Friday, May 28, 2021

Rookie Parade

Today we look at the rookie stars cards - all in one place. Why did Topps only have 1 card for some teams, and as many as 3 for others? Topps made some major omissions, but some 1-card teams were probably bereft of minor-league talent. (And with the low bar set by some of the so-called "stars" that appear on these cards, that's really embarrassing for those 1-rookie-card teams.) 
In team-name order (NL first):
Astros: Norm Miller and especially Doug Rader were contributors for the next few seasons.  The others? Not so much.
Braves: Cecil Upshaw became the team's closer after Phil Niekro moved to the rotation at mid-season.  Ramon Hernandez is on an NL Rookies card further below.
Cardinals:  Only 1 card?  The eventual World Champs had a set lineup, with only Dick Hughes and Ron Willis (on an NL Rookies card below) able to make the roster.

Cubs: The Cubs had SEVEN players appear on rookie stars cards (including Norm Gigon on an NL Rookies card), but none named Bill Stoneman or Chuck Hartenstein.  Huh?
Dodgers: Bill Singer also appeared on a '66 Rookies card with Don Sutton.  In 1967 he filled Sandy Koufax' vacancy in the rotation. Jim Campanis was the GM's son, so...
Giants: Only 1 card?  It's probably too soon for Bobby Bonds, but Bob Schroeder played 60 games in 1967, and there was the short-term phenom Bobby Etheridge. BTW, Dietz was a catcher.
Mets: Greg Goossen, Bart Shirley, and Bill Denehy were lunch-pailers, but Topps redeemed itself with Tom Seaver's inclusion.  Don Shaw also appeared on an NL Rookies card.
Phillies: As much as the 1967 me wanted to see more Phillies' Rookies cards, objectively speaking, one was enough.  Grant Jackson and Gary Sutherland (on an NL Rookies card) were the only rookies to make the team.
Pirates: A whole lot of non-stars here.  Jim Price was dealt to the Tigers just before Opening Day, while Luke Walker eventually made the team (after 2 or 3 Rookie Stars cards). Jim Shellenback was on an NL Rookies card later.

Reds: Where's Gary Nolan and Johnny Bench? Nolan was a 14-game winner in 1967, with over 200 strikeouts. (In fairness to Topps, he spent 1966 in low-A ball, so who would have known?)  Darrell Osteen and Lee May were also together on a 1966 Reds Rookies card.
Athletics: Six rookies, but none named Reggie Jackson.  Randy Schwartz? Tim Talton?  Topps, please!

Indians: Bill Davis?  Again?  Where's Vern Fuller?
Orioles: Topps scored big on the first card with Mike Epstein (although for the Senators) and Tom Phoebus. Why the red frame on the 3rd card?  Sure, the "ORIOLES" name was usually in yellow, but Topps adjusted earlier for the Phillies and the O's first rookie card. Maybe Inspector 12 was on vacation that day.
Red Sox: Topps hit a home run with the Andrews/Smith pairing, both key starters for the AL Champs.

Senators: Joe Coleman and Dick Bosman were good starting pitchers over the next few seasons.
Tigers: The Tigers had 2 guys named George Korince?  LOL
Twins: Rich Reese was the team's 1st baseman for a few seasons.  Jim Ollom was one of 6 Jims on the Twins' 10-man 1967 staff. Where's Rod Carew?  He's on an AL Rookies card in the 7th series.  (I'm convinced Topps saved those 7th-series NL/AL Rookies cards for last-minute additions to the set.  If true, how was Carew an afterthought?)

Yankees: Bobby Murcer appears here, although missing the '67 and '68 seasons while in the Army.  Stan Bahnsen reappeared on a '68 Yankees Rookies card, and was the AL Rookie of the Year in '68.
White Sox: Duane Josephson and Walt Williams became regulars in their rookie season.  Ed Stroud was dealt to the Senators early-on.
AL: Carew's rookie card is one of three cards I need to complete the set.  (Also the Seaver rookie, and Tommy John.)
NL: Shaw and Sutherland had the longest careers of these six.  Willis played for World Series teams in his first 2 seasons, but fizzled out soon after.

Other players having their rookie (solo) card in the 1967 set include Chris Short and Maury Wills (both 8-year veterans), Ken Holtzman, Jay Johnstone, Rick Wise, and for some reason known only to the braintrust at Topps, Bruce Brubaker.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

My Favorite 1967 Cards

I started collecting baseball cards in 1967 - not at the start of the season, but sometime in May as I recall. I think Topps was into their 2nd or 3rd series by that time, but through trading with other kids, I was able to play catch-up and get all the earlier cards I missed (except for the Cardinals team).
Before I started collecting cards in 1967, I only knew who 3 of the players were: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Harmon Killebrew. I had heard the name "Johnny Callison", but didn't know who he was. I don't think I had ever heard of Willie Mays though.
As best as I can remember, these were my favorite 1967 cards at that time:
The top row of players is self-explanatory. 
In 1967, Topps made 13 multi-player cards. These 3 were my favorites. (I was a Phillies' fan, but I'm not sure why I liked the other two cards over all the rest.) 
Chris Short and Johnny Callison were my two favorite Phillies players. I started following that team the same month I began collecting cards. 
Jim Palmer's card came along in the 4th or 5th series, as I recall. I became a big Palmer fan when I got this card. I don't remember why - he missed almost all of the 1967 season, and I wasn't following the Orioles. Maybe it was because the Orioles had just won the World Series in '66, and here was a good, young pitcher named "Jim"? 
Anyway, on one of the T-shirts I had bought from a local discount store (those surplus high school gym shirts with various schools' names on the front, that you could pick up for a dollar or so) I had written a big number "22" with a Magic Marker. (As I'm typing this, I am remembering the kid in the Vince Papale movie "Invincible", who made the number "83" on his shirt with bits of duct tape.) 
One of my friends who was a Cowboys' fan just assumed it was in reference to Bob Hayes. Ha!
So I had become a Jim Palmer fan before his great comeback in 1969. For that, I feel like I got in on the ground floor. LOL

Monday, February 1, 2021

Aurelio Monteagudo – Why Does He Have a Card?

As Ed McMahon always said to Carnac, “I hold in my hand the last…” 

There were 490 players with their own card in the 1967 Topps set. Before today, I had blogged about 489 of them on one or another of my set blogs. And now, last but (not?) least…

It seems like over the years, Aurelio Monteagudo had more Topps cards than games played. Let’s check out my hunch:
Ok, it’s not as drastic as I had imagined, but after 1966, when he did have a card he didn’t play for that team, and when he did play, he didn’t have a card that year. He's also had more cards than seasons played.

Monteagudo was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1961, and played in the minor leagues every season from 1961 to 1973. After playing in the Mexican League from 1974-1980, he made a 1-game comeback in 1983 with the Angels’ AAA team. 

Aurelio made his major-league debut in September 1963 with the Athletics, appearing in 4 games in relief. In 1964 he pitched in 11 games, starting half of them. Those would be his last major-league starts except for his one game with the White Sox in 1967. 

After 4 relief appearances in 1966, the A’s sent him to the Astros in May, where he made 10 relief appearances. 

At the end of the 1966 season, the Astros sold him to the Reds, but he never played for the Reds in the majors or minors, and was released in mid-July. 

On the same day, the White Sox signed him, and after starting one game, he was cut a week later. On THAT same day, the Reds picked him up. (Essentially, he was loaned out to the White Sox for one game.) 

Monteagudo did not play for the remainder of 1967, but pitched for the Reds' farm teams for all of 1968 and the first half of 1969.

In June 1969 he was traded to the Cardinals for pitcher Dennis Ribant. Playing no games for St. Louis, he was selected by the Royals in the post-1969 minor-league draft. He started the ’70 season in the minors, but pitched 21 games for the Royals in the second half, before returning to the minors for all of 1971. (Wow, Topps had their hands full dealing with his yo-yoing career!) 

In November 1971 he was selected by the Brewers in the Rule 5 draft. (Ok, that explains his 1972 card with the Brewers.) However, he was released during spring training, having never played for Milwaukee. The same day, the Padres took THEIR turn on this merry-go-round, but by mid-June they swapped him to the Angels for infielder Ron Clark. 

Aurelio pitched 15 games for the Angels in the second half, then was dealt to the Phillies in December. Monteagudo never played for the Phillies, but did show up as a Phillie in the 1974 “Traded” subset. (If you couldn’t make the 1974 Phillies’ bullpen, you know it’s time to hang them up.) 

That’s exactly what he did, moving down to Mexico where he was primarily a starter for 4 different teams from 1974-80. 

There have been 3 players named Aurelio in major league history. All 3 were killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 52.


So, I have posted all the 1967 player cards I planned to, but that's not the end of this blog.  I still need to complete my team reviews for the Astros and the Mets, then just freelance whatever comes along.  

It was never my intent to post about every card in this or any other set.  Rather than blogging about cards, I have been blogging about players. My intention was to write about every player that appeared in the 1966 to 1969 sets, and every significant player in the 1970 set, but not necessarily repeat a player on multiple blogs. I have now reached that point on my '66 and '67 blogs, and I'm 6 cards away on my '68 blog. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Topps High Numbers Video

Earlier this week, FleerFan posted a video and some photos of the Topps 1967 cards on his Fleer Sticker Project blog. I wanted to also loop it into my blog.

Although the video was corny, it was a great find, and showed a bunch of kids playing with their 1967 Topps high numbers. (In the factory scene, the cards passing through the machine for packaging are from an earlier series, as evidenced by the Bill White card). 
This photo is just great. Imagine holding bunches of '67 high numbers in your hand - fresh out of the pack! Although I collected series 1 to 6 in 1967, the high numbers were not sold in my area, so I didn't get any of them until the 1980s, buying them individually at card stores for (as I recall) about $1.00 each. By the end of the 1980s, I had all but 5 of the high numbers. 
Right-to-left, I spy Bill Henry, Don Cardwell, another Bill Henry, Steve Hamilton, Sandy Alomar, another Don Cardwell, ANOTHER Bill Henry, Woody Woodward, and Cookie Rojas.
"Boys! How dare you deface those valuable high numbers by flipping them!" LOL