Saturday, July 16, 2011

331 - Carl Morton

About This Player
Carl Morton spent eight seasons in the big leagues pitching for the Expos and Braves.  Morton was originally drafted by the Braves as an outfielder out of the University of Oklahoma and was converted to a pitcher. 

Morton was selected by the Expos in the 1969 expansion draft, made his Major League debut that year and pitched in eight games that season.  Morton made his mark as a solid starter the next season pitching to a 18-11 record with a 3.60 ERA, 10 complete games, 4 shutouts and earning National League Rookie of the Year honors.  Morton failed to reach those numbers in his following seasons with the Expos and was later traded back to the Braves for Pat Jarvis in 1973.

Morton rebounded in his first three seasons with the Braves and won at least 15 games in three consecutive seasons, including a 17-win season in 1975.  Morton regressed the following year and won only 4 games.  After the end of the 1976 season, he was included by the Braves as part of a trade to acquire Jeff Burroughs from the Rangers.  However, Morton spent the following season in the minors and never returned to the big leagues.

Morton passed away on April 12, 1983 from suffering a heart attack after jogging.

About This Card
Morton is shown in this photo with the Montreal Expos (or Les Expos de MontrĂ©al in French) logo clearly on his cap.  In the past, I had wondered what the logo was supposed to be.  According to Expos media guides, the logo is a stylized "M" for "Montreal" containing a red "e" for "Expos" and a blue "b" for "Baseball."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

164 - Monty Montgomery

About This Player
Monty Montgomery played very briefly in parts of two seasons for the Royals.  During his time in the big leagues, Montgomery pitched to a record of 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 12 appearances.

About This Card
Topps described Montgomery in 1973 as "one of Royals' brightest hopes for future stardom."  However, despite an American Association leading 7 shutouts in 1972 and very proficient numbers with the big league club, Montgomery would never pitch in the Majors again.  His pitching performances worsened in the minors the following years and Montgomery was out of professional baseball after 1974.

Monday, July 11, 2011

555 - Bill Hands

About This Player
Bill Hands enjoyed 11 years as a Major League pitcher.  Hands made his big league debut in 1965 with the Giants.  Hands was traded to the Cubs the following season and spent seven seasons with them.  Hands was traded to the Twins in 1973 and spent two seasons with Minnesota.  He was picked up from waivers by the Rangers in September 1974 and played through 1975 before retiring.

About This Card
Bill Hands appears in this card in an obvious airbrushed uniform.  Hands was traded from the Cubs to the Twins prior to the 1973 season.  Shown pitching at Wrigley Field, Hands appears with the Twins cap.  However, the stripes on the uniform look closer to a Rangers uniform than a Twins uniform.  Maybe Topps knew Hands would be picked up from waivers by the Rangers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

24 - Al Santorini

About This Player
Al Santorini enjoyed a brief six-year career with the Braves, Padres and Cardinals.  Santorini made his Major League debut with the Braves in 1968; he only started in one game and spent the rest of the year on the disabled list.  Santorini was drafted by the Padres in the expansion draft the following year.  In 1971, Santorini was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Leron Lee and Fred Norman.  Santorini pitched in his final Major League game in 1973.

Probably the biggest highlight of his career:
May 26, 1971 - Al Santorini, pitching for the Padres, started both games of the double header against the Houston Astros.  In the first game, Santorini, a right-hander, pitched to one right-handed batter to start the game.  He was relieved immediately by Dave Roberts, a left-hander, to face the next seven batters, all of whom were lefties.  In the second game, Santorini pitched solidly for six innings.  However, the Padres lost both games of the double header.

About This Card
By his look, Al Santorini must have known he would not be around much longer.  After six games and a 5.40 ERA to start off 1973, Santorini was traded to the Royals for Tom Murphy.  Santorini was immediately demoted to Triple-A and spent the rest of his playing career in the minors.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Team Checklist - Texas Rangers

About This Card
Another team checklist that I am making as part of my 1973 Topps set.  Many collectors do not include the team checklists as part of their set.  However, I feel like I am a completest.

Friday, July 1, 2011

472 - All-Time Grand Slam Leader (Lou Gehrig)

About This Player
Lou Gehrig played 17 seasons with the New York Yankees before the disease that now bears his name ended his career prematurely and led to his untimely death.  Gehrig, nicknamed the "Iron Horse" for his toughness, longevity and his then-record 2,130 consecutive game streak, was among the greatest hitters in the history of baseball.  Throughout his illustrious career, Gehrig was a six-time All-Star, two time MVP, a Triple Crown winner in 1934 and won seven World Series with the Yankees.

Gehrig played his final game on April 30, 1930.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in December of that year; only one of three players elected without the mandated waiting period.

Gehrig passed away on June 2, 1941 at the age of 38.

For more information about Lou Gehrig:
The Official Web Site of Lou Gehrig

About This Card
Lou Gehrig is listed with as the all-time leader for grand slams, a record that still holds today.  Currently Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, is now second on the list with 21 grand slams.