Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Born on the Same Day - 6/29/1941

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #20 in the series: John Boccabella and Larry Stahl - both born on 6/29/1941, one day after Al Downing and Fred Talbot.

John Boccabella played for 12 seasons, mostly as a 3rd-string catcher and backup 1st baseman.  After 6 seasons wth the Cubs (1963-68), he joined the expansion Montreal Expos, and played 5 seasons in Canada.  In 1973 he was the team's primary catcher, starting over 100 games for the only time in his career.  He wrapped up with the Giants in 1974.

Larry Stahl played for the Athletics, Mets, Padres, and Reds from 1964-73.  Most of his major-league playing time came in 1966 (with the Athletics) and 1971-72 (with the Padres), the only 3 seasons he managed to stay out of the minor leagues.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Rick Reichardt (#205)

Rick Reichardt was an outfielder for the Angels, White Sox, and others from 1964 to 1974.

Reichardt was a baseball and football star at the University of Wisconsin, and played in the 1963 Rose Bowl. After a bidding war, the Angels signed him in June 1964 for a then-record $200,000. That was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, leading to the institution of the player draft in 1965.

Rick made his major-league debut in September 1964. He played most of the 1965 season in triple-A, but saw action in 20 games for the Halos.

In 1966 he made the big club for good, and was the starting left fielder for most of the season, but missed all of August and September.

Rick was the Angels’ regular left fielder during the 1967 to 1969 seasons, starting most of the games there while up to 7 other outfielders swirled around the other 2 spots.

Before the 1970 season, the Angels acquired Alex Johnson to play left field, and by late April Reichardt was traded to the Senators for 3rd baseman Ken McMullen. He was the 4th outfielder for the Senators, playing left field for the few dozen games when Frank Howard moved in to first base, and occasionally playing center field.

After the season he was traded to the White Sox for suspect pitcher Gerry Janeski. Rick regained a starting job with Chicago, once again manning left field, and playing alongside his former Angels’ teammate Jay Johnstone.

In 1972 he shared the center field job with Johnstone, while Carlos May took over the left field duties.

Reichardt began the 1973 season on the bench, and only saw steady playing time during the second half of May. He was released at the end of June, having only played in 46 games to that point.

He was signed by the Royals 2 weeks later, and played mostly as a designated hitter for the remainder of that season. After only 1 at-bat in 1974, he was released on April 9th, ending his 11-year career.

Hey, wait a minute...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Final Card: Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley (#289) was a career minor-league infielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, having played for one of their farm teams every season from 1961 to 1970.

Along the way, he played in 18 games for the Dodgers in September 1964 and 12 games in early-1966.

After the 1966 season, the Mets selected him in the Rule 5 draft, which was the sole reason for this appearance:

After playing only 6 games for the Mets in April 1967, he was returned to the Dodgers in mid-May, and was promptly assigned to the minors.

Shirley resurfaced one last time for the Dodgers during the final 2 months of the 1968 season, appearing in 39 games (24 starts) at SS or 2B. It was to be his last major-league action, but was enough to have Topps issue his 1969 card, the only solo card during his career.

Bart played 2 more seasons for the Dodgers’ AAA team, then wrapped up his career in Japan in ’71 and ’72.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tug McGraw (#601)

At last, we get to Frank “Tug” McGraw, the bullpen ace for 2 world championship teams (1969 Mets, 1980 Phillies). This is Tug’s high-numbered 1969 card – issued just a month or 2 before the Mets’ amazing World Series victory.

Tug was signed by the Mets in June 1964, and made his major-league debut the following April (not just a cameo September call-up). He pitched in 37 games as a rookie, making 9 starts.

The following season he played part of the season in the minors, but did pitch in 15 games for the Mets, mostly as a starter. He also spent some time in the National Guard.

He spent most of 1967 and all of 1968 in triple-A, only seeing action in 4 games for the Mets in ’67, while compiling a 0-3 record with a 7.79 ERA.

Tug was back with the Mets full-time in 1969, and was the go-to lefthander in the bullpen, pitching 100 innings (tops among relievers) over 42 games, with a 2.24 ERA. His 12 saves were 1 less than Ron Taylor's 13. He picked up a post-season save in 1969, and 2 more in 1973.

He was a One-Man Army in the Mets' bullpen from 1972-73, collecting 27 and 25 saves in those years. Tug also made his first of 2 All-Star teams in 1972.

After an off-year in 1974, he was traded to the Phillies for outfielder Del Unser and catching prospect John Stearns.

McGraw anchored the Phillies' bullpen from 1975 through 1981. He made his 2nd All-Star team in his first season in Philly ('75) and in 1980 collected his Phillies’-career-high 20 saves, to go with his career-low 1.46 ERA. Tug also had 4 saves in the 1980 post-season.

Tug pitched for the Phillies through the 1984 season, but his final 3 seasons were in a reduced role, behind relievers like Ron Reed and Al Holland.

I just learned today that he made a comeback (of sorts) years later, pitching 1 game in each of the 1989 and 1990 seasons for the single-A Gastonia Rangers.

While working as a Spring Training instructor for the Phillies in 2003, McGraw was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After surgery he was diagnosed as "cured" but it was later learned the surgery was incomplete. The cancer spread and he died in January 2004 at age 59.

In September 2003 he attended the closing ceremonies at Veterans Stadium (which I watched on TV and recorded) along with long-time Phillies’ GM Paul Owens, who also died in the same '03/'04 off-season.

Country music singer Tim McGraw is Tug’s son.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

First Look - Oakland Athletics

Here's the last in a 5-part series where we get the first look at a new team's uniforms.

Not an expansion team this time, but the recently-relocated Athletics. They moved from Kansas City after the 1967 season, but it took Topps 1 1/2 years to catch up with new player photos.

Included below are the rookie cards for Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, and Ed Sprague.

The multi-player card shown above was also posted to this 1969 blog in August 2009 by the blog's previous owner. That is the first blog post I found (not even realizing that Google Blogger existed at that time). A few days later I created an account, and here we are 7+ years later!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

First Look - San Diego Padres

Here's the fourth in a 5-part series where we get the first look at a new team's uniforms.

Four teams were added in the 1969 expansion, and although the players for these teams appeared capless or airbrushed in the early series, by mid-summer we started to see players in their new uniforms.

Today - the San Diego Padres

The Padres had the fewest number of veterans' cards in their new uniforms of any of the 4 new teams, but made up for it with three rookie cards. (Plus, we have "Podres with the Padres", so there's that!)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

First Look - Seattle Pilots

Here's the third in a 5-part series where we get the first look at a new team's uniforms.

Four teams were added in the 1969 expansion, and although the players for these teams appeared capless or airbrushed in the early series, by mid-summer we started to see players in their new uniforms.

Today - the Seattle Pilots

Both Jack Aker and Jim Gosger were selected from the Athletics.

This is ex-Angel Marty Pattin's rookie card.

Jerry McNertney went from 3rd-string catcher with the White Sox to the Pilots' every-day backstop.

Gus Gil and John Kennedy both returned to the Topps set in 1969, after a 1-year hiatus.

Unlike all the other expansion teams, the Pilots had only 1 Rookie Stars card, and it was a capless job (featuring Lou Piniella's 3rd appearance on a Rookie Stars card!)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

First Look - Montreal Expos

Here's the second in a 5-part series where we get the first look at a new team's uniforms.

Four teams were added in the 1969 expansion, and although the players for these teams appeared capless or airbrushed in the early series, by mid-summer we started to see players in their new uniforms.

Today - the Montreal Expos

This is a weird distribution of positions in the late-series cards:
2 catchers and 3 outfielders, but no infielders.

But how cool is that Ron Brand card?!?

Monday, October 2, 2017

First Look - Kansas City Royals

Here's the first in a 5-part series where we get the first look at a new team's uniforms.

Four teams were added in the 1969 expansion, and although the players for these teams appeared capless or airbrushed in the early series, by mid-summer we started to see players in their new uniforms.

First up - the Kansas City Royals

The Royals had more (non-rookie-stars) player cards in their new uniforms than any of the other expansion teams.

Only one of the Rookie Stars cards was issued late enough to include players in the new uniforms.

(Wow, the "windbreaker look" is in high gear!) 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Final Card: Dooley Womack

Here is Horace Guy “Dooley” Womack – the oldest living player from 1966-70 that I have yet to feature on my blogs. We last saw Dooley here, sharing a rookie card with Bobby Murcer in 1966.

Womack's late-season card (#594) is one of the first Astros' cards to show the cap logo since the 1967 set.

Dooley was signed by the Yankees in 1958, and played a looooong time in the minors (8 years) before making his major-league debut in April 1966.

He started 1 game during his rookie season, but his other 192 games over a 5-year career were all in relief. 1967 was his best season, leading the Yankees with 18 saves (in 65 games).

In 1968 Dooley was back where he was in ’66 – just another Joe in the bullpen. After the 1968 season, Womack was traded to the Astros for backup outfielder Dick Simpson.

In late-August 1969, he was traded to the Seattle Pilots for ex-Yankees teammate Jim Bouton.  He was returned to the Astros after the 1969 season, but by December was traded to the Reds for outfielder Jim Beauchamp.

Womack played most of 1970 for the Reds’ AAA team, then was acquired by the Athletics in mid-August. He only appeared in 2 games over the final 6 weeks. That was the end of his short, 5-year career.

Womack played for Oakland’s triple-A team in 1971 before retiring due to a rotator cuff injury.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Glenn Beckert (#171)

Projects? I’ve got an endless list of projects: 
 - 1967 Team Reviews (8 more) 
 - 1969 Final Cards (18 more) 
 - 1969 and 1970 League Leaders cards 
 - 1967 Scrapbook series
 - Blockbuster Trades series
 - Born on the Same Day series
 - Players with the Same Last Name series

And my current priorities:
 - Players I haven’t blogged yet who are pushing their late-70s 
 - Remaining unblogged key pitchers (about 16 more) 
 - Remaining unblogged "Starting Eight" players (about 16 more) 

Here’s the top player from the last group on the above list: 

Glenn Beckert was signed by the Red Sox in 1962. (I did not know that!) After 1 season in Boston’s organization, he was selected by the Cubs in the minor-league draft, and played 2 seasons on their farm before making his MLB debut at the start of the 1965 season.

The Cubs had been in need of a 2nd baseman since their 1962 Rookie-of-the-Year Ken Hubbs was killed in a plane crash just before Spring Training in 1964. Beckert won the job at the start of the 1965 season, and didn’t let go until the final months of the 1973 season.

As a fielder, Glenn led the NL with 494 assists as a rookie in 1965, and won a Glove Glove Award in 1968.

Batting-wise, he led the league with 98 runs in 1968, and reached a career-high .342 batting average in 1971. He also hit over .290 in ’68 and ’69.

Beckert was an All-Star for 4 consecutive seasons (1969-72). He was the team’s regular 2nd baseman for 9 seasons (except for missing the final month of 1971, the final 2 months of 1973, and a few weeks in 1972), teaming with shortstop Don Kessinger for the entire 9-year run.

After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Padres, where he backed up 2nd baseman Derrel Thomas during the 1974 season. Beckert was released after the first month of 1975, ending his 11-year career.