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