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Happy Reds birthday, Jack Billingham!


February 21, 1943

The pitchers of the Big Red Machine don’t get a lot of attention, because they were overshadowed by Hall of Famers like Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez, as well as other offensive standouts like Pete Rose and George Foster. But Jack Billingham was one of the best in the National League, winning 87 games for Cincinnati and finishing 4th and 6th in Cy Young Award voting in 1973 and 1974, respectively. Billingham was a part of the big deal that not only brought Morgan to the Reds, but also center fielder Cesar Geronimo before the 1972 season.

Redsfest megapost!

My oldest son and I braved the winter storm to attend Redsfest Friday night, and loaded up on autographs! I was able to obtain four players that I did not previously have, and got three more cards signed for my 1984 Topps Reds team set autograph project!

If you want to see the scans of the autographs and some photos from the event, click on through…

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2012 Redsfest: Jack Billingham

Billingham Redsfest

Big Red Machine pitcher Jack Billingham was the first of the Reds alumni autographs we received on Saturday.

1973 Topps

This is my first Billingham autograph. I love getting cards from the 1970s signed. The signature always make them look better. What was really interesting about this 1973 card was the back…

Billingham related to Mathewson

So, is it true? Is Billingham really related to Christy Mathewson? I asked him about that tidbit, and he said, “My grandmother told me that once, but I had no way of really knowing. I told someone else, and it they used it ever since.”

1978 Topps

OK, what I said about the signature making the card look better? I guess that’s not always the case. Not sure what the problem was here, maybe the Sharpie was going bad?

Gypsy Queen – Jack Billingham

The Big Red Machine was known for its offense (three in the Hall, should be five), but they had a few decent pitchers as well. Jack Billingham had back-to-back 19-win seasons in 1973 and 1974, then won 27 during the World Series years of 1975 and 1976 (15 in ’75, 12 in ’76).

Ready to start mixing in some non-Reds for these GQ customs? Come back tomorrow and see what we got! I’ll also start getting the requests done soon, so you should see them appearing this week as well.

eBay bargains (The Final Chapter…for now)

The big package came today…nearly 60 cards featuring Bengals…

and Reds…

guys who had previously been Reds…

guys who had not yet been but would be Reds…

guys who were never Reds but I would have really liked it if they had been…

guys who are in the Hall of Fame

guys who are in the Reds Hall of Fame

guys who should be in both Halls of Fame…

guys who should be in neither (although he should have been the manager in 2000)…

guys who some think would be in the Hall of Fame if not for injuries…

guys who are banned from the Tracy Jones Fan Club

and guys on Canadian cardboard…

There was one slight problem with the order concerning a 1990 Ken Griffey Jr. card, listed as O-Pee-Chee but it was actually Topps. According to Wikipedia, “In 1990 O-Pee-Chee printed a set virtually identical to the 792 card Topps set complete with the Topps logo. The only differences between the two are the bilingual reverse sides and the copyright line.” The card I received was clearly the Topps version, so I contacted the seller. Within seconds, he responded stating my money ($1.26) had been refunded for that purchase and to keep the card.

That’s a great seller. He has a bunch of other stuff listed right now, so go check out his shop and buy some stuff from him.

2009 Topps Jack Billingham

The Big Red Machine was known for their hitting: Bench, Rose, Perez, Morgan, Foster & the gang were some of the most feared players at the plate in the 1970s. But the Machine had some pretty good pitchers as well. Jack Billingham was a 1973 All-Star, finishing 4th in Cy Young voting that year and 6th in 1974 (winning 19 games both seasons). He came to the Reds in the same trade that brought Joe Morgan and Cesar Geronimo to the Queen City.

Billingham will be at the Redsfest tomorrow, and I will be armed with a baseball card to have signed. I will post the results of Redsfest either Friday night or the next day when I get a chance.

Reds from Johngy’s Beat

A few weeks ago, I made a “fun card” of Mike Squires for Johngy’s Beat. He told me he had some Reds for me in return, and I thought, “Cool, maybe he’ll hit some of my blank spots from the junk wax era.” I mean, I don’t have every 1987-1991 Reds card. Then he said he had some 1970s Reds for me. I thought, “Cool, I could always use a couple more 1978 or 1979 cards.”

A package arrived today. There were no junk wax Reds. There were no 1978 or 1979 Reds. Inside that package, there were twelve 1972 cards, ten 1974 cards, and twenty-two 1975 cards. Yes, twenty-two 1975 cards! An amazing package, and every single card was one that I needed. Here are a few of my favorites…

I always loved the Topps All-Star Rookies. 1971 was not a great year for ASRs – no Hall of Famers on that list.

McRae is always overlooked because he was traded away before the mid-70s powerhouse Machine.

A rare action shot from the 1974 set. Most of the cards in this set were posed photos.

Look at that smile on Nolan’s face. It’s like he knew the Reds were going to dominate in ’75.

2010 Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame inductee.

Johnny Bench led the NL in RBI three times: 1970, 1972, and 1974. He came in 4th in MVP voting in 1974. Ahead of him were a couple of blue boys (Garvey and Marshall) and a speedy bird (Brock). Burroughs won the AL MVP in 1974, the only time he led the AL in RBI.

Thanks to Johngy for these awesome cards! You certainly made my day better today!

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