Monday, March 8, 2010

1976 Topps #376 - Rich Hebner

  • Richie Hebner had a solid career from 1968-1985. Hebner was the Pittsburgh Pirates' first round pick in 1966. He played in the minors from 1966-1968 and was brought up at the end of the 1968 season (he was 0 for 1 in 2 games).

  • Richie batted .271 with 17 HR and 67 RBI in 117 games in 1971. He batted .294 with 2 HR in the 1971 NLCS and .188 in the World Series. Hebner's bese season was probably 1972. He batted .300 with 19 HR and 72 RBI and had a career-high .508 slugging percentage. Richie batted .188 in the 1972 NLCS.

  • Hebner had another solid season in 1973. He had career-highs in HR (25) and doubles (28) and batted .271 with 74 RBI. In 1974 he batted .291 with 18 HR and 68 RBI. In the 1974 NLCS Richie batted .231 with a home run.

  • Richie's production started to fall off in 1975. He batted .246 with 15 HR and 57 RBI. He batted .333 in the 1975 NLCS. Hebner's last year with the Pirates was 1976. He batted .249 with 8 HR and 51 RBI in '76. Hebner became a free agent after the 1976 season and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

  • The Phillies already had Mike Schmidt at third base so Richie played most of his games at first base. He batted .285 with 18 HR and 62 RBI in 1977 and batted .357 in the NLCS. In 1978 Hebner batted .283 with 17 HR and 71 RBI.

  • The Phillies signed Pete Rose before the 1979 season, so they traded Hebner to the New York Mets with Jose Moreno for Nino Espinosa. He moved back to third base and batted .268 with 10 HR and 79 RBI. It was the first time Richie played for a losing team. He had a nice playoff run in the 1970s -- his teams were in the playoffs 7 times in the decade and two other times (1973 and 1976) his teams finished second in the division.

  • After the 1979 season Richie was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Phil Mankowski and Jerry Morales. He played 3B and 1B in 1980. He batted .290 with 12 HR and a career-high 82 RBI. In 1981 Hebner dropped to .226 with 5 HR and 28 RBI in 78 games.

  • Hebner played in 68 games for the Tigers in 1982 and batted .274 with 8 HR and 18 RBI. On August 16 he was purchased by the Pirates. Richie played in 25 games for the Pirates and batted .300 with 2 HR and 12 RBI.

  • At this point in his career Richie was a part-time player and pinch hitter. He batted .265 with 5 HR in 162 AB for the Pirates in 1983. Hebner became a free agent after the 1983 season and signed with the Chicago Cubs. He was a valuable pinch hitter for the Cubs in 1984, batting .333 in 81 at bats. Hebner was 0 for 1 in the 1984 NLCS.

  • Richie's last season was 1985. He batted .217 in 120 at bats. Hebner was released during spring training in 1986.

  • After his playing career Richie was a hitting coach and occasional manager in the minors. He was the hitting coach for a few years in the majors (Boston 1989-1991, Philadelphia 2001). Hebner is now the hitting coach for the Norfolk Tides (Baltimore organization).

  • Richie Hebner quote: "Hitting Phil Niekro's knuckleball is like eating soup with a fork."

  • Liked to face:  Rick Reuschel (.422 in 83 AB); Dave Freisleben (.480 in 25 AB); Bob Gibson (.387 in 62 AB)

  • Hated to face: Mario Soto (.000 in 14 AB); Craig Swan (.048 in 21 AB); Randy Jones (.107 in 28 AB)


  1. I met Hebner just outside of Philly. After his many years with the Pirates and Phils, he was surprised to see a fan from Chicago out there!

  2. How old is that photo Topps used? Hebner's wearing the Clemente memorial 21 patch, which means it's likely a photo from 1973.