Friday, January 3, 2014

PURSUE THE PENNANTS: #473 O's ROOKIE STARS


A MUST-HAVE CARD FOR ANY LONGTIME ORIOLES COLLECTOR.



WHEN METS LEFT BLAIR UNPROTECTED IN '62, O'S SWOOPED IN.



Picking up some '65s here and there at card shows over the past few months has filled the album nearly to three-quarters (74.1 percent), or 155 short of completing the 598-card set.


WHO ARE THE HEROES?

  • Center fielder Paul Blair, who died last week of a heart attack at age 69, and second baseman Davey Johnson, who retired from baseball after the 2013 season, were main cogs of the Orioles' AL dynasty of the late 1960s, early '70s. They combined for five All-Star appearances as the Orioles won four pennants and two World Series from '66-'71.

WHY IT'S SLICK

  • The rookie card of two slick-fielding Oriole stalwarts who could pick it and swing it, combining to win 11 Gold Gloves. Teamed first with Hall of Fame shortstop #410 Luis Aparicio and later eight-time Gold Glover Mark Belanger, they formed an air-tight seal in the middle to complement a deep and talented rotation.

GROOVY BITS

  • Blair played one of the shallowest center fields in his day, covering vast amounts of real estate while seldom needing to dive or crash into walls to record outs.
  • This defensive acumen earned eight Gold Gloves.
  • Averaged 11 home runs and 14 steals a season during his 17-year career; from '69-'71, he averaged 18 homers and 19 steals.
  • Slugged a career-high 26 homers in '69.
  • A 4.4 WAR player from '66-'74.
  • Johnson was third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in '66.
  • Won three Gold Gloves.
  • Averaged 15 homers a season during his 13-year career.
  • Hit a career-high 43 in his first season with the Braves in '73.
  • Nearly a 3 WAR player during his eight-year Orioles career from '65-'72.

BACK IN '65

  • The classic A Charlie Brown Christmas debuts on CBS on Dec. 9, the first televised Peanuts special. It's aired every year since and won an Emmy and Peabody Award.



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