Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Sunday, October 31, 2010

1976 Topps #601 - Ken Rudolph



  • Ken Rudolph was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1965. Ken played in the minors from 1965-1969 and then was up and down between Chicago and the minors in 1969
  • Rudolph batted .206 in 27 games for the Cubs in 1969.
  • Ken was up and down between the minors and the Cubs again in 1970. Although starting catcher Randy Hundley played in only 73 games due to injury, Rudolph didn't get much playing time. Jack Hiatt and J.C. Martin shared most of the catching duties while Hundley was out. Ken batted .100 in 20 games for the Cubs in 1970.
  • Rudolph started the 1971 season with the Cubs but was sent down in May. Ken came back in September to finish the season in Chicago. Rudolph batted .197 in 25 games for the Cubs in 1971.
  • Ken played in 42 games in 1972 and batted .236 in 106 at bats. In 1973 Rudolph got more playing time as Hundley started to slow down. Ken batted .206 in 42 games in '73. 
  • During spring training in 1974 Rudolph was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Willie Prall. Ken had his best year in 1974, batting .259 in 57 games. After the 1974 season Rudloph was traded with Elias Sosa to the St. Louis Cardinals for Marc Hill.
  • Ken wasn't going to get much playing time with Ted Simmons starting behind the plate. Rudolph batted .200 in 80 at bats in 1975. In 1976 Ken batted .160 in 50 at bats.
  • At the end of spring training in 1977 Rudolph was sold to the Giants. Ken went 3 for 15 (.200) in 11 games for the Giants before he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles on July 27. Rudolph went 4 for 14 (.286) for the Orioles in 11 games in 1977. 
  • Rudolph was released after the 1977 season. Ken signed with the Cardinals and played for AAA Springfield in 1978 but he retired after batting .200 in 42 games.

  • Rudolph now teaches PE and coaches the varsity baseball team at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, AZ. 
Here is a 2009 interview with Ken


New 1974 Topps Baseball Blog

A blog about the 1974 Topps set has been going for a few  months. It's called  1974 Topps - Pennant Fever


It's a nice blog -- I'd like to learn how he sets up his pictures in his blog entries. :)



Saturday, October 30, 2010

1976 Topps #600 - Tom Seaver





  • Tom Seaver was one of my favorite players. Three posters of ballplayers were on my wall during this time -- Seaver, Rod Carew, and Pete Rose.
  • A year-by-year entry of this legend's 21-year career would be quite long, so here are the highlights:
  • National League Rookie of the Year in 1967
  • Won three NL Cy Young Awards (1969, 1973, 1975)
  • Won 311 games in his career
    • Had 20 or more wins five times: 1969, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977
    • Led the NL in victories three times (1969, 1975, 1981)
  • Had a 2.86 career ERA and led the NL in ERA three times (1970, 1971, 1973)
  • Had 3640 career strikeouts
    • Led the NL in strikeouts in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, and 1976
    • Struck out over 200 batters in nine straight seasons (1968-1976), narrowly missed the 200 plateau in 1977 (196), and then struck out 226 in 1978.
  • Postseason record:
    • 1969 NLCS 1-0, 6.43 ERA in one start
    • 1969 World Series 1-1, 3.00 ERA in two starts (pitched a complete-game 2-1 victory in the series-clinching game 5)
    • 1973 NLCS 1-1, 1.62 ERA in two starts
    • 1973 World Series 0-1, 2.40 ERA in two starts
    • 1979 NLCS 0-0, 2.25 ERA in one start
  • Was a 12-time All Star. All Star Game record:
    • 1967 - pitched a scoreless 15th inning to earn the save
    • 1968 - pitched two scoreless innings and struck out five batters
    • 1969 - on the roster but did not pitch
    • 1970 - started the game and pitched three scoreless innings
    • 1971 - on the roster but did not pitch
    • 1972 - on the roster but did not pitch
    • 1973 - pitched a scoreless 8th inning
    • 1975 - pitched on inning (the 6th) and got a blown save as he allowed a 3-run homer to Carl Yastrzemski
    • 1976 - pitched two innings (4th and 5th) and allowed one run on a Fred Lynn solo homer
    • 1977 - pitched the 6th and 7th innings and allowed three runs (two earned)
    • 1978 - on the roster but did not pitch
    • 1981 - pitched one inning (2nd) and allowed a run on a Ken Singleton solo home run
  • Pitched for the New York Mets from 1967 until the middle of the 1977 season
  • Was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for four players on June 15, 1977
  • Traded back to the Mets after the 1982 season
  • Pitched one season for the Mets (1983) but was left unprotected in the free agent compensation draft and was taken by the Chicago White Sox
  • Pitched for the White Sox from 1984 until the middle of the 1986 season
  • Traded to the Boston Red Sox for Steve Lyons on June 29, 1986
  • Finished the 1986 season with the Red Sox but was left off of the post season roster due to a knee injury
  • Attempted a comeback with the Mets in June 1987 but didn't pitch well in three minor league appearances and retired
  • Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 with the highest percentage of all time (98.84% - 425 of 430 ballots)
  • Seaver is the only player in the Hall of Fame who is wearing a Mets cap
  • Seaver has done a lot of broadcasting for NBC and for the Mets and Yankees since the end of his playing career
  • Tom and his wife own a vineyard in California
  • Baseball Digest articles:
  • Liked to face: Rance Mulliniks (.000 in 16 AB); Joe Pepitone (.043 in 23 AB); Ken Singleton (.061 in 33 AB)
  • Hated to face: Steve Ontiveros (.500 in 18 AB); Terry Puhl (.444 in 45 AB); Chris Cannnizzaro (.429 in 21 AB)

Footage of a very young Tom Seaver in his first major league game


Tom Seaver on The Baseball Bunch

Friday, October 29, 2010

1976 Topps #599 - Rookie Pitchers (Dressler, Guidry, McClure, Zachry)



  • Rob Dressler
    • First round of the San Francisco Giants in 1972
    • Spent a lot of time with the AAA Phoenix Giants, which is where I remember him
    • Pitched in three games (two starts) in September 1975 and was 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA
    • Was up and down between San Francisco and Phoenix in 1976
    • Went 3-10 with a 4.43 ERA in 25 games (19 starts) for the Giants in 1977
    • Spent the entire 1977 season in Phoenix
    • Started 20 games for Phoenix in 1977 before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 24 for John Tamargo
    • Spent some time in AAA Springfield before coming up to the Cardinals in September
    • Pitched in three games (two starts) for the Cardinals in 1978 and was 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA
    • Was loaned to Seattle and pitched for the Mariners' AAA Spokane club for two months.
    • Sold to Seattle in early June
    • Went 3-2 with a 4.93 ERA in 21 games (11 starts) for the Mariners in 1979
    • Appeared in 30 games (14 starts) for the Mariners in 1980 and was 4-10 with a 3.98 ERA
    • Released during spring training in 1981 and retired
  • Ron Guidry
    • "Louisiana Lightning" was one of the Yankees that I liked.
    • Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1971 and pitched in the minors until 1976
    • Had brief trials in 1975 (0-1, 3.45 ERA in 10 games) and in 1976 (0-0, 5.63 ERA in 7 games)
    • 1977: 16-7 with a 2.82 ERA
    • 1978: A dominant season in which he had a 25-3 record with a 1.74 ERA (led the AL in wins and in ERA)
    • Won the 1978 AL Cy Young Award and finished second in MVP voting
    • 1979: 18-8, 2.78 ERA (led the AL in ERA)
    • 1980: 17-10, 3.56 ERA
    • 1981: 11-5, 2.76 ERA
    • 1982: 14-8, 3.81 ERA
    • 1983: 21-9, 3.42 ERA, led the AL with 21 complete games
    • 1984: 10-11, 4.59 ERA
      • Struck out three batters on nine pitches (Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek, Greg Luzinski) on August 7, 1984
    • 1985: Ron's last big year -- 22-6 with a 3.27 ERA (led the AL in wins)
    • 1986: 9-12, 3.98 ERA
    • 1987: 5-8, 3.67 ERA
    • 1988: 2-3, 4.18 ERA in 10 starts
    • Retired with a record of 170-91 (.651 winning percentage)
    • All Star Game record:
      • 1978 - 0.1 IP, 0 runs
      • 1979 - 0.1 IP, 1 BB, 0 runs
      • 1982 - did not pitch
      • 1983 - did not pitch
    • Gold Glove winner five times (1982-1986)
    • Post season record:
      • 1977 ALCS - 1-0, 3.97 ERA in 2 starts
      • 1977 World Series - 1-0, 2.00 ERA in 1 start
      • 1978 ALCS - 1-0, 1.13 ERA in 1 start
      • 1978 World Series - 1-0, 1.00 ERA in 1 start
      • 1980 ALCS - 0-1, 12.00 ERA in 1 start
      • 1981 ALDS - 0-0, 5.40 ERA in 2 starts
      • 1981 World Series - 1-1, 1.93 ERA in 2 starts
    • Was the Yankees' pitching coach in 2006 and 2007
    • Baseball Digest articles
  • Bob McClure
    • Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1973 but did not sign
    • Drafted by the Kansas City Royals later in 1973 and signed
    • Had brief stints with the Royals in 1975 (1-0, 0.00 ERA in 12 games) and in 1976 (0-0, 9.00 ERA in nine games)
    • Traded to the Milwaukee Brewers with Jamie Quirk and Jim Wohlford for Darrell Porter and Jim Colborn
    • Was a reliever for the Brewers from 1977-1981
      • 1977: 2-1, 6 saves, 2.52 ERA in 68 games
      • 1978: 2-6, 9 saves, 3.74 ERA in 44 games
      • 1979: 5-2, 5 saves, 3.88 ERA in 36 games
      • 1980: 5-8, 10 saves, 3.08 ERA in 52 games (5 starts)
      • 1981: 0-0, 3.52 ERA in four games (missed most of the season with arm problems)
    • Pitched in three games in the 1981 ALDS and allowed no runs in 3.1 innings
    • Became a starting pitcher in 1982 and started most of the time through the 1984 season
    • Went 12-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 34 games (26 starts) in 1982
    • Won game 5 in a 1.2 inning relief stint in the 1982 NLCS
    • Earned saves in games 4 and 5 and took the loss in games 2 and 7 in the 1982 World Series
    • Went 9-9 with an ERA of 4.50 in 24 games (23 starts) in 1983
    • Appeared in 39 games (18 starts) in 1984 and was 4-8 with a 4.38 ERA
    • Became a full-time reliever again in 1985 and started only one game for the remainder of his career
    • In 1985 he appeared in 38 games (1 start) and was 4-1 with a 4.32 ERA
    • Started the 1986 season with the Brewers (2-1, 3.86 ERA in 13 games) and was traded to the  Montreal Expos on June 8 for a minor leaguer
    • Was 2-5 with six saves and had a 3.02 ERA in 52 games for the Expos in 1986
    • Appeared in 52 games and was 6-1 with five saves and had a 3.44 ERA in 1987
    • Started the 1988 season with the Expos (1-3, 6.16 ERA in 19 games) and was released on July 2
    • Signed with the New York Mets on July 13, 1988 and was 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in 14 games.
    • Released after the 1988 season and later signed with the California Angels
    • 1989: 6-1, 3 saves, 1.55 ERA in 48 games
    • 1990: 2-0, 6.43 ERA in 11 games
    • Did not pitch  until August 18 of 1990 due to injury
    • Started 1991 with the Angels (0-0, 9.31 ERA in 13 games) and was released on June 16
    • Signed with the St. Louis Cardinals a week later and was 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA in 32 games
    • Went 2-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 71 games in 1992
    • Became a free agent after the 1992 season and signed with the Florida Marlins
    • Went 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA in 14 games in 1993 and was released in mid-May
    • Coached in the Colorado Rockies organization from 1999-2005
    • Has been the pitching coach for the Royals since 2006
  • Pat Zachry
    • Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.
    • Came up to the Reds in 1976 and was the NL Rookie of the Year
    • Went 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA in 38 games (28 starts) in 1976
    • Started and won game 2 of the 1976 NLCS
    • Started and won game 3 of the 1976 World Series
    • Began the 1977 season with the Reds and went 3-7 with a 5.04 ERA in 12 starts
    • Went to the New York Mets as part of the big Tom Seaver trade on June 15, 1977
    • Started 19 games for the Mets in 1977 and had a 7-6 record with a 3.76 ERA
    • Made the NL All Star team in 1978 but didn't pitch in the game
    • Was injured in 1978 and didn't pitch after July 24.
    • Went 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 starts in 1978
      • Broke  his foot when he tried to kick a helmet in the dugout after giving up a hit (game #38) during Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak and was out for the rest of the year
    • Started seven games in 1979 (5-1, 3.59 ERA) but didn't pitch after June 8
    • Was 6-10 with a 3.01 ERA in 28 games (26 starts) in 1980
    • Led the NL with 14 losses in 1981 (7-14, 4.14 ERA in 24 starts)
    • Was a swingman in 1982 and went 6-9 with a 4.05 ERA in 36 games (16 starts)
    • Traded to the LA Dodgers after the 1982 season for Jorge Orta
    • Became a reliever with the Dodgers in 1983 and was 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 40 games (1 start)
    • Pitched in two games in the 1983 NLCS and allowed one run in four innings
    • Appeared in 58 games in 1984 and was 5-6 with a 3.81 ERA
    • Traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Al Oliver before the 1985 season
    • Had a 4.26 ERA in ten games before his release on June 8, 1985
    • Pitched in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989
    • Taught high school in California after his playing career
    • Now lives in Texas. Here is his TTM information

Thursday, October 28, 2010

1976 Topps #598 - Rookie Outfielders (Cruz, Quirk, Turner, Wallis)




  • Hector Cruz
    • Brother of Jose Cruz and uncle of Jose Cruz Jr
    • Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1970
    • I remember him as Heity Cruz
    • Went 0 for 11 in 11 games with the Cardinals in 1973
    • Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 1975
    • Batted .146 in 23 games for the Cardinals in 1975
    • Finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting (behind co-winners Pat Zachry and Butch Metzger) in 1976
    • Played in 151 games at 3B for the Cardinals in 1976 and batted .228 with 13 HR and 71 RBI
    • Led NL third basemen with 26 errors and had a .934 fielding percentage in 1976
    • Played mostly outfield in 1977 and batted .236 in 118 games
    • Traded with Dave Rader to the Chicago Cubs after the 1977 season for Steve Swisher, Jerry Morales, and cash
    • Started the 1978 season with the Cubs (.237 in 30 games) and traded to the San Francisco Giants for Lynn McGlothen on June 15
    • Played OF and 3B for the Giants and batted .227 in 90 games in 1978
    • Started the 1979 season with the Giants (.120 in 16 games) and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in late June for Pedro Borbon
    • Batted .242 in 74 games as a fourth OF for the Reds in 1979
    • Batted .213 in 75 AB for the Reds in 1980
    • Traded to the Cubs for Mike Vail after the 1980 season
    • Batted .229 in 53 games in 1981
    • Was up and down between Chicago and AAA Iowa in 1982
    • Batted .211 in 19 AB for the Cubs in 1982
    • Released on August 4, 1982
    • Played in Japan in 1983
    • Works for the United States Postal Service as a mail carrier in Chicago
  • Jamie Quirk
    • First round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals in 1972
    • Played everywhere but second base and pitcher during his career
    • Had a brief stint with Kansas City in 1975 and batted .256 in 14 games
    • Batted .246 in 64 games in 1976
    • Went 1 for 8 (.125) in four games in the 1976 ALCS
    • Traded to the Milwaukee Brewers after the 1976 season as part of the deal the brought Darrell Porter to the Royals
    • Spent one season in Milwaukee and batted .217 in 93 games
    • Played for  Milwaukee's AAA Spokane club for most of the 1978 season
    • Traded back to Kansas City at the end of the 1978 season and batted .207 in 17 games
    • Was a seldom-used utilityman for the Royals from 1979-1982.
    • Didn't make the postseason roster for the Royals in 1980 or 1981
    • Signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent before the 1983 season
    • Batted .209 in 48 games for the Cardinals in 1983
    • Cut from the Cardinals during spring training in 1984
      • Signed with the Chicago White Sox on May 23
      • Spent some time with AAA Denver
      • Played in three games (0 for 2) with the White Sox before being sold to the Cleveland Indians on September 24
      • Batted once (1 for 1) with the Indians before being released after the 1984 season
    • Signed with the Royals for a third stint before the 1985 season
    • Played in only 19 games as a catcher and first baseman but still made the postseason roster
    • Went 0 for 1 in one game in the 1985 ALCS. Did not play in the 1985 World Series
    • Spent the next three seasons (1986-1988) as a utiltyman for the Royals
    • Signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent after the 1988 season
    • Played for three different teams (Yankees, A's, and Baltimore Orioles) during the 1989 season
    • Spent the 1990-1992 seasons as a utiltyman for the A's
    • Signed with the Cincinnati Reds before the 1993 season but retired during spring training
    • Coached in the minors and  majors after his playing career
    • Was the bullpen coach for the Houston Astros in 2010
  • Jerry Turner
    • Drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1972
    • Batted .329 in 142 games with AAA Hawaii in 1975
    • Brief appearances with the Padres in 1974 (.292 in 17 games) and in 1975 (.273 in 11 games)
    • Shared time with Johnny Grubb in left field in 1976 and batted .267 in 281 AB
    • Played all three OF positions in 1977 and batted .246 in 289 AB
    • Was a fourth OF again in 1978 and batted .280 in 225 AB
    • Started in LF in 1979 and batted .248 in 448 AB
    • Batted .288 in 153 AB in 1980
    • Didn't play  much for the Padres in 1981 -- batted .226 in 31 AB
    • Sold to the Chicago White Sox on September 9, 1981
    • Went 2 for 12 (.167) in 10 games for the White Sox in 1981
    • Signed with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent after the 1981 season
    • Batted .248 in 85 games as a backup OF and designated hitter
    • Released after the 1982 season and signed with the San Diego Padres
    • Was up and down between AAA and San Diego in 1983
    • Batted .130 in 23 AB for the Padres in 1983
    • Released in July 1983
    • Signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and played in the minors but wasn't brought up to the majors
    • Retired after the 1983 season
  • Joe Wallis
    • Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1973
    • Came up at the end of the 1975 season and batted .286 in 16 games
    • Broke up Tom Seaver's no-hit bid with two out in the 9th inning on September 24, 1975
    • Played all three OF positions in 1976 and batted .254 in 121 games
    • Batted .250 in 80 AB in 1977
    • Started the 1978 season with the Cubs (.309 in 55 AB)
    • Traded twice in the same day (June 15) in 1978
      • First traded from the Cubs to the Cleveland Indians for Mike Vail
      • Traded from the Indians to the Oakland A's for Gary Alexander
    • Played in 85 games for the A's in 1978 and batted .237.
    • Batted .141 in 23 games in 1979
    • Released during spring training in 1980

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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1976 Topps #596 - Rookie Infielders (Reynolds, Johnson, LeMaster, Manuel)


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  • Craig Reynolds
    • Drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971
    • Played briefly for the Pirates in 1975 (.224 in 76 at bats) and in 1976 (1 for 4 in seven games)
      • Went 0 for 1 in the 1975 NLCS
    • Traded with Jimmy Sexton to the Seattle Mariners after the 1976 season for Grant Jackson
    • Started at shortstop for the Mariners in 1977 (.248 in 135 games) and in 1978 (.292 in 148 games)
    • Made the AL All Star team in 1978 but he didn't play in the game
    • Traded to the Houston Astros after the 1978 season for Floyd Bannister
    • Was an All Star for the NL in 1979 and went 0 for 2 in the game
    • Batted .265 in 146 games in 1979 and led the NL with 34 sacrifice hits
    • In 1980 Reynolds batted only .226 in 137 games
    • Went 2 for 13 (.154) in four games in the 1980 NLCS
    • Batted .260 in 87 games and led the NL with 12 triples in 1981
    • Went 1 for 3 in two games in the 1981 NLDS.
    • Had a stint on the disabled list in 1982 and lost his starting SS job to Dickie Thon
      • Batted .254 in 54 games in 1982
    • Backed up Thon at shortstop in 1983 and batted .214 in 98 at bats
    • Regained his starting job in 1984 after Thon was beaned early in the season. Batted .260 in 146 games
    • Batted .272 in 107 games in 1985
    • Played in a utility role in 1986 and batted .249 in 114 games
    • Went 4 for 12 (.333) in four games in the 1986 NLCS
    • Was a starter for the last time in 1987 and batted .254 in 135 games
    • Was a utility player for the last two years of his career and batted .255 in 78 games in 1988 and .201 in 101 games in 1989
    • Retired after the 1989 season
    • Craig and his wife now serve on the staff of Pro Athletes Outreach. Reynolds is currently the Preaching & Teaching Pastor at Second Baptist Church North Campus in Houston, TX.
  • Lamar Johnson
    • Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1968
    • Played in the minors for eight seasons (1968-1975) and had a lifetime .302 batting average.
    • Batted .336 with 20 HR in AAA Denver in 1975.
    • First played in the majors in 1974 and batted .345 in ten games.
    • Played in eight games in 1975 and batted .200 in 30 AB.
    • Was a designated hitter and played some first base and left field during his career.
    • 1976 -- batted .320 in 82 games
    • 1977 -- Batted .302 with 18 HR in 118 games 
    • Sang the national anthem before the game on June 19, 1977 and hit two home runs in the game, which were the only two White Sox hits of the day (Chicago won 2-1)
    • 1978 -- Batted .273 with 8 HR and 72 RBI in 148 games.
    • 1979 -- Batted .309 with 12 HR and 74 RBI in 133 games
    • 1980 -- Batted .277 with 13 HR and 81 RBI
    • 1981 -- slowed by injuries and the strike and batted .276 in 41 games
    • Became a free agent after the 1981 season and signed with the Texas Rangers
    • 1982 -- Batted .259 with 7 HR and 38 RBI in 105 games
    • Didn't make the Texas ballclub in 1983 and was released at the end of spring training
    • Played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989 and 1990
    • Coached for several teams in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Johnnie LeMaster
    • Johnnie LeMaster was always a favorite of mine. It started one day in 1974 or 1975 when LeMaster was playing for the AAA Phoenix Giants. My dad took me to a game and Johnnie made an error. A drunk guy a few rows behind us yelled, "You *@^&#!! Do you have a hole in your glove?" I felt bad for Johnnie and he became my favorite player on the team
    • Was the first pick (6th overall) of the San Francisco Giants in 1973
    • Played in the minors from 1973-1977
    • First came up at the end of the 1975 season after batting .292 in 143 games for Phoenix.
    • Hit an inside-the-park home run in his first major league at bat.
    • He split time at shortstop with Tim Foli (1977) and Roger Metzger (1978 and 1979) during the first few years of his career
    • Became the Giants' starting shortstop in 1980 and held the job through the 1984 season
    • Johnnie wasn't in there for his offense -- he batted above .250 only twice in his career and he had a lifetime .222 batting average
    • He wasn't a huge glove man either -- Johnnie's fielding percentages were usually a few points below league average.
    • LeMaster lost his starting job to Jose Uribe in 1985 and was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Scott Bailes on May 30, 1985
    • Johnnie was cut loose by the Pirates at the end of spring training in 1986. He signed with the Montreal Expos in June and played for AAA Indianapolis for a couple of weeks before being released again.
    • LeMaster signed with the Oakland A's in 1987 and was up and down between Oakland and AAA. He was released in the middle of the 1987 season, ending a 12-year career.
    • LeMaster now lives in Paintsville, KY and is an elder in the Paintsville Church of Christ
    • Here is a card tribute with all of Johnnie's Topps Giants cards.
  • Jerry Manuel
    • Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round in 1971
    • Was a minor leaguer for most of his playing career (1971-1984)
    • Went 1 for 18 (.056) in six games in 1975
    • Batted .140 in 43 AB in 1976
    • Traded to the Montreal Expos in 1980 for Duffy Dyer
    • Went 0 for 6 in seven games for the Expos in 1980
    • Batted .200 in 55 games in 1981
    • Started at second base in the 1981 NLDS but was replaced for the NLCS by Rodney Scott after going 1 for 14 in the NLDS
    • Traded to the San Diego Padres in May 1982 and batted .200 (1 for 5) in two games
    • Traded back to Montreal in June 1982 and spent the rest of his playing career in the minors
    • Coached and scouted in the minors from 1985-1989
    • Started managing at AA in 1990 and managed in AAA in 1991
    • Became the Montreal Expos' third base coach in 1991 and continued in that position through 1996
    • Was the bench coach for the World Champion Florida Marlins in 1997
    • Managed the Chicago White Sox from 1998-2003
    • Was a first base coach and bench coach for the New York Mets from 2005-2008
    • Managed the New York Mets from 2008-2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

1976 Topps #595 - Rookie Pitchers (DeFilippis, Lerch, Monge, Barr)





  • Art DeFilippis
    • Art never made it to the major leagues
    • Drafted by the Washington Senators in 1970
    • Led the Class A- New York-Pennsylvania league in winning percentage in 1970. He went 9-2 (.818) with a 1.81 ERA in 12 starts.
    • Pitched well at Class A Burlington (7-5, 3.05 ERA) in 1971 but struggled when promoted to AAA Denver (1-2, 10.29 ERA)
    • Pitched for AA Pittsfield from 1972-1974
    • Pitched for AAA Spokane in 1975 and for AAA Sacramento in 1976.
    • Moved to the Minnesota Twins organization in 1977 and pitched for AAA Tacoma
    • Finished his career in 1978 with AA Jacksonville in the KC Royals' organization.
    • Pitched in the Connecticut Senior Men's Baseball League in 1991.
    • Art's TTM information is here.
  • Randy Lerch
    • Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1973
    • Had short September call-ups in 1975 (6.43 ERA in three games) and in 1976 (3.00 ERA in one game)
    • Made the Philadelphia rotation in 1977 and was 10-6 with a 5.07 ERA in 28 starts
      • Was not used in the 1977 NLCS
    • Went 11-8 with a 3.96 ERA in 28 starts in 1978
      • Hit two home runs in the division-clinching game on September 30
      • Started game 4 of the NLCS and allowed three runs in 5.1 innings. Did not figure in the decision.
    • Had a 10-13 record with an ERA of 3.74 in 35 starts in 1979
    • Struggled in 1980 -- went 4-14 with a 5.16 ERA in 30 games (22 starts)
      • Lost his spot in the starting rotation in  mid-August and was not used in the 1980 playoffs
    • Traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dick Davis before the 1981 season
    • Went 7-9 with a 4.31 ERA in 1981
      • Started game 3 of the 1981 ALDS and allowed one run in six innings. Did not figure in the decision
    • Started the 1982 season with the Brewers and went 8-7 with a 4.97 ERA in 20 starts
    • Sold to the Montreal Expos on August 14, 1982
      • Was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA in six games (four starts) for Montreal
    • Started the 1983 season with Montreal (1-3, 6.75 ERA in 15 games)
      • Released on July 28 and signed by the San Francisco Giants on August 9
      • Had a 1-0 record with a 3.38 ERA in seven games for the Giants
    • Appeared in 37 games (5 starts) with the Giants in 1984 and was 5-3 with two saves and had a 4.23 ERA
    • Became a free agent after the 1984 season but was not signed
    • Signed with the Phillies on May 21, 1985
      • Pitched in the minors for the remainder of the 1985 season
    • Started the 1986 season in AAA and had a short stint with the Phillies in June (1-1, 7.88 ERA in four games)
    • Released by the Phillies on June 26, 1986
    • Pitched  for AAA Louisville (St. Louis Cardinals organization) in 1986 and retired after the season
    • Here is Randy's TTM information.
  • Sid  Monge
    • Signed by the California Angels in 1970
    • Had a September call-up in 1975 and went 0-2 with a 4.18 ERA in four games (two starts)
    • Appeared in 32 games (13 starts) in 1976 and had a 6-7 record with a 3.37 ERA.
      • This was the only season in which Sid would start in the majors
    • Started the 1977 season with the Angels (0-1, 2.92 ERA in four games)
    • Traded to the Cleveland Indians with Bruce Bochte and $250,000 for Dave LaRoche and Dave Schuler on May 11, 1977
    • Appeared in 33 games for the Indians in 1977 and was 1-2 with 3 saves and had a 6.23 ERA
    • Went 4-3 with three saves and had a 2.76 ERA in 48 games in 1978
    • Had his best season in 1979 -- went 12-10 with 19 saves and had an ERA of 2.40 in 76 games
    • Made the AL All Star team in 1979 but didn't appear in the game
    • Appeared in 67 games in 1980 and was 3-5 with 13 saves and had a 3.53 ERA
    • Went 3-5 with four saves and had a 4.34 ERA in 31 games in 1981
    • Traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bake McBride before the 1982 season
    • Pitched in 47 games for the Phillies in 1982 and was 7-1 with a 3.75 ERA
    • Started the 1983 season with the Phillies (3-0, 6.94 ERA in 14 games)
    • Traded to the San Diego Padres for Jim Lefebvre on May 22, 1983
    • Went 7-3 with 7 saves and had a 3.15 ERA for the Padres to finish the 1983 season
    • Started the 1984 season with the Padres (2-1, 4.80 ERA in 13 games)
    • Sold to the Detroit Tigers on June 10, 1984
    • Pitched in 19 games for the Tigers and was 1-0 with a 4.25 ERA
    • Missed a month of the 1984 season (late August to late September) with an injury and was not used by the Tigers in the postseason
    • Pitched in 45 games in AAA in 1985 but didn't get back to the majors
    • Has been a pitching coach for various teams in the minor leagues and in the  Mexican League since his retirement as a player
  • Steve Barr 
    • Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1969
    • Pitched in the minors from 1969-1974
      • Started 24 games for AA Bristol in 1974 and was 16-8 with a 2.45 ERA
    • Started one game on October 1, 1974 and got a complete game victory.
    • Pitched for AAA Pawtucket for most of the 1975 season
    • Had a short July stint with Boston in 1975 and was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three games (two starts)
    • Traded with Juan Beniquez and Craig Skok to the Texas Rangers for Fergie Jenkins after the 1975 season
    • Appeared in 20 games (10 starts) for the Rangers in 1976 and was 2-6 with a 5.59 ERA
    • Taken by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft after the 1976 season
      • Steve never pitched in the Seattle organization, but no further transactions are shown in his baseball reference page
    • Pitched in the minors for the KC  Royals and Cleveland Indians organizations in 1977 and 1978 and retired after the 1978 season.
    • Steve is the uncle of pitcher Ryan Madson

Sunday, October 24, 2010

1976 Topps #594 - Rookie Catchers and Outfielders (Merchant, Ott, Stillman, White)




  • Andy Merchant
    • Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1972
    • Debuted in the majors at the end of the 1975 season
      • Played in one game (September 28) after the Red Sox clinched the AL East and went 2 for 4.
    • Appeared as a pinch hitter for the Red Sox twice in June 1976 and struck out both times. That was it for his major league career
    • Played in AAA in the Red Sox organization from 1974-1979
    • After his retirement from baseball he worked at Alabama Power as a line-clearing specialist from 1980-2000
    • Andy's SABR biography
  • Ed Ott
    • Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970
    • Played in the minors from 1970-1975
    • Had short stints with the Pirates in 1974 (0 for 5 in seven games) and in 1975 (1 for 5 in five games)
    • Played in 27 games in 1976 and batted .308 in 39 at bats
    • Split the catching duties with Duffy Dyer in 1977 --- batted .264 with 7 HR in 104 games
    • Slammed Mets 2B Felix Milan to the ground during an altercation on August 18, 1977. Milan was hurt and the injury basically ended his career.
    • Batted .269 with 9 HR in 112 games in 1978
    • Was the regular catcher for the Pirates in 1979 and  batted .273 with 7 HR and 51 RBI in 117 games
    • Played in three games in the 1979 NLCS and went 3 for 13 (.231)
    • Batted .333 (4 for 12) in three games in the 1979 World Series
    • Batted .260 with 8 HR and 41 RBI in 1980
    • Traded with Mickey Mahler to the California Angels for Jason Thompson after the 1980 season
    • Played in 75 games for the Angels in 1981 and batted .217
    • Did not play in 1982
    • Played in AAA in 1983 and retired after the season.
    • Coached with the Houston Astros from 1989-1993
    • Currently  manages the Sussex Skyhawks in the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball
    • Ed Ott reminisces
  • Royle Stillman
    • Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969
    • Played in the Dodgers' organization from 1969-1971 and then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles as part of the Frank Robinson deal
    • Played in AA in 1972 and then played all or parts of four seasons (1973-1976) for AAA Rochester
    • Played in 13 games for the Orioles in 1975 and went 6 for 14 (.429)
    • Played in 20 games in 1976 and went 2 for 22 (.091)
    • Became a free agent after the 1976 season and signed with the Chicago White Sox
    • Stayed with the White Sox for the entire 1977 season and batted .210 in 119 at bats
    • Cut by the White Sox at the end of spring training in 1978
    • Played for AAA Ogden and AAA Salt Lake City in the A's and Mariners organizations from 1978-1980
    • Held out in 1974. Stillman was one of Rochester's better players but was thought of as enigmatic by some teammates and people around the club
  • Jerry White
    • Drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1970 at the age of 17
    • Played in the minors from 1970-1974
    • Was called up in September 1974 and went 4 for 10 in nine games
    • Started the 1975 season in Montreal but was sent down to AAA in  late May
    • Came back to the Expos in September and ended up batting .299 in 39 games
    • Stayed in Montreal for the entire 1976 season and batted .245 in 114 games
    • Batted .190 in 16 games for Montreal in 1977 (was in AAA for most of the season)
    • Started the 1978 season in Montreal and was mostly used as a pinch runner (2 for 10 in 18 games)
    • Traded to the Chicago Cubs on June 23 for Woodie Fryman
    • Batted .272 in 59 games for the Cubs in 1978
    • Traded back to Montreal after the 1978 season with Rodney Scott for Sam Mejias
    • Batted .297 in 88 games for the Expos in 1979
    • Played in 110 games and batted .262 with 7 HR in 1980
    • Slumped to .218 in 59 games in 1981
    • Went 3 for 18 (.167) in the 1981 NLDS
    • Batted .313 (5 for 16) in the 1981 NLCS
    • Batted .243 in 69 games in 1982
    • Played in 40 games in 1983 and went 5 for 34 (.147). Also spent some time in AAA in 1983
    • Became a free agent after the 1983 season but was unsigned.
    • Played in Japan in 1984 and 1985
    • Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1986 season
    • Batted .125 (3 for 24) in 25 games in 1986 and was released on June 12
    • Has worked for the Minnesota Twins in various capacities since 1987 (except for two years in the mid-1990s when he worked for the Detroit Tigers)
    • Jerry has been the first base coach for the Twins since 1999.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

1976 Topps #593 - Rookie Pitchers (Anderson, Crosby, Littell, Metzger)




  • Larry Anderson
    • This is the Larry Anderson that didn't have a very long career
    • Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971
    • Came up to the Brewers at the end of the 1974 season and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in two games
    • Pitched in the minors in 1975 and came back up to Milwaukee in September
    • Was 1-0 with a 5.04 ERA in eight games (one start)
      • Larry's one start was a shutout pitched against the Detroit Tigers on September 28.
    • Spent the entire 1976 season in the minors
    • Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft after the 1976 season.
    • Traded to the Chicago White Sox for Phil Roof before the 1977 season
    • Spent most of the 1977 season in the minors
    • Pitched in six games for the White Sox in 1977 and was 1-3 with a 9.35 ERA.
    • Pitched for several minor league teams from 1978-1980 but never got back to the majors.
  • Ken Crosby
    • Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1969
    • Pitched in the Yankee organization from 1969-1973 without getting a shot at the majors
    • Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in September 1973
    • Pitched in the St. Louis organization in 1974 and in the first part of 1975
    • Traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July for Eddie Solomon
    • Pitched for the Cubs at the end of the 1975 season and went 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in nine games
    • Pitched in seven games (1 start) for the Cubs in April and May 1976. Had an 0-0 record with a 12.00 ERA in 12 innings.
    • Finished the 1976 season in AAA and retired after the season.

  • Mark Littell
    • Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1971
    • Came up to the Royals in 1973 as a starter
      • Pitched in eight games (seven starts) and was 1-3 with a 5.68 ERA
    • Spent 1974 and most of 1975 in the  minors
    • Came back up in August 1975 and went 1-2 with a 3.70 ERA in seven games (three starts)
    • Became a reliever in 1976 and had a good year for the Royals
      • Went 8-4 with 16 saves and had a 2.08 ERA in 60 games (one start)
    • Littell gave up the game-winning (and series-winning) home run in the bottom of the 9th to Chris Chambliss in game 5 of the 1976 ALCS
    • Went 8-4 with 12 saves and had a 3.61 ERA in 48 games (five starts) in 1977.
      • Pitched three innings in two games in the 1977 ALCS and had a 3.00 ERA
    • Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1977 season for Al Hrabosky
    • Pitched in a career-high 72 games (2 starts) in 1978 and went 4-8 with 11 saves and had a 2.79 ERA.
    • Went 9-4 with 13 saves and had a 2.19 ERA in 63 games in 1979.
    • Suffered an injury on May 28, 1980 and missed the rest of the season
      • Had bone spurs in his elbow
      • Went 0-2 with 2 saves and had a 9.28 ERA in 14 games
    • Pitched in his first game of 1981 on May 22
      • Was 1-3 with 2 saves and had a 4.39 ERA in 28 games
    • Pitched in 16 games in 1982 and went 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA
    • Mark's last major league game was on June 24, 1982
    • Marketed a protective cup called a "Nutty Buddy" in 2006
      • Allowed himself to be hit by a 90 MPH fastball to demonstrate the product
  • Butch Metzger.
    • Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1970
    • Came up to the majors in September 1974 and went 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in ten games
    • Traded with Tito Fuentes to the San Diego Padres after the 1974 season for Derrel Thomas
    • Was in the minors for most of the 1975 season
    • Pitched in four games for the Padres in September 1975 (1-0, 7.71 ERA in four games)
    • Was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1976
    • Pitched in 77 games and was 11-4 with 16 saves and had a 2.92 ERA
    • Started the 1977 season with the Padres (0-0, 5.56 ERA in 17 games)
    • Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on May 16 for John D'Acquisto and Pat Scanlon on May 17
    • Went 4-2 with 7 saves and had a 3.11 ERA in 58 games for the Cardinals in 1977.
    • Selected off of waivers by the New York Mets on April 5, 1978
    • Went 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA in 25 games for the Mets in 1978
    • Purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 4, 1978 and spent the rest of the season in AAA.
    • Was released by the Phillies during spring training in 1979 and did  not pitch that year.
    • Pitched for the Atlanta Braves' AAA Richmond club in 1980 but did not get back to the majors.
I couldn't end this entry without showing Mark Littell's video for his product:

Friday, October 22, 2010

1976 Topps #592 - Rookie Infielders (Randolph, McKay, Royster, Staiger)



  • Willie Randolph
    • Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1972
    • Played in 30 games for the Pirates in 1975 (.164 in 61 AB)
    • Was traded with Dock Ellis and Ken Brett to the New York Yankees after the 1975 season for Doc Medich
    • Started at 2B for the Yankees from 1976-1988
    • 1976: Batted .267 in 125 games
    • 1977: Batted .274 in 147 games
    • 1978: Batted .279 in 134 games
    • 1979: batted .270 in 153 games
    • 1980: batted .294 in 138 games
    • 1981: Batted .232 in 93 games 
    • 1982: Batted .280 in 144 games
    • 1983: Batted .279 in 104 games
      • Played only once between June 26 and August 5
    • 1984: Batted .287 in 142 games
    • 1985: Batted .276 in 143 games
    • Was the Yankee team captain from 1986-1988
    • 1986: Batted .276 in 141 games
    • 1987: Batted .305 in 120 games
    • 1988: batted .230 in 110 games
    • Became a free agent after the 1988 season and signed with the LA Dodgers
    • Had an all-star season in 1989 (.282 in 145 games) 
    • Started the 1990 season with the Dodgers (.271 in 26 games) but was traded to the Oakland A's in May 1990 for Stan Javier
    • Played for the A's in 1990 (.257 in 93 games), the Milwaukee Brewers in 1991 (.327 in 124 games), and the New York Mets (.252 in 90 games) in 1992.
    • All Star appearances:
      • 1976: did not get into game
      • 1977: starting 2B, 1 for 5 with one RBI
      • 1980: starting 2B, 2 for 4
      • 1981: starting 2B, 1 for 3
      • 1987: starting 2B, 0 for 1
      • 1989: Played for the NL, 2B, 0 for 1
    • Coached with the New York Yankees from 1993-2004
    • Managed the New York Mets from 2005 until the middle of the 2008 season.
      • Won the NL East in 2006
      • Mets had one of the worst collapses in history in 2007. They had a 7-game lead in the NL East with 17 games to play but were overtaken by the Philadelphia Phillies.
    • Liked to face: Greg Harris/Bill Krueger (.524 in 21 AB); Steve Trout (.406 in 32 AB)
    • Hated to face: Mike Scott (.053 in 19 AB); Bill Swift (.095 in 21 AB); Nolan Ryan (.115 in 26 AB)
  • Dave McKay
    • Signed by the  Minnesota Twins in 1971
    • Played in the minors from 1971-1975 
    • Came up to Minnesota in August 1975 and batted .256 in 125 at bats
    • Started the 1976 season with the Twins and batted .203 in 45 games
    • Sent down to AAA in June and stayed there for the rest of the year
    • Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft
    • Batted .197 in 95 games as a utility infielder in 1977
    • Started at 2B in 1978 and batted .238 in 145 games
    • Started the 1979 season in Toronto and sent to AAA in mid-May
    • Came back to the Blue Jays in September and ended up batting .218 in 47 games
    • Released after the 1979 season
    • Tried out for the A's in spring training in 1980 and  made the club
    • Batted .244 in 123 games as a utility infielder in 1980
    • Batted .263 in 79 games in 1981
    • Batted .198 in 78 games in 1982
    • Played in the minors in 1983 and retired after the season
    • Coached for the Oakland A's (1984-1995) and for the St. Louis Cardinals (1996-present). 
      • Was the first base coach for most of those seasons
    • Co-wrote a book (Strength Training for Baseball) with Jose Canseco about proper weight training techniques.
  • Jerry Royster
    • Jerry was a versatile player who saw action at every position except P, C, and 1B during his major league career.
    • Signed by the LA Dodgers in 1970
    • Despite having seasons of .303, .275, and .333 in AAA Albuquerque from 1973-1975, Royster was unable to break into the Dodgers' lineup.
    • Jerry batted .211 in ten games in 1973.
    • Royster appeared in six games in 1974 but didn't bat. He scored two runs in pinch running appearances.
    • In 1975 Jerry went 9 for 36 (.250) in 13 games for the Dodgers.
    • Traded to the Atlanta Braves (with Jimmy Wynn, Lee Lacy, and Tom Paciorek) for Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson after the 1975 season.
    • Became the Braves' starting third baseman in 1976. For the next several seasons played several different positions but managed to stay in the lineup most of the time.
      • 1976: Batted .248 with 24 stolen bases in 149 games
      • 1977:  Batted .216 with 28 stolen bases in 140 games
      • 1978: Batted .259 with 27 stolen bases in 140 games
      • 1979: Probably his best season -- batted .273 with 35 stolen bases and 103 runs scored in 154 games
      • 1980: Batted .242 with 22 stolen bases in 123 games
      • 1981: Batted .204 in 64 games but had only 93 at bats
      • 1982: Batted .295 in 108 games (261 AB).
        • Went 2 for 11 (.182) in NLCS
      • 1983: Batted .235 in 91 games.
      • 1984: Batted .207 in 81 games
      • Became a free agent after the 1984 season and signed with the San Diego Padres
      • 1985: Played five different positions and batted .281 in 90 games
      • 1986: Batted .257 in 118 games
      • Became a free agent and signed with the Chicago White Sox after the 1986 season.
      • Batted .240 in 55 games for the White Sox in 1987
      • Traded with a minor leaguer to the New York Yankees for Ken Patterson and a minor leaguer on August 29, 1987
      • Batted .357 in 18 games for the Yankees to finish the 1987 season
      • Released at the end of spring training in 1988. Signed with the Braves on May 17
      • Batted .176 in 68 games in 1988 and retired after the season
      • Coached and managed for various clubs in the minors after his retirement
      • Coached under Davey Lopes in Milwaukee in 2002 and was named interim manager when Lopes was fired after 15 games. Jerry finished the season but was not brought back
      • Has managed the Lotte Giants in South Korea since 2008.
      • Liked to face: Pedro Borbon (.421 in 19 AB); Doug Rau (.400 in 20 AB)
      • Hated to face: Nolan Ryan (.000 in 14 AB); Bill Gullickson/Bill Lee (.059 in 17 AB); 
  • Roy Staiger
    • First round pick of the New York Mets in 1970
    • Played in the minors from 1970-1975.
    • Went 3 for 19 (.158) in a brief September trial in 1975.
    • Batted .220 in 304 at bats for the Mets in 1976.
    • Started the 1977 season with the Mets but was sent to AAA Tidewater in mid-June. Came back in September and ended up batting .252 in 123 at bats for the Mets.
    • Traded to the New York Yankees after the 1977 season for Sergio Ferrer.
    • Spent the entire 1978 season in AAA Tacoma
    • Played in AAA Columbus in 1979.
    • Played in four games and went 4 for 13 (.273) for the Yankees at the end of the 1979 season.
    • Played in Columbus in 1980 and retired after the season.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1976 Topps #591 - Rookie Pitchers (Grilli, Mitchell, Sosa, Throop)



  • Steve Grilli
    • Signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1970.
    • Pitched in three games for the Tigers in 1975 (0-0, 1.35 ERA)
    • Went 3-1 with three saves and had a 4.64 ERA in 36 games in 1976.
    • Appeared in 30 games (2 starts) and was 1-2 with a 4.83 ERA in 1977.
    • Sold to the Toronto Blue Jays before the 1978 season.
    • Was in the minors (AAA Syracuse) for the entire 1978 season.
    • Made 49 appearances and had a 2.01 ERA for Syracuse in 1979.
    • Appeared in one game for the Blue Jays on September 17, 1979 and allowed no runs in 2.1 innings. That was the last time Steve pitched in the  majors.
    • Pitched in AAA in 1980 and in 1981 before retiring.
    • Steve was the losing pitcher in the longest game (33 innings) in baseball  history on April 19 / June 23, 1981 (Rochester vs. Pawtucket). Grilli was with the Blue Jays Syracuse club on April 19 when 32 of the innings were played. Steve was cut loose by the Blue Jays and had hooked on with Rochester before the remainder of the game was played. Steve started the 33rd inning and walked the bases loaded. Another pitcher was brought in and surrendered a single, making Grilli the losing pitcher.
    • Now lives in Baldwinsville (near Syracuse), NY. He owns a sports bar called "Change of Pace."
  • Craig Mitchell
    • Drafted in the first round by the Oakland A's in 1973 (first player taken in the June draft)
    • Started in one game for the A's in 1975 (0-1, 12.27 ERA in 3.2 innings)
    • Pitched in one game for the A's in 1976 (0-0, 2.70 ERA in 3.1 innings)
    • Pitched in three games (one start) for the A's in 1977 (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
    • Continued to pitch in the Oakland system through the 1979 season but never got back to the majors.
  • Jose Sosa
    • Signed by the Houston Astros in 1970
    • Pitched for the Houston Astros in 1975 and 1976
    • Hit a home run in his first plate appearance on July 30, 1975
    • Went 1-3 with one save and had a 4.02 ERA in 25 games (2 starts) in 1975
    • Pitched in nine games (0-0, 6.94 ERA) in 1976.
    • Pitched in Houston's system through the 1978 season.
  • George Throop
    • Listed as 6'7" and 205 lbs.
    • Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1972
    • Pitched in the minors from 1972-1975 and earned a promotion to Kansas City after going 12-9 with a 2.95 ERA for AAA Omaha.
    • Pitched in seven games (0-0, 2 saves, 4.00 ERA) in September 1975.
    • George couldn't break into the Royals' pitching staff and spent the entire 1976 season (and most of 1977 and 1978) at Omaha.
    • 1977: 0-0, 1 save, 3.38 ERA in four games
    • 1978: 1-0, 0.00 ERA in one game (3 innings)
    • Started the 1979 season with Kansas City (0-0, 13.50 ERA in four games) and was traded to the Houston Astros for Keith Drumright on April 25.
    • Spent the month of May in  and then pitched for the Astros from June-August 1979. 
    • Pitched in 14 games for the Astros (1-0, 3.22 ERA) in 1979.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1976 Topps #590 - Rookie Outfielders (Cruz, Lemon, Valentine, Whitfield)




  • Henry Cruz
    • Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1971
    • Played in the  minors from 1972-1974. 
    • Batted .266 in 94 at bats for the Dodgers in the first three months of the 1975 season.
    • Sent back to AAA Albuquerque in late June and batted .310 in 71 games.
    • Played with Los Angeles for most of the 1976 season but didn't get many at bats. Henry batted .182 in 88 at bats for the Dodgers.
    • Sent back to Albuquerque in August and batted .305 in 24 games.
    • Batted .353 with 12 triples and 18 HR in 133 games at Albuquerque in 1977.
    • Cruz couldn't break into the Los Angeles outfield and was waived in September 1977. Henry was selected by the Chicago White Sox.
    • Batted .286 in 21 at bats for the White Sox to finish the 1977 season.
    • Started the 1978 season with Chicago and stayed with the  White Sox through the end of July.
    • Batted .221 in 77 at bats for the White Sox in 1978.
    • Sent down to AAA Iowa in August 1978 and never got back to the majors.
    • Continued to play in AAA for Iowa and Evansville through the 1981 season.
    • Played in the Mexican League from 1982-1985
    • Now coaches baseball in Puerto Rico
    • Henry's SABR biography
  • Chet Lemon
    • Played in the  majors from 1975-1990
    • Drafted by the Oakland A's in the first round in 1972
    • Traded with Dave Hamilton to the Chicago White Sox for Stan Bahnsen and Skip Pitlock
    • Went 9 for 35 (.259) in nine games for the White Sox at the end of the 1975 season.
    • 1976: Batted .246 in 132 games as he became the starting CF at the age of 21.
    • 1977: Batted .273 with 19 HR.
    • 1978: Batted .300 with 13 HR in 105 games. Late-inning defensive replacement in 1978 All Star Game. Missed most of August with injuries
    • 1979: Batted .318 with a league-leading 44 doubles and 17 HR. Went 0 for 2 with a run scored, a walk, and a hit by pitch in the All Star Game.
    • 1980: Batted .292 with 11 HR
    • 1981: Batted .302 with 9 HR in the strike-shortened season. Chet Lemon: The Struggle for 'A Spot in the Sun' - June 1981 Baseball Digest
    •  Traded to the Detroit Tigers for Steve Kemp after the 1981 season
    • 1982: Batted .266 with 19 HR
    • 1983: Batted .255 with 24 HR. Led the AL in times hit by a pitch for the fourth time in five years.
    • 1984: Batted .287 with 20 HR and 76 RBI. Went 1 for 2 with an RBI as the starting CF in the All Star Game. Was hitless in 13 AB in the ALCS and went 5 for 17 (.294) in the World Series.  How Sweet It Is for a Secure Chet Lemon - September 1984 Baseball Digest
    • 1985: Batted .265 with 18 HR
    • 1986: Batted .251 with 12 HR
    • 1987: Batted .277 with 20 HR. Went 5 for 18 (.278) in the ALCS.
    • 1988: Batted .264 with 17 HR as the starting RF (was the starting CF for every previous year)
    • 1989: Batted .237 with 7 HR. Chet Lemon: The Game I'll Never Forget - April 1989 Baseball Digest
    • 1990: Was a fourth OF for most of the year. Batted .258 in 322 AB. Retired after the 1990 season
    • Chet Lemon Recalls His Big League Career - January 2005 Baseball Digest
    • Organized a youth baseball organization in Florida after his major league playing career.
    • Liked to face: Matt Young (.571 in 21 AB); Ken Schrom (.481 in 27 AB); Allan Anderson (.452 in 31 AB)
    • Hated to face: Bob Welch (.000 in 13 AB); Juan Nieves (.048 in 21 AB); Greg Swindell (.080 in 25 AB)
  • Ellis Valentine
    • Drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1972
    • Appeared in 12 games at the end of the 1975 season (.364 batting average)
    • Played all three OF positions in 1976 and batted .279 in 94 games
    • Made the NL All Star team in 1977 (0 for 1 with a BB) and batted .293 with 25 HR in 127 games
    • Won a Gold Glove in 1978. His arm was considered by many to be the best in the game. Batted .289 with 25 HR
    • Batted .276 with 21 HR in 1979.
    • Was hit in the jaw by a pitch on May 30, 1980 and missed 40 games with a broken cheekbone. Valentine's injury probably cost the Expos the NL East title in 1980.
    • Batted .315 with 13 HR in 86 games in 1980.
    • Was batting only .211 in 22 games in 1981 for the Expos before he was traded to the New York Mets on May 29 for Dan Norman and Jeff Reardon.
    • Batted .207 in 48 games for the Mets to finish the 1981 season.
    • Batted .288 with 8 HR in 111 games in 1982.
    • Became a free agent and signed with the California Angels after the 1982 season.
    • Batted .240 in 86 games in 1983.
    • Did not play baseball in 1984 and was released after the 1984 season.
    • Signed with the Texas Rangers on July 10, 1985.
    • Spent some time in AAA and then played in 11 games (.211 average) for the Rangers in 1985.
    • Released after the 1985 season and never played again.
    • Ellis is now involved with "Baseball Against Drugs" (BAD)
    • Liked to face: Mark Lemongello (.571 in 14 AB); Jon Matlack (.471 in 17 AB); Steve Carlton (.404 in 47 AB)
    • Hated to face: Charlie Hough/Rick Sutcliffe (.091 in 11 AB); Ed Halicki (.133 in 30 AB)
  • Terry Whitfield
    • Drafted by the New York Yankees in the first round in 1971
    • Had a few stints with the Yankees from 1974-1976 but was unable to crack the Yankee lineup
      • 1974: 2 for 5 in two games
      • 1975: .272 in 81 at bats
      • 1976: appeared in one game without batting
    • Traded to the San Francisco Giants during spring training in 1977 for Marty Perez
    • Was a fourth OF for the Giants in 1977 and batted .285 in 114 games
    • Started at LF in 1978 and batted .289 with 10 HR in 149 games
    • Batted .287 in 133 games in 1979.
    • Played in 118 games in 1980 and batted .296
    • Sold to the Seibu Lions (Japanese Pacific League) in 1981 and played in Japan from 1981-1983.
    • Signed with the LA Dodgers in 1984.
    • Batted .244 in 87 games in 1984
    • Played in 79 games and batted .260 in 1985.
    • Went 1 for 14 (.071) in 17 games in 1986 and was released on May 24.
    • Played for various unaffiliated teams in Class A from 1986-1988
    • Liked to face: Mike Krukow (.591 in 22 AB); Doug Bair (.500 in 12 AB); Joe Niekro (.414 in 29 AB)
    • Hated to face: Bob Shirley (.071 in 14 AB); Dwight Gooden (.077 with 9 strikeouts in 13 AB); Pedro Borbon (.077 in 13 AB)

Ellis Valentine throws out a runner