Sunday, July 28, 2013

Final Card: Fred Whitfield

This is the final card for first baseman Fred Whitfield (#518). Fred was best known as the Indians' 1st baseman from 1963-67, but also played for several other teams.

Whitfield was signed by the Cardinals in 1956, but didn't begin playing until 1958. In his 4 full seasons in the minors (1958-61) he hit 99 home runs.

Fred began the 1962 season in the minors, then made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in late May. He appeared in 73 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter, although he did start 30 games at 1B (to Bill White's 132 starts), After the season he was traded to the Indians for (future Astros' and Mets') pitcher Ron Taylor.

During his first 2 seasons in Cleveland, Whitfield shared the first base job with Joe Adcock (1963) and Bob Chance (1964). He was the regular first baseman in '65, '66, and the first part of 1967. After the Tribe acquired young Tony Horton from Boston on June 4th, Whitfield and Horton shared the post for several weeks, but by late July Fred was relegated to the bench.

He and pitcher George Culver were dealt to the Reds after the season for outfielder Tommy Harper. Fred spent the next 2 seasons as a pinch-hitter and occasional 1st baseman for the Reds, then was released after the 1969 season.

The Expos signed him just before the 1970 season, but he played most of the season at triple-A Winnipeg, only playing 4 games for the Expos.

Whitfield passed away in January 2013 at age 75.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

All-Star Cards

Here are the All-Star cards... those players selected as All-Stars in 1968 by The Sporting News. As with the All-Star cards in the 1968 set, the players getting the cards were not necessarily the starters.

In the actual game, the NL had Don Drysdale, Jerry Grote, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron starting at P, C, CF, and RF respectively. The AL lineup included Luis Tiant, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Fregosi, and Frank Howard starting at P, 1B, SS, and RF. Otherwise, the starters were those you see in the 2 large blocks of cards below.

For the NL, Curt Flood started out of position in left field. Pete Rose and Bob Gibson were on the team, but did not play. (I assume they may have been injured.) Johnny Bench only played the 9th inning, so maybe he was banged up as well. Jerry Koosman pitched the final 1/3 inning of the game.

For the AL, Carl Yastrzemski started in center field, while Ken Harrelson, Bert Campaneris, and Tony Oliva all played later in the game. Denny McLain pitched the 5th and 6th innings, and Sam McDowell pitched the 7th.

The Sporting News selected a lefty and a righty in each league. Here are the lefthanders, who didn't fit into the Brady-Bunch-style collage above.

The backs of these 20 cards formed 2 photos - Pete Rose and Carl Yastrzemski (Yaz also made the puzzle in the '68 set.) Contrary to what I would have thought, the 2 puzzles were not made exclusively from the player cards from Rose's or Yaz' own league. (My scanner bed is not large enough to hold all 10 cards, hence the cut-off tops.)

3 Cardinals
3 Reds
3 Tigers
2 Cubs
2 Red Sox
2 Twins
1 each from Giants, Mets, Athletics, Orioles, Indians