Sunday, January 31, 2010

#263 Marty Keough

#263 Marty Keough
Wow, check out Marty's bulging right eye in this photo. This may be the first instance of the Evil Eye in the 1965 Topps set. Maybe he spotted Pete Rose makin' moves on his old lady. Check yourself, Pete...Marty don't play that.

Fun facts about Marty Keough:

-A native of Oakland, CA, Marty signed with the Red Sox in 1952 when he was only 17.

-His younger brother Joe Keough was an outfielder for the Athletics, Royals, and White Sox from 1968-1973. His son Matt Keough pitched for several teams (primarily the Athletics) from 1977-1986.

-Had only one hit in his first twenty big league at-bats: a single off of three-time All-Star Bob Turley.

-Spent parts of five seasons as a reserve outfielder in Boston, backing up stars like Jimmy Piersall, Jackie Jensen, and Ted Williams.

-Was drafted by the Senators in 1961 and played a career-high 135 games, hitting 18 doubles, nine triples (second-best in the A.L.), and nine home runs while batting .249.

-Following a trade to Cincinnati, Marty hit a career-high .278 in 1962 with seven homers in only 230 at-bats.

-In just eight career at-bats against pitcher Turk Farrell, he hit three home runs and walked four times for a 1.625 OPS. He also hit seven of his 43 career longballs against future Hall of Famers.

-Finished his big league career in 1966 with the Braves and Cubs. In parts of 11 seasons, he hit .242 with 43 home runs and 176 RBI.

-Played in Japan with the Nankai Hawks in 1968. His son Matt would also play in Japan, making them a rare American father-son duo in the Land of the Rising Sun.

-Managed the short-season Class A Tri-City Padres in 1970. Has also scouted for the Padres, Dodgers, and Cardinals.
#263 Marty Keough (back)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

#262 Bud Daley

#262 Bud Daley
Say, wait a minute! The Indians didn't wear pinstripes in the 1960s, did they? Why, no! No they didn't! Those are Yankee pinstripes, as Bud was traded to Cleveland on November 27, 1964. This is the veteran's last baseball card, as the Tribe released him on April 9. Sad but true.

Fun facts about Bud Daley:

-Hailing from Orange, CA, Bud signed with the Indians as a teen in 1951.

-Daley's (non-throwing) right arm was withered. When he was born, the doctor used a medical instrument to deliver him and slipped, pinching the right arm and damaging nerves in his shoulder.

-Despite a strong minor league record (78-49 in the Cleveland farm system), the knuckleballer struggled in parts of three seasons with his first big league club, going 3-9 with a 4.87 ERA before being dealt in early 1958 to Baltimore, who in turn flipped him to Kansas City.

-After posting a 3.31 ERA in relief in his first year with the A's, he became the top starter for the cellar-dwellers with back-to-back All-Star appearances in 1959 and 1960. He led the club with 16 wins in each of those two seasons and completed 25 games total. His 3.16 ERA in 1959 was eighth-best in the league.

-Tossed four consecutive complete games from May 23-June 6, 1959. In that span, he was 4-0 with an 0.75 ERA, allowing four runs (three earned) on 26 hits in 36 innings. He struck out 17 and walked three, and even contributed with the bat. In those four games, Bud batted .375 (6-for-16) with 7 RBI. When you're hot, you're hot!

-In 1960, he formed a "Daley Double" battery with A's catcher Pete Daley (no relation).

-Bud was traded to the Yankees during the 1961 season and contributed to back-to-back World Champions in 1961 and 1962, including a 3.59 ERA in 43 games in the latter season.

-He shined in World Series play, allowing six hits and two runs (both unearned) in eight innings spanning three postseason games. When starter Ralph Terry was chased in the third inning of Game Five of the 1961 Series, Bud put out the fire and went the distance, earning the win in the clinching game of the Fall Classic.

-An arm injury midway through the 1964 season prematurely ended his career. He finished with a 60-64 record in parts of ten seasons with a 4.03 ERA.

-He and his wife Dorothy owned B & D Sprinklers, a lawn sprinkler company in Lander, WY. Currently, they are enjoying retirement in Riverton, WY.
#262 Bud Daley (back)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

#244 Lindy McDaniel

#244 Lindy McDaniel
I think we can safely add "Lindy" to the list of names we may never see again in baseball. His birth name was Lyndall, by the way. I was going to make a Triple Lindy joke, but regrettably McDaniel never hit a three-bagger in his career. Que sera, sera.

Fun facts about Lindy McDaniel:

-Born in Hollis, OK, Lindy signed as a bonus baby with the Cardinals in 1955.

-His brother Von McDaniel was a pitcher and a fellow St. Louis bonus baby; they were teammates in 1957 and 1958. Another brother, Kerry Don McDaniel, was a minor league pitcher for the Cards.

-After appearing in only four games as a 19-year-old rookie, he hit the ground running in 1956, amassing a 3.40 ERA in 39 games (32 as a reliever). The following year he started a career-high 26 games and went 15-9 with a 3.49 ERA and 10 complete games.

-Was the Cardinal bullpen ace by 1960, when he had a career year: 12-4 (including 12-2 in relief), 2.09 ERA, 26 saves (led the N.L. in this category for the second straight year), 0.94 WHIP, and 105 strikeouts against just 24 walks (4.38-to-1). He made his only All-Star team, finished third in Cy Young and fifth in MVP voting, and won the inaugural Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award.

-After a couple of down years, Lindy was traded to the Cubs in a six-player deal. He rebounded with a strong 1963 season: 13-7, 2.86 ERA, and a league-best 22 saves. The effort earned him a second Reliever of the Year Award.

-While pitching for the Yankees in August 1968, he retired 32 consecutive batters over a span of four relief appearances. On August 23, 1968, he entered a tied game in the ninth inning and stymied the Tigers for seven perfect innings. After McDaniel was long gone, the game was ruled a tie at the conclusion of the 19th inning!

-Had one of his best seasons at age 34 in 1970, when he went 9-5 with 29 saves, a 2.01 ERA, and a 0.99 WHIP for the Yankees.

-Lindy must have had Detroit's number. On August 4, 1973, he entered a game in Tiger Stadium in the second inning and held the home team to six hits and one run in thirteen innings, earning the win.

-Retired after two solid seasons with the Royals. In a 21-year career, he was 141-119 with a 3.45 ERA and 172 saves. He appeared in 987 games, which was second only to Hoyt Wilhelm at the the time of his retirement.

-A longtime devoted member of the Church of Christ, McDaniel wrote a monthly newsletter entitled Pitching for the Master. It was distributed to his fellow church members and other MLB players and their families.
#244 Lindy McDaniel (back)

Monday, January 25, 2010

#173 Detroit Tigers Team

#173 Detroit Tigers Team
The Tigers had a fair season in 1964, winning 85 and losing 77, but that was only good enough for fourth place in the American League, a distant 14 games behind the Yankees and a dozen back of the third-place Orioles. A 19-28 start buried the Bengals early; although the club went 66-49 after that low point on June 7, they had too much ground to cover. Manager Chuck Dressen's charges scored 699 runs and allowed 678. The Detroit fans were not exactly inspired by the team's near-.500 play, ranking sixth in the ten-team league with a total attendance of 816,139.

Detroit was a middle-of-the-road offense, ranking third in runs and OPS (.714) but seventh in doubles (199) and home runs (157). No player hit more home runs than shortstop Dick McAuliffe's 24. First baseman Norm Cash (23 HR) and utility player Don Demeter (22) were close behind. Cash paced the club with 83 RBI. The three Tiger All-Stars were catcher Bill Freehan (.300, 18 HR, 80 RBI), second baseman Jerry Lumpe (.256...second base must've been a weak offensive position in the A.L.), and right fielder Al Kaline (.293, 31 2B, 17 HR, 68 RBI).

The pitching wasn't much to write home about overall, as the Motor City Kitties ranked no higher than fifth in any statistical category; that includes a 3.84 team ERA that placed seventh out of ten A.L. teams. The staff was carried by the righty-lefty tandem of Dave Wickersham (19-12, 3.44 ERA, 11 CG) and Mickey Lolich (18-9, 3.26 ERA, 12 CG). Fred Gladding was the best among the relievers with a 3.07 ERA, seven wins, and seven saves.

While the Tigers stumbled in 1964, they did have plenty of talent. The promise of players like Freehan, Cash, McAuliffe, Kaline, Willie Horton, and Lolich would finally pay dividends in 1968, when the club stormed over the American League with 103 wins en route to a seven-game World Series victory over the defending champion Cardinals. Detroit made the most out of their sole Fall Classic appearance between 1946 and 1983!
#173 Detroit Tigers Team (back)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

#77 Doug Camilli

#77 Doug Camilli
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the's another massive deposit of cards from Max! These originally arrived in my mailbox in late March of 2009, and there are some good ones yet to come. Um, not that I'm selling Doug Camilli short. I just love the odd, slightly off-center, glove-coming-at-you framing style of this photo. I also like that you can see the #35 on the front of his jersey, as well as the palm trees in the background. I was ready to say that this was Vero Beach, FL, but Doug's wearing a road jersey, so I guess he could be anywhere in Florida...

Fun facts about Doug Camilli:

-His father, Dolph Camilli, was a major league first baseman from 1933-1945, and hit .277 with 239 home runs. He spent six seasons with the Dodgers and was the 1941 N.L. MVP while manning first base in Brooklyn.

-Doug was born in Philadelphia, PA and attended Stanford University before signing with the Dodgers in 1957.

-Shares his September 22 birthday with Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda and Bob Lemon.

-Made his major league debut on September 25, 1960, and singled off of future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for his first career hit.

-Playing in his fifth career game on October 1, 1960, he lasted all 14 innings behind the plate and went 4-for-7 at-bat with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI. However, the Cubs outlasted L.A., 10-8.

-Was a backup for his entire career, peaking at 75 games played and 193 at-bats in 1965.

-His best season was 1962, when he hit .284 with four homers and 22 RBI in 45 games.

-Caught Sandy Koufax's third no-hitter, a 3-0 victory over the Phillies on June 4, 1964.

-Was sold to the Senators prior to the 1965 season, and hit just .195 in three seasons in Washington before retiring to become the club's bullpen coach. Was activated for a single game in 1969, and went 1-for-3 to leave his batting average tantalizingly short of the Mendoza line at .19947. Hit 18 home runs and drove in 80 over parts of nine seasons.

-Coached for the Red Sox from 1970-1973, and coached and managed in their farm system for two decades after that. From 1985-1988, he compiled a 261-291 record as the skipper at Class A Greensboro and Winter Haven.
#77 Doug Camilli (back)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#513 New York Yankees Team

#513 New York Yankees Team
Here comes the last card from my first trade with Kris. Thanks again! This might be the best team card in the set, between the wacky 45-degree angle and the snazzy Yankees emblem resting between the two bat boys. As a bonus, it's waaayyy miscut. Two thumbs up!

By the time most fans saw this card, they were probably sick to death of the Yankees. As you can see, the Bronx Bombers were the American League Champions in 1964, winning 99 games and losing 63 to squeak past the 98-win White Sox and 97-win Orioles. New York spent only 38 days in first place all season, compared to 111 for Baltimore, but they stood alone atop the A.L. when it mattered most. It made for an astounding 15th pennant for the club in an 18-year span dating back to 1947, but this would prove to be their last trip to the postseason until 1976. Somewhat fittingly, this dynastic era for the Yanks ended with a World Series loss, as the Cardinals outlasted them in seven games. Try to dry your eyes.

In the regular season, New York scored 730 runs (second-best in the league) and allowed only 577 (fourth-best). They topped the junior circuit with a total attendance of 1,305,638 at the original Yankee Stadium.

Though the Yankees were #2 in the league in runs scored and batting average (.253), they were not an especially potent offensive club. Three starters topped 16 home runs: first baseman Joe Pepitone (28 HR, 100 RBI), center fielder Mickey Mantle (.303, 35 HR, 111 RBI), and right fielder Roger Maris (.281, 26 HR, 71 RBI). Despite his power, Pepitone failed to post a league-average OPS+, walking only 24 times for an anemic on-base percentage of .281. This didn't stop the decision-makers from tabbing him for the All-Star Game. In addition to Joe, three other New York hitters were selected for the Midsummer Classic: Mantle, catcher Elston Howard (.313, 15 HR, 84 RBI), and second baseman Bobby Richardson (.267, 25 2B...yes, he was voted in by his peers).

The Yank pitchers were no slouches, either; their 3.15 team ERA ranked third and only one pitcher threw at least 50 innings with an ERA above 3.84. The rotation was anchored by All-Star Whitey Ford (17-6, 2.13 ERA, 8 SHO), who was ably flanked by youngsters like Jim Bouton (18-13, 3.02) and Al Downing (13-8, 3.47). Aside from wins, the New York staff also led the league with 45 saves, topped by rookie Pete Mikkelsen's 15 closeouts.
#513 New York Yankees Team (back)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#475 Clete Boyer

#475 Clete Boyer
One thing you'll notice about this batch of cards that Kris sent me is that they're in very good condition with one exception: the original owner treated them as prototypes for Topps Traded. In this case, a youngster came across this card somewhere between 1967 and 1971 and realized that Clete Boyer was no longer a Yankee, but an Atlanta Brave! As you can see, he fixed that little anachronism with a trusty pencil. Thanks, kid!

Fun facts about Clete Boyer:

-Born in Cassville, MO, Clete signed with the Athletics as a bonus baby in 1955, meaning that he jumped straight to the majors at age 18.

-Two brothers (Ken Boyer and Cloyd Boyer) also played in the majors. Cloyd pitched from 1949-1955, and Ken was a contemporary of Clete with a reputation as one of the best third baseman of the era. Two other brothers, Len and Ron, played minor league baseball.

-In parts of three seasons in Kansas City, he saw action in 124 games, batting .226 with a single home run.

-After being sent to the Yankees in a 13-player trade in mid-1957, Boyer was optioned to the minors and didn't return to the majors for good until 1960.

-In the Bronx, he gained a reputation as an excellent defensive third baseman with some pop in his bat (averaging nearly 14 home runs in his seven full seasons there). However, he was overshadowed by Baltimore's Brooks Robinson, who won the Gold Glove every year that Clete played in New York.

-Like most Yankees of the 1950s and 1960s, Clete had a few shining moments in the World Series. He made a couple of dazzling plays with the glove in the 1961 Fall Classic, hit a tie-breaking home run in Game One of the 1962 Series, and combined with brother (and opponent) Ken to become the first brothers to homer in the same postseason game in the final contest of the 1964 Series.

-Was traded to the Braves prior to the 1967 season and played in Atlanta for five seasons. Highlights included a career-high 26 homers and 96 RBI in 1967 and finally winning his first (and only) Gold Glove in 1969. The latter feat made him and brother Ken (a five-time winner) the first pair of brothers to each gain recognition as top fielders.

-A disagreement with manager Lum Harris and general manager Paul Richards led to his release in mid-1971, bringing an end to his major league career after 16 seasons. In total, he was a .242 hitter with 162 home runs and 654 RBI.

-He continued his playing career in Japan from 1972-1975, playing alongside legendary slugger Sadaharu Oh with the Taiyo Whales. After coaching with the Whales the following season, Clete returned stateside and coached with Oakland (1980-1985) and the Yankees (1988, 1992-1994). He also managed the Bradenton Explorers (later the Daytona Beach Explorers) of the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989 and 1990.

-In 2000, he opened "Clete Boyer's Hamburger Hall of Fame", a Yankee-themed restaurant in Cooperstown, NY. He passed away in 2007 at age 70, due to complications from a brain hemorrhage.
#475 Clete Boyer (back)

Friday, January 15, 2010

#450 Elston Howard

#450 Elston Howard
Do you think this counts for our ongoing series of players with two first names? Elston sounds more like a last name, but it gets the job done, I'd say. At any rate, this is a pretty nifty card featuring the first black player to be a regular for the Yankees.

Fun facts about Elston Howard:

-Born in St. Louis, MO, Elston started his pro baseball career with the Negro League club in Kansas City before signing with the Yankees in 1950.

-Missed the 1951-1952 seasons while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and was 26 by the time he debuted with New York in 1955. Playing primarily in the outfield (as the Yanks had Yogi Berra behind the plate), he hit .290 with ten homers and a career-best seven triples in 97 games.

-Played in ten World Series, coming out on the winning side four times. Homered off of Don Newcombe in his first postseason at-bat in 1955, one of five career Fall Classic home runs. He also drove in 19 runs in Series play.

-Was credited with innovating the weighted batting donut.

-Was an All-Star for nine straight seasons (1957-1965). Batted over .300 three times in that span, including a high of .348 in 1961.

-Became the first black American Leaguer to win the MVP award in 1963, when he hit .287 with 85 RBI and a career-high 28 home runs.

-Finally replaced Berra as the primary Yankee catcher in 1960 and was soon known as one of the finest defenders behind the plate. Won Gold Gloves in 1963 and 1964.

-Was traded to Boston halfway through the 1967 season and became a respected veteran counselor to the young pitching staff of the soon-to-be A.L. champs.

-Retired after the 1968 season as a .274 lifetime hitter with 167 home runs and 762 RBI in 14 seasons.

-Coached first base for the Yankees from 1969 through 1979, and spent 1980 in the club's front office before dying that December of heart failure at age 51. New York retired his uniform number 32 in 1984.
#450 Elston Howard (back)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#447 Julian Javier

#447 Julian Javier
As I discussed with reader Max (aka jacobmrley) in the comments for the last entry, this is the third straight player featured who has "two first names". It's just uncanny, is what it is.

Fun facts about Julian Javier:

-Originally from San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, 19-year-old Julian signed with the Pirates in 1956.

-Joined the Cardinals in a four-player trade on May 28, 1960 and made his major league debut that same day. He collected two hits against former All-Star Billy O'Dell. He was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team despite a .237 batting average.

-Renowned for his excellent range at second base, he started there for St. Louis for over a decade. Teammate Tim McCarver called him "The Phantom" because of his skill in turning the double play while avoiding sliding base runners.

-Combined with teammates Bill White (1B), Dick Groat (SS), and Ken Boyer (3B) to comprise the National League's starting infield in the 1963 All-Star Game. That season, Javier batted .263 with 27 doubles.

-Played in three World Series with the Cardinals, who won it all in 1964 and 1967 and lost to the Tigers in 1968. Also played for Cincinnati in their 1972 World Series loss to Oakland. Overall, he hit .333 in Fall Classic play, with seven RBI in 54 at-bats - most notably a three-run homer in the clinching Game 7 of the 1967 Series.

-Was ninth in MVP voting in 1967 (.281, 14 HR, 64 RBI) and made his second and final All-Star team the following year (.260, 25 2B).

-After a dozen seasons in St. Louis, finished his career with the Reds in 1972. He retired as a .257 hitter with 78 homers and 506 RBI.

-His son Stan Javier was an outfielder for eight teams (primarily the A's and Giants) between 1984 and 2001, and hit .269 with 57 home runs and 503 RBI.

-The Dominican winter league team Aguilas del Cibao retired his uniform number 25 and named him as the second baseman on their all-time team.

-Julian founded two baseball leagues in his native country, the Summer League (1975-1978) and the Khoury League, later renamed the Roberto Clemente League. He and son Stan also founded the expansion team Gigantes del Cibao in the LIDOM winter league; the club plays in a stadium that bears the elder Javier's name.
#447 Julian Javier (back)

Monday, January 11, 2010

#127 Frank Lary

#127 Frank Lary
Moving along to another trade from February 2009, this is the first of an assortment of cards from Kris of Aardvark Trading Co., a.k.a. Cards in the Attic. He is also working on the 1965 Topps set, so I sent him doubles of the Bill Mazeroski, Steve Blass, and Dick Stigman cards. We got together on a second trade in April, with results being posted here...soonish. Thanks, Kris!

Fun facts about Frank Lary:

-Hailing from Northport, AL, Frank signed with the Tigers in 1950 at age 20.

-His brother Al Lary pitched a game for the Cubs in 1954...and 15 more games for them eight years later! That was the sum total of his major league experience.

-Debuted with Detroit in 1954 after missing two years due to military service. Pitched well in three appearances and carried it over into the next season, when he went 14-15 despite a 3.10 ERA, 16 complete games, and league-low 0.4 home runs allowed per nine innings.

-Announced his presence in 1956 by leading the league with 294 innings pitched and 21 wins (against 13 losses), complemented by a 3.15 ERA and 20 complete games.

-Was known by several colorful nicknames: "Mule", "Taters", and most notably, "The Yankee Killer". In his career, he was a robust 28-13 with a 3.32 ERA against the Bronx Bombers, and completed 24 of his 49 starts against them. In 1958, he went 7-0 against the eventual World Champs. His career high in wins against a non-Yankee club was 18 vs. the Senators/Twins.

-Was easily the most dependable Motown starting pitcher from 1955-1961, thrice leading the A.L. in complete games and topping the circuit three times in innings pitched. He was also a two-time All-Star.

-His finest year was 1961, when he went 23-9 with a 3.24 ERA in an offense-slanted expansion season. He completed 22 of 36 starts, compiled a 1.16 WHIP, received an All-Star nod, and won his only career Gold Glove for good measure.

-Frank's heavy workload caught up to him, as he failed to exceed 107.1 innings in any of his final four seasons in the majors. During that time, he bounced from Detroit to the Mets to the Braves to the Mets again to the White Sox.

-He ended his career with 128 wins and 116 losses in parts of 12 seasons with a 3.49 ERA. He tossed 126 complete games in 292 starts.

-After hanging up his spikes, Lary worked for several teams as a coach and scout.
#127 Frank Lary (back)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

#411 Roger Craig

#411 Roger Craig
It's been said that you can't trust a man with two first names. But can you trust a man whose name combines two of the actors who have played James Bond?

Fun facts about Roger Craig:

-Born in Durham, NC, Roger signed with the Dodgers in 1950.

-After losing two years (1952-1953) to military service, he finally made his major league debut in 1955. He pitched well (5-3, 2.78 ERA), and won his only World Series start, a 5-3 decision over the Yankees. It gave Brooklyn a 3-2 series lead, and they would pull it out in seven games.

-Won a career-high 12 games in his sophomore season, fashioning a 3.71 ERA and allowing only 169 hits in 199 innings.

-After struggling during the following two seasons, he had a career year in 1959, going 11-5 with a miniscule 2.06 ERA and leading the National League with four shutouts.

-Before their inaugural 1962 campaign, the Mets drafted Craig from the Dodgers, beginning the longest two years of the pitcher's life. He led the league in losses during that span, going 10-24 and 5-22 respectively despite a fair 4.14 ERA. Of his 46 losses, 20 came in quality starts; in 1963, he lost 18 straight decisions.

-Roger was paroled to the Cardinals in 1964 and was a dependable swingman, posting a 3.25 ERA in 39 games. He also blanked the Yankees in five innings of relief in two World Series appearances.

-After a decent season in Cincinnati in 1965 (3.64 ERA), he finished his career with a few subpar months in Philadelphia the following year. In parts of 12 seasons, he was 74-98 with a 3.83 ERA.

-After serving as a scout and minor-league manager for the Dodgers in 1967-1968, Craig embarked on a long career as a trusted pitching coach with the Padres (1969-1972), Astros (1974-1975), and Tigers (1980-1984).

-Roger is credited with teaching the split-fingered fastball to two of the most prominent pitchers of the 1980s, Houston starter Mike Scott and Jack Morris of Detroit.

-He also had some success as a manager, leading the Padres to their first winning record in 1978 (84-78), before a 93-loss season the next year cost him his job. He helmed the Giants from 1985-1992, leading them to the World Series in 1989 where they were swept by Oakland.
#411 Roger Craig (back)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

#37 Fred Gladding

#37 Fred Gladding
Here's the first of two cards that I received in a trade last year with Ben Henry, the inimitable gentleman behind The Baseball Card Blog and one of the chief inspirations behind my own blogging endeavors. I don't quite remember what I sent him; I think it was a Dave McNally 1972 Topps Boyhood Photos, a miscut 1975 Topps Mario Mendoza, and a small bunch of Red Sox. Anyway, I knew that if I waited long enough to post this trade, Ben would return to blogging...and last week, he did! Happy day! You may notice the small hole in the middle of Fred Gladding's excellent little flaw that gives this card added value in my eyes. Thanks Ben, and welcome back!

Fun facts about Fred Gladding:

-A hometown boy from Flat Rock, MI, Fred signed with the Tigers in 1956.

-Pitched well in cups of coffee with Detroit in 1961-1962, allowing six earned runs in 21.1 innings of relief.

-His finest season in Motown came in 1967, when he was 6-4 with a 1.99 ERA and a team-leading 12 saves in 42 games.

-Overall, he was 26-11 with a 2.70 ERA and 33 saves in parts of seven seasons as a Tiger. He did not have an ERA higher than 3.28 in any full season with the team.

-Was traded to the Astros for future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews.

-After an injury-marred first season in Houston, Fred bounced back in a big way in 1969. He led the National League with 29 saves in the first year that the statistic was officially recognized.

-Currently owns the worst non-zero batting average in major league history, with a single hit in 63 at-bats (.016) and a 40-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ron Taylor was the unlucky guy who gave up an RBI single to Gladding.

-Another unfortunate bit of notoriety for Fred was his ample physique. According to Jim Bouton, he was known as "Fred Flintstone" and "look(ed) like a grocer who's been eating up a good bit of his profits".

-Retired in 1973 at age 37, having gone 48-34 with a 3.13 ERA and 109 saves in parts of 13 seasons.

-Coached in the minors for the Tigers and Indians, and also served as Detroit's big league pitching coach from 1976-1978.
#37 Fred Gladding (back)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

#40 Frank Howard

#40 Frank Howard
Okay, we jump ahead to February with HONDO! I received this incredibly badass card from Jason of the excellently named Pack to the Future card blog. He also helped me fill some pesky needs from my 1986 Topps set, and in return I sent him some 1988 Donruss that he needed. Thanks, Jason!

I love Frank Howard's glasses, his menacing expression of irritation, and his hulking frame. You or I could probably use that jersey as a night shirt!

Fun facts about Frank Howard:

-Was born in Columbus, OH and was a two-sport All-American (baseball and basketball) at Ohio State University. The 6'8", 275-pounder was drafted by the NBA's Philadelphia Warriors, but chose to sign with the Dodgers in 1958.

-Earned cups of coffee in L.A. in each of his first two pro seasons, as he hit .335 with 80 home runs in the minors during that span. The Sporting News named him the Minor League Player of the Year in 1959.

-Was tabbed as the 1960 N.L. Rookie of the Year, hitting .268 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI in 117 games.

-After playing only part-time in his sophomore year he finished ninth in MVP balloting in 1962. His batting line was an impressive .296 with 31 homers and 119 RBI. The Dodgers missed out on the pennant, however, falling in a three-game playoff to the Giants.

-Frank and his Los Angeles teammates bounced back to beat the Yankees in the 1963 World Series. In his only Fall Classic, the slugger hit a towering solo home run into the upper deck of Dodger Stadium in the fifth inning of Game Four. The clout off of Whitey Ford snapped a scoreless tie and helped L.A. to a 2-1 win and a series sweep.

-Despite hitting 123 longballs in five full seasons with the Dodgers, he was traded to the Senators prior to the 1965 season. In all, seven players and $100,000 changed hands, and Howard finally had the chance to play every day in a more hitter-friendly ballpark. He also received a fantastic nickname: "The Capital Punisher".

-Led Washington in home runs and RBI in each of his seven seasons there, and twice led the American League with 44 dingers (1968 and 1970); in 1969, his career-high 48 homers were off the lead by just one. Was a four-time All-Star and three-time Top Eight in MVP voting in D.C., and his 237 home runs are still a record for any hitter to play in the nation's capital.

-Hit an astounding 10 home runs in 20 at-bats from May 12-18, 1968, setting a record for circuit clouts in a single week.

-Following short stints with the Rangers (who relocated from D.C.) and Tigers, he retired in 1973. In parts of 16 seasons, Frank hit .273 with a .352 on-base percentage, 382 home runs, and 1,119 RBI. His OPS+ for his career was a hearty 142.

-A baseball "lifer", Hondo has managed the Padres (1981) and Mets (1983), with a 93-133 career record. He also coached for the Brewers, Mets, Mariners, Yankees, and Devil Rays, and managed minor league clubs for Milwaukee, Atlanta, and the Yankees. He has been a player development instructor for the Bronx Bombers since 2000.
#40 Frank Howard (back)

Monday, January 04, 2010

#382 J.C. Martin

#382 J. C. Martin
Today we move on to the next transaction, which was conducted almost a year ago - I will catch up eventually - with reader Michael F. He sent the slabbed Steve Blass card that I recently referenced, as well as a bunch of the gold embossed inserts that Topps released in 1965 and this J.C. Martin card and asked for nothing in return. Thanks so much, Michael!

Fun facts about J.C. Martin:

-J.C. called Axton, VA home. He signed his first pro contract with the White Sox in 1956.

-Made his major league debut in 1959 at age 22, and received cups of coffee that year and the following season as well.

-As a corner infielder, made the Topps All-Star Rookie Team in 1961. However, he hit only .230 with five home runs and 32 RBI.

-After spending most of 1962 in the minors to convert to catcher, he returned to the majors in 1963 and flirted with the Mendoza line for the next two years.

-Had a career year in 1965, batting .261. He also set a dubious record (since broken) by allowing 33 passed balls, thanks in large part to Chicago's knuckleballing duo of Eddie Fisher and Hoyt Wilhelm.

-Caught Joe Horlen's no-hitter against the Tigers on September 10, 1967.

-Was relegated to backup duty during a two-year stint with the Mets (1968-1969), but figured prominently in their postseason run in 1969. Provided insurance with a pinch-hit two-run single in New York's Game One win in the NLCS.

-His second big at-bat in the 1969 postseason gets its own bullet point. In the bottom of the tenth inning of Game Four of the World Series, he bunted and reached safely when Oriole pitcher Pete Richert's errant throw hit him in the arm. Rod Gaspar scored the winning run on the play; although replays showed that Martin was running inside the baseline and should have been called out for interference, the umpires claimed that he did not intentionally interfere. As an O's fan, I'd love to know how they divined his intentions.

-Ended his career with a three-year turn as a Cubs reserve; retired after the team released him in the spring of 1973. For his career, he hit .222 with 32 home runs and 230 RBI in parts of 14 seasons.

-Coached for the Cubs in 1974 and broadcast White Sox games on WSNS alongside Harry Caray in 1975.
#382 J. C. Martin (back)