Monday, September 16, 2019

Prime 9 - Houston Astros


The 18th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Astros won 373 games between 1966 and 1970 - last among National League teams.

Surprisingly, they finished in 8th place, ahead of the Cubs in their inaugural 1962 season. (Apparently starting a trend of an expansion team finishing ahead of a team from Chicago!)

In their first 7 seasons, they finished either 8th, 9th, or 10th. Unlike their expansion partner New York Mets, they continued their losing ways in 1969 and beyond. Not until 1979 would they finish higher than 3rd (of 6).

Saturday, September 14, 2019

RIP - Joe Keough


Joe Keough, one of the Kansas City Royals' original outfielders, passed away on September 9, 2019 at age 73.


He was selected by the Kansas City Athletics in thee 2nd round of the 1965 draft (the Athletics also took outfielder Rick Monday in the first round).

Keough played briefly with the Athletics in 1968 after their move to Oakland.

After the 1968 season, he was selected by the Royals in the expansion draft, and played in their outfield from 1969-72.  A spare outfielder in 1969, he became a starter the next season but missed the 2nd half of 1970 with a broken leg.

Keough was the team's primary right fielder in 1971, but in 1972 he missed most of April and May, only playing in 56 games that season.

He was traded to the White Sox after 1972, but played most of 1973 in triple-A before retiring.

His older brother Marty was an outfielder for the Red Sox, Reds, and others from 1956-1966.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

RIP - Tom Phoebus


Late-1960s Orioles starter Tom Phoebus passed away on September 5, 2019 at age 77.


Phoebus joined the Orioles at the start of 1967 and won 14, 15, and 14 games in '67, '68, and '69, which helped bridge the gap during the 2 years Jim Palmer was rehabbing in the minors, as well as covering for Wally Bunker's injuries. (In 1969 Palmer rejoined the O's and Mike Cuellar was acquired.)

Tom also pitched a no-hitter in 1968. His last contribution to the Orioles was as a trade chip that brought Pat Dobson to Baltimore before the 1971 season.

After his baseball career he became a teacher.

Baltimore Sun obituary

Obituary
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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Prime 9 - Cleveland Indians


The 17th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Indians won 380 games between 1966 and 1970. One or more of their 4 starting pitchers were always showing up on the American League Leaders cards in the 2nd half of the decade - especially Sam McDowell.


The Tony Horton card is a custom creation by the late Bob Lemke. (The fonts are somewhat distorted because I had to shrink the image so much to fit in with the other eight cards.)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Prime 9 - Philadelphia Phillies


The 16th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Phillies won 381 games between 1966 and 1970. (16th out of the 20 teams.)

Chris Short, Tony Taylor, Johnny Callison, and Tony Gonzalez were with the team for most of the 1960s.  Jim Bunning, Turk Farrell, Tony Taylor, and Dick Allen each had two stints with the Phillies.

If only Fergie Jenkins hadn't been traded away in early-1966... but that's a story best swept under the rug.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Prime 9 - New York Mets


The 15th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Mets won 383 games between 1966 and 1970. Five out of nine players are sporting Topps All-Rookie trophies!

The Mets finished in 10th or 9th place every one of their first seven seasons.  In season 8, they won 100 games, an improvement of  TWENTY-SEVEN wins over their 9th-place finish in 1968.

That kind of jump should have been an embarrassment to the Phillies, Indians, Senators, and even the White Sox (who were good from 1963-67, but went into the dumper from 1968-70). What did the Phillies do to improve?  They added the likes of Lowell Palmer, Billy Champion, Barry Lersch, Ken Reynolds, and Billy Wilson to their pitching staff.  Yay!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

RIP - Al Jackson


Original Met Al Jackson passed away on August 19, 2019 at age 83.


Jackson played briefly with the Pirates in 1959 and 1961, then was selected by the Mets in the pre-1962 expansion draft.

He pitched for the Mets from 1962-65, and again from 1968-69.  During his first stint with the Mets, he was one of the team's top 3 starting pitchers each season.

Jackson was traded to the Cardinals after the 1965 season for 3rd baseman Ken Boyer. Although he was on the 1967 World Champion Cardinals, he did not play in the World Series. He also played the last half of the 1969 season (his last) for the Reds.

After his playing career he was a long-time minor-league instructor for the Mets, as well as coaching for the Red Sox and Orioles.

CNN obituary

New York Times obituary
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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Prime 9 - California Angels


The 14th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Angels won 388 games between 1966 and 1970. Although they fared better than their AL expansion partner (Washington Senators), the Angels would not finish in 1st place until 1979.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Prime 9 - Kansas City / Oakland Athletics


The 13th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Athletics won 395 games between 1966 and 1970. After only winning only 74 and 62 games in their final 2 seasons in Kansas City, the A's moved to Oakland in 1968 and had a winning record every season from 1968 to 1976, including 3 straight World Series championships.

After the awful photos on their 1968 and most 1969 cards, it's great to see everyone in fresh new Oakland uniforms.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Prime 9 - New York Yankees


The 12th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Yankees won 398 games between 1966 and 1970. After losing more games than they won from 1966-69 (including a last-place finish in 1966), in 1970 they won 93 games, a 13-game improvement over 1969.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Prime 9 - Chicago Cubs



The 11th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Cubs won 409 games between 1966 and 1970. Quite a comeback for only winning 59 games in 1966!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Prime 9 - Atlanta Braves


The 10th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Braves won 412 games between 1966 and 1970, their first 5 seasons in Atlanta. Orlando Cepeda is the first player to appear twice in this Prime 9 series.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Prime 9 - Los Angeles Dodgers


The 9th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Dodgers won a ninth-best 416 games between 1966 and 1970. This despite enduring the only stretch under manager Walter Alston where they finished lower than 2nd place for 3 consecutive seasons (1967-69).

(I should have included Sandy Koufax here, but he only played 1 season during this time period.)