Monday, July 27, 2009

1976 Topps #156 - Rico Carty

  • Beeg Mon!!
  • Rico Carty was definitely a hitter. Carty had a .299 lifetime batting average and rarely batted below .275. He won the 1970 National League batting championship with a .366 average.
  • Carty started in the Milwaukee Braves' system in 1960 and played in the minors through the 1963 season. Rico was given a September call-up in 1963 and made two pinch-hitting appearances. In 1964 Carty had a great rookie season. He batted .330 with 22 home runs and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting (Dick Allen won the award in a runaway). Carty played in only 89 games in 1965 but still batted .310. He had another good year in 1966, batting .326 in 151 games.
  • Rico tailed off in 1967 and batted only .255 in 134 games. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and missed the entire 1968 season. He may have been struggling with the disease during the 1967 season.
  • Carty bounced back with a .342 average in 1969 and finished 13th in NL MVP voting even though he played in only 104 games for the NL West Champion Braves. In 1970 Rico had his best season. He made the NL All Star team and finished 10th in NL MVP voting. Carty was the NL batting champion with a .366 average and he hit 25 home runs and had 101 RBI.
  • Rico broke his knee in a collision in winter baseball and missed the entire 1971 season. In 1972 he missed a month (mid-July to mid-August) and also missed two weeks in September. Here is an article from the Rome News-Tribune that asks if Rico Carty is an asset or a liability. Carty batted .277 in 89 games. Before the 1973 season Rico was traded to the Texas Rangers for Jim Panther. Carty had his worst season in 1973. He batted .229 for three different teams. He started with the Rangers, was sold to the Chicago Cubs on August 13, then was sold to the Oakland A's on September 11. He did not appear in the postseason for the A's and he was released after the season.
  • Carty started the 1974 season in the Mexican League and was purchased by the Cleveland Indians on August 17. He batted .363 in 33 games for the Indians. Rico spent most of the 1975 season as Cleveland's DH and batted .308 in 118 games. In 1976 Carty again was the main DH for Cleveland and batted .310 in 152 games. After the 1976 season Rico was taken by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft. He was traded back to the Indians for Rick Cerone and John Lowenstein. Apparently Rico was one of the main reasons why Frank Robinson was fired as the Cleveland manager in 1977. Carty played in 127 games in 1977, slipped to a .280 average, and was traded back to the Blue Jays for Dennis DeBarr.
  • In 1978 Carty had a career high 31 home runs. He started the season with the Blue Jays and was traded to the Oakland A's on August 15 for Willie Horton and Phil Huffman. He finished the season with the A's and then was sold back to the Blue Jays. He batted .256 with 12 home runs in 1979. Rico was released during spring training in 1980 and retired.
  • In his book, Ball Four, Jim Bouton wrote: "[Carty] doesn't trust banks. He also doesn't trust the clubhouse valuables box. So that big lump you see in his back pocket during baseball games is his wallet."

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