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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Doug Rader – 1973 Topps #76

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ImageDouglas Lee Rader (born July 30, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois), nicknamed “The Red Rooster”, is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who was known primarily for his defensive ability, winning five straight Gold Glove Awards from 1970 to 1974. Rader’s career lasted from 1967 to 1977. He played for the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and Toronto Blue Jays. He later managed the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels between 1983 and 1991. Also nicknamed “Rojo”, ImageRader earned his nickname “The Red Rooster” from the thick head of red hair which always protruded from under his cap.

Dave Guisti – 1973 Topps #465

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ImageDavid John Giusti, Jr., (born November 27, 1939, in Seneca Falls, New York) is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1962 to 1977. He signed out of a college as a free agent with the Houston Colt .45s (later the Houston Astros), and played in Houston from 1962-68. Shortly before the 1968 expansion draft, Giusti was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, who left him unprotected, and he was then drafted by the San Diego Padres. Two months later, Giusti was then traded back to the Cardinals. After the 1969 baseball season, Giusti was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the Pirates, he was converted into a relief pitcher by manager Danny Murtaugh, and Giusti soon became one of the leading relief pitchers in the National League. Using his sinking palmball heavily, Giusti recorded 20 or more saves in each of the next four baseball seasons, and he led the National League with 30 saves in 1971 for the Pirates. Giusti appeared in three games for Pittsburgh in the 1971 World Series, earning a save in Game Four. Giusti was awarded The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award in 1971. In 1973, ImageGiusti was selected for the National League’s All-Star Team. Giusti pitched a one-two-three seventh inning as the National League won the game 7-1.
Shortly before the beginning of the 1977 season, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of a ten-player trade. One that also sent outfielder Tony Armas to Oakland, and sent infielder Phil Garner to Pittsburgh. In August, the Athletics sold Giusti’s contract to the Chicago Cubs where Giusti finished the season, and after being released by the Cubs in November, Giusti retired from baseball. After his baseball career, Giusti became a corporate sales manager for American Express. As of 2002, he was retired and living in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania.

NBA 1972-’73 Rebound Leaders – 1972-’73 Topps #157

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Bob Robertson – 1973 Topps #422

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ImageRobert Eugene Robertson (born October 2, 1946 in Mt. Savage, Maryland) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball. Robertson, who batted and threw right-handed, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. Robertson broke into the Pirates’ regular lineup in 1970 playing alongside future Hall-of-Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell. He batted .287 with 27 home runs and 82 runs batted in on a team that won the National League East Division, the Pirates’ first trip to the post-season since winning the 1960 World Series. In 1971 Robertson hit .271 with 26 home runs and 72 RBIs. That year, the Pirates defeated the San Francisco Giants, and the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 3 to win the World Series. In the NLCS he hit four home runs (a record later tied by Steve Garvey in 1978 and Jeffrey Leonard in 1987), three of them in the Pirates’ Game Two victory. He also added a double, setting the record for most total bases in a post-season game, as well as tying the record of 4 long hits a post-season game. Robertson would hit two more home runs in the World Series; one of those came in Game Three of Baltimore starter Mike Cuellar with Clemente on second and Stargell on first. Third-base coach Frank Oceak had given Robertson the bunt sign in this at-bat, but Robertson, Imagewho had no sacrifice bunts on the season and only one the year before, missed it. Television replays would show that Clemente had appeared to call time-out just before that pitch; however, Cuellar was already in his windup at the time. Steve Blass, the winning pitcher in Game Three, was sitting next to manager Danny Murtaugh in the Pirate dugout. The pitcher offered to pay the fine if Murtaugh imposed one on Robertson for missing the bunt sign. Murtaugh didn’t.
In the years following the World Series title, however Robertson slumped, hitting only .193 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI in 1972, .239 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 1973 and .229 with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs in 1974. After having surgery done on both knees in 1974 he was reduced to only a part-time player.

Alex Johnson – 1973 Topps #425

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ImageAlexander Johnson (born December 7, 1942, in Helena, Arkansas is a former professional baseball player. He was an outfielder and designated hitter over parts of 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, California Angels, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers. While playing for Cincinnati in 1968 and 1969, he batted over .300 both times, finishing 4th and 6th, in batting average in the National League. However, in both years, he led National League outfielders in errors. Following the 1969 season, Johnson was traded with Chico Ruiz to the California Angels for pitchers Pedro Borbon‚ Jim McGlothlin, and Vern Geishert. ImageJohnson had his best season in 1970, winning the American League batting title by a fraction of a percentage point over Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox, although he led league outfielders in errors and was 2nd in grounding out into double plays. He played with 4 other teams before retiring, always with a potent bat but being a liability in the field. Johnson turned down many football scholarships to pursue his dream of baseball. His brother, Ron, was a running back for the New York Giants. After Johnson retired he lived in Detroit and took over Johnson Trucking Service, which was founded by his father, Arthur Johnson, in the 1940s.

NBA Championship – 1972-’73 Topps #68

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ImageThe 1972 NBA World Championship Series was played at the conclusion of the 1971–72 NBA season. The Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Eastern Conference Champion New York Knicks in five games. The Los Angeles Lakers got their first NBA championship since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis. This season’s edition of the Los Angeles Lakers had won a NBA-record 69 regular season games, including 33 wins in a row. They were led by Wilt Chamberlain, the NBA’s top rebounder and shot blocker that season. Guards Gail Goodrich and Jerry West were each among the NBA’s top ten scorers that season, spearheading the NBA’s top offense at 121 points per game. West also led the NBA in assists. The Lakers as a team led all NBA teams in rebounds and assists that season. Los Angeles had swept a solid 57-win Chicago Bulls team in the playoff’s opening round, then defeated the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks who won 63 games in six games to win the Western Conference. That historic series had matched Chamberlain against Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and West against Oscar Robertson. ImageHaving defeated tough Milwaukee, 48-win New York figured to be an easy formality for the Lakers. New York was a top defensive team that allowed just 98.2 points per game and made 47% of their shots as a team.[1] Then had defeated 38-win Baltimore Bullets and then upset the 56-win Boston Celtics to win the Eastern Conference final. Television: ABC – Keith Jackson and Bill Russell announcing.

Woodie Fryman – 1973 Topps #146

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ImageWoodrow Thompson Fryman (April 15, 1940 – February 4, 2011) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. A two-time National League All-Star, he is best remembered as the mid-season acquisition that helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the 1972 American League Championship Series.
Fryman was 25 years old when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965. He debuted out of the bullpen for the Pirates in 1966, he made more appearances as a starter, and was used pretty evenly in both roles throughout his career. He went 12-9 with a 3.81 earned run average his rookie season, including three shutouts in a row against the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. In Philadelphia, Fryman was used almost exclusively as a starter his first two seasons, but began being used more and more in relief in 1970 and 1971. In 1972, Fryman was 4-10 with a 4.36 ERA for the 34-61 Phillies when the club placed him on waivers at the end of July.
The Detroit Tigers were battling the Boston Red Sox first first place in the American League East when they claimed Fryman off waivers on August 2, 1972. Fryman turned his season around with the Tigers, and was 9-3 with a 2.21 ERA when the Red Sox came to Detroit for a three game set to end the season a half game up on the Tigers. ImageFryman’s .769 win percentage was tops in the American League in 1972, and his ERA+ of 154 is one of the highest in Detroit franchise history.
Fryman spent two more seasons with the Tigers before being dealt to the Montreal Expos for Terry Humphrey and Tom Walker in December 1974. Fryman’s record stood at 8-6 with a 3.74 ERA when he earned his second All-Star nod in 1976. As with his first selection in 1968, he was his team’s lone representative, and he did not appear in the game.
Fryman was inducted into the Montreal Expos’ Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. On February 4, 2011, Fryman died in his hometown of Ewing, Kentucky, where he was a tobacco farmer, two months shy of his 71st birthday.

NBA All Stars – Spencer Haywood – 1972-’73 Topps #120

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ImageSpencer Haywood (born April 22, 1949) is a retired American professional basketball player. In his rookie season, Haywood led the ABA in scoring at 30.0 points per game and rebounding at 19.5 rebounds per game. He was named both the ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA MVP during the 1969-70 season, and became the youngest ever recipient of the MVP at the age of 21. His 986 field goals made, 1,637 rebounds, and 19.5 rebound per game average are the all-time ABA records for a season. Haywood also won the ABA’s 1970 All-Star Game MVP that year after recording 23 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 blocked shots for the West team. ImageHaywood was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1972 and 1973 and the All-NBA Second Team in 1974 and 1975. Haywood’s 29.2 points per game in the 1972-73 season and 13.4 rebounds per game in 1973-74 are still the single-season record averages for the SuperSonics for these categories. Haywood played in four NBA All-Star Games while with Seattle, including a strong 23 point 11 rebound performance in 1974. In the 1974-75 season, he helped lead the SuperSonics to their first playoff berth. Overall, during his five seasons with Seattle, Haywood averaged 24.9 points per game and 12.1 rebounds per game. Haywood’s #24 jersey was retired by the SuperSonics during a halftime ceremony on February 26, 2007.

Tommy John – 1973 Topps #258

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ImageThomas Edward John Jr. (born May 22, 1943) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball whose 288 career victories rank as the seventh highest total among left-handers in major league history. He is also known for the revolutionary surgery, now named after him, which was performed on a damaged ligament in his pitching arm. John was a soft throwing sinkerball pitcher whose technique resulted in batters hitting numerous ground balls and induced double plays.
John had a 13-3 record as the Dodgers were en route to their first National League pennant in eight years, before he permanently damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, leading to a revolutionary surgical operation. This operation, now known as Tommy John surgery, replaced the ligament in the elbow of his pitching arm with a tendon from his right forearm. The surgery was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe on September 25, 1974, and although it seemed unlikely he would ever be able to pitch again, he spent the entire 1975 season in recovery. John would work with teammate and major league pitcher Mike Marshall who was said to know how to help pitchers recover from injuries and taught John a completely different way to pitch where he would not turn his leg and go straight to the plate which eliminated the chance of him hurting his knee and arm, and he returned to the Dodgers in 1976. His 10-10 record that year was considered “miraculous” but John went on to pitch until 1989, winning 164 games after his surgery—forty more than before and one fewer than all-time great Sandy Koufax won in his entire career.Image After Phil Niekro’s retirement, John spent 1988 and 1989 as the oldest player in the major leagues. In 1989, John matched Deacon McGuire’s record for most seasons played in a Major League Baseball career with 26 seasons played, later broken by Nolan Ryan. Today, many pitchers have Tommy John surgery during their careers. John decided it was time to retire in 1989, when Mark McGwire got two hits off him. McGwire’s father was John’s dentist. John said of his decision, “When your dentist’s kid starts hitting you, it’s time to retire!” In 2009, John failed to get enough votes to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his last year of eligibility with only 31.7% of the vote.

Ted Simmons – 1973 Topps #85

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TImageed Lyle Simmons (born August 9, 1949 in Highland Park, Michigan) is an American former professional baseball player and coach. Simmons was a catcher for most of his Major League Baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. He was often overshadowed by Johnny Bench, Simmons is considered one of the best hitting catchers in Major League baseball history. He didn’t possess Bench’s power hitting ability,  but he hit for a higher batting average. ImageSimmons was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals as their first round pick in the 1967 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals, appearing in two games during the 1968 pennant-winning season. Simmons spent another year in Triple-A baseball before returning to the major leagues in 1970. He finished 16th in balloting for the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player Award as the Cardinals finished in second place behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Eastern Division. An eight-time All-Star, he batted above .300 seven times, reached 20 home runs six times, and eight times exceeded 90 runs batted in. He switch-hit home runs in a game three times and established a since-broken National League career record for home runs by a switch-hitter (182).

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