Saturday, September 18, 2010

#11 - Jim Bibby (TEX)


Okay, card lovers.  I admit I don't like early era Ranger uniforms.  I know the font selected is trying to give a pioneer days, Texas ranch feel.  Not great on baseball threads.  Either way, Bibby looks like business.  This is a good pose and he looks like a really solid athlete.

Jim's glove is a bit worn, and he's got the old fashioned open wrist strap type.  No designed hole to stick your finger through.  The grass behind him is a bit shoddy for today's standards.  Groundskeeping has come a long way in the last two decades.  Being traded from the NL to the AL during the '73 season, Bibby is one of the first players to lose his batting privileges due to the DH.  He pitched a no-hitter against the A's in '73 and became a member of the We Are Family, Buccos championship team of 1979.

The '74 season was Jim's workhorse year, starting 41 games and going 19-19.  That's 38 decisions, folks.  He was just one win and loss away from being both a 20 game winner and a 20 game loser.  Imagine a 20-game winner with a record under .500.  Man, baseball has changed.

A personal note on card graphics here.  I had a 20 year career in architecture, so I know a bit about hand drafting.  This original card border was drafted by hand, most likely with a pencil, and reproduced a bit on the primitive side.  If you look at the upper right curved piping, you can notice that the drafter didn't put the circle template down correctly, as the arcs fall just short of the straight lines.  In the lower left, the opposite occurs.  The arcs overshoot their tangent.  The line value also changes around the card, especially where lines meet arcs.  Today's computer software designs just don't have that.  If I were a high school drafting teacher, the Topps graphic artist would get a B-.  Okay, enough of my geekiness.

Cartoon:  Jim's brother played with the NY Knicks?  Wow.  It's one thing for family members to play baseball, it's another to split sports.  Notice that each cartoon character is left handed.  Conspiracy?

Ballpark background: Here, Jim is having his picture taken at Yankee Stadium during the 1973 season, likely August 7th (a twi-night double header) or 8th (day game).  He was traded from St. Louis to Texas after the Rangers' first visit to the Bronx Zoo, so this pic was likely taken on their last visit.  It's an overcast day, so time of day is hard to pin down.  The tiny crowd in the bleachers may indicate either Yankee futility or early afternoon warm-up photos.


  1. Henry was an excellent point guard for UCLA and spent time in the pros. He later was the head coach at USC and now is an NBA assistant Henry's son, Mike, plays for the Hawks and has spent about 10 years or so in the NBA.

    I'd say the Bibby's are a bit athletic!

  2. I don't think that's Yankee Stadium. It looks more like old Arlington Stadium - open stands, no upper deck. Plus, isn't he wearing the home uni?

  3. Anon,

    Thanks for the comment! Ballpark photo comments always welcome! I'm positive it's Yankee Stadium. There were numerous photos taken there in the 1974 set, and numerous more can be found on Google Image. Looking at all of them, with all the different angles the photographer used on all the different shoots, this background is part of the virtual "panorama" shot, and many of the photos are unmistakable. The red and white advertisement signs are in other cards that show the classic three deck layout of Yankee Stadium.

    The uni's worn here are actually gray, albeit a light gray, and the uni's were the same for home and road in 1973 except for color.