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Category Archives: Pitcher

Milt Pappas – 1973 Topps #70

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MiltPappas_73topps#70_a Milton Steven “Milt” Pappas (born Miltiades Stergios Papastergios on May 11, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former professional baseball pitcher. A 17-year veteran, Pappas, nicknamed “Gimpy,” pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. Pappas pitched in 520 games, starting 465, with 209 wins, 164 losses, 43 shutouts, 1728 strikeouts and a 3.40 ERA in 3186.0 innings pitched.
In 1970, the Braves pulled Pappas from their rotation after only three starts, after he compiled a 6.06 ERA and allowed six home runs. On June 23, they sold him to the Chicago Cubs, where he got another chance to prove he was still a major league starter. Pappas posted a 7–2 record with a 2.36 ERA at home and a 10–8 record with a 2.68 ERA overall. In 1971, Pappas went 17–14 with a 3.51 ERA. On September 24 of that year, against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field, Pappas struck out three batters (Greg Luzinski and Don Money) on nine pitches in the fourth inning of a 6–1 loss, becoming the 10th National League pitcher and the 16th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-strike/three-strikeout half-inning. Five days later, Pappas was again part of baseball history, he was responsible for Ron Hunt’s 50th hit by pitch of the season, which broke the single-season record of 49 set by Hughie Jennings in 1896. Pappas complained to home plate umpire Ken Burkhart that the pitch had been over the plate, and that Hunt had made no effort to get out of the way. Pappas’s manager on the Cubs, Leo Durocher, had unkind words for Pappas in his memoir Nice Guys Finish Last.
On September 11, 1982, MiltPappas_73topps#70_bPappas’ wife, Carole, disappeared after leaving the couple’s home in the Farnham subdivision in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. For five years, no sign was found of her car, clothing, or body. In 1987, almost five years to the day Mrs. Pappas disappeared, workers draining a shallow pond only four blocks from the Pappas home discovered the car Mrs. Pappas had been driving, a white and burgundy 1980 Buick, as well as her body. A DuPage County coroner’s jury ruled the cause of death as drowning. Police theorized she mistook a driveway near the pond for a road leading to her subdivision, vaulting 25–30 feet from the bank into the pond. Carole Pappas, a recovering alcoholic, may have been drinking. However, blood alcohol content could not be confirmed.

Larry Gura – 1973 Topps #501


LarryGura_73topps#501_a Lawrence Cyril Gura (born November 26, 1947, in Joliet, Illinois) a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1985. He spent 16 years in the Major Leagues playing for the Chicago Cubs of the National League, and the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, both of the American League. He was inducted into the inaugural Joliet Hall of Fame in Joliet, Illinois. He was elected to the American League All-Star team in 1980 when he had his finest season, finishing with an 18–10 record LarryGura_73topps#501_band a 2.95 ERA. Gura won in double figures for seven consecutive seasons for the Royals with 99 wins over that span. He particularly pestered his former team, the Yankees, against whom he went 11–6 in the regular season as a Royal. Gura was 3–0 against them in both 1979 and 1980, with five complete games, and another complete-game victory against them in the 1980 American League Championship Series. Gura finished with a 126–97 career record, 24 saves and an earned run average of 3.76.

Bruce Kison – 1973 Topps #141


BruceKison_73topps#141_a Bruce Eugene Kison (born February 18, 1950 in Pasco, Washington) a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched from 1971-1985 for three different teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels and Boston Red Sox. He batted and threw right-handed. During a 15-year career, Kison compiled 115 wins, 1,073 strikeouts, and a 3.66 ERA.
Kison was 30-9 in the minors. He was called up in the middle of the 1971 BruceKison_73topps#141_bseason and was the winning pitcher when Pittsburgh beat San Francisco to make it into the World Series. He later became the winning pitcher in the first night game ever played in the classic.
After tearing his rotator cuff during winter ball, he spent 14 more years in the majors and changed his throwing motion. Kison was also a pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles. A highly respected talent evaluator, Kison has spent the past decade as a Major League Scout for the Orioles.
Kison also gave up the 2,500th hit to Pete Rose on August 17, 1975.

Al Fitzmorris – 1973 Topps #643

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AlFitzmorris_73topps#643_a Alan James Fitzmorris (born March 21, 1946 in Buffalo, New York), a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1969 to 1978. Al signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Chicago White Sox in 1966. In October 1968, he left the White Sox as the 40th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. He stayed with the Royals until 1976. In November, the Toronto Blue Jays picked him up as the 13th pick overall. AlFitzmorris_73topps#643_bHe was traded by the Jays to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Alan Ashby and Doug Howard. The Indians released him in 1978, and within a month he was signed by the California Angels. Granted free agency in November of that year, he signed on with the San Diego Padres in February 1979. Fitzmorris won a career high 16 games for the Royals in 1975.

Steve Mingori – 1973 Topps #532


Steven Bernard Mingori (February 29, 1944 – July 10, 2008) an American left-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and went to Rockhurst High School; he is in the school’s Hall of Fame. Mingori was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1965, who traded him to the Indians in 1970. In a ten-season career, Mingori posted a won-loss record of 18–33 with a 3.03 earned run average and 42 saves in 385 games pitched, all but two of which came as a reliever. His best season came in 1976 when he had five wins, 10 saves, 85.1 innings in 55 games.

Steven Bernard “Mingo” Mingori died of natural causes at his home in Liberty, Missouri on July 10, 2008.

Ray Lamb – 1973 Topps #496


Raymond Richard Lamb (born December 28, 1944 in Glendale, California, USA) He pitched from 1969 to 1973 for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians. He was the only player in the Dodgers franchise to wear jersey number 42 after Jackie Robinson; the number was retired by the team in 1972. Lamb wore the number for just the 1969 season.

Pat Jarvis – 1973 Topps #192


Robert Patrick Jarvis (born March 18, 1941, at Carlyle, Illinois) retired Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played eight seasons for the Atlanta Braves and the Montreal Expos from 1966 to 1973 in the National League. Jarvis is best known for being Nolan Ryan’s first strikeout victim on September 11 1966. He also gave up Willie Mays’ 599th and Ernie Banks’ 500th home runs. After retiring, Jarvis served several terms as sheriff of DeKalb County, Georgia, in suburban Atlanta. He was ultimately convicted of corruption charges associated with the management of the DeKalb County jail. He currently runs an organic nursery in Rutledge, Georgia.

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.

Larry Dierker – 1973 Topps #375

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ImageLawrence Edward Dierker (born September 22, 1946, in Hollywood, California) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and manager. During a 14-year baseball career as a pitcher, he pitched from 1964–1977 for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also managed the Astros for five years. Drafted by the Colt .45s at age 17, Dierker made his major-league pitching debut on his 18th birthday – and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning. In 1969, he became the Astros’ first 20-game winner, while compiling a 2.33 earned run average, 20 complete games and 232 strikeouts over 305 innings. He was elected to the National League All-Star team in 1969 and 1971. On July 9, 1976, Dierker pitched a no hitter against the Montreal Expos.
Dierker was elected National League Manager of the Year in 1998. Houston finished in first place in four of the five years Dierker managed the team, failing only in 2000 when the Astros placed fourth. In 1999, Dierker had a brush with death during a game against the San Diego Padres.Image He had been plagued with severe headaches for several days. During the game, Dierker had a seizure that left him unconscious. He required emergency brain surgery for a cavernous angioma and after four weeks of recovery, returned to the Astros and led the team through the season. The Astros won 97 games and a third consecutive National League Central Division title.
He currently serves as a community outreach executive for the Astros. Dierker has also wrote a book titled “This Ain’t Brain Surgery”, detailing his baseball career as a pitcher and a manager. He later wrote “My Team”, in which he remembered the greatest players he’d seen in his years of baseball.
On May 19, 2002, the Astros honored Dierker, retiring his No. 49 jersey.

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