Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012

National League baseball in Houston began in 1962. After 51 seasons, it ended this year, as the Astros were shuttled to the American League, courtesy of the weasel occupying the commissioner's office:

After 29 years in the American League, Selig moved his Brewers to the National League, so that each league would have an even number of teams, thereby avoiding daily inter-league play. He was quoted as saying "The Brewers BELONG in the National League. Milwaukee is a National League city." (I suppose he based that statement on the THIRTEEN seasons the Braves played there.)

Now, after FIFTY-ONE seasons, that logic apparently doesn't apply to the Astros. The Brewers changed leagues to solve the inter-league play problem. Now that that doesn't seem to be a problem any more, the Brewers should shift back.

In 2012, we also bid farewell to these players from the 1960s:

Also leaving us in 2012 (although not a 1960s' player) was "The Kid":

Thursday, November 29, 2012

RIP - Jimmy Stewart

Former Cubs and Reds utility infielder Jimmy Stewart passed away on November 24, 2012 at age 73.

Stewart began his career with the Cubs in 1963, playing every infield and outfield position for 4 seasons, then moved across town to the White Sox in 1967.

After 3 seasons as a super-sub with the Reds, Stewart went to the Astros in the Joe Morgan trade, where he played his final 2 seasons.

After his playing career, he was a scout for the Reds.

Obituary and extended story from a Cincinnati newspaper

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Topps' New Color Scheme

What do these 6 cards have in common?

In 1966, Topps created a new color scheme to identify the cards for each team. One AL and one NL team used each of ten colors, which were found on the card's nameplate and the diagonal banner. The same color scheme was used in the 1968 set and (with the addition of two colors for the four expansion teams) the 1969 set. The circles on the '68 and '69 cards were colored according to the player's team.

In the 1967 set, Topps strayed from that scheme. Although they still had an AL and NL team assigned to each color, the color assignments were shuffled to other teams, except for both "red teams" (Yankees and Dodgers), the Giants, and the Cubs. The team name at the bottom of the card was colored accordingly.

(Topps also replaced gray with light blue for the 1967 set.)

Why were the colors changed in 1967, only to revert back for the 1968 set? Not that I minded; my favorite color at the time was yellow, and my favorite team was the Phillies, so it was all good.

So, what do the cards above have in common? They are the only cards from 1966 to 1969 that did not follow the team color scheme.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RIP - Dave May

Former Orioles' and Brewers' outfielder Dave May passed away on October 20, 2012 at age 68. He had been battling cancer and diabetes.

May broke in with the Orioles in July 1967. After 3 seasons backing up Frank Robinson, Paul Blair, and Don Buford, Dave was traded to the Brewers in June 1970.

On a new team having little expectations, May finally got significant playing time as the team's regular center fielder. After the 1974 season he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for home run king Hank Aaron. Following short stints with Texas and Pittsburgh, he played in the Inter-American League in 1979, before retiring.

His son Derrick May played for the Cubs and other teams in the 1990s.

Obituary at       and at Orioles Buzz

Sunday, October 14, 2012

RIP - Roberto Rodriguez

Roberto Rodriguez passed away in his native Venezuela on September 23, 2012 at age 70.

Rodriguez pitched in the minors from 1964-74 for the Athletics, and later, the Cubs. He appeared in 15 games for the Kansas City Athletics in 1967, and spent most of the 1970 season in the majors with the A's, Padres, and Cubs.

He also played baseball in Venezuela from 1961-79, and later coached in his country.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mickey Mantle Day - 1969

I found this button a few weeks ago at a nearby antique shop. It's a 4-inch pin commemorating Mickey Mantle Day on June 8, 1969 (just about 2 years after Whitey Ford retired). Mantle had retired during spring training that year, after 18 seasons in Yankees' pinstripes.

I've never been a Yankees fan, but (like just about every kid from my generation, I would guess,) I've always been a Mickey Mantle fan.

A few days later, I found out it was a re-issue made in the 1980s, but that's ok.

Friday, September 21, 2012

RIP - Jack Kralick

Former Twins' and Indians' pitcher Jack Kralick passed away in Mexico on September 18th, at age 77.

In 1961, Kralick moved to Minnesota with the rest of the 1960 Senators, and pitched the first no-hitter in Twins' history on August 26, 1962. (He lost a perfect game with 1 out in the 9th inning.)

In 1963 Jack was traded to the Indians for Jim Perry.  Kralick was traded to the Mets in May 1967 but did not play for the remainder of the season due to being in a car accident.  He retired before the 1968 season.


and an appreciation from the DC Baseball blog

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RIP - Bruce Von Hoff

Former major-league pitcher Bruce Von Hoff passed away at his home in Florida on September 11, 2012 at age 68.

Von Hoff pitched 13 games in the majors, including 10 starts with the 1967 Astros. He pitched in the minors from 1964-70.

Obituary here

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1960s Blog Hall of Fame Results (#2)

The balloting for the 1960s Hall of Fame closed yesterday, and three players have been elected: Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, and Ernie Banks.

They join the 16 elected in the first class:

26 ballots were cast, with Mantle and Robinson each named on 23 ballots (88%), while Banks received 21 votes (81%). Richie Allen hovered around 75% for most of the time, but finished up with 65%.

It was a complete shock to me that the Mick wasn’t named on 100% of the ballots. I also thought that Whitey Ford and Warren Spahn (both first-timers) would be shoo-ins, although not with 100%. Spahn finished with 13 votes (50%) and Ford tallied 12 votes (46%).

I was surprised that Allen got so many votes early-on.  He was one of my favorite players back in the day, but given his MLB HOF snub and his surly past, I figured his popularity was confined to Philadelphia and Chicago fans only.  I also thought that Ron Santo might make the cut, since this election came right after his induction into Cooperstown. Santo and Orlando Cepeda (another first-timer) fell short with 58% of the vote.

Those receiving less than 15% will be dropped from the next ballot: Danny Murtaugh, Don McMahon, Ron Perranoski, Red Schoendienst, Elston Howard, Ralph Houk.
Held over for the next ballot will be: Allen, Cepeda, Santo, Spahn, Ford, Roger Maris, Jim Bunning, Maury Wills, Rod Carew, and Joe Torre (who just barely made the cut at 15%).

My ballot went this way:
Locks - Mantle, Robinson, Banks, Ford, Spahn
Deserving - Cepeda, Santo
Sentimental Pick - Maris

I had planned to vote for Allen, but opted for Maris.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

1960s Blog Hall of Fame (#2)

Well, we're a little past the halfway mark of the voting period, and the leaders currently are:
Frank Robinson
Mickey Mantle
Ernie Banks
Richie Allen

Those just under the cutoff are:
Orlando Cepeda
Whitey Ford
Ron Santo
Warren Spahn
and the rest

Had the voting ended after the first 9 ballots, the inductees would have been:
Mickey Mantle (100%)
Ernie Banks (89%)
Whitey Ford (89%)
Frank Robinson (89%)
Richie Allen (78%)

Recently, there's been a lot of support for Cepeda, Santo, and Wills, while voting for Ford and Spahn has tailed off (maybe because their careers were mostly in the '50s and early '60s?)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1960s Blog Hall of Fame (#2)

Tomorrow is the 2012 MLB Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  I will be tuning in to see people pay tribute to Ron Santo (not much of a Barry Larkin fan). Since it's Hall of Fame weekend, I'm dusting off my (semi-annual) 1960s Hall of Fame ballot.

Last time, 15 players and 1 manager were selected by readers of this blog. Candidates receiving less than 15% of the vote last time have been dropped from the ballot (but may appear another time). The remaining players have been joined by a few new names that the selection committee (?) forgot to include last time.

The candidates can be found at the top of this sidebar. Vote for no more than 8 names. The ballot remains open until August 31st, then candidates receiving 75% of the vote will be inducted on September 1st (roster expansion day).

Feel free to comment with your recollections of any of the nominees (or about who you voted for).

Monday, July 9, 2012

RIP - Ed Stroud

Former Senators' and White Sox' outfielder Ed Stroud passed away on July 2nd in Cleveland at age 72.

Stroud's death came one day after fellow Ohioan and White Sox outfielder Mike Hershberger.  In fact, they both spent their final season with the 1971 White Sox.

Ed's big-league career began with the ChiSox in 1966.  In early 1967, he was traded to Washington for veteran outfielder Jim King.  After 4 1/2 seasons with the Senators, he returned to Chicago in 1971.


Friday, July 6, 2012

RIP - Mike Hershberger


1960s' American League outfielder Mike Hershberger passed away on July 1st, 2012 at age 72, in his hometown of Massillon, Ohio.

Mike was the White Sox' right fielder from 1962-64, then held down the same job for the Kansas City Athletics from 1965-67. Although he remained with the A's following their move to Oakland (pictured above wearing a crisp, new Oakland uniform in the 1969 Topps set), it was in a reduced role.

Traded to the Brewers before the 1970 season, he played one season there before getting his release. He returned to the ChiSox for his final season in 1971.

Story here

And for the White Sox fans...

Friday, June 22, 2012

1966 Philadelphia Phillies

I found this a few weeks ago while unpacking at my new house.

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed up photos of the opening day 1966 roster, on the front page of their Sunday comics section. Check out young Mr. Jenkins! :(


It's intact (except for a few holes along the center crease), but I had to scan it in 4 sections.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More 1974 Expos Stuff

As I mentioned 2 posts ago, I went to an Expos' spring training game in 1974. Here are a few other things I found recently. (It's amazing how a little thing like moving will shake all the dust off of one's forgotten archives!)

An 11 x 8 tri-fold team roster (with Gary Carter as a non-roster invitee!)  The visiting Dodgers' roster is on the back flap. (Why are there periods after INF and OF, but not after P and C?)

My ticket for that game:

Jim from The Phillies Room: Wait until you see what else I found! (it's from April 1966)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RIP - Hawk Taylor and Dave Boswell

 Two players from the 1960s passed away this week: Braves/Mets/Angels/Royals backup catcher Hawk Taylor, and Twins' starting pitcher Dave Boswell.

Robert "Hawk" Taylor passed away on June 9th at age 73 in Paducah, Kentucky. Hawk played for the Milwaukee Braves in the late 1950s and early 1960s, then spent several years with the Mets in the pre-Tom Seaver days. He moved on to the Angels before winding up his career as an expansion draft pick of the Kansas City Royals.

Dave Boswell passed away on June 11th at age 67 from a heart attack. Dave made his major-league debut with the Twins in September 1964, and spent the next 6 full seasons in the Twins' starting rotation, including pitching in the 1965 World Series, and winning 20 games in 1969. This obituary also recounts the day his manager, Billy Martin, beat him up outside of a bar one night in 1970. Martin apparently held no grudges, as when the Twins cut Boswell in 1971, Martin's Tigers signed Boswell for his final big-league season.

Friday, June 8, 2012

1974 Expos Program

Look what I found in my house a few weeks ago:

In 1974, I went to Disney World, with a side trip to Daytona Beach, the spring training site of the Montreal Expos. Here's a program from a game vs. the Dodgers. (Looks like I planned to keep score, but gave up after entering Lee Lacy's name in the batting order!)


There are 3 autographs on the back: Tim Foli and Walt Alston at the top, and Ron Fairly at the bottom.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trades: Ferguson Jenkins to the Cubs (April 1966)

Another installment in the occasional series about some big trades in the 1960s: 

On April 21, 1966, the Phillies engineered what they must have thought was a good trade, to bring in two veteran pitchers to help them "get over the hump". ( I could probably end the post here, as the rest needs no further explanation.) :(

Let's see who the Phillies got:

Larry Jackson was a veteran starting pitcher for the Cardinals and Cubs since 1955. He led the National League with 24 wins in 1964, and finished 2nd in the (combined major-league) Cy Young voting, behind the Angels' Dean Chance, and ahead of Sandy Koufax. Although he was shelled early in 1966 for the Cubs, he bounced back and was a serviceable #3 starter for the Phillies (behind Jim Bunning and Chris Short) for the next 3 seasons. Jackson retired after being selected by the Montreal Expos in the expansion draft following the 1968 season.

Bob Buhl was also a veteran pitcher, having broken in with the Milwaukee Braves back in 1953. Unlike Jackson, Buhl was washed up by the time the Phillies traded for him. His ERA with the Cubs after 1 game was a bloated 15.43. What were the Phillies thinking? Maybe they envisioned a bounce back by Buhl, similar to what happened in 1962 after his "change of scenery" from Milwaukee to Chicago. Bob's career ended about a year after arriving in Philadelphia.

Now who did the Phillies part with to get the two veteran pitchers? Just 3 prospects:

Ferguson Jenkins was "the one that got away". Following his trade to Chicago, he went on to win 20 or more games seven times, led the NL in strikeouts in 1969, won the Cy Young award in 1971, and was a three-time allstar.

Adolfo Phillips had a serviceable but undistinguished career as a centerfielder for the Cubs and Expos in the late 1960s. Curiously, he led the NL with 29 intentional walks in 1967. I wonder if he was batting 8th?

John Herrnstein had a brief major-league career, the highlight was being the Phillies' primary 1st baseman during their almost-pennant-winning 1964 season. After that he was a bit player, and rarely played following his trade to the Cubs (and subsequent trade to the Braves).

ADVANTAGE: Don't make me say it. This may be the ultimate example of "mortgaging the future". (Oh well, at least the Phillies learned their lesson about trading with the Cubs... or not)

Friday, April 27, 2012

RIP - Bill "Moose" Skowron

Former Yankees and White Sox slugger Moose Skowron passed away yesterday at age 81, from lung cancer.

Skowron was the Yankees' regular 1st baseman from 1955-1962. During that 8-year stretch, the Yankees won 4 World Series titles. Skowron was the Yankees #3 power threat, after Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

Moose also won another World Series with the Dodgers in 1963. He later played for the White Sox from 1964-67, and finished the 1967 season (his last) with the Angels.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Maple Leafs miss out - again

Who hasn't won since the Original Six days?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

RIP - Dennis Bennett

Dennis Bennett, who pitched in the 1960s primarily for the Phillies and Red Sox, passed away yesterday at age 72.

Bennett was a starting pitcher for the Philles from 1962-64, then spent a little over 2 seasons with the Red Sox before ending his career with the Angels in 1968.

Monday, March 12, 2012

RIP - Don Mincher

Don Mincher passed away on March 4th at age 73.

Mincher was best known for his years as a slugging 1st baseman for the Twins (moving Harmon Killebrew over to 3B) and the Angels. He also played for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, and was the only all-star for the Pilots in their lone season.

After leaving Seattle, Don bounced around to several teams, including the Washington Senators. This made him one of a very few to have played for the "old" and "new" Senators.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy 70th to Dick Allen!

Today is Dick Allen's 70th birthday.

Growing up in the 1960s, "Richie" Allen was one of my favorite Phillies players back then. I was sorry to see him go after the 1969 season, but he DID wear out his welcome, and what the heck, WE were getting Curt Flood in return.

The Phillies' fanbase was abuzz with excitement and anticipation when he returned in 1975.

About a year or 2 ago, I watched Bob Costas interview Dick Allen on the MLB Network. He has really mellowed out over the years; soft-spoken, and had nice things to say about Gene Mauch, Frank Thomas, and others.

I read his autobiography, "Crash" about a year ago. It was interesting to get his "inside" view, and learn about his early years as a high school basketball star.

Happy Birthday Crash!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gary Carter (1954-2012)

Darryl Strawberry said “I wish I made the choices he did, and lived my life the way Gary Carter did.”

Ron Darling echoed similar comments, admitting that while some of his Mets teammates took many years to figure out that family and being a good father were the most important things in life, Carter did it “right” his whole life. Darling also said, “Gary Carter was everything you wanted in a sports hero: a great talent, a great competitor, a great family man, and a great friend.”

Monday, January 16, 2012

1960s Blog Hall of Fame Results (#1)

The results have been tabulated, and the inductees for the first 1960s Blog Hall of Fame are:

The inaugural election includes 16 names. The plan was to elect 1 player at each position, except for 3 outfielders, 4 starting pitchers, 2 relief pitchers, and 2 managers. At first base, Harmon Killebrew jumped out to a commanding lead early on, but Willie McCovey slowly caught up and tied Killebrew in the last few days. Both players will be inducted, and to keep the class at 16 names, manager Red Schoendienst (who finished a distant 2nd to Walter Alston) will not be inducted this time.

When the entire 66-name list is sorted by percentage of the vote received, the 16 inductees shown above are also the 16 with the highest percentage of the vote. The combined results:

Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson received an amazing 96% and 92% of the votes. Willie Mays and Hank Aaron also received a high number of votes (well ahead of #3 outfielder Roberto Clemente). At other positions, Pete Rose received more than 3 times the votes of runner-up Rod Carew.

I was surprised to see how few votes were received by Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Fergie Jenkins, and especially Lou Brock.

All names receiving less than 15% of the vote will be dropped from the next ballot (although they may be added to a future ballot). This leaves 15 holdovers for the next ballot, who will be joined by some new players (such as Warren Spahn and Whitey Ford, who were inexplicably left off this first ballot by the nominating committee).

Some of the winners seem to have less-than-impressive voting percentages in the 40% to 60% range, but I think this was a result of each position being on a separate ballot, and voters having to choose between one or another player. Future ballots will have all names in a single list, and multiple names can be selected without regard to their position.