Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dan Schneider

In June 1962, Schneider was signed by the Milwaukee Braves. He played with them through the 1966 season (when the team moved to Atlanta) and then was traded to the Houston Astros. He played his last major league game on April 27, 1969.

Sent off 10/12/07; received back on 2/9/09 ( This is probably the longest I've waited for a card to be returned: 1 years, 3 months, and 27 days)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mark Bailey

Mark "Beetle" Bailey made his MLB debut on April 27, 1984 in Houston as a catcher, where he would continue to play until 1988. After that he would play a few seasons for the Giants.

Bailey would return in 2002 to the Astros as a bullpen coach, taking the place of Tony Pena. Prior to this he was the A Kissimmee Cobras and AA Round Rock hitting coach.

Sent off 5/5/00; received back on 5/18/00

Monday, September 28, 2009

Billy Wagner

Billy 'The Kid' Wagner began playing in the minors after signing a contract with Houston in 1993. He played one game in the majors in '95, facing only one batter from the Mets. Two years later he played his first full season in the majors. He would play for the 'Stros until 2003 when he was traded to the Phillies for Ezequiel Astacio, Taylor Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth.

* All-Star selection six times, three of which were with the Astros
* 1999 NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year
* Astros' all-time saves leader (225)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tim Tolman

Tim Tolman was with the Astros from 1978-85, going back and forth from the minor league affiliates to the majors. Following that, he played for the Tigers (1986-87).

He also had a brief career as a third base coach for the Nationals. Recently he has been with the Mariners as a coordinator of instruction.

Sent off on 5/5/00; returned on 5/19/00.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Buddy Bell

Buddy Bell came to Houston through a trade with the Reds in June 1988; towards the end of December he would be released. He ended up signing with the Rangers to finish out his playing days the following year.

As player
• Cleveland Indians (1972–1978)
• Texas Rangers (1979–1985)
• Cincinnati Reds (1985–1988)
• Houston Astros (1988)
• Texas Rangers (1989)

As manager
• Detroit Tigers (1996–1998)
• Colorado Rockies (2000–2002)
• Kansas City Royals (2005–2007)

• 5x All-Star selection (1973, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984)
• 6x Gold Glove Award winner (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
• Silver Slugger Award winner (1984)
• 1988 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jimmy Stewart

Originally signed by the Cubs in 1961, Jimmy Stewart (aka "Little Stew" or "Stewball") was traded along with Lee May and Tommy Helms by the Reds to the Astros for Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, Ed Armbrister, and Jack Billingham on November 29, 1971.

Stewart would play to the end of the '73 season in Houston before retiring from baseball.

Sent off TTM on 11/1/99; received 11/8/99

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Javier Ortiz

Javier Ortiz was drafted by the Rangers in 1983 (4th pick in the 1st round). After playing for several years in the minors he was picked up by the Astros, where he played for two seasons (1990-91). He had traded to Houston by the Dodgers for Ed Vosberg.

He retired in 1995 after playing with the Nashville Sounds.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don "Notty" Nottebart

Don Nottebart's first MLB game was with the Milwaukee Braves on July 1, 1960. In 1963 he was traded to the Colt .45s (along with Jim Bolger and Connie Grob in exchange for Norm Larker) and would leave Houston two years later as an Astro.

Houston's first no-hitter was thrown by Nottebart on May 17, 1963 against the Phillies. He also gave up home run #500 for Willie Mays on September 13, 1965.

Don passed away October 4, 2007 in Cypress (near Houston), which is where he and his wife usually spent thier winters.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Larry Andersen

Larry Andersen's first game was on September 5, 1975 with the Cleveland Indians. He would play with the Mariners and Phillies before coming to Houston in 1986. His last season here was in 1990. He would be traded for a minor league player that would become a legend for the Houston franchise: Jeff Bagwell.

Anderson was known for wearing a Conehead mask, along with Dave Smith and Charlie Kerfeld.

Andersen explains how wearing a conehead in the bullpen came to be in this interview with Ray Kerby: "The conehead idea actually came from Sparky Lyle when he was with the Rangers in '77 or '79, can't remember which year. He had one he got from Disneyland and I went to his house after a game one year with Ron Pruitt who was a teammate of mine with Cleveland. The next day Pruitt wore it during the anthem and got quite a reprimand from the ballclub. However it was hilarious and I decided I had to have one. So my next trip to the "small world" place I got one for myself. That's how it all started and I carried it with me from that day on, to all the clubs I played with".

Sent off TTM on 3/7/00; received 3/27/00

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rick Williams

1978 and 1979 were the only years Rick Williams saw some major league action. He was originally signed by Houston in 1972 and played for their minor league teams until '78. He would return back to the minors and play until 1982.

Is it just me or do the poles in the background make Rick look like a puppet on a string?

Sent off TTM on 3/3/00; received 6/6/00

Friday, September 18, 2009

Denny "Good Wood" Walling

Denny Walling began his big league playing days with the A's in 1975, where he would remain for only two years. In 1977 he came to Houston and stayed for over a decade.

Walling would spend some time with the Cards, then that other Texas team (who I will get to see not once but twice this weekend) before coming back to H-Town where he would play his final games. In fact, Walling would only bat three times that year, getting only one hit before retiring in April of '92.

Currently he is with the Orioles as their roving minor league instructor.

I sent the above three cards to Denny through the mail.

The next was included in a group of cards bought on eBay. Notice how his sig is slightly different on the 'D'.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jerry Mumphrey

I sent these to Jerry Mumphrey several years ago (mailed 11/19/99 and returned on 4/18/00); Jerry lives not too far from me in Tyler, Texas (home of the Tyler Rose, Earl Campbell).

Mumprey began playing with the Cardinals on September 10, 1974. He would play there until going to the Padres in '80 for one season. He came to Houston in '83 and would stay until '85. He played his last game on September 30, 1988 with the Cubs.

While he was with the Astros he was an All-Star selection (1984).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hector Torres "La Malita"

I'll do two posts today since it is Hector's 63rd birthday.

Hector was born 9/16/45 in Monterrey, Mexico. He began his major league career with the Astros on April 10, 1968 and would remain in Houston until 1970; in 1973 he came back. Prior to his second stint as an Astro he saw some playing time with the Cubs and the Expos. Following that he would play for the Padres before ending his playing career with the Blue Jays in '77.

Hector is currently the pitching coach for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (a farm team of the Rays).

I find this 1970 Topps card interesting for several reasons but one stands out: there's hardly any grass on the field. What's up with that?

Sent off TTM on 3/7/00; received 3/13/00

Bill "The Milkshake Man" Virdon

Bill Virdon began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955 (he was the Rookie of the Year, by the way) and would remain there until the next year. 1956 was also the year he began his first year with the Pirates, where he would play until 1965, and again in 1968.

After his playing days Virdon spent many years as a manager:

Pittsburgh Pirates (1972-1973)
New York Yankees (1974-1975)
Houston Astros (1975-1982) *brought the Astros from last place in 1975 to a divisional championship in 1980.
Montreal Expos (1983-1984)

Career highlights and awards:
World Series champion (1960)
Gold Glove Award winner (1962)
1955 NL Rookie of the Year
Led NL in triples in 1962 with 10

Sent off TTM on 3/7/00; received 3/20/00

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Casey "Mighty Mite" Candaele

Casey Candaele grew up in a baseball family; however, what sets him apart from the occasional father, brother, uncle, grandfather combination is that Casey is the only major league player whose mother played pro ball. Then again "naked batting practice" probably sets him apart from a lot of other players, too.

He began with the Expos in 1986 (after spending a few seasons in their minor league division) and played there until coming to Houston in '88 when he was traded on July 23, in exchange for catcher Mark Bailey.

Candaele left Houston in 1993 and spent some more time in the minors, played some for the Indians, then back to the minors.

Sent off TTM on 12/11/99; received 1/19/00

Friday, September 11, 2009

J.R. Richard

J.R. Richard began and ended his career with Houston. His first game was 9/5/71; his final game was 7/14/80.

The last half of his major league career was by far his best; in fact, Richard was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. He led the NL twice in strike outs, once in ERAs, among others.

Unfortunately he had a mild stroke on July 30, 1980. He almost made a comeback but because of his health that never happened. Then things only got worse. He was swindled out of a large amount of money, then lost even more after his first divorce. Richard remarried, only to divorce again. This time he would lose his home. Broke and with no home, one of the greatest players to have ever pitched for the Astros ended up living under a bridge.

Times are better for J.R. now. He's been involved in community work in Houston with children and with the ministry.

There's a lot more that can be written about J.R. and his rise to fame and his troubled past but I won't go into all those details. However, I found a video that ESPN did several years ago that is very interesting to watch. The quality may not be the best but if you've got a few minutes be sure to watch it.

Sent off TTM on 11/19/99; received 7/1/00

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Xavier 'The X-Man' Hernandez

TTM 8/24/09-9/3/09
I sent these off to Xavier in care of the Durham Bulls recently, where he is currently the pitching coach. I sent an extra of each card for him to keep, but instead he signed all and sent them back. If you want to trade for me just let me know.


Toronto Blue Jays 1989
Houston Astros 1990-1993, 1996
New York Yankees 1994
Cincinnati Reds 1995-1996
Texas Rangers 1997-1998

Career Pitching Stats:
463 Games
40 Wins
35 Losses
35 Saves
562 Strikeouts
3.90 ERA

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Andujar Cedeno

Andujar Cedeno made his debut on September 2, 1990 with the Astros. He would play there until 1994 when he was traded to the Padres along with Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley and Derek Bell. After a brief stint with the Tigers in '96 he returned to Houston. His last major league game was September 15, 1996. After that he continued to play in his native Dominican Republic.

He was killed in an auto accident while driving home after a game on October 28, 2000.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mike Madden

Mike Madden spent several years in the minors with various teams before coming to the Astros in 1983. He would remain here until 1986.

•Selected by Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round of the free-agent draft - did not sign (June 8, 1976).
•Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Milwaukee Brewers (July 18, 1979).
•Traded by Milwaukee Brewers with Kevin Bass and Frank DiPino to Houston Astros (September 3, 1982) completing trade in which Milwaukee Brewers traded cash and 3 players to be named later to Houston Astros in exchange for Don Sutton (August 30, 1982).
•Granted free agency (October 15, 1986).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Franklin "Cadillac" Stubbs

TTM 8/17/09---9/1/09

I sent these cards to Franklin Stubbs care of the Inland Empire 66ers, where he is a hitting coach.

Stubbs' first game was in 1984 with the Dodgers. While he was with the Dodgers he played in the '88 World Series (who won, of course). He was traded to Houston in 1990 for Terry Wells just a few days before the start of the season. He played 140+ games for the Astros at first base until leaving for the Brewers. Bagwell took his spot at first.

I have doubles for each of these three cards and will trade. Both of the '91 Donruss cards have smudged signatures, though.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rob Sperring

Rob Sperring played for the Cubs 1974-76; prior to that he played some minor league ball for them after being drafted in 1971 in the 5th round. The following year he played in Houston (1977). Originally, he was traded to the Giants, but the next month the Giants traded him to the Astros, along with Willie Crawford, for Rob Andrews. He would remain with the Houston minor league division for the next two years (1978-79).

Sent off TTM on 12/11/99; received 12/24/99

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ed Hermann

Baseball has always been and continues to be a major part of Ed Hermann's life. His grandfather, Marty Hermann, played for the Brooklyn Robins in 1918. Nearly fifty years later Ed himself was playing major league baseball, beginning with the White Sox in 1967. In 1976 he was playing for the Astros, where he would stay until most of the 1978 season.

These days Hermann is very active with charity events, such as the The United One Celebrity Golf Tournament which was held a couple weeks ago. He is also very much involved with coaching in youth baseball, including the DelMar Powerhouse Club, Anaheim Angels Youth Clinics and others. He is also the Director of West Coast Recruitment at Seminara Sports. It's always great to see former major league players giving back to the community.

Sent off TTM on 12/11/99; received 12/20/99

Turning up the heat
Mark Liptak interviewed Hermann awhile back and I found one comment of interest when asked about catching Larry Dierker's no-hitter. I always thought it seemed a bit warm in the 'Dome on some days. Maybe now I know why.

"It was a phenomenal day. I know it was hotter then heck at the Dome that day. The Astros deliberately raised the inside temperature because it helped their pitchers balls move more. Larry’s ball moved so much that day that he looked like J.R. Richard. He and I were in sync that day, I don’t think he ever shook me off. When I was with the Angels I remember Nolan Ryan telling me that he saw more pitchers lose no hitters late in the game because they would throw the pitch the catcher called for instead of throwing what they wanted.. I remembered that. Catchers can only suggest what to throw, the final decision is the pitchers."