Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1977 Seattle Mariners - Volume 2 - The Originals

Volume 1 consisted of remade cards for players who were victims of the "Crayola Factory" (aka..Topps' Airbrush Crew).  Volume 2 is made up of players who did not have a 1977 Topps card or had one with another team.  This was an exceptionally large group of players thanks to the ever evolving rosters that expansion teams feature.  In total I created 27 new cards for this set, which includes 2 for Ruppert Jones, who was probably their top star.  I used a combination of Topps Card photos from subsequent years, Hostess Cards, Autographed Photos on ebay as well as minor league cards/photos.

It took Skip 5 seasons in the minors just to get a cup of coffee with the Cardinals in 1972.  The following season he was dealt to the Astros for 2 other minor leaguers.  Jutze spent the next 4 seasons as the Astros backup catcher.  Seattle traded for him after the expansion draft and he got into 42 games during the '77 season hitting .220 with 3 homers and 15 RBI's.  He was released at the end of Spring Training the following year, which marked the end of his career.  On May 17th, 1977 he hit the first grand slam in Mariner history.  Prior to his callup in 1972 he taught at Candlewood Junior HS in Dix Hills (Long Island), NY.   I used his 1978 Topps card photo for this updated card.  This photo was probably taken during 1977 Spring Training in Arizona.  I believe the Mariners used the same training facility that the Pilots used in 1969 and 1970.

Galasso was a career minor leaguer, who got his shot at the majors thanks to 1977's expansion.  His 82-99 record, which was compiled over 13 minor league seasons is quite impressive.  Statwise, it was unimpressive, but longevity-wise it was quite impressive.  How does a guy stick around so long when he can barely get minor league batters out ?  This is a mystery I hope to uncover some day.  Galasso was rescued from obscurity in the Orioles chain thanks to the '77 expansion draft.  His 0-6 (9.00) record in Seattle backed up Baltimore's assessment of his skills (Career Triple A at best).  Seattle cut him at the end of the season.  Somehow he wound up in Milwaukee (doesn't everything that Seattle casts off wind up in Milwaukee ?).  He went 3-1 (4.38) in 31 games for the Brewers in 1979, but once again found his way back to Triple A.  He got one final shot in the majors with the Mariners in 1981, where he went 1-1 with a 4.83 ERA.  Finally the lords of baseball figured out that he wasn't going to improve and his career was over.  The picture used here came from his 1982 Topps card with Seattle.

McLaughlin's business and criminal career turned out to be more interesting than his pedestrian major league career.  On January 8, 1977, McLaughlin signed with the Seattle Mariners. On April 1, 1977, the Mariners loaned him to the Nuevo Laredo Mexican League franchise. At the time, the Mariners did not have a complete minor league organization. In the Mexican League that season, McLaughlin compiled a record of 18–13 with a 1.84 ERA and 221 strikeouts as his team, the Tescolotes, won the league championship.  On September 11, 1977, he was returned to the Mariners. McLaughlin made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on September 18, against the Kansas City Royals at Royals Stadium.  In 1 1⁄3 innings pitched, he gave-up five hits, four runs (all earned), and struck out one in his only major league appearance that season.  His trip to Mexico would later tie in to his post baseball life, as a knock off sneaker manufacture and money launderer.  McLaughlin would eventually be convicted of manufacturing knockoff Nike, Adiddas and Converse sneakers as well as laundering cash in Mexico.  To this day he is still on the lamb as he fled after sentencing back in 1984.  He spent 4 seasons in Seattle (1977-80) and 1 season with the Angels (1983) before leaving baseball for a lucrative life in crime.

Most expansion teams collect a combination of misfits, has beens and never was'es.  Seattle obviously took it to a new level by collecting future criminals.  Besides McLaughlin the Mariners had Medich, who would eventually become a rogue doctor.  Having earned his nickname due to his being a medical student during the off season, Medich eventually did become a full fledged doctor upon retirement.  During his playing career he went into the stands twice to save fans who were having heart attacks.  After getting his M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh he had his medical license suspended for pleading guilty to 12 counts of knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance obtained through prescriptions that were written to non-existent patients".  In his brief career with the Mariners he went 2-0 (3.63) in 3 starts.  He spent most of the '77 season with the A's, but got dealt because cheapo Charlie Finley wouldn't pay him.  The M's then shipped him to the Mets when they realized that they too wouldn't be able to sign him.  In and 11 year career he had a 124-105 (3.78) record.  His best season was 1973 with the Yankees where he went 14-9 (2.95) and finished 3rd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.  I took a black and white photo from his days in Milwaukee and colorized it and added the Mariner trident logo to the cap.

Romo pitched 11 seasons in the Mexican League prior to making his major league debut for the Seattle Mariners in 1977 at the age of 29. In his rookie season, he led the Mariners with 16 saves. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1978 season in a multi-player deal which brought, among others, the infamous Mario Mendoza to the Mariners.  He had his best season with the Bucs in '79 and was a key contributor to their World Championship.  He failed to appear for Spring Training in 1983 and was not seen again until his induction ceremony into the HOF of Mexican Baseball.  I used his 1979 Topps card photo for his updated card.

The overall 16th pick in the 1976 Expansion Draft played in just 3 games for the M's during the '77 season.  In 7 innings of work he had a 3.86 ERA and no record.  He was 0-5 in 1976 for Detroit in 9 games.  After a horrendous 1978 season at San Jose (AAA) he was released by Seattle and picked up by Detroit and assigned to Montgomery (AA), where he had an equally horrendous season and was released from baseball.  I used his minor league player photo for this card.

Seattle used their 3rd pick in the expansion draft to take Wheelock from the Angels organization.  In 17 starts he had a 6-9 (4.89) record during the 1977 season, which earned him 3 straight seasons at Triple A.  He was called back up in 1980 as an emergency starter, then sent right back down.  His minor league numbers were on a par with his subpar MLB numbers.  After bottoming out in Double AA with the Dodgers he was released and moved back to the Mariners system as a roving pitching coach.  He has spent more than 25 seasons working in one capacity or another for the M's.  This Spring Training photo was used by Topps for their 1979 set.  Notice the telephone pole in the back, which Topps forgot to airbrush out ?

He was purchased by the Seattle Mariners on November 6, 1976 from the Phillies.  As a member of the Mariners' inaugural team, he earned the first save in team history, preserving a 5-1 win against the California Angels at the Kingdome on April 9, 1977, pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth inning and giving up only one walk (erased on a double play).  He finished the 1977 with an 8-12 record and four saves in 47 appearances, including 15 as starting pitcher. He only appeared in 19 games for the Marines in 1978, all in relief, ending with a 1-3 record and two saves. Montague started the 1979 season with the Mariners, and had a 6-4 record and one save in 41 appearances with the club.  He was traded by the Mariners on August 29, 1979 to the California Angels for a player to be named later, a trade completed when the Angels sent Jim Anderson to the Mariners on December 5, 1979.  I used his 1979 Topps Card photo for this updated card.

Known more for his wife swap deal with former Yankee teammate Fritz Peterson, than for his baseball talents.  By 1977 Kekich's career was virtually non-existent.  He was bopping back and forth between the minors, the majors and nowhere.  After bombing in Cleveland in 1973 (1-4, 7.02) Kekich didn't get another shot unil 2 years later when he had a decent 23 game stint with Texas (0-0, 3.73).  His 41 games with the M's in '77 was his final go at a big league career.  The 32 year old Kekich responded by going 5-4 with an inflated 5.60 ERA in 90 innings.  He took a demotion to the minors and was 9-4 (5.14) on the Triple A level.  That marked the end to a pedestrian career that started in 1964 as a Dodger draftee.  There were no known photos of Kekich in a Mariner uniform, so I used his 1974 Topps Card with him in an Indian uni.  I did a bit of cut and paste / airbrushing to make it look like a Seattle road uni.

Always in search of pitching help the M's purchased his contract from the Oakland A's in late August.  After going 0-3 (10.54) with Oakland Mitchell's 3-3 (4.99) record in 9 starts was a moderate turnaround.  In 29 starts the following season he went 8-14 (4.18).  He was dealt to Milwaukee midway through the '79 season and was released after having his best year in 1980 (5-5, 3.53).  I used his 1979 Topps Card photo for this updated card.

Honeycutt was originally drafted in the 17th round of the 1976 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. After 1 1⁄2 seasons in their minor league system, the Pirates traded him to the Seattle Mariners in August 1977 to complete an earlier trade for Dave Pagan.  He made his major league debut on August 24, 1977 against the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched two innings of relief, struck out 3, allowed 2 hits and no runs. His first start was against the New York Yankees on August 31. He pitched 7.1 innings in that start, allowing 3 runs. He finished the season 0-1, but got his first victory in his first start the following year, beating the Minnesota Twins on April 7, 1978.  He matured into a savvy control pitcher, being selected to the 1980 All-Star Game. Following the 1980 season, he was traded with Larry Cox, Willie Horton, Mario Mendoza and Leon Roberts to the Texas Rangers for Brian Allard, Rick Auerbach, Ken Clay, Jerry Gleaton and Richie Zisk. Honeycutt would go on to have a 21 year career in the majors.  He led the AL in ERA in 1983 and was a 2 time All-Star.  He won a ring with the 1989 Oakland A's.  I found this photo on ebay.

Burke had really good numbers in his 2 shots with the M's.  In 1977 he went 0-1 (2.87) in 6 games.  In '78 he also went 0-1 (3.49) in 18 games (49 innings), yet the M's sent him back down to Triple A where his numbers were horrible.  He was released after the 1979 season at the age of 24.  This photo came from his 1978 rookie panel card.  It was taken during spring training 1977.

So many things that you can say about Tom House.  One:  He turned an 82 mph fastball into a pretty sound 9 year MLB career.  Two:  He's the guy who caught Hank Aaron's 715th home run.  Three:  He's the first player to admit to "dabbling" in steroids.  The "little lefty that could" arrived in Seattle on May 28th, 1977 after stinking up the first 2 months of the season in Boston.  Seattle purchased his contract from the Red Sox and he rewarded them with a 4-5 record while splitting time between the pen and the rotation.  His 11 starts in 1977 were 10 more than he had in his career to that point.  In 1978 he posted a 5-4 (4.66) record with 9 starts in 34 games, spanning 116 innings.  The M's released him during spring training in 1979.  He attempted a comeback with the Padres Triple A affiliate (Las Vegas) in 1983, but ended that experiment after just 2 games.  He has made his name over the years as an innovative pitching coach.  Nolan Ryan credits him with getting him in the best shape of his life during his final years in Texas.  This 1979 Spring Training photo was originally used as his 1979 Topps Card.

Tommy Joe Moore pitched in 14 games for the M's in 1977.  He compiled a 2-1 (4.91) record in 33 innings worth of work.  Seattle bought his contract from Texas after Moor had an awful (0-2, 8.14) 1976 season.  Moore was originally drafted by the Mets in 1967 and got two cups of coffee in 1972 and 1973 respectively.  He split 1975 between the Cardinals, Rangers and Spokane (AAA).  He spent all of 1976 at Triple A.  His Triple A numbers in 1977 were nothing to write home about (4-4, 6.72), so he was given his unconditional release from Spokane.  It was tough finding photos of him.  I found a B&W photo of him with St. Louis and colorized it and changed the cap logo by pasting the trident on.

López was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 1976 Major League Baseball expansion draft. At the age of 26, it was noted by The Associated Press that López and fellow teammate Dick Pole were "the old men" on the Mariners' roster. The Associated Press also noted that fellow players and managers "rave" about López's speed, but also asserted that he had a throwing arm that was as good. He got his first major league hit against the California Angels on April 10. López hit his first major league home run against the Boston Red Sox on May 3. On May 30, López hit two home runs in the same game against the Texas Rangers. On the season, López batted .283 with 39 runs, 84 hits, 18 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 34 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases in 99 games.  On December 7, 1977, the Seattle Mariners traded López to the Baltimore Orioles with pitcher Tommy Moore in exchange for pitcher Mike Parrott.  I used his 1978 Topps Card photo for this updated card.

Reynolds was traded by the Pirates with Jimmy Sexton to the Mariners for Grant Jackson after the 1976 season.  Reynolds immediately became a starter in Seattle and enjoyed a particularly successful season in 1978 when he hit .293 and was selected to play in the 1978 MLB All-Star Game. After that season, his hometown Astros traded for him in exchange for future AL strikeout champion Floyd Bannister.  Reynolds played in 135 games at short and hit .248 with 4 homers and 28 RBI's for Seattle during the '77 season.  He hit .292 in 1978.  He spent the next 11 seasons in Houston before retiring after the 1989 season.  The photo here came from his 1979 Topps card, which should have had an Astros photo instead since he was traded in the off season.

Arrived along with Reynolds in the Grant Jackson deal with the Pirates on December 7th, 1976.  He would be traded on December 5th, 1977 to the Astros for slugger Leon Roberts, which turned out to be a great deal for the M's.  In his brief 1 year tenure in Seattle he got into 14 games and hit .216.  He spent the rest of his career shuttling between Triple A and the majors.  For this card I colorized a B&W photo of him in a Houston uniform.  I cropped it high up, so the Houston logo was hidden.  I pasted the trident logo onto the cap.

Prior to defending Casey Anthony, Baez was a hot rookie commodity with the Mariners back in 1977.  Ooops, I messed that up.  I hit enter too quickly while googling him.  This Baez never defended anything but the area between second base and and first base in the Seattle Kingdome.  Baez hit .259 in 333 plate appearances and looked to be a Mariner star of the future.  That hope went the way of the flood in 1978 when he hit just .160 in 50 at bats.  The M's didn't wait to long to make a move and shipped him off to St. Louis for Mike Potter.  Neither team go much out of the deal.  Baez wound up at Springfield (AAA) and hit .276 in 33 games and was released at season's end.  I used his 1978 Topps card photo for this updated card.

Although a lifetime .237 hitter with little power, Cruz had excellent speed. 6 years in a row with the Seattle Mariners, from 1978 through 1983, he stole over 40 bases each season and was the team's all-time leader in that statistic leading to his nickname "the Cruzer."  He was the 56th pick in the expansion draft out of the Angels organization.  In just 60 games during the '77 season Cruz hit .256 and stole 15 bases.  He was dealt to the Chisox in the middle of the 1983 season and helped them win the AL West title.  He is currently a Mariner broadcaster and interestingly was former Baltimore Raven's coach Brian Billick's High School teammate.  I found this autographed photo on ebay.  Compared to today's "buffed" players, Cruz looks virtually anorexic.  This photo looks to have been taken at Comiskey, his future home.

On March 30, 1977, the Seattle Mariners acquired Milbourne from the Houston Astros in exchange for Roy Thomas.  Milbourne delivered the Mariners first game-winning hit on April 8, 1977. During the 1977 season, he batted .219 with 24 runs scored, 53 hits, 10 doubles, two home runs, and 21 RBIs in 86 games played.  Milbourne served in the role of "utility infielder" for the M's for his 4 seasons in Seattle.  His best season was 1979, where he hit .278.  In 1981 he moved over to the Bronx and hit .313.  From 1982-1984 he changed teams 6 times with his final stop being a return trip to Seattle in 1984.  In 211 at bats he hit .265 then called it a career.  In 1985 he worked as a player coach for the Mariners at the Calgary (AAA) affiliate.  He hit .278 in limited (9 games) action.  I used his 1979 Topps card photo for this updated card.  Topps must have missed the Mariners trip to the Bronx in 1978, so they took a field trip to Arizona for all of those spring training shots.

After spring training in 1977, Delgado was optioned to the minor leagues.  Since Seattle's farm system wasn't ready to handle the large influx of new players Delgado played at Boston's Pawtucket affiliate.   He made his major league debut, with Seattle, that season on September 6. In that game against the Kansas City Royals he struck out in his first at-bat.  Delgado's first hit, a single, came against the Texas Rangers on September 9. He finished his first and last major league season with four hits, four runs, in 23 at-bats. In 1978, Delgado continued playing in the Seattle Mariners organization. With the Triple-A San Jose Missions, Delgado batted .252 with 83 runs, 136 hits, 19 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 49 RBIs, and 49 stolen bases in 136 games. He led the Missions in games played, triples, and stolen bases that season.  He hit .182 (4-22) for the Mariners in September of 1977.  He was eventually dealt to the Cubs, so the M's could reacquire Larry Cox.

An All-Star in 1977 with the Seattle Mariners and 1982 with the San Diego Padres, Jones was the first player selected by Seattle in the 1976 MLB Expansion Draft. A left-handed hitter with good speed early in his career, Jones hit 24 home runs in Seattle's inaugural season.  "Rupe" played 3 years in Seattle with 1977 being his best season (.263-24-76).  After he hit 21 homers for the M's in 1979 he was involved in a multi-player deal that sent him to the Yankees, where he wilted in the spotlight called Centerfield in the House that Ruth built.  Jones moved on to the Padres, then moved to Detroit for 1 season (1984) and claimed his championship ring and his new nickname "Rooftop Rupe".  He finished out his career with 3 final seasons with the Angels.  Jones was an All-Star in both leagues.  For this photo I used his 1978 Hostess Card photo, which was a bit too grainy for me.

As a contrast to the grainy Hostess card photo I created a second card that was based off of a B&W team issue photo.  I colorized this photo and actually hand traced the Yellow base border around "Mariners".

During the 1976 Major League Baseball expansion draft, McMillan was selected by the Seattle Mariners.  Before the start of the 1977 season, the Mariners sent him to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Rochester was affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles, but the Mariners did not have a Triple-A affiliate at the time. McMillan was a September call-up for the Mariners in 1977. He made his debut in Major League Baseball (MLB) on September 17, against the Kansas City Royals at Kaufman Stadium.[8] In that game, he did not have a plate appearance. At the time of his debut, he became the first attendee of Jacksonville University to make an MLB debut. His offensive debut would come on September 21, against the Milwaukee Brewers at County Stadium. In five at-bats, McMillan went hitless. It would prove to be his final MLB game. Defensively during his two games with the Mariners, McMillan played shortstop, committing no errors, while making one assist and two putouts.  McMillan played the entire '78 season with the San Jose Missions (AAA) then was dealt to the Pirates.  I used his Venezuelan winter league card as a starting point.  I airbrushed the red brim off the cap and lightened the blue colors.  I added the Mariner Trident logo and changed the shirt collar colors as well.

During the 1976 Major League Baseball expansion draft, Bernhardt was selected by the Seattle Mariners from the New York Yankees.  Bernhardt made the inaugural Mariners team out of spring training in 1977. During his first game of the season, Bernhardt got five hits, including a home run, in five at-bats.  Not only was it Bernhardt's first career home run, but it was also the first home run in Mariners history.  On the season, Bernhardt batted .243 with 32 runs scored, 74 hits, nine doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 30 RBIs in 89 games played. He played 21 games at third base, and eight games at first base. The majority of his playing time, 54 games, was spent as a designated hitter in the Mariners lineup.  Bernhardt hit .230 in 54 games in 1978 and got just 1 AB and 1 hit in 1979.  He spent most of that '79 season playing for Spokane (AAA) and Iowa (White Sox affiliate) before heading over to the Mexican League where he worked as a player manager.  I used his 1979 Topps card for this updated '77 card.

After spending 6 years in the Dodgers chain, the Seattle Mariners purchased Pasley from the Los Angeles Dodgers in September of 1977.  He made his debut with the Mariners on September 11, against the Texas Rangers, getting one hit in four at-bats during that game.  In four games with the Mariners that season, he batted .385 with five hits in 13 at-bats. Combined between the Dodgers and the Mariners that year, Pasley had six hits in 16 at-bats, putting his average at .375.  Pasley hit .241 (13-54) in 25 games worth of action in 1978 before being sent down to San Jose (AAA).  He hit a homer run in his final at bat of the season, on October 1, 1978, which would also be his final career at bat.  From 1978-1982 he bounced around the minor leagues for 4 different organizations.  At the age of 28 he was released by Detroit's Triple A affiliate Evansville.  This card was made using a colorized B&W team issued photo.

By 1977 Ray Fosse was a broken down 30 year old catcher who was light years away from his two time All-Star / Gold Glove status of the early 70's.  A rash of injuries and ineffectiveness led to his decline.  Many like to reference his separated shoulder from being bowled over by Pete Rose in the 1970 All-Star game as the beginning of his end.  This simply wasn't true, because he was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner the following season.  It was however the beginning of his many career injuries.  Still he managed to win 2 championship rings with Oakland in 1973 and 1974 as well as a return trip to Cleveland in 1976, where he hit .301.  On September 9th, 1977 he was traded to the M's for Bill Laxton and cash.  Fosse hit .353 (12-34) in 11 games worth of action.  He signed with the Brewers as a free agent, but missed all of 1978 when he tripped in a hole in spring training while running down the first base line.  He played in just 19 games in 1979 for the Brewers adn was released after spring training in 1980.  For this card I did a reverse airbrush.  This is his 1978 Topps card, which had him airbrushed onto the Brewers.  I reversed it back by pasting the Trident logo on his cap and lightening the shade of blue.  The warm up jacket didn't need to be touched at all and the jersey neck trim was perfect.


  1. These are excellent. This is the first time I've seen this site and I'm happy to have found it. Looking forward to more entertaining posts.

  2. I worked with Tommy Moore at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Mississippi in the late 1990's. He's a really great guy, and his stories of throwing "yakkers" that were sent over the wall were always great over a few beers after work.