Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1976 Topps #570 - George Hendrick

  • George Hendrick played in the majors from 1971-1988. George was the #1 draft pick of the Oakland A's (and the first player taken) in 1968. Hendrick played in the minors from 1968-1971 and got a chance with the A's in June 1971. George batted .237 in 42 games for the A's in 1971.
  • In 1972 George was with the A's for the whole season except for an eight-game stint in AAA Iowa. Hendrick batted .182 in 58 games for the A's in 1972. George played in all five games in the 1972 ALCS and batted .143 in seven at bats. In the 1972 World Series George went 2 for 15 (.133) in five games. After the 1972 season Hendrick was traded with Dave Duncan to the Cleveland Indians for Ray Fosse and Jack Heidemann.
  • George was given the starting CF job in 1973 and batted .268 with 21 HR and 61 RBI. Three Straight Homers  - Rarer Than No-Hitter -  November 1973 Baseball Digest. In 1974 Hendrick was selected to the AL All Star team. He played center field after starter Bobby Murcer had two at bats. Hendrick went 1 for 2 in the game. George batted .279 with 19 HR and 67 RBI in 1974.
  • Hendrick was an AL All Star again in 1975. He entered the game as a pinch runner and stole a base. He then scored a run, stayed in the game in right field, and went 1 for 1. George batted .258 with 24 HR and 86 RBI for the Indians in 1975.
  • George batted .265 with 25 HR and 81 RBI in 1976. After the 1976 season Hendrick was traded to the San Diego Padres for John Grubb, Hector Torres, and Fred Kendall. The Indians expected Hendrick to play out his option and become a free agent so they traded him to get some value for him.
  • Hendrick played one full season and part of a second season with the Padres. In 1977 George batted .311 with 23 HR and 81 RBI. Hendrick was batting .243 with three home runs in 36 games when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on May 26 for Eric Rasmussen. George batted .288 with 17 HR and 67 RBI for the Padres to finish the 1978 season.
  •  George moved over to right field in 1979 and batted .300 with 16 HR and 79 RBI. In 1980 Hendrick had his best year. He batted .302 with 25 HR and 109 RBI. Hendrick was 8th in NL  MVP voting, won the silver slugger award in right field, and made  his third NL All Star team (he played CF and went 1 for 2 with an RBI).
  • Hendrick batted .284 with 18 HR and 61 RBI in 101 games during the 1981 strike season. George batted .282 with 19 HR and 104 RBI in 1982 as the Cardinals won the World Championship. Hendrick batted .308 in three games in the 1982 NLCS and batted .321 in seven games in the 1982 World Series.
  • George made his fourth and final NL All Star team in 1983 (he didn't play in the game) and won a silver slugger award at first base. Hendrick batted a career-high .318, hit 18 home runs, and had 97 RBI.
  • Hendrick's production slipped in 1984. He didn't play after September 4 and batted .277 with nine HR and 69 RBI in 120 games. After the 1984 season George was traded with a  minor leaguer to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brian Harper and John Tudor.
  • George batted .230 in 69 games for the Pirates in 1985. On August 2 he was traded with John Candelaria and Al Holland to the California Angels for Mike Brown, Pat Clements, and Bob Kipper. Hendrick batted .122 in 16 games for the Angels in 1985.
  • In 1986 Hendrick played mostly in right field and also saw action in CF, at 1B, and at DH. George batted .272 with 14 HR and 47 RBI in 102 games in 1986. Hendrick played in three games in the 1986 ALCS and went 1 for 12 (.083).
  • George was a part-time player in his last two seasons in California. In 1987 he batted .241 in 65 games and in 1988 he batted .244 in 69 games. Hendrick retired after the 1988 season.
  • Hendrick didn't speak to the press very much, but he was well-liked by fans and teammates in St. Louis.
  • After his playing career George coached for various major and minor league clubs. He was a first base coach, outfield coach, and hittting coach during his coaching career. Hendrick is now the first base coach and outfield coach for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Liked to face: Steve Carlton (.345 in 110 AB); Mark Langston (.515 in 33 AB); Craig Swan (.429 in 42 AB)
  • Hated to face: Elias Sosa (.063 in 16 AB); Greg Minton (.105 in 19 AB); Gaylord Perry (.120 in 25 AB)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1976 Topps #569 - Nelson Briles

  • Nelson Briles pitched in the majors from 1965-1978. For some reason when I was a young one I always mixed up Nelson Briles, Bruce Dal Canton, and Lindy McDaniel.

  • Briles was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. Nelson pitched only one year in the minors (1964) before earning a spot with the Cardinals in 1965. Briles went 3-3 with four saves and a 3.50 ERA in 37 games (2 starts) in 1965.

  •  Briles really had a rough time in 1966. He went 4-15 with six saves and a 3.21 ERA in 49 games (17 starts).

  • Nelson turned it around in 1967 and went 14-5 and led the NL with a .737 winning percentage. Briles had a 2.43 ERA and six saves in 49 games (14 starts). Nelson appeared in two games in the 1967 World Series. He started game 3 of the series and had a complete game 5-2 victory. Nelson also pitched two scoreless innings in game six.

  • In 1968 Briles was used exclusively as a starter. Nelson made 33 starts and went 19-11 with a 2.83 ERA. Briles made two starts in the 1968 World Series -- he took the loss in game 2 and didn't get the decision in game 5.

  • Briles was mostly a starter in 1969 and went 15-13 with a 3.52 ERA in 36 games (33 starts). Nelson missed almost a month of the 1970 season and his stats were down. He ended up going 6-7 with a 6.24 ERA in 30 games (19 starts). After the 1970 season Briles was traded with Vic Davalillo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Manny Mota and George Brunet.

  • Nelson started the 1971 season as a reliever and was put in the starting rotation in June. Briles went back to the bullpen in mid-July and returned to the rotation in late August. Briles went 8-4 with one save and a 3.04 ERA in 37 games (14 starts). Briles wasn't used in the NLCS, but he started and won game 5 of the World Series. Nelson pitched a 2-hit shutout in that game and contributed an RBI single.

  • In 1972 Briles became a starter again. He went 14-11 with a 3.08 ERA in 28 games (27 starts). Nelson started game 4 of the NLCS and allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision. Briles went 14-13 with a 2.84 ERA in 33 games in 1973. After the 1973 season Briles was traded with Fernando Gonzalez to the Kansas City Royals for Ed Kirkpatrick, Kurt Bevacqua, and a minor leaguer.

  • Nelson missed two months of the 1974 season with an injury. Briles had a 5-7 record with a 4.08 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) in '74.

  • Briles missed about five weeks in 1975 and went 6-6 with two saves and a 4.26 ERA in 24 games (16 starts). After the 1975 season Briles was traded to the Texas Rangers for Dave Nelson. Nelson's 1976 card is an airbrush job. How did Topps get a pic of Briles with his new team?

  • Nelson's last season as a full-time starter was 1976. He started 31 games and went 11-9 with a 3.26 ERA. He also earned a save in his only relief appearance. Briles went 6-4 with a 4.24 ERA for the Rangers in 30 games (15 starts) in 1977. On September 19 Briles was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles. He made two appearances for the Orioles and had a 6.75 ERA in four innings.

  • Briles went 4-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 16 games (8 starts) for the Orioles in 1978. He missed quite a bit of time in 1978 with injuries and was released before the 1979 season.
  • After  his playing career Briles became a broadcaster for the Pirates from 1979-1985. He then worked for the organization as a director of corporate sales and as a director of the Pirates annual fantasy camp. Here is a "where are they now" article from 2002.
  • Nelson died of an apparent heart attack in Orlando, FL while participating in the Pirates' annual alumni golf tournament on February 13, 2005.

  • Liked to face: Steve Garvey (.000 in 11 AB); Ron Stone (.053 in 19 AB); Willie  Horton (.063 in 16 AB)

  • Hated to face: Tony Gonzalez (.500 in 30 AB); Jim Lefebvre (.478 in 23 AB); Felipe Alou (.438 in 32 AB)

Monday, September 27, 2010

1976 Topps #568 - Rob Andrews

  • Rob Andrews played in the majors from 1975-1979. Andrews was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1970. Rob played in the Orioles' system from 1970-1974 without getting a shot at the big leagues, although he batted .309 in AA in 1973 and .306 for AAA Rochester in 1974. After the 1974 season Andrews was traded with Enos Cabell to the Houston Astros for Lee May and Jerry Schlueter.
  • Rob made the Houston ballclub in 1975 and was used at 2B and at SS. Andrews played in 103 games and batted .238 in 277 AB. In 1976 Rob batted .256 in 109 games. He also had a 25-game stint in AAA Tucson in '76.
  • During spring training in 1977 Andrews was traded (with cash) to the San Francisco Giants for Willie Crawford and Rob Sperring. Rob became the starting second baseman for the Giants and batted .264 in 127 games.
  • The Giants moved some players around in 1978 (Bill Madlock from 3B to 2B, Darrell Evans from LF to 3B, Terry Whitfield becoming a starting OF) and these moves left Andrews as the odd man out. Rob backed up at 2B and SS in 1978 and batted .220 in 177 AB. Andrews had a similar role in 1979 and batted .289 in 154 AB.
  • After the 1979 season the Giants released Andrews. Rob signed with the New York Mets in 1980 but he didn't make their ballclub and retired.
  • Rob's brother Mike Andrews was also a major league player.
  • Rob did some high school and college baseball coaching and taught elementary school after his retirement as an active player.
  • Andrews ran a baseball camp from 1985-2008 in the San Francisco bay area.
  • Liked to face: Rob Dressler (.538 in 13 AB); Joe Niekro (.467 in 15 AB); Tom Seaver (.429 with 2 HR in 21 AB) Note: Rob hit only three career HR and two of them were off of Seaver -- both in one game in 1979
  • Hated to face: Eddie Solomon (.000 in 10 AB); Steve Rogers (.056 in 18 AB); Jerry Koosman (.105 in 19 AB)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

1976 Topps #567 - George Stone

  • George Stone pitched in the majors from 1967-1975. Stone was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1966. George pitched in the minors in 1966 and 1967. He was called up at the end of the 1967 season and pitched in two games (4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings).
  • George spent the first three months of the 1968 season in the minors. Stone was brought up in early July and went 7-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 17 games (10 starts). 
  • For the first two months of the 1969 season Stone was a reliever and a spot starter. George was inserted into the Atlanta rotation in June and stayed there most of the time for the rest of the season. Stone went 13-10 with a 3.65 ERA in 36 games (20 starts) in 1969. George allowed one run in one inning pitched in game 3 of the 1969 NLCS.
  • George was a regular member of Atlanta's starting rotation in 1970. He went 11-11 with a 3.86 ERA in 35 games (30 starts) in 1970. In 1971 Stone was a fifth starter and went 6-8 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 games (24 starts). Stone split the 1972 between the starting rotation and the bullpen. He went 6-11 with a 5.51 ERA in 31 games (16 starts).
  • Before the 1973 season Stone was traded to the New York Mets with Felix Millan for Gary Gentry and Danny Frisella. George was a reliever for the first two months of the season and then became a starter in early June. Stone lost his first two decisions but rebounded to win his last eight decisions as the Mets won the NL East. George went 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 27 games (20 starts).
  • Stone started game 4 of the 1973 NLCS and allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings. The game went 12 innings and the Mets lost, but the Mets went on to win game 5 and advance to the World Series. Stone pitched in games two and seven of the World Series, earning the save in game 2 and allowing no runs in three innings. Mets manager Yogi Berra endured a lot of second-guessing after bypassing Stone for the game 6 start (the Mets had a 3-2 lead in the series) and starting Tom Seaver on three days rest instead. The Mets lost games 6 and 7 and lost the series.
  • George didn't pitch as well in 1974 (2-7, 5.03 ERA in 15 games) and 1975 (3-3, 5.05 ERA in 13 games). Stone was sidelined for the last part of the 1974 season and the first part of the 1976 season with a shoulder injury. After the 1975 season Stone was traded to Sacramento (AAA club of the Texas Rangers) for Bill Hands. Hands retired and Stone didn't play after the 1975 season.
  • After his playing career Stone became a physical education teacher.
  • Liked to face: Jeff Torborg (.000 in 13 AB); Hal Lanier (.053 in 19 AB); Johnny Edwards (.059 in 17 AB)
  • Hated to face: Gary Matthews (.615 in 13 AB); Tony Perez (.538 in 39 AB); Larry Bowa (.500 in 36 AB)


Saturday, September 25, 2010

1976 Topps #566 - Ken McMullen

  • Ken McMullen had a 16-year career (1962-1977), mostly with the LA Dodgers and the Washington Senators. McMullen was signed by the Dodgers in 1960 for $60,000. Ken played in the minors in 1961 and in 1962. He got his first taste of big league action at the end of the 1962 season and went 3 for 11 (.273) in six games.

  • Ken started the 1963 season with the Dodgers but was sent down in early May after starting the season with a .203 average. McMullen came back up in late June and ended up batting .238 with five HR and 28 RBI in 79 games.

  • In 1964 McMullen started with the Dodgers but was sent down after batting .209 in 24 games. McMullen didn't come back to the Dodgers and he was traded to the Washington Senators as part of the big deal that sent Frank Howard to Washington and brought the Dodgers Claude Osteen and $100,000.

  • McMullen got a chance to play in Washington and spent the next five seasons as the Senators' starting third baseman. Ken batted .263 with 18 HR and 54 RBI for Washington in 1965. In 1966 McMullen batted .233 with 13 HR and 54 RBI. Ken started at 3B for three more seasons and had seasons of .245, 16 HR, 67 RBI (1967), .248, 20 HR, 62 RBI (1968), and .272, 19 HR, 87 RBI (1969).

  • Ken started the 1970 season with the Senators (.203 in 15 games) but was traded to the California Angels for Rick Reichardt and Aurelio Rodriguez on April 27. McMullen batted .232 with 14 HR and 61 RBI for the Angels in 1970.

  • McMullen started at third base for the Angels for the next two seasons. Ken batted .250 with 21 HR and 68 RBI in 1971 and batted .269 with nine HR and 34 RBI in 1972. After the 1972 season McMullen was traded with Andy Messersmith to the Dodgers for Billy Grabarkewitz, Frank Robinson, Bill Singer, Mike Strahler and Bobby Valentine.

  • Ken was used as a pinch hitter and a backup for the rest of his career. He batted .247 in 85 AB in 1973 and .250 in 16 AB in 1974. McMullen struck out in his only at bat in the 1974 NLCS. Ken's wife died just before the 1974 season and the Dodgers wore black armbands for the first few games of the season (including April 8 when Henry Aaron set the all-time home run record) in her honor.

  • In 1975 Ken batted .239 in 46 at bats. He didn't make the Dodgers club in 1976 and was released during spring training.

  • Just before the 1976 season McMullen signed with the Oakland A's. Ken batted .220 with five HR and 23 RBI in 186 AB for the A's in 1976 and was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers before the 1977 season. Ken batted .228 with five HR and 19 RBI in 136 AB in 1977 and was released after the season. In his last major league at bat on September 14 Ken made a pinch hitting appearance and homered.

  • Ken now serves on the Los Angeles Dodgers' Legend Bureau

  • Liked to face: Paul Lindblad (.520 in 25 AB); Lee Stange (.471 in 34 AB); Bill Monbouquette (.458 in 24 AB)

  • Hated to face: Moe Drabowsky/Hoyt Wilhelm (.056 in 18 AB); Bruce Howard (.071 in 28 AB)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

1976 Topps #564 - Kurt Bevacqua Bubble Blowing Champion

  • This card is awesome. There is nothing else to say about it. They should do more fun stuff like this. But that is a weird-looking bracket


Part 1 of the bubble blowing championship:

Part 2 of the bubble blowing championship:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1976 Topps #563 - Larry Demery

  • Larry Demery pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1974-1977. Demery was drafted by the Pirates in 1972 and pitched in their minor league system from 1972-1974.
  • Larry was called up by the Pirates in June of 1974. Demery went 6-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 19 games (15 starts) for the Pirates in '74. Larry appeared in two games in the 1974 NLCS and allowed three runs (36.00 ERA) in one inning pitched.
  • Demery was mostly a bullpen guy in 1975. Larry made 45 appearances (eight of them spot starts) and had a 7-5 record with four saves and a 2.90 ERA. Demery made one appearance in the 1975 NLCS and allowed four runs in two innings (18.00 ERA).
  • Larry had another solid season in 1976. He was mostly a reliever (he made an occasional spot start) through July and then was put in the starting rotation for the last two months of the season. Demery appeared in 36 games, 15 of them starts, and was 10-7 with two saves and a 3.17 ERA.
  • Demery had a tough year in 1977. Larry injured his arm and his career wasn't the same after the injury.  He went 6-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 39 appearances (8 starts). 
  • Larry was waived by the Pirates during spring training in 1978. He was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays but went back to Pittsburgh four days later because the Blue Jays had made a previous waiver selection. Demery pitched in the minors from 1978-1980 but was ineffective and never made it back to the majors. He hung up his spikes at the age of 27 in 1980.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1976 Topps #562 - Adrian Garrett

  • Adrian Garrett played in parts of eight seasons from 1966-1976. Garrett was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1961. He didn't put up real impressive batting averages in the minors but he did hit for some power. Adrian came up to the Braves at the end of the 1966 season and was hitless in three at bats.
  • Garrett played in the minors from 1967-1969 without getting another chance with the Braves. After the 1969 season the Braves released Garrett. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in December but was released after six weeks. Adrian eventually signed with the Chicago Cubs. 
  • Adrian batted three times for the Cubs at the end of the 1970 season and struck out all three times. Garrett started the 1971 season in AAA Tacoma, where he hit 43 home runs. Adrian was traded to the Oakland A's for Frank Fernandez on August 31. Adrian came up to Oakland in September and batted .143 in 21 at bats.
  • In 1972 Adrian was with the A's for a couple of months (late  May - late July) but didn't play much. Garrett was hitless in 11 at bats for the A's in 1972. In mid-September Adrian was purchased by the Cubs.
  • Garrett was with the Cubs for most of the 1973 season but again he didn't play much. Adrian batted .222 in 54 at bats in '73. Garrett was in AAA for most of the 1974 season and was hitless in eight at bats for the Cubs at the end of the season.
  • Adrian split the 1975 season between the Cubs and the California Angels. He batted .095 in 21 at bats for the Cubs and was sold to the Angels on July 31. Garrett batted .262 in 107 at bats for the Angels in 1975. 
  • Garrett's last major league season was 1976. He batted .125 in 48 at bats and left the Angels after the season to play in Japan. 
  • Adrian played for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp from 1977-1979 and hit 102 home runs during those three seasons.
  • Garrett did a lot of coaching in the minor leagues after his playing career. Adrian is currently the hitting coach for AAA Louisville in the Cincinnati Reds organization (he has been there since 2003). Wayne Garrett is Adrian's younger brother.


Monday, September 20, 2010

1976 Topps #561 - Tom Carroll

  • Tom Carroll had a short two-year career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1974 and 1975. Carroll was drafted by the Reds in 1970. He pitched in the minors from 1970 to July of 1974 before being called up by the Reds. As the card says, Tom pitched a  no-hitter while with AAA Indianapolis in 1974. Carroll appeared in 16 games (13 starts) in 1974 and went 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA for the Reds.
  • Tom started the 1975 season with Indianapolis and was called up to the Reds in June. Carroll went 4-1 with a 4.98 ERA in 12 games (7 starts) for the Reds in 1975. Carroll wasn't on the Reds' postseason roster.
  • Carroll was back in Indianapolis for the 1976 season. He was 9-12 with a 5.38 ERA for Indianapolis and was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season for  Jim Sadowski.
  • Tom didn't make the Pirates' club in 1977. He pitched for a while in the Montral Expos' system in 1977 and then retired.
  • In 1980 Tom attempted a comeback with the independent Class A Alexandria Dukes. The comeback was  unsuccessful and Carroll retired again.
  • After his playing career Carroll earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in International Affairs. He now works for MITRE (a non-profit engineering and technology firm) as an analyst. Here is a story about Tom's work.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

1976 Topps #560 - Jorge Orta

  • Jorge Orta played in the majors for 16 years (1972-1987), mostly as a second baseman. Orta was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1972. Jorge started the 1972 season with the White Sox and started off well before tailing off in May. Orta played a total of 51 games for the White Sox in 1972 and batted .202. 
  • Early in his career Orta was a below-average fielder. His defense improved, but he was never in the game for his glove.
  • Jorge became the starting 2B for the White Sox in 1973. He batted .266 in 128 games in 1973. Orta had his first good offensive season in 1974, batting .316 with 10 HR and 67 RBI in 139 games.
  • Orta made his first AL All Star team in 1975 (he didn't play in the game) and batted .304 with 11 HR and 83 RBI.
  • In 1976 Jorge was used in the outfield and at third base. He batted .274 with 14 HR and 72 RBI in 158 games. Orta was moved back to second base in 1977 and batted .282 with 11 HR and 84 RBI.
  • Jorge had his best fielding year at second base in 1978 (.984 vs. a league average of .980). Orta got hurt on September 1 and missed the rest of the season. He batted .274 with 13 HR and 53 RBI. In 1979 Orta was used as a DH more than at 2B. He batted .262 with 11 HR and 46 RBI in '79. After the 1979 season Jorge became a free agent and signed with the Cleveland Indians for five years at $250,000 per season.
  • Orta was moved to right field for the 1980 season and responded with his second (and last) All Star season. Jorge didn't get into this All Star Game either, which must have been disappointing. Orta batted .291 with 10 HR and 64 RBI in 1980. In the strike-shortened 1981 season Jorge batted .272 with 5 HR and 34 RBI in 88 games.
  • After the 1981 season Orta was sent to the LA Dodgers as part of the deal that sent Rick Sutcliffe to Cleveland. Jorge played in only 17 games in the field in 1982, as the Dodgers used him mostly as a pinch hitter. He appeared in a total of 86 games and batted .217 in 115 at bats. Orta was traded to the New York Mets after the 1982 season for Pat Zachry. Before the start of the 1983 season Jorge was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Steve Senteney.
  • At this point in his career Jorge was mostly a designated hitter (he occasionally played in the outfield and pinch hit as well). He didn't appear in the field in his final three seasons (1985-1987). In 1983 Orta batted .237 with 10 HR and 38 RBI in 103 games. After the 1983 season Orta was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Willie Aikens.
  • Jorge had a good year with the bat in 1984. He batted .298 with 9 HR and 50 RBI in 122 games during the regular season. Orta finally got a chance to play in the post season and went 1 for 10 in three games in the ALCS.
  • Orta batted .267 with four HR and 45 RBI in 1985. He went 0 for 5 in two games in the ALCS and was 1 for 3 in three games in the World Series. He was involved in the famous play in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 6 of the World Series in which umpire Don Denkinger mistakenly called him safe at first base on a ground ball. The Royals went on to win Game 6 and also won Game 7 to claim the World Championship.
  • Jorge batted .277 with 9 HR and 46 RBI in 1986. The Royals released Orta after the 1986 season but signed him again (for less money) before the start of the 1987 season.
  • Orta didn't do much with the bat in 1987. He was batting .180 in 50 AB when he was released on June 17.
  • Liked to face: Tom Buskey (.600 in 15 AB); Doug Bird (.517 in 29 AB); Dennis Eckersley (.500 in 50 AB)
  • Hated to face: Mike Norris (.000 in 24 AB); Steve Renko (.053 in 19 AB); Nolan Ryan (.139 with 30 strikeouts in 79 AB)


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blog Bat-Around -- If I were the next commissioner

Indians Baseball Cards has a blog bat-around goingThe topic: With Bud Selig supposedly retiring in 2012 (and assuming the end of the world doesn't follow soon afterward), if YOU were asked to become the next Baseball Commissioner, what would you do?  What changes would you like to make, what things would you leave as-is, what would you like to see as your legacy when your retirement time came?

1. Abolish interleague play. The novelty has worn off and the scheduling is too inequitable. League leaders no longer have much meaning since not all of the games are played within the leagues.

2. Expansion. I would expand to 32 teams in order to have two 16-team leagues. Put a third team in the New York area and find someplace to put the second team (perhaps somewhere in Canada, somewhere in Latin America, or somewhere in the western U.S.

3. Realignment. I would do one of the following realignments:

  • Four 8-team divisions. 
    • Each team would play 16 games (112 total) against each team in its own division and six games (48 total) against each team in the other division. 
    • It would be a 160-game season. 
    • Four teams would make the playoffs in each league -- the division winners and the second place team in each division.
  • Eight four-team divisions.
    • Each team would play 30 games (90 total) against teams in its own division and six games (72 total) against each team in the other three divisions. 
    • This would be a 162-game season. 
    • Only division winners would advance to the playoffs.
If these changes were to come about, that would be enough of a legacy.

1976 Topps #559 - Clyde Wright

  • Clyde Wright's major league career was over when this card came out. He was cut by the Rangers at the end of spring training in 1976.
  • Clyde Wright was drafted by the California Angels in 1965. Before he was drafted, Clyde pitched Carson-Newman College to the 1965 NAIA World Series Championship and struck out 22 batters in one game during that series. He was more than a match for his class A opponents in 1965 as he went 7-2 with a 1.99 ERA in ten starts. 
  • Clyde was 9-0 in AA El Paso in 1966 when he was brought up to the Angels in mid-June. Wright pitched in 20 games (13 starts) and was 4-7 with a 3.74 ERA for the Angels.
  • Wright started the 1967 season in AAA and came up to the Angels in early June. Clyde pitched in 20 games (11 starts) and was 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA.
  • Clyde was a swingman in 1968. He pitched in 41 games, 13 of them starts. Wright went 10-6 with three saves and a 3.94 ERA (which was pretty high for a season with so much pitching). Clyde slipped to a 1-8 record with a 4.10 ERA in 1969.
  • Wright had his biggest season in 1970. He made the AL All Star team and took the loss as he allowed Pete Rose's winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Clyde went 22-12 with a 2.83 ERA in 39 starts and finished 6th in AL Cy Young Award voting. Wright pitched a no-hitter on July 3. He was the AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1970.
  • Clyde had another good year in 1971 (16-17, 2.99 ERA in 37 starts). Wright went 18-11 with a 2.98 ERA in 35 starts in 1972.
  • Wright slipped in 1973 and went 11-19 with a 3.68 ERA in 36 starts. After the 1973 season Clyde was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a nine-player deal.
  • Clyde spent one season (1974) in Milwaukee and went 9-20 with a 4.42 ERA in 32 starts. After the 1974 season Wright was traded to the Texas Rangers for Pete Broberg.
  • Wright went 4-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 25 games (14 starts) in 1975. After his release from the Rangers in 1976 Clyde went to Japan and pitched for the Yomuri Giants for three seasons (1976-1978). Clyde Wright - Remembering Japanese Baseball (Robert K. Fitts, 2005)
  • After he returned from Japan in 1979 Clyde was afraid he had become an alcoholic. He later told the Los Angeles Times that his wife had given him an ultimatum in 1979 that he should stop drinking or she would  leave. One time when his wife came home Clyde tried to open the car door to let his three-year-old son Jaret out. Jaret locked the door and wouldn't let Clyde in. He said that that was the last day he had a drink.
  • Jaret Wright later became a major league pitcher. Clyde has run a baseball school in Anaheim for 30 years.
  • Liked to face: Bobby Knoop/Rich Reese (.000 in 15 AB); Phil Roof (.071 in 28 AB)
  • Hated to face: Jim Fregosi (.500 in 14 AB); Reggie Smith (.471 in 34 AB); Frank Howard (.450 with 6 HR in 40 AB)


Friday, September 17, 2010

1976 Topps #558 - Clarence Gaston

  • Clarence "Cito" Gaston played in the majors from 1967-1978. He was more famous as a championship  manager for the Toronto Blue Jays. Gaston was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1964. He played in the minors from 1964-1967 and was brought up by the Braves for a few weeks at the tail end of the 1967 season. Gaston roomed with Hank Aaron and later said that Aaron "taught him how to be a man." Clarence bated .120 in 25 at bats for the Braves in 1967.
  • Gaston was back in the minors in 1968. Clarence was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft after the 1968 season. Gaston got a chance to play with the Padres and batted .230 in 129 games in 1969.
  • Clarence had his career year in 1970. Gaston made the NL All Star team (he was 0 for 2 with a walk) and batted .318 with 29 HR and 93 RBI.
  • Gaston never had a year that approached his 1970 season. In 1971 he batted .228 with 17 HR and 61 RBI and in 1972 Clarence batted .269 with 7 HR and 44 RBI. Gaston's last year as a full-time player was in 1973. He batted .250 with 16 HR and 57 RBI in '73.
  • Clarence was a  backup outfielder in 1974 and batted .213 in 267 at bats. After the 1974 season Gaston was traded to the Braves for Danny Frisella.
  • Gaston spent the last part of his career as a pinch hitter and backup OF/1B. Clarence batted .241 in 141 AB in 1975, .291 in 134 AB in 1976, and .271 in 85 AB in 1977.
  • Clarence started the 1978 season with the Braves and batted .229 in 118 AB. Gaston was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 22 and went 1 for 2 in two games. The Pirates declined to offer Clarence a contract after the 1978 season.
  • Gaston played for various independent league and Mexican League teams in 1979 and 1980.
  • Aaron got Clarence back into organized baseball as the Braves' minor league hitting instructor in 1981. Gaston became the hitting coach of the Toronto Blue Jays under manager Bobby Cox in 1982. He remained as the Blue Jays' hitting coach until he was appointed as the team's manager in 1989.
  • Gaston was successful at first as the Toronto manager. The Blue Jays won world championships in 1992 and 1993. Gaston remained as the Blue Jays' manager until the last week of the 1997 season.
  • Cito rejoined the Blue Jays as hitting coach in 1999 but was let go after the 2001 season. Gaston was hired by the Blue Jays again in 2003 as a special assistant. He was rehired as manager of the Blue Jays in 2008 and has been there ever since. Gaston is due to step down as manager after the 2010 season.
  • Gaston's SABR biography
  • Liked to face: Bill Stoneman (.650 in 20 AB); George Stone (.381 in 21 AB); Jerry Reuss (.341 in 44 AB)
  • Hated to face: Charlie Hough (.000 in 10 AB); Tom Bradley (.071 in 14 AB); Tom Seaver (.136 in 44 AB) 


Thursday, September 16, 2010

1976 Topps #557 - Dan Spillner

  • Dan Spillner was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1970. Spillner was in the minors from 1970-1974 and came up to San Diego in May 1974. Dan went 9-11 with a 4.05 ERA in 25 starts for the Padres in his rookie season.
  • Spillner was 5-13 with a 4.27 ERA for the Padres in 1975. He started 25 games and relieved in 12 others. Dan struggled in 1976 (2-11, 5.06 ERA) as a swingman (14 starts, 18 relief appearances). Spillner had back surgery and missed the last two  months of the 1976 season. 
  • Dan started three games for AAA Hawaii to begin the 1977 season. He came back to San Diego in May and was used as a reliever by the Padres. Spillner appeared in 76 games and went 7-6 with six saves with a 3.73 ERA.
  • Spillner started the 1978 season with the Padres (1-0, 4.56 ERA in 14 games). Dan was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Dennis Kinney on June 14. Spillner pitched in 36 games and went 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA for the Indians to finish the 1978 season.
  • Dan was a swingman in 1979 (13 starts, 36 relief appearances) and went 9-5 with a 4.62 ERA. Spillner was put in the Indians' starting rotation in 1980 and went 16-11 with a 5.28 ERA in 30 starts. 
  • Spillner returned to a swingman role in 1981. He made five starts and appeared in 27 games in relief. Dan went 4-4 with seven saves and had a 3.14 ERA in 1981.
  • Dan's best year was in 1982. He made 65 relief appearances, had 21 saves, and was 12-10 with a 2.49 ERA.
  • Spillner wasn't nearly as effective in 1983. His record dropped to 2-9 and his ERA rose to 5.07 in 60 games.  Dan started off poorly in 1984 (0-5, 5.65 in 14 games - 8 starts) and was traded to the  Chicago White Sox for Jim Slwy on June 26. Spillner appeared in 22 games for the White Sox and was 1-0 with a 4.10 ERA.
  • Dan pitched better in 1985. He went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 52 games (3 starts). Spillner became a free agent after the 1985 season but didn't receive any offers. Dan later said that he had a couple of years left in him but owner collusion in the free agent market ended his career early.
  • Spillner was awarded a $486,000 settlement in 1995 from the collusion case.
  • A "where are they now" article from 2003. Dan was working in construction in Washintgon and was working with baseball players at the semi-pro level when this article was written. 
  • Liked to face: Harold Baines (.000 in 11 AB); Oscar Gamble (.067 in 15 AB); Buddy Bell (.125 in 24 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bob Stinson (.636 in 11 AB); Rennie Stennett (.579 in 19 AB); Rod Carew (.531 in 32 AB)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

1976 Topps #556 - Minnesota Twins

  • It seemed like Gene Mauch managed forever.
  • This was Mauch's first season managing the Twins. Owner Calvin Griffith was having trouble staying afloat in the beginning of the free agent era and his ballclubs paid the price.
  • Team record: 85-77, 3rd place, 5 games behind Kansas City
  • Team attendance: 715,394 (12th in AL)
  • Team batting: .274 (1st in AL)
  • Team home runs: 81 (8th in AL)
  • Team stolen bases: 146 (5th in AL)
  • Team ERA: 3.69 (10th in AL)
  • Team fielding: .973 (12th in AL)
  • Batting leader: Rod Carew (.331)
  • HR leader: Dan Ford (20)
  • RBI leader: Larry Hisle (96)
  • Stolen Base leader: Rod Carew (49)
  • Runs leader: Rod Carew (97)
  • Victories leader: Bill Campbell (17)
  • Losses leader: Jim Hughes and Dave Goltz (14)
  • ERA leader (starters): Dave Goltz (3.36)
  • ERA leader (relievers): Tom Burgmeier (2.50)
  • Saves leader: Bill Campbell (20)
  • AL All Stars: Rod Carew (starting 1B); Butch Wynegar (C)
  • Award winners: Bill Campbell (Rolaids Reliever of the Year)
  • League leaders: Bill Campbell (winning percentage - .773; appearances - 78)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1976 Topps #555 - Dyar Miller

  • Dyar Miller pitched for four teams from 1975-1981. Miller was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies on July 7, 1968. Miller was released three weeks later and subsequently signed with the Baltimore Orioles. 
  • Dyar pitched in the Baltimore system from 1969-1975 but was stuck behind a lot of other good pitchers in the organization. Miller finally came up to the Orioles in 1975 at the age of 29 and pitched in 30 games. Dyar was 6-3 with eight saves and had a 2.72 ERA in 1975.
  • Miller had another good year as a reliever in 1976. He was 2-4 with seven saves and had an ERA of 2.94 in 49 games.
  • In 1977 Miller started with the Orioles and was 2-2 with a 5.64 ERA in 12 games. Dyar was traded to the California Angels for Dick Drago on June 13. Miller went 4-4 with a 3.02 ERA in 41 games for the Angels in '77.
  • Dyar went 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 41 games for the Angels in 1978. Miller started the 1979 season with the Angels (1-0, 3.31 ERA in 14 games) and was sold to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 6. Dyar pitched in ten games for the Blue Jays and had an ERA of 10.57. He didn't pitch after July 22. After the 1979 season Miller was traded to the Montreal Expos for Tony Solaita.
  • Miller was released by the Expos during spring training in 1980. He signed with the New York Mets in April and had a good year. Dyar went 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 31 games in 1980. Miller went 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 23 games in 1981. The Mets released Miller after the 1981 season and he retired.
  • After his playing career Miller coached and occasionally managed in the minors. Dyar was a member of the Chicago White Sox coaching staff in 1987 and 1988. He has worked in the St. Louis Cardinals organization since 1995 and is currently the pitching coach for the AAA Memphis Redbirds.
  • Liked to face: Ralph Garr (.067 in 15 AB); Gorman Thomas/Lamar Johnson (.083 in 12 AB)
  • Hated to face: Thurman Munson (.692 in 13 AB); Bruce Bochte (.600 in 10 AB); Dan Ford (.500 in 14 AB)


Monday, September 13, 2010

1976 Topps #554 - Ray Fosse

  • This is a great action card. Topps did some great cards of catchers in action.
  • Ray Fosse was the first round pick (7th overall) of the Cleveland Indians in the first draft in 1965. Fosse played in the minors from 1965-1968. He had brief trials with the Indians in 1967 (1 for 16 in seven games) and in 1968 (played in one game and caught two innings).
  • Ray was brought up to the Indians as Duke Sims' backup in 1969. Fosse batted .172 in 37 games. He missed three months of the season when a foul tip fractured his right index finger in June.
  • The 1970 season was Fosse's biggest year. Ray batted .307 with 18 HR and 61 RBI and won the Gold Glove Award. He made the AL All Star team as a reserve. Ray entered the game in the 6th inning and went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly. Fosse was involved in the famous (or infamous depending on how you look at it) play that ended the game in the 12th inning. Pete Rose was attempting to score the winning run and bowled over Fosse at the plate. Rose missed the next three games due to injuries suffered in the collision. Fosse was examined by the Cleveland doctors and they found nothing wrong with him. Ray continued playing until a foul tip broke his right index finger in September. Ray was hurting but was waiting for manager Alvin Dark to ask him if he was hurt. Dark was waiting for Fosse to tell him he was hurt. It was later discovered that Ray had had a fracture and separation of his left shoulder. The inflammation masked the injury on the original X-rays. Fosse batted .297 after the 1970 All Star Game but hit only two home runs during that time. Ray Fosse - Best of the New Breed? - October 1970 Baseball Digest.
  • Ray was playing winter ball in Venezuela after the 1970 season when he and some teammates were swimming at a beach. One of the players (Herman Hill) was swept out to the sea by a current. Another player (John Morris) swam out to rescue Hill but he also got into trouble. Ray swam out and rescued Morris, but Hill drowned.
  • Fosse had another good year in 1971 and was voted by the fans to start at catcher for the AL in the All Star Game. A torn ligament in his left hand kept Ray from playing in the game. Fosse batted .276 with 12 HR and 62 RBI in 133 games and won his second (and last) Gold Glove.
  • Ray's offensive production was down in 1972 (.241, 10 HR, 41 RBI) but he still had a great defensive year. Gaylord Perry, who went 24-16 for the year and won the AL Cy Young Award, gave Fosse a lot of the credit for his leadership.
  • On March 24, 1973 Fosse was traded (with Jack Heidemann) to the Oakland A's for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick. Perry was shocked and surprised by the move since he had such a good rapport with Ray. Fosse didn't like the move at first but came around when he realized he was going to a winning ballclub.
  • The 1973 season was Ray's last one as a regular player. Fosse played in 143 games and batted .256 with 7 HR and 52 RBI. Ray also led all AL catchers by throwing out 56% of would-be base stealers. He also threw out 4 of 5 attempted base stealers in the ALCS. Ray went 1 for 11 (.091) in the ALCS and was 3 for 19 (.158) in the World Series.
  • Fosse was the starting catcher in 1974 but missed two months after having surgery for a pinched nerve. He sustained the injury while breaking up a clubhouse fight between Bill North and Reggie Jackson. Ray returned to the field in late August and ended up batting .196 in 69 games. Fosse went 4 for 12 (.333) in the ALCS and 2 for 14 (.143) in the World Series.
  • Gene Tenace replaced Fosse as the starting catcher for the A's in 1975. Ray batted .140 in 136 AB during the regular season and went 0 for 2 in the ALCS. After the 1975 season Fosse was sold back to the Cleveland Indians.
  • Ray was spiked by Jim Rice on April 13 and had to go on the disabled list. After he returned from the DL Fosse alternated with Alan Ashby behind the plate. Ray batted .301 in 90 games for the Indians in 1976. 
  • When the 1977 season started Ray was the starting catcher for the Indians. After manager Frank Robinson was replaced by Jeff Torborg in June, Ray was alternated with Fred Kendall at catcher. Fosse batted .265 in 78 games for the Indians and on September 7 he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Bill Laxton and cash. Ray batted .353 in 11 games for the Mariners to finish the 1977 season. After the 1977 season Fosse became a free agent. He signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • During spring training in 1978 Ray tripped in a hole while running down the first base line. He had multiple injuries (including a torn ligament that required reconstructive surgery) and missed the entire 1978 season.
  • Fosse was beat out by Buck Martinez and Charlie Moore in 1979 and ended up being the bullpen catcher for most of the year. Ray batted .231 in 19 games for the Brewers in 1979. Ray didn't make the Brewers club in 1980 and was cut at the end of spring training. 
  • Ray worked for TRS Video Sports Productions for a few years after his retirement as a player and made baseball instructional videos. Fosse became a broadcaster for the A's in 1986 and has been doing the job ever since. He and his wife now live in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Ray's SABR biography
  • Liked to face: Jerry Augustine (.600 in 10 AB); Tom Murphy (.421 in 19 AB); Bill Lee (.419 in 31 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Sanders (.000 in 13 AB); Ray Culp (.063 in 16 AB); Bill Singer (.095 in 21 AB)


Sunday, September 12, 2010

1976 Topps #553 - Randy Moffitt

  • Randy Moffitt was the first round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1970. Moffitt pitched in the minors from 1970-1972.  Randy was a swingman in 1970 and in 1971 but was converted to a reliever in 1972 and only started one game in his major league career. 
  • Randy was brought up to San Francisco in June of 1972 after posting a 2.25 ERA with seven saves in AAA Phoenix. Moffitt went 1-5 with four saves and a 3.69 ERA in 40 games for the Giants in 1972.
  • Moffitt was a workhorse out of the Giants'  bullpen in the mid 1970s. In 1973 Moffitt had a good season -- he was 4-4 with 14 saves and a 2.42 ERA in 60 games. Randy was 5-7 with 15 saves and a 4.50 ERA in 61 games in 1974.
  • Randy went 4-5 with 11 saves and a 3.89 ERA in 55 games in 1975. Moffitt's best year was 1976. He went 6-6 with 14 saves and had a 2.27 ERA in 58 games.
  • Moffitt had two more full seasons with the Giants before injuries took their toll. In 1977 Randy was 4-9 with 11 saves and had a 3.59 ERA in 64 games. Moffitt was 8-4 with 12 saves and had an ERA of 3.31 in 70 games in 1978.
  • Randy was injured in 1979 and pitched only three times after June 19. He ended up with a 2-5 record with two saves and a 7.71 ERA in 28 games in '79.
  • Moffitt came back in 1980 but missed 3 1/2 months of the season from May-August. Randy went 1-1 with a 4.86 ERA in 13 games in 1980. Moffitt pitched in ten games before the strike in 1981 without much success (0-0, 7.94 ERA in 11 innings). Randy was released on August 4 and didn't pitch for the rest of the season. Later it was discovered that Moffitt had a rare fungal infection in his stomach. It was so rare that he was only the third case known in the world.
  • Randy signed with the Houston Astros in 1982 and was 2-4 with three saves and had a 3.02 ERA in 30 games. After the 1982 season Moffitt became a free agent and signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1983 Randy was 6-2 with ten saves and had a 3.77 ERA in 45 games. A New Life in a New League - Sports Illustrated June 20, 1983.
  • Moffitt pitched in one game for the  Milwaukee Brewers' AAA Vancouver club in 1984 and then retired.
  • Billie Jean King is Randy's older sister. 
  • Liked to face: Enzo Hernandez (.000 in 11 AB); Davey Lopes (.042 in 24 AB); Ken Reitz (.091 in 22 AB)
  • Hated to face: Doug Flynn (.700 in 10 AB); Lou Brock (.571 in 14 AB); Ron Fairly (.500 in 14 AB)


Saturday, September 11, 2010

1976 Topps #552 - Terry Humphrey

  • The Abner Doubleday story is kind of like Santa Claus. We believe it for a while when we are little kids but eventually we realize it isn't true.
  • Terry Humphrey was a backup catcher for nine seasons (1971-1979) in the  major leagues. Humphrey was drafted by the  Montreal Expos in 1969. He played in the minors in 1970 and 1971 and was brought up at the end of the 1971 season after batting .280 for AAA Winnipeg. Terry batted .192 in 26 at bats for the  Expos in September 1971.
  • Humphrey was the  Expos' backup catcher for the entire 1972 season and batted .186 in 69 games. Terry started the 1973 season with Montreal but continued to struggle with the bat and spent some time in AAA. Humphrey batted .167 in 43 games for the Expos in 1973.
  • Terry batted .359 in ten games for AA Quebec in 1974 but batted only .117 for AAA Memphis in 31 games and .192 in 20 games for the Expos. 
  • After the 1974 season Humphrey and Tom Walker were traded to the Detroit Tigers for Woodie Fryman. Terry was with the Tigers for the entire 1975 season but played in only 18 games (.244 in 41 AB). After the 1975 season Terry was sent to the Houston Astros as part of a seven-player deal that sent Milt May to the Tigers.
  • Terry never played for the Astros. He was assigned to AAA Memphis at the beginning of the 1976 season and was traded with Mike Barlow to the California Angels for Ed Herrmann in June. The Angels promoted Humphrey to the majors and he batted .245 in 71 games.
  • Humphrey became the Angels' starting catcher in 1977 and batted .227 in 123 games. Brian Downing became the Angels' starting catcher in 1978 and Terry went back to a  backup role. Humphrey batted .219 in 53 games in '78.
  • Terry's last season was 1979. Humphrey got into only nine games as he had injury problems and Tom Donohue replaced him as the backup catcher. Humphrey was batted .059 (1 for 17) in nine games when he was released by the Angels on July 31.
  • Humphrey contributed four tickets behind the Angels' first base dugout for a raffle benefiting a Los Angeles area high school in 2010. That's about all I could find about him after his playing career.

Friday, September 10, 2010

1976 Topps #551 - Jerry DaVanon

  • Jerry DaVanon was a utility infielder in parts of eight seasons from 1969-1977. Jerry was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966. He played in the minors from 1966-1968 and then was chosen by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft. 
  • DaVanon played in 24 games for the Padres in 1969 and batted .136 in 59 at bats. On May 22 DaVanon was traded back to the Cardinals. Jerry was sent to AAA Tulsa where he batted .281 in 79 games. DaVanon came back to the Cardinals in September and batted .300 in 40 AB.
  • Jerry spent most of the 1970 season in Tulsa. He batted .111 (2 for 18) with the Cardinals in 11 games at the end of the season. After the 1970 season DaVanon was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Moe Drabowsky.
  • DaVanon stayed with the Orioles for the entire 1971 season but he didn't get much playing time. Jerry batted .235 in 81 at bats during the regular season and didn't see any action during the postseason.
  • DaVanon started the 1972 season in AAA Rochester. On June 10 Jerry was traded to the California Angels for Roger Repoz. The Angels sent DaVanon to AAA Salt Lake City, which is where he spent the rest of the season.
  • Jerry started the 1973 season with the Angels and batted .245 in 49 at bats. DaVanon was sent back to Salt Lake City in late July and played there until he was traded to the Cardinals for Bill Stein in late September.
  • The Cardinals assigned Jerry to Tulsa to start the 1974 season and he stayed there until mid-July. DaVanon batted .150 in 40 AB for the Cardinals in 1974.
  • Jerry was sold to the Detroit Tigers in January 1975. A few weeks later he was released and signed with the Cleveland Indians. On April 9, 1975 DaVanon was sold to the Houston Astros. Jerry played for AAA Iowa for the first part of the 1975 season and was recalled to Houston in early August. DaVanon batted .278 in 32 games for the Astros in 1975.
  • DaVanon stayed with the Astros for the entire 1976 season. He batted .290 in 107 at bats and was traded back to the Cardinals after the season for Joe Ferguson and Bob Detherage.
  • In 1977 Jerry went 0 for 8 for the Cardinals and was released on May 11.
  • Here is a 2005 interview with DaVanon. Jerry taught high school social studies during the off season and after his playing career he became a sales rep. DaVanon now referees high school basketball games.
  • Jerry is the father of current major leaguer Jeff DaVanon.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

1976 Topps #550 - Hank Aaron

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1976 Topps #549 - Randy Tate

  • We thought it was cool getting this card in a pack. One of the kids in our group had the same last  name. 
  • Randy Tate was drafted by the New York Mets in 1972. He pitched in the Mets farm system from 1972-1974.
  • Randy became part of the Mets' starting rotation in 1975. Tate went 5-13 with a 4.43 ERA in 28 games (23 starts). Randy almost pitched a no-hitter against the Montreal Expos on August 4. He took the no-hitter into the 8th inning but allowed three hits and lost the game 4-3. Tate pitched a great game on August 26 -- he allowed two runs (one earned) in a complete game victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Randy went to the bullpen after that game and started only one more game.
  • Tate went 0 for 41 during the season with one walk and 22 strikeouts. Ouch.
  • Randy was sent back to AAA Tidewater in 1976. Tate pitched for Tidewater in 1976 and in 1977 before moving on to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1978. A rotator cuff tear ended Randy's career.
  • In 2007 Tate was arrested and charged with stealing over $20,000 worth of copper from Occidental Chemical Corp. in Muscle Shoals, AL. At the time Tate was working for a contractor at the plant.
  • Randy's TTM information is on this page.