Sunday, September 25, 2011

1976 Hostess #124 - Willie McCovey

  • Willie McCovey was still a dangerous power hitter when this card was printed
  • McCovey wanted to play out his option in 1976 so the Padres cut his salary by 20% to $100,000.
  • The San Francisco Giants wanted Willie back before the 1976 season. The Giants had traded McCovey to the Padres in 1973 mainly for economic reasons.
  • McCovey had his poorest season in 1976. He played in 71 games for the Padres, starting 51 of those games at first base. Willie batted .203 with 7 HR and 36 RBI for the Padres.
  • Willie was sold to the Oakland A's on August 30.
  • McCovey wasn't sure if he would report to the A's at first, but he reported on September 1.
  • The A's used Willie as a DH and a pinch hitter in September, but Willie struggled and batted .208 (5 for 24) with no home runs or RBI.
  • After his poor 1976 season there wasn't very much interest in McCovey in the free agent  market. Willie ended up signing with the Giants for $50,000 and had a great year in 1977, winning Comeback Player of the Year honors and cementing his place as an eventual Hall of Famer.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Saturday, September 24, 2011

1976 Hostess #105 - Dave Lopes

  • Here's another beat up Hostess card that I got from a lot on eBay.
  • Lopes was the first  Dodger to sign a contract for the 1976 season.
  • Before the 1976 season there was some talk of moving Lopes to shortstop and playing Ted Sizemore at second base. Dodger shortstop Bill Russell was mentioned in trade talks between the Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals for Reggie Smith, but he eventually stayed with the club.
  • Dave was still playing a little bit in center field in 1976. After the 1976 season Lopes would play all of his games but two at 2B until he moved to the Oakland A's in 1982.
  • In 1976 Lopes led the NL with 63 stolen bases and batted .241 in 117 games
  • Dave missed the first month of the 1976 due to a pulled muscle in his side that he suffered during spring training.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? early peak

Friday, September 23, 2011

1976 Hostess #92 - John Candelaria

  • This card is a victim of some kid's poor cutting skills. Hey kid----the lines are your friends! ;)
  • This card was printed right at the beginning of a nice career.
  • The Pirates didn't win the NL East in 1976, but John did his part to keep the club competitive. Candelaria was 16-7 with a 3.15 ERA during the season.
  • John pitched a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on national television on August 9. A third inning walk to Steve Yeager and two Pirate errors were the only things that prevented Candelaria from pitching a perfect game.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? just before peak --- John's best year was 1977.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1976 Hostess #53 - Jim Hughes

  • Jim Hughes got this Hostess card on the strength of his good 1975 rookie season.
  • Hughes was bitten by the sophomore  jinx in 1976. He had a 9-14 record with a 4.98 ERA
  • Jim was in the minors for most of the 1977 season -- he appeared in two April games for the Twins before being sent to AAA.
  • Hughes signed with the Chicago White Sox after the 1977 season but was cut during spring training in 1978. 
  • Jim signed with the Texas Rangers and spent a couple of years in the minors but never made it back to the major leagues.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Saturday, September 17, 2011

1976 Hostess #25 - Larry Dierker

  • Larry Dierker was only 29 years old, but he was just about at the end of his career when this card was printed
  • Larry had a 13-14 record with a 3.69 ERA in his last full season in 1976
  • On July 9, 1976 Dierker pitched a no-hitter against the Montreal Expos
  • After 14 seasons with the Houston Astros, Dierker was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1976 season
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? after peak

Friday, September 16, 2011

1976 Hostess #12 - Rick Manning

  • After posting decent numbers in the minors from 1972-1974, Rick Manning earned a promotion to the  majors at the age of 20 in 1975 after a good start in AAA Oklahoma City.
  • Rick's best two seasons were in 1975 and in 1976
  • In 1976 Manning won a Gold Glove award and batted .292 in 138 games
  • Rick broke up a no-hit bid by the Rangers' Steve Hargan on August 15 by doubling in the 7th inning.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

Friday, September 2, 2011

1976 Hostess #142 - Gary Matthews

  • Gary Matthews was one of the unsung young stars of the game in 1976. Playing for several bad Giants teams didn't help him gain much notoriety.
  • In 1976 Matthews batted .279 with 20 HR and 84 RBI.
  • After the 1976 season Gary signed a multi-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.
  • The Braves lost a first round draft choice and were fined for contacting Matthews without permission before the opening of the free agent season.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1976 Hostess #150 - Cesar Geronimo

  • Cesar Geronimo was a good fielder and had a great arm. He won four straight Gold Gloves from 1974-1977
  • Offensively, this five-year run is decent, but not awe-inspiring. Cesar had a nice year in 1974 -- it was the first year that he started more than 100 games.
  • In 1976 Geronimo had his best offensive year. He batted .307, hit 11 triples, and stole 22 bases. Cesar also had a .382 on base percentage.
  • Before peak, peak, or after peak? peak