Thursday, April 29, 2010

In Their Own Orbit

Among the cards of the 1973 Topps baseball card set are cards showing each team assembled together.

Card #138, Houston Astros Team Card

Here are the Houston Astros, wearing the home uniforms they used between 1971 and 1974. Under Hall of Fame manager Leo "The Lip" Durocher, they went  82-80 and finished 4th in the National League West. It would be the team's final season with a winning record until 1979.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Go, Kaat, Go!

Here's an interesting picture:

Card #530 -- Jim Kaat, Minnesota Twins

Jim Kaat is shown here running after making contact with the ball. By the time this card was making its rounds through its wax and cello covering, this photo would be a rare sight indeed. In 1973, the American League began using designated hitters in place of pitchers, which meant Kaat was going to have to wait until 1976 and a trade to Philadelphia before he needed to take his place at the plate again.

Jim Kaat wouldn't stay in Minnesota for the entire 1973 season. He was waived that summer and claimed by the Chicago White Sox. Finishing 4-1, he would win 20+ games the next two seasons. Kaat would continue pitching in the majors until 1983, after 25 seasons and 283 wins.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Sudden" First Post

With this blog, I'll be tossing out cards from the 1973 Topps baseball card set to show off the sometimes bizarre choices made about what photos would be used on the cards.

Here's an example:

Card #511 -- Sam McDowell, San Francisco Giants

This card of "Sudden Sam" McDowell is really busy. Looking past the fact that a visual trick makes it look like he's throwing the baseball wildly, you see the batter, catcher, umpire and an infielder. Add to that the fact that the image is slightly looks like Sam is about to tip over and the field appears crooked. Considering the era, it makes you wonder whether the photographer may have been in a certain frame of mind...

Sam McDowell was winding down his career as this card was printed. He would be pitching for the Yankees in June of '73, appeared on one more Topps card in pinstripes before pitching his final game.