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Monthly Archives: May 2012

NBA All-Stars Bob Love – 1972-’73 Topps #60

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ImageRobert (Bob) Earl “Butterbean” Love (born December 8, 1942, in Bastrop, Louisiana) is a retired American professional basketball player who spent the prime of his career with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. A versatile forward who could shoot with either his left or right hand, Love now works as the Bulls’ Director of Community Affairs. Love flourished while playing for Dick Motta’s Bulls. In 1969–70, he became a full-time starter, averaging 21 points and 8.7 rebounds. The following two seasons he averaged 25.2 and 25.8 points per game, appeared in his first two NBA All-Star Games, and earned All-NBA Second Team honors both seasons. Love also appeared in the 1973 All-Star Game, and he would average at least 19 points and six rebounds every season until 1976–77. Love was named to the NBA’s All-Defense Second Team in 1974 and 1975. His #10 jersey was the second jersey number to be retired by the Chicago Bulls. Jerry Sloan’s #4 was the first. Image
Love ended his NBA career with the Bulls after spending parts of the 1976-77 season in New York and Seattle. He would finish with career totals of 13,895 points, 1,123 assists, and 4,653 rebounds. Love suffered from a severe stuttering problem, from childhood, which prevented him from finding meaningful employment after his playing days were over. At one point, Love was a busboy making $4.45 an hour. Eventually, the owner of the restaurant where Love washed dishes offered to pay for speech therapy classes, and in 1993 he returned to the Chicago Bulls as their director of community relations. One of his duties in this position involves regularly speaking to school children. Love has also become a motivational speaker.

Ed Kranepool – 1973 Topps #329

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ImageEdward Emil Kranepool (born November 8, 1944) is a former first baseman who spent his entire Major League Baseball career with the New York Mets. After batting a combined .301 at three levels of the Mets’ minor league system in 1962, Kranepool received a September call-up in just his first professional season. At age 17, Kranepool was six years younger than the next-youngest ’62 Met, a reflection of the disastrous decision of Met management to select mostly older veterans in the expansion draft. He made his major league debut wearing number 21 on September 22, 1962 as a late inning defensive replacement for Gil Hodges at first base in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at the Polo Grounds. He grounded out to Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs in his only at bat. He made his first start the next day, September 23, where he played first, and went one for four with a double.
Prior to the start of the 1965 season, the Mets acquired future Hall of fame pitcher Warren Spahn from the Milwaukee Braves. Kranepool gave up his number 21 to Spahn, who had worn that number his entire career, and began wearing number 7. Kranepool was batting .287 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs to be named the sole Mets representative at the 1965 Major ImageLeague Baseball All-Star Game, though he did not play. By the end of the season, Kranepool’s batting average fell to .253, but that was still enough to lead the team that lost 112 games that season, and finished in tenth place in the National League. He also led his team with 133 hits and 24 doubles. In 1966, Kranepool paced the Mets with a career high sixteen home runs to help the Mets avoid a last place finish and 100 losses for the first time in franchise history (95). Ed Kranepool made a living after retirement as a stockbroker and restaurateur, and was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1990. He is currently living in New York.

NBA 1972-’73 Assists Leaders – 1972-’73 Topps #158

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Nathaniel “Tiny” Archibald (born September 2, 1948, New York City) is a retired American professional basketball player. He spent 14 years playing in the NBA, most notably with the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics. In 1972-73 season, Archibald led the NBA in scoring and assists, becoming the only player to win the titles in both categories in the same season. In the 1967-68 season, Oscar Robertson led the NBA in points and assists per game but did not win the titles because they were based on totals rather than averages at the time. His scoring average of 34.0 points per game broke the NBA record for a guard. His 910 assists that season (11.4 assists per game) was also an NBA record at the time, breaking Guy Rodgers’ mark of 908. He was named the Sporting News NBA MVP that season.

Leonard Randolph “Lenny” Wilkens (born October 28, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.) is a retired American basketball player and coach in the NBA. He has been inducted three times into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, first in 1989 as a player, as a coach in 1998, and as part of the US Olympic “The Dream Team” for whom he was an assistant coach. Wilkens was traded to Seattle for Walt Hazzard and spent four seasons there. Wilkens averaged 22.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game in his first season for the SuperSonics, and was an All-Star in three of his seasons for them. Wilkens was named head coach prior to his second season for the SuperSonics. Although the SuperSonics did not reach the playoffs while Wilkens simultaneously coached and started at point guard, their record improved each season and they won 47 games during the 1971–72 NBA season. Wilkens was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the start of the next season in a highly unpopular trade, and the SuperSonics fell to 26-56 without his leadership on the court. Wilkens was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and was named the 1971 NBA All-Star Game MVP in 1971. With Seattle, he led the league in assists in the 1969–70 season, and at the time of his retirement, Wilkens was the NBA’s second all-time leading playmaker (assists), behind only Oscar Robertson. He scored 17,772 points during the regular season.

David “Dave” Bing (born November 24, 1943) is the mayor of Detroit, Michigan, a businessman, and a retired American professional basketball player who played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association, primarily for the Detroit Pistons (1966–75). He was a seven-time All-Star. After retiring, he founded the Bing Group, which was one of the largest steel companies in Michigan. His #21 was retired by the Detroit Pistons, and in 1996 he was named as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of all time. On January 19, 2009, Bing was to be named as a recipient of the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award. The award honors athletes who have made significant contributions toImage civil and human rights and who helped establish a foundation for future leaders in athletic careers in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. The honor was to be presented during the half-time show of the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Detroit Pistons in Memphis, Tennessee. Bing volunteered in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Duke Sims – 1973 Topps #304

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ImageDuane B. (Duke) Sims (born June 5, 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1964 to 1974 with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Billy Martin took him to the Detroit Tigers in August 1972. His first game as Tiger resulted in a 3 for 5 day with game tying double and game winning off Gaylord Perry, Cy Young winner that year. Subsequently hit .316, 10 game winning or tying hits while catching for Tigers in the Eastern Division Championship season. ImagePlayed in all 5 games in the championship series both in left field and catching. Was the catcher in game 2 when Bert Campneris threw the bat at Lerrin LaGrow after being hit on the ankle. Duke left the Tigers in September 1973 and caught the final game in Yankee Stadium before it was remodeled and started the season with the Yankees in 1974 at Shea Stadium before being traded to the Texas Rangers for a player to be name later. Sims is also credited as the last person to hit a home run in the “old” Yankee Stadium. He did it as a member of the Yankees in a 8–5 loss to the Detroit Tigers on September 30, 1973.

Don Sutton – 1973 Topps #10

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ImageDonald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and current radio sportscaster. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Sutton’s major league debut was on April 14, 1966, the same day that future 300-game winner Greg Maddux was born. In the majors, he played 23 years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee ImageBrewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. He won a total of 324 games, 58 of them shutouts and five of them one-hitters, and he is seventh on baseball’s all-time strikeout list with 3,574 K’s. He also holds the major league record for number of consecutive losses to one team, having lost 13 straight games to the Chicago Cubs. Sutton was a four-time All-Star. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the player with the most at-bats without a home run (1,354).

ABA Eastern Semi Finals – 1972-’73 Topps #204

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 Image The 1973 ABA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the American Basketball Association’s 1972-1973 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Division champion Indiana Pacers defeating the Eastern Division champion Kentucky Colonels, four games to three in the ABA Finals
Notable events: The teams with the three best records in the ABA that year failed to win the championship. The Carolina Cougars had the league’s best record at 57-27, one game ahead of the Kentucky Colonels 56-28, in the Eastern Division. The Utah Stars won the Western Division with a record of 55-29, four games ahead of the Indiana Pacers, who won the league championship after posting a regular season record of 51-33. The Pacers became the first team to win a third ABA championship. The Colonels became the first team to lose two separate ABA championship series. ImageThe series also marked the second time in three years that the Colonels lost the ABA finals 4 games to 3; the same happened at the end of the 1971 ABA Playoffs against the Utah Stars. Two years after the 1973 finals the Colonels and Pacers would meet again at the end of the 1975 ABA Playoffs with the Colonels winning the championship series. The Pacers’ George McGinnis was the Most Valuable Player of the ABA playoffs.

Dick Allen – 1973 Topps #310

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ImageRichard Anthony Allen (born March 8, 1942 in Wampum, Pennsylvania) is a former Major League Baseball player and R&B singer. He played first and third base and outfield in Major League Baseball and ranked among his sport’s top offensive producers of the 1960s and early 1970s. Most notably playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, he led the American League in home runs twice, and led both leagues in slugging average and on base percentage. His .534 career slugging average ranks among the highest in an Imageera marked by low averages. He won the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year and 1972 AL MVP. He also spoke his mind, combatted racism, and bucked organizational hierarchy.
Allen enjoyed several years in Philadelphia, where he was as good as any player in baseball, making All-Star teams from 1965–67  and leading the league in slugging (.632), OPS (1.027) and extra base hits (75) in 1966. Frank Robinson, the American League MVP, won the triple crown for leading the AL in home runs, RBI, and BA in 1966. Yet, Dick Allen had the better season per at-bat.

Clarence Gaston – 1973 Topps #159

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ImageClarence Edwin “Cito” Gaston (born March 17, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. His major league career as a player lasted from 1967–1978, most notably for the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves. His managerial career was with the Toronto Blue Jays where he became the first African-American manager in Major League history to win a World Series title. Primarily a center fielder, Gaston began his decade-long playing career in 1967 with the Atlanta Braves, appearing in nine games. The following year he was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft, first playing for them in 1969. He had his best individual season in 1970, when he batted Image.318 with 29 home runs, 92 runs scored and 93 RBI, and was selected to the National League All-Star team. The rest of Gaston’s career did not live up to his All-Star season success. Gaston never hit more than 17 home runs or knocked in more than 61 runs in any season with the Padres (until 1974) or the Braves (from 1975 until 1978).
Gaston was the manager for two American League All-Star teams since he was the manager of the championship American League franchise in 1992 and 1993. He was criticized for selecting six Blue Jays to the 1993 roster, but was unapologetic, stating all six were World Champions and two were future Hall of Famers.

ABA Western Semi Finals – 1972-’73 Topps #202

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ImageNotable Events

The teams with the three best records in the ABA that year failed to win the championship. The Carolina Cougars had the league’s best record at 57-27, one game ahead of the Kentucky Colonels 56-28, in the Eastern Division. The Utah Stars won the Western Division with a record of 55-29, four games ahead of the Indiana Pacers, who won the league championship after posting a regular season record of 51-33. The Pacers became the first team to win a third ABA championship. The Colonels became the first team to lose two separate ABA championship series. The series also marked the second time in three years that the Colonels lost the ABA finals 4 games to 3; the Imagesame happened at the end of the 1971 ABA Playoffs against the Utah Stars. Two years after the 1973 finals the Colonels and Pacers would meet again at the end of the 1975 ABA Playoffs with the Colonels winning the championship series. The Pacers’ George McGinnis was the Most Valuable Player of the ABA playoffs.

Chris Chambliss – 1973 Topps #11

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Carroll Christopher Chambliss (born December 26, 1948) is a former Major League Baseball player who played from 1971 to 1988 for the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. On November 4, 2010, Chambliss was hired as the hitting coach of the Seattle Mariners. In 1970, Chambliss was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round of the free-agent draft and in 1971, was named AL Rookie of the Year. Chambliss played first base and was known as a great clutch hitter throughout his career. He was dealt to the Yankees from the Indians Imagein April 1974 along with pitchers Cecil Upshaw and Dick Tidrow for Fritz Peterson, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, and Steve Kline in a much criticized multi-player deal.
Chambliss played three more seasons with the Yankees, winning a Gold Glove for fielding prowess in 1978. He then moved on to Atlanta from 1980-1986. He had one at-bat with the Yankees in 1988 and struck out. After his playing days ended, Chambliss became a hitting instructor for several teams and was talked about as a possible managerial candidate. Most recently, Chambliss was the manager of the Triple A Charlotte Knights prior to joining the Seattle Mariners in November, 2010 as hitting coach.

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