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.