Thursday, December 24, 2020

The 1967 Angels

The Angels finished in 5th place in 1967, with a record of 84-77. They also hosted the All-Star game that summer. 

They were loaded with aging veterans, with Jack Sanford, Curt Simmons, Lou Burdette, Jim Coates, Bill Skowron, Jim Piersall, and John Werhas all in their final seasons. 

The much-traveled George Brunet (9 teams in 15 seasons) headed up the Angels’ rotation, despite leading the AL with 19 losses. Jim McGlothlin posted a 12-8 record and was named to the All-Star team. Rule 5 draftee Rickey Clark posted a 12-11 record in his rookie season. It would be his best year. Jack Hamilton was acquired from the Mets on June 10th for Nick Willhite. 
Clyde Wright posted a 5-5 mark in his 2nd season, but would eventually be a 22-game winner in 1970. Jack Sanford was wrapping up his 12th and final season, and was traded to the Athletics in June for Roger Repoz. Nick Willhite was acquired from the Dodgers in the off-season. After posting an 0-2 record, he was flipped to the Mets for Jack Hamilton. Curt Simmons came over from the Cubs in early-August. 
These four were the primary relievers. Minnie Rojas was the team’s closer, and led the AL with 27 saves. He also won 12 games. In his first full season, Bill Kelso posted 11 saves. He was traded to the Reds after the season. Pete Cimino (3-3) was acquired from the Twins in the off-season for Dean Chance. Jim Coates was 1-2 in 52 innings in his final season. 
Other pitchers were Jim Weaver (13 games in August and September), Lou Burdette, Bobby Locke (9 games in a September call-up), and Marcelino Lopez (traded to the Orioles in mid-June for Woodie Held). Burdette pitched 18 innings over 19 games in the first half of the year, then was released one week before the end of the season. 
These were the regulars at each position. 
Bob Rodgers was the team’s starting catcher every season from 1962-68. Don Mincher was acquired from the Twins (with Cimino and Jimmie Hall) for Dean Chance, and clubbed 25 home runs. He was also one of the team’s 3 All-Stars. Bobby Knoop won his 2nd of 3 consecutive Gold Gloves. Jim Fregosi won a Gold Glove, and made the All-Star team. 
Paul Schaal started 74 of the first 90 games at 3rd base, then only played 19 games (1 start) the rest of the way. Rick Reichardt hit 17 homers as the regular left fielder. Jose Cardenal platooned in center field with Jay Johnstone (first half) and Roger Repoz (2nd half). Ex-Twin Jimmie Hall was the primary right fielder. 
These are the subs, in order of at-bats. 
Jay Johnstone alternated in center field with Cardenal during the first half of the season. Tom Satriano was the backup catcher, and shared 3rd base with rookie Aurelio Rodriguez in the second half. Bubba Morton was the team’s 5th outfielder. Roger Repoz was acquired from the Athletics for Jack Sanford in mid-June, and shared center field with Cardenal. 
Utility player Woodie Held was obtained in mid-June for Marcelino Lopez. Rookie Aurelio Rodriguez was the primary 3rd baseman from July 1967 through the 1969 season. Long-time Yankee Moose Skowron joined the Angels in May and was mostly used for pinch-hitting. John Werhas was acquired in mid-May for Len Gabrielson. 
Hawk Taylor was acquired from the Mets in July, and played 23 games as the 3rd-string catcher. He spent all of 1968 in the minors. Orlando McFarlane was the 3rd-string catcher in the first half, but did not play after Taylor arrived. Len Gabrielson was traded to the Dodgers for Werhas after 11 games. Ed Kirkpatrick spent most of the season in the minors, but did play 3 games for the Angels. 
Jim Piersall played in 5 games, then retired in May to accept a front-office job with the Angels. Fred Newman spent most of the year in the minors, but played 3 games for the Angels in mid-season. Tom Egan mostly played for the Angels' double-A El Paso team, and only 1 game for the Angels. Bill Rigney managed the Angels from 1961-69. 

Don Wallace played 23 games in the first half, mostly as a pinch-runner. Others who appeared briefly for the Angels were pitchers Ken Turner and Jorge Rubio, and pinch-hitters Moose Stubing and Jim Hibbs.
Transactions from the end of the 1966 season to the end of 1967:

11/28/66 - Drafted Rickey Clark from the Tigers in the rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Drafted Jim Hibbs from the Dodgers in the rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Drafted Don Wallace from the Yankees in rule 5 draft. 
11/28/66 - Lost Ramon Hernandez to the Braves in the rule 5 draft. 

12/02/66 - Traded Dean Chance and Jackie Hernandez to the Twins for Pete Cimino, Jimmie Hall and Don Mincher. 

12/07/66 - Traded pitcher Dick Egan to the Dodgers for pitcher Howie Reed

12/14/66 - Traded 1B Norm Siebern to the Giants for Len Gabrielson. 

12/15/66 - Traded pitcher Bob Lee to the Dodgers for Nick Willhite. 

02/13/67 - Released outfielder Al Spangler

02/16/67 - Purchased infielder Chuck Cottier from the Senators. 

04/10/67 - Purchased Orlando McFarlane from the Detroit Tigers. 

05/06/67 - Traded Cotton Nash to the White Sox for Bill Skowron. 

05/10/67 - Traded Len Gabrielson to the Dodgers for John Werhas. 

05/12/67 - Released Jim Piersall. 

06/08/67 - Released catcher Chris Krug

06/10/67 - Traded Nick Willhite to the Mets for Jack Hamilton. 

06/15/67 - Traded Marcelino Lopez to the Orioles for Woodie Held. 
06/15/67 - Traded Jack Sanford and Jackie Warner to the Athletics for Roger Repoz. 

07/24/67 - Traded a player to be named later (Don Wallace) to the Mets for Hawk Taylor. 

08/07/67 - Purchased Curt Simmons from the Cubs. 
08/07/67 - Traded shortstop Hector Torres to the Astros for Jim Weaver. 

09/23/67 - Released Lew Burdette. 

10/09/67 - Released Curt Simmons and Bill Skowron. 

10/17/67 - Sold John Werhas to the Senators. 

11/28/67 - Lost Elrod Hendricks to the Orioles in the rule 5 draft. 

11/29/67 - Traded Jose Cardenal to the Indians for outfielder Chuck Hinton
11/29/67 - Traded Bill Kelso and Jorge Rubio to the Reds for pitcher Sammy Ellis.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The High Numbers: Rare, or Scam?

Today’s lesson is on the 7th series "high numbers". 

For decades we have been told that these cards are rare, and therefore are required to be expensive. But recently I found a photo of a full sheet of these 7th series cards. The sheet is 12 rows of 11 cards per row for a total of 132 cards per sheet.

Looking at the sheet, you can see that the first 5 rows are repeated on rows 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12, so that makes for 7 unique rows (rows 1-5, 7, 8) of cards (77 cards). 

The checklist only shows 76 cards. The discrepancy between the 77 unique cards and the 76 cards on the checklist is the checklist itself. It was numbered within the 6th series (first appearing there) and is reprinted in the next series (as all checklists from series 2 onward were). 

So, on this sheet there are 77 unique cards, and 55 of them are double-printed. That’s an astounding 71%! 

I decided to see what the other series were doing, and only the 6th series is similar. Contrast that to the first series, where there are 109 unique cards. On the same 132-card sheet, that makes for only 23 double-printed cards, or 21%. 

I never realized that the 1st series is about 25% larger than the others.  That explains why that series had more cards per team (which I only previously looked at in terms of Phillies cards).

With all those double-prints, the only possible explanation for the 7th series “rarity” (and therefore high prices) is that maybe Topps didn’t print as many cards for that final series, having turned their resources to printing and distributing football cards by that time of year. (Either that, or just outright greed by the card aftermarket.) 


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Jim Beauchamp (#307)

Well, it's been eleven years (yesterday) since I started blogging here, with the 1967 set being my first blog. That set included 490 individual player cards, and for 11 years I have featured 486 of those players on one set blog or another. The 4 remaining are Bob Barton, Jim Beauchamp, Aurelio Monteagudo, and Carroll Sembera.

I’m not sure why Jim Beauchamp even has a card in this set. Since the Braves acquired him in May 1965, his major-league action consisted of 4 games in 1965, no games in 1966, and 4 games (all pinch-hitting appearances prior to May 6) in 1967. I guess somebody at Topps liked the Braves, which is why we see cards for Beauchamp, Tommie Aaron, and Dave Nicholson, despite little or no playing time. 

Beauchamp was signed by the Cardinals in 1958, and made his big-league debut in September 1963. He was traded to the Colt .45s in February 1964, and to the Braves in May 1965. 

After 3 seasons of non-use, he was traded to the Reds in October 1967 (with Mack Jones and Jay Ritchie) for Deron Johnson. Jim had more playing time with the Reds in ’68 and ’69 than he did since his days with the Colt .45s. 

He returned to Houston in December 1969, but by the following June was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher George Culver. 

In October 1971, Jim was part of an 8-player trade with the Mets.  After 2 seasons in New York, he was released during spring training 1974, and played that season with the Cardinals’ AAA team before retiring. 

Beauchamp passed away in 2007 at age 68.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Chris Zachary (#212)

Next-to-last alphabetically (and almost next-to-last on this blog) is Chris Zachary, who pitched for the Astros, Royals, Cardinals, and Tigers.

Zachary was signed by the Houston Colt .45s in 1962, but did not play that season. In 1963, he started his pro career at the top, appearing in 22 games (7 starts) for the Colts, and fashioning a 2-2 record in 57 innings.

From 1964-67, he spent most of his time with the club’s AAA team in Oklahoma City, but also saw some action in Houston each season.

After playing all of 1968 in triple-A, he was purchased by the Royals shortly after the expansion draft. Although he played 8 games with Kansas City in 1969, he spent most of that season and all of 1970 in the minors.

In July 1970, he was traded to the Cardinals for reliever Ted Abernathy, but the Cards did not bring him up until May 1971. That year he pitched in 23 games, the first time he logged more than 10 games since his rookie 1963 season.

After the 1971 season, he was traded to the Tigers for pitcher Bill Denehy, and again had another good season, playing in 25 games (all but 1 in relief) while logging a 1.41 ERA over 38 innings.

Just before the 1973 season, he was traded to the Pirates for backup catcher Charlie Sands. He pitched in 6 games but played most of the year in triple-A (starting 25 games).

In December 1973 Chris was traded to the Phillies for catcher Pete Koegel. He started 24 games for their AAA team in Toledo before retiring at season’s end.

Zachary passed away in 2003 at age 59.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Things I Like But You Don't

I recently discovered that I’m running out of players to post on my '67 blog, so I am jumping on a recent blogging topic (better late than never)  a) to pontificate, and b) to delay having the card well run dry.

Things I Like That (many of) You Don’t 

1. 1990 Donruss 

2. 1991 Donruss 

3. 1991 Fleer

What’s a vintage-card fan like me doing liking these junk-wax sets? Simply because they are the first sets I collected with my sons. My oldest son was 3 in 1990, and whenever I went to the Wawa or other convenience stores, I always came back with several rack packs. He and I would spend hours lining up all his red '90 Donruss cards on our living room floor.

In 1991 we did it all again, except the cards were blue and yellow, and my younger son joined in too. Oh, we also collected a smaller amount of '90 Fleer and '91 Topps, but they seemed bland when compared to the splash of color in the above sets. (By 1992 they grew tired of baseball cards - preferring GI Joe cards instead.)

4. Sets with cards for every player. Yep, that's what they did back in the 60s and 70s.

5. Checklist cards – It helped that yellow was my favorite color back then. It was a great way to keep track of who you had and who you needed. That the next series' checklist was included in the previous series also gave you a preview of who was to come next.

6. Team cards – Loved those photos super-imposed on bright yellow backgrounds! Plus, you got the rundown of the whole pitching staff on the back (albeit last year's pitchers).

7. Manager cards – They had either tales of these old-timers' playing careers, or funny cartoons on the back.

8. 1970 Topps – No one seems to like the gray borders. I wasn't crazy about them either at first, but there’s a lot of good new photos – a refreshing change from 1969.

9. Multi-player cards. These seemed to peak in the 1967 set.

10. All-Star cards (separate from their base cards).

Things I Don’t Like That (many of) You Do

1. Cards after 1972 (except the first 3 sets mentioned above, and 1981 Topps). 1972 was the last set I chased pack-by-pack as a kid. In recent decades I have collected all the Phillies cards up through 1993 (and again from 2008-2012). I also have factory sets from 1981 and 1987-92, but I have little interest in those cards (and the players shown on them) now. I can’t see myself ever chasing another set from 1973 onward.

The rest of these are pretty much covered by what I just said above, but I’ll continue anyway.

2. Chrome/gold/black/refractors/parallels/relics/blah-blah-blah. It's all just marketing nonsense. (And how do you know your relic actually came from a game-worn jersey? Because the card company said so?)

3. Intentionally omitting half a team's roster, just so they can have multiple cards of stars.

4. Short prints to create scarcity. 

5. Putting non-baseball subjects on baseball cards. 

6. Intentionally including retired players in current sets. I loved Mickey Mantle, but he shouldn't be in a current-player set after 1969.

7. Unlicensed, logo-less cards. Why do they bother?

8. The obsession with inserts. 

9. The obsession over “official” rookie cards. If it's the player's first card, it's his rookie card! For decades, no one needed MLB sanctioning things with their "RC" stamp of approval.

10. Graded cards.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Orlando Martinez (#504)

I just realized today when looking at the back of this card that Orlando Martinez hadn't played in the major leagues since 1962, when he saw action in 37 games (mostly as a pinch-runner). I have to ask then, "Why does he have a card?" Also, my recollection was that his position on this card was "C-INF".

And what is it with Topps and Atlanta Braves' scrubs? Tommie Aaron had a card in the 1968 set despite not playing regularly since 1963, and with only 8 games in early-1965 since then. Jim Beauchamp (who we will see on this blog 2 posts from now) had a card in the 1967 set although didn't play in the majors in 1966. Ex-Braves' outfielder Dave Nicholson had a card in the 1969 set, yet his only time in the majors since 1966 was a 10-game stint in September 1967. 

Orlando "Marty" Martinez was signed by the (old) Washington Senators in 1960, and played seven seasons for the Senators/Twins in the minors. He was primarily a shortstop, but he also saw considerable playing time at 3B, 2B, and catcher, both in the minors and the majors. He also pitched 21 games in the minors, and 1 inning with the 1969 Astros.

After the 1966 season the Braves selected him in the Rule 5 draft. He played in 44 games in his rookie season, including 17 starts at shortstop.

In 1968 his playing time almost tripled, as he started 49 games at shortstop, 31 at 3B, 13 at 2B, and 6 behind the plate. He was truly valuable to the team that season. Too bad he only hit .230.

Martinez was traded to the Astros in December 1968 for 3rd baseman Bob Aspromonte. He continued in his role as backup infielder for the next 2 seasons, although playing much less than he did in 1968.

In '69 he mostly filled in at shortstop and left field, but also a few games at 3B and behind the plate. In 1970 he was mostly at SS and 3B.

In 1971 his playing time decreased even further. The Astros replaced shortstop Denis Menke with rookie Roger Metzger, who needed less time off than Menke did for the past 2 seasons.

After the '71 season, Marty was on his way to the Cardinals. He only played 7 games for St. Louis in 1972, and in late May was traded to the Athletics for outfielder Brant Alyea.

Two months later he was flipped to the Rangers (with 2B Vic Harris) for 1st baseman Don Mincher and infielder Ted Kubiak. 1972 was his last season in the majors.

He played for the Rangers' AAA and AA teams from 1973-80.

Martinez was also the interim manager for the Seattle Mariners for one game in 1986.

In the 1980s he was a coach and a scout for the Mariners, signing Edgar Martinez and Omar Vizquel, among others.

He passed away in 2007 at age 65.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sandy Alomar (#561)

It's time for a high-numbered card.

Sandy Alomar was a second baseman who played for 15 seasons (1964-78) for the Braves, Mets, White Sox, Angels, Yankees, and Rangers.  This is his only card as a Met, the team he played the least amount of time for.

Alomar was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, and was a shortstop until switching over to 2nd base during the 1965 season. His major-league debut came in September 1964 with the Braves.

Sandy split the 1965 season between Milwaukee and their AAA team in Atlanta.

The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, but by early-June Alomar had moved on to Richmond, the new home of their triple-A team.

1967 was an unusual year for Alomar:
 - 2/25: sent to the Astros to complete an earlier deal (Eddie Mathews to Houston for Bob Bruce and Dave Nicholson).
 - 3/24: Traded to the Mets for Derrell Griffith.
 - 8/15: sent to the White Sox to complete an earlier deal (Ken Boyer to Chicago for J.C. Martin).

Sandy was always a bench player until the 2nd half of 1968, when he took over the Sox' 2nd base job.

Following his May 1969 trade to the Angels for Bobby Knoop, Alomar was the Halos' regular 2nd baseman for the next 4 ½ years, that string coming to an end in the closing weeks of 1973. While an Angel, he started 134, 152, 134, 150, and 103 games from 1969-73. He also made the 1970 All-Star team.

The Angels acquired 2nd baseman Denny Doyle from the Phillies in the 73/74 off-season, so Alomar rode the bench in 1974 until his contract was purchased by the Yankees in July. Sandy regained a starting job in the Big Apple for the rest of 1974 and all of 1975.

It was deja-vu all over again for him in 1976. The Yankees traded for Willie Randolph in the 75/76 off-season, so Alomar was back on the bench, although he did start a handful of games in July and Auguist.

Sandy was traded to the Rangers before the 1977 season, and spent his last two years as a bench player. He backed up 2B Bump Wills in '77 but rarely played the field in '78 and was used mostly as a pinch-runner (at age 34!). Alomar was released after the 1978 season.

Later, he was a coach for the Padres (1986-90), Cubs (2000-02), Rockies (2003-04), and Mets (2005-09).

His sons Sandy Jr and Roberto made their major-league debuts with the Padres while he was a coach there.