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.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Steve Hamilton (#567)

Here is another high-number from the 1967 set. Steve Hamilton was signed by the Indians in 1958, and after making his big-league debut in early 1961 with 2 games for the Tribe, he was back in the minors until a May 1962 trade with the Senators for outfielder Willie Tasby.

Steve pitched in 41 games during his first year in Washington, starting 10 games. He would only start 7 more games over the remaining 10 seasons in his career (while working out of the ‘pen in 378 games).

After only 2 games with the Sens in 1963, Hamilton was swapped to the Yankees for reliever Jim Coates. Steve spent the next 8 years as the top (and sometimes the only) lefty in the Yankees’ bullpen. In 1968 he led the staff in saves.

Late in his career, Hamilton developed the slow, arcing “eephus pitch”. On one occasion in 1970, he got Indians’ slugger Tony Horton to strike out on consecutive floaters, causing Horton to crawl back to the dugout in embarrassment. (Blogger Commishbob has noted that he was at that game.)

In early-September 1970, the White Sox claimed him off waivers, but traded him the following spring to the Giants. He pitched his final season (1972) for the Cubs.

Steve played in the ’63 and ’64 World Series, and the ’71 NLCS. Hamilton also played in the NBA from 1958 to 1960 for the Minneapolis Lakers, and is one of only 2 people to have played in the World Series and the NBA finals.

Hamilton passed away in 1997 at age 63.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Let's Go Cubs!!!

C'mon Cubs! Are you really going to let this guy down?

Or this guy?

You have an opportunity for a bittersweet, storybook championship here. Don't let it slip away!

Bloggers: Everyone post an Ernie Banks card to their blog. (If you don't have one, steal the image above, or the single Banks card on my '68 blog.)

Let's get this thing done!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Mets vs. Cubs

Two of the NL's worst teams in the early and mid-1960s face-off in this year's NLCS.

First, a word from our sponsor: There's a new 1965 blog added to the mix. 

In the Mets' first 7 seasons (1962-68), they finished in 10th place 5 times and 9th place twice. The Cubs were almost as bad from 1960-66, finishing 7th three times, 8th twice, and 9th once before bottoming out in 10th place in 1966. They showed great improvement after that - finishing in 3rd place in '67 and '68 and almost beating the Mets for the 1969 NL East crown, before finishing in 2nd place.

Here are the 2nd-tier stars for the 1967 Mets (see the top stars here). Slim pickings, but as I said above: 7 years of 10th or 9th-place finishes...

After 8 years, the Cubs reached respectability in 1967 (I suspect thanks to Ferguson Jenkins, or more correctly, the Phillies' general manager). There's not much to see here, since we have already worked our way through the big stars (and lesser lights).

Maybe some Cubs and Mets fans can regale us with stories from the 1969 pennant race.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Royals vs. Blue Jays

So now we have the two teams for the ALCS. I was hoping for an Astros vs. Rangers series, if for no other reason than to have an all-Texas affair. (Ok, truth be told, I could do more with those 2 teams on this blog than who we have here, but...)

Yes, there are no 1967 cards here, but then these 2 teams didn't exist in 1967. If I had thought ahead, maybe I should have done this series on my 1969 or 1970 blog, but there's always next year.

In the last round, we looked at 6 first-year Royals in their shiny, new uniforms. This time we have some early-season veterans in all their Topps airbrushed/capless glory.

Q. What is this rag-tag collection of Dodgers and non-Dodgers?
A. These are the only members of the 1977 expansion Blue Jays that had cards in the 1969 set. (Well, Phil Roof too, but he only played in 3 games for the Jays in 1977.)

In 1969, the Royals had a 69-93 record and finished 4th in the 6-team AL West, ahead of the White Sox (!) and the Seattle Pilots. For some reason, the geniuses-in-charge put both expansion teams in the same division. KC finished 28 games behind the AL West champion Twins.

In 1977, the Blue Jays finished at 54-107 - dead last in the 7-team AL East, and 45 games behind the Yankees.

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Cardinals vs. Cubs

Here are the top stars from the 1967 World Champion Cardinals. The Cards clinched the NL pennant on September 12th that season, an amazing feat considering that Bob Gibson missed most of July and all of August with a broken leg.

The Cubs bested the Pirates in the Wild-Card game, and advance to the NLDS. I already posted their top players from 1967 but here is another batch, including stars Ken Holtzman and Randy Hundley.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Dodgers vs. Mets

In 1967, the Dodgers were fresh off 3 World Series appearances in 4 years (winning in '63 and '65), but '67 to '69 were uncharacteristically lean years for the team - the longest stretch of underachievement during Walter Alston's tenure.

(note to self: I need to upgrade my Willie Davis card! )

The Mets finished in their customary last place in 1967, Tom Seaver's rookie season. The following year would be the first for Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Tommy Agee, and manager Gil Hodges in the Big Apple. One year later they won it all.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Royals vs. Astros

Ok, the Astros made it past the Yankees in a 1-game Wild-card playoff. Now they take on the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS.

I was going to scan some of my 1967 Kansas City cards, but it turns out they were the Athletics, not the Royals. ;)    So, here are some late-series 1969 cards - the first to show the Royals in their new uniforms.

We already saw the 1967 Astros' best players a few posts ago, so here are some 2nd-tier guys.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Cubs vs. Pirates

Tonight I'm turning back the clock on the NL Wild Card teams.

The Pirates won the World Series in 1971, defeating the Orioles. They repeated that feat over the Orioles again in 1979.

The Cubs? Well, they're the Cubs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 Post-Season - Astros vs. Yankees

Well not quite 2015, but 1967 "Heritage".

Here are the stars from these 2 teams back in 1967. (Of course, in '67 both teams finished in or near the basement.)

Coincidentally, the Astros are the first team, and Yankees the last team, in each of my binders from 1965 to 1972, as I have arranged my binders alphabetically by teams (NL: Astros to Reds, AL: Angels to Yankees).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

J.C. Martin (#538)

This is the 3rd consecutive 1967 high-number card posted. Let’s see how long I can maintain the streak… 

At age 78, J. C. Martin is the oldest living player from the 1966-70 era that I have not yet featured on one of my blogs.

J. C. was a backup catcher who stretched his career to 14 seasons. His first 9 were with the White Sox. After 2 seasons with the Mets (including the 1969 Champs), he returned to Chicago with the Cubs.

Martin was signed by the White Sox in 1956, and played 5 seasons in the minors (with a few MLB games in ’59 and ’60) before getting a full-time job with the Sox in 1961. He was with the Sox for the entire ’61 season, but as the backup at 1st and 3rd bases. (He had no catching experience up to this point.)

Martin returned to the minors for most of the 1962 season to learn the catching trade, and was the #1 backstop for the Sox’ class-A team in Savannah, GA.

J. C. returned to the bigs in 1963, and was the backup catcher for the Sox for the next 5 seasons, playing behind Cam Carreon for 2 seasons, and Johnny Romano for 2 seasons. (In 1964 he actually caught more games than Carreon, who missed part of the season with an injury.) In 1967 he split the catching chores with rookie Duane Josephson.

Martin was sent to the Mets after the 1967 season as the player to be named later for Ken Boyer, who was acquired in mid-1967. Backing up #1 catcher Jerry Grote, J.C. started 52 games behind the plate and another 13 games at 1st base in 1968, and made 44 starts behind the dish in 1969. He played 2 games in the 1969 NLCS (collecting 2 RBI) and 1 game in the World Series.

His time to bask in the World Championship glow was short, as he was traded to the Cubs the following March for backup catcher Randy Bobb. Martin played 3 seasons with the Cubs before he was released during spring training in 1974.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Juan Pizarro (#602)

Juan Pizarro appeared in the rare 7th series in the 1967 set. I didn’t get this card until the 1980s, so for a long time my only Pizarro cards were from 1968 (looking surly, with a hole in his shirt) and 1969 (a capless, big-head shot). I'm impressed that this isn't a capless card, since '67 was his first season with the Pirates.

Pizarro played for 8 teams over 18 years (1957-74). He was primarily a starting pitcher for his first 9 years (seasons spent with the Braves and White Sox). After that he was mostly a reliever (except for his 1971 season with the Cubs).

Juan was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1956, and after a full season in Class-A ball, he split each of the next 3 seasons (57-59) between the Braves and their AAA club. He was a swing man with the Braves, pitching behind Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Joey Jay, and Bob Buhl in the rotation, and closer Don McMahon in the ‘pen. Pizarro pitched 1 inning each in the ’57 and ’58 World Series.

On Dec 15, 1960 the Braves traded Pizarro to the Reds (with pitcher Joey Jay) for SS Roy McMillan. On the same day, the Reds flipped him to the White Sox for 3rd baseman Gene Freese. Juan played for the White Sox from 1961-66, and had his best seasons in 1963 (16 wins) and 1964 (19 wins). He made the all-star team in both seasons.
Juan became a nomad after the 1966 season. Traded to the Pirates for pitcher Wilbur Wood, he lasted with the Bucs until June 1968, when he was purchased by the Red Sox.

In April 1969 he was traded to the Indians with pitcher Dick Ellsworth and 1B-OF Ken Harrelson for catcher Joe Azcue and pitchers Sonny Siebert and Vicente Romo. Later that season he moved on to the Athletics, and to the Angels in early 1970.

Pizarro landed with the Cubs in July 1970, and stayed there for exactly 36 months – the longest stint in the 2nd half of his career. He returned to a starter’s role with the Cubs, although he spent part of 1971 and the first half on 1973 in the minors.

Juan played the 2nd half of the ’73 season with the Astros, then was released the following spring. He played in the Mexican League in 1974, until the Pirates signed him in late August.

Released after the season, he returned to the Mexican League for the ’75 and ’76 seasons before retiring.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wally Bunker (#585)

This is my oldest Wally Bunker card, but not my first. Bunker is one of the four Orioles’ cards (along with Brooks Robinson, manager Hank Bauer, and an O’s Rookies card featuring Mark Belanger) in the high-numbered 7th series which was not sold in my area in 1967. I got his ’68 card (Orioles) and ’69 card (Royals) in those years, but it was not until the 1980s that I collected all but 5 of the '67 high-numbers.

The O’s #3 starter in 1966, Wally pitched a complete-game shutout in the ’66 World Series, but wasn’t shown on the post season cards in the 1967 set either. (Paul Blair was featured on the game #3 card.)

Bunker was one of the mid-1960s' pitching phenoms for the Orioles (along with Dave McNally and Jim Palmer). He was signed by the Orioles in 1963, and after going 10-1 with 95 strikeouts in 99 innings in class A ball, he made his major-league debut on Sept 29th.

Wally made the Orioles squad for good in the 1964 pre-season, and was the team’s ace as a rookie – winning 19 games and finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting (to the Twins’ Tony Oliva).

He followed up his rookie season with two 10-win seasons, and a complete-game shutout of the Dodgers in game #3 in the World Series (sandwiched between Palmer’s complete-game shutout in game #2 and McNally’s complete-game shutout in game #4).

Wally struggled for the next 2 seasons, as sore arms swept through the O’s starting rotation (Bunker, Palmer, McNally). Bunker only won 5 games combined in 67-68, and spent much of ’67 in the bullpen, and part of ’68 in triple-A. As such, he was left unprotected for the expansion draft following 1968, and was selected (along with Orioles’ teammate Moe Drabowsky) by the upstart Kansas City Royals.

Bunker was the Royals’ first-ever opening-day starter in 1969, and led the staff with 31 starts, 222 innings, and 12 wins.

Arm troubles cropped up again, leaving him with a 2-11 record in 1970, and led to his release following his final game on 5/26/1971. He played for the Royals’ AAA team for the remainder of 1971 and part of 1972 before retiring.

In recent years, Bunker has been a writer and illustrator of childrens’ books.