Friday, October 7, 2016

Yay! (Mostly)

As of late tonight, most of my blogs have had their blogroll and other links gadgets restored, 9 days after a Google gaffe removed them.

1960s - restored
1963 - no
1965 - restored
1966 - restored
1967 - restored
1968 - restored
1969 - no
1970 - restored
1967 football - restored
1968 football - restored
1971 football - restored
1972 football - restored
1960s Pop Culture - never lost them

Saturday, October 1, 2016


 A recent "update" by Google Blogger has trashed all of my blogs as well as the blogs from many other people (gauging from the number of complaints in the Help Forum).

On the same day that they rolled out an "upgrade", they have removed all the blogroll and other link list gadgets from peoples' blogs.

I have noticed that this has not affected everyone, as blogs such as White Sox Cards, Wrigley Wax, and Night Owl Cards seem to be unaffected.  Maybe it is limited to blogs using certain templates. I have 10 blogs using the "Rounders" template and they are all affected.  Also affected is my 1960s blog, which uses a template the name of which I don't remember.

I remember that the 1980 set blog also uses the Rounders template, but since I no longer have a blogroll on my blogs to navigate to other blogs, I can't check that one.

This is REALLY annoying.  I have spent a lot of time developing the setup and layout of my blogs, and now this.  What makes it worse is that being a programmer myself, I am led to believe this entire issue was caused by insufficient TESTING by Google staff of their new "upgrade" before rolling it out into production, and am not easily convinced that this is just a random occurrence that "Google is aware of and is working to fix it".

Every time I go to one of my blogs I am reminded of the mess that they have become, thanks to Google.  I will return if and when Google manages to fix this.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

1967 Custom Cards

A few years ago, John Hogan at the "Cards That Never Were" blog made a batch of custom baseball and football cards for me at my request.  I noticed that John did not include these images on his own blog, so I am posting them here so they can be appreciated by all.

You may have already seen the 1967, 1968, and 1971 football cards he made for me on the blogs for those sets.  He also created some baseball cards in the '66, '67, '68, and '69 style where the player was either missing, traded during the season, or just to upgrade a player from a Rookie Stars card to a solo card.

(To me, a card is only "missing" if there was no card issued in a season where the player saw significant major-league action.  So-called "career-cappers" in the year after retirement are outside that scope, IMO.)

So, here are the 1967 cards.  I will post the cards for the other years on those blogs soon.

First, the missing cards:

Lenny Green played for several teams from 1959-66, and finished up his career with the Tigers in 1967 and 1968.  He began both of those seasons in the minors, affecting his inclusion in those 2 sets.

Jay Ritchie pitched for the Red Sox from 1964-65, and for the Braves in part of '66 and all of '67, but did not have a card in either set.

Bob Lillis was Houston's regular shortstop from 1962-65, until losing the job to rookie Sonny Jackson in 1966. He was a backup in '66 (68 games) and '67 (37), but had no card in the two sets.  (I think he may have been a coach in 1967, and was reactivated temporarily.)

Al Spangler was a regular for the Colt .45s/Astros from 1962-65, and the Angels in 1965. After spending most of 1966 in the minors, he caught on with the Cubs from 1967-71, but his lack of MLB time in '66 cost him a card in '67.

Diego Segui played for the Athletics from 1962-72, except for 1966 with the Senators and 1969 with the Pilots. He began the '66 season with Washington, but played the 2nd half with Kansas City's AAA team, so Topps must have written off his career at that time.

Jerry McNertney was a backup catcher for the White Sox from 1964-68, then became the expansion Pilots' #1 backstop in 1969.

Jim Roland spent 1963-64 in the Twins' bullpen, then after 2 years in the minors, returned to the Twins for 1967-68.

Julio Gotay was an infield reserve for the Cardinal in the early 1960s. After some time in the Pirates' and Angels' organizations, he joined the Astros in 1966, but didn't see much playing time until 1967.

Ron Brand (and John Bateman) were catchers for the Astros from 1965-68, and for the Expos from 1969-71. Not sure why he didn't have a card, because he played all of 1965-67 with the Astros.

Billy Cowan was a journeyman outfielder who played for the Cubs, Phillies, Yankees, and Angels. He began the 1967 season with the Phillies' AAA San Diego Padres, then was called up in late-June to fill the right-handed outfield sub position vacated by the trade of Jackie Brandt.

John Boozer played parts of every season from 1962-69 with the Phillies except for 1966, which means no 1967 card!

Sandy Valdespino was a spare outfielder for the Twins from 1965-67, before moving on the the Braves in 1968. He had cards in '65, '66, and '68.

Roy White played all of 1966 with the Yankees, but didn't get a card in '67 (even with Yankees' outfielder Roger Maris traded away to the Cardinals after 1966!).

Rookies who were not in the set:

Bob Schroder played parts of every season from 1965-68 for the Giants. The high point was 62 games in 1967.

It's a mystery why Topps didn't include Don Wilson and the Reds' Gary Nolan on Rookie Stars cards in 1967. With the seasons they were having, you would think Topps could have thrown together an "NL Rookies" card for them in the 7th series.

Ken Suarez was a backup catcher for the Athletics in 66-67, and Indians from 68-71.

Vern Fuller took over the Indians' 2nd base job midway through his rookie 1967 season.

The Cubs had 3 1/2 Rookie Stars cards in the 1967 set, but Clarence Jones and Bill Stoneman were left out.  They both got significant playing time as rookies. (Topps shoulda checked with Cubs' scouts before devoting one of those "Stars" cards to Dave Dowling and Bill Connors.)

Reggie Jackson made his debut in mid-1967.  Like the Cubs, Topps also gave the Athletics THREE Rookie Stars cards.  Was Jackson not one of the A's top 6 prospects? Worse yet, Topps didn't include Jackson in their 1968 set.  ("That's Just Topps Being Topps")  It looks like Ted Kubiak is wearing a blue uniform.

John, once again, thank you for these great cards, and for your willingness to take requests.


I have found a total of 82 custom 1967 Topps cards (including the cards above) on various blogs and other internet sites. After presenting the "Cards That Never Were" for all years from 1966-69, I may go back and bring all those other cards together under one roof.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dave Giusti (#318)

Here is Astros’ starter Dave Giusti. I’ve decided I really like the 1967 Astros cards, probably because what followed in 1968 and 1969 was an abomination of capless headshots and airbrush jobs for all Astros’ players. Giusti had a card every year from 1962-77, and was inflicted with a capless headshot in ’65, ’68, and ’70.

Dave was signed by the upstart Houston Colt .45s in 1961, one year before they began playing in the National League. He split the year between Class A Jacksonville, and the Cubs’ AAA team (which happened to be in Houston that year).

Giusti played 22 games for the Colts during the first half of 1962 (mostly as a reliever), but played most of 1962 to 1964 seasons for Colts’ AAA team in Oklahoma City. He also scattered 8 appearances for Houston in 1964.

Dave made the majors permanently in 1965, the year the team was renamed to ‘Astros’. He made 38 appearances (including 13 starts) that season.

In 1966 he became a full-time starting pitcher, and won 15, 11, and 11 games over the next 3 seasons (quite a feat for a perennially bad team). He also struck out 131, 157, and 186 over that span.

After the 1968 season (and with the emergence of pitchers Don Wilson and Larry Dierker), the Astros traded away 2 of their top 3 starting pitchers from the past few seasons, with Mike Cuellar going to the Orioles and Giusti going to the Cardinals.

The day after the 1968 World Series ended, the Astros traded Giusti to the Cardinals for catcher Johnny Edwards. Three days later, an unprotected Giusti was selected by the Padres in the expansion draft. Six weeks later, the Padres traded him back to the Cardinals for 4 players. (Hey, I sense a player-stashing violation here! Why would the Cards have exposed a starting pitcher for which they just traded a quality catcher?) 

After an awful (3-7) season with the Cards in 1969, Dave was shipped off to the Pirates (with backup catcher Dave Ricketts) for backup catcher Carl Taylor. Giusti found new life in Pittsburgh, becoming a key player in their bullpen for the next 7 seasons. He pitched in the post-season in 5 of those 7 years, and made the All-Star team in 1973.

In March 1977, Dave was part of a 9-player trade with the Athletics which saw Doc Medich, Tony Armas, and others accompany him to Oakland in exchange for infielders Tommy Helms and Phil Garner. Giusti made 40 relief appearances for the Athletics, and after his August 5th acquisition by the Cubs, another 20 games with Chicago. He was released after the season, ending his 15-year career.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The 1967 Twins

It's been over 2 years since my last team review. Let's get to it...

The Minnesota Twins finished 1967 at 91-71, in a 2nd-place tie with the Detroit Tigers, 1 game behind the Boston Red Sox. The Twins were in 1st place as late as 9/26, but lost their final 3 games of the season.

The Twins began the season with a starting rotation of Jim Kaat, Dean Chance, Dave Boswell, and Mudcat Grant, with Jim Ollom getting the occasional spot start. By late May, the team switched to a 5-man rotation, with Jim Merritt in and Ollom out. In mid-season, it seems that Jim Perry alternated with Grant in the #5 slot.

In the season's final week, manager Sam Mele took a page out of 1964 Phillies' manager Gene Mauch's playbook and started only Kaat and Chance for the final week of the season (with the same disastrous results as the '64 Phillies). 

Here are the starting pitchers, in order of innings pitched. Although everyone on the staff appeared in relief at one time or another, the 4 above were primarily starting pitchers. Chance won 20 games in his first season with the Twins.

Mudcat Grant started half of his games, while Jim Perry started about one-third of his appearances. Veterans Al Worthington and Ron Kline pitched only in relief, with Worthington collecting 16 saves.

Jim Roland and Jim Ollom were the 2 left-handers in the bullpen. After 2 seasons with the Twins, Roland spent all of 1965-66 in the minors but returned in 1967. Ollom had played 3 games the previous season, but was with the Twins for all of 1967, his final big-league season. These first 10 pitchers were virtually the entire staff. Dwight Siebler pitched 3 innings in April (his final big-league action), while Mel Nelson pitched in 1 game in September.

Here are the starting eight. Jerry Zimmerman took over the starting job from veteran Earl Battey. With Don Mincher traded to the Angels for Chance, Harmon Killebrew played almost exclusively at first base in 1967, starting 160 games there and only 3 at the hot corner. He also led the AL with 44 home runs. Rod Carew made his major-league debut on opening day, and was named AL Rookie of the Year. 1965 MVP Zoilo Versalles started 152 games at shortstop, but only hit .200, well below his numbers from 2 years earlier. He was sent packing to the Dodgers in the off-season.

Rich Rollins started 90 games at 3rd base, alternating with Cesar Tovar. 1959 ROY Bob Allison held down the left field post, while crashing 24 home runs. Ted Uhlaender started 2/3 of the games in center field, backed up by Tovar. 1964 ROY Tony Oliva was in the midst of an 8-year string of All-Star appearances, and started 145 games in right field.

Here are the bench players, in order of at-bats. Cesar Tovar saw significant playing time at 2B, 3B, and CF. Russ Nixon started 41 games behind the dish as the #2 catcher. Earl Battey was the Twins' regular catcher for several seasons, but was relegated to 3rd-string in his final season. Rookie Rich Reese was used as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement for Killebrew at 1st base and Allison in left field.

Sandy Valdespino was the 5th outfielder (behind Tovar). Ron Clark only played in 20 games, mostly as a reserve 3rd baseman. Frank Kostro spent all of '66 and most of '67 in the minors, but played 20 games with the Twins in 1967, almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter. Andy Kosco spent most of the year in AAA, but played 9 games in the season's first 4 weeks.

Infielders Jackie Hernandez and Frank Quilici played mostly in triple-A, each getting less than 30 at-bats with the Twins. Walt Bond played 10 games in his only season with the Twins, the last coming on May 7th. He passed away 4 months later from leukemia. Graig Nettles made his major-league debut with 3 pinch-hitting appearances in September.

Harold "Pat" Kelly also made his big-league debut in September, with 7 pinch-runs and 1 pinch-hitting appearance. Sam Mele was in his 7th season as Twins' manager. With the team in 6th place, he was canned after 50 games. Cal Ermer took over the reins for the remainder of the season, and for all of 1968. Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew were the Twins' own Bash Brothers.

Also playing for the Twins in 1967 were catcher Hank Izquierdo and outfielder Carroll Hardy.

Here are the rookie cards. Bill Whitby and Hank Allen (obviously) didn't play for the Twins in 1967.

Transactions from the end of the 1966 season to the end of 1967:

10/18/66 - Released Johnny Klippstein.

11/28/66 - Marty Martinez drafted by the Braves in the rule 5 draft.

11/29/66 - Fred Lasher selected by the Tigers in the minor league draft.

12/02/66 - Traded Pete Cimino, Jimmie Hall and Don Mincher to the Angels for Dean Chance and Jackie Hernandez.

12/03/66 - Traded Bernie Allen and Camilo Pascual to the Senators for Ron Kline.

05/15/67 - Released Walt Bond.

10/19/67 - Sold Andy Kosco to the Athletics.

11/20/67 - Released Earl Battey.

11/28/67 - Sandy Valdespino drafted by the Braves in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Traded Mudcat Grant and Zoilo Versalles to the Dodgers for Bob Miller, Ron Perranoski and John Roseboro.

11/29/67 - Purchased Joe Grzenda from the Mets.
11/29/67 - Sold Mel Nelson to the Cardinals.

12/02/67 - Traded Ron Kline to the Pirates for Bob Oliver.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pete Mikkelsen can't focus on the task at hand

Four years ago,  I posted Pete Mikkelsen's 1968 card on my '68 blog (which I thought is where I referred to having this odd 1967 card below). Thanks to the 'Search my Blogs' function, I found my comment was in this 1967 Pirates Team post. Anyway, I unearthed this card a few weeks ago. This was my first Mikkelsen card, acquired midway-through the summer of 1967.

Not only are there printing errors and about 47 creases, but at some point the card appears to have gotten wet, so it has a general mottled appearance.

Here he is after taking some muscle relaxers:

Hmm.. Pete "was the Bucs' number one stopper last season", but midway through the '67 season he was selected off waivers by the Cubs!  What have you done for me lately?

Here are 2 other oddball cards I have from back in the day.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Ken Holtzman (#185)

Here is Ken Holtzman’s rookie card. Holtzman was signed by the Cubs in 1965, and although he compiled a record of 8-3 in his only minor-league season, and made his debut with the Cubs (3 games) in September 1965, Topps saw fit to exclude him from all the Cubs Rookie Stars cards in the 1966 set, preferring instead to allocate one of those cards to John Boccabella and Dave Dowling (?!?!?)

Ken pitched the entire 1966 season for the Cubs, leading the staff in strikeouts (171), with a record of 11-16 as the Cubs’ #2 starter behind veteran Dick Ellsworth (whose record was 8-22, and would be traded to the Phillies in the off-season).

Holtzman missed much of the 1967 season while in the National Guard, but he compiled an excellent 9-0 record in 12 starts.

Ken was one of the Cubs’ top 3 starters from 1968-70, behind ace Fergie Jenkins and Bill Hands. Holtzman won 17 games in both ’69 and ’70, and reached a career-high 202 strikeouts in 1970.

After a sub-par season in 1971 (9-15), Ken asked for a trade and was sent to the Athletics before the 1972 season for outfielder Rick Monday. Holtzman had great success in his 4 seasons with Oakland, winning 19, 21, 19, and 18 games per season. He made his only All-star teams in ’72 and ’73, and pitched in the ALCS each of those 4 years, and in the World Series for the first 3 seasons (with the A’s winning all 3 times). That was to be his only post-season action for his career.

One week before the start of the 1976 season, Ken and Reggie Jackson were traded to the Orioles for outfielder Don Baylor and pitchers Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell. Ken’s stay in Charm City would be short, as he was sent on to the Yankees in June (with catcher Elrod Hendricks and pitchers Doyle Alexander and Grant Jackson) for catcher Rick Dempsey and pitchers Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May and Dave Pagan.

Holtzman was a non-factor in the Yankees' starting rotation during his time there, and although the Yanks were in the post-season in ’76 and ’77, Holtzman did not play.

Ken returned to the Cubs in a June 1978 trade, and pitched 23 games for Chicago in each of ’78 and ’79.

After the 1979 season the Cubs released him, ending his 15-year career with a record of 174-150.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Moe Drabowsky (#125)

Here is relief pitcher Moe Drabowsky, fresh off his success in the 1966 World Series.

Drabowsky was signed by the the Cubs in 1956 as a bonus baby, and spent his first 4 seasons on the Cubs’ roster as a starting pitcher.

Although only appearing in 9 games in his first season, he pitched in 36, 22, and 31 games over the next 3 seasons, so he wasn’t the typical bonus baby who sat on the bench for his minimum required time and then went to the minors for some needed “seasoning”. Moe was 13-15 for the Cubs in 1957, and led the staff in starts, innings pitched, ERA, and strikeouts.

In 1958 his record slipped to 9-11, but he still led the starting pitchers in wins with that paltry number. The following season his record slipped even further to 5-10.

Drabowsky pitched most of the 1960 season out of the Cubs’ bullpen, but also found himself down with the Cubs’ AAA team in Houston for much of July.

The following pre-season he was traded to the Braves for shortstop Andre Rogers. Moe manned the Braves’ bullpen until mid-June 1961, when he was demoted to AAA for the 2nd consecutive season.

After the season, the Reds picked him up in the Rule 5 draft. After several months as a Reds’ starter in 1962 he was purchased by the Kansas City Athletics, and flipped back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen for the next 2+ seasons. He also spent part of the ’63 back in triple-A.

After making 5 starts at the beginning of the ’65 season, Moe was relegated to the bullpen until mid-June, then was sent to the minors for the remainder of the season. After the season he was purchased by the Cardinals, but a few weeks later was picked by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft (his 2nd Rule 5 move).

Drabowsky (by this time strictly a reliever) pitched for the O’s for the next 3 seasons, and was the game 1 hero in the 1966 World Series.

Taking over for starter Dave McNally, Moe pitched a no-hitter over the last 6 2/3 innings while striking out 11 and picking up the win. The Orioles went on to sweep the Dodgers with shutouts in games 2, 3, and 4. He also led the team in saves in 1967, and compiled an ERA of 1.60 in ’67 and 1.91 in ‘68.

After the ’68 season, he was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft (as was his O’s teammate Wally Bunker). While Bunker led the upstart Royals in wins (12) and innings pitched, Drabowsky led in saves (11) and also won 11 games. Moe began the 1970 season with the Royals, but returned to the Orioles via trade in June.

His 2nd stop in Baltimore was a short one, as he moved on to the Cardinals after the season. He pitched a season and a half for St. Louis, then was released in early August 1972. A week later the White Sox picked him up but released him in October, ending his 17-year career.

Drabowsky passed away in 2006 at age 70.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Brooks Robinson (#600)


Forty-nine years ago this month, I started collecting baseball cards. (I think I began when the 2nd or 3rd series of 1967 cards were in the stores, so I had to get the earlier cards through trades and "shooting" cards.) Anyway, by the end of that season I had collected every card in the first 6 series except the Cardinals Team card.

The high-numbered 7th series wasn't sold in my area, so I didn't get any of them until visiting card stores and shows in the 1980s. In a year or so, I was able to get all but five of those high-numbers. Six years ago, I got the Maury Wills card, cutting my want list to four.

Today, I scored the hard-to-find Brooks Robinson card, at the same antique store where I picked up 100 or so 1965 cards last year, and also these Topps 1964 giant cards.

I have already posted my 1966 Brooks Robinson card here, so I won't re-hash his playing career. Just want to say "1 more down, 3 to go!"

While at that store, I also picked up these two Mickey Mantle cards, which I will feature on my '65 and '66 blogs at some point. These are 1996 reprints with Stadium Club-like cardstock, and are glossy on both sides. Even so, they will now take their place in my '65 and '66 binders, because there's little chance that I will get the originals.