Menu Note

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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Birthday -- Finally!

Only 11 MLB players were born on Leap Day.  Oddly, the last two both had last names of "Long".  They are not related.

No Kellogg's cards feature players with this birthday.  The most well-know players born on this day are Pepper Martin and Al Rosen.  

Happy birthday to one of my childhood friends who turns 13 today.  I think he has kids who are older than him.  I feel like there must be a Jeff Foxworthy joke in there somewhere.

Two of the places that I use to search for what happened on this day in baseball history didn't even have an entry for 2-29.  Update - when using the site on 2-28 I tried to click on Next Day and it went to 3-01.  Today it shows a few things that happened on 2-29.  Now it shows the 2-29 events but when I click on Next Day it goes to 3-02.

I did find out elsewhere that Hank Aaron signed a contract worth $200,000 per season on this day in 1972.  That made him the highest paid player in MLB.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Imagine if This Happened in 2016 Instead of 1986

Thirty years ago today a large group of MLB players were disciplined for their chronic drug use.  The Pittsburgh Drug Trials, as it became known, would have been 24-hour news if it happened today.  I am not giving an opinion on drug use here - I am just reporting what happened.  

Players involved who had Kellogg's cards - Joaquin Andujar, Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Lonnie Smith.  

Other players involved - Dale Berra, Enos Cabell, Jeffrey Leonard.

These guys didn't even miss a game.  They were penalized 10% of their salary and they needed to perform community service.

Claudell Washington was among a group of four players who had half the penalty of the first seven players.

Ten other players were named, but not penalized.  They were subject to drug testing, but I didn't look into if they were tested for the remainder of their careers.  Kellogg's stars included Dusty Baker, Vida Blue, Gary Matthews and Tim Raines.

Even though MLB brought this to light and players were reprimanded, this was not enough to help some players not listed above.  One player died of a heart attack at the age of 36, another went to prison for selling  drugs and a third had multiple drunk driving convicts that led to prison time.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

From Kellogg's Card to the Cosmos - Bruce Bochte Could Do it All

According the the player listed below has a name that is pronounced BOCK-tee.  I've heard it a few different ways but now I will go with that.

He isn't Bruce Bochy the manager.

Bochte was mentioned in an earlier post for having exactly 100 career homers.  His stats weren't very exciting.  He had 662 strikeouts and 653 walks.  He had 43 steals and he was caught 41 times.

My favorite stat was that he signed a free agent deal with the A's after the 1983 season.  He then did the same thing after the 1984 season and after the 1985 season.  Has anyone else done that with the same team?

You need to read the story about Bochte in Seattle-pi, the country's first online only newspaper.  He took a path quite different from other MLB retirees.  (Bochte's Amazing Career After Baseball)

Bochte didn't play at all in 1983.  From what I've seen online some or all of the following things caused him to sit out - (a) he was frustrated dealing with the Mariners owner, (b) he was boycotting the rise in salaries that might be ruining the game and (c) his role as player representative didn't sit well with him.

Friday, February 26, 2016

I'm Guilty of Complaining That Players Change Teams Too Much - Let's Look at Someone From My Childhood

I remember Tommy Davis as a bench player in the 1970s.  I also couldn't think of what team he primarily associated with after his early career with the Dodgers.

Sure this card shows him as an Oriole and I know he played for both Chicago teams.  I don't have a best guess so I checked out

Things I didn't know since I'm too young - he won two NL batting titles (1962,1963).  The only year he surpassed 100 RBIs he not only led the league, he had 153 RBIs (1962) - still a Dodger record.  1962 was also his only season with over 200 hits.  He crushed that number with 230 hits.

In 1963 he led the league in batting, hits and RBIs but finished third in the MVP voting.  Frank Robinson (4th) and Willie Mays (2nd) had big numbers like Davis did, but both lost a close race in the MVP vote.  The Dodgers won the World Series and Maury Wills won the MVP with his 104 stolen bases and .299 average.  Will led the league in games, at-bats and triples.

Why Wills?  Besides his second consecutive gold glove Wills also led the league in times caught stealing with 13.  Only 13 to go along with 104 steals!  He was successful 88.9% of the time.  Rickery Henderson's best in a 100+ SB season was 108 of 127.  Lou Brock broke 100 once with 118.  He was caught 33 times.  Vince Coleman (3 times) is the only other player to reach 100 SB since 1891.  Coleman's best season for steals was similar to Will was 107 of 121 (88.4%).  Coleman's numbers dropped almost every year after his first three years.

Back to Davis who played 18 years.  Eight of those were with the Dodgers and more than three of those were with the Orioles.

Let's start with his uniform numbers - 12, 10, 12, 10, 42, 12, 29, 24, 36, 12, 9 and 10.  You certainly "can't tell a player without a scorecard".

Here is his team timeline -

1956 - signed by the Dodgers
1966 - traded after the season to the Mets
1967 - traded after the season to the White Sox
1968 - drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the Expansion Draft
1969 - traded to the Astros during August
1970 - purchased by the A's in June
1970 - purchased by the Cubs in September.  The Cubs released him after the season
1971 - signed by the A's before the season
1972 - released during spring training by the A's
1972 - signed by the Cubs in July
1972 - traded to the Orioles in August
1976 - released by the Orioles before spring training
1976 - signed with the Yankees before spring training
1976 - released by the Yankees two days before the season began
1976 - signed by the Angels in June
1976 - purchased by the Royals in September
1977 - released in January

He never played for the Yankees.  Why did everyone want him?  I remember this part.  He was a great pinch hitter.  When he retired he had the highest career batting average for a pinch hitter - he hit .320.  That's impressive as his career average of .294.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Another Guy I Don't Remember Seeing Play - But He's on A Kellogg's Card

Maybe if Steve Kline had played in the NL for more than 16 games I would have a better memory of him.  When I went to Comiskey Park my favorite thing to do was go to the left field picnic area.  There I would sit with my Mazzone's italian ice, soft-serve cone.  Man, it would be great to do that right now.

I also don't remember him as much since whenever we went to a White Sox game it was because one of my sisters got straight A's.  The White Sox gave each Chicago Public School student four tickets each year if they had straight A's.  The White Sox also had a program for my brothers.  Tickets could also be earned by having perfect attendance - there you go boys.  

The free tickets were always given to games on weekdays when the worst teams in the league were in town.  The Yankees were a good draw even in their bad years so we never got Yankee tickets.  

I do remember Kline from his cards, especially the 1973 Kellogg's card.  Even though it is only a 2-D set it is one of my favorites.  The colors are bright and it is a great design.  I don't remember pulling his card from a cereal box, but I picked it up years ago since I was working on these sets during the 1970s when I started going to card shows.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Guess Kellogg's Didn't Make Canadian Versions of Its Cards Until the 1990s

There have been 56 players who spent time with both the Expos and the Blue Jays.  Four of them actually were born in Canada.  All four made their debut after 1982 so none of them got into a Kellogg's card set.

Three players who did get Kellogg's cards played for both teams.  On this day in 1977 Ron Fairly was traded to the Blue Jays.  He was the first player to play for both Canadian teams.  He was an all-star twice in his 21 years, once with each Canadian team.  His 12 years in Los Angeles didn't get him any all-star appearances.

Fairly wasn't an original Expo but he did play for them in their inaugural season.  He was an original Blue Jay but he didn't play in their first game.

Al Oliver played two years with Montreal.  He led the league in RBIs one of those years.  He finished his career by playing 61 games for Toronto.

John Candelaria had a short career with each team.  He ended up 0-5 combined with the Expos and Blue Jays.

Fairly hit 215 homers and Oliver had 219.  Candelaria surrended 245 homers but none to Fairly or Oliver.

I went to Olympic Stadium in Montreal because I'm a baseball fan and a track fan.  The day I went there was also a Candiens-Bruins playoff game in town.  There were three people in all of the left and left-centerfield seats.  I managed to get a ball during batting practice but during the game no one managed to homer.  That was quite disappointing since I was the only one of the three who probably would have chased any homer.

In Exhibition Stadium I sat in the first row of the lowest deck for a Blue Jays game.  Roberto Alomar hit one that I thought I was going to catch the entire time until it barely fell into the deck above.  I know that was common in Tiger Stadium and Comiskey Park.  Ugh!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Are There More Than Two Different Kellogg's Baseball Card Sets from Japan?

I was searching for information on the 2008 Kellogg's set from Japan.  I occasionally see a few of these cards for sale on ebay but I don't own any of these.  I didn't find the checklist but I was surprised to find that there is a 2007 set.

Here is the checklist that I've seen for the 2007 set.

1 Hideki Matsui
2 Kenji Johjima3 Tadahito Iguchi4 Ryan Howard5 David Wright6 David Ortiz7 Ivan Rodriguez8 Alex Rodriguez9 Albert Pujols10 Justin Verlander 

I haven't seen any of these around.  I will have something to seek at the National this year if I go.  I will try to get to the big show at Rosemont next month to look for these.

I haven't even found a full checklist of the 2008 Kellogg's set from Japan.

Please pass along any information on either or both sets.

Monday, February 22, 2016

I Ate a Lot of Other Stuff for a Guy Who Collected Kellogg's Cards

There are lots of stories about Babe Ruth eating, eating and eating.  Sure I've heard how he eat hot dogs during games.  Blah, blah, blah.  Could someone estimate how many he ate during his playing career?

I was stuck in traffic more than usual a few days ago and to keep sane and awake I started to estimate how many hot dogs I ate during 11 years working at golf courses, nine as a caddie.  In six of those years I managed to get in about 175 rounds per year.

Even though my father mentioned a member that we both caddied for who would buy the caddie a beef sandwich and a milk shake between nines, I only was able to manage that one time in my caddie career.  There was an elderly couple that only gave us pretzels, crackers and peanuts - no drink.  The well-water on the 12th tee tasted really good on those hot summer days.

The standard menu was a hot dog and a pop.  The hot dog came with two choices - mustard and relish.  Sometimes if the golfer wasn't a Southsider he'd call it a soda instead of a pop.  A few times a year a member might get the caddies a burger but the hot dog was available everywhere everyday.  The caddie shack sold hot dogs and cans of Canfield's.

I estimated that I caddied 1,400 rounds in my career.  How did I come up with that number?  I estimated how often my brothers caddied and I doubled it.

I also probably averaged at least another hot dog each day.  Then on days when I was there really late - almost every day - the caddie master would usually let us have the remaining dogs.  It certainly was hard to resist those slow steamed treats with the buns in the steamer as well.  Can you tell that I am hungry now.

Tournaments offered free food for caddies.  My record was 10 hots dogs one day.  So, I think I am a member of the 3,000 hot dog club.  Is anyone else up there?  Where does Ruth rank?   After my caddie days ended I avoided hot dogs for a long time but I love them once again.

My son puts ketchup on his hot dog - ick!

What About Breakfast?

In the morning my brother and I would stop at one of two different bakeries or Dunkin Donuts during our bike ride to the course.  This was proably our normal routine for weekdays.  At the bakeries we'd usually get 3-4 donuts each.  If we went to Dunkin Donuts we'd split a dozen with me usually eating seven of them.  My record is 10 donuts and a bagel, but I didn't caddie that day.

A quick estimate there puts me between 2,000 and 3,000 donuts.  This is harder to estimate since our routine would vary if we couldn't ride our bikes.  How we abused these bikes is the story for another day.

If I had eaten more corn flakes I'd be healthier and I'd have a better collection of Kellogg's cards.  Hard to believe that both of us have run multiple marathons including Boston.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pete Rose Isn't Standing With Willie Mays or Denny McLain On This Day

On this day in 1989 Pete Rose met with MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and his successor Bart Giamatti to discuss Rose's gambling issues.  As you know, Rose ended up getting a lifetime ban from baseball.

McLain's suspension was for three months.

Mays and Mickey Mantle were banned from baseball for working for casinos.  In one of his first acts as commissioner Ueberroth re-instated both players.

Were other players banned for ties to gambling?  Sure, but did any of them get a Kellogg's card?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Odd Roberto Clemente Kellogg's Cards

The 1994 Roberto Clemente Kellogg's cards are some of my favorite cards made by the cereal maker.  The set of three cards was issued in Puerto Rico, his place of birth.

The cards are quite colorful even if they don't have the 3-D effect that made the Kellogg's cards so great.  I have yet to see them in any quantity either online or at any card show including The National.  Has anyone seen these in quantity.  

I forgot that I did see them in quantity once - see the sheet above.  I had a chance to buy this sheet on ebay and I couldn't pull the trigger when the bidding moved over $200-something.  I regret that.   I hope to get another chance for something like that.

Friday, February 19, 2016

What Do These Kellogg's Baseball Card Stars Have in Common?

Denny McLain, Willie Mays, Pete Rose

Only one of the three went to the same high school as me.  

Only one of the three hit a homer in his major league debut.  

Only two of these three made their debut in 1963.  

McLain only pitched in the NL in 1972.  Rose was 2-for-5 against him and Mays didn't face McLain.

What they all have in common started on this day in 1970.  That was the day that McLain was suspended from baseball for associating with gamblers.  Mays had an issue was well when he signed on to work for a casino and everyone know's about Rose and his issues with gambling.  

Mays hit 660 homers, Rose had 160 and McLain ended up with 1.  Of course McLain hit his in his MLB debut against his hometown White Sox.  The other two couldn't match that feat.  They also didn't win two Cy Young Awards like McLain did.  

McLain added an MVP and he was the last 30-game winner in MLB.  Rose matched that with one MVP Award and Mays won two MVPs.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Where Are All of the Nice 1971 Kellogg's Cards?

I've got lots of 1971 Kellogg's cards.  Since I've been trying to collect all of the variations, I've been buying lots when I can.  Almost always, the lots consist of cracked, damaged cards.  Here are some examples of what I find.

I was able to buy a 1971 Kellogg's Football card set at the National a few years ago.  All of those cards are in nice condition.  Maybe I will need to do that with the baseball set as well.  I don't need perfect cards, but I would like cards without cracks, without creases and without scratches.

I really like the Cubs in this set.  That is the team that I cheered for so I want to upgrade those first.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another Star Player Whose Kellogg's Cards Can Now Be Found in Commons Boxes

For an 11-year period Dick Allen was one of the best players in baseball.  From 1964-1974 he made seven All-Star teams, he received MVP votes in seven seasons, he won an MVP Award and a Rookie of the Year Award.

Allen hit 319 of his 351 homers in that 11-year period, much of which was pitching dominated.  He added 975 RBIs and a .299 batting average.  Those are some big numbers for a guy who only averaged 135 games per season.

Allen was traded twice in deals that involved Jim Essian who was never a star player.  He was known for hitting long homers and for wearing his batting helmet while playing the field.  The latter can be attributed to Philadelphia fans and how they treated players.

In today's 24-hour sports world Allen's colorful personality would have made him a huge star.  What would he have been doing with Twitter and Instagram?  He would probably have been remembered differently if he played in today's world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy Birthday to One of the Few Kellogg's Players I Don't Remember

Today is Tim Cullen's birthday.  I only know of him because of his 1970 Kellogg's card.

He played from 1966 - 1972 for the Senators, A's and White Sox.  In seven years he played in 700 games.  His 387 career hits puts him near the bottom of the list for those who appeared on a Kellogg's card (Players With the Least Career Hits Who are on a Kellogg's Card).

His career average was .220. compares his career to Al Weis and Paul Popovich, one of my favorite Cub subs.  No one he is compared to got a Kellogg's card.

He was traded by the Senators to the White Sox in February of 1968 in a trade that sent Ron Hansen to the Senators.  Later during the same year he was traded back to the Senators for Ron Hansen.  How often has that happened?

Monday, February 15, 2016

I Guess I Needed a Reminder to Take Care of My Kellogg's Cards

Recently I attended a card show and I purchased two nice Kellogg's sets that were in nine-pocket pages.  I also bought about 10 loose Kellogg's cards including the Tommie Agee card shown below.

The loose cards weren't in sleeves or any type of holder.  All were in nice shape and the Agee card was the only one that cost more than a quarter.  The Agee has nice colors and nice corners.  It's not a card that someone might get graded, but it was much nicer than most of my 1971s.

It might not be obvious from this picture, but since I carried the cards in my pocket until I got home the Agee card ended up getting damaged on the left side about halfway up.  Why?  I was too focused on the two old sets to think about this card.

The bad part of this is that I didn't even need to purchase any holder for this card to take it home.  I could have just put the card in the pages that were included in the purchase of the sets that I made.  That will be a good reminder for future transactions.  I thought I had a nice upgrade for my 1971 master set, but now it's about the same as the one I had.  

In a few weeks I will finally get to another show.  I certainly won't make that mistake again for a while.  Yeah, but I probably will again someday since I'm always in a hurry.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I'm a Bit to Young to Appreciate Jim Fregosi the Player But Kellogg's Knew to Include Him in the 1970 and 1971 Sets

Jim Fregosi passed away two years ago on this day.  Most people I hang out with think of him as the manager of the White Sox in the late 1980s.  I remember him as a player since he played enough in the 1970s to get a Topps card every year.

When I went to I was surprised to see that Fregosi played 18 years and over 1,900 games.  I don't remember him as a star player, but from 1963-1970 he earned MVP votes each season and he was an all-star six times.  From 1971-1978 he didn't earn MVP votes or all-star considerations.

He arrived in the majors at age 19 and by 1970 he was still only 28 years old.  Injuries cost him many games from 1971-1978.  He only played 72 games per season for those years.  In contrast, he played 157 games per year from 1963 - 1970.

He recorded over 1,700 hits but he missed almost five seasons of time in the majors.

I was also surprised to see that he actually managed more games than he played.  He managed 2,122 regular-season games.

Being the first star player for the expansion Angels, playing 18 seasons and managing in over 2,000 games sounds great, but Fregosi is known for something that he had no input - at the end of the 1971 season he was traded to the Mets for four players including Nolan Ryan.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Are There Any Kellogg's Cards at the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame?

Today on my way to and from work I will drive past the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.  Across the street is a statue of Joe DiMaggio in his classic follow-through pose.  I took a group of kids there many years ago and the documentary they showed us was about Loius Zaperini the subject of the movie Unbroken in recent years.  The worker also gave me a copy of the documentary which I've watched a few times.

Sal Bando is a member of this Hall of Fame.  Today Sal is celebrating his 72nd birthday.   In the days before national television for all sporting events we learned a lot about Bando because his A's teams made the post-season frequently.  He played in the playoffs from 1971-75 and then in 1981 with the Brewers.

The sixth-round pick wore number 6 for his entire career.  He played longer than I thought - 11 years with the A's and five years with the Brewers.  In seven years he earned MVP votes.  He finished as high as 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  The NL fan in me certainly didn't realize that.

Bando was inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.

How many 1970 Kellogg's cards have facts on the back?  Another thing to check.

On Bando's card it lets us know that Stan Musial is the last player in the NL to win three consecutive batting titles - 1950 - 1952.  Honus Wagner won four in a row from 1906 to 1909 and Rogers Hornsby later added three in a row.

Since 1969 only Tony Gwynn managed to do this - twice.  Gwynn won titles in 1987-89, 1994 -1997 to go with his 1984 title.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Ron Santo , Peter Jacobsen, The Sandlot and The Golf Course

As a caddie we had Mondays off if you asked most people.  Where I caddied two of the Mondays each month were usually the best days to caddie all summer.  The club would have outings that took caddies.  The pay rate was higher and the food and drink was free and plentiful.  Some of my most memorable days at the course were these events.  Here is one such story.

I must have been in college during this summer because one of my younger brothers was caddying at that time.  The tournament featured a shot-gun start, which means that each foursome starts on a different hole.  The foursomes play the hole in order until they return to where they began the round.

A special feature was added to the event for the first time.  Two professional golfers were going to play.  The ensure that everyone got to play with a pro, the professionals were assigned to play the same hole for the entire round.  

An LPGA player was stationed on the 10th hole and I was assigned to caddie for Peter Jacobsen on the 6th hole.  All I needed to do was go back and forth from the tee to the green on a par-3 hole.  Jacobsen hit the ball within 15 feet of the hole all but one or two times if I remember correctly.  

Jacobsen's job was simple - talk to the players, take pictures and give them a few golf tips.  My job was to hang out with him between groups and listen to his stories.  Quite a good job for me.  

Two groups were memorable on that day.  Ron Santo came up in one foursome.  Since Jacobsen was from Oregon I gave him some details on one of my favorite Cubs before they arrived.  I also let Jacobsen know that I was a big Cub/Santo fan.  After each group took an official picture with Peter Jacobsen, the pro surprised me by telling the photographer to get a picture of me with Santo and Jacobsen.  I have no pictures of my nine years as a caddie and I never got a copy of this one either even though it was taken by a Chicago Tribune photographer.  

Jacobsen, now a great announcer, comedian and singer, was always clowning around.  My brother and one of his 7th-grade friends were heading toward the 5th green when I starting telling Jacobsen about these two caddies.  When they got to us Jacobsen spent all of this time clowning with the 7th graders instead of talking to the players.  My brother's friend was a cross between The Great Hambino (Hamilton Porter in The Sandlot) and Vern from Stand By Me.  

I wish I knew what Jacobsen said to them.  All I remember is that there were 10 people laughing on the tee for about 10 minutes instead of golfing.  Maybe one of them can fill me in?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Answers to Yesterday's Kellogg's Card Questions

Remember that the players mentioned must have appeared on a Kellogg's card from 1970 to 1983.

Players that have the letters "ash" in their names:

1.  Claudell Washington.  He's the only player in MLB history with that first name.

2.  Dave Cash. compared him most closely with Felix Millan (below).

Players with the letter "x" in their last name:

1.  Ken Landreaux.  He's the only player with that last name in MLB history.

2.  Elliott Maddox.  He's the only MLB player who spells his first name like that.

3.  Garry Maddox.  His nickname was the "Secretary of Defense".  He won eight Gold Gloves.

Players with an "x" in their first name:

1.   Alex Johnson.  Did he ever tell people he was traded for Bob Uecker?

2.   Felix Millan.  He's the only player with that last name in MLB history.

3.   Sixto Lezcano.  He's the only player in MLB history with that first name.   There have been players with six fingers in MLB history.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Kellogg's Card Question for You - Can You Name the Players?

Two questions for you today.  One is related to Ash Wednesday.  Can you name the two players from Kellogg's sets that have the letters "ash" in that order in their last name?

There are also three players on a Kellogg's card who have the letter "x" in their first name.  Can you think of any?

There are three players on a Kellogg's card who have the letter "x" in their last name?  Can you name these guys?

Answers tomorrow.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kellogg's Pitchers and Fielding

During the 14-years that Kellogg's was deciding on who to put on their cards (1969 - 1982), which pitchers committed the most/least errors?

Nolan Ryan led the way with 64 errors in 14 years.  He pitched in 464 games during that time which means he committed an error every 7.25 games.

Fergie Jenkins was next with 44 followed by Andy Messersmith with 40.

Of players on Kellogg's card with the least errors, Paul Lindblad committed only four errors in 520 games.  This makes some sense since he was only a starting pitcher in seven games during that time.

Who won the Gold Gloves during this time?

Jim Kaat (9)
Bob Gibson(5)
Jim Palmer(4)
Phil Niekro (4)
Mike Norris(2)
Andy Messersmith (2)
Steve Carlton (1)
Ron Guidry (1)

Everyone who won a Gold Glove Award as a pitcher managed to get into at least one Kellogg's set.  I'll need to check to see if this is true for any other positions.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why Am I Writing About the Dodgers Again - Kellogg's Cards?

On this day in 1982 the infield that played together the longest was broken up.  The Dodgers traded Davey Lopes to the A's for someone who never played in the majors.

Lopes teamed with Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Bill Russell from 1973 to 1981 - see my earlier post about the players and their Kellogg's cards (Dodger Infield & Russell Not Getting a Kellogg's Card).

In the 1970s I couldn't find any way to cheer for the Dodgers, Reds, Pirates or Phillies.  

Since I'm not a Dodger fan I will focus on a negative stat.  The four of them totaled 780 errors during their Dodger careers.  Believe it or not there is a player from the late 1800s/early 1900s who had a career total of 1096 errors.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Another Birthday - Not a Home Run King, But One of My Favorite Cubs.. Who Was Traded for Geoff Zahn and Eddie Solomon

Burt Hooton was 34-44 with the Cubs from 1971-1975.  He pitched a no-hitter in his fourth MLB start.  He ended up playing ten seasons with the Dodgers and one for the Rangers.  He won four post-season games for L.A.

Hooton was 18-7 with LA in 1975.  In 1978 he was runner-up in the Cy Young voting after finishing with a record of 19-10.  Gaylord Perry (21-6) was the winner getting 22 of 24 first-place votes.  Hooton got no votes for first.

Two players from the same Texas high school as Hooton, Barry Bonnell and Bobby Bonner, were both active during Hooton's playing days.  They probably weren't together in high school much since they were born in 1950, 1953 and 1960.

Hooton was the second pick in the 1971 June secondary draft.  

Even though he's not remembered well by casual fans, baseball-almanac certainly recognized his career.  His stats are resemble most closely the stats of Rick Rhoden, Jim Lonborg and Doug Drabek.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Babe Ruth's Birthday - Lets Try the Back of the Kellogg's Cards

Sorry that I haven't replied to a few of the comments lately.  I am having technical difficulties with that feature.

Happy Birthday to Babe Ruth today.  The Great Bambino appears often in posts so I won't go into his stats today.  I'm going to check out the text on the back of his 1972 Kellogg's All-Time Greats cards.

Here is the back of card #6.

Here is the back of card #14.

He was good enough that they could write different card backs.  There was certainly a lot to say about his career.  Was there anything I didn't know much about?  Here is what I learned from the card backs.

1.  Both of Ruth's card say "Greatest Player Ever" near the bottom.  Other players in the set have the distinction "Greatest Players Ever".  I'm going to see if I have any variations from that.

2.  There was still specific mention to Ruth's record in a season of 154 games.  Many wouldn't accept Maris' record since the season was expanded to 162 games.  Maris' record celebrated more when McGwire and Sosa passed him.  Too bad Maris didn't get to be celebrated more since had already passed away.  

3.  I never noticed if the card backs differed in 1970 and 1972.  The text also talked about his career home run lead.  By 1972 Mays and Aaron were certainly getting close.  If the text was done in 1969 then there wasn't a huge issue with that yet.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Happy Birthday to Hank Aaron

Hank turns 81 today.  I was surprised to see that he not only played all three outfield positions in his career, but that he also played 1B (210 games), 2B (43 games) and 3B (7 games) at some time.  Hank's brother Tommie played seven years from 1962 - 1971.  They combined for a record 768 career home runs, more than any other brother combo.  That's also more than Barry Bonds who had no brother in the majors.

I've mentioned before about Aaron not appearing in Kellogg's sets.  I need someone from SABR to find out about that.  (Players Not in Early 1970s Kellogg's Sets).

Aaron didn't appear in a Kellogg's set until 1991.  We didn't spend a lot of time wondering who was in or not in the Kellogg's set each year because everyone was in the Topps set.  Back to the 1991 set - this is a great set.  Check it out sometimes.  The 1992 set of current all-stars isn't as good.

Here are my biggest memories of Hank Aaron from the 1970s.

1.  The 1974 Topps card #1 was high sought after.  Since no one cared about rookie cards back then this was the card everyone wanted in trade.

2.  Watching him break Babe Ruth's career home run record was a big deal.  I remember almost everything about it except for which family members were in the room.  I can still picture that huge television that weighed about as much as a Honda Civic.  I can also picture the small portable television that we actually were watching because it sat atop the large television that was never getting fixed.  Please refrain from adding a sentence that ends with "you might be a redneck".  We just didn't have money.

I know my parents were watching and a few others were occupying the other seats.  My brother and I had our usual spots, on the floor or course, where we watching Monday Night Baseball and Monday Night Football.  I had gotten a small, cheap tape recorder at some point.  I remember sitting close to the television to record the event for future generations.  I don't remember ever hearing that recording again so it probably didn't work out so well.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Casey At the Bat - There is a Link to George Brett's Kellogg's Cards

On this day in 1893 the first recorded version of the poem Casey at the Bat was released.  The version that most of us know wasn't published until 1906.

I was lucky enough to see a special version of this play in Kansas City in 1994.  The play was there for a while but on only one night there was a special event.  On that night Casey was played by a retired Royal.  Not just any Royal they went all out and got George Brett to play the part of Casey.

Too bad that this event was held before cell phones because I've got no pictures.  We had front row seats at home plate so the pictures would have been amazing if they were allowed during the play.

 Check out the unique signature above

In the play home plate was on the left as the audience watched.  I don't know the theatre term, so I will just leave it at that.  Since that was the case Brett actually batted right-handed as Casey.  Had he stood in his classic left-handed pose, the audience would have only seen his back.  It was great to see his face when he.......  Oh, I don't want to ruin the ending if you've never read the story.  For the ending try taking a trip to your local library.  How's that for a 1970s-1980s PSA - that's public service announcement?  If you prefer Schoolhouse Rock, it will be featured sometime in the blog.

Casey was the right fielder.  Brett played 36 games in the outfield and 11 at shortstop.  I didn't know either of those facts.

Brett got over 3,100 career hits but, like Rod Carew, he missed a lot of games.  Not counting his first year when he played 13 games, Brett averaged 135 games per season over the next 20 years.  So he missed 27 games per year over 20 years or 540 games.  That's well over three missed seasons and lots of hits.        

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Player From Both the First and Last Kellogg's Sets Was Traded on This Day

The Twins traded Rod Carew on this day in 1979 to the Angels.  He played 12 years with Minnesota and 7 more years with California.  He won 7 AL batting titles and finished his career with 3,053 hits.
I expected his hit total to be higher than that in 19 seasons.  Here is what I found.  He played 137 games in his first year and 127 games in his last year.  What surprised me was that his career average was only 130 games per season.  Eight times he played less than 130 games in a season.

If he averaged 156 games per season that would be a 20% increase.  That would probably have put him over 3,600 hits.  Those injuries and missed games really add up over a career.

In his healthiest season of 156 games he also had a career high 49 stolen bases.  

During the All-Star break in 1985 I have no idea what he did.  Why is that news?  He was all all-star every year from 1967 - 1984.

Why was he traded?  There were many other issues with Carew and the team besides the fact that he would have been a free agent after the 1979 season.  You can find out more about that elsewhere.

Rod is one of only three players to appear in the first and last main Kellogg's sets (Three Players in the 1970 and 1983 Kellogg's Sets).  Pete Rose was also traded before the 1979 season.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Unique Ways to Get Stopped by the Police - Mike Marshall and I Have Something in Common

Mike Marshall, the pitcher not the first basemen from Illinois, did something impressive that not many players have been able to do.  He got arrested for playing baseball in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State school officials were worried about student safety near the tennis courts and Marshall had ignore their warning.  Marshall had attended Michigan State.

I always liked to run and ride my bike.  Both of those things put me in a category with Mike Marshall.

As a kid I was pulled over by police three times while riding my bicycle.  Once it was for not following the rules of the road when I proceeded through a stop sign without stopping.

Twice I was reprimanded for riding double on a bicycle.  It turns out that in Hometown, IL (a real suburb) that is against the law.  Luckily these three incidents don't appear on my permanent record.

As an adult I've been pulled over four times (so far) -- as I was out running.  Here is how I remember them:

1.  In southern Arizona I was enjoying a nice run in a mostly rural area when the police officer called me over.  He asked why I was running on the street.  I was so confused that I didn't have an answer.  I always ran on the street in Illinois.  He asked again, this time with a longer sentence - "Why are you running on the street when there is a perfectly good sidewalk right next to it?".  Based on his tone I didn't try to explain the difference in stress on the body between concrete sidewalks and asphalt roads.  No citation, just a warning.

2.  In Colorado we normally did our trail runs near the top of Pikes Peak.  We'd finish someone and then hitch-hike down the road with tourists who always loved to hear our stories.  One day as we got near the top of the trail, a thick fog had rolled in.  No cars were allowed up the last two miles of the trail.  Well, our cars were six miles down the road or 12 miles via the hiking trails so we decided to run down the Pikes Peak Highway to save lots of time.  It was a great run, for the view and especially since it was all downhill.  The police didn't like our idea since it was illegal.  The road didn't contain any sidewalks, shoulders or guardrails, so they weren't happy with our decision.  They did give us a ride and only a warning.

3.  In California over New Year's we were running through Pasedena before going to the FB game/parade.  We got pulled over and the first question asked was "are we from out of town?".  Then it was explained to us that jaywalking is actually enforced in CA as compared to IL.  Just a warning once again.

4.  In Oklahoma......oh, I can't talk about that until the case closes.  Just kidding.  I can't remember the fourth one now so I will add that if/when I remember the fourth time.

Other Times When I Didn't Do Anything Wrong

1.  In Flagstaff, Arizona I was enjoying a run in an urban nature park.  The police drove up and stopped me.  This time I hadn't done anything wrong.  They wanted to let me know that they were tracking a mountain lion in this park that was only about two miles wide and two miles long.  That run ended immediately.

2.  In southern Illinois I was running a relay race when the police stopped to see me after I ran my portion of the race.  I was sent back to identify a house where dogs had come from because one of these dogs had attacked a runner in the race.

3.  In Alaska at a trail race a crew got into a truck to look for me and two runners from San Diego when we didn't return from a trail race.  We were all running fairly fast, the course record was 26 minutes and we were gone for over 2.5 hours.  The leader of the search party packed some shotguns and big knives while telling my girlfriend that grizzly bears were common sitings on that mountain.  We found our way back before anyone pulled us over or any animal found us.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Something Else I'd Never Heard about Charles Comiskey or John McGraw

My mother used to babysit for the Comiskeys when she was young but I never heard any stories about their family.  This story is one I never heard anything about.

After the 1913 season, Charles Comiskey and John McGraw organized a 56-game world tour to promote baseball.  On this day in 1914 the White Sox and Giants played a game in the Egyptian desert.  

Here is a nice story about this journey which was headlined by Jim Thorpe.