Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Ray Peters: A 2-Game Player Remembered

Topps 1969, 1970, 1971
Seattle Pilots, spring training, Tempe Arizona.
From the Seattle Times Pictorial Magazine, March 30, 1969. Times Photo by Roy Scully
Ray is #60 with is back to the camera.

One of the pleasures of making custom cards is the occasional athlete that contacts us ands asks to have cards made for him. Often times they use them for autographing, to give to their kids or grandchildren, or just to finally be immortalized on a piece of cardboard. One sweet moment came when the daughter of a former player had cards made for her Dad, and presented them to him on Father’s Day.

Ray Peters was a former major league baseball player who never had a baseball card. He played in two games, 1 inning each, and that was the totality of his major league career. Though we never met in person, I was lucky to be asked to create some cards for him so he could use for autographs. He helped provide details for the two series of 1970 Milwaukee Brewers that RetroCards released and offered plenty of details of the guys he played with. He was always taken aback by requests for his autograph, as he shared with me, “Even someone like me, who only appeared in two games! I still get asked for an autograph by mail about once per month.” In another email, Ray went into more detail:

"Over the years I’ve been receiving requests for autographs and I never had any baseball cards to send anyone, so I wrote TOPPS and asked for the negative of the photo they took of me back in 1971.  (In the old days the player received, to the best of my recollection, between $50 and $75 for allowing TOPPS to use his picture.

Back in the old days (1970) TOPPS photographed all 40 men on the Major League roster, but basically only printed cards on the 25 players who broke Spring Training with the “big” club.  Since I wasn’t called up to the Majors until June 1970 and wasn’t on the big league roster in 1971 (traded to the Phillies – Pete Koegel and me for Johnny Briggs), they never printed my card.  However, what I have sent you is the TOPPS photo, which would have been my 1971 TOPPS card, had they printed it! 

I played with and against some interesting guys: one of my first roomies in pro-ball was Tom Kelly, former manager of the Twins and a very nice guy;  my catcher at Portland was John Felske, former manager of the Phillies;  my catcher at Eugene in 1971 was “Stump” Merrill, former manager of the Yankees;  and I gave up the hit that allowed Bobby Valentine, former manager of the Mets and Rangers, to break the AAA Pacific Coast League record for hits in a season; Greg Luzinski was my 1st baseman at Eugene in 1971 (Bob Boone and Mike Schmidt were only in AA Reading, PA with the Phillies that year!!!)  Lots of great memories.  One of the best is that the great Jimmie Reese, one of Babe Ruth’s roommates, was our batting coach in Portland in 1970.  What great stories he told!  The 1968 SPORTING NEWS ALL-AMERICA TEAM has me as right-handed pitcher, some guy named Garvey (Steve) was at 3rd base and another named Paciorek  (Tom) was in the outfield, and the catcher was named Thurman Munson;  I feel I was in pretty good company back then!   I – a pitcher – even hit a grand slam homerun to beat Phoenix a week before I got married in 1970!!

Though my major league career was a matter of days, I was fortunate to pitch against my childhood batting heroes – Al Kaline was my favorite right-handed batter and Vada Pinson my favorite left-handed hitter.  I walked Kaline and got Pinson (who should be in the Hall of Fame) to fly out, after singling in his first at bat.  LUCK plays a great part in sports.  In my two innings I gave up only singles, four of which were broken bat bloops.  Against Detroit I walked two and one batter got a single; I was taken out with the base loaded and no runs in and the reliever comes in and gives up a grand slam homerun and I’m sent back to the minors!!!  That’s life."

Ray passed away on May 4, 2019. He was 72.  His son set up a commemorative website to honor his Dad.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

1978-79 NBA: Series Three

Topps NBA basketball

RetroCards continues its expansive 1978-79 NBA set with series three! This set contains 18 more cards including a five league leader cards.

Kings:  Otis Birdsong, Bill Robinzine
Pacers: Alex English, Adrian Dantley
Rockets: Robert Reid, Kevin Kunnert
Pistons: Ralph Simpson, Al Eberhard
Knicks: Toby Knight, Phil Jackson
Lakers: Brad Davis, Kenny Carr, Don Ford
Scoring Leaders: George Gervin, David Thompson, Bob McAdoo
Steals Leaders: Ron Lee, Quinn Buckner, Don Buse, Gus Williams
Assists Leaders: Kevin Porter, John Lucas, Ricky Sobers
Free Throw Leaders: Rick Barry, Calvin Murphy, Fred Brown
Rebound Leaders: Leonard "Truck" Robinson, Dave Cowens, Elvin Hayes

Get your set here!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

1978-79 NBA: Series Two

Topps basketball cards 1978-79

RetroCards continues its expansive 1978-79 NBA set with series two! This set contains 18 more cards including a career-capper of Hall of Famer John Havlicek.

Bulls:  Cazzie Russell, Tom Boerwinkle
Spurs: James Silas, Coby Dietrick
76ers: Harvey Catchings, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant
Warriors: Nate Williams, Charles Dudley
Celtics: John Havlicek, Ernie DiGregorio
Cavaliers: Bobby "Bingo" Smith, Jim Brewer
Nuggets: Bo Ellis, Mack Calvin
Suns: Curtis Perry, Alvin Scott
Nets: Jan Van Breda Kolff, Eddie Jordan

Next up – series three. Order your set here!