Saturday, April 19, 2014

#151 John Hiller, Tigers

Card Front: A nice action shot of a lefty at his craft. It seems strange to me that Topps couldn't even fly to Detroit to get a shot in the home whites. I did like these pullovers though. It is strange that they would use this pic though where everything is slightly off center but back then we didn't care as kids and probably just threw this card aside if you weren't a Tigers fan.

Card Back: Now that is a long career, and the kind I like that is all with one team. John would miss that 1971 season after suffering a heart attack but would slowly make his way back in 1972 and would stay on after that through the 1980 season. During the 1979 season, John passed Mickey Lolich in the Tigers record book for most appearances by a lefty.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During John's first call up in 1965, one of his teammates in Detroit was Jim Northup. As we fast forward to the 1974 season, Jim would find himself in Baltimore as member of the Orioles.  Another of those high flying Birds as Al Bumbry. Al would have a memorable career in Baltimore but would also have some pretty nice years in America's Finest City as a San Diego Padre. One of Al's teammates on the 1985 version was Luis DeLeon. Luis was a one game wonder for the Mariners in 1989, pitching for four innings on May 26th of that year in Milwaukee. Luis would spend the entire rest of the year at AAA Calgary.

Next Card: #152 Rick Cerone, Blue Jays

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#150 Wayne Cage, Indians

Card Front: One of your very standard glamour shots form the 1979 set. I have to admit that as much as they were hated, the red pullovers go with the Indians cap from the 70's. It is strange to look through and some Indians have the slanted C hat and some wear the block C. Obviously, Wayne's pic comes from the 1977 season or earlier since the Tribe only went with red shirts and slanted hats from 1973-1977 and went block C in 1978.

Card Back: It is strange to me that Topps would give a card with a "star" number like 150 to a guy that had less than 100 AB's in the majors. It does make the mind wonder about a guy that is selected in the 3rd round in 1971 and didn't make it until 1978. These were the days before the big power slugging first basemen, and guys were taught to hit for average but Wayne was kind of off on that too.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During those first 36 games of Wayne's career in Cleveland, one of his Indian teammates in 1978 was Dennis Kinney. Mr. Kinney would find himself as a part of the Detroit Tigers in 1981. Another of the Motor City Kitties in that strike shortened season was Dave Rucker. Eventually, Dave would leave the Motor City for the Steel City and be part of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988. A rookie on that team was Scott Medvin. Scott would be traded to the Mariners in May of 1990, and would see 5 games after a call up from AAA Calgary in September. After that season, Scott would spend the next three seasons pitching in the Mexican leagues.

Next Card: #151 John Hiller, Tigers

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#149 Manny Sarmiento, Reds

Card Front: Welcome to an action shot from Pittsburgh. I would say those yellow unis are a dead giveaway. You have to wonder if it was a foul ball, a pop up, or a deep drive and who was the batter? I know that most people were not fans of the double knits of the 70's, but I still believe the Reds has a very sharp and classic look with these outfits.

Card Back: Who would know that Manny's second season with the AAA Seattle Rainiers would be a pre-cursor to future things in Seattle. While his first go rounds with the Reds were not the longest, Manny was in the Queen City to stay in 1978 making 63 appearances. I guess hitting 2 consecutive pinch hit homers for Carmen Fanzone would be his claim to fame.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Sadly, due to injuries Manny didn't have the long career that was expected from him. Manny would come to Seattle before the 1980 season, but would spend most of the season with the AAA Spokane Indians before making it into 9 games in September and being traded to Boston in 1981 for Dick Drago. After Manny would come back with the Pirates in 1982, one of his catchers was Steve Nicosia. Steve would eventually move north and be part of the 1985 Expos in Montreal with John Dopson. John would play part of the shortened 1994 season as a California Angel with Harold Reynolds. HR was one of the first in the wave of upcoming stars in Seattle seeing time from 1983 through his departure in 1992. Harold spent the 1993 season in Baltimore and would finish with the Angels in 1994 before becoming a well known broadcaster on ESPN, and now MLB Network.

Next Card: #150 Wayne Cage, Indians

Sunday, March 23, 2014

#148 Bruce Boisclair, Mets

Card Front: There is so much that I like with this card, but so many questions that come to mind. I admit that I like the look of the Mets and their classic pinstripes. I like that Bruce went with the classic 70's batting gloves too. I still don't know what that red machine on wheels is in the background, but the ultimate question that has eluded me is why does Bruce have an aluminum bat at a Major League stadium??
Card Back: Here is what it looks like when you are a run of the mill outfielder. You can see that Bruce didn't really tear up the minors, but it got him to the Mets. He wasn't a star by any means, but he was able to stick with the big club. You have to wonder how far ahead or beg=hind his team was in 1970 for him to pitch four innings.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: When Bruce got his first real go around with the Mets in 1976, another of the guys in Flushing was Benny Ayala. Benny would find his way to Cleveland to be part of the 1985 Indians. One of his fellow Tribe members was a young Otis Nixon. Among the hundreds of teammates that Otis would have, he was a Minnesota Twin in 1998 with Torii Hunter. After his time in Minnesota, Torii would see the West Coast, and eventually was part of the 2013 AL Central champion Detroit Tigers with Doug Fister. Doug made his MLB debut with Seattle in 2009, and was traded away in a bad deal for the Mariners in July of 2011. The Tigers sent Doug to the Washington Nationals this off season and will be in DC for 2014.
Next Card: #149 Manny Sarmiento, Reds

Sunday, March 16, 2014

#147 Dave Hamilton, Pirates

Card Front: Another of your standard pitcher looking like he is on the mound poses. While we can tell Dave is near the dugout, There is just so much that looks great with him. I know many people liked to frown on the Pirates and their stripes in the 70's, but I liked the look almost as much as the black and gold interchangeables. I don't know if a young lady caught his eye, but Dave doesn't seem too interested in the photographer.
Card Back: Sadly, Dave was just one of those guys that was more of the situational lefties out of the bullpen. There is nothing in his stats that jump out and say WOW! You do have to give the guy some credit though, he did earn three World Series rings with the A's in his first three seasons in the big leagues. I would say a HR in the 18th inning to win 1-0 classifies as a pitcher's duel.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: Yes Dave went to Edmonds-Woodway HS north of Seattle, but he was never a Mariner. During his first season on the south side of Chicago, Dave played with Chet Lemon on those 1975 White Sox. Chet was a man that stayed around for quite awhile and was part of the champion 1984 Detroit tigers with Carl Willis. Carl would find himself slightly west as a part of the 1995 Minnesota Twins with a young LaTroy Hawkins. While LaTroy has been a man of many hats, during the 2010 season he would don a Milwaukee Brewers hat along with Corey Hart. Mr. Sunglasses at Night is expected to DH and platoon at 1B and OF for the Mariners in the upcoming 2014 season.
Next Card: #148 Bruce Bosclair, Mets

Saturday, February 15, 2014

#146 Duane Kuiper, Indians


Card Front: There are so many things going on with this card that catch my eye. One of the things that you didn't see much of in the 70's was black batting gloves. Duane's look like the infamous OJ Simpson black gloves, but I'm sure Kuip is a much nicer guy. My other issue is with Topps using a pic of a uniform that was last worn in the 1977 season. With all the flack the Tribe has caught for Chief Wahoo, this would be a good compromise look to bring back full time.

Card Back: I don't think you could say these are any kind of eye popping stats, but they are definitely solid. Duane definitely was no power hitter with only one HR, but sometimes you need guys to get on base and Kuip did that. It looks like George Hall was able to get hit more homers in one game in 1876 than Duane could in five seasons.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Duane would eventually move on to be with the San Francisco Giants, a team that he continues to be with today as a broadcaster. During his time in Candlestick, one of his 1983 teammates was Atlee Hammaker. Atlee would spend time in the 1995 season on the south side of Chicago as a White Sox with Roberto Hernandez. Roberto would be part of the 2006 Pittsburgh Pirates with Oliver Perez. Both Oliver and Roberto would be traded together to the New York Mets during that season. Before the 2012 season, Oliver signed with the Mariners and spent two seasons in the M's bullpen before being let go to find a new team for 2014.

Next Card: #147 Dave Hamilton, Pirates

Sunday, February 2, 2014

#145 Rick Rhoden, Dodgers

Card Front: As the old movie line went, "I'm ready or my close up Mr. DeMille." Even though it is a fairly close up of a young Rick, it is a very timeless and classic look. There is just something about the Dodgers uniforms. It is sad to know that the Dodgers left their long time home of Dodger Town as a complex in Vero Beach to get some nice new digs in Arizona.
Card Back: I guess it's safe to say that in Topps' mind the only real significant season that Rick has had was in 1977. I think that 2 hit performance is noteworthy, but I think you could do better than a relief appearance in the playoffs. I wouldn't mind being Gene Tenace and homering in what would be the start of a three-peat in the World Series.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: I know that some lovers of the Dodger blue might disagree with me, but I think Rick is most known for his time in the Steel City. While Rick was with the Pirates during the 1986 campaign, another of those Buccos was Rich Sauveur. Rich wasn't much of a big league guy seeing time in 34 games in six spread out seasons with six teams from 1986-2000. Rich's final season was with Oakland in 2000, and another of those Athletics was Omar Olivares. Omar came to Seattle in July of 1997 with Felipe Lira for the playoff run of 1997. Omar started 12 games and relieved another and wasn't great but did help the M's make the post season.
Next Card: #146 Duane Kuiper, Indians