This happy bunch of guys is the 1973 version of the NY Yankees. My guess is this photo was shot sometime around mid-season due to the absence of outfielders Johnny Callison and Ron Swoboda who were both released after not great starts to the season. Plus Pat Dobson and Sam McDowell are both here and they weren't picked up until June. If that is the case then these guys should have been smiling. Bobby Murcer's typical All-Star season was abetted by hot starts from Ron Blomberg, who was still hitting .400 in early July, and Graig Nettles, who had an OBA of .500 in late June. The new pitchers were working out, especially Sudden Sam, who tossed two shutouts in a week, and at the break they were in first with a 59-45 record. But then things sort of fell apart. The team went 2-6 after the break, '72 surprise Steve Kline went on the DL, and pretty much everyone except Murcer and Thurman Munson stopped hitting. Eight straight losses at the end of August took them out of contention and by the end of September both Alous were gone and manager Ralph Houk retired. They finished in fourth place with a losing record. But they'd be back in contention in '74. And Ralph would be back, but not with the Yankees.
The checklist from is dominated by pitchers. This is about the smoothest bunch of signatures so far and all these guys were actually on the team in '73. And who would have picked Thurman Munson's signature to have so much flair?
Now this is a loaded card back. Love or hate the Yankees, they are the only team in the set where just a listing of their Series wins almost pushes the team record stats off the card. By now it had been ten years since they were in a Series so precious few of these guys had team records. This will be a long one so let's get it going.
Bobby Richardson was the immediate precedent at second base to the guy in this set, Horace Clarke. Bobby was a South Carolina boy signed by the Yankees out of high school in '53. The Yanks won him over ten other teams and a couple D-1 schools. He didn't waste too much time. A .412 average in D ball got him pushed to B ball before the season was over. He then hit .310 in A ball in '54 and .296 in '55 at Double A before moving to Triple A - .280 - and then for a quick look to NY. In '56 a .328 season with 102 runs got him a one-way ticket to NY where he finished out the year as a back-up. In '57 the aging out of Jerry Coleman and the trade of Billy Martin got him significant starting time at second and he was an All-Star. Then in '58 Tony Kubek's emergence pushed Gil McDougald back to second and Bobby was a reserve again. But he was too good to keep on the bench and the next few seasons he would be the primary guy at second, teaming with Kubek to form a superior middle infield. In '61 Ralph Houk took over as manager which meant no more platooning and Bobby rarely missed a game the next six seasons. Each one he was an All-Star and five of those years he won a Gold Glove. He did a nice job on offense as well, rarely striking out, and twice hitting over .300, leading the AL with 209 hits in '62. He gassed it up in the Series, especially in '60 when he had 11 hits and 12 RBI's. He was ready to retire after '65 but Kubek beat him to it so Bobby hung out a year to ease the transition, signing a five-year contract. He played in '66 then quit as a player, doing consulting work with NY per his contract. He finished with a .266 average, and hit .305 with 15 RBI's in 36 Series games. In '70 he returned to South Carolina full-time and took over as coach of the University of South Carolina baseball team. He set in motion an excellent program in his seven years there and took the team to the CWS twice. He finished there with a 221-92-1 record. In '76 he ran for the House at the urging of Gerry Ford and barely lost. He then took a gig managing highway safety for the state through '80 when he moved to do pr work for Columbia Bible College - he was and is a big Christian speaker - through '84. He then coached at Coastal Carolina ('85-'86) and Liberty University ('87-'90), going a combined 61-38. He then retired although he remains an active speaker.
Babe Ruth was put in a boy's home at a young age by his saloon-owner dad because he was deemed incorrigible. It was there he learned to play baseball and excelled at all positions so that he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles - then a minor league team - in 1914 when he was 19. He went 22-9 that year and was subsequently sold to the Red Sox. He went 2-1 the rest of the season and then a combined 65-43 the next three as the sox won the Series the first two years and Babe took the AL ERA title in '16 with a 1.75. Perhaps the most amazing thing about his career is that if he remained a pitcher he had a decent shot at the Hall as well. In '18 the Sox could no longer ignore his outstanding hitting and they switched him between pitcher, first, and the outfield and he won the homer title. In '19 he set a record with 29 homers, led both leagues with 114 RBI's, hit .322 and still won nine games. Then came the infamous sale to the Yankees. There he became an institution and despite off years in '22 - injury - and '25 - too fat - he put up amazing numbers, averaging .349, 44 homers, 132 RBI's, 131 runs, 124 walks, and a .484 OBA. During that time he led the AL in runs seven times, homers ten times, ribbies five times, walks eleven times, average once, and OBA nine times. He led NY to seven Series, winning four. When his legs got old and the Yankees got tired of his carousing and wouldn't give him a coaching gig they sold him to the Boston Braves in '35 where he put in a few games before retiring to coach. Babe hit .342 with his 714 homers, 2,174 runs, 2,213 RBI's, 2,873 hits, 2,062 walks, and an incredible .474 OBA. As a pitcher he went 94-46 with a 2.28 ERA. In the post-season he hit .326 with 15 homers and 33 RBI's in 41 games. He put up a 3-0 record with a 0.87 ERA in the Series as well. He was elected to the Hall in '36. After his short time coaching he got gigs as a public speaker but pretty much retired. In '46 he was diagnosed with cancer from which he would pass away in '48 when he was 53.
Earle Combs was Kentucky all the way and went to Eastern Kentucky University where he was a major multiple-sport star, hitting over .500 his senior year. He earned a degree in education and began teaching locally, playing ball on the side. In '22 he signed to minor league team Louisville where he played for manager Joe McCarthy, who would manage him later on the Yankees. After hitting .344 in '22 and .380 in '23 with plenty of speed, he was traded to the Yankees for Elmer Smith and some cash. He jump started his career by hitting .400 his first few weeks as a rookie but then fractured his ankle and missed the rest of the season. The next year he stepped back in as the team's regular center fielder, a position he would keep for ten seasons. During that time he recorded over 200 hits three times and over twenty triples three times, leading the AL in the latter stat each of those years. His best season was '27 when he led the AL with 231 hits and 23 triples and hit .356 while scoring 137 runs for Murderers Row. He went to the Series four times and won three. In '34 he ran into the wall at the Stadium and fractured his skull, missing a significant part of the season. He returned in '35 but broke his collarbone and decided he'd had enough. Earle finished with a .325 average with 154 triples,,1,186 runs, 1,866 hits, and a .397 OBA in 12 seasons. In the Series he hit .350 with 17 runs and nine RBI's in 16 games. Earle began coaching for the Yankees during the '35 season and remained there through '44, his pet project being his successor in center, Joe Dimaggio. He then coached for the Browns ('47), the Red Sox ('48-'52), and the Phillies ('54). He then retired back home to Kentucky where he did some work at his old college and a bunch of community work. He was elected to the Hall by the Veteran's Committee in '70. He passed away in '76 at age 77.
Wee Willie Keeler was a local kid from Brooklyn who played semi-pro ball for factory and other company teams because he made more money ball-playing than working in the actual jobs. Eventually he got smart and stuck to baseball. By 1892 he was with a semi-pro team in Binghamton, NY where he hit .373 and was then sold to the Giants for $800. He played sparingly, broke his leg, and when he returned two months later was sold to Brooklyn - then the Grooms - for $800. There he hit well enough but was a mess of a fielder at third and ended the season back in the minors. He was then traded to Baltimore with Dan Brouthers in a lopsided deal and began his hitting onslaught. He had at least 200 hits in each of the next eight seasons, moved to the outfield, and specialized in infield hits, especially bunts and the "Baltimore Chop", an intentionally hard hit ball into the ground that fielders couldn't handle until the batter was on first. He also stole a ton of bases. He stayed in Baltimore through '98 and those five seasons averaged .388 with 220 hits and 48 stolen bases. His best season was '97 when he hit .424 with 237 hits. When the Baltimore and Brooklyn teams did that weird merger thing in '99 Willie returned to his home team. Now the Superbas, for them he again averaged over 200 hits while hitting over .350. After the '03 season he jumped ship to the Yankees. He stuck with them through '09 and still posted pretty good numbers although due to declining speed, at a discount to his earlier years. After a short 1910 back with the Giants he was done up top with a .341 average 2,932 hits, 1,719 runs, 810 stolen bases, and a .388 OBA. He then put in a partial season with Toronto of the Eastern League. He then returned to Brooklyn to coach for the Surperbas ('12-13) and the Federal League Tip-Tops ('14-'15). He then made some investments that went south and by the Twenties was living in a boarding house in Brooklyn and contracted tuberculosis. He spent the early part of the decade broke and in poor health and passed away in '22 from heart disease brought on by the tuberculosis. He was 50. Willie was elected to the Hall in '39.
Lou Gehrig was another local kid, he from Manhattan. After growing up very poor and graduating high school he attended Columbia University where when he was younger he helped his mom clean frat houses. At Columbia he played football but was suspended from his first year of baseball because he played a few games with Hartford of the Eastern League the prior summer. He was able to play his sophomore year, hit over .400 with seven homers in 19 games and was signed by the Yankees that spring. He would spend most of the next two seasons back in Hartford as the NY line-up was pretty stoked, hitting a combined .345 with 61 homers. In '25 he was backing up in the outfield and first when poor Wally Pipp decided to take a day off and The Iron Horse took over. Over the next 14 seasons in NY Lou would lead the AL in every major hitting category - even triples - at least once. Pretty much every one of his seasons was amazing and his best was probably his triple crown year of '34 when he hit .363 with 49 homers, 165 RBI's, a .465 OBA, and only 31 strikeouts. He won two MVP's, was an All-Star seven times, and went to seven Series, winning six. He played through early '39 when he finally had to sit due to early effects of what would later be diagnosed as ALS. He finished with a .340 average, 493 homers, 1,995 RBI's, 2,721 hits, and a .447 OBA. In Series games he hit .361 with ten homers and 35 RBI's in 34 games. He was elected to the Hall upon retirement in '39. He passed away from the disease in '41 at age 37.
Unlike the last couple guys, Roger Maris was a country kid. Born in Hibbing, Minnesota - the same town that produced Bob Dylan - he moved to North Dakota as a kid where he was a high school football and baseball star. After a brief stab at college he was signed by Cleveland in '53 and that summer hit .325 in C ball. The next year he hit .315 with 32 homers in B ball and in '55 19 homers in A ball. After a '56 in which he hit .293 with 17 homers in Triple A he was promoted to the top. In '57 he hed an OK rookie year with 14 homers in 358 at bats. He was going at a similar pace the next year when he was traded early in the season to Kansas City in the deal that brought the Indians Vic Power and Woodie Held. For KC he improved his power and he finished the season with 28 homers and 80 RBI's. In '59 he hit 19 out with 72 RBI's and went to his first All-Star game. The Yankees then arranged one of those horribly lopsided trades where they got Roger and others for a bunch of aging players and he went on to have his most productive seasons. In '60, despite missing a bunch of late-season games to have his appendix taken out, he hit 39 homers, an AL-leading 112 RBI's, and .283 to win his first MVP. He also won a Gold Glove. Then came the big '61 season in which he and Mickey Mantle chased The Babe's home run record in what would be a very stressful year for Roger. He won the crown with his big 61, led both leagues with 132 runs and the AL with 141 RBI's and won his second MVP. In '62 he had his last big season with 33 homers and 100 RBI's. In '63 injuries reduced his playing time to half a season, though he hit 23 out with 52 ribbies. In '64 he put in a full season but his power was waning - 26 homers and 71 RBI's - though he did hit .281. The rest of his time in NY was injury-filled and following the '66 season he was sent to the Cards for Charley Smith. Roger's timing was pretty good as he returned to the Series both years with St. Louis as their regular right fielder, providing clutch hitting and excellent numbers in the '67 post-season. After the '68 season he retired, leaving behind a .260 average, 275 homers, and 850 RBI's, along with a .345 OBA. In the Series he hit .217 with six homers and 18 RBI's in 41 games. Upon retirement he was given a Budweiser distributorship in Florida by St. Louis owner Busch which Roger was able to turn into a thriving business. He was having a nice post-career run when in the mid-Eighties he was diagnosed with lymphoma from which he passed away in '85. He was 51.
Luis Arroyo had a long trip to the major leagues. Born in Puerto Rico, he played semi-pro ball down there after graduating high school and won a sponsored trip to Phil Rizzuto's baseball school in Florida in '47. He was then signed to the independent Greenville team and between there and A C league team in Greensboro won 14 games. The next year the latter team moved up to B status and Luis moved up for them as well, going 21-13. He then signed with the Cards and posted some fat ERA's the next couple years in Triple A. He also pitched winter ball and was hurt in '52. The Cards put him on injured reserve the next two seasons though he continued to pitch in the winter. He returned in '54 and went a combined 16-9 with a 2.40 ERA in Single and Double A. That got him promoted to St. Louis in '55 where as a 28-year old rookie he went 11-8 with a 4.19 ERA in the rotation and was an All-Star. Manager Fred Hutchinson thought he was a loafer though - he wasn't - and pushed him back to the minors to start '56 and then traded him to Pittsburgh. For the Pirates Luis would go a combined 6-14 the next two seasons with a high ERA mostly in the pen but 8-5 in the minors. In '58 he learned a screwball and that turned things around. In '58 he went 10-3 in Triple A with his new pitch and then was traded to the Reds. He began the season in Cincinnati but when new manager Hutch realized who he was he sent him back down. Back at Triple A he went 8-9 but with a 1.15 ERA as the bullpen ace. He got sold to the Yankees, went 9-7 with a 2.27 ERA for their Triple A team, and finished the season in NY, going 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA and getting seven saves. In '61 he had his big year, going 15-5 with 29 saves and a 2.19 ERA as he made his second All-Star game and got some MVP votes. He was probably pretty happy beating the Reds in the Series. After that his arm went south fast and he was out of baseball by 'mid-season of '63. Luis finished with a record of 40-32 with a 3.93 ERA, 44 saves, and ten complete games up top. In the minors he went 95-67 with a 3.30 ERA. In the Series he went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in three games. He was also a .227 hitter. After he finished playing he managed a few years and scouted for the Yankees into the early Eighties. He has since retired and still resides in Puerto Rico.
Pedro Ramos was a farm kid from Cuba who was signed by the Senators in '53. After a lame first season in D ball he went a combined 19-6 in C and B ball in '54 and made it to DC in '55. For the Nats his rookie year he went 5-11 with 5 saves and a 3.88 ERA. The next year he went 12-11 but the ERA popped. The next five years he was in the rotation and went a combined 61-91 and led the AL in losses four consecutive seasons as well as in homers given up twice. He was an All-Star once - in '59 - and around then took on the image of a cowboy, frequently wearing a loaded gun to the park. Right before the '62 season he was traded to Cleveland for Vic Power and Dick Stigman. For the Indians he went a relatively respectable 26-30 the next two-plus seasons though he kept giving up a bunch of gopher balls. Late in '64 he went to NY for Ralph Terry and some cash. The Yankees threw him in the pen and he had a nice stretch run but was ineligible for the Series. He had his big season in '65, going 5-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 19 saves. After an OK '66 - 3-9 with 13 saves - he was sent to the Phillies for whom he went almost immediately to the minors. He moved around to a bunch of teams the next six seasons and was done in the majors by '70. He finished up top with a record of 117-160 with a 4.08 ERA, 73 complete games, and 55 saves. He was a decent batter and hit 15 homers himself during his career. After being done in the States he continued to play a bit in Mexico and Latin America. He settled into the Miami area and in the Seventies and early Eighties was involved in the drug trade and served a bunch of time. He also hung out a lot in Nicaraugua where he started his own cigar company where he apparently liked to brag about all the people he shot. He sounds like a winner.
Dooley Womack grew up in South Carolina and was signed by the Yankees after high school in 1958. He spent a while moving up the chain while posting middling seasons as a reliever. In '64 he won ten in Double A and in '65 the same amount in Triple A, both years with excellent ERA's. He had a nice rookie year for a pretty bad team in '66, going 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA and four saves. In '67 he ramped things up with a 5-6, 2.41 ERA, and 18 saves. In '68 he lost his closer role to Steve Hamilton and Lindy McDaniel and the next year he was traded to Houston for Dick Simpson. He was having a pretty good year as a setup guy when he was sent to the Pilots for Jim Bouton mid-year (he gets a couple mentions in "Ball Four"). He did pretty well for them as well but in a limited role. He then went back to Houston, was quickly flipped to Cincinnati, and for the Reds had a nice year in Triple A. At the end of the season he was traded to Oakland for whom he made his final appearances up top. In '71 he was having a decent year for the A's in Triple A when he went down with a torn rotator cuff that ended his career. Dooley went 19-18 with a 2.95 ERA and 24 saves in the majors and 65-55 with a 3.18 ERA in the minors. After he played he returned to South Carolina where he worked a bit selling men's suits. He then moved into the carpet business and spent a bunch of years in the flooring business before he retired.
Jack Chesbro was born in Massachusetts and played semi-pro and pro ball there and in New York after high school. In 1895 he hooked up late in the year with independent Springfield. The next two years he pitched B ball and had an excellent ERA despite a losing record.In '98 he went 23-15 at the same level and was signed by the Orioles but then dropped during its crazy merger with Brooklyn. He went 17-4 to start the year in the minors and was sold to Pittsburgh mid-season.For the Pirates he had a not great finish to the season but then over the next three years he would become the staff ace, in '02 leading the NL with 28 wins and eight shutouts. In '03 he was basically assigned to the Highlanders and he did well enough his first year, going 21-15. Then prior to the '04 season he learned the spitter and then went an amazing 41-12 with a 1.82 ERA in 454 innings. In '05 he won 19 and in '06 23, both with better than league-average ERA's. He would continue to post good ERA's but the next couple years his arm ran out of gas and he went 14-20 in '08. After that season his arm was toast and he was out of the majors by the end of the '09 season. He finished 198-132 with a 2.68 ERA, 35 shutouts, and 260 complete games. He would play semi-pro ball on and off until his early fifties, coached UMass a couple years, and spent most of his time working his farm back home in Massachusetts. He passed away there in '31 of a heart attack when he was 57. He was inducted into the Hall in '46.
Al Orth graduated from DePauw University after growing up in Indiana. He hooked up with independednt Lynchburg and went 24-7 with a 2.41 ERA in 1895 and was sold to the Phillies before the season was over for $1,000. For seven seasons in Philly he had a nice run, going 100-72 with a 3.49 ERA. He was a good hitter as well and during that time hit .294 and put in a few games as a position guy. He then moved to the Senators where he won 19 his first year but went 10-22 his second. Both seasons he had relatively high ERA's. Al was a control pitcher whose nickname was The Curveless Wonder and whose pitches were generally off-speed versions of a fastball. While he could place them very well, the humid DC air weighed them down too much and made them easier to hit. Midway through his third year with the Nats he was traded to the Highlanders and for them he had an immediate turnaround, winning 11 the rest of the way in '04 and 18 in '05. He had his best season in '06 when he went 27-17 with a 2.34 ERA and led the AL in wins and complete games, with 36. In '07 he again had a nice ERA - 2.61 - but went 14-21. After a 2-13 '08 he returned to Lynchburg where he had bought the team and renamed it the Shoemakers in honor of his dad. He spent the rest of '08 and '09 there playing for and managing the team. After a brief comeback attempt in '09 for NY he was done. Al went 204-189 with a 3.37 ERA, 324 complete games, and 31 shutouts. He only averaged less than two walks per nine innings. He hit .273 with 12 homers and 184 RBI's. He settled back in Lynchburg where he ran his team for a bunch of years and where he passed away at age 76 in '48.
Joe Lake was an excellent all-around baseball player out of Brooklyn. For a bunch of years after high school he played semi-pro ball for the Loughlin Lyceum, a Catholic League team for whom he played the outfield and pitched through 1904. In '05 he played for a professional team in Peekskill, NY and then he moved to independent Newburgh in '06 for whom he exclusively played the field and hit .321. In '07 he moved to Jersey City, an A league team and switched gears, pitching his way to a 25-14 record. That got him purchased by the Highlanders and in '08 Joe went 9-22 - which would actually give him sole title to the loss record - with a 3.17 ERA. He improved to 14-11 with an excellent 1.88 ERA in '09 and was then traded to the Browns. In St. Louis Joe went 22-39 but with a 2.88 ERA the next two-plus years and midway through '12 he was sold to Detroit where he went 17-18 through '13. That ended things up top where Joe went a combined 62-90 with a 2.85 ERA and 95 complete games. He moved to the minors the second half of the '13 season and then went 16-13 in '14 while also hitting above .330 while getting some position time as well. He was released in '15 ending his baseball career. There is no further info out there on Joe. He passed away in Brooklyn in 1950 at age 69.
Russ Ford was born in Manitoba, Canada and moved to Minnesota as a kid. He played local ball and was in B ball by 1905 where he won 16 for Cedar Rapids when he was 22. The next year he won 22 for the same team and the next three seasons averaged 15 wins a year in A ball. At the end of '09 he was signed by the Highlanders. Over that winter he picked up what would be his money pitch, an emory ball, which he discovered by accident. In his rookie year of 1910 he went 26-6 with a 1.65 ERA with his new pitch. In '11 he won 22, but in '12 he went 13-21 as batters began figuring out his pitch. After a 12-18 season in '13 - but with a 2.66 ERA - he moved to the Federal League. In '14 he won 21 for Buffalo with a 1.82 ERA. The next season, though, the league outlawed his pitch and he fell to 5-7 with a high ERA, ending his time in the majors. Russ finished going 99-71 with a 2.59 ERA and 126 complete games. He pitched a couple more seasons in the minors, winning 16 in '16. He then settled in and around New York and in Rockingham, North Carolina where he was involved in banking, shipping, and hotel management. He passed away at age 76 in 1960.
Sad Sam Jones was born in Woodsfield, Ohio and pretty much stayed there his whole life. He worked in a grocery store and played some semi-pro ball after high school until he hooked up with the B league Zanesville team in 1913. In '14 he went a combined 15-6 in the D and Double A leagues which got him sold to Cleveland late that year. After another uneventful season for the Indians he was sent to the Red Sox in the trade that brought Cleveland Tris Speaker. For Boston he'd only get in 21 games the next two seasons due to the Sox' excellent staff, including Babe Ruth. Then in '18 he got in the rotation and led the AL in winning percentage with a 16-5 mark. He remained in the rotation the next three years, losing 20 in '19 and winning 23 in '21. That earned him a trade to NY where that pattern repeated itself: he won 21 in '23 and lost 21 in '25. He pitched for NY one more year, for the Browns for a season, the Nats for three, and the White Sox for four. When Chicago released him after the '35 season he was 42. He finished with a record of 229-217, a 3.84 ERA, 36 shutouts, 250 complete games, and 31 saves. In the post-season he went 0-2 but with a 2.05 ERA in six games. A homebody, he coached and managed a bit - and even played - in the minors a couple years but spent most of his time back in Woosdsfield where he coached local ball and was the chairman of the board for many years at a bank. He passed away there in '66 at age 73. He was one of the players interviewed in the early Sixties for the book "The Glory of Their Times."
Whitey Ford - no relation to Russ - was another local kid, he from Queens. Signed by the Yankees out of high school, he went 13-4 in B ball in '47. He won 16 each of the next two seasons as he moved up the ladder and at Triple A Kansas City in '50 was 6-3 with a 3.22 ERA when he was promoted to NY. He then had a great run to start his career, winning his first nine games before going 9-1 to come in second in AL ROY voting. He then spent '51 and '52 in the Army and returned in '53 to resume a career in which he would have one of the best ever winning percentages. In his 16 seasons in NY he lost ten or more games only twice. He led the AL in wins three times, winning percentage three times, ERA twice, complete games once, and shutouts twice. He was an All-Star eight seasons and won a Cy in '61 when he went 25-4. He ran out of gas due to a bad shoulder that led him to retire early in the '67 season. He went 236-106 with a 2.75 ERA, 156 complete games, and 45 shutouts. In the Series he went 10-8 with a 2,71 ERA that included his record 33-plus innings of consecutive shutout ball. He was voted to the Hall in '74. He has done some regular season coaching and lots of spring training work but professionally spent most of his time in public appearances and earning money from his investments, including restaurants.
Tommy Byrne grew up in Baltimore and then went to Wake Forest where he played outfield and pitched. When he graduated he was signed by the Yankees in 1940 and he had a rough start the next two years at Double A Newark when he walked a guy at least every other inning. There in '42 he went 17-4 with a 3.10 ERA to win league MVP. He went up to NY in '43 where he was 2-1 but with a 6.54 ERA and 35 walks in 31 innings. He was called into the Navy during the season and served on a destroyer in the Mediterranean the next three years. He returned to NY at the end of the '46 season but was still crazy wild and he spent nearly all of '47 back in the minors, going 12-6 for Triple A Kansas City. In '48 he finally got some starting time and in '49 and '50 he won 15 each year in the rotation while leading the AL in walks. He was an All-Star in '50. He led the league again in walks in '51 and was traded early in the season to the Browns. He would stay in St. Louis through '52, pitch for the White Sox and the Senators - for neither team very successfully - and be back in the minors to open the '54 season. That year he bounced at Triple A with a 20-10 record for independent Seattle. The Yankees bought him back before the season ended. In '55 he went 16-5 in his best season up top, winning Comeback Player, and leading the AL in winning percentage. He stuck in NY two more seasons, mostly out of the pen, and was done. He finished 85-69 with a 4.11 ERA. Earning his Wild Man nickname he recorded 1,037 walks, 766 strikeouts and hit 85 batters. He was also a very good hitter and hit .238 up top with 14 homers and 98 RBI's in 601 at bats. Among his hits were 80 pinch hits. In the post-season he went 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in six games and hit .300 with two ribbies in ten at bats. In the minors he went 62-38 and hit .290. After his playing career Tommy returned to Wake Forest where he coached his college team a couple years and moved into the oil, real estate, and retail industries. He was mayor of the town of Wake Forest from '73 to '87 when he more-or-less retired. He passed away there in 2007 at the age of 87.
Spud Chandler was born in Georgia and went to the University of Georgia where he played football - as a halfback - and baseball on his wasy to a degree in agriculture. He was signed by the Yankees upon graduating in '31. The next year he had a nice start by going 12-1 in B and A ball. He spent the next three years going a combined 20-25 in Double A with a high ERA. After a '36 in which he went 14-13 with a 3.33 ERA he was promoted the next season to NY where he went 7-4 with a 2.68 ERA as a spot starter. His next season he went 14-5 and then posted pretty good records the next couple seasons though he was hurt a bunch. He won ten in '41 and 16 in '42 before he had his MVP year in '43, going 20-4 with a 1.64 ERA and five shutouts. After a start in '44 he enlisted in WW II - at 36 - and returned at the end of the '45 season. In '46 he picked up where he left off, going 20-8 with a 2.10 ERA. In '47 he went 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA as he had to rest his arm a bunch because of injuries. That would be his last season and he finished with a 109-43 record with a 2.84 ERA, 109 complete games, and 26 shutouts. He has the highest winning percentage ever of any pitcher who won 100 or more games. In the Series he went 2-2 with a 1.62 ERA in six games. After playing he coached a few years in the minors, managed in '54 and '55 in the Cleveland system - he went 150-107 - and coached for Kansas City from '57 to '58. He then became a scout for many teams, including the Yankees, through his retirement in '84. He passed away in Florida in '90 when he was 82.
That's a lot of posting.
Finally we get to the card back. The most prominent missing position guy was mentioned above: Johnny Callison hit .176 in 136 at bats but he was released during the season. Swoboda was also, but he only had 43 at bats. Bernie Allen, who backed up at second, was traded late in the season to Montreal and had 57 NY at bats. That's it for the position guys as the Alou brothers had cards with other teams in this set: Matty with the Padres and Felipe with the Expos (in the team card Matty is third from the right in the first row and Felipe is immediately behind him). On the pitching side Tom Buskey and Jim Magnuson get shut out. They each went 0-1 and Buskey is on the team card, third from the right in the last row. Mike Kekich had a card with Cleveland. So we get 160 out of 162 decisions and all but 236 at bats. That's pretty good.
Too tired to do any music news so I'll catch up on a future post.
We have to get a journeyman catcher hooked up with this team. Let's do this:
1. Mel Stottlemeyre was on the '73 Yankees;
2. Stottlemyre and Clete Boyer '64 to '66 Yankees;
3. Boyer and Hal King '70 to '71 Braves.