Monday, May 31, 2010

1976 Topps #455 - Dick Allen

  • Dick Allen spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but I always thought of him as a White Sox player because of his three great early 70s seasons with them. This 1975 Topps card also influenced my thinking a lot.
  • Dick Allen was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1960. He played mostly second base and outfield during his three minor league seasons. Dick earned a late season promotion to the Phillies in 1963 and batted .292 in ten games.
  • Allen was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1964 and finished seventh in MVP voting. Even though he didn't play third base in the minors, Dick was the starting third baseman for the Phillies. Allen made 41 errors at third base in 1964, but he wasn't out there for his glove. He batted .318 with 29 HR and 91 RBI. Dick led the NL in runs (125), triples (13) and strikeouts (138) as the Phillies almost won the pennant.
  • Dick hit fewer home runs in 1965 (20) but most of his other numbers were very similar to 1964. He batted .302 and knocked in 85 runs. Allen was the starting third baseman in the All Star game and went 1 for 3. People kept calling him Richie although he preferred Dick Dick Allen? - December 1965 Baseball Digest. Dick got into a clubhouse fight with teammate Frank Thomas. According to two teammates Thomas swung a bat at Allen and hit him on the shoulder. Thomas was released the next day and the other players were prevented from giving their side of the story.
  • Allen was fourth in NL MVP voting in 1966. He made the All Star team again, striking out as a pinch hitter. Dick led the NL with a .632 slugging percentage, batted .317, hit 40 home runs, and had 110 RBI.
  • Dick had an "all or nothing" game in the 1967 All Star game. He started at third base and batted four times. Allen struck out in three of those at bats and hit a solo homer in the other at bat. Allen batted .307 but his home run (23) and RBI (77) totals decreased. Dick split time between third base and left field in '67. He seriously injured his throwing hand when he pushed it through a car headlight in '67.
  • In 1968 Dick was moved to left field. His batting average dipped to .268 but he hit 33 homers and had 90 RBI. Allen batted .288 with 32 HR and 89 RBI in 1969. Allen was fined and suspended when he didn't appear for a game after attending a morning horse race in New Jersey and getting caught in traffic on his way back to Shea Stadium.
  • Dick wasn't very popular in Philadelphia and asked to be traded. The Phillies traded Allen to the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the famous Curt Flood trade. Before the 1970 season Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst was asked if the Cards should acquire Allen. Schoendienst said "no" because of the controversy surrounding Allen. After the 1970 season Schoendienst was asked if the Cardinals should trade Allen and he said "no" because of Allen's contributions to the club. In 1970 Allen batted .279 with 34 HR and 101 RBI. Dick was the NL's starting 1B in the 1970 All Star game and went 0 for 3 with a walk. After the 1970 season Dick was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ted Sizemore and Bob Stinson.
  • Allen split time between 3B, LF, and 1B for the Dodgers in 1971. In 155 games he batted .295 with 23 HR and 90 RBI. After the 1971 season Allen was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.
  • Dick had a great season in 1972 and almost led the White Sox to the AL West title. He led the AL in home runs (37), RBI (113), and slugging (.603) and batted .308. Dick made the cover of the June 12, 1972 issue of Sports Illustrated (it's an interesting picture). Allen was the 1972 AL MVP. He went 0 for 3 as the starting AL 1B in the All Star game. Dick Allen: Baseball Digest Player of the Year - December 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Allen was having another good year in 1973 when he broke his fibula in June. Allen made the AL All Star team but couldn't play due to his injury. Dick batted .316 with 16 HR and 41 RBI in 72 games in '73.
  • Dick made the All Star team for the last time in 1974. He started at 1B and went 1 for 2. Allen led the AL with 32 HR. He also led in slugging percentage (.563), batted .301, and knocked in 88 runs. Dick left the White Sox with two weeks left in the season. The White Sox weren't sure if he wanted to continue to play so they sold his contract to the Atlanta Braves for $5000. Allen refused to report to the Braves and retired. The Batter Pitchers Hate to Face - October 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • The Phillies were able to talk Allen out of retirement in May of 1975. The Phils sent Barry Bonnell, Jim Essian, and $150,000 to the Braves for Allen and Johnny Oates. Dick had shoulder problems and wasn't the same offensive player. He batted .233 with 12 HR and 62 RBI in 119 games. Allen batted .268 with 15 HR and 49 RBI in 85 games in 1976. Dick went 2 for 9 in the 1976 NLCS.
  • Allen became a free agent after the 1976 season and signed with the Oakland A's. He batted .240 with 5 HR and 31 RBI in 54 games. Dick was released by the A's during spring training in 1978. Allen ended up with a career .292 batting average with 351 home runs.
  • Allen's uninsured home and horse stables burned down in October 1979. He left his wife for a younger woman and lost everything (including his baseball pension) in the divorce.
  • Dick Allen: Another View (by Craig R. Wright - SABR Magazine)
  • Dick Allen, Baseball's Bad Boy - July 19, 1999 Sports Illustrated
  • Liked to face: Juan Marichal (.371 with 8 HR in 105 AB); Paul Splittorff (.389 with 6 HR in 36 AB); Dick Ellsworth (.550 in 40 AB)
  • Hated to face: Luke Walker (.000 in 25 AB); Don Drysdale (.065 in 46 AB); Ray Washburn (.103 in 29 AB)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1976 Topps #454 - Tom Griffin

  • Tom Griffin pitched in the majors from 1969-1982. Griffin was a first round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 1966. Although he had a 7-14 record with a 4.34 ERA in AAA in 1968 Tom was called up to the majors in 1969. He was in Houston's starting rotation and went 11-10 with a 3.54 ERA in 31 starts in 1969.
  • Griffin struggled in his next two seasons. He was 3-13 with a 5.76 ERA in 23 games for the Astros in 1970. Tom was sent down to the minors in August and made five starts in AAA. In 1971 Griffin started the season 0-5 with a 5.08 ERA before being sent down to AAA. He came back in September and ended up with an 0-7 record.
  • Tom was a reliever and spot starter in 1972. He made 39 appearances (5 of them starts) and was 5-4 with 3 saves and a 3.24 ERA. Griffin missed about five weeks of the 1973 season. He went 4-6 with an ERA of 4.15 in 25 games (12 starts).
  • Griffin became a starter in 1974. He started 34 games and was 14-10 with a 3.54 ERA. Tom had injury problems again in 1975. He didn't appear in any games after June 24. He ended up 3-8 with a 5.33 ERA in 17 games (13 starts).
  • Tom was 5-3 with a 6.05 ERA for the Astros in August of 1976 when he placed on waivers and claimed by the San Diego Padres. Griffin started 11 games for the Padres and was 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA. The Padres used Griffin as a fifth starter and long reliever in 1977. Tom went 6-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 38 games (20 starts). After the 1977 season Griffin became a free agent and signed with the California Angels.
  • Griffin missed three weeks in May of 1978 with an injury. He went 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 24 games (4 starts). Tom was released after the season. He was invited to spring training in 1979 with the San Francisco Giants and made the club. Tom went 5-6 with 2 saves and a 3.91 ERA in 59 games (3 starts) for the Giants in 1979.
  • Griffin had a similar role for the Giants in 1980. He made 42 appearances (4 starts) and was 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA. In 1981 Tom went into the Giants' starting rotation. He was 8-8 with a 3.76 ERA in 22 starts in 1981. After the season Griffin was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Doe Boyland.
  • Tom had a rough time with the Pirates. He was 1-3 with an 8.87 ERA when he was released on May 15.

  • Liked to face: Bob Watson (.000 in 14 AB); Gary Carter (.080 in 25 AB); Ivan De Jesus (.095 in 21 AB)
  • Hated to face: Billy Williams (.485 in 33 AB); Ken Griffey (.480 in 25 AB); Bud Harrelson (.448 in 29 AB)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1976 Topps #453 - Lou Piniella

  • It took Lou Piniella quite a while to establish himself in the majors. I think he had three different "rookie stars" cards in the 1960s. Piniella was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1962. He played in the Indians' organization in 1962, then was picked by the Washington Senators in the "first-year draft." Lou played in the Senators' organization in 1963 and most of 1964 and then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in August for Buster Narum. Piniella was brought up to the Orioles late in the 1964 season and was 0 for 1 in four games as a pinch hitter and pinch runner.
  • Lou played in the Orioles' organization in 1965 and then was traded back to Cleveland. He then played in the Indians' organization for three seasons. Late in the 1968 season Piniella was brought up to the Indians and was 0 for 5 in six games as a pinch hitter. After the 1968 season Piniella was chosen by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. He didn't play for the Pilots -- the Pilots traded Piniella to the Kansas City Royals for John Gelnar and Steve Whitaker.
  • Piniella got his big break when he went to the Royals. He became the everyday left fielder for the Royals and won the AL Rookie of the Year award. Lou batted .282 with 11 HR in 1969. Piniella did even better in 1970 when he batted .301 with 11 HR. Breaks Start to Even up for Lou Piniella - August 1970 Baseball Digest. In 1971 Piniella fell off a little bit by batting .279 with 3 HR in 126 games.
  • Lou made the AL All Star team for the only time in 1972 (he was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter). He led the AL with 33 doubles but also led the league in grounded into double plays (25). Piniella batted .312 with 11 HR and 72 RBI in 1972. Lou fell off in 1973 and batted .250 with 9 HR. After the 1973 season Lou was traded with Ken Wright to the New York Yankees for Lindy McDaniel.
  • Piniella had a good year for the Yankees in 1974. He batted .305 with 9 HR and 70 RBI while mostly playing left field.
  • The 1975 season was Piniella's toughest year as a major leaguer. He had a stint on the disabled list and ended up playing in only 74 games. Most of the time he batted in the lower .200s but on August 24 he dipped below the Mendoza Line and never recovered. Lou ended up with a .196 batting average.
  • Lou recovered in 1976 and batted .281 in 100 games. He batted .273 in the 1976 ALCS and .333 (3 for 9) in the World Series.
  • Piniella batted a career-high .330 in 1977. He also had a career high in home runs (12). Lou batted .333 in the ALCS and .273 in the World Series. Piniella had another solid year in 1978 when he batted .314 in 130 games. He batted .235 in the ALCS and .280 in the World Series. During this time in his career he was mostly a left fielder but he saw a lot of time in right field and at DH.
  • Lou was the regular left fielder in 1979. He batted .297 with 11 HR in 130 games. In 1980 Piniella batted .287 in 116 games.
  • In his last four seasons Piniella was mostly a substitute outfielder, DH, and pinch hitter. He swung the bat well right to the end of his career. Lou batted .277 in 1981, .307 in 1982, .291 in 1983, and .302 in 86 at bats in 1984 (his last season). The Yankees lost the 1981 World Series, but Piniella wasn't to blame -- he batted .438 in 16 at bats. Lou retired on June 16, 1984 with a .291 lifetime batting average.
  • Piniella became the Yankees' batting coach in 1985. He managed the Yankees in 1986 and 1987 and then became the Yankees' general manager in 1988. He came back to the field on June 23 after the Yankees fired manager Billy Martin.
  • Lou moved on to manage the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. The Reds won the world championship that year. After a tough 1991 season the Reds finished second in the NL West in 1992.
  • Piniella managed the Seattle Mariners from 1993-2002. He was Manager of the Year in 1995 and 2001. The Mariners won three AL West titles under Piniella and won a record-tying 116 games in 2001. After the 2002 season Lou was included in a trade to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that sent Randy Winn to the Mariners.
  • Lou managed the Devil Rays from 2003-2005. He clashed with the Tampa Bay front office because of their low payroll and their focus on the future at the expense of immediate results. Lou stepped down as the Tampa Bay manager after the 2005 season even though he had one more year left on his contract at $4.4 million (he took a $2.2 million buyout).
  • Piniella did some broadcasting in 2006 and then was hired to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2007. The Cubs won the NL East in 2007 (he was NL Manager of the Year) and again in 2008, but they didn't make it to the World Series. He is still managing the Cubs, but this is the last year of his contract (2010).
  • Liked to face: Rich Wortham (.450 in 20 AB); Andy Hassler (.425 in 40 AB); Rudy May (.407 in 57 AB); Larry Gura (.407 in 59 AB)
  • Hated to face: Wayne Garland (.000 in 19 AB); Ray Corbin (.125 in 24 AB); Mel Stottlemyre (.136 in 22 AB)

Friday, May 28, 2010

1976 Topps #452 - Tom Hausman

  • Tom Hausman pitched in seven seasons from 1975-1982. Tom was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1971 and pitched in the minors from 1971-1974. Hausman made the Brewers ballclub in 1975 and went 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 29 games (9 starts).
  • Hausman appeared in three games for the Brewers (0-0, 5.40 ERA) and pitched for AAA Spokane for most of the 1976 season. Tom was with Spokane for the entire 1977 season. After the 1977 season Hausman became a free agent and signed with the New York Mets.
  • Tom started the 1978 season with AAA Tidewater. He was brought up to the Mets in July after going 5-2 with a 1.22 ERA in 10 starts for the Tides. Hausman started 10 games for the Mets and was 3-3 with a 4.70 ERA. Hausman started the 1979 season with Tidewater and was brought up to the Mets in June. He went 2-6 with a 2.75 ERA in 19 games (10 starts) for the Mets in '79.
  • Tom stayed with the Mets for the whole 1980 season. He made 55 appearances (4 starts) and was 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA. Hausman was used exclusively in relief in 1981. He was 0-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 20 games in '81. He had an elbow injury that limited his appearances.
  • Tom had injury problems (elbow and shoulder) again in 1982. He didn't appear in a game until May 25 and also missed six weeks between July 4 and August 14. Hausman made three appearances for Tidewater, which was probably a rehab assignment. Tom was 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 21 games on September 10 when he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Carlos Diaz. Hausman made three appearances for the Braves (0-0, 4.91 ERA) to finish the 1982 season. Tom was released after the 1982 season.
  • Hausman signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983 and made four appearances for AAA Hawaii. He didn't pitch in 1984 and then tried to come back in 1985 with Las Vegas (Padres) and Albuquerque (Dodgers). Tom's stints with those two AAA teams were unsuccessful and he retired after the season.
  • Jeff Reardon listed Tom Hausman as the player he learned the most from. Reardon said that Tom took him under his wing when he first came up in 1979.
  • Hausman now lives in Las Vegas.
  • Liked to face: Ozzie Smith (.083 in 12 AB); Lenny Randle/Bill North/Mike Schmidt (.091 in 11 AB)
  • Hated to face: Enos Cabell (.600 in 10 AB); Andre Dawson (.467 in 15 AB); Steve Ontiveros (.462 in 13 AB)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

1976 Topps #450 - Jim Palmer

  • A Jim Palmer was a great pack pull in the 1970s. He won 20 or more games eight out of ten years in the 1970s. Jim won three AL Cy Young Awards and finished second in two other seasons. Palmer pitched for the Baltimore Orioles from 1965-1984 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990.

  • Palmer was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1963. Palmer's career almost ended before it started when he was involved in an automobile accident near Kayenta, AZ (on the Navajo reservation) on August 16, 1963 (May 1990 Baseball Digest). He was 11-3 with a 2.51 ERA for Class A Aberdeen in 1964 and that earned him a shot at the Orioles in 1965. Jim was a swingman in 1965 and was 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 27 games (6 starts).

  • Jim became a regular member of the Baltimore rotation in 1966. He started 30 games and was 15-10 with a 3.46 ERA. Palmer started game 2 of the 1966 World Series and beat Sandy Koufax by pitching a 4-hit shutout.

  • In 1967 Jim started with the Orioles but was injured and missed several months of the season. He ended up 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in nine starts. Palmer didn't pitch for the Orioles at all in 1968 but he did do some pitching in the minors. He felt some muscles ripping in his back one day in 1968 while pitching in the minors and went back to Baltimore for some tests. Jim had surgery, went on a weight program and was able to rehabilitate himself.

  • Palmer came back in 1969 to lead the AL with a .800 winning percentage. Jim was 16-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 23 starts. He had a shot at winning 20 games but he was injured (unrelated to his arm) and missed six weeks. Jim pitched a no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics on August 13. Palmer started and won game 3 of the ALCS. He took the loss in game 3 of the World Series.

  • Jim made his first AL All Star team in 1970. He started the game and pitched three scoreless innings. Palmer went 20-10 with a 2.71 ERA and led the AL with five shutouts and 305 innings pitched. Palmer won game 3 of the ALCS. He started twice in the World Series and was the winning pitcher in game 1.

  • Palmer pitched two scoreless innings in the 1971 All Star Game. He was 20-9 with a 2.68 ERA, won game 3 of the ALCS, and won game 2 of the World Series. He started game 6 of the World Series and left the game after nine innings with the score tied 2-2 (Baltimore won the game in 10 innings).

  • Jim went 21-10 with a 2.07 ERA in 1972. He started the All Star Game and pitched three scoreless innings. In 1973 Palmer won his first AL Cy Young Award and finished second to Reggie Jackson in MVP voting. Jim went 22-9 with a league-leading 2.40 ERA. In the 1973 ALCS Palmer pitched a 5-hit shutout in game 1. He started game 4 but got knocked out in the second inning after allowing three runs. Jim entered game 5 in the fourth inning and shut the A's out over 4 1/3 innings but the damage was done as Oakand won the game and the series. A side note: it's hard to believe that only 24,265 fans attended that deciding game in Oakland. Jim Palmer Views The Pinch Hitting Rule - May 1973 Baseball Digest.

  • Palmer missed two months of the 1974 season with elbow problems. He went 7-12 and had a 3.27 ERA in 26 starts. Jim started game 3 of the ALCS and allowed only one run (a Sal Bando solo home run) on four hits in nine innings, but Vida Blue pitched a shutout and Palmer was tagged with his only career League Championship Series loss.

  • Jim came back to pitch very well in the next three seasons. He led the AL in wins in 1975, 1976, and 1977. Palmer won the AL Cy Young Award in '75 and '76 and was the runner up in 1977. Palmer was 23-11 with an AL-leading 2.09 ERA in 1975. In 1976 he was 22-13 with a 2.51 ERA. Jim Palmer: The Orioles' Pitching Symphony - January 1977 Baseball Digest. Jim went 20-11 with a 2.91 ERA in 1977. Palmer also won four straight Gold Gloves from 1976-1979. How Jim Palmer Sizes up His Pitching - June 1977 Baseball Digest.

  • Jim didn't lead the AL in wins in 1978 (Ron Guidry had his great 25-win season that year) but still pitched well. He was 21-12 with a 2.46 ERA and was third in Cy Young Award voting. Palmer was hurt in 1979 and missed six weeks from early July to mid August. He ended up 10-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 23 starts. Jim started game 1 of the ALCS and left the game after nine innings with the score tied 3-3. The Orioles won that game in ten innings. He started game 2 (no decision) and game 6 (a loss) of the 1979 World Series.

  • Palmer's ERA shot up to 3.98 in 1980 but he still had a good 16-10 record in 33 starts. Jim was 7-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 22 starts in 1981.

  • Jim's last big year was 1982. He went 15-5 and led the AL with a .750 winning percentage. Palmer finished second to Pete Vuckovich in AL Cy Young Award balloting during a year in which nobody would win more than 18 games.

  • Jim made two trips to the disabled list in 1983, missing a total of about 3 1/2 months. He was 5-4 with a 4.23 ERA in 11 starts in 1983. Palmer wasn't used in the 1983 ALCS, but he pitched two innings in relief in game 3 of the World Series and earned the win.

  • Palmer's last year was 1984. He was 0-3 with a 9.17 ERA when he was released on May 12, 1984.
    News story about Palmer's release:

  • After his playing career Palmer became a broadcaster. He was already doing postseason games for ABC during seasons when the Orioles weren't in the playoffs. Jim is now broadcasting for the Orioles.

  • Jim attempted a comeback in 1991, a year after he was elected to the Hall of Fame. The comeback lasted for a few weeks in spring training.

  • Jim seems to be the calm one out of the three pitchers interviewed for this article about baseball's unwritten rules.

  • Liked to face: Barry Bonnell (.000 in 15 AB); Jamie Quirk (.045 in 22 AB); John Ellis (.056 in 36 AB)

  • Hated to face: Al Oliver (.478 in 23 AB); Rickey Henderson (.476 in 21 AB); Rod Carew (.358 in 95 AB)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1976 Topps #451 - Buddy Bradford

  • Buddy Bradford was signed by the Chicago White Sox at the age of 17 in 1962. He played in the minors for several seasons and had a little bit of power (double figures in home runs) and some speed.
  • Bradford got his first shot in the majors in 1966. In 14 games he batted .143 in 28 at bats. After spending most of the 1967 season in the minors Buddy batted .100 in 20 at bats for the White Sox in 1968.
  • Buddy got a good portion of his major league playing time between 1968 and 1970. In 1968 he played in 103 games and batted .217 in 281 at bats. Bradford had his best year in 1969 when he batted .256 in 273 at bats and hit 11 home runs. Buddy started the 1970 season with the White Sox (.187 in 91 at bats) and was traded with Tommie Sisk to the Cleveland Indians on June 15 for Bob Miller and Barry Moore. Buddy finished the 1970 season batting .170 in 163 at bats for the Indians.
  • Bradford was traded again in 1971. He started with the Indians (.158 in 30 AB) and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Kurt Bevacqua on May 8. Buddy batted .200 in 100 at bats for the Reds in 1971. Bradford was purchased by the White Sox during spring training in 1972.
  • Buddy started the 1972 season in AAA . He was brought up to the White Sox in late July and batted .271 in 48 at bats, mostly as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. Bradford was in AAA again in 1973 and came up to the White Sox in early July. He batted .238 in 168 at bats.
  • In 1974 Buddy got his best Strat-O-Matic card. He batted only 112 times but he batted .333 with a .414 on base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage. It was an injury-filled season for him as he broke his collarbone in a collision with an outfield wall on May 17, came back in late July, and then tore a hamstring in mid-August.
  • Buddy ended up playing for the White Sox three different times. In 1975 Bradford started wtih the White Sox and batted .155 in 58 at bats. On June 30 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bill Parsons. Buddy batted .272 in 81 at bats for the Cardinals in '75. After the 1975 season Bradford was traded back to the White Sox for Lee Richard.
  • Bradford's last season in the majors was 1976. He batted .219 in 160 at bats. The White Sox released Bradford on his 32nd birthday on July 25, 1976.

  • In 1977 Bradford played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan. He tore his hamstring again stealing a base and ended up calling it quits.

  • Buddy invested his baseball money well and had a successful business career after his life in baseball. As of 1994 Bradford owned C&P Investments (a company that acquires apartment buildings) in Los Angeles. Here is a "where are they now" article about him from 1994.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We interrupt your regular programming....

Here's a cool story about baseball cards that was on NPR. It got me to thinking about what will happen to my collection when I eventually go away. I have one nephew that is interested in baseball cards, but he lives in North Carolina and I live in Arizona. It would cost a bundle for someone to ship them across the country. This is going to take some thought.....

Monday, May 24, 2010

1976 Topps #449 - Bob Robertson

  • Bob Robertson played in the majors from 1967-1979, mostly for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robertson was signed by the Pirates in 1964. When he was coming up in the Pirates’ system Bob was called “the next Ralph Kiner” due to his power – he led the minor leagues in home runs three times.

  • Bob got his first chance in the majors in September 1967. He batted .171 with 2 HR in 35 at bats. Robertson missed the entire 1968 season because of a kidney obstruction.

  • Bob started the 1969 season with the Pirates but was sent down in mid-May after batting .179. Robertson came back to the Pirates in September and ended up batting .208 in 96 at bats.

  • Robertson was given more regular playing time (mostly at first base) in 1970. He batted .287 with 27 HR and 82 RBI. Bob went 1 for 5 in two games in the 1970 NLCS.

  • Bob’s biggest year was 1971. During the regular season he batted .271 with 26 HR and 72 RBI. Robertson batted .438 and hit four home runs in the 1971 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. Three of the home runs were in game 2 of the series. The Pirates were down 2 games to 0 in the World Series when Bob hit a 3-run homer to lead the Pirates to a 5-1 victory. Robertson had been ordered to bunt, but he missed the sign. Bob batted .240 with 2 home runs in the World Series. Bob Robertson - The Pirates' Grumpy Hero - December 1971 Baseball Digest. The Bunt That Never Happened - Baseball Digest January 1972

  • Robertson fell off badly after the 1971 season. In 1972 he batted .193 with 12 HR and 41 RBI in 115 games. He walked in his only plate appearance in the 1972 NLCS. Bob batted .239 with 14 HR and 40 RBI in 119 games in 1973. Roberson batted .229 with 16 HR and 48 RBI in 91 games in 1974. He went 0 for 5 in one game in the 1974 NLCS. Bob had surgery on both knees after the 1974 season and he became a part-time player after that.

  • Bob batted .274 with 6 HR in 124 at bats in 1975. He went 1 for 2 with a walk in three pinch-hitting appearances in the 1975 NLCS. Robertson batted .217 with 2 HR in 129 at bats in 1976. The Pirates released Robertson during spring training in 1977.

  • After missing the entire 1977 season Bob signed with the Seattle Mariners. He batted .230 with 8 HR in 64 games for the Mariners in 1978. The Mariners released Robertson before the 1979 season. Bob was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in late April. He batted .103 in 29 at bats and was released in late June.
  • Robertson now lives in LaVale, MD and is employed by Bayliner (a boat company)

  • Liked to face: Denny LeMaster (.429 with 3 HR in 7 AB); Mike Marshall (.391 in 23 AB); Milt Pappas (.385 with 4 HR in 26 AB)

  • Hated to face: Steve Stone (.000 in 14 AB); Rick Reuschel (.056 in 18 AB); Burt Hooton/Al Downing (.095 in 21 AB)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1976 Topps #448 - Tom Johnson

  • Tom Johnson pitched parts of five seasons for the Minnesota Twins from 1974-1978. Johnson was signed by the Twins in 1969. He pitched in the minors from 1970-1974 and was called up late in the 1974 season. Tom went 2-0 with one save and had a 0.00 ERA in four games in 1974.
  • In 1975 Johnson pitched for AAA Tacoma until early July. He pitched in 18 games for the Twins in 1975 and was 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA. Tom split time between Tacoma and Minnesota again in 1976. Johnson was 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 18 games for the Twins in 1976.
  • Johnson had his big year in 1977. He went 16-7 with 15 saves and had a 3.13 ERA in 71 games. The 16 victories is a large number for a relief pitcher. Roy Face has the all-time record for relief wins with 18.
  • Tom fell off badly in 1978, probably due to an injury. He went 1-4 with a 5.51 ERA in 18 games. Johnson was released by the Twins before the 1979 season. He signed with the Chicago White Sox in October of 1979 and pitched in the minors in 1980 but he didn't make it back to the majors.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

1976 Topps #447 - Gene Locklear

  • Gene Locklear played parts of six seasons in the majors from 1973-1977. He had a .308 lifetime minor league batting average but never really made it in the majors. Gene is a full-blooded member of the Lumbee people in North Carolina.
  • Locklear was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1969. He played in the minors from 1969-1972 and made the Reds' roster in 1973. Gene was batting .192 in 26 at bats when he was traded with Mike Johnson and cash to the San Diego Padres for Fred Norman on June 12. Locklear batted .240 in 154 at bats for the Padres in 1973.
  • In 1974 Gene batted .341 for AAA Hawaii. He played in 39 games for the Padres and batted .270 in 74 at bats. Locklear had his best major league season in 1975. He again split time between Hawaii and San Diego and batted .321 in 237 at bats for the Padres.
  • Locklear started the 1976 season with the Padres. He batted .224 in 67 at bats and was traded to the New York Yankees for Rick Sawyer on July 10. Gene was in the minors for most of the 1976 season and batted .219 in 32 at bats for the Yankees in August and September.
  • Gene batted .290 in 121 games for AAA Syracuse in 1977. He went 3 for 5 in the one game he played for the Yankees in '77. Locklear went to Japan and played for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1978.
  • After his playing career Gene became a commercial artist. Here is his website.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1976 Topps #446 - Larry Haney

  • Topps really had a hard time coming up with career highlights for this card. "Played 3 games at 3rd base, 1974." Wow.
  • Larry Haney was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1961. Larry played in the minors from 1961-1966. He played in only three games in 1964 -- he may have been injured or in the military.
  • Haney came up in late July of 1966. He batted .161 in 20 games. Larry played in 58 games in 1967 and batted .268. He batted .236 in 38 games in 1968. After the 1968 season Haney was taken by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft.
  • Haney batted .254 in 22 games for the Pilots in 1969 before being traded to the Oakland A's for John Donaldson on June 14. He batted .151 in 53 games for the A's to finish the 1969 season.
  • Larry spent most of his time from 1970-1973 in the minor leagues. He played in 2 games (.000 in 2 AB) for the A's in 1970 and didn't play in the majors at all in 1971. Haney was 0 for 1 in one game for the A's in 1972 and was sold to the San Diego Padres on May 30. Larry was in the minors until he was reacquired by the A's on September 6. Haney went 0 for 3 in four games with the A's at the end of the 1972 season.
  • Haney went 1 for 2 in two games for the A's early in the 1973 season. He was in the minors for most of the 1973 season. The A's sold Haney to the St. Louis Cardinals on September 1. Larry went 0 for 1 in two games for the Cardinals late in 1973.
  • Larry was sold to the A's during spring training in 1974. This was his third stint with the ballclub. This time Haney stayed with the major league club for the entire season. Larry batted .165 in 76 games in 1974. He appeared in two games in the 1974 World Series but didn't have an at bat.
  • Haney batted .192 in 27 at bats in 1975. He played in 47 games, mostly as a defensive replacement. Larry batted .226 in 88 games in 1976. After the 1976 season Haney was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Larry batted .228 in 63 games for the Brewers in 1977. Haney didn't make the ballclub in 1978 and was released during spring training. Larry became the bullpen coach and was activated when the rosters were expanded on September 1. Haney went 1 for 5 in four games and retired as a player after the 1978 season.
  • Haney continued as the bullpen coach until 1989. He was the Brewers' pitching coach in 1990 and 1991. He worked for the Brewers club in various positions until he retired in 2006. Larry has a son (Chris) who pitched in the majors.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1976 Topps #445 - Rico Petrocelli

  • Rico Petrocelli was a popular shortstop and third baseman with the Boston Red Sox. He was one of those rare players who spent every year of a long career with the same club. Rico had the famous "Fenway Stroke" which yielded lots of home runs over the years. Petrocelli was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1961. After playing in the minors from 1962-1964 Rico became the starting shortstop in 1965. Rico had throwing problems because of a chronic right elbow problem and he played in only 103 games, batting .232 with 13 home runs.
  • Petrocelli wasn't a favorite of Red Sox manager Billy Herman. Things came to a head when Rico left in the middle of a game to take care of a family emergency. Herman wanted Rico suspended, but he was fined instead. Petrocelli spent some time on the disabled list because of his elbow, but he still batted .238 with 18 HR in 139 games in 1966.
  • New Red Sox manager Dick Williams had more success in working with Petrocelli. Rico was insecure until Williams and coach Eddie Popowski came along and gave him confidence. A turning point in the Red Sox' "Impossible Dream" season came on June 21 when the Red Sox and Yankees had a benches-clearing brawl. Petrocelli and the Yankees' Joe Pepitone really went at it and it took several security guards to get them apart. The Red Sox went 60-39 in the remainder of the season. Rico batted .259 with 17 HR and 66 RBI. Petrocelli was also the starting shortstop in the All Star Game (he went 0 for 1). He struggled in the World Series (.200 in 20 AB), but he hit two home runs in game 6. Red Sox Balance Wheel - September 1967 Baseball Digest.
  • Rico's right elbow problem came back in 1968 and he missed 39 games. Petrocelli batted only .234 with 12 HR in 123 games. A Look at Rico - August 1968 Baseball Digest.  Rico gave up ice cream to prevent calcium deposits from forming on his elbow and exercised his arms and wrists during the offseason. He felt much better at the beginning of the 1969 season and he had his best year. Rico batted .297, hit 40 home runs (an AL record for shortstops at the time), and had 97 RBI. He was the starting shortstop in the 1969 All Star Game and went 1 for 3 with a double. Rico Petrocelli, Newest Minibrute in the Majors - September 1969 Baseball Digest
  • Petrocelli batted .261, hit 29 homers and had 103 RBI in 1970. After the season he was asked to move to third base in order for the Red Sox to acquire shortstop Luis Aparico. Rico agreed and put in extra work during spring training before the 1971 season. He set a record for third basemen with 77 consecutive errorless games and led AL third basemen with a .976 fielding percentage. Rico batted .251 with 28 HR and 89 RBI in 1971.
  • Rico's power started to fall off in 1972. He batted .240 with 15 HR and 75 RBI. It was his last injury-free season. In 1973 Petrocelli didn't play after August 11 because of his bad elbow. The Red Sox were 2 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles when Rico went down but they fell out of the race and finished 8 games behind. Rico batted .244 with 13 HR and 45 RBI.
  • Petrocelli had elbow surgery in the offseason. His elbow healed well, but Rico had hamstring problems that slowed him down early in 1974. He batted .267 with 15 HR and 76 RBI. Petrocelli was beaned by a Jim Slaton pitch on September 15 and missed the rest of the 1974 season.
  • Rico came back in 1975 but had problems with his equilibrium. His leadership was still important for the young Red Sox club. Petrocelli batted .239 with 7 HR and 39 RBI in 115 games. He batted .167 in the ALCS and .308 in the World Series.
  • Petrocelli had problems with side-effects from the inner-ear medication he was taking. He had to stop taking the medication. This affected his abilities at the plate and he eventually lost his 3B job to Butch Hobson. He was tried at second base but that move was unsuccessful. Rico batted .213 with 3 HR in 85 games in 1976.
  • Petrocelli was cut by the Red Sox during spring training in 1977. Rico wrote a column for the Boston Herald following the progress of the Red Sox. He also did a talk radio show. Rico spent some time in broadcasting and then went into business for a few years in the early 1980s. Petrocelli had two stints as a minor league manager (1986-1988 and 1992) and was a roving instructor for the Red Sox in the 1990s. Rico now runs Petrocelli Marketing Group based in Nausha, NH.
  • Liked to face: Al Fitzmorris (.414 in 29 AB); Casey Cox (.395 in 45 AB); John Hiller (.409 in 22 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dave LaRoche (.000 in 10 AB); Nolan Ryan (.057 with 21 strikeouts in 35 AB); Jim Slaton (.081 in 37 AB) 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1976 Topps #444 - Gary Nolan

  • Gary Nolan pitched in the majors, mostly for the Cincinnati Reds, from 1967-1977. Arm injuries derailed his career. Nolan was a first round draft choice of the Reds in 1966. He pitched in the minors in 1966 and then made the Reds' starting rotation at the age of 18 in 1967. Gary went 14-8 with a 2.78 ERA in 32 starts and was third (behind Tom Seaver and Dick Hughes) in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Teenager in a Hurry - September 1967 Baseball Digest
  • Nolan had injury problems in 1968. He made two starts in the minors and then joined the Reds in late May. Gary was 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 22 starts in '68. In 1969 Nolan was 8-8 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 games (15 starts). He missed three months from early May to early August. It's interesting that Gary earned a decision in every appearance in 1969. Gary Nolan: The Confidence Kid - Baseball Digest May 1969
  • Nolan came back in 1970 to have a nice year. He was 18-7 with a 3.27 ERA in 37 starts and was 6th in NL Cy Young Award balloting. Gary pitched nine shutout innings and earned the win in game 1 of the NLCS. Nolan took the loss in game 1 of the World Series. He started game 4 but didn't get the decision.
  • In 1971 Gary had a good ERA (3.16) but was only 12-15. Nolan led the NL with a .750 winning percentage in 1972. He was 15-5 with a 1.99 ERA in 25 starts. Gary was selected to the NL All Star team but was unable to pitch due to neck and shoulder pain. He spent some time on the disabled list but was ready to pitch when the postseason came. Nolan started game 3 of the NLCS and left the game with a lead after six innings, but the bullpen didn't hold the lead. He started and lost game 1 of the World Series. Gary started game 4 of the World Series but was pulled in the 5th inning and didn't get the decision.
  • Nolan made only two starts in 1973 (0-1, 3.48 ERA) and didn't pitch at all (except for a couple of minor league games) in 1974.
  • Gary had a good comeback year in 1975. He went 15-9 with a 3.16 ERA in 32 starts. Nolan started one game in the NLCS and two games in the World Series but didn't get the decision in any of the games. Nolan won the Hutch Award in 1975.
  • Nolan had an identical 15-9 record (this time with a 3.46 ERA) in 1976. He started one game of the NLCS but didn't get the decision. Gary started and won game 4 of the 1976  World Series. The Ordeal of Gary Nolan - February 1976 Baseball Digest
  • In 1977 Nolan had more injury problems. He started eight games with the Reds (4-1, 4.81 ERA) before being traded to the California Angels on June 15 for a minor leaguer. Gary was 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA in five starts for the Angels to finish the 1977 season. Nolan was released by the Angels after the 1977 season. He signed with the Milwaukee Brewers but was released during spring training in 1978. Nolan then retired at the age of 29. He tried to come back with the San Diego Padres in 1980 but couldn't make it out of spring training camp. Gary Nolan Sheds No Tears for Lost Glory - January 1981 Baseball Digest
  • After his retirement Gary worked the floor at MGM Casino in Las Vegas.
  • Liked to face: Clete Boyer (.037 in 27 AB); Tony Taylor (.087 in 23 AB); Ron Santo (.140 in 43 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bill Madlock (.529 in 17 AB); Cleon Jones (.447 in 38 AB); Joe Torre (.439 with 4 HR in 41 AB)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

1976 Topps #443 - San Francisco Giants

  • The Giants didn't have a  manager when this card was printed. Bill Rigney ended up coming back to manage the club. Rigney had previously managed the Giants from 1956-1960, the Angels from 1961-1969, and the Twins from 1970-1972. The Giants were really at a low during the mid-1970s -- they couldn't afford to keep their better players and there was always talk of moving the club to Toronto or Florida. The club would have a couple of good years (1978, 1982), but they didn't become a consistently good team again until the late 1980s.
  • Team Record: 74-88 (4th in NL West - 28 games behind Cincinnati)
  • Attendance: 626,868 (12th in NL)
  • Batting Leader: Larry Herndon - .288
  • Home Run Leader: Bobby Murcer - 23
  • RBI Leader: Bobby Murcer - 90
  • Stolen Base Leader: Gary Matthews/Larry Herndon/Bobby Murcer - 12 each
  • Wins Leader: John Montefusco - 16
  • Losses Leader: John  Montefusco/Ed Halicki - 14
  • Saves Leader: Randy Moffitt - 14
  • ERA Leader: John Montefusco (starter) - 2.84; Randy Moffitt (reliever) - 2.27
  • Team Batting: .246 (9th in NL)
  • Team Home Runs: 85 (8th in NL)
  • Team Stolen Bases: 88 (8th in NL)
  • Team ERA: 3.53 (6th in NL)
  • Team Fielding: .972 (10th in NL)
  • NL All Stars: John Montefusco (pitcher)

Monday, May 17, 2010

1976 Topps #442 - Hank Webb

  • Hank Webb pitched in parts of six seasons from 1972-1977. Webb was drafted by the New York Mets in 1968. Hank had nice numbers in the minor leagues, but he had a hard time cracking the good Mets' pitching staffs of the early-mid 1970s.
  • After going 12-8 with a 2.87 ERA for two minor league teams in 1972, Hank pitched in six games (0-0, 4.42 ERA) for the Mets. Webb pitched in two games (0-0, 9.00 ERA) for the Mets in 1973 and he pitched in three games (0-2, 7.20 ERA) in 1974. Hank pitched a 7-inning no-hitter for AAA Tidewater on June 7, 1974.
  • Webb got his best shot in the majors in 1975. He pitched in 29 games (15 starts) and was 7-6 with a 4.07 ERA. Hank was up and down between the Mets and Tidewater in 1976. He appeared in eight games with the Mets and was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. After the 1976 season Webb and a minor leaguer were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Rick Auerbach.
  • Webb had an even tougher time getting into games with the Dodgers staff of 1977. He spent a lot of time in AAA Albuquerque and pitched in five games (0-0, 2.25 ERA) for the Dodgers. Hank pitched for Albuquerque in 1978 but was ineffective (2-5, 6.43 ERA in 29 games) and retired after the season.
  • Hank has a son (Ryan Webb) who pitches for the San Diego Padres.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

1976 Topps #441 - Gary Carter

  • Gary Carter was a Hall of Fame catcher for several teams, most notably the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets. In this card Gary is wearing #57, but he would later be given the number 8 which he wore for the rest of his career. He was a national champion in Punt, Pass, and Kick in 1961. Carter was drafted by the Expos in 1972. Gary played in the minors from 1972-1974. He had a brief stint in Montreal at the end of the 1974 season and batted .407 in 27 at bats.
  • Carter had a very good rookie season in 1975 and finised second to John Montefusco in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Gary batted .270 with 17 HR and 68 RBI. He represented the Expos in the All Star Game and played left field as a late inning defensive replacement.
  • Gary had a difficult second season in 1976. He had a broken finger that limited his effectiveness. He batted .219 in 97 games as he split time between the outfield and catcher.
  • Carter put it all together in 1977 and batted .284 with 30 HR and 84 RBI in 154 games. In each season from 1977 through 1988 (except the 1981 strike year) Carter played in 130 or more games. Gary batted .255 with 20 HR and 72 RBI in 1978.
  • In 1979 Gary made the NL All Star team (he was 1 for 2 with an RBI). He would be an All-Star each year from 1979 to 1988. Carter batted .283 with 22 HR and 75 RBI in 1979. He batted .264 with 29 HR and 101 RBI in 1980. He won his first Gold Glove and was second in NL MVP voting in 1980.
  • Carter had sort of an off-year in the only season (1981) that the Expos made the playoffs during his time there. Gary batted .251 with 16 HR and 68 RBI in '81. Carter hit two home runs in the 1981 All Star Game and was named the game's MVP. He won his second Gold Glove and his first Silver Slugger in '81. Gary had a great run in the playoffs. He batted .421 with 2 HR in five games in the NLDS and batted .438 in five games in the NLCS. Gary Carter: The No. 1 Catcher in the Majors - May 1981 Baseball Digest.
  • Gary won his third (and last) Gold Glove in 1982. He batted .293 with 29 HR and 97 RBI and won another Silver Slugger award. Carter batted .270 with 17 HR and 79 RBI in 1983.
  • Carter's last season in Montreal was in 1984. Gary homered in the 1984 All Star Game and got his second All Star MVP Award. He won the Silver Slugger, led the NL with 106 RBI, and batted .294 with 27 home runs. After the 1984 season Gary was traded to the New York Mets for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans.
  • Gary batted .281 with 32 HR and 100 RBI and won another Silver Slugger for his new ballclub in 1985. In 1986 he won his last Silver Slugger and was third behind Mike Schmidt and Glenn Davis. Carter batted .255 with 24 HR and 105 RBI during the regular season. He batted only .148 in the NLCS but batted .276 with 2 HR in the World Series as the Mets beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games. Gary Carter Has Paid His Dues; He May Be Pennant-Bound at Last - September 1986 Baseball Digest. The Game I'll Never Forget - July 1991 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1987 Gary was 33 years old and his production started to wane a little. He batted .235 with 20 HR and 83 RBI in 1987. In 1988, his last season as a regular catcher, Gary batted .242 with 11 HR and 46 RBI. Carter played in all seven games of the 1988 NLDS and batted .242.
  • Carter missed about 10 weeks of the 1989 season with an injury. He played in only 50 games and batted .183 with 2 HR. The Mets released Carter after the 1989 season. Gary Carter: He's Not Conceding to Age, Yet! - April 1989 Baseball Digest.
  • Gary signed with the San Francisco Giants. He was a backup catcher for the Giants and batted .254 with 9 HR in 92 games. Carter became a free agent after the 1990 season and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He backed up at catcher again in 1991 and batted .245 with 6 HR in 101 games. The Dodgers waived Carter after the 1991 season and he signed with the Expos. Gary batted .218 in 95 games with the Expos in 1992 and retired after the season. Gary Carter Finished his Noteworthy Career on His Own Terms - March 1993 Baseball Digest.
  • After his playing career Carter was an analyst on Florida Marlins broadcasts from 1993-1996. He managed in the Mets organization from 2005-2008, managed an independent league ballclub in 2009, and is now the head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Carter was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003. Gary Carter and Eddie  Murray Elected to Cooperstown - April 2003 Baseball Digest.
  • Edit 16 February 2012: Gary passed away today at the age of 57 of brain cancer.
  • Liked to face: Steve Carlton (.309 with 11 HR in 110 AB); Jim Rooker (.438 with 5 HR in 16 AB); Craig Swan (.397 in 58 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dennis Martinez (.071 in 28 AB); Tom Griffin (.080 in 25 AB); Rick Sutcliffe (.125 in 40 AB)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1976 Topps #440 - John Mayberry

  • John Mayberry was drafted by the Houston Astros in the first round in 1967. John had trouble breaking into the Houston lineup. He had short stints with the Astros in 1968 (.000 in 9 AB) and in 1969 (.000 in 4 AB).

  • Mayberry split the 1970 and 1971 seasons between AAA and the Astros. In 1970 he batted .216 in 148 AB and in 1971 he batted .182 in 137 AB. After the 1971 season John was traded with a minor leaguer to the Kansas City Royals for Lance Clemons and Jim York.

  • The trade was beneficial for Mayberry and the Royals. John became the starting first baseman for the Royals and finished 12th in AL MVP voting in 1972. He batted .298 with 25 HR and 100 RBI. In 1973 Mayberry batted .278 with 26 HR and 100 RBI and led the AL with 122 walks and a .417 on base percentage. John was the starting first baseman in the 1973 All Star Game and was 1 for 3 with a double. Big John Mayberry: An Emerging Slugger - September 1973 Baseball Digest

  • Mayberry missed about three weeks in August of 1974 with an injury. He batted .234 with 22 HR and 69 RBI. John was an AL All Star again in 1974 and was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter.

  • John’s best season was probably 1975. He finished second to Fred Lynn in AL MVP voting. Mayberry batted .291 with 34 HR and 106 RBI and also led the AL with 119 walks.

  • Just as the Royals started winning AL West titles John’s production started to drop. In 1976 he batted .232 with 13 HR and 95 RBI. Mayberry batted .222 with 1 HR in the 1976 ALCS. Mayberry batted .230 with 23 HR and 80 RBI for the Royals in 1977 and batted .167 with 1 HR in the 1977 NLCS. Apparently he partied pretty hard before game 4 of the ALCS and didn’t perform well. Royals manager Whitey Herzog demanded that John be moved from the team and just before the 1978 season John was purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays.

  • Mayberry batted .250 with 22 HR and 70 RBI for the Blue Jays in 1978. In 1979 John batted .274 with 21 HR and 74 RBI. Mayberry had his best year as a Blue Jay in 1980. He batted .248 with 30 HR and 82 RBI.

  • In the strike-shortened 1981 season John batted .248 with 17 HR and 43 RBI. Mayberry started the 1982 season with the Blue Jays and batted .273 with 2 home runs in 17 games. On May 5 John was traded with a minor leaguer to the New York Yankees for Dave Revering and Tom Dodd. Mayberry played in 69 games for the Yankees and batted .209 with 8 HR and 27 RBI. John didn’t make the Yankee ballclub in 1983 and was released in spring training.

  • After his playing career Mayberry coached in the Blue Jays’ system for five years and then for the Royals for two more years. He also worked in the Royals’ Community Affairs Department. His son John Jr. played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.

  • Liked to face: Dennis Leonard (.458 in 24 AB); Moose Haas (.440 in 25 AB); Fergie Jenkins (.324 with 6 HR in 71 AB)

  • Hated to face: Floyd Bannister/Bob McClure (.000 in 14 AB); Rick Waits (.067 in 30 AB); Rick Langford (.071 in 42 AB)

Friday, May 14, 2010

1976 Topps #439 - Rick Rhoden

  • Rick Rhoden pitched in the majors from 1974-1989. Rick overcame the childhood bone disease osteomyelitis and wore a brace until he was 12 years old. Rhoden was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1971. He spent four seasons (1971-1974) in the minors and had a 4-game stint (1-0, 2.00 ERA in 9 innings) with the Dodgers in July of '74.

  • Rhoden appeared in 26 games (11 starts) in 1975. He was 3-3 with a 3.09 ERA. Rick was an NL All Star in 1976 (he pitched a scoreless 8th inning in the NL win) and was 12-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 26 starts.

  • Rick helped the Dodgers to the 1977 NL pennant with a 16-10 record in 31 starts. Rhoden pitched 4.1 innings in game 3 of the NLCS after starter Burt Hooton got knocked out early. Rhoden held the Phillies scoreless and the Dodgers eventually won the game in the 9th inning. Rick took the loss in the bottom of the 12th in game 1 of the World Series after Willie Randolph doubled, Thurman Munson was intentionally walked, and Paul Blair singled to score Randolph.

  • Rhoden was 10-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) in 1978. He allowed one run in four innings in game 4 of the NLCS. Rick wasn't used in the World Series. On April 7, 1979 Rhoden was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jerry Reuss.

  • Rick was injured in 1979 (bone spur in his right shoulder) and missed virtually the whole season. He made one start on May 8, allowed four runs in five innings, and took the loss. He didn't pitch for the remainder of the season. Rhoden made ten starts in the minors before coming back to the Pirates in mid-June of 1980. Rick went 10-9 with a 3.84 ERA in 19 starts for the Pirates in 1980.

  • Rhoden made 21 starts in the strike-shortened 1981 season and went 9-4 with a 3.89 ERA. In 1982 Rick was 11-14 with a 4.14 ERA in 35 starts.

  • Rick pitched for the Pirates for four more seasons. He had seasons of 13-13 (1983), 14-9 (1984), and 10-15 (1985). Rhoden won the NL Silver Slugger Award in 1984 and 1985. These Pitchers Know How to Swing the Bat, Too! - July 1985 Baseball Digest

  • In 1986 Rick had his best season. He went 14-9 with a 2.72 ERA, made the NL All Star team (he wasn't used), and won the NL Silver Slugger Award for the third straight year. After the 1986 season Rhoden was traded with Pat Clements and Cecilio Guante to the New York Yankees for Doug Drabek, Logan Easley and Brian Fisher.

  • Rhoden was 16-10 with a 3.86 ERA for the Yankees in 1987. In 1988 Rick  was 12-12 with a 4.29 ERA in 30 starts. Yankee manager Billy Martin used Rick as a designated hitter on June 11. Rhoden was 0 for 1 with a sacrifice fly before giving way to a pinch hitter (Jose Cruz). After the 1983 season Rick was traded to the Houston Astros for two minor leaguers and John Fishel.

  • Rick missed almost three months of the 1989 season with an injury (early May - late July). He made five starts in Class A ball and then returned to the Astros. Rhoden ended up 2-6 with a 4.28 ERA in 17 starts for the Astros and retired after the season.

  • After his playing career Rhoden made a name for himself as a golfer. He often played and won celebrity golf tournaments and played on the Senior PGA Tour from 2004-2008. Rick regularly plays in the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic and has won the event eight times between 1991 and 2008. He now lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

  • Liked to face: Phil Bradley/Cory Snyder (.000 in 10 AB); Doug Flynn (.077 in 39 AB); Mike LaValliere (.095 in 21 AB)

  • Hated to face: Dave Cash (.619 in 21 AB); Eric Davis (.471 with 5 HR in 17 AB); Bob Boone (.429 in 28 AB)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

1976 Topps #438 - Doug DeCinces

  • Doug DeCinces had the not-so-enviable task of replacing the legendary Brooks Robinson at third base for the Baltimore Orioles. DeCinces was drafted by the Orioles in 1970. Doug had plenty of time to develop in the minors. He had short stints with the Orioles in 1973 (.111 in 18 AB) and in 1974 (.000 in 1 AB).

  • DeCinces came to the majors to stay in 1975. He was used as a utility infielder in ’75 and batted .251 in 167 at bats. Doug was a utility guy again at the beginning of the 1976 season and took over at third base in the middle of the year. He batted .234 with 11 HR in 129 games.

  • DeCinces got to the playoffs with Baltimore in 1979. He batted .230 with 16 HR and 60 RBI during the regular season. He batted .308 during the ALCS and .200 during the World Series. Doug DeCinces – The Game I’ll Never Forget – September 1987 Baseball Digest.

  • Doug spent two more seasons with the Orioles. He batted .249 with 16 HR and 64 RBI in 1980 and .263 with 13 HR and 55 RBI in 1981. After the 1981 season the Orioles needed to make room for Cal Ripken Jr. DeCinces was traded to the California Angels with Jeff Schneider for Dan Ford.

  • DeCinces had his best season as a major leaguer in 1982. He finished 3rd in MVP voting and won the AL Silver Slugger award at third base. Doug batted .301 with 30 HR and 97 RBI for the Angels in 1982. He batted .316 in the ALCS.

  • Doug made the AL All Star team in 1983 (he was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter) and batted .281 with 18 HR and 65 RBI in 95 games. Doug was injured and missed two months of the 1983 season (late June-late August).

  • In 1984 DeCinces batted .269 with 20 HR and 82 RBI. He batted .244 with 20 HR and 78 RBI in 1985. Doug finished 11th in MVP voting in 1986 as he batted .256 with 26 HR and 96 RBI and helped the Angels to the AL West title. He batted .281 in the 1986 ALCS.

  • Doug’s last major league season was 1987. He batted .234 with 16 HR and 64 RBI for the Angels. DeCinces was released by the Angels in late September and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. He batted .222 (2 for 9) with the Cardinals in four games and retired after the season. Doug played one season (1988) in Japan.

  • Liked to face: Jerry Augustine (.486 in 37 AB); Mike Moore (.452 with 6 HR in 42 AB); Mike Flanagan (.444 in 27 AB)

  • Hated to face: Dave J. Schmidt (.000 in 14 AB); Don Aase (.050 in 20 AB); Dave Stewart (.074 in 27 AB)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

1976 Topps #437 - Terry Forster

  • Terry Forster was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1970. He went 6-1 with a 1.33 ERA in the minors in 1970 and made the White Sox club in 1971 when he was 19 years old. White Sox manager and pitching coach Johnny Sain were enthusiastic about the young pitcher. Terry pitched in 45 games (3 starts) for the White Sox in 1971 and was 2-3 with a 3.99 ERA.
  • Forster had a good year as the White Sox closer in 1972. He went 6-5 with a 2.25 ERA and 29 saves. Terry Forster: The Lolipop Kid - December 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1973 Terry was used both as a starter and a reliever. He pitched in 51 games (12 starts) and was 6-11 with 16 saves and a 3.23 ERA. Forster returned to his relief role (except for one spot start) in 1974 and led the AL with 24 saves. Terry was 7-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 59 games for the White Sox in '74.
  • Forster had injury problems in 1975. He made 17 appearances, only two after May 23, and was 3-3 with four saves and a 2.19 ERA. In 1976 Terry had a tough year, going 2-12 with a 4.37 ERA in 29 games (16 starts). He had recurring arm problems and his weight had also gotten too high.
  • After the 1976 season he and Goose Gossage were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Richie Zisk and Silvio Martinez. Terry was reunited with former manager Tanner in Pittsburgh and Tanner was glad to have Terry back. Forster went 6-4 with a 4.43 ERA in his only year with the Pirates. After the 1977 season Forster became a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Terry was a valuable part of the Los Angeles bullpen in 1978. He made 47 appearances and was 5-2 with 22 saves and a 1.93 ERA. Terry pitched the 10th inning of game 4 of the NLCS and was the winning pitcher. He pitched in three games in the World Series without a decision.
  • In 1979 Terry had injury problems again. He didn't pitch until May 25 and didn't pitch after August 4. Forster appeared in 17 games and was 1-2 with two saves and a 5.51 ERA. Terry also didn't pitch very much in 1980 -- he made four July appearances and five September appearances. He was 0-0 with a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings.
  • Terry came back in 1981 to contribute to the Dodgers' world championship. He didn't do a whole lot in the regular season (0-1, 4.11 ERA in 21 games). He made one appearance in the NLDS, one in the NLCS, and two in the World Series and allowed no runs in a total of 2.2 innings.
  • Forster made 56 appearances in 1982 and went 5-6 with three saves and a 3.04 ERA. After the 1982 season Terry became a free agent and signed with the Atlanta Braves.
  • Terry pitched well for the Braves in 1983, going 3-2 with 13 saves and a 2.16 ERA in 56 games. Forster had injury problems again in 1984 -- he missed five weeks from late June to early August and didn't pitch after August 10. He pitched in 25 games and was 2-0 with 5 saves and a 2.70 ERA. Terry came back in 1985 with a 2-3 record and 2.28 ERA in 46 games.
  • Forster didn't make the Braves club in 1986 and was released at the end of spring training. Terry was signed by the California Angels. He pitched in four games for AAA Edmonton and then pitched in 41 games for the Angels. Terry went 4-1 with five saves and a 3.51 ERA. Forster wasn't used in the 1986 ALCS.
  • Forster became a free agent after the 1986 season. He was signed by the Minnesota Twins on June 15. He pitched in 13 games for Minnesota's AAA Portland club but retired after posting a 7.27 ERA.
  • During his time with the Braves Forster gained noteriety for his weight. He weighed about 270 lbs during this time. David Letterman referred to Terry as a "fat tub of goo" on one of his shows. Terry later appeared on the show and recorded a novelty song, "Fat is In."
  • Forster had a lifetime .397 batting average, which was the highest for any pitcher who pitched for over 15 years in the majors.
  • Liked to face: Tommy Davis/Bill Freehan (.059 in 17 AB); Tom Grieve (.063 in 16 AB)
  • Hated to face: Carlton Fisk (.636 in 11 AB); Sal Bando (.480 in 25 AB); Frank Robinson (.455 in 22 AB)