Saturday, August 22, 2009

1976 Topps #183 - Steve Braun

  • Interesting cartoon on this card -- I wonder if that homer was an inside-the-park shot.

  • In 1976 Steve Braun was coming off of a top-ten finish in batting average. He played for five teams from 1971-1985. Steve was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1966. He played in the minors for two years and then didn't play in 1968 or 1969 (probably military service). Steve batted .279 in A ball in 1970 and then made the Twins' roster in 1971.

  • Braun played five positions in his rookie year of 1971. He appeared in 128 games and batted .254 with 48 walks (OBP of .350) and five home runs. Steve had on-base-percentages of .350 or better every year through the 1977 season.

  • In 1972 Braun played a utility role and upped his batting average to .289 while keeping his other stats pretty much the same in 121 games. He played a lot of third base in 1973 but wasn't known for his fielding. Steve contributed with the stick by batting .283 with a .408 OBP in 115 games.

  • Braun played more outfield in 1974 but his fielding percentage was still below average. He posted another solid offensive season (.280 with a .361 OBP in 129 games). Steve's best season was 1975. He had career highs in batting average (.302) and home runs (11). He had another typical Braun year in 1976 (.288 in 122 games) and then was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft.

  • In 1977 Steve had a big dropoff in offense. He batted .235 in 139 games, even though he walked 80 times and had a .351 on base percentage. Braun started the 1978 season slowly (.230 in 74 at bats) and was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Jim Colborn on June 1.He batted .263 for the Royals in 137 at bats. He was 0-5 with a walk and a strikeout in the 1978 Americna League Championship Series.

  • Steve wasn't used much in 1979 (.267 in 116 at bats with a .384 OBP). He didn't really have a place in Kansas City and he was released on June 2, 1980 after starting the year 1 for 23. The Toronto Blue Jays picked him up on June 21 and sent him to AAA Syracuse for 19 games. Steve hit .328 in Syracuse and was brought up to Toronto on July 10. Steve batted .273 in 55 at bats the rest of the season with the Blue Jays.

  • After the 1980 season Braun was granted free agency and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He didn't do much in 1981, but was an effective pinch hitter from 1982-1985. Steve singled in a run in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. It wasn't the game-winner, but it increased the Cards' lead to three runs.

  • Braun was released by the Cardinals after the 1985 season. He played for the Cards' AAA Louisville club but he didn't get back to the majors and retired after the 1986 season. Steve retired with a lifetime .271 major league batting average.

  • After his playing career Steve became a hitting coach. He coached in the Red Sox, Yankee, and Cardinal organizations and he coached for the Trenton Thunder most of the time from 1999-2004. Steve now runs a baseball camp in New Jersey.

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