Friday, October 18, 2013

1977 Recap and the Next Blog

  • I'm writing this post as my cat is crawling all over my lap and my desk. Hopefully I'll be able to catch any typos before I hit "publish."
  • The 1977 set doesn't get as much attention as a lot of the other sets from the 70s, probably because there aren't as many huge "rookie cards.". I think people get too hung up on the rookie card thing. When I was a kid, I hated getting rookie cards. I wanted cards of the stars and my favorite teams.
  • This was the last of the 660 card sets in the 1970s. The expansion to 26 teams in 1977 was the main reason why Topps bumped the set up to 726 starting in 1978.
  • There were a total of 152 "traded set candidates" in this set. This does not include the 4-player rookie cards. A post will be forthcoming that lists the 132 cards I would put in a boxed "traded set" for the 1977 set.
  • I still plan to blog about other sets from 1977 such as the cloth sticker set, Kellogg's, Hostess, and any others that I happen to come across. When I start getting more time and funds I plan to fill in the gaps of my 1970s collection. But for now I would like to take a break from 1977. Three sets come to mind for me to blog about:
    • 1960 - I've been working on this set since 1980 and am still about 70 cards away from completing it. This is one of my favorite sets.
    • 1978 - I think I need a few cards to complete this one. I thought I had it completed, but when I looked at the binder I saw a few gaps in there. This would fill in a gap in the blogging world.
    • 1981 - This was an important year for card collectors. There were three companies making cards, and Topps put out several other interesting sets (Home Team Series, stickers, scratch-offs, traded)
    • Which set should be next? Please vote in the poll and leave comments as you see fit. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #660 - Willie Horton

Monday, October 7, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #659 - Merv Rettenmund

  • After several years of struggling as a backup outfielder, Merv Rettenmund found his niche as a pinch hitting specialist in 1977. Merv set a team record with 21 pinch hits and set National League records with 16 walks and 86 appearances as a pinch hitter.
  • Merv Rettenmund's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: .286, 4 HR, 17 RBI in 107 games (126 at bats)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #658 - Marty Pattin

  • During the first part of the 1977 season Marty Pattin had a tough time. On June 5 Marty was 0-2 and had an 8.25 ERA in 11 games. Pattin started to pitch better in June and made some spot starts from June-August. Marty made several starts in September and ended up 5-1 as a starter. 
  • Pattin was the butt of many practical jokes by his teammates.
  • Marty recalls his career in an article from 2011. Pattin tells a story about striking out Mickey Mantle in his rookie season and how nervous he was when the count was 3-2. It looks like the story was about Marty's first major league game, but it actually happened on August 13, 1968. It's still a cool story.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Regular season: 10-3, 3.58 ERA in 31 games (10 starts)
    • AL Championship Series: 0-0, 1.50 ERA in 1 game
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs:  1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 19791980

Saturday, October 5, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #657 - Mick Kelleher

  • Mick Kelleher had the distinction of having the most lifetime at bats (1081) without a home run.
  • Kelleher was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969. Mick worked his way up the Cardinals' system from 1969-1972 and had a September call-up in 1972 (.159 in 23 games).
  • Mick spent most of the 1973 season as a backup shortstop with the Cardinals. Kelleher batted .184 in 43 games, mostly as a late-inning replacement. Mick also spent some time in AAA in 1973.
  • After the 1973 season Kelleher was sold to the Houston Astros. Mick spent most of the year in AAA. Kelleher was used by the Astros at shortstop for a couple of weeks in May and was also called up in September.
  • After the 1974 season Mick was sold back to the Cardinals. Kelleher was in AAA for just about all of the 1975 season. He went 0 for 4 in seven games for the Cardinals in September. After the 1975 season Mick was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Vic Harris.
  • In 1976 Kelleher split time at shortstop with Dave Rosello. Mick batted .228 in 124 games.
  • Kelleher was a utilityman for the Cubs for the next four seasons. He batted .230 in 63 games in 1977, .253 in 68 games in 1978, and .254 in 73 games in 1979.
  • Mick had a tough time at the plate in 1980. He batted .146 in 96 at bats. I remember his APBA card from that year and it was quite futile.
  • During spring training in 1981 Mick was purchased by the Detroit Tigers. Kelleher didn't get very much playing time for the Tigers in 1981 (.221 in 77 at bats).
  • Kelleher was 0 for 1 in two games in 1982 when he was sold to the California Angels in late April.  Mick batted .163 in 49 at bats for the Angels in 1982.
  • Kelleher was released during spring training in 1983. He signed with the San Diego Padres and played in AAA. Mick didn't get back to the majors and retired after the 1983 season.
  • Since his retirement Mick has been coaching and has had coordinator assignments for several teams. Currently (2013) Kelleher is the first base coach for the New York Yankees.
  • 1977 Stats: .230 in 63 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983

Friday, October 4, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #656 - Ron Guidry

  • The 1977 season was Ron Guidry's first season as a starting pitcher. Ron moved into the starting rotation in late April and stayed there for the rest of the season (and as it turns out for the rest of his career). "Louisiana Lightning" won 16 games and led the Yankees in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. 
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Regular season: 16-7, 2.82 ERA, 1 save in 31 games (25 starts)
    • AL Championship Series: 1-0, 3.97 ERA in 2 starts
    • World Series: 1-0, 2.00 ERA in 1 start
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1978, 1979, 1979, 19791980, 1980, 1982, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #655 - Tony Perez

  • In December 1976 I was unable to wrap my ten-year-old head around the deal that sent Tony Perez to the Montreal Expos (Perez and Will McEnaney for Dale Murray and Woodie Fryman). In October 2013 I still have a very hard time wrapping my 47-year-old head around the trade.
  • Perez played well for the Expos in 1977, but his time as an All Star was over. Tony helped the Expos as they became a contender in the late 1970s.
  • It's funny -- Tony's 1973, 1974, and 1975 cards have virtually identical poses
  • 1977 Stats: .283, 19 HR, 91 RBI in 154 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 19861986

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #654 - Ron Pruitt

  • Ron Pruitt played a lot of positions in his career. Although he didn't hit many home runs, Pruitt swung the bat pretty well.
  • Pruitt was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1972. Ron played in the minors from 1972-1975. Pruitt was called up to the Rangers in June 1975, but he didn't have much of a chance to play since the Rangers had Jim Sundberg as their starting catcher. Pruitt batted .176 in 14 games for Texas in 1975.
  • After the 1975 season Ron was traded (with pitcher Stan Thomas) to the Cleveland Indians for catcher John Ellis. Ellis wasn't getting along with Cleveland manager Frank Robinson.
  • Pruitt was used at catcher, 1B, 3B, and all three outfield positions in 1976. Ron batted .267 in 47 games.
  •  In 1977 Ron played a lot more games in the outfield (69 games) than he did at catcher (4 games). Pruitt had a short stint in AAA in May and early June. Ron batted .288 in 78 games for the Indians in 1977.
  • Ron's batting average dropped to .235 in 1978. Pruitt played in 64 games and hit six home runs, which was his career high.
  • Pruitt batted .283 in 64 games in 1979. 
  • In 1980 Ron started the season with the Indians and was used mostly as a pinch hitter. Pruitt was batting .306 in 36 at bats on June 13 when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Alan Bannister. Ron continued his good hitting and batted .300 in 70 at bats for the White Sox to finish the 1980 season.
  • After the White Sox acquired Carlton Fisk, Pruitt's days with the White Sox were numbered. Ron didn't make the Chicago club in 1981 and was released at the end of spring training. Pruitt signed a minor league contract with the Indians. Ron was assigned to AAA Charleston but played in only 40 games due to the major league players strike. Pruitt was called up in September and went 0 for 10 in five games.
  • Pruitt was released after the 1981 season. He signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants and spent most of the year with the AAA Phoenix Giants. Ron was called up in September and went 2 for 4 in five games. Pruitt had a key pinch hit on September 30 that helped keep the Giants in the NL West race. It was a close race -- with three games to go the Atlanta Braves led the Giants and the LA Dodgers by one game. 
  • Pruitt made the Giants roster in 1983 but his time with the team was short. He was hitless in one at bat and was released on April 14. Two weeks later Ron signed with the Philadelphia Philles. Pruitt spent the year in AAA but was never called up. Pruitt retired after the 1983 season.
  • Ron has been running a batting facility and coaching in Ohio since his retirement from baseball.
  • 1977 Stats: .288, 2 HR, 32 RBI in 78 games
  • 1977 Highlights: 
  • Other card blogs: 1978, 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #653 - Diego Segui

  • Diego Segui was at the end of his road in 1977. In 1976 Segui was cut by the Boston Red Sox during spring training. Diego signed with the San Diego Padres but spent the entire year in AAA Hawaii. The Seattle Mariners purchased Segui after the 1976 season.
  • Segui has the distinction of being the only pitcher to pitch for both the Seattle Pilots (1969) and the Seattle Mariners (1977) in the first game for each franchise. Diego earned the save for the Pilots in 1969. He started the opening day game for the Mariners in 1977 and took the loss.
  • After his career in the United States Segui pitched in the Mexican League from 1978-1985.
  • Diego Segui's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: 0-7, 2 saves, 5.69 ERA in 40 games (7 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • May 5 - Struck out ten batters in seven innings, but took the loss as the Mariners lost to the Boston Red Sox 5-2.
  • Other card blogs: 196319641965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975