Wednesday, March 22, 2017

RIP - Dallas Green

With great sadness I am posting that long-time Phillies' organizational soldier Dallas Green passed away today (March 22, 2017) at age 82.

Green played for the Phillies from 1960 to 1964, then spent some time with the Mets and Senators, before returning to the Phillies for his final season in 1967.

Green then went to work assisting Paul Owens in running the Phillies' farm system. After Owens' promotion to GM in 1972, Green took over the farm system, until being named Phillies' manager in late 1979.

He managed the Phillies for the 1980 and 1981 seasons, "coaxing" all the varied personalities to the 1980 World Series championship.

After 1981 he moved to the Cubs as a front-office executive. He later managed the Yankees in 1989 and the Mets from 1993-96, before returning to the Phillies as a senior advisor.

To me, the "Old-school Phillies' Way" was personified by Paul Owens, Dallas Green, John Vukovich, and Larry Bowa. Three of those four are now gone.

Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia story

ESPN obituary

Friday, March 17, 2017

RIP - Bob Bruce

1960s' pitcher Bob Bruce passed away on March 15, 2017 at age 83.

Bruce played for the Tigers, Colt .45s/Astros, and Braves from 1959 to 1967.

Beginning his career with Detroit, his best years were from 1962-66, when he was a workhorse starter for the Colts/Astros. In a 1964 game, he struck out the side on only 9 pitches (1 day after Sandy Koufax had done the same). He was also the starting pitcher in the first game played in the Astrodome.

After the 1966 season Bruce was traded to the Braves for veteran 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews, and retired after the season.

Houston Chronicle obituary

Post from a Houston-area blog

Monday, March 13, 2017

RIP - Bill Hands

1960s' Cubs' starting pitcher Bill Hands passed away on March 9, 2017 at age 76.

Hands began his career with the Giants, pitching in the minors from 1959-65, along with 4 games for the Giants in 1965.

Traded to the Cubs, he was a key member of their rotation from 1966 to 1972, winning 16, 20, and 18 games from 1968 to 1970.

Hands also played for the Twins from 1973-74 and the Rangers from 1974-75.

Obituary from Bleed Cubbie Blue blog


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Frank Robinson

Sixth in a series... 

After 10 years with the Cincinnati Reds (including winning the Rookie of the Year award in '56 and the MVP in '61), Frank Robinson was traded to the Orioles prior to the 1966 season, and led them to their first-ever World Series appearance (and championship) in his first season there. As icing on the cake, he also won the Triple Crown and the MVP award that year. For good measure, he led the AL in runs scored too!

Robby was also a 12-time All-Star (6 with the Reds, 5 with the O's, and once with the Angels).

Monday, February 6, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Bob Gibson

Let's see.... what did Bob Gibson do? 

5-time 20-game winner (led NL in 1970 with 23 wins).
8-time All-Star (including 6 straight 1965-70).
9 consecutive Gold Glove awards (1965-73).
Topped 250 strikeouts four times, including NL lead of 268 in 1968.
Led NL with 13 shutouts in 1968.
28 complete games in both 1968 and 1969 (led NL in '69).
1.12 ERA in 1968 was best in majors.
Cy Young winner in '68 and '70.
MVP in 1968.
Played in 3 World Series from 1964-68 (9 games), posting a 7-2 record with 92 strikeouts.
MLB changed the strike zone and lowered the mound after 1968 because of him.
1st-ballot Hall of Famer in 1981 (only player inducted that year).
Quite a hitter too! 1965 - 5/19/.240; 1970 - 2/19/.303

Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stars of the 1960s: Harmon Killebrew

4th in a series....

Harmon Killebrew played for the Senators/Twins from 1954 to 1974, then finished his career with the Royals in 1975.

Topps managed to find different photos for each of these cards. However, they forgot that on all the other 1967 Twins cards, the "TWINS" team name was green, not yellow.

Harmon hit more home runs in the 1960s than any other player.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

RIP - Billy Champion

Shelby, North Carolina native Billy Champion, one of the many young pitchers promoted by the Phillies from 1969-72, passed away on January 7, 2016 at age 69.

Champion played 4 years in class-A ball, including a 15-5 record in 1968.

With the loss of starting pitchers Chris Short (to injury) and Larry Jackson (expansion draft), Champion stepped into the starting rotation as a rookie in 1969, making 20 starts and compiling a 5-10 record for an awful team.

He spent 1970 mostly in the minors, as Short returned to the lineup and the team re-acquired Jim Bunning. Champion returned for 2 more seasons with the Phillies, as a reliever in '71 and as the team's #2 starter (a distant #2, behind Steve Carlton) in '72.

Champion was dealt to the Brewers after 1972, and played 3 1/2 years in Milwaukee, his career year coming in 1974 (11-4, 3.62).

Released in June 1976, he finished the season with the Braves' AAA team. His final pro season was 1977, back in the Phillies' minor leagues.

Champion worked as a scout and coach for 5 teams after his playing career.

Shelby (NC) Star obituary

A very interesting retrospective here

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RIP - Bob Sadowski (INF)

Bob Sadowski (the utility infielder from '61-'63, not the Braves' pitcher from '63-'65 shown farther below) passed away on January 6, 2017 at age 79.

Sadowski began his career in 1955 with the class-D Hazlehurst-Baxley Cardinals (how's THAT for a team name?) in the Georgia State League.

He played in the minors every year from 1955-69, except for spending all of 1962 with the White Sox and all of 1963 with the Angels. He also appeared for the Phillies for part of 1961, and one game for the Cards in 1960.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

RIP - 2016 Re-cap

Summarizing the players from the 1960s who left us in 2016:

And a very long list of celebrities in general:
Pat Harrington
David Bowie
Noreen Corcoran
Glenn Frey
Abe Vigoda
Paul Kantner
George Kennedy
Nancy Reagan
George Martin
Frank Sinatra Jr
Keith Emerson
Ken Howard
Joe Garagiola
Garry Shandling
Patty Duke
Doris Roberts
Billy Paul
William Schallert
Alan Young
Morley Safer
Muhammad Ali
Gordie Howe
Garry Marshall
Gene Wilder
Hugh O'Brian
Arnold Palmer
Janet Reno
Robert Vaughn
Leon Russell
Florence Henderson
Ron Glass
Fidel Castro
Greg Lake
John Glenn
Alan Thicke
Zsa Zsa Gabor
George Michael
Carrie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds

Hello 2017! 

RIP - Chris Cannizzaro

Catcher Chris Cannizzaro, a member of both the 1962 expansion Mets and the 1969 expansion Padres, passed away on December 30, 2016 at age 78.

Cannizzaro played from 1960 to 1974. After a few games with the Cardinals in '60 and '61, he played for the Mets from 1962-65.

After 2 seasons back in the minors, he played briefly with the Pirates in 1968, then was the Padres' #1 catcher in 1969 and 1970. He made the All-Star team in 1969, the first Padre to be an All-Star.

He was later a backup for the Cubs and Dodgers.

San Diego Union-Tribune obituary

New York daily News obituary

Monday, December 26, 2016

Stars of the 1960s: Mickey Mantle

Continuing with my "Stars of the 1960s" series, today's batter is Mickey Mantle.

Unlike with Willie Mays, Topps saw fit to use a new photo each year for Mantle's cards.  You'll notice that the '66 card is a recent reprint.  The 1967 card was my first Mantle card, and I can still recall the feeling I had that day "Look!  A Mickey Mantle card!"  I was never a Yankees fan, but always a Mantle fan. (Who wasn't?)

In the summer of 2009, my son and I were driving from Pennsylvania to Arizona. While in Missouri and Oklahoma, we would occasionally get off the interstate and check out some sights on old Route 66. As we entered the extreme northeast corner of Oklahoma, we decided to get off the interstate and drive the half-mile up into Kansas (just to say we were in Kansas).

When we picked up Route 66 and drove back into Oklahoma, the first town we entered was Commerce. Driving down the main street, they have banners hanging from the street lights proclaiming it as the hometown of Mickey Mantle. What an unexpected treat, and completely by accident!

Friday, December 23, 2016

RIP - Phil Gagliano

Phil Gagliano, a utility infielder for the Cardinals in the 1960s, passed away on December 19, 2016 at age 74.

Gagliano was the Cardinals' backup 2nd and 3rd baseman from 1964 to 1970. His best season was 1965, when he hit 8 home runs in 411 plate appearances. He appeared in the '67 and '68 World Series for St. Louis.

He also played for the Cubs, Red Sox, and Reds from 1970-74.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Utility Schmoes Abound!

I think I've figured out why the Cubs were so bad in the mid-1960s (well, besides that they didn't employ a manager). Their roster was clogged with utility players!

All 3 of these players had cards in the 1965 set as Cubs. Leo Burke and Jim Stewart were both on the team from 1963-65, and Harry Bright came on board in 1965.

Look at Bright - I wonder if he felt superior to the other two. ("I'll SEE your INF-OF, and raise you a Catcher!")