Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#37 - Dave Sells (CAL)

Something I just noticed here.  This card is of an American League pitcher, and the back of the card says he bats right.  What does that matter?  He doesn't bat at all.  The DH was in effect starting in '73, there was no interleague play, and the DH wouldn't be used in the World Series until 1976.  I guess this info is put here just in case the manager loses his mind and does something stupid enough to lose the use of the DH rule for that game and his pitcher had to bat.  I'm applying this recent revelation retroactively to all other AL pitcher cards I've done so far. [Update: Dave's batting stats on BR show one game played in 1973, as opposed to 51 pitching appearances in his pitching stats.  I guess the manager did make some move that put Dave in the lineup, but he never got his turn at bat.]

Anyway, on to Dave Sells.  He was strictly a relief pitcher in his four seasons in the majors.  He was called up in August of 1972, then took a major role in the Angels bullpen in '73.  He made 51 appearances, finishing 37 games.  This translates into ten of what we now call "saves."  He spent all of his career in LaLa Land, between the Angels and Dodgers.  In '74 his presence was cut in less than half, and by '75 he was a minor bit player, being traded in a "player to be named later" deal with the Bums, only to make two appearances with them.

Dave was a much better hitter, batting 1.000 for his career, greatly eclipsing Ty Cobb for lifetime average, and out-slugged Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth with a 1.000 slugging percentage and a 2.000 OPS.  He knocked in a run every single plate appearance ever, which is as good as my five year old on Wii Baseball.  Okay, he had one at bat with the Dodgers in '75.  But still.  I wonder if he got to keep the ball.

Cartoon:  This looks like the box office at a movie theater.  Dave is shaking his finger at this poor young woman.  No, I think he may just be a loner and is ordering one ticket.  Ever go to the movies alone on a road trip?  Looks to me from this cartoon that it isn't Dave Sells, it's Dave Buys.

Ballpark background:  Dave is standing on a piece of grass that Babe Ruth spit tobacco on forty five years earlier.  I'd say that description is close enough to figure out that Dave is standing in Yankee Stadium.


  1. Noticed about this one: "with 13 saves in relief in 1971." If he had gotten any of those saves as a starter that would have been noteworthy.

  2. They always put how the pitcher batted on the cards. And usually a few games a year the DH goes away for some reason. Especially now, with the overblown 12-man staffs.

  3. Rather odd that he's wearing his Home whites in Yankee Stadium....

  4. Jeff,

    Good observation, and I wondered the same thing. But after some research I discovered that the Angels acutally wore a very light gray color on their road uni's, and it's almost indistinguishable in the ballcard photos. If this photo had shown his white socks close to his pants, you might be able to tell the difference. As it is, the only difference in the Angels' home and road threads in '73-'74 was the light gray color. Hats, lettering and logos were all the same.