Friday, October 20, 2017

no. 715 - horace clarke

Who is the man: Horace Clarke totaled a career-high 686 at-bats -- tops in the league -- in 1970, producing 172 hits, the second-best of his career.

Can ya dig it: Those glasses are so big they seem like they're holding up his helmet.

Right on: Growing up where I do, I automatically assumed I knew all Yankees players throughout history. Then I was hit with people like Horace Clarke and Jerry Kenney when I started collecting early '70s cards and it opened up a wonderful new world.

You see that cat Clarke is a bad mother: Clarke's 151 career stolen bases ranks in the top 20 all-time for the Yankees.

Shut your mouth: Clarke was chosen as the symbol of one of the least productive eras in Yankees history, from 1966-74. The period of CBS ownership of the team became known as "The Horace Clarke Era".

No one understands him but his woman: Clarke wore his helmet in the field, explaining after his career "I had some really unusual things happen to me (on the field)."

(A word about the back): Clarke and Joe Mauer are the only two batters to break up as many as three no-hitters in the ninth inning, but Clarke's feat happened all within one month!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

no. 714 - dick williams

Who is the man: Dick Williams spent the 1970 season as a coach with the Expos. He was hired by Oakland owner Charlie Finley to lead a bunch of hard-headed talents for the 1971 season. The A's would win 101 games in Williams' first year.

Can ya dig it: One of the most memorable painted caps in any baseball card set. That hat is straight out of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Right on: You can see the hint of Red Sox lettering on Williams' jersey. Williams managed the Red Sox until 1969.

You see that cat Williams is a bad mother: Williams led three teams -- the Red Sox, the A's and the Padres -- to the World Series. Only one other manager can say that.

Shut your mouth: Williams looked at the Oakland A's as 25 versions of himself and said the animosity they held for the team's owner, Finley, worked in his favor. "It's impossible for even baseball players to truly hate two of their bosses at once," Williams said.

No one understands him but his woman: Williams was married to his wife, Norma, for 57 years. They died 28 days apart in 2011.

(A word about the back): Williams was on the verge of his second AL Manager of the Year award when this card was issued.

Monday, October 16, 2017

no. 713 - mike marshall

Who is the man: Mike Marshall arrived in 1970 with the team on which he'd build his reputation. He was traded from Houston to Montreal in June of that year.

Can ya dig it: It appears that Marshall is wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey. Marshall last played for the Tigers in 1967.

Right on: The "b" on the airbrushed cap looks quite puny. And it looks like the artist missed a spot around the left neck area.

You see that cat Marshall is a bad mother: Marshall set the major league record by appearing in a still amazing 106 games in relief in 1974. He pitched 208 1/3 relief innings and won the Cy Young Award.

Shut your mouth: During his career, Marshall refused to sign autographs because he thought kids shouldn't look up to players as heroes. I also read somewhere a long time ago that he refused to pose for baseball card photographs midway through his career and that's why you saw nothing but action shots of him from 1975 onward (and why his cards always looked bitchin').

No one understands him but his woman: Marshall, whose advanced knowledge of the science of kinesiology and his support for unconventional pitching methods is well-known, last worked for a major league organization in 1981.

(A word about the back): Marshall spent his first six seasons in pro baseball as shortstop. He hit .280 in 2,026 at-bats in the minor leagues during those years.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

no. 712: jose martinez

Who is the man: Jose Martinez played in the final 19 games of his major league career in 1970.

Can ya dig it: Don't you think the two guys behind Martinez should be facing him? He's the star of the show here!

Right on: This is the second of just two Topps cards of Martinez. The other is in the 1970 Topps set. That card was No. 8, while this is No. 712. It makes me wonder if this is the widest disparity between card numbers for someone who had just two Topps cards.

You see that cat Martinez is a bad mother: Martinez reached the majors after nine years in the minor leagues. He hit .268 as a bench player for the Pirates in 1969.

Shut your mouth: Royals general manager Dayton Moore remembered Martinez fondly after his death in 2014. Moore said during spring training when both Martinez and Moore were with the Braves, Martinez would cook fish late at night and tell stories.

No one understands him but his woman: Martinez worked for 20 years as a special assistant to the general manager with Atlanta. He'd work with getting foreign-born minor leagues acclimated to baseball in the U.S.

(A word about the back): That's interesting. Martinez played third, second and shortstop in 1970, so three different gloves then.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

no. 711 - larry stahl

Who is the man: Larry Stahl split the 1970 season between the Padres and the team's Triple A team in Salt Lake City.

Can ya dig it: The tarp is on the field and there is some sort of object on the mound.

Right on: It's another day at Shea.

You see that cat Stahl is a bad mother: Stahl went 2-for-4 for the Reds during the 1973 NLCS against the Mets. He appeared in four of the five games as a pinch-hitter each time.

Shut your mouth: Stahl was the batter who received a walk with two outs in the ninth inning, breaking up the perfect game bid by the Cubs' Milt Pappas in 1972. Umpire Bruce Froemming called a controversial ball four against Pappas, which upset Pappas for years. "I called Bruce Froemming every name you could think of," said Pappas, who did get his no-hitter one batter later.

No one understands him but his woman: Stahl's first appearance on a Topps card was a rookie stars card in the 1966 set while with the Kansas City A's. He didn't appear on another card until the 1969 Topps set despite playing in 124 games combined with the Mets in 1967 and 1968.

(A word about the back): Topps' habit of capitalizing extra base hits throughout much of the '70s is amusing to me.

Friday, October 6, 2017

no. 710 - sonny siebert

Who is the man: Sonny Siebert had completed his second season with the Red Sox in 1970, winning 15 games for Boston. His 1971 season would be even better.

Can ya dig it: Home plate is the over there, Sonny.

Right on: You can see why Siebert was called Sonny from the signature. Siebert's full first name is Wilifred.

You see that cat Siebert is a bad mother: While with the Indians, Siebert pitched a no-hitter against the Washington Senators on June 10, 1966.

Shut your mouth: Before leaving for the ballpark on the day he threw the no-hitter, Siebert's wife kidded him about several recent poor outings on the mound. Siebert said, "promise you'll get off my back and I'll pitch a no-hitter."

No one understands him but his woman: Siebert is the last American League pitcher to hit two home runs in a single game.

(A word about the back): That grounder that just got through the infield was hit by the Angels' Jay Johnstone to lead off the third inning during that July 31st game.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

no. 709 rookie stars outfielders

What a card: Two of the three players on this card made their major league debuts in 1970. Tom Paciorek went 2-for-9 in eight games in his debut with the Dodgers. Don Baylor went 4-for-17, also in eight games, with the Orioles in his debut. Dusty Baker was making his third stint in the majors in 1970. He appeared in 13 games and batted .292 in 24 at-bats.

Can ya dig it: This is the most difficult of the high numbers to obtain. As you can see, mine is cut weirdly and contains a crease in the left corner. And if that's not enough, I still need a second one for my Dodgers collection.

Right on: OK, this is another variation on the rookie stars cards. Let's update the list:

Team-oriented, two-player
Team-oriented, three-player
National League, three-player
American League, three-player
Pitchers, three-player
American League pitchers, three-player
Outfielders, three-player

You see these rookies are bad mothers: Well, I hate to say it, but even though all three enjoyed solid MLB careers and the careers of Baker and Baylor were exceptional, they are not bad-ass. Not right now.

Shut your mouth: Baker's nickname of "Dusty" is so identified with him that few know his actual first name is "Johnnie". Paciorek's nickname of "Wimpy" is also well-known. Baylor's nickname was "Groove," which is new to me.

No one understands him but his woman: Baylor breaking his leg while catching a first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero in 2014 is still one of the strangest on-field injuries I've seen. Baylor, down on one knee on his left leg, reached across his body to backhand Guerrero's throw and his right leg collapsed with a broken thigh bone.

(A word about the back): Sadly, the youngest of the three is no longer alive.