Monday, March 9, 2009

Topps 1972 Page 2

...Continuing a look at the Cubs set from Topps, 1972

Steve Hamilton: One of two airbrush jobs on the page, this card is one of Topps' better attempts (although "better" is a relative term). The Cubs signed him in January, 1972 after he had been released by the Giants. The Giants knew what they were doing, because in 17 innings with the Cubs, he had an ERA of 4.76. The Cubs dumped him in August and never played in the major leagues again.

Bill Hands: A starter for the Cubs whose career was in decline. After 20 wins in 1969, he won 18 in 1970 and fell to 12 wins (and 18 losses) in 1971. He averaged more than 250 innings over the past four seasons and I would guess his arm was feeling the effects. 1972 would be his last season with the Cubs.

Jim Hickman: A nice spring training shot of outfielder / first baseman Jim Hickman. A common theme with many of these players, his career also was in decline, as he was now 34 years old.

Randy Hundley: Sporting some long sideburns with the now demolished Shea Stadium in the background. After establishing himself as one of the premier catchers in the late '60's, Hundley's career was in free-fall due to injuries. He missed most of the 1970 and 1971 seasons, playing in a total of 82 games between the two years. He did play in 114 games in 1972, but his power (only 5 home runs) and hitting (a .214 average) were gone.

Cleo James: Standing in almost the same pose and same spot at Shea as Hundley. James was one in a long line of touted Cubs rookies who were supposed to add speed to the lineup, but never panned out.

Fergie Jenkins: Fergie must have had a really rough off-season because he is wearing both a plastic jacket and sleeves in Arizona. He was also one of the few on the team whose career was still going strong. He won 24 games in 1971 and won the Cy Young Award. He would win 20 games in 1972 for the sixth consecutive season.

Don Kessinger: Although a veteran by now, Don looks really young in this card. Like Fergie, he too was still performing strongly. He was an All Star in both 1971 and 1972 and was averaging at least 150 games per season.

JC Martin: Also wearing the plastic jacket. Martin filled in in both '70 and '71 for the injured Randy Hundley. With Hundley relatively healthy in 1972, Martin's playing time decreased and 1972 would be his last in the big leagues.

Rick Monday: This has to be one of the alltime worst airbrush jobs. The Cubs picked Monday up from Oakland for lefty Ken Holtzman. The A's were still wearing vest-styled jerseys in 1971 and Topps airbrushed his green Oakland vest sleeves blue. Never mind that the Cubs didn't wear vests! Ridiculous!

Cubs trivia- they were the first major league team to wear vests, doing so from 1940 - 1942.

Monday gave the Cubs a solid center fielder, something they were in desperate need of for years.

The third page is coming soon...

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