Some of the Top Cards of 1976

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)

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