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