Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rich Nye (#339)

For some unknown reason, three of the players on the 1967 Topps all-rookie team do not have trophies on their card. I have previously posted the card for outfielder Rick Monday, leaving only pitchers Rich Nye and Dick Hughes to complete the subset.

Rich Nye was the lefthanded pitcher chosen for the 1967 Topps all-rookie team. Nye pitched from 1966-70, although his primary years were 1967-69 for the Cubs.

Rich was drafted by the Astros in 1965, but did not sign. He was signed by the Cubs in 1966, while pitching for UC Berkeley. Nye pitched for the Cubs' rookie and class-A teams that summer, then joined the big club in September.

After 2 relief appearances in 1967, Nye joined the starting rotation on April 30th, after other starters went by the wayside. He finished his rookie season with 13 wins and 119 strikeouts in 205 innings. All three of those numbers placed him 2nd on the staff, behind sophomore Fergie Jenkins. Topps apparently took notice (despite the missing trophy).

Nye slipped to 7-12 in 1968, and dropped to #5 in the rotation, behind Jenkins, Bill Hands, Ken Holtzman, and Joe Niekro. 1969 was worse yet, as he was relegated to the bullpen, making only 5 starts among his 34 appearances.

After the season, he was traded to the Cardinals for outfielder Boots Day. (Philly trivia: As a Montreal Expo in 1971, Boots was the first batter in Veterans Stadium history.) After 6 relief appearances (totaling 8 innings), Rich was sold to the Expos on May 15th, where he made 6 starts and 2 relief appearances. He was also used as a pinch-runner twice, and spent time with the Expos' AAA team in Winnipeg.

He played for three AAA teams (Expos, Indians, Pirates) in 1971, before his career was ended by a torn rotator cuff.

After his playing career, Nye began working as a civil engineer, before becoming a veterinarian.

A Rich Nye story here


Monday, February 11, 2013

Reggie Smith (#61)

Since I posted Walt Williams' card some time ago, I'm skipping ahead to center fielder Reggie Smith.

Reggie Smith was the starting center fielder for the AL champion Red Sox during his rookie season. His rookie card appears in the 1967 set. My guess is that it's the 3rd most valuable rookie card (after Tom Seaver and Rod Carew) because unlike most Rookie Stars cards that include a hit and a miss (or 2 misses), it portrays 2 starting position players for the AL champs.

Smith was signed by the Twins in June 1963, and played 65 games as a shortstop for their rookie-level team. After the season he was selected by the Red Sox in the first-year player draft.

Reggie played 3 seasons in Boston's farm system, as an outfielder for 430 games, but also saw time at 3rd base (66 games) and 2nd base (37 games). He made his debut with the Red Sox in September 1966, playing in 6 games.

Smith began the 1967 season as the starting 2nd baseman, but after 6 games he was moved to center field (replacing Jose Tartabull) and went on to start 139 games in Center that season. Reggie finished 2nd to Rod Carew in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and was 6-for-24 with 2 homers in the '67 World Series.

Reggie was a starting outfielder for the Sox from 1967 through 1973, usually the center fielder, except for the first half of 1971 (Smith played right, with Billy Conigliaro in center) and all of 1972, when he was the regular right fielder (with Tommy Harper in center). He also made the '69 and '72 all-star teams, and led the AL in doubles in '68 and '71.

After the 1973 season, Reggie was traded to the Cardinals (with pitcher Ken Tatum) for pitcher Rick Wise and outfielder Bernie Carbo. His stay in St. Louis lasted 2 1/2 seasons. In '74 he was the right fielder, and in '75 split his time between RF and 1st base. Smith made the NL all-star team in both his full seasons with the Cards.

He was traded to the Dodgers in June 1976 for catcher Joe Ferguson. Smith was with the Dodgers for 5 1/2 seasons, making the all-star team 3 more times (for a total of 7 appearances).

His final major-league season was spent with the Giants in 1982 as their first baseman.

Smith played 2 more seasons in Japan before retiring.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bobby Etheridge (#126)

Third baseman Bobby Etheridge joins his Giants' teammate Dick Dietz on the 1967 Topps All-Rookie team.

Etheridge was signed by the Giants in 1964, and played in their farm system from 1964-68. He joined the Giants in mid-July 1967, and played 40 games in his rookie season, mostly in July and August. (In late August, Jim Ray Hart moved back in to 3rd base from left field, and Etheridge rarely played in September.) Somehow, Bobby got the all-rookie nod, over other rookie 3rd basemen like Aurelio Rodriguez and Sal Bando.

Bobby was back in the minors for all of 1968, then returned to the Giants for the entire 1969 season, this time playing in 56 games (with 34 starts at 3B).

That was it for Etheridge, both as a Giant and as a major-league player. After the season, he was traded to the Padres along with pitcher Ron Herbel and catcher Bob Barton for pitcher Frank Reberger.

Bobby played in the minors though the 1973 season, with the Padres', Cardinals', and Mets' organizations.