Sunday, April 3, 2016

1970 Topps Royals Rookie Stars: Al Fitzmorris, Scott Northey


While researching Al Fitzmorris, I have found a few interesting facts. First he was originally signed by the White Sox in 1965 as an outfielder. Batting only .227 as a minor leaguer, he decided to covert to pitcher.

Second, although he led the Carolina League with 214 strikeouts in 1968, he was not a strikeout pitcher in the majors. He averaged just 3.2 strikeouts per 9 innings over his career. In 1974 he pitched a complete game shutout without a single strikeout or walk. He gave up just 3 hits, all singles, one each in the 1st, the 5th and the 8th.

Third he was selected twice in an expansion draft. In 1968 he was left unprotected by the White Sox and picked by the Royals. In 1976 he was drafted again. This time by the Toronto Blue Jays only to be traded to the Indians for catcher, Alan Ashby and first baseman, Doug Howard.

For his Card That Never Was, I chose a 1975 Hostess design. In 1975 Fitzmorris had a number of career highs including 16 wins and 11 complete games.


For Scott Northey this was his first of 2 rookie cards. The second was this 1971 American League Rookie Stars card with A's outfielder Bobby Brooks and Brewers Outfielder Pete Koegel.

Northey was the son of MLB journeyman Ron Northey. Ron played on the Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, Reds and White Sox from 1942-1957 and later a coach for the Pirates from 1960-1963.

Like his 1970 Topps card-mate Fitzmorris, Scott Northey was originally signed by the White Sox as an outfielder in 1965 and also picked by the Royals in the 1968 expansion draft. Also like Fitzmorris, he was called up from the Royals' AAA Omaha team in September.  That is where the similarity ends. After Northey's "cup of coffee" in September of 1969, he never made the show again. He played minor league ball until 1972 despite being depicted on rookie stars cards in bot 1970 and 1971.

For his Card That Never Was, I chose to give him his own 1969 Topps card to commemorate this original Royals only MLB season.


This card contains two September Call-ups from the Royals inaugural season. Fitzmorris was a solid pitcher for parts of 10 seasons. Northey on the other hand just struck out too much. He had 19 strikeouts in just 20 games including one 4 strikeout game. I may have graded a bit on the generous side but I gave this card a 4 because it contains 2 original Royals so for someone somewhere, this would qualify as a "set filler".

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