Friday, July 3, 2009

1976 Topps #131 - Bill Stein

  • Bill Stein was a utility infielder from 1972-1985. He made his debut on September 6, 1972 (my 6th birthday).
  • Stein started in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1969 and played in the minors for several years. He never had a full season with the Cardinals. Bill batted .314 in 14 games in 1972. He spent most (but not all) of the 1973 season with the Cards and batted .218 in 32 games. Bill was traded to the California Angels for Jerry Davanon on September 25, but he didn't see any action with the Angels. He was sold to the Chicago White Sox before the 1974 season.
  • Bill was in the minors (where he batted .328 in 151 games) for most of the 1974 season. He batted .279 in 13 late season games with the White Sox. Stein stayed in the majors in 1975 and batted .270 in 226 at bats. He followd that with a .268 season in 392 at bats in 1976. Stein was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft after the '76 season.
  • Stein was given a chance to play every day at third base in 1977. Bill played in 151 games and batted .259 with a career high 13 home runs. Stein got most of the starts at 3B in 1978, which was his last year as an everyday player. He batted .261 but with only four home runs.
  • Bill went back to a utility role in 1979 and batted .248 in 88 games. He had a similar season in 1980 (.268 in 67 games). Stein became a free agent after the 1980 season and signed with the Texas Rangers.
  • Stein had a very unusual season in 1981. He batted .330 in 115 at bats and played just about everywhere (except pitcher and catcher). Stein set the AL record for most consecutive pinch hits with 7. I would have loved to have had a card like that on my bench in a Strat-O-Matic league that year. Bill dropped to .239 (184 AB) in 1982 and then batted .310 in 232 at bats in 1983. He didn't play much in 1984 and 1985 (122 combined at bats) and retired after the 1985 season.
  • Stein managed in the minor leagues from 1988-1992, was a minor league batting coach in 1993, and managed again in 1994. He then left baseball for good. He now conducts private baseball lessons on North Padre Island in Texas.
  • Sports Illustrated polled AL managers and coaches before the 1982 season and asked what pinch hitter they would least like to see bat in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and two out. The results were: (1) Jose Morales, (2) Terry Crowley, (3) Bobby Murcer, (4) Lou Piniella, (5) Bill Stein.


  1. I always remember seeing him tucked away in the back pages of my early 1970's St. Louis Cardinal yearbooks and thinking, "He's not going to be very good." He turned out better than I thought.

    By the way....I don't like those kind of cards in my SOM teams. I'm too tempted to play them (like Ken Reitz' .357 start in a September 1972 call-up) and then they're wasted too quickly.

  2. This is a great site. I am the same age as you and am avidly collecting the Topps cards from the 70s. I just completed the 1975 set and am in the process of completing the 1976 set.