Sunday, September 25, 2016

1966 Custom Cards

A few years ago, John Hogan at the "Cards That Never Were" blog made a batch of custom baseball and football cards for me at my request.  I noticed that John did not include these images on his own blog, so I am posting them here so they can be appreciated by all. These are cards where the player was either missing, traded during the season, or just to upgrade a player from a Rookie Stars card to a solo card.

You may have already seen the 1967, 1968, and 1971 football cards or the 1967 baseball cards he made for me on the blogs for those sets. He also created some baseball cards in the '66, '68, and '69 style.

First, the missing cards:

Joe Adcock played for the Reds, Braves, Indians, and Angels from 1950-66. Although he was the Angels' regular 1st baseman through the 1966 season, he did not have a card from 1964-66.

Like Joe Adcock, Dick Hall had been a steady player for his team (Orioles) for many seasons, but did not get a Topps card from 1964-66.

Junior Gilliam was the Dodgers 2nd or 3rd baseman from 1953-66. The Dodgers released him after the 1964 season, but resigned him in the spring of 1965. The same thing happened the following year, which is why he doesn't have a card in the '65 or '66 set.

Bob Lillis was Houston's regular shortstop from 1962-65, until losing the job to rookie Sonny Jackson in 1966. He was a backup in 1966 (68 games) but had no card that year.

Ed Roebuck was a relief pitcher who played from 1955-1966. He played many seasons for the Dodgers, and wrapped up his career with the Phillies from 1964-66.

Frank Bolling was the Braves' regular 2nd baseman through the 1965 season and part of 1966, but his final card was in the '65 set.

Don Blasingame's story is the same as Frank Bolling's, except that he was traded to the Athletics midway through the '66 season.

Hawk Taylor was a backup catcher for the Braves and Mets from 1961-66, but spent most of 1965 in the minors.

Lou Clinton played all of 1962-66 in the majors, so it's a mystery why he was omitted from the '66 set. His final card was in the 1967 set.

Ozzie Virgil bounced between the majors and AAA ever since 1957.  1965 was his only full season in the majors, but since he only played in 39 games, maybe Topps was assuming he wouldn't be around in 1966.  He split '66 between the Giants and the minors.

Jerry McNertney was a backup catcher for the White Sox from 1964-68, then became the expansion Pilots' #1 backstop in 1969.

Joey Amalfitano was an infielder for the Cubs from 1963-66. He also began coaching for the Cubs, and was reactivated for a short time during the 1967 season.

Larry Elliot was a spare outfielder with the Mets for parts of 1964 and 1966, but played all of 1965 in the minors, ruining his chance for a card in the '66 set.

Rookies without cards in the 1966 set: 

Dick Lines made his major-league debut with the Senators in 1966, pitching in 54 games.

Rick Wise played briefly with the Phillies in 1964, but spent all of 1965 in the minors before returning in 1966.

Darold Knowles was featured in the 1966 set on an Orioles Rookie Stars card. He was traded to the Phillies prior to 1966 and became their bullpen ace in his rookie season. Foolishly, the Phillies traded him to the Senators after the season for (the soon to be washed-up) Don Lock.

Jackie Hernandez and Jay Johnstone both made their major-league debuts in 1966.

Joe Verbanic (pictured in a hat, for once!) and John Morris made their debuts in 1966, but were both traded for veteran relievers after the season.

After earlier cups of coffee, Ron Davis and Ken Holtzman got their big breaks in 1966.

Veteran backup catcher Jim Schaffer toiled for the Phillies' AAA team in San Diego during the '66 and '67 seasons, and got a September callup in both years. His final card was in the 1968 set. (Dick Stuart had a card in the 1966 set.)

That's Just Topps Being Topps:

Dick Ellsworth had a card in the 1966 set, but it has a photo of Ken Hubbs, the Cubs' young 2nd baseman who was killed in a plane crash several years earlier. Nice going, Topps!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

National League Pitching Leaders (#221, 223, 225)

Here are the NL pitching leaders for 1965. Of course Sandy Koufax is a lock for these cards. There's the expected appearances by Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale, but there are also a few surprises.

Dodgers' ace Sandy Koufax leads in all 3 categories (as he also did the following year).  Ten points behind him is the Giants' Juan Marichal, with Vern Law rounding out the top 3.  No one else is even close.  (Frank Linzy actually has the best ERA of anyone.  His 1.43 is well ahead of Koufax, but Linzy is relegated to the relievers' category.)

There were seven 20-game winners in 1965.  Koufax led with 26 wins. The Braves' Tony Cloninger (in the team's final season in Milwaukee) notched 24 wins and appears on this card - a neighborhood normally reserved for Koufax, Drysdale, Marichal, and Bob Gibson. Big D is right behind him at 23.  Marichal and Gibson broke the 20-win mark, but not by enough to score a slot on this card.

Aside from Koufax, Gibby, and Marichal, there's usually a whole 'nother group of pitchers among the strikeout leaders (as opposed to wins).  Guys like Bob Veale, Jim Bunning, Chris Short, and Jim Maloney.

LOOK AT KOUFAX' TOTAL! One hundred and six more strikeouts than the 2nd-place guy! The Bobs check in at #2 and #3, with Jim Bunning right behind them.  The next grouping of Maloney, Marichal, and Short are 20+ behind them.

I'm really sorry I didn't catch the baseball bug until a few months AFTER Koufax retired!  :(

Dodgers - 4
Pirates - 2
Giants - 1
Cardinals - 1
Braves - 1