Saturday, November 22, 2014

Senators Saturday - Fred Valentine, 1967.

Fred Valentine and his cheek full of tobacco appear on the front of card number 64 of the 1967 Topps set. For some reason I really like the picture on this card. Just has the old-time baseball feel to it.

Valentine played all three outfield positions in 1967 for the Senators over the 151 games he appeared in. Of his total of 1078.1 innings played in the field 510.1 were in center, 467.1 were in right, and 100.2 were in left. His combined .989 fielding percentage was nine points higher than the league average. He actually had the 5th highest fielding percentage in the league. Unfortunately he also had significantly less range than the average outfielder.

Following a career-high number of plate appearances in 1966, Fred made 527 trips to the plate for Washington in 1967. He watched his batting average tumble 42 points to .234 and his on-base percentage slide down to .330. Even being fifth in the league with 10 hit by pitches couldn't rescue his on-base percentage. Valentine's 16 doubles, one triple, and 11 home runs were not enough to keep his slugging percentage from falling by over 100 points. He did continue to exhibit some speed on the base paths as he stole 17 bases while getting caught just three times. That was the best stolen base percentage in the league.

1967 was a downer season for Fred Valentine. He had been unable to maintain his 1966 numbers in his second full season as a regular player. That was not a good sign. Fred needed to increase his range and recover his power and average with the bat if he wanted to continue playing full-time in the crowded Washington outfield in 1968.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Heartbreaking surprise.

So, awhile back I dropped some random Twins cards on Matt over at Heartbreaking Cards. I needed the space and wanted to send the cards to somebody who might appreciate them. Matt likes the Twins. Perfect match. Out went the Twins and I gained some ground in my war for space in my card boxes.

Unexpectedly, Matt sent me some Rangers in return. Some very nice Rangers. A couple of minis, a Topps Chrome Yu Darvish, and a couple of game-used cards. One of the game-used cards was this 2010 Allen and Ginter Relics bat bit card of Ian Kinsler. Every card in the bubble mailer hit a hole in my Rangers collection. Thanks a ton Matt! The cards were an awesome surprise. I'll be sure to keep you in mind for any Twins I might be able to send your way.

Speaking of sending cards out. So far I've received just one comment regarding the Christmas giveaway I will be commencing here in a few days. Had a nibble on the Red Sox but no email with an address. If you want to shout out for a team lot of free cards shoot me an email at rmatlack3 at juno dot com. Remember, I gotta have an address to send the cards to. Help me out here, I can't buy any of the new releases until I clear enough room for the non-Ranger teams.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

1978 Topps - Paul Lindblad.

Aside from the airbrushed cap, this first thing I have always noticed about 1978 Topps card 314 is the top button on Paul Lindblad's uniform. It's two-toned. I can't recall having seen that on a modern uniform. Got to wonder what the story is. Perhaps Paul lost a button and the uniform guy couldn't find an appropriate replacement. Maybe the button's fine but the airbrushing job wasn't so good. Perhaps it's the lighting. Who knows?

Anyway, both the A's and the Rangers liked Paul Lindblad. He started his career with the A's in 1965 and played for them until traded to the Senators in May of 1971. He made the move to Texas with the team in 1972 and led the league in appearances by a pitcher before being traded back to Oakland in October of 1972. There he stayed until Texas purchased his contract in February of 1977 and he returned to the Rangers.

Lindblad appeared 42 forgettable times for Texas in 1977 and posted a 4.20 ERA. As with the most of the rest of his career, he was primarily a reliever but did make one spot start.

In 1978 Paul was once again in the bullpen. He appeared in 18 games, all in relief. Over the 39.2 innings he tossed for Texas he posted a 3.63 ERA, an 1.412 WHIP, and an 1.67 strikeout/walk ratio. All were about the middle of the pack for Texas relievers.

In 1978 the Rangers were looking for the quick fix. The 36-year-old Lindblad was serviceable but not impressive. He was also apparently nearing the end of his career. Those factors made him expendable. On August 1, 1978 the Rangers sold his contract to the New York Yankees.

Lindblad appeared in just seven games for the Yanks prior to the end of the season. In November of 1978 they sold his contract to the Mariners. Seattle released him in March of 1979, ending his Major League career.

Paul Lindblad got 14 years in the Majors before he hung up the spikes and retired to his home in Arlington, Texas. He kept busy with his fried chicken restaurant, hunting, fishing, and searching fields with his metal detector. He passed away on January 1, 2006.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Minor League Monday - Cedric Shaw, 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers.

Cedric Charles Shaw, shown here on card 1154 of the 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers team set, was taken by the Rangers in the 12th round of the 1988 draft. He was playing for Grambling State University in Louisiana when Texas signed him.

Shaw spent 1988 with the Rookie League Butte Copper Kings and 1989 with Single A Charlotte. He was improving but wasn't impressing.

1990 began with in Single A with the Charlotte Rangers. Cedric started 11 games and pitched 68 electric innings. He put up an 1.59 ERA and 1.103 WHIP en route to a 5-3 record. He also struck out over a batter an inning with 69 whiffs.

Those numbers were impressive and got Shaw promoted to Double A Tulsa. He appeared in 14 games for the Drillers in 1990, starting 12 of them. Unfortunately Cedric did not live up to his Single A success. Over 63 bumpy innings he watched his ERA balloon to 6.86 and his WHIP climb to 1.841. He also discovered Double A batters to be a bit more discerning as he struck out just 41 while walking 44. He ended the season with a 4-5 record for the Drillers.

1990 started out very well for Cedric Shaw but ended on a severe down note. He was struggling but the Rangers thought he would catch on at Double A and left him there to start the 1991 season. He needed to catch on quick though, another season like the second half of 1990 and Shaw might find himself unemployed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Senators Saturday - Bob Saverine, 1967.

Bob Saverine looks like he just saw something unsavory as he appears on card 27 of the 1967 Topps set. I suppose he could have been reflecting on his .147 batting average in 1964, the last year he played for the Baltimore Orioles. He might also have been looking at his 1967 season with Washington.

The Orioles traded Saverine to the Astros for Don Larsen on April 24, 1965. He spent the season in the minors. The Senators snagged Bob in the Rule Five draft on November 29, 1965. He played for Washington in 1966 and got the most work of his career as he displaced Don Blasingame at second base.

In 1967 Saverine found himself in a platoon situation at second with Bernie Allen. Bob moved around a bit appearing at second base, short stop, third base, and left field. Most of his time was at second though. He put in 364 innings over 48 games and posted a .957 fielding percentage. That was quite a bit below the league average of .979. His second most frequently played position was at third base where he put in 49 innings over eight games. He also logged 46.1 innings over ten games at short stop. He was terrible at third and below league average at short. Three innings in two games in left field finished out Saverine's defensive work for the season.

Bob made 253 trips to the plate in 89 games for Washington in 1967. He compiled a .236 batting average and a .287 on-base percentage. He hit 13 doubles but that was the extent of his power. He also stole eight bases without getting caught.

All in all, 1967 had been a very down season for Bob Saverine. His bat, which had never been fearsome, suffered an alarming decline. He also experienced a disturbing loss of his glove abilities as well and appeared to be well on his way to being displaced by Bernie Allen at second. Unless Bob could dramatically improve his all-around performance, he was going to lose his spot on the roster completely in 1968.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Latest TTM return.

Things have been pretty hectic with work and family over the past couple of days. Decided this would be a good time to show the most recent through the mail autograph success.

I sent this 1974 Topps card to former Ranger Jim Merritt on May 11, 2013 and asked him to sign it. After a year I figured the odds of it coming back weren't good. It defied the odds though and showed up in my mailbox on October 31, 2014 with Mr. Merritt's signature attached. Many thanks to Jim Merritt for taking to time to sign and return my card.

Ok, I got zero responses from my first mention of my Christmas card giveaway. I went ahead and put down a few of my regular trade partners for some of the teams. That said, I still need some names and addresses for the rest of the teams. Somebody to take the Giants and Mariners would be extra appreciated. As a reminder, I'm tapped out of Rangers, Royals, Angels, and A's. Let me know if you're interested in any of the rest of the teams and I'll get you on the list. Might as well sign up, it's free cards and I don't sell the mailing list. How can you beat that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1978 Topps - Willie Horton.

Willie Horton, shown here on card 290 of the 1978 Topps set, was the fore-runner of Vladimir Guerrero. Willie came and went via trade while Vlad was through free agency. Just like Vlad, Willie came, hammered, and left in the blink of an eye.

The Rangers sent pitcher Steve Foucault to the Tigers on April 12, 1977in exchange for Horton. Apparently the Tigers thought their long-time slugger was done.

Serving primarily as the designated hitter, Horton appeared a few times in left field without accolades. He stepped up his offense though and hit .289 with an on-base percentage of .337 while knocking 23 doubles, three triples, and 15 home runs. He scored 55 runs and collected 75 RBI.

After one season of providing a key part of the power to a contending team, Willie Horton was gone. On February 28, 1978 the Rangers traded Horton and David Clyde to the Cleveland Indians for Tom Buskey and John Lowenstein. The team re-acquired Willie in a December 12, 1980 trade with the Seattle Mariners but released him on April 1st of the same year without a single plate appearance.