Saturday, September 24, 2016

1967 Custom Cards

A few years ago, John Hogan at the "Cards That Never Were" blog made a batch of custom baseball and football cards for me at my request.  I noticed that John did not include these images on his own blog, so I am posting them here so they can be appreciated by all.

You may have already seen the 1967, 1968, and 1971 football cards he made for me on the blogs for those sets.  He also created some baseball cards in the '66, '67, '68, and '69 style where the player was either missing, traded during the season, or just to upgrade a player from a Rookie Stars card to a solo card.

(To me, a card is only "missing" if there was no card issued in a season where the player saw significant major-league action.  So-called "career-cappers" in the year after retirement are outside that scope, IMO.)

So, here are the 1967 cards.  I will post the cards for the other years on those blogs soon.

First, the missing cards:

Lenny Green played for several teams from 1959-66, and finished up his career with the Tigers in 1967 and 1968.  He began both of those seasons in the minors, affecting his inclusion in those 2 sets.

Jay Ritchie pitched for the Red Sox from 1964-65, and for the Braves in part of '66 and all of '67, but did not have a card in either set.

Bob Lillis was Houston's regular shortstop from 1962-65, until losing the job to rookie Sonny Jackson in 1966. He was a backup in '66 (68 games) and '67 (37), but had no card in the two sets.  (I think he may have been a coach in 1967, and was reactivated temporarily.)

Al Spangler was a regular for the Colt .45s/Astros from 1962-65, and the Angels in 1965. After spending most of 1966 in the minors, he caught on with the Cubs from 1967-71, but his lack of MLB time in '66 cost him a card in '67.

Diego Segui played for the Athletics from 1962-72, except for 1966 with the Senators and 1969 with the Pilots. He began the '66 season with Washington, but played the 2nd half with Kansas City's AAA team, so Topps must have written off his career at that time.

Jerry McNertney was a backup catcher for the White Sox from 1964-68, then became the expansion Pilots' #1 backstop in 1969.

Jim Roland spent 1963-64 in the Twins' bullpen, then after 2 years in the minors, returned to the Twins for 1967-68.

Julio Gotay was an infield reserve for the Cardinal in the early 1960s. After some time in the Pirates' and Angels' organizations, he joined the Astros in 1966, but didn't see much playing time until 1967.

Ron Brand (and John Bateman) were catchers for the Astros from 1965-68, and for the Expos from 1969-71. Not sure why he didn't have a card, because he played all of 1965-67 with the Astros.

Billy Cowan was a journeyman outfielder who played for the Cubs, Phillies, Yankees, and Angels. He began the 1967 season with the Phillies' AAA San Diego Padres, then was called up in late-June to fill the right-handed outfield sub position vacated by the trade of Jackie Brandt.

John Boozer played parts of every season from 1962-69 with the Phillies except for 1966, which means no 1967 card!

Sandy Valdespino was a spare outfielder for the Twins from 1965-67, before moving on the the Braves in 1968. He had cards in '65, '66, and '68.

Roy White played all of 1966 with the Yankees, but didn't get a card in '67 (even with Yankees' outfielder Roger Maris traded away to the Cardinals after 1966!).

Rookies who were not in the set:

Bob Schroder played parts of every season from 1965-68 for the Giants. The high point was 62 games in 1967.

It's a mystery why Topps didn't include Don Wilson and the Reds' Gary Nolan on Rookie Stars cards in 1967. With the seasons they were having, you would think Topps could have thrown together an "NL Rookies" card for them in the 7th series.

Ken Suarez was a backup catcher for the Athletics in 66-67, and Indians from 68-71.

Vern Fuller took over the Indians' 2nd base job midway through his rookie 1967 season.

The Cubs had 3 1/2 Rookie Stars cards in the 1967 set, but Clarence Jones and Bill Stoneman were left out.  They both got significant playing time as rookies. (Topps shoulda checked with Cubs' scouts before devoting one of those "Stars" cards to Dave Dowling and Bill Connors.)

Reggie Jackson made his debut in mid-1967.  Like the Cubs, Topps also gave the Athletics THREE Rookie Stars cards.  Was Jackson not one of the A's top 6 prospects? Worse yet, Topps didn't include Jackson in their 1968 set.  ("That's Just Topps Being Topps")  It looks like Ted Kubiak is wearing a blue uniform.

John, once again, thank you for these great cards, and for your willingness to take requests.


I have found a total of 82 custom 1967 Topps cards (including the cards above) on various blogs and other internet sites. After presenting the "Cards That Never Were" for all years from 1966-69, I may go back and bring all those other cards together under one roof.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Dave Giusti (#318)

Here is Astros’ starter Dave Giusti. I’ve decided I really like the 1967 Astros cards, probably because what followed in 1968 and 1969 was an abomination of capless headshots and airbrush jobs for all Astros’ players. Giusti had a card every year from 1962-77, and was inflicted with a capless headshot in ’65, ’68, and ’70.

Dave was signed by the upstart Houston Colt .45s in 1961, one year before they began playing in the National League. He split the year between Class A Jacksonville, and the Cubs’ AAA team (which happened to be in Houston that year).

Giusti played 22 games for the Colts during the first half of 1962 (mostly as a reliever), but played most of 1962 to 1964 seasons for Colts’ AAA team in Oklahoma City. He also scattered 8 appearances for Houston in 1964.

Dave made the majors permanently in 1965, the year the team was renamed to ‘Astros’. He made 38 appearances (including 13 starts) that season.

In 1966 he became a full-time starting pitcher, and won 15, 11, and 11 games over the next 3 seasons (quite a feat for a perennially bad team). He also struck out 131, 157, and 186 over that span.

After the 1968 season (and with the emergence of pitchers Don Wilson and Larry Dierker), the Astros traded away 2 of their top 3 starting pitchers from the past few seasons, with Mike Cuellar going to the Orioles and Giusti going to the Cardinals.

The day after the 1968 World Series ended, the Astros traded Giusti to the Cardinals for catcher Johnny Edwards. Three days later, an unprotected Giusti was selected by the Padres in the expansion draft. Six weeks later, the Padres traded him back to the Cardinals for 4 players. (Hey, I sense a player-stashing violation here! Why would the Cards have exposed a starting pitcher for which they just traded a quality catcher?) 

After an awful (3-7) season with the Cards in 1969, Dave was shipped off to the Pirates (with backup catcher Dave Ricketts) for backup catcher Carl Taylor. Giusti found new life in Pittsburgh, becoming a key player in their bullpen for the next 7 seasons. He pitched in the post-season in 5 of those 7 years, and made the All-Star team in 1973.

In March 1977, Dave was part of a 9-player trade with the Athletics which saw Doc Medich, Tony Armas, and others accompany him to Oakland in exchange for infielders Tommy Helms and Phil Garner. Giusti made 40 relief appearances for the Athletics, and after his August 5th acquisition by the Cubs, another 20 games with Chicago. He was released after the season, ending his 15-year career.