Saturday, August 8, 2009

1976 Topps #169 - Graig Nettles

  • Graig Nettles played for six teams from 1967-1988. He is most famous for his stint with the New York Yankees. Nettles was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1965. He played in the minors from 1966-1968. Graig made his debut as a September call-up in 1967 and had one hit in three at bats. After a good year in AAA he got a longer look in September 1968 and batted .224 with five homers in 76 at bats.
  • Nettles was a fourth outfielder and backup third baseman for the Twins in 1969 and he batted .222 with seven home runs in 96 games. He singled in his only at bat in the AL Championship Series. After the season he was involved in a multi-player trade which sent him to the Cleveland Indians. The trade was good for Nettles as he became a regular third baseman.
  • In 1970 Graig hit 26 home runs and batted .235 in 157 games. He did better in 1971 as he hit 28 homers and batted .268 in 158 games. Graig's 1972 season wasn't quite as good -- he dropped to 17 home runs and a .253 average.
  • After the 1972 season Nettles was traded by the Indians with Jerry Moses to the New York Yankees for John Ellis, Jerry Kenney, Charlie Spikes and Rusty Torres. It was a great trade for the Yankees since it gave them their regular third baseman for the next decade. In 1973 Graig started a run of seasons until 1979 in which he would have home run totals in the 20s and 30s (with a high of 37 in 1977 and a league-leading 32 in 1976). He made five AL All Star teams and won two Gold Glove awards (1977 and 1978).
  • In 1980 Graig had hepatitis and didn't play from July 24-October 3. His numbers were down as he played in only 89 games and hit only 16 home runs. From 1981-1983 he continued to start at 3B for the Yankees but his home run totals were down to the upper teens and lower twenties.
  • After the 1983 season Graig wrote Balls (a memoir of his career) with Peter Golenbock. He said some less than complimentary things about owner George Steinbrenner. When Steinbrenner heard about the comments he had Graig traded to the San Diego Padres for Dennis Rasmussen and a minor leaguer.
  • Nettles was the starting 3B in 1984 and batted .224 with 20 home runs. He didn't have any extra-base hits in the NLCS or the World Series for the Padres. Graig made the NL All Star team in 1985 and homered 15 times as a 40-year-old third baseman. He batted .218 with 16 home runs in 1986 and was released after the season.
  • The Atlanta Braves picked Nettles up for the 1987 season. He was used mostly as a pinch hitter and occasional third baseman and he batted .209 in 177 at bats. Graig was sold to the Montreal Expos before the 1988 season and he finished his career as a pinch hitter (with a few appearances at 3B and 1B).
  • Graig was involved in the senior league in Florida in 1989. After his playing career Graig did some coaching for the Yankees (1991) and the Padres (1995).
  • Nettles has recently battled prostate cancer. Here is a 2009 "where are they now" article about him.
"When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a baseball player and join the circus. With the Yankees I have accomplished both." - Graig Nettles

1 comment:

  1. he also has the most often wrongly spelled name in baseball.