27 November 2011

john edward kennedy

this time of year, thanks to the events in dallas in 1963, our thoughts are inevitably directed towards president kennedy.  the other day was the 48th anniversary of his assassination.  there was another john kennedy living in washington dc at the time of the president's death, but he was just a ballplayer.  as a kid growing up in the 1970s, it was hard for me to think of one without the other coming to mind.  it's still like that today.

a year after the assassination, kennedy the ballplayer was traded to the dodgers in the frank howard deal.  this john kennedy, john edward kennedy, to be exact, was kind enough to sign a couple of cards for me earlier this year.  here's his 1965 topps card
and his 1966 topps card
kennedy did not play particularly well for the dodgers, hitting below .200 over his two seasons with the club, but he did appear in the world series both years.  the dodgers sent kennedy to the yankees in april of 1967, and from there he went to the pilots/brewers and the red sox to round out his career.

thanks jek, for the autographs.  and know that at least once a year, this fan is thinking of you.

26 November 2011

more through the mail successes to be thankful for

since one shouldn't be thankful just on thanksgiving, here are some more through the mail successes i am thankful for.  especially the first one, since it took me a couple of tries - it's stan musial's personal issue postcard
the first time i tried ttm with stan the man, i got the postcard, but it was unsigned.  the second time, i waited for a while and was happy to see this show up.  awesome success.

here's bobby valentine, a guy who has signed for me before
i wanted this card signed since it is a nice dodger stadium card with bobby v airbrushed into his angel  uniform

i sent cards to davey johnson a couple of times.  the first time, i did not receive anything back.  then, last season, i sent him a couple of cards c/o the nationals.  he signed one - his 1978 topps card
which is nice. if i had to choose one, i would prefer this one over the 2001 topps card i sent, even though that is a dodger card.

i showed off my 1978 topps lance parrish card on thanksgiving.  he signed a couple of other cards for me, too, including his 1984 donruss card and his
1989 upper deck card
parrish now charges $15, and i haven't decided whether to send him a dodgers police card (his only dodger issue) to sign.

one guy who won't be signing any dodger cards is orlando hudson, who did sign a 2010 topps update card for me
for which i am thankful.  hopefully hudson is healthy next year, although i don't necessarily want the padres to be competitive.

like parrish, i previously showed my 1978 topps rick wise card that the red sox righty signed for me.  here's the bonus 1976 topps that he threw in
along with the note he wrote and signed
nice guy.
finally, i am even thankful for the non-autograph responses.  robin yount sent back a form letter post card
along with a pre-printed hall-of-fame postcard
the only true successes that i have seen on sports card forum are for people living in wisconsin.  i had a sconie send a card to yount about a year ago, and haven't heard back yet.  here's hoping!

thanks to all the ballplayers who sign for the fans, it is appreciated!

25 November 2011

black friday

i don't plan to do any shopping today, although there is a card show in the northwest twin cities metro.  here are some cards i picked up at a card show last spring, appropriate for today i suppose.

2011 topps heritage chad billingsley black parallel
james loney, too
and, just for kicks, a green chrome parallel of hiroki kuroda
the green looks kind of mossy or algae-ish, kind of like when homer forgot to put chlorine in the backyard pool.

now back to the leftovers...

now that's something

i sent some 'anything' to thorzul for this 'something' - a 2011 topps update rod barajas cognac parallel
fortunately for me, thorzul also included more something - this clayton kershaw cognac parallel
i had asked for it, but was beaten to the punch by night owl.  i guess thorzul forgot and sent it to me instead.  he and night owl have worked it out, so i don't feel bad, except that i should probably send some more 'anything' to thorzul.  i'm not sure what i'll send, but i am sure i'll think of 'something'.

24 November 2011

more 1978 topps through the mail successes to be thankful for

i am thankful for many things, and in the narrow slice of my life that is this hobby, i am thankful for through the mail successes.  in particular, i am thankful for dodger and 1978 topps successes.  here are a number of the latter that i have received in recent months.

we'll start with hall-of-famer phil niekro, who signed (and inscribed) his base card
as well as his league leader card.
i sent phil $20 to cover his fee.  it's hard to imagine a knuckleballer leading the league in strikeouts, but he did.  he also led the league in wild pitches.  the strikeouts weren't a fluke, though.  niekro bested jr richard for the 1977 title by almost 50 strikeouts, and finished 2nd to richard by about the same margin in 1978. 
here's wayne garrett, a guy that niekro struck out 9 times (and walked 10 times), although that's not a 1978 topps card
it's garrett's o-pee-chee card.  i already had a topps card signed by garrett but found this extra opc card and figured what the heck.

back to topps, here's matt alexander
alexander played in the bigs over parts of 9 seasons.  in four of those seasons, he got exactly 1 hit.  in another, he had no hits, although to be fair, he didn't have a plate appearance that year.  he had seasons where he was 1 for 5, 1 for 10, 1 for 30 (!), and 1 for 3.  1978 was his 'at-batless' year, and he spent it in pittsburgh as a pinch runner for the pirates.
billy almon
sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.  that's what billy almon used to make me think of as a kid.  you know, almon(d) joy's got nuts, mounds don't.  i later learned that he was a number one pick overall.
ray burris was a 17th round pick who i remember as an expo
that's because he pitched against the dodgers in the 1981 nlcs.  burris is currently a minor league pitching coach.  i sent $5 for his autograph as he had requested.  apparently his son is serving in afghanistan and burris is sending care packages to help the troops and the locals.  thank you ray!
here's chris chambliss
i a turnaround of my wayne garrett experience, i had an o-pee-chee card signed by chambliss, but not a topps card.  the seattle mariners hitting coach came through for me a second time, and i appreciate it.
here's larry christenson
i enjoy the mlb network.  i don't watch it too much, but i know it's always there for me if the mood strikes.  the other day, they were counting down the top 40 uniforms, and they got to the phillies' all maroon outfits.  they were pretty garish, and apparently panned by all.  anyway, from that show i learned that larry christenson was the starting pitcher the one and only time that those uniforms were worn.
here are a couple of double-ds from the red sox - denny doyle
and dick drago
drago was a red sox double dipper, having spent some time with the angels in between stints with the red sox.  he also served up home run number 755 to henry aaron.
johnny grubb hit career home run number 30 off of drago
he finished his career with 99 round trippers.

larry gura got personal with his autograph
gura charges $2, i think.  i was happy to pay it. gura was one of the better pitchers in the al from about 1978 through 1982.  unfortunately, the royals released him early in the 1985 season, so he missed out on their world championship.
here's another lefty, john hiller
hiller was a lifelong tiger, which is nice.  his story is pretty crazy, though, as he suffered a heart attack when he was 28 (1971) and was released by the team.  they brought him back to pitch batting practice and eventually added him to their roster in 1972.  he pitched well in the alcs that year, and then in 1973, he was the comeback player of the year with 38 saves and 4th place finishes in both the cy young and mvp voting.
jim kern also has a 4th place cy young finish to his credit, although it came with the rangers and not the indians
someday i will do a year-by-year jim kern card retrospective.  it gets pretty hairy.
here's another phillie, randy lerch
lerch pitched in the 1978 nlcs against the dodgers (and lost) but is perhaps best remembered for hitting 2 home runs in the game that clinched the nl east for the phillies that year.  he hit 3 of his 4 career home runs that season.
milt may went the light ballpoint route with his signature
but i am still thankful.  may was apparently going to replace roberto clemente in the pirates' lineup in 1973 with regular catcher manny sanguillen moving to right field, but the pirates wound up sticking with sanguillen behind the plate and may was back to backing up. he later went on to become the regular backstop for the astros, tigers and giants.
hey - here's a 4-in-1 card, although it's signed just by one player, nationals' pitching coach steve mccatty
yes, this card was touched by the guy who is coaching stephen strasburg!  mccatty played billy ball very well.  in 1982, he finished second in the cy young voting after winning 14 games to lead the league in the strike shortened season.  of course, he also had 16 complete games that year, and then pitched another one in the alds against the royals.  as for the other guys, i just know that i will always remember tom hume as one of the people rescued from the top of the mgm casino in vegas when it caught fire in 1980.

here's another 4-in-1, this time signed by lance parrish
i got this signed before parrish started charging for autographs.  i think ernie whitt signs through the mail, but i doubt i will risk it.  parrish almost played for the dodgers, but i was not able to get his lone dodger release signed.
dave tomlin didn't play for the dodgers, either.
but he was 2-0 against them in 26 career games. 

tom veryzer signed his card
and i lament the fact that i did not have an extra 1978 o-pee-chee card for him to sign - it's a nice team and text variation.
gary wheelock
made 17 of his 20 career appearances in 1977.  he pitched in 2 games in 1976 and 1 in 1980 and that was it.  i have a soft spot for gary as he was an anteater like me at uci.  zot!
rick wise signed his card for me in exchange for $5
actually, it was $2.50 because he added a copy of his 1976 topps card when he returned my '78.  wise had some good seasons for the phillies, cardinals and red sox in the late 1960's through the mid 1970's.  unfortunately for him, he went to cleveland in 1978 and lost 19 games.  like randy lerch, wise once hit two home runs in a game; it happened to be the same game in which he threw a no-hitter.
it looks like johnny wockenfuss
goes by john b. wockenfuss these days.  wockenfuss spent 10 years with the tigers only to be traded away on the eve of their historic 1984 season.  of course, without that trade, it is unlikely the tigers would have done as well, as detroit obtained cy young and mvp winner willie/guillermo hernandez in exchange for wockenfuss.
last, but not least, here's jim wohlford
wohlford's card is classic 1978 topps with yankee stadium as a backdrop.  wohlford always struck me as a guy whose head was too big for his body.  that assertion was based solely on this card.  i have no real idea about his cranial proportions.

thanks to all the former players who took (and take) the time to sign.  it is greatly appreciated.

happy thanksgiving!

23 November 2011

1975 topps dodger 1978 topps dodgers

here are the dodgers that were dodgers on their 1975 topps cards and then went on to be dodgers on their 1978 topps cards.  make sense?  we'll start with the penguin, ron cey
looking good in dodger stadium and with his all-star star on the card.  cey was voted to start at third base for the national league again in 1975, going 1 for 3 in the game.  on the season, he hit .283 with 25 home runs and he drove in over 100 runs for the first time in his career.  he hit 2 home runs in 2 straight games in august, after having a walk-off job earlier in the month.

here's the garv
like cey, garvey gets the all-star star for the first time in his career, having been the write-in starter for the nl at first base in the 1974 midsummer classic.  garvey also got two other cards in the 1975 set, one by way of his winning the 1974 national league mvp award
and another thanks to a double in the nlcs against the pirates
garvey was the starter for the nl in the 1975 all-star game as well, and he was 2 for 3 with a solo home run in the contest.  he lost out in the game's mvp voting to the combo of bill madlock, who hit a 2-run go-ahead single in the 9th, and jon matlack who pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win.  in the regular season, garvey started his consecutive games streak, had 210 hits, a .319 average and won his second straight gold glove.  his 18th and final home run of the season was a walk-off job against jr richard and the astros, in a rare dodger victory against the astros' right-hander.

knuckleballer charlie hough looks good in dodger stadium on his 1975 card
he was saddled with more losses (7) than wins (3) but had a good era of 2.95 in 38 games.  he also managed 4 saves.  hough allowed only 3 home runs, two of which were to the astros' cliff johnson.

tommy john got a card in the 1975 set
but didn't appear in any games that year, as he was rehabbing from ligament replacement surgery.

lee lacy played in 1975
and he played well.  he spent time at second, short, and all three outfield positions.  he posted a .314 average over 101 games and even hit the first 7 home runs of his career.  after the season, lacy would become the first 1978 topps dodger to leave the dodgers as he was traded to the braves in the dusty baker deal.  obviously, he would return.

here's dave lopes
lopes scored 108 runs and stole a league-leading 77 bases in 1975.  that's cool because it guaranteed lopes a second card in the 1976 set. he also set a record by stealing 32 consecutive bases (he later extended the streak to 38), which would also be good for another card in the 1976 set.  
manny mota won't get a second card in a topps set until 1980.  here's his 1975 card
mota hit .265 in 52 games in 1975.  of course, most of his plate appearances came as a pinch hitter, 49 of 59 to be exact.  mota was 10 for 40 in that role, with 4 walks, 3 sacrifices, and 2 at bats in which he was hit by a pitch.
i am pretty sure mota pinch hit for doug rau at some point
nice to see those holman field bleachers, by the way.  rau had one of his best seasons in 1975.  he was 15-9 with a 3.11 era and 1.12 whip.  he pitched a career high 257.2 innings and struck out a career hit 151 batters.  rau also had a couple of 3-hitters and a 2-hit shutout on the season.

rick rhoden made his first appearance in a topps set in 1975
rhoden pitched in 4 games in 1974, winning his only decision.  in 1975, he made 11 starts and 15 relief appearances, posting a record of 3-3 along the way.  he pitched his first career complete game against the reds in september, beating them 5-2.
bill russell missed a good chunk of the 1975 season due to injury
he played in just over half of the dodgers' games, and hit only .206. 

don sutton made 35 starts in 1975
he lowered his era by a third of a run to 2.87, but his record didn't improve in a corresponding fashion - he went 16-13 after his 19-9 1974 season.  still, sutton's 1.04 whip led the league, and he finished in the top 5 in the cy young award voting for the 4th straight season.  his season included a string of 6 straight complete games, including games in which he struck out 10 and 11 batters.  prior to that streak, he also threw back-to-back complete games, one of which was a one-hitter against the reds.  the only hit in that game was a 7th inning johnny bench home run. 
steve yeager started 130 games for the dodgers at catcher in 1975
he hit .228 with 12 home runs and had over 100 hits for the only time in his career. 

so, the past couple of posts have given us the 1978 topps dodgers, as they were in 1975.

here's the evolutionary tally so far:

23/27 members of the 1978 topps dodgers featured by topps in 1975

total appearances:

baker 5 (1971-1975)
cey 4 (1972-1975)
davalillo 12 (1963-1974)
forster 4 (1972-1975)
garman 4 (1971-1973, 1975)
garvey 5 (1971-1975)
goodson 3 (1973-1975)
grote 12 (1964-1975)
hooton 4 (1972-1975)
hough 4 (1972-1975)
john 12 (1964-1975)
lacy 3 (1973-1975)
lasorda 3 (1954, 1973-1974)
lopes 3 (1973-1975)
martinez 5 (1971-1975)
monday 9 (1967-1975)
mota 13 (1963-1975)
oates 4 (1972-1975)
rau 3 (1973-1975)
rhoden 1 (1975)
russell 6 (1970-1975)
smith 9 (1967-1975)
sosa 2 (1974-1975)
sutton 10 (1966-1975)
yeager 3 (1973-1975)

teams represented so far:

16 (dodgers, indians, colt .45's, pirates, white sox, astros, mets, a's, red sox, angels, expos, cardinals, braves, cubs, orioles, giants)