Thursday, July 2, 2015

1971 Topps Angels Rookie Stars: Lloyd Allen, Winston Llenas

Lloyd Allen pitched in 12 games over the 1969 and 1970 season for the Angels. In 1971 he appeared to settle into his Major League role as the Angels closer. He saved 15 games and had a 2.49 ERA. Hampered by a hamstring injury in 1972, his ERA crept up to 3.48. When his ERA hit double digits in 1973 following a shoulder injury, he was dealt to the Rangers in a 5 player trade. He was 0-7 with 1 save and a 8.29 ERA before being placed on waivers in 1974. The White Sox gave him a shot in 1974-75 but his ERA was back up in the double digits again and he was sold to the Cardinals. Although he attempted comebacks with the Cardinals, Blue Jays and even the White Sox again, he never made it back to the show. In his final MLB appearance he started the game against the World Champion A's. He lasted only 2/3s of an inning giving up 3 runs including a 2 run Homer to Reggie Jackson. The final batter he faced was another Hall of Famer, Billy Williams who singled to right.

After this rookie card in 1971, Allen appeared on cards for the Angels in 1972 and 1973. In 1974 he was on a Rangers card. For his Card That Never Was, I put him  a 1975 card for the White Sox.

Winston Llenas was primarily a used as a pinch hitter by the Angels. In his MLB debut in 1968 he was 1-3 with a double. However in the first inning he committed a throwing error. Llenas' baseball playing  career stretched from 1961-1983. His MLB career, however, was relatively brief. He appeared in only 300 games stretched over 6 seasons. All were with the Angels. After his final MLB season in 1975 Winston played a season in Japan for the Taiheiyo Lions. In 1977 he played in the Mexican League and in 1978 became player-manager. He continued the dual role through 1983.

After hitting .339 with 20 homers for the Angels AAA team in 1970, I can understand  Lleans' inclusion in Topps' 1971 set. However the Angels saw things differently. The kept him down one more year. He hit .300 with 15 homers and despite his 33 errors at 3rd base, earned a spot on the Angels 1972 roster. Topps remained unconvinced, and Llenas wouldn't appear on another card until 1974. So for his Card That Never Was, I created this 1973 Topps card for him.


Neither of these players made much of an impact, but I wouldn't qualify either as a bust. Allen's career was hampered by injuries. Llenas was a solid hitting minor leaguer who was questionable at defense but had a long career in baseball none the less. Overall the card isn't good for much more than flipping. I give it a 2.

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