No Cubs, but two hall of famers and a very colorful manager.
#545 - Willie Stargell The Pirate star was coming off of a pretty weak season in 1968, when he hit only .237 with 24 HR and just 67 RBIs. He rebounded well in '69, smacking 29 HR and 92 RBIs while raising his average to .307. To Cubs fans, Willie is remembered for a homer he hit on September 7. The Cubs were leading 5-4 with two outs in the ninth and reliever Phil Regan worked Stargell to a 2-2 count. One strike away from a win, Stargell homered onto Sheffield Avenue into a strong wind blowing in. The Cubs went on to lose 7-5 in 11 innings, cutting their division lead to 2 1/2 games. The collapse was on!
#546 - Jim Nash I love these spring training shots with the water tower in the background. It seems so minor league. No fancy spring complexes back then. Jim Nash liked 500. Starting 33 games for the '68 A's, he was 13-13. The next year, in 19 starts his record was 8 win and ......8 losses.
#547 - Billy Martin Billy looks so young and innocent in this picture. This was taken in the spring of 69, Billy's first and only season as Twins manager. He led the team to a 97-65 record and the division title. But they were swept in the playoffs. During August, Billy had a fight with pitcher Dave Boswell in an alley behind a bar in Detroit. Boswell needed 20 stitches and Billy would soon need a job, as he was fired after the season. It would not be the last time he got fired!!
#548 - Bob Locker Bob was the workhorse out of the White Sox bullpen. He led the league with 77 apperances in 1967 and made 70 more in 1968. His 1969 total was 68 games, but only 17 were with the Sox. He was traded to the Pilots on June 8 and pitched in 51 games for them. He would later have two stints with the Cubs, in 1973 and 1975.
#549 - Ron Brand I love the "take off your mask and make it look like you catching a pop-up" pose! After several unspectacular seasons with the Astros, primarily as a back up, Brand was taken by Montreal in the expansion draft and became their starting catcher. He wouldn't keep the job, hitting .258 but showing no pop, 0 HR and only 20 RBI's.
#550 - Brooks Robinson Hall of famer #2, I wish we had a shot more to the side to see the tiny bill on Brooks' batting helmet. He was in the midst of a 15 year All Star run, but 1969 was a down year offensively. He hit only .234. But it's not his bat that he is known for, or that got him into the Hall of Fame.
#551 - Wayne Granger Topps was sure on the ball on this page; this is another shot from spring training. We've gone from five year old pictures in series one to brand new pictures in series six. After a promising rookie season with the Cardinals in 1968 (4-2 in 32 games), Granger was traded to the Reds after the season. He appeared in a league leading 90 games for the Reds, saved 27, and was 9-6
#552 - Dodgers Rookies This card highlights the Dodgers youth movement in 1969. Ted Sizemore was the 1969 NL rookie of the year, one of many the Dodgers have had over the years. He started on opening day and ended up playing in 159 games. Sudakis was the opening day third baseman and played in 134 games. Dodger fans may have thought the team was set on the left side of the infield for years to come. They were, but it would be with Cey and Russell in a few years.
#553 - Ron Davis Davis' career was just about done. He split '68 between the Astros and the Cardinals, hitting .203 in 85 games. After the season the Cards traded him to the Padres. The Padres turned around and sent him to the Pirates at the end of Spring training. That makes four teams in less than a year! He had 64 AB's in 62 games for the Bucs, and that was it for Davis. Nine years later, a pitcher with the same name would show up in the bigs for the Yankees, Twins, Cubs, and a few other teams.
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 40
Hatless - 125
Airbrush - 91
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 76