Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1976 Topps #640 - Bill Madlock

  • Bill Madlock was a great hitter during most of his career. Madlock was originally drafted by the Washington Senators in 1970. He played in the minors from 1970-1973 and earned a promotion by batting .338 with 22 HR and 119 runs scored at AAA Spokane. Bill batted .351 in 21 games for the Texas Rangers at the end of the 1973 season.
  • After the 1973 season Bill was traded with Vic Harris to the Chicago Cubs for Fergie Jenkins. In 1974 Madlock batted .313 in 128 games and finished third (behind Bake McBride and Greg Gross) in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
  • Madlock won his first NL batting title in 1975. He batted .354 and also was the co-winner of the 1975 All Star Game MVP award (he singled in two runs in the top of the 9th to put the NL ahead to stay). Bill Madlock Born to Hit - September 1975 Baseball Digest.
  • Bill led the NL in batting average again in 1976 with a .339 batting average. Madlock went 4 for 4 on the final day of the season to pass Ken Griffey (who was being held out of the final game by Reds manager Sparky Anderson) and take the title. Pitchers apparently were trying to move him off of the plate, as he was hit by a pitch 11 times to lead the NL. How Tip From Foe Made Bill Madlock A Better Player - November 1976 Baseball Digest
  • Before the 1977 season Bill was traded with Rob Sperring for Bobby Murcer, Steve Ontiveros, and a minor leaguer. Madlock had been involved in a salary dispute with the Cubs. Madlock's offense fell off a bit -- he  batted .302 and was the NL leader with 25 times grounded into a double play.
  • In 1978 the Giants moved Madlock to second base. The move paid off for the Giants as they contended for the NL West title for most of the season. Bill batted .309 with 15 HR in 122 games in 1978.
  • Madlock had a slow start for the Giants in 1979 (most of the Giants had bad fall-offs and/or injuries in '79). Bill was batting .261 in 69 games for the Giants when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates (with Lenny Randle and Dave Roberts) for Al Holland, Ed Whitson, and Fred Breining. The Pirates moved Bill back to third base. Madlock's offense picked up and he helped the Pirates to the NL East title by batting .328 in 85 games. Bill batted .250 (3 for 12) in the NLCS and batted .375 (9 for 24) in the World Series.
  • Madlock didn't do as well in 1980 -- he batted .277 in 137 games. "Mad Dog" was suspended for 15 games in July after he poked umpire Jerry Crawford with his glove. The Game I'll Never Forget - January 1980 Baseball Digest.
  • Bill bounced  back in 1981 as he won his third batting title with a .341 average. Madlock was on the 1981 NL  All Star team and he went 0 for 1 in the game. After the 1981 season Madlock signed a six-year, $5.1 million contract that included a weight clause.
  • Bill  batted .319 in 154 games in 1982. A Batting Leader Who Deserves More Recognition - March 1983 Baseball Digest. In 1983 Madlock batted .323 and won his fourth NL batting title. Bill made the 1983 NL All Star game and went 0 for 1 in the game.
  • Madlock's offense fell off in 1984 and he batted .253 in 103 games. Short, Compact Swing Makes Bill Madlock Tough Hitter - August 1984 Baseball Digest. Bill performed in a similar fashion for the Pirates in 1985, batting .251 in 110 games. On August 31 Madlock was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for R.J. Reynolds and Sid Bream. Bill batted .360 in 34 games and helped the Dodgers to the NL West title. Madlock went 8 for 24 (.333) in the 1985 NLCS. Madlock's name was mentioned as part of the Pittsburgh drug trials in 1985 (he was accused of dispensing amphetamines) but his name was cleared by Commissioner Peter Ueberroth.
  • Madlock batted .280 in 111 games for the Dodgers in 1986. He spent some time on the disabled list with a strained thigh.
  • Bill started the 1987 season with the Dodgers (.180 in 21 games). On May 29 Madlock was released by the Dodgers. Bill signed with the Detroit Tigers on June 4 and batted .279 in 87 games. Madlock  went 0 for 5 in the 1987 ALCS.
  • Bill became a free agent after the 1987 season and played in Japan in 1988.
  • After his playing career Madlock was involved in coaching in the minors and was a batting instructor for the Tigers for two seasons. He was also an on-field operations supervisor for the commissioner's office for a few years and  managed an independent baseball team. Here is a "where are they now" article from 2003. Bill is now a youth batting instructor.
  • Liked to face: Ron Schuler (.563 in 16 AB); Pedro Borbon (.520 in 25 AB); Randy Lerch (.486 in 35 AB)
  • Hated to face: Craig Lefferts (.071 in 14 AB); Greg Minton (.087 in 23 AB); Goose Gossage (.118 in 17 AB)


  1. Just a general comment - I'm getting a little worried that there are only 20 more cards left in the set. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and I'm hoping you find a way to drag it out past the remaining 20 cards! (Although, I guess you do have the traded series to cover as well.)

  2. I'm with Jim. Any chance of continuing with 1977?

  3. Thanks for the kind words :). After I finish the regular 1976 set I'm going to do a few things with the traded series and then highlight some other 1976 issues (Hostess, Kellogg's, SSPC). I'll be working on all three of those sets next year and I'll post about my progress and about some of the cards I already have.