That '70s Card

Cards of the 1970s. Groovy baby!

Draft Day

The Houston Texas made Jadeveon Clowney the latest #1 overall pick of the NFL Draft.

Fact: The NFL Draft has been going on since 1936, predating Major League Baseball by nearly 30 years. NFL.com has a comprehensive draft history available.

Question: Who was the first overall pick of the 1970′s?
Hint: He’s still well-known today, and has over-exposed at times.

Despite a rocky rookie season where he completed only 38.1% of his passes, throwing 6 TDs and 24 INT; he went on to win 4 Super Bowls and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Terry Bradshaw was drafted out of Louisiana Tech, where he initially played behind Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw rookie card

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw rookie card

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw rookie card

1971 Topps Terry Bradshaw rookie card

posted by admin in 1971,Football and have No Comments

Phenoms

The Rookie Card craze didn’t hit really reach critical mass until card collecting became en vogue in the 1980s, really reaching its pinnacle with the 1987 monster rookie card class of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Will Clark, Barry Larkin, Greg Maddux, Jose Canseco, Bo Jackson, and Rafael Palmeiro. The sheen of this rookie class led collectors and speculators to stock up on rookie cards of Gregg Jefferies, Kevin Seitzer, Kevin Maas, Phil Plantier in coming years.

Collectors were aware of rookie cards and collected them before the 1980s. Phenoms existed well before FernandoMania in 1981, going back to the 1960s with Marv Throneberry and Tony Conigliaro. The 1970s were highlighted by meteoric debuts of players who went on to have useful, albeit more anonymous careers.

1970 Topps Vida Blue RC

1970 Topps Vida Blue RC

Vida Blue started a handful of games in 1969 and 1970, exhausting his rookie eligibility with decent numbers in these abbreviated campaigns. His 6 starts in 1970 (20 hits allowed in 38.2 innings) provided some foreshadowing of what was to come in 1971. Blue started 39 games that season, going 24-8 with 301 strikeouts in 312 innings on the way to a sparkling 1.82 ERA. He swept the American League Cy Young and MVP Awards in his first full season.

He fell to 6-10 the following season, then rebounded to another 20-win season in 1973, and had another in 1975. In total he compiled an impressive 209 victories in a 17-season career. He battled drug addiction and pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase cocaine following the 1983 season. He is involved with several charities and currently works as a baseball analyst for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

1975 Topps Fred Lynn Rookie

1975 Topps Fred Lynn Rookie

Fred Lynn accomplished the unthinkable in 1975, batting .331 with 21 homers and 105 RBI as a rookie on his way to collecting both AL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. His Red Sox captured the pennant before falling to the Big Red Machine in an epic World Series. He bettered those numbers in 1979, slugging .333 with 39 homers and 122 homers, finishing 4th in the MVP balloting to Don Baylor, Ken Singleton, and George Brett despite finishing with superior numbers to that group. His numbers collapsed after that, partly due to injuries suffered from crashing into outfield walls and breaking up double plays, and he was traded to the Angels, where he put up solid, if unspectacular stats  for 4 years before winding down his career with the Orioles, Tigers, and Padres.

In 1983, he hit the only grand slam in All-Star Game history. He finished his illustrious career with 306 career home runs, 1111 RBIs, and 1960 hits.

1977 Topps Mark Fidrych rookie card

1977 Topps Mark Fidrych rookie card

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych became a national sensation the following year, coming out of nowhere to post a 19-9 record with a 2.34 ERA for the Detroit Tigers, all while capturing America’s imagination with his antics of manicuring the mound, talking to the baseball, and throwing out baseballs that still had hits in them. He captured the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting. He published an autobiography following the 1976 season entitled “No Big Deal”. He signed a three-year contract worth $255,000 and appeared in Aqua Velva TV commercials.

Fidrych tore knee cartilage during spring training in 1977, and was never the same. He then tore his rotator cuff early that season, and only pitched in 11 games that year. It was already the beginning of the end for Big Bird – he would only pitch in 16 games over the following 3 seasons before retiring after the 1980 season with a career 29-19 record.

Fidrych’s star burned perhaps the brightest of any young star in the 1970s, but like Conigliaro he became a tragic baseball figure – a brilliant career, and life, cut short. Fidrych died April 13, 2009 at the age of 54 while working on a dump truck at his home in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

posted by admin in 1970,1971,1975,1976,1977,Baseball,Uncategorized and have No Comments

Manning Face

Though they’ve had plenty of success (a combined 3 Super Bowl rings), Peyton and Eli Manning tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves, especially when things don’t go their way.

Eli Manning was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, and his chagrin is evident as he wanted to play in the spotlight for the New York Giants.

Sad Eli is drafted by the Chargers

Sad Eli is drafted by the Chargers

Even though Eli got his wish to play with the Giants, his sadness often still comes through.

Eli Manning is still sad

Eli Manning is still sad

There are thousands of photographs of Sad Eli Manning.

Despite rewriting the NFL record book for quarterbacks, Peyton is often disgruntled as well, as shown in this YouTube video:

The Manning Face is so popular, there’s even a website devoted to it: ManningFace.com

Manning Face isn’t just isolated to the brothers Manning, it goes back to their father, Archie Manning. I’d argue that Archie had more to be sad about, playing for some truly awful teams (his career win-loss record stands at 35-101-3). Perhaps Archie’s environment hardwired his DNA.

Sad Archie Manning

Sad Archie Manning

posted by admin in 1976,Football and have No Comments

The Joe Garagiola/Bazooka Bubble Gum Blowing Contest

I grew up in the 1970′s listening to Joe Garagiola on the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week on NBC (after watching This Week in Baseball and The Baseball Bunch). Apparently, Joe also had another show entitled “The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola”. In one such episode, which aired before Game 3 of the 1975 World Series, Joe teamed up with Bazooka Bubble Gum to have a bubble-gum blowing contest with one delegate from each MLB team (the Tigers and Pirates did not participate). Kurt Bevacqua, an infielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, blew an 18 1/4″ bubble, claimed the championship and a $1000 prize over 21 other contenders, and was immortalized on 1976 Topps card #564. Among the other contestants were 4 future Hall of Famers – Gary Carter, Johnny Bench, Bert Blyleven, and Johnny Bench.

1976 Topps Bubble Gum Blowing Champ Kurt Bevacqua

1976 Topps Bubble Gum Blowing Champ Kurt Bevacqua

1976 Topps Bubble Gum Blowing Contest results

1976 Topps Bubble Gum Blowing Contest results

By viewing the videos below, it appears mustaches were not an impediment to blowing bubbles.

posted by admin in 1976,Baseball and have No Comments

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.[1][2][3] Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally. [Source: Wikipedia]

While sports in Canada is dominated by hockey, eh, it has made contributions in other sports as well. During the era of the 1970′s, Major League Baseball fielded the Montreal Expos and, starting in 1977 the expansion Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto Blue JaysMontreal Expos

To date, Canada has produced exactly one Hall-of-Famer in the sport of baseball. Fergie Jenkins notched 284 career wins, hurling mostly for bad Cubs, Rangers, Phillies, and Red Sox squads. The 1970′s comprised the majority of Jenkins’ career. Other Canadian stars include Larry Walker, Jason Bay, and Justin Morneau.

1975 Topps Fergie Jenkins back 1975 Topps Fergie Jenkins front

For pro football, our neighbor to the north has contributed Bronko Nagurski, Mark Rypien, and kickers Eddie Murray, Mike Vanderjagt, and Steve Christie. With the popularity of the Canadian Football League, the National Football League hasn’t had a Canadian franchise, although Toronto has hosted Buffalo Bills games before.

Things get a little more sparse for basketball, with Canada just producing 19 professional hoopers to date, led by Rick Fox, Jamaal Magloire, and Bill Wennington. The Toronto Raptors are a National Basketball Association franchise, and the Memphis Grizzlies called Vancouver their home before they moved south.

posted by admin in 1975,Baseball,Basketball,Football and have No Comments

Happy Birthday, Home Run King!

Today, we wish the rightful home run king, Hank Aaron, a Happy 79th birthday!

1973 Topps Hank Aaron

1973 Topps Hank Aaron


1973 Topps Hank Aaron #100 back

1973 Topps Hank Aaron #100 back

Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record with blast #715 on April 8, 1974. (Babe Ruth’s birthday is tomorrow, February 6.)

Just be sure to not invite Sparky Lyle to your party.

 

posted by admin in 1973 and have No Comments

Ted Cox, Red Sox

Dr. Seuss was a prolific children’s book writer. Is it possible he dabbled in baseball cards as well?

What happens when you combine “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” with “Fox in Socks”?

Fox in Socks One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish+

Ted Cox, Red Sox

Ted Cox, Red Sox

Ted Cox (no known relation to Fred Cox) was a first round pick by the Carmine Hose in 1973. He hit .362 in his cup of coffee with the Sox in 1977, before being packaged up in the trade that brought Dennis Eckersley to Beantown from the Cleveland Indians. He also played for the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays in the early years of those expansion franchises, although his name never quite had the same ring after leaving Bahston. Cox currently works with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association in raising money for worthy causes and charities.

posted by admin in 1978,Baseball and have No Comments

Good night, Enzo Hernandez…

Former San Diego Padres shortstop Enzo Hernandez has died in an apparent suicide. Enzo’s last cardboard appearance was in 1977, the year I started collecting trading cards. He was one of my favorites, despite the fact that he made Mark Belanger look rather Herculean offensively. Hernandez owns one of the most fascinating, but obscure, stat lines in baseball. In his rookie year of 1971, Hernandez accumulated 549 at-bats, yet knocked in only 12 runs. His slash line of .222-0-12 earned him the dubious distinction of “Triple Crown loser” – finishing last among batting qualifiers in all three triple crown categories.

1972 Topps Enzo Hernandez

1972 Topps Enzo Hernandez

1972 Topps Enzo Hernandez

1972 Topps Enzo Hernandez

To prove just how impossible this feat was, the next year he accumulated 220 fewer at-bats, had a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, and still knocked in 15 runs, a 25% increase over 1971.

Hernandez throughout his big league career did prove to be a better hitter (.224 career batting average) than Mario Mendoza (.215), of the fabled “Mendoza Line”.

posted by admin in 1972,Baseball and have No Comments

Balko Tuzmon – Topps Mystery Man of the Cloth

My first year of card collecting was 1977, and though I was a Twins fan growing up in rural Minnesota, the Reds were well-liked by almost everyone. The Big Red Machine was in full gear, having won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Davey Concepcion, Cesar Geronimo – even their names were cool (we’d shout “Geronimo!” as we’d jump off the jungle gym).

One name I didn’t remember was Balko Tuzmon. He’s simultaneously famous and completely unknown. Who is he? Try a Google Search for ‘Balko Tuzmon’. Nothing directly correlates, although this blog post may show at the top soon. Try ‘Balko 1977 topps cloth‘. Still nothing.

Balko Tuzmon - 1977 Topps Cloth Stickers wrapper

Balko Tuzmon – 1977 Topps Cloth Stickers wrapper

There he is. Let’s take a closer look.

Balko Tuzmon - Man of Mystery

Balko Tuzmon – Man of Mystery

A man who graced a product line widely collected by kids and men, yet is completely unknown to digital history.

I came across Balko when I won an Ebay auction for an 8-card lot of 1977 Topps Cloth Stickers – I’ve been picking up pieces of the set lately, especially spurred on by the inclusion of the 1977 Topps Cloth inspired insert set in 2012 Topps Archives. The package arrived today, and included with the 8 cards was a wrapper, plus a 1975 Topps Steve Garvey and a 1960 Topps Glen Hobbie – an excellent job by seller robpitz55who shipped the lot with the extras in a lightning-quick manner from the waterlogged East Coast, and earned his first feedback point.

1977 Topps Cloth Sticker lot

1977 Topps Cloth Sticker lot

Balko does bear an uncanny resemblance to Reds backstop Johnny Bench, who is featured in this set. On the wrapper, the sticker is peeled away to mask the position, and the pose doesn’t match that of Bench’s, but the facial features are similar.

Johnny Bench 1977 Topps Cloth Sticker

Johnny Bench 1977 Topps Cloth Sticker

Perhaps he is to Bench as Bizarro is to Superman, an imperfect duplicate created by his nemesis. It’s time we reveal the secret of this Mystery Man of the Cloth.

posted by admin in 1977,Baseball,Purchases and have No Comments

Remembering the Whalers

Growing up in the 1970s in southwestern Minnesota, there was a clear hierarchy of sports: 1. Baseball 2. Football 3. Basketball 4. Hockey – and there was a large gap between 2 and 3. It was a real oddity (probably an ordering mistake) to find basketball or hockey cards anywhere (Woolworths, grocery stores, or Shopko stores). I do recall having a handful of 1979-80 hockey cards however, including a card of a grandfather, Gordie Howe, whose son Mark was also played on his team, the Hartford Whalers.

1979-80 Topps Gordie Howe

1979-80 Topps Gordie Howe

It was definitely unusual having a 51-year-old playing a sport, especially a contact sport such as hockey. Of course, Gordie Howe was a long-time National Hockey League legend who played for six years in the upstart World Hockey Association for the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers. When the Whalers merged into the NHL, Howe came along and played for another season, even setting a career high for games played with 80.

The Whalers began as a franchise November 1971 in Boston as the New England Whalers. They relocated to Hartford, Connecticut in 1975 due to scheduling conflicts with the Boston Bruins. Despite their tremendous popularity in Hartford, the franchise moved to North Carolina in 1997 and became the Carolina Hurricanes. Whaler nostalgia still runs deep, and “Brass Bonanza” is still the league’s most recognizable fight song. The old Hartford Whaler logo is creative, with the green “W” and blue whale tail forming a hidden “H”.

posted by admin in 1979,Hockey and have No Comments