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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Yogi Berra – 1973 Topps #257

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Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra  (born May 12, 1925) is a former American Major League Baseball catcher, outfielder, and manager. He played almost his entire 19-year baseball career (1946–1965) for the New York Yankees. Berra was one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times and is one of only six managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series. As a player, coach, or manager, Berra appeared in 21 World Series. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Willie May – 1973 Topps #305

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Willie Howard Mays, Jr.  (born May 6, 1931) is an American professional baseball player who played the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. Nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility. Many consider him to be the greatest all-around player of all time. Mays won two MVP awards and tied Stan Musial’s record with 24 appearances in the All-Star Game. He ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fourth all-time. An outstanding center fielder, he won a record-tying twelve Gold Gloves starting the year the award was introduced six seasons into his career. In 1999, Mays placed second on The Sporting News’ List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, making him the highest-ranking living player. Later that year, he was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Mays is one of five NL players to have eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, along with Mel Ott, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols. Mays hit 50 or more home runs in both 1955 and 1965. This time span represents the longest stretch between 50 plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history.
Ted Williams once said “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.”

Roberto Clemente – 1973 Topps #50

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Robert Clemente Walker(August 18, 1934 – December 31, 1972) was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball right fielder. He was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. Clemente played his entire 18-year baseball career with the Pirates (1955–72). He was awarded the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1966. Clemente was selected to participate in the league’s All Star Game on 12 occasions. He won 12 Gold Glove Awards and he led the league in batting average in four different seasons. He was also involved in humanitarian work in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries, often delivering baseball equipment and food to them. He died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, thus becoming the first Latin American to be selected and the only current Hall of Famer for whom the mandatory five-year waiting period has been waived since the wait was instituted in 1954. Clemente is also the first Hispanic player to win a World Series as a starter (1960), win a league MVP award (1966) and win a World Series MVP award (1971).

Harmon Killebrew – 1973 Topps #170

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Harmon Clayton Killebrew (June 29, 1936 – May 17, 2011), nicknamed “Killer” and “Hammerin’ Harmon”, was an American professional baseball first baseman, third baseman, and left fielder. During a 22-year baseball career, he played for the Washington Senators, a team which later became the Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals. When he retired, he was second only to Babe Ruth in American League (AL) home runs and was the AL career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter (since broken by Alex Rodriguez). He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

George Foster – 1973 Topps #399

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George Arthur Foster(born December 1, 1948) Foster began his career in the San Francisco Giants organization, but the Giants already had promising young outfielder Bobby Bonds. As they believed Foster was expendable, the Giants dealt him early in the 1971 season to the Reds for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert. Foster made the Reds lineup as the starting center fielder (replacing an injured Bobby Tolan) almost immediately and showed flashes of his power by hitting 10 home runs and driving in 50 runs in his first season as a Red. For the 1972 season, however, Tolan was healthy and won the Comeback Player of the Year award playing center and Foster was platooned in right field with Cesar Geronimo, another young Reds outfielder, for the next two seasons. He scored the pennant winning run from third base in Game 5 of the 1972 NLCS against Pittsburgh on a wild pitch.

Frank Robinson – 1973 Topps #175

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Frank Robinson(born August 31, 1935), is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He played from 1956–1976, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. He is the only player to win league MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues. He won the Triple crown, was a member of two teams that won the World Series (the 1966 and 1970 Baltimore Orioles), and amassed the fourth-most career home runs at the time of his retirement (he is currently tied for eighth). Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Buddy Bell – 1973 Topps #31

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David Gus “Buddy” Bell(born August 27, 1951 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a former third baseman and manager in Major League Baseball. After an 18-year career with four teams, most notably the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, he managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals for three seasons each. He is the son of outfielder Gus Bell and the father of third basemen David and Mike. He is currently the Director of Operations for the Chicago White Sox Minor League system.

New York Yankees – 1973 Topps #556

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The New York Yankeeshave won a leading 27 World Series in 40 appearances (which, since the first World Series in 1903, currently amounts to an average appearance every 2.7 seasons and a championship every 4.0 seasons); the St. Louis Cardinals are second with 10 World Series victories. The Yankees’ number of World Series losses, 13, leads in Major League Baseball. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and New York/San Francisco Giants are second in total World Series appearances with eighteen apiece. Of their eighteen World Series appearances, the Dodgers have faced the Yankees eleven times, going 3–8 against the Yankees, while the Giants have faced the Yankees seven times, going 2–5 against the Yankees. Among North American major sports, the Yankees’ success is only approached by the 24 Stanley Cup championships of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League, though they haven’t won a championship since 1993. They have played in the World Series against every National League pennant winner except the Houston Astros and the Colorado Rockies, a feat that no other team is even close to matching.

New York Mets – 1973 Topps #389

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The Mets held the New York baseball attendance record for 29 years. They broke the Yankees’ 1948 record by drawing nearly 2.7 million in 1970. The Mets broke their own record five times before the Yankees took it back in 1999.
No Met pitcher has ever thrown a no-hitter, and the franchise’s hurlers have gone more than 7,800 games without pitching one—longer than any other Major League franchise. They are one of only two Major League teams to never have a pitcher throw a no-hitter, the other being the San Diego Padres. Long time Mets ace Tom Seaver, who threw five one-hitters as a Met, eventually threw a no-hitter, but by then he was playing for the Cincinnati Reds. Similarly, the ace of the 1986 team, Dwight Gooden, threw his no-hitter for the Yankees (in 1996), and David Cone, who starred for the Mets from 1987-1992, threw a perfect game later in his career, also as a Yankee. The ultimate example of this trend is Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who started his career with the Mets, but threw a record seven no-hitters after leaving the club.

Cleveland Indians – 1973 Topps #629

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The Cleveland Indians name originates from a request by the club owner to decide on a new name, following the 1914 season. In reference to the Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves), the media chose “the Indians”. Common nicknames for the Indians include the “Tribe” and the “Wahoos,” the latter being a reference to their logo, Chief Wahoo; The mascot is called Slider.
The Cleveland team originated in 1900 as the Lake Shores, when the American League (AL) was officially a minor league. One of the AL’s eight charter franchises, the major league incarnation of the club was founded in Cleveland in 1901. Originally called the Cleveland Bluebirds, the team played in League Park until moving permanently to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1946. At the end of the 2010 season, they had a regular season franchise record of 8,691–8,367 (.509). The Indians have won seven AL Central titles, the most in the division.

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