Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1976 Topps #514 - Dan Driessen

  • Dan Driessen played in the majors from 1973-1987,  mostly for the Cincinnati Reds. Driessen was signed by the Reds in 1969 after he wrote a letter to the team and asked for a tryout. Dan played well in the minors and was brought up to the Reds in 1973 after batting .409 in 47 games in AAA Indianapolis. Dan spent about 3/4 of his time at 3B and 1/4 at 1B in 1973 and batted .301 in 102 games. Driessen finished in a three-way tie with Bob Boone and Elias Sosa for third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1973 behind Gary Matthews and Steve Rogers. Dan batted .167 in four games in the 1973 NLCS. Reds Rookie is a Tough Cookie - August 27, 1973 Sports Illustrated.
  • Driessen was the starting third baseman for the Reds in 1974. He batted .281 with 7 HR and 56 RBI in 150 games.
  • The Reds moved Pete Rose to third base in 1975 to make room for George Foster in left field. The move sent Driessen to the bench. In 1975 Dan batted .281 in 88 games during the regular season. He wasn't used in the NLCS and was 0 for 2 in two games in the World Series. Driessen batted .247 in 98 games in 1976. He was 0 for 1 in the NLCS but got the opportunity to play in the World Series as the first designated hitter ever used by the NL. Dan batted .357 in 14 at bats in the Series. Dan Driessen, Cincy's DH Hits the Jackpot - January 1977 Baseball Digest. After the 1976 season the Reds traded Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos to make room for Driessen in the starting lineup.
  • Driessen was the starting first baseman for the Reds from 1977 through 1983. He was a good fielder -- his lowest fielding percentage during that span was .993. Driessen didn't win any Gold Glove awards even though he led the NL in fielding percentage three times. Dan batted .300 with 17 HR, 91 RBI and 31 stolen bases in 1977 and .250 with 16 HR, 70 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 1978. 
  • In 1979 the Reds won the NL West and returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence. Driessen batted .250 with 18 HR and 75 RBI during the regular season and went 1 for 12 in three games in the NLCS.
  • Dan led the NL with 93 walks in 1980 and batted .265 with 14 HR and 74 RBI. In 1981 Driessen batted .236 with 7 HR and 33 RBI in 88 games. He had a couple of minor injuries that caused him to miss a week in May and nine days in September.
  • In 1982 Dan batted .277 with 12 HR and 57 RBI and in 1983 he batted .269 with 16 HR and 60 RBI. Driessen started the 1984 season with the Reds (.280 with 7 HR in 81 games) and was traded to the Montreal Expos on July 26 for Andy McGaffigan and a minor leaguer (this was three weeks before Pete Rose came back to the Reds). Dan batted .254 with 9 HR in 51 games with the Expos to finish the 1984 season. 
  • In 1985 Dan started with the Expos (.250 with 6 HR in 91 games) and was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Bill Laskey and Scot Thompson on August 1. Driessen batted .232 with three HR in 54 games for the Giants in '85. That was the year the Giants had that awful 100-loss season. In the 1986 Bill James Baseball Extract I remember the entry for Driessen said something like "typical San Francisco Giant". Ouch.
  • Dan didn't last long with the Giants under new manager Roger Craig in 1986. He batted .188 in 16 at bats before being released on May 1 (the Giants ate his contract and paid him $700,000 in 1986 and $900,000 in 1987). On June 2 Dan signed with the Houston Astros and batted .295 in 70 games for AAA Tucson. Driessen came back to the Astros in September and batted .292 in 24 at bats.
  • Driessen was released after the 1986 season. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in June and played in 58 games for AAA Louisville. Dan came back to the Cards in September and batted .233 in 24 games. Driessen batted .250 in five games in the NLCS and .231 in four games in the World Series. Driessen was released after the 1987 season and retired.
  • Dan played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989 and 1990.
  • Liked to face: Dave Roberts (.588 in 17 AB); Bruce Kison (.471 in 17 AB); Larry Dierker (.458 in 24 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jon Matlack (.000 in 13 AB); Alan Foster (.063 in 16 AB); Fernando Valenzuela (.105 in 38 AB)

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