Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Sunday, October 17, 2010

1976 Topps #587 - Leo Cardenas



  • Leo Cardenas was signed by the Cincinnati Reds (or was it Redlegs?) out of Cuba in 1956. "Chico" Cardenas played in the minors until he was called up to the Reds in July 1960. Leo batted .232 in 48 games for the Reds in 1960.
  • Cardenas backed up All Star shortstop Eddie Kasko in 1961. Leo batted .308 in 198 at bats and had a .485 slugging percentage, which was pretty high for a shortstop. Cardenas went 1 for 3 in three games in the 1961 World Series.
  • Leo took over the starting shortstop job for the Reds in 1962 and would remain the regular shortstop through the 1968 season. Cardenas won a Gold Glove award in 1965 and made the NL All Star team four times during this period.
  • Cardenas batted .235 in 158 games in 1963 and .251 in 163 games in 1964.
  • Leo's two best years as a Red were in 1965 (.287 with 11 triples and 11 HR) and in 1966 (.255 with 20 HR).
  • Leo missed two months (mid-June to mid-August) with an injury in 1967. Cardenas played in 107 games and batted .256.
  • Cardenas had a rough season in 1968. His batting average slipped to .235 and his fielding numbers were below league average. In spite of the low numbers Leo was selected to the 1968 NL All Star team. After the 1968 season Leo was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Jim Merritt.
  • Leo came back in 1969 to bat .280 in 160 games and get minor AL MVP consideration (12th place). Cardenas went 2 for 13 (.154) in three games in the 1969 ALCS.
  • Cardenas batted .247 with 32 doubles in 1970. He was 2 for 11 (.182) in three games in the 1970 ALCS.
  • Leo was an AL All Star at shortstop in 1971. He batted .264 with 18 HR in 153 games. After the 1971 season Cardenas was traded to the California Angels for Dave LaRoche. Why the Twins Dealt Off Their Prize Shortstop - Baseball Digest March 1972
  • Cardenas spent only one season with the Angels. His average plummeted to .223 and it would be Leo's final year as a regular player. At the end of spring training in 1973 Cardenas was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Tom McCraw and a minor leaguer.
  • Leo was a part-time shortstop and third baseman in 1973. He batted .215 in 72 games and was traded to the Texas Rangers after the season for Ken Suarez.
  • Cardenas batted .272 in 34 games for the Rangers in 1974. In 1975 Leo batted .235 in 55 games. Cardenas was released by the Rangers during spring training in 1976.
  • Leo lives in Cincinnati and makes regular appearances at the Reds Hall of Fame and at All American Ball Park.
  • Leo's All Star Game record:
    • 1964 - PR/SS - 0 for 1 (strikeout)
    • 1965 - late-inning defensive replacement at SS - 0 for 0
    • 1966 - starting SS - 0 for 2
    • 1968 - late-inning defensive replacement at SS - 0 for 0
    • 1971 - did not enter game
  • Liked to face: Nolan Ryan (.455 in 11 AB); Johnny Podres (.442 in 43 AB); Joe Gibbon (.404 in 47 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ron Willis / Jim Slaton (.000 in 10 AB); Glen Hobbie (.088 in 34 AB); Gaylord Perry (.117 in 60 AB) 

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