Friday, March 5, 2010

1976 Topps #373 - Johnny Briggs

  • Those are some serious chops on Mr. Briggs.

  • By the time this card came out Johnny Briggs was playing in Japan for the Lotte Orions. Briggs was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962. He played only one season (1963) in the minors and batted .297 with 21 HR for the single-A Bakersfield team.

  • Johnny came up to the Phillies in 1964 at the age of 20. He was used mostly as a pinch runner and pinch hitter. Briggs played in 61 games and came to the plate 76 times, batting .258. In 1965 Johnny was a backup outfielder and batted .236 in 229 at bats. He, Tony Taylor, and Johnny Callison were involved in an outfield collision that knocked them senseless in late July 1965. Briggs showed some power in 1966. He homered 10 times and batted .282 (with a career-high .490 slugging percentage) in 255 at bats.

  • Briggs started to get more playing time in 1967. He batted .232 with 9 HR in 332 AB in '67. In 1968 Johnny batted .254 with 7 HR in 338 AB.  He continued to be used at all three OF positions and at 1B.

  • Johnny played in 124 games in 1969, which was his highest total while with the Phillies. He batted .238 with 12 HR. In 1970 Briggs batted .270 with 9 HR in 341 at bats. Johnny started the 1971 season with the Phillies but he started slowly (.182 in 22 AB). On April 22 he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Pete Koegel and Ray Peters. Johnny split time between the outfield and first base but was usually in the lineup somewhere. He batted .264 with 21 HR and 59 RBI for the Brewers in '71.

  • Briggs had a similar season in 1972, batting .266 with 21 HR and 65 RBI. In 1973 Johnny batted .246 with 18 HR and 47 RBI and got a 10th place vote for AL MVP. He went 6 for 6 in a game against Cleveland on August 4. Briggs had a career high in RBI (73) and batted .253 with 17 HR in 1974.

  • Johnny's last major league season was 1975. He started the year with the Brewers and was batting .297 with 3 HR in 28 games when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for Bobby Darwin on June 14. Briggs finished the season with the Twins and ended up batting .246 with 10 HR and 44 RBI for the two teams. In February 1976 Briggs was released and went to Japan. He played one season (1976) in Japan and then called it quits.

  • Briggs has a Pony League named after him in his hometown of Paterson, NJ. He is among several Paterson athletes who are to be honored by the Rotary club for community contributions on May 6.

  • Liked to face: Dave Goltz (.500 in 14 AB); Stan Bahnsen (.400 in 35 AB); Sammy Ellis (.385 in 26 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dick Hughes (.000 in 13 AB); Steve Kline (.059 in 17 AB); Ken Johnson (.071 in 28 AB)

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