Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1976 Hostess #134 - Don Kessinger

  • Don Kessinger had spent 11 seasons as the shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1975 season.
  • Kessinger was expected to help provide leadership for a young infield. Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst placed Don in the #2 spot behind leadoff hitter Lou Brock.
  • Don played one full season for the Cardinals in 1976, batting .243 in 145 games. 
  • The emergence of Garry Templeton in 1977 relegated Kessinger to a utility role. Don was traded to the Chicago White Sox in August 1977.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1976 Hostess #128 - Dave Concepcion

  • Dave Concepcion established himself as the Reds' starting shortstop in 1973. He didn't play a full season in '73 due to an injury.
  • In 1975 Dave started a string of All Star appearances that would last through the 1982 season
  • According to a poll of National League players, Dave would not have been the NL starting shortstop in the All Star Game if players had voted. Larry Bowa would have been the starter instead.
  • Concepcion had a  typically good season in 1976. He batted .281 with 9 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He won the second of five Gold Glove awards.
  • Dave was voted to the Associated Press All Star Team after the 1976 season.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak
  • After the 1976 season Dave and teammate  Tony Perez voiced frustration about how Latin ballplayers were forgotten and underrated.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1976 Hostess #122 - Gene Tenace

  • As the card back shows, Gene Tenace was a part-time player until 1973. 
  • Tenace spent most of 1973 playing first base, then he was behind the plate for about 2/3 of the time in 1974. Gene played catcher for about 3/4 of his games in 1975.
  • Gene had some good power years from 1973-1975, averaging 26.3 home runs per season.
  • Tenace was an AL All Star in 1975 and also got a little bit of MVP support (18th in MVP voting)
  • Gene played in only 128 games in 1976. Tenace strained his left knee sliding into second base on April 20. It was thought that he would miss 10-14 days, but he ended up missing five weeks.
  • Tenace batted .249 with 22 HR and 66 RBI. It was the only year from 1973-1979 that he didn't walk over 100 times (he had 81 bases on balls)
  • After the 1976 season Tenace signed a six-year, $1.8 million contract with the San Diego Padres. He made $40,800 in 1976, so the pact represented a huge raise for Gene.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak (barely)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1976 Hostess #106 - George Foster

  • In the mid to late 1970s, getting any Cincinnati Reds player would have been great. They had a lot of great players!
  • After several years as an extra outfielder, George Foster had his "breakout" season in 1975.
  • George added to his success in 1976. 
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? just before his peak --- 1977 was a monster year

Friday, August 26, 2011

1976 Hostess #100 - Bill Madlock

  • That is a nice looking lifetime batting average. The average would drop as the  years went by, but Bill Madlock still retired with a .305 average in a 15-year career
  • Bill had a great start to his career. He finished a distant third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1974,  but he avoided the sophomore jinx by winning the first of four NL batting titles in 1975.
  • Madlock had an eventful 1976 season. He made the headlines in early May when he took exception to  being hit by a pitch by San Francisco's Jim Barr. Barr had been warned by umpires earlier in the game after some inside pitches to Jose Cardenal. Madlock and Barr brawled and Madlock managed to land a right hook to Barr. Oddly, even after Barr had been warned, he was allowed to stay in the game while Madlock was ejected.
  • Bill was in contention for a second straight batting title in 1976, but he was quoted in August as saying his chances weren't very good because there were too many good hitters in the league.
  • On the last day of the season Ken Griffey was leading the batting race with a .338 average while Madlock had a .333 average. Griffey was not in the lineup for the final game. After Madlock went 4 for 4, Griffey was inserted into his game but struck out twice. Madlock won the title with a .339 average, three points ahead of Griffey's .336 average.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1976 Hostess #93 - Bake McBride

  • Bake McBride was off to a fine start. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1974.
  • McBride was selected as a member of the 1976 NL All Star team. He didn't play in the game. 
  • Bake had an injury-riddled 1976 season. He missed three weeks in May with an injury and also missed  most of the first two weeks of July due to knee problems.
  • McBride had knee surgery in early August and missed the rest of the 1976 season.
  • Bake played in 72 games and batted .335 in 1976.
  • Before peak, peak or after peak? peak

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1976 Hostess #61 - Bert Campaneris

  • Bert Campaneris was an AL All Star from 1972-1975.
  • Campaneris played out his option in 1976 in order to become a free agent after the season. Oakland owner Charlie Finley cut Bert's salary the maximum 20% (from $90,000 to $72,000).
  • In his final season with the A's, Campaneris batted .256 in 149 games and had a pukey .291 slugging percentage. He also stole 54 bases.
  • Bert signed a five-year, $950,000 contract with the Texas Rangers after the 1976 season.
  • After leaving Oakland, Campaneris had only one more full season (1977). He struggled offensively in 1978 and became a part-time player.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak or very end of peak

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

1976 Hostess #30 - Reggie Smith

  • Reggie Smith was an All Star in three seasons (1972, 1974, 1975) during this five-year run
  • Smith led the AL in doubles and in total bases in 1972
  • Reggie got off to a slow start in 1976. In the first ten weeks of the season he was batting .281 with eight home runs in 47 games.
  • Smith was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Joe Ferguson and two minor leaguers on June 15, 1976
  • Reggie was happy to go back to where he was born and raised.
  • Smith performed better in Los Angeles, batting .280 with ten home runs. He was out for three weeks with an injury in August.
  • Smith felt that baseball had made progress in hiring blacks in management positions, but he said that the sport had a ways to go.
  • After the 1976 season Reggie underwent left shoulder surgery. He bounced back to have two good years in 1977 and in 1978.
  • In mid-October 1976 Smith made news when his beaded necklace that had been stolen from Dodger Stadium turned up in the home of two Los Angeles youths who were selling stolen merchandise.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak (but 1976 was an off-year)

Monday, August 22, 2011

1976 Hostess #21 - Dave Rader

  • Dave Rader finished a distant second to Mets' pitcher Jon Matlack in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1972
  • Dave was the regular Giants catcher from 1972-1974, then he platooned for the next two years
  • In 1976 Rader batted .263 in 88 games. He shared time behind the plate with Marc Hill and Mike Sadek.
  • After the 1976 season Dave was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1976 Hostess #20 - Vida Blue

  • I just picked up a bunch of Hostess cards from eBay. They aren't in the best of condition, but they'll do for now. :)
  • Vida Blue was one of the best pitchers in baseball in the 1970s. His only bad years were 1972 and 1979. He also had a losing record in 1977, but a lot of that was due to the A's being decimated by trades and free agency.
  • Vida's first full season in the majors was a magical one. In 1971 he went 24-8 with a league-leading 1.82 ERA. Blue was the AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner that year.
  • Blue was an AL All Star in 1971 and in 1975. 
    • Vida was the winning pitcher in the 1971 All Star Game in spite of giving up three runs in three innings pitched. He gave up home runs to Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench
    • He started the 1975 All Star Game and gave up solo homers to Jimmy Wynn and Steve Garvey
  • Vida had another good (and also tumultuous) year in 1976. He had a record of 18-13 and a 2.35 ERA
  • Oakland owner Charlie Finley attempted to sell Blue to the New York Yankees in June. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn voided the sale because it was inconsistent with the best interests of baseball.
  • On August 28 Blue came within two outs of pitching a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. Mickey Stanley broke it up with a solo shot in the 9th inning.
  • The A's remained in the 1976 AL West chase until the last weekend of the season. On October 1, Blue pitched well against the California Angels but took the loss when Rusty Torres hit a home run in the 12th inning. The Oakland players were very upset with Finley after the game because of his lack of support for the club.
  • Finley offered to sell Blue to the Boston Red Sox after the 1976 season, but the Red Sox rejected the offer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

1976 Hostess #78 - Jerry Grote

  • Jerry Grote was toward the end of his run as the starting catcher for the New York Mets in 1976
  • This card represents Jerry's best offensive five-year run
  • Grote made the NL All Star team in 1974
  • Jerry batted .272 in 323 at bats in 1976
  • After the 1976 season Jerry considered retirement due to accumulated injuries and being "tired of  baseball"
  • Grote started the 1977 season with the Mets but didn't play  much and was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in late August.
  • Jerry played sparingly for the Dodgers in 1977 and in 1978 before retiring.
  • Grote made a comeback with the Kansas City Royals in 1981. He was released at the end of August and wasn't happy about it. Jerry also played for the Dodgers for a short time before retiring permanently after the 1981 season.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Thursday, August 11, 2011

1976 Hostess #74 - Pete Broberg

  • This is a pretty rough run. Pete Broberg's 1975 season was pretty good, especially for a poor ballclub.
  • In late May first baseman George Scott was not happy with comments that Pete made about his fielding and said that he would prefer not to play behind Broberg in his next start
  • After starting the season 1-5 with a 4.15 ERA Pete was moved to the bullpen for a couple of weeks in June.
  • Broberg made two more starts in July and then was a reliever for the rest of the season
  • Pete ended up with a 1-7 record and had a 4.97 ERA in 1976
  • After the 1976 season Broberg was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft
  • Pete was traded to the Chicago Cubs early in the 1977 season and spent some time in the minors before coming back up in July.
  • Broberg finished his career with the Oakland A's in 1978
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1976 Hostess #68 - Jim Sundberg

  • In 1976 this would not have been the best card to get. That .199 average in 1975 didn't look good. Little did we know that Jim Sundberg would turn out to be one of the better catchers in the AL for many years to come
  • Jim was thought of as a weak link in the Texas lineup before the 1976 season
  • Sundberg batted .228 in 140 games in 1976, but he won the first of six straight AL Gold Glove awards.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? before peak

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1976 Hostess #45 - Don Gullett

  • This is a nice five-year run for Don Gullett.
  • In 1975 Gullett only had three no-decisions in 22 starts. He went 15-4 and had a .789 winning percentage
  • Don had another nice year in 1976 -- he had a record of 11-3 and had a 3.00 ERA
  • Don missed most of August with shoulder problems.
  • Gullett dislocated a tendon in his right ankle in game 1 of the 1976 World Series.
  • Gullett went to the New York Yankees as a free agent after the 1976 season. He pitched in 1977 but was injured in 1978 and had to retire prematurely.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

1976 Hostess #38 - Ron Blomberg

  • Ron Blomberg had some good batting years in this five-year run
  • Injuries shortened Blomberg's career. He spent most of 1975 on the disabled list
  • Ron had shoulder surgery in April and batted only twice (he was 0 for 2 on September 8) in 1976
  • Even though he spent the entire 1977 season on the disabled list, Blomberg was voted a full World Series share by his Yankee teammates
  • After the 1977 season Blomberg signed a four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox
  • Ron played in 61 games in 1978 and batted .231 with five home runs.
  • Blomberg didn't make the White Sox club in 1979 and was released during spring training
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Monday, August 8, 2011

1976 Hostess #82 - Chris Speier

  • Chris Speier had his best offensive run from 1971-1975
  • Speier was an NL All Star in 1972, 1973, and 1974
  • Chris was very optimistic when he said the the Giants could overtake the Reds in July 1975
  • Chris had a poor year in 1976 -- he batted .226 with a .297 slugging percentage. He lost his starting shortstop job to rookie Johnnie LeMaster and reluctantly moved to second base in August.
  • Speier became disgruntled and was traded to the Montreal Expos for Tim Foli on April 27, 1977
  • After spending several seasons with the Expos and the Chicago Cubs, Chris came back to the Giants in 1987 to finish his career. Speier retired after the 1989 season.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Sunday, August 7, 2011

1976 Hostess #81 - Graig Nettles

  • The Yankees really fleeced the Cleveland Indians in the Graig Nettles trade after the 1972 season
  • Nettles was glad to be traded to New York since he wasn't on speaking terms with Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte
  • This card represents a nice five-year run for Nettles (he made the AL All Star team in 1975), but the best was yet to come
  • Graig led the AL with 32 home runs in 1976.
  • Oddly enough, 1976 was the only year Graig wasn't an AL All Star from 1975-1980
  • before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

Saturday, August 6, 2011

1976 Hostess #14 - Terry Forster

  • Terry had an uneven run in the 1971-1975 time period
  • Terry had a great year out of the bullpen in 1972 -- he was 6-5 with 29 saves and had a 2.25 ERA
  • Forster led the AL with 24 saves in 1974
  • Terry had elbow problems in 1975 and only appeared in two games after May 23.
  • Forster had a rough year in 1976. He was a swingman (29 appearances, 16 of them starts) and was 2-12 with a 4.37 ERA
  • Forster and Goose Gossage were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Silvio Martinez and Richie Zisk.
  • Terry spent one year in Pittsburgh before going to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He enjoyed several good seasons as a reliever for the Dodgers
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after first peak, before second peak

Friday, August 5, 2011

1976 Hostess #8 - Al Fitzmorris

  • Al Fitzmorris was an important member of the KC Royals' rotation for a few years in the mid 1970s
  • Fitzmorris had a good year in 1974 (13-6, 2.79 ERA)
  • He also had a good year in 1976 -- Al was 15-11 with a 3.06 ERA
  • After the 1976 season Al was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft
  • Fitzmorris had the rare distinction of being drafted in two different expansion drafts. The Royals plucked Al from the Chicago White Sox in 1968.
  • A few hours after he was taken by the Blue Jays, Fitzmorris was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Andy Ashby and Doug Howard
  • Al got into Cleveland manager Frank Robinson's doghouse and the dispute helped lead to Robinson's dismissal. Fitzmorris took himself out of a game and said he had a sore arm. Frank wanted to fine him, but club management turned down the request for a fine.
  • Al had a poor season in 1977 and was released by the Indians after pitching in seven games in 1978. The California Angels picked him up, but Fitzmorris left as a free agent after the season.
  • Fitzmorris signed with the San Diego Padres in 1979 but didn't make the club.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

Thursday, August 4, 2011

1976 Hostess #80 - Rick Monday

  • Rick Monday enjoyed a nice run as the Cubs' starting center fielder in the early to mid 1970s.
  • Monday was traded to the Cubs after the 1971 season for Ken Holtzman. Both players were productive for their new teams. It was a great deal for Oakland as Holtzman solidified their rotation during the dynasty years.
  • Rick had his best year as a Cub in 1976. He batted .272 with 32 HR and 77 RBI. He also led the club with 107 runs scored.
  • Monday gained fame on April 25, 1976 when he took an American flag away from some people who had tried to burn it at Dodger Stadium. A clip of the incident: