Sunday, December 22, 2013

#139 Luis Pujols, Astros

Card Front: Here we find Luis coming out of the box from what I assume is a Spring game in Florida against the Mets. It is strange to see both teams in their home whites. I know the Astros have been blasted for so many years for these duds, but I always love the look. I like that they did show them off and continue to hold some of the heritage in current looks.
Card Back: When you are a light hitting catcher that has two guys like Alan Ashby, and Bruce Bochy in front of you, you will spend a lot of time in the minors. Luis was not known for power or average, but made use of what he had. When I was a kid and saw Willie Keeler made his debut in 1892, I didn't know who he was until 2004 when Ichiro broke his single season hits record.
Six Degrees or less to Seattle: Luis would hang it up in 1985 as a Texas Ranger, but would team with Dwayne Henry. If you move to the shorter 1995 season, Dwayne was in Detroit with the Tigers with Chris Gomez. Mr. Gomez would go north of the border with the Blue Jays for the 2004 season with Guillermo Quiroz. Guillermo came to Seattle in 2006 for a short stop, only to come back for stints in 2009 and 2010 with Seattle only to bounce around amongst teams for the last three years.
Did you Know?: Luis was a coach under Felipe Alou in Montreal for seven years and would eventually manage the Tigers in their disastrous 2002 season, and would go back to coaching with Felipe in San Francisco and has managed in AA Corpus Christi for two years and was with Delmarva Shorebirds in 2013.
Next Card: #140 Don Gullett, Yankees

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#138 Mark Lee, Padres

Card Front: I still think this has to be one of the most iconic cards from the 1979 set. I think by now every collector know of guys like Mark and his stunning glasses. I think that they compliment the brown in his hat and his killer moustache quite well. I know they are vilified, but I still love the old Padres jerseys like this one. I guess we should say hello to Shea Stadium in the background.
Card Back: It is always fun to see a player's progression through the minor leagues. A partial season in A ball after being drafted, next brings a full season in AA Amarillo. After starting with a brief layover in Hawaii for the start of 1978, Mark went straight to the Padres and never looked back. Do you think the opposing team was afraid of Mel Ott to intentionally walk him five times in one game?
Six degrees or less to Seattle: After the 1979 season, Mark was sent to the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. During his first season as a Bucco in 1980, Mark would pitch with John Candelaria. The Candy Man was a guy that seemed to last forever, and during the 1992 season, John was a Los Angeles Dodger along with Carlos Hernandez. If you fast forward six years to 1998, the San Diego Padres would be National League Champions with Carlos on the team, and another player for them was Andy Sheets. Andy had been in the M's system since 1992, and saw time in 1996 and 1997 before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, only to be traded to San Diego that same day.
Next Card: #139 Luis Pujols, Astros

Sunday, December 8, 2013

#137 Larry Wolfe, Twins


 Card Front: It is hard to believe that Larry is playing in the majors when he looks like he should still be in high school. I do admit that I really do like the old school white panel on the front of the batting helmet that the Twins and many teams had in the 70's and 80's. I know that the Twins still played outside in '77 and '78 but I doubt Topps sent a photographer to Minneapolis for Larry. I'm guessing somewhere in Florida during the spring.

Card Back: I can tell that the Twins weren't too sure with Larry. Two years each in Wisconsin Rapids and two in Orlando is either a lack of progress or slow seasoning of a young player. Obviously the Twins didn't think he had it sending him to Boston before the 1979 season. He spent 2 seasons in Beantown before a season in AAA and another in Japan. It is awesome to have your card include a trivia question about a HOF'er like Don Drysdale!

Six degrees or less to Seattle: After Larry had packed up and shipped off to the Red Sox in 1979, he would play with John Tudor. John, unlike Larry spent a long time in the big leagues including the 1990 season where he found himself in St. Louis as a Cardinal with Ken Hill. Ken decided he wanted to be out West and found that in 1999, he was meant to be an Anaheim Angel with Bengie Molina. Bengie was a fun loving teammate that didn't mind traveling to new places and during the 2010 season, he found that the Texas Rangers was the team to be on and eventually so did Mark Lowe. Mark was sent to Texas during that season with Cliff Lee after parts of 5 seasons in the Seattle bullpen.

Next Card: #138 Mark Lee, Padres

Sunday, December 1, 2013

#136 Jim Kaat, Phillies

Card Front: While it is probably not the greatest action shot known to man it is action. The burgundy pinstripes is a kind of classic look for the Phils. It reminds me of the 80's and their good players and playing in a World Series. I don't really remember Jim from playing, but I have watched him on television.
Card Back: Now this is a back full of stats that any baseball fan can dive into and enjoy. How can you not love seeing the Senators in 1959 and 1960? How many guys do you see with 20 seasons so far and over 600 games as a starter? Kind of amazing that Jim was still going strong at 40 years old. He was probably thought of as the original "Big Unit" at 6'5" in the 70's.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Jim's long run with the Minnesota Twins, Jim spent the 1969 season playing with Rick Dempsey.  The ever humorous Demspey would be winding down in 1991 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Another of those Brew Crew in 1991 was Darryl Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton was a bit of a traveling man, and was part of the 1999 New York Mets. One of the kings of travel is Octavio Dotel, and he would also be part of that 1999 Mets team. Octavio would eventually make a stop in Toronto as part of the 2011 Blue Jays. Another of the Maple Leaf 9 that year was Brandon Morrow. Brandon was foolishly drafted ahead of Tim Lincecum in 2006 by Seattle. He would come up in 2007, and from there through the 2009 season, he did the starter/bullpen shuffle. After the 2009 season he was traded to the Blue Jays for minor leaguer Johermyn Chavez and Brandon League.
Next Card: #137 Larry Wolfe, Twins

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#135 Bobby Murcer, Cubs


Card Front: A kind of creepy looking card for Bobby in 1979. I do like the relaxing sight of the palm trees in Mesa to relax you. The blue pinstripes and stirrups of the classic Cubs look is very pleasing to the eyes. The posed on one knee looks a little overdone, but it could be worse I suppose. Maybe Bobby was smiling knowing he would be back in the Bronx later in the 1979 season to finish his career.

Card Back: While Bobby's numbers were not eye popping, this is what a long career looks like. After auditions in '65 and '66, it took a few more years to catch on in 1969. Bobby went put west after1974 for Bobby Bonds. The Giants sent Bobby to Chicago for mostly Bill Madlock. Sadly, bobby came back to New York in time to lose his friend in Thurman Munson.  It is amazing that 1892 they didn't care if a shortstop was left handed in Willie Keeler. That wouldn't happen nowadays.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Bobby would shut down his playing career after the 1983 season in New York. During the 1982 version of the Yankees, Bobby was along side Jay Howell. Jay was around for quite a long time, including a stint with the 1994 Texas Rangers. Another of those Rangers in 1994 was a younger Darren Oliver. Yes Darren was still pitching at age 43 for Toronto in 2013. While a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as originally the California Angels in 2009, Darren was an Angel along with Kendrys Morales. Kendrys was signed to be a big hitter for the Mariners in 2013 and failed. They did offer him another shot for 2014, but money will be a factor in him not coming back.

Next Card: #136 Jim Kaat, Phillies

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#134 Alan Bannister, White Sox

Card Front: It is hard to get much out of this card if you are any kind of fan of seeing much. It is great if you want to see the great collared shirts that the SOX would wear during these years. I can't say I'm big on the collars, but I did like the look and simplicity of the uniforms they did wear during this time and would welcome them back.

Card Back: I guess it was important to show us all his stats from his part time 311 games in the big leagues. I do like how Topps detailed his signing bonus and all the players involved in the deal that brought Alan to Chicago. It seems that the fact that he attended Arizona State was just a throw in. I do like that they were able to throw in a recent last season factoid on the sidebar instead of a hundred year old fact.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Alan's last season in Philadelphia in 1975, he played at the Vet with Dick Ruthven. Dick was a guy that was around the game for a very long time and would find his way to Wrigley to be part of the 1985 Chicago Cubs With Shawon Dunston. Shawon was another of those players that would be around for quite a long time. While making a stopover with the 1998 version of the Cleveland Indians, Shawon would team up with Russell Branyan. Russell would make his way tot the dugout in Seattle for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Next Card: #135 Bobby Murcer, Cubs

Sunday, November 10, 2013

#133 Bill Castro, Brewers

Card Front: Ahh, the classic let's get a posed picture while you are playing the Yankees in New York. While you might think this is a inter league game, the Brewers were originally in the American League. After coming to Milwaukee in 1970 after leaving Seattle high and dry, they stayed in the AL. To me this is the classic look I remember of the Brewers with the yellow front of the caps, and the interlocked MB to look like a glove.
Card Back: I guess Topps felt we didn't need to see all the good things Bill did in the minors. While they were happy to write out the highlights we got no stats. If Bill pitched in the modern day he would be considered too small to be a pitcher at 5'11" and 170 lbs. The Brewers saw something to sign him at 17 and have him in the majors by 21 years old.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: Bill would still wear powder blue on the road in 1982, but we would do it as a Kansas City Royal. Another of those Royals in '82 was Willie Wilson. Willie would eventually find himself in the pinstripes of Cubbie blue in Wrigley Field in 1994 with Jose Hernandez. Fast forward to 2005, and there is Jose playing with the Cleveland Indians with a very young Franklin Gutierrez. Franklin only saw the plate twice and was in seven games that year, but after the 2008 season he would come to Seattle in a three team trade. After many injuries and lost time, Franklin was let go after the 2013 season and is currently looking for work.
Next Card: #134 Alan Bannister, White Sox

Sunday, November 3, 2013

#132 Rowland Office, Braves


 Card Front: There is nothing more classic than the spring training pose with the bat outside the dugout. It is hard to tell if Rowland is enjoying his photo shoot or if he wants to look crazy so he can get in the clubhouse to get some of the afternoon food spread.

Card Back: It is unusual to see that only one year or so of minor league stats weren't included. I guess 5 pinch hits and a Carolina League All Star info is necessary. If you've ever seen the movie Major League you would know that the Indians win over the Red Sox for the 1948 pennant would be their last until the team regained their prominence in the 1990's.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Rowland's first full season in Atlanta during 1974, another Brave was Jamie Easterly. Jamie would make his way to another Native American team while being part of the 1987 version of the Cleveland Indians with a very young Julio Franco. Julio would stay around for many years with many teams only to return to Atlanta in 2007 with Rafael Soriano. Rafael was with the Mariners from 2002-2006 when the Mariners made the god awful move to send Rafael to the Braves for Horacio Ramirez.

Next Card: #133 Bill Castro, Brewers

Sunday, September 29, 2013

#131 Jim Clancy, Blue Jays

Card Front: Jim says look at me ladies, I'm looking fine with my big hair and 'stache. I know most people are glad to be away from pullovers and double knits. I think that the powder blue of Toronto is such a classic, especially against the red seats of Cleveland Stadium(?). I'm glad that the Jays have finally gone back to a new logo that is similar to the original.
Card Back: Ahh, the beginnings of a long career. It is always fun to see minor league stats and have to look up where some places are. I don't think that a team would acquire a player on the advice of a coach who played against a player in minors nowadays. It is unusual to see a team like the White Sox use four pinch runners in a single inning.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Jim's rookie campaign of 1977, he would wave the maple leaf for Toronto with Phil Roof. Phil was a man that would see time in many places including a stint as a Cleveland Indian in 1965 with Dick Donovan. If you hit the rewind button to ten years earlier, Dick spend time teaming up with Jim Busby on the 1955 version of the Chicago White Sox. Jim was part of Darrell Johnson's coaching staff in 1977 and 1978 for the original Mariners.
Next Card: #132 Rowland Office, Braves

Sunday, September 22, 2013

#130 Bob Watson, Astros

Card Front: It almost feels like a Skittles commercial. Taste the Rainbow. I really think it would be great if the Astros would wear these as a Sunday special. It seems as though we find Bob taking in a spring training game against the Mets. This definitely isn't the Astrodome, but I doubt they would wear white at Shea Stadium. It is always good to track the flight of your hit.
Card Back: What a long list of stats. It always neat to me to have seen a card with player's stats from only one team. That would be the case for Bob, but this would be one of the final ones. During the 1979 season he would go to Boston. In his final five seasons, he would make it to New York and Atlanta also. Not too bad to be an All Star in the mid 70's during the times of some great players.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Bob's long run in Houston, he had many players come and go in the locker room of the Astrodome. During the season in 1977, Bob would play with Terry Puhl in the rainbows. Terry would be around for a long time, and would spend some time in 1991 in Kansas City as a Royal with Brian McRae. Brian would make some time in Toronto in 1999, and one of his teammates for three games was Anthony Sanders. Anthony would come to Seattle in 2000 for one game, and would see nine more in 2001 only to have no more big league career. 
Next Card: #131 Jim Clancy, Blue Jays

Sunday, September 15, 2013

#129 Marty Pattin, Royals

Card Front: It appears to be a rainy day in Detroit for Marty and the Royals. I guess if you can't play in the rain, you might as well catch up on some pictures for next season's baseball cards. There are some things you just miss like old stadiums, pullover jerseys, and powder blue. We all wonder though, where the ball Marty? Hello, McFly!! You need to convince us you are pitching by having a ball in your hand....
Card Back: I am one that loves to see lots of minor and major league stats on cards. I do like guys that have lots of big league stats with more than one or two teams. The amazing thing is the way that players back in the day could throw many innings and put up numbers, while players nowadays are so limited by pitch counts and other limitations. Amazing that you could hit 3 grand slams in one week.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: Yes, Marty was a member of the short lived Pilots in 1969. During Marty's rookie season in 1968 he was a California Angel with Tom Burgmeier. Tom would string it out until he was part of the Oakland A's team in 1984 with Dave Leiper. Dave would play around to find himself in the city of brotherly love in 1996, to be a Phillie with Scott Rolen. Scott would make it to the 2007 style of the St. Louis Cardinals with Brendan Ryan. Brendan had spent the last three seasons in Mariner blue to only recently be sent t the New York Yankees.
Next Card: #130 Bob Watson, Astros

Sunday, September 8, 2013

#128 Ted Martinez, Dodgers

Card Front: I've always liked the classic look of the Dodgers uniform. Even when they were on the road the grays just looked right. I don't think that Ted's hat perched on top of that big 'ol afro will work though. There is just so much about this card that just screams 1970's.
Card Back: Just look at Ted's numbers and you can tell he was not an everyday player. Four teams all saw some type of potential but not enough to have him play consistently. The Dodgers would never afford him that chance with their set infield of four guys.
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Ted's final big league season in 1979 we was hooked up with Manny Mota as Dodgers. Manny stayed around for a bit longer to be part of the 1982 squad with a young Alejandro Pena. Alejandro would stay around for many years and would play on the 1995 Boston Red Sox with Eric Gunderson. Eric saw time in 9 games for the Mariners in the forgettable 1992 season.
Next Card: #129 Marty Pattin, Royals

Sunday, September 1, 2013

#127 Thad Bosley, White Sox

Card Front: A very classic look. There is such focus and intensity on Thad's face. I know that many people like to rag on the White Sox for their uniforms of the 70's and 80's but I liked them. I think that the collars were a different look. I think the old look lettering of the jerseys and the simple hats were great.
Card Back: It always fun to see how a player progressed through the minors to make it to the show. Thad would take the time to make the show and bounce up and down all through his career that would last all the way through the 80's and see many teams along the way. How would you like to have been a pitcher for the Reds in 1949 and give up five HR's in one inning?
Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Spring Training of the 1982 season, the Brewers would trade Thad to the Mariners. He would see time in 22 games during that disappointing season. During Thad's second time as a California Angel in 1988 he would play with Terry Clark. Terry would be part of the 1997 Texas Rangers with Alex Diaz. Alex would be part of the Mariners for two seasons in 1995 and 1996. If wasn't for Alex's filling in for the injured Ken Griffey we wouldn't have had the magical run in the 1995 season to make the playoffs.
Next Card: #128 Ted Martinez, Dodgers

Saturday, August 24, 2013

#126 Doug Bair, Reds

Card Front: Here we see Doug doing the standard pitching pose for a spring training shot. He was early in the start of a long major league career that would have see the dugouts of many teams. I wonder what his teammates in the background walking away are thinking of Doug right now....

Card Back: It is pretty obvious that Doug took the slow road to get to the big leagues. After being drafted in 1971 he saw 4 games at the end of 1976 before being dealt to Oakland, only to land in Cincinnati. Doug would travel well, playing for seven teams in 15 seasons including St. Louis twice and Pittsburgh to bookend his career start and end.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Doug did spend a few seasons in the Queen City. While a member of the 1980 season in Cincinnati, Doug played with Bruce Berenyi. Bruce would eventually hook up with the World Champion version of the 1986 New York Mets with every one's teammate in Jesse Orosco. Jesse being the ageless wonder that he was would be part of the 2003 San Diego Padres with little known catcher Wiki Gonzalez. Wiki was part of a six player dealer to come to Seattle to see time in 14 games behind the plate during the 2005 season at Safeco Field.

Next Card: #127 Thad Bosley, White Sox

Saturday, August 17, 2013

#125 Rick Burleson, Red Sox

Card Front: Obviously Rick is at the cage wondering how do I hit ball that far so I can get HR's too. I have to say that the classic look of the Red Sox wearing the red caps is timeless. I love today's navy blue look too but red does make them different from everyone else.

Card Back: How awesome would it have been to be in your second year with Boston and almost win the World Series in 1975? For a shortstop to have 285 putouts in 1977, you have to have pitchers that play to contact and let the defense do the work. I will always Rick more for his time when he was a California Angel since I would see him during the springs.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Rick did have a long career in the majors. Close to the end was a season in 1987 as a part of the Baltimore Orioles. Another man on that Baltimore club was ex-Angel teammate Don Aase. Move on to 1990, and Don would find himself back in So Cal as part of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and would team with Lenny Harris. Lenny would make his rounds through the league, and in 1999 was a Colorado Rockie with Henry Blanco. Henry has been many places and seen many teams including this 2013 version of the Mariners.

Next Card: #126 Doug Bair, Reds

Sunday, August 11, 2013

#124 Dan Schatzeder, Expos

Card Front: A standard spring training pose from Dan. It doesn't get more 70's than the longer hair and the bad moustache. I guess I would rather have the ugly upper lips of yesteryear than the god awful lazy beards of today's players.

Card Back: it is cool to see a team have it's minor league team also been in Canada and close to the big team. I sometimes wonder if Topps had some kind of crystal ball. Is it coincidence that an Expos card would talk about the Washington Senators  as a premonition the team would eventually be in DC?

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Dan would make a few teams and bounce around. In 1987, Dan went to be part of the Bash Brothers team of Oakland A's with Billy Beane. Billy had spent a quick stop in Queens as a member of the 1985 New York Mets. Another of those '85 Mets was the ageless wonder that I think everyone had as a teammate in Jesse Orosco. Jesse would make it to the 2003 version of the San Diego Padres. Another of those Friars was Humbeto Quintero back 10 seasons ago. Humberto was recently signed by the Mariners in 2013 after being DFA'd by the Phillies.

Next Card: #125 Rick Burleson, Red Sox

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#123 Lou Whitaker, Tigers

Card Front: What a beauty of a card! We find Lou in action during a game as visitors at Yankee Stadium. Obviously Lou hit some kind of ball and is busting out of the left side batter's box for first base. I love the look of the tighter uniforms and the stripes on the top of the stirrups is SO CLASSIC!! You can even see his teammates in the dugout looking to see if the hit will get through. There is still nothing better than day baseball.

Card Back: We see the beginnings of what should have been a Hall of Fame career. Lou won the Rookie of the Year in 1978 for the American League. He was a five time All Star, and three time Gold Glove winner. Lou and Alan Trammell made up one of the best double play combinations in the 80's. Lou had great numbers defensively and was great with the bat too, but was only able to muster 2.9% of the vote in 2001. Conversely, a guy like Roberto Alomar had very similar career numbers and got into the hall.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Lou was one of those guys that I love that stayed with one team his whole career. During the 1992 season in the Motor City, Lou would team up with Kevin Ritz. Kevin saw time in 151 games in his career with the Tigers and Rockies. During Kevin's next to last season in 1997, one of his Mile High teammates was John Thomson who was a rookie for the boys in purple and silver. John was a bit of a nomad playing for 5 different teams in 10 seasons. During John's time as an Atlanta Brave in 2004, he shared locker room space with Nick Green. Nick is another nomad seeing time in 11 organizations and playing in the big leagues for 8 teams. In the 2007 season, Nick saw time in 6 games as a Mariner before leaving after the season to be in the Yankees minor leagues.

Blog related to the team: The Tigers are a long, and storied franchise. It surprises me that they don't have more fans in the blog world. One that I have recently found is doing an outstanding job. I hope that you have all gotten a chance in the last few months to check the home of Hot Corner Cards. He is working on a project similar to mine where he wants to collect all the Tigers cards out there. If you have some extras Detroit cards go over and see if you can help, and tell him I sent you.

Next Card: #124 Dan Schatzeder, Expos

Sunday, April 21, 2013

#122 Mike Paxton, Indians

Card Front: Hey Mike, the hidden ball trick doesn't work when we all can see your hand is empty. You do have to love the pullover jersey and the fact that we get pics on cards from Cleveland Stadium. I guess it didn't matter if you saw the equipment that is out during warm ups, because kids want cards of all their favorite Indians players of the 70's.

Card Back: Here we see nearly all of Mike's career stats. He would pitch in 33 games in 1979, and see time in 4 games in early 1980 before being gone from baseball at the age of 26. One of the players that the Indians sent to Boston was none other than Dennis Eckersley. If you look back all the way to Willie Keeler in 1897 and getting his 5 hits or more for the 4th time in a season, you would only have to wait another 74 years from then to have me be born.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: The first time Mike saw the big leagues was with the Red Sox in 1977. Another guy that would take the mound in Beantown was Don Aase. During many years in the big leagues, Don played for a few teams including the 1989 version of the New York Mets. Another of those guys from Shea was Kevin Tapani. Fast forward to the 1996 season, and Kevin was part of the Chicago White Sox with Greg Norton. Greg saw time in 6 games for the Mariners before being sent to Atlanta for Nelson Payano who never made it past AA, but continues to pitch in the Mexican Leagues.

Blog related to the team: Indians fans are kind of like Mariners fans. Our team had a run of success and we had some great players for a time. The last run of years have been difficult to be a fan of either team. One guy that still loves his Tribe is Dan. He writes what was one of the first blogs I got hooked on way back in the day. He is a Saint of the Cheap Seats. He is a man that loves his team, knows what he like to collect, will show what he's got and writes a damn good blog. Go over and give a friend of the feather some Chief Wahoo love today!!

Next Card: #123 Lou Whitaker, Tigers

Sunday, April 14, 2013

#121 Checklist 1-121

Card Front: We all know that it was blinding to find these in a pack if you opened one back in 1979. I don't know about you, but I would always use these to know what I had in my collection. I would always mark the box with a ball point pen to mark my "checklist". There are so many recognizable names, whether they were newer guys or guys that would work their way to the Hall of Fame on these cards.

Card Back: Sadly, you needed a magnifying glass to read the names on most of these lists. The green really would wash out the black ink on the checklists and make it look like a jumble.I always thought that it was nice that Topps didn't waste a card with the checklist on the back like today's cards. Not only would you get a list like this, the team cards were so awesome to list the card, player, position, and uniform #'s. Back in the day when we were young, the library, newspaper, and baseball cards were our Internet to find out about baseball stats.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: On this first checklist card there are 9 guys that at one time or another that would put on the Mariners colors. I decided since Willie Stargell is still my favorite all time player, I want to do another link to Pops. During the 1967 season in the Steel City, Willie would play with Woodie Fryman. For our 1979 season, Woodie would be in Montreal as an Expo with Scott Sanderson. Scott would be part of the 1995 California Angles that would lose the division to the Refuse to Lose Mariners. Another of those Halos that year was Eduardo Perez. Late in July of the 2006 season, the Mariners would send a young Asdrubal Cabrera to Cleveland for Eduardo. Perez would finish the season in Seattle only to retire after that season.

Blog related to the team: It is kind of hard to link a blog to a card with a bunch of names and no team. I was thinking that with this being a card that is at least 30 years old, let's make a link. There are many Hall of Famers on this checklists too. One blogger that should be in the blogging Hall of Fame and has a love for 30 Year Old Cardboard is Brian. If you haven't read his blog and over 8500 posts, I don't know if I can help you in getting started in the card world. I know you've all read his work, and like me are always looking forward to his new work.

Next Card: #122 Mike Paxton, Indians

Sunday, April 7, 2013

#120 Jim Sundberg, Rangers

Card Front: There is just so much I love about the front of this card. There is no doubt that it is such a posed card from spring training. It is obvious that the Rangers played in a big park in spring if it is 350' down the left field line. Have you ever noticed how many guys would wear the mesh back hats during spring, but you would never see that in a real game? I know it all about being cool nowadays, but you have to love the style of the pullover jersey and the double snap pants with no belt. I miss the looks of the 70's.

Card Back: Back in the old days there was two drafts in January and in June. Jim was drafted in the Rangers first year in Texas. He would spent the 1973 season in AA Pittsfield, MA and burst on to the scene as the regular catcher in 1974. It was the start of a long career that would include a World Series with KC in 1985 only to come back and finish in Arlington in 1989. Jim was obviously a great defensive catcher to make it that long. He would be part of the Rangers first HOF class in 2003, and has been a Senior Executive VP of Baseball since 2008 with the Rangers.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Jim was around for a long time. Today we can trace him to a player that was a Seattle Mariner without even leaving the state of Texas even though the Mariners are in Washington. During the 1978 season in Arlington, Jim was the catcher that would commonly catch Danny Darwin as the Rangers were in action. If you move ahead in time 10 years to 1988, Danny would move across the state and be a part of the Houston Astros. During that 1988 season, a 22 year old rookie was called up from the AAA Tucson Toros named Craig Biggio. Craig would be on the path to a long soon to be HOF career, and in 2006 would share Enron Field with Charlton Jimerson. Charlton spent parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons in Seattle before being released and bouncing around. After not seeing the big leagues again, Charlton retired from baseball after the 2010 season.

Blog related to the team: It must be a great feeling to have your team go to back to back World Series. I know it has to hurt to lose both, but it's closer than my team's ever been to the series. I know that Rangers fans are a proud group and aren't afraid to be vocal about how they feel when their stars leave. One guy that is newer to the blog world, but is doing great and loves the Rangers is out there. If you haven't sat in it, you need to check out the Waxcaptain's Dugout. He is doing some great work, and loves his gunslingers from the Lone Star State. See if you can help him out with some cards or anything else Rangers.

Next Card: #121 Checklist 1-121

Saturday, March 30, 2013

#119 Don Stanhouse, Orioles

Card Front: Ahh, good old Yankee Stadium on a nice sunny day. Don looks like he and a few of the boys just rolled out of the van after getting seriously baked! I guess maybe he is just smiling because neither you nor I have an afro as cool as his! You can see the beginnings of some massive 70's sideburns going but I don't remember Don ever growing them out. I'm not sure I like the no hat look though, it reminds me of this year's Heritage with all the forehead going on.

Card Back: It seems that neither the Rangers or the Expos could decide if Don was a starter or a bullpen guy. I remember Don form the 1979 World Series but not much else. I know he was in the game a long time but kind of gets forgotten about. He was traded with some recognizable names from Montreal to Baltimore. Don must obviously be comfortable in DuQuoin, Illinois since he was born there and is still listed as his home. I think they could have given us Don's minor league stats too, but I wonder if Topps had a rule that if a guy saw more than 5? seasons in the majors that they left off the minors numbers?

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Don's rookie season with the newly relocated 1972 Texas Rangers, another of those guys new to Dallas was Jim Mason. During that magic season of 1979, Jim was part of Les Expos de Montreal with Scott Sanderson. Scott was a guy that was here, there, and everywhere during his long career. One of Scott's stops include a turn with the 1994 strike shortened version of the Chicago White Sox. Another young player on that team was Warren Newson. Warren came to the Mariners in July of 1995 for Jeff Darwin. He saw some time in the black hole of Seattle: Left Field and was a pinch hitter. He was let go after that one season.

Blog related to the team: I really hope the Orioles have another good season. I think it will continue to bring us more bloggers that love the Birds. I'm still jealous that they stole Adam Jones away from us, but I do love the look they went back to last year with the iconic cartoon bird. I guy that I know loves all the logos of the Orioles is Kevin. You may recognize his work from the Orioles Card "O" the Day. It is awesome how everyday he can show us a card of a Baltimore player that we have all seen or one that is totally new and mind blowing. Head over and see what today's card might be..

Next Card: Jim Sundberg, Rangers

Saturday, March 23, 2013

#118 Bud Harrelson, Phillies

Card Front: It is nice to see that Topps did their homework and got a picture of a player with his new team and didn't airbrush it. I have to admit that I wasn't a Phils fan back in the 70's and 80's, but I did like the mix of burgundy and baby blue. There is so much going on here. You have to love Bud and his Top Gun aviator glasses. Maybe it's the batting glove that looks like a golf glove, or it could be the choking up on the bat to get the little guy a hit.

Card Back: All you have to do is look at Bud's card and you would have thought he would have been a Met for life. I don't know who really won in the trade, since Bud only did 2 part time seasons in Philly but his trade partner last saw the Majors in 1976 an '77 and was never back up. Obviously Bud had a long career in the big leagues for his defense, because those stats are nothing to write home about. I would assume that he was the typical #8 hitter in front of the pitcher.Hank Aaron was called out for stepping out of the box. You see it quite often today, but it is never called.  

Six degrees or less to Seattle: During Bud's long run in the Big Apple, he had many teammates come and go. During the 1973 season, Bud would play with John Milner as Mets. John would find fame and fortune in the Steel City. As a part of the 1982 Pirates, he would play on the other side the state from Philly and another of those Pirates was Junior Ortiz. Junior would catch many games, and was with a handful of teams, but in 1992 he was Cleveland Indian along with Reggie Jefferson. Reggie came to Seattle for the 1994 season with Felix Fermin in the trade that saw the Indians obtain soon to be HOF'er Omar Vizquel. The Mariners let Reggie go before the magical 1995 season.

Blog related to the team: So many Phillies fans out there. One blogger that has been at it for quite a while and does a great job gets the love today. How many of you read The Phillies Room? Jim is one of the authorities on all things Phillies related. He even does his own custom cards for the Phils. How about Twitter for a place to check him out? I say you must go to one or both today and see him, and tell him a ghost form the 1979 season sent you to see him.

Next Card: Don Stanhouse, Orioles

Saturday, March 16, 2013

#117 Grant Jackson, Pirates

Card Front: Here comes a pitch from the lefty. There is just so much to love about the Pirates and their uniforms from this time. I once saw something on MLB Network that said the clubhouse guy had a running list of combos so they wouldn't repeat them soon together. I like the way the blue walls of Three Rivers go with the blue banner below Grant. I love the black flattop hats, but wish they would have worn the yellow ones a little more...

Card Back: That is one big fat stack of stats there. Back then it sounded like a long time ago to be signed in 1962, but now it was over 50 years ago! It seems the Phils had him start in 1969 and 70 but then decided Grant was more valuable in the pen. Unusual to see someone born in Ohio, but lives in Puerto Rico. It seems strange to see the Acquired line say Trade, Mariners in 1976, when they hadn't even taken the field yet. I guess Topps must have been searching for anything to put on the side with the fact that the Padres and Giants used 13 pitchers in a doubleheader.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Yes, Grant was drafted by the M's in November of 1976 only to be traded to the Pirates in December so he never saw the field with a trident on his cap(see below to see Topps offering of Grant as a Mariner).  During Grant's only season in the Big Apple in 1976, he was a Yankee with Otto Velez. I think Otto liked Maple Syrup so he went to Toronto and was a Blue Jay in 1979 with a very young Dave Stieb. I still think of Stieb as one of the faces of the Blue Jays franchise. Almost 20 years in 1998, after a short stop as a White Sox?? for four starts and a four year absence from the game, Dave was on the bump in Ontario with former Mariner Pat Lennon. Pat was one of those thought to be a future star in the outfield with Junior, but Pat saw 10 games in '91 and '92 before being let go from Seattle.

Blog related to the team: Ahh, Pirates fans are becoming more common. I'm glad to see it. They are one of those franchises that has a great history but have suffered for a long time now. I know how their fans feel to have lesser ownership that doesn't give you a chance to win. I think the Buccos are on the right track and could have a really good year. One of those fans is from south of the Steel City but loves his team. You may know him ad BigDaddyFilth. He also goes by Victor, and he writes about Gravediggers, Mooses, and such.  Go and see his work, and maybe send some Pirates his way, and he will definitely help you back.

Next Card: #118 Bud Harrelson, Phillies

Thanks Topps for giving us Grant for 1977 even though he never threw a pitch with a trident on his cap

Saturday, March 9, 2013

#116 Ozzie Smith, Padres

Card Front: Welcome to the most celebrated Rookie Card of the 1979 set. There are just so many cool things about the front of this card. Just look at Ozzie, he was so bad ass that he made the hat/helmet cocked to the side cool before we see it today. We all know that we wish that was some way we could wear those sideburns and cool like Ozzie instead of looking like a dork. The Padres jerseys of '78, how many other teams have had city and team name on their jerseys?

Card Back: That's what a RC should look like on the back. One line of minors, and one of majors. You can tell the Padres saw something out of this kid coming out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. One year in short season rookie ball, and the the next year he makes the team as a NRI. Who would have thought is would lead to a Hall of Fame career that would last through the 1996 season. I would say it safe to say Ozzie was the star in Walla Walla in '77 since only he and three other guys would make the majors, but none with his impact.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Ozzie only would ever have two homes, one in San Diego and the bulk of it being in St. Louis. During his swan song season of 1996, Ozzie was a Redbird with Mike Difelice. Mike would make his way to the Motor City, and be a member of the 2004 Detroit Tigers with Ryan Raburn. Ryan would stay in Detroit, only to be a part of the 2009 Tigers with Ramon Santiago. Ramon had been a Tiger before coming to Seattle in 2004 for Carlos Guillen. After seeing time in 27 games in '04 and '05 he was released and went back to the comforts of being in Detroit City.

Blog related to the team: Where have all the Friars fans come from lately? There used to be two Padres bloggers but not much else. Now there are five that I know of, and maybe more that I haven't found yet. One of the guys that has burst on the scene since last year is Marcus. He was a guy that grew up with the Padres only to find himself in Texas. He writes about the All the Way to the Backstop Cards. He is always putting out good posts, and if you've never done a trade with him you are missing out. He's heading on trip but give him some love and catch up on some great Swingin' Friars!!

Next Card: #117 Grant Jackson, Pirates

Sunday, March 3, 2013

#115 Nolan Ryan, Angels

Card Front: How can you throw a pitch if you don't have a ball in your hand?? I personally would be scared to stand in the box against this guy even if he doesn't have a ball. Just look at the look on his face and tell me Nolan isn't just a bad ass. He has the stare down, he is rocking the classic Angels jersey and hat, and almost looks like he is an angel floating in the air. Topps definitely got it right with this one in 1979, I think it is one of the best cards we've seen so far!

Card Back: The back of this card is the stuff legends are made of. Little did we know that we would have The Express be around for another 15 seasons. If you look at his stats as of 1978, he was only part way to some of the staggering stats he would finish with. He was only half way on the win total, ONLY 2700 strikeouts so far and only about 3000 to go, and the four no hitters so far and on his was to 7 for his career. If you were a right handed pitcher back in those days, I hope you wanted to be like Nolan when you grew up.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: If you know your history, you know that Nolan's final pitch was in the Kingdome in Seattle. He came out of the game in the 1st inning after going 3-1 on Dave Magadan, and giving up a grand slam to Dann Howitt on September 22, 1993. Before that fateful day, while Nolan was a member of the 1983 Houston Astros, he played with Mike LaCoss. Mike would eventually make his way out west and and in 1991 would play in Candlestick Park as a part of the San Francisco Giants. Another of those 1991 Giants was closer Rod Beck. Rod would continue to pitch and in 2003, he was down the coast as a part of the San Diego Padres. One guys that played three games as a Friar before being traded in 2003 was Jason Bay. Fast Forward 10 years to spring training 2013, and Jason Bay is trying to make this year's Mariners squad.

Blog related to the team: It surprises me with the long sustained success of the Angels franchise that there aren't tons of people blogging about the Halos. One that I know has been out there for a long time gets his name from a player I remember well.  James is a dyed in the wool, unapologetic Angels fan and writes the great True Grich. I like to pop over and see what he is thinking about his team on regular basis. The Angels have always had a soft spot in my heart since they spent half their springs in my hometown of Palm Springs for spring training and I would watch Angel broadcasts so I could see them play my M's.

Next Card: #116 Ozzie Smith, Padres