Sunday, June 20, 2021
Jim "Mudcat" Grant passed away on June 11, 2021 at age 85.
Grant was a starting pitcher for the Indians (1958-64) and Twins (1964-67), before finishing his career as a relief pitcher for the Dodgers, Expos, Cardinals, Athletics, and Pirates from 1968-71.
In 1965 he had a career year, leading the AL with 21 wins and posting a 2-1 record in the World Series vs. the Dodgers. Two years later he was traded to the Dodgers in the deal that brought John Roseboro and Ron Perranoski to the Twins.
After his playing career he was a broadcaster for the Indians and Athletics. He also wrote a book about the history of black baseball players - focusing specifically on all the black 20-game winners. He was honored for that at the White House in 2007.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
Mike Marshall, a workhorse reliever for several teams in the 1970s, passed away on June 1, 2021 at age 78.
Marshall broke in with the Tigers in 1967. He pitched 59 innings (all in relief), but even though he posted a 1.98 ERA, he was back in the minors for all of 1968. He didn't even get a September call-up, and missed the Tigers' 1968 championship altogether.
In 1969 he was a starting pitcher for the expansion Seattle Pilots, the only season where he was primarily a starter.
After pitching part of 1970 for the Astros, he spent several seasons with the Expos. From 1972-74 he led the league in games pitched, with sixty-five, NINETY-TWO, and ONE HUNDRED SIX! He also won the Cy Young Award in 1974.
All that wear and tear finally caught up with him, as he only appeared in 16 games in 1977.
Marshall made a comeback with the Twins in 1978, pitching in 54 games. The following season he led the league with NINETY appearances. (Some teams don't learn from history.)
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Richie Scheinblum, an outfielder for the Indians, Royals, and others, passed away on May 10, 2021 at age 78.
Scheinblum played briefly for the Indians from 1967-69. After spending all of 1970 in the minors, the Senators took a look at him during the 1971 season.
He moved on to the Royals in 1972, where he had his best season (and only season as an every-day player). He also made the All-Star team in '72.
After his career year, he was traded to the Reds and it was back to the bench for his final 2 MLB seasons, playing for 4 teams in those 2 years. He then spent 2 seasons in Japan.
Friday, May 14, 2021
Del Crandall, the Braves' catcher from 1949 to 1963, passed away on May 5th, 2021 at age 91.
He played 2 seasons with the Boston Braves before missing the '51 and '52 seasons for military service. He was the last surviving member of the Boston Braves.
Crandall was one of the five players whose MLB career began in the 1940s and were still playing by 1966 and beyond.
Robin Roberts - last game 9/3/66
Del Crandall - 9/25/66
Joe Nuxhall - 10/2/66
Smoky Burgess - 10/1/67
Curt Simmons - 10/1/67
Crandall finished 2nd in the 1949 NL Rookie of the Year voting, and was an 11-time All-Star (making both squads in '59, '60, and '62). He probably missed the '61 All-Star games only because injuries limited him to 15 games that season.
After the 1963 season, he played 1 year each with the Giants, Pirates, and Indians. Crandall also managed the Brewers from 1972-75, and the Mariners from 1983-84.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
Early-1960s Red Sox 2nd baseman Chuck Schilling passed away on March 30, 2021 at age 83.
Schilling broke into the Red Sox' lineup in 1961 and finished 3rd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
He was their regular 2nd baseman for 3 seasons, before giving way to Dalton Jones in 1964. After 2 seasons on the bench, he was traded to the Twins before the 1966 season but never played for them.
Schilling became a school teacher after his baseball career.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Joe Cunningham, an OF/1B for several teams in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away on March 25, 2021 at age 89.
He was a Cardinals' outfielder from 1954-61, making the All-Star team in 1959 while also finishing 2nd to Hank Aaron for the batting title.
He manned 1st base for the White Sox in 1962, but an injury in 1963 limited his playing time in '63 and '64. He also played for the Senators from 1964-66.
After playing, he worked for the Cardinals as a minor-league manager and later in sales.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Stan Williams, a pitcher for the Dodgers, Indians, and others for 14 seasons from 1958-72, passed away on February 20th, 2021 at age 84.
Williams broke in with the Dodgers in 1958, and was in their rotation through the 1962 season. He made both All-Star teams in 1960.
After 2 seasons with the Yankees, he spent most of 1965-67 in the minors, then made a comeback with the Indians.
Williams later played for the Twins, Cardinals, and Red Sox, and retired after the 1962 season.
Monday, March 15, 2021
It's March, and thoughts turn to Spring Training. No, not this season, because I have no interest in today's baseball (or any pro sports, really).
Here are the teams' Spring Training sites during the 1960s. Orange indicates Florida (of course), while yellow indicates Arizona. (I should have probably used yellow and green, the color of grapefruit and cactii.)
(As always, click on the charts to enlarge.)
Teams named in red did not relocate their camps during the decade.
I was surprised to learn that the Red Sox and Astros began the 1960s in Arizona.
Friday, February 26, 2021
Juan Pizarro, who pitched for 8 teams in 18 seasons from 1957-74, passed away on February 18, 2021 at age 84.
Pizarro debuted with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, and pitched 4 seasons for them, including appearances in the '57 and '58 World Series.
He then pitched 6 seasons for the White Sox, and made the '63 and '64 All-Star teams.
Pizarro played for the Pirates, Red Sox, Indians, and Athletics from 1967-69 before settling in with the Cubs from 1970-73.
He later played for the Astros, before returning to the Pirates for his final season.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Lew Krausse, who pitched for the Athletics, Red Sox, Brewers, and others from 1961-74, passed away on February 16th, 2021 at age 77.
Krausse broke in with the Kansas City Athletics as an 18-year-old bonus baby in 1961, pitching a complete game shutout in his major-league debut. After 2 seasons in the minors, he played parts of '64 and '65 with the A's before returning to the majors on a full-time basis in 1966.
Krause was one of a handful of young starting pitchers for the A's in their final years in Kansas City (along with Catfish Hunter, Jim Nash, John Odom, and Chuck Dobson).
After 4 seasons with the A's he was traded to the Red Sox, and 2 years later to the Brewers.
Krausse returned to the A's in 1973 but spent the entire season in the minors before he was sold to the Cardinals on September 1st, so he missed out on Oakland's post-season glory years.
After brief stops with St. Louis and Atlanta, he wrapped up his career with the A's triple-A team in 1975.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Billy Conigliaro, an outfielder for the Red Sox and Brewers in the late-1960s to early-1970s, passed away on February 10, 2021 at age 73.
The younger brother of Tony Conigliaro, he played for the Red Sox from 1969 to 1971, and was their regular left fielder in 1970 (moving Carl Yastrzemski to 1st base).
Billy was part of a 10-player trade with the Brewers after the 1971 season. That seems very 1-sided, with 6 players (George Scott, Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, Don Pavletich, Billy C, and Joe Lahoud) all going to Milwaukee for just 3 major-leaguers (Tommy Harper, Lew Krause, Marty Pattin) and a minor-leaguer.
After just one season on the Brewers' bench, he played one year with the Athletics before retiring.
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Pedro Gonzalez, a 2nd baseman who played for the Yankees and Indians in the mid-1960s, passed away on January 10, 2021 at age 83.
Gonzalez was from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, possibly the first in a long line of major league infielders to hail from that small city.
In May 1965 he was traded to the Indians. Most of his regular playing time came with Cleveland. He was their starting 2nd baseman from late-May 1965 to late-August 1966, and again in May and June 1967.
After that, the job was given to Vern Fuller. Gonzalez kicked around in the minors from 1968-71 before playing in Mexico from 1972-74.
My first year of collecting baseball cards was 1967. Being a Phillies fan, and with Tony Gonzalez' card in the unattainable 7th series, I often used Pedro's card as a stand-in for Tony's when I would play lineup games with my cards back then.
San Pedro de Macoris is well known as the birthplace of a large number of professional baseball players. The Dominican capital of Santo Domingo has had 106 MLB players compared to San Pedro's 99, but Santo Domingo's population is more than ten times that of San Pedro. The city is often referred to as "The Cradle of Shortstops."
Check out Wikipedia for the long list of players from San Pedro de Macoris.
Thursday, February 4, 2021
Grant Jackson, who pitched for the Phillies, Orioles, Pirates, and others from 1965-1982, passed away on February 2, 2021 at age 78 from COVID-19.
Jackson's first full season was in 1967, the same year I started following the Phillies and major league baseball. He was mostly a reliever, but got the occasional start whenever there were doubleheaders.
When Chris Short was lost for the 1969 season following a back injury in mid-April, Jackson became a full-time starter, leading the team with 253 innings pitched and 180 strikeouts. His 14 wins and 3.34 ERA were both just a bit behind team leader Rick Wise. Jackson also made his only All-Star team that season.
He was also a starter in 1970, but after his off-season trade to the Orioles, he was mostly a reliever for the rest of his career.
Jackson saw post-season action with the Orioles ('71, '73, '74), the Yankees ('76), and the Pirates ('79), and was the Game 7 winner in the 1979 World Series.
Friday, January 29, 2021
Hank Aaron, the legitimate career home run leader, passed away on January 22, 2021 at age 86.
Aaron was overshadowed early in his career by Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, and others, as he was quietly amassing his home run totals.
As those other stars faded (and Aaron approached the 500 home run mark) he came to the forefront, with only Willie McCovey and Frank Howard reaching similar seasonal home run totals.
Aaron was second to Harmon Killebrew for most home runs hit in the 1960s. See chart here
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Long-time Dodgers' starting pitcher Don Sutton passed away on January 19, 2021 at age 75.
Sutton made his Dodgers' debut in 1966, replacing the departed Johnny Podres in the starting rotation.
He pitched for 23 years, the first 16 with the Dodgers before bouncing around to the Astros, Brewers, Athletics, and Angels for 6 seasons, then winding up his career back with the Dodgers in 1988.
Sutton was a 4-time All-Star, and won 20 games once (21 in 1976).
Although a member of the Hall of Fame, cynics (including this one) wonder how that happened, given that he won 20 games only once, had no Cy Young awards, never led his league in wins or strikeouts, and only led in ERA once. He was also 6-4 in 15 post-season games. (Ok, he has 300+ wins, but he played for 23 seasons, including with good Dodger teams for 16 years. That was bound to happen.)
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Look at me, channeling George Lucas as I start off with Part 2. (Part 1 will come later.)
I started collecting sports cards in 1967. Prior to that, I collected non-sports cards (which will be the topic of the "Part 1" post later).
My brother (one year younger than me) and I started collecting baseball cards later than other kids. I can remember seeing kids having baseball cards with them on the school playground as early as 1962. I also started playing youth baseball in 1964, so I don't know why the baseball-card bug didn't bite us until 1967. Maybe because that was the first year we went to a major-league game.
I had two distinct periods of collecting sports cards as a kid. These are shown in yellow in the chart below. (I don't remember why I took a break from Fall 1969 to Summer 1971.)
Although I wasn't buying or actively collecting during that middle period, I did have a handful of '70, '71, and '73 baseball and '69 and '73 football cards. My brother collected baseball cards from 1967-73, and football cards from 1969-73, so he must have given me his doubles.
I don't recall having any problem with the 1972 high numbers, and by the end of that summer I had the entire '72 set except for Bill Russell. However, the 1967 and 1969 7th series cards, and the 1968 6th series cards were not sold in my neighborhood.
Aside from those series, probably 99% of my cards were bought at the same Mom-and-Pop store in my neighborhood. I mentioned this in a post on my 1967 blog back in 2010. (Actually, my 1967 football cards were bought at another store one block away, which I discovered during an unsuccessful attempt to find '67 baseball high numbers.)
So where did I find my 1968 6th series cards? Back then, I would ride my bicycle all over the neighboring towns, just to "explore". I sketched out where I traveled in a pocket-sized spiral notebook, and after returning home I added my new-found territories to a map I was drawing on a 2'x3' poster board. (I still have it!). I don't remember how long that went on for - probably months, or maybe a year or two.
Anyway, during one outing I found a variety store about 4 towns away from where I lived, and they had 3-panel rack-packs of 1968 baseball cards. I returned to that store many times, until I had completed that series (and the entire 1968 set).
You may notice that I also collected basketball and hockey cards during the 1971-72 season. That was the only year I bought cards for those sports, and I have a few dozen of each - nowhere near a complete set.
After 1972, I stopped collecting for several years, until I was lured back by the free Phillies cards that came with every Philadelphia-area Burger King purchase during the summers of 1979 and 1980. As you may know, these were identical to the regular Topps cards, except for 3 things:
1. There was a Burger King logo on the backs.
2. The cards were numbered from 1 to 20 (or whatever)
3. Some of the players differed between the Topps and Burger King sets. For example, Pete Rose was in the 1979 BK set as a Phillie, but as a Red in the Topps set. In 1980, players no longer on the Phillies (as I recall Tim McCarver, Rawly Eastwick, and Doug Bird) were in the Topps set, but replaced in the BK set by Keith Moreland, Kevin Saucier, and Lonnie Smith.
So I didn't buy any cards in '79 or '80, but after the Burger King teaser sets, and because the Phillies won the 1980 World Series, I dove back in for 1981 - buying my first factory sets (Topps and Fleer). That was also the first year for Donruss sets, but I had to draw the line somewhere. lol
That year was one-and-done for me, as I stopped collecting until the early 1990s, when I started buying cards for my sons (and me), as I previously mentioned at the top of this post.
During this collecting period (1990 to 1993), besides completing the Fleer and Donruss sets 5 rack-packs at a time (hah!), I bought Topps factory and update sets from about 1987 to 1993.
After '93, I drifted away from the hobby (probably because of the strike), until returning again in 2008. From about 2008 to 2012 I just bought Phillies team sets.
Sometime after starting these blogs in 2009, I stopped buying current cards, and focused on vintage sets. I now have most of the 1966 and 1970 sets, about half of the 1965 set, and a few dozen cards from '63 and '64. As I look at the small Excel chart on the sidebars of my '65 to '70 blogs, I am reminded that I haven't added any baseball cards to my collection since August 2019. Wow, it doesn't seem like that long ago.
What doesn't appear on those charts are the 2 dozen custom 1967 cards (fronts only) that I bought on eBay a few months ago. I was skeptical at first, but they are printed on sturdy white cardboard, although the players are obviously super-imposed on stadium backgrounds. I don't know if I will get any more of them.
Stay tuned for Part 1 of this series, where I will regale you with my Batman and Combat cards, among others.
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Here are the players I featured in 2020:
Not very many, but I'm running out of gas (and cards)
1960s' players who left us in 2020:
And a very long list from outside the baseball world:
David Stern (NBA) Neil Peart Ed Byrnes Buck Henry Terry Jones (Monty Python) Jim Lehrer Kobe Bryant Jack Burns (Burns & Schreiber) Fred Silverman Kirk Douglas Robert Conrad Orson Bean Ja'Net DuBois James Lipton Max Von Sydow Stuart Whitman Lyle Waggoner Kenny Rogers Curley Neal Bill Withers *Adam Schlesinger *Tom Dempsey Honor Blackman James Drury *John Prine Linda Tripp Pete Retzlaff Stirling Moss Brian Dennehy Mike Curtis Sam Lloyd (Scrubs) Don Shula *Roy Horn (Siegfried & Roy) Little Richard Jerry Stiller Astrid Kircherr Phyllis George Fred Willard Ken Osmond *Annie Glenn Wes Unseld Kurt Thomas (gymnast) Bonnie Pointer Jean Kennedy Smith Carl Reiner Benny Mardones Hugh Downs Charlie Daniels Kelly Preston Regis Philbin Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) Olivia de Haviland Wilford Brimley Wayne Fontana *Trini Lopez Ben Cross Kevin Dobson Shere Hite Diana Rigg Ruth Bader Ginsburg Gale Sayers Mac Davis Helen Reddy Margaret Nolan Johnny Nash Eddie Van Halen Tom Kennedy (game show host) Rhonda Fleming Spencer Davis Marge Champion Herb Adderley Ed Hurst Sean Connery Geoffrey Palmer Len Barry Norm Crosby Alex Trebek Paul Hornung Abby Dalton Rafer Johnson David Lander Chuck Yeager Ann Reinking Charlie Pride Chad Stuart (Chad & Jeremy) *K.T. Oslin K.C. Jones Pierre Cardin *Dawn Wells Dick Thornburgh * COVID-19 Also: Football deaths in 2020