Author Archives: Jason Culley

Topps All-Star Rookie Team

topps_all_star_rookie_cupOne of my favorite subset of any Topps set is the All-Star Rookie Team. Each season the Topps Company selects an All-Star Rookie Team and honors those players in the following seasons’ Topps base set. The 2015 team consists of 12 players, one from each of the positions, a right-handed starter, a left-handed starter, a relief pitcher and a designated hitter. This is only the second time a designated hitter has been selected. I am not a fan of the Topps All-Star Rookie players also having the Future Stars designation (see Bryant, Syndergard, and Osuna). It is safe to say if they are members of the All-Star Rookie Team they are future stars!

The 2016 Topps Series 1 base set has 6 of the 12 All-Star Rookie Team players:

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3B – Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Card #350)

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OF – Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs (Card #66)

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OF – Michael Conforto, New York Mets (Card #232)

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RHP – Naoh Syndergard, New York Mets (Card #43)

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RP – Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays (Card #121)

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DH – Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins (Card #78)

When Topps Series 2 is released the remaining 6 players should be honored with their special card. The remaining players include J.T. Realmuto (C, Miami Marlins), Justin Bour (1B, Miami Marlins), Addison Russell (2B, Chicago Cubs), Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros), Randal Grichuk (OF, St. Louis Cardinals), and Carlos Rodon (LHP, Chicago White Sox).

2016 Topps Series 1 – My Review

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2016 Topps Buster Posey

It’s been a week since the release of the 2016 Topps Series 1 set and I thought I would share my opinions. The 350-card base set features veterans, rookies, Future Stars, Topps All-Star Rookie Team members, League Leaders, World Series Highlights, and team cards. I lost count of how many packs I have bought but I am only 8 cards from a complete so it’s safe to say I am sort of a fan. After reading various blog reviews I may be in the minority here though? I can appreciate the fact Topps is trying something new here and only have a few features I am not a fan of. My first issue would be the logo only being partly visible. I would love to see the whole logo but wouldn’t want it to be any smaller though. If somehow the area the logo is located in was a little bigger I think it would be an improvement. My second issue would be the cloudy look on the top corner and bottom corner. I am not sure it needs to be removed entirely but maybe a little less cloudy? For the first time ever Topps has removed the border from their flagship product. I love the no border look, but would not want Topps to entirely abandon borders in the future. Wouldn’t be upset if borders returned next year but for this year I love the look. The photography I think is great! If I could change one thing it would be to have more of the player in the shot. I think there are too many photos that are close up. Many don’t like the blurry background but I read on another blog review (forgot which one?) that the photos were not photo-shopped by Topps.

Being a San Francisco Giants fan I love pulling them from packs and two of them have great action shots!

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Joe Panik (#137)

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Angel Pagan (#299)

The parallel options in 2016 Topps include Rainbow Foil, Gold (#/2016), Vintage Stock (#/99), Black (#/65), Pink (#/50), Clear (#/10), Framed (one per case), Platinum (1/1), and Printing Plates (1/1). I have pulled a few Rainbow Foil and Gold borders, including this Kris Bryant.

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Gold Border – Kris Bryant (#350 – #/2016)

Some of the main inserts in 2016 Topps that I have pulled or acquired include 100 Years at Wrigley (25 cards), Amazing Milestones (10 cards), Back-to-Back (15 cards), Berger’s Best (65 cards), First Pitch (20 cards), MLB Debut (40 cards), Perspectives (25 cards), Pressed Into Service (10 cards), The Greatest Streaks (10 cards), and Walk-Off Wins (15 cards). I like the MLB Debut, The Greatest Streaks, and Amazing Milestones the most. I love the photography on The Perspectives but I am not a fan of the writing on many of the cards. It seems to get in the way sometimes! The rest of the inserts are okay and I’ll probably end up trying to acquire them but won’t be going out of my way.

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100 Years at Wrigley – Ryne Sandberg (#WRIG-2)

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Amazing Milestones – Babe Ruth (#AM-07)

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Back-to-Back – Buster Posey/Brandon Belt (#B2B-3)

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Berger’s Best – Mike Trout (#BB-60)

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First Pitch – Rebekah Gregory (#FP-18)

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MLB Debut – Nelson Cruz (#MLBD-8)

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Perspectives – Nolan Ryan (#P-24)

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Pressed Into Service – Ichiro (#PIS-9)

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The Greatest Streaks – Ken Griffey Jr. (#GS-02)

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Walk-Off Win – Manny Machado (#WOW-6)

As far as I am concerned it is one of my favorite Topps sets of the 2000’s, second to the 2015 Topps set. What do you think?

1990 The Colla Collection – Will Clark Limited Edition Set

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Will Clark Limited Edition Set – The Colla Collection

I have had The Colla Collection Will Clark Limited Edition Set on my radar for some time and decided it was time to add it to my collection. I found this set on eBay for $5.00 and is #’d 14,635 of 15,000.

Sports photographer Barry Colla began printing and selling licensed photo postcards of popular players from 1989 through 1993. Starting in 1990 through 1992 he was also licensed to print 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 sized trading cards featuring high-gloss borderless photos on a basic front. The back featured stats, career notes, personal data and team logos.

The 12-card sets were sold in small decorative cardboard boxes (pictured on the left). In 1990, there were 15,000 Will Clark Limited Edition sets produced along with three other sets that I know of, Jose Canseco (20,000 sets), Kevin Maas (7,500 sets), and Don Mattingly (15,000 sets). He also printed All Star team boxed sets of 24 cards in 1992 and 1993.

Check out the 12-card set below:

The backs are white but some for some reason a few of them came out looking gray on my scans.

I’m Baaaaaack!

2016toppsWith the release of 2016 Topps Series 1 this week and the purchase of a few packs, I have the urge to blog again. Hopefully I can be more consistent this time around!

Of course my main topic I will be blogging about is Will Clark and my pursuit of his trading cards. I have a few arriving in the mail and can’t wait to share them on here.

Additionally, I will blogging about my pursuit of completing the 2016 Topps base set plus a few other miscellaneous topics now and then.

I am working on my review of the 2016 Topps set and will post soon.

 

2014 Topps Heritage Blaster Box

2014_topps_heritage_blaster_boxI am a sucker for a discount, so even though I didn’t buy any 2014 Topps Heritage this year I couldn’t pass up a 40% discount on a blaster box of 2014 Topps Heritage at Wal-Mart. With eight packs (seven plus an extra one), for a total of 72 cards that equals to 16 cents a card. The 2014 Topps Heritage set is based on the 1965 Topps set.

I didn’t pull nothing too spectacular, but anytime I get to open packs of cards it is a good time. I was hoping to pull some San Francisco Giants cards but only got two, Bruce Bochy manager card and a 2014 Rookie Stars card of rookie shortstop Ehire Adrianza (with Washington Nationals rookie shortstop Zach Walters). Bochy led the San Francisco Giants to their third World Series Championship in the last five years, in case you were living under a rock and didn’t hear.  Adrianza played in 53 games for the Giants in 2014, batting .237 in 97 at-bats.

In addition to the two Giants I pulled (disappointed there weren’t more) a few more cards that I thought were cool.

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#1 – 2013 Batting Leaders (Cabrera, Mauer, Trout)

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#268 – Christian Yelich (Topps 2013 All-Star Rookie)

I have always been a fan of the Topps All-Star Rookie cards.

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#499 – Gerrit Cole (Blue Parallel)

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#JB2 – Johnny Bench 1st Draft

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#BF-BG – Flashbacks Bob Gibson

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#TANKK – Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kersh (Card is spoken for)

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#NAPPA – New Age Performers Pedro Alvarez

Since I don’t collect this set I don’t have a need for most of the cards the following are available:

#1 – 2013 Batting Leaders (Cabrera/Mauer/Trout)
#16 – Carlos Ruiz
#19 – Jeff Locke
#20 – Cliff Lee
#22 – A.J. Ellis
#26 – Ryan Wheeler
#27 – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
#33 – Michael Cuddyer
#34 – A.J. Burnett
#40 – Carl Crawford
#47 – Rex Brothers
#59 – Adam Lind
#63 – Jacob Turner
#69 – Gaby Sanchez
#94 – Hector Santiago
#99 – Walt Weiss (MGR)
#103 – Alex Gordon
#104 – Joey Butler/Jim Adduci (2014 Rookie Stars)
#106 – Nick Markakis
#136 – 2013 World Series – Game 5
#145 – Edwin Encarnacion
#164 – John Danks
#179 – Rafael Betancourt
#183 – Robbie Grossman
#184 – Kole Calhoun
#185 – Matt Holliday
#190 – Allen Craig
#197 – Josh Reddick
#205 – Starling Marte
#210 – Erick Aybar
#219 – Michael Young
#221 – Bartolo Colon
#223 – Miguel Gonzalez
#228 – Mitch Moreland
#229 – Colby Rasmus
#231 – Chris Johnson
#241 – Drew Stubbs
#256 – Wilson Ramos
#266 – Adam Dunn
#268 – Christian Yelich (2013 Topps All-Star Rookie)
#274 – Ron Washington (MGR)
#277 – Will Venable
#278 – David Lough
#286 – Arquimedes Caminero/Kris Johnson (2014 Rookie Stars)
#288 – Jhonny Peralta
#299 – Mike Moustakas
#308 – Travis d’Arnaud/Wilmer Flores (2014 Rookie Stars)
#320 – Shelby Miller
#335 – Tyler Pastornicky
#340 – Josh Willingham
#346 – Fredi Gonzalez (MGR)
#349 – Yovani Gallardo
#356 – Victor Martinez
#359 – Huston Street
#363 – Norichika Aoki
#371 – Edwin Jackson
#394 – Dexter Fowler
#404 – Charlie Blackmon
#407 – Rajai Davis
#408 – Didi Gregorius
#413 – A.J. Pollock
#416 – Emilio Bonifacio
#435 – Andrelton Simmons
#466 – Chris Archer
#494 – Carlos Gonzalez

#JB2 – Johnny Bench 1st Draft
#BF-BG – Flashbacks Bob Gibson
#NAP-PA – New Age Performers Pedro Alvarez

#499 – Gerrit Cole (Blue Parallel)

If you need any of the cards listed please leave a message.

Antique Store Find Post #1

There aren’t any card shows around where I live that I know of. I checked out a few yard sales over the summer, no baseball cards were found.  I was able to score a box of baseball cards in sandwich style bags at a local antique store though! Each bag had 50-70 cards in it and there were about 20 or so bags in the box for $20.00. I brought them home and put them in my closet and forgot all about them until the other day. I pulled out a bag and took a look through it.  It was mostly Fleer from mid-eighties through mid-nineties with a few other random sets and years thrown in.  Here are some of my highlights –

 1988 Fleer – San Francisco Giants Sticker1988_fleer_san_francisco_giants_sticker 1988_fleer_san_francisco_giants_sticker_backI remember these stickers from back in the day. Many were used on folders, binders, baseball card boxes when I was younger.

1990 Fleer – Robin Ventura #550

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Robin Ventura’s first regular issue Fleer card, he had a card in the 1989 Fleer Update set. He spent 10 seasons with the White Sox (1989-98) and batted .274 with 171 home runs and 741 runs batted in.

2000 Fleer Tradition – Corey Lee and Doug Davis Team Prospects #359

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Reading the back of this card it said Corey Lee made his major league debut on August 24, after making the jump from Double-A. I cannot remember ever seeing him pitch so I did some research on him and according to baseball-reference.com he made his Major League debut on August 24, 1999 for the Texas Rangers. In that game he gave up three earned runs in one inning pitched in a 10-7 loss to the New York Yankees. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 2001, and was signed by a few other teams as a free-agent but never played another game in Major League Baseball. The other top prospect on the card fared a little better. Over a 14 year career, Doug played for five teams and compiled a 92-108 win-loss record with a 4.44 earned run average. In 2005, he finished third in the National League with 208 strikeouts.

1989 Fleer Roberto Alomar #299

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Roberto Alomar was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011. In three seasons with the Padres (1988-90), Alomar had a .283 batting average with 22 home runs and 157 runs batted in.

1991 Fleer Ultra – Dave Winfield #54

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Dave Winfield was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. In two seasons with the Angels (1990-91), Winfield had a .268 batting average with 47 home runs and 158 runs batted in.

2007 Ultra – David Ortiz #24

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David Ortiz is entering his 13th season with the Boston Red Sox in 2015. He is 34 home runs away from joining the 500 HR Club (and getting his card added to my 500 Homerun Club Milestone Collection). Since joining the Red Sox he has averaged 34 home runs a season, which would mean he would join the club late in the 2015 baseball season.

1996 Fleer – Randy Johnson #240

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Future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson spent 10 seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He compiled a 130-74 win-loss record with a 3.42 earned run average in his time in Seattle. While playing for the Mariners he was voted to the American League All-Star team five times and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1995.

2005 Fleer Showcase – Pedro Martinez #67

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Pedro Martinez compiled a 117-37 win-loss record with a 2.52 earned run average in his time in Boston. While playing for the Red Sox he was voted to the American League All-Star team four times and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1999 and 2000.

Nothing too spectacular but I enjoyed seeing Robin Ventura, Roberto Alomar, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez, as I collected them when I was younger.

All stats courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com.

The Will Clark Project – 1986 Cards

I have quite a few Will Clark cards to sort out and I am hoping to finally get my collection organized. What better way to move the project along then post about it. So I will start with my Will Clark cards from 1986 and a little on how he performed in his first year.

Will Clark made his Major League debut on April 8, 1986 with the San Francisco Giants on the road against the Houston Astros. In his first at-bat off the legendary Nolan Ryan, he hit a solo home run (see video below). At the time he was the 53rd player in history to achieve that feat. Clark played in 111 games during his rookie season, batting .287 with 11 home runs and 41 runs batted in. He finished 5th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Todd Worrell (St. Louis), Robby Thompson (San Francisco), Kevin Mitchell (New York), and Charlie Kerfield (Houston) and just ahead of Barry Bonds (Pittsburgh). The San Francisco Giants finished third in the National League West with a 83-79 record (52-47 in games he started and 57-54 in games he appeared in).

1986 WILL CLARK CARDS

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1984-1989 O’Connell and Son Ink #208 (Need for my collection)

There is some question as to what year the 1984-1989 O’Connell and Son Ink #208 Will Clark was actually produced. It is part of a 244 card set put out by artist T.S. O’Connell in the 1980’s. I read that he produced about one series a year starting in 1984 and the Will Clark was part of Series #7 which would put it in 1991. If anybody out there could clear up this confusion that would be great!

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Topps Replica 1984 USA Baseball Olympic Team Promo Card

Despite batting .393 with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in for the U.S.A. Olympic baseball team in 1984 he was not included in the 1985 Topps set with other Olympic standouts like Oddibe McDowell, Mark McGwire, and Cory Snyder.

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1986 Broders #37 (Need for my collection)

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1986 Donruss Highlights #1

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1986 Donruss The Rookies #32 (XRC)

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1986 Fleer Baseball’s Best Sluggers vs. Pitchers #6 of 44

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1986 Fleer Update #U-25 (XRC)

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1986 Mother’s Cookies San Francisco Giants #7 of 28

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1986 Sportflics Rookies #6

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1986 Topps Traded #24T (XRC)

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1986 Topps Traded – Tiffany #24T (Need for my collection)

If you have any of the missing cards I have listed above I would love to hear from you – jlculley@gmail.com.

Will Clark Card Spotlight – 1986 Donruss The Rookies

1986_donruss_the_rookies_boxThe 1986 Donruss The Rookies set was a 56-card set that focused on players who made their Major League debuts during the 1986 season. The design was similar to the 1986 Donruss base set except for the placement of “The Rookies” logo in lower left hand corner and a bluish green border.

Will Clark is card #32 in the set, which also featured other key XRCs (eXtended Rookie Card) such as Wally Joyner (#1), Barry Bonds (#11), Bobby Bonilla (#30), Bo Jackson (#38), and John Kruk (#42).

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Career Highlights (from the back of the card) – Made the jump all the way from Class A ball to the big leagues in 1 season…Won the Giants’ first base job in spring training ’86, batting .297 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in 20 games…Named winner of the Golden Spike Award as best collegiate baseball player in the country in ’85 after batting .420 with 25 HR and 77 RBI in 65 games for Mississippi St…Homered on his first swing as a professional, 6/21/85 for Fresno vs. Visalia…NCAA All America in ’84 as well, batting .386 with 28 HR and 93 RBI in 61 games for Miss. St…Hit .393 with 13 HR and 35 RBI in 35 games for U.S. Olympic team in ’84.

It’s Been Way Too Long!

A lot has happened since I was last able to post way back in February.  The baseball season started and ended . . . GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES!  I retired from the United States Air Force, working a full-time civilian job and am back in school. I have missed collecting and posting about it, so I am back (maybe I can actually stick around this time.) Much respect to those bloggers and writers that continue to post about their adventures in card collecting, and I am looking forward to catching up on all your posts.

1974 Topps San Francisco Giants Team Set

I finally got a little time to sort through my 1975-2014 San Francisco Giants Team Sets I won eBay.  I am extremely happy with the purchase although all years were not quite complete.  For example in the 1975 Topps Giants Team Set the Rookie Catchers-Outfielders (Gary Carter, Marc Hill, Danny Meyer, Leon Roberts) was not included as any other cards that featured players from other teams on Rookie cards, League Leader cards, etc.  I had to purchase additional folders and page protectors for my new cards and still need to buy more to completely get them protected which will probably cost me more than the purchase of all the cards!

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the 1974 team set –

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#30 Bobby Bonds – The last regular issue Topps card for Bobby Bonds in a San Francisco Giants uniform.  He was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent in 1964 and made his MLB debut with the Giants on June 25, 1968.  Bobby played for the Giants (1968-1974), New York Yankees (1975), California Angels (1976-1977), Chicago White Sox (1978), Texas Rangers (1978), Cleveland Indians (1979), St. Louis Cardinals (1980) and the Chicago Cubs (1981).  In 1973, he played in 160 games with a batting average of .283, 39 HR’s, 96 RBI’s and 43 SB’s.  He was voted to the 1973 All-Star team (All-Star game MVP), won a Gold Glove and finished 3rd in the MVP race.  During his Giants career he played in 1,014 games with a batting average .273, 186 HR’s, 552 RBI’s and 263 SB’s.

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#54 Elias Sosa – Elias began his 12 year career in San Francisco.  He was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent in 1968 and made his MLB debut with the Giants on September 8, 1972.  Gary played for the Giants (1972-1974), St. Louis Cardinals (1975), Atlanta Braves (1975-1976), Los Angeles Dodgers (1976-1977), Oakland Athletics (1978), Montreal Expos (1979-1981), Detroit Tigers (1982) and the San Diego Padres (1983).  In 1973, he finished with 10 wins and 4 losses, 18 saves and had a 3.28 ERA in 107 innings pitched.  He finished T-3rd in the 1973 National League Rookie of the Year voting.

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#104 Ron Bryant – Ron was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 22nd round of the 1965 amateur draft and made his MLB debut with the Giants on September 29, 1967.  He played for the Giants (1967, 1969-1974) and the St. Louis Cardinals (1975).  In 1973, he finished with 24 wins and 12 losses and had a 3.53 ERA in 270 innings pitched.  He finished 3rd in the 1973 National League Cy Young voting and 26th in the Most Valuable Player voting.

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#129 Chris Speier – Chris was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round (2nd overall pick) of the 1970 amateur draft and made his MLB debut with the Giants on April 7, 1971.   He played for the Giants (1971-1977, 1987-1989), Montreal Expos (1977-1984), St. Louis Cardinals (1984), Minnesota Twins (1984) and Chicago Cubs (1985-1986).  In 1973, he played in 153 games with a batting average of .249, 11 HR’s, 71 RBI’s and 4 SB’s.  He was voted to the 1973 All-Star team.

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#178 Garry Maddox – Garry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 2nd round of the 1968 amateur draft and made his MLB debut with the Giants on April 25, 1972.  He did not play in 1969 or 1970 due to his service in the United States Army.  Garry played for the Giants (1972-1975) and Philadelphia Phillies (1975-1986).  In 1973, he played in 144 games with a batting average of .319, 11 HR’s, 76 RBI’s and 24 SB’s.  Garry finished 28th in the Most Valuable Player voting.

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#305 Tito Fuentes – Tito was signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur in 1962 and made his MLB debut with the Giants on August 18, 1965.  He played for the Giants (1965-1967, 1969-1974), San Diego Padres (1975-1976), Detroit Tigers (1977) and Oakland Athletics (1978).  In 1973, he played in 160 games with a batting average of .277, 6 HR’s, 63 RBI’s and 12 SB’s.  Tito finished 20th in the Most Valuable Player voting.

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#330 Juan Marichal – The last regular issue Topps card for Juan Marichal in a San Francisco Giants uniform.  He was signed by the New York Giants as an amateur free agent in 1957 and made his MLB debut with the Giants on July 19, 1960.  Juan played for the Giants (1960-1973), Boston Red Sox (1974) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1975). In 1973, he finished with 11 wins and 15 losses and had a 3.82 ERA in 207.3 innings pitched.  During his Giants career he had 238 wins and 140 losses and had 2.84 ERA in 3,443.6 innings pitched.  Juan Marichal is a member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

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#386 Gary Matthews – Gary was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round (17th overall) of the 1968 amateur draft and made his MLB debut with the Giants on September 6, 1972.    He played for the Giants (1972-1976), Atlanta Falcons (1977-1980), Philadelphia Phillies (1981-1983), Chicago Cubs (1984-1987) and Seattle Mariners (1977).  In 1973, he played in 148 games with a batting average of .300, 12 HR’s, 58 RBI’s and 17 SB’s.  Gary won the 1973 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Missing cards from my 1974 Topps San Francisco Giants Team Set:

#205 1973 Victory Leaders (Wilbur Wood / Ron Bryant)
#335 All-Star Shortstops (Bert Campaneris / Chris Speier)
#598 1974 Rookie Outfielders (Dave Augustine, Ken Griffey, Steve Ontiveros, Jim Tyrone)
#599 1974 Rookie Pitchers (Ron Diorio, Dave Freisleben, Frank Riccelli, Greg Shanahan)
#608 1974 Rookie Pitchers (Bob Apodaco, Dick Baney, John D’Acquisto, Mike Wallace)

Stay tuned for the 1975 Topps San Francisco Giants Team Set.