We get two Cubs and two hall of famers today.
#347 - Randy Hundley - The Cubs catcher gets his own post tomorrow
#348 - Steve Hargan While the Indians had two pitchers on the league leader cards (TIant and McDowell), it was pitchers like Hargan that kept the Tribe from doing anything. He was 8-15 in 1968 and 5-14 in 1969. Yikes!
#349 - Dick Williams Hall of Famer #1 on the page, Dick led the Red Sox to the pennant in 1967. The Sox slumped in 1968 and he was fired in 1969 with nine games left in the season. I didn't realize how young he was, being only 38 when he won the pennant.
#350 Rich Allen Allen looks suprisingly happy in his Phillies uniform. He was near the end of his tumoltuous time with the Phillies. He had been their leading slugger for several years, but did not have a good relationship with the tough Phillies management or fans. He played in only 118 games in 1969, missing about a month when the team suspended him for arriving late to a doubleheader against the Mets. He was traded to the Cardinals after the season in the famous Curt Flood trade.
#351 - Carroll Sembera Here is another player who owes part of his career to expansion. After pitching for the Astros in '65-'67, he spent all of 1968 in the minor leagues. The Expos picked him up as a Rule 5 draft pick and he got into 22 games, going 0-2.
#352 - Paul Schaal You've got to love a name that rhymes...Paul Schaal. It flows off the tongue! He started the 1968 season as the Angels third baseman before getting hit in the head by a pitch in June. It took him awhile to overcome the fear of being hit again. The Royals drafted him from the Angels and he was a part time third baseman for KC their first year before getting the job full time in 1970.
#353 - Jeff Torborg Some inconsistency in the picture. If he is wearing the catching gear, he should turn his hat around. If he wants to wear the hat, then take off the chest protector! A career back up, he was below the Mendoza line in both 1968 (.161) and 1969 (.185).
#354 - Nate Oliver The top card is my newer, nicer card for my collection. The bottom card is the one I got in 1969. As you can see, I had to make some alterations to the card because Oliver played for the Cubs in '69. I added a Cubs hat to his head (even as a 7 year old I thought the hatless cards looked stupid) and I put the correct team name on the bottom. Who needs Photoshop when a nice pencil will do. The third card is my updated version.
Oliver was a utility infielder who go into 44 games for the Cubs and hit only .159 after being acquired in an April trade with the Yankees. 1969 was his last season in the majors. He was also one of only two players on the team with any post-season experience. It can be argued that lack of experience in pressure games may have contributed to the team's collapse.
Here is some trivia for you. Who did the Cubs trade to the Yankees in exchange for Oliver? A hint...the player never played for the Yankees, or in the major leagues again, though he did later return to the Cubs....the answer is at the bottom of the post.
#355 - Phil Niekro Hall of Famer #2, the Braves knuckleball specialist. 1968 was his first season as a full-time starter and he went 14-12. He was the ace of the division-winning Braves in 1969, posting a 23-10 record. Although he was 30 years old in 1969, his career would last another 18 seasons!
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 22
Hatless - 82
Airbrush - 75
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 50
The Cubs sent future potty-mouth manager Lee Elia to the Yankees on April 19, 1969.