Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back on Topps Radar: Howie Reed

Howie Reed returns to the Topps set (#548) after a 3-year absence. After a stint with the Dodgers in 1964-65, he returned to the major leagues with the expansion Montreal Expos in 1969.

Reed was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1958, and spent at least part of every season in the minors through the 1972 season, except for 1965, 1970, and 1971. He made his debut with the Athletics in September '58, but didn't see extended action in the majors until he was part of the Dodgers' bullpen during the 1964 and 1965 seasons.

In early 1966, Howie was traded to the Angels for pitcher Dick Egan, and pitched in 19 games for them for the remainder of the season. After only 4 games with the Astros in 1967, it was back to the bush leagues until Montreal came knocking in 1969.

Reed was a fulltime member of the Expos' bullpen for the franchise's first 3 seasons, behind lefty Dan McGinn and their top righthander (which changed each season from Gary Waslewski to Claude Raymond to Mike Marshall).

Reed spent the 1972 season pitching for the Expos' triple-A team, before retiring.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Astros Rookies: John Mayberry Sr. / Bob Watkins

While filling in for the injured Shane Victorino, the Phillies' John Mayberry Jr collected THREE doubles during today's 14-1 thrashing of the Atlanta Braves. Let's look at his Pop's rookie card...

John Mayberry Sr. was the Astros' #1 pick in the 1967 draft. Although he hit 44 homers in the minors during 1968-69, he was stuck there for 5 seasons, while the Astros changed 1st basemen every year: Eddie Mathews ('67), Rusty Staub ('68), Curt Blefary ('69), Bob Watson & Joe Pepitone ('70), and the cruelest cut of all, an aging, out-of-position Denis Menke ('71). I think when they prefer Menke over a slugging youngster, you pretty much don't fit into their plans.

Mayberry was traded to the Royals in December 1971, and spent the next 6 seasons as their starting 1st baseman. During spring training in 1978, he moved on to the Blue Jays, where he manned 1st base for another 4 seasons. John split his final season (1983) between the Blue Jays and Yankees.

Bob Watkins
? As is so often the case with these rookie cards, one player makes it big while another fades away. Watkins' big-league career consisted of 15 innings with the Astros in 1969. He pitched in their farm system from 1966 through 1971.