Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1976 Topps #456 - Joe Coleman


  • Joe Coleman pitched in the majors from 1965-1979. His father Joe also pitched in the majors in the 1940s and 1950s. Coleman was a #1 draft pick of the Washington Senators in 1965. He had a great start to his major league career as an 18-year-old at the end of the 1965 season when he started two games and had complete game victories in both of them.
  • Even though he had a great start to his career, Coleman wasn't quite ready for the majors. He pitched in the minors in 1965 and 1966. Joe had a complete game victory in his only major league game in 1966, which ran his career record to 3-0 in three starts.
  • Joe started the 1967 season with the Senators and had a brief stint in the minors in August. Coleman ended up 8-9 with a 4.63 ERA in 28 games (22 starts). In 1968 Coleman was 12-16 with a 3.27 ERA in 33 starts.
  • Joe's best season with the Senators was 1969. He went 12-13 with an ERA of 3.27 in 40 games (36 starts). Coleman was 8-12 with a 3.58 ERA in 1970. He battled with manager Ted Williams because of his reluctance to throw a slider. Joe tried it during spring training one season and wasn't successful with it. After the 1970 season Joe was traded with Ed Brinkman, Jim Hannan and Aurelio Rodriguez to the Detroit Tigers for Elliott Maddox, Denny McLain, Norm McRae and Don Wert. The trade was disastrous for the Senators.
  • Coleman was a real workhorse for the Tigers in the next four seasons. In 1971 he was 20-9 with a 3.15 ERA in 38 starts. Joe was an AL All Star in 1972 (he didn't pitch in the game) and was 19-14 with a 2.80 ERA in 39 starts. Coleman pitched a 7-hit shutout in game 3 of the ALCS. He struck out a LCS-record 14 batters (the record was broken by Mike Mussina in 1997).
  • Joe was 23-15 with a 3.53 ERA in 40 starts in 1973. He was 14-12 with a 4.32 ERA in 41 starts in 1974. Amazingly, Coleman didn't lead the league in starts in either of those seasons. How to Be A Winner Without the Slider - May 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • All of those innings started to take a toll on Joe. In 1975 he slipped to 10-18 with a 5.55 ERA in 31 starts. Coleman started the 1976 season with the Tigers (2-5, 4.86 ERA in 12 starts) and was sold to the Chicago Cubs on June 8. The Cubs mostly used Joe as a reliever and he was 2-8 with a 4.10 ERA in 39 games (4 starts).
  • During spring training in 1977 Joe was traded to the Oakland A's for Jim Todd. Coleman was a swingman for the A's in '77 and had his last good season. He went 4-4 with two saves and a 2.96 ERA in 43 games (12 starts). In 1978 Coleman pitched in 10 games for the A's (3-0, 1.37 ERA) before being sold to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 22. Joe went 2-0 with a 4.60 ERA in 31 games for the Blue Jays in 1978.
  • Coleman became a free agent after the 1978 season. He was invited to spring training by the San Francisco Giants and made the club. Joe pitched in five games for the Giants (0-0, 0.00 ERA) before being released on April 21. Coleman signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 8. He spent most of the season in the minors before being recalled in August. Joe pitched in 10 games for the Pirates (0-0, 6.10 ERA) in 1979.
  • Coleman spent three  more seasons in AAA but never made it back to the major leagues.
  • Joe managed the single-A Peoria club in the Midwest League in 1983. He has been a pitching coach for various organizations since 1988. Joe is now the pitching coach for the class A Lakeland Flying Tigers.
  • Liked to face: Orlando Cepeda (.000 in 12 AB); Glenn Borgmann (.053 in 19 AB); Jim Fregosi (.109 in 46 AB)
  • Hated to face: Juan Beniquez (.450 in 20 AB); Bobby Murcer (.433 in 67 AB); Joe Pepitone (.409 in 22 AB)

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