Friday, October 22, 2010

#36 - Cards Team Records

This is the second team card of the set and as I did with the Orioles team card I have also included the team checklist. This team card is much more representative of the norm than the Baltimore one was in that it is blurry enough that a lot of the players' identities need to be guessed. This card is also a bit amusing because I am pretty sure that the guys in civilian clothes at the ends of the last row are just fans. 1973 was a bit streaky for the Cards and the season kicked off with a bad one as the team came out of the gate 2-15 as problems abounded. Offense and the bullpen were pretty much non-existent, Bob Gibson would be hurt all year, and shortstop was a bit messy since it turned out new phenom Ray Busse had stage fright. But a good run in May and June got them close to first by the All-Star break and the starters did well enough that one of them, Rick Wise, started that game. But while the offense came around and rookie Mike Tyson finally solved the shortstop dilemma, the bullpen never did and like the rest of the division the Cards couldn't get too far away from .500 ball. In the end they finished at exactly that in second place and only two games back.

Not too much to say about the front of the checklist. The formality of the Brock and Gibson signatures stands out. Joe Torre's would too except that's how you signed your name if you were a Catholic kid from Brooklyn.

I hadn't realized until I studied this back how much success the Cards had during the war years - three straight pennants. So who were these record holders?

Bill White was born in the deep south, grew up in Ohio, and then attended that state's Hiram College on an academic scholarship (pre-med) where  he played ball. A big strong guy he was given a tryout by the Giants - at Forbes Field - and signed on the spot in '53. He moved pretty quickly through the minors, posting some big power years and after a hot Triple A start in '56 came to NY as a first baseman at 22, posting that many homers his rookie year. He then lost nearly all of the next two years to military time and by the time he got back late in '58 had lost his spot to Orlando Cepeda. Just prior to the '59 season Bill was traded to St. Louis where he would immediately take over first base. While it would take him a couple years to re-establish his power, Bill would off the bat put up good averages and start reaping awards. From '61 to '64 he would annually garner at least 20 homers and 90 RBI's. His best season was '63 when he would post a .304/27/109 line and during his initial seven year run with the Cards Bill was a five-time All-Star and won six Gold Gloves. After a discounted '65 he went to the Phillies in a big trade and had a big '66 season. In that off-season he tore his Achilles and then had two very reduced seasons for Philly before he closed his career back with the Cards in '69. Bill finished with a .286 average with 202 homers and 870 RBI's and hit .111 with two RBI's in his seven post season games. He then had - for guys of my age and geography - a more high-profile career as a Yankees announcer for nearly 20 years before becoming in '89 the NL president, from which he retired in '94.

Ken Boyer was one of three brothers who played in the Major Leagues. A Missouri kid, he was signed by St. Louis in '49 with the initial intent of being a pitcher. Though he threw well enough in D ball his first two seasons, Ken's bat was impossible to ignore, and by midway through his second year he was playing third base. After a big season in '51 in A ball, Ken missed the next two years to wartime military duty and returned to put up another excellent season in '54, this time in Double A. In '55 he made the cut and he would spend the next eleven years - '55 to '65 - as the St. Louis third baseman, a position at which he was a seven-time All-Star and won five Gold Gloves. An excellent fielder and a very good hitter, he would average a .293/23/91 line with Cards and won the NL MVP in '64, a season in which he led St. Louis to the Series title with a .295/24/119 line. Like Bill White, Ken had a discounted '65 season - for Ken the culprit was a bad back - and was traded after it, he to the Mets. After a season as the regular guy at third for NY in '66, he shared corner infield time the next two seasons for the Mets, White Sox, and the Dodgers with whom his career ended early in the '69 season. Ken finished with a .287 average, with 282 homers, and 1,141 RBI's and hit .222 with two homers and six RBI's in seven Series games. Defensively he is currently 30th all-time in putouts at third base, 20th in assists, and twelfth in double plays. He then turned to managing right away and in '70 and from '73 to '77 went 373-361 in the minors for the St. Louis and Baltimore chains. From '71-'72 he coached up top for the Cards and early in the '78 season took over managing the team. He went 166-190 before being let go early in the '80 season. He then scouted for St. Louis until he passed away in '82 at age 51 from lung cancer.

Rogers Hornsby is the Hall of Fame second baseman who also spent a bunch of years managing. Raised in Texas, he was playing semi-pro ball by age ten and began his pro career after trying out for a D team in 1914. He was a skinny kid who initially didn't hit very well but his cocky attitude got him acquired from that level by the Cards in '15. During that off-season he ate like crazy and the next year posted his first .300-plus season while playing shortstop, a position at which he was error-prone. His initial time with the Cards encompassed the '14-'26 seasons and by midway through the '19 season he got moved to second, at which he did much better defensively. He then exploded offensively in the Twenties and for the next six years had about the best run as a hitter in baseball history, with an average line of  .397/26/115 with 42 doubles, 14 triples, and 216 hits. During that time he hit .400 three times, won two Triple Crowns, and one MVP. In '25 he took over as manager of the team and the next year, though injuries pulled down his stats a bit, led the Cards to a Series title. But in his managerial role, Rogers pissed off both his players and owners and he would then become a bit itinerant. In '27 he went to the Giants where he revived his stats a bunch but pissed off John McGraw. In '28 he went to the Boston Braves, where he won his last batting title with a .387 and in '29 to the Cubs, where he won his second MVP with a .380/39/149 line. He remained in Chicago through '32 but only had one more season as a regular. In '33 he returned to St. Louis, first for the Cards, and then for the Browns, for whom he continued to play and manage through '37, his final year as a player. Rogers finished that role with a .358 average with 301 homers, 1,584 RBI's, 541 doubles, 169 triples, and a sick .434 OBA. He led the NL in hits, doubles, and RBI's four times, average seven times, and homers twice. In the post-season he hit .245 with five RBI's in twelve games. After playing he would manage in the minors through '42 and again from '50 to '51. He then managed the Browns for part of the '52 season and in Cincinnati from '52 to '53, burning bridges everywhere. For that gap in the Forties he ran a baseball rec league in Chicago and from '54 on took on various coaching assignments. As an MLB manager Rogers went 701-812. He was elected into the Hall in '42. He passed away in '63 while coaching for the Mets at age 66.

Jesse Burkett is another Hall of Famer, who like Rogers Hornsby, could hit the crap out of the ball and manage to piss everyone off at the same time. His nickname was "Crab." Born in West VA, Jesse worked and played ball well before he finished high school, and signed with a B level team in 1888, when he was 18. Initially a pitcher, the following year at the same level, he went 30-4 and the next year his contract was picked up by the Giants. In '90 Jesse only went 3-10 with a very high ERA, but he hit well enough that by season's end he was also playing in the outfield. Following that season Jesse was traded to the NL's Cleveland Spiders where in '91 he had a tough time hitting up top but both hit and pitched well in the minors. After that it was all Cleveland from '92 to '98, a time during which Jesse averaged over .360 and hit over .400 twice. The Spiders ran out of bucks after that last season and the players were distributed elsewhere in the NL, Jesse going to the Cardinals. There from '99-1901 he averaged .378 and his last season won the batting title with a .376. He then moved to the Browns for three seasons before finishing in '05 with the Red Sox. Jesse finished with a .338 average, 2,850 hits, 182 triples, 75 homers, 952 RBI's, a .415 OBA, three batting titles, and 399 stolen bases. He'd done a good job saving money and prior to the '06 season established a minor league team in Worcester, MA, for which he both played (through '13) and managed (through '15), leading the team to four pennants before he sold the team prior to the '16 season. He then managed that year for some other local teams, took over as the baseball coach at Holy Cross ('17-'20), coached for the Giants ('21-'22), managed some more in the minors ('23-'24, '28-'29, '33) while also working for the Massachusetts Highway Department. He was admitted to the Hall in '46 and passed away in '53 at age 84.

Joe "Ducky" Medwick was a Gashouse Gang member, another Hall of Fame outfielder, who grew up in NJ as a big sports star and was wooed by Knute Rockne to play football at Notre Dame. Instead he opted for baseball and in '30 signed with a C team for which he hit .419. That got the Cards interested so they signed Joe and after nearly two seasons of over .300 in A ball he came up in September of '32 and hit .349 for a month. He would then be an offensive force for St Louis the next seven years, during that time averaging a .337/20/123 line with 49 doubles. In '34 he led the NL with 18 triples and in '36 along with that doubles record, he led the NL with 223 hits and 138 RBI's. He was MVP in '37 by virtue of winning the Triple Crown with his .374/31/154 season as well as leading the league in about every offensive category. But Joe, like the two above guys, wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy, and after two more good seasons he was traded to Brooklyn shortly into the '40 season. Then, in one of his first games against his old team, he was beaned and knocked unconscious. While he would return to post decent numbers the rest of the way and would post some more .300 seasons, he was no longer the hitter he was and he would move around a bit, going from Brooklyn ('40-'43), the Giants ('43-'45), the Braves ('45), back to Brooklyn ('46), and back to St. Louis ('47-'48), making pretty much no friends along the way. He hit .324 for his career with 2,471 hits, 540 doubles, 205 homers, and 1,383 RBI's. In the post-season he hit .326 with a homer and five RBI's in twelve games and was a ten-time All-Star. From '49 to '52 he coached and played in the minors. He then coached for various teams in the minors before becoming a St. Louis roving hitting coach in '66 which he did until he passed in '75 from a heart attack at age 63. He was elected into the Hall in '68.

Tom Long had a very brief career as an outfielder, playing with the Cards from 1915-'17. He was from Alabama and presumably played some college or other organized ball because his first professional experience was late in the 1911 season with the Senators. That was followed by three seasons close to home of A ball during which Tommy averaged about .300. He was signed by St. Louis prior to the '15 season and his rookie year cruised to the league triples crown by a fat margin. He then  had a decent '16, declined in '17,  and was then was a minor leaguer through '24. Up top he hit .269 with 49 triples and in the minors about .290. He appears to have not wandered terribly far from his birthplace and passed away in Mobile in '72 at age 82.

Johnny "The Big Cat" Mize is the next HOF guy, an outfielder/first baseman whose career was neatly divided into three sections. Born in Georgia, he was playing college ball in high school and was signed by the Cards in 1930. Then, despite some excellent offense the next few years at levels ranging from C to Double A, he was still in the minors when he got a nasty bone spur on his pelvis in '34 and thought he was done with baseball. But a successful surgery and a nice recovery year in '35 got him up top in '36. Johnny immediately started hitting and by now was playing exclusively first base. A big power guy who didn't strike out very much, Johnny would stay in St. Louis through '41 and during that time put up an average line of .336/26/109 with 36 doubles, eleven triples, and a .419 OBA. He came in second in MVP voting twice and was then traded to the Giants at the insistence of NY manager Mel Ott. There, Johnny had another big '42 before missing the next three seasons to military service. He got back for a partial season in '46 and picked up his power routine. In '47 he famously hit 51 homers while striking out fewer than 50 times, the only player to do that. He led the NL that year and with 40 in '48 and then during the '49 season as his legs were giving out - he was 36 - Johnny went to the Yankees for the stretch run. He would remain in NY as a part-timer from '49 to '53 which was pretty good timing since he got to win five consecutive Series. He retired after that last season with a .312 average, 359 homers and 1,337 RBI's, and played in ten All-Star games, including his last season which must have been a sentimental honor. In the post-season he hit .286 with three homers and nine RBI's in 18 games. After playing Johnny relocated to Florida where he was involved in real estate, orange groves, and ran a liquor store. In the mid-Seventies he moved back to his hometown where he retired and passed away in '93 at the age of 80. He made it in the Hall in '81.

Ron Willis was originally an outfielder and was signed by the Cards in '61 out of hi St. Louis high school. After hitting about .232 in a season-plus of D ball, though, by the middle of '62 he did a reverse Rick Ankiel and was moved to the mound and that year went a combined 9-6 as a swing guy in D and C ball. In '63 he joined the A level rotation and went 13-7 with a high ERA. He fixed that in '64 with a 9-1 season and a 2.31 ERA around some military time and some late Double A ball. In '65 he went 7-4 at the higher level before a great Fall IL season during which he went 6-2 with a 2.96 ERA. In '66 he switched gears, moving to the Triple A pen and winning ten games before a late look up top that included a save. In '67 he had a nice rookie year, forming a righty (him)/lefty closing tandem with Joe Hoerner while winning six and saving ten with a 2.67 ERA. In '68 he moved to a setup role and won two while saving four. After a slow start in '69 he did some Triple A time and was traded to Houston, where he didn't throw too much. After that season he was returned to the Cards and threw nice ball in Triple A - 2-4 with a 1.67 ERA and 13 saves in 26 games - before another mid-season trade, this time to San Diego. For the Padres, Ron went 2-2 while saving four in his final season. For his MLB career Ron went 11-12 with a 3.32 ERA and 19 saves. In the minors he was 53-36 with a 3.72 ERA. He had a tougher time in the Series, posting an 11.81 ERA in his six games. He would stay close to baseball on and off and in '77 was a scout for the Cards when he passed away from bone cancer. He was only 34..

Jack Taylor set the Cards complete game record in 1904, not 1967. Born in Ohio in 1874, he played local semi-pro ball until 1897 when he was signed to Connie Mack's Milwaukee A level team after beating them the prior year in an exhibition game. He threw well that first year but got hurt and then in '98 won 28 games before being traded to the Chicago Orphans late that summer and going 5-0 the rest of the way. He remained in the Chicago rotation and the next three years put up a way better than average ERA but for poor teams went only a combined 41-57. Then in '02 he would have his first big season, going 23-11 with a 1.29 ERA and eight shutouts, leading the NL with both latter stats. That year he also began a run of completing every one of his starts that lasted partway through the '06 season. He won 21 for the re-christened Cubs in '03 before a big trade - the Cubs got Mordecai Brown - took him to St. Louis. His complete games led the NL in '04 as he won 20 and after a losing season in '05 he returned to the Cubs midway through the '06 season when he went a combined 20-12 with a 1.99 ERA. But all those complete games took a toll on Jack's arm and the next year he threw well enough in a spot role but was done just before the Cubbies had their big Series run.He then returned to the minor leagues where he pitched through '11. Jack finished with an MLB record of 152-139 with a 2.65 ERA, 279 complete games (in 287 starts!), 20 shutouts, and five saves. A pretty good hitter as well, he would sometimes play other positions and hit .222 with 88 RBI's for his career. By 1913 he had returned to his hometown where he would become a coal miner until he passed away from lung disease at age 64 in 1938.

Ulysses Simpson Grant "Stoney" McGlynn was a pretty colorful guy and player. Born in PA in 1872 he pitched local company and semi-pro ball for years while working in the mining and building industries. He reportedly won 70 games one year out of a 126 game season. In '04 he signed with York of the Tri-State independent league. Though he told the team he was 21, he was actually 32 and for the next two seasons he won 30 and 28 games, respectively, quite a few of them both ends of double headers. His nickname was understandably "Iron Man." In '06 he topped both those seasons by winning 36 by late July before he was sold to a D team in Ohio for which he went 5-1 with a 0.71 ERA in a month. That was followed by a sale to St. Louis and in the final two weeks of that season Stoney threw six complete games while going 2-2 with a 2.44 ERA. Then, for a horrible team in '07 - the Cards went 52-101 that year - Stoney had by far his biggest MLB season, going 14-25 with a 2.91 ERA. His losses, 39 starts, and 33 complete games led the NL. In one game he went 16 innings against Orvall Overall of the Cubs who also went 16 and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. In another game he came in relief against Pittsburgh with the bases loaded and three balls on the batter, no outs. He then picked off each of the base runners and retired the side without throwing a pitch. He then held out prior to the '08 season, had a not great early run in a spot role, and by midyear was back in the minors. For his MLB time Stoney was 17-33 with a 2.95 ERA, 43 complete games, three shutouts, and two saves. He would then play with Milwaukee, an A team, for three-plus seasons, peaking in '09 when he won 27 and threw 426 innings, again many of them both games in double headers. He would throw in the minors until 1915 and at that level won a total of 177 games. By 1912 he'd relocated to Wisconsin full time and was initially a lifeguard as well as an athletics coach. He was a coach at the University of Illinois for a few years as well but spent most of his professional time after baseball at the Aluminum Goods Manufacturing Company in Manitowac where he worked in shipping and as a watchman while coaching the company baseball team. He also continued lifeguarding through at least his early sixties. He passed away in Manitowac in '41 when he was 69.
Dizzy Dean's Hall of Fame career was basically built on 5 1/2 seasons, all with the Cards. Born in Arkansas, Diz grew up in a sharecropper household, went to work at an early age, and joined the Army when he was 17. There he picked up some of his baseball skills as well as his nickname. Signed by St. Louis prior to the '30 season, Diz won 25 in A ball that year before throwing a complete game win for the Cards in September. In '31 it was back to A ball and a 26-10/1.57 season before coming up for good the next year. He won 18 his rookie year and from '32 to the All-Star game in '37 he ran at about a 24-win pace. His biggest season was '34, the year he led the Gashouse Gang to the Series and won the MVP for his 30-7/2.66 year. He is the last NL guy to win 30 and he led the NL that year in wins, shutouts (seven), and strikeouts (195). But like some of the St. Louis hitters discussed above, Diz used to piss off guys, more because of his cocky attitude than because of a pugnacious one. So when after putting up two more big years in '35 (an NL-leading 28 wins) and '36 (24), when in the '37 All-Star game he broke his foot, there wasn't too much sympathy and his power-pitching days were over. After starting that year 12-7, he went 1-3 the second half and after the season was sent to the Cubs. With Chicago, Diz occupied a spot role and the next three seasons went a combined 16-8. Early in the '41 season he was offered a coaching gig with the team and a few months later a broadcasting one. He would broadcast fore the Cards a few seasons, then move across town to the Browns and while there throw four scoreless innings for the Browns in '47. As a pitcher he finished his MLB run with a record of 150-83 with a 3.02 ERA, 154 complete games, 26 shutouts, and 31 saves. He made four All-Star teams and in the post-season was 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA and a shutout in five games. He was also a pretty good hitter, posting a .225 average with eight homers and 76 RBI's. After his Browns stint, he would broadcast elsewhere, including for the Yankees, before moving to a national TV gig. He was admitted to the Hall in '53 and passed away in '74 at age 64 from a heart attack.

Arthur "Bugs" Raymond was a sad case who came out of Chicago where he worked operating a printing press and then started playing company ball. In 1904 he signed with A D team and went 19-7 before being purchased by Detroit late that year. He threw pretty well in a few late games for the Tigers, but not well enough to let anyone overlook what was a pretty considerable drinking problem. So after the season Detroit sold Bugs to an A team for which Bugs showed up late, went 10-6, and continued to drink. In '06 he moved down to C ball, learned a spitter, and won 18. At that level in '07 he went 35-11 before a late summer sale returned him to the MLB level, this time for the Cards. For St. Louis the rest of the way Bugs went 2-4 in six complete game starts, but with a 1.67 ERA. He remained in the Cards rotation in '08, the year he tied the club record for losses. Despite his 15-25 record, he had an ERA that year just above 2.00 and threw five shutouts. Following that season he went to the Giants in a big trade and won 18 games in '09. But though John McGraw tried to corral him Bugs continued to hit the sauce and in '10 his record fell to 4-11. He had a bit of a bounce in '11 on the mound but was missing games, throwing drunk at others, and was eventually cut loose and missed the Series that year. He got work back in Chicago where he passed away in 1912 at 30 years old, apparently as a result of an onfield beating with a baseball bat by either a fan or an opponent. Bugs was 45-57 for his MLB work with a 2.49 ERA, 57 complete games, nine shutouts, and two saves. In the minor leagues he was 87-32.

"Hickory Bob" Harmon was born in Missouri and shortly thereafter lost both his parents so he was adopted by his mom's sister. His adopted family were farmers and Bob worked the farm while playing some local ball. In 1909 he signed with a C team for which he threw well enough to get signed by the Cards later that spring. Bob was primarily a fastball guy with some control issues and his first two seasons went a combined 19-26 with high ERA's. But then in '11 he had his best year, during which he led the league in starts and walks and went 23-16. He won 18 in '12, faded to 8-21 the following year, and was traded to Pittsburgh. With the Pirates Bob went a combined 39-47 the next three years but finally got his ball/strike ratio on the right side and posted better than league average ERA's. He also during that time bought some farmland in Louisiana and in '17 quit ball to set up and manage the cotton farm to which he converted his property. He returned to Pittsburgh in '18 but then retired mid-season when oil was struck om his farm. Bob finished with a record of 107-133 with a 3.33 ERA, 143 complete games, 15 shutouts, and twelve saves. He parlayed the oil strike into some petrochemical property and also expanded his farming empire to include dairy and grew quite wealthy. He passed away in '61 at age 74.

Cy Young pitched for the Cards? Yup, from 1899-1900. The thing is, though, that he actually gave up more hits in the former year, 368, than the latter. Either Topps made a mistake or they just counted 20th century records. Cy will have a much more detailed bio on the Boston team post.

So who's missing from the checklist. Bernie Carbo and Rick Wise have Boston cards since they were traded there before the '74 season (but I guess too late to get "Traded" cards). On the position player side, a few reserve infielders and an outfielder get shut out: Busse hit .143 with a couple homers in 70 at bats; Mick Kelleher - Busse's first reliever - hit .184 in 38 at bats; Ed Crosby .128 in 39 at bats; and Bill Stein .218 in his 55 first year at bats. All those guys except Busse would have cards down the road. Jim Dwyer hit .193 in 57 at bats as the reserve outfielder. On the pitching side Wayne Granger had a card with the Yankees and Jim Bibby with the Rangers so three wins and four losses are not represented in this set.Those were represented by: Eddie Fisher who went 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last season; John Andrews went 1-1/4.42 in his only look up top; and Mike Nagy, former big deal rookie for Boston, was 0-2/4.20 in his penultimate MLB season. Some of these guys do make the cut on the team card though. Andrews is the first guy in the first row; Kelleher the sixth from the right in the second row; Nagy is the first player (next to the all white trainer) in the third row; Busse is the big guy in the middle of that row and Stein is to his immediate left; and Crosby is third from the right in the back row. For any completeness freaks, the Cruz brothers are fully represented in the second row by Hector, Cirilio, and Jose (after Luis Melendez) to the immediate right of Kelleher. So with lots of bodies but not terribly much field time the Cards are the second team in a row with excellent representation.

Finally, we get the '73 Cards to Mr. Perry thusly:

1. Joe Torre on the '73 Cards;
2. Torre and Felipe Alou '68 Braves;
3. Alou and Gaylord Perry '63 Giants.

I will expect to see a bunch more of the Alou brothers in this exercise.

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