Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

1976 Topps #597 - Rookie Pitchers (Aase, Kucek, LaCorte, Pazik)



  • Don Aase
    • Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1972
    • Pitched in Rookie League as a 17-year-old in 1972 and went 0-10 with a 5.81 ERA
    • Continued to pitch in the minors until the middle of the 1977 season
    • Came up to Boston in late July of 1977 and was 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts
    • Traded to the California Angels after the 1977 season for Jerry Remy
    • 1978: 11-8, 4.03 ERA in 29 starts
    • 1979: 9-10, 4.81 ERA in 37 games (28 starts)
      • Pitched in two games and allowed one run in five innings in the 1979 ALCS. 
      • Earned the win in game 3 of the ALCS
    • 1980: 8-13, 4.06 ERA in 40 games (21 starts)
    • 1981: Converted to a reliever. Was 4-4 with 11 saves and had a 2.34 ERA in 39 games
    • 1982: 3-3 with four saves and a 3.46 ERA in 24 games
      • Injured on July 17 and  missed the rest of the season
    • 1983: Missed the entire season due to injury (elbow surgery)
    • 1984: 4-1, 1.62 ERA, 8 saves in 23 games
    • Became a free agent after the 1984 season and signed with the Baltimore Orioles
    • 1985: 10-6, 3.78 ERA, 14 saves in 54 games
    • 1986: 6-7, 2.98 ERA, 34 saves in 66 games
    • 1987: 1-0, 2 saves, 2.25 ERA in 7 games
      • Did  not pitch after May 23 due to injury
    • 1988: 0-0, 4.35 ERA in 35 games
    • Released after the 1988 season and signed with the New York Mets
    • 1989: 1-5, 3.94 ERA, two saves in 49 games
    • Became a free agent after the 1989 season and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers
    • 1990: 3-1, 3 saves, 4.97 ERA in 32 games
    • Retired after the 1990 season

  • Jack Kucek
    • We used to call Jack Kucek "cartoon character" because of the picture on this card
    • Graduated from the University of Miami in 1974 and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox
    • The White Sox called Kucek up after he went 5-2 with a 1.76 ERA for Class A Appleton
    • Went 1-4 with a 5.26 ERA in nine games (seven starts) for the  White Sox in 1974
    • Spent most of the next several seasons in the minors with some short stints in the majors:
      • 1975 - 0-0, 4.91 ERA in two games
      • 1976 - 0-0, 9.64 ERA in two games
      • 1977 - 0-1, 3.63 ERA in eight games (three starts)
      • 1978 - 2-3, 3.29 ERA in ten games (five starts)
        • Jack pitched three complete games in a row in September 1978 (he was 1-2 in those three games)
    • Started the 1979 season with the White Sox (0-0, 0.00 ERA in one game) and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in April for Jim Morrison
    • Was 1-0 with a 8.31 ERA in four games for the Phillies in 1979
    • Released after the 1979 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays
    • The 1980 season was the only year in which Jack was in the majors for the entire season
    • Kucek was 3-8 with a 6.75 ERA in 23 games (12 starts)
    • Pitched in the minors in 1981 and retired after the season
      • His career was ended by a rotator cuff injury
    • Invented "Strikeout Strippz" (a pitching training tool)
  • Frank LaCorte
    • Signed by the Atlanta Braves in 1972
    • First came up with the Braves in September 1975 and went 0-3 with a 5.27 ERA in three games (two starts)
    • Was up and down between the Braves and AAA Richmond from 1976-1978
    • 1976: 3-12, 4.70 ERA in 19 games (17 starts)
    • 1977: 1-8, 11.68 ERA in 14 games (7 starts)
    • 1978: 0-1, 3.68 ERA in two games
    • Started the 1979 season with Atlanta (7.56 ERA in six games) and traded to the Houston Astros for Bo McLaughlin on May 25
    • Played in the minors for Houston for a while and came back to Houston in late July.
    • Went 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in 12 games (three starts) for Houston in 1979
    • Had his best year in 1980 as a reliever
    • Went 8-5 with 11 saves and had a 2.82 ERA in 55 games in 1980
    • Was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two appearances in the 1980 NLCS.
    • Went 4-2 with five saves and had a 3.64 ERA in 1981
    • Pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in two games in the 1981 NLDS.
    • Appeared in 55 games in 1982 and went 1-5 with seven saves and had a 4.48 ERA
    • In 1983 LaCorte was 4-4 with a 5.06 ERA
      • His shoulder was hurt during a brawl with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983. The injury affected his pitching for the rest of his career.
    • Became a free agent after the 1983 season and signed with the California Angels
    • Went 1-2 with a 7.06 ERA in 13 games (1 start) in 1984
    • Was injured in 1984 and didn't pitch at all in 1985
    • Frank tried to come back in 1986 but didn't make it back to the majors
    • LaCorte moved back to his hometown of Gilroy, CA after his playing career ended and bought Marx Towing. He and his wife still run the business today.
  • Mike Pazik
    • When I googled Mike Pazik I got a bunch of pictures of a model. I had no idea why until I saw that his daughter Kristen is a model who is married to Ukranian soccer player Andriy Shevchenko.
    • Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1971
    • Traded to the Minnesota Twins in May 1974 for Dick Woodson
    • Had short stints with the Twins in 1975, 1976, and 1977
      • 1975: 0-4 in five games (three starts) and had an 8.24 ERA
      • 1976: 0-0 with a 7.00 ERA in five games
      • 1977: 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts
    • Became a free agent and signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1978
    • Played in the minors in 1978 and 1979 before he retired after the 1979 season
    • Managed and coached in the minors after his playing career
    • Was the pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox from 1995-1998.
    • Edit: Someone e-mailed me and asked me to add this information about Mr. Pazik:
      • Please add:  The Minnesota Twin is team that has generally avoided tragic stories.  I can not think of a Twin who died while playing for them.  However Mike Pazik's story is about as close as it gets.  In 76 Mike was one of top PCL pitchers.  He seemed primed for greater things with a great start in the 1977 season, being the starter in 3 wins in April.  However he and fellow pitcher Don Carrithers were involved in a serious car accident.  Neither were killed but the injuries substained effectively ended there careers.  Given the Twins needed pitching badly that year, people who remember that season are left with a what if Pazik had not had the car accident.

2 comments:

  1. Kucek's 1977 card is even better. Boy, we had fun with that one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never heard that about Pazik. I know Danny Thompson died of cancer (?) during the offseason, but he had been traded by the Twins to Texas midway through the season.

    ReplyDelete