Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Nitty Gritty Card(s) of the Day-1968 Topps Edition
Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1968 Topps, card #6 of the American League’s Home Run Leaders from 1967. I have been going through and digging up all of the ’68 cards I have left to make a trade package for a fellow blogger and I figured that I would post a few of them before they relocate… 1968 isn’t my favorite set of the 60’s, but it grew on me for a while and I even collected it a bit. I had a full page of the League Leaders cards and even though I am not a fan of Carl Yastrzemski, I still appreciate the amazing year he had in 1967 and looking at the League Leaders cards and seeing his face first in the row on so many of them reminded me how great a player he was. Yaz paced the American League in homers with 44 that year. Of course his 121 runs batted in led the league as well as his .326 batting average. Yep, ’67 was the year that Yaz won the Triple Crown. He also led the AL in slugging percentage, OPS, on base percentage, total bases and runs scored. He was dialed in! He started the All Star game in left field and won his 3rd (of 7) Gold Glove Award. He had 13 assists from left field and only committed 7 errors while patrolling the grass in front of the Green Monster. Not only did Yaz start the 1967 All Star game, he played the entire 15 inning game that year. In 6 plate appearances he was 3-4 (.750) with a double and two walks. Tom Seaver walked Yaz in the bottom of the 15th before retiring Bill Freehan and Ken Berry to end the game. Had the AL won, Yaz might have added All Star MVP to his list of Awards in ’67. The AL lost 2-1 in 15 innings and Yaz had to settle for AL MVP, Triple Crown, Gold Glove, MLB Player of the Year and the Hutch Award. He would get his AS MVP trophy a few years later. Oh, his team did pretty well that year, too. Yaz led the Red Sox to the 1967 American League Pennant. Their first since they lost to the Cardinals in 1946. 21 years later it was the Cardinals who beat the Red Sox in the World Series again. Yaz batted .400 with 3 homers and the Series went 7 games, but Bob Gibson and the Cards overmatched the Sox even with Yaz’s hot bat. The other two players on this card had pretty decent years as well. Harmon Killebrew started the All Star game at first base and tied Yaz for the homerun crown. Killer finished second to Yaz in runs batted in, runs scored and total bases. He also finished second in the MVP vote. He would earn his MVP honors in 1969 when he led the AL in homers and RBI. The third man on this card is Frank “Hondo” Howard. The Capital Punisher of the Washington Senators. He hit 36 blasts for the 6th place Sens, but was left off of the 1967 All Star team. He started the game the following year and also began a streak of 3 consecutive seasons with 40 plus homers. He would lead the AL in that category in 1968 and ’70. I said at the top of the post that the Card of the Day was #6, but I also mentioned that I was sending these cards away so I am going to go all out and throw in a bonus for you my dear readers… Card #369 of Yaz as a Sporting News All Star. Like I said, 1967 was HIS year. I am also including a bonus scan of the other All Star cards I have. Frank Robinson, Joel Horlen and Yaz from the AL side and Bob Gibson and Gene Alley from the NL. Each leagues All Stars fit together to form a puzzle picture. I only have 5 cards so I get a Frankenstein image… Hats off to Yaz for one of the best seasons of any player, ever! He did it in the year of the pitcher, too, which makes it even more impressive. Look at the back of the card-Don Mincher's 25 homers put him in 5th place that year... Yaz's All Star teammate, Frank Robinson knows the feeling of having one of the best complete seasons in history… The Judge earned the Triple Crown in ’66, but he took it one step further. He added a World’s Championship and picked up WS MVP along the way. I love this game, I love it’s history and I love this hobby! 42 years LATER!