Saturday, October 17, 2009

1976 Topps #239 - John Curtis

  • John Curtis was a first round draft pick (10th overall) of the Boston Red Sox in 1968. He was in the minors from 1968-1972. Curtis was given late season looks in 1970 (1 game) and in 1971 (2-2, 3.12 ERA in 5 games). John was called up to the Red Sox for good in late May 1972 after going 4-3 with a 2.01 ERA in eight starts for AAA Louisville. He went 11-8 with an ERA of 3.73 in 26 games (21 starts) for the Red Sox in 1972.
  • In 1973 Curtis started 30 games. He had a record of 13-13 with a 3.58 ERA. After the season John was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. John was mostly a starter for the Cardinals in 1974, going 10-14 with a 3.79 ERA in 29 starts. The Cardinals used Curtis as a 5th starter and a swingman in 1975 and 1976. He was 8-9 with a 3.44 ERA in '75 and 6-11 with a 4.50 ERA in '76.
  • After the 1976 season Curtis was involved in a multi-player trade that sent him to the San Francisco Giants. In 1977 John started 9 games appeared in a total of 43, and had a record of 3-3. He had a high (5.49) ERA and was also quite wild (5.6 BB per 9 innings) that year. The Giants used John exclusively as a reliever in 1978. He bounced back to go 4-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 46 games.
  • The Giants' starting rotation struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 1979 and John resumed his swingman role. He made 27 appearances (18 starts) and was 10-9 with a 4.18 ERA. After the season Curtis became a free agent and signed a much bigger contract with the San Diego Padres. Here is a May 12, 1980 Sports Illustrated article about John's departure from the Giants and his side career as a writer.
  • John had a good season for the Padres in 1980. He was 10-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 27 starts. In 1981 Curtis wasn't as effective. He appeared in 28 games (8 starts) and was 2-6 with a 5.13 ERA. John bounced back in 1982 by going 8-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 26 games (18 starts) with the Padres before being sold to the California Angels for their stretch drive on August 31. He appeared in eight games for the Angels but had a 6.10 ERA in 12 innings and didn't pitch in the post season.
  • The 1983 season was John's last full season in the major leagues. He was 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA in 37 games (3 starts). In 1984 John split the season between the Angels and AAA Edmonton. He was 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 17 games for the Angels. Curtis was granted free agency after the season but no team signed him and he retired.
  • After his playing career John worked as an editor and as a free-lance writer. In 2003 John was a pitching coach for the Long Beach Breakers in the independent Western Baseball League. He was also reviewing books for the San Diego Union-Tribune and had written articles for various magazines. Here is a "Where are they now" article written by Curtis.
  • Liked to face: Dave Winfield (.216 in 37 AB); Dusty Baker (.132 in 38 AB); Frank Taveras (.200 in 40 AB)
  • Hated to face: George Foster (.350, 4 HR in 40 AB); Steve Garvey (.386, 4 HR in 44 AB); Ron Cey (.343, 4 HR in 35 AB); Johnny Bench (.475 in 40 AB)

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