| 1972 Topps #699 Bobby Murcer 1959 Topps # Vada Pinson
Fan Favorites Page!
The ballplayers on this page are guys who were stars and fan favorites but are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not that they weren't great players; some of these guys won Most Valuable Player
Awards, Cy Young Awards, Gold Glove Awards, Batting Titles, Strikeout Titles, Home Run Crowns, you name it. The Hall of Fame is about numbers. Number one, you have to have a pretty long
career. You could have a higher batting average than Hall of Famer Ted Williams (.344) like Frank "Lefty" O'Doul (.349), but if you only play about 7 full seasons you are not going to make it.
Some guys could have been Hall of Famers like Pete Reiser, Herb Score, Tony Oliva, Tony Conigliaro (etc.) but because of injury (or injuries) their careers were cut short and as such they did not
post the "statistics" that Baseball Writers like to see. Some of these guys should be in the Hall of Fame, players like Lefty O' Doul, Gil Hodges, Rocky Colavito, Roger Maris, Tony Oliva, Pete Rose,
Thurman Munson, Steve Garvey, Ted Simmons and more. For more on these players check out our own HALL OF FAME Page. But for whatever reason they are not. The players on this page were
fan favorites, the players we searched for after ripping into a pack of baseball cards. Forget the gum; did I get a Bobby Murcer card, a Curt Flood card, Fred Lynn, Dale Murphy... whoever your
favorite was. This page is dedicated to the fan favorites!
1974 Topps #505 Bill Buckner
Bill Buckner was quite a hitter and he did have a long career (22 seasons). Buckner batted .289 lifetime including 8 seasons of .300 or better. He won the NL Batting Crown in 1980 with a .324
average while with the Chicago Cubs. At one time he was an outfielder (when Henry Aaron bashed his historic 715th career HR, Buckner was in left field for the Dodgers and he tried to scale the fence
to retrieve the ball) but bad knees regulated Buckner to first base. Buckner had nearly 3000 hits (2715) which probably would have made him a lock for the Hall of Fame. Regardless, I remember Bill
Buckner when he was with the Dodgers and he was a fan favorite. The 1986 World Series Game 6 error is what Buckner is remembered for, but this is not fair. The Boston Red Sox "relief" pitchers
(Schiraldi and Stanley) should have taken the heat for their comic "relief" pitching. They are the guys that coughed up that game. Buckner's error was the icing on the cake. It's a real shame that most
remember that error. Billy Buckner was quite a player.
1963 Topps #317 Sam McDowell
"Sudden" Sam McDowell was no joke. Hitters did not want to face this guy when he was on the mound. Sam McDowell played most of his career with the Cleveland Indians, won 141 games (mostly
with bad teams) and had a career Earned Run Average of 3.17. There are plenty of Hall of Fame pitchers with higher ERAs. McDowell was a strikeout specialist, leading the American League 5 times
(including a career high 325 Ks in 1965). He also led the league in ERA that year (2.18) and posted a career low 1.81 ERA in 1968. Remember, this was for a pretty bad Indians team. In 1970,
McDowell won a career high 20 games with a 2.92 ERA and he reached the 300 strikeout plateau for the second time (304 Ks). He finished 3rd for the Cy Young Award that year. A 6-time All-Star,
McDowell finished his career with the Giants, Yankees and Pirates but by then Sam was finished. Back in Sam's day pitchers were expected to go the distance and complete games. McDowell had
103 complete games in his career, which figures to a bit less than one every three starts (346). He also had 23 shut outs!
1971 Topps #650 Rich Allen SP
Rich or "Dick" Allen was a hard hitting slugger for several teams throughout his big league career. Perhaps it was his "personality" as the media put it, but back then the press would sometimes
treat black players differently who had some sort of problem or grievance. Words like "surly," "obstinate," "discontented," etc. I don't know about that. The bottom line is that Richie Allen could hit. In
only 15 seasons, Allen hit 351 HRs with 1119 RBIs and a lifetime .292 batting average. Comparable to Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner's 369 HRs, 1015 RBIs and .279 average (10 seasons). Kiner
did lead the NL in HRs for 7 consecutive seasons but Allen won 2 HR Crowns himself, plus an MVP Award in 1972 while with the White Sox (Kiner had no MVP Awards). Winner of the 1964
Rookie of the Year Award, Allen batted .318 with 201 hits (38 doubles, 13 triples, 29 HRs) and 91 RBIs. This is my favorite Allen card, from the condition sensitive 1971 Topps set. I like it
because this was his only card as a Dodger (check out the left field Pavilion in the background; also note the Topps' photographer's knee in the bottom left corner); it is also a short printed card that
was included in the high number series that year. Great card, great player!
|1972 Topps #698 Jerry Koosman
Jerry Koosman was the left handed "Ace" of the Champion New York Mets team of 1969 (the "Amazin' Mets"). Koosman won 2 games in that Series upset of the favored Baltimore Orioles. He
pitched 17 innings allowing just 4 runs (2.04 ERA). Koosman never won any major awards, but he was a consistent winner, winning 222 ballgames in his career. He finished in the top 6 or less on
2 different occasions for the Cy Young Award, including a 2nd place finish in 1976. He won 21 games that year with a 2.69 ERA, 17 complete games, 3 shutouts and 200 strikeouts. Koosman
never lost a post season game, winning 4 in two World Series and three Championship Series. Koosman's rookie card is pretty expensive as it also features another "pretty good" Mets pitcher,
Nolan Ryan (1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars). Expect to pay around $375 for an ungraded NM example. Most of Koosman's other cards are very inexpensive. In 1972 Topps included
special "In Action" cards of some of the star players, including Jerry Koosman. This 1972 Topps #698 Jerry Koosman In Action card was included in the high numbered series so it lists for about
$10 in ungraded NM condition. Great picture of Koosman and his straight leg kick.
1953 Bowman Color #96 Sal Maglie
Meet Salvatore Anthony Maglie or simply Sal "The Barber" Maglie. Maglie had the distinction of playing for all three of the great New York teams of the 1950's: Brooklyn Dodgers, New York
Giants, New York Yankees. As Mel Allen would say "How about that!!!" Maglie was all business on the mound. His winning percentage is quite remarkable, .657 lifetime! Maglie never lost more
than 9 games a season and won as many as 23 (23 wins, 6 losses) for the Pennant winning NY Giants in 1951. He won 18 games twice (1950, 1952) and won 119 games during his career
against only 62 losses. Maglie lost some of his prime years playing in the Mexican League during the late 1940's; otherwise he would have undoubtedly won over 200 games. Twice an All-Star, Sal
Maglie also finished in the top two for MVP and Cy Young Award in 1956. He went 13-5 with a low 2.87 ERA for the pennant winning Dodgers. After his playing career was over Sal Maglie
became a pitching coach. Jim Bouton had some unflattering things to say about Maglie in his book "Ball Four" but regardless Maglie was quite a pitcher.
1971 Topps #635 Bobby Murcer
The New York Times, Sunday, February 16th, 1964
I know this is unfair, but let's compare the similarities between Mickey Mantle and Bobby Murcer. Both came from Oklahoma. Both started and ended their careers with the Yankees, and they were
even briefly teammates during the mid to late 1960's. Both were exactly 5'-11" tall, though Mantle had about 30 lbs over Murcer (195 to 160). Both hit their fair share of Home Runs, Mantle hit 536
during his career while Murcer hit 252 (including a career high 33 in 1972). Batting averages were not too far off; Mantle's .298 to Murcer's .277 but you also have to consider that Murcer did
not play for the star loaded Yankees teams that Mantle played for. Murcer also lost a couple prime seasons due to military service. Both played center field for the Yankees. And both players played
about the same amount of time, Murcer 17 seasons, Mantle 18. The similarities pretty much end there but Murcer was a fine player who made the most of his abilities. Murcer's best season was
probably 1971 when he batted .331 with 25 HRs, 94 RBIs and 94 Runs scored. He led the league in on base percentage (.427) and was runner up for the AL Batting Crown. 3 Times Murcer was
in the top 9 or less in the MVP balloting and he was a 5 time All-Star. On June 24, 1970, Murcer hit 4 consecutive HRs in a doubleheader. He also won a Gold Glove Award in 1972 (OF). After his
playing career Murcer returned to the Yankees as a broadcaster. Sadly, Murcer passed away prematurely at the age of 62 due to complications from brain cancer. But we remember Bobby Murcer
and are pleased to honor him on our Fan Favorites Page!
1966 Topps Jim Wynn
Jim Wynn (aka. "The Toy Cannon") was an original member of the Houston Colt .45's expansion club. Wynn was their slugger, bashing 223 HRs in 11 seasons (both the Colt .45's and Astros).
Wynn hit 291 career HRs with 964 RBIs. While that may not seem a lot in today's offensive minded game, keep in mind that Jimmy Wynn played in the old Houston Astrodome (not the current joke
of a ballpark the Astros play in) during the pitching friendly 1960's and even in the 1970's if you hit 20 or more HRs you were considered a "Power Hitter. Wynn never batted over .300 and had a
career batting mark of .250. However, over a 162 schedule Wynn averaged 25 HRs, 81 RBIs, 93 Runs, 19 Stolen Bases and 103 Bases on Balls per season. Not bad at all. I remember opening
a pack of 1975 Topps Baseball cards and pulling Jim Wynn. He was a Dodger then so I was happy to have him but I always seemed to get Von Joshua (also a Dodger) and no Steve Garvey cards.
Luck o' the draw.... Oh well. Wynn was a fan favorite and a favorite of Hall of Famer and teammate Joe Morgan. You will hear Morgan sometimes talk about Wynn during his baseball broadcasts
on ESPN. This 1966 Topps Jim Wynn card is his first as a Houston "Astro," but he had appeared in the 1964 (Rookie card) and 1965 Topps set as a member of the Houston Colt .45's. It was
included in the high number series and is one of Wynn's tougher cards to acquire.
1973 Topps Greg Luzinski
Greg Luzinski, aka. "The Bull" only played 14 seasons, mostly with the Phillies and White Sox. Luzinski hit 307 HRs and drove in 1128 runs while batting a respectable .278 during his career.
Over 162 game schedule, he would have averaged 27 HRs and 100 RBIs per season. Luzinski was a 4 time All-Star and on 4 different occasions he finished in the top 10 for MVP balloting. His best
season was probably 1975, when he batted .300 with 34 HRs, 120 RBIs (led league) and 322 total bases (also led league). He finished 2nd to Joe Morgan for NL MVP that season. Luzinski hit 5
post season home runs including 2 against the Dodgers in the 1978 NLCS. In 4 different NLCS "The Bull" batted .310 with 18 hits (5 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HRs) and 12 RBIs. He was also a fan favorite
in Chicago and helped the White Sox advance to the 1983 ALCS. Luzinski hit 32 HRs with 95 RBIs that season. He retired after the 1984 season.
1962 Topps #80 Vada Pinson
Vada Pinson is a guy you never hear about. He was a terrific hitter, good enough to collect nearly 3000 hits in his career (2757 in 18 seasons). 4 times Pinson had 200 or more hits per
season including his rookie season (1959). That year he batted .316 with 205 hits (47 doubles, 9 triples, 20 HRs), 84 RBIs, 131 runs (led league) and for good measure, 21 stolen bases. He
didn't even win Rookie of the Year! Willie McCovey won the ROY Award and while he batted a cool .354, he only played in 52 games that season (compare to Pinson's 154 games in 1959).
Pinson led the NL in hits, doubles and triples twice. Over his career Vada Pinson averaged .286 with 181 hits, 32 doubles, 8 triples, 17 HRs, 77 RBIs, 90 runs and 20 stolen bases. He also won
a Gold Glove Award in 1961 (OF) and was a 4 time All Star. Today the guy would be making several million dollars a year but you hardly hear a peep about Vada Pinson. He died on October
21, 1995. He was only 57 years old. Compare Pinson's statistics to Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Zach Wheat. You will quite surprised. Pinson was a great hitter and very underrated.
1970 Topps # Mickey Lolich
Mickey Lolich was one of the stars for the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers. He beat the tough St. Louis Cardinals team 3 times in that series, striking out 21 and compiling a low 1.67 ERA.
Lolich not only won the 3 games but they were all complete games as well! Lolich also had 3 hits including a HR and 2 RBIs! What a hero (he was voted MVP of the Series)! Mickey pitched 13 years
for the Tigers winning 15 or more games 8 times in his career. In only his second big league season (1964) he won 18 games while losing only 9. Twice he won 20 or more games with a career
high of 25 in 1971. 1971 was probably his best season. He led the league with 25 wins, 29 complete games, and 303 strikeouts. For the season he had a 2.92 ERA and he finished 2nd for the
Cy Young Award. The following season he finished 3rd for the Cy Young with a 22-14 record, 250 strikeouts and a 2.50 ERA. Lolich was a 3 time All Star and finished his career with 217 wins,
195 complete games, 2832 strikeouts and a 3.44 ERA. His statistics mirror that of Hall of Famer Jim Bunning but the highest he ever came was 25.5% of the vote by the BBWAA (Bastards). But he
was a fan favorite for Detroit Tigers fans and I think the guy should be in the Hall of Fame.
1952 Topps #175 Billy Martin (Rookie card)
Billy "The Kid" Martin was a protege of Hall of Fame Manager Casey Stengel. And truthfully I feel Martin should be right there with Casey in the Hall of Fame as a Manager. As player Billy
was a fiery competitive player. He played the game the way it should be played and he would get on his teammates if they were not playing ball the right way. Stengel encouraged Martin to "stir
things up" with both his team and opposing teams and that is precisely what Martin did. Need a runner? Billy would take one for the team and get hit by a pitch. He would slide hard into fielders,
no "pussy footing" around. Need a clutch hit? Billy would do it. In fact in the 1953 World Series versus the Brooklyn Dodgers, Martin batted .500 with 12 hits in 6 games! In 5 different World
Series (all with the Yankees) Martin batted .333 with 33 hits (2 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs), 19 RBIs and 15 runs scored. The Yankees won 4 of those 5 Series. The problem with Billy was,
well, Billy. Billy was combative and he wanted to do things his way. If you crossed him, look out. Drinking and fighting was Billy's way of letting some steam out. Billy punched opposing players,
Traveling Secretaries and Marshmallow Salesmen. In fact once Billy KO'd one of his own players who wanted to take on his manager! Billy was a blue collar guy, a blue collar player and his
desire was to WIN. And most of the time he did, whether as a player for the Yankees or later as Manager of the Twins, Tigers, Rangers, Yankees (a few times including 2 World Series
Championships in 1977 and 1978) and the A's. Sadly Martin died in a tragic automobile accident on Christmas Day, 1989. Of course alcohol was involved. He was just 61 years old.
A Collage of Fan Favorites Baseball Cards
1963 Jell-O #193 Gil Hodges
If I say it once, I'll say it again... Gil Hodges should be in the Hall of Fame. No "Fan Favorite," no "Nowbatting19's HALL OF FAME" but the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York. How
can this slugger (and he was a fan favorite in Brooklyn and Los Angeles) who hit 370 career home runs (at the time Hodges' 370 were the most by a righthanded batter in Major League HISTORY!).
Read the above 1963 Jell-O #193 Gil Hodges baseball card. Not enough? How about 7 consecutive seasons of 100 or more RBIs? How about 8 All Star selections? How about Hodges' average
of 29 HRs and 100 RBIs per season (162 game schedule) while batting .273 (remember back then just to hit .300 could win you a batting title)? Oh yeah and he missed a few years in his prime to
the Marine Corps in service to our country. Not enough? Ok, then let's mention his career as a Manager. Ever hear of the 1969 "Miracle" Mets? Gil Hodges was the skipper. His team, the New York
Mets also went on to the World Series in 1973, though Hodges tragically died in April of 1972. Still most of those Mets played under Hodges (Yogi Berra took over as Manager after Hodges'
death). He was a role model for kids and was the nicest guy you would want to meet by all accounts. And he is still ignored today by the Baseball Writer's Association of America (BWAA), most of
whom couldn't hit a curveball if their life depended on it. What a shame, what a shame.
1976 Topps NBC All-Stars #1 Joe Garagiola
I never got to see Joe Garagiola play, but I do remember him broadcasting The Game of the Week, World Series, and All-Star Games. I really liked him. These cards (above) were made special
for Joe Garagiola by Topps Chewing Gum. They look like a 1973 Topps baseball card but the backs have Garagiola's phone number and address at NBC, so Joe could hand these out as needed.
They are pretty scarce today; try and find one. Topps also did special cards for former MLB Commisioner Bowie Kuhn and former President George Bush Sr., though I don't consider either of those
two fan "favorites." The phone number no longer works; I tried it.
| 1975 Topps #209 1971 MVPs (Vida Blue, Joe Torre)
Here are two fan favorites on one card. The 1975 Topps set featured a special subset of "MVP" cards to celebrate "25 Years of Topps Baseball Cards." Topps reproduced the player's regular card (or produced a "card" if
the player did not have one that particular year) of all the Most Valuable Players from 1951 thru 1974. The above 1975 Topps #209 MVP card features the 1971 winners, Vida Blue and Joe Torre. Vida was "lights out" in
1971. He won 24 games against only 8 losses. He threw 8 shutouts, had 24 complete games, 301 Ks, and a 1.82 ERA. Not only did he won the 1971 AL MVP Award but he also won the Cy Young Award as well. Vida
Blue went on to win 20 or more games 3 times in his career, in route to 209 wins. He was a key part of the Championship Oakland A's teams of 1972-1974.
Joe Torre is already being heralded as a "Hall of Fame" Manager for his work with the New York Yankees. However Joe was quite a hitter as well. In 1971 he won the batting crown with a .363 average. Add to that a
league leading 230 hits (34 doubles, 8 triples, 24 HRs), 137 RBIs (led League) and you not only have an All Star, but a Most Valuable Player. Torre batted a terrific .297 (Mickey Mantle batted .298 during his Hall of Fame
career) lifetime with 2342 hits, 252 HRs and 1185 RBIs. He was a 9 time All Star. And considering he started his career as a catcher (903 games behing the plate), I would say Joe Torre should have gotten a lot more Hall
of Fame votes than a high of 14.9% in 1993.
1975 O-Pee-Chee #622 Rookie OF (Fred Lynn) 1981 Topps Original Color Photograph Fred Lynn
1952 Topps #122 Jack ("Jackie") Jensen
How good were the New York Yankees in the 1950's to trade away Jackie Jensen, who was to later win the American League Most Valuable Player Award (1958). Jensen did not play much with the Yankees, was traded
to the lowly Senators and really put it together playing for the Red Sox from 1954-1961. Jensen was named to 3 All-Star squads, won a Gold Glove Award, and despite playing only 11 seasons he still managed to belt
nearly 200 Home Runs (199) with 929 RBIs. In fact, Jensen led the AL in RBIs 3 times including a career high 122 in 1958. No small feat considering you had guys like Larry Doby, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams in the
same league. Over a 162 game schedule, Jensen averaged 22 HRs, 105 RBIs, while batting a very respectable .279. He retired at the age of 34 in 1961. His reasons were to spend more time with his family and also
Jensen had a terrible fear of airline travel, which by this time all of baseball was using as a means of travel. Jensen got a bad rap for this, but some people's priorities are different. Career or family? Ted Williams had the
career and became a legend, but his family life was a shambles. Roger Maris was a family man and put his career second. So did Jackie Jensen. He still had a great career. Sadly, Jackie Jensen died of a heart attack on
July 14, 1982. He was only 55 years old.
This 1952 Topps #122 Jack Jensen card is his first TOPPS card as a baseball player; however he was featured even earlier on trading cards as a football star with the University of California, where he was an All
1971 Kelloggs #20 Boog Powell
John "Boog" Powell was a fan favorite for the Baltimore Orioles from 1961 to 1974. He played for a couple teams after that but he is mostly known as an Oriole. Boog smashed 339 career HRs with a career high of
39 in 1964. Powell won the 1970 AL MVP Award, belting 35 HRs, 114 RBIs while batting .297 for the Champion Orioles. He also came in 2nd for the MVP in 1969, blasting 37 HRs, 121 RBIs and hitting .304. The
Orioles were pennant winners in 1966, 1969, 1970, and 1971 and World Champs twice (1966, 1970) with Boog at first base. Boog contributed 6 HRs, 16 RBIs, 17 runs scored and 12 bases on balls in the post season.
Over his career, Boog would have averaged 27 HRs, 94 RBIs, and a batting mark of .266 (over a 162 game schedule). Not bad for a big guy (6'-4," 230 lbs) who couldn't run. Boog was also a 4 time All Star.
Beginning in 1970, Kelloggs Cereal began producing "3-D" cards of both baseball and football players. Cards were generally available either in cereal boxes or you could also send in for them by mail in offer. The cards
are very colorful and feature all the stars of the era. The 1971 Kelloggs cards are more difficult to find than other years because in 1971 the cards were not available with a mail in offer. For some reason they are also more
susceptible to "cracking" (see above Boog Powell card) so high grade examples usually bring a premium.
1981 Topps #315 Kirk Gibson (Rookie)
Kirk Gibson was a fan favorite with both the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers and the reason for this was simple. Gibson came to play. He played hard with a football player's mentality (he played football for Michigan
State) and while he is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Kirk Gibson was one of the clutch players of all time. Gibson of course, is known for his famous 2 out, 2 strike, pinch hit game-winning HR off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley
in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The HR was a culmination of Gibson's MVP season and though it was his only at-bat in the series, it essentially sealed the Championship for the Dodgers. The favored A's were sent reeling and
never recovered. The Dodgers won the Series in 5 games. Gibson also hit key HRs in the 1984 World Series for the World Championship Detroit Tigers, one off Hall of Fame closer Rich "Goose" Gossage. So Gibson has a huge
fan base in both Detroit and L.A. for his heroics. I also remember some other things about Gibson. When he was here in L.A. right off the bat he let the Dodgers know he was the leader. The Dodger had not been in a World Series
since 1981 and during Spring Training one of the Dodger pitchers put "eye-black" in the rim of Gibson's cap as a joke. Gibson went ballistic and let the Dodgers know that was why they were losers because they didn't take the
game seriously. That plus his "win or die trying" play on the field changed the Dodgers from losers to winners. The Dodgers never lost 3 games in a row that entire season. They beat the favored New York Mets in the 1986 NLCS
with Gibson contributing a key diving catch in left field which put him out of commission until the Game 1 pinch hit HR. The rest of the Dodgers picked up the slack and played beyond their means. With a cast that included Gibson,
Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Scioscia, Mike Marshall, Mike Davis, and utility player Mickey Hatcher, the Dodgers beat the star laden Mets (Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, etc.)
and A's (which featured "Bash-brothers in 'roids" Jose Canseco & Mark McGwire, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Parker, Bob Welch, Dave Stewart, Carney Lansford and company). Gibson played hard, was hurt often and thus did not
have the necessary statistics for the Hall of Fame. However he will always be remembered as a fan favorite and heroic ball player. An "old school" player who put the team first. I miss Kirk Gibson. I wish he was in the Dodgers
organization but he is currently a Coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This 1981 Topps #315 Kirk Gibson bubble gum card is considered his key rookie card. In 1981 both Donruss and Fleer also issued major sets so each of those have a Gibson rookie as well. But the Topps Gibson is the one
most people want. It is extremely tough to find in MINT condition as Topps cards were plagued by centering, printing and other issues. The Gibson is prone to being off center plus most cards will have some black print "specs" on
the card front. Even if the centering and picture are perfect you still have to contend with corners and that makes for a tough card in high grade. Even PSA 8 NM-MT examples are expensive (for the issue) and a PSA 10 would be a
modern treasure if one even exists.
1969 Topps #585 Ron Swoboda 1970 Topps #634 Bud Harrelson
"The Amazin' Mets!" Ron Swoboda (above left) was a fan favorite for the New York Mets in the mid to late 1960's. His key run saving catch in right field in Game 4, plus his timely hitting helped the Mets defeat the
favored Baltimore Oriole club and bring the Mets their very first Championship (1969, "The Miracle Mets"). He is forever remembered for that sprawling diving, sprawling, out of nowhere catch that robbed Brooks
Robinson and preserved a Mets victory. Every time baseball programs talk about the all-time greatest catches, that catch by Ron Swoboda (not known for his fielding) always makes the top 10. For more on Ron
Swoboda, check out his official website: http://www.ronswoboda.com
Bud Harrelson played 13 seasons at short for the Mets and was a 2 time All Star selection. He also won a Gold Glove Award for his play at shortstop (1971). While his batting marks do not warrant Hall of Fame
consideration, you have to remember at one time, shortstops were mostly recruited for their fielding. Anything with the bat was considered a plus. Even in the 1970's the top shortstops in the NL were usually Larry Bowa,
Dave Concepcion, Bud Harrelson, and Bill Russell. The AL had shortstops like Mark Belanger, Ed Brinkman, and Rico Petrocelli. None of these shortstops are in the Hall of Fame (though Dave Concepcion should certainly
be in, and Rico Petrocelli had some terrific slugging years with Boston). It wasn't until Cal Ripken and ARoid that you had a combination of fielding and power. Now everybody and their mothers are swinging for the
fences. Regardless Bud Harrelson was (and still is) a fan favorite for many New York Mets fans! I love this card (above right) of Harrelson signing autographs (FREE) for the fans!
1962 Topps #461 1963 Jell-O/ Post #174 1963 Topps #15 1964 Topps #550 1966 Topps #447 (Error; photo Ken Hubbs)
1963 Photo Ken Hubbs @ Wrigley Field
Here is my small, inadequate tribute to Chicago Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs. Ken was an up and coming star for the Cubs. In his rookie season (1962), Hubbs won the NL Rookie Of The
Year and also a Gold Glove Award for his handiwork at second base for the Cubs. Hubbs and friend Dennis Doyle were flying in Hubbs' single engined Cessna 172 from Provo Utah to their home
in Colton California when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Both passengers were killed instantly. Topps Chewing Gum chose to honor Hubbs' in their 1964 set; card #550 was a special "In
Memoriam" card for Ken Hubbs. It was the only time Topps ever made a special card like this, though Topps did produce a special #7 Mickey Mantle Commemorative card after his death in 1996.
Being Ken Hubbs career was so short there are very few baseball cards of him. Topps produced 4 cards of Ken Hubbs, one of which was printed erroneously in the 1966 Topps set. Card #447
was supposed to picture Cubs picture but instead Topps used a photograph of Ken Hubbs by mistake. The error was never corrected.
Note: the 1963 Jell-O and 1963 Post Cereal cards are similar, but they are regarded as being separate issues. The main difference is card size; the '63 Post Cereal cards are (if cut properly) 1/4"
wider than the Jell-O cards of the same year. The example above is a 1963 Post Cereal Ken Hubbs, cut from a cereal box back in 1963. There may be other Ken Hubbs issues as well; I will post
any that I come across in the future, but in the meantime, these are the cards you usually see out there. For more on Ken Hubbs, Wikipedia.org has a nice biography; click HERE to see the page.
Gallery of Ken Hubbs Baseball cards
(Jell-O, Post, Topps; click on image for larger scan)
Ken is buried at Montecito Memorial Park in Colton California (Plot: Space 5, Section 129, Garden Fairhaven). Colton is in San Bernardino County. If you get a chance stop
by and leave flowers for Ken! Rest In Peace!
1959 Kahn's Wieners Billy Martin
1963 Jell-O #50 Rocky Colavito
Rocky Colavito (who I feel should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame) was enormously popular with the Cleveland Indians fans. Imagine being a fan in the late 1950's. The Indians had just been to the World Series in 1954 but
had an aging team with Hall of Famers like Bob Feller, Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Larry Doby, plus MVP slugger Al Rosen. But the Indians had a great farm system with some terrific young players. In 1955 you had flaming
southpaw Herb Score, the following season you had young slugger Rocky Colavito, and in 1957 you had a young rookie outfielder named Roger Maris. Also in 1958 the Indians traded for colorful outfielder Jim Piersall. The
Indians also had young pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant. So the future looked bright in Cleveland. Unfortunately the Indian organization made some big mistakes and that coupled with a tragic accident to fireballer Herb Score (he
was hit in the eye by a comebacker off the bat of Gil McDougald of the Yankees) led to what Cleveland fans now refer to as "The Curse Of Rocky Colavito." The "curse" started on April 17, 1960 with the trading of Rocky to
Detroit for singles hitter Harvey Kuenn. Colavito had just got through leading the AL in Home Runs with 42 in 1959, and was 4th in MVP balloting. The year before Rocky had hit 41 HRs and was 3rd in MVP balloting. . So the
"sky was the limit" for Rocky at this point. But the Indians chose to trade Rocky straight up for Kuenn. Harvey Kuenn had won the AL Batting Title in '59 but he was no power hitter and he was a bit older than Colavito as well.
And while Kuenn hit .303 lifetime, he averaged only 8 HRs and 59 RBIs per season (162 game schedule) while Rocky averaged 33 HRs and 102 RBIs per season in his career. Bad trade. The Indians also traded Roger Maris
to the Kansas City Athletics, Piersall to Washington, and during the 1960's they traded away young pitchers Tommy John, and Luis Tiant. The Indians did not get to a World Series until 1995 and 1997, losing both times. The
"Curse" is still alive in the minds of many Indians fans and many still point to April 17, 1960 as the day when it all happened.
In 1963 Jell-O dessert and Post Cereal issued these baseball cards (above) on the packages of Jell-O and Post Cereal boxes. While very similar, the Jell-O and Post Cereal cards are considered separate issues. The Jell-O
cards are 1/4" narrower in width and feature slightly smaller print than the Post Cereal cards (if cut properly). I can imagine an Indians fan cutting this card from a Jell-O box and thinking of some unflattering things to say about
Indians management. Rocky was eventually traded back to Cleveland but by that time he was past his prime. The Indians goofed again by trading Tommie Agee (of later New York Mets fame) and southpaw Tommy John (who
was to win nearly 300 games in his career) for Colavito. The "Rock" hit 26 HRs and led the AL with 108 RBIs his first year back with Cleveland, and the following year (1966) he hit 30 HRs with 72 RBIs but his batting average
was on the decline (.238). So the Indians traded Rocky again the following year (1967) and by 1968 he was through at the age of 34. Rocky hit 374 lifetime HRs and had 1159 RBIs in essentially 13 seasons.
1958 Topps #368 Rocky Colavito
More FAN FAVORITES coming soon! Check back often and thanks for visiting! Tim
Eddie "The Natural" Waitkus was a slick-fielding first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles. Prior to his baseball career, Waitkus served in World
War l earning 5 Battle Stars while serving in the Pacific. Then he becomes a big leaguer, is traded to the Phillies and guess what? A deranged female "fan" shoots him in a hotel room. Doesn't
this sound like a movie? Actually there is a movie based on Eddie Waitkus, it's called "The Natural" starring Robert Redford as fictional ballplayer Roy Hobbs. Hobbs is a "natural" ballplayer
who ends up getting shot in a hotel room. Of course the movie ends with Hobbs hitting a "Kirk Gibson" game winning home run and going off to his golden years playing catch with his son in a
field. Eddie Waitkus did not have a Hollywood movie ending. The injuries he suffered nearly killed him, both physically and mentally. Eventually his life fell apart and he became an alcoholic. He
died in 1972 at the age of 53. Eddie Waitkus was a fan favorite and would have had an even better baseball career if not for a war (he lost 5 years due to the war) and the tragic shooting. For
more on Eddie Waitkus read "Baseball's Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus" by John Theodore and Ira Berkow.