Friday, May 28, 2021

Rookie Parade

Today we look at the rookie stars cards - all in one place. Why did Topps only have 1 card for some teams, and as many as 3 for others? Topps made some major omissions, but some 1-card teams were probably bereft of minor-league talent. (And with the low bar set by some of the so-called "stars" that appear on these cards, that's really embarrassing for those 1-rookie-card teams.) 
In team-name order (NL first):
Astros: Norm Miller and especially Doug Rader were contributors for the next few seasons.  The others? Not so much.
Braves: Cecil Upshaw became the team's closer after Phil Niekro moved to the rotation at mid-season.  Ramon Hernandez is on an NL Rookies card further below.
Cardinals:  Only 1 card?  The eventual World Champs had a set lineup, with only Dick Hughes and Ron Willis (on an NL Rookies card below) able to make the roster.

Cubs: The Cubs had SEVEN players appear on rookie stars cards (including Norm Gigon on an NL Rookies card), but none named Bill Stoneman or Chuck Hartenstein.  Huh?
Dodgers: Bill Singer also appeared on a '66 Rookies card with Don Sutton.  In 1967 he filled Sandy Koufax' vacancy in the rotation. Jim Campanis was the GM's son, so...
Giants: Only 1 card?  It's probably too soon for Bobby Bonds, but Bob Schroeder played 60 games in 1967, and there was the short-term phenom Bobby Etheridge. BTW, Dietz was a catcher.
Mets: Greg Goossen, Bart Shirley, and Bill Denehy were lunch-pailers, but Topps redeemed itself with Tom Seaver's inclusion.  Don Shaw also appeared on an NL Rookies card.
Phillies: As much as the 1967 me wanted to see more Phillies' Rookies cards, objectively speaking, one was enough.  Grant Jackson and Gary Sutherland (on an NL Rookies card) were the only rookies to make the team.
Pirates: A whole lot of non-stars here.  Jim Price was dealt to the Tigers just before Opening Day, while Luke Walker eventually made the team (after 2 or 3 Rookie Stars cards). Jim Shellenback was on an NL Rookies card later.

Reds: Where's Gary Nolan and Johnny Bench? Nolan was a 14-game winner in 1967, with over 200 strikeouts. (In fairness to Topps, he spent 1966 in low-A ball, so who would have known?)  Darrell Osteen and Lee May were also together on a 1966 Reds Rookies card.
Athletics: Six rookies, but none named Reggie Jackson.  Randy Schwartz? Tim Talton?  Topps, please!

Indians: Bill Davis?  Again?  Where's Vern Fuller?
Orioles: Topps scored big on the first card with Mike Epstein (although for the Senators) and Tom Phoebus. Why the red frame on the 3rd card?  Sure, the "ORIOLES" name was usually in yellow, but Topps adjusted earlier for the Phillies and the O's first rookie card. Maybe Inspector 12 was on vacation that day.
Red Sox: Topps hit a home run with the Andrews/Smith pairing, both key starters for the AL Champs.

Senators: Joe Coleman and Dick Bosman were good starting pitchers over the next few seasons.
Tigers: The Tigers had 2 guys named George Korince?  LOL
Twins: Rich Reese was the team's 1st baseman for a few seasons.  Jim Ollom was one of 6 Jims on the Twins' 10-man 1967 staff. Where's Rod Carew?  He's on an AL Rookies card in the 7th series.  (I'm convinced Topps saved those 7th-series NL/AL Rookies cards for last-minute additions to the set.  If true, how was Carew an afterthought?)

Yankees: Bobby Murcer appears here, although missing the '67 and '68 seasons while in the Army.  Stan Bahnsen reappeared on a '68 Yankees Rookies card, and was the AL Rookie of the Year in '68.
White Sox: Duane Josephson and Walt Williams became regulars in their rookie season.  Ed Stroud was dealt to the Senators early-on.
AL: Carew's rookie card is one of three cards I need to complete the set.  (Also the Seaver rookie, and Tommy John.)
NL: Shaw and Sutherland had the longest careers of these six.  Willis played for World Series teams in his first 2 seasons, but fizzled out soon after.

Other players having their rookie (solo) card in the 1967 set include Chris Short and Maury Wills (both 8-year veterans), Ken Holtzman, Jay Johnstone, Rick Wise, and for some reason known only to the braintrust at Topps, Bruce Brubaker.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

My Favorite 1967 Cards

I started collecting baseball cards in 1967 - not at the start of the season, but sometime in May as I recall. I think Topps was into their 2nd or 3rd series by that time, but through trading with other kids, I was able to play catch-up and get all the earlier cards I missed (except for the Cardinals team).
Before I started collecting cards in 1967, I only knew who 3 of the players were: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Harmon Killebrew. I had heard the name "Johnny Callison", but didn't know who he was. I don't think I had ever heard of Willie Mays though.
As best as I can remember, these were my favorite 1967 cards at that time:
The top row of players is self-explanatory. 
In 1967, Topps made 13 multi-player cards. These 3 were my favorites. (I was a Phillies' fan, but I'm not sure why I liked the other two cards over all the rest.) 
Chris Short and Johnny Callison were my two favorite Phillies players. I started following that team the same month I began collecting cards. 
Jim Palmer's card came along in the 4th or 5th series, as I recall. I became a big Palmer fan when I got this card. I don't remember why - he missed almost all of the 1967 season, and I wasn't following the Orioles. Maybe it was because the Orioles had just won the World Series in '66, and here was a good, young pitcher named "Jim"? 
Anyway, on one of the T-shirts I had bought from a local discount store (those surplus high school gym shirts with various schools' names on the front, that you could pick up for a dollar or so) I had written a big number "22" with a Magic Marker. (As I'm typing this, I am remembering the kid in the Vince Papale movie "Invincible", who made the number "83" on his shirt with bits of duct tape.) 
One of my friends who was a Cowboys' fan just assumed it was in reference to Bob Hayes. Ha!
So I had become a Jim Palmer fan before his great comeback in 1969. For that, I feel like I got in on the ground floor. LOL

Monday, February 1, 2021

Aurelio Monteagudo – Why Does He Have a Card?

As Ed McMahon always said to Carnac, “I hold in my hand the last…” 

There were 490 players with their own card in the 1967 Topps set. Before today, I had blogged about 489 of them on one or another of my set blogs. And now, last but (not?) least…

It seems like over the years, Aurelio Monteagudo had more Topps cards than games played. Let’s check out my hunch:
Ok, it’s not as drastic as I had imagined, but after 1966, when he did have a card he didn’t play for that team, and when he did play, he didn’t have a card that year. He's also had more cards than seasons played.

Monteagudo was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1961, and played in the minor leagues every season from 1961 to 1973. After playing in the Mexican League from 1974-1980, he made a 1-game comeback in 1983 with the Angels’ AAA team. 

Aurelio made his major-league debut in September 1963 with the Athletics, appearing in 4 games in relief. In 1964 he pitched in 11 games, starting half of them. Those would be his last major-league starts except for his one game with the White Sox in 1967. 

After 4 relief appearances in 1966, the A’s sent him to the Astros in May, where he made 10 relief appearances. 

At the end of the 1966 season, the Astros sold him to the Reds, but he never played for the Reds in the majors or minors, and was released in mid-July. 

On the same day, the White Sox signed him, and after starting one game, he was cut a week later. On THAT same day, the Reds picked him up. (Essentially, he was loaned out to the White Sox for one game.) 

Monteagudo did not play for the remainder of 1967, but pitched for the Reds' farm teams for all of 1968 and the first half of 1969.

In June 1969 he was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher Dennis Ribant. Playing no games for St. Louis, he was selected by the Royals in the post-1969 minor-league draft. He started the ’70 season in the minors, but pitched 21 games for the Royals in the second half, before returning to the minors for all of 1971. (Wow, Topps had their hands full dealing with his yo-yoing career!) 

In November 1971 he was selected by the Brewers in the Rule 5 draft. (Ok, that explains his 1972 card with the Brewers.) However, he was released during spring training, having never played for Milwaukee. The same day, the Padres took THEIR turn on this merry-go-round, but by mid-June they swapped him to the Angels for infielder Ron Clark. 

Aurelio pitched 15 games for the Angels in the second half, then was dealt to the Phillies in December. Monteagudo never played for the Phillies, but did show up as a Phillie in the 1974 “Traded” subset. (If you couldn’t make the 1974 Phillies’ bullpen, you know it’s time to hang them up.) 

That’s exactly what he did, moving down to Mexico where he was primarily a starter for 4 different teams from 1974-80. 

There have been 3 players named Aurelio in major league history. All 3 were killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 52.


So, I have posted all the 1967 player cards I planned to, but that's not the end of this blog.  I still need to complete my team reviews for the Astros and the Mets, then just freelance whatever comes along.  

It was never my intent to post about every card in this or any other set.  Rather than blogging about cards, I have been blogging about players. My intention was to write about every player that appeared in the 1966 to 1969 sets, and every significant player in the 1970 set, but not necessarily repeat a player on multiple blogs. I have now reached that point on my '66 and '67 blogs, and I'm 6 cards away on my '68 blog. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Topps High Numbers Video

Earlier this week, FleerFan posted a video and some photos of the Topps 1967 cards on his Fleer Sticker Project blog. I wanted to also loop it into my blog.

Although the video was corny, it was a great find, and showed a bunch of kids playing with their 1967 Topps high numbers. (In the factory scene, the cards passing through the machine for packaging are from an earlier series, as evidenced by the Bill White card). 
This photo is just great. Imagine holding bunches of '67 high numbers in your hand - fresh out of the pack! Although I collected series 1 to 6 in 1967, the high numbers were not sold in my area, so I didn't get any of them until the 1980s, buying them individually at card stores for (as I recall) about $1.00 each. By the end of the 1980s, I had all but 5 of the high numbers. 
Right-to-left, I spy Bill Henry, Don Cardwell, another Bill Henry, Steve Hamilton, Sandy Alomar, another Don Cardwell, ANOTHER Bill Henry, Woody Woodward, and Cookie Rojas.
"Boys! How dare you deface those valuable high numbers by flipping them!" LOL

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The 1967 Angels

The Angels finished in 5th place in 1967, with a record of 84-77. They also hosted the All-Star game that summer. 

They were loaded with aging veterans, with Jack Sanford, Curt Simmons, Lou Burdette, Jim Coates, Bill Skowron, Jim Piersall, and John Werhas all in their final seasons. 

The much-traveled George Brunet (9 teams in 15 seasons) headed up the Angels’ rotation, despite leading the AL with 19 losses. Jim McGlothlin posted a 12-8 record and was named to the All-Star team. Rule 5 draftee Rickey Clark posted a 12-11 record in his rookie season. It would be his best year. Jack Hamilton was acquired from the Mets on June 10th for Nick Willhite. 
Clyde Wright posted a 5-5 mark in his 2nd season, but would eventually be a 22-game winner in 1970. Jack Sanford was wrapping up his 12th and final season, and was traded to the Athletics in June for Roger Repoz. Nick Willhite was acquired from the Dodgers in the off-season. After posting an 0-2 record, he was flipped to the Mets for Jack Hamilton. Curt Simmons came over from the Cubs in early-August. 
These four were the primary relievers. Minnie Rojas was the team’s closer, and led the AL with 27 saves. He also won 12 games. In his first full season, Bill Kelso posted 11 saves. He was traded to the Reds after the season. Pete Cimino (3-3) was acquired from the Twins in the off-season for Dean Chance. Jim Coates was 1-2 in 52 innings in his final season. 
Other pitchers were Jim Weaver (13 games in August and September), Lou Burdette, Bobby Locke (9 games in a September call-up), and Marcelino Lopez (traded to the Orioles in mid-June for Woodie Held). Burdette pitched 18 innings over 19 games in the first half of the year, then was released one week before the end of the season. 
These were the regulars at each position. 
Bob Rodgers was the team’s starting catcher every season from 1962-68. Don Mincher was acquired from the Twins (with Cimino and Jimmie Hall) for Dean Chance, and clubbed 25 home runs. He was also one of the team’s 3 All-Stars. Bobby Knoop won his 2nd of 3 consecutive Gold Gloves. Jim Fregosi won a Gold Glove, and made the All-Star team. 
Paul Schaal started 74 of the first 90 games at 3rd base, then only played 19 games (1 start) the rest of the way. Rick Reichardt hit 17 homers as the regular left fielder. Jose Cardenal platooned in center field with Jay Johnstone (first half) and Roger Repoz (2nd half). Ex-Twin Jimmie Hall was the primary right fielder. 
These are the subs, in order of at-bats. 
Jay Johnstone alternated in center field with Cardenal during the first half of the season. Tom Satriano was the backup catcher, and shared 3rd base with rookie Aurelio Rodriguez in the second half. Bubba Morton was the team’s 5th outfielder. Roger Repoz was acquired from the Athletics for Jack Sanford in mid-June, and shared center field with Cardenal. 
Utility player Woodie Held was obtained in mid-June for Marcelino Lopez. Rookie Aurelio Rodriguez was the primary 3rd baseman from July 1967 through the 1969 season. Long-time Yankee Moose Skowron joined the Angels in May and was mostly used for pinch-hitting. John Werhas was acquired in mid-May for Len Gabrielson. 
Hawk Taylor was acquired from the Mets in July, and played 23 games as the 3rd-string catcher. He spent all of 1968 in the minors. Orlando McFarlane was the 3rd-string catcher in the first half, but did not play after Taylor arrived. Len Gabrielson was traded to the Dodgers for Werhas after 11 games. Ed Kirkpatrick spent most of the season in the minors, but did play 3 games for the Angels. 
Jim Piersall played in 5 games, then retired in May to accept a front-office job with the Angels. Fred Newman spent most of the year in the minors, but played 3 games for the Angels in mid-season. Tom Egan mostly played for the Angels' double-A El Paso team, and only 1 game for the Angels. Bill Rigney managed the Angels from 1961-69. 

Don Wallace played 23 games in the first half, mostly as a pinch-runner. Others who appeared briefly for the Angels were pitchers Ken Turner and Jorge Rubio, and pinch-hitters Moose Stubing and Jim Hibbs.
Transactions from the end of the 1966 season to the end of 1967:

11/28/66 - Drafted Rickey Clark from the Tigers in the rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Drafted Jim Hibbs from the Dodgers in the rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Drafted Don Wallace from the Yankees in rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Lost Ramon Hernandez to the Braves in the rule 5 draft. 

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

12/07/66 - Traded pitcher Dick Egan to the Dodgers for pitcher Howie Reed

12/14/66 - Traded 1B Norm Siebern to the Giants for Len Gabrielson. 

12/15/66 - Traded pitcher Bob Lee to the Dodgers for Nick Willhite. 

02/13/67 - Released outfielder Al Spangler

02/16/67 - Purchased infielder Chuck Cottier from the Senators. 

04/10/67 - Purchased Orlando McFarlane from the Detroit Tigers. 

05/06/67 - Traded Cotton Nash to the White Sox for Bill Skowron. 

05/10/67 - Traded Len Gabrielson to the Dodgers for John Werhas. 

05/12/67 - Released Jim Piersall. 

06/08/67 - Released catcher Chris Krug

06/10/67 - Traded Nick Willhite to the Mets for Jack Hamilton. 

06/15/67 - Traded Marcelino Lopez to the Orioles for Woodie Held. 
06/15/67 - Traded Jack Sanford and Jackie Warner to the Athletics for Roger Repoz. 

07/24/67 - Traded a player to be named later (Don Wallace) to the Mets for Hawk Taylor. 

08/07/67 - Purchased Curt Simmons from the Cubs. 
08/07/67 - Traded shortstop Hector Torres to the Astros for Jim Weaver. 

09/23/67 - Released Lew Burdette. 

10/09/67 - Released Curt Simmons and Bill Skowron. 

10/17/67 - Sold John Werhas to the Senators. 

11/28/67 - Lost Elrod Hendricks to the Orioles in the rule 5 draft. 

11/29/67 - Traded Jose Cardenal to the Indians for outfielder Chuck Hinton
11/29/67 - Traded Bill Kelso and Jorge Rubio to the Reds for pitcher Sammy Ellis.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The High Numbers: Rare, or Scam?

Today’s lesson is on the 7th series "high numbers". 

For decades we have been told that these cards are rare, and therefore are required to be expensive. But recently I found a photo of a full sheet of these 7th series cards. The sheet is 12 rows of 11 cards per row for a total of 132 cards per sheet.

Looking at the sheet, you can see that the first 5 rows are repeated on rows 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12, so that makes for 7 unique rows (rows 1-5, 7, 8) of cards (77 cards). 

The checklist only shows 76 cards. The discrepancy between the 77 unique cards and the 76 cards on the checklist is the checklist itself. It was numbered within the 6th series (first appearing there) and is reprinted in the next series (as all checklists from series 2 onward were). 

So, on this sheet there are 77 unique cards, and 55 of them are double-printed. That’s an astounding 71%! 

I decided to see what the other series were doing, and only the 6th series is similar. Contrast that to the first series, where there are 109 unique cards. On the same 132-card sheet, that makes for only 23 double-printed cards, or 21%. 

I never realized that the 1st series is about 25% larger than the others.  That explains why that series had more cards per team (which I only previously looked at in terms of Phillies cards).

With all those double-prints, the only possible explanation for the 7th series “rarity” (and therefore high prices) is that maybe Topps didn’t print as many cards for that final series, having turned their resources to printing and distributing football cards by that time of year. (Either that, or just outright greed by the card aftermarket.) 


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Jim Beauchamp (#307)

Well, it's been eleven years (yesterday) since I started blogging here, with the 1967 set being my first blog. That set included 490 individual player cards, and for 11 years I have featured 486 of those players on one set blog or another. The 4 remaining are Bob Barton, Jim Beauchamp, Aurelio Monteagudo, and Carroll Sembera.

I’m not sure why Jim Beauchamp even has a card in this set. Since the Braves acquired him in May 1965, his major-league action consisted of 4 games in 1965, no games in 1966, and 4 games (all pinch-hitting appearances prior to May 6) in 1967. I guess somebody at Topps liked the Braves, which is why we see cards for Beauchamp, Tommie Aaron, and Dave Nicholson, despite little or no playing time. 

Beauchamp was signed by the Cardinals in 1958, and made his big-league debut in September 1963. He was traded to the Colt .45s in February 1964, and to the Braves in May 1965. 

After 3 seasons of non-use, he was traded to the Reds in October 1967 (with Mack Jones and Jay Ritchie) for Deron Johnson. Jim had more playing time with the Reds in ’68 and ’69 than he did since his days with the Colt .45s. 

He returned to Houston in December 1969, but by the following June was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher George Culver. 

In October 1971, Jim was part of an 8-player trade with the Mets.  After 2 seasons in New York, he was released during spring training 1974, and played that season with the Cardinals’ AAA team before retiring. 

Beauchamp passed away in 2007 at age 68.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Chris Zachary (#212)

Next-to-last alphabetically (and almost next-to-last on this blog) is Chris Zachary, who pitched for the Astros, Royals, Cardinals, and Tigers.

Zachary was signed by the Houston Colt .45s in 1962, but did not play that season. In 1963, he started his pro career at the top, appearing in 22 games (7 starts) for the Colts, and fashioning a 2-2 record in 57 innings.

From 1964-67, he spent most of his time with the club’s AAA team in Oklahoma City, but also saw some action in Houston each season.

After playing all of 1968 in triple-A, he was purchased by the Royals shortly after the expansion draft. Although he played 8 games with Kansas City in 1969, he spent most of that season and all of 1970 in the minors.

In July 1970, he was traded to the Cardinals for reliever Ted Abernathy, but the Cards did not bring him up until May 1971. That year he pitched in 23 games, the first time he logged more than 10 games since his rookie 1963 season.

After the 1971 season, he was traded to the Tigers for pitcher Bill Denehy, and again had another good season, playing in 25 games (all but 1 in relief) while logging a 1.41 ERA over 38 innings.

Just before the 1973 season, he was traded to the Pirates for backup catcher Charlie Sands. He pitched in 6 games but played most of the year in triple-A (starting 25 games).

In December 1973 Chris was traded to the Phillies for catcher Pete Koegel. He started 24 games for their AAA team in Toledo before retiring at season’s end.

Zachary passed away in 2003 at age 59.