Friday, May 27, 2016

1960 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

In my last post, I mentioned the fickle nature of the random number generator. Two posts ago it was Hall of Famer Steve Carlton's rookie card. Last post was a pair of one-and-done Brewers. Now we are back with Yaz's rookie card.


We all know Carl Yastrzemski's list of accomplishments are endless. 18 all star games, 7 gold gloves, AL MVP in 1967, All Star Game MVP in 1970, winner of the Triple Crown in 1967, first ballot Hall of Famer, etc. The only thing missing is a World Series ring.
And with that string of accomplishments, it's no wonder that I have several Cards That Never Were already from my other blog. The first is a 1970 Horizontal card in honor of his 1970 All Star Game MVP performance. The rest are 1971-1973 All Star Cards That Never Were. 

There is a reason why I created 2 versions of the 1973 All Star card. The solo card is the one I used for my running theme of All Star Cards That Never Were. I had used the coach-style 1973 earlier for starters and reserves once before and so by request, I added it to the fray.


Dmitri Young sold a PSA 10 Yaz rookie card for $83,818 in 2012. A PSA 8 goes for around  a grand, and a PSA 2 was recently had for $30 plus shipping on eBay. This is one of the most sought after rookie cards from the '60s. Depending on its condition, it could be the elusive "college fund" card we all dream of finding in a box in our parents' attic. If a 1960 Carl Yastrzemski card doesn't merit a perfect 10 nothing will.

Friday, May 20, 2016

1971 Topps Brewers Rookie Stars: Bernie Smith, George Kopacz

The random number generator can be fickle. Last post featured Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton's rookie card. This time it's two players that were one-and-done in Topps opinion.


Bernie Smith played in the Mets minor league system from 1962-1969. He was traded to the Pilots in December of 1969, but the Pilots broke spring training and went to Milwaukee instead. In 1970 he hit .330 with 13 homers in 98 games for the Brewers AAA team, the Portland Beavers. In July he was brought up to the show and hit a respectable .276 in 44 games. But in 1971 he was unable to hit his weight in 15 games. By the end of April he was back on the farm.
For his Card That Never Was, I put him on a 1970 Topps card in his Pilot's uniform. Although he never played a regular season game for the Pilots, the Brewers played the spring training exhibition games as the Pilots. 


George Kopacz never actually played for the Brewers. He was sent to the Brewers from Pittsburgh in a conditional deal in October of 1970. Milwaukee marked him "Return to Sender" in March of 1971. Kopacz was a 30 year old with 11 years of minor league experience by 1971. He had also played 6 games at the end of 1966 for the Braves and another 10 games in September of 1970 for the Pirates.
 In 1970 Kopacz was co-MVP of the International League along with Roger Freed. He was you classic solid minor leaguer. He hit .281 and 154 homers over his 14 year career but just never successfully made the jump to the big leagues. For his Card That Never Was, I made a 1970 Topps card of him on the Pirates. He played 10 of his 16 big league games for Pittsburgh in 1970.


Not much to say about this one. For both players this was their one and only MLB baseball card. Kopacz didn't play in the Majors in 1971 at all and Smith hit .139 through April 28th. After which he was sent back down never to return. Put it in your spokes because I give it a 1.

Friday, May 13, 2016

1965 Topps Cardinals Rookie Stars: Fritz Ackley, Steve Carlton

It's been nearly 5 months since the random number generator has given us a genuine Hall of Famer. But here we are again with "Lefty" himself and some other guy.


That other guy was Fritz Ackley who rocked a uni-brow that rivaled Wally Moon's forehead bush. Although this is without a doubt Ackley's most famous card, it is not his first rookie card. The man with one eyebrow also appeared on a 1964 White Sox Rookie Stars card with Don Buford.  Fritz pitched less than 20 innings over the 1963 and 1964 season with the White Sox before being picked up by the Cardinals. In 1965 he played the entire season for the Jacksonville Suns, never actually logging any time for St. Louis. In all, Ackley played 13 seasons of pro-ball, compiling a 95-94 record in the minors and a 1-0 MLB record.

He already had rookie cards in the 1964 and 1965 sets but never played past the 1964 season. So I decided to give him a Card That Never Was for the season in which he made his MLB debut, 1963. A few posts back I said that I would try to make team rookie cards for the years in which the rookie cards were by position (1962,1963 and 1973-1978). 
So here is my version of a 1963 Rookie Stars card. I paired him up with Dick Kenworthy. Kenworthy was a  September call up for the Sox in 1962. He played a total of 125 MLB games all for the White Sox over parts of 6 seasons. Yet his only card is a 1968 Topps card of him on the Mets. He had been conditionally sold to the Mets in October of 1967, then returned prior to the start of the 1968 season.

Steve Carlton's first major league appearance was against the Cubs on opening day 1965. He came in in the bottom of the 11th inning. The game was tied 10-10 with one out, He faced left fielder George Altman and walked him. He was replaced by Bob Purkey, who retired the side and the game ended in a tie.  That's right, the game was called due to darkness. Remember this was Wrigley Field a full 23 years before lights were installed. But still a full 17 years after the latest hold-out for night games, the Detroit Tigers installed lights. 

It's not surprising that on my other blog, I already have a couple Steve Carlton Cards That Never Were. The first is from a group of cards I made using the Fleers football card format. I had decided to use Cy Young Award winners as my subjects. So this is a 1977 Fleer card of Carlton. Carlton won his second of four Cy Youngs in 1977. The others were in 1972, 1980 and 1982.

The other card is from the 1973 All Star Cards That Never Were. Carlton was a ten time All Star, starting in 1969 and 1979. In 1972 he pitched a scoreless and hitless 6th inning. He gave up a leadoff walk to Rod Carew. After that Carew was doubled up on a grounder by Bobby Murcer. Reggie Jackson grounded out to second to end the inning. While Carlton was not the starting pitcher, he was the Phillies sole All Star representative in 1972.

While I don't think this will contribute much to the college fund, It is a valuable card. A PSA graded 10 from Dimitri Young's collection fetched $12,756.00 in auction.  On the other hand a Beckett graded 4.5 is selling right now on for $85. Most graded cards are in the $150-$250 range.

But the only grade that counts here is mine. I give it a solid 9. Go ahead and spring for the grading service. Wrap this baby in a hermetically sealed, UV protected slab for future generations to look at. But not touch.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

1961 Topps Ron Perranoski

Ron Perranoski was one of the top relievers of his era. Most of it was before the save was recognized as an official stat. The only start of his career came in his rookie season. He pitched the first four innings of a 10 inning 12-11 win over the Pirates. He gave up three runs before being pinch hit for by Frank Howard.  Over the next five innings, Roger Craig, Turk Farrell and Jim Golden combined to give up 8 runs.  In the 10th Johnny Podres pitched a scoreless frame and got the win on a John Roseboro walk-off RBI triple. So in the famous closer's only start, the final inning was pitched by an All Star starter.

If you follow my other blog, you have seen that I have a few Cards That Never Were featuring Ron Perranoski already. He has been a repeat subject on my Leaders series. Perranoski made an appearance on the 1963 and 1964 cards and was awarded the Sporting News Fireman of the Year in 1969 and 1970 giving him top billing on the 1970 and 1971 AL Leading Firemen cards.


This is the rookie card of one of the top relievers of his era. He was never selected to the All Star game but received MVP votes in 1962, 1969 and 1970. In 1970 he also received Cy Young votes. I would consider this card "Binder Worthy". I give it a solid 7.