Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, November 5, 2010

1976 Topps #605 - Al Downing

  • Al Downing was signed by the New York Yankees in 1961. Al pitched well for Class A Binghamton (9-1, 1.84 ERA) and was brought up to the Yankees in July. Downing pitched in five games for the Yankees and was 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA.
  • Downing was in the minors for most of the 1962 season. Al pitched briefly for the Yankees in 1962 (0 runs in one inning pitched).
  • Al's first full season was 1963. Downing was 13-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 22 starts during the regular season. Al started and lost game 2 of the 1963 World Series.
  • Downing led the AL in walks (120) and in strikeouts (217) in 1964. Al had an 13-8 record with a 3.47 ERA in 35 starts in 1964. Downing started game 4 of the 1964 World Series and also made two relief appearances in that series.
  • The Yankees' fortunes took a downward turn after 1964 but Downing had some good years for the club. In 1965 Al was 12-14 with a 3.40 ERA and in 1966 he was 10-11 with a 3.56 ERA.
  • Downing went 14-10 with a 2.63 ERA in 1967. Al made the AL All Star team that year and pitched two scoreless innings (9th and 10th) in the game.
  • Al had injury problems in 1968 and spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list. Downing was 3-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 13 starts in 1968.
  • Downing started the 1969 season in the bullpen and was put back in the starting rotation in July. Al ended up going 7-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 30 games (15 starts) in 1969.
  • After the 1969 season Downing was traded to the Oakland A's in a multi-player deal that sent Danny Cater to the Yankees.
  • Al started the 1970 season with the A's and was 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA when he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 12. Downing went 2-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 16 starts for the Brewers to finish the 1970 season.
  • Before the 1971 season Downing was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Andy Kosco
  • Downing won the Comeback Player of the Year in 1971 and also finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting. Al went 20-9 with a 2.68 ERA in  36 starts in 1971.
  • Al didn't have as many victories in the next few seasons but was still a solid starter for the Dodgers. In 1972 Downing was 9-9 with a 2.98 ERA. Al was 9-9 again in 1973 with a 3.31 ERA.
  • Downing had some injury problems in 1974 and pitched only once between late May and late July. Al went 5-6 with a 3.66 ERA in 21 games (16 starts) in 1974. Downing gained fame by giving up Henry Aaron's 715th home run on April 8. Downing pitched four scoreless innings in a relief appearance during the 1974 NLCS. Al started and lost game 3 of the 1974 World Series.
  • Al didn't get as much work during the last 2 1/2 years of his career. Downing was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 22 games (6 starts) in 1975 and was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 games (3 starts) in 1976. Al pitched in 12 games in 1977 and was 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. Downing was released on July 21.
  • Liked to face: Ken Reitz (.000 in 18 AB); Joe Torre (.034 in 29 AB); Willie Stargell (.083 in 24 AB)
  • Hated to face: Manny Sanguillen (.520 in 25 AB); Vic Power (.500 in 18 AB); Jim Wynn (.452 in 31 AB)
  • Al now works in community service for the Dodgers. Here is Downing's TTM information. Here is an article about Al from August 2010.

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