Sunday, July 31, 2011

Democratic Roadkill Delivers The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!!!

Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day came to me courtesy of Duane of the Democratic Roadkill blog. It made its way from Ohio, down to Florida with many vintage companions, but the first card to make the cut and become tonight's card of the day is card #12 from 1963 Topps baseball featuring Baltimore Orioles All Star lefty Steve Barber. In 1963 Barber was 25 years old and pitching in his 4th Major League season. This was the best season of his career. He made his first All Star squad, the AL All Star team took the loss and Barber didn't see any action, BUT he proved he was among one of the top hurlers on the circuit. He went on to win 20 games that year, along with 180 strikeouts. His final line was 20-13, a 2.75 ERA, 11 complete games, 2 shutouts and he led the league facing 1096 batters that year.

His stats were overshadowed by another lefty, Sandy Koufax who put up a 25-5 record with a 1.88 ERA and 306 Ks. Koufax was the unanimous choice as the Major League Cy Young Award winner. Still, Barber became the first modern Orioles pitcher to have a 20-win season. Barber developed tendinitis soon after this season and it plagued him for the rest of his career. He got off to a great start in the 1966 season and made his second All Star team with a 10-3 record and a 1.96 ERA at the break. His tendinitis was hampering him again and he didn't appear in the game and pitched very little the rest of the season. His Orioles went on to win the American League Championship and faced the LA Dodgers. The Orioles swept the Series and won the teams first ever Title, but his injury kept Barber off of the postseason roster.

In 1967 Barber pitched 8-2/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Tigers, he was lifted for All Star reliever Stu Miller who completed the no-hitter, but the O's lost the game 2-1 on Miller's wild pitch. Later that season Barber was traded to the Yankees and became a journeyman reliever playing for 5 different teams over the last 7 years of his career.

He never recovered from the tendinitis and elbow issues and never showed the dominance he had in 1963 again. He retired in 1974 as a member of the San Francisco Giants - he appeared in 13 innings and notched his 13th career save. Despite the health issues, he had very respectable career numbers. He pitched 1999 innings over 15 seasons. He had a 121-106 record with a 3.36 ERA. He had 59 complete games, 21 shutouts and 13 saves to go along with 1309 strikeouts for 7 different teams.

Thanks again to Democratic Duane for the awesome vintage! If you are an Allen and Ginter fan, Democratic Roadkill is the ultimate spot for mini madness! I am having a blast working on the 1963 set. As an end note, Steve Barber passed away 5 years ago from pneumonia. Fortunately for me, I had the chance to get to know Mr. Barber in the late 90's when I worked for the Orioles. Class act all the way. Thanks for reading, 49 years LATER!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anyone Remember the Nitty Gritty Card of the Day???

So, I have not made a post on this page since Jimmy Wilson was the Card of the Day for the months from January till July 2011. Its been a while... Two things inspired me to post here again and try to revive this dying page... First off my buddy Duane AKA the King of Allen and Ginter minis from Democratic Roadkill sent me an AWESOME package that not only included the normal super cool Allen and Ginter mini cards, but it also contained over 20 awesome Topps vintage cards that helped clear some space off of my 1963 and 1965 Topps want lists. I want to show off all the cool stuff he sent and there was a ton of it, so I thought I would post the vintage cards on this page and the other goodies over there...
There is another reason... Its Dan Rather. This Friday he wrote a story for the Nation and used an image from this very blog to illustrate it. From this post on December 10, 2010 about Dodgers back-up catcher Rube Walker. Anyway, his editor contacted me a long while back and said that Mr. Rather was planning on writing a piece on Walker. He wanted to use a card as an illustration, but wanted a well-loved card, not a collector's piece. He wanted a card with some character. So, the editor did some surfing and found the Nitty Gritty and said they thought the card was perfect. I agreed. I really love well-loved cards and for some reason really like cards that have been drawn on... Go figure, so does Dan Rather... Ha. Link to the slideshow to illustrate every article on the Nation, including Dan Rather's piece on Rube Walker - it is slide number 6/14.
Anyway, check out his story, check out the Nation, check out the slideshow and the other stories and then come back here cuz I will be posting up really soon... Like today or tonight soon. I love this hobby! A HUGE thanks to Democratic Roadkill Duane, I will be posting his generosity very soon... 50 years LATER.