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?