Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Friday, December 24, 2010

1976 Topps #655 - Mike Vail

  •  Mike Vail was supposed to be a big star for the New York  Mets, but his career never really took off. Vail was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971 and played in their system from 1971-1974. After the 1974 season Mike was traded with Jack Heidemann to the Mets for Ted Martinez.
  • Vail had a good year for AAA Tidewater in 1975, batting .342 and being named International League Player of the Year. At the end of the 1975 season Mike was brought up to the Mets and batted .302 in 38 games. Vail had a 23-game hitting streak which was then a record for rookies.
  • The Mets were so high on Vail that they traded Rusty Staub to make room for him. Unfortunately Mike dislocated his foot playing basketball in the off season and didn't play in 1976 until June 17. Vail  batted .217 in 53 games in '76. 
  • In 1977 Mike improved to a .262 average in 108 games. The Mets cut Vail during spring training in 1978. Vail was signed by the Cleveland Indians and was assigned to AAA Portland. The Indians recalled Vail after he batted .393 in 14 games in Portland. Mike batted .235 in 14 games with the Indians and on June 15 was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Joe Wallis. Vail batted .333 in 74 games for the Cubs to finish the 1978 season.
  • Mike spent the next two seasons as a platoon outfielder and pinch hitter and hit well. Vail batted .335 in 87 games in 1979 and .298 in 114 games in 1980. Cubs manager Herman Franks didn't have many kind words for Vail (or for several other Cubs players) after he was fired in 1979.
  • After the 1980 season Vail was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Hector Cruz. Mike didn't play much in 1981 -- he appeared in 31 games (all as a pinch hitter) and batted .161. Vail batted .254 in 78 games in 1982. After the 1982 season Mike was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Rich  Gale.
  • Mike started the 1983 season with the Giants and batted .154 in 18 games. On May 25 Vail was traded to the Montreal Expos for Wallace Johnson. Mike batted .283 in 54 games for the Expos in 1983.
  • Vail was cut by the Expos during spring training in 1984. Mike signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June but batted only .063 in 16 at bats. Vail spent some time in AAA Albuquerque and retired after the 1984 season.


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