Saturday, July 31, 2010

1976 Topps #511 - Jamie Easterly

  • Jamie Easterly pitched in the majors off-and-on from 1974-1987. I had lost track of him when he left the National League in 1980 and I don't remember his AL career at all. Easterly was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1971. He was in the minors for all of the 1971-1973 seasons and most of the 1974 season. Jamie was 9-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 23 starts for AAA Richmond in 1974 and got his first taste of the majors at the end of the 1974 season (0-0, 16.88 ERA in 3 games).
  • Easterly was with the Braves for most of the 1975 season and went 2-9 with a 4.98 ERA in 21 games (13 starts). He was in Richmond for most of the 1976 season. Jamie went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four September starts for the Braves in 1976.
  • Jamie stayed with the Braves for the entire 1977 and 1978 seasons. In 1977 Easterly was 2-4 with a 6.14 ERA in 22 games (5 starts) and in 1978 he was 3-6 with a 5.65 ERA in 37 games (6 starts). On June 30, 1978 Easterly gave up Willie McCovey's 500th home run. Jamie was back in Richmond for the first part of the 1979 season and was 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA in four appearances for the Braves in May and June. He then was loaned to the Montreal Expos organization and he pitched a 7-inning perfect game for AAA Denver on July 14, 1979.
  • After the 1979 season Easterly was purchased by the Expos. He spent the 1980 season with Denver and was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers in September of 1980.
  • Jamie's best season was probably the 1981 season. He became a full-time reliever and was 3-3 with four saves and a 3.19 ERA in 44 games. Easterly pitched in two games in the ALDS and gave up one run in 1.1 innings.
  • Easterly missed about nine weeks of the 1982 season with an injury. He went 0-2 with two saves and a 4.70 ERA in 28 games and wasn't on the Brewers' postseason roster. 
  • Jamie started the 1983 season with the Brewers and was 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 games. Easterly was traded with Ernie Camacho and Gorman Thomas to the Cleveland Indians for Rick Manning and Rick Waits on June 6. He went 4-2 with three saves and a 3.63 ERA in 41 games for the Indians to finish the 1983 season.
  • Easterly signed a 2-year $490,000 contract with the Indians before the 1984 season. In 1984 Jamie was 3-1 with two saves and a 3.38 ERA in 26 games (1 start). Easterly was 4-1 with a 3.92 ERA in 50 games (7 starts) in 1985.
  • After the 1985 season Jamie became a free agent and resigned with the Indians for two years and $720,000. He was injured a lot and didn't have much success in those two years. In 1986 Jamie was 0-2 with a 7.64 ERA in 13 games and in 1987 he was 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA in 16 games. The Indians released Easterly after the 1987 season.
  • After his playing career Jamie returned to his hometown of Crockett, Texas. Here is his TTM information.
  • Liked to face: Lee Lacy (.000 in 11 AB); Gary Roenicke (.063 in 16 AB); Ken Griffey (.077 in 13 AB)
  • Hated to face: Cecil Cooper (.571 in 14 AB); Ken Griffey (.550 in 20 AB); Dave Concepcion (.526 in 19 AB)

Friday, July 30, 2010

1976 Topps #510 - Amos Otis

  • Amos Otis played in the majors from 1967-1984, mostly for the Kansas City Royals. Otis was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1965. After playing one season in Boston's system Amos was drafted by the New York Mets after the 1966 season. Otis was in the minors for most of the 1967 season and was called up at the end of the season. Amos batted .220 in 15 games for the Mets in 1967.
  • Otis was in the minors in 1968. He started the 1969 season with the Mets but didn't get along with manager Gil Hodges, who wanted Otis to play third base. Amos ended up going to the minors for a few months and batted .151 in 48 games. After the 1969 season Otis was traded with Bob Johnson to the Kansas City Royals for third base prospect Joe Foy.
  • Otis became the full-time center fielder for the Royals in 1970 and made the AL All Star team (he was 0 for 3 in the game). Amos batted .284 and led the league with 36 doubles in 1970. He stole 33 bases and was caught only twice.
  • Amos was an All Star again in 1971 (0 for 1 in the game) and won his first Gold Glove. Otis stole 52 bases to lead the American League and batted .301 with 15 HR and 79 RBI. Amos Otis Does It His Way - September 1971 Baseball Digest. Five Year Plan Works for Otis - June 18, 1971 St. Petersburg Times. In 1972 Amos was an All Star but didn't get in the game. He batted .293 with 11 HR and 54 RBI in 1972.
  • Otis started in center field in the 1973 All Star Game and went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a stolen base. Amos finished third in AL MVP voting as he batted .300 with 26 HR and 93 RBI. He also won his second Gold Glove award in 1973. Amos Otis: I'm No Superstar - June 1973 Baseball Digest.
  • Amos won his third (and last) Gold Glove in 1974 and batted .284 with 12 HR and 73 RBI. Otis had an off year in 1975 as he batted .247 with 9 HR and 46 RBI. Amos Otis The Royals' 'Mr. Cool' - July 1975 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1976 Otis led the AL with 40 doubles and batted .279 with 18 HR and 86 RBI. He also made his fifth (and final) All Star team and struck out as a pinch hitter. Amos batted once in the ALCS and was 0 for 1.
  • Amos was less productive in 1977. Otis hit 17 HR  but his doubles total dropped to 20 and he batted .251. He batted .125 in five games in the ALCS. Amos Otis Is a Real Hero to Flood-Stranded Fans - September 18, 1977 Nevada Daily Mail.
  • Otis had a nice season in 1978. He was fourth in AL MVP voting and batted .298 with 22 HR and 96 RBI. Amos batted .429 and stole four bases in the ALCS.
  • Otis had has last big season in 1979. He batted .295 with 18 HR and 90 RBI. Amos stole 30 bases and was caught five times. Amos Otis: Why Does He Always Get Second Billing? -  April 1979 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1980 Otis was injured in spring training and didn't play until May 25. He played in 107 games and batted .251 with 10 HR and 53 RBI. Amos had a great postseason -- he batted .333 in three games in the ALCS and .478 with three home runs in the World Series.
  • Amos batted .269 with nine HR and 57 RBI in 1981. He went 0 for 12 in the ALDS. In 1982 Amos batted .286 with 11 HR and 88 RBI. His last year with the Royals was in 1983. Otis batted .261 with 4 HR in 98 games. Amos Otis Fights the Ravages of Father Time - June 1983 Baseball Digest.
  • After the 1983 season Otis became a free agent (Amos Otis Falls Victim to Royals' Youth Movement - September 15, 1983 Miami News. He signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates but he wasn't very successful. Amos batted .165 in 40 games and was released on August 5.
  • Amos played in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989 and batted .332 with 11 HR.
  • Here is an interview with Amos Otis.
  • Liked to face: Jackie Brown (.565 in 23 AB); Don Aase (.542 in 24 AB); Ross Grimsley (.500 in 26 AB)
  • Hated to face: Lloyd Allen (.000 in 13 AB); Bob Stanley (.097 in 31 AB); Doc Medich (.119 in 67 AB)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1976 Topps #509 - Bill Hands


  • Bill Hands' career was already over when this card came out. Hands (aka "Froggy") pitched in the majors from 1965-1975. He was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1959 and spent seven seasons in the minors. After going 17-4 with a 2.19 ERA for AAA Tacoma in 1965 Bill finally got  his shot in the majors. He pitched in four games (two starts) for the Giants in 1965 and was 0-2 with a 16.50 ERA. After the season Hands was traded with Randy Hundley to the Chicago Cubs for Don Landrum and Lindy McDaniel.
  • The Cubs got the better of that trade as Hundley became their starting catcher and Hands had a few good years as well. In 1966 Bill was 8-13 with a 4.58 ERA in 41 games (26 starts). Bill went 7-8 with six saves in 49 games (11 starts) in 1967. 
  • Hands was known as a good control pitcher. In 1968 he led the NL by walking only 1.3 batters per nine innings. Bill was 16-10 with a 2.89 ERA and walked 36 batters in 258.2 innings pitched. He also led the NL with 26 home runs allowed.
  • Bill had a great season for the Cubs in 1969. He was 20-14 with a 2.49 ERA in 41 starts and had 300 innings pitched. The Game I'll Never Forget - Baseball Digest July 1995. 
  • Hands pitched a lot in 1970 (18-15, 3.70 ERA in 38 starts) and in 1971 (12-15, 3.42 ERA in 35 starts) but wasn't quite as effective. Why Bill Hands Is So Tough to Beat - January 1970 Baseball Digest.
  • Bill's last year with the Cubs was 1972. He started 28 games and was 11-8 with a 3.00 ERA. After the 1972 season he was traded (with Joe Decker and a minor leaguer) to the Minnesota Twins for Dave LaRoche.
  • Hands was in the starting rotation for the Twins until mid June of 1973. Bill missed a few weeks and when he came back in early July he became a reliever. Hands was 7-10 with a 3.49 ERA in 39 games (15 starts) in 1973. In 1974 Hands was 4-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 35 games (10 starts) when he was placed on waivers in early September. The Texas Rangers selected him off of waivers on September 9 and Bill went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts to finish the 1974 season.
  • Bill went 6-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 18 starts for the Rangers in 1975. He missed three weeks in June and pitched his last game on August 20.
  • Hands was traded to the New York Mets for George Stone before the 1976 season. Bill retired before the season started.
  • Bill owns a service station and retail oil business in Orient, NY. Here is a "where are they now" article from 2006.
  • Liked to face: Bill North (.000 in 17 AB); Carl Taylor (.077 in 13 AB); Len Gabrielson (.105 in 19 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bob Watson (.455 in 22 AB); Oscar Gamble (.450 in 20 AB); Manny Sanguillen (.444 in 36 AB); Garry Maddox (5 for 9 with 3 HR)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1976 Topps #508 - Duane Kuiper

  • Duane Kuiper played for the Cleveland Indians and the San Francisco Giants from 1974-1985. He is better known now for his announcing with the San Francisco Giants. Duane is the only player with over 3,000 career at bats and only one career home run.
  • Kuiper was drafted by the Indians in 1972. Duane had previously been drafted five times between 1968 and 1971 but never signed. He played in the minors from 1972-1974 and batted .310 for AAA Oklahoma City in 1974. Kuiper had a short stint with the Indians at the end of the 1974 season and batted .500 in 22 at bats.
  • Duane spent the first two months of the 1975 season in the minors. He came up in early June and took over at second base. Kuiper batted .292 in 90 games in 1975. He had the best stolen base percentage of his career in 1975 when he stole 19 bases and was caught 18 times. Duane was usually thrown out more often than he was successful.
  • Kuiper had four solid but powerless seasons for the Indians from 1976-1979. He batted .263 in 1976, .277 in 1977, .283 in 1978, and .255 in 1979 and played in at least 135 games in each of those seasons. Kuiper hit his only major league home run off of Steve Stone on August 25, 1977. He also is one of only three players to hit two bases-loaded triples in the same game (he did it in Yankee stadium on July 27, 1978).
  • Duane was off to a good start in 1980 (.282 in 42 games) when he was injured on June 1. Kuiper missed the rest of the 1980 season and didn't get back into action until May of 1981. Duane batted .257 in 72 games in 1981 and was traded to the Giants for Ed Whitson after the season.
  • In 1982 Kuiper was a pinch hitter and backup to Joe Morgan at 2B and batted .280 in 218 at bats. Duane batted .250 in 176 at bats in 1983 and .200 in 115 at bats in 1984.
  • Kuiper was at the end of the line in 1985. After  making eight pinch hitting appearances (3 for 5) he was released on June 28. 
  • Why Former Second Baseman Duane Kuiper Remains My Hero - July 2008 Baseball Digest.
  • After his playing career Kuiper started broadcasting for the Giants. He started in radio and eventually was teamed with Mike Krukow to form the "Kruk and Kuip" team on Giants' television broadcasts. Duane has won five Emmy awards for his broadcasting work.
  • Liked to face: Don Aase (.533 in 15 AB); Dick Tidrow (.526 in 19 AB); Francisco Barrios (.480 in 25 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Kravec/Lary Sorenson (.105 in 19 AB); Jack Morris (.111 in 18 AB) 

Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow bobblehead race. It would have been interesting to hear them "announce" the race.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1976 Topps #507 - Ray Bare

  • Ray Bare pitched in the  majors from 1972-1977. Ray was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. He pitched in the minors from 1969-1972 before being called up by the Cardinals in 1972. Ray was 0-1 with one save and a 0.54 ERA in 14 games for the Cards in '72.
  • Bare was in AAA Tulsa for the entire 1973 season and most of the 1974 season. He was 12-4 with a 2.34 ERA for Tulsa in 1974 before being recalled. Ray went 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA in ten games (three starts) for the Cardinals in 1974. During spring training in 1975 Bare was placed on waivers and selected by the Detroit Tigers.
  • Ray became a starting pitcher for the Tigers in 1975 and was 8-13 with a 3.81 ERA in 29 games (21 starts). In 1976 Bare was 7-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 30 games (21 starts).
  • Bare struggled in 1977. He was 0-2 with a 12.56 ERA in five games (four starts) before being sent to AAA Evansville. Ray pitched for Baltimore's AAA Rochester club in 1978 before calling it quits.
  • Ray died of leukemia in his hometown of Miami, Florida in 1994 at the age of 44.

Monday, July 26, 2010

1976 Topps #506 - George Mitterwald

  • George Mitterwald was a catcher in the major leagues from 1966-1977. Mitterwald was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1965. He played in the minors from 1965-1968 and he got short looks by the Twins in 1966 (1 for 5 in three games) and in 1968 (.206 in 11 games).
  • George became John Roseboro's backup catcher in 1969. He batted .257 in 69 games as the Twins won the AL West. Mitterwald batted .143 in the 1969 ALCS.
  • Mitterwald became the starting catcher for the Twins in 1970. He batted .222 with 15 HR in 117 games during the regular season and went 4 for 8 in two games in the 1970 ALCS. George batted .250 with 13 HR in 125 games in 1971.
  • George split time behind the plate with Glen Borgmann and Phil Roof in 1972 and batted .184 in 64 games. Mitterwald got his starting job back in 1973 and had his best year, batting .259 with career  highs in home runs (16) and RBI (64). After the 1973 season George was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Randy Hundley.
  • From 1974-1976 Mitterwald and Steve Swisher shared the catching load for the Cubs. In 1974 George batted .251 in 78 games and in 1975 he batted .220 in 84 games. On April 17, 1974 George hit three home runs in one game (he doubled in his other at bat). Mitterwald batted .215 in 101 games in 1976. 
  • In 1977 George was the starting catcher and batted .238 with nine homers in 110 games. 
  • Mitterwald became a free agent after the 1977 season and signed with the Seattle Mariners. He didn't make the Seattle ballclub and played for Seattle's AAA  San Jose club in 1978. George retired after batting .162 in 21 games for San Jose.
  • Mitterwald managed the Duluth-Superior Dukes minor league ballclub in 1997 and managed Ila Borders, who was the first woman pro pitcher. The Dukes won the Northern League Championship in 1997.
  • Liked to face: Joe Horlen (.538 in 13 AB); Tommy John (.442 in 43 AB); Fritz Peterson (.440 in 25 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bill Parsons (.000 in 14 AB); Sam McDowell (.043 with 12 SO in 23 AB); Dave McNally (.100 in 20 AB)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1976 Topps #505 - Mark Belanger

  • Mark Belanger was the epitome of the "good field/no hit" shortstop. Belanger won eight Gold Gloves (1969, 1971, 1973-1978) but hit above .230 in only three of his full seasons. Belanger was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1962 and played in the minors in 1962 and in 1964. Mark was in the Army in 1963 and didn't play.
  • Mark first came up to the Orioles in 1965. He played in 11 games (1 for 3) in 1965 and eight games (3 for 19) in 1966. Belanger was Luis Aparicio's backup in 1967 and took over the full-time shortstop job when Aparicio was traded after the 1967 season.
  • Belanger had his best season in 1969 when he won his first Gold Glove and batted .287 in 150 games. He hit the first home run in ALCS history in 1969, which was interesting since he hit only 20 home runs in his entire career.  Mark (The Glove) Belanger Adds Another Dimension- November 1969 Baseball Digest
  • Mark became the "triple crown loser" in 1970 by finishing last in the AL in all three triple crown categories (.218, 1 HR, 36 RBI). 
  • Belanger's biggest offensive seasons were in 1971 (.266 with a .365 OBP) and 1976 (.270 with 27 stolen bases). Mark made the AL All Star team in 1976 and went 0 for 1. Mark Belanger - The Orioles' Mechanical Man on Defense - December 1971 Baseball Digest. Mark Belanger: The Run Saver - August 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • Belanger was the starting shortstop for the Orioles from 1968-1978. Mark Belanger: The Orioles' 'Mr. Glove' - June 1978 Baseball Digest.Mark was supplanted as the starter by Kiko Garcia in 1979 and although he played in 101 games he batted only .167 in 198 AB.
  • Mark regained his starting position in 1980 and was also the starter in 1981. Belanger batted .165 in 64 games in 1981 and was allowed to leave as a free agent after the season (the Orioles had Cal Ripken Jr. ready for the majors). Mark was one of four players who led negotiations for the Players Association during the 1981 strike.
  • Belanger signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 1982 season and batted .240 in 50 at bats. Mark retired after he was released by the Dodgers following the 1982 season.
  • After his retirement Mark worked for the Players Association as a liason between the players and the union leadership.
  • Belanger died of lung cancer on October 6, 1998.
  • Liked to face: Jim Kern (.625 in 16 AB); Dave  Morehead (.533 in 15 AB); Fritz Peterson (.308 in 78 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rick Waits (.000 in 17 AB); Al Fitzmorris (.040 in 25 AB); Gaylord Perry (.083 in 48 AB)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

1976 Topps #504 - Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Danny Murtaugh managed the Pittsburgh Pirates four different times. He managed the club from 1957-1964 before stepping down for health reasons. Danny took a  job in the Pittsburgh front office and then  came back to manage the Pirates at the end of the 1967 season after they fired Harry Walker. Murtaugh went back to the front office and then came back to  manage the team from 1970-1971. He then returned to manage the club in September 1973 after the firing of Bill Virdon. Murtaugh managed the Pirates through the 1976 season before retiring. Danny died of a stroke two months after his retirement. The Pirates won World Championships in 1960 and 1971 and NL East titles in 1970, 1974, and 1975.
  • The Pirates had good ballclubs throughout the 1970s. The "Lumber Company" was a fun team to watch.
  • Record: 92-70 (2nd in NL East, 9 games behind Philadelphia)
  • Attendance: 1,025,975 (8th of 12 in NL)
  • Team Batting - .267, 3rd in NL
  • Team HR - 110, 2nd in NL
  • Team ERA - 3.36, 4th in NL
  • Team Fielding - .975, 9th in NL
  • Batting Leader: Al Oliver (.323)
  • HR Leader: Richie Zisk/Bill Robinson (21)
  • RBI Leader: Dave Parker (90)
  • Stolen Base Leader: Frank Taveras (58)
  • Wins Leader: John Candelaria (16)
  • Losses Leader: Doc Medich (11)
  • ERA Leader (starters): Bruce Kison (3.08)
  • ERA Leader (relievers): Kent Tekulve (2.45)
  • Saves Leader: Bob Moose (10)
  • League Leaders: none
  • NL All Stars: Al Oliver (OF)

Friday, July 23, 2010

1976 Topps #503 - Elliott Maddox

  • Elliott Maddox was a major leaguer from 1970-1980. Maddox was drafted  by the Detroit Tigers in 1968 and played in the minors in 1968 and 1969. Maddox was brought up to Detroit in 1970 and batted .248 in 109 games. Elliott played 2B, SS, 3B, and all three OF positions in 1970. After the 1970 season Maddox was Traded with Denny McLainNorm McRae and Don Wert to the Washington Senators for Ed BrinkmanJoe ColemanJim Hannan and Aurelio Rodriguez.
  • Maddox was a fourth outfielder and backup third baseman during his time with the Senators/Rangers. In 1971 Elliott batted .217 in 128 games and in 1972 he batted .252 with 20 stolen bases in 98 games. Maddox batted .238 in 100 games in 1973. After the 1973 season he was purchased by the New York Yankees.
  • Elliott was the regular center fielder in 1974 and had his best season. He batted .303 (6th in the AL) in 137 games and finished 8th in AL MVP voting. Maddox was off to a good start in 1975 when he injured his knee in Shea Stadium on June 13. Elliott missed the rest of the 1975 season and was never the same player after the injury (he had two reconstructive surgeries in 1975 and 1976). He later sued for damages but lost the case when it was ruled that he knew about the condition of the turf and played anyway. Maddox batted .307 in 55 games in 1975.
  • In 1976 Maddox played in only 18 games and batted .217 as he continued to attempt to come back from the injury. He batted .222 in the ALCS and .200 in the World Series. After the 1976 season he (and Rick Bladt) were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Paul Blair.
  • Maddox batted .262 in 49 games for the Orioles in 1977. After the 1977 season Elliott became a free agent and signed a five-year contract with the New  York  Mets.
  • Elliott batted .257 in 119 games in 1978 and .268 in 86 games in 1979. Maddox was tried as the regular third baseman for the  Mets in 1980 and batted .246 in 130 games. Maddox was cut before the season in 1981. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on June 15, 1981 but never played for them (probably due to the strike).
  • After his playing career Maddox worked as an investment banker on Wall Street for several years and then worked as a roving coach for the New York Yankees for a couple of years. He then  moved to Florida and worked as a clinical social worker doing counseling for troubled kids.
  • Liked to face: Frank Tanana (.500 in 16 AB); Rudy May (.400 in 25 AB); Mickey Lolich (.389 in 54 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Sanders (.000 in 10 AB); Steve Rogers (.083 in 12 AB); Steve Carlton (.121 in 33 AB)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

1976 Topps #502 - Tim McCarver


  • Tim McCarver was one of those rare "four decade" players. He played in the majors from 1959-1980. Tim was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1959 at the age of 17 and played in the minors from 1959-1962. McCarver had brief stints with the Cardinals in 1959 (.167 in 24 at bats), 1960 (.200 in 10 at bats), and 1961 (.239 in 67 at bats).
  • In 1963 Tim became the regular catcher for the Cardinals and held the position through the 1969 season. McCarver batted .289 in 127 games in 1963 and .288 in 143 games in 1964. Tim had a great World Series in 1964, batting .478 in 23 at bats. McCarver had a great relationship with pitcher Bob Gibson while he was with the Cardinals.
  • Tim played in 113 games in 1965 and batted .276 with 11 HR. Laughing Boy McCarver - December 1965 Baseball Digest. McCarver played in 150 games in 1966 and led the NL with 13 triples while batting .274 and hitting 12 HR. Tim was on the NL All Star team in 1966. In the bottom of the 10th Tim singled, went to second on a sacrifice by Ron Hunt, and scored the winning run on a single by Maury Wills.
  • McCarver had what was probably his best year in 1967. He finished second to teammate Orlando Cepeda in NL MVP voting and made the NL All Star team (he went 2 for 2 with a double). Tim batted .295 with 14 HR and 69 RBI during the regular season. McCarver batted only .125 in the World Series but the Cardinals still won the series in seven games. Backbone of the Cards - September 1967 Baseball Digest.
  • In 1968 McCarver batted .253 in 128 games. The Cardinals went to the World Series again (they lost in seven games) and Tim batted .333. The Pip Who Won't Be Pipped - May 1968 Baseball Digest. McCarver batted .260 in 138 games in 1969. After the 1969 season Tim was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the famous Curt Flood deal.
  • McCarver was injured on May 2 and missed four months of the 1970 season. He batted .287 in 44 games in 1970. Tim came back in 1971 and batted .278 in 134 games. It was his last season as a regular catcher.
  • In 1972 Tim started with the Phillies and was batting .237 in 45 games when he was traded to the Montreal Expos for John Bateman on June 14. McCarver finished the 1972 season with the Expos and batted .251 in 77 games. After the 1972 season Tim was traded back to the Cardinals for Jorge Roque.
  • McCarver split time between catcher and first base in 1973. He batted .266 in 130 games in 1973. Tim wasn't getting much playing time with the Cardinals in 1974. He batted .217 in 106 at bats and was sold to the Boston Red Sox on September 1. He batted .250 in 28 at bats for the Red Sox to finish the 1974 season.
  • Tim started the 1975 season with the Red Sox as the third-string catcher. He wasn't getting much playing time (.381 in 12 games) and was released on June 23. McCarver was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 1 and batted .254 in 47 games. For the remainder of his career Tim became the "personal catcher" for Steve Carlton.
  • In 1976 Tim batted .277 in 90 games as a backup catcher and pinch hitter. He had an infamous moment on July 4 when he hit a game-winning "Grand Slam single" -- he passed Garry Maddox on the basepaths while running out the homer and it became a single. Tim was 0 for 4 in two games in the 1976 NLCS.
  • McCarver batted .320 in 169 at bats in 1977 and was 1 for 6 in the NLCS. In 1978 Tim batted .247 in 146 AB and was 0 for 4 with two walks and two runs scored in the NLCS.
  • Tim batted .241 in 137 at bats in 1979 and was released after the season. Tim McCarver: Twenty Years Behind the Mask - December 1979 Baseball Digest. On September 1, 1980 McCarver was signed by the Phillies and went 1 for 5 in six games as a pinch hitter and first baseman.
  • After his playing career McCarver went on to become a broadcaster. He has broadcast for four major television networks and is now a broadcaster for FOX sports. Tim also has a nationally syndicated interview show (The Tim McCarver Show). He also recently released an album of jazz standards (">Tim McCarver Sings Songs from the Great American Songbook).
  • Liked to face: Reggie Cleveland (.519 in 27 AB); Bob Friend (.462 in 26 AB); Sammy Ellis (.452 in 31 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dan McGinn (.000 in 9 AB); Al Jackson (.091 in 22 AB); Jim Brewer (.095 in 21 AB)

Old promo clip from 1980

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Remember the Topps Sports Club?

I ran across this ad that is being auctioned on eBay. I remember joining the Topps Sports Club when I was about 8 or so. They sent an 8x10 picture, a newsletter, and some sample cards three times a year. If I remember right it was only around for a year or two. The baseball picture I got was Steve Garvey. I wasn't about to put that one on my wall since I was a Reds fan at the time and my dad was (and still is) a die-hard Giants fan. I don't remember what football picture was sent, but I did have a picture of Bobby Clarke on my wall for a while. It would be cool to see Topps do something like this again.

1976 Topps #496 - Juan Beniquez


  • Juan Beniquez was an outfielder for eight teams from 1971-1988. Beniquez was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1968. Juan played in the minors for all or part of each season from 1968-1973. He was brought up to the Red Sox for short stints in 1971 (.298 in 57 at bats) and in 1972 (.242 in 99 at bats). Juan was a shortstop when he first came up but he struggled in the field. Beniquez set a record by committing six errors in two games in 1971. 
  • Beniquez came to the majors to stay in 1974. He spent most of his time in centerfield and batted .267 with 19 stolen bases in 106 games. The Red Sox outfield situation became quite crowded when Fred Lynn and Jim Rice came up in 1975. Juan batted .291 in 78 games during the regular season and batted .250 in the ALCS and .125 in the World Series. After the 1975 season Beniquez was traded with Steve Barr and Craig Skok to the Texas Rangers for Fergie Jenkins.
  • Beniquez was the starting center fielder for the Rangers from 1976 to 1978. He batted .255 in 145 games in 1976 and .269 in 123 games in 1977. Juan also won a Gold Glove in 1977. Beniquez batted .260 with a career-high 11 home runs in 1978. After the 1978 season Juan was traded (with Dave Righetti among others) to the New York Yankees as part of a package that sent Sparky Lyle to the Rangers.
  • Juan was an extra outfielder for the Yankees in 1979 and batted .254 in 142 at bats. After the 1979 season Beniquez was shipped to the Seattle Mariners in a large multi-player trade that got the Yankees Ruppert Jones.
  • Beniquez spent the 1980 season with the Mariners. He hurt his shoulder in spring training and never got untracked, batting .228 in 70 games. Juan was suspended for five games in early September by manager Maury Wills for ignoring a request to pinch hit and a lot of the players agreed with the suspension. After the 1980 season Juan became a free agent and signed with the California Angels.
  • Beniquez didn't do a whole lot in 1981, batting .181 in 58 games. He started to improve in 1982 when he batted .265 in 112 games. Juan appeared in two games of the ALCS as a defensive replacement.
  • Juan entered the most productive part of his career in 1983, batting .305 in 92 games. He did even better in 1984 when he batted .336 in 110 games. Juan's last season in California was in 1985 and he batted .304 in 132 games. After the 1985 season Beniquez became a free agent and signed with the Baltimore Orioles. There were problems in the negotiations between the Angels and Juan and he ended up signing with the Orioles for less  money than the Angels offered.
  • Beniquez spent one season (1986) in Baltimore and batted .300 in 113 games. After the 1986 season Juan was traded to the Kansas City Royals for two  minor leaguers.
  • Juan was with Kansas City for the first part of the 1987 season (.236 in 57 games). On July 14 he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Luis Aquino. Juan batted .284 in 39 games for the Blue Jays to finish the 1987 season. In 1988 Beniquez batted .293 in 27 games. He was released by the Blue Jays on May 31.
  • Juan played in the Senior League in 1989. He played in the winter league in Puerto Rico in four decades (60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s).
  • Liked to face: Jamie Easterly (.636 in 11 AB); Grant Jackson (.583 in 12 AB); Mike Mason (.563 in 16 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bart Johnson/Clyde Wright (.067 in 15 AB); Charlie Hough (.071 in 14 AB); Ed Figueroa (.105 in 19 AB)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1976 Topps #500 - Reggie Jackson

  • Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! I think that's the first time I heard a chant for one player in a game. Most people either loved or hated him, and some people (like me) liked and disliked him at the same time. 
  • Reggie Jackson played for Arizona State University and was drafted by the Kansas City A's in 1966. He spent two years in the minors and was called up to the A's in mid-1967. Reggie didn't do much for the A's in 1967 (.178, 1 HR, 6 RBI in 118 at bats) but was given the starting right field job in 1968.
  • The A's moved to Oakland in 1968 and Reggie did well. He led the AL in strikeouts with 171 -- he would lead the league five times -- but he batted .250 with 29 HR and 74 RBI in "The Year of the Pitcher." 
  • Jackson had one of his best seasons in 1969, batting .275 with 47 HR, 118  RBI, and a league-leading 123 runs scored. Reggie Jackson - Baseball's Next Super-Star? - August 1969 Baseball Digest. How Williams Views Reggie As A Hitter -  November 1969 Baseball Digest. After the 1969 season Reggie had the first of several salary disputes with A's owner Charlie Finley. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn intervened, but the dispute affected  Jackson and he had an off year in 1970 (.237, 23 HR, 66  RBI).
  • Reggie bounced back in 1971 with what would become a typical Jackson year (.265, 32 HR, 80 RBI). He was 4 for 12 with two home runs in the 1971 ALCS. In 1972 Reggie batted .265 with 25 HR and 75 RBI. He batted .278 in the 1972 ALCS and stole home to score the tying run in the decisive fifth game. Jackson tore a hamstring during the play and had to miss the World Series. Reggie Jackson: He Dared the A's to Win - January 1973 Baseball Digest.
  • Jackson was the AL MVP in 1973. He batted .293 and led the AL with 32 HR, 117 RBI, a .531 slugging percentage, and 99 runs scored. Reggie batted only .143 in the ALCS but he batted .310 and was the MVP in the 1973 World Series. When The Real Reggie Jackson Stood Up... - January 1974 Baseball Digest.
  • Jackson batted .289 with 29 HR and 93 RBI in 1974. He batted .167 in the ALCS and helped the A's to their third straight title by batting .286 in the World Series. In 1975 Reggie batted .253 with 104 RBI and a league-leading 36 HR. Jackson batted .417 in the ALCS but the A's were swept by the Boston Red Sox.
  • Finley knew that he wouldn't be able to sign Jackson when he was due to become a free agent after the 1976 season, so Jackson, Ken Holtzman, and a minor leaguer were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Don Baylor, Mike Torrez, and Paul Mitchell. Jackson played for the Orioles in 1976 and batted .277 with 27 HR and 91 RBI. It was the only season between 1971 and 1984 in which Reggie wasn't an AL All Star. After the 1976 season Jackson signed a five-year, $2.9 million contract with the New York Yankees.
  • Jackson had been wearing #9 with the A's, but Graig Nettles had the number for the Yankees. Reggie switched to #44 and both numbers are now retired by the respective teams. Jackson didn't get along with manager Billy Martin and they had several run-ins. The most notable run-in was during a nationally televised game in 1977 when Martin pulled Jackson out of the game in the middle of an inning for not hustling after a batted ball. Martin lunged at Jackson in the Yankee dugout and had to be restrained by coaches Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. The scene was shown on television, much to the delight of the Red Sox fans. Reggie also got himself in trouble with teammates for the infamous "straw that stirs the drink" quote. Even with all of the swirling controversy, Reggie batted .286 with 32 HR and 110 RBI as the Yankees won the World Championship. Jackson batted only .125 in the ALCS but batted .450 with 5 HR in the World Series (including the famous three home runs in game 6) and won the World Series MVP for the second time.
  • Jackson had a candy bar (REGGIE!) named after him in 1978. He batted .274 with 27 HR and 94 RBI and helped the Yankees to their second straight World Championship. Reggie batted .462 with two HR in the ALCS and .391 with two HR in the World Series. Even As A Runner, Reggie Jackson Attracts Attention - January 1979 Baseball Digest.
  • Reggie batted .297 with 29 HR and 89 RBI in 1979. He finished second to George Brett in MVP voting in 1980 and batted .300 with 41 HR and 111 RBI. Reggie batted .273 as the Kansas City Royals swept the Yankees in the 1980 ALCS.
  • Jackson had an off-year in 1981 and batted .237 with 15 HR and 54 RBI. Reggie was having difficulties with Steinbrenner during the season (it was the final year of his contract). He batted .300 with two HR in the 1981 ALDS but hurt himself running the bases during the ALCS and missed most of that series and the first two games of the World Series. Reggie was cleared to play in game 3 of the World Series but was held out of the lineup by manager Bob Lemon (apparently under orders from Steinbrenner). Jackson played in the last three games of the World Series and batted .333 with a home run. After the season Reggie signed a five-year contract with the California Angels.
  • Jackson helped the Angels to the AL West title in 1982 by batting .275 with 101 RBI and a league-leading 39 HR. Reggie batted .111 with 1 HR in the ALCS.
  • Reggie had his toughest season in 1983, batting .194 with 14 HR and 49 RBI in 116 games. In 1984 he batted .223 with 25 HR and 81 RBI and in 1985 Jackson batted .252 with 27 HR and 85 RBI. On September 17, 1984 Jackson hit his 500th home run off of Bud Black of the Royals.
  • The Angels won the AL West in 1986. Reggie batted .241 with 18 HR and 58 RBI during the regular season and .192 in the ALCS. Critics Taint the Glory Days of Reggie Jackson - August 1986 Baseball Digest. After the 1986 season Jackson signed a one-year contract with the A's.
  • Reggie finished his career in 1987 by batting .220 with 15 HR and 43 RBI. Reggie Jackson Left A Special Imprint on the Game - November 1987 Baseball Digest. Jackson ended up with 563 career home runs and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993. Reggie Jackson: He Produced Best When in the Spotlight - April 1993 Baseball Digest.
  • Reggie did various announcing jobs and had a few cameo acting appearances after his playing career. He parlayed his interest in classic cars into a string of auto dealerships in California. He also is a big trader in sports memorabilia. He is now a special assistant for the New York Yankees.
  • Reggie's official website.
  • Jackson was in 14 All Star games. His record in these games is as follows:
    • 1969 0-2 with a BB (starting CF)
    • 1971 1-1, HR, 2 RBI (pinch hitter)
    • 1972 2-4, double (starting RF)
    • 1973 1-4, double, RBI (starting RF)
    • 1974 0-3, BB, 2 SO (starting RF)
    • 1975 1-3, 2 SO (starting RF)
    • 1977 1-2, SO (starting RF)
    • 1978 (on the team but didn't play)
    • 1979 0-1, BB (PH / RF)
    • 1980 1-2, BB, SO (starting RF)
    • 1981 0-1 (starting RF)
    • 1982 0-1, RBI, sac fly (starting RF)
    • 1983 (on the team but did not play)
    • 1984 0-2, SO (starting RF)
  • Liked to face: Jim Slaton (.333 with 7 HR in 66 AB); Jerry Augustine (.302, 6 HR in 43 AB); Clyde Wright (.315 with 6 HR in 73 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rich Hand (.000 in 16 AB); Aurelio Lopez (.043 in 23 AB); Bret Saberhagen (.065 in 31 AB)

REGGIE! bar commercial:

Monday, July 19, 2010

1976 Topps #499 - Mario Guerrero

  • Mario Guerrero played in the majors from 1973-1980. Mario was signed by the New York Yankees in 1968. He played in their farm system from 1968-1972 before being traded (with Danny Cater) to the Boston Red Sox for Sparky Lyle. Guerrero finished the 1972 season in AAA Louisville.
  • Guerrero made the Boston ballcllub in 1973 and batted .233 in 63 games as Luis Aparicio's backup. In 1974 Mario began the season as the regular shortstop but was eventually replaced by Rick Burleson. Guerrero batted .246 in 93 games in 1974. At the end of spring training in 1975 Mario was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later (Jim Willoughby was sent to the Red Sox on July 4 to complete the deal).
  • Guerrero started the 1975 season in AAA Tulsa and was brought up to the Cardinals in mid-May. He batted .239 in 64 games for the Cardinals in 1975. Mario started the 1976 season back in Tulsa and was traded to the California Angels on May 29 for two  minor leaguers. Guerrero batted .284 in 83 games for the Angels in 1976. In 1977 Mario split time with Rance Mulliniks at shortstop and batted .283 in 86 games.
  • After the 1977 season Guerrero became a free agent and signed with the San Francisco Giants. Before the 1978 season Mario was included in the big trade with the Oakland A's that sent Vida Blue to the Giants. Mario became the A's starting shortstop and batted .275 in 143 games. Mario backed up Rob Picciolo in 1979 and batted .229 in 46 games. Guerrero regained his starting job in 1980 and batted .239 in 116 games.
  • After the 1980 season Guerrero was sold to the Seattle Mariners. He didn't make the Mariners ballclub in 1981 and was released at the end of spring training.

  • Guerrero worked as a buscon (guys who hunt for baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic) after  his playing career. Guerrero sued Raul Mondesi for one percent of his baseball earnings in 1998 and eventually won $640,000 (plus $422,000 interest) in 2004. The judgement was thrown out on appeal in 2005. He previously won a similar case against Geronimo Berroa.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

1976 Topps #498 - Glenn Borgmann

  • Glenn Borgmann played in parts of nine seasons from 1972 to 1980. Borgmann was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1971. He had previously been drafted by the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates but didn't sign. Borgmann played in the minors in 1971 and 1972 and was promoted to the Twins after hitting .336 in 66 games at AAA Tacoma. Glenn batted .234 in 56 games for the Twins in 1971.
  • Borgmann was in Tacoma for most of the 1973 season and batted .274 in 136 games. After the Pacific Coast League season ended Glenn came back to the Twins and batted .265 in 12 games.
  • Glenn was the starting catcher for the Twins in 1974 and 1975. In 1974 he batted .252 in 128 games and in 1975 he batted .207 in 125 games. He led all AL catchers with a .992 fielding percentage in 1974.
  • Butch Wynegar beat out Borgmann for the starting catcher's job during spring training in 1976 and Glenn didn't play much after that. In 1976 he batted .246 in 24 games. Glenn batted .256 in 17 games in 1977. Borgmann got a little more playing time in 1978 and was the AL leader in throwing out opposing base stealers (49%). Glenn batted .211 in 49 games in 1978.
  • Borgmann  batted .200 in 31 games in 1979. He became a free agent after the 1979 season and signed with the Chicago White Sox. He was cut loose on April 3 but resigned with the White Sox on April 8. Glenn was in the minors until early August when he was brought up to the White Sox. Borgmann batted .218 in 32 games in 1980. 
  • Glenn became a free agent again after the 1980 season and signed with the Cleveland Indians. He played 11 games for AAA Charleston but never made it back to the majors.
  • Here is an interview with Borgmann. After his playing career Glenn was in the auto parts business for 20 years. He also has worked nights at the Meadowlands race track in New Jersey.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1976 Topps #497 - Joe McIntosh

  • Joe McIntosh pitched for the San Diego Padres in 1974 and 1975. He was drafted by the Padres in 1973 and pitched well (8-6, 2.44 ERA in 14 starts) for class A- Walla Walla. 
  • McIntosh made the jump all the way to the majors in 1974 and pitched in five games before being assigned to AAA Hawaii. Joe went 9-11 with a 5.74 ERA for Hawaii and came back to the Padres in September. Joe ended up 0-4 with a 3.62 ERA in ten games (five starts) for the Padres.
  • Joe was a regular starter for the Padres in 1975. He went 8-15 with a 3.69 ERA in 37 games (28 starts). After the 1975 season McIntosh was trade with Larry Hardy to the Houston Astros for Doug Rader.
  • Joe tore his rotator cuff in 1976 and never pitched in the majors again. He tried a comeback in 1979 but was forced to stop after a couple of minor league games. 
  • McIntosh is now a tax lawyer dealing in contract law. Here is an 2005 article written by Linda Kittel, a Washington State University English professor, about a day when Joe came to class as a guest speaker. Joe and his daughter Molly are pictured below. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

1976 Topps #501 - Billy Champion

  • This one isn't supposed to be posted for a few more days, but since Night Owl posted the 1975 Billy Champion card today I figured I'd switch cards and post this one on the same day :).
  • Billy Champion pitched in the majors from 1969-1976. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1965. Champion pitched in the minors from 1965-1968, posting an impressive 15-5 record with a 2.05 ERA for class A Tidewater in 1968. Bill was 7-1 with a 1.66 ERA in nine starts for AAA Eugene when he was brought up in June 1969. Champion was 5-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 20 starts for the Phillies in 1969. 
  • The Phillies sent Bill down for  more seasoning in 1970 and recalled him in late July. Champion was 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in seven games (one start). Bill was 3-5 with a 4.39 ERA in 37 games (9 starts) in 1971 and 4-14 with a 5.09 ERA in 30 games (22 starts) in 1972. After the 1972 season Champions was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers with Don Money and John Vuckovich for Ken Brett, Jim Lonborg, Ken Sanders, and Earl Stephenson.
  • In 1973 Champion was 5-8 with one save and an ERA of 3.70 in 37 games (11 starts). Bill's best season was 1974 when he was 11-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 games (23 starts). Champion was 6-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 27 games (13 starts) in 1975.
  • Bill's last year in the majors was 1976. He had injured his elbow in August 1975 and struggled after that. Bill was 0-1 with a 7.03 ERA in ten games (three starts) when he was released by the Brewers on June 20. Champion tried to catch on in the Atlanta and Pittsburgh systems in 1976 and in 1977 but he never made it back to the majors.
  • After his playing career Bill became a scout for the Chicago Cubs and then minor league pitching coach in the Mets, Rockies, Brewers, and Braves systems. He is now available for coaching sessions with Phillips Baseball in South Carolina.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

1976 Topps #495 - Nate Colbert

  • The 1976 season was Nate Colbert's last one in the majors. back problems forced him to retire at the age of 30. Colbert was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals and he played in their system in 1964 and 1965. Nate was drafted by the Houston Astros in the rule 5 draft after the 1965 season. He didn't play much for the Astros in 1966--he went 0 for 7 with four strikeouts and three runs scored in 19 games. Nate had to be kept on the major league roster because of the "bonus baby" rule.
  • In 1967 Colbert was in AA and AAA and hit 28 homers. He was in AAA for most of the 1968 season before being brought up. Nate played in 20 games for the Astros in 1968 and batted .151 in 53 at bats. After the 1968 season Colbert was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft.
  • Nate blossomed when he came to San Diego and was their main power and RBI guy from 1969-1973. In 1969 he batted .255 with 24 HR and 66 RBI. Colbert batted .259 with 38 HR and 86 RBI in 1970.
  • Colbert made his first NL All Star team in 1971 (he struck out as a pinch hitter) and batted .264 with 27 HR and 84 RBI. The Padres Find A Leader in Nate Colbert - December 1971 Baseball Digest.
  • Nate's  biggest year was 1972. Colbert had a record day in a doubleheader on August 1 -- he hit five home runs and knocked in 13 runs in the two games. Nate had actually attended the game(s) when Stan Musial had set the RBI record for a doubleheader with 11. The Game I'll Never Forget - October 1987 Baseball Digest. Colbert batted .250 with 38 HR and 111 RBI and finished 8th in MVP voting. Nate made his second straight NL All Star team in 1972. He appeared as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning, walked, and eventually scored on a single by Joe Morgan. Nate Colbert - The Padres' One-Man Gang - November 1972 Baseball Digest.
  • Colbert's last big year was 1973. He was an NL All Star and was 0 for 1 as a pinch hitter. Nate batted .270 with 22 HR and 80 RBI.
  • Nate's production slipped badly in 1974. He batted .207 with 14 HR and 54 RBI. After the 1974 season the Padres acquired Willie McCovey and Colbert asked to be traded .Nate was involved in a three-way trade that sent him to the Detroit Tigers.
  • Colbert really struggled in his last two seasons in the majors. Nate was batting .147 in 156 at bats when the Tigers sold him to the Montreal Expos on June 15. Colbert didn't do much better in Montreal, batting .173 in 81 at bats. In 1976 Colbert started with the Expos and was batting .200 in 40 at bats when the Expos released him on June 2. The Oakland A's signed Nate on June 9 and sent him to AAA Tucson. Colbert was recalled by the A's in September and he went 0 for 5 in two games. Nate retired after the 1976 season.
  • Here is a link to the book Tales from the Padres' Dugout by Bob Chandler that has some Nate Colbert stories.
  • Liked to face: Dick Selma (.625 in 16 AB); Tommy John (.444 in 27 AB); Ken Forsch (.400 in 30 AB); Don Sutton (batted only .219 but hit 7 HR in 73 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jim Lonborg (.053 in 19 AB); Ernie McInally (.059 in 17 AB); Ken Brett (.118 in 17 AB)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1976 Topps #494 - Craig Swan

  • Craig Swan pitched in the majors from 1973-1985, mostly for the New York Mets. Craig was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 17th round in 1968 but he elected to attend Arizona State University. Swan set the all-time collegiate win record with 48 victories. Craig allowed only one run in 18 innings in the 1972 College World Series (the Sun Devils lost in the championship game to USC). Swan was drafted by the Mets in 1972 and spent parts of the 1972-1975 seasons in the minors. Craig first came up to the Mets at the end of the 1973 season and was 0-1 with a 8.64 ERA in three games.
  • Swan suffered a broken elbow in 1974 and was unable to pitch very much. He spent some time with AAA Tidewater and was 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA in seven games (5 starts) for the Mets. In 1975 Craig split the season between Tidewater and New York. He was 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in six late season starts for the Mets in '75.
  • Craig was with the Mets to stay in 1976 and was 6-9 with a 3.54 ERA in 22 starts. Swan went 9-10 with a 4.23 ERA in 24 starts in 1977. 
  • Swan had his best season in 1978. The Mets were a last place club but he was 9-6 and led the NL with a 2.43 ERA. Craig went 14-13 with a 3.29 ERA in 35 starts in 1979.
  • Craig was having another good year in 1980 when he tore his rotator cuff in July. He made two appearances in August but that was it for his season. He ended up 5-9 with a 3.58 ERA. Swan wasn't able to pitch much in 1981 due to the rotator cuff injury and a broken rib suffered when he got in the way of a throw by Mets catcher Ron Hodges as he was trying to throw out a runner stealing second base. Swan went 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 1981.
  • Craig went through a treatment that included rolfing, which is a method of manipulating tissue in order for muscles to function together. He finished second behind Joe  Morgan for NL Comeback Player of the Year in 1982. Swan was 11-7 with a 3.35 ERA in 37 games (21 starts) in 1982.
  • Swan was injured again during spring training in 1983 when he felt something pop in his arm during a game. He tried to pitch through the injury but it affected his endurance. Craig was 2-8 with a 5.51 ERA in 1983. Swan started the 1984 season with the Mets but was released on May 9 after going 1-0 with an 8.20 ERA in ten games. Craig signed with the California Angels on May 23 but was released after going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in two games.
  • After his playing career Swan became a certified rolfer and opened up a successful practice in Connecticut. Here is a "where are they now" article from 2009.
  • Liked to face: Tony Pena (.000 in 10 AB); Richie Hebner (.048 in 21 AB); Jim Dwyer (.071 in 14 AB)
  • Hated to face: Dave Winfield (.457 in 35 AB); Keith Hernandez (.436 in 39 AB); George Hendrick (.429 in 42 AB)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1976 Topps #493 - Derrel Thomas

  • Derrel Thomas played just about every position and it seemed like he played for just about every team. Thomas was the first player drafted (by the Houston Astros) in the 1969 draft. Derrel played in the minors from 1969-1971 and was called up by the Astros at the end of the 1971 season (he was 0 for 5 in five games). 
  • After the 1971 season the Astros traded Thomas (along with Bill Greif and Mark Schaeffer) to the San Diego Padres for Dave Roberts. Derrel played second base and also saw quite a  bit of time at shortstop in 1972 and batted .230 in 130 games. Thomas played in 113 games (.238 average) in 1973 at second base (his natural position) and shortstop. In 1974 Derrel batted .247 in 141 games and hit a career-high 24 doubles. After the 1974 season Thomas was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Butch Metzger and Tito Fuentes.
  • Derrel was the starting second baseman for the Giants in 1975 and batted .276 with 28 stolen bases (both career highs) in 144 games. Thomas missed 2 1/2 months of the 1976 season (early July-mid September) and batted .232 in 81 games. In 1977 Thomas played 70 games in center field and about 20 games each at 2B and SS. He batted .267 in 148 games and hit 10 triples (a career high). After the 1977  Thomas was traded back to the Padres for Mike Ivie.
  • In 1978 Thomas was used as a "super sub," playing just about everywhere. Derrel would be used in this manner for the rest of his career (except 1979). He batted .227 in 128 games in 1978. After the season Thomas became a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (his hometown team).
  • Derrel was the starting center fielder for most of the 1979 season. He batted .256 in 141 games in '79. In 1980 he returned to a utility role and batted .266 in 117 games.
  • Thomas batted .248 in 80 games in 1981. He saw action off the bench in each of the playoff rounds in 1981 for the World Champion Dodgers.
  • Derrel batted .265 in 66 games in 1982 and .250 in 118 games in 1983. After the 1983 season Derrel became a free agent and signed with the Montreal Expos.
  • Thomas batted .255 in 108 games for the Expos in 1984. He was sold to the California Angels on September 6, 1984 and he batted .138 in 14 games for the Angels to finish the 1984 season. Thomas became a free agent after the 1984 season but wasn't signed by any major league team. 
  • He started the 1985 season playing for the class A Florida Marlins. On May 15 he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies and Thomas batted .207 in 63 games. Derrel was mentioned during the Curtis Strong cocaine trial in 1985 but wasn't called to testify. He was summoned to a January 1986 meeting with Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and was required to take random urinalysis tests in order to keep his playing status. Thomas tried to hook up with the minor league San Jose Bees in 1986 but was cut before the season for disciplinary reasons.
  • Thomas managed the Boise Hawks (an independent minor league team) in 1987 but was fired after 37 games when the team was 9-28. After that Thomas coached high school baseball and managed a bar at night. Thomas resigned as the coach of Leuzinger High School in 1989 after a walkout by nine players. Thomas had drug and financial problems that got him in trouble. He served 47 days in prison after pleading no contest to cocaine charges.
  • Derrel is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legends Bureau.
  • Liked to face: Vern Ruhle (.636 in 11 AB); Gary Gentry (.526 in 19 AB); Bill Bonham (.464 in 28 AB)
  • Hated to face: Larry McWilliams (.000 in 15 AB); Wayne Twitchell (.040 in 25 AB); Mark Lemongello (.043 in 23 AB)

Monday, July 12, 2010

1976 Topps #492 - Marty Pattin


  • Marty Pattin pitched in the  majors from 1968-1980. Marty earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Eastern Illinois University before being drafted by the California Angels in 1965. Marty once struck out 22 batters in a game while pitching for Eastern Illinois University.
  • Pattin pitched in the minors from 1965 until early in the 1968 season. He was brought up to the Angels in mid-May of 1968 and had a 4-4 record with three saves and a 2.79 ERA in 52 games (4 starts). After the 1968 season Pattin was taken by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft.
  • Pattin was 7-12 with a 5.62 ERA in 34 games (27 starts) for the Pilots in 1969. The Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970 and Marty had a good year (14-12, 3.39 ERA in 29 starts).
  • Pattin made the AL All Star team in 1971 (he didn't pitch in the game) and was 14-14 with a 3.13 ERA in 36 starts. After the 1971 season Pattin was traded with Tommy Harper, Lew Krausse, and a minor leaguer to the Boston Red Sox for Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, Jim Lonborg, Don Pavletich, and George Scott.
  • Marty was 17-13 with a 3.24 ERA for the Red Sox in 1972. Pattin took a no-hitter into the 9th inning on July 11 before it was broken up by a Reggie Jackson single with one out. He was 15-15 with a 4.31 ERA in 1973. According to Bill Lee, Pattin had a habit of throwing up after the first inning of just about every game he pitched. After the 1973 season Pattin was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Dick Drago.
  • The Royals used Pattin as a reliever and occasional starter during his time there. In 1974 Marty was 3-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 25 games (11 starts).
  • Pattin was named AL Pitcher of the Month twice in 1975 -- June (as a starter) and September (as a reliever). Marty pitched in 44 games (15 starts) and was 10-10 with five saves and a 3.25 ERA.
  • In 1976 Pattin was 8-14 with five saves and a 2.49 ERA in 44 games (15 starts). He made two appearances in the ALCS and had a 27.00 ERA in 1/3 of an inning.
  • Marty was 10-3 with a 3.58 ERA in 31 games (10 starts) in 1977. He appeared in game 4 of the ALCS and allowed two runs (one unearned) in six innings.
  • In 1978 Marty was 3-3 with four saves and a 3.32 ERA in 32 games (5 starts). He allowed two hits and two runs in 2/3 of an inning in game 2 of the ALCS.
  • Pattin was 5-2 with three saves and an ERA of 4.58 in 31 games (7 starts) in 1979. In 1980 Marty was 4-0 with four saves and a 3.64 ERA in 37 games. He wasn't used in the ALCS and pitched one scoreless inning in game 6 of the 1980 World Series. Pattin retired after the 1980 season.
  • Marty was the head baseball coach at the University of Kansas from 1982-1987. He now makes appearances for the Royals.
  • Liked to face: Rick Auerbach (.000 in 12 AB); Roy Smalley (.040 in 25 AB); Larry Hisle (.097 in 31 AB)
  • Hated to face: Tony Solaita (.500 in 14 AB); Tony Oliva (.490 in 51 AB); Ed Herrmann (.407 with 4 HR in 27 AB)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

1976 Topps #491 - Terry Crowley

  • Terry Crowley was a major leaguer from 1969-1983. Crowley was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1966. He played in the minors from 1966-1969 and was brought up to the Orioles in September 1969 after batting .282 with 28 home runs for AAA Rochester. Terry went 6 for 18 in seven games for the Orioles at the end of the 1969 season.
  • Crowley was a pinch hitter and extra outfielder in 1970. He batted .257 with 5 HR and 20 RBI in 152 at bats in 1970. Terry wasn't used in the ALCS and was 0 for 1 in the World Series.
  • Terry was in the minors for most of the 1971 season. He batted .174 in 23 at bats for the Orioles in 1971 and wasn't on the postseason roster. In 1972 Crowley batted .231 with 11 HR and 29 RBI in 247 at bats in 1972.
  • When the DH came to the American League in 1973 the Orioles envisioned Crowley in that role. He didn't hit very well in 1973 (.206, 3 HR, 15 RBI in 131 AB) and the Orioles used Tommy Davis as the DH. In the 1973 ALCS Terry was 0 for 2 in two pinch hitting appearances. After the 1973 season Crowley was sold to the Texas Rangers. During spring training in 1974 the Rangers sold Terry to the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Crowley was mostly a pinch hitter during his two seasons in Cincinnati. In 1974 Terry batted .240 in 125 at bats and in 1975 he batted .268 in 71 at bats. Terry didn't bat in the 1975 NLCS and was 1 for 2 in the World Series. During spring training in 1976 Crowley was traded to the Atlanta Braves for Mike Thompson.
  • Terry played for the Braves for about six weeks. He was 0 for 6 with a sacrifice fly in seven pinch hitting appearances. On May 6 Crowley was released by the Braves. Terry signed with the Orioles on May 26 and split time between the Orioles and Rochester. Crowley batted .246 in 61 AB for the Orioles in 1976. Terry was released during spring training in 1977 but resigned by the Orioles in mid-April. He was with Rochester for most of the season and batted .308 with 30 HR. Terry batted .364 in 23 AB at the end of the 1977 season.
  • Crowley batted .253 in 93 AB in 1978, mostly as a pinch hitter and DH. That would be the role Terry would have for the rest of his career. In 1979 Crowley batted .317 in 63 at bats. Terry was 1 for 2 in the 1979 ALCS  and 1 for 4 in the World Series.
  • Terry was a platoon DH in 1980 and batted .288 with 12 HR and 50 RBI in 233 at bats. In 1981 Crowley batted .246 in 134 at bats and in 1982 he batted .237 in 93 at bats. 
  • During spring training in 1983 Crowley was released by the Orioles. He signed with the Montreal Expos in late May. Terry batted .182 in 44 at bats for the Expos and was released after the season. Crowley is tied with Denny Walling for 13th on the all-time list with 108 pinch hits.
  • After his retirement as an active player Terry became a hitting coach. He was the hitting coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 1985-1988 and for the Minnesota Twins from 1991-1998. Crowley was rehired as the hitting coach by the Orioles in 1999 and has been in that position ever since.
  • Liked to face: Bruce Kison (.600 in 10 AB); Skip Lockwood (.467 in 15 AB); Mike Torrez (.444 in 18 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jim Perry/Matt Keough (.000 in 11 AB); Mike Marshall (.077 in 13 AB)