieved Bob Lemon in the 5th inning. He gave up a bases-loaded walk to Hank Thompson then a two-run single to Monte Irvin. In 1955 he pitched just 2.1 innings in relief for the Indians before being released in May. 

Newhouser's career may have been devalued by Hall of Fame voters because his best seasons were when the league's talent was somewhat diminished due to the war effort. But in 1992 the veteran's committee inducted him into the Hall.

1997 Topps Phil Niekro

Perhaps the greatest knuckleballer of all time, Phil Niekro spent 21 of his 24 MLB seasons with the Braves. He pitched for the Yankees and the Indians late in his career as well. But in 1987 he pitched three games for the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 0-2 and was released. Atlanta picked him up for the month of September and he was able to retire as a Brave.  With 318 career wins he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016 ALDS: Rangers vs. Blue Jays

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1966 Topps Ted Williams

Ted Williams was the manager of the Texas Rangers in their first year. Williams was voted Manager of the Year by the Associated Press in 1969. In his first year as manager he improved the Senators record from  65-96 in 1968 to 86-76 in 1969.  The 1972 Rangers had a miserable 54-100 record under Williams. He was replaced by future Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog. He was dismissed in September of '73 when Billy Martin was fired by Detroit. 

This card is an unusual mash-up. Williams was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. The Rangers first year was 1972. Even so, it makes a for nice looking card. 

2009 Topps Rickey Henderson 

Just before the 1993 trade deadline, the Blue Jays picked up Rickey Henderson from the A's for Steve Karsay and a player to be named later (Jose Herrera). Henderson only played 44 regular season games with the Jays. But he played in all 12 post season games and earn himself another World Series ring.  

Here he is on a 2009 Topps Card That Never Was, the year he entered the Hall.  He is wearing the unfamiliar number 14. He wore this only a few games while negotiating a deal with Turner Ward for his trademark number 24. When he joined the Yankees it was rumored that he gave catcher Ron Hassey golf clubs and stereo equipment. Ward got an alleged $25,000.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

2016 NLDS: Cubs vs. Giants

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1976 Topps Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts was in seven straight All Star games and pitched 6 straight 20 win seasons for the Phillies in the 1950s. After a dismal 1-10 record in 1961 he was sold to the Yankees. He spent spring training with the Yanks but was released without ever seeing action in a regular season game. He was picked up by the Orioles where he went 42-36 over 3 and a half seasons. He spent the second half of 1965 and the first half of '66 with the Astros. The Cubs picked him in July of 1966. He went 2-3 and retired at the end of the season at the age of 40. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1976.

2003 Topps Gary Carter

This one is just rubbing salt in Mets fans' wounds. First the Giants eliminate them in the wildcard game, now they have to see Gary Carter in a Giants uniform. After 4 straight All Star seasons in New York, Carter struggled with injuries in 1989. He played in just 50 games and hit .183. After the season. He played three more years, 1990 with the Giants, 1991 with the Dodgers and in 1992 he retired after playing his final season in Montreal. The Expos retired his number 8. The Nationals un-retired it along with the retired numbers of Rusty Staub, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines. Fortunately, the Montreal Canadiens rescued them and they are hanging from the stadium rafters. 

Carter was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 on his sixth ballot. Hard to believe it took that many vote for an eleven-time All Star, five-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove and two-time All Star Game MVP.

Friday, October 7, 2016

2016 NLDS: Dodgers vs. Nationals

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1996 Topps Jim Bunning

Primarily known for pitching in the Tigers and Phillies uniforms, Jim Bunning also played for the Pirates in 1968 and the first part of 1969. He was dealt to the Dodgers in August of 1969 and pitched 9 games for them and was released at the end of the season. The Phillies thought there still might be something left in the tank and picked him up. He spent the 1970 and 1971 seasons in Philadelphia before retiring at the age of 39. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996. 

2000 Topps Tony Perez

After 13 years and 7 All Star seasons with the Reds, Tony Perez was sent North of the border to the Montreal Expos. He would spend 1977-1979 with the Expos. In all, Perez played 23 seasons 16 with Cincinnati, 3 in Montreal, 3 in Boston and one in Philadelphia. Perez was inducted with just over 77% of the vote in 2000, his 9th year on the ballot. The Nationals seem to ignore their franchise's history by not recognizing the numbers retired by the Expos,  Even so, I created this 2000 Topps card with Perez in an Expos uniform but I went with the Nationals' logo.   

Thursday, October 6, 2016

2016 ALDS: Indians vs. Red Sox

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1994 Topps Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton had been in a three way battle with Nolan Ryan and Gaylord Perry for all-time strikeout leader until the injury plagued 1985 season. He pitched just 92 innings and went 1 and 8. After starting the 1986 season with a 4-8 record and a 6.11 ERA he was released by the Phillies. He spent the rest of his career trying to get his mojo back. He played with the Giants, White Sox, Indians and Twins from July of 1986 until April of 1988. With the Cardinals and Phillies Carlton won 318 games and had a 3.10 ERA. With his final four teams he had a combined record of 10-21 with a 5.58 ERA. Nonetheless he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1994 with 95.8% of the vote.

1983 Topps Juan Marichal

Juan Marichal pitched for the Giants from 1960-1973. In 1974 he was purchased by the Boston Red Sox. Although he missed nearly three months in the middle of the '74 season due to shoulder surgery, he ended up with a 5-1 record in just 9 starts. He retired after the season only to be approached by the Dodgers in the spring of 1975. In his first game he pitched three scoreless innings only to be lit up for 5 runs in the fourth. In his second outing he pitched two scoreless only to get crushed in the third. When Walter Alston came out to the mound, Marichal's mind was made up. He told Alston that he was retiring for good. In 1983 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

2016 N.L. Wildcard Game: Mets vs. Giants

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

1995 Topps Richie Ashburn

After 12 Hall of Fame seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Richie Ashburn was traded to the Cubs where he spent the 1960 and 1961 seasons. In 1962 he was purchased by the newly formed Mets. There he was selected as the Mets sole representative to the 1962 All Star games. Although present for both games, he only saw action in the second. He was used as a pinch hitter. He singled and scored a run but the National League lost 9-4. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1995.

2015 Topps Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson played in 22 MLB seasons for six different teams. He ended his career in San Francisco in 2009 at the age of 46. Although he is best known for his time in Seattle and Arizona, he began with the Expos and also had short stints with the Astros and Yankees. He was a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016 A.L. Wildcard Game: Orioles vs. Blue Jays

For the 2016 postseason I am making Cards That Never Were of Hall of Famers from each team but with a couple of twists. The first twist is that they will appear on cards that coincide with the year they were inducted into Cooperstown. The second twist is that these are not the teams they are best known for playing.

Tonight is the first wildcard game with the Orioles taking on the Blue Jays. For this match up I have chosen a couple of former teammates and two players who are often mentioned when it comes to which hat should be worn on your HOF plaque.

1993 Topps Reggie Jackson

First representing the Orioles is Reggie Jackson. Jackson spent the 1976 season in Baltimore. In all Jackson played 21 seasons and in 2820 games. Only 134 of them in an Orioles uniform. And despite the fact that he played more games for the Kansas City/Oakland A's (1346) and the California Angels (687), he chose a Yankees cap for his HOF plaque. He played 653 games in New York and was inducted wearing a Yankees cap in 1993.

2001 Topps Dave Winfield

Dave Winfield, who played with Jackson onthe Yankees in 1981, is here representing the Toronto Blue Jays. His only season with the Jays was in 1992 and also got him his only World Series ring. Winfield played 153 of his 2973 career regular season games in a Blue Jays uniform. When he was enshrined in 2001 he chose to wear a Padres cap. He had played 9 season and 1172 games for the Yankees and 8 seasons and 1117 games in San Diego. A much closer divide than Reggie's but it still caused outrage in New York. Those poor Yankees, always ignored by the mainstream media.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

NFL & AFL Rookies of the Year 1960-1965

In 1960 the AFL was born. Both United Press International and The Sporting News added Rookie of the Year awards for the fledgling league. And oddly, both were in agreement on the recipients for several years in a row.

In 1960 the AFL Rookie of the year was Abner Haynes of the Texans. In 1960 Fleer was the official card of the AFL. Since technically all of the players in the AFL were rookies it is not surprising that Haynes was included in the set. Topps was still producing NFL cards in 1960 but that league's top rookie, Gail Cogdill was not included in the Topps set. I had originally made a post for Cogdill here.
 In 1961 once again, Topps made cards for the NFL while Fleer covered the AFL. This time, however, neither sets included the respective ROYs. The top AFL rookie was Earl Faison who played defensive end for the Chargers. I originally posted this Card That Never Was here.

This was the Chargers first season since moving to San Diego. The franchise originally played as the Los Angeles Chargers.  The Chargers are looking like they will return to L.A. in the 2017 season unless a referendum to keep them in San Diego is passed.

In the NFL the Rookie of the Year was "Da Coach" Mike Ditka. Remembered primarily for his coaching, Ditka revolutionized the position of tight end. I made this card after I found a picture of him wearing the unfamiliar number 82. Ditka had worn 89 in college at Pitt and throughout his NFL career (except his first year on the Eagle when he wore 98). He was initially given #82 because 89 was worn by kicker John Aveni. But in June of 1961 Aveni was dealt to the New York Giant and Ditka regained his number 89. Click here to see the original post.
The AFL rookie of the year was another Dallas Texan, Curtis McClinton. The was not a card in the Fleer set so I made two different cards of him. I came across a terrific painting of McClinton and emailed the artist for permission to use it. In the meantime I colorized a b/w photo of McClinton and made another card. The artist got back to me and granted use of the painting but suggested that I keep the watermark because McClinton himself was the owner of the original painting. So I decided to post both cards. Click here to see the original post.

 The 1962 Topps set actually include the NFL ROY, Ronnie Bull.  One of the best looking sets, 1962 Topps included a black and white inset action shot. Although Bull's card has him on the Bears, he is shown wearing his Baylor jersey and the inset action shot is from the annual Chicago College All Star game played at Soldier Field.  

In 1963 once again neither set included the Rookies of the Year. So I created a 1963 Fleer Card That Never Was for the AFL ROY, Billy Joe of the Denver Broncos, here. I also made a 1963 Topps Card That Never Was of Vikings receiver Paul Flatley, here

In 1964 there was a new player in the Rookie of the Year Game. Now not only were awards given out by The Sporting News and United Press International but the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) also presented a Rookie of the Year award to the top NFL rookie.  

The other development in 1964 was that the NFL cards were now produced by Philadelphia and Topps took over producing cards for the AFL. In the AFL, Jets rookie fullback, Matt Snell rushed for 948 yards and 5 TDs. He was the top choice for both UPI and TSN. Meanwhile in the NFL all three organizations chose future Hall of Famer Charley Taylor. Taylor had 1569 all purpose yards and 10 TDs in his rookie year with the Redskins. Click here to see tho original post.

In 1965 once again there was agreement among the picks. Both UPI and TSN agreed that "Broadway" Joe Namath was the AFL Rookie of the Year. In the NFL, UPI, TSN and NEA unanimously awarded the "Kansas Comet" Gale Sayers the Rookie of the Year.  Topps of course included this iconic card of Namath in their 1965 set. Gale Sayers, however, would not get a card in the Philadelphia set until 1966. So I created this 1965 Philadelphia Card That Never Was of Sayers. You can see the original post here.

Ok, now that we're all caught up, I need to warn you, thing get muddier in 1966. Stay tuned....

Thursday, September 29, 2016

1959 Topps Nick Pietrosante

Again in 1959 UPI and The Sporting News had differing opinions on the Rookie of the Year. Earlier I made  a Card That Never Was of UPI Rookie of the Year, Boyd Dowler. Dowler was drafted out of Colorado and his rookie year was also the first year Vince Lombardi coached the Packers. His 549 receiving yards and 4 TDs helped the Pack improve from 1-10-1 in 1958 to 7-5 in 1959.
The Sporting News ROY was a fullback out of Notre Dame that was the Lions first round draft pick. Nick Pietrosante led the league in rushing yards per carry with 5.9 his rookie season. He was also a receiving target out of the backfield and finished his first year with 587 all-purpose yards. 

Pietrosante was a two-time Pro Bowler and when he left the team after the 1965 season he was the Lions all-time leading rusher with 3933 yards. In 1966 he was signed by the Cleveland Browns to help fill the gaping hole left by the loss of Jim Brown. Pietrosante, however, saw limited action as Ernie Green moved from halfback to fullback and return specialist Leroy Kelly took over at halfback. Pietrosante retired after the 1967 season.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1958 Topps Bobby Mitchell

Just like in 1956, in1958 there were two different Rookies of the Year. United Press International declared Pittsburgh's Jimmy Orr the Rookie of the Year. But The Sporting News named Cleveland Halfback Bobby Mitchell the winner. I had previously created a Card That Never Was for Jimmy Orr, here. 
The Sporting News awarded the ROY to future Hall of Famer, Bobby Mitchell. Although he is better known as an All Pro receiver for the Redskins he began his career sharing the Browns' backfield with Jim Brown. In 1958 he rushed for 500 yards, while Brown gobbled up 1527 yards on the ground.

Mitchell was a 4 sports star in high school running track, playing baseball, football and basketball. He was drafted by the Cardinals to play baseball but elected to play football at the University of Illinois. He was drafted by the Browns in 1958 and played primarily halfback and punt/kick returner. 

In 1962 the Washington Redskins were under pressure from the federal government to racially integrate their team. The Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate an in 1962 they were in danger of losing their stadium lease. They traded for Mitchell, Steelers guard John Nisby and drafted Michigan State running back Ron Hatcher. The three broke the color barrier in Washington. Hatcher played in just 3 games in 1962.  Nisby who played for the Steelers from 1957-1961, switched from right guard to left and played with Washington until 1964. 

Mitchell went onto lead the league in receiving yards in 1962 and 1963. He led in receiving TDs in 1964. He continued playing until 1968 then became a scout for the team eventually becoming Assistant GM. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Friday, September 23, 2016

1956 Topps J.C. Caroline

It's week 3 of the NFL season and I am just getting around to some more Cards That Never Were for the Rookies of the Year. One of the reasons is that there were several Rookie of the Year Awards. The one that I had been using for reference was the UPI award. The UPI was a press award given out from 1955-1996. 

Although there was much overlap, The Sporting News also handed out annual awards vote upon by NFL players, coaches and executives. The Sporting News began awards in 1955 as well and are still doing it now. 

But it only gets muddier from there. The Newspaper Enterprise Association got into the act in 1964. They continued issuing awards through 1996 and from 1971-1976 they issued two awards. one oa AFC one for NFC, except for the 1974 season. OK got that? Because we're not done yet.

In 1967 the Associated Press got into the game. They issued separate awards for the offensive and defensive Rookies of the Year. They are still issuing that award. In 1969 Pro Football Weekly played the same game, awarding offensive and defensive ROY trophies. The latest ROY is awarded by Pepsi. This began in 2002 and is voted online only by fans at 

I started making these cards quite a while back, in April of 2014, I made a 1957 Rookie Card That Never Was for the great Jim Brown
 I noted that the 1955 and 1956 Rookie of the Year winners were given cards by Bowman in 1955 and Topps in 1956, their rookie seasons. However that is not strictly the case. In 1955 Alan Ameche of the Baltimore Colts was the winner of both the UPI and TSN award and he had a card in the 1955 Bowman set.
In 1956 the UPI award was given to another Colts player, Lenny Moore.  Moore had a card in Topps 1956 set.  But The Sporting News awarded the Rookie of the Year did not have a card in 1956. The Bears defensive back / offensive halfback, J.C. Caroline was primarily a defensive back but was used by the Bears as a halfback and kick returner as well through the 1958 season. After that he was used exclusively on defense. 

J.C. Caroline played 2 years at the University of Illinois breaking Red Grange's rushing record before being ruled academically ineligible. He the played in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts but was placed on waivers the picked up by the Montreal Alouettes. J.C. and the Alouettes beat his former team in the semi finals to advance to the Grey Cup. Montreal lost to the Edmonton Eskimos. The following year J.C. got a degree in Phys Ed from Florida A&M and was drafted by the Bears. In his rookie year with the Bears he picked off 6 passes and ran 2 back for touchdowns. He was the Sporting News Rookie of the Year which meant that the honor was bestowed by his fellow players and coaches.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

TBT - Texas Rangers Edition

Last month the Astros hosted the Rangers in an All-Texas turn-back-the-clock game. Both teams wore 1986 era uniforms. The Rangers actually had the same away greys from 1985-1993. Here ia my attempt to mimic the 1991 Donruss Nolan Ryan card.  Lucas Harrell cooperated by striking a similar pose.
Both Harrell and Ryan pitched for the Astros and the Rangers. Nolan led the league with 18 losses in 1973. Lucas led the league with losses in 2013 with 17.  He also led in bases on balls that year. Ryan led the league in walks nine times.  The similarities seem to end there. On the bright side, Ryan pitched until he was nearly 47.  Harrell is a relatively young 31 year old.  Things can change in 15 years.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

TBT - St. Louis Cardinals Edition

Last Saturday the Cardinals celebrated the 90th anniversary of their 1926 World Series championship by wearing their 1927 "World Champion" uniforms. Cards from this era are scarce so I decided to copy the 1971 Laughlin World Series cards. 
These featured cartoon drawings of  players, highlights or factoids about the games. There were several different variations of these cards issued by Fleer in 1970, 1971 and again in 1980.  I chose third-baseman Jhonny Peralta to take the place of Hall of Fame player-manager Rogers Hornsby
Can't really compare the uniform to a cartoon so I included a photo of Hall of Fame pitcher, (Grover Cleveland) Pete Alexander. I found this colorized version posted on several pages on the interwebs and I am not sure who to credit with the colorization. As usual the main differences are the modern cut of the uniform including the shorter sleeves and of course the socks. Oddly the socks look closer to the cartoon than the photo.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

1971 Topps Cubs Dual No Hit Club

One year ago today Jake Arrieta threw his first no-no. Earlier this year Arrieta threw another. It would be his second no hitter in just 11 regular season starts. He would be the first Cub to throw multiple no-hitters since 1971. Ken Holtzman threw a gem in August of the infamous 1969 season then again in 1971. 

You have to go back to when the Cubs were known as the Chicago White Stockings to find another player in franchise history with multiple no hitters. It was Larry Corcoran who aced the Boston Red Caps in 1880, the Worcester Ruby Legs in 1882 and the Providence Grays in 1884.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

TBT - Houston Astros Edition

This was a tricky one again. The Astros wore throwback uniforms reminiscent of their 1986 season. This was in honor of 1986 Cy Young award winner Mike Scott who threw out the first pitch. For this week's throwback Thursday card, I made a 1986 Topps card of Jose Altuve. The only problem is that the uniform they chose was rarely worn. It is very similar to the tequila-sunrise unis of the late '70s early '80s. But there are some differences.  As a result, I was unable to find a decent card for side-by-side comparisons.

The most obvious difference between this uni and the earlier versions is that it is paired with a black cap instead of the orange. Also the collar is entirely black instead of striped. And finally there is no number on the pants. As I said, it was a rare combination that the Astros used sparingly from 1983-1986. When looking for an old card to compare unis, the best I could come up with were some Mother's Cookies cards. So here is Nolan Ryan in a similar uniform on this 1985 Mothers Cookies Card.