Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1976 Topps #315 - Al Hrabosky

  • Al Hrabosky pitched in the majors from 1970-1982. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1967 but he didn't sign. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Hrabosky in the first round in 1969. Hrabosky signed with the Cards, spent a year in the minors, and was up with the Cardinals at the end of the 1970 season. Al pitched in 16 games (1 start) in 1970 and was 2-1 with a 4.74 ERA.
  • Hrabosky spent most of the 1971 and 1972 seasons in the minors. The Cardinals weren't sure whether he would be a starter or a reliever. He relieved for most of the '71 season and then started in the '72 season. Al was called up at the end of both seasons and pitched in a total of six games.
  • Al started the 1973 season in the minors and was called up in early June. He pitched in 44 games for the Cardinals and was 2-4 with 5 saves and a 2.09 ERA. Hrabosky had his first big season in 1974. He finished 5th in Cy Young Award voting and was 8-1 with 9 saves and a 2.95 ERA in 65 games. The Cardinals' Mad Hungarian - Baseball Digest January 1975
  • Hrabosky's best season was 1975. He was the NL Fireman of the Year that year and finished 3rd in Cy Young Award voting and 8th in MVP voting. Al went 13-3 with a league-leading 22 saves and an ERA of 1.66 in 65 games. The Game I'll Never Forget - June 1983 Baseball Digest (describing a 1975 game)
  • Hrabosky had a good year in 1976, but not as good as '75. He was 8-6 with 13 saves and a 3.30 ERA in 68 games. When Vern Rapp was hired as manager of the Cardinals in 1977 he made Al shave his famous Fu Manchu mustache and cut his hair. Al struggled in 1977 (6-5, 10 saves, 4.38 ERA in 65 games) and after the season he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Littell and Buck Martinez.
  • Al spent two seasons (1978 and 1979) with the Royals. He had a good year in 1978. Hrabosky was 8-7 with 20 saves and a 2.88 ERA in 58 games. He appeared in three games in the ALCS, pitching three innings and allowing one run. Hrabosky was 9-4 with 11 saves and a 3.74 ERA in 1979. After the 1979 season Al became a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves.
  • Hrabosky had one so-so year, one good year, and one poor year with the Braves. In 1980 he was 4-2 with 3 saves and a 3.62 ERA in 45 games. In 1981 Al had a 1.07 ERA in 24 games and was 1-1 with one save. Hrabosky's last season, 1982, wasn't a very good one. He was 2-1 with three saves and an ERA of 5.54 in 31 games. He pitched his last game on August 18 and missed the NLCS. The Braves released Al after the 1982 season. Al tried to hook on with the Chicago White Sox and pitched for their AAA team, but he didn't get called back to the majors.

  • After his playing career Hrabosky has been a broadcaster. He's broadcasted for the Cardinals or for Fox Sports Midwest (covering the Cardinals) since 1985. Al also devotes times to various charities and is a motivational speaker.
  • Hrabosky had his "Mad Hungarian" routine that he did before he pitched. He would walk behind the mound, yell at himself to psyche himself up, then pound the ball in his mitt while striding to the pitching rubber. Fans loved it but opposing hitters didn't like it. Remembering the Mad Hungarian - June 2003 Baseball Digest. Here is a video of Al describing how and why he became the Mad Hungarian:

  • Al's website. It's interesting to see the evolution of Hrabosky's facial hair in the "trading cards" section. From 1971-1973 he's pretty clean shaven. In 1974 and 1975 Al sports some pretty good-sized sideburns. His 1976 card is the first one in which he has a mustache. The mustache becomes fuller and he has longer hair in 1977. In 1978 and 1979 Al has a full beard. He's back to the mustache in 1980 and 1981, then has the beard back in 1982.
Al Hrabosky's Ballpark Saloon (a block from Busch Stadium).

A January 2009 interview with Al:

  • Liked to face: Don Kessinger (.000 in 14 AB); Bill Russell (.067 in 15 AB); John Milner (.100 in 20 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Griffey (.600 in 15 AB); Bill Buckner (.500 in 16 AB); Manny Sanguillen (.438 in 16 AB)


  1. That's nuts. I had no idea a) he was a broadcaster and b) he cleaned up so well. Kinda deflates the image a bit.

  2. I saw him at an Old Timers game a few years ago. He did his Mad Hungarian routine wearing a black wig. Kind of amusing.

  3. being Hungarian myself, I can say he's not all that different from the rest of us.

  4. I have a question. I remember watching him pitch back then but my daughter (who also loves baseball) has never seen him, wasn't born yet. Is there any footage on You Tube of him pitching? I can't seem to find anything, can you help?

  5. Rhonda --

    I wish I could help. There isn't a whole lot of 1970s footage out there except for World Series and All Star games. Even that footage is pretty rare. :(