Sunday, July 5, 2009

1976 Topps #133 - Gary Matthews

Gary Matthews was an outfielder for five teams from 1972-1987. He was the San Francisco Giants' first round draft pick in 1968. Gary spent two years in AA ('69 and '70), one year in AA ('71) and a year in AAA. His .313 batting average and 21 home runs in Phoenix in 1972 showed that he was ready for the big leagues. Gary had a September look-see and batted .290 in 62 at bats.
  • Matthews was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1973. He batted .300 with 12 homers and 17 stolen bases in 148 games for the Giants. Gary batted .287 but with a bit more power (16 homers) in 151 games in 1974. Matthews settled into a pattern of batting around .280 with about 15-20 homers for the next several years.
  • Gary was granted free agency after the 1976 season and signed with the Atlanta Braves. He had two more of his typical .280, 20 HR years in 1977 and 1978. Matthews had one of his best seasons in 1979. Gary batted .304 with 27 HR and 90 RBI and made the NL All Star Team. Matthews followed that up with one of his typical years (.278, 19 HR, 75 RBI) in 1980, then was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bob Walk.
  • Matthews spent three years in Philadelphia. He batted .301 in the strike-shortened 1981 season, then hit .281 with 19 homers in 1982. It looked like he was tailing off in 1983 when he had his lowest batting average to that point (.258) and hit only 10 homers.
  • Before the 1984 season Gary was traded by the Phillies with Porfi Altamirano and Bob Dernier to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz. That ended up being quite a trade for the Cubs. Matthews batted .291 with 14 homers, 82 RBI, 101 runs, and a league-leading 104 walks for the NL East champions. Gary finished 5th in MVP voting that year.
  • That was Gary's last really good season. He started to slow down, batting .235 in 1985 and .259 in 1986. After starting the 1987 season batting .262 in 42 at bats, Gary was traded to the Seattle Mariners. Matthews batted .235 for the Mariners and retired after the season.
  • After his career Gary was in private industry until 1995. He then did some coaching and broadcasting for various teams. Matthews is now the color commentator on Philadelpha Phillies broadcasts.
  • His son, Gary Matthews Jr., is an outfielder for the California Angels.


  1. Happy birthday Sarge! I'm watching the Phillies-Mets game, and they're celebrating the birthdays of both Sarge Matthews and play-by-play guy Tom McCarthy, both born on July 5th.

  2. Cool! What a coincidence for this to come out on his birthday. I didn't plan it that way.

  3. The Sarge was always a favorite with the Philly fans.