Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, July 16, 2010

1976 Topps #501 - Billy Champion

  • This one isn't supposed to be posted for a few more days, but since Night Owl posted the 1975 Billy Champion card today I figured I'd switch cards and post this one on the same day :).
  • Billy Champion pitched in the majors from 1969-1976. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1965. Champion pitched in the minors from 1965-1968, posting an impressive 15-5 record with a 2.05 ERA for class A Tidewater in 1968. Bill was 7-1 with a 1.66 ERA in nine starts for AAA Eugene when he was brought up in June 1969. Champion was 5-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies in 1969. 
  • The Phillies sent Bill down for  more seasoning in 1970 and recalled him in late July. Champion was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in seven games (one start). Bill was 3-5 with a 4.39 ERA in 37 games (9 starts) in 1971 and 4-14 with a 5.09 ERA in 30 games (22 starts) in 1972. After the 1972 season Champions was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers with Don Money and John Vuckovich for Ken Brett, Jim Lonborg, Ken Sanders, and Earl Stephenson.
  • In 1973 Champion was 5-8 with one save and an ERA of 3.70 in 37 games (11 starts). Bill's best season was 1974 when he was 11-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 games (23 starts). Champion was 6-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 27 games (13 starts) in 1975.
  • Bill's last year in the majors was 1976. He had injured his elbow in August 1975 and struggled after that. Bill was 0-1 with a 7.03 ERA in ten games (three starts) when he was released by the Brewers on June 20. Champion tried to catch on in the Atlanta and Pittsburgh systems in 1976 and in 1977 but he never made it back to the majors.
  • After his playing career Bill became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and then minor league pitching coach in the Mets, Rockies, Brewers, and Braves systems. He is now available for coaching sessions with Phillips Baseball in South Carolina.


  1. As always, your posts are a lot more informative.

    One thing I just noticed is Topps stopped putting players' full names on the back of its cards beginning in 1976. So with the '76 card you don't get to learn that Champion's real first name is "Buford."

  2. I recall former Phillie Billy mostly for his stat that always stuck with me of 4w-14l. Like many seemingly sub par Phillies, Billy went on to have a few good years. The Phils have a record of trading players who seem to excel after leaving the team. I speak of Fergie Jenkins, Andre Thornton, Oscar Gamble, Don Money, Grant Jackson, Woodie fryman and Bill Robindon for example. I could go on....