Saturday, July 22, 2017

Final Card - Ken McBride

Ken McBride was one of the top starting pitchers for the Los Angeles Angels in their first 3 years in the league. He was the team’s #1 starter in their inaugural season, and would later be joined by Bo Belinsky and Dean Chance.

McBride began his pro career in the Red Sox’ chain in 1954. After 5 seasons in the low minors, he was purchased by the White Sox in 1959, and made his major-league debut in August, pitching in 11 games over the final 2 months (mostly in relief).

Ken was back in triple-A in 1960, but returned to Chicago in September, pitching in 5 games.

McBride was drafted by the Angels in the December 1960 expansion draft, and spent the next 3 seasons in their starting rotation, winning in double-figures each season for the new team.

He was also selected for the All-Star team 3 times (1961-63). Although he didn’t play in the ’61 or ’62 games, he was the AL’s starting pitcher in the 1963 game, pitching 3 innings.

McBride has an off-year in 1964, compiling a 4-13 record. (Teammate Dean Chance picked up the slack by going 20-9 and winning the Cy Young award.)

McBride pitched sporadically in 1965 - only 1 game in May, 3 in June, and 2 each in July and August. With a record of 0-3 and a 6.14 ERA, he seemingly just ran out of gas.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Final Card - Leo Burke

Here is the final card for Leo Burke, one of the many “INF-OF” employees that littered the Cubs’ roster in the mid-1960s.

Burke played in the Orioles’ chain from 1957 to 1960, and saw action in a few games for Baltimore during September call-ups in ’58 and ’59.

After playing all of 1960 with the Orioles’ AAA team, Leo was drafted by the expansion Washington Senators in December, but a few weeks later was sold to the other expansion team – the Los Angeles Angels.

Burke only played 6 games for the Angels that year. Actually, he played primarily in the minors for his entire career (1957-65), except for ’63 and ’64 when he stuck around on the major league roster for the entire season.

Leo was purchased by the Cardinals in March 1963, but by late-June was traded to the Cubs for pitcher Barney Schultz. His most playing time came in 1964 with the Cubs – breaking the 100 at-bat level for the only time in his career.

After playing in 12 games in April and May 1965, he was relegated to the minors to finish out his last pro season.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Final Card - Ken Retzer

Ken Retzer was a catcher for the Senators from 1961 to 1964. By the time this card came out, his major-league career was over.

Ken was signed by the Indians in 1954, where he worked his way up the ladder from 1954-61. In September 1961 Retzer was traded to the Senators, and got his feet wet with 15 starts that month, in place of regular backstop Gene Green.

In 1962, Ken split the catching duties with Bob Schmidt, starting 91 games (to Schmidt’s 71).

In the off-season the Nats acquire catcher Don Leppert from the Pirates, and even though Retzer started 95 games to Leppert’s 55 starts, somehow Leppert was named to the All-Star team.

Retzer began the 1964 season as the starter, but by game #6 was replaced by rookie Mike Brumley. Ken only managed 6 more starts over the remainder of the season, spending most of the season with triple-A Toronto.

He played in the minors from 1965-67 seasons. After 1964, Washington traded him to the Twins, who flipped him to the Astros in April 1966 for Walt Bond. In January 1967 he returned to the Indians’ organization, traded with outfielder Lee Maye for outfielder Jim Landis, catcher Doc Edwards, and pitcher Jim Weaver.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Final Card - Don Lee

This is the final card for pitcher Don Lee (#595). He had a card every year from 1957-65, except for 1958. Although he already had a card in the 1957 set as a Tiger, his 1959 card was a Sporting News Rookie Stars card.

Lee was signed by the Tigers in 1956, and played in the minors from 1956-59, while also appearing in 11 games for Detroit in '57 and one game in '58.

During the 1959-60 off-season, he was traded to the Braves, then selected by the Senators in the Rule 5 draft. He made the majors for good at the start of 1960, and pitched in 44 games (20 starts) while logging the 2nd-most innings of any Sens’ hurler that year. (Not bad for a Rule 5 pickup!)

The team careened to a 73-81 finish in their last season before moving to Minnesota. In September 1960, Red Sox' slugger Ted Williams hit a home run off of Lee. Teddy Ballgame had also hit a homer off Lee’s father in 1939, thus becoming the only player to go yard against a father and a son.

Don pitched mostly out of the Twins' bullpen in 1961, and in May 1962 was traded to the Angels. Lee remained with the Angels through June 1965. Initially a starter, by 1964 he was mostly a reliever.

The Angels traded Lee to the Astros in June 1965 for outfielder Al Spangler. One year later, he was flipped to the Cubs. He appeared in 25 games (but only 37 innings) in 1966, his final season.

He pitched in the minors in '66 and '67 before retiring.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Final Card - Ted Wills

Here is the final card for Ted Wills (#488). I wonder why he even had a card in this set, since his last action was in 1962. His only MLB experience after 1962 was 15 games in the first 2 months of 1965, but that was with the White Sox, not the Reds.

Wills was signed by the Red Sox in 1955, and after winning 15 games in 3 seasons (’55, ’56, ’58), he made his major-league debut with Boston in late-May 1959. He pitched in 9 games (8 starts) through the middle of July that season.

Ted split the ’60 and ’61 seasons between the Red Sox and their AAA team. He pitched in 15 and 17 games for the Sox those years, all in relief.

Wills only appeared in 1 game for the BoSox in 1962, pitching in 1 game. Because he gave up 1 earned run but got no outs (thus zero innings), his record shows an ERA of "infinity". He was traded to the Reds in early May, and appeared in 26 games for Cincinnati. 1962 was his only season NOT in the minors.

Wills spent the next 2 years playing for the Reds’ AAA team. After appearing briefly with the White Sox in early, he pitched the remainder of that season for the Indians’ and Cardinals’ AAA teams.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Final Card - Billy Moran

Billy Moran (#562) had a 7-year career from 1958-65, with most of his playing time coming as the Los Angeles Angels’ regular 2nd baseman during their first few years.

Moran was signed by the Indians in 1952, and played 3 seasons in the low minors, including Spartanburg, SC and Reading, PA. (Hmm… beginning in the mid-1960s, these 2 teams became Phillies’ affiliates.) 

After missing the ’55 and ’56 seasons while in military service, he resumed his career in 1957 with the AAA San Diego Padres (also a Phillies’ outpost in the mid-1960s!)

Moran played the entire 1958 season with the Indians, starting 52 games at 2nd base and 21 at the hot corner. He was back in triple-A for most of 1959 and all of 1960.

After the 1960 season, he was purchased by the Toronto Maple Leafs, an independent AAA team in the International League. Billy had played for Toronto in 1960 when it was an Indians’ affiliate, but Toronto became unaffiliated in ’61, and retained Moran by buying his contract from the Indians.

The following June, the Leafs traded him to the expansion Angels, where he replaced incumbent Ken Aspromonte as the 2nd baseman.

Moran was the Angels’ regular 2nd baseman in ’62 and ’63, starting 159 and 150 games in those 2 seasons. He was also selected to the All-Star team in 1962.

Billy lost the starting 2nd base job to Bobby Knoop in 1964, and in June he was returned to the Indians in a 3-team deal. The Indians sent 2nd baseman Jerry Kindall to the Twins, while the Twins sent 1st baseman Vic Power and outfielder Lenny Green to the Angels. The Angels also sent INF-OF Frank Kostro to the Twins.

Moran was a backup for the Indians in his final 2 seasons. He started 32 games at 3rd base (behind Max Alvis) in 1964, and played mostly in AAA in 1965 – only getting 22 at-bats in 24 games in 1965.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Final Card - Frank Baumann

This is the final card for 11-year veteran Frank Baumann (#161). He played 5 years with the Red Sox and 5 years with the White Sox, then wrapped up his career playing for the Cubs in the first month of the ’65 season.

Baumann (BOW-man) was signed by the Red Sox in 1952, and after 2 seasons in the minors, he missed all of ’54 and part of ’55 while in military service. Upon his return he was assigned to the parent club in July and pitched in 7 games over the 2nd half of the season.

From 1956 to 1958, Frank played mostly in the minors, but also pitched for the Red Sox each season. His only full season with Boston was 1959, appearing in 26 games but with an ERA over 4.

In November 1959 he was traded to the ChiSox for backup 1st baseman Ron Jackson. Baumann’s best season was 1960, when he pitched in 47 games (starting 20) and compiled a 13-6 record along with an AL-leading 2.67 ERA.

Baumann never duplicated his 1960 success. He lost 13 games the following season and saw his ERA balloon to 5.61. His career continued to go downhill from there.

Frank was traded to the Cubs after the 1964 season for journeyman backup catcher Jimmie Schaffer. He pitched in 4 games (4 innings total) during the first 4 weeks of the season, then spent the rest of 1965 with the Cubs’ AAA team before retiring.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Walt Bond (#109)

When I began this blog last year, it was not my intent to post cards for players I had already posted elsewhere. However, while returning the Gene Stephens card to my 1965 binder after a recent post, I was browsing through it and found several cards of interest that were not the player's final card. The previous post with 4 manager cards were some that fell into that category, as does this card of Walt Bond.

I previously posted Walt Bond's final card on my 1967 blog six years ago, therefore I will not repeat his career exploits again. I am posting this card for several reasons:

1) This is one of the few 1965 "Houston" cards that escaped the Topps Airbrush Treatment. Although the pennant says "Houston", we see a nice shot of the Houston Colt .45s' cap. I can only recall this card and Turk Farrell's card that show the .45s logo

2) Walt is looking very pensive in this photo.  It is all the more somber with the realization that just over 2 years after this card hit collectors' hands, Bond will have passed away from leukemia in September 1967, after having played for the Twins earlier that season.