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.