Monday, November 26, 2012

1969 TOPPS DECKLE EDGE DENNY McLAIN

EYE WEAR WASN'T A BIG DEAL IN THE '60s.
SUITABLE FOR GLUING.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • A perfect subset for Denny McLain to be featured in. He always was a little rough around the edges. Never thought very highly of these 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 Deckle Edge cards until I started seeing them in Archives packs. They've grown on me since, like Minis and asparagus. I got all of the Archives Deckles, and I picked up the McLain, my first of the originals, at my last card show. I'm going to build this set, too.

THE BACK PAGE

  • Interesting how Topps lists these as "photos'' and not cards. They sure would look perfect in a photo album with yellowed tape across the corners. 

PHOTO PLAY

  • Some collectors despise black and white photography, but I'm not one of them. I think that's why I like the Archives Deckles so much. You don't get to see modern players in black and white. Of course, guys like McLain, with those nerdy glasses and spartan road flannels, fit the period to a T.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • McLain was coming off one of the greatest pitching performances ever from The Year of the Pitcher: 31-6, 1.96 ERA, 28 complete games, 280 K's and 68 walks.
  •  That was good enough to win the MVP and Cy Young, the first AL pitcher to win both awards in the same season.
  •  He carried the Tigers to the World Series, where he was overshadowed by No. 2 starter Mickey Lolich, who won three games. The Tigers overcame a 3-1 World Series deficit to beat the defending champion Cardinals in seven games with a little defensive help from an unlikely player
  • McLain followed that with 24 more wins in '69 and another Cy Young (sharing it, actually, with the Orioles' Mike Cuellar).
  • McLain was an accomplished musician (organ) and played in nightclubs and released two albums, Denny McLain at the Organ and Denny McLain in Las Vegas
  • I vaguely remember the controversy he created during the '69 All-Star Game, in which he was selected to start. Instead, he missed it in order to keep a dentist appointment. He did arrive by the second inning and took the mound in the fourth all minty fresh. 
  • You can't talk about McLain without delving into his "jacket'' (prison record). He was never arrested for murder or treason, but he was for racketeering, drug trafficking, embezzlement and failing to appear for a court hearing. 
  • Then there's the baseball suspensions. He earned time off for gambling, dumping water on two sportswriters and for carrying a gun on a team flight; those suspensions occurred during the '70 season. 
  • The next season, he lost 22 games, becoming the first pitcher to lead the league in wins one year and losses in another. 
  • McLain was traded to the Senators for the '71 season and didn't exactly hit it off with Manager Ted Williams, who was not happy with the acquisition. Hard to imagine. Teddy was such a happy-go-lucky fellow who easily identified with free-spirits. Not surprisingly, McLain headed an unsuccessful five-player mutiny.
  • McLain would pitch for the A's and Braves in '72 before being released in the spring of '73, and he never returned to the majors.

1 comment:

  1. It's cards like this that show me how my views on cards have changed. Kid version of me would think that this would be super-boring. After pulling cards like this of Ichiro and Mike Napoli in this year's Archives set, I think these are way cool. I ordered one off COMC on Black Friday, but I don't think the condition is as good as this one.

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