Sunday, May 30, 2010

489 - Jeff Burroughs

About This Player
Jeff Burroughs enjoyed 16 seasons in the Major Leagues and seven seasons with the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers organization.  Burroughs was the number one overall selection on the 1969 draft.  Burroughs enjoyed his best season in 1974 in which he hit .301 with 25 home runs a league-leading 118 RBI.  He was also selected at the starting left fielder in the All-Star Game that year and was named the American League Most Valuable Player.

Also in 1974, Burroughs would also become a key figure in Ten-Cent Beer Night.

For more information on Ten-Cent Beer Night:
The night beer and violence bubbled over in Cleveland

After his days in Texas, Burroughs would later play for the Braves (with whom he was also an All-Star), Mariners, A's and Blue Jays before retiring in 1985.

About This Card
The Jeff Burroughs card was a number of semi-star singles I needed for this set.  Prices for the semi-stars range widely, and, it seems like, depends on how many people are looking for singles in their 1973 Topps sets for that week.  This one I bought for $2 on eBay.

Monday, May 24, 2010

553 - Mickey Scott

About This Player
Mickey Scott enjoyed a five year career as a middle reliever for the Orioles, Expos and Angels.  Scott was originally drafted by the White Sox and later traded to the Orioles prior to his rookie season in 1972.

About This Card
While this card is Mickey Scott's third regular issue Topps card, he had his rookie card in 1970... two years before his Major League debut.  While it is very common today for a player to have a rookie card years before his debut, this was not common in 1970.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

231 - Bill Parsons

About This Player
Bill Parsons enjoyed quick success as a Major League pitcher followed by a quick exit.  Parsons placed second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 1971 after a stellar rookie season pitching a 13-17 record with an ERA of 3.20 and four shutouts.  Parsons experienced similar success in 1972 with a 13-13 record, 3.93 ERA and two shutouts.  However, Parson experienced a huge downturn with a 3-6 record and a 6.79 ERA in 1973.  He was traded in 1974 to the Oakland A's where he only pitched 2 innings over 4 games.

About This Card
As I go through each card in the 1973 Topps baseball set, the action photography sets itself apart further than any other Topps set from the 1970's.  While Topps started using more action photography in 1971 and 1972, the action is taken to a further degree in 1973.  I think the reason the card design is much simpler compared to other Topps sets was because Topps wanted to emphasize the photography.

In the case of this card, Parson is featured in game at the old Milwaukee County Stadium.

You may also want to follow the 1973 Topps Photography blog for another take specifically on the photography used in the set.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

436 - Jim McAndrew

About This Player
Jim McAndrew played seven seasons in the Major Leagues and six of them with the New York Mets.  Although he had spent most of his career as a spot starter, McAndrew enjoyed his best season in 1972 in which he tallied a 11-8 record with a 2.80 ERA.

One blogger, Mets Guy in Michigan, describes Jim McAndrew as being in the right place at the right time.  Although he made his debut on a bad 1968 Mets team, he did have the fortune to play in the 1969 Amazin' Mets World Series team and on the 1973 National League Championship team.

More about Jim McAndrew can be found here:
Jim McAndrew and Unforseen Opportunities

About This Card
Despite having played the entire 1973 season with the Mets and pitching for the Padres in 1974, this 1973 Topps card would be McAndrew's final regular issue card.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

128 - Ted Sizemore

About This Player
Ted Sizemore enjoyed 12 seasons in the Major Leagues and five of those with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Sizemore made his debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969 and won the National League Rookie of the Year award that same year.  While Sizemore made his debut as a shortstop, he moved to second base after the Dodgers acquired Maury Wills.  He was traded to the Cardinals in 1971 and later traded back to the Dodgers in 1976.  Sizemore also spent time with the Cubs and Red Sox before playing his last game in 1980.

About This Card
The cartoon states that "Ted was originally a catcher."  By the time of this card, Sizemore had not played any Major League games as a catcher, but he played behind the plate twice for the Dodgers in 1976 and twice again for the Red Sox in 1979.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

495 - Tommy Helms

About This Player
Tommy Helms enjoyed 14 big league seasons, including four with the Houston Astros.  Helms made his Major League debut in 1964 with the Cincinnati Reds.  Helms won the National League Rookie of the Year.  With the Reds, he was a two-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner.  Helms joined the Astros as part of a ten-player trade that sent the future Hall of Fame second baseman, Joe Morgan, to the Reds.  Helms later played with the Pirates and the Red Sox to close out his playing career.

Helms served as a coach on Pete Rose's staff when Rose was named manager of the Reds in 1984.  Helms served briefly as the Reds' manager in 1988 while Rose was serving a 30-game suspension and, again, in 1989 after Rose accepted placement on baseball's ineligible list after his accusations of gambling.

About This Card
Trying to pick out the locations of the pictures on the cards in this set is a challenge for me.  I assume the picture is at a Spring Training park somewhere.  While Spring Training ballparks have changed dramatically since 1973, the ballpark still resembles many minor league ballparks today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

318 - Jim McGlothlin

About This Player
Jim McGlothlin played nine seasons in the Major Leagues and four of them with the Cincinnati Reds.  McGlothlin began his career with the California Angels in 1965.   He enjoyed the best season of his career in 1967 with the American League lead in shutouts, including three straight shutouts and a streak of 36 scoreless innings, and an All-Star selection.  McGlothlin pitched in two World Series with the Reds in 1970 and 1972.  McGlothlin was traded in the middle of the 1973 season and pitched in his last game with the White Sox.

For more on Jim McGlothlin's third straight shutout:
The Free Lance-Star - June 8, 1967

McGlothin passed away on December 23, 1975 at the age of 32 from leukemia.

About This Card
Out of all of the designs for the 1970's Topps cards, the 1973 design is the simplest.  Simply: black outline to frame the photograph with player name, team, position and the player icon related to that position.  One of my challenges in create this blog was to develop a design in homage of the 1973 set. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

25 - Roy White

About This Player
Roy White played his entire 15 year career with the New York Yankees.  White played the majority of his games in left field.  He was selected to two All-Star games and played in three different World Series during the Yankees' run from 1976-1978.  In 1973, Roy White lead the American League in games played, plate appearances and at bats.  A proficient switch-hitter, Roy White hit home runs from both sides of the plate five times and he switch-hit triples in a game in 1970, which nobody has ever done more than once.

After retiring as a player, White remained with the Yankees as a coach in 1983-1984 and 1986 and continued working with the Yankees in some capacity through the next decade.

More information about Roy White can be found at:
Roy White Foundation

About This Card
Traditionally, Topps puts prominent stars at key numbers in the set.  The top stars will be at the 50's and 100's (such as Roberto Clemente #50 and Hank Aaron #100).  The next level of stars will be at the 25's and 75's and then at the 10's. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

359 - Cecil Upshaw

About This Player
Cecil Upshaw played in nine Major League season and seven of them with the Atlanta Braves. Upshaw established himself as the Braves' closer in 1967 and was in the top ten in the National League in saves in four seasons from 1968 through 1972. Upshaw also pitched in all three games of the 1969 NL Championship Series.

Upshaw's career was sidelined in 1970 from an unfortunate accident.  While walking along a San Diego street with this cousin and fellow Braves teammate, George Stone, Upshaw demonstrates his dunk shot on a metal awning when his ring finger gets caught between the roof and the awning.  The accident would leave Upshaw in the hospital for 62 days and he would miss the entire 1970 season.

More about the incident can be read from the link below:
Baseball Digest - July 1971 - "The Ordeal of Cecil Upshaw"

Upshaw would later be traded in the middle of the 1973 season to the Astros.  He would later play for the Indians, Yankees and White Sox before retiring in 1975.

Upshaw passed away on February 7, 1995.

About This Card
Upshaw is featured wearing the classic Braves blue cap with the white front and the lower case "a".  The Braves wore this cap from 1972 through 1980.