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.