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!")

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stars of the 1960s: Willie Mays

Here's the 2nd post in a new series on this blog - "Stars of the 1960s". Unlike the first post (Johnny Callison), going forward these posts will only feature cards from 1966-1969. (I don't have any superstars from the 1965 set, and have very few non-Phillies' cards prior to 1965.)

Today I went through my card binders and identified 18 players for this series. Surprisingly, for EIGHT of those stars Topps re-used a photo in that 4-year span. Wow! I can see not taking the time to snap a new photo of Bob Barton every year, but Willie Mays? Carl Yastrzemski? Ernie Banks? Hank Aaron? Juan Marichal? Al Kaline? (Yeah, why waste time chasing after THOSE guys!)

Here's Willie on the downside of a great career. Like Steve Carlton and some others, Willie hung on too long. I remember watching him in his last season with the Mets, where he would sometimes flip the ball to the right fielder to make the throw back to the infield.

Besides re-using the '66 photo in 1969, the photo on his 1968 card was also used in the 1965 set.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

RIP - Russ Nixon

Russ Nixon, a catcher for the Red Sox and Twins in the 1960s, passed away on November 9, 2016 at age 81 in his birthplace of Cleves, Ohio.

Nixon was signed by the Indians in 1953 and played his first 3 seasons with the Tribe (1957-59). He was Cleveland's #1 backstop in '58 and '59, but would be a backup for the rest of his career.

In March 1960 he was traded to the Red Sox but refused to report. Three months later another deal with the Sox sent him to Boston, where he remained through the 1965 season.

After 2 years with the Twins, Nixon returned to the Red Sox for the 1968 season. He was signed by the White Sox after the '68 season, but was released the following April.

Nixon coached for the Reds, Expos, and Braves from 1970-88, and managed the Reds from 1982-83 and the Braves from 1988-90. obituary

Cincinnati obituary

Saturday, November 5, 2016

RIP - John Orsino

John Orsino, a catcher for the Orioles and Senators in the 1960s, passed away on November 1, 2016 at age 78.

 Orsino was signed by the New York Giants, and after playing parts of '61 and '62 with the Giants, he was traded to the Orioles (with pitchers Stu Miller and Mike McCormick) for pitchers Jack Fisher and Billy Hoeft, and catcher Jim Coker.

Orsino's best year was 1963, when he hit 19 home runs for the Orioles as their #1 catcher. He played 2 more seasons as the O's backup catcher.

His final big-league stop was the Washington Senators. He spent the next 3 seasons mostly on the DL or in the minors, with a few games with the Nats in '66.

He retired after playing 1969 with the Yankees' and Indians' AAA teams. After baseball he became a golf pro.

Washington Post obituary

Baltimore Sun obituary


Friday, November 4, 2016

Stars of the 1960s: Johnny Callison

Here's the start of a new series on this blog - "Stars of the 1960s". (It's basically a ripoff take-off of Wrigley Wax's "All I Have of Him" series.) 

Johnny Callison was one of my favorite players on my hometown Phillies back in the 1960s. I started following baseball in 1967, so I missed his 1964 All-Star game exploits.

Callison was the one constant in the Phillies' lineup for the entire decade. Even with Richie Allen joining the squad in 1964, Allen was frequently changing positions due to his defensive shortcomings, and controversy was always swirling around him.

So now, just because...

(If I had one less Callison card, I could have squeezed the 1967 "Hurlers Beware" card into this Hollywood Squares matrix!)

CommishBob, enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Nothin' But Blue Sky

I don't know where the Giants trained in the mid-1960s, but THAT'S some blue sky!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Card Catalog from 1968

Here is a card catalog that's been sitting in a folder in my desk since 1968. It is from Card Collector's Company in Franklin Square NY, dated Jan 15, 1968.  It measures 6" x 9", and is 10 pages.

Page 1:

Page 2:
Complete sets of 1966 and 1967 for $13.95 each!

Page 3:

The left side of page 5, and the right side of page 4:
(These pages are stuck together in a few spots by the gum that oozed out from the order-form envelope between them. The left side of page 4 listed the Fleer baseball sets, while the right side of page 5 included the Philly Gum (1964-67) and Bowman football cards.)

Page 6:

Page 7:

Page 8:

Page 9:

Page 10:  (I'd love to have that cabinet!)
I also have a 1967 catalog from another company, measuring 8 1/2" x 11", which I will post another time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

RIP - Jose Arcia

I just saw a recent entry in that 1960s' infielder Jose Arcia passed away on July 30th, 2016 at age 72. (no obituary found)

Originally signed by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in 1962, Arcia made his major-league debut with the Cubs during the 1968 season as a utility infielder.

He then played 2 seasons with the Padres: 1969 as their primary 2nd baseman, and 1970 as one of their two shortstops. He played in the minors for the next 6 seasons, before retiring in 1976.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

1960s Blog Hall of Fame Results (#8)

Orlando Cepeda was the lone inductee this time, joining the 27 others shown below.

Cepeda was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1958, and was an All-Star every season from 1959-64, and again in 1967.  Orlando led the NL in 1961 with 46 home runs and 142 RBI. He topped 30 homers 5 times, and 100 RBI 5 times.

He was the NL MVP in 1967, as the Cardinals were World Series champs that season.  He joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Complete results:
11 voters participated this time. Two players received less that the minimum 15% to be retained for the next ballot.

(Click the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see all past results.) 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

1967 Phillies Photos

I just found these in my house a few weeks ago. I bought them at the ballpark in 1967, and they have been in a folder in my desk since the 1970s (along with some old baseball card catalogs which I will be posting in the near future).

Here are 6 stars from the 1967 team. I don't know if these were the only ones issued, or if there were photos of all players, which you could collect in packs of 6. (Maybe Jim at The Phillies Room blog has these, or some more info about them.) Each photo is 5" x 7".

Jim Bunning was the ace of the pitching staff, but that didn't induce the team to make sure the negative wasn't reversed before printing these. Chris Short was the left-handed ace, and was just coming off a 20-win season.

Larry Jackson came over from the Cubs in early 1966 in exchange for Ferguson Jenkins, and was the team's #3 starter from 1966-68. Cookie Rojas upgraded from Jack-of-all-trades to starting 2nd baseman by the mid-1960s.

Dick Groat was acquired from the Cardinals along with Bill White and Bob Uecker before the 1966 season. Groat was the regular SS in 1966, but missed the first 2 months of 1967. Upon his return, he was sold to the Giants. Richie Allen was the Phillies' superstar slugger from 1964-69, and returned to the team for 1975-76.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

RIP - Steve Arlin

Steve Arlin, who pitched for the Padres during their first 6 seasons, passed away on August 17, 2016 at age 70.

Arlin was a star at Ohio State University, pitching in the College World Series in 1965 and 1966.  He was the Phillies' #1 draft pick in 1966. After 3 seasons in the minors, he was one of the 6 Phillies' players selected in the NL expansion draft prior to the 1969 season.

Arlin made his major-league debut in June 1969, and pitched for the Padres until June 1974.  His best seasons were 1971 (227 IP, 103 K) and 1972 (250 IP, 122 K).

In June 1974 he was traded to the Indians, and finished out the year with Cleveland.

Arlin retired after the 1974 season and became a dentist.

Columbus, OH obituary obituary

Thursday, August 18, 2016

RIP - Mike Brumley

Mid-1960s Senators' catcher Mike Brumley passed away on August 8, 2016 at age 78.

Brumley played in the Dodgers' farm system from 1957-63.

He was acquired by the Senators prior to the 1964 season and was their #1 catcher that year. Mike split the catching with Doug Camilli in 1965, then spent most of 1966 with Washington's AAA team in Hawaii, but did play 9 games with the Sens in his final MLB season.

After missing the '67 and '68 seasons, he played for the Astros' AAA team from 1969-70.

Brumley retired after 1970 and became a Baptist minister, and was the chaplain for the 1984 US Olympic team.

His son Mike was an infielder for several teams from 1987-95.

Spokane, WA obituary

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

RIP - Choo Choo Coleman

1960s Phillies and Mets catcher Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman passed away on August 15, 2016 at age 78.

Coleman began his pro career in 1955, and played for 7 seasons in the Senators' and Dodgers' farm systems before making his major-league debut in 1961 with the Phillies.

He was selected by the Mets in the 1962 expansion draft, and played part of '62 and all of '63 with the Mets. 1963 was the high point of his career, making more starts behind the plate that season than any other Mets' catcher.

Choo Choo was back in the minors for all of '64 and 65, and finished his MLB career with 6 games for the Mets in April 1966. He played the remainder of '66 and part of '69 for the Mets' AAA team, and in Mexico during 1970 and 1972.

NY Daily News obit

NY Times obit

Bamberg, SC obit


Friday, July 22, 2016

1960s Blog Hall of Fame (#8)

It's time for another 1960s Blog Hall of Fame Election.

Last year Eddie Mathews and Ron Santo were inducted, joining the other 25 members in the Hall. Three players received less than 15% of the vote and were dropped from the ballot, leaving 7 returning candidates this time:

Jim Bunning
Rod Carew
Orlando Cepeda
Ferguson Jenkins
Roger Maris
Bill Mazeroski
Billy Williams

Added to the ballot this time are three players who are returning for a second chance* after missing the cut on the inaugural ballot:

Curt Flood
Jim Fregosi
Bobby Richardson

Here is the voting history for all the current candidates:

As always, use the sidebar poll to vote for up to half (this time 5) of the players on the ballot. The poll will close on August 31st.  Those with 75% or more will be inducted. In addition to using the poll, I encourage everyone to leave comments about their selections or thought processes, to hopefully spark some discussion about these players.

But do not use the comments as a means to vote, because I am only counting the votes in the actual poll widget, since there is no way to know if a vote in the comments is instead of, or in addition to, the poll. (I made an exception for one voter last year, because I didn't specify this up front, and could tell by monitoring the very few total voters in the poll that it was not duplicated.)

* Long-time voters may remember that the first election included over 60 names, with only the top vote-getter per position inducted regardless of anyone's voting percentage.  With a wide-open field, most voters flocked to the biggest names, leaving many worthy candidates with less than the 15% needed to be retained.  For example, Lou Brock received no votes the first time, but was later reinstated to the ballot and inducted into the Hall (as were Al Kaline and Carl Yastrzemski).

The rules were changed after the 1st time, to be in more line with traditional voting rules. No "second chances" will be given to players missing the cut under the new rules applied beginning with ballot #2.

Click on the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see the results of all previous elections.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Trades: Dick Allen for Curt Flood? (Oct. 1969)

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

The Phillies closed out the decade with a major housecleaning. In separate deals, they moved sluggers Dick Allen and Johnny Callison, and also said goodbye to Cookie Rojas and Turk Farrell. By the start of the 1970 season, the only players remaining from the 1967 team were Chris Short, Tony Taylor, Johnny Briggs, Rick Wise, and Grant Jackson.

On October 7, 1969 the Phillies finally unloaded disgruntled slugger Dick "Richie" Allen. He and team management had been a thorn in each others' side for several seasons, with the Phillies' managers quitting or being fired during both the 1968 and 1969 seasons.

Allen (who had moved to 1st base for the 1969 season), along with fan favorite (but objectively speaking, serviceable) 2nd baseman Cookie Rojas and 2nd-year pitcher Jerry Johnson were dealt to the Cardinals. In return, the Phillies were getting 7-time Gold Glove center fielder Curt Flood, all-star catcher Tim McCarver, ace lefty reliever Joe Hoerner, and reserve outfielder Byron Browne. Flood and McCarver had played in 3 World Series in the past 6 years, while Hoerner participated in the '67 and '68 World Series.

Famously, Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies, setting the ball rolling for eventual player free agency.  As compensation, the Cardinals sent prospect Willie Montanez to the Phillies. Flood had just won 7 straight Gold Gloves, and was a 3-time All-Star with the Cardinals. He appeared in all 3 World Series for the Cardinals in the 1960s, and led the NL with 211 hits in 1964.

Tim McCarver was the team's starting catcher in the '64, '67, and '68 World Series, and was an All-Star in '66 and '67.  In 1967, he finished 2nd in the MVP voting.  Curiously, he led the NL with 13 triples in 1966.  (I always figured him as a lumbering plodder!)

Joe Hoerner was a Rule 5 pickup from the Astros before the 1966 season, and led the Cardinals in saves for each of his 4 seasons in St. Louis.

Byron Browne made a splash as a rookie with the Cubs in 1966 (hence the trophy), but spent most of 1967-69 in the minors.

Allen was the Phillies top slugger from 1964-69, and was among the league leaders in homers and RBI from 1964-66.  He was also the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964.

Cookie Rojas had been with the Phillies since 1963, working his way up from jack-of-all-trades to become the team's regular 2nd baseman for his final 4 seasons in Philly.

Jerry Johnson joined the Phillies during the 1968 season, and was a swing man in both '68 and '69.

So who "won" this deal?  On the surface you would think the Cardinals, because the Phillies gave up Allen and didn't get the services of Flood.

However, Allen only lasted 1 season in St. Louis before he was traded to the Dodgers for the punchless Ted Sizemore, and Rojas' stay was even less: by June he was traded to the Royals for a prospect that never panned out. Johnson was traded away a month earlier.

Although Flood never played for the Phillies, his career was done.  After sitting out the 1970 season, he had a failed 13-game comeback in 1971 with the Senators. McCarver had 2 1/2 good seasons with the Phils, then returned several years later as Steve Carlton's personal catcher.  Hoerner was the Phils' top reliever for 2 seasons, and made his only All-Star team in 1970, compiling a 9-5 record with a 2.65 ERA.  The next season his ERA shrank to 1.97. Browne was a reserve in 1970 and spent most of the next 2 seasons in the minors.

Throw-in Willie Montanez made the team in 1971, collecting 99 RBI and finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting. After 3 years as a starting outfielder, he moved in to first base and was eventually flipped to the Giants in early 1975 for center fielder Garry Maddox. The reason the Phillies moved Willie?  To make room at 1st base for Dick Allen, who was re-acquired in mid-1975 and helped power the team to the playoffs in 1976.


Click the 'trades' label below to see all the installments in this series.

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

The (Nashville) Tenneseean 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.