Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1976 Topps #495 - Nate Colbert

  • The 1976 season was Nate Colbert's last one in the majors. back problems forced him to retire at the age of 30. Colbert was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals and he played in their system in 1964 and 1965. Nate was drafted by the Houston Astros in the rule 5 draft after the 1965 season. He didn't play much for the Astros in 1966--he went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts and three runs scored in 19 games. Nate had to be kept on the major league roster because of the "bonus baby" rule.
  • In 1967 Colbert was in AA and AAA and hit 28 homers. He was in AAA for most of the 1968 season before being brought up. Nate played in 20 games for the Astros in 1968 and batted .151 in 53 at bats. After the 1968 season Colbert was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft.
  • Nate blossomed when he came to San Diego and was their main power and RBI guy from 1969-1973. In 1969 he batted .255 with 24 HR and 66 RBI. Colbert batted .259 with 38 HR and 86 RBI in 1970.
  • Colbert made his first NL All Star team in 1971 (he struck out as a pinch hitter) and batted .264 with 27 HR and 84 RBI. The Padres Find A Leader in Nate Colbert - December 1971 Baseball Digest.
  • Nate's  biggest year was 1972. Colbert had a record day in a doubleheader on August 1 -- he hit five home runs and knocked in 13 runs in the two games. Nate had actually attended the game(s) when Stan Musial had set the RBI record for a doubleheader with 11. The Game I'll Never Forget - October 1987 Baseball Digest. Colbert batted .250 with 38 HR and 111 RBI and finished 8th in MVP voting. Nate made his second straight NL All Star team in 1972. He appeared as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning, walked, and eventually scored on a single by Joe Morgan. Nate Colbert - The Padres' One-Man Gang - November 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Colbert's last big year was 1973. He was an NL All Star and was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter. Nate batted .270 with 22 HR and 80 RBI.
  • Nate's production slipped badly in 1974. He batted .207 with 14 HR and 54 RBI. After the 1974 season the Padres acquired Willie McCovey and Colbert asked to be traded .Nate was involved in a three-way trade that sent him to the Detroit Tigers.
  • Colbert really struggled in his last two seasons in the majors. Nate was batting .147 in 156 at bats when the Tigers sold him to the Montreal Expos on June 15. Colbert didn't do much better in Montreal, batting .173 in 81 at bats. In 1976 Colbert started with the Expos and was batting .200 in 40 at bats when the Expos released him on June 2. The Oakland A's signed Nate on June 9 and sent him to AAA Tucson. Colbert was recalled by the A's in September and he went 0 for 5 in two games. Nate retired after the 1976 season.
  • Here is a link to the book Tales from the Padres' Dugout by Bob Chandler that has some Nate Colbert stories.
  • Liked to face: Dick Selma (.625 in 16 AB); Tommy John (.444 in 27 AB); Ken Forsch (.400 in 30 AB); Don Sutton (batted only .219 but hit 7 HR in 73 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jim Lonborg (.053 in 19 AB); Ernie McInally (.059 in 17 AB); Ken Brett (.118 in 17 AB)


  1. If he was a Rule V draftee, he'd have to stay in the bigs all year or the Astros would have had to offer him back to the Cards. So it wasn't a bonus baby situation.

    Still, hard to believe that the Astros let him rot for an entire year. And it's even harder to believe Colbert as a PR!

  2. Nate was the man there for a while with the Padres

  3. yeah -- my goof there on the bonus baby thing. I had used Nate's quote from one of the articles where he called himself a bonus baby, but it was a rule 5 thing instead.