Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Prime 9 - Cincinnati Reds

The 6th 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 Reds won 437 games between 1966 and 1970. Look at all those rookie trophies! Pete Rose also had one on his 1964 card.

Monday, July 22, 2019

RIP - Don Mossi

Don Mossi, a pitcher for 4 teams from 1954-65, passed away on July 19, 2019 at age 90.

Mossi was a reliever for the Indians for 5 seasons (including an All-Star berth in 1957), then a starter for the Tigers for another 5.

He also played 1 season each for the White Sox and Athletics. Don finished up strong, pitching 51 games for the A's at age 36 in 1965.

Mossi had been the 3rd oldest living player from the 1965-69 era. The top 5 now stands at Elroy Face, Whitey Ford, Al Worthington, Curt Simmons, and Hector Lopez, all age 90 or above. obituary

Friday, July 19, 2019

RIP - Ernie Broglio

Ernie Broglio, a pitcher for the Cardinals and Cubs, passed away on July 16, 2019 at age 83.

Broglio was a member of the Cardinals' starting rotation from 1959 to early-1964, and led the NL with 21 wins in 1960 (while finishing 3rd in the Cy Young voting), but he will forever be remembered as the player the Cubs received when trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals in June 1964.

He also won 12 and 18 games for St Louis in 1962 and 1963, but his career sputtered in Chicago, never winning more than 4 games in a season, and was through by July 1966.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary

Chicago Sun-Times obituary

Thursday, July 18, 2019

RIP - Pumpsie Green

Pumpsie Green, a Red Sox infielder from 1959-62, passed away on July 17, 2019 at age 85.

Green made his major-league debut with Boston on July 21, 1959, as the Red Sox finally broke the color barrier (the last team to do so).

He was the backup middle infielder 4 seasons, receiving his most playing time during 1960.

After the 1962 season he was traded to the Mets (with pitcher Tracy Stallard) for 2nd baseman Felix Mantilla. Green played 17 games at 3rd base for the 1963 Mets, but played most of '63 and '64 with their triple-A Buffalo team.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2018.

Pumpsie's brother Cornell was a standout defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys from 1962-74. obituary

USA Today obituary

Fox News obituary

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

RIP - Joe Grzenda

1960s' relief pitcher Joe Grzenda passed away on July 12, 2019 at age 82.

He pitched in the minors every season from 1955-68, with only brief MLB appearances in '61, '64, '66, and '67.

He finally found steady big-league employment from 1969-72 with the Twins, Senators, and Cardinals.

Grzenda's best season was 1971 with the Senators. He posted a 1.92 ERA, and was the last Senators' pitcher in their final game in Washington. Joe got the first 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning, then after fans rushed onto the field looking for souvenirs, the game was forfeited.

Wilkes-Barre, PA (hometown) obituary obituary

Washington Post obituary

Monday, July 15, 2019

Prime 9 - St. Louis Cardinals

The 5th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory, click here.

The Cardinals won 444 games between 1966 and 1970, 5th highest total in the majors and 2nd highest in the NL.

Friday, July 12, 2019

RIP - Jim Bouton

Jim Bouton, the 1960s' Yankees' pitcher who gained wider fame as the author of "Ball Four", passed away on July 10, 2019 at age 80.

(custom 1969 Seattle Pilots card by Steve @

Bouton played for the Yankees from 1962-68. His best season was 1963, when he posted a 21-7 record and made the All-Star team.

After one more good season in 1964 (18-13), his career rapidly declined. He spent much of 1967-68 in the minors, then returned to the majors as a relief pitcher for the Pilots and Astros in 1969, along with his journalism duties.

He retired after a disastrous 1970 season, then made a (mostly minor-league) comeback in 1975 and again in 1977-78.

NBC News obituary

New York Times obituary

New York Times story


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Prime 9 - San Francisco Giants

The 4th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory, click here.

The Giants won 448 games between 1966 and 1970, 4th highest total in the majors.

They were tops in the NL, but never won a league or division title during that time, finishing in 2nd place 4 times and 3rd once.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

RIP - Gary Kolb

Gary Kolb, an OF-C for the Cardinals, Pirates, and others during the 1960s, passed away on July 3, 2019 at age 79.

Kolb came up with the Cardinals, but played in the minors every season from 1960-73, except for '65, '68, and '69. Those seasons, he managed to stay with a major league club all year (Braves and Mets in '65, and Pirates from 1968-69).

He was primarily an outfielder but was also his team's emergency catcher.

Hometown obituary

Here's a blogger that created a 1970 card for Gary Kolb.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Prime 9 - Detroit Tigers

The 3rd installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory, click here.

The Tigers won 451 games between 1966 and 1970, 3rd highest total in the majors.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Prime 9 - Minnesota Twins

The 2nd installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory, click here.

The Twins won 454 games between 1966 and 1970, 2nd highest total in the majors.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Prime 9 - Baltimore Orioles

I thought we all needed a break from the endless parade of obituaries around here, so I am starting a new series on this blog.

"Prime 9" (Wait, what? The MLB Network already did this?) will feature nine of the best players per team from the 1966-70 era. Not necessarily one player per position, just the best overall 9 per team.

"How am I choosing the best 9?" you may ask. Well, I'm not going to spend the time crunching every player's stats and then ranking them. Instead, I have dumped my entire baseball card collection into the hopper on top of the Bat-Computer*, and asked it to give me the best 9 per team.

The teams will be posted in order of their total wins between 1966 and 1970. (The 1969 expansion teams are excluded because a) there's too small a sample size for them during those years, b) I would have trouble finding 9 "adequate" players per team from 1969-70, let alone "best" players, and c) they have already had enough blog time here.)

Some interesting things I found while researching the number of wins:

There were 6 teams that won over 100 games (3 in each league), with the Orioles the only team to do it twice. (Those two O's seasons were also the 2 highest win totals.)

There were 2 teams that won less than 60 games - 1 in each league, but both from Chicago ('70 White Sox, '66 Cubs).

The White Sox came in dead last with 363 wins - the only team to win less than 70 games in 3 different seasons. (As I recall, they finished behind the expansion Royals in 1969.)

The worst NL team was the Astros, but they were 18th overall.

Of the bottom 8 teams, only the Mets (in 1969) won 90+ games in any season.

First up – the Baltimore Orioles, with 481 wins during that 5-year span (27 more than the next team).

"ROBIN! What's a 'Don Mossi'?"

What surprised me the most about all of this: 
1. How bad the White Sox were
2. How good the Giants were. Imagine if the front office hadn't given away all those players to the Cubs and others?
3. How good the Twins were
4. How good the Orioles were in 1968
5. The Yankees' improvement in 1970