Thursday, August 27, 2009
196(9) At A Time - Page 34
#293 - Dick Dietz The Giants back-up catcher played in 98 games in 1968 and another 79 in 1969. Like most back-up backstops, he wasn't much with the bat, hitting only .230, though he showed a little pop by hitting 11 home runs. By 1970 he was the Giants regular catcher and an All-Star, but by 1972 he was on waivers.
#294 - Jim Lemon Poor Jim. He wasn't even the Senators manager any more, having been fired in January. But Topps kept the card in the set and changed the cartoon on the back. Ouch! His one year as the Senator's skipper (and a last place finish) was his only big league managerial experience.
#295 - Tony Perez The Hall of Famer is taking a swing at Wrigley Field. Tony had a great year in 1969, hitting 37 homers with a .294 average, and was named to his third straight All-Star team.
#296 - Andy Messersmith This is his rookie card, and his first full season in the majors was a good one. He went 16-11 for the Angels with a 2.52 ERA.
#297 - Deron Johnson This is another card shot at Wrigley Field, as Johnson was a member of the Reds in 1967. You can see the upper deck to the left of his face. After leading the NL in RBI's in 1966, Johnson had tailed off and was now with his third team in three years. The Phillies had purchased him from the Braves in the off-season. He was able to resurrect his career in Philadelphia, starting with a 17 HR, 80 RBI season in 1969.
#298 - Dave Nicholson After spending 1962 - 1967 in the majors with four different teams, Nicholson spent 1968 in AAA, leading the International League in home runs with 34. That got the attention of the expansion Royals who gave him another shot at the bigs. But he failed to earn a spot on the roster and never saw the majors again.
#299 - Mark Belanger Belanger became the Orioles shortstop in 1968 when they traded Luis Aparacio back to the White Sox. Hit .208 average may have made them wish they kept Little Looie. But Belanger showed great improvement in 1969 by raising his average to .287. He would remain a fixture in Baltimore until 1981.
#300 - Felipe Alou Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Mickey Mantle, and Tony Oliva were the other cards with hundred numbers in the 1969 set. Felipe Alou doesn't seem worthy of the honor, but that is who Topps went with. He had a decent average in 1968, but his power numbers were in decline. That slide continued in 1969 as he managed only 5 homers and 32 RBI's. The Braves traded him after the season and Alou began the journeyman phase of his career.
#301 - Darrell Brandon The Pilots picked him off of the Red Sox roster. After going 5-11 for the pennant-winning Sox in 1967, he spent most of '68 in the minors. After eight appearance with the last place Pilots, he was sold to the first place Twins. Good move!
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 19
Hatless - 64
Airbrush - 67
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 45