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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dick Cunningham – 1972-’73 Topps #134

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Dick Cunningham (born July 11, 1946 in Canton, Ohio) is a retired American professional basketball player. A 6’10” center, Cunningham led NCAA Division I in rebounding as a junior at Murray State University with a school-record 21.8 rebounds per game in the 1966-67 season. He was selected to the All-Ohio Valley Conference basketball team in 1967 and 1968. In three seasons with the Murray State varsity, Cunningham scored 981 points and grabbed 1,292 rebounds in 71 games. His 479 rebounds in 1966-67 and his career rebounding average of 18.2 rebounds per game still stand as Murray State records. He was inducted into the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. Cunningham was the 21st overall selection in the 1968 National Basketball Association draft by the Phoenix Suns and also was picked by the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association draft. Traded by the Suns to the Milwaukee Bucks before the 1968-69 season, Cunningham played seven seasons in the NBA as a member of the Bucks and Houston Rockets. He averaged 2.8 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game in his career and won an NBA championship with Milwaukee in 1971

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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.

Clem Haskins – 1972-’73 Topps #59

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ImageClem Smith Haskins (born August 11, 1943) is a retired American professional basketball player and college basketball coach. He and star player Dwight Smith became the first black athletes to integrate the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers basketball program in the fall of 1963. This put Western Kentucky at the forefront to integrate college basketball in the South. He served 13 years as head coach of the University of Minnesota’s men’s basketball team, but was forced to resign due to one of the worst academic fraud scandals in the history of NCAA sports. He was effectively blackballed from coaching college basketball for seven years, one of the most severe penalties handed down by the NCAA to an individual.
After a successful college career, Haskins was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 1967 NBA Draft and by the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association draft. Haskins went on to play nine years in the NBA with three teams (the Bulls, the Phoenix Suns, and the Washington Bullets). He retired in 1976 due to knee injuries, having tallied 6,743 career points.
After his NBA career, Haskins returned to Western Kentucky University, first as an assistant coach and then as head coach. In 1986, Haskins was hired by the University of Minnesota to rebuild the school’s men’s basketball program. ImageHe led the Gophers to a school-record 31 wins and the Final Four in 1997, winning the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award in the same year. He also led Minnesota to National Invitation Tournament titles in 1993 and 1998. Haskins was known for sitting on a four-legged stool at Minnesota home games. Williams Arena has a raised floor which was hard on Haskins’ knees, and ordinarily the team sits off the floor. He joined Lenny Wilkens’ staff to coach “Dream Team III” to the gold medal in Basketball at the 1996 Summer Olympics
Clem is no longer coaching basketball. He has a 750-acre ranch near Campbellsville, Kentucky where he raises cattle. He also does color commentary for Western Kentucky basketball home games.

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.

Jose Pagan – 1973 Topps #659

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ImageJosé Antonio Pagán Rodríguez (May 5, 1935 – June 7, 2011) was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player. Pagán made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants on August 8, 1959. He played for the Giants until 1965, then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1973 he played his final career games with the Philadelphia Phillies. Pagán played for a total of 15 years before retiring. His best full season statistically came with the Giants in 1962, when he hit .259 and drove in a career high 57 runs. He had 73 runs scored that year, which also was a career high, while collecting 150 hits for the only time in his career. Despite playing part-time for the Pirates from 1966–1970, Pagán batted in the .260s twice and the .280s twice out of those five years, only hitting under .264 in 1968 when he only had 163 at bats. During that time instead of playing short-stop, he played mostly third base and left field, but also was used as a key “spare part” for the team, playing games at every position in the infield, even one at catcher in 1967 for one inning.
Pagán appeared in two World Series in his career; first at the age of 27 with the Giants, when he was on the losing side of the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees. Despite the loss, he hit .368 with a home run in the seven-game series. With the Pirates in 1971, after losing the NLCS in 1970, he won his only world series and became a hero of the deciding game. In game seven of the 1971 World Series between the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles,Image in the top of the 8th inning, Pagán hit a double which scored Willie Stargell. This proved to be the game’s winning run. After his playing career ended, Pagán was a Pittsburgh Pirates coach from 1974 to 1978. He also managed teams in the Puerto Rican Winter League for several seasons, and lived in Puerto Rico before moving his family to Florida in 1999. Pagán died June 7, 2011, at his home in Sebring, Florida, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 76, and was survived by his wife and two sons. He was held in such esteem by the Pittsburgh organization that a moment of silence was observed before the Pirates game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park that night.

Jim York – 1973 Topps #546

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ImageJames Harlan York (born August 27, 1947, in Maywood, California) is a former professional baseball pitcher. In his six year Major League Baseball career, he played for the Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros, and the New York Yankees. In six years and 174 games, York posted a lifetime record of 16-17, 194 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.79. His best season statistically came with Kansas City in 1971, when he had career bests with 103 strikeouts, a 2.89 ERA, and a 5-5 record, and earned $12,500. As a batter, he had three hits in 40 at bats in his career. He hit one home run, also in the 1971 season, against Cleveland Indians pitcher Alan Foster. After being released by the Yankees in August 1976, York played in the minor leagues with the Iowa Oaks in the Chicago White Sox organization. He retired in 1978.Image

 

Jim York – Baseball Reference

Charlie Davis – 1972-’73 Topps #8

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ImageCharlie Davis (born September 7, 1949 in New York City) is best known for being an outstanding college basketball player for Wake Forest University (WFU). He was the second African American player in Wake Forest’s history. Davis was the 1971 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, and the first black player to win the award. Davis garnered first-team All-ACC honors for three years in a row, and was an eighth-round NBA draft pick (120th overall) by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1971Image

Jim Ray – 1973 Topps #313

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ImageJames Francis Ray (born December 1, 1944 in Rock Hill, South Carolina), is a retired American professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1965–1966 and 1968–1974 for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.  Ray was known as a hard thrower with a stellar fastball and earned the nickname “Ray Gun” during the 1969 season when he struck out 115 batters in 115 innings. Ray appeared in 308 Major League games, all but 20 in relief, and notched 25 saves. He has shunned public life since his retirement from baseball.Image

baseball-reference.com

Jerry Reuss – 1973 Topps #446

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ImageJerry Reuss (born June 19, 1949 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, who had a 22-year career from 1969 to 1990.  He was the third oldest active player when he retired at age 41 in 1990. He was one of only 29 players in major league history to play in four different decades. In 1988 he became the second pitcher in history, joining Milt Pappas, to win 200 career games without ever winning 20 in a single season. He was later joined by Frank Tanana, Charlie Hough, Dennis Martinez, Chuck Finley, Mike Mussina, Kenny Rogers, and Tim Wakefield.
Reuss was a two time All-Star – first in 1975 with the Pirates, having 18 wins and 11 losses that season and an earned run average of 2.54, and then again in 1980 with the Dodgers, striking out all three batters he faced in that year’s game, and earning the win. In 1980 Reuss had one of the best seasons of his career with eighteen wins and only six losses, and leading the majors in shutouts with six; he also threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on June 27, striking out only 2 batters, narrowly missing a perfect game due to a throwing error in the first inning by shortstop Bill Russell. Reuss finished second behind Steve Carlton in the running for the Cy Young Award, and won the MLB Comeback Player of the Year ImageAward. In 1981 Reuss went 10-4 with a career-low 2.30 ERA in a strike-shortened season, and won two postseason games including one against the New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series, helping the Dodgers win the title. On June 11, 1982, Jerry Reuss recorded 27 consecutive outs in a game, with only the opponent’s leadoff batter reaching base.
Reuss later became a baseball broadcaster for the Angels and a pitching coach with the minor league Iowa Cubs, before returning to the Dodgers in 2006 to serve as a color commentator alongside Rick Monday. He was previously a color commentator for the California/Anaheim Angels from 1996-98.

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