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.

Legacy.com 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!