Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Sunday, April 11, 2010

1976 Topps #408 - Charlie Spikes

  • Charlie Spikes is a great name for a ballplayer. Charlie Spikes was drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees in 1969. Spikes played in the minors from 1969-1972. He had a great year in AA in 1972 -- Charlie batted .309 with 26 HR and 23 stolen bases. Charlie was brought up to the Yankees at the end of the 1972 season and went 2 for 4 in his first major league game. Spikes batted .147 in 34 at bats for the  Yankees in '72. After the 1972 season Charlie was traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of the big trade that brought Graig Nettles to the Yanks.

  • Spikes was the starting LF for the Indians in 1973 and batted .237 with 23 HR in 140 games. Charlie Spikes New Hope for the Indians? -- June 1973 Baseball Digest. Charlie had his best year in 1974. As the starting RF he batted .271 with 22 HR and 80 RBI in 155 games.

  • Charile really struggled in 1975 as new manager Frank Robinson made him a special project. He had a tough time with Robinson's criticism and was batting .151 at the end of April. Spikes didn't get his average above the Mendoza line until June 9. Spikes played in 111 games and batted .229 with 11 homers. In 1976 Spikes batted .237 with 3 HR in 101 games.

  • Spikes didn't get much playing time in 1977. He spent about nine weeks in the minors. Charlie batted .232 in 95 at bats for the Indians in '77. After the 1977 season Spikes was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Tom Veryzer. In 1978 Charlie started the season with the Tigers and batted .250 in 28 April at bats. He played in 16 games for AAA Evansville and that was it for his 1978 season. Spikes was released on September 25.

  • Charlie signed with the Atlanta Braves and spent two seasons as a pinch hitter and occasional outfielder. He batted .280 in 93 at bats in 1979 and .278 in 36 at bats in 1980. Spikes became a free agent after the 1980 season and signed with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. Charlie played in 26 games in 1981 and then retired.

  • Spikes doesn't blame Robinson for his career downturn. Charile said that he put too much pressure on himself. He was working at a textile factory until a few years ago when he suffered a back injury and had to go on disabilty. Here is a link to a bit about Charlie in More Tales from the Tribe Dugout.

  • Liked to face: Pat Dobson (.417 in 24 AB); Jim Colborn (.361 in 36 AB); Mike Cuellar (.333 in 57 AB)
  • Hated to face: Mike Torrez (.000 in 14 AB); Bill Champion (.080 in 25 AB); Wilbur Wood (.111 in 36 AB)

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