Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pat Jarvis (#134)

Pat Jarvis pitched for the Braves for 7 seasons (1966-72) before wrapping up his career in 1973 with the Expos.

Jarvis was signed by the Cubs (I did not know that) in 1960 and after one season on their farm he moved on to the Tigers’ organization. After the 1963 season, he went to the Braves in a minor-league deal for pitcher Bruce Brubaker.

Pat made his major-league debut in August 1966, and was a key member of the Braves' starting rotation from 1967-70, winning 15, 16, 13, and 16 games in those seasons, and leading the staff in wins during the ’68 and ’60 seasons. He also started one game in the 1969 NL playoffs.

In 1971 he slumped to a 6-14 record, and was relegated to the bullpen for 12 of his 35 appearances. He bounced back in 1972 with a 11-7 record, but it was almost all as a reliever.

Before the ‘73 season, Jarvis was traded to the Expos for pitcher Carl Morton. This was to be his final major-league season, pitching only 39 innings (all in relief) while compiling a 2-1 record. His final game was on September 23rd.

Pat was dealt to the Rangers in December, but was released in March 1974, ending his 8-year career.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

NL / ML Rookies (#579, 569, 539)

Topps' custom for Rookie Stars cards from 1964 to 1972 was that by the time they got to the 7th series, if there weren't at least 2 remaining rookies for the same team, they would group them on "NL Rookies", "AL Rookies", or "ML Rookies" cards.  (I'm not sure why they just didn't put Ivan Murrell and Jim Ray on a "Houston Rookies" card.)

Larry Hisle was handed the Phillies' starting center field job to begin the 1968 season, but flopped miserably, and after only 7 games was sent down to AAA for much-needed seasoning. He returned the following spring as the #1 center fielder, and after a great rookie season, slumped in 1970 and split 1971 between the Phillies and the minors. He later played 5 years with the Twins (including a career year in 1977) and 5 years with the Brewers.

Mike Lum played 8 full years with the Braves (1968-75), and was then a part-time player for the Reds (1976-78) and Braves (1979-81). He was the Braves’ regular right fielder in ’71 and ’72, the years when Hank Aaron played 1st base.

After cups of coffee with the Astros from 1963-68, Ivan Murrell was drafted by the expansion Padres in 1969 and played 3 full seasons in San Diego as a part-time outfielder. Murrell bounced up and down between the Padres, Braves, and their minor-league teams from 1972-75, then played in Mexico from 1976-83.

Les Rohr pitched in the Mets’ farm system from 1965-70, and saw action in 6 games with the Mets between 1967 and 1969.

Jim Ray pitched a few games for the Astros in ’65 and ’66, then was a bullpen mainstay from 1968-73. He finished his career in 1974 with the Tigers.

I was surprised today to see how short Mike Ferarro’s MLB career was. Although he played in the minors from 1962-75, he only made brief appearances with the Yankees (10 games in ’66, 23 in ’68) and Seattle Pilots (5 games in ’69) before his only season as a regular in 1972 (124 games for the Brewers). He also managed the Indians in 1983 and Royals in 1986.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Claude Osteen (#440)

Claude Osteen was a starting pitcher for 18 seasons (1957-75), primarily for the Dodgers and Senators. He compiled a career record of 196-195, and started 488 of his 541 career games. Most of his relief appearances came early in his career.

Osteen was signed by the Reds in 1957 and was assigned to their AA Nashville team. Although he pitched in the minors from 1957-59, he played a few games with the Reds in ’57 and ’59.

Claude was with the Reds for the entire 1960 season, starting 3 games but mostly working out of the bullpen. He spent most of 1961 back in the minors, then was traded to the Senators in September for pitcher Dave Sisler (brother of Phillies’ outfielder Dick Sisler).

Osteen pitched the next 3 seasons in the Senators’ rotation, his high point winning 15 games in 1964.

After the 1964 season, Claude was traded to the Dodgers (with 3rd baseman John Kennedy) for outfielder Frank Howard, 3rd baseman Ken McMullen, pitchers Phil Ortega and Pete Richert, and 1st baseman Dick Nen.

Osteen pitched for the Dodgers for the next 9 seasons, joining a rotation featuring Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and a fading Johnny Podres. Over time, Don Sutton replaced Podres and Bill Singer replaced Koufax. With the retirement of Drysdale after the 1969 season, Claude became the dean of the starting rotation.

Claude started 2 games in the 1965 World Series, and 1 game in the 1966 Series. He also won 20 games in 1969 and 1972, and was a 3-time all-star with the Dodgers. He got the win in the 1970 all-star game (thanks to Pete Rose’s walk-off steamrolling of Ray Fosse at home plate!)

1973 was Osteen’s final season with the Dodgers. He won 16 games that year, but with a fully-stocked rotation of Sutton, Andy Messersmith, Tommy John, and Al Downing, Osteen was traded to the Dodgers after the season for outfielder Jimmy Wynn.

Claude played most of 1974 with the Astros (compiling a 9-9 record in 138 innings), but moved on to the Cardinals in August in exchange for 2 minor-leaguers. He pitched in 8 games (mostly in relief) over the final six weeks, then was released the following April.

Osteen spent his final season with the White Sox in 1975, pitching 204 innings in 37 starts with a 7-16 record. (After his shabby treatment by the Cardinals in 1974, it was good to see him wrap up his long career as a workhorse!) He was released in April 1976.

After his playing career, he was a pitching coach for the Cardinals, Phillies, Rangers, and Dodgers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tom Haller (#185)

Tom Haller was a catcher for the Giants and Dodgers in the 1960s. Here we see him on his last card as a Giant. He was traded to the Dodgers prior to the 1968 season for Ron Hunt, but both players appear as Giants in the ’68 set.

After playing quarterback at the University of Illinois, Haller was signed by the Dodgers in 1958. After 3 seasons in the minors, Tom began 1961 with the Giants, but spent the 2nd half of the season back in the minors.

He platooned at catcher with veteran Ed Bailey in 1962 and 1963, then took over as the #1 catcher in 1964, a position he would hold through the 1967 season. Haller made the all-star team in 1966 and 1967, his final 2 seasons in San Francisco. He also clubbed a career-high 27 homers in 1966.

In February 1968 (with rookie catcher Dick Dietz ready for regular playing time) Haller was traded to the Dodgers for 2nd baseman Ron Hunt and utility infielder Nate Oliver. It was the first trade between the two teams since their move to California in 1958.

Tom was immediately installed as the starting catcher in LA, taking over for John Roseboro, who had been traded to the Twins 3 months earlier. Haller made his 3rd consecutive all-star squad in 1968, then continued as the #1 catcher in 1969.

In 1970 he started 91 games behind the plate, with backups Jeff Torborg and Bill Sudakis (the team’s starting 3rd baseman in 1969) splitting the remaining games.

In 1971, Tom shared the starting catching duties with Duke Sims (acquired from the Indians), with rookie Joe Ferguson also getting a few dozen starts as the 3rd-stringer.

Haller was traded to the Tigers after the 1971 season, and spent the ’72 season backing up perennial all-star Bill Freehan. By early August, Tom’s old pal Duke Sims was acquired from the Dodgers, and joined the catching mix. Haller only started 4 games after Sims’ arrival.

During one start in July 1972, Haller was catching, while his older brother Bill (an American League umpire) was working behind the plate.

The Phillies acquired Haller before the 1973 season, mostly to serve as a mentor and insurance policy for Bob Boone, who, after a cup of coffee in September ’72, would be handed the starting catching job in 1973. Haller decided to retire, rather than accept a trade to the Phillies.

Haller was the Giants’ GM from 1981-85, and the White Sox’ GM in 1986.

He passed away in November 2004 at age 67.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Orioles Team (#334)

Here is the Orioles team card. Topps did away with the superimposed yellow or red background for their team cards in 1968, but only issued cards for 13 of the 20 teams.

What a difference 1 year makes! The Orioles went from World Champions in 1966 to tied for 6th place in 1967. Why? Frank Robinson missed every game from 6/28 to 7/28 after a collision caused him to suffer from double vision.

Also, almost all their starting pitchers came down with arm injuries. The most severe was Jim Palmer, who spent most of '67 and all of '68 recuperating in the minors. Dave McNally, Wally Bunker, and Steve Barber were also ineffective, with Barber traded to the Yankees in July.

In place of Palmer and the others, rookie Tom Phoebus stepped up to lead the staff with 14 wins, 179 strikeouts, and a 3.33 ERA.

Not to worry, the Orioles would be back in 1969 (and 1970... and 1971).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dick Williams (#87)

What a rookie season! After finishing no higher than 6th place for the previous 7 seasons (including two 9th and two 8th place finishes), the Red Sox gave Dick Williams his first big-league managing job in 1967, and he guided the team to their first World Series since 1946. Unfortunately, just as in ‘46, the Sox lost in 7 to the Cardinals.

Williams began his baseball career as an outfielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Signed in 1947, he played 4 seasons in the minors, then played for Brooklyn as a spare outfielder from 1951 to 1954.

Dick spent all of 1955 and part of 1956 in the minors. After only 7 games with the Dodgers in 1956, Williams was claimed off waivers by the Orioles, and became their regular center fielder for the remainder of the season.

In mid-June 1957, Williams was traded to the Indians, who then traded him back to the O’s a few days before the start of the ’58 season. After just one season back in Baltimore (this time as a swing man between 1B/3B/CF), he was shipped out to the Kansas City Athletics.

Williams played for the A’s in ’59 and ’60, starting about half the team’s games at 3rd base or 1st base. In 1961, Williams was traded on the 2nd day of the season to ... (anyone?) the Orioles! Now in his 3rd stint with the team, Dick shared the left field job with Russ Snyder, while also making the occasional start at 1st base. 1962 would be his last in Baltimore, and he was relegated to a utility role.

Williams wrapped up his playing career with 2 seasons in Boston, playing his final game on 10/1/64.


Dick immediately went into managing, piloting Boston’s AAA Toronto team to first-division finishes in ’65 and ’66. That earned him the Red Sox’ job in 1967, and what a year for the BoSox. Not only did they win the pennant, but Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown, and Jim Lonborg led the AL in wins and strikeouts while winning the Cy Young award.

Williams managed the Red Sox until his firing with a week remaining in 1969. He moved on to Oakland for 1971-73, guiding the team to 3 division titles and 2 World Championships in his 3 seasons. This was all done with players that were famous for not liking each other (or not liking Williams, I don't remember which).

Dick had less success with the Angels (1974-76) and the Expos (1977-81), then moved on to the Padres from 1982-85, including winning the NL pennant in 1984. His final manager’s job was with the Mariners from 1986-88. He later worked for the Yankees as a consultant.

In 21 seasons as a manager, Williams compiled a 1571-1451 record, with 4 pennants and 2 World Series Championships. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Williams passed away in July 2011 at age 82.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Felipe Alou (#55)

Felipe Alou played 17 seasons (1958-74) for 6 teams, mostly the Giants and Braves. Although mostly an outfielder, he played about half his games at 1st base from 1965-67 with the Braves and from 1971-73 with the Yankees.

Felipe is the oldest of the 3 Alou brothers, who all began their careers with the Giants. Felipe's son Moises also played in the majors from 1990-2008.

Alou was signed by the Giants in 1955, and played 2 ½ seasons in the minors before making his big-league debut with the Giants in June 1958. Felipe backed up rookie Willie Kirkland in right field for the remainder of the season.

1959 was more of the same for Alou, backing up Kirkland in right field. In late July, rookie Willie McCovey joined the Giants, which caused incumbent 1st baseman Orlando Cepeda to play about half his games in left field for the next few seasons. With Willie Mays in center field, all other outfielders would have to vie for playing time in right field.

In 1960 Alou was the regular left fielder for the 50+ games when Cepeda would move in to 1st base. From 1961 to 1963, Felipe was the Giants' regular right fielder, often backed up by his brother Matty. His youngest brother Jesus joined the Giants in September 1963, Felipe's last few weeks with the Giants. All 3 Alou brothers played in the same outfield only once – on September 15th.

After the season, Felipe was traded to the Braves (with pitcher Billy Hoeft, catcher Ed Bailey, and infielder Ernie Bowman) for pitchers Bob Shaw and Bob Hendley, and catcher Del Crandall. Alou began the '64 season as the Braves’ starting center fielder, but by mid-June had lost that post to Lee Maye, and spent the remainder of the season as the 4th outfielder.

Felipe began playing 1st base in 1965, and spent the next 3 seasons dividing his time between 1st, left field, and center field. He also was quite good with the stick. In 1966 he finished 2nd among NL batters with a .327 average (right behind his brother Matty). In 1968 he finished 3rd (behind Pete Rose and Matty) with a .317 average.

After Mack Jones was traded away following the 1967 season, Alou spent the next 2 seasons as the Braves' regular center fielder.

After the '69 season, he was traded to Oakland for pitcher Jim Nash. Alou only spent one full season with the Athletics. At age 35, he played in an outfield that included Rick Monday and Reggie Jackson, both 24. Felipe played in left field, and also 70 games in right (mostly when Jackson played center in Monday's absence).

Felipe started the first 2 games of the 1971 season, then at week's end was traded to the Yankees. He played the rest of '71, all of '72, and most of '73 in the Big Apple. He was a regular in 1971, playing RF/CF/1B. For the next 2 seasons he shared the first base job with Ron Blomberg.

In September 1973 Alou hit the road again, this time for Montreal. He played 19 games for the Expos during the season's final month, then was sold to the Brewers in the off-season. After 3 games with Milwaukee, he was released in April 1974.

Alou became a manager after his playing career, with stops in Montreal (1992-2001) and San Francisco (2003-06).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Playing Card Inserts (revisited)

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about these playing cards over at The Five Tool Collector blog.

A few years ago I posted the entire set on this blog, and several weeks ago I came across a stash of duplicates that I didn't know I had. I have shown 1-each of my duplicates below, although for some cards I have several (EIGHT of Gary Peters!)

If anyone is interested in these cards, I would be open to trades that would help me complete my 1966 and 1970 Topps sets, or anything else that is found on my want list. Please contact me by email (found on my profile page).

Batter up!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bob Humphreys (#268)

A few months ago, I found a page on listing the 100 oldest living ex-players. Within the scope of the 1966 to 1970 card sets, the only names listed there were 3 managers. Last week I decided to find out who were the oldest living ex-players from that time period that I haven’t yet featured on my blogs. 

As best as I can determine, they are pitchers Orlando Pena and Camilo Pascual (both 80), outfielder Russ Snyder (turning 80 tomorrow), 1B-OF Felipe Alou (79), and pitchers Bob Humphreys and Jim Perry (both 78). Nine others are 77, with Fred Gladding, Vic Davalillo, and J.C. Martin turning 78 later this year. 

Bob Humphreys was a relief pitcher for 5 teams from 1962 to 1970, most notably the Washington Senators. He pitched in 319 games during his career, all but 4 as a reliever.

Humphreys was signed by the Tigers in 1958. After 5 seasons in the minors, he made his major-league debut with Detroit in September 1962.

During spring training in 1963, Bob was sold to the Cardinals. He spent the next 2 seasons shuffling between the Cardinals and their triple-A team.

In April 1965, Humphreys was traded to the Cubs for 2 minor-leaguers: pitcher Hal Gilson and infielder Bobby Pfeil. He appeared in 41 games for the Cubs that season, 3rd-most among their relievers.

After only one season in the Windy City, Bob was traded to Washington for Ken Hunt, a 6-year journeyman outfielder who got most of his playing time with the expansion Angels in 1961, and whose last major-league game was in 1964.

Humphreys worked out of the Senators’ bullpen for 4 ½ seasons, his longest stint with any team.  Bob appeared in more than 45 games in each of his full seasons there.

After his release on June 13, 1970 the Brewers picked him up two days later, and Bob finished out the season (and his career) with Milwaukee. He was released in March 1971 and pitched that season with the Brewers’ AAA team.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don Sutton (#103)

Here is future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Don Sutton, about to enter his 3rd season. His 1966 rookie season was also Sandy Koufax’ final season.

Sutton was signed by the Dodgers in 1964, and pitched only 1 season in the minors. He compiled a 23-7 combined record, pitching in A and AA ball in 1965. Don made his big-league debut in April 1966 as the #4 starter behind Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Claude Osteen. Sutton posted a record of 11-11 with 209 strikeouts and a 2.99 ERA.

With Koufax’ retirement after 1966, everyone moved up a notch in the starting rotation. Don posted 2 consecutive 11-15 seasons, then bounced back in 1969 with 17 wins and 217 strikeouts.

Sutton was one of the Dodgers’ top starting pitchers through the 1980 season, partnering first with Drysdale, Osteen and Bill Singer, then later on with Al Downing, Andy Messersmith, and Tommy John. He led the league with 9 shutouts in 1972, and with a 2.20 ERA in 1980. Don made the all-star team in ‘72, ’73, ’75, and ’77, and finished in the top 5 Cy Young voting every season from 1972 to 1975. Sutton also pitched in the NLCS and World Series in ’74, ’77, and ’78.

Don became a free agent after the 1980 season, and signed with the Astros. After 1 ½ seasons in Houston he was traded to Milwaukee in August ’82 for outfielder Kevin Bass and two others, as the Brewers geared-up for their first post-season.

Sutton went 4-1 in 7 starts for the rest of the season, and was 1-1 in 3 post-season games. He pitched for 2 more seasons in Milwaukee, then was traded to the Athletics after the 1984 season.

Don bounced around for the next 3 seasons from the Athletics to the Angels, before finishing his career in 1988 with the Dodgers. He was a starting pitcher right up to the end, finally getting his release on August 10, 1988. Sutton pitched for 23 seasons, amassing 324 wins and 3574 strikeouts.

In 1998, Sutton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and also had his #20 retired by the Dodgers.

Sutton has been broadcasting baseball games since 1989, mostly for the Braves.