Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1976 Topps #479 - Bobby Mitchell

  • Bobby  Mitchell was signed  by the Boston Red Sox in 1965. Mitchell played in the Red Sox system from 1965-1968 and didn't put up very impressive hitting stats. He did steal 42 bases for AAA Louisville in 1968. After the 1968 season Mitchell was drafted by the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 draft. Bobby played in 67 games for AAA Syracuse in 1969 and batted .328.  Mitchell started the 1970 season in Syracuse and had two short stints with the Yankees in July and September. Bobby batted .227 in 22 at bats for the Yankees in 1970. 
  • Mitchell started the 1971 season in Syracuse and was traded with Frank Tepedino to the Milwaukee Brewers for Danny Walton on June 7. Bobby batted .182 in 35 games for the Brewers in 1971.
  • Bobby spent the 1972 season with AAA Evansville and batted .381 in 77 games. In 1973 Mitchell started with Evansville and was brought up to the Brewers in July. He was used as a backup outfielder and occasional DH by the Brewers. Bobby batted .223 in 130 at bats for the Brewers in 1973.
  • Mitchell batted .243 in 173 at bats in 1974. In 1975 Bobby batted .249 in 229 at bats. He played in his last major league game on September 28, 1975 and went to Japan to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters from 1976-1979.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1976 Topps #478 - Lynn McGlothen

  • Lynn McGlothen was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. He progressed through the Boston farm system and was brought up in June of 1972 after going 9-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 13 starts for AAA Louisville. He lost his first start on June 25 (2 runs in 7.1 innings) but had a good year. Lynn went 8-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 22 starts.
  • McGlothen started the 1973 season with the Red Sox but was sent down in May after going 1-2 with an 8.33 ERA in six games (three starts). Lynn spent the rest of the season with AAA Pawtucket and after the season he was traded with John Curtis and Mike Garman to the St. Louis Cardinals for Reggie Cleveland, Terry Hughes and Diego Segui.
  • Lynn's best season was in 1974. He made the NL All Star team and pitched a scoreless 7th inning in the NL victory. McGlothen led the Cardinals in wins as he went 16-12 with a 2.69 ERA.
  • McGlothen went 15-13 with a 3.95 ERA in 1975 and then was 13-15 with a 3.91 ERA in 1976. On August 19, 1975 Lynn struck out three Cincinnati Reds hitters on nine pitches. Tony Perez led off the inning with a single then McGlothen struck out Cesar Geronimo, Darrell Chaney, and Gary Nolan. After the 1976 season Lynn was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Ken Reitz.
  • Lynn never got untracked in San Francisco. He had shoulder problems in 1977 and had a couple of 3-4 week gaps in the season. McGlothen went 2-9 with an ERA of 5.63 in 21 games (15 starts) in 1977. In 1978 Lynn started the season with the Giants (0-0, 4.97 ERA in five games) and was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Hector Cruz. The Cubs mostly used McGlothen in the bullpen in 1978 and he ended up 5-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 54 games (2 starts). 
  • McGlothen started the 1979 season as a starter, went to the bullpen for a few weeks in  late April/early May, then spent most of the remainder of the year in the starting rotation. Lynn was 13-14 with two saves and a 4.12 ERA in 42 games (29 starts) in 1979. In 1980 McGlothen was 12-14 with a 4.79 ERA.
  • Lynn started the 1981 season with the Cubs and had elbow problems that limited his effectiveness. He was 1-4 with a 4.77 ERA in 20 games (5 starts) before the strike. McGlothen pitched in one game for the Cubs after the strike and on August 15 he was sent to the Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later (the White Sox sent Bob Molinaro to the Cubs in March 1982). Lynn was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 11 games for the White Sox in 1981. He was also involved in a divorce that year
  • McGlothen was released by the  White Sox on April 12, 1982. He was signed by the New York Yankees a month later and assigned to AAA Columbus. Lynn came up to the Yankees in mid-August and pitched in four games (0-0, 10.80 ERA) before being released on September 20, 1982.
  • McGlothen was killed in a mobile home fire on August 14, 1984.
  • Liked to face: Jim Wynn (.045 in 22 AB); Omar Moreno (.077 in 39 AB); Bill Robinson (.105 in 19 AB)
  • Hated to face: Garry Templeton (.483 in 29 AB); Dave Parker (.444 in 54 AB); Bob Horner (.421 with 3 HR in 19 AB)

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm headed out to Albuquerque to see Rush

I'll be gone for a couple of days to see one of my favorite bands in Albuquerque. It's about a 4 1/2 hour drive from where I live. It's almost as close as Phoenix (3 1/2 hours). In honor of the event I'll post videos of a show they did in Passaic, New Jersey on December 10, 1976 (there's the 1976 tie-in). They aren't the best quality, but here we go:

Bastille Day

Lakeside Park

2112 (part 1)

2112 (part 2)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1976 Topps #477 - Cleveland Indians

  • Frank Robinson was in his second year as manager of the Cleveland Indians. The Indians finished slightly above .500 (81-78) but they were well off the pace set by the New York Yankees. The Indians had good fielding and average batting and pitching, but a lack of power did them in.
  • Robinson was a player/manager for the Indians in 1975 and 1976, finishing 4th in the AL East in each season. He was dismissed in 1977 after starting 26-31 and in 5th place in the AL East. Frank became the manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1981 and managed them until August of 1984. Robinson took over a wretched Baltimore Orioles ballclub in 1988 and led them to a second place finish in 1989.  He continued to manage the Orioles until May of 1991. Frank's last managerial job was with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. He took over the club in 2002 and managed it through the 2006 season. The Expos finished second in the NL East in 2002 but finished either 4th or 5th in the other seasons. Robinson managed all or parts of 16 seasons and had a lifetime record of 1065-1176 (.475).
  • Team Record: 81-78 (4th in AL East, 16 games behind New York)
  • Team Batting: .263 (4th in AL)
  • Team HR: 85 (7th in AL)
  • Team ERA: 3.47 (7th in AL)
  • Team Fielding .980 (2nd in AL)
  • Team Batting Leader: Rico Carty - .310
  • Team HR Leader: Boog Powell - 25
  • Team RBI Leader: Rico Carty - 83
  • Team Wins Leader: Pat Dobson - 16
  • Team Losses Leader: Pat Dobson/Dennis Eckersley - 12
  • Team ERA Leader: starter: Jim Bibby - 3.20; reliever: Dave LaRoche - 2.24
  • Team Saves Leader: Dave LaRoche - 21
  • Gold Glove Winners:  Rick Manning (OF)
  • AL All Stars: Dave LaRoche (P)
  • AL Batting Leaders: none
  • AL Pitching Leaders: none
  • Attendance: 948,776 (9th in AL)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1976 Topps #476 - Bob Moose

  • Bob Moose was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965. He pitched in the minors from 1965-1967. Bob started two games late in 1967 and was 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA.
  • Moose started the 1968 season as a reliever and joined the Pittsburgh starting rotation in early June. Bob pitched in 38 games (22 starts) and was 8-12 with three saves and a 2.74 ERA. In 1969 Bob led the NL with a .824 winning percentage. He was 14-3 with four saves and a 2.91 ERA in 44 games (19 starts). Moose pitched a no-hitter against the New York Mets on September 20, 1969.
  • Moose was a full-time starter in 1970 and was 11-10 with a 3.99 ERA in 27 starts. Bob started and lost game 3 of the 1970 NLCS (he allowed three runs in 7.2 innings).
  • Bob returned to a swingman role in 1971. He pitched in 44 games (19 starts) and was 11-7 with one save and a 4.11 ERA. Moose pitched two scoreless innings in the 1971 NLCS and had a 6.52 ERA in 3 games (1 start) in the 1971 World Series.
  • Moose was back in the rotation in 1972 and was 13-10 with a 2.91 ERA in 30 starts. He started game 2 of the NLCS but didn't get out of the first inning as the Reds scored four runs. In the deciding game 5 Moose entered the game in the ninth inning with the score tied. George Foster made his way to third base and with two out scored on Moose's wild pitch.
  • In 1973 Bob was 12-13 with a 3.53 ERA in 29 starts. Moose missed most of the 1974 season with an injury. Moose had surgery for a blood clot problem and had to have a rib removed in order to free the vein causing the problem. He started six games (1-5, 7.57 ERA) and then didn't pitch after May 23.
  • Bob came back in 1975 but had a rough start, a thumb injury, and spent some time in the minors in August. Moose ended up 2-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 23 games (5 starts) for the Pirates. His ERA was 5.88 before he went to the minors.
  • Moose was mostly a reliever in 1976. He was 3-9 with 10 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 53 games (2 starts).
  • Bob's career (and life) was cut short by an automobile accident. He was killed on October 9, 1976 (his 29th birthday) while on his way to Bill Mazeroski's golf course near Martin's Ferry, Ohio. 
  • Memories of Moose - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - April 27, 2007
  • Liked to face: Mike Jorgensen (.043 in 23 AB); Bill Robinson/Julian Javier (.056 in 18 AB)
  • Hated to face: Willie McCovey (.545 with 7 HR in 33 AB); Bob Boone (.526 in 19 AB); Garry Maddox (.472 in 36 AB)

Friday, June 25, 2010

1976 Topps #475 - Joe Rudi

  • This card was cool to get because of the All Star designation on the front. Joe Rudi was signed by the Kansas City A's in 1964. He played in the minors from 1965-1969 and had short stints in the  majors in 1967 (.186 in 43 AB) and in 1968 (.177 in 181 AB).
  • Rudi spent the first two months of the 1969 season in AAA Iowa. He was also there for the month of August. Joe batted .354 for Iowa, but only .189 for the A's. Joe swung the bat  much better in 1970. He batted .309 with 11 HR and 42 RBI in 106 games at LF, 1B, and RF.
  • In 1971 the A's won the first of five straight AL West titles. Rudi batted .267 with 10 HR and 52 RBI as the starting left fielder. Joe was 1 for 7 in the ALCS.
  • Rudi finished second to Dick Allen in AL MVP voting in 1972. Joe batted .305, led the AL in hits (181) and triples (9), and hit 19 home runs. Rudi made his first AL All Star team  and doubled in his only at  bat. Joe batted  in the .250 in the ALCS and .240 with a home run in the World Series.
  • Joe tailed off in 1973 and batted .270 with 12 HR and 66 RBI. He missed almost a month of the season in July and August. Rudi batted .222 with a home run in the ALCS and .333 in the World Series. Joe Rudi: The A's Unheralded Star - March 1973 Baseball Digest
  • Rudi finished second in AL MVP voting again in 1974. There were four Oakland players in the top six, which may have split the vote and hurt Joe's chances at the award. He was an  AL All Star (he was 0 for 2) and won his first Gold Glove. Joe batted .293 with 22 HR and 99 RBI and led the AL with 39 doubles. Rudi batted .154 with a home run in the ALCS and .333 in the World Series.
  • Joe had another nice year in 1975. He won another Gold Glove and went 1 for 3 as the starting LF in the All Star Game. Rudi played in 91 games at 1B and 47 games at LF for the A's in 1975. He batted .278 with 21 HR and 75 RBI in 126 games. Joe missed about five weeks in August and September. Rudi batted .250 in the 1975 ALCS. Joe Rudi: He's Underrated No Longer - September 1975 Baseball Digest
  • The Oakland ballclub was breaking up in 1976. Owner Charlie Finley tried to trade or sell his players and get as much as he could for them. Rudi was sold to the Boston Red Sox on June 15 but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn invalidated the sale and Rudi returned to the A's on June 18. Joe played in 130 games for the A's in 1976 and batted .270 with 13 HR and 94 RBI. He also won his third (and last) Gold Glove. After the 1976 season Rudi became a free agent and signed with the California Angels.
  • Rudi missed a lot of the 1977 season due to a broken wrist. He didn't play after  June 26. Joe batted .264 with 13 HR and 53 RBI in 64 games. Rudi played in 133 games in 1978 and batted .256 with 17 HR and 79 RBI.
  • Joe had a couple of stints on the disabled list in 1979 and didn't play after August 15 due to achilles problems. In spite of Rudi's absences the Angels won their first AL West title. Joe batted .242 with 11 HR and 61 RBI in 90 games.
  • Rudi played in over 100 games for the last time in 1980. In 104 games Joe batted .237 with 16 HR and 53 RBI. After the 1980 season Rudi was involved in a big trade -- he was traded with Jim Dorsey and Frank Tanana to the Boston Red Sox for Fred Lynn and Steve Renko.
  • Joe didn't play very much in 1981. He batted .180 in 49 games, became a free agent after the season, and signed with the A's. Rudi batted .212 in 71 games with the A's in 1982, missed all of the 1983 season, and was released by the A's on October 28, 1983.
  • Former A's Star Cites Changes in the Game - December 1990 Baseball Digest
  • After his playing career Rudi went into real estate. He currently works in real estate in Baker City, Oregon.
  • Here is a Sports Illustrated "where are they now" article from July 16, 2000.
  • Liked to face: Dave Roberts (.429 in 21 AB); Mickey Lolich (.409 in 44 AB); Roger Erickson (.407 in 27 AB)
  • Hated to face: Steve Barber (.000 in 13 AB); Bob McClure (.059 in 17 AB); Lerrin LaGrow (.100 in 20 AB)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

1976 Topps #474 - Ray Corbin

  • Ray Corbin pitched for the Minnesota Twins from 1971 to 1975. He pitched in his last major league game on July 28, 1975. Corbin was signed by the Twins in 1967. Ray pitched in the minors from 1967-1970 and was deemed ready after going 11-14 with a 2.86 ERA for AA Charlotte in 1970.
  • Ray was a long reliever and spot starter for the Twins in 1971. He pitched in 52 games, 11 of them starts, and finished with an 8-11 record with three saves and a 4.12 ERA.
  • Corbin had a similar role for the remainder of his career. He started a career-high 19 games in 1972 and relieved 12 times. Ray was 8-9 with a 2.62 ERA in '72. In 1973 Corbin appeared in 51 games (7 starts) and was 8-5 with 14 saves and had a 3.03 ERA.
  • Corbin's ERA jumped into the 5's in his last two seasons. Ray was 7-6 with a 5.29 ERA in 29 games (15 starts) in 1974 and was 5-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 18 games (11 starts) in 1975. Corbin was injured and didn't pitch after July 28. In 1976 Ray started two games for AA Orlando and was 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA. The Twins released Corbin on May 3 and he retired at the age of 27.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

1976 Topps #473 - Paul Blair

  • Paul "Motormouth" Blair was a great defensive center fielder who spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles. Blair was signed by the New York Mets in 1961 and, after spending 1962 playing in the Mets' system, was drafted by the Orioles in the "first year draft." Paul played in the Orioles' system in 1963 and 1964 and was 0 for 1 for the Orioles in a short call-up in late 1964.
  • Blair was given the starting center field job for the Orioles in 1965. He struggled at the plate and was sent down for a month in July. Blair batted .234 in 119 games for the Orioles in '65. Paul improved his offense in 1966 and batted .277 in 133 games. He went 1 for 6 in the World Series.
  • Paul won the first of eight Gold Glove awards in 1967. He also had a good year at the plate as he led the AL with 12 triples and batted .293 with 11 home runs. Blair batted .211 in 141 games in 1968.
  • Blair won a Gold Glove in 1969 and would win the award every season from 1969-1975. Paul also made the AL All Star team for the first time and went 0 for 2 in the game. Blair batted .285 with a career-high 26 home runs and scored 102 runs. Paul batted .400 in the ALCS and .100 in the World Series.
  • Paul was beaned by a pitch by Ken Tatum on May 31, 1970 and suffered a  broken nose. His offense suffered due to the beaning and he was never the same hitter. Blair batted .267 with 18 HR in 133 games in 1970 and batted .077 in the ALCS and .474 in the World Series.
  • Blair tried to become a switch-hitter in 1971 but the experiment ended after he went 11 for 57 (.193). Paul batted .262 with 10 HR in 141 games in 1971. Blair batted .333 in the ALCS  and .333 in the World Series.
  • Paul had a down year offensively in 1972, batting .233 in 142 games. In 1973 he came back to be an AL All Star again (he was a late-inning defensive replacement). Blair batted .280 with 10 HR and 64 RBI in '73 and batted .167 in the ALCS.
  • Blair got some minor MVP consideration in 1974 (13th place) and batted .261 with 17 HR and 62 RBI. He batted .286 in the ALCS. It would be his last productive offensive year. In 1975 he won his last Gold Glove but batted .218 in 140 games. Paul dropped to .197 in 146 games in 1976. After the 1976 season Blair asked to be traded (he didn't agree with being platooned in centerfield) and was traded to the New York Yankees for Elliot Maddox and Rick Bladt.
  • The Yankees of the late 1970s were loaded and Blair became a backup outfielder. In 1977 Paul batted .262 in 164 at bats while playing in 83 games. He went 2 for 5 in the ALCS and 1 for 4 in the  World Series. Blair batted .176 in 125 at bats in 1978. He was 0 for 6 in the ALCS and batted .375 in the World Series.
  • Paul played in two games for the Yankees in 1979 (1 for 5) and then was released on April 12. Blair was signed by the Cincinnati Reds on  May 8 but he batted only .150 in 140 at bats. Paul retired after the season and became a coach in the Yankees organization.
  • The Yankees needed some outfield help in 1980 so Blair was activated for about a month. He played in 12 games but batted only twice (0 for 2). After his release on July 1 Blair went back to coaching.
  • In 1982 Paul was hired as the coach for Fordham University. He coached there for the 1982 season and then did some coaching in the Houston Astros and the Orioles' organizations. He then played in the Senior Professional Baseball League and became the manager of an independent team. Paul coached for Coppin State College from 1998-2002. Blair had a heart attack in 2009 and is now recovered and retired in Maryland.
  • An Ex-Star Speaks Out Against Platooning System - September 1988 Baseball Digest
  • Centerfielder Paul Blair: He Was A Gifted Ball Hawk - June 1992 Baseball Digest
  • Liked to face: Steve Barber (.480 in 25 AB); Paul Splittorff (.441 in 34 AB); Gary Bell/Juan Pizarro (.417 in 24 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jesse Jefferson (.000 in 15 AB); Andy  Messersmith (.083 in 24 AB); John O'Donohuge (.100 in 20 AB)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1976 Topps #472 - Bob Davis

  • Bob Davis was a catcher in the majors from 1973-1981. Davis was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1970. After playing in the minors for a few years Davis played in five games to open the 1973 season. He went 1 for 11 and was sent back to AA Alexandria. Bob batted .283 with 12 HR for Alexandria in '73.
  • Davis was in AAA Hawaii in 1974. He started the 1975 season with Hawaii and was batting .329 when he was called up to the Padres in mid-July. Bob batted .234 in 43 games for the Padres in 1975. Davis backed up Fred Kendall in 1976 and batted .205 in 51 games.
  • Davis was a backup again in 1977 and batted .181 in 94 at bats. Davis shuttled between Hawaii and San Diego and batted .200 in 40 at bats in 1978. An interesting story with Davis in it: Padres owner Ray Kroc fired manager Alvin Dark during the 1978 spring training. Roger Craig was named as the interim manager. Davis hit a game-winning home run in Craig's first game. During the post game press conference Craig was being introduced as the interim manager when Kroc interrupted and said, "Take away the interim tag. Craig is our manager. After all, anybody who can turn a .180 hitter into a home run hitter has to be a great manager." (from Tales from the San Diego Padres by Bob Chandler) After the 1978 season Bob was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the rule 5 draft.
  • One of San Diego broadcaster Jerry Coleman's quotes: "Bob Davis has his hair differently this year, short with curls like Randy Jones wears. I think you call it a Frisbee."
  • Bob was a backup catcher in 1979 and batted .124 in 89 at bats. He got more playing time in 1980 but was unable to do much with the bat, batting .216 in 218 at bats. After the 1980 season Davis was released by the Blue Jays.
  • Davis caught on with the California Angels in late April of 1981 and spent most of the season with AAA Salt Lake City. Bob got into one game for the Angels on September 9, 1981 and went 0 for 2. Davis was released after the 1981 season and he retired at the age of 29.


Monday, June 21, 2010

1976 Topps #471 - Jim Burton

  • Jim Burton had a short major league career (1975-1977) with the Boston Red Sox. Burton was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1971. He pitched in the minors until 1975. Control and back problems kept him from having success until 1975.
  • In 1975 Burton started with AAA Pawtucket and pitched very well, going 8-2 with a 1.54 ERA. He pitched a no-hitter against Tidewater on June 8 and was called up to Boston the next day. Jim was a valuable lefty out of the bullpen for the Red Sox and went 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 29 games (4 starts).
  • Jim pitched on September 20 but wasn't used again until the World Series. In game 3 Jim walked Ken Griffey and allowed a sacrifice fly to Joe Morgan. In the top of the 9th inning of game 7 with the score tied Red Sox manager Darrell Johnson turned to Burton because the Reds had several left-handed batters coming up and his closer (Dick Drago) had pitched three innings in game 6. Burton said later that he didn't have anything because he hadn't been used in so long. Jim walked Griffey and Cesar Geronimo sacrificed him to second. Griffey went to third on Dan Driessen's ground ball. Burton walked Pete Rose and the Reds had runners on first and third with two out. Joe Morgan hit a Burton slider into center field to score Griffey and eventually win the Series. Burton and Morgan both later said that Jim made a good pitch and Morgan just hit it.
  • Don Aase and Rick Jones beat out Burton in spring training in 1976 and Burton found himself back in Pawtucket. He didn't pitch well in 1976 but bounced back in 1977 to have a good year for Pawtucket. Burton was brought up to the Red Sox in September and pitched in one game (2 2/3 scoreless innings against Baltimore on September 17).
  • After the 1977 season Burton was traded to the New York Mets. He started the 1978 season with AAA Tidewater and eventually ended up in single-A ball. Jim was having elbow problems and decided to retire after the 1978 season.
  • After his retirement Burton started his own printing business in North Carolina. He also travels to Haiti to do missionary work.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1976 Topps #470 - Bobby Murcer

  • Bobby Murcer played in the majors from 1965-1983. He was signed by the New York Yankees in 1964 and played in the minors from 1964-1968. Like the player he would eventually replace (Mikey Mantle), Murcer started out as a shortstop. Bobby was with the Yankees for a short time in 1965 (.243 in 37 AB) and in 1966 (.174 in 69 AB).

  • Murcer came to the majors to stay in 1969. He batted .259 with 26 HR and 82 RBI while spending most of the time in right field. Bobby moved to center field in 1970 and batted .251 with 23 HR and 78 RBI.

  • Murcer's first big season was in 1971. He was an All Star for the first of five consecutive seasons. Bobby started for the AL in center field and went 1 for 3. Murcer batted .331 with 25 HR and 94 RBI and led the AL with a .427 on base percentage.  Bobby Murcer the Yankees' Quiet Hero - November 1971 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1972 Murcer led the AL with 102 runs scored and batted .292 with 33 HR and 96 RBI. He went 0 for 3 as the AL starting center fielder in the All Star Game, won a Gold Glove Award, and finished 5th in MVP voting.

  • Bobby had another good year in 1973, batting .304 with 22 HR and 95 RBI. Murcer was 0 for 3 with a walk in the All Star game and finished 9th in MVP voting. Bobby  Murcer: My Goal is The World Series - September 1973 Baseball Digest.

  • Murcer moved to right field in 1974. His hitting stats were lower, possibly due to the Yankees playing in Shea Stadium during the remodel of Yankee Stadium. Bobby batted .274 with 10 HR and 88 RBI. Bobby was 0 for 2 in the All Star game. After the 1974 season Murcer was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Bobby Bonds.

  • Bobby had a similar season in 1975 for the Giants, batting .298 with 11 HR and 91 RBI. Murcer played in his last All Star game in 1975 and was 0 for 2. In 1976 Murcer batted .259 with 23 HR and 90 RBI. After the 1976 season Bobby was dealt to the Chicago Cubs as part of the deal that sent Bill Madlock to the Giants.

  • The Cubs got some good production out of Murcer in 1977 as he batted .265 with 27 HR and 89 RBI. His power numbers dropped in 1978 and Bobby batted .281 with 9 HR and 64 RBI. Murcer started the 1979 season with the Cubs (.258, 7 HR, 22 RBI in 58 games) and was traded to the Yankees for a minor leaguer and cash on June 26. Bobby wasn't the same player as he was when he first came up to the Yankees, but he batted .273 with 8 HR and 33 RBI. Murcer gave one of the eulogies at Thurman Munson's funeral on August 6 and then played in that night's game. Bobby hit a 3-run homer in the 7th to make the score 4-3 and then hit a 2-run single in the bottom of the 9th to win the game for the Yankees.

  • Murcer was a backup outfielder and DH in 1980. He batted .269 with 13 HR and 57 RBI in 297 at bats during the regular season. Bobby went 0 for 4 in one game in the ALCS. In 1981 Bobby batted .265 with six HR in 117 at bats. He was 0 for 1 in the ALDS, 1 for 3 in the ALCS, and 0 for 3 in the World Series.

  • Before the 1982 season Bobby signed a 3-year, $1.12 million contract with the Yankees. Murcer batted .227 with 7 HR in 141 at bats in 1982. Bobby batted .182 in 22 at bats in 1983 and retired when the Yankees wanted to bring up Don Mattingly.

  • After his playing career Mucrer did some coaching with the Yankees and was an assistant General Manager in 1985. He was also a broadcaster for the Yankees for many years and won three Emmy awards for his work. Bobby was also involved in many charitable activities.

  • Murcer was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December 2006 and died on July 12, 2008. Until The Very End Bobby  Murcer Showed 'Heart of A Champion' - NY Daily News July 13, 2008

  • Liked to face: Joe Coleman (.433 in 67 AB); Tommy John (.412 in 51 AB); Dick Drago (.408 in 49 AB); Gene Garber (7 for 12 with 5 HR)

  • Hated to face: Marcelino Lopez (.000 in 15 AB); Pat Zachary (.040 in 25 AB); Fred Norman (.065 in 41 AB)

Bobby Murcer on What's My Line in 1971:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

1976 Topps #465 - Mike Marshall

  • Mike Marshall was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1961. There is no record of Marshall pitching in the minors until 1965. He pitched for two Phillies minor league clubs in 1965 and then was sold to the Detroit Tigers in April 1966. Mike pitched in the minors in 1966 and then came up to the Tigers in May 1967. Marshall was 1-3 with ten saves and had a 1.98 ERA in 37 games.

  • Marshall was back in the minors in 1968. After the 1968 season Mike was chosen by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. Marshall was 3-10 with a 5.13 ERA in 20 games (14 starts) for the Pilots in '69. Mike was sold to the Houston Astros after the 1969 season.

  • Marshall was in the minors for part of the 1970 season. He pitched for the Astros for a short time (0-1, 8.44 ERA in four games) and was traded to the Montreal Expos for Don Bosch on June 23. Mike pitched in 24 games (5 starts) and went 3-7 with three saves and a 3.48 ERA.

  • In 1971 the Expos made Mike a full-time reliever. Marshall went 5-8 with 23 saves and a 4.28 ERA in 66 games. Mike led the NL with 65 appearances in 1972 and was 14-8 with 18 saves an a 1.78 ERA. Marshall was fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting and 10th in MVP voting.

  • Mike continued to improve in 1973. He finished second to Tom Seaver in Cy Young Award voting and fifth in MVP voting. Marshall was 14-11 with a 2.66 ERA and led the NL in appearances (92) and saves (31). Mike Marshall: The Pitcher Nobody Wanted - December 1973 Baseball Digest. After the season Mike was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Willie Davis.

  • In 1974 Marshall set a record for appearances with 106. He pitched 208 innings and helped the Dodgers to the NL pennant. Marshall was an NL All Star and pitched two scoreless innings in the All Star Game. Mike won the NL Cy Young Award and finished third behind teammate Steve Garvey and Lou Brock in MVP voting. Marshall was 15-12 with a league leading 21 saves and a 2.42 ERA. Mike appeared in two games in the NLCS and in all five games of the World Series (he saved game 2 and took the loss in game 5). Mike Marshall: The Dodgers' Ironman Reliever - November 1974 Baseball Digest

  • Marshall pitched in 57 games in 1975 and was 9-14 with 13 saves and a 3.29 ERA. Mike started the 1976 season with the Dodgers (4-3, 8 saves, 4.43 ERA) and was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Elias Sosa and Lee Lacy on June 23. Mike was 2-1 with six saves and an ERA of 3.19 in 24 games for the Braves in '76.

  • Mike pitched in four games for the Braves in 1977 before being sold to the Texas Rangers on April 30. Marshall had back surgery to repair a damaged disk and didn't pitch after June 27. He pitched in 12 games (4 starts) for the Rangers and was 2-2 with a 4.04 ERA. After the 1977 season Mike became a free agent and signed with the Minnesota Twins.

  • Marshall had a return to form and had two good seasons for the Twins. In 1978 Mike was 10-12 with 21 saves and a 2.45 ERA in 54 games. Marshall led the AL with 90 appearances and 34 saves in 1979 and was 10-15 with a 2.65 ERA. Mike finished fifth in AL Cy Young Award voting and 11th in AL MVP voting. Can Computer Data Make A Pitcher More Effective? - Baseball Digest May 1979.

  • Mike went 1-3 with one save and a 6.18 ERA in 18 games and was released on June 6 (Twins owner Calvin Griffith didn't agree with Marshall's union activities). Marshall didn't pitch again in 1980. In 1981 he signed with the New York Mets after the strike and was with them at the end of August and in September. Mike went 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 20 games in 1981 and was released after the season.

  • Marshall tried a comeback at the age of 40 in 1983 but it lasted only one game as he allowed nine runs in one inning for AAA Edmonton.

  • Toward the end of his playing career Marshall earned a PhD in exercise physiology. He runs a pitching facility in Florida.

  • Here is a "where are they now" article from 2000.

  • Here is an article about Marshall and his unorthodox training methods from 2007.

  • Liked to face: Merv Rettenmund/Duffy Dyer (.000 in 10 AB); Darrell Evans (.038 in 26 AB); Don Money (.059 in 17 AB)

  • Hated to face: Mario Mendoza (3 for 4); Larry Milbourne (.571 in 14 AB); Carl Yastrzemski (.533 in 15 AB)

Friday, June 18, 2010

1976 Topps #469 - Rawly Eastwick

  • Rawly Eastwick was a reliever from 1974-1981. Eastwick was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1969 and pitched in the minors from 1969-1974. Rawly was called up late in the 1974 season and had two saves and a 2.04 ERA in eight games.
  • Eastwick started the 1975 season with AAA Indianapolis and was called up to the Reds in mid-May. Even though he got a late start Rawly still led the NL with 22 saves and was 5-3 with a 2.60 ERA. Rawly was third in NL Rookie of the Year voting behind John Montefusco and Gary Carter. Eastwick won game 3 of the NLCS. Rawly won games 2 and 3 and saved game 5 of the World Series.
  • Rawly led the NL in saves for the second straight season. He was 11-5 with 26 saves and a 2.09 ERA in 71 games. Eastwick was 5th in Cy Young Award balloting, was 13th in MVP voting, and won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award. Eastwick won game 3 of the NLCS. He wasn't used in the World Series as the Reds swept the Yankees. Eastwick was interested in out of body experiences. Eastwick Psychic Traveller - The Spokesman-Review September 3, 1976.
  • After the 1976 season the Reds knew that Rawly would become a free agent after the 1977 season. They renewed his contract and cut his salary by the maximum allowable 20 percent. Eastwick was 2-2 with seven saves and a 2.91 ERA when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Doug Capilla on June 15. Reds GM Dick Wagner said that Eastwick caused morale problems with the club during a tough contract negotiation (Rawly had called the trade of fellow reliever Will McEnaney "an act of stupidity"), but Pete Rose and Joe Morgan disagreed. Eastwick refutes charge that he caused problems - August 1, 1977 Bangor Daily News. Rawly went 3-7 with four saves and a 4.71 ERA for the Cardinals to finish the 1977 season. He also started the only game of his career on July 29 and allowed four runs in 2 1/3 innings.
  • Eastwick became a free agent and signed a five-year, $1.1 million contract with the Yankees after the 1977 season. It was interesting that the Yankees signed Eastwick since they already had Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle. He pitched in eight games for the Yankees (2-1, 3.28 ERA) in 1978 before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on June 14 for Bobby Brown and Jay Johnstone. Rawly was 2-1 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 games for the Phillies in 1978 and allowed one run in one inning in the NLCS.
  • Rawly was 3-6 with six saves and a 4.90 ERA in 51 games for the Phillies in 1979. In 1980 Eastwick didn't make the Phillies ballclub and was released at the end of spring training. Rawly signed with the Kansas City Royals in June and went 0-1 with a 5.32 ERA in 14 games before being released in August.
  • Rawly signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1981. He went 0-1 with one save and had a 2.28 ERA in 30 games for the Cubs in '81. Eastwick was released during spring training in 1982.
  • Liked to face: Roger Metzger (.000 in 14 AB); Mike Schmidt (.083 in 12 AB); Darrell Evans (.091 in 11 AB)
  • Hated to face: Tony Perez (.583 in 12 AB); Chris Speier (.500 in 18 AB); Mike Krukow (hit a home run in his only at bat against Eastwick)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1976 Topps #468 - Jesus Alou

  • Jesus Alou was the youngest of the three Alou brothers who played major league baseball. Alou played from 1963-1979. He was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1958 and played in the minors from 1959-1963. Jesus had a lifetime minor league average of .338. Alou got a short look at the end of the 1963 season and batted .250 in 24 at bats.
  • Alou was a fourth outfielder for the Giants in 1964 but got a lot of playing time, batting .274 in 376 at bats. Alou was the starting right fielder in 1965 and batted .298 with a career-high nine home runs in 143 games. Jesus was a singles hitter who didn't walk much or steal many bases.
  • In 1966 Alou had a ten-game stint with AAA Phoenix. He batted .259 in 110 games for the Giants. Jesus was the starting left fielder for the Giants in 1967 and batted .292 in 129 games. Alou split time between left field and right field in 1968 and batted .263 in 120 games.
  • After the 1968 season Jesus was taken by the Montreal Expos in the expansion draft. He and Donn Clendenon were traded to the Houston Astros for Rusty Staub before the 1969 season (Clendenon refused to report to the Astros and the trade was reworked).
  • Alou was the starting left fielder for the Astros in 1969. He didn't hit very well, batting .248 in 115 games. Jesus was batting .205 on June 5 when he was injured and missed the next five weeks. He had nine straight multi-hit games in early September that helped him get his average up to .248.
  • Jesus played in 117 games in 1970 and batted .306. In 1971 Alou batted .279 in 122 games.
  • In 1972 Alou was the odd man out when Cesar Cedeno emerged as a star. The Astros had Bob Watson, Cedeno, and Jim Wynn in the outfield so there wasn't much room for Alou. Jesus batted .312 in 93 at bats in '72.
  • Jesus started the 1973 season with the Astros but he still wasn't getting much playing time. After batting .236 in 55 at bats Alou was sold to the Oakland A's on July 31. He played well for the A's in the stretch drive, batting .306 in 108 at bats. Alou was 2 for 6 in four games in the ALCS but batted only .158 in 19 at bats in the World Series.
  • Alou was a DH and extra outfielder in 1974. He batted .268 in 220 at bats during the regular season, singled in his only at bat in the ALCS, and struck out in his only at bat in the World Series.
  • Jesus was released by the A's during spring training in 1975. He signed with the New York Mets in mid April and batted .265 in 102 at bats during the 1975 season. Alou was released by the Mets during spring training in 1976. He was out of major league baseball for two years.
  • Before the 1978 season Alou signed with the Astros. He batted .324 in 139 at bats in 1978 and .256 in 43 at bats in 1979 as a player-coach. Alou retired after the 1979 season.
  • After his playing career Alou was a scout for the Expos and served as director of Dominican operations for the Florida Marlins. He has had the same position for the Boston Red Sox since 2002.
  • Liked to face: Lindy McDaniel (.800 in 10 AB); Bob Buhl (.450 in 20 AB); Steve Carlton (.436 in 55 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bob Purkey (.000 in 12 AB); Pat Jarvis (.091 in 33 AB); Jim Maloney (.114 in 35 AB)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1976 Topps #467 - Woodie Fryman

  • Woodie Fryman had a long career, pitching from 1966-1983. Fryman was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965. Woodie was in the minors for only one year (1965). Fryman made the Pirates ballclub in 1966 as a 26-year-old rookie and was 12-9 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 starts. Woodie had shaved three years off of his age before signing with the Pirates. He told them he was born in 1943 when he was actually born in 1940. The scout who signed Fryman didn't think they would be interested in a 26-year-old prospect.
  • Woodie missed some time in 1967 (one three-week period and a couple of two-week periods). He was 3-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 28 games (18 starts). After the 1967 season Fryman was included in a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies that sent Jim Bunning to the Pirates.
  • Fryman made the NL All Star team for the first time in 1968 (he didn't get in the game). He was 12-14 with a 2.78 ERA in 32 starts. In 1969 Fryman's ERA jumped to 4.41 and he went 12-15 in 35 starts.
  • Woodie missed the entire month of August in 1970 and was 8-6 with a 4.09 ERA in 29 games (20 starts). Fryman was a swingman in 1971, pitching in a total of 37 games and making 17 starts. He went 10-7 with a 3.38 ERA in '71.
  • Fryman started the 1972 season with the Phillies, who were wretched that year. Woodie was 4-10 in 17 starts when he was placed on waivers on August 2 and claimed by the Detroit Tigers. The pickup worked out well for the Tigers as Fryman went 10-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 14 starts down the stretch. The Tigers won the AL East (Fryman beat Luis Tiant in the deciding game) but the magic ran out in the postseason. Woodie started twice in the ALCS and lost both games.
  • Woodie had one of his toughest seasons in 1973. He went 6-13 with a 5.36 ERA in 29 starts. He did better in 1974 as he was 6-9 with a 4.32 ERA for the last place Tigers. After the 1974 season Fryman was traded to the Montreal Expos for Terry Humphrey and Tom Walker.
  • Fryman had two good years for the struggling Expos. In 1975 Woodie was 9-12 with three saves and a 3.32 ERA in 38 games (20 starts). Fryman went to the All Star Game in 1976 but didn't get into the game. He went 13-13 with two saves and a 3.37 ERA in 34 games (32 starts). After the 1976 season Woodie and Dale Murray were traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Tony Perez and Will McEnaney.
  • Woodie retired in the middle of the 1977 season and didn't pitch after July 5. He ended up 5-5 with a 5.38 ERA in 17 games (12 starts). After the 1977 season Woodie changed his mind about retirement. Fryman and Bill Caudill were traded to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Bonham.
  • Fryman didn't stay with the Cubs for very long. He was 2-4 in nine starts on June 9 when he was traded back to the Expos for Jerry White. Woodie went 5-7 with a 3.61 ERA for the Expos to finish the 1978 season.
  • In 1979 Woodie was moved to the bullpen. He pitched exclusively in relief for the rest of his career. Fryman went 3-6 with 10 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 44 games in 1979.
  • Woodie had another good year in 1980 (7-4, 17 saves, 2.25 ERA in 61 games). He also pitched well in 1981 (5-3, 7 saves, 1.88 ERA in 35 games). Fryman made one appearance in the NLDS and one appearance in the NLCS but got hammered both times.
  • Fryman's last full season was 1982. He was 9-4 with 12 saves but his ERA went up to 3.75. Woodie appeared in six games in 1983 (one game in April and five games in July) and was 0-3 with a 21.00 ERA. Woodie was released at the age of 43 after the 1983 season.
  • Fryman ran a tobacco farm during his pitching career and ran the farm full-time after his retirement from baseball.
  • Here is a "where are they now" article from 2008.
  • Liked to face: Terry Puhl (.000 in 19 AB); Dick Dietz (.091 in 22 AB); Maury Wills (.109 in 46 AB)
  • Hated to face: Amos Otis (.625 in 16 AB); Jose Pagan (.545 in 22 AB); Roberto Clemente (.472 in 36 AB)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1976 Topps #466 - Bob Stinson

  • Bob Stinson was a major league catcher from 1969-1980. Bob had the nickname "Scrap Iron," but Phil Garner also had the nickname and was remembered more. Stinson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966. Bob played a lot in the minors from 1966-1971. He hit pretty well in the minors (.283 lifetime average in six seasons) but it took a while for Stinson to stick in the majors.
  • Stinson had a couple of late season looks with the Dodgers. He went 3 for 8 in four games in 1969 and 0 for 3 in four games in 1970. After the 1970 season Bob was traded with Ted Sizemore to the St. Louis Cardinals for Dick Allen.
  • Bob was in the minors for the first few months of the 1971 season but was brought up after batting .324 in 87 games. Stinson didn't get much playing time with the Cardinals since they had Ted Simmons as the starting catcher. Bob batted .211 in 19 at bats for the Cardinals in 1971. After the 1971 season Stinson was traded to the Houston Astros for Marty Martinez.
  • Stinson was a #3 catcher for the Astros in 1972 and batted .171 in 35 at bats. During spring training in 1973 Bob was purchased by the Montreal Expos.
  • Stinson spent two seasons with the Expos as a backup catcher. In 1973 he batted .261 in 111 at bats and in 1974 he batted .172 in 87 at bats. By 1975 the Expos had Gary Carter and Barry Foote. Stinson was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Rodney Scott during the 1975 spring training.
  •  Bob got a little bit more playing time with the Royals in his two seasons with the club. He batted .265 in 147 at bats in 1975 and .263 in 209 at bats in 1976. Stinson went 0 for 1 in two games in the 1976 ALCS. After the 1976 season Bob was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft.
  • Stinson was Seattle's starting catcher in 1977 and 1978. Bob batted .269 in 297 at bats in 1977. He had his best year in 1978 when he batted .269 and hit 11 home runs in 364 at bats.
  • Bob's playing time diminished in 1979. He split time with Larry Cox and batted .243 in 247 at bats. In 1980 Stinson batted .215 in 107 at bats. The Mariners gave Stinson his release on August 7, 1980.
  • After his playing career Stinson worked for Boeing.
  • Keith Olbermann has said that he has a 1975/1976 SSPC set that is autographed by everyone except for Stinson. Apparently Stinson refuses to autograph unlicenced products that didn't pay him.
  • Liked to face: Rick Langford (.438 in 16 AB); Ed Figueroa (.385 in 26 AB); Dennis Leonard (.381 in 21 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dave Frost/Sid Monge (.000 in 10 AB); Bill Bonham (.091 in 11 AB); Dave Lemanczyk (.111 in 18 AB)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

1976 Topps #464 - Ken Henderson

  • Ken Henderson played in 16 seasons from 1965-1980. Ken was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1964. Despite batting .191 for three minor league teams in 1964 Ken was on the Giants major league roster for the entire 1965 season. He played in 65 games for the Giants but had only 83 plate appearances. Ken batted .192 in 73 at bats.

  • Henderson was in the minors for most of the next three seasons. He batted .310 in 29 late season at bats for the Giants in 1966. In 1967 Ken was up and down between AAA Phoenix and the Giants. In 65 games Henderson batted .274 in 179 at bats. Henderson was in Phoenix for most of 1968 and went 1 for 3 in three games for the Giants at the end of the season.

  • Henderson started to get some playing time for the Giants in 1969. He played in 113 games but batted only .225 in 374 at bats.

  • Ken developed some power in 1970 and batted .294, scored 104 runs, hit 17 home runs and had 88 RBI as the Giants' starting left fielder. In 1971 Henderson batted .264 with 15 HR and 65 RBI and batted .313 in the NLCS. Ken had a similar year in 1972, batting .257 with 18 HR and 51 RBI. The Giants' Invisible Man - June 1972 Baseball Digest. After the 1972 season Henderson was traded to the Chicago White Sox with Steve Stone for Tom Bradley.

  • Henderson had an injury-riddled 1973 season (he had major knee surgery). He missed the entire month of June and didn't play after August 7. Ken batted .260 with 6 HR in 73 games for the White Sox in '73.

  • Ken had his best season in 1974. As the back of the card says, he was the White Sox Player of the Year and also got a few top-ten votes for MVP (he was 19th in the balloting). Henderson batted .292 with 20 HR and 95 RBI while playing in all 162 games.

  • Henderson batted .251 with 9 HR and 53 RBI in 1975. By the time this card came out, Ken had already been traded with Ozzie Osborn and Dick Ruthven to the Atlanta Braves for Larvell Blanks and Ralph Garr.

  • Ken's last season as a full-time player was 1976. He batted .262 with 13 HR and 61 RBI for the Braves. After the 1976 season Ken was traded with four other players and $250,000 to the Texas Rangers for Jeff Burroughs.

  • Henderson was a fourth outfielder and a DH for the Rangers in 1977. He played in 75 games and batted .258 with 5 HR and 23 RBI. During spring training in 1978 Ken was sent to the New York Mets in a complex 4-way deal between the Rangers, Mets, Braves, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He started the 1978 season with the Mets but played in only seven games before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Dale Murray on May 19. Ken played in 64 games but batted only .167 in 144 at bats.

  • The Reds didn't really have a place for Henderson to play. He started the 1979 season with the Reds and was sold to the Chicago Cubs on June 28 (Ken had batted only 13 times for the Reds in the first part of the season). Henderson finished the 1979 season with the Cubs and batted .234 in 94 at bats for the season. Ken's 1979 gamelog on Baseball Reference looks strange. It shows that he played in one game for the Cubs on May 10 and then went to the Reds and played in 11 games before going back to the Cubs on June 28. Baseball Reference shows the June 28 transaction but it doesn't show a transaction sending him to the Cubs before the 1979 season. It also doesn't show the transaction in May.

  • Ken started the 1980 season with the Cubs and was a pinch hitter and substitute outfielder. He played in 44 games and batted .195 in 82 at bats. The Cubs released Ken on July 20.

  • Where Did They Go When The Lights Went Out? - Baseball Digest June 1991. Ken is profiled in this article. He went into business after his playing career and was successful. Henderson lives in Los Gatos, CA.

  • Liked to face: Grant Jackson (.500 in 16 AB); John Curtis (.474 in 19 AB); Bill Lee (.424 in 33 AB)

  • Hated to face: Roger Moret (.000 in 15 AB); Jim Bunning/Gaylord Perry (.083 in 24 AB); Steve Carlton (.091 in 33 AB)
    Edit: Ken recently took a position with the Giants organization selling luxury boxes. An update is here on the seamheads website.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

1976 Topps #463 - Steve Hargan

  • Steve Hargan pitched in the majors from 1965-1972 and from 1974-1977. Hargan was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1961 and pitched in the minors from 1961-1965. After going 13-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 24 starts for AAA Portland Steve was brought up to the Indians in August 1965. Hargan pitched in 17 games (8 starts) for the Indians and was 4-3 with a 3.43 ERA.
  • Hargan was a fifth starter and occasional reliever for the Indians in 1966. He was 13-10 with a 2.48 ERA in 38 games (21 starts). In 1967 Steve made the AL All Star team but he wasn't used in the game due to an injury. Hargan led the AL with six shutouts while going 14-13 with a 2.62 ERA in 29 starts and 221 innings pitched.
  • The 1967 season was the height of Steve's career. Hargan had elbow surgery in 1968 and his innings pitched dropped steadily from 1968-1972. Steve Hargan Takes It Easy in Training - March 17, 1968 Reading Eagle. In 1968 Steve was 8-15 with a 4.15 ERA in 32 games (27 starts) and in 1969 he was an ugly 5-14 with a 5.70 ERA in 32 games (23 starts).
  • Steve had a good season in 1970 when he went 11-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 23 games (19 starts). He missed 2 1/2 months of the season (early-May to mid-July). The 1971 season was a disaster for Steve. Hargan was 1-13 with a 6.19 ERA in 37 games (16 starts).
  • In 1972 Steve didn't pitch until May 5. He pitched for the Indians in May and June but then was sent to the minors for most of the rest of the season. Steve came back to pitch in a few September games and ended up 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA in 12 games (1 start). Hargan was in the minors for the entire 1973 season and then was traded to the Texas Rangers for Bill Gogolewski.
  • Steve became a starter for the Rangers in 1974 and was 12-9 with a 3.95 ERA in 27 starts. Hargan was 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts in 1975. Steve was a reliever and spot starter in 1976, going 8-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 35 games (8 starts).
  • Hargan was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft after the 1976 season. He started the 1977 season with the Blue Jays (1-3, 5.22 ERA in 6 games) and was traded to the Rangers (along with Jim Mason and $200,000) for Roy Howell on May 5. Steve pitched for the Rangers for a few weeks (1-0, 8.76 in six games) and then was sold to the Atlanta Braves on June 15. Hargan was 0-3 with a 6.87 ERA for the Braves and was released after the 1977 season.
  • Steve pitched for a couple of minor league teams in 1978 but was never called back up to the majors.
  • Hargan now lives in Palm Springs, CA.
  • Liked to face: Buddy Bell (.077 in 13 AB); Dave Chalk (.091 in 21 AB); Dick McAuliffe (.111 in 36 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rick Manning (.467 in 15 AB); Jorge Orta (.429 in 28 AB); Joe Foy (.407 in 27 AB)

Monday, June 7, 2010

1976 Topps #462 - 1975 World Series

  • This is one of the few things I don't like about the 1976 set. The 1975 World Series was one of the best in history. It deserved more than just one card. Because only one card was devoted to the 1975 World Series, information had to be crammed together. Composite scores don't really tell the story as well as box scores.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

1976 Topps #461 - NL & AL Championships

  • Both League Championship Series ended up in sweeps in 1975. I'm not sure if any other season had two LCS sweeps between 1969 and the realignment/wild card. At least the NL had one extra inning game to keep things a little interesting. These line scores are about as informative as can be, considering that both LCS are on one card. It would have been better to make a separate card for each series.

  • Who is the player between Bench and Perez?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1976 Topps #460 - Cesar Cedeno

  • Cesar Cedeno was one of those "what might have been" players. He started off like gangbusters but his career was never the same after the murder incident after the 1973 season. Cedeno was signed by the Houston Astros in 1967. He started playing in the minors at the age of 17 in 1968. By 1970 Cesar was ready for the majors. He was batting .373 for AAA Oklahoma City when he was called up to the Astros in June of 1970. Cedeno played in 90 games for the Astros in 1970, batted .310, and finished 4th in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
  • Cedeno led the NL with 40 doubles in 1971 but his batting average dipped to .264 and his on base percentage was only .293. Cesar Cedeno - Baseball's Next Superstar? - July 1971 Baseball Digest
  • Cesar made the first of four All Star games in 1972. He played CF and went 1 for 2 with a run scored. Cedeno batted .320, led the NL with 39 doubles, stole 55 bases, and hit 22 home runs. Cesar finished 6th in NL MVP voting and won his first Gold Glove award. Cesar Cedeno...The Next Super Star? - August 19, 1972 Sporting News. Cesar Cedeno: A New Clemente in the Making - November 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Cedeno's 1973 season was a virtual carbon copy of his 1972 year. He batted .320 again, hit 35 doubles and 25 HR, stole 56 bases, went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the All Star game, and won another Gold Glove.
  • After the 1973 season Cedeno was involved in an incident that would be an albatross over the rest of his career (and his life). He and a mistress were drinking in a hotel room when she picked up Cesar's gun. Cesar tried to get the gun away from her and it went off. The mistress was killed and Cedeno fled the scene. He turned himself in eight hours later. He spent the Christmas holiday in jail, was charged with involunary manslaughter, and was released after paying a 100 peso fine. Cesar was heckled during spring training in 1974. He said that the incident wouldn't affect his playing, but there is a dropoff in his stats after the 1973 season.
  • Cedeno made the All Star team again in 1974 (he was 0 for 2 with a strikeout) and won his third straight Gold Glove. Cesar batted .269 with 26 HR and 102 RBI and also stole 57 bases. In 1975 he batted .288 and stole 50 bases, but his home run total dipped to 13. Cesar won another Gold Glove but didn't make the NL All Star team. Cesar Cedeno: Will He Ever Reach His Potential? - August 1975 Baseball Digest.
  • Cesar made his fourth (and last) All Star team in 1976. He struck out and hit a 2-run homer in the game. Cedeno batted .297 with 18 HR and 83 RBI and also stole 58 bases. Cesar won his fifth and final Gold Glove award in 1976. Cesar Cedeno -- How Good A Player is He - Really? -- November 1976 Baseball Digest.
  • Cedeno batted .279 with 14 HR and 71 RBI and stole 61 bases in 1977. In 1978 Cesar was injured and missed 3 1/2 months of the season. He batted .281 in 50 games in '78. Cesar Cedeno: The Best All-Around Center Fielder - May 1978 Baseball Digest.
  • Cesar played about 2/3 of his games at first base in 1979. He batted .262 in 132 games, hit 6 home runs, and stole 30 bases.
  • Cedeno's last really big year was 1980. He went back to center field, played in 136 games, and batted .309 with 10 HR, 73 RBI, and 48 stolen bases. Cesar batted .182 in three games in the 1980 NLCS.
  • Cesar split time between first base and center field in 1981. He batted .271 in 82 games and batted .214 in the NLDS. After the 1981 season Cedeno was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Ray Knight.
  • The 1982 season was Cesar's last as a full-time player. He batted .289 in 138 games but his home run (8) and stolen base (16) totals were way down. Cedeno had a stint on the DL in 1983 and batted .232 in 98 games. In 1984 Cesar was a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman. He batted .276 with 10 HR in 110 games.
  • Cedeno had the same role with the Reds in 1985. Cesar was batting .241 in 83 games when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a minor leaguer on August 29. The Cardinals needed someone to play first base after Jack Clark was injured. Cedeno batted .434 in 28 games for the Cards and helped them to the NL East title. He didn't do much for them in the playoffs (.167 in the NLCS and .182 in the World Series).
  • Cesar became a free agent after the 1985 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training. Cedeno didn't make the Toronto ballclub and he was released at the end of spring training. Cesar was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and stayed with them for about six weeks. Cedeno batted .237 in 31 games before he was released on June 5. Cesar signed with the Cardinals and went to AAA Louisville in July 1986 but he retired after batting .169 in 20 games for Louisville.
  • Cedeno had a couple of other run-ins with the law (usually involving women) after his playing career. He coached hitting and fielding in the Dominican Republic for several years after his retirement as an active player. He now coaches with the Gulf Coast League affiliate of the Washington Nationals.
  • Liked to face: Dale Murray (.550 in 20 AB); Woodie Fryman (.458 in 24 AB); Ron Bryant (.435 in 23 AB)
  • Hated to face: Orel Hershiser (.000 in 13 AB); Tim Lollar (.050 in 20 AB); Tug McGraw (.115 in 26 AB)

Friday, June 4, 2010

1976 Topps #459 - Jim Brewer

  • Jim Brewer had a long career, pitching from 1960-1976. He was at the end of the line when this card came out. Brewer was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1956. He pitched in the minors from 1956-1960. Jim was promoted to the Cubs after going 8-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 18 starts for AAA Houston. Brewer only pitched in five games for the Cubs (0-3, 5.82 ERA) in 1960 due to the incident described in the next paragraph.
  • Brewer had a famous (or infamous) fight with Billy Martin during his rookie season.
    • Wikipedia entry: "Brewer was involved in an infamous on-field altercation with Billy Martin on August 4, 1960. Brewer, then with the Cubs, brushed back Martin, then with the Cincinnati Reds, with a pitch in the second inning of a game at Wrigley Field. Martin threw his bat at Brewer, who picked it up and started to hand it to Martin as Martin approached. Martin punched Brewer in the right eye, breaking his cheekbone. Brewer was hospitalized for two months, and Martin served a five-day suspension. The Cubs sued Martin for $1 million for the loss of Brewer's services, but later dropped their case. Brewer, however, pursued his, and in 1969 a judge ordered Martin to pay $10,000 in damages. When informed of the judgment by the press, Billy asked sarcastically, "How do they want it? Cash or check?"
  • Jim was a swingman for the Cubs in 1961. He went 1-7 with an ERA of 5.82 in 36 games (11 starts). Brewer spent most of the 1962 season in the minors -- he had a short stint with the Cubs in May and another short stint in September. Brewer was 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in six games in 1962.
  • Brewer did better in 1963 but his stats weren't exactly eye-popping. He pitched in 29 games (1 start) and was 3-2 with a 4.89 ERA. After the 1963 season Jim was traded with Cuno Barragan to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Dick Scott.
  • Brewer became a valuable part of the Dodger bullpen for many years. Jim took the advice of Warren Spahn and developed a screwball. The new pitch paid dividends as  Brewer was 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 34 games (5 starts) in 1964. Jim had injury problems in 1965 -- he didn't pitch until late April and also missed almost a month in June/July. Brewer pitched well when he could go out there -- in 19 games (2 starts) he was 3-2 with a 1.82 ERA. Jim pitched two shutout innings in a mop-up role in game 1 of the 1965 World Series.
  • Jim also had injury problems in 1966. He didn't appear in a game until May 20 and he had two month-long absences during the season. Brewer 0-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 13 games in 1966. Jim pitched a scoreless 9th inning in game 2 of the 1966 World Series.
  • Brewer appeared in 30 games (11 starts) in 1967. It would be the last season in which he would start a game. Jim was 5-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 1967. Brewer became a closer (or at least what was defined as a closer at the time) in 1968. He had six straight seasons of 14 or more saves from 1968-1973. In 1968 Jim was 8-3 with 14 saves and a 2.49 ERA in 54 games.
  • In 1969 Brewer was 7-6 with 20 saves and a 2.55 ERA. He was 7-6 with 24 saves and a 3.13 ERA in 1970. Jim had a good season as a reliever in 1971 -- he was 6-5 with 22 saves and a 1.88 ERA. Jim had a microscopic 1.26 ERA in 1972 while going 8-7 with 17 saves.
  • Brewer made the NL All Star team in 1973 and earned the save by pitching a scoreless 9th inning. He was 6-8 with 20 saves and a 3.01 ERA in '73.
  • In 1974 Jim became a set-up man due to the presence of Mike Marshall and his 106 appearances. He missed two months from mid-July to mid-September. Brewer was 4-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 24 appearences in 1974. He wasn't used in the NLCS, but he pitched 1/3 of an inning  in game 3 (he struck out Sal Bando to end the fourth inning of a 3-2 Dodger loss).
  • Brewer didn't pitch well for the Dodgers in 1975. He was 3-1 with a 5.18 ERA in 21 games when he was traded to the California Angels for Dave Sells on July 15. Jim pitched much better for the Angels -- in 21 games he was 1-0 with five saves and a 1.82 ERA.
  • The 1976 season was Jim's last one in the majors. He was 3-1 with two saves and a 2.70 ERA in 13 games when he retired in late May.
  • Jim died of injuries sustained in a car accident on November 16, 1987 -- one day before his 50th birthday. Jim's son Mark is a pitching coach in the minor leagues.
  • Liked to face: Clay Dalrymple (.000 in 14 AB); Ken Henderson/Jim Beauchamp (.067 in 15 AB); Tim McCarver (.095 in 21 AB)
  • Hated to face: Tommie Agee (.533 in 15 AB); Don Demeter (.545 in 11 AB); Lou Brock (.406 in 32 AB)