1974 Topps Eddie Mathews and Coaches 634 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

After reading Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, I became aware that the idea of coaches actually coaching is a rather new one in baseball. In the old days, the coaches were usually just the manager’s drinking buddies. So, whenever I see a card from the ’74 set I wonder, were these real coaches or were they just the manager’s drinking buddies?

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Today’s spoils from my latest break with @CrackinWax! I did pretty dang well I have to say.

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1972 Topps Paul Casanova 591 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I ain’t much on Casanova

Me and Romeo ain’t never been friends

Can’t you see how much I really love ya

Gonna sing it to ya time and time again…

Ohh Casanova

Casanova

Ohh Casanova

Casanova

The fact that Levert sang a song about Paul Casanova does my heart good.

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1963 Cecil Butler 201 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Cecil Butler serves as a reminder that the Braves didn’t just start destroying elbows in the last few decades. Butler looked terrific is his first few appearances in the big leagues for Milwaukee, but he blew out his elbow. He tried to come back later in the season and then again in 1964 and 1965, but it didn’t work out for him.

He did get a Topps baseball card in both the 1962 and 1963 set. I hope he took pride is showing them off. Every career shortened by injury is to be lamented.

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1967 Topps Woody Woodward - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Topps sets from the 1960s are littered with guys like Woodward. Put simply, he wasn’t very good and if teams had modern analytics available to them, we would have never heard of him. I wonder if his career would have had its second act?

That second act is how I suppose most baseball fans remember him. He had short stints as GM for the Yankees and the Phillies. He would later spend a number of years as the GM for the Mariners where he drafted Alex Rodriguez and traded for Randy Johnson.

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1976 Topps John Odom #651 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I’m sorry, but if you have a cool nickname like “Blue Moon”, and if your freaking baseball reference page can only be found by searching for Blue Moon Odom, then Topps should have damn well put Blue Moon Odom on the card.

Other than the nickname, the coolest thing about Odom is that despite pitching for 13 seasons in the big leagues, Odom was ultimately more valuable with his bat than he was as a pitcher. He was a hell of a base runner for anybody, let alone as a pitcher. He was often used as a pinch runner.

Oh, and he was money in the post-season.

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1981 Topps Preston Hanna 594 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

My overriding thought where Mr. Hanna is concerned is that he would seem to fit in perfectly with the Atlanta bullpen as it is constituted today. Can you guess why? Please, explain your work.

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1989 Topps Hank Aaron 663 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

So, my favorite baseball card in the 1989 Topps set features my favorite baseball card from the 1974 Topps set, which despite being my favorite baseball card in the 1974 set, I still find it slightly disappointing because I want a Hank Aaron card with the typical 1974 Topps design.

Let it be known, however, that there are no bad Hank Aaron baseball cards. A slightly disappointing Hank Aaron card will almost always be better than every other card in the set.

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1979 Topps Phil Niekro - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Take a look at the numbers on the back of this baseball card for the 1978 season. Phil Niekro was, unquestionably, the most valuable pitcher in the NL in 1978. He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting.

Guess what? He was also the most valuable player in the NL that season. He finished 17th in that voting.

He did all this at 39 years of age.

Someone I know argues that Niekro’s WAR is inflated just because he through so many innings. Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? There’s value in that. I miss Knucksie.

And I think I might have calculated his age wrong.

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1973 Topps Denny McLain 630 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

On the one hand, I love Denny McLain because in the “Year of the Pitcher”, 1968, he still managed to stand out by winning 30 games, the last time that will ever occur.

On the other hand, when he was with the Senators, he tried his best to get manager Ted Williams fired, and as a huge fan of Teddy Ballgame, it makes me kind of hate him.

Yet, on a third hand, Denny McLain is the only baseball player I know who ever played The Girl from Ipenema on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was terrific on the organ! So I love him again.

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