Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reaching back to the 70's

Blog reader Mark H. reached out to me recently to say that he had a few cards to send my way.  Who am I to say no?  I sent off my address and today I received a couple of great PWE's with some great cardboard inside.

Last year a large portion of my posts were dedicated to finishing off the first baseball set I ever collected as a young lad, '77 Topps.   For some strange reason, while putting together the set I never bothered to grab the Jays singles for a team set.

Mark started to rectify that for me...

When I was 10, I never noticed how bad the airbrushing really was.  They were the Blue Jays, and that's all I cared about.  Interesting little tidbit about the rookies card in the upper right corner.  You can see that the Jays are represented by Leon Hooten, only Hooten never pitched a game for the Blue Jays, or anyone for that matter after 1974!!  If you look below him, Mark Lemongello actually did pitch for the Blue Jays, in 1979 after they acquired him from the Astros as part of a trade that sent catcher Alan Ashby the other way.   Mark only pitched one season in Toronto, while Ashby went on to play 11 solid seasons in an Astros uniform.

How about a couple of Blue Jays who earned rookie cups in the '78 set?

Jerry Garvin was a 1st round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the '74 draft, and was the 4th overall pick in the expansion draft.  I remember him for his high leg kick, and his uncanny ability to pick runners off of first base.  One could argue that he may have been rushed by the Jays, starting his career at age 21.  He wound up lasting 6 years and was done by age 26.

Bob Bailor was picked 2nd in the expansion draft, and was probably one of the most popular players of the team in 1977, hitting .310 while playing shortstop along with all 3 outfield positions.  Bob spent 5 years in Toronto, never again generating the success he had in his rookie season, before being traded to the Mets for Roy Lee Jackson.

The two '79 Topps cards in the envelope represent two players at different ends of the spectrum.

Rick Bosetti was another popular player for the Jays in the early days.  You ask any Jays fan what they remember the most about Bosetti, and you'll get the same response from almost all of them.

Basket catches.  Rick made a habit of catching fly balls using the basket catch technique, which most coaches frown upon.  Toronto fans ate it up.  Bosetti was also the first Jays player to play in all 162 games in a season, doing so in 1979.  He also made a career in politics for himself after he finished his baseball career, becoming the mayor of his hometown of Redding, CA.

Don Kirkwood, well that's a different story.  I would probably be lying if I said that I remember him pitching for the Blue Jays, because frankly, I don't.   Looking at his stats, I see why.  Don only pitched in 16 games for Toronto in 1978, and never pitched again after that. It's pretty sad that he spent the entire '78 season in Toronto, and yet Topps had to airbrush the hat and jersey for a '79 card.

There are plenty more to show off from the 2 PWE's, but I'll save them for another post.

Thank you for the cards Mark, much appreciated!

thanks for reading, Robert


  1. Interesting about Hooten. In fact, Lemongello was the only player on that card that actually played for the team he was representing.

  2. Glad I could knock some Jays off your list.