Thursday, June 10, 2021

More New Acquisitions

I was so pleased with the 16 cards from a recent purchase, that I jumped right back into the pool and bought 10 more cards. I now need only 12 to complete the set. 
 
I have my suspicions that the Norm Cash card may be a counterfeit or reprint.  The card stock feels the same as the others, but the front is a darker gray, the back is a brighter white, and it was unexpectedly inexpensive for a 50-year-old Norm Cash card.
(Felix Millan and Ted Kubiak are still on their way) 
611 – Norm Cash
683 – Reds Rookies
688 – Ted Kubiak
689 – Frank Tepedino
705 – Tony Cloninger
708 – Jose Santiago
709 – Mike Fiore
710 – Felix Millan
714 – Al Spangler
716 – Cardinals Rookies
This is my first card of Frank Tepedino, and possibly Mike Fiore too (unless he's in the 1972 set).
 
 
Still needed to complete the set are these cards:
189 – Yankees Rookies (Thurman Munson)
580 – Pete Rose
600 – Willie Mays
634 – Bud Harrelson
640 – Al Kaline
660 – Johnny Bench
665 – Jim Lonborg
699 – Hank Aguirre
700 – Frank Robinson
702 – AL Rookies
712 – Nolan Ryan
715 – Mickey Lolich

Friday, June 4, 2021

New Acquisitions

Last week I emerged from my pandemic hibernation and bought some baseball cards for the first time in almost 2 years. I snared 16 vintage 1970 cards on my want list, which leaves me with only 22 cards to complete the set.

Almost all the remaining cards I needed were high numbers. Joining my binder are #590 Mike Cuellar, and these 15 high numbers: 
647 – Tom Matchick
664 – Bob Robertson
667 – Bob Meyer
669 – White Sox Rookies
675 – Jose Cardenal
678 – Dave Duncan
679 – Ray Sadecki
685 – Tom Haller
691 – Joe Grzenda
695 – Bobby Knoop
697 – Jim Hannan
704 – Frank Baker
717 – Tom Phoebus
719 – Jim Roland
720 – Rick Reichardt
 
Still to go are these cards:
611 – Norm Cash
634 – Bud Harrelson
665 – Jim Lonborg
683 – Reds Rookies
688 – Ted Kubiak
689 – Frank Tepedino
699 – Hank Aguirre
702 – AL Rookies
705 – Tony Cloninger
708 – Jose Santiago
709 – Mike Fiore
710 – Felix Millan
714 – Al Spangler
715 – Mickey Lolich
716 – Cardinals Rookies
 
What’s that you say? That’s only 15 cards? Oh yeah, these 7 also:
189 – Yankees Rookies (Thurman Munson)
580 – Pete Rose
600 – Willie Mays
640 – Al Kaline
660 – Johnny Bench
700 – Frank Robinson
712 – Nolan Ryan
I have no expectations that I will get those last 7.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Jerry Kenney (#219)

Jerry Kenney was to be part of the "new wave" of Yankee stars to replace Mantle & Co (led by Bobby Murcer, and also including 1968 ROY Stan Bahnsen). But things didn’t quite turn out for Kenney like they did for Murcer. 
 
Kenney was signed by the Yankees in 1964. He was a shortstop in the minors, spending '64 and '65 with 2 different class-A teams, then advancing to AA and AAA over the next 2 seasons. He made his major-league debut with the Yankees in September 1967.
After missing the entire 1968 season for military service (like Murcer), he made the Yankees at the start of the 1969 season. Installed as the Opening Day center fielder (with Murcer also given the 3rd base job) the two of them remained at their new posts until mid-May, when Kenney was moved to 3rd base, and Murcer to right field. 
 
Kenney platooned at the hot corner for the rest of the season with last year's 3rd base phenom Bobby Cox, (while Murcer manned right field until late August, then moved over to The Mick’s old post). 
 
With Cox dispatched to the minors for all of 1970, Kenney became the primary 3rd baseman, starting 2/3 of the games (with Danny Cater playing the rest). 
 
In 1971 Jerry’s playing time slipped, as he shared the 3rd base job evenly with Cater. In 1972 he was used as the backup shortstop (to Gene Michael), only starting a few dozen games. 
 
After the 1972 season he was traded to the Indians in the 6-player deal that brought Graig Nettles to the Big Apple, but after only 5 games with the Tribe, he was released on May 4th. The Yankees resigned him 3 months later and he played the next 2 1/2 years for their AAA team, never returning to the majors. 
 
In his 4 seasons with the Yankees, he hit .257, .193, .262, and .210. 
 
The sad SABR story of Jerry Kenney, (another "the next Mantle").

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Steve Renko (#87)

Today we look at Steve Renko's rookie card. 
 
Renko was signed by the Mets in July 1965, but did not play that summer. He also only played one game in 1966. 
 
After 2 full seasons on the Mets' farm, he began the 1969 season with the Mets' AAA team, but was sent to the Expos in the June 15th trade that brought Donn Clendenon to New York. (The Expos also received 3rd baseman Kevin Collins and 2 minor-leaguers.)
Steve made his major-league debut 12 days later. From that point until the end of the 1975 season he was a regular in the Expos’ starting rotation, twice winning 15 games (quite an accomplishment for a perennially bad team) along with 13 and 12-win seasons. His only bad year was 1972, when he posted a 1-10 record in 30 games (only 12 starts). 
 
Renko saw little action at the start of 1976, and was traded to the Cubs in May. After spending the first 7-plus seasons with the Expos, he bounced around for the 2nd half of his career. A year with the Cubs, then half a season with the White Sox. 
 
He was granted free agency after 1977, then spent 1 season with the Athletics and 2 each with the Red Sox and Angels, before wrapping up his career with the Royals in 1983. 
 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Roger Nelson (#633)

Roger Nelson had a 9 (essentially 6) year career from 1967-76, mostly with the Kansas City Royals.
 
Nelson was signed by the White Sox in 1963, and played 5 seasons in their farm system, culminating with a cup of coffee for the Sox in September 1967, where he pitched 7 innings over 5 games. 
 
After the season Roger was included in the deal that sent Don Buford and Bruce Howard to the Orioles in exchange for Luis Aparicio, Russ Snyder, and John Matias.
Nelson was with the Orioles for the entire 1968 season, but only pitched 19 games. 
 
He and Wally Bunker were not only the 2 youngest pitchers on the 10-man staff, but also made the least amount of appearances as they swung back and forth between 5th starter and occasional reliever. (The O’s had Dave McNally, Jim Hardin, and Tom Phoebus at the front of their rotation, with Gene Brabender and Dave Leonard as the primary swingmen filling the 4th starter’s slot. Eddie Watt, Moe Drabowsky, and Pete Richert were the 3 primary relievers, so there wasn’t much for Nelson or Bunker to do.) 
 
Left unprotected in the October 1968 expansion draft, Nelson was selected by the Royals (as was his O’s teammate Bunker). Together they headed up the starting rotation for the new Royals team. (Nelson made 29 starts, and was the only one of the 16 pitchers used by KC that season who made no relief appearances.) 
 
Injuries limited him to 4 games in 1970 and 13 games in 1971. He returned to full-time duty in 1972, making 19 starts (3rd on the team) and 15 relief appearances while posting a 11-6 record and a 2.08 ERA. 
 
In November 1972 he was traded to the Reds (with outfielder Richie Scheinblum) for pitcher Wayne Simpson and outfielder Hal McRae. Roger pitched for the Reds for 2 seasons, appearing in 14 games each year as a small cog in the Big Red Machine. 
 
Nelson was sold back to the White Sox after the 1974 season, but he was released during spring training the following year. The Athletics took a flyer on him, but after 20 games with their AA team, he was released in early-August.
 
The Royals picked him up in April 1976, and he played most of ’76 and all of ’77 with their AAA team, making his final 3 MLB appearances with Kansas City in September 1976. 
 
Roger played for the Pirates’ AAA team in 1978, and in Mexico in 1979 before retiring. 
 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Born on the Same Day - 9/23/1942

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 
 
This is post #28 in the series: Jim Rooker and Woody Woodward - both born on 9/23/1942.
 
Jim Rooker made his debut with the Tigers in 1968, and was a starting pitcher for the Royals in their first 4 seasons (1969-72). He was traded to the Pirates, and was in their rotation from 1973-79. Rooker missed most of the 1980 season, then was released.  
 
Woody Woodward was a middle infielder for the Braves and Reds from 1963-71. He was an everyday player in 1966-67 as the Braves' 2nd baseman.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Pedro Borbon (#358)

Pedro Borbon was a mainstay in the Big Red Machine’s bullpen from 1972-77, and led the team in saves in ’73, ’74, and ’77. Borbon pitched in 593 games in his 12-year career, starting only 4 games. He pitched in more games from 1970-78 than any other NL pitcher. This is his rookie card. 

Pedro was signed by the Cardinals in late 1964, but did not start playing until 1966. After 3 seasons with 3 different class-A teams, he was selected by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December 1968. 

Borbon played one full season (1969) with the Angels, pitching 41 innings over 22 games, then was traded to the Reds in the off-season (with pitcher Jim McGlothlin) for outfielder Alex Johnson and infielder Chico Ruiz.

He played most of 1970 and 1971 in the minors, only pitching 12 times for the Reds in the first half of 1970, and 3 games in September 1971. 

Pedro made the Reds on a full-time basis in 1972, and was 2nd to Clay Carroll in games and saves. In 1973 he posted a career-high 11 wins, while leading the staff in games and tied with Carroll with 14 saves. In 1974 he led the bullpen in games and innings pitched, and again collected 14 saves. 

For the next 2 seasons, Borbon maintained his high games and innings workload, although newcomers Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney picked up most of the saves. 

With McEnaney traded before the season, and Eastwick traded in mid-season, Pedro was the team’s top reliever in 1977. 

In 1978 he had a reduced role in the bullpen, although he posted an 8-2 record. In 1979 it was Borbon’s turn to go – traded to the Giants in June for outfielder Hector Cruz. 

He played for the Giants for the rest of that season, then was released just before the start of the 1980 season.  Pedro hooked on with the Cardinals at the end of Aptil, but after 10 appearances he was released at the end of May. 

Borbon appeared in 20 post-season games for the Reds from 1972-76, picking up 3 saves. 

Pedro was inducted into the Reds’ Hall of Fame in 2010. He passed away in 2012 at age 65. 

His son Pedro Jr. pitched for the Braves, Blue Jays, and others from 1992-2003.  

 

"Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota…Mota...Mota"

Thursday, August 27, 2020

NL PItching Leaders (#67, #69, #71)

The days of one pitcher (Sandy Koufax) dominating every category are long gone.  Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, and Fergie Jenkins each appear twice among the leaders.


It's surprising to see Gibby not in the lead in any category, but he missed the strikeout crown by only 4 K's. (Bill Singer was in 3rd place, 22 strikeouts behind Gibson.)

At the end of the ERA list is a section for relievers (pitching at least 75 innings).  Tug McGraw led that bunch.

In the middle card, 5 other guys were tied with 20 wins, rounding out the nine pitchers with 20 or more.

Re-cap:
Cardinals - 3
Cubs - 2
Giants - 2
Mets - 1
Braves - 1
Dodgers - 1