The airbrush makes a return today after being left out of the last several pages. In fact, we've had so few airbrushed cards lately that the Cubs have almost caught up to the airbrushed.
#608 - Dick SImpson As soon as I saw this card, I knew that the hatless Simpson played with the Reds in 1967. How? Because those are the Wrigley Field grandstands in the background and there are a boatload of '67 Reds at Wrigley cards in the set. Poor Dick was really moving around: January, '68 - traded by the Reds to the Cardinals; June, '68 - sent to the Astros; December, '68 - Yankees get him; May, '69 - Yankees send him to Pilots. His 1969 totals -- 32 games, .194 average. 1969 was his last season in the majors.
#609 - Phil Gagliano Another very nice looking card, with the red and yellow matching perfectly with the Cardinals' uniform. Gagliano was the Cardinals' utility man, getting action at first, second, third, and the outfield. He would have a brief, 26 game stay with the Cubs in 1970, before moving on to Boston and Cincinnati.
#610 - Jim Hardin After winning 18 games in 1968, Hardin's career went south in 1969 as the Orioles had Mike Cuellar and Jim Palmer as their new go-to guys. Hardin was 4-6 and began working out of the bullpen.
#611 - Braves Rookies It's kind of unusual to have two players who play the same position on a rookie card, but we've got two catchers featured and they both made the team, as did the third player also. Didier was the Braves starting catcher in 1969 an hit a decent .256 but slumped in 1970 and lost the starting job. Walt Hriniak played seven games for the '69 Braves before being traded to the Padres. He played in 31 more games for San Diego, the last games of his short big league career. He would make a much bigger name for himself as a batting coach with the Red Sox and White Sox. Gary Niebauer pitched in 29 games for the Braves out of the bullpen and was 1-2.
#612 - Jack Aker After five seasons with the A's, Aker was picked up by the Pilots in the expansion draft. His time in Seattle was short, being traded to the Yankees in mid-May. For the year, he pitched in 53 games and was 8-6. Aker would spend 1972 and 1973 with the Cubs and became the closer when Phil Regan faltered.
#613 - Jim Beauchamp That is a less than flattering picture of Beauchamp. I wonder what the players thought after they saw themselves on a card like this? Do you think they complained to Topps? Or were they just happy to be on a card? Beauchamp spend most of the 1969 season on the Reds' bench, making only 65 plate appearances. He hit .250 and after the season was traded to the Astros.
#614 - Astros Rookies Another rookie card that go it right, as both of these guys spent a good part of the 1969 season with Houston. Griffin started 31 games and went 11-10. Guinn worked out of the bullpen in 28 games and was 1-2.
#615 - Len Gabrielson Gabrielson was nearing the end of a nine year career that included a stop with the Cubs in 1964 and 1965. He never was a regular; 116 games was his career high. For the 1969 Dodgers, he played in 83 games and hit .270. But he showed no power, hitting only one home run.
#616 - Don McMahon The Tigers picked McMahon up in June, 1968, and he was did a nice job working out of the bullpen. In 20 games, he was 3-1 with a 2.02 ERA. But he got off to a slow start in 1969 and was traded to the Giants in August. His record with the Giants....3-1. If you want a decent season out of McMahon, get him for only half the season!
Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 43
Hatless - 134
Airbrush - 94
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 90