Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jackie Hernandez (#686)

Jackie Hernandez was the Kansas City Royals’ first starting shortstop. Earlier, he had played 2 seasons for the Twins, and later wrapped up his career with the Pirates.

Hernandez was signed by the Indians in 1961, and was initially a catcher. He switched over to shortstop during his 2nd pro season, although still catching a few dozen games from ’62 to ’64.

The Indians released him in May 1965, and he was quickly snapped up by the Angels. He made his major-league debut with 1 game in September 1965.

Jackie was with the Angels for all of the 1966 season, but only played in 58 games. He was used as a pinch-runner in 37 of those games (sort of a pre-Herb Washington!) and also backed up the infield positions.

In April 1967, Hernandez was sent to the Twins as the “player to be named” in the Dean Chance for Don Mincher, Jimmie Hall, and Pete Cimino deal. Jackie spent most of the ’67 season in triple-A, but played 29 games for the Twins in August and September.

The Twins traded their starting shortstop Zoilo Versalles to the Dodgers after the 1967 season for a bunch of players, and handed Jackie the starting job for 1968. He started the first 29 games (and 58 of the first 80 games), but was sent down to the minors for most of July and all of August, when the Twins tried Ron Clark and Rick Renick at the position.

In October 1968, Hernandez was selected by the Royals in the expansion draft, and became their everyday shortstop in 1969. He started 139 games, and played in 6 more. His 145 games played tied him with Joe Foy for most games played by a Royal in 1969. He was also 2nd (to Foy) in plate appearances and at-bats. Not a bad turnaround for someone who up until then appeared to be destined to be a utility scrub.

Jackie started off the 1970 season as the starting shortstop, but by mid-June was benched in favor of rookie Rich Severson and the newly-acquired Tom Matchick.

After the 1970 season, Hernandez (along with pitcher Bob Johnson and backup catcher Jim Campanis) were traded to the Pirates for shortstop Freddie Patek, catcher Jerry May, and pitcher Bruce Dal Canton.

Hernandez spend the next 3 seasons as a backup to Gene Alley. He started quite a bit over the last 6 weeks on the 1971 season, and also started all the games in the NLCS and all but 1 game in the World Series (maybe Alley was injured?)

Jackie was traded to the Phillies in January 1974 for catcher Mike Ryan, but was released in late April, without having played for the Phillies. The Pirates resigned him the same day, but he played the entire season for their triple-A team,

Hernandez finished out his career playing in Mexico from 1975-76.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Final Card: Cisco Carlos

Cisco Carlos (#487) had a brief 4-year career for the White Sox (1967-69) and Senators (1969-70). This is his final Topps card. He previously appeared on a White Sox Rookies card in the 1968 set, and had his own card in the 1969 set. Since this ’70 card is a capless mess, I am also going to post his 1969 card below.

Carlos pitched in the 1960 College World Series with the University of Northern Colorado, then was signed by the White Sox before the 1961 season. He worked his way up their organizational ladder, finally spending 3 full seasons in double-A ball (1964-66).

Cisco began the 1967 season with the White Sox' AAA team, and made his major-league debut with the Sox in late-August 1967. He won 2 games in the final weeks of the ’67 season as the Sox tried to keep pace with the Red Sox and 2 other teams.

Carlos returned for a full season in Chicago in 1968 (the only year he was not also in the minors). He had been primarily a starting pitcher in the minors and majors through the 1968 season, but after a 4-14 record in 1968, Carlos was relegated to the bullpen the following season.

He began the 1969 season with 6 games for Chicago’s AAA team, then pitched 25 games for the Sox between late-May and mid-August. On August 25th he was sold to the Senators.

Carlos pitched 6 games for the Nats in September 1969 (starting 4), then was in the minors for all of 1970 until he was recalled in September, and played his final 5 big-league games.

He kicked around in the minors from 1971-73 (with his final season in the Astros’ organization) before retiring.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

John Odom (#55)

John “Blue Moon” Odom had one of the all-time best nicknames in baseball history. He played for the Athletics from 1964-75, and played briefly for 3 other teams in the final 2 years of his career.

Odom pitched 8 no-hitters in high school and led his team to 2 straight state championships, with a combined 42-2-record.

The Kansas City Athletics signed him in June 1964. He played in the minors for the next 2 years, although making his big-league debut with a few games in September of that year, and also pitching 1 game for the A’s in 1965.

He joined Kansas City on a permanent basis at the end of June 1966, and compiled a 5-5 record in 14 starts in his rookie year. He also appeared in 3 other games as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

Blue Moon was a key member of the team’s starting rotation for the next 7 seasons (1967-73), winning 16 games in ’68 and 15 games twice. He also made the ’68 and ’69 All-Star teams. He started 2 games in the 1972 ALCS (winning both, 1 a complete game shutout) and 2 games in the World Series vs. the Reds. He also appeared in relief in 3 games in the ’73 post season and the ’74 post-season.

In 1974, Odom spent most of his time in the Athletics’ bullpen, while Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman, and various youngsters filled out the rotation.

In May 1975, Odom was traded to the Indians for pitchers Jim Perry and Dick Bosman. 3 weeks later, he was flipped to the Braves for pitcher Roric Harrison. Odom was 1-7 with a 7.07 ERA in 15 games (10 starts) for the Braves for the remainder of the 1975 season, and began the 1976 season in the minors.

In June ’76 he was traded to the White Sox for backup catcher Pete Varney, but didn’t get promoted to Chicago until mid-July. He pitched 8 games for the Sox from mid-July to mid-August, and was released the following January, ending his 13-year career.

Odom was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fritz Peterson (#142)

Here’s Fritz “Fred Ingels” Peterson (see what I did there?), one of the top players from the late 1960s that I have not featured on any of my blogs yet. I chose to use his 1970 card because of the unusual pose. I don’t know if he’s trying to hypnotize the batter, or put the Malocchio on him!

Fritz was signed by the Yankees in 1963, and made his major-league debut in April 1966. He won 12 games for a bad Yankees team as a rookie. Peterson was the Yankees’ top left-handed starter, right behind staff ace Mel Stottlemyre.

Peterson’s best seasons with the Yankees were from 1969-72. Over that span, he won 17, 20, 15, and 17 games (again, for some bad teams), and made his only All-Star team in 1970. That was an unusual season for the Yankees in that they finished in 2nd place, while spending most of 1966-73 near the basement.

Just as the Yankees began to turn it around in 1974, Peterson was gone – traded to the Indians in late-April in a 7-player deal that brought 1st baseman Chris Chambliss to the Bronx.

After 2 seasons as the top southpaw starter in Cleveland, Fritz was traded to the Rangers in late-May 1976. By then his career was shot. He made his last appearance 3 weeks later, missing the remainder of the 1976 season due to a shoulder injury.

He was released by Texas in early-February 1977. Two weeks later he was signed by the White Sox, but after a 2nd shoulder surgery he decided to call it a career, having not pitched in '77.

Peterson retired in May 1977 after 11 seasons, with a record of 133-131.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hal Lanier (#583)

For players that have been around for a while, I much prefer to post their ‘66, ‘67, ‘68, or ‘69 card, than their 1970 card. But I have so many cards queued up for 1967 to 1969, that some veterans are being pushed onto my 1970 list. (I don’t mind bypassing the ‘68 and ‘69 Astros and ‘68 Athletics – those cards are a mess.) 

Hal Lanier (whose father Max was a pitcher for the Cardinals and others from 1938-53) was signed by the Giants in 1961 and made his Giants’ debut in June 1964. He was named to the Topps All-Rookie team that year.

Originally a 2nd baseman, he was the team’s regular there from his debut in mid-June ‘64 through the 1966 season.

Hal swapped positions with Tito Fuentes at the start of the 1967 season, and was the Giant’s regular shortstop for the next 4 years, until he was replaced by rookie Chris Speier at the start of the 1971 season.

After a year on the bench, Lanier was sold to the Yankees before the 1972 season. He played his final 2 seasons as a utility infielder for New York.

Hal then had a long coaching career with the Cardinals, Phillies, and others, and also managed the Astros from 1986-88 (winning the NL West in ’86). In recent years he has managed independent minor-league teams.

From 1966:

Friday, December 29, 2017

Paul Lindblad (#408)

Paul Lindblad pitched in the majors for 14 years (1965-78), including 10 ½ seasons with the Athletics.

He debuted with the Kansas City Athletics in September 1965, and went on to pitch in 655 games, all but 32 in relief. Most of his starts came in his first 2 full seasons with Kansas City (1966-67).

Lindblad worked almost exclusively in relief following the Athletics' move to Oakland. For 3 seasons, he was the top southpaw in a bullpen that at various times featured righthanders Jack Aker, Diego Segui, and Rollie Fingers.

In May 1971, Lindblad was traded to the Senators for lefty closer Darold Knowles and 1st baseman Mike Epstein. (The Nats also got 1st baseman Don Mincher and catcher Frank Fernandez.) In ’71 he led the team with 8 saves. The following season as a Ranger, he led the AL with 66 games (all in relief).

After a year-and-a-half with Washington/Texas, Lindblad returned to the A’s in exchange for outfielder Brant Alyea. This time he was #3, behind Fingers and Knowles. With Knowles’ departure to the Cubs after the 1974 season, Lindblad moved up a notch, and was once again the A’s top lefty reliever.

After supporting Fingers in the 'pen during the '75 and '76 seasons, Lindblad was dealt back to the Rangers. He played for Texas for 1 ½ seasons (just like last time), and finished up his career with 2 months in Yankee pinstripes at the end of 1978.

Following the '78 season he was purchased by the Mariners, but released before the '79 season began.

He played in 3 post-seasons – '73 and '75 with Oakland, and '78 with New York.

Lindblad passed away in 2006 at age 64.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tom Timmermann (#554)

Here is Tom Timmermann’s rookie card. As I have mentioned previously, I didn’t collect 1970 or 1971 cards back in the day, so I first heard of Tom when I got his 1972 card.

As with Paul Doyle’s card (2 posts ago),  I probably would not have blogged about Timmermann had he not appeared on my “Oldest living players not blogged yet” list.

Timmermann was signed by the Tigers in 1960, and it took him 9 ½ long years to work his way up to the Tigers, debuting in mid-June 1969.

Tom pitched for the Tigers from 1969-73, mostly as a reliever. He led the team with 27 saves in 1970, but also started 25 games in 1972 and 16 in 1973.

In mid-June 1973 he was dealt to the Indians for pitcher Ed Farmer. Tom started 15 of his 29 games with the Tribe over the remainder of the season.

1974 was Timmermann’s final season. He appeared in 4 games for Cleveland (the last on April 26th), then spent the rest of the season in the minors before retiring.

Hey! I found the perfect battery-mate for Timmermann:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Dissecting the 1970 Set

Today I'm wrapping up a 5-part series where I look at the players who had multiple positions listed on their cards. We have already seen the 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 sets, now here is the 1970 set.

The 1970 Topps set had 720 cards. Team cards (24) returned after a 1-year absence. There are also 24 manager cards, 40 rookie stars cards, 12 league leader cards, a whopping 14 post-season cards (now that we have two LCS series), 20 All-Star cards, and 7 checklists. With all the additional post-season and team cards, there are no multi-player cards in the set. This leaves 579 cards of individual players.

Here is the position breakdown of the 579 player cards.
234 cards for Pitcher
57 cards for Catcher
22 cards for 1st Base
26 cards for 2nd Base
38 cards for Shortstop (38!)
29 cards for 3rd Base
18 cards for Infield
123 cards for Outfield

That's a total of 547 cards. The remaining 32 cards featured players at more than 1 position. Unlike the previous 4 sets, there are hardly any cards with opposite position combinations (for example, we have many 1B-OF, but no OF-1B). Below is a sample of each position:

The 1B-OF combination appears the most (like it always does), but this time there are ELEVEN players: Willie Stargell, Frank Howard, Ken Harrelson, Ron Fairly and Bob Bailey (both on the Expos), Joe Pepitone, Tito Francona, Curt Blefary and Pete Ward (both on the Yankees), Andy Kosco, and Greg Goossen. Jim Stewart is the only player with the INF-OF position.

Joe Torre and John Boccabella are the C-1B players, while only Orlando "Marty" Martinez checks in with C-INF.

Carl Taylor and the Yankees' Frank Fernandez have C-OF on their cards. Mickey Stanley is the only SS-OF (despite not playing very much at shortstop over the 2nd half of 1969).

This is the only position combo that is featured both ways. Dalton Jones and the Pirates' Bob Robertson have the 1B-3B position, and Harmon Killebrew is the lone player with 3B-1B.

Angel Hermoso, Ron Hansen, and Steve Huntz all show 2B-SS, although for some reason Topps is abbreviating "Shortstop" as "S.S." on Hermoso's card. There are 5 players with a 2B-3B combination: Tony Taylor, Jim Lefebvre, Dave Campbell, Wayne Garrett, and the White Sox' Rich Morales.

Rick Renick and Jose Pagan are the 2 players having the 3B-SS position. Graig Nettles is the only 3B-OF player in the set.

Weird stuff 'bout the 1970 set: 

In addition to Angel Hermoso above, Topps also decided they needed periods to abbreviate these two players' positions.

There are only 2 outfielders for the Pirates and 3 for the Cardinals, but the Cubs and Giants each have EIGHT outfielders. (Hey, I thought that extravagance was reserved for the Angels!)

With all those outfielders, there was only room for 6 Cubs' pitchers. The White Sox have 7 pitchers, while most teams have 10 or 11.

The Red Sox have FOUR catcher cards!

I also noticed that Topps misspelled Gil Garrido's name as Gill Garrido (on the front only - the back is correct), and was now calling Clay Dalrymple "Clayton".