Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is a 1964 Topps Giants, card #7 of the Chairman of the Board Whitey Ford. This card came to me from legendary blogger and traded Wicked Ortega from the My Past Time, I Love It! Blog. The back of the card celebrates Ford winning his 10th World Series game. That event came in 1962 when Ford’s Yankees beat the Giants in 1962. He appeared in 2 more World Series with the Yankees in 1963 and ’64, but Ford was winless and the Yankees lost to the Dodgers and Cards those years. The ’64 loss to the Cards was Ford’s 11th World Series appearance. He was on the winning end 6 times out of 11. His career World Series record is 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 22 World Series starts. Thanks so much for this tall card Wicked! I love this hobby! I love this set! 46 years LATER!
It’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day time! I don’t have much time, so I grabbed a card that speaks for itself. It actually SCREAMS for itself. It is card #439 from 1972 Topps of Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams. I have been avoiding posting this card because I can’t remember which generous blogger/reader sent it to me, so if you did, let me know cuz I owe you a huge thank you. I have had this card in my stack of vintage cards lying in wait to become Nitty Gritty Cards of the Day. As I flipped through the stack this card would not be silenced. Sweet Swingin’ Billy from Whistler was a good guy, but a bad ass hitter. I really doubt that the photographer told Billy that he would be framed in day glow pink with the Cubs light up marquee style in yellow. Like I said, this card screams! Williams’ bat screamed too. In ’72 he hit 20+ homers for the 12th season in a row. He also won his first and only batting title with a .333 mark. He was an All Star and swatted 37 homers driving in 122. He finished second in the MVP vote for the second time in his career. Always the bride’s maid, never the bride… Yeah, this card rocks! I could go on, but I will never say it as well as these thousand words framed in pink. I love this game, I love this hobby! 38 years LATER!
Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #140 of Julio Navarro from 1960 Topps. It is a Sport Magazine 1960 Rookie Star Card and shows Navarro as a member of the San Francisco Giants. Of course Navarro never pitched an inning for the Giants, but he did spend 6 years in the big leagues with 3 different teams. He also had an awesome nickname and is part of a MLB legacy. There is something great about a pitcher called Whiplash. I also love father and son legacies and Whiplash is the proud papa of Jaimie Navarro. The younger Navarro didn't have a cool nickname, but he did win 116 games in the Majors and topped 15 victories 3 times including a 17-11 mark for the Brew Crew in '92. Thanks for reading, I love this game, I love it's history and I love this hobby! 50 years LATER!
This is the first time in a while that I have had the time to post twice in one day over here. I have a tiny of free time ahead on Saturday morning and I am going to try and post ahead a little bit. I also dug up some more 1961 Topps and I have acquired some 2010 Topps Heritage, so there will be some good "Old Vs. New" posts in the near, near future. For now we will settle for a quick post of the night. In today's Card of the Day I showed the National League's Strikeout Leaders for 1967. I picked the card because it showed 3 Hall of Fame pitchers lined up in a row and I pointed out some of the huge names on the back of the card who were not in the Top-10. Obviously they had reasons, but the bottom line was that none were among the test best strikeout pitchers in 1967. However in 1969, all 3 of those Hall of Fame pitchers joined one and other as the Top-3 ERA Leaders in the National League. Tonight's Nitty Gritty Card of the Night is card #67 from 1970 Topps. It shows the Top 3 ERA leaders in the National League for 1969. Juan Marichal earned the crown for lowest earned run average in the NL with a mark of 2.10. 1969 was the only year in his career that the Dominican Dandy paced the league in this category. He cracked the top-ten 7 times, but only led the league once. His career ERA of 2.89 is 132nd of All Time. Steve Carlton finished 2nd with a mark of 2.17. Lefty would pace the league in ERA in 1972 with a 1.97. He would also lead the league in wins and pick up his first Cy Young Award that year. Bob Gibson finished third, just 0.01 points behind Carlton. Gibby had led the NL with a ridiculous 1.12 mark the year prior. Fellow Hall of Famer Tom Seaver placed 4th with a 2.21 mark while Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro rounded out the top-10 at 9th and 10th respectively. Thanks for reading! I love this game, I love it's rich history and I LOVE this hobby! Oh, yes, this card is very off center top to bottom, it was miscut. It is pretty sharp otherwise. 40 years LATER!
Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #11 from 1968 Topps. This card showcases the National League's strikeout leaders from 1967. Across the front this card gives you 3 Hall of Famers. Jim Bunning (who used to be a baseball player!) led the league with 253 Ks. Fergie Jenkins placed second with 236 and Gaylord Perry was close behind with 230. The cards back shows the Top-50 pitchers in the NL in that category. There were some big name hurlers in '67 and its a little crazy that Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Juan Marichal, Phil Niekro and Bob Gibson couldn't crack the top 10 that year. I love this game, I love this hobby! 42 years LATER!
Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1967 Topps, card #390 of Jim Wynn. In ’67 the Toy Cannon was in his 5th year with the Houston organization. He was called up to the Colt 45s in their second year of existence in 1963 but became an everyday big leaguer after their name was changed to the Astros in 1965. The back of the card mentions that Wynn was sidelined with an injury in July of ’66 which ended his season early. He still led the Astros with 18 homers that year. The back of the card also mentions that Wynn was Houston’s career leader in homeruns. At that point he led the young organization with 49 homers. Now, nearly 50 years into their history as a franchise the Toy Cannon still ranks 4th All Time in homers for Houston behind 3 Killer B’s, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio. Biggio is third All Time with 291 bombs, just 68 ahead of Wynn. Over his tenure with the Astros Craig Biggio had more than twice the at-bats that Wynn had to reach that number. Even though he only spent 11 seasons in Houston he still sits in their Top-10 All Time in homeruns, on base percentage, games, at bats, total bases, hits, singles, doubles, extra base hits, runs batted in, walks, steals, intentional walks and runs. His finest season with Houston came the year that this card was printed, in 1967 when he batted .249 with 37 homers, 16 steals and 107 runs batted in. He made his first of 3 All Star appearances that year, too. Over his 15 year career he also made stops with the Dodgers, Brewers, Braves and Yankees. He was among the top 10 in the National League in homers 5 times and his 291 career blasts ranks 132nd of All Time. He also ranked in the top-10 in walks 10 times and his 1224 career free passes stands as 51st in history. Most remarkably was that he was one of the league’s most feared power hitters while standing 5’10” and weighing only 160 pounds, hence the nickname, the Toy Cannon. These things all make Jimmy Wynn receive 100% Nitty Gritty approval. 43 years LATER.
Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from the 1967 Topps set; it is card #397 of Willie Smith. At first glance this card doesn’t fit the standard Nitty Gritty criteria. I hate cards of players without hats. I am going to consider Willie a victim here and not hold it against him, though. I will assure you in advance that Mr. Smith is plenty Nitty and abundantly Gritty. I just wish the shutterbugs at Topps realized this as I do... Of the 9 standard Topps releases Willie Smith had, 4 of them he was shown without a hat. After a decent looking card in '65 they shot him bare-headed in '66. They continued that trend for 3 more years and in fact Topps used this same image on his 1967 and ’68 cards. Damn you Topps! The next year they used a capped photo, but airbrushed his hat black. In 1970 he had a hat and a bat and then in 1971 Topps took it all away and pictured him hatless again. I have shown all of these for handy reference, but the actual Card of the Day is the 1967. The reason for this is simple. I owned this card (the ’67) as a young kid in the pre-internet days and it drove me absolutely insane!!! First off, as a kid I hated hatless photos, but I loved nicknames. The back of the card referred to the late Mr. Smith as “Wonderful Willie” and that outweighed the unfortunate lack of head gear making it a welcome part of my collection. What drove me nuts about this card was that the back of the card showed Wonderful Willies career major and minor league batting statistics, but the cartoons showed him as a pitcher. The mini bio did state that Willie came to the majors as a pitcher and was converted to an outfielder, but it was more than my juvenile brain could handle. I needed to know more and the information simply wasn’t there. I didn’t get how the cartoon that said he threw 14 complete games in 1963 AND the batting stats that said he hit .380 in ’63 could both be accurate. I mean Babe Ruth was a great pitcher and hitter, but he was pretty famous. I had never heard of Willie Smith before I bought this card for a quarter. I figured a guy who hit .380 and pitched 14 complete games would be LEGEND. I didn’t really consider that those numbers came with the Syracuse Chiefs in AAA and those kinds of numbers didn’t translate into you being a household name 20 years later. Oh well. Anyway, with the power of the internet I can call up Smith’s MAJOR and MINOR league career stats. I can see right in front of me that in 7 seasons in the minors he owned a .304 career batting average to go along with a 49-27 pitching mark. His career minor league ERA was 2.93. In ’63 with the Chiefs he did bat .380 while going 1402 with a 2.11 ERA earning himself a call up to the Detroit Tigers where he pitched in 11 games. I also learned that those same Tigers traded him to the LA Angels in April of 1964 for another pitcher with a cool nickname, Julio “Whiplash” Navarro. That year with the Angels Wonderful Willie had his most wonderful season as a 25-year-old pitcher and outfielder. He played in 87 games in the outfield that year while pitching in 15. He owned a .301 batting average with 11 homers and 51 RBI and 7 steals while posting a 2.84 ERA with 20 strikeouts. Unfortunately that was the last year Wonderful Willie spent that much time on the mound. He did log 7-2/3 scoreless innings in 1968, but ’64 was the last year he really spent as a pitcher. More unfortunately it was also the last year he batted over 300. He did up his power totals in ’65-he hit 9 triples and 14 homers, but his average dropped to .261. After that he was relegated to a pinch hitting and platoon role facing mainly right handed pitchers and still not standing out statistically or appearing in more than 90 games. After being traded to the Chicago Cubs in June of ’68 for Lou Johnson he appeared in 108 games, his most since ’65, but was still mainly a pinch hitter. He did hit 19 homeruns in that role over 3 seasons and he was an important of the ’69 Cubs team that won 92 games. He was traded to the Reds after the 1970 season and played in 31 games for them hitting one homerun and appearing 10 times at first base. That would be his final year in the Majors, but he did spend two more seasons playing in Japan for the Nankai Hawks hitting 29 homers over that time. The power of the internet has allowed me to learn more about Wonderful Willie Smith, one of the last combination pitcher outfielders. I still think he deserved to be in full uniform on photo day Topps! You guys got it right in '65 but seriously dropped the ball after that... Thank you to the Rod of Padrographs for sending me this gem and reminding me to do some long overdue research! Thanks for reading. 43 years LATER.
Today's card of the day comes from 1973 Topps. It is card #370 of Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. Pops is one of my favs and I love the horizontal awesomeness of this card. Horizontal cards rule, I know this and so do you. Don't believe me, check this out. Gotta run... A Troll's gotta work for a living...
Last month my good friend and fellow blogger Wicked Ortega of the My Time... I Love It! blog sent me an absolutely amazing package filled with Rays cards, vintage, Larry Doby, Steve Carlton, Carl Crawford, minis, Clementes, Brian Roberts-basically everything I like. It had 11 autographed cards in it-I will post it someday soon and it will blow you away... Till then, here is a little teaser. I wasn't collecting in 2004 and never had the chance to rip any '04 Bowman Heritage. I really wish I had because I love that TV set design. Somehow I managed to not get any cards from this set in any trades up til now. Wicked sent me this Carl Crawford, card #78 and I couldn't resist posting it up against the real thing. Career wise there aren't many similarites between CC and Dave Pope. They are both left handed batting outfielders. That is about it. Pope swiped 7 bases over his 4 year career, Crawford has done that in 2 games, but no one is expecting the late Dave Pope to measure up against CC, its a comparison of cards, old vs. new. I think that Topps did a pretty good job at capturing the essence of this awesome set fifty years after. What do you think? Thanks so much to Wicked for this great card! I love this hobby!
Welcome! The Nitty Gritty lives!!! There is a pretty LONG post on 1965 Topps coming, but for now, here is the Nitty Gritty Card of the Day. As stated, it comes from the ’65 Topps set, card #50 of San Francisco Giants All Star pitcher Juan Marichal. The first 12 cards in this set are League Leader cards. Those are littered with stars and Hall of Famers and Marichal makes his first appearance in the set this way. He led the NL in complete games, placed 2nd in wins, 4th in ERA and 7th in strikeouts. Between card #13 and #50 there are 3 Hall of Famer cards and each one is a pitcher, Marichal being the 3rd. You can view the entire '65 Topps checklist HERE courtesy of the top 1965 Topps blog on the web.
Time constraints won’t allow a proper bio, but 1965 did turn out to be a good year for Manito. He started the All Star Game, pitched 3 innings of one-hit ball and was named the game’s MVP. It was his first start (of 2) and 5th selection overall (out of 10). His career All Star stats look like this: 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA. He struck out 12 batters, yielded 7 hits and allowed one run in 8 AS appearances. For his complete pitching stats-All Star, regular and postseason-click HERE. For now, just enjoy this 45 year old beauty. The back of the card props Marichal’s 1963 no-hitter against the Colt 45s on June 15, 1963. The cartoon is PERFECT! That would be the only no-hitter in Marichal’s Hall of Fame career, but two weeks later he pitched an 8-hitter that was even more legendary. Facing Warren Spahn and the Braves in a true Ace versus Ace matchup Marichal and Spahn dueled and each shut down the opposition to a mind-boggling degree. The game lasted 16 innings before the first run crossed the plate. Marichal took the hard earned win after Willie Mays hit a game ending solo homer in the 16th inning to give the Giants a 1-0 victory. Facing Marichal Hank Aaron was 0-6 on the day. The 15,000+ fans at Candlestick Park REALLY got their money’s worth that day. Until the next card, 45 years LATER.
I still haven’t been able to rip any 2010 Heritage, which is strange for me because it is my favorite and most anticipated release of the year every year. A few cards have trickled into me from kind readers and I finally got one that I had a match for 1961. Welcome to the Nitty Gritty Old vs. New Cards of the Day! Topps did a pretty darn good of replicating this one. The design is identical front and back. The main difference is (duh) the subject. Danny Murtaugh looks like a stern leader, like someone you would follow into war because he told you to. He looks like a man you don’t want to cross. He died before I was born and I am still scared of the man… This little photo from 50 years ago captures Murtaugh how he was-a leader. He wasn’t buddies with his players, but he knew how to handle them and he won games. He laid down the expectations and you either followed or you played for someone else. His players listened because he knew what he was doing. The dude won over 1,000 games-1,115 to be exact. That was against only 950 losses, good for a .540 winning percentage. He led the Pirates to 2 Worlds Championships and in the 15 seasons he spent at the helm in Pittsburgh the Bucs won more than 90 games 5 times. His teams had stars-he managed Clemente, Stargell and Mazeroski, but the teams weren’t filled with stars. He got the most out of all of his players and made good decisions and had high expectations of his players. I was downright pissed off when he was denied to the Hall of Fame again last year. I make cases for a lot of players to be considered, but Murtaugh is a Hall of Fame manager, case closed. He wasn’t too shabby as a player either. He was a little, tough and gritty infielder. He was a slap hitter with no power and a little bit of speed. He led the NL in steals as a rookie in 1941 with 19. That isn’t exactly a Rickey Henderson total, but it was a dead ball and dead base path era. It was particularly impressive because he paced the league while only playing in 83 games that year. He spent the early part of the season with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League. The Buffaloes were a Cardinals affiliate and the Cards were the organization he originally signed with in 1937, but in June of ’41 the Philadelphia Phillies purchased his contract and brought him up to the big leagues. He spent his first 4 seasons in Philadelphia, spent a year with the Boston Braves and was in Pittsburgh for his final 4 years. His best year offensively came with the Pirates in 1948.He batted .290 and drove in 71 runs for the Bucs while only hitting one homerun. He also stole 10 bases and had 21 doubles and 5 triples. He scored 56 times and most of those runs were scored ahead of Ralph Kiner homeruns. He and shortstop Stan Rojek were among the best double play combos in baseball and Murtaugh learned the art of baseball from his manager Billy Meyer. Murtaugh watched second base in Pittsburgh for 4 seasons before Bill Mazeroski took the job over. Before I switch gears to John Russell I will state once more that Danny Murtaugh belongs in the Hall of Fame. Now Mr. Russell. Whereas Danny Murtaugh looks like he could have been your high school principal, Russell looks like your happy go lucky homeroom teacher. His look doesn’t demand or command respect. He looks respectable, but not intimidating. A nice guy that you don’t mind following… With the level of talent that currently lives in Pittsburgh I don’t think that Murtaugh’s approach would work anyway. I like the Pirates and I like John Russell as their skipper. His Bucs burst out of the gate this season and took all of baseball by surprise; I really hope he can keep it up. I am not expecting them to be contenders, but I would be THRILLED with a .500 finish. It could happen. Since this is Old VS. New I suppose I should declare a winner. That would be Danny Murtaugh. That isn't a knock against John Russell, I like the dude. He isn't in a great position. He is a company man though. I don't think that Danny Murtaugh would have stood for what the Pirates execs have done to the team over the last decade. Plus, vintage ALWAYS wins. Thanks for reading, 50 years LATER.
There is about 9 hours left to vote for the Greatest Catcher of All Time... I have a bunch of catcher cards I planned on posting, but time flies... I will leave you with this one of arguably the greatest slugger of all time, Hall of Famer Josh Gibson. This is card #23 in the 1986 Larry Fritsch Negro League Baseball Stars set. Gibson appears in this set several times. All of these cards came to me from Rod at Padrographs. I finally got them all into a binder and I will have a want list posted for this set soon. Don't forget to vote!
Tonight's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day or night is from the 1960 Topps set, card #108 of Kansas City Athletics catcher Pete Daley. Daley was traded to KC from Boston in December of 1959 for pitcher Tom Sturdivant. Topps didn't remove or airbrush the B for Boston off of his hat, but on the side picture there is something crudely close to an A drawn on to his hat. Daley played just one year in Kansas City and batted .263 while platooning with Harry Chiti. After the 1960 season he was selected by Washington in the expansion draft. He played for the new Senators in 1961, backing up Gene Green, but he hit below the Mendoza Line and spent 1962 in AAA. All totalled his career lasted from 1955 till 1961 spending his first 5 years in Boston. He batted .239 with 18 homers and 120 RBI over his career. There is just one more day to vote on this blog for the best catcher of all time. The vote for top shortstop is held HERE and the best second baseman ever can be voted on HERE. 50 years LATER!
Notice I didn't say Nitty Gritty... This card is just Nitty. It isn't vintage and almost doesn't belong on this blog. It is still the card of the early morning because this is catcher's week and I am working far more than I am sleeping. I have been on a search for cards of catcher's wearing masks since I was re-introduced to this post that the Night Owl did in April of 2009 on the subject of cards of catchers wearing masks. Check it out HERE. It took a little bit of searching, but it turns out my flash drive had one card he hadn't listed. This card comes from 1996 Fleer Ultra, card #533 of my favorite All Star, surfboarding, base stealing, Californian catcher. The front of the card shows the mask on his helmet, but the back shows the mask in use. Sweet. That is all, must get back to work. Please vote on the poll while you are here. 14 years LATER.
Sorry I never posted the third Card of the Day last night… I tried, but I was just TOO TIRED. I have got 4 hours of sleep and I am super energized, SO here is the Nitty Gritty Card of the Day. It comes from the 1965 Topps set, card #61 of ORIGINAL New York Mets catcher Chris Cannizzaro. I was hoping to find another catcher wearing a mask, but those aren’t easy to find, if you want more of them, check out this link to a Night Owl post from April 2009 that covers all the mask action you could ever ask for…The back of the card has a cartoon wearing a mask, so that helps. The cartoon celebrates Cannizzarro being an American Association All Star in 1959. 10 years later he was a National League All Star (but didn’t play) for the San Diego Padres in 1969. Cannizzaro led the ’64 Mets with a .311 batting average in 60 games. From 1962 to 1965 with the Mets he only allowed 61 stolen bases (in 249 games) gunning down 56% of would be stealers. He spent the entire seasons of 1966-1967 in AAA, but returned to the majors with the Pirates in 1968. He was traded to the expansion San Diego Padres before the 1969 season and represented them as an All Star. The Padres only won 52 games and didn’t have many bright spots, CC was a veteran leader who knew all about being on a horrible expansion team. He caught the majority of their games and handled a pitching staff of future stars like Joe Niekro and aging veterans like Johnny Podres. From there he spent time as a part time catcher with the Cubs and the Dodgers, but returned to San Diego for his final season in the big leagues in 1974. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to vote for the greatest catcher of ALL TIME. 45 years LATER.
Today’s second Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from the 1979 Topps set. It is card #226 of Cleveland Indians catcher Ron Pruitt. I was a bit unsure about going with such a new card, but even though I had many cards of catchers from the 1960s, you can’t tell they are catchers from the hatless headshots on the front of the card. I went into the closet and dusted off the 1979 Topps binder in search of a catcher in full gear. I will admit that my ’79 set is far from complete-I think I still need at least 100 cards to finish it off, but I searched the entire binder and this is the only card I have from 1979 showing someone with a face mask on. In the case of this card, that is all that it shows… It does have a Nitty Gritty look to it though and it does stand to remind everyone to vote on the poll for greatest catcher ever. Ron Pruitt isn’t on the list. Although he is the guy I have seen wearing a mask in the 1979 set he only started 3 ballgames behind the plate that year. Over his 9 year career he was the starting catcher 48 times for a total of 4 different teams. He spent 6 seasons in Cleveland and had his best year in games (78), RBI (32) and average (.288) in 1977. His best homerun total came in ’78 with 6 of them for the Indians. This will not be the final card posted here today. It might be the last guy in a mask, but not the last card. 31 years LATER!
In keeping with the theme of showing nothing but catchers for the next seven days, today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is of 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey. The card I chose is from the 1974 Topps set, card #569, showing Dempsey as a young back-up backstop with the New York Yankees. I am a casual Baltimore Orioles fan and I have met Dempsey a few times before, I have even had the privilege of interviewing him when he was a coach with Baltimore. Like most people I loved his rain delay theatre and I remember his heroics in the ’83 World Series when he homered off of Charles Hudson in the 5th and final game of the Series which Baltimore won 5-0. I was aware of all of those things, but it turns out there was a lot I didn’t know about Rick Dempsey and most of it I learned from this very card. First off I had no idea that he played for the Yankees. He did, this card proves it. He was drafted by the Twins in 1967 and then traded to New York for Danny Walton in 1972. Of course the Yankees had an All Star catcher already in Thurman Munson which made getting at-bats difficult for a guy like Dempsey who was behind the plate than at it. He only started 25 games in 1974 and in ’75 only started 12 games behind the plate. In June of ’76 the Yankees sent him to Baltimore in big trade that also brought the Orioles Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor and Rudy May. I think that Orioles fans owe the Yankees a thank you for that deal! Another thing I learned was that Rick is not his real name. I had assumed that, but thought his name might be Richard. It is actually John. His full name is John Rikard Dempsey. I had learned (not from this card) recently that Dempsey was the uncle of former Orioles (and Rays!) catcher Greg Zaunn. I thought that was really interesting, but more interesting was that the back of the card told me that Rick Dempsey is a relative of former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Baseball cards rule! There are more nuggets of info here, but you can read them yourselves. Another thing I learned (not from this card) was that Dempsey was a member of the 1988 World Champion Dodgers team and he also pitched in 2 games for the Brewers, making his MLB pitching debut at age 41. He owns a 4.50 ERA, he faced 10 batters over 2 innings and allowed 3 hits and no walks. Not too shabby. I am really going to try and find cards of catchers in catching gear to fill the rest of the week out. It hasn’t been an easy task. At least this one has a cartoon. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to cast your vote for the best catcher ever! Oh, there will be at least one, if not two more CardS of the Day today so stay tuned! 36 years LATER!
i machine metal for a paycheck, i announce roller derby for reasons other than a paycheck. i put out records, still waiting for the paycheck...i spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer... i go by a few different names; marck bacontowne, sinkhole marck, side of bacon, mister gin n juice and now you can call me Collective Troll