Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Saturday, July 10, 2010

1976 Topps #490 - Frank Tanana




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  • Frank Tanana pitched in the majors from 1973-1993. In the early part of his career Frank had a fastball that would sometimes exceed 100 MPH but a shoulder injury caused him to change his style and he became an effective off-speed pitcher. Tanana was a first round draft pick of the California Angels in 1971. Frank pitched in the minors in 1972 and 1973. He was brought up to the Angels at the end of the 1973 season after going 17-6 with a 2.70 ERA for two minor league clubs. Tanana was 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts for the Angels in 1973.
  • Tanana became part of the Angels' rotation in 1974. He went 14-19 with a 3.12 ERA  in 1974. Rapid Rookie - July 1974 Baseball Digest. Frank finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting in 1975 when he was 16-9 with a 2.62 ERA. He also led the AL with 269 strikeouts. Frank struck out 17 batters in a game against the Texas Rangers on June 21, 1975. The saying  "Tanana and Ryan and two days of cryin'" came into being during this time. Frank Tanana: Best of the Young Southpaws? - December 1975 Baseball Digest.
  • Frank continuted his winning ways in 1976 when he was 19-10 with a 2.43 ERA. Tanana was named to the AL All Star team and allowed three runs in two innings of work. Frank finished third in AL Cy Young Award voting in 1976.
  • Tanana was an All Star again in 1977 (he didn't pitch in the game) and led the AL in ERA. Frank was 15-9 with a 2.54 ERA and also led the AL with seven shutouts. Frank Tanana: A Lefty Headed Right ... for the Hall of Fame - May 1977 Baseball Digest
  • The 24-year-old Tanana started to show the effects of so much pitching in 1978. He went 18-12 but his ERA jumped to 3.65. Frank made his third (and last) AL All Star team but didn't pitch in the game.
  • Frank missed almost three months of the 1979 season with a shoulder injury. The injury cost Frank his fastball and he made a successful transformation into a "junk-ball pitcher." Tanana went 7-5 with a 3.89 ERA during the regular season, including a 4-1 complete game win over the Kansas City Royals to clinch the AL West for the Angels on September 25. He started game 3 of the ALCS but didn't figure in the decision -- he allowed two runs in five innings and the Angels eventually won the game in the 9th inning. Frank Tanana: Man with the Not-So-Golden Arm - June 1979 Baseball Digest.
  • Tanana returned to the starting rotation in 1980 and was 11-12 with a 4.15 ERA. After the 1980 season Frank was traded with Jim Dorsey and Joe Rudi to the Boston Red Sox for Fred Lynn and Steve Renko.
  • Frank was with the Red Sox for only one season. In 1981 Tanana was 4-10 with a 4.01 ERA. After the 1981 season Tanana became a free agent and signed with the Texas Rangers.
  • Tanana led the AL in losses in 1982, going 7-18 with a 4.21 ERA. In 1983 Frank was 7-9 with a 3.16  ERA. Tanana was the Rangers' pitcher of the year in 1984 when he went 15-15 with a 3.25 ERA. Frank was off to a rough start in 1985 (2-7, 5.91 ERA in 13 starts) when he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for a minor leaguer on June 20. Tanana was able to get it together for the Tigers -- he went 10-7 with a 3.34 ERA in 20 starts to finish the 1985 season.
  • Frank was 12-9 with a 4.16 ERA in 1986. Tanana was 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA for the Tigers in 1987 and pitched a 1-0 shutout over the Toronto Blue Jays on the last day of the season to clinch the AL East for the Tigers. Frank started and lost game 4 of the ALCS. The Game I'll Never Forget - December 2006 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1988 Frank was 14-11 with a 4.21 ERA. He went 10-14 with a 3.58 ERA in 1989. Tanana had several no-decisons in 1990 as he was 9-8 with a 5.31 ERA in 29 starts. He was 13-12 with a 3.77 ERA in 1991 and 13-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 1992. 
  • After the 1992 season Tanana became a free agent and signed with the New York Mets. He was 7-15 with a 4.48 ERA for the Mets and was traded to the New York Yankees on September 17 for Kenny Greer. Frank made three starts for the Yankees and was 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA. Tanana retired after the 1993 season with a lifetime record of 240-236 and a 3.66 ERA.
  • Tanana is active in his church ministry. His TTM information is here.
  • Liked to face: Larvell Blanks (.000 in 15 AB); Tom Veryzer (.042 in 24 AB); Thurman Munson (.091 in 44 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rickey Henderson (.350 with 11 HR in 103 AB); Alvaro Espinoza (.480 in 25 AB); Bob Randall (.471 in 34 AB)

Frank Tanana clinches the AL East for the Tigers in 1987

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