Sunday, December 30, 2012

Marcelino Lopez (#155)

Marcelino Lopez was the left-handed pitcher on the Topps 1965 All-Rookie team. He was one of 3 Angels named to the squad, and also one of 2 ex-Phillies' farmhands on the All-Rookie team.

At age 16, Lopez was signed by the Phillies in 1959, and was mostly a starting pitcher for 5 seasons in their farm system, including 2 in triple-A, before regressing to double-A in 1964. Marcelino also played in 4 games for the Phillies in April 1963, before returning to the minors.

In October 1964, Lopez was sent to the Angels as the player to be named later in the deal that brought rent-a-player Vic Power to the Phils for their pennant push that season.

Lopez was one of the Angels' top 3 starters during 1965 and 1966, He started 32 games each season, and was one of 3 Angels' pitchers to win at least 14 wins in 1965 (along with Dean Chance and Fred Newman). Marcelino finished 2nd to Curt Blefary in the 1965 Rookie of the Year award.

His record slipped to 7-14 in 1966, and shoulder problems in 1967 limited him to 4 games with the Angels before June 15th, when he was dealt to the Orioles for veteran utility man Woodie Held. He played 4 games with the O's, but spent most of 1967 and all of 1968 in the minors.

Lopez pitched 2 seasons in the Orioles bullpen, and appeared in the post-season in '69 and '70. Traded to the Brewers the following spring, he switched back to the starting rotation during the 1971 season, his last full season in the majors.

In March 1972, Lopez was sold to the Indians, but he spent most of that season in the minors. Marcelino played in the minors from 1974-76, including a stint in the Mexican League during 1974.

He passed away in November 2001 at age 58.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

American League Pitching Leaders (#222, 224, 226)

Here are the AL pitching leaders for 1965. As is so often the case, only a few teams are represented here, as several players from the same team are among the 9 (or in this case, 10) leaders.

The Indians' Sam McDowell finished first in ERA and strikeouts. Twenty-two points later, second-place Eddie Fisher shows up, followed by McDowell's teammate Sonny Siebert (who also finished 3rd in strikeouts). I sometimes wondered why teams with such good starting pitching (like the '67 White Sox and Phillies) didn't finish at the top.

(The 'More than 75 Innings' list was put in as a nod to relief pitchers.)

Two Minnesota Twins are featured on the pitching leaders card. Jim Grant and Jim Kaat sandwich Mel Stottlemyre of the (by now) hapless Yankees. (And Sam McDowell only missed 3rd place by 1 win!)

Not only did McDowell finish first in strikeouts, but he had NINETY-NINE more than the next guy! McDowell led the AL in K's almost every season from 1965-1970. Two Tigers (destined for prominence in 1968) and McDowell's sidekick Sonny Siebert round out the card.

The photos imply that McLain and Siebert tied for 3rd place, but the listing on back shows Siebert with one less strikeout. (If Topps did that, they should have slapped McDowell on the pitching leaders card.)

Indians - 4 (McDowell and Siebert, twice each)
Twins - 2 (Grant, Kaat)
Tigers - 2 (Lolich, McLain)
White Sox - 1 (Fisher)
Yankees - 1 (Stottlemyre)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Men Without Hats

WARNING: Do not view this post if you like well-designed baseball cards!

Here are the 1966 California Angels. Not a single player is shown with his team's logo. Why? Because they were the Los Angeles Angels, and are now the California Angels.

The Angels' lavender counterpart in the NL (the Braves) are also featured without caps, but the final 2 Braves' cards in the 1966 set (manager Bobby Bragan and pitcher Chi Chi Olivo) ARE photographed in the new Atlanta Braves caps.

Why no California Angels, Topps? Why?

(It looks like the Angels are cornering the market on Topps all-star rookies.)

And what's with these "side view" photos of Lou Burdette and Albie Pearson? Are we now collecting cards of players' ears? Burdette looks like he's in a lineup for the closing credits of a Dragnet episode.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Phillies Rookies - Ferguson Jenkins / Bill Sorrell

Winding down my cross-blog series on Phillies players from 1966-69. Only four to go after this card (one '68, one '69, two '70)...

This is the only Phillies Rookies card in the 1966 set (#254). It's the first card for both players, and also their only card as a Phillie.

For the two of you that have never heard this story, Ferguson Jenkins was traded to the Cubs in April 1966, and in 1967 began a string of many appearances on Topps cards as a Cub (coinciding with his string of 20-win seasons).  The rest is well-documented history.

Bill Sorrell was signed by the Phillies in 1959, and played 6 seasons (1960-65) in their system as a 2B-SS-3B-OF until making his major-league debut in September 1965. After another year on the farm, he was selected by the Giants in the Rule 5 draft after the '66 season. He showed up on a Giants Rookies card in 1967, played 18 early-season games with San Francisco, then was sent back to the Phillies in late June (resuming his minor-league career).

Except for 57 games with the 1970 Royals (and a solo card in the '71 set), Bill spent all of 1968-71 in the minors, followed by 2 seasons in Japan.

Sorrell passed away in 2008 at age 67.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Togetherness (Lee May / Darrell Osteen)

I just noticed this last week:

Has this ever happened before or since?  Even Bill Davis, the Indians' rookie 1st baseman who famously appeared on FIVE rookie stars cards in the 1960s, managed to get a different dance partner each time.

The life and times of Lee May have already been covered here.

Darrell Osteen was signed by the Reds in 1962, 5 years after they signed pitcher Claude Osteen (who until today, I thought was his brother). Darrell pitched in the Reds' farm system from 1962-67, and made a few appearances with the Reds in '65, '66, and '67.

After the 1967 season, he and outfielder Floyd Robinson were traded to the Athletics for pitcher Ron Tompkins. Osteen missed the 1968 and 1969 seasons, but pitched in 3 games for Oakland in 1970, while spending most of 1970 and all of 1971 in the minors with the A's and Yankees.

I'm starting a rumor that Osteen, miffed when he couldn't stay with Lee May in Cincinnati, demanded a trade to another organization:

Osteen now takes his place among Bill Davis, Lou Piniella and Ron Stone in the 3+ Rookie Stars club.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Final Card: Recapping all 80

For the past few years, one of the recurring series on this blog has been a player's final card. The 1966 set includes the final card for 76 players and 5 managers. I have 72 of those 81 cards, all pictured below in order of years of service, from Robin Roberts (19 years) and Del Crandall (16 years) who both began their major-league careers in the 1940s, to a handful of 1-year wonders (Pete Charton to Bill Wakefield).

Among these 80, there are the famous (Roberts, Sandy Koufax, Bobby Richardson) the infamous (Tracy Stallard, Ernie Broglio), some who have been long forgotten, and many others in-between.

If I recall correctly, only Merritt Ranew ('69 Pilots), Lenny Green, Buster Narum, Larry Bearnarth, and Dick Stuart played after the 1966 season.

Those "absent on picture day" were:
Bob Purkey, P, Pirates, 13 seasons
Dick Bertell, C, Giants, 7
Art Mahaffey, P, Cardinals, 7
Choo Choo Coleman, C, Mets, 4
Chi-Chi Olivo, P, Braves, 4
Bob Sadowski, P, Red Sox, 4
Dave Roberts, OF, Pirates, 3
Birdie Tebbetts, Manager, Indians
6/17/2014 edit: Gary Kroll, P, Astros, 4

Also check out the 1967 and 1968 final cards.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Final Card: Frank Carpin

There's always a straggler....

This is the only card for pitcher Frank Carpin (#71). Carpin was signed by the Yankees in 1959, and was (mostly) a starting pitcher in their organization for six years. After the 1964 season, the Pirates selected him in the minor league draft.

Frank split the 1965 season between the Pirates and their AAA team in Columbus. His major-league debut came on May 25th, and he made 39 appearances (all in relief). He pitched a total of 39.2 innings, so maybe he was their situational lefty.

That November, the Astros picked him up in the Rule 5 draft. Carpin made 6 relief appearances by May 6th, then was sent down to triple-A Oklahoma city, where he pitched 44 games in relief. (I guess the Pirates refused to take him back, per Rule 5 rules.) Frank returned to the Astros in August, and pitched in 4 more games - the last on September 3rd.

His career was cut short due to bone chips in his elbow.

Here's another blogger's story of Frank Carpin, from Notre Dame to the major leagues to the business world.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Final Card: Dan Napoleon

Dan Napoleon (#87) is the final "final card" for the 1966 set. There were quite a few Mets in this subset - were they cleaning house? Possibly, because I seem to recall that there are more Mets in the '67 set than any other team.

Napoleon was signed by the Mets in 1964, and had an 8-year minor-league career (1964-71).

Dan appeared in 68 games with the Mets in 1965, as he was with the team for the entire season except for the month of August. Mostly used as a pinch-hitter, he played the field in 15 games, 8th among Mets' outfielders that season.

The next season he played 12 games with the Mets during his September call-up, frequently starting in left field.

Just days before the 1967 season began, Dan was traded to the Cardinals (along with veteran shortstop Ed Bressoud) for pitcher Art Mahaffey and infielders Jerry Buchek and Tony Martinez. Dan would never make it back to the majors, playing the next 5 seasons  in the minors for the Cardinals, White Sox, and Twins.

Napoleon passed away on 4/26/2003 in Trenton, NJ at age 61.

This is the last of my "final card" posts for the 1966 set. Next time, I'll post a recap of all the cards, as I did with the 1967 set.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Final Card: Don Le John

Presenting the one and only card for Don Le John (#41). Le John was one of the seemingly never-ending stream of rookie 3rd basemen showing up at Chavez Ravine in the 1960s. But unlike John Werhas, Derrell Griffith, Bill Sudakis, Billy Grabarkiewitz, Steve Garvey, and Bobby Valentine, Le John's major-league career lasted only 34 games (all in 1965).

I never heard of Don until I got this card a few years ago. The best part of this card (for me) is the bleachers and scoreboard at Connie Mack Stadium seen in the background.

Le John was signed in 1954 by the BROOKLYN Dodgers. He played 3rd base and 2nd base in the Dodgers' chain for the next 15 seasons, finally retiring in 1968 at age 34. From that standpoint, he's more like long-time Dodgers' organizational fodder Bart Shirley, John Werhas, and Derrell Griffith than the other big names listed above.

His only big-league action came in 34 games during the last 3 months of the 1965 season. After his playing career, he managed in the Dodgers' minor-league system for many years.

Le John passed away on 2/25/2005 at age 70.

Only one more "final card" to post - a Mets' outfielder.  Any guesses?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Final Card: Bill Wakefield

Here's Bill Wakefield's final card (#443). He also appeared in the 1965 set, and on a Mets Rookies card in 1964 set, which used a photo very similar to this one.

Wakefield was signed by the Cardinals in 1961, and pitched in their system from 1961-63, working his way up from class-A Lancaster (PA), through AA Tulsa, and AAA Atlanta. After the '63 season, Bill was traded to the Mets with outfielder George Altman for pitcher Roger Craig.

Bill spent the entire 1964 season with the Mets, appearing in 62 games (all but 4 in relief). It would be his only major-league experience, as he spent the 1965 season in triple-A and all of 1966 in double-A before hanging 'em up.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Final Card: Greg Bollo

This is the 2nd and final card for White Sox' pitcher Greg Bollo (#301). He also appeared in the 1965 set on a White Sox rookies card with Bob Locker.

Bollo was signed by Chicago in 1964, and was a starting pitcher for 2 different class-A teams in the Sox' organization, before jumping all the way to the majors in 1965. He was with the White Sox for the entire '65 season, pitching 22 innings across 15 games, but finishing with a 0-0 record.

Greg was busted all the way back to class A in 1966, compiling an 11-11 record in 25 starts, before being recalled in September. His game action with Chicago consisted of 2 relief appearances in late September, as well as starting the last game of the season, a 2-0 loss to the Yankees where he lasted 4 innings. That was to be his last major-league appearance.

Bollo pitched the next 4 seasons for the White Sox' AAA and AA clubs, mostly as a starter, then hung up his spikes after the 1970 season.  

We're getting near the end of the "Final Card" series. I don't have the (final) 1966 cards for Bob Purkey, Dick Bertell, Art Mahaffey, Choo Choo Coleman, Chi Chi Olivo, Bob Sadowski, Dave Roberts, or Frank Carpin Birdie Tebbetts. That leaves only 3 more to go for this 1966 set: 2 Mets and a Dodger.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Final Card: Hector Valle

This is the final card for Dodgers' backup catcher Hector Valle (#314). Valle's only other card was a late-series Dodgers Rookies card in the 1965 set, which he shared with Jim Lefebvre and Mike Kekich.

Valle was signed by the Dodgers in 1960, and caught in their farm system for over 5 seasons before making it to the majors. Only during the 1962 and 1964 seasons did he play full-time.

Valle's major-league career consisted of 9 games for the Dodgers during the 1965 season. He played in 6 games in June (2 starts), and 3 later in the season, including starting the final game of the season. With John Roseboro and Jeff Torborg combining for 159 starts in 1965, there just wasn't much need for a 3rd-string catcher.

Hector played in the Dodgers' system through 1967, then after one season in the Mets' chain, he caught for the Tigers' AAA Toledo team for 2 1/2 seasons, and finished up the 1971 season with the AAA Omaha Royals.

Valle played in the Mexican League off and on from 1973 to 1981.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Final Card: Ernie Bowman

[Winding down the "Final Card" series for the 1966 set. After today's card, there's just 5 more to go. (Actually, there's 13 more, but I don't have 8 of them.) In any case, none of the remaining cards are a Twins' manager this time.]

Here's the last of three cards for infielder Ernie Bowman (#302). His rookie card was in the 1962 set, where he appeared on a full card as a member of the Giants. On that card, he looks like a pitcher in the stretch position, ready to fire a fastball plateward.

Bowman was signed by the New York Giants in 1956, and played the next 5 seasons as a 2nd baseman and shortstop in their farm system. As a first-year player in St. Cloud, MN, one of his teammates was Orlando Cepeda.

Bowman made his major-league debut with the Giants in April 1961, and spent most of the year with San Francisco as a utility infielder, while spending most of May and June back in triple-A. Ernie remained with the Giants for all of the next 2 seasons in a bench role.

His final major-league game came in September 1963, although Bowman continued in the minors for another 6 seasons. In January 1964, he was sent to the Braves as the player to be named later in the 7-player Felipe Alou trade.

After 2 seasons, the Braves sent Ernie and infielder Lou Klimchock to the Mets for outfielder Billy Cowan. A year later, he was traded to the Indians (again with his traveling partner Klimchock) for pitcher Floyd Weaver.

After playing regularly from 1964-66, his playing time continued to decrease from 1967-69, as he bounced around the triple-A teams for the Indians, Pirates, Braves, Reds, and Red Sox.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Final Card: Jack Cullen

This is the last of 2 Topps cards for Jack Cullen (#31). Cullen's rookie card was in the 1963 set, a 4-player Rookie Stars card that also featured future NBA star Dave DeBusschere.

Jack was signed by the Yankees in 1959, and pitched 8 seasons (1959-66) as a starter in their farm system. Cullen won in double figures for his first 4 seasons in the minors, and had a 2-game cup of coffee with the Yanks in September 1962.

After two off-years (1963-64), he bounced back in '65 with a 14-5 record, which earned him a 2-month stay with New York at the end of the '65 season. He made 9 starts and 3 relief appearances with the Yankees that season.

Cullen made 5 relief appearances for the Yankees in April and early May 1966, but spent the remainder of that year back in triple-A. After the season, he was traded to the Dodgers for 3rd baseman John Kennedy.

Jack never made it back to the majors. Although always a starter in the Yankees' farm system, the Dodgers converted him to a reliever, and he spent 2 seasons with their triple-A club in Spokane before wrapping up his career with 2 seasons (1969-70) as a member of the Braves' triple-A team in Richmond, VA.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Final Card: Al Stanek

Here is the last of 3 cards for Giants' pitcher Al Stanek (#437). It's the same photo used on his rookie card in the 1964 set.

Stanek was signed by the Giants in 1962, and pitched that season for the Springfield (MA) Giants in the Eastern League, compiling a 3-3 record in 12 games (11 starts).

Al spent just 1 season in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Giants in April 1963. He was with the Giants all season, but was used sparingly (April: 1 game, May: 1, Jun: 3, Jul: 2, Aug: 1, Sep: 3), all in relief.

1963 would be Stanek's only taste of the big leagues, as he spent the next 2 1/2 seasons as a starter in triple-A followed by 1 1/2 seasons as a reliever in double-A, retiring after the 1967 season.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Final Card: Gordon Richardson

This is the first and last card for Mets' pitcher Gordon Richardson (#51). Here, Gordie is sporting the New York World's Fair patch on his left shoulder. (Back in the day, I think only the Mets and Twins had shoulder patches on their uniforms.)

Gordie was signed by the Cardinals in 1957, and spent 7 1/2 seasons pitching in their farm system. He was stuck in double-A for 4 seasons (1960-63) despite winning in double figures for 3 of those seasons.

Richardson made his major-league debut on July 26, 1964, pitching a 6-1 complete game victory over the Phillies. He remained with the Cardinals for the rest of the season, fashioning a 4-2 record in 19 games.

After the season he was traded to the Mets (with outfielder Johnny Lewis) for pitcher Tracy Stallard and minor-league infielder Elio Chacon.

Gordie split the '65 and '66 seasons between the Mets and their triple-A team. In 1965, he appeared in 35 games for the Mets (all in relief). After 15 appearances in 1966 (the last on June 5th) he returned to the minors for the rest of the season. It would be his last.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Final Card: Pete Charton

This is the final card for Pete Charton (#329) who pitched one season in the majors (1964). He also appeared on the Red Sox Rookies card in the 1964 set.

There seems to be an unusually large number of players in the 1966 set with their own card, while having only 1 season of prior major-league experience. Why Charton has a card in the 1966 set is puzzling, as he spent the entire '65 season in the minors, after pitching 25 games with the Sox in 1964.

On top of all that inactivity, Pete missed the entire 1966 season, then pitched 13 games in double-A ball in 1967 before his career was over.

Why Topps, why?

 Here is an interview with Pete Charton on another blog.