Blaster Schmaster: The Early 70′s
March 14th, 2011 by slangon

So a while back, I had spent a couple of bucks at Sportlots on various vintage cards. I ended up spending about what I would’ve dropped on a modern blaster box and in my opinion, got much cooler stuff. I’ve already gone through some new cards, some other newish cards and some older cards. Now we’re really getting into the good stuff.

First of all, I picked up a handful of 1972 Topps. My collection had always been kind of lacking in cards from that set that didn’t say Mets on them. I think I had maybe 5 or 6 cards from the ’72 set that were not Mets. I’ve just increased that by about 150%.

I will always grab a League Leader card that I don’t have no matter what. You never know who you’re going to find on them. Sometimes you end up with one card with multiple Hall of Famers on it. Sometimes you end up with a couple of really good players that didn’t make the Hall. Sometimes you end up with a card with all guys you never heard of. This one has 2 really good players and 1 guy I never heard of. Oddly enough, I kind of like Merv the best just because his full name is Mervin Weldon Rettenmund.

I have a weird relationship with old checklist cards. Since I never get them in minty fresh condition, I always kind of prefer to get them all marked up and checked off. I find it interesting to see what cards the kid who had this originally owned. Sadly, the kid who owned this one apparently never did that, which makes me wonder what kind of a kid doesn’t check off checklists. Monsters.

I was always aware of the fact that the Brewers played in both the National and American Leagues. I was not aware that they played in all 3 divisions of the American League. From 1969 (when they were the Pilots) to 1971, they were in the A.L. West. From 1972 to 1993, they were in the A.L. East. Then from 1994 to 1997, they were in the A.L. Central. After that, it was all N.L. Central for them.

I don’t have a lot of cards of the Capital Punisher, but I feel like he has a weird expression on his face on every card that I do have, like he can’t figure out where he is or something. This one is no exception.

I’m not sure exactly how to feel about these In Action cards. I think I like them, just because I like my cards with action photos. I’m just not sure about making a sub-set of those action shots. I think I prefer the 1971 set, where they just sprinkled in the in-game photos and didn’t make a big deal about them.

Crossed bats. Classic. It seems like teams started to phase out having trainers and front office people in their team photos. I guess the Brewers up there didn’t get the memo, though.

I forget how good Mickey Lolich was around this time. When this card came out, he was coming off of a 25-14 season with a 2.92 ERA and 308 strikeouts. Thats a lot of guys to fan. He came in 2nd in Cy Young voting behind Vida Blue, who had 6 less losses and an ERA which was lower by a little over 1 run. He also won 1 less game, pitched 74 less innings and struck out 7 fewer guys than Lolich. Mickey also had a very impressive 1972 season, when he went 22-14 with a 2.50 ERA and 250 punch outs. He only came in 3rd in Cy Young voting that year, this time behind Gaylord Perry and Wilbur Wood.

I also scored a couple of semi-high numbered cards from the 5th series.

Apparently, Duane Josphson is the only player from the University of Northern Iowa to ever make a Major League All-Star team, which he did in 1968. He replaced catcher Joe Azcue in the bottom of the 8th inning and never got to bat.

Unfortunately for Chico, he was a utility infielder on a team that included Mark Belanger (8 time Gold Glover), Davey Johnson (3 time Gold Glover) and Brooks Robinson (16 time Gold Glover). I guess that explains why he only got 363 at bats in his 4 years with the Orioles.

Next up is the lone card from 1971.

This is actually the only card from this whole bunch that fills a spot in any of my wantlists. It’s also the last card I needed of Gil Hodges in a Mets uniform.

Finally, I grabbed me some 1970’s cards.

I had always been under the impression that A’s owner Charlie Finley had given Johnny Odom the nickname “Blue Moon”, as he did with Catfish Hunter, in an effort to provide his club with a little color. I guess he thought the fans loved down home nicknames. Apparently though, Odom acquired the name the old fashion way – one kid trying to make fun of another kid. “Back in fifth grade in football practice,” Odom explained, “a guy named Joe Mars started calling me ‘Moonhead.’ I really didn’t like that. (He said) ‘I’m calling you that because your face is round. We can’t call you ‘Yellow Moon’ (because of) your complexion. So we’re gonna call you ‘Blue Moon.’ ”

As most people know, the Mets are one of the few teams in the Major to not have a no-hitter to their credit. This always struck me as pretty odd when you consider how many very talented pitchers have played for them over the years. What does that have to do with Jimmy Qualls, who spent all of 3 years in the Majors and only got into 63 games during that time? Probably the closest any Met pitcher has ever come to tossing a no hitter was on July 9, 1969. Tom Seaver was pitching that day against the Cubs. At the start of the 9th inning no Chicago batter had gotten to first. He started the 9th by getting Randy Hundley to ground out. Next up was Jim Qualls, who knocked a clean single to center field to break up the no-no. At this point, I’ve kind of embraced the no no-hitter thing with the Mets and Jimmy Qualls with it. Like it or not, he’s as much a part of Mets Lore as Seaver or Piazza or Hernandez.

It’s kind of amazing how many late 60’s/early 70’s post season highlight cards are about the Orioles.

And speaking of the Twins…

This time they only had 2 piles of crossed bats. Maybe if they had 3, they would’ve done better against the Orioles.

Next time around, we’ll be moving into the 60’s. Stay tuned.

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