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Category Archives: New York Yankees

Mike Kekich – 1973 Topps #371

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Michael Dennis Kekich (born April 2, 1945 in San Diego, California) was a Major League Baseball player between 1965 and 1977. In 1974, he played in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters. Kekich was a left-handed pitcher who began his career as a starter and moved to the bullpen as a reliever. He had a modestly successful career in the Major Leagues, but he is best remembered for trading families with fellow Yankees pitcher Fritz Peterson before the 1973 season. After his major league career ended, Kekich attempted a comeback in the Mexican League, but this proved unsuccessful. He is remarried and currently resides near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Lindy McDaniel – 1973 Topps #46

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Lyndall Dale McDaniel, known as Lindy (born December 13, 1935, in Hollis, Oklahoma) is a right-handed former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who had a 21-year career from 1955 to 1975. During McDaniel’s career he witnessed approximately 3,500 major league games, had more than 300 teammates, and played under eight different managers.
McDaniel was named to the National League All-Star team in 1960. He led the league in saves in 1959, 1960, and 1963. He was named as the The Sporting News Reliever of the Year for the National League in 1960 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, and in 1963 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. With the New York Yankees in 1970, McDaniel had a career high 29 saves, tying the franchise record set by Luis Arroyo in 1961.  McDaniel played in 225 consecutive games in National League without committing an error. McDaniel won Fireman-of-the Year honors in 1960 and 1963. He also led the National League in relief pitching in 1959, but that was the year before the first Fireman-of-the-year award was presented. With nine saves and a 0.74 ERA, McDaniel was named the Player of the Month for June 1960.

Graig Nettles – 1973 Topps #498

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ImageGraig Nettles (born August 20, 1944), is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman. During a 22-year baseball career, he played for the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos.  Nettles was one of the best defensive third basemen of all time, and despite his relatively low career batting average, he was an excellent offensive contributor, setting an American League record for career home runs by a third baseman. As a part of four pennant-winning Yankee teams, Nettles enjoyed his best season in 1977 when he won the Gold Glove Award and had career-highs in home runs (37) and runs batted in (107) in leading the Yankees to the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.    As of 2010, Nettles holds the single-season Major League record for assists by a third baseman, Imageand is tied with Brooks Robinson for second-most all-time. His 412 assists in 1971 broke the record of 405 shared by Harlond Clift in 1937 and Robinson in 1967. In 1973, his first year as a New York Yankee, he recorded 410 assists, breaking Clete Boyer’s franchise record of 396 in 1962; Robinson would tie this mark in 1974. To date, Nettles and Robinson have four of the six 400-assist seasons by a third baseman in Major League history. Nettles is mentioned in the video for Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 hit Glory Days. At the end of the video, Springsteen’s character, a pitcher, tells a teen that he lost an imaginary game playing against the San Diego Padres because “Nettles got me, bottom of the ninth.”

Mel Stottlemyre – 1973 Topps #520

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ImageMelvin Leon Stottlemyre, Sr. (born November 13, 1941 in Hazleton, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and pitching coach. He played 11 years in the Major Leagues, all of them with the New York Yankees. After his playing career, Stottlemyre worked as pitching coach with the New York Mets, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. Called up midseason in 1964, Stottlemyre went 9–3 to help the Yankees to their fifth consecutive pennant while being on the cover of The Sporting News. In the World Series, Stottlemyre faced Bob Gibson three times in a seven-game Series. Stottlemyre bested Gibson in Game 2 to even the series, and got a no-decision in Game 5, but lost the decisive Game 7 as the Cardinals won the Series. A sinker-ball specialist, Stottlemyre would pitch 10 more seasons with the Yankees, winning 164 games, including three 20-win seasons; but although the 1964 Series marked the Yankees’ 29th pennant in 44 seasons, Imagethe ensuing decade would be the franchise’s lowest period since the 1910s, with the Yankees not reaching the postseason at all. Stottlemyre was released by the Yankees after the 1974 season with a rotator-cuff injury, and he retired from playing. Known as a solidly-hitting pitcher, Stottlemyre once hit a rare inside-the-park grand slam.
His sons Todd and Mel Jr. both followed their father by becoming major league pitchers. His other son, Jason, died while in a coma at the young age of 11. Stottlemyre was diagnosed with multiple myeloma but is in remission; he is an avid supporter of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. He wrote an autobiography entitled Pride and Pinstripes, published in 2007.

Ralph Houk – 1973 Topps #116


Ralph George Houk (August 9, 1919 – July 21, 2010), nicknamed The Major, was an American catcher, coach, manager, and front office executive in Major League Baseball. He is best known as the successor of Casey Stengel as the manager of the New York Yankees from 1961–63, when he won three consecutive American League pennants and the 1961–62 World Series championships.
Houk’s last years as an active player were actually spent as the Yankees’ full-time bullpen coach. In 1955, he was named manager of the Yanks’ AAA affiliate, the Denver Bears of the American Association. Following three highly successful seasons at Denver, Houk returned to the Bronx as Stengel’s first-base coach from 1958 to 1960. From late May through early June 1960, Houk served as acting manager of the Yanks for 13 games while Stengel, 70, was sidelined by illness.  Then, after the Yanks lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and with Houk one of the hottest managerial candidates in baseball, the Yankees “discharged” Stengel and promoted Houk.
He died in July 2010 in Winter Haven, Florida. At age 90 he was, at the time, the oldest living manager of a World Series-winning, pennant-winning or post-season team. He was survived by a daughter, Donna; a son, Robert; four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. On July 22 the Yankees announced players and coaches would wear a black armband in Houk’s memory on the left sleeve of their home and away uniforms for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Sparky Lyle – 1973 Topps #394


Albert Walter “Sparky” Lyle(born July 22, 1944) is an American former left-handed relief pitcher who spent sixteen seasons in Major League Baseball. He was a closer from 1969 to 1977, first for the Boston Red Sox and then the New York Yankees. A three-time All-Star, he won the American League Cy Young Award in 1977. He was most famous for co-authoring with Peter Golenbock The Bronx Zoo, a 1979 tell-all book which chronicled the dissension within the Yankees in its World Series Championship seasons of 1977 and 1978. Despite the fact Lyle had won the 1977 Cy Young Award, the Yankees signed Goose Gossage as a free agent during the 1977 off-season, and Gossage followed with an outstanding 1978 season which made Lyle expendable. On November 10, 1978, Lyle was part of a major trade that sent him, along with four other players and cash, to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Juan Beníquez and four other players, including a young Dave Righetti. During the 1978 season, Yankees teammate Graig Nettles famously quipped that Lyle went “from Cy Young to sayonara.” On August 21, 1982, he was purchased by the Chicago White Sox from the Phillies. His last game was played on September 27 of that season for the White Sox, who released him on October 12. Lyle finished his 16-year career with 238 saves, a 2.88 ERA, and a record of 99-76 in 899 games pitched — all in relief. In 1985, Fingers broke his American League record for career saves; and in 1991 Righetti surpassed Lyle’s major-league record for career saves by a left-hander, though Lyle still holds the AL mark of 232. Lyle has been a manager of the Somerset Patriots,a baseball team of the Atlantic League, since 1998.

Fred Beene – 1973 Topps #573


Freddy Ray Beene(born November 24, 1942 in Angleton, Texas) is a retired American professional baseball player. Beene was a right-handed pitcher who played in the Major Leagues between 1968 to 1975. He was listed at 5 feet 9 inches tall and 155 pounds. Beene was originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1964. Beene played with Baltimore until 1972 when he was traded to the New York Yankees for a player to named later, which turned out to be Dale Spier. Beene pitched very well for the Yankees, having Earned Run Averages under 2.50. In 1974 Beene was traded by with Tom Buskey, Steve Kline, and Fritz Peterson to the Cleveland Indians for Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Cecil Upshaw. Beene appeared in 112 MLB games played, all but six as a relief pitcher. In 288 innings, he allowed 274 hits and 111 bases on balls, with 156 strikeouts. Primarily a middle reliever, Beene notched eight career saves, and compiled a career earned run average of 3.63. After his playing career, Beene spent 20 seasons (1981–2000) as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ron Blomberg – 1973 Topps #462


Ronald Mark Blomberg(born August 23, 1948, in Atlanta, Georgia), nicknamed Boomer, is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter, first baseman, and right fielder. Along with being the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history, he played for the New York Yankees (1969, 1971–76) and Chicago White Sox (1978), and he was the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League (2007). He batted left-handed, and threw right-handed. In his 8-season career, Blomberg compiled a .293 batting average (391-for-1,333) with 52 home runs, 224 RBIs, 184 runs, 67 doubles, and 8 triples in 461 games. He added a .360 on base percentage and a .473 slugging average. For his career, he hit .304 against right-handers, and .304 with 2 out and runners in scoring position, as well as .325 when the score was tied.

John Callison – 1973 Topps #535


John Wesley Callison(March 12, 1939 – October 12, 2006) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball, best known for his years with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1960 to 1969. He led the National League in triples twice and doubles once, and gained his greatest prominence in a 1964 season in which he was runnerup for the Most Valuable Player Award and was named MVP of the All-Star Game. He also led the NL in outfield assists four consecutive times and in double plays once, and ended his career among the top five Phillies in home runs (185) and triples (84). Born in Qualls, Oklahoma, Callison batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox out of high school in 1957, being assigned to the Class-C Bakersfield Bears in the California League, where he batted .340 with 17 home runs and 31 stolen bases. The next season, he was advanced to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, where he led the American Association in home runs. In September 1958 he was recalled by Chicago, and hit .297 in 18 games. The next season, Callison split time between Chicago and Indianapolis. He was not on the World Series roster when the White Sox lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in December he was traded to the Phillies for third baseman Gene Freese, who would spend just one year in Chicago and last played regularly in 1961. After the 1969 season, he was traded to the Cubs, and he posted 1970 totals of 19 HRs and 68 RBI before hitting only .210 in 1971 with just 8 home runs. In January 1972 he was traded to the New York Yankees, and he found limited playing time over two years, closing his career with a .176 average, one HR and 10 RBI in 45 games in 1973. Callison was a career .264 hitter with 226 home runs, 926 runs, 840 RBI, 1757 hits, 321 doubles, 89 triples, and 74 stolen bases in 1886 games. Following his retirement, Callison remained in Philadelphia where he made frequent appearances and had several business ventures. In 1997 he was named to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. A resident of Glenside, a northern suburb of Philadelphia, Callison died in 2006 in Abington, Pennsylvania.

Thurman Munson – 1976 Topps #650


Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947 – August 2, 1979) was an American Major League Baseball catcher. He played his entire 11-year career for the New York Yankees (1969–1979). A perennial All-Star, Munson is the only Yankee ever to win both the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. Born in Akron, Ohio, Munson was selected as the fourth pick of the 1968 Major League Baseball Draft. Munson hit over .300 in his two seasons in the Minor Leagues, establishing himself as a hot prospect. He became the starting catcher late in the 1969 season, when the Yankees were reestablishing themselves after a few losing seasons. Munson played his first complete season in 1970, becoming Rookie of the Year after hitting .302. Considered the “heart and soul” of the Yankees, Munson became the first team captain since Lou Gehrig. He led the Yankees to three consecutive World Series, winning two of them. Munson died at age 32 while practicing how to land his Cessna Citation at Akron-Canton Airport. Munson was pinned by debris and killed by smoke inhalation in the ensuing fire while his two companions escaped 

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