Saturday, May 29, 2010

Senators Saturday - Jim Hannan, 1969.

In 1968 Jim Hannan, shown here on card number 106 of the 1969 Topps set, won a job in the Senators' starting rotation. In 1969 he was out to keep it.

Jim appeared in 35 games on the mound for Washington in 1969 and started 28 of them. In total he logged 158.1 innings pitched, third most of the rotation. He allowed 64 earned runs and his 3.64 ERA was third best in the rotation. Jim struck out 72 and walked a startling 91 of the 685 batters he faced that season. He also allowed 17 home runs, second only to Joe Coleman (26) who faced over 300 more batters than Hannan did.

Jim's mediocre numbers were reflected in his 7-6 record on the season. Unfortunately for him the numbers he needed to get down from 1968 were up and the numbers he needed to get up were down. Not a good trend if he wanted to keep that spot in the rotation in 1970.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Contest - week one.

So the matchup for the contest this past week was Rangers versus Padres in Texas. The results were mixed to say the least.

In the first game the MLB Showdown Rangers smashed the hapless Padres 14-4. Kenny Rogers, pictured here on card number 53 of the 2004 MLB Showdown Pennant Run set, came away with the win. Carl Everett, Rafael Palmeiro, and Alex Rodriguez all went deep in the rout. One point if you predicted this team to win.

In game two the 2009 Rangers faced off with the 2009 Padres in a basic Strat-O-Matic game. This time the Rangers came up on the short end of a 5-1 score. Kevin Millwood took the loss as the Texas offense was lulled to sleep by the Friars' pitching. One point if you predicted this team to lose.

The MLB Showdown Rangers won the scoring contest this week 14-1. One point if you predicted them to score the most runs.

Ok, a couple of initial thoughts on Strat-O-Matic versus MLB Showdown from a guy who has just played his first full Strat game.

When it comes to price I think the games about even out. A Showdown starter is cheaper but you don't get as many full teams as you do with a starter Strat set. Nice to be able to plug and play so to speak with Strat. Going to have to give the setup nod to Strat.

As far as storage I will have to go with Showdown. The cards are the same size as regular baseball cards so I already had the cases and such when I started playing the game. Strat cards are just a slight bit smaller than a 3x5 and so are a little more difficult to store. The game came with a rubber band for each team but I am not impressed with that idea. Showdown will have to come out on top for storage.

Ok, on to this week's matchup. Using a random process I have come up with the Astros in Houston. Make sure to get your predictions in quick. Remember, if each Rangers team will win and which one will score the most runs. Night Owl has the only point so far but can be caught if you get in now.

For details on how this contest works please see this post.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Excuses.

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. First thing in the morning Mrs. Spiff and I loaded up the family and headed off to see the Rangers play in Kansas City. We met some friends there for the game. Since they are Royals fans (yes, there are such people) we figured that both families could enjoy the day.

Scott Feldman, pictured here on a signed 2006 Ultra card, was the starting pitcher for the Rangers. He stumbled a bit early but entered the sixth inning with a tied ballgame. First to the plate was Billy Butler. I turned to my Royals fan buddy and told him that the sixth inning was melt-down inning this year and that I expected Scooter to fall apart in this frame. Butler took the next pitch over the left field wall. The Royals added one more run before the end of the half-inning. Guess I'm a prophet. Wish I wasn't so accurate.

The Rangers went on to lose 5-2. Bummer. I was surprised to see Derek Holland come out of the bullpen in the eighth and finish the game. Last I knew he was in the starting rotation. I felt bad about missing the change in assignments but felt a little better upon getting home and finding that there was no information on the Rangers' site about the move.

All in all though it was a great day at the park, even with the loss. After all that puts Texas at 5-1 on the season against KC. Can't beat a nice afternoon watching baseball. So there's my excuse for not posting, what's yours for not entering the Strat-O-Matic contest? Better get going, the results of the first week will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1973 Topps - Rich Hinton.

The Rangers had yesterday off following their two game sweep by the Cubs. Tonight they are in Kansas City trying to get back in the win column.

The next card we come to in the 1973 Topps team set is number 321, Rich Hinton. Rich appeared for five games for Texas in 1972. In 1973 he didn't appear in the big leagues at all and not with any Rangers' affiliated team.

On March 8, 1973 the Rangers traded Rich and Vince Colbert to Cleveland. The Tribe sent Alex Johnson to Texas in return. That was the final word on Rich Hinton's association with the Texas Rangers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Minor League Monday - Bob Brower, 1986 ProCards.

Today we see the final player card from the 1986 ProCards Oklahoma City Eighty-Niners set, Bob Brower. On this card Bob is listed as living in Virgina. He now lives in Kansas, actually not all that far from where I live.

Brower spent most of the 1986 season at Triple A. His records are sketchy but it appears that he played in the outfield for all of the 140 games he appeared in for the Eighty-Niners. I can't locate any defensive stats for him.

In 550 at bats Bob put together a .287 batting average for OKC. He tallied 158 hits with 25 of them being doubles, seven triples, and 13 home runs. His runs scored, RBI, walks, and strikeout totals are not available.

After spending that previous four seasons and most of 1986 in the minors Bob finally got the call. He made his major league debut for the Rangers on September 3, 1986. At 26 years of age he had broken into the Bigs. Now he just needed to stay there.

**Quick reminder to be sure and enter the Strat-O-Matic contest. Right now Night Owl is looking at an easy win.***

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Senators Saturday - Gary Holman, 1969.

Quick reminder before we take a look at today's Senator. Don't forget to enter the Strat-O-Matic contest. See yesterday's post for the details.

Gary Holman broke in with the Senators in 1968 and apparently did well enough that his 1969 card featured the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy. 1969 would be another story.

Gary is listed as a first baseman on card number 361 of the 1969 Topps set. That wasn't the entire story in 1969. While with Washington that year he appeared in 41 games and played 30 innings on defense. 18 of those innings were at first base and 12 in the outfield. He handled 15 chances without an error. That really wasn't surprising, he had done extremely well in the field the year before.

Where things broke down for Gary in his second season was at the plate. He made 35 trips to the plate and managed only a .161 batting average. His .257 on base percentage really didn't help shine things up much either. Gary struck out seven times while walking just four. He hit no home runs, no triples, and only one double. He scored just once and only had two RBI.

By June the Senators had seen enough, they sent him down to Triple A. His last game with the team was on June 18, 1969. It would also be his last Major league game. 1969 would also be his last professional season.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Contest time!

Eddie's ready. Are you? Hope so. Time for the Strat-O-Matic sponsored contest to kick off. Thanks to Night Owl the tie was broken as to the final team the Rangers will play. The Padres round out the competition and after a random drawing they will play the Rangers first. The game will be at home for Texas and A.L. rules will apply.

Ok, time to recap the contest. What I will be doing is running my MLB Showdown Rangers and the 2009 Strat-O-Matic (represented here by the Eddie Guardado card) teams through a short eight game season over the next several weeks. Each team will play the same four different opponents once at home and once on the road. To shake things up a bit the four opposing teams will be Houston, Philadelphia, New York (NL), and San Diego. Mrs. Spiff will manage the four opposing teams.

To win this contest you need to score the most points over the eight game season. You can get up to three points for each set of games played. All you need to do is correctly predict the winners of the games and which Rangers team will score more runs that game. A point will be awarded for each correct prediction. As an example: Say the Mets are up. You would need to predict the winner in the MLB Showdown game and the winner in the Strat-O-Matic game and which game will result in the Rangers’ highest score. You get one point for each correct prediction. I will keep a running total of points and the participant having the highest number at the end wins a free Strat-O-Matic computer game.

If there are enough entrants in the contest there is the possibility that a second place prize will be awarded or that a second chance drawing will take place. If you have any questions please let me know. Ok, on to the game.

You need to predict if the MLB Showdown Rangers team (SP - Kenny Rogers) will beat the MLB Showdown Padres team (SP - Jake Peavy), if the 2009 Rangers can beat the 2009 Padres in the Strat-O-Matic game, and which Rangers team will score the most runs. Next Friday I will post the results of this week's games and the next matchup. I will also be posting the points standings. Make sure to leave a comment with your predictions, the earlier the better. All predictions need to be posted before the results are posted.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Look again.

Josh Hamilton, shown here on an autographed 2008 Allen & Ginter card, was robbed last night. No doubt about it.

In his first at bat Josh hit a home run. In his second chance he also homered. Problem was that the umpires called it a double. No review. Josh asked the umpires if they wanted to review the call. Nope. Replays clearly showed the ball clearing the inner fence. That's a home run. Clearly a muffed call. At least the Rangers won anyway.

My question is, why did the owners approve instant replay? Perhaps for situations such as this. Perhaps. Kind of hard for it to make a difference if the umpires won't use it.

Speaking of making a difference, make sure your voice is heard in the run up to the Strat-O-Matic contest.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wantlist - 1997 Donruss.

Had a long day at work so this will be a short post. Looking for the remaining 1997 Donruss cards that I need to complete that team set. We see Rusty Greer on card number 226 as an example of the set. Here is what I need:

1997 Donruss
1 Juan Gonzalez
158 Ryan Hancock

If you have either or both of these cards please let me know. I would love the chance to work a trade with you for them.

Just a reminder to get your say in on the Strat-O-Matic contest opponents for the Rangers. We now have a four way tie and need someone to break it. Planning on kicking things off on Friday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1973 Topps - Vic Harris.

Not a whole lot going on today. The Rangers beat the Angels last night in Arlington and are tied right now. Still hanging on to first place though. I was going to announce the first match-up in the Strat-O-Matic contest but there are only three votes as to the final team to face off with the Rangers in the contest. Need someone to break the three way tie so I will be extending the voting. I will announce the final team on Friday along with the first match-up. Get your vote in now and get ready to play the contest.

Decided to take a look at Vic Harris' 1973 season today. Card number 594 in the 1973 Topps set lists Vic as a second baseman. He was primarily a second baseman in 1972, his only prior MLB season, but got bumped by Dave Nelson in 1973.

With the loss of second Vic moved to the starting center fielder's job. He played 937 innings there of the 1,282 he played on defense that year. He also appeared at second and third base, right field, and left field.

In center Harris made just seven errors in 303 chances for a .977 fielding percentage. That was six points below the league average. His 2.84 range factor per nine innings was six points higher than the league average however and that may have contributed to a couple of the errors.

On offense Vic managed a .249 batting average and a .317 on base percentage in 618 trips to the plate. His 55 walks were the second highest in the starting nine. He led the team in triples with seven and and tied for first in runs scored with 71.

Vic probably didn't know it but 1973 was his career year. He wouldn't even come close to those offensive numbers again. The Cubs definitely didn't know it. In October of 1973 they sent Fergie Jenkins to Texas in trade for Bill Madlock and Vic Harris.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ups and downs.

Lots going on in the past couple of days for the Rangers as far as roster moves. Lots of players changing uniforms and taking plane or shuttle rides.

To start with Nellie Cruz was activated from the disabled list. To make room for him on the roster Ryan Garko was optioned to Triple A.

Then Pedro Strop and Guillermo Moscoso were called up to try and shore up an exhausted bullpen. Craig Gentry and Doug Mathis were both optioned to Triple A to make room for them.

Next Joaquin Arias was activated from the disabled list. Poor Pedro Strop was sent back down to Triple A to make room after only one day in the Majors.

Lots of moves. Hopefully they will help the team and stop the losing skid they are on. With the Angels coming into town tonight it would be a good time to start winning again.

Former Ranger Hank Blalock, seen here on card number 31 of the 2002 Upper Deck Minor League set was also involved in a roster move this weekend. The Devil Rays called him up on Saturday after designating a struggling Pat Burrell for assignment. Hank started at first in yesterday's game and went 0-3 with two strikeouts.

Reminder: get your vote in for a N.L. team for the Rangers to face in the upcoming contest sponsored by Strat-O-Matic. Right now there are only three votes and each are for different teams. Need some more feedback to break the deadlock. Get in now and make your pick, time is short.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Senators Saturday - Jim French, 1969.

Moving on to 1969 this week. I only have three 1969 Senators cards in my collection at this point so this should be a short year.

First up we see Jim French on card number 199 in the 1969 Topps set. Jim's got the old school catcher's gear going here. That brings back some memories for me. I can remember going to my grandparent's house and seeing the gear that my Dad's high school baseball team used. The old iron catcher's mask was still in the gear bag and I remember thinking that it sure was heavy.

In 1969 Jim served primarily as a backup to Paul Casanova. He did appear in 62 games, all as catcher. Jim logged 489 innings behind the plate and put together a .989 fielding percentage, one point higher than the league average. He also threw out 31 of the 62 runners who attempted to steal on him. That was the second highest number of runners thrown out by any A.L. catcher that year. His 50% caught stealing average was the best in the league.

Like most backup catchers though Jim was kind of one dimensional. In 202 trips to the plate he managed only a .184 batting average. He did walk 47 times though and never grounded into a double play. That upped his on base percentage to .348. Jim also managed to score 14 runs and knock in 13 RBI.

All in all Jim was a nice backup catcher to have around in 1969. His defense was pretty good and his ability to control an opponent's running game was superb. One has to wonder if he would have replaced Paul Casanova if he had been able to get his batting average up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Strat-O-Matic Showdown Contest

You have probably seen the various contests sponsored by Strat-O-Matic on assorted blogs. In case you haven’t gotten in on a contest yet, or won one, you’re in luck. Strat-O-Matic has also offered to sponsor a contest (maybe more than one) here and has given me several computer games to give away as prizes.

When contacted by Strat-O-Matic I was already considering giving their product a try. I have been playing MLB Showdown for awhile and enjoy the game but was thinking that maybe Strat-O-Matic might be a bit more realistic. This contest will give me the opportunity to find out and to give away one or more of the games.

What I will be doing is running my MLB Showdown Rangers and the 2009 Strat-O-Matic (represented here by the Jarrod Saltalamacchia card) teams through a short eight game season over the next several weeks. Each team will play the same four different opponents once at home and once on the road. To shake things up a bit the four opposing teams will be Houston, Philadelphia, New York (NL), and an NL team to be decided on by your votes. Please leave a comment on this post with the team you would like to see included.

To win this contest you need to score the most points over the eight game season. You can get up to three points for each set of games played. All you need to do is correctly predict the winners of the games and which Rangers team will score more runs that game. A point will be awarded for each correct prediction. As an example: Say the Mets are up first in New York. You would need to predict the winner in the MLB Showdown game and the winner in the Strat-O-Matic game and which game will result in the Rangers’ highest score. You get one point for each correct prediction. I will keep a running total of points and the participant having the highest number at the end wins a free Strat-O-Matic computer game.

If you have any questions or I need to clarify anything please let me know. Also, remember to get in your vote for the fourth NL team for the Rangers to face. I'll be leaving the voting open through the weekend and will likely announce the first matchup early next week.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Wilson whipsaw.

So the Rangers finally have a decent hold on first place with a two game lead over the Oakland A's. Nice to see the 6-1 homestand that ended today. Hopefully that success translates well on the road.

One of the main reasons the team is in first is the pitching. Great performances by the starting rotation to this point in the season. C.J. Wilson, seen here on a signed 2007 Upper Deck card, is one of the brightest lights at this stage. I must admit that I was leery when the talk of him being a starter surfaced. I figured that the ulcers were bad enough with one or two innings as he came out of the bullpen. I didn't want to try antacids for the first five or six innings of every fifth game.

Well, I have to say that I was mistaken and have been very pleasantly surprised. Wilson has been lights out and his 1.48 ERA is second in the American League. He has made seven starts now and hasn't had a bad outing. Even though his 3-1 record doesn't reflect it, you can be sure the opposing team is going to have a rough time at the plate when C.J. takes the mound. Now the lineup just has to get him some run support so he can pick up some wins.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wantlist - 1995 Donruss.

I have no recollection of Esteban Beltre with Texas. He caught my eye today though because he seems to be wearing his cap way up high in both pictures on card number 153 of the 1995 Donruss set. Does anyone know if this was a common habit for him? Esteban does provide a nice example of this set that I need just one card to complete.

1995 Donruss
228 David Hulse

If you or anyone else you know has David's card laying around please contact me so we can work a trade. Shouldn't be as hard as last week's Nolan Ryan card.

Also, stay tuned over the next few days as I will be kicking off another contest soon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

1973 Topps - Toby Harrah.

In 1973 Toby Harrah was coming off an All-Star appearance in 1972. In just the second season in Texas he was already becoming one of the better known Rangers' players. He was also sporting some serious sideburns. Today he appears on card number 216 of the 1973 Topps set.

In 1973 Toby would start 117 games while appearing in 128 total in the field. 76 of those games were at shortstop. In 603.1 innings at short Toby handled 319 chances while committing 19 errors for a fielding percentage of .951. That was 12 points below the league average.

While primarily a shortstop Harrah also played 52 games at third. 408.2 innings on the hot corner saw him handle 126 chances while committing eight errors. His .937 fielding percentage was 14 points below the league average.

Toby did better on offense though. He went to the plate 519 times during the season. He worked 48 walks and was hit twice. His .260 average wasn't much to write home about but he had ten home runs, second only to Jeff Burroughs in the starting nine. His 16 doubles were just barely third. Flashes of the power that Harrah seemed to be developing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's Willie!

For the first time ever on this blog I am posting the same card twice, 1986 ProCards Willie Lozado. I do have a reason though.

You may remember that I previously posted Willie's card with the post title of Where's Willie? Well, he's alive and doing well it seems. A week and a half ago I got an email from him. Mr. Lozado had seen my post and was writing in response.

Turns out that he has been working for a connector manufacturing company for the past 13 years. He is also still the president and coach of the New Albany Redbirds baseball team. The league the team plays in promotes academics and baseball fundamentals. Mr. Lozado has also faced some health challenges in recent years but has been able to overcome them.

I emailed Mr. Lozado back and he graciously agreed to an e-mail interview. That's why we have the double post of the same card. I only have one card of Willie Lozado. I figured that the first ever Texas Rangers Cards interview with a professional ballplayer warrants seeing the card again. Without further delay, here is the interview:

(Texas Rangers Cards) What led you into pro ball?
[Willie Lozado]A lot of practice and a little luck
.

(TRC) You were drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 18th round of the 1977 draft but didn't sign. After being drafted in the 3rd round of the 1978 draft by the Minnesota Twins you again didn't sign. In December of 1978 you signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. Why didn't you sign when drafted and why the Brewers later?
[WL]I wanted to get more experience at the Junior College level and when the Brewers offered me a contract the timing was right. Had no idea I would have to beat out Robin Yount at the time. Had I known I would have signed with the Twins.


(TRC) On November 14, 1985 the St. Louis Cardinals released you from their organization. In 1986 you played in the Texas Rangers system. How did you come to play for OKC?
[WL]My agent at the time spoke with the Rangers about signing me and Tim Foli was my coach in winter ball that year so he may have put in a good word as well, went to big league camp and was sent down to OKC, not a good spring training.

(TRC) It appears from the records I was able to find that your last year as a pro was 1988 in the Kansas City Royals system. Was that your decision? If so, how did you know it was time to call it a career?
[WL]I actually played in 1989 in Rimini Italy, Omar Minaya was able to get me a spot there. I was offered a coaching job when I got released in '86 but declined it at the time, one of several bad decisions I have made as a young man. It was not my decision to call it quits, it was time to move on and although difficult in the beginning I managed to confront all obstacles head on to achieve my goals. I sometimes wish that I was coaching in the big leagues as I have a lot of former teammates coaching and even managing in the bigs but I feel I am making a difference in my community so in the long run God wanted me where I am today.

(TRC) What was the biggest challenge you faced, on or off the field, during your playing career?
[WL]The biggest challenge for me as a player was to stay focused on the game and not let the outside distractions and influences interfere with your baseball career. I personally feel that a lot of young players today face the same challenge. I definitely would have changed a couple of things had I been given the opportunity to do it over. I definitely have used my experience to encourage others to make better decisions than the ones I made when I was younger.

(TRC) Do you accept autograph requests through the mail? If so, how many do you typically receive?
[WL]I do accept autographs through the mail but any more than 2 cards I will keep them and give them to kids that I know. I definitely do not mind signing autographs, in fact for me it is an honor and a privilege however whenever more than 2 requests are sent to me I assume it is a card dealer that will profit from it therefore I will sign 2 max and keep the rest. I usually get between 5-10 a month.

Some great information there. Clears up how Willie got into the Rangers' system and why he didn't sign when first drafted. I also had no idea that he played ball in Italy. Thanks a bunch to Mr. Lozado for taking the time to contact me and answer my questions. I really appreciated hearing from you and learning more about your career.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Senators Saturday - Coggins/Nold, 1968.

Today we come to the last 1968 card currently in my collection, number 96 in the set. This card is not nearly as popular as number 177 in the set, the Mets Rookie Stars. Of course Jerry Koosman was a better pitcher than Dick Nold.

Frank Coggins signed with Washington prior to the 1963 season. He had first shown up in the Majors in 1967. In 1968 he would serve as Bernie Allen's backup at second base. He would also spend some time in Triple A. While with the Senators in 1968 he appeared in 62 games. In 419.2 innings in the field he managed only a .953 fielding percentage, 25 points below the league average. That happens though when you commit 12 errors. If Frank was hoping his bat would save him he was mistaken. In 183 plate appearances his batting average was a paltry .175 with a .215 on base percentage. Not a good way to stick with the club.

As poorly as Coggins did, he bettered Dick Nold. In 1967 Nold had appeared in seven games for the Senators. In 1968 he appeared in none. With Double A Savannah he posted a 3.24 ERA in 153 innings. He struck out 115 while walking 40. Not too bad there. The 137 hits and 18 home runs were much uglier. That resulted in a demotion to Single A in 1969. That would be the end of the line for Nold.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Battle royal.

Going to see the Rangers take on the Royals tomorrow. Section 244 if you're in the house and want to say hey. A sign saying "Hey Spiff!" would work.

Juan Gonzalez isn't an active player anymore but this 2005 Prestige Changing Stripes card of him features both the Rangers and the Royals. Going to have to give the Royals the uniform nod here. I'm a terrible sucker for vest uniforms. So, what's your favorite style baseball uniform? If your team called on you to design the uniforms what would it be?

Do like the positioning of the teams on this card. Here's to the Rangers coming out on top in tomorrow's showdown as well.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Random Ranger bat chip.

Away from my cards today so I decided to share one of my recent Rangers game-used pickups. This one features former Ranger Gabe Kapler and a piece of one of his bats.

Gabe appears here on a 2000 Fleer Gamers card. The card has no number that I can see. Interesting to note that the card states that the bat chip is from an "authentic player used bat." Wonder what Gabe used the bat for? Playing in a MLB game? Mashing potatoes? As a walking stick? Perhaps just to pose with for the picture on this card? One has to wonder.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wantlist - 1994 Donruss.

Continuing on with the Donruss wantlists today. After 1986 the team sets are complete until we come to 1994. Have closer Tom Henke giving an example of this set on card number 162. Henke was a great closer who started with Texas and returned to them after a stellar career with Toronto and just before retirement. You wanted a game closed, you called Tom.

I would like to get this set closed and am lacking only one card:

1994 Donruss
1 Nolan Ryan

Nolan's always a big out but I figure that a call to the bullpen should do it. If you're the closer today then let me know. I am sure we can work out a trade. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1973 Topps - Rich Hand.

So Rich Harden was pretty impressive against the Oakland A's last night. I don't have a Topps card of Rich Harden in a Rangers uniform so I am going to substitute another Rich who is facing off with the A's. Rich Hand appears on card number 398 of the 1973 Topps set as he follows through on a pitch to a member of the Athletics.

1973 was Rich Hand's second season with Texas. He was primarily a starter that year, kicking off seven of the eight games he appeared in. In those games he went 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA. He gave up 19 walks and 49 hits in 41.2 innings pitched while striking out 14. Rich also hit two batters and threw one wild pitch.

On May 20, 1973 the Rangers traded Rich to the California Angels along with Rick Stelmaszek and Mike Epstein. In return the team got Lloyd Allen and Jim Spencer. Rich would show up in 16 games for the Angels that year and would spend all of 1974 in the minors before calling it a career.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Minor League Monday - Jeff Russell, 1986 ProCards.

Jeff Russell was in transition when he appeared on his 1986 ProCards card. He had started his career with the Reds as a starter. After Jeff lost a league leading 18 games in 1984 the Cincinnati shipped him off to Texas to complete an earlier deal for Buddy Bell. Russell split the 1985 season between the minors and Texas. He started every game he appeared in that year.

In 1986 Jeff would start 11 games for the Eighty-Niners. He would go 4-1. That's a lot of no decisions. In 70.2 innings he gave up 38 walks and 63 hits. Five of those hits were home runs. That resulted in 31 earned and one unearned runs.

Starting wasn't working for Jeff. The Rangers needed bullpen help. They called him up and into the pen he went for 37 appearances in 1986. The bullpen is where he would stay for the rest of his career with the exception of the 1988 season.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Senators Saturday - Dick Lines, 1968.

Today we see lefty Richard Lines on card number 291 of the 1968 Topps set. Lines was primarily a reliever for Washington when he was with them. He wasn't with them in 1968 though. He spent the entire season in Triple A. He would split the 1969 season between Triple and Double A and that would be it for his pro career.

Kind of a short entry today. Excellent time to introduce a great blog on the 1968 Topps set. Jim from Downingtown runs several great set blogs. He does a great job on each and 1968 Topps Baseball is no exception. If you haven't had a chance to check out Jim's sets then now's the time. You'll learn a lot and see some great cards.