Monday, June 27, 2016

RIP - Jim Hickman

Former Mets and Cubs outfielder Jim Hickman passed away on June 25, 2016 in his birthplace of Henning, Tennessee at age 79.

Hickman played 13 seasons in the major leagues, with the Mets (1962-66), Dodgers (1967), Cubs (1968-73), and Cardinals (1974).

Often a role player during his career, he was the Mets' regular center fielder for their first 4 seasons (1962-65), and was also a regular for the Cubs from 1969-72, eventually taking over 1st base from Ernie Banks.

Hickman's best season was 1970, reaching career highs in home runs (33), RBI (115), and batting average (.315) for the Cubs, while making his only All-Star team.

New York Times obituary


Saturday, May 21, 2016

RIP - Jim Ray Hart

Former Giants' slugger Jim Ray Hart passed away on May 19, 2016 at age 74.

Hart began his 11-year Giants' tenure in July 1963, and was the team's regular 3rd baseman in 1964-66. In 1964 he finished 2nd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting to the Phillies' Dick Allen, and made his lone All-Star team in 1966.

Jim was also a regular in 1967-68, splitting his time between 3rd base and left field. Hart was in and out of the Giants' lineup from 1969-73, while also spending parts of those seasons in triple-A.

He was the Giants' #3 slugger behind Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, with 5 consecutive seasons of 20+ homers:

Hart finished his MLB career with the Yankees in '73 and '74, then played in Mexico from 1974-76. obituary
San Jose Mercury obituary

LA Times obituary


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

RIP - Dick McAuliffe

1960s' Tigers' infielder Dick McAuliffe passed away on May 13, 2016 at age 76 (the same day as Reds' pitcher Sammy Ellis).

McAuliffe played for the Tigers from September 1960 through the 1973 season. He was their regular shortstop from 1963-66, before moving over to 2nd base for 1967-73. A three-time All-Star (1965-67), he played in the 1968 World Series and the 1972 ALCS.

Dick finished up his career with the Red Sox from 1974-75.

Detroit Free Press obituary

The Detroit News obituary

RIP - Sammy Ellis

Former Cincinnati Reds' hurler Sammy Ellis passed away on May 13, 2016 at age 75.

Ellis pitched for the Reds from 1962 to 1967 and had his best season in 1965, winning 22 games and making the All-Star team. He also pitched for the Angels in 1968 and White Sox in 1969.

After his playing career, Ellis coached for the Yankees, White Sox, Cubs, Seattle, Boston, and Baltimore from 1983-2000.

FoxSports obituary

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

1964 Topps Coins (Part 2)

I bought these 4 coins sometime in the past 2 years, but only found them in a box of unrelated stuff last week. (I moved last year, and some of the last-minute packing was done randomly.

Topps' 1964 coin set was made up of the "regular coins" and "All-Stars". Some players were featured on both types of coins. I've noticed that the All-Star coins tend to be in much better condition, while all the regular coins have heavily-tarnished edges and backs, as well as some on the front. Maybe different metals were used?

These 4 coins bring my 1964 collection to 9 coins, joining these which I got a few years ago. (I also have the Tony Taylor coin.) I didn't collect Topps' baseball coins back in the day, because I didn't collect baseball cards in either 1964 or 1971.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

1964 Topps Giant Cards (Part 4)

Wow! Aside from a bunch of 1965 Topps cards, I have bought so little product in the past few years that it's surprising that I could lose track of some of the items I did buy.

Today I found these 5 Topps Giant cards from 1964 in a box with other stuff. I don't remember where or when I bought them, but I do know it was since my last adventure. I already had 13 of these cards, and now I can add 5 more to the set. (Now all I need to get are some pages to put them in. I've seen the correct size at a store I frequent, but only in boxes of 100. No thanks!)

All three of these players were stars for their teams, but by 1967 would be on the downside of their careers.  Unfortunately for Phillies' fans, Dick Groat and Dick Ellsworth would do their regressing while with the Phils.  Leon Wagner was a slugging outfielder whose power vanished overnight in 1967.

The last two cards are for Ken Johnson and Jim Gentile. Both are wearing soon-to-be-retired uniform styles. In 1965 the Colt .45s became the Astros, and the Kansas City Athletics switched to green/gold/white uniforms about this time. After 1967 they moved to Oakland, so the caps would change again.

My 1964 Giant card scoreboard:
3 - Colt .45s
2 - Athletics, Dodgers, White Sox
1 - Angels, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Indians, Mets, Orioles, Phillies, Twins
0 - Giants, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Senators, Tigers, Yankees

I also found four 1964 baseball coins today, which will be a topic for a future post.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP - Milt Pappas

Former MLB pitcher Milt Pappas passed away on April 19, 2016 at age 76.

Pappas pitched for 17 seasons, with the Orioles (1957-65), Reds (1966-68), Braves (1968-70), and Cubs (1970-73). After nine seasons with the Orioles, he was traded to the Reds for Frank Robinson after the 1965 season.

Washington Post obituary

Chicago Tribune obituary

Chicago Sun-Times obituary

ESPN story

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

RIP - Mike Sandlock (1915-2016)

Though not a member of MLB's 1960s alumni, Mike Sandlock passed away yesterday at age 100.

A catcher for the Braves (1944), Dodgers (1945-46), and Pirates (1953),  Sandlock was the oldest living former player at the time of his death.

USA Today obituary


Sunday, April 3, 2016

RIP - Tom Butters

1960s Pirates' reliever (and long-time Duke University AD) Tom Butters passed away on Thursday March 31, 2016 at age 77.

Butters pitched in the Pirates' minor league system every season from 1957-64, and played for the Bucs for parts of the 1962-65 seasons, with most of his playing time coming in 1964. He was released in July 1965, ending his career.

After his playing career, he coached the Duke University baseball team from 1968-70, and was their athletic director from 1977-97. He hired Mike Krzyzewski as Duke's basketball coach in 1980.

Raleigh NC News and Observer obituary


Monday, March 21, 2016

RIP - Bill Whitby

1960s Twins' prospect Bill Whitby passed away on March 12, 2016 at age 72.

Whitby appeared in 4 games for the Twins in June 1964. He was a starting pitcher in the Twins' system from 1961-69, and finished up with the Senators' AAA team in 1970.

 Charlotte, NC obituary

Whitby story from The Baseball Historian

Friday, March 4, 2016

Phillies Stadiums of Old

Who's up for a change of pace from obituaries? I know I am.

Here are 2 of my 3 Danbury Mint models that I unearthed recently. Years ago my uncle gave me one of Yankee Stadium, then I later bought these two.

Connie Mack Stadium (? - 1970): 

I went to my first Phillies game in May 1967, sitting in the upper deck bleachers in deep center field (just to the left of the flag in the 2nd photo). They were playing the Reds that day.

This model sizes the center field scoreboard incorrectly. I recall that it was taller than the outfield wall.

Veterans Stadium (1971-2003): 

My brother and I went to the first-ever game at Veterans Stadium in April 1971, sitting high in the 700-level in right field.

This model shows the Vet in later years, with the original levels of brown, tan, orange, and yellow seats (which you can see in this 1973 Ron Stone card) replaced by all blue seats.  Also new are the external towers with elevators to the retrofitted luxury boxes, and the 2 jumbo screens in center field.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

RIP - Kevin Collins

Former MLB 3rd baseman Kevin Collins passed away on February 20, 2016 at age 69.

Collins played a few games with the Mets in 1965 and 1967, then was recalled to the Mets in late-May 1968 and spent the remainder of that season sharing the 3rd base job with the veteran Ed Charles.

He began the Miracle Mets' 1969 season with New York, but in mid-June was traded to the Expos (along with pitcher Steve Renko) for 1st baseman Donn Clendenon. (Clendenon went on to the the World Series' MVP that year.) Collins spent his final 2 seasons (1970-71) playing for the Tigers.

The Mets Baseball Cards Like They Ought To Be blog broke the news of Collins' passing 2 days later, but it was a full week until it was acknowledged by

I still can't find any online obituaries for Collins.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

RIP - Jim Davenport

Longtime Giants' player, coach, and executive Jim Davenport passed away on February 18, 2016 at age 82.

Davenport played his entire career with the Giants (1958 to 1970). He was the team's regular 3rd baseman from 1958 (their first season in San Francisco) until 1963, and a utility infielder from 1964 until his release in July 1970.

After his playing career he was a Giants' coach from 1976-82 and their manager during the 1985 season. After coaching for other teams from 1988-92, he returned to the Giants in 1993 and remained in their employ in a variety of roles until his death.

 CBS San Francisco obituary

 San Jose Mercury obituary