Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #25 - Dwight Evans

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #24 - Carl Morton

  • Carl Morton was included in the big trade before the 1977 season that brought Jeff Burroughs to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves got Burroughs and the Texas Rangers got Adrian Devine, Ken Henderson, Dave May, Roger Moret, Morton, and $250,000.
  • Carl didn't make the Texas ballclub in 1977 and was released on April 1
  • Morton was given a shot with the Montreal Expos, but they cut him at the end of spring training.
  • Morton signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in mid-April and spent the entire season pitching for AAA Oklahoma City.
  • The Phillies released Morton in September 1977.
  • 1977 Statistics
    • 9-12, 3.32 ERA in 26 starts for Oklahoma City
  • Morton was invited to spring training by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978. He didn't stay with the club very long -- Carl was released in mid-March.

Monday, November 28, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #23 - Dan Driessen

1977 Topps Baseball #22 - Bill Freehan

Sunday, November 27, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #21 - Ken Forsch

Saturday, November 26, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #20 - Graig Nettles

Friday, November 25, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #19 - John D'Acquisto

  • John D'Acquisto started the 1977 season with the St. Louis Cardinals
  • On May 17 John was traded with Pat Scanlon to the San Diego Padres for 1976 co-Rookie of the Year Butch Metzger
  • Here is an article written by John about  his 1978 season. It's an interesting article about the discussions between John and San Diego management about what he had to do in order to be able to keep his career going. John did those things and had a lot of success in 1978.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • 0-0, 4.32 ERA in 3 games (2 starts) for St. Louis
    • 1-2, 6.95 ERA in 17 games (12 starts) for San Diego
    • 4-3, 3.75 ERA in 8 starts for AAA Hawaii
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other baseball card blogs: 1980, 1976, 1975, 1974

Thursday, November 24, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #18 - Cleveland Indians / Frank Robinson

  • The 1977 season was the third and final year that Frank Robinson managed the Cleveland Indians
  • Robinson managed the Indians to a 26-31 record before being fired and replaced by Jeff Torborg on June 19
    • Robinson was rumored to be replaced both in April and in May before his June dismissal.
  • Team Highlights:
    • Jan 31 - Former Indians Al Lopez and Joe Sewell were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Sewell was a shortstop for the Indians in the 1920s and Lopez managed the club in the 1950s.
    • May 30 - Dennis Eckersley pitched a no-hitter against the California Angels. The only baserunner for the Angels was Tony Solaita, who walked in the first inning.
  • Team Leaders:
    • Team Record: 71-90, .441, 5th in AL East, 28.5 games behind the New York Yankees
    • Attendance: 900,365 (13th of 14 teams in AL)
    • Batting Leader: Bruce Bochte (.304)
    • Home Run Leader: Andre Thornton (28)
    • RBI Leader: Rico Carty (80)
    • Victories Leader: Dennis Eckersley (14)
    • Losses Leader: Wayne Garland (19)
    • ERA Leader (starters): Dennis Eckersley (3.52)
    • ERA Leader (relievers): Don Hood (3.00)
    • Strikeout Leader: Dennis Eckersley (191)
    • Saves Leader: Jim Kern (18)
  • Team Statistics:
    • Batting Average: .269 (7th in AL)
    • Home Runs: 100 (tied for last with Toronto)
    • Runs Scored: 676 (9th in AL)
    • Stolen Bases: 87 (9th in AL)
    • ERA: 4.10 (7th in AL)
    • Fielding Percentage: .979 (3rd in AL)
  • AL All Stars: Dennis Eckersley, Jim Kern
  • AL Awards: none

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #17 - Steve Stone

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #16 - Bob Jones

  • Bob Jones was a player who really did well at the AAA level but didn't do as much at the major league level. This was his first Topps card.
  • Jones was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1967. He played in the Senators/Texas Rangers system for several years (with the exception of 1970, when he was doing military service).
  • Jones finally came up to the Rangers in 1974. He got in two games and went 0 for 5.
  • Bob found himself in AAA Spokane for the third straight year in 1975 and batted .277 with 17 home runs. He played in nine games for the Rangers and went 1 for 11 (.091).
  • Jones started the 1976 season in AAA Sacramento and batted .355 in 26 games. On May 17 the Rangers waived Jones and he was claimed by the California Angels
  • Bob stayed with the Angels as a  backup outfielder for the entire 1976 season and batted .211 in 166 at bats
  • In 1977 Jones started the season with the Angels but was sent down to AAA Salt Lake City in May. Bob batted .340 with 18 HR for Salt Lake City.
  • Jones spent the entire 1978 season in Salt Lake City and batted .307 with 14 HR and 102 RBI
  • After the 1978 season Bob signed with Japan's Crunichi Dragons and played there for the next two seasons
  • In 1981 Jones came back to the states and signed with the Rangers. He played for AAA Wichita (.315, 20 HR, 72 RBI) until September and then batted .265 in ten games for the Rangers.
  • Bob spent the entire 1982 season in AAA Denver, but he played in only 82 games (.318, 12 HR, 51 RBI).
  • Jones started the 1983 season in AAA Oklahoma and was recalled in late June. He finished the season with the Rangers and batted .222 in 41 games.
  • Bob spent the entire 1984 season with the Rangers. He played 1B, outfield, and DH and batted .259 in 64 games.
  • Jones batted .224 in 83 games as a pinch hitter and backup OF/1B in 1985.
  • In 1986 Bob played in his first game for the Rangers on May 23. He batted .095 in 13 games and went back to Oklahoma City, where he batted .252 in 90 games.
  • Jones played in 65 games in AA Tulsa in 1987 and batted .303. After the season he started a long career as a successful minor league manager.
  • From 1988-1990 Jones managed at the A-ball level. He then managed AA Tulsa for two seasons. Bob moved up to AAA Oklahoma City and managed there in 1993 and in 1994. His AAA teams were not very successful and Jones moved back to Tulsa. He managed there from 1995-2000. 
  • In 2002 Jones went back to Oklahoma City to manage. Except for the 2006 season, he has managed the club ever since. The team is now the Round Rock Express. As of the end of the 2011 season Jones has a 797-782 (.505) record with the club. Jones has over 1500 career minor league victories as a manager.
  • Bob was named the Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year in 2011. 
  • 1977 Stats: 3 for 17 (.176) with 1 HR and 3 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 10 - Hit a solo home run and scored another run in the Angels' 12-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners
    • June 20 - Went 3 for 5 with three runs scored as the Gulls beat the Spokane Indians 15-4.
    • July 7 - Had three hits (including a three-run homer) to help the Gulls to an 8-2 win over San Jose

Monday, November 21, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #15 - Don Gullett

  • Don Gullett signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent before the 1977 season. I remember really being bummed out since the Cincinnati Reds lost both Gullett and Tony Perez.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • 14-4, .778 winning percentage (led AL), 3.58 ERA in 22 starts
    • 0-1, 18.00 ERA in American League Championship Series (allowed four runs in two innings pitched in game 1
    • 0-1, 6.39 ERA in World Series. Started game 1 and had no decision in 8 innings pitched. Started and lost game 5.
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Over the years, I wonder how many card backs had Gene Autry strumming a guitar.
  • Other Don Gullett card blog entries: 19791976, 19761975, 1973

Sunday, November 20, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #14 - Tommy Smith

  • Tommy Smith had a five-year major league career. This was his only card.
  • Smith was a fifth-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1970
  • Tommy was in the minors for at least part of every season from 1970-1977. He never batted below .263 and had a lifetime minor league batting average of .311. He was mostly a singles and doubles hitter and had some occasional power.
  • Smith was a September call-up in 1973 and batted .244 in 14 games.
  • Tommy started the 1974 season in AAA and was called up in August. He batted .097 in 31 at bats for the Indians.
  • Smith was a September call-up again in 1975 and went 1 for 8 (.125) in limited action with the Indians
  • In 1976 Tommy started in AAA and came up to the Indians in July. He batted .256 in 55 games.
  • Smith was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft. He made the club in 1977 and was used mostly as a late inning defensive replacement. Smith shuttled between Seattle and AAA Rochester. Rochester was the affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, but the Mariners didn't have a full system yet so some of their minor leaguers were loaned to other organizations.
  • 1977 Stats: Went 7 for 27 (.259) with 0 HR and 4 RBI.  Batted .284 in 47 games for AAA Rochester.
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • March 17 - Went 4 for 4 with 4 RBI in an exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants
    • April 13 - Entered the game as a pinch hitter with two out in the bottom of the 9th inning and singled in the tying run.
    • April 14 - Was a pinch hitter again and singled in the go-ahead run in the 7th inning to make the score 2-1. The Mariners eventually won the game 4-3.
  • Smith retired after the 1977 season.
  • Other card blogs: 1974

Saturday, November 19, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #13 - Luis Gomez

  • Although Luis Gomez had been playing in the majors since 1974, this was his first card.
  • Luis Gomez was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1973. He spent the 1973 season with AA Orlando, where he batted .224.
  • Luis was in AAA for a short time in 1974, but spent  most of the season as a backup infielder. He batted .208 in 168 at bats.
  • For the next few years Gomez was a backup infielder who didn't see much playing time. He was usually a late inning defensive replacement.
    • 1975: batted .139 in 72 at bats (89 games played)
    • 1976: batted .193 in 57 at bats (38 games played)
    • 1977: batted .246 in 65 at bats (32 games played)
  • In 1977 Luis started the season in AAA Tacoma and batted .285 in 60 games. He was called up in late June.
  • Gomez became a free agent after the 1977 season and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays
  • Luis became the starting shortstop for the Blue Jays and played in a career-high 153 games. He batted .223 in 413 at bats.
  • In 1979 Alfredo Griffin came up to the majors and became the starting shortstop. Gomez went back to his backup infielder role and batted .239 in 59 games.
  • Gomez was traded with Chris Chambliss to the Atlanta Braves for Barry Bonnell, Pat Rockett, and Joey McLaughlin after the 1979 season.
  • Luis started at shortstop for much of the 1980 season and batted .191 in 121 games.
  • The Braves went with Rafael Ramirez as their starting shortstop in 1981. Gomez played in 35 games and batted .200 in 35 at bats. 
  • The Braves cut Gomez at the end of spring training in 1982 and he retired.
  • Luis played in the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989 and in 1990.
  • Gomez had the "distinction" of playing in the most games (609) without hitting a home run. He also never homered in the minors or in the Senior League.
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1980cardboard gods

Friday, November 18, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #12 - Larry Haney

  • 1977 was Larry Haney's last full major league season.
  • By the time this card was produced Haney was already with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was purchased by the Brewers in December 1976
  • Haney spent the 1977 season as the backup catcher for Charlie Moore.
  • 1977 stats:
    • .228, 0 HR, 10 RBI in 63 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blog entries: 1976, 1975, 1969

Thursday, November 17, 2011

1977 Topps #11 - Rob Dressler

  • Rob Dressler was the #1 pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1972
  • Dressler pitched in the minors for four years before getting a late season call-up in 1975.
  • Rob split time between AAA Phoenix and the Giants in 1976.
  • Dressler was in Phoenix for the entire 1977 season. He had a 10-10 record with a 5.29 ERA in Phoenix.
  • The rest of Rob's baseball career is summarized on his 1976 entry.
  • Here is a blog entry about Rob's time with the Seattle Mariners in 1980 and 1981.
  • Other baseball card blogs: 1976, 1976

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1977 Topps #10 - Reggie Jackson

  • It didn't take very long to get to our first airbrushed card. Reggie signed with the New York Yankees after the 1976 season.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • .286, 32 HR, 110 RBI, .550 slugging
    • 2 for 16 (.125) with 1 RBI in American League Championship Series
    • 9 for 20 (.450) with 5 HR and 8 RBI in World Series
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • June 22 - Hit a 2-run double in the top of the 8th inning with the game tied 10-10. The Yankees went on to win 12-11.
    • July 19 - starting right fielder for the AL in the All Star Game - went 1 for 2 with a single and a strikeout
    • July 26 - Hit a home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game 5-4 over the first place Baltimore Orioles. After the victory the Yankees were two games out of first place.
    • October 18 - Hit three home runs in game 6 of the World Series.
    • Finished 8th in AL  MVP voting
  • Links to other card blogs: 1986, 1985, 1983, 1982, 19781976, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971,  1969
  • Here is Reggie's third home run in game 6 of the World Series (couldn't embed this one)
  • Here is another video from that World Series:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1977 Topps #9 - Doug Rader

Monday, November 14, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #8 - 1976 Leading Firemen

  • The first "leading firemen" card was in the 1973 Topps set.
  • Bill Campbell makes the first of two appearances on a leading firemen card
    • In 1976 Bill had a record of 17-5 and led the AL with a .773 winning percentage. He also led the league with 78 appearances.
    • After the 1976 season Campbell became one of the first big-money free agents and signed with the Boston Red Sox.
    • Campbell was the AL leading fireman again in 1977, but he had arm problems in 1978 and wasn't the same pitcher after that.
  • Rawly Eastwick had his best season in 1976. He had an 11-5 record with a 2.09 ERA and an NL-leading 26 saves.
    • During the 1977 season Eastwick didn't see eye-to-eye with Reds' management and was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals. He didn't have anywhere near as much success in St. Louis (or any of the other teams for which he pitched).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

1977 Topps Baseball #7 - 1976 Earned Run Average Leaders

  • Bird!!!!!
  • There are a lot of lesser-known pitchers on this card.
  • The 1976 season was a magical one for Mark Fidrych. It really is too bad he was unable to repeat his success in future seasons. He was fun to watch.
  • Here is a video of Mark's appearance on Monday Night Baseball in June 1976:

  • John Denny had a good year in 1976. His 11-9 record prevented him from getting consideration for the NL Cy Young Award, but he would win the award in 1983.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1977 Topps #6 - 1976 Strikeout Leaders

  • Two legendary strikeout pitchers grace the front of this card
  • This was Nolan Ryan's fourth strikeout title. He had nine AL strikeout titles and two NL titles. Ryan struck out over 300 batters six times.
  • Tom Seaver never struck out over 300 batters, but he put up some impressive strikeout numbers during his career. 
    • 1976 was the last of nine straight years in which Seaver struck out over 200 batters.
    • This was Seaver's fifth (and final) NL strikeout title.
  • Tom Seaver was one of my favorite players when I was growing up. I had posters of Seaver, Pete Rose, and Rod Carew in my room for a few years. The Seaver poster was one of those Sports Illustrated posters like the one pictured below. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

1977 Topps #5 - 1976 Victory Leaders

  • There were only three 20-game winners in the American League in 1976. 
    • This was the fewest since 1967, when three pitchers won 20 or more.
  • Jim Palmer led the AL in wins three straight years (1974-1976). He won 20 or more games eight times in his career.
  • Randy Jones' 22 wins were remarkable considering that he pitched for a team that went 73-89 and finished 5th in the NL West. The Padres finished 11th in runs scored that season
    • Unfortunately after two great seasons (1975 and 1976), Jones hurt his arm in 1977 and was never as dominant again.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

1977 Topps #4 - 1976 Stolen Base Leaders

  • Look at all the A's players! Oakland almost managed to keep the string of AL West championships going in 1976 thanks in part to the running offense. The 1976 A's are a fun team to play in Strat-O-Matic.
  • Bill North won his second (and last) stolen base title in 1976. He also was caught stealing 29 times, which was also an AL high.
  • It was also the second and final stolen base title for Dave Lopes. Lopes had a much better stolen base percentage than North--he was caught stealing only ten times in 1976.
  • Lopes must have made the most of his opportunities. He had only a .333 on base percentage in 1976.
  • This was the last season in which Lou Brock would steal 50 or more bases. Brock had twelve seasons in a row (1965-1976) with 50 or more stolen bases. He was the NL leader in stolen bases in eight of those seasons.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1977 Topps #3 - 1976 RBI Leaders

  • Lee May was close to the end of his career when he led the AL in RBI, while George Foster was at the beginning of his peak years.
  • It is surprising that May would lead the league in RBI. His team finished seventh out of 12 teams in runs scored, 11th in batting average, and 11th in on base percentage. May usually batted behind Reggie Jackson in 1976.
  • The 1976 season was the first of three straight years in which Foster would lead the NL in RBI.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1977 Topps #2 - 1976 Home Run Leaders

  • The races for the 1976 home run titles didn't have the drama that the batting races had.
  • In the National League, Mike Schmidt edged out Dave Kingman 38-37. 
    • The two players played against each other in the final series of the year.
    • Kingman hit his last home run of the year on September 19
    • At the time Kingman held a 37-35 edge over Schmidt. Schmidt homered three times in the final 14 games to pass Kingman and win the title.
  • Graig Nettles won his only AL home run title in 1976. 
    • The race for the home run crowd wasn't close, as Nettles had five more homers than his nearest competition.
    • At first it didn't look like Nettles would be in the race. At the end of May he had only four home runs. He hit eight home runs in August and nine in September to take the title.
    • On September 1, Sal Bando led the AL with 24 home runs. He was followed by Nettles and Reggie Jackson, each with 23.
    • Nettles admired Bando as a player. If he was unable to win the title, Nettles wanted to see Bando win it.
  • Schmidt won the NL home run for the third straight time in 1976. Mike would go on to win a total of eight NL home run championships.

Monday, November 7, 2011

1977 Topps #1 - 1976 Batting Leaders

  • The 1976 season featured down-to-the-wire batting races in both leagues. Neither championship was decided until the final day of the season.
  • In the American League three players had a shot at the title on the last day. All three players were on the same field, as the Kansas City Royals hosted the Minnesota Twins.
    • On the previous day both George Brett and Hal McRae of the Royals sat out the game. Minnesota's Rod Carew went 2 for 4 to raise his batting average to .329. McRae was batting .33078 and Brett was batting .33073.
    • All three players had a good day on October 3 (the last day of the season). Carew went 2 for 4 to end up at .331. McRae also went 2 for 4 and finished with a .332 average. Brett was 2 for 3 when he came up for his final at bat in the 9th inning. Brett hit a ball that bounced over left fielder Steve Brye's head. It ended up being an inside-the-park home run. Brett won the title with a .333 average and felt bad about the way it turned out. McRae thought Brye had let the ball drop on purpose and went after Twins' manager Gene Mauch after grounding out in the 9th inning.
    • It was the first time since 1971 that Carew didn't win the AL batting crown.
  • The National League batting race came down to two players -- Bill Madlock of the Chicago Cubs and Ken Griffey of the Cincinnati Reds.
    • At the beginning of the day on October 3, Griffey held a 5-point advantage (.338 to .333) over Madlock
    • It was decided by Reds manager Sparky Anderson (after meeting with Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez) that Griffey would sit out the final game of the season to preserve his lead.
    • Madlock went 4 for 4 in his game to raise his average to .339.
    • When Anderson learned that Madlock had such a good day, he put Griffey into the game. Griffey struck out twice and his average dropped to .336.
  • This was the second of Madlock's four NL batting titles. Madlock won the title in 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1983.
  • Brett won three batting titles in his career. He won in 1976 (.333), 1980 (.390), and in 1990 (.329). 
  • If Carew had won in 1976, he would have had a streak of seven straight seasons (1972-1978) with batting titles.
  • Minnesota's Lyman Bostock had a shot at the AL title as well, but he tailed off in the last couple of weeks and finished with a .323 average.