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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!

Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #163 from 1958 Topps Baseball featuring White Sox pitcher Jim Wilson.
You don’t get much more Nitty Gritty than Jim Wilson.
As a rookie with the Boston Red Sox, Wilson was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Hank Greenberg. The ball fractured his skull and Wilson nearly lost his life.
The ball was hit so hard, Wilson said he never saw. It reportedly left a dent in his head ¼” deep.
The road to rehab was long and hard, but Jim Wilson fought through it to make it back to the big leagues. He suffered another setback in May of 1947 when he was struck in the leg by another line drive, fracturing it.
After the injuries Jim Wilson had a couple of short cups of coffee in the majors, appearing in a total of 8 innings for 3 different clubs over 3 seasons, but he let it be known he was ready for sure after a spectacular year for the AAA Seattle Rainers in 1950. Wilson posted a record of 24-11 with a 2.95 ERA, 26 complete games, 8 shutouts and 226 strikeouts. The big club noticed and he began the 1951 season with the Boston Braves and started 15 games for them.
In 1952 he became a regular part of the Boston Braves rotation and started 33 games, completing 14 of them. He battled more injuries while moving with the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee. In 1954 he only started 19 games, but had 4 shutouts, an 8-2 record and hurled the first no-hitter in Milwaukee Braves history. Not bad considering he was on a staff that included Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Gene Conley. That same year he would make his first of 3 straight All Star appearances.
He would be sold to the Orioles and then traded to the White Sox. He had his best statistical season in 1957 for the Sox when he posted a 15-8 record with a league leading 5 shutouts.
1958 would be his final season in the big leagues. He would retire after a career that survived two career and life threatening injuries and would go on to pitch until he was 36 and a 12 year veteran. His final tally: a record of 86-89 with 19 shutouts for 5 different organizations.
After his time as a player Jim Wilson spent 2 seasons as the Milwaukee Brewers general manager prior to becoming the first head of the Major League Scouting Bureau.
I love this game, I love this hobby and I love nitty gritty players! 52 years LATER!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day

Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #110 of legendary Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo. I have long coveted this card and the thing is, when people get a nice old Santo card, they don't want to part with it...

This one came my way via the Cardboard Junkie and it brought friends! I think everyone is well aware of Santo's accomplishments on the field. He was THE BEST third baseman in the National League during the decade of the 1960s. He is one of the best all around thirdbasemen of All Time. He never won a ring, but he was loyal to the Cubs for nearly his entire career and got as close as a Cubs team could get.

I'm not going to write much more, just that Ron Santo epitmozed Nitty Gritty, he Belongs in the Hall of Fame and he is missed on this earth. Thanks dayf for this awesome card! I love this hobby!
I love this set and I LOVE this card! 45 years LATER!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!

Today’s Nitty Gritty card of the Day comes from 1965 Topps baseball, card #84 of Giants pitcher Ron Herbel.

Herbel had a 9 year big league career, mainly with the Giants. He was a very active pitcher, beginning as a spot starter with San Francisco in 1964. Statistically his best year came when this card was released in 1965 when he was 12-9 with a 3.85 ERA in 47 games, 21 of them starts. As the decade progressed he pitched more and more out of the bullpen. He was most active in 1970 with the Mets and Padres. He was 9-7 in a league leading 76 games. He made one start, finished 38 games and notched 10 saves that season. His career record is 42-37 over 331 games with 11 complete games, 3 shutouts and 16 saves.

Borrowing a line from Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius, "Everybody’s Got a Record". Mr. Herbel’s record is a dubious one… Over his 9 year career as a pitcher in the National League Herbel appeared in 332 games, he also went to the plate 225 times. When you take away the few times he walked and laid down a bunt, he had 206 at-bats and hit safely 6 times… Yep, over his career Herbel was 6 for 206 at the plate. He hit 2 doubles and drove in 3, but his .029 batting average is the WORST career mark for anyone with over 100 at bats. His best year came in 1967 when he had 3 hits in 28 at bats (.107) including 2 doubles, but he had many lean years. He went three full seasons (’68-’70) without a hit in 33 at bats.

Being good enough on the mound to be that bad at the plate makes Ron Herbel Nitty Gritty… I love this game; I love its history and I LOVE this hobby! 45 years LATER!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day!

Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1963 Topps Baseball, card #60 of New York Yankees catcher Elston Howard. One of the greatest catchers of All Time, Howard played on Pennant Winning teams in 10 of his 14 seasons in the Major Leagues. The back of the card mentions that he had hit 5 World Series homers. Playing in 10 different Series, Howard hit 5 homers with 19 RBI and won 4 rings as a World Champion with the Yankees in 1956, '58, '61 and '62. In 1963, the year of this card, Howard batted .333 in the Series, but his Yanks fell to the Dodgers in a 4-game sweep. Howard did have his finest year at the plate in power output hitting a career high 28 homers in 1963. It was his third straight year with 20 or more homers and his 7th straight season being named an All Star. Howard would take home a Gold Glove Award in '63 as well as American League MVP honors. Elston Howard was traded from the Yankees to the rival Red Sox in 1967 and became a veteran leader during their impossible dream Pennant run. Howard would retire after the 1968 season. Over his 14 year career Howard was a 12-time All Star and was a member of 10 different Pennant winning teams. After retiring as a player, Howard returned to the Yankees as a coach and would win two more World Series rings in the late 70's. He retired with a .274 batting average, 167 home runs, 1,471 hits, 762 RBI, 619 runs, 218 doubles, 50 triples and a .427 slugging percentage in 1,605 games. Any player who spent time in the Negro Leagues is automatically Nitty Gritty as are war veterans and World Champions. Howard was all 3 and a classy individual to boot. He looses some points for being a Yankee, but...
I love this game, I love this hobby! 47 years LATER!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1950 Bowman. It is card #190 of St. Louis Browns outfielder Ken Wood. Not to be confused with the stereo company, Ken Wood was an outfielder who played in the Major Leagues for 6 seasons from 1948 till 1953. His best years came with some really bad Browns teams. In 1951 he led the last place Browns in homeruns with 15. He was actually the only player on the team with double digit homers. Ned Garver somehow won 20 games that year, account for more than 30% of the Browns wins. Wood showed serious power in the minors, as mentioned on the card back. He belted 32 homers for the AAA Baltimore Orioles in 1949. Did I mention his name is Ken Wood?
I love this hobby! 60 years LATER. Nitty Gritty out.