Monday, July 7, 2014

1972: The Year of the Nostril

What to do? What to do? This guy may well be playing for someone else when this card comes out. Should I pose him without a cap? No, that would be too easy. Tilt the cap back so you can’t see whose it is? Man, that is so 1960s. I know, I know.  Let’s take the shot from so low that you can’t see over the brim. Here, let me show ya  …

Tony’s bro, Billy Conigliaro was up for five years, with three different teams. He never broke 400 at bats, but did hit 18 homers once. The Sox traded him to the Brew Crew to make way for some rookie named Yaztrsemski, or Yastrzewski, or something like that.

George’s bro, Ken Brett was actually one of four Brett boys to play professional baseball. The other two never made it to the majors though.  

Ken was actually in the same trade as Billy – along with seven others. Ken’s main claims to fame include:  
  • Being drafted 4th in the ’66 draft
  • Being the youngest pitcher to appear in a World Series, at age 18
  • Winning the 1974 All Star game
  • Playing for ten teams over a 14-year career
  • Finishing with a batting average of .262, along with 10 homers and 44 RBIs, in 347 at bats

Sean’s dad, Jeff Burroughs was also a pretty decent hitter himself. I’ve got all his stats on this other post. Bet you didn’t know, though, that Jeff was Sean’s Little League coach, piloting that team to the World Series title in both in both ’92 and ’93.

Nobody’s nothing, Stan Swanson played for the Expos for a couple of months in ’71. 106 at bats, .245 average, two homers, 11 RBIs. I believe that’s a Reds cap he’s wearing (the team that drafted him).

This guy’s last name looks like a typing miisttake. Laarry Biittner was up for 14 seassons, playiing with four teams, and ammassing over 3,000 at bats, but with only 29 hommers (not really what you want from your outfiiellder/DH). He was somethhiing of a Cubs favoriite, toppiing 400 at bats and doubble diigiits in homeers for them in ’77 (the only time he would accommpliish eiither feat).

Another Senator. Yup, ’72 is the year they switched from DC to Texas. So, pretty much everyone on the whole squad has a card like this.

Dick Billings started out as an outfielder / corner infielder, but switched to catcher after a couple of years in the bigs. That move enabled him to get into triple digits in at bats for three years running, but it still wasn’t very pretty. Overall, he finished with a .227 average and 16 homers in 1200-plus at bats. 

See what I mean …

Toby Harrah’s been here before, where I made fun of his hair. I shared his stats there, but didn’t mention his lengthy coaching and managing career, in the majors and the minors. He was very recently let go as the assistant hitting coach for the Tigers. 

By the way, his real first name is Colbert.

It’s not too surprising Alex Johnson went with this pose. Over 13 years in the bigs, he played for eight different teams, none for more than two years. Though a decent batter (he led the league in batting one year, made the All Star team once, and was also a Comeback Player of the Year), he was a defensive liability, and was also quite a handful to coach. His brother Ron was a running back in the NFL.

Del Unser – another ex-Senator. I’m perplexed as to why Del’s hat appears to be blue though. He seems to have gone straight from the Nats to the Tribe prior to the ’72 season.

Del was up for 15 years, playing with five different teams. His main claim to fame is leading the league in triples once. Surprisingly, though, he didn’t have a lot of speed. Or power. Or a high average. I’m actually kind of wondering how he managed to stick around.

Looks like the artist on this card couldn’t make up his mind. “Shot from below or paint the helmet? Shot from below or paint the helmet? I know – I’ll do both.”

Tom Grieve’s been here before, looking kinda stoopit. I went over his stats there, but failed to mention his long career off the field. In fact, he had much more success in the front office (he was the Rangers’ GM for ten years) and the broadcasting booth (he’s currently the Rangers’ color commentator). And, yes, he is Ben Grieve’s dad.  

Is that a nose hair?

Jim Maloney was not a bad pitcher at all. His accomplishments include winning 20 games twice and pitching two no-hitters. Unfortunately, injuries (including a ruptured Achilles) limited him to only seven complete seasons. By the way, he never actually did play for the Cardinals, getting released at the end of spring training, then retiring in the middle of the year while toiling in AAA for the Giants.

Poor Bill. I may have to refile you under ill.

It may have been his knees. Bill “Suds” Sudakis was a hard-hitting corner infielder known for gimpy knees. Interestingly, the knees may have resulted from an ill-advised switch the Dodgers tried to make with him to catcher. Not only did he develop bad knees, but he also threw out only 6% of base stealers. Over eight years, 1500-some at bats and six teams, Bill managed 59 homers but only a .234 average.

Uh, I’d like to buy a vowel.

Joe Grzenda is another repeat offender in this blog. In that previous post, I pointed out Joe’s resemblance to the undead, as well as sharing some of his stats and career highlights, including the fact that he never made an error – even once – in his whole major league career.

Joe’s other claim to fame was being the last Washington Senator to ever throw a pitch, on September 30, 1971.  Fittingly, when the Nationals had their first opener in 2005, Joe was on hand to hand the ball to George W. Bush.

I’d be a bit peeved too, if you were trying to look up my nostrils. (Looks like Don wore number 19, BTW.)

You can find a much younger shot of Don – and his stats and stuff – right here.

How low can you go?

Ken Berry is an American actor, dancer and singer. He has had starring roles in the TV comedies F Troop, The Andy Griffith Show spin-off Mayberry R.F.D., and … Wait a minute. Wrong Ken Berry.

This guy was a decent outfielder who was up for 14 years, totaling almost 1400 games and over 4100 at bats. He was a one-time All Star and a two-time Gold Glover. 

Kinda up close and personal, if you ask me ...

Ron Swoboda was a journeyman outfielder and defensive liability who somehow or other made an incredible and iconic diving catch as a member of the Miracle Mets in the ’69 World Series.


  1. Stan Swanson played only 49 games for the Expos in 1971, but still managed to get a card. Are there any players in the 70's (or any decade for that matter) who played less games in the Majors and also got a card?

  2. Ken Brett surrendered Hank Aaron's 700th homer, in Atlanta, on July 21, 1973.