Tuesday, July 19, 2016

1960 Topps, Johnny Kucks

#177 Johnny Kucks

The next card for the 1960 Topps set is another Kansas City Athletic, Johnny Kucks. I sent this card to him at the end of 2012 and I had it back about nine days later.

Johnny pitched for the Yankees and A's from 1955-1960. Most of that time was spent on some very good Yankee teams. They were so good, in fact, that Johnny had the privilege of pitching in four straight World Series.

For his career, Johnny was 54-56 with 7 saves and a 4.10 ERA. His best season was in the Bronx in 1956 when he went 18-9 with a 3.85 ERA.

In the four World Series Johnny pitched in, he appeared in 8 games and logged 19 innings. All of his appearances were in relief except for one. That one start was in game seven of the 1956 Fall Classic at Ebbets Field. Johnny pitched a complete game shutout while limiting the Dodgers to just three hits, all of which were singles.

Sadly, this is the second straight card that I have posted of a player that has passed away since I wrote to him.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

1960 Topps, Ken Johnson

#135 Ken Johnson

Next up is the former Athletic, Red, Colt .45/Astro, Brave, Cub, and Expo, Ken Johnson. I sent this lone card to Ken at the end of 2012 and I had it back about two weeks later.

Unlike the past few guys I have posted on here, Ken had a fairly long career. He played in the Majors for parts of thirteen seasons and, out of all of those teams, he saw the most time with the Braves from 1965 to 1969. Ken started and relieved throughout his career, but did have more starts than relief appearances. He finished his time in the big leagues with a 91-106 record with 9 saves and a 3.46 ERA. He reached double digit wins five times in his career with a season high of 16 in 1965.

Ken's claim to fame is pitching a no-hitter for the Colts in 1964. But, his no-hitter was unlike any other no-hitter in the history of the game. Ken is the only pitcher to throw a nine inning Major League no-hitter by himself and lose the game.

It was against that Reds in Houston early that season. The game went into the ninth tied at zero. Ken made an error that allowed Pete Rose to reach second base. Pete made it to third on a groundout before scoring on an error by third baseman Nellie Fox. Since then, four other teams have thrown no-hitters in losing bids. Three were thrown by visiting teams, so the pitchers only logged eight innings. The fourth was thrown by a home team, but two pitchers combined to no-hit the winning club.

Sadly, Ken passed away this past November. He was 82 years old at the time.

Monday, July 11, 2016

1960 Topps, Duke Carmel

#120 Duke Carmel

Here is the first 1690 Topps card of a player from eastern Missouri. And, for whatever reason, this is the third straight post where I sent the guy two cards to sign. So, there will be another card of Duke coming up next month. Anyways, I sent the cards to Duke early in 2012 and I had them both back nine days later.

Duke, whose real name is Leon, played in the Majors for just four seasons with the Cardinals, Mets, and Yankees. The New York native spent parts of two and a half of those seasons in St. Louis in 1959, '60, and '63. In '61 and '62, he ended up in the Dodgers and Indians organizations, but never made it to the big leagues with them. In fact, he got traded by the Cardinals three times. After he got traded to the Dodgers and Indians, he ended back with the Cardinals before the next season in what Baseball Reference lists as an "unknown transaction". The third time he got traded was when the Cards shipped him to the Mets.

Duke played in 71 games with the Cardinals and he hit .186 with 1 home run and 5 RBI. That one home run was a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Roy Face that tied the game for the Cardinals. They went on to win that game two batters later.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

1960 Topps, Russ Snyder

#81 Russ Snyder

Here is the first of two cards that I got signed through the mail by Russ Snyder in 2014. Come to think of it, I sent two cards to the guy in the previous post, too. Anyway, I sent this card to Russ at the end of January that year and I had it back about a week later.

These 1960 Topps cards that I am posting are going to lean heavily on the Kansas City A's. In fact, if it wasn't for an extra card a former player sent me, the cards from this set would all feature guys that played in Missouri. Being a Kansas guy and a Royals fan, I am always intrigued by the first Major League franchise in Kansas City. Because of that, I have quite a few Kansas City A's cards signed.

Russ played for the A's for just two seasons. He did well there, hitting .283 with 7 home runs and 47 RBI. After the '60 season, he and Whitey Herzog were shipped to Baltimore for a quartet of players.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

1960 Topps, Bud Daley

#8 Bud Daley

Here is the first of about a half dozen 1960 Topps. This one features the the former Indian, Athletic, and Yankee, Bud Daley. I sent this card to Bud in 2014 and I had it back nine days later.

Bud played in the Bigs for ten years, never playing for a team for more than three and a half seasons. He both started and relieved throughout his career, getting the bulk of his starts during the middle of his career with Kansas City. Over the 248 games that he pitched in, he had a 60-64 record with 10 saves and a 4.03 ERA. His best season was with the A's in 1959 when he went 16-13 with a save, a 3.16 ERA, and 125 strikeouts.

Bud made two All Star teams as an A and pitched in two World Series with the Yankees. He racked up three strikeouts in 1.2 All Star innings, ringing up the likes of Ernie Banks, Vada Pinson, and Orlando Cepeda. In the Fall Classics, he pitched eight scoreless innings and was the winning pitcher in game five of the '61 series.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

1960 Leaf, Al Spangler

#38 Al Spangler

I am starting off my newer cards from the '60s with an oddball from the 1960 Leaf set. I know absolutely nothing about this set. But I saw one on COMC one day and I knew that I had to get one to get signed. So I picked up this Al Spangler card and mailed it to him in early 2013 and he had this beauty back to me in about three weeks.

Al played for the Braves, Colt .45s/Astros, Angels, and Cubs during his thirteen year Major League career. Most of that time, he was the team's fourth outfielder. But, he did get a lot of starts while playing in Houston. For his career, Al was a .262 hitter with 21 home runs and 175 RBI.

His best years were with the Colts when he was patrolling their outfield most days. In 1962, his first year with the club, he had career highs in average (.285), home runs (5), and walks (70). In '63, he had career-highs in runs (52) and doubles (25). Then, in '64, he had a career-best 38 RBI. He was then traded to the Angels the next season where would resume his fourth outfielder duties.

According to baseballcardpedia, this Leaf set contains 144 cards and they were distributed in packs. Each pack came with a marble instead of chewing gum.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

1959 Topps, Russ Kemmerer

#191 Russ Kemmerer

This is the final card from the '50s that I have to show on here and it is of Russ Kemmerer. I originally mailed out a card to Russ in either late 2012 or early 2013 and it came back "return to sender". I had no idea why it came back as the address matched the address on SCN. So, I sat on the card for a while until I saw more successes coming from that address. I then mailed the card back to the same address I had used earlier and I got some signed cards back a week later.

The only problem was that I did not get the card back that I sent Russ. I sent him his '64 Topps card just because he was playing for the Colt .45s on it and you can never have enough signed Colt .45 cards. But instead of getting that card back, I got this one, his '60 Topps, and two different signed postcards. While it would have been nice to add a second .45 card to my collection, I think I still came out alright.

Here are the two postcards he included.