Sunday, November 15, 2009

1976 Topps #268 - Del Unser

  • Del Unser was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1966. He is the son of Al Unser, who was a big league catcher for a few seasons in the 1940s.
  • In the minors Del batted .220 in 1966 and .231 in 1967. Despite the low averages, Unser was brought up to the Senators and became the starting center fielder in 1968. In 156 games Del batted .230 with 66 runs, 1 HR and 30 RBI. He finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting to Stan Bahnsen. Here is a September 1968 Baseball Digest article about Del.

  • In 1969 Unser led the AL in triples with eight. He batted .286 with 69 runs scored and 7 HR in 153 games. Del was a fourth outfielder for the Senators in 1970 and played in 119 games (.258, 5 HR, 30 RBI). Unser got his starting CF job back in 1971. He batted .255 with 9 HR and 41 RBI. After the 1971 season he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a multi-player trade.

  • Unser spent one year (1972) in Cleveland and was the starting center fielder. He batted .238 with 1 HR and 17 RBI and was traded with a minor leaguer to the Philadelphia Phillies after the season for Oscar Gamble and Roger Freed.

  • Del spent two seasons as the starting CF for the Phillies. His offense improved -- .289, 11 HR, 52 RBI in 1973 and .264, 11 HR, 61 RBI in 1974. Here is a Baseball Digest article from November 1973 about how he found new life in Philadelphia. Unser was involved in yet another multi-player trade after the 1974 season and went to the New York Mets. John Stearns went with Del to New York and the Phillies ended up with Tug McGraw in the deal.

  • Unser started in center field for the Mets in 1975 and had a pretty good year. He batted .294 with 12 HR and 40 RBI. Del started 73 games in CF for the Mets in 1976 and then was dealt to the Montreal Expos on June 21. He played all three outfield positions for the Expos and ended up batting .228 in 146 games for the two teams.

  • From 1977 until the end of his career in 1982 Unser was a 4th outfielder and pinch hitter. He did well for Montreal in '77 (.273, 12 HR, 40 RBI) but he tailed off considerably in '78 (.196 with 2 HR in 179 AB). Del became a free agent after the season and signed with the Phillies.
  • Unser batted .298 with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 141 AB in 1979. He batted .264 with 0 HR and 10 RBI in 110 AB in 1980. Del had a good run in the 1980 playoffs -- .400 in 5 AB in the League Championship Series and .500 in 6 AB in the World Series. Here is an October 2000 Baseball Digest article about how he contributed to the Phillies' 1980 title run.
  • In 1981 Unser's average plummeted to .153 in 59 AB. After starting the 1982 season 0 for 14 he was released on June 8.
  • Del is currently a scout for the Phillies.
  • Liked to face: Mel Stottlemyre (.341 in 82 AB); Lynn McGlothen (.400 in 50 AB); Ray Culp (.380 in 50 AB)

  • Hated to face: Stan Bahnsen (.161 in 56 AB); Jim Palmer (.182 in 55 AB); Steve Rogers (.163 in 43 AB)

1 comment:

  1. He looks nothing like the Del Unser that I reviewed in the 1980 blog. Must be the 'stache.