Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vida Blue (#75)

Signed in person at the fanfest in Toronto in 1991. One of the premier pitchers in the 1970's, he possessed a breaking curveball that he threw on occasion and an above average change-up, but his signature pitch was a blistering fastball that dialed up to nearly 100 miles per hour. On September 11 1970, he shut out the Kansas City Royals 3-0, giving up only one hit, to Pat Kelly in the eighth inning. Ten days later, he no-hit the Minnesota Twins, 6-0, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, with the lone baserunner being Harmon Killebrew, who walked in the fourth inning. Blue had a 24-8 record in 1971, winning both the Cy Young and MVP awards.[8][9][10] He also led the American League in complete games (24), shutouts (8) and Earned run average (1.82).

Blue won 20 games in 1973, 17 games in 1974, and 22 games in 1975, as an integral member of the Oakland Athletics five straight American League Western Division pennants from 1971-1975, and three consecutive World Championships in 1972, 1973, and 1974. He was a 6× All-Star selection (1971, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981),
and finished his career in 1986 with a 209-161 record and 2175 strikeouts.

Sixto Lezcano (#71)

In the mail success. He played for 12 seasons as an outfielder in the Major Leagues between 1974 and 1985. He played for 5 different teams in the Majors and won a Gold Glove in 1979. While with the Brewers, he became the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit a grand slam on Opening Day twice, doing so in both 1978 and 1980. His career ended in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates who released him in spring training before the 1986 season, which would end his Major League career. In 1987 he joined Japanese team Taiyō Whales but he wasn't successful in Japan. His career average is .271 and 148 HR's.

Dave McKay (#40)

Through the mail success. Dave McKay was the first Canadian born player to play for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977. He started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 1975 and ended with the Oakland A's in 1982. 2008 was Dave's 25th consecutive season as a Major League coach. First with Oakland (1984-95) and St. Louis (since 1996). He has coached on five pennant winning and two world championship teams. Dave was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001 and is the father of Cody McKay who played in the majors briefly in 2002 and 2004.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Minnie Minoso (#262)

Signed in person at the Toronto All-Star Fanfest in 1991. I remember that Mr. Minoso took a sheet of paper and placed it on the card, and then signed his name. I guess he wanted to line-up his signature. Does he still sign that way? Mr. Minoso is a Cuban born baseball player, known as "Mr. White Sox", even though he also starred with Cleveland, St. Louis and Washington. Miñoso is the only player to have played professionally in 7 different decades. He was also the last Major Leaguer to have played in the 1940s to play a Major League game. In his major league career, he hit for a .298 average, 186 homeruns, 1963 hits and 205 stolen bases. Minnie was the first black player to play for the White Sox in 1951. He is also acknoledged as being the first Black Latino player in the Majors with Cleveland in 1949. He was a 7 time All-Star and 3 time Gold Glove winner. In 1976, after several years playing in Mexico, Miñoso returned to play three games with the White Sox. He picked up one single in eight plate appearances becoming at age 50 the second-oldest player ever to get a base hit in the Major Leagues. Miñoso returned to appear in two more games with the Sox in 1980. At age 77, he appeared in 2003 in a professional baseball game by drawing a walk for the St. Paul Saints, an independant team, becoming the only player to appear professionally in seven different decades.

John Hiller (#257)

In person at the All-Star Fanfest in 1991. He was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers for his entire career, from 1965 to 1985. John broke in with the team in 1965, but didn't see substantial play until 1967 when he appeared in 23 games. He pitched in 39 games for the 1968 pennant winners, posting a 9-6 record with 2 saves and a 2.39 earned run average. He had two unsuccessful relief appearances in the 1968 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, pitching the last two innings in the 7-3 Game 3 loss and facing five batters without recording an out in Game 4, a 10-1 loss.

After suffering a heart attack in 1971, he returned to the team and recorded 38 saves in 1973 – a major league record until 1983, and a team record until 2000.

* All-Star selection (1974)
* World Series champion (1968)
* 1973 Hutch Award
* 1973 AL Comeback Player of the Year
Win–Loss record 87–76
Earned run average 2.83
Strikeouts 1,036
Saves 125

Being a Canadian born player, was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, and into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Tippy Martinez (#254)

I received this card in the mail. Tippy is a former left-handed relief pitcher who pitched from 1974-1988. He was a member of the 1983 World Series Baltimore Orioles and he posted a lifetime win-loss record of 55-42 with an ERA of 3.45.

Tippy is probably best known or picking off three Toronto Blue Jays off first base in one inning during an August 24, 1983 game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. The Orioles, having replaced both their starting catcher and his backup while rallying to tie the game in the ninth inning, entered the tenth with reserve infielder Lenn Sakata in the game at catcher. Three consecutive Blue Jays hitters reached first base and each one, thinking it would be easy to steal a base on Sakata, took a big lead. Martinez picked off all three baserunners and then became the winning pitcher when the Orioles won the game on Sakata's home run in the bottom of the tenth.

Fred Patek (#244)

This card was signed in person at the Toronto FanFest in 1991. In his first season with the Royals, Patek hit for the cycle on July 9, 1971, and led the American League with eleven triples to finish sixth in A.L. M.V.P. balloting. He earned his first of three All-Star selections the following season, and was a staple of the Royals line-up that won the American League West from 1976 through 1978. He was a 3 time All-Star and was primarily known for his speed on the basepaths and his defense abilities. He retired in 1981 after mainly being a utility player with the California Angels. Whitey Herzog called Patek the best artificial turf shortstop he ever managed, ranking him even higher than Ozzie Smith.

Baseball analyst Bill James has ranked Patek, a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, the 14th best player in Royals' history. Fred career numbers are:

Batting average .242
Hits 1,340
Runs batted in 490
Stolen bases 385

Rick Burleson (#237)

Manny Sanguillen (#231)

Rick Manning (#190)

Fergie Jenkins (#187)

Signed in person in 2008.

Bobby Bonds (#173)

Received this in person at the Toronto All-Star Fanfest. This autograph is very special to me and among my very favorites.More commonly known now as Barry Bonds father, Bobby was a great player in his own wright. He was a right fielder from 1968-1981 and was the first player to have more than 2 seasons of 30 hr's and 30 stolen bases. Bobby accomplished this 5 times in his career, and he was the first player to do this in both leagues. Bobby became the second player to hit 300 homeruns and steal 300 bases, after Willie Mays. Bobby hit a grand slam in his first major league game, only one of four players to do so, and the first player since Bill Duggleby in 1898. Along with his son Barry, he is part of one the most prolific father-son combinations, holding the record for homeruns, RBI's and stolen bases. He finished his career in 1981 with the Chicago Cubs with an batting average of .268, 332 homeruns, and 461 stolen bases. Bobby died in 2003 at the age of 57 due to complications from lung cancer.

Dave Cash (#180)

Signed by mail. This photo is different than Topps. Although I'm happy this card isn't airbrushed, I think I prefer the Topps version. It shows Cash's afro in it's full 70's glory.

Bud Harrelson (#172)

Rich Hebner (#168)

Signed by mail. This version is totally air-brushed. The 77 Topps has Richie as a member of the Pirates. Same pose.

Chuck Hartenstein (#157)

Steve Rogers (#153)

Signed in person at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. This card features a different photo than the Topps version. I would think that Topps used an older picture of Steve, since OPC took it's photos later at Spring Training of that year, and plus the fact that Steve has a nice bushy 'stache on this card. On his Topps card he doesn't have a mustache.

Gaylord Perry (#149)

Sal Bando (#145)

Don Baylor (#133)

Jose Cardenal (#127)

Willie Randolph (#110)

Signed by mail. I had to take this card out of my main set, as I did not have a double. Sometimes when you see someone is signing, you do what you have to do. I'm not crazy about the fact that he personalized it, since none of my other signed cards are personalized. Oh well. This card differs a little bit from the Topps version. It lacks the All-Star Rookie cup.

Dick Williams (#108)

Luis Tiant (#87)

Ken Forsch (#78)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tom Veryzer (#168)

Another nice signature received by mail. Tom Veryzer was the shortstop for the Detroit Tigers starting in 1975. On June 8, 1975 he doubled in the 9th inning to spoil a no-hitter by Ken Holtzman. Tom held the shortstop position until Alan Trammell came along, and then he was traded to Cleveland. He spent four seasons with the Indians, and ended up finishing his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1984. He has a career batting average of .241 with 687 hits, 231 RBIs, and 14 home runs.

Roy Hartsfield (#238)

Doug DeCinces (#228)

Mailed to him and returned signed.

Rick Reuschel (#214)

Through the mail autograph.

Jim Mason (#211)

Another different photo than the 1977 Topps. Received in the mail.

Woodie Fryman (#126)

Signed in black pen through the mail.

Phil Roof (#121)

In the mail success. This card has a different photo than it's 1977 Topps counterpart.

Jim Barr (#119)

Through the mail success.

Frank Tanana (#105)

Received in the mail. Frank added his customary bible inscription.

Dennis Leonard (#91)

Received through the mail. I really like Dennis' signature.

Rick Cerone (#76)

Through the mail success. Nice airbrushing job on the hat. This card is not in the 1977 Topps set.

Bob Boone (#68)

I wrote to Bob in c/o the Nationals and he returned my card promptly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roger Metzger (#44)

Through the mail success. Love those old Astros uniforms.

Phil Garner (#34)

"Scrap Iron" signed this card for me in the mail. Pretty small signature, but good success. His 1977 Topps card features him as a member of the Oakland A's. Phil is a former infielder for the Oakland A's, Pirates, Astros, Dodgers and Giants from 1973 to 1988. He was manager of the Astros from July 14 2004 to August 27 2007, leading Houston to a World Series appearance in 2005.
  • Garner was involved in the two longest post-season games in the history of baseball, played almost 20 years apart. He was the Astros' manager in the 18-inning victory over the Atlanta Braves on October 9, 2005. In the 16-inning loss to the New York Mets on October 15, 1986, Garner was the starting third baseman for the Astros, going 1-for-3, before being replaced by a pinch-hitter. Both games had the final score of 7-6. Interestingly, he also managed the Astros for the longest World Series game in length of time (five hours and forty-one minutes). The Chicago White Sox won the game, 7-5 in the 14th inning (tied for longest by innings).
  • Garner, when playing for the Oakland A's when he got the club's 10,000th hit.

John Mayberry (#16)

I got this signed in person in 2008. John started his career with the Houston Astros and was purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Kansas City Royals. He hit over 20 HR's 8 times and over 30 twice in his career. On Aug 5/1977, he hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, HR) and finished his career in 1982 after being traded to the New York Yankees. He had 255 career homeruns and finished with a batting average of .253. He was an All-Star twice and was 2nd in American League MVP voting in 1975.

Wrapper and Gum

Here is one of the old wrappers from this set. No word on how old the gum is..

Mark Fidrych (#115)

This was signed in person at the Toronto All-Star Fan Fest in 1991. What I remember best about this, is that after I got this card signed and a few others, I needed to use the washroom. After I finished, and was washing my hands, Fidrych comes running in. He did his business, and then left without washing his hands. I thought it was pretty funny. This card differs from it's 1977 Topps counterpart by not having the A.L. ALL-STAR banner and Topps All-Star Rookie Cup on the card. Mark was Rookie of the Year in 1976 when he won 19 games. Fidrych also captured the imagination of fans with his antics on the field. He would crouch down on the pitcher's mound and fix cleat marks, what became known as "manicuring the mound", talk to himself, talk to the ball, aim the ball like a dart, strut around the mound after every out, and throw back balls that "had hits in them," insisting they be removed from the game. Mark Fidrych also was known for shaking everyone's hands after a game. Fidrych tore the cartilage in his knee fooling around in the outfield during spring training in 1977. He picked up where he left off after his return from the injury, but about six weeks after his return, during a game against Baltimore, he felt his arm just, in his words, "go dead." It was a torn rotator cuff, but it would not be diagnosed until 1985. Fidrych pitched his last MLB game on October 1, 1980 in Toronto, going five innings and giving up four earned runs, while picking up the win in a 11-7 Tigers victory which was televised in Detroit. At the end of the 1981 season, Detroit gave Fidrych his outright release and he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox, playing for one of their minor league teams. However, his torn rotator cuff, still undiagnosed and untreated, never healed. At age 29, he was forced to retire. He passed away in 2009 as the result of an unfortunate farm equipment accident on his farm.

ERA Leaders (#7)

I received this card autographed in the mail from Mark Fidrych, shortly before he passed on.His ERA in 1976, which is the theme of this card was 2.34