Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sparky Anderson (#181)

This is Sparky Anderson's rookie card for the managerial phase of his career.

Most everyone knows about his long managerial career with the Reds (1970-78) and the Tigers (1979-95), but he was in baseball long before that.

Sparky was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953, and spent 6 seasons in their minor-league system as a 2nd baseman (except for his 1st season, when he was a shortstop).

After the 1958 season, the Dodgers traded Sparky to the Phillies, where he became their regular 2nd baseman, starting 145 games there. Because he didn't hit very well, that was Anderson's only season in the majors. He spent 1960-63 with the triple-A Toronto Maple Leafs, before retiring as a player.

Sparky spent the 1964 to 1968 seasons as a minor-league manager, before taking a coaching job with the expansion San Diego Padres in 1969. As you can see by the picture on his card, Sparky may be the first person airbrushed OUT of a Padres uniform. (Quite a change from the dozens of players airbrushed INTO Padres (and Expos, Royals, Pilots) uniforms in the 1969 set.)

After only 1 season of big-league coaching, Anderson was given the reins of the Big Red Machine in 1970, and the rest is history.

As noted on many other blogs here, Sparky Anderson passed away 3 days ago. One thing I'll remember about Sparky Anderson is that he's seems to be the only person that ever referred to Johnny Bench as "John".

Rest In Peace, Mr. Anderson!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Final Card: Jack Fisher

Here is the final card for Jack Fisher (#684). This card is one of a handful of 1970 and 1966 cards I recently received from I'd like to thank them for their generous donation. Over the past few years, I have purchased many vintage cards from them (mostly in 'Excellent' condition, or 'Very Good' for the more pricey players). I have been very satisfied with their condition ratings, and they ship the same day as my order.

Jack Fisher was signed by the Orioles in 1957, and made his major-league debut in April 1959. He had a somewhat rocky season, and found himself back in triple-A Miami later that year.

In 1960, he made the majors to stay, and joined the Orioles starting rotation, which back in those days included Chuck Estrada, Milt Pappas, and Steve Barber.

After the 1962 season, Fisher was traded to the Giants (along with pitcher Billy Hoeft and catcher Jimmie Coker) for pitchers Mike McCormick and Stu Miller, and catcher John Orsino. Jack compiled a 6-10 record as a starter and reliever, but only lasted one season with the Giants. He was drafted by the Mets after the 1963 season.

Fisher was the Mets' #1 starter during 1964-66 (the "pre-Tom Seaver days"). For each of those 3 seasons, he led the team in starts and innings pitched. His final season with the Mets was 1967. With Tom Seaver turning in a great rookie season in 1967, and rookies Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan on the way, Jack was expendable. He was traded to the White Sox in December (along with outfielder Tommy Davis and others) for center fielder Tommie Agee and infielder Al Weis. Both of these new players would contribute to the Mets' success during the 1969 season.

Fisher's post-Met days were spent hopping from team to team. He only pitched one season for the White Sox, where he joined a starting rotation consisting of veterans Gary Peters, Joel Horlen, and Tommy John. Following the 1968 season, it was on to Cincinnati for backup catcher Don Pavletich. Jack was used primarily as a reliever and sometime starter, with his last appearance on September 26, 1969. After the 1969 season, he was traded to the Angels for 2 minor-leaguers, but was released during spring training 1970.

Fisher spent the 1970 season pitching in triple-A for the Orioles and Cardinals before retiring.

Also check out his 1968 card.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Phillies Team (#436)

On the 1-year anniversary (plus 3 days) of my being on these blogs, I am now starting a 1970 Topps card blog. As a kid, I only collected baseball cards in '67, '68, '69, and '72. Over the past year, I have acquired 93% of this set, so I'm ready to start spouting off.

1970 was a new beginning for the Phillies. This was the year that Veterans Stadium was scheduled to open. Construction issues delayed that opening until 1971, so it was one more year at Connie Mack Stadium. The Phillies also unveiled their new uniforms in 1970 (which were planned to coincide with the new stadium). Long-time Phillies' minor-league skipper Frank Lucchesi was also named as the new manager, after the Phillies burned through Gene Mauch and Bob Skinner in 1968 and 1969.

It was also a new era, player-wise. After the 1969 season, the Phillies cut ties with veterans like Richie Allen, Johnny Callison, Cookie Rojas, and Turk Farrell. In their place were pitchers Joe Hoerner and Dick Selma, catcher Tim McCarver, outfielder Curt Flood, and rookie infielders Denny Doyle and Larry Bowa. Bowa was handed the starting shortstop job in spring training. He became the first piece in the 25-man puzzle that would win the World Series ten years later.

(Back in the day, the list of Phillies pennant-winners was miserably short!)