Friday, August 31, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #297 - Ken Reitz


  • After spending one season in his hometown of San Francisco, Ken Reitz was traded back to the St. Louis Cardinals on December 10 for pitcher Lynn McGlothen. The Giants felt that Jack Clark was ready to come up and play third base. Eventually Clark ended up in the outfield and Darrell Evans played third for the Giants.
  • Reitz had career highs in home runs (17) and RBI (79) in 1977, but his .291 on base percentage kept him at seventh (and occasionally sixth) in the St. Louis batting order.
  • 1977 Stats: .261, 17 HR, 79 RBI in 157 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976, 1979, 1980


Thursday, August 30, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #296 - Don Hood


  • Don Hood had one of his better seasons in 1977. Used as a middle reliever and occasional starter, Don had a 3.00 ERA in 105 innings.
  • 1977 Stats: 2-1, 3.00 ERA in 41 games (7 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #295 - Gary Carter


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #294 - George Medich


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  • Although he spent only one of his 11 seasons with Pittsburgh, I've always thought of Doc Medich as a Pirate. The 1977 set apparently have left its mark on me (along with the 1976 traded card).
  • Doc Medich moved around a lot in 1977. During spring training he was involved in a big trade. The Pirates got Phil Garner, Tommy Helms, and Chris Batton. The Oakland A's got  Medich, Tony Armas, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti, Rick Langford, and Mitchell Page.
  • Doc feuded with A's owner Charlie Finley and the A's sold him to the Seattle Mariners on September 13.
  • On September 26 Medich was waived again and claimed by the New York Mets. Doc took the loss against his old team (Pittsburgh) in his only appearance for the Mets.
  • After the 1977 season Medich started his first year of residency at Allegheny General Hospital. 
  • Medich signed a 4-year contract with the Texas Rangers in November 1977.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Oakland A's - 10-6, 4.69 ERA in 26 games (25 starts)
    • Seattle Mariners - 2-0, 3.63 ERA in 3 starts
    • New York Mets - 0-1, 3.86 ERA in 1 start
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • Aug 31 - Allowed six hits and three runs in 8 1/3 innings and earned the win in Oakland's 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.
    • Sept 16 - Allowed one run in his first start as a Seattle Mariner. Medich pitched a complete game as the A's beat the AL West leading Kansas City Royals 4-1.
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 19751976, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982

Monday, August 27, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #293 - Jack Brohamer


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Sunday, August 26, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #292 - Rogelio Moret


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  • Rogelio Moret actually pitched for the Texas Rangers in 1977. Moret, four other players, and $250,000 were traded to the Rangers in exchange for Jeff Burroughs after the 1976 season.
  • In 1977 Moret didn't pitch until June 28 -- he had surgery for a circulatory problem during spring training.
  • Rogelio was more effective as a reliever than he was as a starter in 1977.
  • Rogelio Moret's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: 3-3, 3.73 ERA, 4 saves in 18 games (8 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976

Saturday, August 25, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #291 - Jason Thompson


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  • Jason Thompson was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1975. He was 6'4" and weighed 200 pounds. Jason spent half of a season with AA Montgomery and put up good numbers (.324, 10 HR, 38 RBI in 75 games)
  • Jason started the 1976 season in AAA, but he didn't stay there long. After four games Thompson was called up when catcher Milt May was injured. He started off well, but tailed off later in the season. Jason batted .218 with 17 HR and 54 RBI in 128 games in his rookie season.
  • Thompson was voted as the first baseman on the Topps Rookie All Star Team.
  • At the age of 22 Thompson became a star. He led the Tigers in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage and was on the AL All Star team (he didn't play in the game).
  • Jason had another good year in 1978. He batted .287 with 26 HR and 96 RBI. He made his second straight AL All Star team and was 0 for 1 in the game.
  • Thompson was unhappy as the 1979 season started. The Tigers got off to a slow start and he was being shuffled around in the batting order by manager Les Moss. Jason also took exception to teammate Ron LeFlore's remarks about Rusty Staub's holdout. Thompson's stats took a dip --- he batted .246 with 20 HR and 79 RBI.
  • In 1980 Thompson started slowly. After 36 games he was batting .214 with 4 HR and 20 RBI. On May 27 Jason was traded to the California Angels for Al Cowens. Thompson played much better for the Angels and ended up batting .288 with 21 HR and 90 RBI for the season.
  • Jason was on the move again in 1981. He won his arbitration case against the Angels -- the team offered $250,000 and Thompson asked for $395,000. On April 1 Thompson was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ed Ott and Mickey Mahler. The Pirates turned around and traded Jason to the New York Yankees for Jim Spencer and cash, but that deal was invalidated by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Thompson ended up staying with the Pirates. Thompson batted .242 with 15 HR and 42 RBI in 89 games during the strike-shortened season.
  • Thompson had a good bounce-back year in 1982. He batted .284 with 31 HR and 101 RBI during the regular season and made the NL All Star team. Jason was 0 for 1 in the game. After the 1982 season Thompson signed a 5-year contract with the Pirates that was worth more than $1 million a year.
  • The next three seasons were decent, but not as good as some of Jason's previous years. Knee and hamstring injuries began to take their toll. Jason played regularly, but the injuries hampered his stats. In 1983 Thompson batted .259 with 18 HR and 76 RBI. Thompson batted .254 with 17 HR and 74 RBI in 1984 and in 1985 he batted .241 with 12 HR and 61 RBI.
  • Before the 1986 season Jason was traded to the Montreal Expos for two minor leaguers. The trade of Thompson allowed the Pirates to play Sid Bream at first base. Jason didn't do much for the Expos, batting .196 in 30 games. Thompson was released on June 30 and that was it for his major league career.
  • Thompson now operates Jason Thompson Baseball, which offers baseball instruction and camps.
  • 1977 Stats: .270, 31 HR, 105 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs:  1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986

Friday, August 24, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #290 - Amos Otis


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #289 - Gene Garber


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  • Topps put an interesting description of Gene Garber's pitching motion on the back of this card. 
  • Garber was a solid reliever for several years. He was part of the deep Philadelphia bullpen of the mid 1970s and he held the Atlanta Braves' team record for career saves in the late 1980s and 1990s. John Smoltz broke the record in 2004.
  • Gene now raises emus on his farm in his hometown of Elizabethtown, PA.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Regular season: 8-6. 2.35 ERA, 19 saves in 64 games
    • NL Championship: 1-1, 3.38 ERA in 3 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 19821983, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #288 - Bob Montgomery


  • The presence of a healthy Carlton Fisk prevented Bob Montgomery from getting a lot of playing time in 1977. Fisk started 149 games behind the plate, leaving Montgomery with only 12 starts. Bob did well at the plate, batting .300 in 40 at bats. 
  • Bob Montgomery's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: .300 (12 for 40), 2 HR, 7 RBI in 17 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #287 - Cincinnati Reds / Sparky Anderson


  • Sparky Anderson spent most of his playing career (1953-1963) in the minor leagues. He spent one sesaon (1959) as the starting second baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies and batted .218 in 152 games.
  • In 1964 at the age of 30, Anderson decided to become a manager. He managed in A and AA ball from 1964-1968 and was successful -- he had only one season below .500 and he had four straight pennant winning ballclubs. 
  • Sparky coached with the San Diego Padres in 1969. 
  • After the 1969 season Anderson was named the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He had been named as a coach for the California Angels a few days prior to his appointment as the Cincinnati manager.
  • The Reds were just starting their great run as "The Big Red Machine." The team won the NL West in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, and 1976. They lost in the World Series in 1970 and 1972, but they were World Champions in 1975 and 1976.
  • After two straight second place finishes, the Reds fired Sparky after the 1978 season. This (along with the Tony Perez trade and the free agency of Pete Rose) caused me to switch my favorite team. After Rose signed with the Philadelphia Phillies I rooted for them (along with the Giants). Anderson later said that the Reds had decided to fire him at the end of the 1978 season but didn't do the deed until late November
  • Anderson didn't stay unemployed for very long. On June 12 Sparky was hired to replace Les Moss as manager of the Detroit Tigers
  • Sparky managed the Tigers from 1979-1995. The Tigers won the World Championship in 1984 and won the AL East in 1987. 
  • Anderson angered Detroit ownership when he refused to manage replacement players in 1995. Sparky was placed on an unpaid leave of absence but was back to manage the regular players when the strike ended. Anderson retired after the 1995 season.
  • At the time of his retirement Sparky was third all-time in managerial victories behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. Anderson has been passed by Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox, and Joe Torre.
  • Anderson was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2000 along with Tony Perez.
  • Sparky Anderson's managerial record:
    • Cincinnati Reds (1970-1978): 863-586, .596, 4 pennants, 2 World Championships
    • Detroit Tigers (1979-1995): 1331-1248, .516, 1 pennant, 1 World Championship
    • TOTAL: 2194-1834, .545
  • Anderson passed away at the age of 76 on 4 November 2010.
  • Other card blogs: 1959, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988
  • The Cincinnati Reds had (for them) a tough year. After two straight World Championships the team fell to second place in the NL West in 1977. They traded future HOFer Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos before the season. The pitching was a problem all season and the addition of Tom Seaver in June wasn't enough to solve the problems. Several players were dissatisfied with their contracts and the ballclub wasn't interested in negotiating better contracts or signing free agents. 
  • Team Highlights
    • Record: 88-74, 2nd in NL West, 10 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers
    • Attendance:  2,519,670 (2nd in NL)
    • Team Batting: .274 (2nd in NL)
    • Team HR: 181 (3rd in NL)
    • Team Stolen Bases: 170 (3rd in NL)
    • Team ERA: 4.21 (10th in NL)
    • Team Fielding: .984 (1st in NL)
    • All Stars: Johnny Bench (starting C), Joe Morgan (starting 2B), Dave Concepcion (starting SS), George Foster (starting OF), Ken Griffey (OF), Pete Rose (3B), Tom Seaver (P)
    • Awards: George Foster (NL MVP), Joe Morgan (Gold Glove 2B), Dave Concepcion (Gold Glove SS), Cesar Geronimo (Gold Glove OF)
    • NL Leaders:  George Foster (slugging .631; runs 124; home runs 52; RBI 149); Pete Rose (games - 162; at bats - 655)
    • Batting Leader: George Foster (.320)
    • Home Run Leader: George Foster (52)
    • RBI Leader: George Foster (149)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Joe Morgan (49)
    • Victories Leader: Fred Norman / Tom Seaver (14)
    • Losses Leader: Fred Norman (13)
    • Strikeout Leader: Fred Norman (160)
    • Saves Leader: Pedro Borbon (18)
    • ERA Leader (starters): Tom Seaver (2.34)
    • ERA Leader (relievers): Pedro Borbon (3.19)
    • Players who could have had Reds cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) : 
      • Tom Hume (3-3, 7.12 ERA in 14 games - 5 starts)
      • Mario Soto (2-6, 5.34 ERA in 12 games - 10 starts)
      • Woodie Fryman (pictured with Expos) (5-5, 1 save, 5.38 ERA in 17 games - 12 starts)
      • Dale Murray (pictured with Expos) (7-2, 4 saves, 4.94 ERA in 61 games - 1 start)
      • Doug Capilla (7-8, 4.23 ERA in 22 games - 16 starts)
      • Paul Moskau (6-6, 4.00 ERA in 20 games - 19 starts)


Monday, August 20, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #286 - Johnny Grubb




Sunday, August 19, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #285 - Brooks Robinson




Saturday, August 18, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #284 - Mike Norris


  • Mike Norris started the 1977 season with Oakland but missed a month from early May to early June. Mike then pitched for the team until mid August. Norris was sent to the AAA San Jose Missions on August 14 and spent the rest of the season there.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • San Jose (AAA) - 3-2, 3.52 ERA in 6 starts
    • Oakland A's - 2-7, 4.77 ERA in 16 games (12 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985


Friday, August 17, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #283 - Jerry DaVanon


  • After the 1976 season Jerry DaVanon was traded (with Larry Dierker) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Joe Ferguson and Bob Detherage. 
  • Jerry didn't stay with the Cardinals very long. DaVanon was released on May 11 and that was it for his playing career.
  • 1977 Stats
    • .000 (0 for 8), 2 runs scored
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 17 - Appeared as a pinch runner in the fifth inning and scored from third base when Bake McBride laid down a bunt with two out. McBride beat the throw as pitcher Grant Jackson fielded the ball and was momentarily confused on whether to throw home or to first base. It ended up being the winning run in the Cardinals' 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Other card blogs: 1971, 1976


Thursday, August 16, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #282 - Sid Monge




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #281 - Roy Staiger




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #280 - Jim Hunter




Monday, August 13, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #279 - Joe Wallis


  • Joe Wallis was used mostly as a pinch hitter and a backup center fielder in 1977. Joe played in 56 games but had only 80 at bats.
  • 1977 Stats: .250 (20 for 80), 2 HR, 8 RBI in 56 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods


Sunday, August 12, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #278 - Danny Frisella




Saturday, August 11, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #277 - N.L. Championship


  • Here is another card that was highly sought after by our little group of collectors. It shows the classic action pose (except for sliding headfirst) of Pete Rose. His helmet had flown off and his hair was flying all over the place.
  • There was no NLCS MVP award in 1976 -- the first one would be given to Dusty Baker in 1977. A strong case could be made for Mr. Rose to be named the MVP in the 1976 NLCS.


Friday, August 10, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #276 - A.L. Championship


  • This is a good picture of the Chris Chambliss home run that ended the AL Championship Series and sent the New York Yankees to their first World Series since 1964.
  • As shown on the back of the card, Chambliss led the Yankees in hits, runs, and home runs in the five game series. If a series MVP award were given out, Chambliss would have been the runaway winner.
  • I remember being shocked at the behavior of the fans after the ball cleared the right field fence. It was pandemonium at Yankee Stadium. The home run is shown in the video below (Phil Rizzuto announcing).



Thursday, August 9, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #275 - Mike Hargrove


  • Mike Hargrove had a good year in 1977, leading the Rangers in runs scored (98), hits (160) and on base percentage (.420).
  • 1977 Stats: .305, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 103 walks in 153 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • July 23 - Had four hits and knocked in the only run of the game in the 13th inning as the Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 1-0.
    • Aug 3 - Went 4 for 6 with a home run and four RBI in the Rangers' 12-10 win over the first place Chicago White Sox.
    • Aug 27 - Homered to open the game, setting the pace for an 8-2 win over the New York Yankees.
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1976, 1976 Kellogg's, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #274 - Don Stanhouse


  • Don "Stan the Man Unusual" Stanhouse was drafted in the first round by the Oakland A's in 1969. Don pitched in the Oakland system from 1969-1971 but he wasn't going to break into the great Oakland pitching staff. During spring training in 1972 Stanhouse was traded (with Jim Panther) to the Texas Rangers for Denny McLain.
  • Stanhouse went back and forth between AAA Denver and the Rangers in 1972. He was a fifth starter and occasional reliever for the Rangers and went 2-9 with a 3.78 ERA in 24 games (16 starts).
  • In 1973 Stanhouse struggled. He started the season with the Rangers and was sent to the minors in early July. Don was 1-7 with a 4.76 ERA for Texas and was 3-5 with a 7.36 ERA for AAA Spokane.
  • Don didn't get a Topps card in 1974, probably because he finished the 1973 season in the minors. Stanhouse started the season in Spokane and was brought up to the Rangers in late May after going 4-5 with a 2.44 ERA. He was used exclusively as a reliever by the Rangers and went 1-1 with a 4.80 ERA in 18 games. After the 1974 season Stanhouse was traded (with Pete Mackanin) to the Montreal Expos for Willie Davis. The Expos were planning to go with all youngsters for the 1975 season and traded Davis even though he was their best offensive player in '74.
  • Don spent the first part of the 1975 season in AAA Memphis. He pitched well for the Blues, going 6-5 with a 1.91 ERA in 13 games (12 starts). Don also got his walks per 9 innings down to 3.4. This was rare for Stanhouse -- he usually walked over five batters per nine innings. Stanhouse was brought up in mid June but he wasn't successful in four games (0-0, 8.31 ERA). He didn't pitch after July 1, so there may have been an injury.
  • Stanhouse didn't get a Topps card in 1976 either. The 1976 season was the first one that Don spent entirely in the majors. Don was mostly a starter and went 9-12 with 1 save and had a 3.77 ERA in 34 games (26 starts).
  • Don was a starter for the first two  months of the 1977 season. He had a tough time (3-7, 4.79 ERA through May) and was moved to the bullpen. Don made a few more spot starts in 1977, but he was  more successful pitching out of the bullpen. Altogether Stanhouse was 10-10 with 10 saves and had a 3.41 ERA in 47 games (16 starts).
  • After the 1977 season Don was traded (with Joe Kerrigan and Gary Roenicke) to the Baltimore Orioles for Rudy May, Randy Miller, and Bryn Smith. Baltimore manager Earl Weaver was angered by the trade because he wasn't consulted beforehand. Earl didn't like losing May, who won 16 games for the Orioles in 1977.
  • Stanhouse had his two best seasons for the Orioles in 1978 and in 1979. In 1978 Don pitched in 56 games and was 6-9 with 24 saves and had a 2.89 ERA. 
  • Don's best season was in 1979. Stanhouse was named to the AL All Star team but he didn't get in the game. Don went 7-3 with 21 saves in 52 games and had a 2.85 ERA. Don picked up the nickname "Fullpack" after Weaver mentioned to a reporter that he went through a full pack of cigarettes during a Stanhouse outing. In the AL Championship Series Stanhouse was 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three games. Don had a rough time in the World Series -- he was 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in two games. Stanhouse had a back injury during the World Series that he didn't disclose until after Game 5 .
  • After the 1979 season Stanhouse became a free agent. He signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that paid him $340,000 a season with a $400,000 signing bonus.
  • Don had a back injury in 1980 and struggled. Stanhouse was 2-2 with 7 saves and had a 5.04 ERA in 21 games. The injuries to Stanhouse and Terry Forster opened the way for young Steve  Howe to become the Dodger closer and become the team's second straight Rookie of the Year.
  • Don continued to struggle during spring training in 1981 and was beaten out by rookie Dave Stewart. He was "designated for assignment" on April 8 and was released on April 17. The Dodgers ended up paying the remaining $1.36 million on Don's contract.
  • Stanhouse was invited to spring training by the Orioles in 1982. Don made the team but he struggled. He was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA for the Orioles in 1982. Stanhouse also had a stint in AAA and was 2-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 15 games (10 starts). Don was released on July 15, was resigned on July 23, and then released again after the season
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Stanhouse to a minor league contract in 1983. Don was 4-2 with 3 saves and had a 3.15 ERA in 39 games for AAA Hawaii, but he never made it back to the  majors.
  • Don is now a successful businessman.
  • Catching up with Don Stanhouse - 2009
  • Where Are They Now article - 2011.
  • 1977 Stats: 10-10, 10 saves, 3.41 ERA in 47 games (16 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1973, 1975, 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods, another Cardboard Gods


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #273 - Eric Soderholm


  • How did they get a picture of Eric Soderholm in a White Sox uniform? Is this an airbrush job? He was with the Minnesota Twins until signing with the White Sox after the 1976 season. That means this picture (if it isn't airbrushed) had to have been taken during spring training in 1977. Any thoughts?
  • After sitting out the 1976 season with a knee injury, Soderholm had a good year for the White Sox in 1977 and  won the AL Comeback Player of the Year .
  • 1977 Stats: .280, 25 HR, 67 RBI in 130 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976 Kellogg's, 1979, 1980