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.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

TBT - Chicago Cubs Breakfast Cereal Edition

Guess what I found in my box of Rizzo's! A 1980 style 3-D Jake Arrieta

In the Chicagoland area you can still find boxes of Anthony Rizzo's Cereal at the local Jewel grocery store.  Unfortunately, they don't really have "Free Retro Baseball Cards". But they are packed with 8 essential vitamins and minerals plus the box is a "Collector's Edition".

On the 6th, The A's played host to the Cubbies for a 1980's throwback game. The Cubs wore their light blue pinstripes.  I found this card of Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter. Too bad it is a pre-bearded Sutter. It would have been nice to draw a comparison between the uniforms and the beards.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

TBT - Oakland A's Edition

Last week the Swingin' A's hosted an Eighties party and invited the Chicago Cubs. Jake Arrieta spoiled their party by pitching 8 scoreless innings allowing only 4 baserunners. The Cubs beat the A's 4-0.  I tried to recreate Rickey Henderson's iconic rookie card for rookie shortstop, Marcus Semien. The uniforms looked great even though the hosiery was inconsistent, as has been the norm for these turn-back-the-clock games.  None the less, it was a very colorful, and fun to watch game.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Another Batch of Cards from Rating the Rookies

It's crazy how these things add up. Here is a baker's dozen.  Thirteen Cards That Never Were from my other blog, Rating the Rookies. The first are a couple of one-and-done players. The only card either Bernie Smith or George Kopacz appeared on was a 1971 Brewers Rookie Stars card. So I made 1970 Topps cards of them.

The second batch also landed on 1970 Topps Cards That Never Were. George Lauzerique and Roberto Rodriguez originally shared a 1969 Topps Athletics Rookie Stars card.

The next two actually had solo rookie cards. Lee Stange had a solo rookie card in 1962. That was the first year Topps had multi-player rookie cards. But they also had quite a few solo rookie cards.  I gave Stange a 1963 Fleer Card That Never Was. 

Deron Johnson had three, count 'em three solo rookie cards. He appeared on solo rookie stars cards in 1959, 1960 and 1961 as a Yankee. And for all three cards Topps used the exact same photo. For his Card That Never Was, I put him on a 1975 Topps card showcasing his brief time with the White Sox. 

The next two appeared together on a 1965 Topps Red Sox Rookie Stars card. I gave Rico Petrocelli a 1968 All Star Card That Never Was in honor of his start in the 1967 All Star game.

 Jerry Stephenson got a 1969 Topps Card showing him as a member of the Seattle Pilots. 

Jim Woods went to High School just blocks from Wrigley. In the same year he graduated high school, he was a September call-up for the Cubs. They only used him a couple times, both times as a pinch runner. So for his Card That Never Was, I gave him the Herb Washington treatment, and put him on a 1957 Topps card with his position listed as pinch runner. He eventually appeared as a rookie on a 1961 Topps card but that was not his first card. He also had a card in the 1960 Leaf set.

Mike Cubbage, Doug DeCinces, Reggie Sanders and Manny Trillo shared a 1975 Rookie Infielders card. Cubbage was part of a multi-player trade that sent Bert Blyleven to the Texas Rangers. For his part, I gave him a 1976 Topps Traded Card That Never Was. 

After a solid career for the Orioles, Angels and (very briefly) Cardinals, DeCinces played in Japan for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. For his Card That Never Was, I made a 1988 Topps style card of him on the Swallows.

This Reggie Sanders was drafted by the A's in the same year the other Reggie Sanders was born. His entire MLB playing career consisted of  26 games played in 1974. Despite that he had 2 rookie cards, one in 1974 and another in 1975. For his third rookie Card That Never Was, I teamed him up with another young Reggie on this 1968 card.

Manny Trillo also had rookie cards in '74 and '75. For his Card That Never Was, I gave him a Kellogg's cereal card for his first All Star season 1977.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

TBT - Boston Red Sox Edition

On the MLB's "Turn Back the Clock" day, the Red Sox wore the uniforms of their pennant winning season, 1975.  There was much discussion about the choice of sleeve patch on Twitter. It is a Massachusetts Bicentennial patch. Did they wear it in 1975 or 1976? How come it is not on any 1976 Topps cards? Not even the World Series card?  
After a bit of "internet investigation" the answers are: yes and yes, just Topps being Topps, and because they didn't wear them during the World Series. When looking for pictures that showed the patch, I found these two press photos: The first shows Harmon Killebrew in a Royals uniform breaking up a double play. Rick Burleson appears to have the patch on his left sleeve. 
In the next picture we see Carlton Fisk sliding into home against Brian Downing of the White Sox. Downing is wearing the Sox's new for 1976 pajamas uniforms. Fisk also has that patch on his left sleeve. So we can determine this is from 1976 and since Killebrew only played in KC in 1975, we know these patches were worn both years.
As for why the patches are absent from the 1976 set, the best explanation has been repeated many time by fellow blogger, Jim from Downington, its "just Topps being Topps". Which is also why this 1978 Rick Wise card shows the patch two years after they stopped wearing them. There are plenty of photos from the 1975 World Series on the interwebs but none show the patch. So that explains its absence on the World Series card.
One final puzzle regarding the sleeve patch, Every card I have looked at has the patch on the left sleeve. Every card except for the 1977 Tom House card. So how did Tom House managed to have this patch on his right sleeve while everybody else's were on the left? The only explanation I can come up with is that he is a left hand pitcher. I found another left-handed pitcher wearing it on his right sleeve: "The Spaceman" Bill Lee.  

Additionally, Starmarket, a local supermarket chain, put out a team set of photos in 1976. These were studio shots of the players in their home jerseys without hats. Other than the wonderful collection of 1976 hair styles, you can see patches in most (not all) of the photos. Again the only two with the patches on the right sleeve were the two lefties, Lee and House. Although the patch is barely in view, you can see the edges of it on the right sleeve and its absence on the left.  It is clearly present on the left sleeve of Rico Petrocelli.

Before this turned into an investigation about which year and which arm this bicentennial patch was from, It was supposed to compare the look of Drew Pomeranz and Fergie Jenkins. The 1977 card has a nice view of the uniform and the offending patch on his left sleeve. I chose to compare these two because Pomeranz wears Fergie's old number 31. Fergie's number 31 is retired by the Cubs. He wore that number for the Rangers and the Red Sox after leaving Chicago but neither team has retired it.

The new uniforms look right but the proportions seem off. The chest lettering seems a bit smaller on the reproductions. Also given that Pomeranz is a lefty, shouldn't he have worn the patch on his right sleeve? Other than that, they look very good, one of my favorites this year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

1981 Topps Gary Carter All Star MVP

Going Horizontal

With the 2016 All Star game behind us, I thought I would return to an old theme, making horizontal cards for the Topps years without them. As usual I am using the All Star MVP as my subject.  In 1981, it was Gary Carter of the Montreal Expos. 1981 was the only season in which the Expos saw post-season play.

Just to get ahead of the usual comments that the 1981 All Star MVP would appear on a 1982 card: yes, I know. I also don't care. My blog, my fake cards, my rules.

The actual 1981 Gary Carter card was a beauty so this is not  meant to be an improvement on his card from that year. I took a few liberties with the original design besides turning it on its side. I narrowed the lower border and shrunk the size of the cap. I also replaced the position and team name inside the cap with the team logo, an idea blatantly stolen from the Dick Allen Hall of Fame blog. Click here to see the source of my plagiarism.

The 1981 All Star game was postponed to August and marked the return to baseball after the 1981 strike. The 1981 was split into two halves with the division winners from each half season playing each other in the first ever best-of-five Divisional Championship Series.

The All Star Game itself  had the NL come from behind to win their 10th straight 5-4. Gary Carter hit two solo homers. His first cam in the 5th inning off Angel pitcher Ken Forsch to tie the game at 1-1. His next came in the 7th with the AL leading 4-2. He took Yankees reliever Ron Davis over the center field fence to bring the NL within one run. Mike Schmidt had the game winning RBI with a two run shot in the 8th off Rollie Fingers.