Wednesday, May 6, 2009

1976 Topps #65 - Chris Chambliss

I know I have this card somewhere. I remember buying it a few years ago. It just isn't in the binder. Oh well---I'll find it sometime. :)

Chris Chambliss is best known for the home run he hit off of Kansas City's Mark Littell in the final game of the 1976 ALCS to put the Yankees in the World Series. I was a little disappointed since I was rooting for the Royals in that series, but I didn't mind since the Reds demolished the Yanks in the Series.

Chris had a 17-year career with the Indians, Yankees, and Braves. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1971 and stayed with the Indians until April 26, 1974. He was traded to the Yankees in a seven-player deal. Chris was the guy the Yankees needed at first base. He made the All Star team in 1976 and won a Gold Glove in 1976. Chambliss finished fifth in AL MVP voting in 1976 when he batted .293 with 17 HR and 96 RBI.

After the 1979 season the Yankees were in need of a catcher to replace the late Thurman Munson, so they traded Chambliss and some others to Toronto for Rick Cerone and some other players. Chris didn't play for the Blue Jays---he was traded to Atlanta 1 month later. Chris played for the Braves from 1980-1986, always batting around .280 with around 20 HR. Chambliss was used mostly as a pinch hitter in 1985 and 1986. He was granted free agency after the 1986 season. He was named hitting coach of the Yankees in 1988 and was activated for a few days. He appeared in one game as a pinch hitter (he struck out).

Chambliss managed in the minor leagues for a few years after his playing days. In 1989, Chambliss became the manager for the Double-A London Tigers of the Eastern League, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The London Tigers won the Eastern League title in 1990 and Chambliss was named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News.

Chambliss was also a hitting coach with the Yankees, and has the distinction of being one of two men who have worn a Yankee uniform (player or coach) during each of the Yankees' last six World Series Championship seasons (1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000) -- the other is former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph. He was also the hitting coach for the New York Mets.

Most recently, Chambliss worked as hitting coach of the Cincinnati Reds, until he was fired on October 11, 2006.

He is currently the manager of the Chicago White Sox' AAA Charlotte Knights.

Here is an interview with Chris Chambliss that was done for a DVD.

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