Monday, July 6, 2009

1976 Topps #134 - Mike Ivie

  • Mike Ivie was signed to be a catcher, but he didn't like the position (he had developed a phobia about throwing the ball back to the pitcher) and switched to first base. He played for several teams from 1971-1983.
  • Ivie was drafted by the San Diego Padres as the first overall selection in the 1970 draft. He was 17 years old when he played for Class A Tri-City. Mike batted .258 in 56 games and was assigned to Class A Lodi in 1971. He batted .305 with 15 HR and was given a September look by the Padres. Mike caught in 6 games and went 8 for 17 (.471 average). He spent the next three seasons in the minors (.291 with 24 homers in 1972, .270 in 1973 for AAA Hawaii, and .292 with 18 homers for AA Alexandria in 1974). He came back to the Padres in September 1974 and batted .088 in limited duty.
  • In 1975 Mike played 1B and occasionally played some 3B and catcher. He batted .249 with 8 homers in 111 games. Ivie had his first good year in 1976, batting .291 with 7 homers in 405 at bats. Mike didn't quite do as well in 1977 (.272, 9 HR in 489 at bats). He was traded to the San Francisco Giants after the season for Darrell Thomas.
  • Ivie played 76 games at 1B and 22 games in LF in 1978. He was to eventually replace the aging Willie McCovey at first base. Mike is remembered for hitting a big grand slam at Candlestick Park against the rival LA Dodgers that helped the Giants win the game. It was a tight race that the Dodgers eventually won, and Ivie contributed to the Giants' cause by hitting .308 with 11 homers.
  • Before the 1979 season Ivie was the subject of a rumor that he would be involved in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for Rod Carew. The talks fell through and Carew ended up with the California Angels (alas--what might have been!).
  • McCovey was really slowing down by 1979 and Ivie was starting more and more at first base. Mike had his best season, batting .286 with 27 home runs. Ivie was set to have a big year with the Giants in 1980, but before the season he accidentally sliced off part of his pinky finger with a hunting knife. He actually walked away from the team for a brief time during the season, but was convinced to come back after a phone call from McCovey (who had retired that year). Mike played only once between May 28 and July 17. Ivie batted .241 with only four home runs in 1980.
  • In 1981 Ivie came to spring training in good shape and with a good attitude, but he lost his starting job to free agent acquisition Enos Cabell. Ivie was traded to the Houston Astros in late April for Jeffrey Leonard and Dave Bergman. It was pretty much a lost season for Mike -- he only batted a total of 63 times and hit .254 with no home runs.
  • Ivie only played in 7 games with the Astros in 1982 before the Astros honored his request to be released on April 30. He called Detroit Tiger manager Sparky Anderson, and the Tigers signed him to be a first baseman and designated hitter. Mike only batted .232 for the Tigers in 1982, but he hit 14 home runs in 259 at bats.
  • In 1983 Mike played in only 12 games (.214 in 42 at bats) and was released on May 16. He retired at the age of 30.
Rick Monday once said, "Mike Ivie is a forty-million-dollar airport with a thirty-dollar control tower."


  1. This is a great card. It looks like Ivie is taking the bat to the All Star Rookie spittoon.

  2. Spittoon is a good description---get a load of the chaw in his cheek!