Saturday, March 28, 2020

Chico Salmon (#594)

Something I don’t often do is post images of cards that I don’t have. In the roughly 1200 cards I have posted across my baseball blogs, maybe 5 to 8 were cards I don’t have. (The 1965 cards of Jerry Fosnow and Dan Pleis come to mind. I posted internet images of them to complete my series of 1965 final cards.) 

This 1966 Chico Salmon card is another. I have Salmon's 1967-1970 cards, but in 1969 he is capless, and in 1970 he is shown as an Oriole, while I consider him mostly as an Indian. I also have many ’67 and ’68 cards remaining to post, but not so many '66 cards, so Chico has been assigned to the 1966 queue. (Besides, I noticed tonight that I also have Chico Ruiz and Chico Cardenas on this blog, so Salmon completes the trifecta.) 

Chico Salmon played every position but pitcher and catcher, although he didn’t play shortstop until 1966, with the Indians. He was signed by the (old) Washington Senators in 1959, and bounced around in the minors for several years - to the Giants in 1960, the Tigers in 1961, and the Braves in 1963.


After the 1963 season, the Braves traded him to the Indians for a player to be named later (Mike de la Hoz). Chico made his major-league debut with the Indians in June 1964. He started 39 games in right field over the 2nd half of the season, sharing the job with Tito Francona. He also started 2 dozen games at 2nd base.

In 1965 he played in 79 games but spent most of the season on the bench, only starting 16 games at 1st base and a handful elsewhere.

Things improved for him in 1966. He played all over the infield, mostly at shortstop where he started 57 games, including every game from 5/22 to 7/5. He also started another 47 games at 1B/2B/3B. The Tribe decided to use Larry Brown at shortstop for most of the 2nd half (and in subsequent seasons), so Chico returned to the bench for the remainder of his Indians' career, except for April/May 1968 when he was the starting 2nd baseman.

Salmon was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft, but traded to the Orioles just before the start of the 1969 season for Gene Brabender. What luck for him! He moved from the Indians (a perennial 2nd-division team) to the Pilots (yecch), to the Orioles (the AL kings for much of 1966-1971).

For the next 3 seasons Chico was the O’s top utility infielder, and played in the '69 and '70 post-season.

In 1972 rookie Bobby Grich took over the backup infield assignments, relegating Salmon to only 17 games, mostly pinch-hitting appearances. He was released in mid-August.

Salmon passed away in 2000 at age 59.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Final Card: Bob Sadowski

This is Bob Sadowski’s final card (#523).  In March 2018 I posted his 1965 card on my ’65 blog, but that was before I had this card. (I generally limit my 1965 blog to players’ final cards.)

Sadowski was signed by the Cardinals in 1958, and played in their farm systems for 5 1/2 seasons until his trade to the Braves in mid-June 1963 (Sadowski and Gene Oliver for Lou Burdette).

Bob was immediately brought up to the Braves and pitched 19 games over the second half, including 18 starts and 5 complete games. He posted a 5-7 record and 2.62 ERA in 116 innings pitched.

(That same yellow dome is seen on Tony Conigliaro's 1967 card.)

In 1964 he started 18 games again (along with 33 relief appearances), but his ERA soared to 4.59.

He started the final home opener for the Milwaukee Braves in April 1965. He posted a similar ERA (4.54) as the previous year, but in only 34 games.

In December 1965 Bob was traded to the Red Sox (with pitcher Dan Osinski) for pitchers Jay Ritchie and Arnold Earley, and outfielder Lee Thomas.

Sadowski was used very little by the Red Sox because of arm injuries, only appearing in 11 games (33 innings) by mid-season, his final major-league game coming on July 4th. With an ERA of 7.02 he was sent to the minors, where his troubles continued - pitching only 5 innings in the 2nd half.

He played the 1967 season for the Braves’ double-A team before retiring.

His brother Ed was a catcher for the Red Sox and Angels from 1960-63, and for the Braves in 1966. His brother Ted (Ed and Ted?) pitched for the Senators/Twins from 1960-62.

Another Bob Sadowski played for the Phillies, White Sox, and Angels from 1961-63.

Sadowski passed away in 2018 at age 80.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Final Card: Dick Bertell

I already posted Dick Bertell's 1965 card, so I will dispense with the usual write-up.

I recently acquired his final card (#587) and have moved several cards closer to completing the 1966 set.

Although this is his last card, he played a few games for the Cubs in early-1967 before retiring.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Final Card: Chi-Chi Olivo

This is the first and last card for Chi-Chi Olivo, a reliever for the Braves from 1964-66. It's one of only three 1966 Braves cards showing the new Atlanta cap.

Olivo was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1955 (by then already 27 years old), but didn’t make his major-league debut until June 1961 at age 33. He pitched a total of 2 innings across 3 games, then headed back to the minors until 1964.


Chi-Chi pitched 38 games for the Braves during the 2nd half of 1964, but it wasn’t enough to secure a long-term job with the club. After 2 games in April 1965, he was sent back down until returning in September for another 6 games.

Olivio’s final season with the Braves was 1966. He stayed with the Braves for most of the season, picking up 7 saves in 47 games. He also spent 6 weeks in the minors in August and September.

After the 1966 season he was traded to the Yankees with outfield prospect Bill Robinson for 3rd baseman Clete Boyer. He pitched in triple-A all season before retiring.

Olivio made a brief comeback in the Mexican League in 1971 and 1972.

He passed away in 1977 at age 48.

His brother Diomedes Olivo pitched for the Pirates and Cardinals in 1962 and 1963.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

National League Batting Leaders (#215, 217, 219)

Hall of Famers abound!!!

Here are the National League batting leaders for the prior season. Willie Mays appears 3 times, (unfortunately only in the 1st position for home runs).


I just got this card a few weeks ago, enabling this 3-card post to complete the 1966 league leaders set. Roberto Clemente hit .329, well ahead of the pack at .310 to .318.  Hank Aaron has his Milwaukee cap on, but the caption has been switched to "Atlanta" already. (Meanwhile, Frank Robinson's caption on the RBI card was not updated to "Baltimore Orioles".)

(Did they really need to fill up the card back? Batting .245 is hardly among the league leaders!)


Mays led the league with FIFTY-TWO homers! Teammate Willie McCovey was 2nd, but a distant 13 dingers behind. Billy Williams hit 34 homers, one more than his teammate Ron Santo.

Hey look!  Dick Stuart led the league in grand slams, but was so bad defensively that the Phillies sent him packing after just one season.


Deron Johnson is the only one of these 7 players not in the Hall of Fame. He had 17 more RBI than teammate Frank Robinson.  Also amazing is that Robby was in the top 4 in HR and RBI while batting .296, yet still was traded to the Orioles that off-season.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Final Card: Dave Roberts

I just got this card a few weeks ago, and along with a few others, I can wrap up some loose ends in the 1966 Final Cards subset.

Dave Roberts had a very brief major-league career, appearing in 16 games for the 1962 expansion Colt .45s and 14 games for the 1966 Pirates. He also played 61 games for the Colt .45s in 1964.

However, he had a very long professional career, playing 15 years in the minors (1952-66) and 7 seasons in Japan (1967-73).


After playing independent ball in '52 and '53, he was in the Orioles' organization from 1954-57, the Braves from 1957-60, the Cubs in 1961, the Colts/Astros from 1962-65, and finally the Pirates in 1966.

As mentioned, 1964 was the high point of his career. Although mostly used as a pinch-hitter, he started 18 games at 1st base for the Colt .45s in June.

After the 1965 season, the Pirates selected him from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft. He played 14 games in 1966 (all during the first 6 weeks of the season), mostly as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. He spent most of the season with the Pirates' AAA team, so I guess the Astros didn't want him back.

Although the Orioles purchased his contract in September 1966, he played the next 7 seasons in Japan.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

New Acquisitions

In the past few months, I was running out of 1966 cards to feature on this blog. Sure, I had a lot of cards left, but they are either for players I already posted for another year, or capless Braves and Angels who I am tired of looking at.

But reinforcements have arrived! Last month I bought eleven 1966 cards on eBay, my first "new" baseball cards since I binge-purchased a bunch of 1965 cards in 2015. (Since then, I only bought football cards to complete my 1964 to 1966 Eagles, and some of the giant 1964 Topps cards.)

For me, the prize is the NL Batting Leaders card, with its 3 Hall of Famers.  There's a full-height crease just to the left of Willie Mays, but that's ok, I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for this one. Now I can post the 3 NL Batting/HR/RBI cards for 1966, completing the 48-card run from 1966 to 1969.


Low Numbers:

High Numbers:
Coming up in the next several posts, I will also take an in-depth look at these final cards for Chi Chi Olivo, Dick Bertell, Dave Roberts, and Bob Sadowski.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Mickey Mantle (#50)

It's always a good day for a Mickey Mantle card! (Even a reprint.)


I got this card (and the 1965 Mantle reprint) on the same day I snagged a 1967 Brooks Robinson high-number in 2016.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Pirates Rookies (#123, #498)

Topps included 3 pitchers and a catcher in their 1966 Pirates Rookies Stars.

First up is Frank Bork, Topps apparently lost track of what they were doing with Bork, putting him on a Rookie Stars card 1 year after giving him his own card. Nice...


Jerry May was the Pirates' #1 catcher in 1967 and 1968, then backed up Manny Sanguillen from 1969-70. He also played for the Royals from 1971-73.


Luke Walker appeared on a Pirates Rookies card in '66, '67, and '68. (Can anyone say Lou Piniella?) After a 2-game debut in September 1965, he played 10 games in April and September 1966, then not again until the start of the 1968 season.


Woody Fryman was named to the Topps All-Rookie team in 1966 after posting a 12-9 record. After 2 seasons with the Bucs, he was traded to the Phillies (with 3 others) for pitcher Jim Bunning. He pitched 16 more seasons with the Phillies, Expos, and others.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Final Card: Gary Kroll

For some reason, I thought Gary Kroll was a Pirates' outfielder, but I must have been thinking of Gary Kolb.

This is Kroll's final card (#548), and is one of the few 1966 cards I don't have, so swiped internet images will have to do.

Kroll was signed by the Phillies in 1959, and played in their organization until his August 1964 trade to the Mets. (That appears to be Phillies' pinstripes he's wearing on the card.)

He made his major-league debut with the Phillies in late-July 1964, but after only 2 games he was traded to the Mets for slugger Frank Thomas, as the Phillies geared-up for their pennant drive.


Gary pitched 32 games (10 starts) for the Mets in 1965, but that was his only full season in the majors. He played minor-league ball from 1966-71, with only brief stints in the majors (10 games with the Astros in '66 and 19 games with the Indians in '69, all as a reliever).

He finished up his career with triple-A assignments for the Angels (1970) and Cardinals (1971).

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ron Hunt (#360)

As I said at the top of my multi-blog checklist post, there were over 880 players who played from 1966-1970. I liked many of those players and followed their on-field exploits. Some others I was ambivalent to, either because they were non-descript or that they played for (usually American league) teams I didn’t follow.

There are less than a half-dozen of these 880+ players I have little or no respect for, and for various reasons. At the top of that list is Ron Hunt. (In December I composed a blog post of my top 10 all-time annoying players, but shelved it because I thought it was too negative. Maybe I will trot it out after the season is under way.) 

By all accounts, Hunt was a decent player. He was the runner-up for the 1963 Rookie of the Year award, and by virtue of his All-Star selections in 1964 and 1966 was probably the Mets' best player in their early years.


But something happened to Ron Hunt once he got to the Giants in 1968. Always among the league leaders in HBP (except for 1965 when he missed many games), in '68 he started a streak of leading the league for 7 years, often more than doubling the total of the second-place guy.

Behold the stats:

In 1971 he was hit FIFTY times! The next highest total belonged to Rusty Staub, all the way down at 9. What, NL pitchers were only wild when Hunt came to the plate? No, this joker found a way to get on base without having to hit.

He's like that kid in "The Bad News Bears" that coach Walter Matthau orders to step into the pitch to get hit, because he can't hit but they need a baserunner to allow the next batter (their best hitter) to get to the plate. On second thought, I have more respect for that kid, because at least he didn't want to get hit on purpose.


The rules state that the batter needs to make an attempt to get out of the way. I'm just surprised that the umpires allowed this travesty to go on year after year, especially when he made it so obvious in 1971.

Ron Hunt, you have earned this blogger's Top Chump award.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Rene Lachemann (#157)

This is Rene Lachemann’s first solo card. It’s one of a handful of 1966 cards that appear to have been painted, rather than photographed. It’s also the same picture Topps used on the 4-player Athletics Rookies card in the 1965 set.

I much prefer his 1967 card (below), but this 1966 blog was short on Athletics, so here he is.

Wow, I am REALLY surprised to see how little major-league playing time Lachemann had! 92 games in 1965, only 7 games in 1966, NO games in 1967, and 19 games in 1968. Even having 4 new expansion teams in 1969 couldn’t keep him in the majors.


After working as the Dodgers' batboy from 1959-63, Rene was signed by the Athletics in 1964, and played in the minors every season from 1964-72. Early on, he was mostly a catcher, but during his 1969-72 stint with Oakland’s AAA club in Iowa, he was primarily a 1st baseman while also playing 3B, outfield, and a few games behind the plate.

He started 54 games as a rookie in 1965 (playing behind Bill Bryan), but it was all downhill after that. Was it his .227 batting average? His 57 strikeouts in 216 at-bats? Still, he hit 9 homers and collected 29 RBI – not bad for a part-time rookie catcher.


Lachemann began his managing career in 1973. After stints in the minors with the Athletics and Mariners from 1973-80, he managed the Mariners from 1981-83, the Brewers in 1984, and the Marlins from 1993-96. He also managed the Cubs for 1 game in 2002. His final skipper’s job was with the Rockies’ AAA team in 2009.

Lachemann’s brother Marcel was a pitcher for the Athletics from 1969-71, and managed the Angels from 1994-96.