Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I found a 1964 Topps Blog


So, 1964-69, 72, 75-76, 78, 80, and 82 are covered by vintage year blogs.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gene Mauch (#248)

Gene Mauch managed the Phillies for most of the 1960s. He was hired after Eddie Sawyer resigned following the first game of the 1960 season. (Sawyer said something to the effect of: "I'm 50 years old, and want to see 51!")

Mauch presided over the Phillies' collapse in September 1964, and was with the team until mid-1968, when tensions with slugger Richie Allen forced Mauch's firing.

Gene wasn't unemployed for long, as he was soon selected to be the Montreal Expos first manager, starting in 1969. After managing the Expos for 7 full seasons, he moved on to the Twins (1976-80) and the Angels (1981-82, 85-87).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bill Bryan (#601)

Bill Bryan, a journeyman catcher, was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1960, and spent his first 4 seasons in the minors, with occasional call-ups to Kansas City.

1964 was Bill's first full season in the majors, where he was the Athletics' 2nd-string catcher, behind Doc Edwards and ahead of Charlie Lau. In 1965, he was the Athletics' #1 catcher, starting 89 games at catcher (to rookie Rene Lachemann's 54 starts).

In 1966, Bryan began the season alternating starts with rookie catcher Ken Suarez, but in late May, the newly-acquired Phil Roof took over and started nearly every game for the rest of the season. After appearing in 32 games (and starting 14 games), Bryan was traded to the Yankees in mid-June along with pitcher Fred Talbot for pitchers Bill Stafford and Gil Blanco, and outfielder Roger Repoz (one of the many Yankees' young outfielders designated as "the next Mickey Mantle").

With the Yankees, Bryan was firmly entrenched as the 3rd-string catcher behind Elston Howard and Jake Gibbs. He only made 13 starts, and appeared in 14 other games as a pinch-hitter.

1967 found Bryan back in the minors for the first time since 1963. This late-season card includes a note that he was sent to triple-A Syracuse on May 10th. He only played 1 game for the Yankees in 1967. After the season, he was selected by the Senators in the rule 5 draft.

He started 28 games in 1968 as the Senators' 3rd-string catcher behind Paul Casanova and Jim French, and also played with triple-A Buffalo. He spent the 1969 season with Washington's triple-A team in Buffalo, and in 1970 played for the Phillies' single-A team in Spartanburg, SC.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mets Rookies: Greg Goossen / Bart Shirley

There were two Mets Rookies cards in 1967. This is the one (#287) whose value is under $750.

Greg Goossen played 8 seasons in the minor leagues (1964-1971), and saw limited action with a major-league team in the "middle six" of those seasons. He was originally signed by the Dodgers in 1964. Prior to the 1965 season, the Mets drafted him out of the Dodgers' organization. He remained a Mets prospect for several years. Although he started out as a catcher, during 1967 he switched to first base, only catching 1 game after the 1967 season.

After appearing briefly with the Mets from 1965-1968, Goossen was traded to the Seattle Pilots before the 1969 season for a player to be named later (outfielder Jim Gosger). Greg was used as a pinch-hitter and backup first baseman for the Pilots in 1969 and the Brewers in 1970, until he was sold to the Senators in mid-1970.

Following the 1970 season, the Senators traded Goossen and two other minor-league players to the Phillies for the rights to outfielder Curt Flood (who sat out the 1970 season, rather than play for Philadelphia). Goossen wrapped up his career in 1971, playing for the Phillies' triple-A team in Eugene, Oregon.

Like Goossen, Bart Shirley also started out in the Dodgers' organization. He began in 1961 at double-A, and played the next 9 seasons with the Dodgers' triple-A team.

He was drafted by the Mets after the 1966 season, but was sent back to the Dodgers in mid-May 1967, after only 6 appearances with the Mets. Shirley played briefly as a backup infielder with the Dodgers in 1964, 1966, and 1968.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Carl Yastrzemski (#355)

Carl Yastrzemski made his major-league debut on opening day 1961, and started 146 games in left field that season. He replaced Ted Williams, who had retired after the 1960 season. (Williams had been Boston's leftfielder since 1939, except for the seasons he missed for military service.)

In 1967, Carl led the Red Sox to the American League pennant, although they lost the series to the Cardinals. Yaz won the triple crown that season, just 1 year after Frank Robinson had done the same. No player in either league has won the triple crown since.

The popular notion is that the Red Sox only had 3 regular leftfielders from 1939 to 1987 (Williams, Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice). Actually, there were several breaks in that string. In 1964, rookie Tony Conigliaro was the regular leftfielder, while Yaz played centerfield all season.
There was also a blip from 1972 to 1974: Yaz started only 83 of his 125 games in leftfield in 1972. The following season, he was the regular first baseman, and played more games at THIRD base (33) than in left field (15). Tommy Harper was the regular leftfielder that year. In 1974, Yaz and Harper each played about half the games at 1B and LF.
In 1975, Rice took over in left, but was limited to fulltime DH duties in 1977, so Yaz was back out in left for one more season.

Yastrzemski played for 23 years (all with the Red Sox), retiring after the 1983 season. He was a regular to the end. He never had less than 535 plate appearances in a season until his final four seasons, and even then he had over 390 plate appearances per season - a real workhorse!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lou Brock (#285)

My labels in the sidebar tell me that I've not been paying enough attention to the Athletics, Cardinals, Giants, or Senators. This is particularly troublesome with the Cardinals, since they were world champs in 1967, so...

Lou Brock was one of many stars on the 1967 Cardinals team. Bob Gibson was the league's dominant pitcher. Orlando Cepeda crashed numerous homeruns. Brock, besides batting leadoff and stealing a gazillion bases, was voted a starter in the all-star game, pushing Willie Mays to the all-star bench after 14 straight all-star starts from 1957 to 1966!

Brock started in the Cubs system in 1961, and was traded to the Cardinals in June 1964 in a 3-for-3 deal which included pitcher Ernie Broglio going to the Cubs.

The back of this card mentions that "Out in right field, Lou is a pitcher's best friend." Although Brock played right field during his time with the Cubs, he was almost exclusively a leftfielder during his years with the Cardinals. His only significant time in right field for the Cardinals was starting the first 23 games there in 1966.

The card backs never include stolen bases, so since that was Brock's forte, let's check this out. From 1966 to 1974, Brock led the league in stolen bases 8 of the 9 seasons.

Lou retired after the 1979 season (at age 40), still an every day player right up to the end of his career.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Final Card: Ralph Terry

Here is the final card for Ralph Terry (#59). Aside from the Billy O'Dell card, this is probably my shabbiest 1967 baseball card. This is from the 1st-series, which was sold about a month before I started collecting baseball cards. I acquired these earlier cards from other neighborhood kids by "shooting" for them. (We would stand a card up against a wall, and take turns firing cards, like frisbees, at the standing card. Whoever knocked the card down kept all the cards on the floor.) This card appears to be a victim of that game.

Terry played in the Yankees' minor-league system from 1954 to 1956, and made his major-league debut on August 6, 1956. In June of 1957 he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics. Two years later, he was traded back to the Yankees, where he had his best years.

In 1962, Terry was the Yankees' top starter, winning 23 games, starting 39 games, and pitching 298 innings, leading the league in all three of those categories. He was also one of the Yankees' top 3 starters in 1961 and 1963.

Ralph had a sub-par season in 1964, and immediately after the conclusion of the World Series, he was sent to the Indians to complete an earlier deal where the Yankees acquired pitcher Pedro Ramos. Terry bounced back with a winning season in 1965 for the Indians, but his best days were clearly behind him.

Just days before the 1966 season, the Indians traded him to the Athletics for pitcher John O'Donoghue. In early August, he was sold to the Mets, where he was used in the bullpen.

The Mets released him after the season, then (I assume after not finding anyone better) re-signed him a week before the start of the 1967 season. After appearing in only 2 games during the first six weeks of the season, he was released by the Mets again, ending his 12-year career.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Final Card: Jim Owens

Since 1967 high-number cards weren't sold in my area, I had never heard of Jim Owens until well into the 1980s, when I finally got this card.

Jim Owens (#582) began pro ball in 1951 at age 17 in the Phillies' farm system, starting with Bradford (PA) in the class-D Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York league. The next year, he pitched for the Miami (Oklahoma) Eagles in the class-D Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri league. In 1953, he pitched for the Terre Haute Phillies in the class-B Illinois-Indiana-Iowa league (also referred to as the Three-I, or sometimes Three-Eye league). One benefit from researching these players while blogging is discovering all the outposts that had minor-league baseball back in the 1950s. This is the first card I remember having "Terre Haute" listed!

After 3 more seasons at triple-A, Owens made the Phillies to stay, but missed the 1957 season for military service. (It seems odd that Owens would be in military service in 1957. For all the other players that I've encountered who have missed time in the 1950s, it's always been in the 1951-1954 Korean War period.)

After his military service, Owens only appeared in 1 game in 1958 for the Phillies, and in no minor-league games, so I'm going to assume that his military service extended into 1958.

In 1959, Jim was the #2 starter behind Robin Roberts, and posted a 12-12 record. In 1960, Owens ranked #4 in games started by Phillies' pitchers, and dropped to #5 in 1961. In 1962 he was a spot starter, pitching only 69 innings.

Owens was traded to the Reds following the 1962 season for second baseman Cookie Rojas. He played only one season with Cincinnati, splitting time with their triple-A team, and was a rule 5 draft pick by the Astros following the 1963 season.

Jim played the 1964-1967 seasons with the Astros, primarily as a reliever. He appeared in 48, 50, 40, and 10 games during those 4 years. His last appearance was on June 20th, and was released on July 14, 1967, ending his 12-year career.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Final Card: Jerry Lumpe

Announcement: If anyone's interested in football cards, be sure to check out my new football blogs. You can find them through my profile, or on this blog's sidebar, above the baseball card blogroll. (And also here: 1967 1968 1971 1972)

Jerry Lumpe (#247) was a 2nd baseman for the Yankees, Athletics, and Tigers. He began his career in the Yankees system, and made his major-league debut with the Yankees in April 1956. He was the Yankees' backup third baseman in 1957 and 1958.

In May 1959, Lumpe was traded, boarding the often-traveled New York/Kansas City express. (Unfortunately for him, he was traveling in the Kansas City direction!) Jerry became the Athletics' regular second baseman, a position he would keep through the end of the 1963 season.

Prior to the 1964 season, Lumpe was traded to the Tigers, in a multi-player deal that saw Rocky Colavito go to the Athletics. Jerry was the Tigers' regular second baseman in 1964 and 1965, and was an all-star selection in 1964.

In 1966, Lumpe played 95 games at second base (making 90 starts), but the remaining starts were made by utility infielders Dick Tracewski and Jake Wood. It seems like Lumpe must have been injured, for the two backups to get so much playing time.

In 1967, Lumpe made almost no starts at second base, as shortstop Dick McAuliffe slid over to become the everyday second baseman. Jerry was released at the end of the 1967 season (1 year short of the Tigers' World Series appearance).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Final Card: Ed Bressoud

Ed Bressoud (#121) began his pro career in 1950 in the New York Giants farm system. Like a lot of players in the early 1950s, Ed missed 2 years due to military service. After returning to baseball in 1955, he made his major-league debut with New York on June 14, 1956.

Bressoud was the backup shortstop in '56 and '57, and the backup 2nd baseman in '58. In 1959, Ed took over the starting shortstop role, starting 90 games (to Andre Rodgers' 64 starts). The next year, Bressoud's playing time increased as Rodgers' decreased.

In 1961, Bressoud's playing time drastically decreased, as youngster Jose Pagan took over the shortstop position. (Pagan would remain a fixture at short from 1961 to 1964.) After the 1961 season, Bressoud was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the expansion draft, but a month later was traded to the Red Sox.

Ed found new life in Boston as the Red Sox' regular shortstop from 1962 to 1965, including an all-star selection in 1964. Over that 4-year span, Bressoud started 153, 137, 158, and 69 games at shortstop, finally losing his regular job to rookie Rico Petrocelli in 1965.

Prior to the 1966 season, the Red Sox traded him to the Mets for outfielder Joe Christopher. Bressoud would split the shortstop duties with fellow old-timer Roy McMillan that year. In late August, rookie Bud Harrelson was called up, and would start nearly every September game at shortstop, signaling the end of the line for both Bressoud and McMillan.

Ten days before the 1967 season, Bressoud and outfielder Dan Napolean were traded to the Cardinals for 2nd baseman Jerry Buchek, pitcher Art Mahaffey, and infielder Tony Martinez. Bressoud would appear in 50 games for the Cardinals, mostly as the backup shortstop. He played in 2 World Series games, but had no at-bats.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm modernizing, thanks to Wrigley Wax!

After reading about Wrigley Wax's new and improved headquarters, I decided that I needed to get off the dime.

In the last few days, I got all my binders and set boxes out of the Hammermill boxes they've been hiding in for years, and put them on a recently freed-up bookcase. (The binders don't all match, but it's a start!) It's much easier to hunt down some cards to scan when they're not in boxes.

While I was at it, I counted my cards. (I knew what I had, I just didn't have any idea how much it was. Well, I have over 17,500 baseball cards! This counting task wasn't as tedious as it sounds, because a lot of those cards are in complete sets. I just looked up the set sizes, subtracted what I know are missing, and counted the loose cards from the incomplete years.

Completed sets are '68, '69, and '72 Topps, while my '67 Topps set is complete except for 4 cards. I'm also a few hundred cards into the '65, '66, and '70 Topps sets, and have a few dozen cards from '64, '71, and '73. All of the above are in binders.

I also have 6 binders of Phillies cards covering the 1952-1993, and 2004-2009 years.

Later, I went through a factory set phase:
'81 Topps and Fleer
'88 Topps
'90 Fleer and Bowman
'91 Topps, Fleer, Donruss, and Bowman
'92 Topps, Fleer, and Donruss
Topps Traded: '81, '87, '89, '90, '91
Fleer Update: '90, '91
Donruss Rookies: '89, '90, '91

...and these sets are near completion (bought by the pack):
'89 Topps, '89 Donruss,

... and finally completed in March 2010:
'90 Donruss, '92 Score

No non-Phillies cards after 1981 are in binders yet, so I have a lot of organizing ahead of me, just to see what I have.