Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nitty Gritty Old Versus New

The Nitty Gritty lives!!! Sorry for the lack of posts... I am on the last day of a 72 hour work week.. Busy busy. No time for any thoughts on these cards, so I will leave that up to you the reader. The card(s) of the day are #298 of Jim Golden from 1961 Topps and the modern version, card #298 of Wade Davis from 2010 Heritage. The Golden card looks more like a Chicle painting to me. Apparently he was a hot prospect on the Dodgers farm. He won 2 games for the Dodgers over two seasons before being picked by the Colt 45s in the expansion draft. Golden was 7-11 in Houston in 1962. His MLB career lasted parts of 4 seasons. For his career he was 9-13 with 5 complete games and 2 shutouts. He was also twice traded for Hall of Famers-Nellie Fox and Sparky Anderson. Golden's modern day twin is Wade Davis of the Tampa Bay Rays. Davis is 5-6 for the Rays so far this year. Thats all the time we have folks, thanks for reading! I have 56 1961 Topps cards, so that means about 50 more of these posts as soon as I get the 2010 version. I am not going to collect this set, so any card I post is up for trade for a card from my '65 Topps list. I love this hobby! 49 years LATER!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day

Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card #90 of Rich “Red” Rollins from 1965 Topps baseball. I think what I like most about this card is it puts a face to his name. Now I imagine this guy hauling ass around the bases going for three and trying to not lose his glasses. Awesome. Rich Rollins was the Twins third baseman from 1962 till 1968. His ride to the majors came quick. He signed a contract with the Washington Senators in the summer of 1960 out of Kent State University. He was immediately sent to their short season Class B team in the Carolina League, the Wilson Tobs. The next year he started in A level, jumped to AAA and ended the ’61 season with the Twins in Minnesota batting .294 in 13 games. He started 1962 with the big club and never looked back. He started BOTH All Star Games in 1962 and batted leadoff. He was also the leading vote getter that year. He was 2-5 (.400) in both games with a run scored. He finished the year in ’62 batting .298 with 16 homers and 96 RBI and finished 8th in the MVP vote. Mickey Mantle took home the award with guys like Al Kaline and Harmon Killebrew finishing behind him. Rollins batted .307 in ’63 and in ’64 He batted .270 with 10 triples. That tied him with his teammate Zoilio Versalles for the league lead. The next year his Twins were AL Pennant winners, but towards the end of the year and through the playoffs Harmon Killebrew was shifted to third base. Rollins spent the next few years as a part time player in Minnesota before being drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. They also picked up Tommy Harper who played third base as well, so Rollins played second fiddle again. He signed with the Brewers for the start of the 1970 season and made a final stop in Cleveland for 42 games before playing his final game on 9-26-1970. He ended his career at 32 with a .269 batting average, 20 triples, 77 homers and 399 RBI. I love this game and ALL of its many stars. I love this hobby and I love ’65 Topps! 45 years LATER!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day

Today’s Nitty Gritty Card of the Day comes from 1967 Topps, card #139 of the Cubs’ Rookie Stars and features a pair of outfielders, Byron Browne and Don Young. If you are saying “who?” you aren’t alone. I picked this card because PERFECT GAMES have been a hot topic of late and both of these players made their major debut on the same day, September 9, 1965. That was the day Sandy Koufax was perfect against the Chicago Cubs. Don Young played centerfield and batted leadoff and made the first out in the game while Browne batted sixth and played left field and both batters were 0-3. Facing Sandy Koufax is a hell of a way to break into the big leagues!
Oh, if you think Koufax had an easy game facing two rookies, look at the box score and see the heart of the Cubs order with Billy Williams, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks! That game was pretty significant for a lot of reasons. First, I believe that was the last time that the Cubs were no-hit, 45 years ago. Second, the losing pitcher in the game Bob Hendley pitched a one-hitter and lost. I believe that the total of 1 hit for both sides is the lowest hit total in a 9-inning game. Going into the 7th inning both hurlers had no-hitters going. The lone run that the Dodgers scored was unearned. Lou Johnson reached on a walk, was sacrificed to second, stole third and scored on an errant throw by catcher Chris Krug. Dodger’s left fielder Lou Johnson, who scored the games only run also broke up Hendley’s no hitter with a double. The perfect game was Koufax’s 4th no hitter and his 14 strikeouts were the most in a perfect game. The two pitchers had a rematch 5 days later and Hendley came up ahead, winning the game 2-1 and allowing just 4 hits.
Koufax’s perfect game was Byron Browne’s lone start of 1965; he appeared 3 other times as a pinch hitter without success. The following year he was the Cubs regular left fielder; he hit .243 with 16 homers and 51 RBI and was a member of the Topps All Rookie team. He also led the National League by striking out 143 times.
Don Young was only 19 in ’65. He spent the entire season in AA where he hit 16 homers with a .273 batting average and earned himself a September call-up. He didn’t fair too well either. In 35 at bats he managed just 2 hits for a .057 batting average. One of the hits was a 2-run homer though. Young wouldn’t see the majors again until 1969 when he had 236 at-bats for the Cubs. He played a few more years in the minors before retiring at age 25 after batting .119 in AAA.
Every card has a story. I love this game, I love this hobby! Thanks for reading, 43 years later.