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Use the menu below if you'd like to search for posts that relate to your interests. Note - this was just created on 12-30-20 so I will need to link the posts in the coming weeks. Until then, you can scroll down to the labels on the right to find the same information.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

MLB Players Born in New Mexico - How Many Appeared in a Kellogg's Baseball Card Set?

28 MLB players were born in New Mexico.  Only one got his mug onto a Kellogg's card from 1970 to 1983.

Ralph Kiner was a home run hitting machine for the Pirates immediately after WWII.  He won the home run title in his first seven years.  He didn't get a card in the 1970 - 1983 sets since he retired in 1955 at the age of 32.  More on that in a later post.

Kiner did manage to get a card in the 1991 Kellogg's Baseball Greats set.  He remains the only player born in New Mexico to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 The player in the 1978 set played third base for the Cubs.  He was one of a long list of players who were supposed to replace Ron Santo.  Steve Ontiveros didn't turn out to be that guy.  He's often confused with the former pitcher of the same name who had a longer career.

In 1977, his first season with the Cubs, Ontiveros batted .299 and had his largest RBI (68) and home run (10) totals.  It was a great summer as the Cubs and the White Sox held first place in July.  Neither made the playoffs.

In a future post I will discuss his most interesting pre-game activity at Wrigley Field.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Did the Roberto Clemente Award Start in 1971? Did Any Kellogg's Set Players Win This Award?

While checking the Lahman database, I noticed that the Roberto Clemente Award was first given out in 1971.  That seemed odd since he died tragically on 12-31-1972.  Time for me to learn a little bit more about baseball history.

It turns out that this award began in 1971 as the Commissioner's Award.  It is given to a player for sportsmanship, contribution to the team and community involvement.  The award was renamed after Clemente who died trying to bring aid to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.  I remember hearing this on the news and then finding it odd to get his 1973 Topps card.  He didn't appear on another regular-issue Kellogg's card, but he did appear a few more times in special sets.

From 1971 to 1986 as well as in 1988 and 1989 the winner was someone who appeared in at least one Kellogg's set.  That certainly shows that the Commissioner's Office really focused on giving the awards to top players who contributed off the field.

In 1987 Rick Sutcliffe stopped the streak.  He was Rookie of the Year after going 17-10 in 1979.  But the 1980 Cey already had Dodgers Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Davey Lopes so I guess there was no room for the Red Baron.

Sutcliffe had another good season in 1982 with the Indians, finishing 5th in the Cy Young voting.  That didn't get him into the Kellogg's set on his last chance.  His best season was 1984, just a bit late for Kellogg's set glory.

Here is the list of winners and if they got into the Kellogg's set the following year I pictured the card.

1971 Willie Mays

1972 Brooks Robinson

1973 Al Kaline

1974 Willie Stargell

1975 Lou Brock

-------------oops.  I "forgot" to add this card.  After hearing how Brock was traded by the Cubs, I had a hard time cheering for him.  Plus he was on the Cardinals.  
1976 Pete Rose

1977 Rod Carew

1978 Greg Luzinski

1979 Andre Thornton

1980 Phil Niekro

1981 Steve Garvey

1982 Ken Singleton

Seven of the 12 players appeared on a Kellogg's card in the year after winning the prestigious award.  In future posts I will examine how these players were chosen for the Roberto Clemente Award.

The following players won the award but couldn't appear on a Kellogg's card the following year since Kellogg's stopped making sets in 1983.  All six players did have at least one Kellogg's card.

1983 Cecil Cooper
1984 Ron Guidry
1985 Dan Baylor
1986 Garry Maddox

1988 Dale Murphy
1989 Gary Carter

1994 Dave Winfield
1995 Ozzie Smith

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Which Players Who Appeared on a Kellogg's Baseball Card (1970 - 1983) Retired Last?

Since the regular run of Kellogg's cards ended in 1983, I was trying to figure out which players who appeared in a set lasted the longest in Major League Baseball.  I expected that none lasted past the late 1990s but it turns out that three players lasted past 1998.

It surprised me to learn that two of the three players debuted in 1979.

#3.  Harold Baines played 22 seasons, mostly with the White Sox who drafted him as the #1 pick in the 1977 amateur draft.  How many other number one picks appeared on a Kellogg's card.  That will be left for another post.

Baines appeared on a 1983 Kellogg's card and his final game was on 9-27-2001.   

Baines was primarily a designated hitter, a position that probably hurt him with Hall of Fame voting.  There are only a few players ahead of Baines (2866 hits) on the all-time hits list that are not in the Hall of Fame.  Rose, Bonds and ARod certainly have issues with the voters.  Jeter and Omar Vizquel (2877 hits) are not yet eligible and I have no idea if Omar will have lots of support.

#2.  Tim Raines is not yet in the Hall of Fame, but he received 55% of the vote this year so someday he'll probably be inducted.

Raines appeared in the 1982 Kellogg's set which is quite a feat given Kellogg's history of excluding players from the Canadian teams.  His last game was played on 9-29-2002.  

Raines and his son, who also played in the majors, combined for 818 stolen bases.  The senior Raines accounted for 808 of those steals.  I remember seeing Raines play second base at times.

His career followed on odd pattern.  He was an Expo became a free agent and re-signed with the Expos.  After a trade to the White Sox he became a free agent and re-signed with the White Sox.  After a trade to the Yankees, guess what?  He became a free agent and re-signed with the Yankees.  That certainly won't happen in today's sports landscape.

#1.  Rickey Henderson is the MLB career leader in both runs scored and stolen bases.  Being second all-time in walks certainly helped those stats.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Henderson got into the 1981, 1982 and 1983 Kellogg's sets.  He played his last game on 9-19-2003 a full twenty years after his 1983 Kellogg's card was distributed.

Oddly, he played for the A's on four different occasions.  Has any other Hall of Famer done that?  There's another good post for the future.

After beginning his career in Oakland he was traded ten years later.  He was traded back to the A's a few years later.  At the end of the season he signed with the A's again as a free agent only to be traded away a few years later.  He signed with the A's two more times as a free agent.    

There are lots of statistics to analyze his career.  He played for nine teams during his 25-year career.  He played for the Yankees, Padres, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Blue Jays.  

That's a nice trio - Baines, Raines and pain(s).  More on why I say that in a future post.  Hint - the 1990 All Star Game is part of the story.

I'm guessing that some middle reliever might has signed as a free agent more often, but has any Hall of Famer signed as a free agent as many times as Rickey's total of nine?  That will be saved for a later post.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kellogg's Cereal Box Dream #1 - Happy Birthday to the Player on Card #1 in the 1973 Kellogg's Baseball Card Set

This is my first official post in my Cereal Box Dream series.  As I discuss a card I will rate in on a scale of 1-10 in two categories.  First, I will try to rate it on what I would have felt when opening it from a cereal box during the year it was issued.  Second, I will rate it as if I were opening the box from that year today.

1 - The card is more nutritious than the cereal.  Maybe I should eat this card.
2 - I'd rather have one of those educational cards.
3 - Who is this guy?  I can't even trade him to an A.L. fan.
4 - Not a great player, but I can probably trade him to a friend.
5 - A Chicago player or former Chicago player but not a star.
6 - A top player in the game.  Maybe not enough experience yet to think about the Hall of Fame.
7 - A Hall of Famer, who is either marginal or at the end of their career.
8 - A first-ballot Hall of Famer or current star player.
9 - Great card of a Chicago Cubs star.
10 - Awesome card.  I will go clean my room to stay on mom's good side.  Buy more cereal!

1973 Amos Otis #1

1973 Cereal Box rating -- 3    comment -- none of my friends will want this either
2015 Rating                    -- 3    comment -- it's card #1.  Does that carry any premium?

Unlike my other posts I will try to use cards without cracks when possible during these Cereal Box Dreams.  Luckily, 1973s don't have cracks so I didn't search out a card in top condition.

The first player in the 1973 Kellogg's baseball card set is Amos Otis.  He played for the Royals from 1970 - 1983.  Regular readers of this blog know that Kellogg's cards were produced during those same 14 years.

Otis played for the Mets before that, including in their World Series year on 1969.  Yuck!  His final season was spent with the Pirates in 1984.  He was a five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner.  His speed in the outfield was also evident on the bases.  He stole 341 bases in his career.

Watch this video involving one of Otis' most peculiar base hits.  Lenny Randle figures prominently in this hit.

Lenny Randle Finds a Way to Make the Ball Go Foul Without Touching It

Otis also admitted that he had other help with getting hits.  Check out the L.A. Times article.

L.A. Times Article - Amos Otis and His Bats

So, happy birthday to Amos Otis who was born on this day in Mobile, Alabama.  Willie McCovey, Ozzie Smith and Hank Aaron were also born in Mobile and appeared on Kellogg's cards.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Least Wins and Save for Kelloggs guys

It's been interesting to look at the careers of players who appeared on Kellogg's cards from 1970 - 1983.  Today I was trying to find the pitchers with the least amount of career wins who managed to get a card in the Kellogg's set.

The 11 players listed below did not manage to get 50 wins during their careers.  Future posts will address how some of their careers ended.  

Wayne Twitchell (1974 card) started 133 games over 10 seasons.  He won 48 and lost 65.  He won 13 games in 1973, which I guess was enough to get him into the 1974 set.

Steve Kline (1973) was 43-45 in eight years.  His best year of course was 1972 when he had 16 wins and four shutouts.

Dick Selma (1971) was 42-54 in ten years.  He was primarily a reliever with only 76 starts in 307 career games.  He added 31 career saves.  He was the lead cheerleader for the Cubs in 1969 his only season with the team.  I only remember his voice since it can be heard on the Cub Power album that was sold that year.

Pete Broberg (1973) was 41-71 in eight years, primarily as a starting pitcher.  He was 5-12 in 1972 so I don't know how he was selected for the 1973 set.  He was probably included because he went from being drafted directly to the majors, being on the fifth player to do so.  That would have made him 22 years old during his rookie season.

Don Stanhouse (1977) finished with a career record of 38-54.  In 10 seasons he only started 66 games.  He recorded 64 saves in his career.  I remember his Greg Brady/Groucho Marx hairstyle more than anything else.  

Wayne Simpson (1971) was 14-3 as a rookie in 1970 on his way to a 36-31 record in six seasons.  He managed to be honored with card #1 in the 1971 Kellogg's set.  

Mark Fidrych (1977) pitched in only 58 games over five seasons due to injury.  31 of those starts were in his rookie year , 1976, when he posted a record of 19-9.  He was named Rookie of the Year and he finished second in the Cy Young voting to Jim Palmer.  His colorful career ended with a record of 29-19.

Bill Parsons (1972) pitched only four seasons.  His career record was 29-36 in 93 games, mostly starts.  His 13-17 record in 1971 earned him runner-up in the Rookie of the Year voting to Carlton Fisk.

John Henry Johnson (1979) was 26-33 in eight seasons.  He was primarily used in relief, starting on 61 or his 214 career games.

Tom Johnson (1978) doesn't seem to be related to John Henry Johnson.  Tom played five seasons for the Twins and had a career record of 23-14.  He only had one career start and 22 saves.  He got 16 of those wins in relief in 1977.  Not bad for a guy who wasn't drafted in 1970.

Less Cain (1971) finished his career with a record of 23-19 in four major league seasons.  He appeared in 68 games, 64 of them as a starter.  An arm injury ended his career at the age of 24.

Only four of the 11 pitchers listed ended their careers with winning records.

Look out for a future post which lists position players who pitched at some point in their careers.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Players Appearing on Kellogg's Baseball Cards for Three Different Teams - or Five?

In the 14 years of Kellogg's card production, 10 players appeared on a card for three different teams.

Reggie Jackson (Athletics, Yankees, Angels) appeared on his third team in 1983 when he was shown with the Angels.  There is no Orioles card for Reggie, a common complaint among Topps card collectors.

Tommy John (White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees) only showed up in three Kellogg's sets.  He played at least six years with each team in a career than lasted 25 years.

Dave Kingman (Giants, Mets, Cubs) had five Kellogg's cards including Mets cards from two different stints.  His 1977 card shows him as a Met.  In 1977 he also played for and hit at least one home run for the Padres, Angels and Yankees.  Those teams were in all four MLB divisions that existed in 1977.

Like Kingman, Fergie Jenkins (Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox) had five Kellogg's cards including Rangers cards from two different stints.

Andy Messersmith (Angels, Dodgers, Braves) showed up only three times.  He is known for his role as one of the first free agents.  

Rick Monday (A's, Cubs, Dodgers) also only appeared three times in Kellogg's sets.  Even though I remember him as a Cub, his four years in Chicago was shorter than his stints with both the A's and Dodgers.

Gaylord Perry (Giants, Indians, Padres) only played two years with the Padres.  He also played for Texas (twice), the Yankees, Atlanta, Seattle and Kansas City in a 22-year career.

Reggie Smith (Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers) was a star player for all three of the teams that he represented on a Kellogg's card.

Richie Zisk (Pirates, Rangers, Mariners) also was shown on three different team for his three Kellogg's cards.  He also played for Seattle and Chicago, where we had his top RBI season.  I certainly remember him as a White Sox player.  I was surprised that he only had one season with the Southside Hitmen.

Dick Allen (Phillies, Cardinals, White Sox) represented 5 teams on his five Kellogg's cards.  His 1971 card showed him on the Cardinals, but on the back he is mentioned as being on the Dodgers.  He never had a Kellogg's card with the Dodgers.

His 1975 card show him in a White Sox uniform on the front, but there is a Braves logo on the back which reflect his trade to Atlanta after the 1974 season.  He never played for Atlanta, which is a story for a future day.

Friday, April 24, 2015

MLB Players Named Kellogg - Did They Get on A Kellogg's Card?

There have been three major leaguers with the last name of Kellogg.  None played in the era when Kellogg's cards were produced.  None were included in the All-Time Greats Set either.

Al Kellogg played in 1908.  He managed one hit in eight at-bats.  Unlike anyone I've talked to in about 35 years, he was able to admit to being around during the Cubs last World Series win.

Bill Kellogg played during the 1914 season.  He managed to get 21 more hits than Al, but his batting average was about .175.  He was probably cheering for those 1908 Cubs.

Nate Kellogg played in 1885, so some statistical data is lacking.  It looks like he played in 5 games during 1885.  He also witnessed a stretch of years where the Cubs were one of the best teams in baseball.  The Cubs were N.L. champions in 1876, 1880, 1882, 1885, 1886.

Caleb Kellogg is a current minor league player.  I know that he's on at least a Bowman card because I see it whenever I'm trying to search for cards online.   

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Finally Tested the 1970 Kellogg's Baseball Card Team Iron-Ons - It's Different Than Eating 1980 Topps Gum

It took a long time, but I finally tested whether the 1970 Iron-Ons would work.  I received handkerchiefs as a present recently.  Luckily, I don't really use them so they made the perfect backdrop for my experiment.

In 2005 I bought and opened a pack of 1980 Topps baseball cards.  I don't remember who I got in the pack, but I remember a lot about the gum.  Why?  Because I tried to eat it.  I can still taste the nasty, crumbling gum as it was sticking to my tongue with a chalk-like consistency.  The Iron-Ons probably would taste better.

I have a lot of these Iron-Ons because I've opened about ten packs of 1970 Kellogg's in the last two years.  I chose two stickers that were cut poorly - the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets.

Here are the instructions:

1.  Place LithoFusion Iron-On transfer white side down on item to be decorated
2.  Press firmly for 10 seconds with a hot iron (cotton setting 320 degrees)
3.  Let the transfer cool for at least a minute
4.  Peel off the backing paper
5.  If edges are not secured, replace the paper and repeat steps 2-4
6.  Do not iron directly upon finished application

Steps one, two and three were simple.  Peeling off the backing paper became the big moment.   If you look closely at the pictures, there was some success, but things didn't go perfectly.

I attempted the Braves first.  The edges weren't perfect and there was one poor spot.  The Iron-On was sticky on top and there were a few loose spots.  So, I tried to iron it a bit more without the backing paper.  Instead, it was ironed with just part of the handkerchief between the Iron-On and the iron.  That took a bit off the top of the logo. I won't do that again.

I tried a few different things with the Mets Iron-On.  I pressed for a few extra seconds.  As a result, the Mets Iron-On was not sticky on top.  I still lost part of the logo.

Overall, I'm happy with how this ended up.  Next, I will need to see how this handkerchief survies the laundry.  If that works I might try to put all ten Iron-Ons on one handkerchief.  This experiment with the Iron-Ons ended much better than the 1980 Topps gum test.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cubs for All Positions in Kellogg's Baseball Card Sets

I was looking at my Kellogg's cards and I noticed that I had Cubs cards at every position on the field.  I doubt that many teams have cards representing all positions, but I guess I will need to start checking them out.  In the meantime, here are the Cubs.

Pitchers  - Fergie, Jenkins, Bruce Sutter and Rick Reuschel.  I was lucky enough to meet Jenkins in a skybox at Wrigley last year.  Sutter and Reuschel were fan favorites in Chicago.

Catcher  - Randy Hundley.  He won a Gold Glove early in his career but knee injuries hindered his career.

First Base - Ernie Banks, Dave Kingman, Leon Durham and Bill Buckner.  There has been lots of talk about Banks lately since he passed away early in 2015.  The other three had some unfortunate ups and downs during their careers.  More on those highlights and lowlights in future posts.

Second Base - Glenn Beckert.  I remember he and Ron Santo trying to drive out of their parking spot at Yum-Yum Donuts after a home game.  Fans wouldn't stop sticking stuff in the window for signatures.  Finally he just rolled up the window, it was a manual crank back then, and I can picture the frustrated expression on the kid who had to drop the ball which ended up with Beckett.

Third Base - Ron Santo, Bill Madlock and Steve Ontiveros.  Santo was driving the car with Beckert so I guess he is either innocent since he was driving or he was guilty for driving off.  I can't remember since I was on the Beckert side of the car.  Ontiveros did a few unique things that will come up when it's time to talk about his card.

Shortstop - Don Kessinger.  He ended up as a player-manager for the White Sox, one of only four players to do that since 1963.  That will be good for another post since all four appeared in at least on Kellogg's set.

The outfielders have always been my favorite players.  I preferred to play in the outfield and I like to sit in left field when I attend a major league game.

Outfield - Jose Cardenal and Jim Hickman - mostly played RF.  Jose had some unique eating habits are Wrigley.  That's for another day even if it doesn't compare to Turk Wendell's habits.  Hickman was one of only 14 players to hit for the natural cycle.  The natural cycle is accomplished when a hitter first gets, in order, a single, a double, a triple and a home run.

Outfield - Rick Monday - mostly played CF.  There are plenty of things to say about Monday in the future, but we'll start with an obvious one.  He was the first player drafted when baseball began the MLB draft in 1965.

Outfield - Billy Williams - mostly played LF.  One year they traded my favorite pitcher to Oakland, then they trade my favorite player a few years later.