Friday, December 25, 2009

1975 Topps #587 Chris Ward

Chris Ward is another player featured on a 1975 card who did not actually play for the Cubs in 1975. Ward had a very short two year career in the majors. After a single plate appearance in 1972, Ward got into 92 games for the Cubs in 1974. He started 24 games during 1974 and either was a late game replacement or pinch hitter in 70 appearances. After hitting .204 with 1 home run and 15 RBI’s, he was returned to the minors where he played though 1977. Ward displayed minor league power with 74 home runs and 232 RBI’s during his 9 seasons in the minor leagues.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1975 Topps #469 Tom Dettore

Tom Dettore had a short career in MLB. He appeared in 68 games with an overall record of 8 wins and 11 losses. After 12 games as a Pirate in 1973, he was traded to the Cubs for Paul Popovich in April 1974. Dettore served as a spot starter and reliever in 1974 and 1975. After 4 games and a 10.29 ERA, Dettore was released by the Cubs in late April 1976. Although he signed as a free agent with the Padres shortly after being released by the Cubs, he did not play in the majors. He played in the minor leagues through 1977 before ending his career.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1975 Topps #411 George Mitterwald

George Mitterwald was primarily a back-up catcher for 11 seasons with the Twins and the Cubs. After 7 seasons with the Twins, he was traded to the Cubs in December 1973 for Randy Hundley. Hundley had a solid career with the Cubs but apparently the Cubs knew when to send him out. As a Twin, Hundley only played in 28 games and hit .193. He was released by the Twins less than a year after the trade.

Mitterwald served as a back-up to Steve Swisher until 1977 when Mitterwald started 102 games for the Cubs. As a Cub for 4 years, Mitterwald hit .216 with 26 home runs and 125 RBI’s. On April 17, 1974, Mitterwald hit 3 home runs in one game. He is one of about 500 major league ball players to accomplish this feat.

After the 1977 season, Mitterwald became a free agent and signed with Seattle in the spring of 1978. However, he never played in the majors after 1977.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Mustache Card - 1975 Topps #388 Steve Stone

I had a comment on the Carmen Fanzone post about the look alike Fanzone and Knowles cards. Alot of that may be the 1970's mustaches. I guess this card carries on that theme with another 1970’s mustache.

Steve Stone had a successful 11 season MLB career with four different teams including the Cubs. Then after his career was over, he moved into the Cub’s broadcasting booth with Harry Caray in 1983. After Harry’s death he was paired with Harry’s grandson, Chip until 2004.

Stone went to Kent State College where his battery mate at catcher was Thurman Munson. He was originally drafted by the Indians with whom he did not sign. He was later drafted and signed by the Giants.

In December of 1973, Stone was traded to the Cubs from the White Sox along with Ken Frailing and Steve Swisher for Ron Santo. Stone started 70 games for the Cubs from 1974 through 1976. During that time he compiled a record of 23 wins and 20 losses with an ERA of 4.04. After the 1976 season, Stone was granted free agency and signed with the White Sox.

In 1978, he again was granted free agency and signed with the Orioles. His three years with the Orioles were perhaps his most successful. He had a combined record of 40 wins and 21 losses with and ERA of 3.60. In 1980, Stone had a record of 25 wins and 7 losses with an ERA of 3.23. Stone was the 1980 Cy Young award winner and an AL All-Star.

Before the 1980 season, Stone was determined to have an outstanding year. During the year, over 50% of his pitches were curveballs. He realized that the heavy curveball diet would take a toll on his arm. But he believed that one career year was worth the damage that might occur. In 1981 he developed tendonitis and slumped to 4 wins and 7 losses in 1981 and retired.

Monday, December 21, 2009

1975 Topps #363 Carmen Fanzone

Carmen Fanzone was a solid utility infielder/outfielder for the Cubs during the early 1970’s. He was originally signed by the Red Sox and played 10 games at 3rd base for the Red Sox in 1970. The Red Sox had George Scott as the regular at 3rd with several other capable infielders so Fanzone was traded to the Cubs in December 1970.

Fanzone played 227 games for the Cubs between 1971 and 1974 before being released. With the Cubs, Fanzone hit .225 with a total of 20 home runs and 94 RBIs. He may be best known for catching the fly ball which wrapped up the 1972 Milt Pappas no-hitter. Fanzone was an accomplished musician and at least once played the National Anthem before a Cubs game. Fanzone played in the San Diego minor league system in 1975 and then retired.

After his MLB career ended, Fanzone went on to be a jazz musician. His wife, Sue Raney, is a Grammy nominated jazz vocalist.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

1975 Topps #352 Darold Knowles

Darold Knowles had a successful 16 season career as a relief pitcher for seven different teams. During his career he appeared in 765 games. He only started a total of 8 games during that span. Knowles finished his career with the highest pick-off rate in MLB. His career pick-off rate was 1 runner every 24 innings.

In 1973 as a member of the Oakland A’s, Knowles became the only pitcher to appear in all seven World Series games. During the 1973 Series, he pitched 6 1/3 innings with an ERA of 0.00. He collected 2 saves during the Series.

Knowles played for the Cubs two years (1975 and 1976). During 1975 he was the closer. However, in 1976, a 23 year old pitcher named Bruce Sutter replaced Knowles in the closer’s spot. Knowles Cub’s career consisted of 116 games with a won-lost record of 11 and 16. He had a two year ERA of 4.50 with 24 saves. Knowles was traded to the Texas Rangers in February 1977 for Gene Clines.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sport magazine - September 1969

I have just recently received an issue of Sport Magazine. This one came from an EBay auction and was the September 1969 issue featuring Leo Durocher, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams on the cover. At the time this issue was put together, it looked like the Cubs might be playing in the World Series. Unfortunately, shortly after this issue of Sport magazine hit the news stands, the Cubs went into a losing streak that ended up throwing them into 2nd place behind the Mets.

Sport magazine went out of business in 2000 but I remember the magazine as part of my youth. My father bought each issue at Hook’s Drugstore or Kroger’s Grocery store when it came out. I had to wait until he was done with it before it was my turn. I spent time reading about my heroes in baseball each month.

This 1969 issue is probably one that I never saw when I was younger. My father had died and I was newly married and away at Indiana University. It was the Vietnam War that was the hot topic on the IU campus. Serious students did not have time for such trivial things as pennant races. The General would arrive at IU after the 1971 season.

The report in Sport focused on Durocher’s managerial style. He questioned player’s abilities and commitment to create tension. Durocher believed that such an approach would either make a player better or show that he did not belong on Leo’s team. Whether one believes in Durocher’s approach or not it did seem to work. When he took over the reins of the team in 1966, the Cubs were a last place team with a record of 59 wins and 103 losses. By 1969, Durocher had the team in first place bringing hopes of a World Series to Cubs fans. From 1967 through 1972, the Cubs won 515 while losing only 449. This was a winning percentage of .534.

The article has a number of great stories about the 1969 Cubs and how Durocher’s firm hand was guiding the team. There are also a few great pictures like this one of Durocher in the Cubs dugout.

Friday, December 11, 2009

1972 Cubs Scorecard

Here is another early 1970s Cubs scorecard that I have in my collection. This scorecard is from the 1972 season. 1972 was actually a good year for the Cubs. They completed the season with a record of 85 wins and 70 losses. This was good enough for second place in the NL East. The Cubs started the season with Leo Durocher as manager but replaced him with Whitey Lockman ninety games into the season. Durocher had a winning record of 46 and 44 but Lockman apparently inspired the team even more as they finished the season by winning 39 and only losing 26 with Whitey as manager.

This scorecard is from the September 1st game against the Padres. The Padres under Don Zimmer were already 33 games behind in the standings with a record of 46 and 79. The Cubs added to the Padres woes by beating them 14 to 3 in this game.

The starting pitcher for the Cubs was Bill Hands. Hands went 5 2/3 innings before Bill Bonham came in to get the save. Hands would complete the season with a record of 11 and 8. Bonham was only in his second year with the Cubs but would have a solid 7 year run with the Cubs.

This game apparently was after the call up from the minors so there were several unfamiliar faces in starting lineup. The regulars in this game included Cardenal, Kessinger, Williams, Santo and Monday.

The unfamiliar faces included Ellie Hendricks (catcher), Carmen Fanzone (1st Base) and Al Montreuil (2nd Base). The Cubs got Hendricks from Baltimore for Tommy Davis in mid-August. He was traded back to Baltimore after the season. Hendricks played in 17 games for the Cubs.

Fanzone would play a part-time roll for the Cubs from 1971 through 1974 and then be out of baseball. Montreuil would play only five games for the Cubs in 1972 and never play in the majors again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Three From The 1975 Set That Were Really not 1975 Cubs

The next three cards currently in my collection are players who for one reason or another did not appear in a Cubs uniform during the 1975 season.

#233 Billy Grabarkewitz – Grabarkewitz was purchased by the Cubs from the Phillies in July 1974. He played in 53 game for the Cubs during 1974 batting .248 with 1 HR and 12 RBIs. He was released by the Cubs in March 1975.

#258 Dave LaRoche – LaRoche played 2 years (1973 & 1974) for the Cubs collecting a record of 9 wins and 7 losses in 94 games. His ERA as a Cub was 5.17.In February 1975, LaRoche was traded to Cleveland along with Brock Davis for Milt Wilcox. LaRoche had a 14 year career in MLB with five different teams. He appeared in 617 games with nearly 50% as an Angel.

#338 Rick Stelmaszek – Stelmaszek was traded to the Cubs by the Angels for Horacio Pina in July 1974. He played in 25 games for the Cubs during 1974 and then spent the 1975 season in the minor leagues at Wichita. The Cubs traded him to the Yankees in 1976 but Stelmaszek did not play in the majors after September 1974.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1960 Cubs Scorecard

Today, I am featuring another scorecard that I have obtained for my collection. This scorecard comes from 1960 and in particular the game played at Wrigley Field on June 28, 1960 between the Braves and the Cubs. This game featured six future members of the Hall of Fame in the lineups of the two teams.

Eddie Mathews
Hank Aaron
Warren Spahn
Red Schoendienst
Ernie Banks
Richie Ashburn

The game was played like so many of the earlier era. The two starting pitchers (Warren Spahn and Glen Hobbie) both had complete games. Both pitchers would finish the year with league leading W-L stats. Spahn would lead the league with 21 victories and Hobbie would lead the league with 20 losses.

The final score of this game would be 5 to 3 in favor of the Braves. The hitting star for the Braves was not Aaron or Mathews but rather Wes Covington who had three hits including a HR and 3 RBIs. Richie Ashburn would collect three hits and two RBIs for the Cubs.

By this time the Cubs were already 15 games behind in the standings and would finish the year in 7th place with a record of 60 wins and 94 losses. This record was one more win than the Phillies managed come up with.

1975 Topps Baseball - #176 Burt Hooten

Burt Hooten appears on card #176 in the 1975 Topps baseball set. However, Hooten was on the 1975 Cubs rooster for about 15 days. On May 2, 1975, he was traded to the Dodgers for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn to start a 10 year run with Los Angeles.

Hooten’s Cubs career began with three games in 1971. In his first game of 1972 (only his 4th in MLB), Hooten pitched a no hitter against the Phillies in Wrigley Field. Hooten had 7 strikeouts and 7 walks in the game that the Cubs won 4 to 0.

As a Cub from 1971 through early 1975, Hooten pitched in 129 games. He started 92 games and completed his Cubs career with a record of 34 – wins and 44 losses. His Cubs ERA was 3.71.

The move to Los Angeles was good for Hooten. As a Dodger over 10 seasons, he won 112 games and lost only 84. His ERA with the Dodgers was 3.14. While with the Dodgers, Hooten played in three different post seasons. In 11 post season games he won 6 and lost 3. Hooten was a member of the 1981 World Series champion Dodgers

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Pair of Cubbie Starters from 1975.

The 1975 Cubs had a very stable starting rotation. Ray Burris, Rick Reuschel, Bill Bonham and Steve Stone started 86% or 140 of the Cubs game during the season. Unfortunately, the Cubs only won 75 games while losing 87 during season. There were only five other pitchers that started a game for the Cubs in 1975 (Geoff Zahn – 10, Tom Dettore – 5, Willie Prall – 3, Burt Hooten – 3 and Donnie Moore – 1).

Bill Bonham was card #85 in the 1975 Topps set. Bonham had a solid ten year career in the majors with the Cubs and the Reds. As a Cub, he won 53 games and lost 70 games with a 4.31 ERA. After seven years with the Cubs, he was traded to the Reds for Bill Caudill and Woody Fryman. Bonham’s career ended when he was released by the Reds in August 1981.

Rick Reuschel appeared on card #153 in the 1975 Topps Baseball set. Rick Reuschel played MLB for 19 seasons with four different teams. Reuschel played in 12 seasons with the Cubs. Reuschel appeared in 358 games as a Cub. He won 135 games and lost 127 with an ERA of 3.50. He played with the Cubs from 1972 to 1981 and was then traded to the Yankees. He was not effective during his one year stay with the Yankees and was released. He signed with the Cubs in 1983 and appeared in 23 games during 1983 and 1984. His career ended in 1991 after playing for the Pirates and Giants. Overall in his 19 seasons, Reuschel won 214 games and lost 191 with a career ERA of 3.37.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Three Cubs HOFers - Game Used Card

Around the end of November, the new names elgible for the Hall of Fame were announced. This made me remember a game used card that I won in an EBay auction earlier this fall. The card from the 2008 Upper Deck Premier set featured three Cubs HOF's. The serial numbered card (24/50) featured a Sandberg Bat, a Banks uniform and a Williams uniform. Although the green uniform piece from Williams makes me think it came from an Oakland A's uniform instead of a Cubs uniform.

1975 Topps - Cubs Team Set - PSA Graded

One thing that I have started with the older Cubs team sets (1980 and earlier) is to collect them as PSA graded cards. Many of these cards, particularly those from the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s, are very difficult to find at a reasonable price in excellent condition. When I am able to get a card in excellent condition, I want to preserve it. So I am either buying graded cards directly or sending cards to PSA for grading. I also have several partial sets included in the PSA Registry.

I have posted some of the graded cards earlier. However, today I am going to start posting my 1975 Topps set. I currently have 15 of the 31 Cubs cards needed in the PSA Registry. I also have two raw sets plus a complete mini set. My PSA set is 48.4% complete with an average grade of 8.267. The 31 cards that make up the 1975 Cubs PSA Registry set are listed below. The cards that I currently have as PSA Graded are listed in bold.

15 Jose Cardenal
39 Andy Thornton
63 Steve Swisher
85 Bill Bonham
104 Bill Madlock
129 Rick Monday
153 Rick Reuschel
176 Burt Hooton
190 1952 MVP’s – Sauer/Shantz
196 1958 MVPs – Banks/Jensen
197 1959 MVPs - Banks/Fox
233 Billy Grabarkewitz
258 Dave LaRoche
282 Jerry Morales
315 Don Kessinger
338 Rick Stelmaszek
352 Darold Knowles
363 Carmen Fanzone
388 Steve Stone
411 George Mitterwald

434 Bob Locker
436 Ken Failing
469 Tom Dettore
494 Pete LaCock
519 Jim Todd
566 Ray Burris
587 Chris Ward
604 Oscar Zamora
617 Rookie Infielders – Cubbage/DeCinces/Sanders/Trillo
638 Jim Marshall
658 Vic Harris

I have always been attracted to the 1975 Topps set because of the interesting color combinations that were used. I have a near set of 1975 Topps. The only card that is missing from this set is the George Brett RC.

But back to the 1975 Cubs PSA graded 1975 set. The first card that I currently have in my collection is:

#39 – Andre Thornton. This card is a PSA 8 – NM-MT. Thornton began his 14 year MLB career with Cubs in 1973. Thornton played in 271 games as a Cubs – primarily at 1st base. As a Cubs he hit .267 with 30 home runs and 122 RBI’s. In May of 1976, Thornton was traded by the Cubs to the Expos for Larry Biittner and Steve Renko. In December 1976, Thornton was traded by the Expos to the Indians. Thornton had a solid 10 year career with the Indians as a 1st Baseman and DH. As an Indian, Thornton hit .254 with 214 HRs and 749 RBIs. He was a member of the AL All Star Team in 1982 and 1984.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Scorecard Joins My Collection

I was able to add another Cubs Scorecard to my collection. This time the scorecard was from 1957. This scorecard features some more of the great baseball art that appeared on Cubs scorecards through the years.
The 1957 Cubs under first year manager, Bob Scheffing compiled a record of 62 wins and 92 losses. With that record, the Cubs tied for last place in the National League.

Ernie Banks was in his fourth full season as the Cubs shortstop. Ernie played in 156 games in 1957. He batted .285 with 43 home runs and 102 RBI's.

The primary starters during 1957 were:
Catcher - Cal Neeman
1st Base - Dale Long
2nd Base - Bobby Morgan
Shortstop - Ernie Banks
3rd Base - Bobby Adams
Left Field - Lee Walls
Centerfield - Bob Speake
Right Field - Walt Moryn

The starting rotation included Moe Drabowsky, Dick Drott, Bob Rush and Don Kaiser. The closer was Turk Lown.

This particular scorecard was for the game played Friday, August 2. The opponent for the day was Pittsburgh. The Pirates was the team that the Cubs would tie for last place in the National League.

The August 2 game was number 102 for the Cubs. It was a notable game for 1957 as this game was the first win in what would be the Cubs longest winning streak of the year (6). This game would also feature three future Hall of Fame members. Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski. Banks and Clemente would both go hitless during the game while Mazeroski would collect one hit. The game winning hit for the Cubs would be a three run homer by Cal Neeman. That HR allowed the Cubs to win 6 to 4.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Cat and the Bat - Ron Santo

I don't collect alot of the game used uniform or bat cards, but every 0nce in a while I find one that attracts my attention or that I can get a good deal on. This 2004 Donruss Throwback Threads bat card featuring Ron Santo hit on both acounts. I got it for the starting price of $0.99 in an EBay auction. Santo cards usually have a little more interest but in this case I was the only bidder.
The card carried a serial number of 211/250 which is always fun to have.
Finally the bat slice is guaranteed to be personally game used by Ron Santo. So in my imagination I can believe that I also have a picture of Santo holding my bat. I am now on the look out for the card that has an actual hair from the cat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1949 Bowman #115 - Dutch Leonard

Card #115 in the 1949 Bowman set features Emil “Dutch” Leonard.
Leonard had a successful 20 year career in MLB (1933 to 1953). His final five seasons were spent as a Cub. He joined the Cubs as part of a trade with the Phillies. The Cubs traded Hank Borowy and Eddie Waitkus to the Phillies for Leonard and Monk Dubiel in December of 1948.

Leonard had been a starting pitcher for most of his career, but became a valuable relief pitcher for the Cubs. 28 of his 44 career saves came as a Cub. His record as a Cub was 26 wins, 28 Losses and a 3.60 ERA.

Overall, Leonard finished his career just 9 wins short of 200. Notable about Leonard is that he was one of the first pitchers to rely heavily on the knuckleball. While he would periodically throw a fastball or a slip pitch, his “out” pitch was the knuckleball. Leonard also played for the Dodgers, Senators and Phillies during his 20 seasons. He was selected to the All-Star team four times (1940, 1942, 1943 and 1944). Leonard was the winning pitcher in the 1943 All-Star game.

1949 Bowman #22 - Peanuts Lowrey

In the next two posts, I will be showing two of the oldest cards in my Cubs collection. Both cards are from the 1949 Bowman set. The subject of this post is #22 featuring Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey.

Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey played 726 games as a Cub between 1942 and 1949. He was signed as a free agent by the Cubs before the 1937 season. In his Cubs career, Lowrey hit for a .278 average with 22 home runs and 311 RBI’s while playing primarily as an outfielder. During his Cubs career he played in the 1945 World Series against the Tigers and appeared in the 1946 All Star game. The 1946 All Star game was a one sided affair with the American League winning 12 to 0. Ted Williams went 4 for 4 in the All Star game with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s. Lowrey was traded to the Reds in June of 1949 along with Harry Walker for Frank Baumholtz and Hank Sauer.

Lowrey played for a total of 13 seasons with the Cubs, Reds, Cardinals and Phillies. His career was rejuvenated in the 1950’s with the Cardinals as one of the NL’s premier pinch hitters. He contributed 13 pinch hits in 1952 and increased that total to 22 in 1953.

Lowrey was born in California near Hollywood. As a child, he appeared in bit parts in several silent movies. In 1952, he had a speaking part in “The Winning Team” which starred Ronald Reagan and Doris Day.

His nickname “Peanuts” originated from his grandfather, who comments that as a baby he was “no bigger than a peanut”.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1999 Sosa Home Run Parade #20

I just received the 49th card in the 1999 Topps Sosa Home Run Parade set. This is a sub-set of the 1999 Topps Baseball set.
I recently bought HR #20 in an EBay auction. Sosa's HR #20 came in an inter-league game between the Cubs and the Twins in Minnesota. Both the Cubs and Sammy were HOT at the time. For the Cubs it was win number 10 in a row. In those 10 games Sosa had hit .405 with 11 HRs and 25 RBIs.

The 17 cards that I still need to complete this HR Parade sub-set are; 4, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 38, 42, 52, 53, 55 and 61.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1971 Dell Todays Chicago Cubs

Sometimes the most interesting additions to my Cubs collection are the unusual items. This post describes one such item. Dell produced small booklets for the 1971 season for each MLB team. The booklets sold for $0.39 and could be ordered from Dell in sets of 6 with a binder.
Dell packed a lot of information into each booklet including a short team story, player stamps with a narrative on the back, a seperate page of individual player statistics, a page of all-time team stars and the 1971 schedule.
Many stamps from this series are included as requirements in PSA player Master sets. In the case of the Cubs - Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins have the 1971 Dell stamp as part of their PSA Master Set.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Greatest Team That Didn’t Win – The 1969 Cubs

1969 is a memorable year. A man walked on the moon. The Vietnam War was consuming and dividing the nation. And the Cubs fielded arguably one of their best teams ever. Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Randy Hundley, Ron Santo and Don Kessinger were led by their unforgettable manager, Leo Durocher. The Cubs finished April 1969 in first place and held that position through August. Then they lost 8 in a row, dropped out of first place and finally lost the pennant to the “Miracle Mets”.

As difficult as it is to read about the 1969 season, this is a rich part of Chicago Cubs history. I have recently added two books about the 1969 Cubs to my collection.

The first book is “The Cubs of “69” by Rick Talley. Talley is a noted former sports columnist who contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Today and the Los Angeles Daily News. This is a well written book containing stories and recollections about the 1969 Cubs.
The second book is called “Durocher’s Cubs – The Greatest Team That Didn’t Win” by David Claerbaut. Claerbaut is a lifelong Cubs fan who works as a consultant in Chicago. This book covers the 1967 through 1972 Cubs seasons with a focus on the 1969 season.
Both of these books are well written and would be enjoyed by nearly any baseball fan. Of course they are particularly interesting for a Cubs fan. Regardless of the outcome of the 1969 season, the stories about Ernie, Fergie, Billy, Ron and the others are great reading for the Cub fan.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1951 Bowman - 2 PSA Graded Cubs Cards

I have described my Cubs collection in earlier posts. One thing that I am including in this collection is graded cards from 1980 and earlier. I will typically pick these up from Ebay when the price is right or I will send raw cards to PSA for grading.
I have recently added two cards to start my 1951 Bowman graded set. In a post in late October, I showed a raw Smokey Burgess rookie card. The two PSA graded 1951 card are #103 - Andy Pafko and #139 - Doyle Lade.

Andy Pafko should be a familiar name for most collectors of my generation. He may be best known as a member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves World Series Champions. Pafko started his career as a Cubs in 1943. He played for the Cubs from 1943 through 1951. Pafko was a five time All-Star for the Cubs and started the 1945 All Star game as the 3rd baseman. Pafko played for the Cubs, the Dodgers and the Braves during his career. He was released by the Braves after the end of the 1959 season. Pafko played a total of 1852 games while collecting 1,796 hits, 213 home runs and 976 RBI's. His career batting average was .285.

Doyle Lade is a lesser known name as he only played five seasons, all as a Cub. Lade was a pitcher for the Cubs from 1946 through 1950. He was on the pre-season 1951 roster but was cut in May of 1951 to reduce the Cubs roster to 25 players. In a total of 126 games for the Cubs, Lade had a record of 25 wins and 29 losses. His career ERA was 4.39. Lade's best season was 1947 when he won 11 and lost 10 with an ERA of 3.94.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

1951 Bowman - Smokey Burgess

This post is linked to the previous post about the 1960 World Series. The Pirates catcher in 1960 was Forrest "Smokey" Burgess. As a kid collecting baseball cards I remember him as the catcher for the Reds. I clearly remember having his 1957 Topps baseball card like the one below.However until I started collecting Cubs team sets I did not realize that Burgess' rookie card was in 1951 and he was a Cub. The card pictured here is #317 in the 1951 Bowman set.Smokey played a total of 140 games as a Cubs in 1949 and 1951 before being traded to the Reds in October 1951. The Cubs got Johnny Pramesa and Bob Usher for Burgess and Bob Borkowski. Burgess was traded to the Phillies about two months later in a 7 player trade. Burgess returned to the Reds 1955.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 13, 1960

Game 7 of the 1960 World Series gets my vote as the greatest World Series game of all time. The Pirates beat the Yankees with a score of 10 to 9. Bill Mazeroski hit the walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning that won the 1960 World Series.
I was a 7th grader at the time in north central Indiana. My two favorite MLB teams were the White Sox and whoever was playing the Yankees. So I was hoping like many that the over-matched Pirates could some how pull off a miracle……..and they did.

Was this the greatest game ever? Well, that will never be settled for sure. There are just too many great moments and game in World Series history to be able to pick just one. Of the games that I have personally watched or listened to, several could fall into the category of greatest.

For example, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series certainly is memorable. The battle between the Red Sox and the Reds was finally decided by that dramatic HR by Carlton Fisk.

Then, of course, there was Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Kirby Puckett won that game with an 11th inning HR. The Twins beat the Braves 1-0 in game 6. This is often included because then in Game 7, Jack Morris threw a 10 inning shut-out to complete the Twins magical ride.

In 1956, Don Larsen tossed his perfect game. The 1962 Yankee win over the Giants (1-0) must be included as well as the 1924 extra inning Senator win over the Giants.

The purpose of this posting is not to generate any additional discussion of great World Series games but rather to present a book that I am currently reading. The Book is The Best Game Ever by Jim Reisler. This book focuses on the October 13, 1960 World Series game between the Pirates and the Yankees. The author proceeds inning by inning through this game presenting a play by play account along with historical perspectives on many of the player that were involved.

If you enjoy reading about the rich history of baseball, this book should be a part of your library. I found the book on the Barnes and Noble site as a used book for a very reasonable price. Throughout this posting, I have included scans on some of the memorabilia that I have collected specific to this game. I hope that you enjoy the scans and the book if you choose to read it.