Thursday, December 26, 2013

Joe Gibbon (#457)

Wow! Either Joe is pitching in front of a Blue Screen, or that was one nice day at spring training! I vote for the Blue Screen.

Joe Gibbon was signed by the Pirates in 1957, and spent 3 seasons as a starting pitcher in their minor-league system. Joe made the Pirates at the start of the 1960 season, making 9 starts and pitching 18 games in relief as a rookie, totaling 80 innings. He also pitched in 2 games in the 1960 World Series.

In 1961, Joe became a full-time starter. With veteran Vern Law limited to 11 games that season, Gibbon stepped up to the #2 spot in the rotation, behind Bob Friend. Joe led the staff with 145 strikeouts, and compiled a 13-10 record while logging 195 innings pitched.

From 1962-65 he returned to his role as a swing man, although he was primarily a starter in 1964. After the 1965 season, he was traded to the Giants (with Ozzie Virgil) for outfielder Matty Alou.

Joe played with the Giants for the next 3 1/2 seasons, primarily as a reliever, although he started 10 games in 1966 and in 1967.

In mid-June 1969, he returned to the Pirates in exchange for veteran relief pitcher Ron Kline. In 35 games for the Pirates in 1969, Gibbon compiled a 1.93 ERA. Gibbon remained with the Pirates through the end of the 1970 season, including the ’70 NLCS against the Reds.

He was released after the season, but hooked on with the Reds the following spring. The Reds and Gibbon both had off-years in 1971, and in May 1972, Joe and his 54.00 ERA (after pitching only one-third of an inning across 2 games) were given the boot.

He was picked up by the Astros 2 weeks later, but only lasted 2 months with Houston. Joe was released on July 21st, ending his 13-year career.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Al Ferrara (#487)

Here is Al Ferrara's 1966 card. I have already reviewed his career when I posted his 1967 card, so I won't go into much of that here.

I usually don't post multiple cards of the same player, but this card has such a great pose, one usually reserved for catchers watching a pop-up (sometimes referred to as "looking up to God").

Maybe Al is trying to determine if today's game will be rained out. Or maybe he's saying "Hey Skip, the Giants have sent a surveillance blimp over our practice field!" 

Ferrara played in the Dodgers farm system from 1959-65, and for the Dodgers for part of 1963, and again from 1965-68.  After missing all but 2 games in '68 with a broken leg, he was selected by the expansion Padres, and was a regular for them from 1969-70. He split the 1971 season between the Padres and the Reds, before retiring.

Al currently works in the Dodgers' community relations department.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dave McNally (#193)

Here is Dave McNally, months before leading the Orioles to their first-ever World Series championship, a 4-0 sweep of the defending champion Dodgers. In his 4th full season, McNally led the ’66 starting rotation in starts, innings pitched, and strikeouts, while compiling a 13-6 record. (2nd-year man Jim Palmer edged him out with 15 wins.)

Dave was signed by the O’s in 1960, and made his major-league debut at age 19 during the last week of September 1962, with a complete-game shutout of the Kansas City Athletics.

In 1963, McNally began the season in the bullpen, but in mid-June was promoted to the starting rotation that included veteran Robin Roberts, as well as Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, and Mike McCormick. Dave replaced Chuck Estrada, who had compiled a 9-17 record in the previous season.

McNally and Barber both had off-years in 1964, each winning only 9 games, while Roberts, Pappas, and rookie Wally Bunker all won in double figures (with 19 wins for Bunker).

In 1965 Dave won 11 games, as every starter but Roberts (who, at age 38, compiled a 5-7 record and was released at the end of July) was having a good season.

Jim Palmer joined the rotation in 1966, replacing Pappas (who was traded to the Reds for Frank Robinson). McNally, Palmer, Bunker, Barber, and closer Stu Miller, along with the batting of Frank and Brooks Robinson, propelled the Orioles to the World Series. Dave started games 1 and 4 in the '66 Series.

Here are 2 famous photos of McNally from the Series:

After an injury-filled 1967, Dave bounced back and won 20 or more games each season from 1968-71, including a league-leading 24 in 1970. He also made 3 all-star teams during that stretch, and pitched in the '69, '70, and '71 World Series, as well as the '73 and '74 ALCS.

McNally pitched for the Orioles through the 1974 season, then was traded to the Montreal Expos. He played the 1975 season without a contract, then after the season he and Angels’ Dodgers' pitcher Andy Messersmith challenged baseball’s reserve clause (as Curt Flood had done 6 years earlier). This time, McNally and Messersmith were granted free agency, the first to achieve that. However, McNally had not intended to continue playing, and retired. This story is told in more detail by blogger CommishBob near the end of this post.

Dave finished 2nd among Orioles’ starting pitchers of his era in games, innings pitched, and wins:

McNally retired to his hometown of Billings, Montana, and passed away in 2002 from lung cancer at age 60.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don Mincher (#388)

Don Mincher began his career with the White Sox (I learned something new today!) in 1956. After 4 seasons on the Sox’ farm (where he hit a total of 60 home runs), Don was traded to the (old) Washington Senators (with catcher Earl Battey) for veteran 1st-sacker Roy Sievers on April 4, 1960.

Mincher started the first 20 games for the Senators in 1960, but with his batting average in the .230s by mid-June, he was sent down to the minors for the rest of the season, returning only for the last 2 weeks in September.

The Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, and “Minch” was with them to start the season. This time, he only made it to the Memorial Day doubleheader before he and his .188 batting average were demoted to triple-A Buffalo.

Don returned to the big leagues to stay in 1962, although he only played in half the Twins’ games in ’62 and ’63. He was used primarily as a pinch-hitter in 1962, but started 20 games at 1st base when Vic Power needed a break. In 1963, he only made 2 starts during the first half, but started 55 of the final 75 games at first base.

In 1964, Power only started 7 games (and was shipped out in June), but Mincher had to contend with ex-rightfielder Bob Allison, who set up shop at first base in ’64 when rookie Tony Oliva joined the team as the everyday right fielder. Don only managed 65 starts to Allison’s 90, but appeared in another 55 games as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.

Don began to establish himself in 1965. Although he only started 5 games before mid-June (Harmon Killebrew was this year’s first baseman), Mincher started most of the games after that, when Killebrew began alternating between 1st and 3rd, then Harmon missed all of August and half of September with an injury. Mincher was the team’s primary 1st baseman, although with only 89 starts. In the ’65 World Series, Don only hit .130 while playing in all 7 games.

Don’s last year with the Twins was 1966, when he set new personal highs in games played (139), games started (118), hits (108), and doubles (30), although his homer total dipped below 20. After the season, he was traded to the Angels (with pitcher Pete Cimino and outfielder Jimmie Hall) for 1964’s Cy Young Award winner Dean Chance, and reserve shortstop Jackie Hernandez.

Mincher spent 2 seasons with the Angels. In 1967, he rebounded in most offensive categories, and made his first of 2 all-star appearances. He slumped the following season, and was left unprotected in the expansion draft.

The Seattle Pilots made him their 2nd pick in the expansion draft, and he was their regular 1st baseman. He was also the clean-up batter until late-July, when he was dropped to the #5 slot. Don was the Pilots’ only all-star game representative.

In January 1970, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Lew Krausse and Ken Sanders, catcher Phil Roof, and outfielder Mike Hershberger. Mincher was Oakland’s first baseman for 1970 and the first month of 1971. In early May, he was traded to the Senators for 1st baseman Mike Epstein. Mincher was back in Washington, making him one of only 8 players to have played for both Washington Senators franchises.

In July 1972, Don’s team (now the Texas Rangers) traded him back to Oakland for infielders Vic Harris and Marty Martinez. With Epstein entrenched as the regular, Mincher was mostly used to pinch-hit, and got 2 at-bats in the 1972 post-season. He retired after the season.

In March 2012, Mincher died at age 73, in his birthplace of Huntsville, Alabama.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bill Mazeroski (#210)

I led off last week’s 1968 Bob Gibson post with some comments on various superstars that I managed to overlook so far on my blogs. Since then, I was checking each blog for the number of posts per team. 

It looks like time for some team-balancing. On this blog alone, there are only 3 posts each for the Cardinals, Pirates, and Twins, while the Angels (!?!) have 10 posts. The 1968 blog: 10 Red Sox, but only 2 Braves and 3 Dodgers. On the 1969 blog, five teams don’t have any posts, while the Braves and White Sox only have 1 each. 

So, across my 1966-69 blogs, in addition to working in the stars like Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench, I’m going to catch up on the forgotten teams, and place an embargo on Phillies :(, Mets, Red Sox, Astros, and some other teams for a while. (I've also added who's "on deck" to my sidebars.) 

Bill Mazeroski was signed by the Pirates in 1954, and made his major-league debut on 7/7/1956 at age 19. He was handed the starting 2nd base job that day, and started 81 of the final 86 games that season.

Bill was a defensive wizard, winning 8 Gold Gloves between 1958 and 1967, and making 7 all-star appearances during those same 10 years. “Maz” started 138 or more games every season from 1957 to 1968 (except for 1959 (129) and 1965 (125) ), and topped 160 starts three times.

During the ’68 and ’69 seasons, the Pirates were working Freddie Patek in at shortstop, so incumbent shortstop Gene Alley made several dozen starts at 2nd base in those seasons. In September 1969, rookie Dave Cash was called up and started most of the remaining games at 2nd.

Mazeroski and Cash shared the 2nd base job 70/30 during the 1970 season, and the following season Cash took over the starting job, leaving only 3 dozen starts each for Maz and rookie Rennie Stennett.

In Bill’s final season (1972), he was relegated to a bench role, playing in only 34 games (12 starts at 2nd base).

Maz is best known for his exploits in the 1960 World Series vs. the Yankees. He hit .320 with 2 homers and 5 RBI, including a walk-off home run off of Ralph Terry with no out and nobody on in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 7. He was also a limited participant in the ’70, ’71, and ‘72 post-seasons.

Mazeroski was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2001.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bob Allison (#345)

Yes I know, back-to-back Twins, but the Twins are woefully under-represented here (2 posts). At first, I was going to post the Team Card (since they are the defending 1965 AL Champions), but I soon realized that was one of the 79 cards in the set that I don’t have. 

Next for consideration was Harmon Killebrew, but I decided to post his 1970 card instead, for reasons that will soon be apparent. That led me to Killer’s partner in batting mayhem: Bob Allison. 

Bob Allison had a 13-year major-league career, all with the Twins (and their predecessor, the old Washington Senators) from 1958 to 1970. His peak years were from 1959 (when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award) to 1968.

Allison was signed by the Senators in 1955, and played 4 seasons in the minors. After crashing 28 homers in double-A in 1958, he was called up in September (having never played at the AAA level). He started 10 of the final 11 games in center field in place of Albie Pearson, who would win the Rookie of the Year award that season.

Bob began the 1959 season in right field, but after 6 games was moved to left field. Five games later, he moved to center field and never looked back. He started 132 games in center field, made the all-star team, led the AL with 9 triples, and bashed 30 homers on his way to a Rookie of the Year season. Quite a start to his career!

1960 was an off-year for Allison (15 homers), but after the team moved to Minnesota, he rebounded with 29 homers and over 100 RBI in both the ’61 and ’62 seasons. Bob was the team’s everyday right fielder from 1960 through the 1963 season, and with Killebrew in left field during ’62 and ’63, that was a power-hitting outfield.

In 1964, it was Allison (not Killebrew, surprisingly) that moved in to first base to make room for rookie Tony Oliva in right field. Bob started 90 games at 1st base, while Don Mincher started 65 times. Allison also started 27 games in center and 13 times in right field.

Allison and Killebrew switched positions in 1965, with Bob getting 117 starts in left field, while rookie Sandy Valdespino started 38 games. Meanwhile, Killebrew split his time between 1st base and 3rd base (where he hadn’t played since 1961). Allison had another down year at the plate in 1965. After hitting 35 and 32 homers the previous 2 seasons (with 2 all-star appearances), he only managed 23 home runs (along with a .233 batting average). His production continued to fade in 1966, as he only played in 70 games that season.

He regained his starting job in 1967, hitting 24 homers while starting 136 games in left field. Bob began losing playing time in 1968, making only 110 starts in left field and 17 at first base.

Allison was a part-time player in 1969 and 1970, sharing left field with Jim Nettles and Charlie Manuel in 1969, and mostly pinch-hitting in 1970. He retired after the 1970 season.

In 1987, Allison began experiencing difficulty with his coordination. After a few years, he was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease, and eventually lost the ability to walk and talk. He passed away from the disease in 1995 at age 60.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Zoilo Versalles (#400)

So far, I've only posted one card with a number ending in '00'. Sandy Koufax (#100) was the first card posted to this blog. Today I have another of the five "hero cards" in this set.

Zoilo Versalles was the AL MVP in 1965, which explains why Topps assigned a "00" card number to a non-(future)-hall-of-famer. I didn't follow baseball in 1965, but in looking at Zoilo's stats, he led the AL with 122 strikeouts, despite hitting only 19 homers. He DID lead the AL in runs (126), doubles (45), triples (12), plate appearances (728), and at-bats (666), but only hit .273, and fell short of the magic 200 hits barrier with 182. It helped that his Twins were in the World Series that year.

Versalles was signed by the (old) Washington Senators in 1958, and played 3 seasons in the minors, while also playing a dozen or so games with the Senators in '59 and '60.

When the team moved to Minnesota in 1961, Zoilo became the starting shortstop from opening day, and started 126 games there as a rookie, backed up by José Valdivielso with 35 starts. (Hah! You probably thought "Zoilo Versalles" was going to be the most unusual name in this post!) Versalles remained the Twins' regular shortstop through the 1967 season, though he never duplicated his 1965 production.

In November 1967, he was traded to the Dodgers (with starting pitcher Jim Grant) for relievers Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller, and catcher John Roseboro. It looked like a win-win trade. Minnesota needed a catcher to replace the retired Earl Battey, and the Dodgers needed a shortstop to replace Maury Wills, who was traded away a year earlier.

After a poor season in LA (batting .196), Versalles was exposed to the expansion draft, and was selected by the Padres. To add further embarrassment, six weeks later the Padres traded Zoilo to the Indians for minor-league first baseman Bill Davis, he of FIVE Rookie Stars baseball cards in the 1960s.

After only 72 games with the Indians (where he was a part-time 2nd baseman and occasional 3rd baseman), the Tribe sold Versalles to the (new) Washington Senators, thereby making him one of only 8 players to have played for both the old and new Washington Senators. Zoilo finished out the year with the Senators, then was released the following April.

He played ball in Mexico from 1970 to 1974, although also appearing in 66 games for the Braves for the last 4 months of the 1971 season.

Versalles passed away on 6/9/1995 in Bloomington, MN at age 55.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tony Cloninger (#10)

Looking at the Vintage Year Blogs in the sidebar below, it seems that this is Tony Cloninger week, so...

As with 99% of the lavender-colored cards (Braves, Angels), Tony Cloninger appears capless. Those teams had just changed their names, and being card #10, Tony had no shot at having an updated photo.

Cloninger was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1958, and made his big-league debut in June 1961, essentially replacing Bob Buhl in the rotation.

After a few seasons pitching behind aging veterans Warren Spahn and Lou Burdette (and a stint in the bullpen during 1963), Tony was the ace of the Braves' staff from 1964-66. He won 19 games in 1964 and 24 in 1965, but his most famous moment was hitting 2 grand slams in a game against the Giants in 1966. His career began to fade in 1967, just as Phil Niekro established himself as Atlanta's new ace.

Cloninger was traded to the Reds in June 1968 (along with pitcher Clay Carroll and infielder Woody Woodward) for pitchers Milt Pappas and Ted Davidson, and infielder Bob Johnson. In his 3 full seasons with Cincinnati, Cloninger posted records of 11-17, 9-7, and 3-6.

During spring training in 1972, he was traded to the Cardinals for 2nd baseman Julian Javier. Tony was released by St. Louis in late July, and was re-signed by the Braves, although he spent the remainder of the season in triple-A, before retiring.

Also check out Cloninger's 1967 card.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Chico Ruiz (#159)

Here is Cincinnati Reds' backup shortstop Chico Ruiz, not to be confused with Reds' STARTING shortstop Chico Cardenas shown below. (In 1966, Cardenas started all 160 of the Reds' games that season, while Ruiz played 10 innings in late-inning situations.)

Ruiz was with the Reds from 1964-69, and saw most of his playing time as a backup 2nd baseman, although he played some at shortstop in '67 and '69. He is probably best-remembered for stealing home in a September 1964 game against the Phillies, precipitating the Phillies' late-season collapse.

Hiraldo "Chico" Ruiz was signed by the Reds in 1958, and played in their minor leagues as a shortstop (1959-62), then split time between 3B and SS in 1963.

Ruiz made his major-league debut with the Reds in April 1964. He started the first 20 games at 3rd base for the Reds, but was sent back to the minors in mid-May, where he remained until late July. While in triple-A, he played mostly 3rd base, and a little shortstop. Chico returned to the Reds in late July, and soon found himself starting 23 straight games at 2nd base (presumably Pete Rose was injured). When Rose returned, Ruiz started 21 of the Reds' final 23 games at 3rd base.

With rookies Tony Perez (1965) and Tommy Helms (1966) joining the Reds, Ruiz was relegated to utility infielder status for the rest of his time in Cincinnati. He got the most playing time in 1967, when he started many games at 2nd base while various other infielders were on the DL. Ruiz was good-natured about his utilityman status, and after his extended playing time in 1967, he told his manager to "bench me or trade me".

After the 1969 season, Ruiz was traded to the Angels (with outfielder Alex Johnson) for pitchers Pedro Borbon, Jim McGlothlin, and Vern Geishert. Chico played 2 seasons with the Angels as a utility infielder, but was released after the 1971 season.

Shortly after he was signed by the Kansas City Royals, he was killed in a car crash in February 1972 in San Diego.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Milt Pappas (#105)

This is Milt Pappas' last card as a member of the Orioles. Milt was traded to the Reds for Frank Robinson in December 1965, too late for his 1st-series card to be corrected. Both Robinson and Pappas are pictured as Orioles.

I think Milt looks like Queen front-man Freddie Mercury:

Pappas was signed by Baltimore in 1957, and after only THREE games in the minors, he made his Orioles debut on 8/10/57, at age 18. After 4 relief appearances in '57, Pappas joined the starting rotation in 1958, and was a key starter from 1958-65.

Milt's 1st card with the Cincinnati Reds was the only 1967 card without a facsimile autograph. After 2 1/2 seasons with the Reds, Pappas was traded to the Braves in a 6-player deal.

He had 2 off-years in Atlanta, then was sold to the Cubs in June 1970, where he rebounded with several good seasons, winning 17 games in both 1971 and 1972.

Pappas retired after slumping to 7-12 in 1973.

NOTE: A new blogger has joined the ranks of the vintage year sets - The 1972 Topps Baseball Set (also found on my sidebar)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ron Swoboda (#35)

Wrapping up the 10-man squad of Topps 1965 All-Star Rookies is outfielder Ron Swoboda.

Ron was signed by the Mets in September 1963, and after one season (1964) in the minors, he debuted with the Mets in April 1965, at age 20. During his first 2 seasons, he was the primary left fielder, playing 135 games as a rookie while sharing the starting job with Joe Christopher. In 1966 he appeared in 112 games, starting 80 games in left.

With the Mets' acquisition of Tommy Davis from the Dodgers, Ron moved over to right field in 1967, and was the regular for the next 4 seasons, including his famous defensive exploits in the 1969 World Series.

During spring training 1971, Swoboda was traded to the Expos for outfielder Don Hahn. By mid-season, he went to the Yankees in exchange for outfielder Ron Woods. Ron played 2 more seasons ('72-'73) as an outfield sub with the Yankees, and spent part of 1973 with triple-A Syracuse.

The Yankees released him in December 1973, but he was picked up by the Braves a few weeks later, only to be released in spring training.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jose Cardenal (#505)

Jose Cardenal was the centerfielder for the Topps 1965 All-Rookie team. He is one of 3 Angels' rookies (along with Marcelino Lopez and Paul Schaal) to make the squad.

Never an all-star or a league leader, Jose was a steady regular outfielder for several teams from 1965-1976, and played through the end of the 1980 season.

Jose started 125 games as a rookie in center for the Halos, including 116 of the first 131 games. He only started 2 games after September 12th, while the Angels gave a look-see to September call-ups Rick Reichardt and Dick Simpson.

Born in Cuba in 1943, Cardenal was signed by the Giants late in 1960, and played in their farm system from 1961-64, while also playing a few games with San Francisco in April and September 1963, and in September 1964.

After the 1964 season, he was traded to the Angels for C/1B Jack Hiatt. He assumed the starting center fielder's job from opening day 1965, and held it for 2 full seasons. In 1967, he shared the post with Jay Johnstone for the first half, and with Roger Repoz for the second half. Jose also made some starts at both corner fields.

Jose was traded to the Indians in November 1967 for outfielder Chuck Hinton. Cardenal was Cleveland's regular center fielder for 2 seasons, pushing incumbent Vic Davalillo over to a right field mix with several others. Jose started a career-high 142 games in center in 1968.

Cardenal was traded to the Cardinals after the '69 season for outfielder Vada Pinson, then moved on to Milwaukee in July 1971.

His longest stint with any one team was 1972-77 with the Chicago Cubs. After 3 seasons as the right fielder and 2 in left field, Jose became a role player in his last season in Chicago.

He moved on to the Phillies in 1978, backing up 1st baseman Richie Hebner, while occasionally playing in the outfield. In August 1979, he was dealt to the Mets (his EIGHTH team). By this time, Cardenal was mainly a pinch-hitter.

Released by the Mets the following August, he caught on with the Royals a week later, and played in 4 games in the 1980 World Series before retiring after the season.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Curt Blefary (#460)

Curt Blefary was one of the three outfielders on the Topps 1965 All-Rookie team.

He made more starts (131) in the O's outfield than any other player, as he split his time between left and right. Curt also hit 22 home runs, and was named AL Rookie of the Year in 1965.

The following season the Orioles acquired Frank Robinson to play right field, and Boog Powell became the regular first baseman, so Blefary moved to left field full-time. (He also started 11 games at 1st base.)

Blefary was signed by the Yankees prior to the 1962 season. In late April 1963 he was drafted by the Orioles, and spent 2 seasons in their farm system. His 31 homers in 1964 earned him a spot with the Orioles in 1965.

Curt spent 4 seasons in Baltimore, hitting 22, 23, 22, and 15 homers per season. He was the O's regular left fielder in the 1966 World Series, although he only got 1 hit in 15 at-bats.

In 1967, Blefary split his playing time between left field (84 starts) and 1st base (48 starts), as the Orioles tried several ways to keep his bat in the lineup, despite his defensive shortcomings. (Frank Robinson dubbed him "Clank".)

During Curt's last season in Baltimore, he started 38 games behind the plate and 40 in right field during the first half of the season. He returned to left field for the 2nd half of the season.

After the '68 season, Blefary was traded to the Astros for pitcher Mike Cuellar and shortstop Enzo Hernandez. Exactly one year later, he went to the Yankees for Joe Pepitone.

Curt split 1971 between the Yankees and Athletics, and 1972 between Oakland and San Diego. After his release by the Padres, he was signed by the Braves in 1973, but played for their triple-A team before retiring.

Blefary passed away in 2001 at age 57, with his ashes scattered over the Memorial Stadium demolition site in Baltimore.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Paul Schaal (#376)

Here is the 2nd of 3 Angels in the All-Rookie subset - 3rd baseman Paul Schaal.

Schaal was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in 1962, and played 3 seasons in their minor-league system, mostly as a 3rd baseman, but played over half his games at 2nd base in 1964. He made his big-league debut in September 1964, playing 17 games for the Angels (starting 7 games at 3rd base).

Paul opened the 1965 season as the Angels' starting 3rd baseman, and started 150 games at the hot corner. He hit 9 homers and collected 45 RBI in his rookie season, but only had a .224 batting average.

Schaal's playing time and production dropped in 1966, as the Halos acquired 11-year veteran third-sacker Frank Malzone from Boston to help out. Schaal started 110 games to Malzone's 32, with C-3B Tom Satriano starting the rest.

With Malzone's retirement, Schaal was back in the driver's seat to start the 1967 season, but by mid-July he was relegated to the bench for the remainder of the season. The team patched together a mix of Woodie Held, John Werhas, and Satriano at 3rd base for the next 6 weeks, then called up rookie Aurelio Rodriguez on September 1st. Rodriguez started 29 of the final 30 games at 3rd.

Paul was back as the starter in April 1968, but was beaned by Boston's Jose Santiago in mid-June [payback for Tony Conigliaro's 1967 beaning?], costing him the rest of the season. Rodriguez was called up to replace him, which marked the end of Schaal's tenure as the Angels' 3rd baseman.

Schaal was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft, and spent the next 5 seasons with the Royals. After backing up Joe Foy in 1969, he was the team's primary 3rd baseman for the next 4 years, and started every game there in 1971.

Schaal's last season in KC was 1974. He started 12 of the 19 games in April at 3rd base, then rookie George Brett was called up, and made his first start on May 4th. The rest is either "history", or "bad-news-for-Paul-Schaal", depending on your point of view.

Paul was traded back to the Angels on April 30th for outfielder Richie Scheinblum. He shared the 3rd base duties for the next 2 1/2 months with Bob Oliver and Dave Chalk. Schaal's final major-league game was on July 19th. He finished the season in the minors, and was released in October.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rico Petrocelli (#298)

Rico Petrocelli was selected as the Topps all-rookie shortstop for 1965.

Petrocelli was signed by the Red Sox in 1961, and played 3 seasons in the minors (1962-64) as a shortstop. His major-league debut was a 1-game cup of coffee in September 1963, but he wouldn't return until the start of the 1965 season. From there, he would play his entire 12-year career with the Red Sox.

Rico began the 1965 season as the starting shortstop, replacing the veteran Ed Bressoud, who had started 158 games at short in 1964. Petrocelli started 93 games as a rookie, to Bressoud's 69 starts.

In 1966, Petrocelli was the fulltime shortstop, although he was sidelined for the 2nd half of August. The next season, Boston was in the World Series for the first time in 20 years, and Rico hit 2 home runs against the Cardinals. He made the AL All-Star team in 1967 and 1969, and uncharacteristically hit 40 homers in 1969. (His previous high was 18 dingers.) His power surge lasted two more seasons, hitting 29 and 28 homers in '70 and '71, before he settled back in the mid-teens.

The Sox acquired Luis Aparicio in 1972, moving Rico over to 3rd base, where he would stay until the end of his career in 1976. Petrocelli wrapped up his last season as a full-time regular by hitting .308 in the 1975 World Series.

Rico began the 1976 as the starting 3rd baseman, but by the end of June, rookie Butch Hobson took over the position, starting 76 of the last 96 games at 3rd.

Petrocelli managed in the White Sox' farm system from 1986-88, and managed the Red Sox' AAA team in 1992. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Joe Morgan (#195)

General blog note: Yesterday, I found a 1952 Topps baseball card blog. Check it out by scrolling down to my vintage year blogroll!

Joe Morgan was the Topps all-rookie 2nd baseman in 1965. A year later, the Astros would beef up the other side of their double-play combo.

Morgan was signed by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in November 1962 (wow, that's really late in the season!). He played 2 seasons in the minors (getting brief call-ups each season).

In 1965, Joe was installed as the regular 2nd baseman at the start of the season. He started 155 games there as a rookie, led the NL with 97 walks, and finished 2nd in NL Rookie of the Year voting to Dodgers' 2nd baseman Jim Lefebvre. (I wonder why Topps didn't choose Lefebvre?)

Except for missing most of the 1968 season with injuries, Morgan was a fixture at 2nd base for the Astros from 1965 to 1971, making the all-star team in '66 and '70.

After the 1971 season, Joe was traded to the Cincinnati Reds (with pitcher Jack Billingham, infielder Denis Menke, and outfielders Cesar Geronimo and Ed Armbrister) for 1st baseman Lee May, 2nd baseman Tommy Helms, and utility infielder Jimmy Stewart. The rest is Big Red Machine history.

Morgan and the Reds went to the post-season 4 times in his first 5 years with the Reds, winning the World Series in '75 and '76. Joe was an all-star every season from 1972-79, and won the NL MVP award in '75 and '76.

Joe left the Reds via free agency after the 1979 season, and played 5 more seasons, with the Astros, Giants, Phillies, and Athletics. In 1982, he won his only silver slugger award (at age 38).

In 1983, he was reunited in Philadelphia with former Reds' teammates PETE ROSE and Tony Perez, as the Phillies went to the World Series, only to lose to the Orioles.

Morgan played 22 seasons, and was his team's regular 2nd baseman right up to the end of his career.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tony Perez (#72)

Tony Perez was the Topps All-Rookie 3rd baseman in 1965, just another in a long line of Cincinnati Reds:

1963 - Pete Rose 2B, Tommy Harper OF
1964 - Bill McCool P
1965 - Tony Perez 1B
1966 - Tommy Helms 3B
1967 - Lee May 1B
1968 - Johnny Bench C
(When Lee May came along 2 years later, Perez simply moved over to 3rd base.)

Perez was signed by the Reds in 1960, and played 5 seasons (1960-64) in the minors. He was a 3rd baseman until his final minor-league season, when he divided his time between 1st and 3rd.

Tony made his major-league debut in 1964, playing in 11 games from late-July to late-August, and one final game on Sept. 30th. He made the Reds for good on opening day 1965, and platooned at 1st base with veteran Gordy Coleman. Perez started 66 games, mostly against left-handers.

Tony's playing time decreased slightly in 1966. He played in 99 games, but only 62 starts at 1st base. (Coleman started 63 games, while rookie call-up Lee May started most of the games for the last 3 weeks of the season.)

1967 was the beginning of Perez' prime-time. He played 150+ games in 7 of the next 8 seasons, and became an RBI machine. In the '67 All-Star game, he hit the game-winning home run in the 15th inning.

From 1967-71, he was the regular 3rd baseman, before moving back to 1st base in 1972 after Lee May's trade to Houston. Tony was an all-star for the Reds 7 times between 1967 and 1976, and played in the post-season in '70, '72, '73, '75, and '76, including a 10-for-28 showing against Oakland in the 1972 World Series.

After the 1976 season, he was traded to the Expos. His all-star days were over, but he was the team's regular 1st baseman for 3 seasons.

Free agency landed him in Boston after the 1979 season, where he was the regular 1st-sacker for a year, then slipped into a part-time role in 1981-82.

In 1983, he joined ex-Reds' teammates Pete Rose and Joe Morgan in Philadelphia, as the "Wheeze Kids" made a run to the World Series.

After the season, he was sold to the Reds, and spent his final 3 seasons as the backup 1st baseman behind Dan Driessen, then Pete Rose.

After his playing career, Tony coached for the Reds, then managed the team during the first 2 months of 1993. He was also the interim manager for the Florida Marlins for the last 144 games in 2001.

Perez was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Also check out his 1967 card.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pat Corrales (#137)

Pat Corrales was the Topps All-Rookie catcher 1n 1965, although he accomplished that as a member of the Phillies.

Pat was signed by the Phillies in 1959, and played 6 and a half seasons in the minors before getting his big break. Although Corrales played 2 games with the Phillies near the end of the 1964 season, and one in early May 1965, it was mid-June when things began to take off.

The Phillies began the 1965 season with a strict platoon of veterans Clay Dalrymple and Gus Triandos behind the plate. On June 14th, Triandos was sold to the Astros, and Pat was called up to the Phillies. He started most of the games for the next month, then settled back into a platoon with the lefthanded Dalrymple. Clay continued to start only against righthanders, while Corrales started against all southpaws, and some righties.

After the season, he was traded to the Cardinals (with outfielder Alex Johnson and pitcher Art Mahaffey) for 1st baseman Bill White, shortstop Dick Groat, and catcher Bob Uecker.

Corrales was with the Cardinals for all of 1966, but only started 24 games, with Tim McCarver starting 138 games. Pat was in the minors for all of 1967, then was traded to the Reds the following spring for catcher Johnny Edwards.

Corrales began the 1968 season in the minors, but was called up in mid-July, and spent the next 3 1/2 years backing up Johnny Bench (which is to say, he didn't play much).

Pat was back in the minors to start the 1972 season, and in mid-July, he was traded to the Padres for catcher Bob Barton. Corrales split the catching duties with Fred Kendall for the rest of the season, then was Kendall's backup for all of 1973, until getting his release in late September.

After his playing career, Corrales became a manager, beginning in the minors in 1975. He managed the Rangers (1978-80), Phillies (1982-83), Indians (1983-87). He is the only manager ever to be fired while his team was in first place (1983 Phillies).

After his stints as manager, Pat was a bench coach for many years with the Braves and Nationals.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Frank Linzy (#78)

Frank Linzy is the starboard pitcher on the Topps 1965 All-Rookie team.

Linzy was signed by the Giants in 1960, and pitched 5 seasons (mostly as a starter) in the Giants' system. He was called up near the end of the 1963 season, appearing in 8 games.

Frank made the big-leagues for good at the start of the 1965 season. After starting 89 of his 128 minor-league games, Linzy went on to pitch 508 games in the majors from 1965 to 1974, while only making 1 start.

As a rookie in '65, Frank led the Giants with 21 saves, and compiled a 1.43 ERA. He also finished 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Frank was the ace of the Giants' bullpen from 1965-69. (Funny, I recall that as a kid in 1967, I somehow got the notion that Linzy and Ron Herbel were the scrubs of the Giants' staff.)

Linzy was traded to the Cardinals during the 1970 season, and remained there through the 1971 season, working behind veteran Moe Drabowsky. He spent 2 seasons in Milwaukee's bullpen, bouncing back to his 1960s' form as the Brewers' closer in 1973.

After the 1973 season, Frank was traded to the Phillies for pitcher Billy Wilson. He appeared in 22 games for Philadelphia, and another 20 for their double-A team, before getting his release after the season.

His final season of 1975 found him pitching for the Padres' AAA team in Hawaii (not a bad way to end a career!)