Sunday, April 6, 2014

484 - Ernie McAnally

About This Player
Ernie McAnally pitched in four Major League seasons with the Montreal Expos from 1971 to 1974. McAnally was drafted originally by the New York Mets in 1966, but he was selected later by the Expos in the expansion draft in 1968.

McAnally was in the Expos' starting rotation for his four seasons. His rookie season proved to be his finest with career highs in wins (11), innings pitched (177.2), and complete games (8).

In 1975, McAnally's contract was purchased by the Cleveland Indians. He spent the season in the minor leagues before retiring from the game.

About This Card
Just as the Topps cartoon states, McAnally, just like many other Major League Baseball players at the time, had jobs during the off-season.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

222 - Rob Gardner

About This Player

Rob Gardner spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues bouncing around between six different teams. Originally signed out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 1963, Gardner was selected by the New York Mets in the 1963 first-year draft. He made his big league debut in 1965 and spent two seasons with the Mets before being traded to the Chicago Cubs. He would later be traded throughout his career to the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, and Oakland A's before playing his last game for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Gardner does hold a distinction for being traded for two of the three Alou brothers throughout this career. In 1971, Gardner was traded from the Yankees along with one other player to the A's for Felipe Alou. (Gardner was traded back to the Yankees two months later.) He would be traded again from the Yankees along with a player to be named later (who would be Rich McKinney) to the A's prior to the start of the 1973 season for Matty Alou.

About This Card
Just as Gardner had bounced around different Major League clubs, he also bounced around the minors. His Topps card states that we has pitched in 10 minor league cities. Gardner will have pitched for 12 different minor league clubs by the end of his professional career.

Gardner had only spent four games with the A's in 1971; hardly enough time for a photograph in an A's uniform.

Friday, April 4, 2014

199 - Bert Blyleven

About This Player

Bert Blyleven pitched in 22 big league seasons with five different teams and two tenures with the Minnesota Twins for a total of 11 seasons. Though born in the Netherlands, Blyleven was raised in California. He was drafted by the Twins in the 3rd round of the 1969 amateur draft and made his Major League debut the following year at the age of 19.

Blyleven, known for his wicked curveball, had one of his finest seasons in 1973. He led the American League in shutouts, pitched his only 20-win season, and was named an All-Star. Blyleven also pitched the first two of his four career one-hit games that season.

Blyleven was selected to the All-Star team twice (1973 and 1985). He lead the American League three times in shutouts. He pitched on two World Series winning teams (1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1987 Minnesota Twins). Despite never having lead either league in strikeouts, Blyleven ended his career third all-time in strikeouts behind Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton. (Blyleven currently ranks fifth.)

Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.  In the same season, the Minnesota Twins retired number #28 in his honor.

About This Card
The back of his Topps card calls Blyleven "one of the finest young pitchers in the American League." More than a fine pitcher, Blyleven would go on to complete a Hall of Fame career.