Thursday, November 29, 2012

1970 Topps, Larry Stahl

#494 Larry Stahl

About a month ago, I posted a dual signed '66 Topps "Rookie Stars" card of Ron Tompkins and Larry Stahl. I had originally sent the card to Mr. Tompkins first and the card came back mangled, care of the USPS. When I finally got around to sending the card out to Mr. Stahl, I decided that I should get a card of him that was in decent shape and this is the card I picked out. I picked this card over his '73 Topps card just because I love the early Padres uniforms and this card shows them off beautifully.

Larry played in the Majors for ten seasons with the A's, Mets, Padres, and Reds. He was a .232 career hitter who enjoyed his best season in 1971 with San Diego. That year he had career highs in home runs, doubles, average, and RBI.

For a career .232 hitter, it is kind of funny that Larry had some of best success off of Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. In 41 match-ups, Bob struck Larry out 11 times. But, Larry got 13 hits off him which was good for a .325 average. Three of the hits went for doubles and one for a triple.

This is now the oldest signed Padre card that I have.

Monday, November 26, 2012

1970 Topps, Bobby Wine

#332 Bobby Wine

Here is a card I unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway that I had a little trouble getting signed through the mail. I originally sent this card to Bobby last November and about ten days later it came back returned to sender. I don't remember the wording on the RTS stamp, but it might have been undeliverable as addressed. My SCN membership had expired by the time I sent the card out and I didn't feel like paying for a new one then The best I could figure out was that he lives on an Avenue and I put something besides that (Road, or Circle, or something).

Since I was too cheap to re-up my membership for one address, I kept checking SCN this past spring in the free latest successes section. Eventually, someone had success with Mr. Wine and it was at the address that I had on file for him. So, I sent this card back out to him at the end of April and I was fortunate enough to get it back four and a half months later. It was one of my longer waits over the past year and I had pretty much forgot about it by the time it had come home. It's always nice to get a little surprise like that.

Bobby played in the Majors for twelve seasons with the Phillies and Expos. He was a light-hitting shortstop that hit .215 for his career while notching 30 home runs. He won a Gold Glove for the Phils in 1963.

It seems to me that the type of player Bobby was does not even exist in today's game. On Baseball Reference, it lists the ten players that were the most similar to Bobby and the two most recent ones last played in the '80s. I guess that goes to show how much offense is valued in today's game.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

1969 Topps, Juan Marichal

#370 Juan Marichal

Here is another card that I got signed at All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. Actually, my dad got this card signed. I already had this Marichal card in my collection and didn't feel like purchasing another one. So, I only took one card of him to the show. When Marichal signed, my dad stood pat in that line and I went ahead and got in the Tony Gwynn line. And, as always, my dad came through for me.

I had the opportunity to stand in line for Jaun's autograph before. I went to a Devil Rays game once in 2004 and it was Latin Heritage night. I knew that going in, but I did not know that Jaun was going to be there doing a free autograph signing before the game. So, my roommate and I spent a little too much time at the Bullpen (sports bar by the Trop) and were at the tail end of the autograph line once we made it inside. Of course, they shut the line down when we got within three spots to making it to the table where he was signing. I didn't have this card with me that day, so I guess it worked out alright in the end.

I just took a peek at Juan's stats and I was surprised to see that he never won a Cy Young award. He was a nine time All Star that had six 20+ win/200+ strikeout seasons in his career. I guess that just goes to show how tough the pitching was in the National League in the late '60s.

I was lucky enough to have this card given to me by a friend in the early '90s.

Two Hall of Famers in two days? Don't get used to that.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

1968 Topps, Gaylord Perry

#85 Gaylord Perry

Here is a card that I got signed at the All Star Game Fanfest this past summer in Kansas City. Gaylord did one free signing there and I made sure to get in that line to get this card signed and one other. I wonder what other card of Gaylord's was that I wanted signed.

I mention that he only did one free signing. For most of Fanfest, Gaylord could be found over at a booth signing for a charity. At that booth, you could get a ball signed by who ever was signing at the time for $20. The best part about it was that they supplied the ball as well. I doubt that they were official Major League balls, but that still sounded like a decent deal. I do not remember what the charity was for, but the three guys I saw there the most were Gaylord, Rollie Fingers, and Fergie Jenkins. If I wasn't so wrapped up in getting cards signed, and I hadn't got all three guys to sign for free at some point over the weekend, I probably would have donated some money for an autograph.

Unfortunately, when I think of Gaylord Perry, I usually think of him as a Royal or Mariner since those were the last two teams he played for. I was only five years old when he retired, so those two teams are about the only teams he played for on cards I own. So, when I saw he was going to be at Fanfest, I knew I had to have an older card of him. I bought this card from for about two bucks and I am thrilled with the results.

Monday, November 19, 2012

1968 Topps, Pete Ward

#33 Pete Ward

Here is another card that I unlocked last year in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I didn't do as good with the '68 Topps in the giveaway as I did the '67 set as this is the only one I was able to acquire. But, I was still able to get it signed and that is all that really matters. I sent this card to Pete in early November last year and I had it back in hand twelve days later.

Pete played in the Majors for nine years. He mainly played for the White Sox, though he did play a few games with the Orioles and Yankees. His best season came with the Sox in 1964 when he had career highs in home runs (23) and RBI (94). He hit .282 that season as well. After that year, his numbers dropped off quite a bit and he never reached the twenty home run mark again and he never hit over .250 in a full season again. Pete never made an All Star team and he never played in the postseason. He didn't even get a chance to pitch in the Majors.

For his career, Pete was a .254 hitter who tallied 98 home runs (four were grand slams)and 427 RBI.

Pete was born in Montreal and he probably has the least French-sounding name of anyone ever born in Quebec.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

1967 Topps, Dennis Bennett

#206 Dennis Bennett

Here is the fourth and final 1967 Topps card that I acquired through the Topps Diamond Giveaway. Prior to that giveaway, I had two cards from that set signed. Now, after getting another card returned in the mail this last week, I have seven signed cards from the set. I'm hoping that Topps does another card giveaway in the 2013 set as that was a cheap, easy, and fun way for me to get some older cards signed.

Dennis pitched in the Majors for seven seasons with the Phillies, Red Sox, Mets, and Angels. He both started and relieved during his career and only reached double digits in wins once when he recorded 12. That season was the 1964 season with the Phils and he also reached double digits in losses that year with 14. Dennis finished his career with a 43-47 record with 6 saves, a 3.69 ERA, and 572 strikeouts.

I sent this card to Dennis in early November last year and I had it back ten days later. Sadly, Dennis passed away about three months after signing this card.

I like how he signed the card right above his pre-printed signature. Luckily he signed it in blue instead of black so you can easily tell which one is which. It is pretty impressive how little his signature changed over the years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

1967 Topps, Sammy Ellis

#176 Sammy Ellis

This is the third of four '67 Topps cards that I unlocked over a year ago in the Topps Diamond Giveaway. I sent this card to Sam last November and I got it back eight days later.

Sammy had an up and down career. He made his Major League debut with the Reds as a twenty-one year old in 1962. He pitched 28 innings that season and he walked 29 batters while posting a 6.75 ERA. He played in the minors all of 1963 before making it back to the Bigs in '64. That season, he got his command under control and walked only 28 batters in 122.1 innings. His ERA fell to 2.57 while he picked up a career-high 14 saves.

The following season was Sammy's big year. He finished the season with a 22-10 record while recording 2 more saves. He struck out 183 batters while posting a 3.79 ERA. Sammy also made his lone All Star team that season.

Unfortunately, Sammy's career went downhill after that season. His record slipped to 12-19 the next year while his ERA ballooned to 5.29. In '67, he posted a record of 8-11 while lowering his ERA to 3.84. After that season, the Reds dealt Sammy to the Angels and he went 9-10 in his lone season with LA. He was dealt to the White Sox before the next season and he was 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA before being shipped to the Indians in June. He never played in the Majors for Cleveland and, though he pitched in the minors for two more seasons, his Major League career was over at the age of twenty-eight.

But, thanks to Sammy's 1965 season, he still finished his career with a winning record of 63-58 and 18 saves.

Here is a fun fact about Sammy. He made his Major League debut against the Giants and the Giants starting pitcher that day was future Hall of Famer, Gaylord Perry, who was also making his Major League debut. Neither pitcher made it out of the third inning.

Monday, November 12, 2012

1967 Topps, George Altman

#87 George Altman

Here is the second 1967 Topps card that I acquired through the Topps Diamond Giveaway. This one features the former Cub, Cardinal, and Met, George Altman. I sent this card out the same day as the Ken Berry card I last posted. This one didn't quite make it back as quick as Ken's did, though. This one made it back in about twelve days, which is still a good turnaround. It's just impossible to compete with Ken's three day return.

George played in the Majors for nine seasons and all but two of them were with the Cubs. He had some solid numbers in the first half of his career which included back-to-back All Star teams in '61 and '62. He hit over .300 in both of those seasons and had 27 home runs and 96 RBI in '61.

After the '62 season, George was traded to St. Louis and his numbers started to slip. His average fell to .274 that season and his home run total dipped to just 9. He was traded to the Mets after just one year with the Cards and his numbers fell even more. With the Mets, he hit just .230 and they gave up on him after one season like St. Louis had done the previous year.

The Mets traded George back to the Cubs and he played out his final three seasons with them. His production continued to decline and, as a result, so did his playing time. By 1967, George was splitting time between AAA and the Cubs and not hitting so hot at the Major League level. Rather than call it quits, he went to play in Japan. He re-sparked his career there and he hit .309 with 205 homers in eight seasons overseas.

George made an appearance at All Star Fanfest this past summer. Unfortunately, this is the only card I have of George and it was already signed when Fanfest took place. He was a late addition to the show and I was unable to find a card of him, so I had to skip his line.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

1967 Topps, Ken Berry

#67 Ken Berry

This card was signed through the mail and it was my quickest TTM success ever. Ken lives down the road about 100 miles from where I lived at the time and it took just three days, from the day I dropped this card off at the mailbox, for it to make it back home. Considering that one of those days was Veterans Day and the feat is even more impressive.

Ken played in the Majors for parts of fourteen seasons with the White Sox, Angels, Brewers, and Indians. He was a light-hitting outfielder with a good glove that was good enough to earn him two Gold Gloves in his career. The most home runs that he hit in a season was 12 in 1965 and he finished with 58 for his career. He was a .255 hitter and made one All Star team as a member of the White Sox in 1967. In his lone All Star Game plate appearance, Ken struck out in the bottom of the 15th inning to make the final out of the game. The American League was down 2-1 with the tying run on first. The pitcher he faced was some guy named Tom Seaver, closer extraordinaire.

This card was unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway.

There will be no more posts this week as I am headed to Texas to see my #2 Kansas State Wildcats take on the TCU Horned Frogs. Go Cats!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1966 Topps, Dave Giusti

#258 Dave Giusti

Here is the fourth and final '66 Topps card that I have to post for now. This card was unlocked in the Topps Diamond Giveaway last year. I sent it to Dave to get signed a year ago and it took only ten days to get it back.

Dave pitched in the Majors for fifteen seasons with the Colt .45s/Astros, Cardinals, Pirates, A's, and Cubs. He broke in with Houston in 1962 and he both started and relieved until becoming a full-time starter in '66. That year, he won a career-high 15 games and he had double digit wins the following two seasons as well (through he had a losing record over those three seasons). He was traded to the Cardinals after the '68 season and he appeared in only 22 games with them and went 3-7 with a 3.61 ERA.

After his lone season in St. Louis, Dave was dealt to the Pirates where he became the Bucs closer. He racked up 20 or more saves in his first four years with Pittsburgh including a career-high and league-leading 30 in 1971. In 1973, he made his lone All Star team..

He pitched in Pittsburgh into the 1976 season before he was sent to Oakland halfway through that season. He was then sold to the Cubs after the season and he finished his career with the Cubbies in '77.

For his career, Dave was 100-93 with 145 saves, a 3.60 ERA and 1,103 strikeouts.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

1966 Topps, Cookie Rojas

#170 Cookie Rojas

This is another card that I got signed at the All Star Game Fanfest this past summer. Since the game was in Kansas City, many of the former players that signed autographs had some sort of tie to KC. Cookie spent the last part of his career with the Royals and had his best seasons with them. But, since my collection includes so many Royals autographs as it is, I had to make sure to get a non-Royals card signed by him. So, I picked up this card for less than a buck and I made it happen.

Cookie made his Major League debut with the Reds in 1962 at the age of 23. His time with Cincy was short-lived, however, as he was traded to the Phils after that season. He played in Philadelphia for seven seasons and made his first All Star team as a Phillie in 1965. That season, Cookie hit over .300 for the first time in his career.

Prior to the 1970 season, Cookie was traded to the Cardinals in the great Curt Flood trade. He got off to a miserable start in St. Louis and was hitting .106 through 23 games. The Cards then traded him to Kansas City and a star was born. But, I'll get into that when I post my next Cookie card.

All I have to say about this card is that I love the glasses!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1966 Topps, Rene Lachemann

#157 Rene Lachemann

This is the third and final Rene Lachemann card that I have to post. I got the cards signed in the summer of 2011 when I went to Colorado Springs for a game. Rene was the batting coach for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox and I was able to get my cards signed just before the game started. For a minute, though, I didn't think he was going to sign because he said he didn't have time. Then he stopped and talked to one of the grounds crew for a bit. After he finished up that conversation, he came straight over to me and signed all three cards that I had. The game was about to start and people were leaving the dugout area to find their seats, so maybe Rene just didn't want to get stuck signing for a crowd. Whatever reason, it worked out for me.

Rene played in the Majors for parts of three seasons. The bulk of his playing time came in his rookie 1965 campaign when he played in 92 of his 118 games. That year he hit just .227 for the A's while clubbing 9 home runs and 29 RBI. It is kind of odd that he had more homers than doubles (7) and triples (1) combined. It must have had something to do with his catcher speed.

This card is the only card from the '60s that I have ever got signed by an active coach at a game. It is pretty cool that he is still active at the highest level of the minor leagues even though he broke into the Majors over forty-five years ago.

The other two cards that Rene signed for me were a Mariners manager card and a Brewers manager card, both from the early '80s.