Two Hall of Famers are featured today.
#527 - Al Lopez - We start with our first hall of famer right off the bat. Lopez was in his second stint as manager of the White Sox. He led the Sox to the pennant in 1959 during his first go around on the South Side (1957 - 1965). He came back to lead the Sox at the end of 1968 and they finished 21 - 26. He was with the team for only 17 games in 1969, as the Sox went 8-9. Perhaps he knew how bad this team was going to be, so he stepped down and retired for good. The '69 Sox finished 68-94.
#528 - Claude Osteen Forget about the off-centered picture, check out grass. Or what is supposed to be grass. That looks worse than my Michigan lawn in December. The Dodger lefty would have a great rebound year in 1969, winning 20 games a year after he had left the National League in losses with 18. The interesting thing is in 1968 when he lost 18 games, he had an ERA of 3.09.
#529 - Ed Kirkpatrick Ed's got a mean looking scowl on his face! After playing in 117 games as a 21 year old for the Angels in 1966, Kirkpatrick appeared in only 92 games over the next two seasons and was left unprotected in the expansion draft. He appeared in 120 games for the Royals and played every position except shortstop and pitcher. He did OK at the plate, hitting .257 with 14 HR and 49 RBIs.
#530 - Cesar Tovar Here's an interesting fact: Cesar Tovar finished in the top 25 in the AL MVP voting each season from 1967 to 1971, but never made the All Star team.
#531 - Dick Farrell Turk Farrell was at the end of the line in 1969. He started as a 22 year old with the Phillies in 1956 and after stops in Los Angeles and Houston, returned to Philadelphia for the end of this career. 1969 was his final year, and he went 3-4 for the Phillies, all out of the bullpen.
#532 - Bird Hill Aces While the card features four decent pitchers, there is one glaring omission. I guess Jim Palmer wasn't good enough to make the photo. The picture was taken in spring training, 1969, Cuellar's first with the Orioles. He would be the ace of the staff, going 23-11 and winning the Cy Young. McNally also won 20, going 20-7, while Phoebus was a decent 14-7. Hardin was the bust, posting a 6-7 record. Palmer went 16-4, so Topps was three for four.
#533 - Nolan Ryan This is Ryan's first full card and is one of the more valuable cards in the set. I had this one as a kid, so that saved me some bucks when putting the set together. Otherwise, he is a Met and I have already said too much...
#534 - Jerry McNertney After spending four seasons with the White Sox as a backup catcher, McNertney was left exposed in the expansion drafted and snapped up by the Pilots as the 7th pick. 1969 would be his only as a regular and he put up career best in home runs (8) and RBIs (55).
#534 - Phil Regan The Cubs fireman will get his own post tomorrow.
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 38
Hatless - 115
Airbrush - 91
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 70