Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jim Maloney (#80)

Here is Jim Maloney’s 1st series (no dot between name and position) card. Maloney was the Red’s ace in the mid-1960s, and with the trading away of Joey Jay in June 1966 and Jim O'Toole after the ’66 season, he was the only remaining pitcher from the Reds’ 1961 World Series team.

Maloney was signed by the Reds in 1959 and made his big-league debut in late-July 1960, starting 10 of his 11 games during the second half.

In 1961 he was a swing man, starting 11 games while working out of the ‘pen in 16 others. He was primarily a starter in 1962.

Maloney was 1st or 2nd among Reds’ starters in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and innings pitched from 1963 to 1966. He was also consistently among the league leaders in strikeouts during that time, piling up more than 200 each season.

Jim won at least 20 games in ’63 and ’65, and was in double-digit wins every season from 1963 to 1969. He also made the All-Star team in 1965 – hard to do with all the Koufaxes, Marichals, Gibsons, Drysdales, and Bunnings under foot.

Maloney pitched his first no-hitter in 1965 against the Cubs, and in 1969, he and the Astros’ Don Wilson pitched back-to-back no-hitters against each other’s team, the 2nd time that had been done.

A ruptured Achilles tendon in 1970 limited him to 16 innings pitched over 7 games, and derailed his chance to stick around for the Big Red Machine era. Maloney was traded to the Angels for pitcher Greg Garrett. (Garrett’s major-league career consisted on 74 innings for the Angels in 1970, and 8 innings for the reds in 1971.) Jim pitched 30 innings over 13 games for the Angels in 1971, then was released in early-January 1972.

The next day he was picked up by the Cardinals (I think he is shown as a Cardinal in the 1972 Topps set) but was released on April 9th, before playing any games. The Giants signed him a few weeks later and assigned him to their AAA team, where he pitched in 7 games team before retiring in mid-June.

In his 12-year career, he won 134 games (all with the Reds). Maloney was inducted into the Reds’ Hall of Fame in 1973.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Don Cardwell (#555)

Here is Mets’ hurler Don Cardwell. This was Cardwell’s 1st season as a Met, and surprisingly, Topps is showing him in a Mets uniform!
(I guess it helps that this is a high-number card, released in late summer. It even has some 1967 game information on the back.)

Don was the opening-day starter for the Mets that season. It would be his only opener, because 1967 was Tom Seaver’s rookie season and, well, you know the rest.

Cardwell was signed by the Phillies in 1954, and made his major-league debut in April 1957. Don was inserted into a starting rotation that also included Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, and Jack Sanford. Cardwell continued taking his regular turn until May 1960, when he was traded to the Cubs for 2nd baseman Tony Taylor.

He pitched a no-hitter in his first game with the Cubs, but otherwise for the next 2 ½ seasons, he was a workhorse starter for some bad teams.

After the 1962 season Cardwell moved on to the Cardinals, traded with outfielder George Altman in exchange for pitchers Larry Jackson and Lindy McDaniel. During the same off-season, he was flipped to the Pirates for shortstop Dick Groat.

Don pitched for the Pirates for the next 4 seasons, although he spent much of 1964 in triple-A. He won 13 games in both 1963 and 1965, manning the #2 spot in the rotation behind Bob Friend (’63) and Bob Veale (’65). In 1966 Cardwell was relegated to the bullpen for much of the season, in favor of youngsters Woodie Fryman, Steve Blass, and Tommie Sisk.

After the season, he was traded to the Mets (with outfielder Don Bosch) for pitcher Dennis Ribant and OF-C Gary Kolb. Don was in the Mets’ rotation for 3 ½ years, and in his early-30s, provided a veteran influence for young starters Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, and Gary Gentry. He also pitched in relief in game 1 of the 1969 World Series.

Don was sold to the Braves in July 1970, and pitched in 16 games for Atlanta before getting his release after the season.

Cardwell passed away in 2008 at age 72, in his birthplace of Winston-Salem, NC.