Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Final Card: Al Luplow

The career of Al Luplow (#433) is on its last legs here in 1967. Al was signed by the Indians in 1959, and spent one season in class-D ball, breezed through A and AA ball in 1960, and played most of 1961 in triple-A before making his major-league debut with the Indians in September 1961.

In his first full season (1962) he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter, but played some games in right field. In 1963 he was first among Indians' right fielders in games played, narrowly ahead of Willie Kirkland. The following season he only played 19 games for the Indians, while spending a good portion of the season with their triple-A Portland (Oregon) club. Luplow was back with the Indians in 1965, but was mostly used as a pinch-hitter, playing only 6 games in the outfield.

After the 1965 season, Al was sold to the Mets. This immediately increased his playing time, as he became the team's primary right fielder. (Ron Swoboda played left field prior to 1967, with Cleon Jones in center.)

In 1967 the Mets acquired Tommy Davis, who put a lock on left field. This left Jones and Swoboda to play in center and right, with Luplow and rookie Don Bosch scrambling for playing time. Al managed to start a few games in right field (and later, center field) before he was sold to the Pirates on June 21st.

Luplow finished his career with the Pirates in 1967, as a pinch-hitter and 5th outfielder behind regulars Willie Stargell, Matty Alou and Roberto Clemente, and also Manny Mota.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The 1967 Cardinals

July 2013 edit: Added team card at top, to appear in the sidebar thumbnails (like all the later team reviews)

I liked how my Phillies' post from early last week turned out, so I'm going to post some other teams in this format too. Today it's time for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals clinched the NL pennant in mid-September, in spite of Bob Gibson missing 7 weeks with a broken leg.

Starting pitchers: Back in the day (and for all these years), I thought the Cardinals' rotation in 1967 was Gibson-Briles-Carlton-Washburn. Well, that's about what it was by the end of the season, but it started out as Gibson-Washburn-Jaster-Jackson, with Steve Carlton as the 5th starter. In early May, it was adjusted to Gibson-Washburn-Carlton-Hughes-Jackson, and in June, Larry Jaster had replaced Al Jackson as the 5th starter.

It appears that Ray Washburn missed 4 starts while on the DL in June/July, and Jim Cosman was called up take Washburn's starts.

In the July 15th game against the Pirates, a line drive off the bat of Roberto Clemente broke Bob Gibson's leg, and he didn't return until September 7th, missing 10 starts. The following day, Washburn returned to action, and the Cardinals also acquired relief pitcher Jack Lamabe from the Mets.

Nelson Briles was also moved from the bullpen (where he had been since the start of the season - making 35 appearances) to the starting rotation, replacing Gibson. When Gibson returned in September, Jaster was bumped from the rotation. So we end up with Gibson-Briles-Carlton-Hughes-Washburn.

Relievers: Southpaw Joe Hoerner was the team's closer, and along with Ron Willis and Hal Woodeshick, were strictly relievers. Al Jackson spent all of June to September in the bullpen, and Larry Jaster pitched in relief during most of May and September. Jack Lamabe was acquired from the Mets the day after Gibson's injury, and appeared in 23 games - all but 1 in relief.

Regulars: Except for Curt Flood missing 20 consecutive games in July, this starting 8 pretty much went wire-to-wire. I wonder if Mike Shannon was in the National Guard, because he missed several blocks of games in April, May, and August. (Shannon had been the team's right fielder prior to 1967, but switched to 3rd base upon the arrival of Roger Maris.) Tim McCarver and Roger Maris also got frequent days off, but Orlando Cepeda, Dal Maxvill, and Lou Brock all played over 150 games.

Primary subs: Phil Gagliano was the primary backup at 2B and 3B. It appears that Ed Spiezio was used mainly for pinch-hitting, and rarely entered a game as a defensive replacement. His few starts at 3B came mostly when Shannon was either out of the lineup or playing outfield in Flood's absence.

Bob Tolan was primarily used as the backup CF/1B, and for pinch-hitting, but played corner outfield occasionally. Alex Johnson was Maris' backup in right field, and was used as a pinch-hitter as well. He rarely played left or center field.

Other subs: Johnny Romano was the backup catcher early on, but even though he was on the team all season, he rarely played after the first week in June.

Dave Ricketts appears to have been with the team the entire season, but went 22 days without an appearance in late July, so maybe he was "DL-ed" to make room for an extra pitcher. He was strictly used as a pinch-hitter until late June, when he began getting time behind the plate.

Ed Bressoud was acquired from the Mets just before the start of the season, and was the backup shortstop, while getting the occasional start.

This late-series card shows Ted Savage as a Cub, but he began 1967 with the Cardinals, then was sold to the Cubs on May 14th. Before that, he had made 9 pinch-hitting appearances, but did not play in the field.

After examining the Cardinals' roster day-by-day, there doesn't appear to be any way to fit these 26 players (everyone above except Cosman and Lamabe) on the roster at the same time, but the records in Baseball-reference.com and Retrosheet.com imply that all 26 were active prior to Savage's exit.

Others: Mike Torrez pitched in a few games in September. (2B Steve Huntz and SS Jimy Williams also played a game or 2 in September.) It seems like "Al" Schoendienst has managed/coached/mascotted the Cardinals since time began! Brock and Flood were top-notch outfielders. Pat Corrales did not play for the team in 1967. (Who needs a 4th catcher?)

Team and rookie cards: (Ignore Jim Shellenback.) Also check out the 1968 Cardinals Team card, which includes 1967 stats.

The Cardinals finished the season with 26 postseason-eligible players (all but the demoted Jim Cosman and the traded Ted Savage). Who was the odd man out? It's hard to say, because 10 pitchers and only 13 position players saw action in the World Series. Al Jackson, Alex Johnson, and Johnny Romano did not play in the series, but 2 of them must have been on the roster. We can probably assume Johnson was on the team as the 5th outfielder, but did the Cardinals go with 11 pitchers, or 3 catchers? I'm guessing 11 pitchers, based on Romano having only played 2 games after July 23rd.

Do you have a favorite team you'd like me to post next? I know there are Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers, and Orioles fans out there. I'll take requests, otherwise I think the Red Sox (as AL champs) will be next.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

White Sox Team (#573)

The White Sox Team was one of the final 3 team cards (along with the Indians and the Red Sox) released in 1967, all in the 7th series. These three and the Cardinals Team were the final 4 team cards that I needed.

In 1966, the White Sox had finished in 4th place with an 83-79 record, 15 games behind the Orioles. In 1967, they improved their record by 6 wins, but still finished in 4th place, 3 games behind the Red Sox.

Now for the latest entry in the "You learn something new every day" file:
Yesterday I flipped this card over to see whether Gary Peters or Joe Horlen had the best record in 1966. I never found out, because there's no Peters, no Horlen, not even a John Buzhardt listed here! Despite the "CHICAGO WHITE SOX - 1966" heading on the back, all of these stats belong to the Cleveland Indians.

The back of the Indians' card? Nope, Indians' stats there also.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Final Card: Hal Reniff

Hal Reniff (#201) played his final season in 1967. After 6 1/2 seasons with the Yankees, he spent his final 3 months pitching for the Mets. He was strictly a reliever, never starting a game in the majors.

Hal was signed by the Yankees in 1956, and assigned to class-D Kearney, Nebraska. The only other recognizable name on that team was fellow 17-year-old Deron Johnson. After 5 1/2 seasons in the minors, he made his Yankees' debut on June 8, 1961. He pitched in 25 games (all in relief) during his rookie season.

He lost most of the 1962 season to military service, but pitched in 2 games for the Yankees and 6 games for their AAA team.

In 1963, Reniff began a string of 4 seasons as a key member of the Yankees' bullpen. In 1963 he led the staff in games and saves. Hal also pitched in the 1963 and 1964 World Series.

1967 was a transition year for the Yankees' pitching staff, as the newly-acquired Steve Barber, Bill Monbouquette, and Joe Verbanic replaced old standbys like Whitey Ford, Jim Bouton, and Hal Reniff. On June 28th Hal was sold to the Mets, where he pitched in relief until being released after the season.

Hal pitched for the Yankees' triple-A team in Syracuse from 1968 to 1972, before retiring from baseball.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Final Card: Don Schwall

This is the last of Topps' 6 cards for Don Schwall (#267).

Don began his career in 1958 in the Red Sox' farm system. After 2 seasons in class-D ball (including a 23-6 record in 1959), he jumped up to triple-A in 1960. He played all of 1960 and part of 1961 in AAA before making his major-league debut with the Red Sox in May 1961. He made 25 starts for Boston, compiling a 15-7 record (the most wins on the team), and won the 1961 AL Rookie of the Year award.

Unfortunately, Schwall's rookie season was to be the high point of his career. After an off-year (9-15) in 1962, Don was traded to the Pirates (with catcher Jim Pagliaroni) for pitcher Jack Lamabe and 1st baseman Dick Stuart.

After 2 lackluster seasons as a Pirates' starter (which included a trip to the minors in 1964), Don switched to relief for 1965 and compiled a 9-6 record in 77 innings.

In mid-June 1966, he was traded to the Braves for pitcher Billy O'Dell. Don pitched the rest of 1966 for Atlanta, but made only 1 appearance in 1967 (April 12th - the second game of the season). Schwall was released on June 20th 1967. He also pitched 6 games for the Braves' triple-A Richmond team in 1967.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Final Card: Walt Bond

This is the final card for Walt Bond (#224). He was released by the Twins on May 15, 1967. Four months later, he would die from leukemia.

Walt played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues in the mid-1950s. This led to his signing by the Cleveland Indians in 1957, where he spent 7 seasons in the minors (1957-63), although he did play a few dozen games with the Indians from 1960 to 1962.

After the 1963 season, Bond was sold to the Houston Colt .45s. Not only did this get him back to the major leagues, but he became an everyday player in Houston in 1964, starting 76 games at 1st base and 70 games in the outfield.

Walt's playing time decreased slightly in 1965. Where he had been the clear #1 first baseman the previous season, now he split the position evenly with Jim Gentile. Bond started 68 games at 1st base, but got only 36 starts in the outfield this season, as the newly-acquired Lee Maye got most of the playing time in left field.

Two days before the start of the 1966 season, Bond was traded to the Twins for Ken Retzer, a 30-ish minor-league catcher who played for the Senators from 1961-64. Walt spent the entire 1966 season at triple-A Denver, since the the big club's outfield was well-stocked with Tony Oliva, Jimmie Hall, Bob Allison, Ted Uhlaender, Andy Kosco, and Sandy Valdespino, as well as frequent outfield starts by infielders Harmon Killebrew and Cesar Tovar.

Walt began the 1967 season with the Twins, but his leukemia (which had been in remission) returned. He played only 10 games (his last on May 7th) before he was released in mid-May. He played briefly with the Mets' AAA team, but his illness had caught up to him.

Walt Bond died on September 14, 1967, a month before his 30th birthday.

More information here, here, and here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 1967 Phillies

July 2013 edit: Added team card at top, to appear in the sidebar thumbnails (like all the later team reviews)

Oct 2013 edit: Added transaction list.

Aug 2014 edit: Added links to all players.


Please indulge me as I break from the usual format of this blog and present the cards from everyone on the 1967 Phillies team, with an assist from some 1965 and 1968 cards as needed.

Here are the Phillies #1 - #4 starters (in order). After 3 straight 19-win seasons, Jim Bunning won 17 in 1967 and was traded to the Pirates in the off-season. Chris Short won 20 games in 1966, but slipped to 9-11 in 1967 amid back problems. Larry Jackson was acquired from the Cubs in early 1966 for Fergie Jenkins, and had 15 wins in 1966, and 13 wins in 1967. Rick Wise began the season as a spot starter and long reliever, but soon out-performed Dick Ellsworth, and passed him in the rotation. Short is the only lefthander in this group.

Lefthander Ellsworth was acquired from the Cubs for Ray Culp in the off-season, but didn't live up to expectations, losing his #4 spot to Wise, and was then traded to Boston after the season. Turk Farrell was acquired from the Astros on May 8th, and became the bullpen ace. Dick Hall was acquired from the Orioles in the off-season and spent 2 seasons with the Phillies in a setup/co-closer role. In 86 innings pitched in 1967, he only issued 4 unintentional walks. This was Grant Jackson's first full season in the majors, and he spent it mainly in long relief. He was the only lefthander in the bullpen.

Bob Buhl was the only holdover from the 1966 bullpen, as everyone else was either cut or traded. Ruben Gomez and Pedro Ramos were aging veterans acquired in the off-season to bolster the Phillies' revamped bullpen, but by the end of May, all three of these guys were gone, replaced by the newly-acquired Farrell and John Boozer, who was called up from the minors to fill the righthanded long relief role.

The Phillies platooned at catcher in 1967, but since Bob Uecker didn't hit much, lefthander Clay Dalrymple was the nominal #1 catcher. Ueck was traded to the Braves on June 6th for Gene Oliver, and thereafter Oliver saw much more playing time than Uecker had. Bill White was the Phillies' regular 1st baseman from 1966-68, but missed the first month or so of 1967 due to an off-season injury.

After several years as a utility player, Cookie Rojas finally won the regular 2nd base job from Tony Taylor. Taylor started the season filling in at 1B for the injured Bill White, and ended the season filling in at 3B for the injured Richie Allen. In between he also spelled Rojas at 2nd base. Taylor played as much as any regular. Good-field/no-hit Bobby Wine regained his regular SS job (which he lost to Dick Groat in 1966), but it would be his last season as a Phillies' regular. He missed most of '68 with injuries, and was sent to Montreal before the 1969 season. Allen was among the league leaders in HR and RBI. He started 121 of the first 122 games at 3B, but missed the last 40 games due to a serious hand injury. When he returned in 1968, it would be as the left fielder.

Here are the backup infielders. Rookie Gary Sutherland played exclusively at SS and LF in 1967. Phil Linz was the typical utility infielder/pinch-hitter, until he was traded on July 11th for Chuck Hiller (who filled the same role). Tito Francona was signed the day before the season started to help offset the early-season loss of Bill White. As part of their mid-June housecleaning, the Phillies sold him to the Braves.

As they did with the catchers, the Phillies platooned their left and center fielders in 1967. Lefty Tony Gonzalez started the season in a CF platoon with Don Lock, who was acquired from the Senators in the off-season. At the same time, lefty Johnny Briggs was platooning in left field with Gary Sutherland. On May 21st, Gonzalez and Briggs swapped positions, and by early August, Gonzalez would break free of the platoon and become an every-day player. He went on to bat .339, 2nd best in the league. Johnny Callison (the Phillies' #2 power hitter behind Allen) started 144 games in right field.

Doug Clemens spent the entire season with the Phillies as a lefthanded pinch-hitter and occasional outfield substitute. The other 3 guys here shared the same roster spot in 1967. Jackie Brandt began the season as a righthanded version of Doug Clemens. He was sold to the Astros on June 9th, and was replaced by Dick Groat, who had been on the disabled list since the 2nd week of the season with a leg injury. After making no starts following his return, Groat was sold to the Giants on June 22nd. Billy Cowan was then called up from triple-A to fill the righthanded PH/backup outfielder role for the rest of the season.

Dallas Green was added to the team after Buhl/Ramos/Gomez were sent packing, and although he technically occupied the 10th pitcher's spot on the roster, he saw little action that season (4 games between 6/14 and 6/30, and 4 games between 8/13 and 9/12). Rick Joseph was called up from triple-A San Diego in late August to provide corner infield backup after Richie Allen was lost for the season. He would stay with the team for the entire '68 and '69 seasons. Although Gary Wagner pitched for the Phillies during the '65 and '68 seasons (and part of '66), he only made 1 appearance in 1967, during someone's trip to the DL (Short?). Jimmie Schaffer was called up when rosters expanded in September and appeared in 2 games.

The "Little General" was the ringleader of this bunch. Callison and Allen were the Phillies' lefty/righty power source. Terry Fox was not on the team in 1967, but he had a card, so here it is. Long-time veteran Joey Jay was a non-roster invitee to spring training, but didn't make the team (but I needed a 4th card to pad out the row!)

And finally, the team picture (albeit from 1966) and the rookies' cards. Billy Wilson would not make the team until 1969. Ignore Don Shaw... he's only here because I can't find my scissors! :)

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

10/07/66 - Released pitcher Ray Herbert and outfielder Harvey Kuenn.

11/28/66 - Lost pitcher Bo Belinsky to the Astros in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/66 - Lost pitcher Bruce Brubaker to the Dodgers in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/66 - Lost infielder Billy Sorrell to the Giants in the rule 5 draft.

11/29/66 - Drafted Rick Joseph from the Athletics in the minor league draft.
11/29/66 - Drafted Roberto Pena from the Cubs in the minor league draft.

11/30/66 - Traded pitcher Darold Knowles to the Senators for Don Lock.

12/07/66 - Traded pitcher Ray Culp to the Cubs for Dick Ellsworth.

12/10/66 - Traded pitcher Joe Verbanic to the Yankees for Pedro Ramos.

12/15/66 - Acquired Dick Hall from the Orioles for a player to be named (pitcher John Morris 12/15/67).

12/21/66 - Signed Ruben Gomez from the Mexican League.

04/10/67 - Purchased Tito Francona from the Cardinals.

05/08/67 - Purchased Turk Farrell from the Astros.
05/08/67 - Released Ruben Gomez.

05/16/67 - Released Bob Buhl.

05/31/67 - Recalled John Boozer from AAA.

06/05/67 - Released Pedro Ramos.

06/06/67 - Traded Bob Uecker to the Braves for Gene Oliver.

06/09/67 - Sold Jackie Brandt to the Astros.

06/12/67 - Sold Tito Francona to the Braves.

06/??/67 - Recalled Dallas Green from AA.

06/22/67 - Sold Dick Groat to the Giants.
06/22/67 - Recalled Billy Cowan from AAA.

07/11/67 - Traded Phil Linz to the Mets for Chuck Hiller.

08/24/67 - Richie Allen lost for the season with a wrist injury.
08/24/67 - Recalled Rick Joseph from AAA.

09/22/67 - Released Dallas Green.

11/28/67 - Lost Chuck Hiller to the Pirates in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Lost Jimmie Schaffer to the Reds in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Drafted pitcher Jerry Johnson from the Mets in the minor league draft.
11/28/67 - Drafted catcher Doc Edwards from the Astros in the minor league draft.

12/15/67 - Traded Jim Bunning to the Pirates for pitchers Woodie Fryman, Bill Laxton, Hal Clem, and shortstop Don Money.
12/15/67 - Traded Dick Ellsworth and Gene Oliver to the Red Sox for catcher Mike Ryan.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Final Card: Terry Fox

Here is the final card for Terry Fox (#181). Of the 27 players pictured on Phillies' cards in 1967 (not counting rookie cards), Fox is the only one who did not play for the Phillies that season.

I can remember that my first 1967 Terry Fox card was a beat pup, with 4 badly-rounded corners (and maybe some creases, but not as creased as my first 1967 Bill White card). Some years ago I upgraded to this card, and although you could put an eye out with these corners, the card is badly off-center vertically.

Terry began pitching in 1954 with the unaffiliated class-C New Iberia (La) Pelicans. After 2 seasons there, the Braves picked him up and he eventually made his major-league debut with the Braves on September 4, 1960. After the season, he was part of a 6-player trade with the Tigers.

Fox never started a major-league game. Except for brief (rehab?) stints in the minors in 1962 and 1964, Terry was a fixture in the Tigers' bullpen from opening day 1961 until he was sold to the Phillies on May 10, 1966. In between, he led the staff in saves in 1961-63 and 1965.

With the Phillies for most of 1966, Terry (along with Ray Herbert and Roger Craig) provided veteran bullpen support for rookie closer Darold Knowles.

His final major-league game was on September 25, 1966. Fox spent the 1967 season with Philadelphia's triple-A team in San Diego. He probably didn't feel out of place, because that team had a large collection of ex-major-leaguers, including Ed Roebuck, Dick Stigman, John Tsitouris, Dick Bertell, Jimmie Schaffer, Jim Gentile, Marty Keough, and Lou Clinton!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Final Card: Dennis Bennett

This is the final card for Dennis Bennett (#206), although he would play 1 more season in the majors. (Bennett played minor-league ball into 1973.)

Dennis was signed by the Phillies in 1958, and would play 4+ seasons in the minors before making his major-league debut on May 12, 1962. (My birthday! ... not the 1962 part.)

In 1962, Bennett was the Phillies' #3 starter behind Art Mahaffey and Jack Hamilton. The following season, he dropped to #5, but his final season in Philly (1964) saw him regain the #3 spot, this time behind Jim Bunning and Chris Short.

After the 1964 season, Dennis was traded to the Red Sox for 1st baseman Dick Stuart (who lasted 1 season with the Phillies). In his 2-plus seasons in Boston, Bennett never rose above #5 starter status, even though he was the only lefthander in the rotation.

Dennis made 13 appearances (11 starts) for the Sox in 1967, before being traded to the Mets in June. He started 6 of his 8 games with the Mets, and also pitched in 6 games for their triple-A team.

Bennett started the 1968 season in the minors. After 2 games with the Mets' Jacksonville team, he was sold to the Cubs in May. Dennis never got to play for the Cubs. Rather, he made 19 starts for their triple-A team, before the Cubs sold him to the Angels on July 29th. The good news is that he was back in the majors, pitching 16 games for the Angels. The bad news is that those would be his last major-league games.

Bennett spent the next 5 seasons in triple-A (3 1/2 for the Angels, and 1 1/2 for the Padres) before retiring in 1973.

Whenever the subject of Dennis Bennett comes up, I always think of his brother Dave (who was also a Phillies' pitching prospect in the mid 1960s) and his 1964 card, which contains an amusing goof on the back:

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is where it all began

This is where the card-collecting bug bit my friends, my brother, and me back in the 1960s. A Mom & Pop corner store in Collingdale, PA named Harry's Market. (When the pop-up balloon appears, click "Street View". It's the brick building on the right.)

[March 2013 edit: I fixed the above "Harry's Market" link. This store is now possibly a pre-school.]

This store had been a hairdresser for the past few decades, but back in the day (1967-72), the grassy area in front of the current store was all concrete. We would sit there with our backs to the wall and open our packs of cards... not wanting to wait the 3 minutes it would take us to walk home!

Our "backup store" (Walt's, now called "Steak 'Em Up"), and the store where I bought my 1967 football cards (Joe's) were one block down the side street on the right of the photo.

Also at that far intersection was a drugstore (Perry's, now closed), where in the late 60s/early 70s I would go buy The Sporting News, and sit at the counter drinking fountain sodas while poring over all the stats! (This must have started in 1968, because I can remember one of the first issues I bought was when Jax was tearing up the home run race early in his rookie season, before cooling off.)

Final Card: Bob Duliba

This is the last card for Bob Duliba (#599). It's also the same exact photo that Topps used for his 1966 card. Apparently, the Topps photographer was too busy running around photographing all the George Korinces in the league to have any time to give the veteran Duliba a proper send-off.

Bob began pitching in the low minors in 1952. In 1953, he became the property of the Cardinals, and pitched for their farm teams for the next 3 seasons. He missed 3 seasons (1956-58) due to military service. Duliba is the first player I've seen (while posting my 1966-68 cards) who missed more than 2 seasons to the military.

In 1959, he returned to pitch for the Cardinals' triple-A Omaha team, and also played 11 games with St. Louis. He was in the Cardinals' bullpen for all of 1960, and spent the 1961-62 seasons bouncing between the Cardinals and triple-A ball.

At the start of the 1963 season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels. Bob played most of 1963 with triple-A Hawaii, and all of 1964 with the Angels. In 1965, it was on to the Red Sox, where he split his season between Boston and triple-A Toronto.

In May 1966, he was traded to the Athletics in a deal involving all minor-leaguers, and spent the entire season in the minors. (Hey, I'm starting to not feel so bad for the Topps photographer!)

Bob surfaced in the majors for one last time in early 1967, playing 7 games for the Athletics in April and early May, before returning to triple-A for the Athletics (1967-69) and the Braves (1970-71).