Saturday, May 29, 2021

Bill Dillman (#466)

Bill Dillman had cards in each Topps set from 1967-70. His rookie card was the only 1967 Rookie Stars card with red borders. (All the other 42 Rookie Stars cards had yellow borders.) In addition to having Orioles' cards in the '68 and '69 sets, his final card in the 1970 set shows him with the Cardinals.
I was all ready to write about Dillman being part of the 1967-69 wave of Orioles' pitchers (along with Tom Phoebus, Jim Hardin, and Dave Leonhard) that followed the 1964-66 wave of Dave McNally, Wally Bunker, and Jim Palmer, but when I looked him up in today, I was surprised to see that he only pitched 32 games for the O's, all in 1967 (when their "main" pitchers were all out with sore arms). 
The oddball "red rookie card" in the 1967 set:
In 1968, McNally rebounded to win 22 games, while Hardin and Phoebus won 18 and 15 respectively. With rookie Dave Leonhard joining the team that year, and Bunker sharing the #5 starter job with Gene Brabender, there was no room on the roster for Dillman, so he spent the next 2 seasons pitching for their AAA Rochester club. (It's surprising then that he had a card in the 1969 set.)
After the 1969 season he was purchased by the Cardinals, so Topps gave him one more chance. However, early in the 1970 season (having not played for the Cardinals) he was traded to the Expos for Carroll Sembera, and pitched in 18 games for Montreal from May to July, then it was back to triple-A for the rest of that season and all of 1971. 
Dillman finished out his career in 1972 with the Mets’ AAA team. 

1 comment:

Jim from Downingtown said...

And on the subject of "Why did Bill Dillman have a 1969 card?", it's also surprising that Jim Palmer had a 1969 card.

Because of injuries, Palmer only made 9 starts for Baltimore in 1967. He was sent down to the minors and only played 34 innings combined in A and AAA ball.

In 1968, he wasn't with the Orioles at all, and only managed to pitch 37 innings combined for 3 Orioles farm teams.

Palmer's 1969 card is #573. I'd bet he wasn't on the initial Topps plan for the set, but was hastily inserted into a later series based on his early-season comeback.