Friday, March 24, 2017

no. 642 - jim roland

Who is the man: Jim Roland was in the middle of a career revival as a long reliever when this card was issued. An injury in a collision with catcher Ray Fosse shortened his season in 1970, but he still posted a 2.70 ERA in 28 games.

Can ya dig it: The only guy I know of from this time period who wore a white windbreaker under his uniform. No commonplace blue, black or red for Jim.

Right on: I like Roland's cards so much that I named him a "Legend of Cardboard" on my main blog.

You see that cat Roland is a bad mother: Roland's 12-inning performance for the Twins against the Yankees in 1964 is the third longest stint by a Twins starter in franchise history. Only Jim Merritt (13) and Camilio Pascual (12 2/3) have pitched longer.

Shut your mouth: In 1967, an Associated Press story called Roland "one of the most disappointing investments (Twins owner) Calvin Griffith ever made."

No one understands him but his woman: Roland pitched the final game against the Seattle Pilots, gaining the 3-1 victory with a career-matching nine strikeouts.

(A word about the back): Not much to mention here, so I'll just say that Roland's 1970 ERA is now 2.70 according to official records.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

no. 641 - mets

Who is the man: The Mets were not so miraculous in 1970, coming down from their World Series championship high in 1969 to finish third in the NL East.

Can ya dig it: I'm assuming this photo was taken outside since I see grass. The white background, though, makes it look like it's inside somewhere. Maybe they simply erected one of those white backdrops behind the team.

Right on: Trainers/clubhouse men bookend the bottom row.

You see that cat Hodges is a bad mother: Manager Gil Hodges is seated in the middle of the second row, fifth from the left.

Shut your mouth: Finally some visible numbers. They stuck the poor coaches on the ground. Yogi Berra is the third guy from the left in the first row. Rube Walker is the third guy from the right. I hope it didn't take them too long to get up afterward. In the second row, catcher Duffy Dyer is three guys from the right. In the third row, the first guy on the left is Tommie Agee and he has his hands on the shoulders of the player in front of him. I don't know who that is, but I think the guy next to him is infielder Al Weis. In the top row, Tom Seaver is third from the left. Ron Swoboda is standing next to Seaver and Jerry Koosman is next to Swoboda.

No one understands him but his woman: I think the player to the left of Seaver is Donn Clendenon even though Clendenon wore No. 22 and the number here appears to be 28, which isn't listed on the 1970 Mets roster. I don't know who else it could be (Ken Singleton wore No. 29 and was the tallest guy on the Mets --6-4 -- but the guy next to Koosman looks more like Singleton).

(A word about the back): Tenth, tenth, tenth, tenth, ninth, tenth, ninth, FIRST.

Monday, March 20, 2017

no. 640 - frank robinson

Who is the man: Frank Robinson was in the midst of what would be his final season with the Baltimore Orioles when this card was issued. He'd be traded to the Dodgers in December, 1971.

Can ya dig it: These superstars that were issued in the high numbers are a bitch to track down. It's almost unfair putting guys like this in the sixth series (*cough* kind of like stashing all the stars in the Heritage SPs).

Right on: I love Robinson's Dodger cards. There are so few.

You see that cat Robinson is a bad mother: The only player to win an MVP in both the AL and NL. That's pure bad-ass.

Shut your mouth: Robinson nearly drowned during a swimming party in August 1966. The Orioles delighted in throwing each other into the pool and didn't believe Robinson when he said he never learned to swim. He was thrown in and had to be rescued by catcher Andy Etchebarren.

No one understands him but his woman: Robinson had problems finding a place to live when he arrived in Baltimore in 1966. Segregation dominated the city and Robinson and his wife were turned away repeatedly. One day his wife, Barbara, called Frank in frustration, which caused Frank to threaten to leave Baltimore. The Orioles' team owner found the Robinsons a home.

(A word about the back): When the write-up says "one of only 5 AL batters with .300 lifetime Avg.," I believe it's referring to AL batters who were playing at the time.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

no. 639 - tom haller

Who is the man: Tom Haller was in his fourth and final season with the Dodgers when this card was issued. He was L.A.'s starting catcher for a third straight year in 1970 but didn't play as often as he did in '68 and '69.

Can ya dig it: That is one tight crop on Haller. It's so tight, I've often wondered if Topps was hiding an airbrushing. But Haller had been with L.A. for so long by this time there would be no reason for it. (And it's clearly an L.A. cap).

Right on: Haller is featured on one of the most disturbing Dodger cards in my collection. It's his 1969 Topps card in which he's actually wearing a Giants uniform. It's also the same photo that was used on his 1964 Topps card (5 years prior!).

You see that cat is a bad mother: Haller was known as one of the best defensive catchers of the 1960s and made the All-Star team three straight years between 1966-68.

Shut your mouth: Haller's brother, Bill, was an umpire in the American League. When Haller came over to the Tigers in 1972, they worked behind the plate in the same game on July 14 as Detroit played Kansas City. It was the first time that had happened in MLB history.

No one understands him but his woman: Haller was involved in the first trade between the Dodgers and Giants since the two teams moved to the west coast in 1958. Haller was traded to L.A. for infielder Ron Hunt in February 1968.

(A word about the back): Haller still holds the National League record for most double plays executed by a catcher. Meanwhile, the AL record has stood since 1916.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

no. 638 - stan williams

Who is the man: Stan Williams enjoyed his best season as a relief pitcher -- and possibly as any kind of pitcher -- in 1970. In his 12th season, he set career bests in appearances, earned-run average, winning percentage and a few other newer stats (not known in 1970), like ERA+, WHIP and SO/W.

Can ya dig it: Another photo in Yankee Stadium. I should have counted them all up from the beginning.

Right on: Williams was one year from what I consider his greatest card: his 1972 Topps night card.

You see that cat Williams is a bad mother: Williams was threatening on the mound (he's listed on the back of this card as 6-4 and 225) with a high, blazing fastball. On a Dodger rotation with a roll call of intimidating pitchers, Williams reportedly kept a "list" of batters he wanted to intimidate.

Shut your mouth: Williams had two nicknames. One was "Big Daddy". The other was a nickname that most people associate with a White Sox hitter, the "Big Hurt". Williams was called that because he wasn't afraid to hit batters.

No one understands him but his woman: The game that Williams is most noted for -- the third game of the 1962 playoff series between the Dodgers and the Giants -- contained one of the most second-guessed managerial moves in L.A. history. With the Dodgers ahead by a run with one out but the bases loaded with Giants, the right-handed Orlando Cepeda came to the plate. Walter Alston came to the mound and replaced Ed Roebuck not with lefties Larry Sherry or Ron Perranoski, but with the righty Williams, who was known to be wild. Said Dodgers coach Leo Durocher to catcher John Roseboro, "He'll walk the ballpark." Williams gave up a game-tying sacrifice fly, threw a wild pitch, was ordered to walk batter Ed Bailey to load the bases, then walked Jim Davenport to force in the go-ahead run.

(A word about the back): Williams was an All-Star in 1960, but he didn't play.

Friday, March 10, 2017

no. 637 - dave bristol

Who is the man: Dave Bristol was in his second season as manager of the Brewers when this card appeared in packs. He took over the team when it was still the Seattle Pilots during that limbo period in early 1970 when the team didn't know whether they'd play in Seattle or Milwaukee.

Can ya dig it: This is the highest-numbered card that I received in that trade for my first 1971s when I was a young teen. I remember sorting those cards by number on the floor of my bedroom and placing the Bristol card way to the right of the other cards.

Right on: I do believe Bristol is stowing a chaw.

You see that cat Bristol is a bad mother: Bristol was the youngest manager in baseball when he took over the Cincinnati Reds' job in July of 1966. He was 33.

Shut your mouth: Bristol said he chewed tobacco because he was told a younger manager would look silly chewing bubble gum.

No one understands him but his woman: Bristol's 1977 Braves team lost 16 straight games. Owner Ted Turner put Bristol on a 10-day leave of absence in May and managed the team himself despite no baseball knowledge. After another loss, NL president Chub Feeney intervened and removed Turner, who eventually convinced Bristol to return and manage the rest of the season.

(A word about the back): All of Bristol's winning seasons in the majors came with the Reds, from 1966-69. He was then replaced by Sparky Anderson, and not only did Bristol never register another winning season, but he missed out on the Big Red Machine.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

no. 636 - denny lemaster

Who is the man: After a couple of fairly productive seasons for the lowly Astros, Denny Lemaster fell off in 1970, posting a 4.56 ERA. He wound up in the bullpen and it would be his last season as a starter.

Can ya dig it: Sharp corners, but way off-center and also diamond-cut.

Right on: The signature is very informative. I assumed his full name was Dennis, but it's Denver.

You see that cat Lemaster is a bad mother: Lemaster's most noted game is a matchup against Sandy Koufax on Aug. 9, 1966 while pitching for the Atlanta Braves. Lemaster took a no-hitter into the 8th inning until the Dodgers' Jim Lefebvre hit a home run to tie the game 1-1. But Eddie Mathews made Lemaster a winner by hitting a one-out homer off of Koufax in the bottom of the ninth.

Shut your mouth: The left-handed Lemaster was often considered as the Braves' successor to Warren Spahn and was even referred to as the "Second Spahn" in the press.

No one understands him but his woman: When Lemaster returned home after the victory against Koufax, his wife was in labor. Their fourth child, a daughter, was born the next morning.

 (A word about the back): Lemaster's club record of 37 games started (which he shared with Larry Dierker) was broken by Jerry Reuss, who started 40 games for the Astros in 1973.