I would have to double check, but I believe that this is our first perfect page! Not one airbrushed or hatless players is to be found! But the perfection is tainted a bit because the page has no hall of famers or Cubs on it either. And the best player on the page had a really bad year in 1969.
#554 - Frank Bertaina I must confess that I never heard of this player. He was a spot starter for the Orioles before being traded to Washington during the 1967 season. In 1969 he started five games for the Senators and was 1-3. In June he was re-obtained by the Orioles but spent most of the rest of the season in AAA. He did make three late season appearances for the Birds.
#555 - Jim Hart A strange looking pose (his left hand is not on the bat) and an even stranger looking smile. From 1964 to 1968, Jim Ray Hart averaged 28 home runs. With him, Mays, and McCovey, the Giants had some serious power. But in 1969 Hart has a significant power drop, with only three HRs in 95 games. And only once more in the last five seasons of his career would he reach double digits in HRs.
#556 - A's Stars Another spring of '69 shot - you can see the centennial patch on Cater's left arm. The interesting thing is that during the season, the A's wore the patch on the front of their jersey, not the sleeve. Both Bando and Campaneris would be big players in the A's World Series run in the early '70's, while 1969 would be Cater's final year in Oakland.
#557 - Frank Fernandez He was a career back-up. 1969 would be one of his better seasons, hitting 12 HR in 89 games. He finished his career with the Cubs in 1971 and 1972, one of the many backup catchers the Cubs brought in to fill in for an oft-injured Randy Hundley.
#558 - Tom Burgmeier A nice spring training shot with palm trees in the background. Taken from the Angels. Burgmeier spent the '69 season working out of the bullpen for the Royals. He was 3-1 in 31 games.
#559 - Cardinal Rookies Hague made the Cardinal's roster coming out of spring training. He played in 29 games through mid-June before being sent back to AAA. He was recalled in September and made it into 11 more games. His average for the season was .170. Hicks had been up and down with the White Sox since 1964. The Cardinals picked him up after the 1967 season. He played in 19 games for the Redbirds in '69 before he was traded to the Angels. He hit a measly .130 between the two teams.
#560 - Luis Tiant A nice new photo of Tiant probably taken at spring training. Again, the centennial patch is the give-away that the picture was taken in 1969. From 1968's penthouse (Tiant was 21-9 with a AL leading microscopic 1.60 ERA), El Tiante was headed to the outhouse in 1969, with 20 league-leading losses. The Indians decided to dump him after the season and he was traded to the Twins.
#561 - Ron Clark Clark's career spanned from 1966 - 1975, but I have absolutely no memory of him. Perhaps his .189 career average is what kept him from being memorable! He played in 104 games for the Twins in 1968, but after only five in 1969 he was traded to the Pilots. His average for the season, .193. There seems to have been a lot of this type of player in the set, low averages, traded alot.
#562 - Bob Watson Here's a good player. But Bob was still in the very early stages of his career at this point. He was still shuttling between the minors and the majors in 1969 (as he had been doing since 1966). He played 87 games in AA and AAA and 20 with the Astros. But 1969 was his last year in the minors, making it to the bigs for good in 1970 and an All Star by 1973.
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 40
Hatless - 125
Airbrush - 91
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 77