Friday, May 14, 2021

Mike Hegan (#402)

This is Mike Hegan’s first solo card. He previously appeared on a late-1967 Yankees Rookies card. 
 
Hegan was the son of long-time Indians' catcher and Yankees' coach Jim Hegan. Mike was signed by the Yankees in 1961 and made his major-league debut in September 1964.
He was back in the minors for all of 1965 and most of 1966, but made the Yankees' squad in 1967. That was the year Mickey Mantle moved from center field to 1st base, so Hegan got into 68 games, mostly as a late-inning replacement for Mantle. 
 
Hegan spent all of 1968 back in triple-A (his job as Mantle’s caddie taken by the newly-acquired Andy Kosco). In mid-June he was sold to the Seattle Pilots' organization, but as they did not have any teams in place yet, he remained with the Yankees’ Syracuse team through the end of the season. 
 
He played for the Pilots in 1969, and was their primary right fielder. He also made the All-Star team that year (so the often-repeated statement that Don Mincher was the Pilots’ only All-Star is not correct). 
 
Hegan played for the Brewers until mid-June 1971, and 3 years to the day he was acquired, the team traded him to the Athletics. Mike was sold back to the Yankees in late-1974, and (appearing to re-trace his career steps) he was acquired by the Brewers in early-1975, where he remained as a bench player until he was released in July 1977. 
 
After his playing career, he was a commentator for the Brewers for 12 seasons, and then for the Indians for another 23 seasons. 
 
Hegan passed away in 2013 at age 71.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

My Favorite 1968 Cards

1968 was the second year I collected baseball cards.

It seemed like the first series had a lot of players who were in the not-to-be-found 1967 high-numbered series. (Tom Seaver, Rod Carew, Brooks Robinson, Vada Pinson, Rocky Colavito, Al Ferrara, Cookie Rojas, and Juan Pizarro to name a few.) So I quickly had cards for those missing players. 

These were my favorite cards from that set.

Bobby Wine - I always liked this photo, but I'm not sure why.  Although I was a Phillies fan, I was not particularly a Bobby Wine fan, nor was he one of the team's top dozen or so players.

Gary Sutherland - I do know why I liked this card.  His rookie card in 1967 was in the high-numbered series, so I didn't get that until years later.  Plus, here's a kid only a few years older than my pre-teen self at the time, and he was IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES! Surely he would be the Phillies' "shortstop of the future", with only the aging Dick Groat and weak-hitting Bobby Wine to contend with.

NL ERA Leaders - Two Phillies among the league's top three!

Super Stars / Manager's Dream - These 2 cards were in the 6th or 7th series, and were 2 of the 3 multi-player cards in the 1968 set.  The players were from a mix of teams, which was a departure from Topps' usual multi-player cards.

NL Batting Leaders - In 1967, Tony Gonzalez had worked his way up from platoon left-fielder to every-day center-fielder, and finished with a .339 batting average. (In the late-60s, Phillies' fans had to find positives anywhere we could!)

Tom Seaver - I still don't have Tom Seaver's 1967 rookie card, so this was my first Seaver card. ROY, shiny trophy, what's not to like?

Denny McLain - I admit, I jumped on the Tigers' bandwagon sometime during the 1968 season, and followed McLain's trek to 30 wins and the World Championship.

Mickey Mantle - A favorite card of mine and 99.99% of all the other kids.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Don Shaw (#521)

Don Shaw pitched briefly for the Mets, Expos, and Cardinals from 1967-72. 
 
He was signed by the Mets in 1965, and made his major-league debut in April 1967. Don appeared in 40 games (all in relief) in his rookie season, and was the only lefthander in the bullpen.
Shaw spent most of 1968 in triple-A, with 5 of his 7 MLB games coming in September. 
 
He was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft, and pitched 34 games in relief, 1 start, and 7 games in triple-A. 
 
Don was in the minors for all of 1970, moving to the Cardinals’ organization in May. He returned to the majors in 1971, pitching 45 games out of the Cardinals’ bullpen. 
 
Shaw made 8 appearances for St Louis in 1972, then was traded to the Athletics in mid-May. After 3 games with the A’s, he was sent down for the remainder of the season. 
 
The following spring he was traded to the Tigers, but played all of 1973 in the minors before retiring.