Sunday, March 31, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #483 - Richie Zisk


  • Richie Zisk spent the 1977 season with the Chicago White Sox as one of the "South Side Hit Men." After the 1976 season Zisk was traded (with Silvio Martinez) to the White Sox for Terry Forster and Rich Gossage.
  • Zisk was an AL All Star in 1977. He started in left field and went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI. Richie enjoyed his finest season in 1977. He was able to cash in after the season, signing a contract with the Texas Rangers that quintupled his salary.
  • Fun fact: As of 2008 Zisk would occasionally take jobs as a substitute teacher (history) at the high school where his wife works. I wonder how much teaching actually gets done in those days. All it would take is one kid to ask a few questions about baseball and "poof" - there goes the lesson plan. When I was in high school my geometry teacher was also our baseball coach. It was my "job" to derail the lesson as much as possible with baseball talk.
  • 1977 Stats: .290, 30 HR, 101 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983


Saturday, March 30, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #482 - Tony Solaita


  • Tony Solaita played in over 100 games for the only time in his career in 1977. He started 82 games at first base and also did some DH-ing and pinch hitting.
  • SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: .241, 14 HR, 53 RBI in 116 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1976, 1979


Friday, March 29, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #481 - Roger Metzger




Thursday, March 28, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #480 - Carl Yastrzemski




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #479 - Rookie Outfielders - Brian Asselstine / Wayne Gross / Sam Mejias / Alvis Woods

  • Brian Asselstine
    • Debut: September 14, 1976
    • 1977 Stats:
      • Richmond Braves (AAA): .276 in 27 games
      • Atlanta Braves: .210 in 83 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, Cardboard Gods
    • Brian Asselstine was the first round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1973. Brian worked his way up the ladder from 1973-1976. Asselstine was called up in September 1976 after batting .293 in 122 games for AAA Richmond. Brian batted .212 in 11 games for the Atlanta Braves in 1976.
    • Asselstine started the 1977 season with the Braves, but he struggled at the plate. Brian was demoted to Richmond at the end of May and spent the entire month of June there. 
    • Brian was starting regularly in either CF or RF for the Braves for the first two months of the 1978 season. On May 31 Brian lost a battle with the outfield fence while trying to rob Mike Lum of a home run. Brian broke a bone in his leg and dislocated his ankle. Asselstine was out for the rest of the year. Brian batted .272 in 45 games.
    • Asselstine had a hard time coming back in 1979. He played in only 8 games for the Braves (1 for 10) and in 27 games (.276) for Richmond.
    • In 1980 Brian was a reserve outfielder and a pinch hitter. Brian batted .284 in 87 games. Asselstine had a similar role in 1981 and batted .256 in 56 games.
    • Brian didn't make the Atlanta ballclub in 1982. He was released in late March and took the year off. In 1983 Asselstine tried to come back with the San Francisco Giants. He played for AAA Phoenix and batted .313 in 116 games. But the call to the majors never came and Brian retired after the season.
    • Brian is now a contractor in Santa Ynez, CA.
  • Wayne Gross
    • Debut: August 21, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .233, 22 HR, 63 RBI in 146 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1978, 1980
    • Wayne Gross was drafted by the Oakland A's in 1973. He played in the minors from 1973-1976 and batted .222 in 10 games in a late 1976 call-up.
    • Gross became the starting third baseman for a depleted Oakland ballclub in 1977. The A's had to send someone to the All Star game (pitcher Vida Blue was injured), so Wayne was selected to his only All Star team. Gross was the team leader in home runs (22) but batted only .233 on the season.
    • In 1978 Wayne split time between 3B and 1B. He hit seven home runs and batted .200 in 118 games. He spent a few weeks in the minors during the season.
    • Wayne's numbers rebounded a bit in 1979 (.224, 14 HR, 50 RBI in 138 games). He had his best year in 1980, batting .281 with 14 HR and 61 RBI in 113 games.
    • Gross slipped to .204 with 10 HR and 31 RBI in 1981. Wayne's home run led the A's to a win in game 1 of the AL Divisional Series. Wayne was 2 for 5 in the ALDS and went 0 for 5 in the AL Championship Series.
    • Wayne had slightly better years in 1982 (.251, 9 HR, 41 RBI) and in 1983 (.233, 12 HR, 44 RBI).
    • After the 1983 season Wayne was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Tim Stoddard. Gross started at 3B for the Orioles in 1984 and had one of his better years (.216, 22 HR, 64 RBI). In 1985 Wayne backed up at 3B and 1B and batted .235 with 11 HR and 18 RBI. 
    • The Orioles released Gross at the end of spring training in 1986. Wayne signed with the A's and played for AAA Tacoma for most of the season. Gross was recalled to Oakland in September but was hitless in three pinch hitting appearances. Wayne was released after the season.  
  • Sam Mejias
    • Debut: September 6, 1976 (my 10th birthday)
    • 1977 Stats: .228 in 74 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
      • June 5 - Knocked in the go-ahead run in the 7th by hitting a pinch homer as the Expos beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-5.
      • July 4 - Had three hits (a double, a triple, and a home run) to lead the Expos to a 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.
      • In June 1976 Sam was the player to be named later in a trade with the Montreal Expos for Danny Frisella. He batted .323 for AAA Tulsa during the remainder of the 1976 season and then batted .143 in 18 games for the Cardinals in September.
      • After the 1976 season Sam was traded to the Montreal Expos in a multi-player deal. Mejias was used as a pinch hitter and backup outfielder in 1977. He appeared in 74 games but only had 104 plate appearances (.228, 3 HR, 8 RBI).
      • Sam's 1978 season resembled his 1977 season, but he played less (.232 in 67 games, 59 plate appearances).
      • Mejias was traded to the Chicago Cubs after the 1978 season for Rodney Scott and Jerry White. Sam played in 31 games for the Cubs but only got to the plate 14 times (2 for 11, .182). On July 4 Sam was sold to the Cincinnati Reds. He was assigned to Cincinnati's AAA Indianapolis club but was brought back to the majors in late August (1 for 2 in 7 games).
      • The next two seasons followed the pattern Sam had in Montreal. In 1981 he batted .278 in 71 games (117 plate appearances) and in 1982 he batted .286 in 66 games (56 plate appearances).
      • The Reds released Mejias during spring training in 1982. Sam played in the Mexican League in 1982 and retired after the season.
    • Other card blogs: 1979
  • Alvis Woods
    • Debut: April 7, 1977
    • 1977 Stats: .284, 6 HR, 35 RBI in 122 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, Cardboard Gods
    • Alvis Woods was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1972. He spent the next several seasons in the minors and was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft.
    • Woods made the Blue Jays squad in 1977 and homered in his first major league at bat (which also happened to be Toronto's first game). Alvis was the regular in left field and batted .284 with 6 HR and 35 RBI in 122 games.
    • Alvis got off to a rough start in 1978 and was sent to AAA Syracuse for a couple of months. The assignment did Woods some good and he hit better when he came back in July. Alvis batted .241 in 62 games for the Blue Jays in 1978.
    • Woods got his starting LF job back in 1979. He batted .278 with 5 HR and 36 RBI in 132 games.
    • Alvis had his best offensive year in 1980, batting .300 with 15 HR in 109 games. Woods played in only 8 games in April but he regained his starting job in May.
    • The 1981 season was Woods' last one as a starter. He slumped to .247 in 85 games. Woods was the fourth outfielder in 1982 and batted .234 in 85 games. After the 1982 season the Blue Jays traded Woods to the Oakland A's for Cliff Johnson. Alvis was released during spring training in 1983 and signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays.
    • Alvis spent the 1983 and 1984 seasons in Syracuse. Woods was released in 1984. He signed with the Twins and played for AAA Toledo in 1985 and in 1986. Alvis had a couple of short stints with the Twins in 1986 (.321 in 23 games). He retired after the 1986 season.
    • Alvis now does appearances for Sports Celebrity Marketing.



Monday, March 25, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #477 - Rookie Infielders - Doug Ault / Rich Dauer / Orlando Gonzalez / Phil Mankowski

  • Doug Ault
    • Debut: September 9, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .245, 11 HR, 64 RBI in 129 games
    • 1977  Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, Cardboard Gods
    • Doug Ault was signed by the Texas Rangers in 1973. He was 6'3" tall and weighed 200 pounds. Doug started his playing career at the age of 23. He played in the minors from 1973-1976 and had a good year with AAA Sacramento (.313, 25 HR) in 1976. Ault had a brief stint in Texas at the end of the 1976 season and batted .300 in 9 games.
    • Ault was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft. Doug started at first base for  most of the 1977 season and batted .245 with 11 HR in 129 games. Ault hit the first home run in Toronto Blue Jays history in the first game of the 1977 season.
    • In 1978 Doug backed up at 1B and OF and was a pinch hitter. He batted .240 in 45 games.
    • Ault was back in the minors in 1979. He started the 1980 season in AAA and was recalled in June. Doug batted .194 in 64 games. That was it for his major league career.
    • Ault played in Japan in 1981. He played for AAA Syracuse and also in the Mexican League in 1982. Doug retired after the 1982 season.
    • After his playing career Ault was a coach and a manager in the minor leagues in the 1980s and 1990s. His coaching/managing career was derailed by an addiction to pain killers that he took for a chronically sore shoulder.
    •  In the 2000s Doug was a car salesman.
    • Doug died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on December 22, 2004. He and his second wife had been having financial and other problems -- she was a obstetrician-gynecologist but she had lost her medical license in Florida in 2002 due mainly to a drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Rich Dauer
    • Debut: September 11, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .243, 5 HR, 25 RBI in 96 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986
    • Rich Dauer first appeared on the baseball scene with the USC Trojans. He helped them to two College World Series victories in 1973 and in 1974. Dauer was the #1 draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1974. He spent some time in the minors from 1974-1976 and had a great year for AAA Rochester in 1976 (.336 in 132 games). Rich earned a September call-up in 1976 (.103 in 11 games).
    • In 1977 Dauer split time with Billy Smith at second base. Rich had a bit more offense (.243 to Smith's .215). The two players were used similarly in the next two seasons, but Dauer started to get larger and larger shares of the playing time. Rich batted .264 in 133 games in 1978 and .257 in 142 games in 1979. Dauer batted .182 (2 for 11) in the 1979 AL Championship Series and .294 (5 for 17) in the World Series. Rich holds the record for consecutive errorless games at second base (82 in 1978).
    • Rich became the full-time second baseman for the Orioles in 1980.  Dauer batted .284 in 152 games in 1980 and .263 in 96 games in the strike-shortened 1981 season.
    • Dauer had his best season in 1982, batting .280 with a career-high 8 home runs. 
    • Rich slumped to .235 in 1983. He went 0 for 14 in the AL Championship Series and batted .211 (4 for 19) in the World Series.
    • Dauer's last year as a full-time player was in 1984. He batted .257 in 127 games.
    • Rich lost his 2B job to Alan Wiggins toward the end of the 1985 season. Dauer batted .202 in 85 games and became a free agent at the end of the season.
    • After his playing career Rich was a coach and a manager in the minor leagues. He was a coach for four major league teams as well. Dauer is now the manager of the AA San Antonio Missions (San Diego Padres affiliate).
  • Orlando Gonzalez
    • Debut: June 7, 1976
    • 1977 Stats
      • Toledo Mud Hens (AAA): .306, 1 HR, 43 RBI
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Orlando Gonzalez was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1974. He spent most of his career in the minors. Gonzalez put up good numbers in the minors -- his lowest average was .279 in 1974. He didn't have power, but he had good batting averages and was a pretty good base stealer.
    • Orlando had a brief look at the end of the 1976 season and batted .250 in 28 games.
    • Gonzalez was not satisfied with his contract offer for the 1977 season and was a holdout. Indians owner Phil Seghi renewed Orlando's (and several other player's) contract at a 20% pay cut in early March. He spent the 1977 season in AAA Toledo and batted .306 with 28 stolen bases.
    • After the 1977 season Gonzalez became a free agent and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in AAA Oklahoma City until mid-July and then was called up to the Phillies. Orlando was mostly used as an outfield defensive replacement and a pinch hitter. Gonzalez batted .192 in 26 games and struck out in his only at bat in the NL Championship Series.
    • Orlando was in Oklahoma City for the entire 1979 season. In 1980 Gonzalez was in Oklahoma City until July 25, when the Phillies sold him to the Oakland A's. The A's brought Orlando up to the majors and he batted .243 in 25 games.
    • Gonzalez was released by the A's at the end of spring training in 1981. 
  • Phil Mankowski
    • Debut: August 30, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .276, 3 HR, 27 RBI in 94 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods
    • Phil Mankowski was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1970. Phil spent six seasons (1971-1976) in the minors before coming up at the end of the 1976 season. In 1976 Mankowski started at third base for the Tigers for about a month and batted .271 in 24 games.
    • Mankowski backed up at 3B and 2B for the Tigers in 1977, batting .276 in 94 games.
    • Phil had a similar role in 1978 (.275 in 88 games) and in 1979 (.222 in 42 games). After the 1979 season Mankowski was traded (with Jerry Morales) to the New York Mets for Richie Hebner.
    • Mankowski was hurt for much of the 1980 season. He had tendonitis in his right shoulder and missed May, June, and much of July. The Mets sent Phil to their AAA Tidewater club in July on a rehab assignment. Phil was reactivated in late September. He batted .167 in eight games in 1980.
    • Phil didn't make the Mets in 1981 and was assigned to Tidewater. He played in only 55 games in 1981. I'm not sure, but I think that may have been due to the major league strike. 
    • Mankowski started the 1982 season in Tidewater. He had a brief stint with the Mets in June/July and batted .229 in 13 games. Phil retired after the 1982 season.
    • In 1984 The Natural was filmed in Phil's hometown of Buffalo, NY. Phil was in the movie -- his major scene was when he gazing in the stands at an attractive female and a ball hit him below the belt.
    • Mankowski was named to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.



Saturday, March 23, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #478 - Rookie Pitchers - Jim Gideon / Leon Hooten / Dave Johnson / Mark Lemongello

  • Jim Gideon
    • Debut: September 14, 1975 (his only major league game)
    • 1977 Stats:
      • Tacoma Twins (AAA): 2-3, 9.80 ERA in 11 games (9 starts)
      • Visailia Oaks (A): 0-2, 13.50 ERA in 2 games (1 start)
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Jim Gideon was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1975. Gideon (6'4" tall, 200 lbs) was a promising fastballer and got a large signing bonus. He was 17-0 with the University of Texas and helped them to a National Championship in 1975. Jim pitched two games at the Rookie League level and dominated. He was jumped all the way to AAA and struggled. Gideon was called up to the Rangers on September 1. He was given a start on September 14 and allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
    • Gideon started the 1976 season in AAA. He was traded (with Mike Cubbage, Bill Singer, Roy Smalley, and $250,000) to the Minnesota Twins for Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson on June 1. 
    • Jim spent the 1976 season in AAA. Gideon had control problems as he walked at least twice as many batters as he struck out for most of his career. In 1977 Jim split the season between AAA and class A. Gideon didn't pitch in 1978 and was in 7 games (6 starts) in 1979. 
    • Before the 1980 season Jim was released by the Twins. He took the next two seasons off and then attempted a comeback in 1982. Jim had a 6.35 ERA in 25 games at the AA level and retired after the 1982 season.
    • Jim was named to the University of Texas Hall of Fame in 1992.
  • Leon Hooten
    • Debut: April 13, 1974
    • 1977 Stats: none (retired after the 1976 season)
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Leon Hooten was drafted from the University of Arizona in 1971. Hooten pitched in the minors from 1971-1973. He made the Oakand A's staff in 1974. Hooten pitched in six games in April and May 1974 (0-0, 3.24 ERA) and then was sent back to the minors. That was his only major league experience.
    • Since Hooten pitched for the UofA Wildcats, he must have been a popular guy from 1973-1976 when he pitched for AAA Tucson.
  • Dave Johnson
    • Debut: July 2, 1974
    • 1977 Stats:
      • San Jose Missions (AAA): 2-0, 1 save, 0.60 ERA in 8 games
      • Minnesota Twins: 2-5, 4.58 ERA in 30 games (6 starts)
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Dave Johnson was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1967. The Orioles had a lot of good young pitchers in their system. Although Johnson had some good years in the minors he didn't get to the AA level until his sixth season (1972). 
    • Johnson finally got his first opportunity to pitch in the majors in July 1974. Dave appeared in 11 games and was 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA.
    • In 1975 Johnson split time between AAA Rochester and the Orioles. Dave went 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA for the Orioles in 1975.
    • Dave spent the 1976 season in Rochester. After the 1976 season he was sold to the expansion Seattle Mariners. 
    • Johnson never appeared in a regular season game for the Mariners. He pitched in eight games for AAA San Jose (Oakland A's organization). The Mariners must not have had a AAA team yet. On May 2, 1977 Dave was sold to the Minnesota Twins. Johnson stayed with the Twins for the rest of the 1977 season, going 2-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 30 games (6 starts).
    • Dave started the 1978 season with the Twins. He made six appearances (1 start) and went 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA. Johnson was sent to AAA Toledo to make room for newly signed Mike Marshall and then retired after making four appearances for the Mud Hens.
  • Mark Lemongello
    • Debut: September 14, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: 9-14, 3.48 ERA in 34 games (30 starts)
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979
    • Mark Lemongello was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1973. After the 1975 season Mark was traded with three other players to the Houston Astros for three players. Lemongello pitched in AAA in 1976 and earned a September call-up with the Astros. Mark impressed a lot of people, going 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in four starts.
    • Lemongello was with the Astros for the entire 1977 season. Mark started 1-10 but he came on strong in the second half and finished with a 9-14 record.
    • Mark was known for violent behavior and a bad temper. He slapped himself after bad innings and destroyed locker room equipment after bad games.
    • In 1978 Lemongello had the same 9-14 record but his ERA climbed to 3.94 (high for someone pitching in the Astrodome). After the 1978 season Mark was traded with two other players to the Toronto Blue Jays for catcher Alan Ashby.
    • Lemongello wasn't happy about being traded to Toronto. He had a rough year in 1979, going 1-9 with a 6.29 ERA in 18 games (10 starts) before being sent to AAA after a screaming match with manager Roy Hartsfield. When he was informed about his demotion Mark threw an ashtray at GM Peter Bavasi and barely missed him. Lemongello pitched well for Syracuse (3-0, 1.80 ERA in 4 games).
    • At the end of spring training in 1980 Mark was purchased by the Chicago Cubs. Lemongello pitched in AAA in 1980 but never got back to the major leagues.
    • In 1982 Mark and a former minor league teammate kidnapped his cousins (singer Peter Lemongello and pro bowler Mike Lemongello) and robbed them of $50,000. Mark got seven years of probation for the incident.
    • An online sketch of Mark's life is here.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #476 - Rookie Catchers - Gary Alexander / Rick Cerone / Dale Murphy / Kevin Pasley

  • Gary Alexander
    • Debut: September 12, 1975
    • 1977 Stats
      • San Francisco Giants - .303, 5 HR, 20 RBI in 51 games
      • Phoenix Giants (AAA) - .341, 7 HR, 55 RBI in 59 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980
    • Gary Alexander was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1972. Gary worked his way up the  Giants' chain from 1972-1977. Alexander hit a lot of home runs, drew a lot of walks, and struck out a lot. Gary had brief stints in San Francisco in 1975 (0 for 3 in 3 games) and in 1976 (.178 in 23 games).
    • In 1977 Alexander started in AAA Phoenix. He batted .341 with 7 home runs in 59 games and earned a call to San Francisco. Gary also hit well in San Francisco (.303 with 5 HR in 51 games).
    • Gary was supposed to be the Giants' starting catcher in 1978, but the Giants had the opportunity to acquire Vida Blue. Gary was traded (with Mario Guerrero, Dave Heaverlo, Phil Huffman, John Henry Johnson, Gary Thomasson, Alan Wirth, and $300,000) to the Oakland A's for Blue on March 15.
    • Alexander was with the A's for only half a season. He batted .207 with 10 HR and 22 RBI for the A's and was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Joe Wallis on June 15. Gary batted .235 with 17 HR and 62 RBI for the Indians. All told, Gary hit 27 home runs but led the AL with 166 strikeouts. On September 26 Alexander broke up a no-hit bid by Baltimore's Mike Flanagan by hitting a home run with two out in the 9th inning.
    • In 1979 Alexander shared catching duties with Ron Hassey. Gary had some power but he struck out a lot and also had trouble defensively. Alexander batted .225 with 15 HR and 54 RBI in 110 games.
    • Alexander was used more as a DH and pinch hitter in 1980. In 79 games Gary batted .225 with 5 HR and 31 RBI
    • After the 1980 season Gary (along with Victor Cruz, Bob Owchinko and Rafael Vasquez) was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bert  Blyleven and Manny Sanguillen. In 1981 Alexander was used mostly as a pinch hitter. He batted .213 in 21 games.
    • The Pirates released Gary at the end of spring training in 1982. Alexander played in the Mexican League in 1982 and in 1983.
  • Rick Cerone:
    • Debut: August 17, 1975
    • 1977 Stats
      • Toronto Blue Jays - .200, 1 HR, 10 RBI in 31 games
      • Charleston Charlies (AAA) - .234, 6 HR, 40 RBI in 70 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988
    • Rick Cerone was the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1975. He had two brief stints with the Indians in 1975 (3 for 12 in 7 games) and in 1976 (2 for 16 in 7 games).
    • After the 1976 season Cleveland traded Rick (with John Lowenstein) to the Toronto Blue Jays for Rico Carty.
    • Rick started the 1977 season with the Blue Jays but he was injured on April 12 when a foul tip broke his right thumb. He spent time recovering from the injury and then played in AAA until mid August. Rick was recalled when starting catcher Ernie Whitt was injured. Cerone batted .200 in 31 games for the Blue Jays.
    • In 1978 Cerone split time with Alan Ashby behind the plate and batted .223 in 88 games.
    • Rick became the full time starting catcher in 1979. He batted .239 with 7 HR in 136 games. After the 1979 season Cerone was traded (with Tom Underwood and Ted Wilborn) to the New York Yankees for Chris Chambliss, Damaso Garcia, and Paul Mirabella. Since Cerone grew up in New Jersey, he was happy about the trade.
    • Cerone had his "career year" for the Yankees in 1980. He batted .277 with 14 HR and 85 RBI and finished 7th in AL MVP voting. Rick batted .333 (4 for 12) in the AL Championship Series.
    • Rick's production dropped in 1981 (.244 in 71 games). He batted .333 (6 for 18) in the AL Divisional Series, .100 in the AL Championship Series, and .190 in the World Series.
    • In the next few seasons Rick's playing time dropped as he split time behind the plate with Butch Wynegar. He batted .227 in 89 games in 1982 and batted .220 in 80 games in 1983. Wynegar became the full time catcher in 1984 and Rick batted .208 in 38 games. He spent two months on the disabled list with a tender elbow. After the 1984 season the Yankees traded Cerone to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Brian Fisher.
    • In the next eight years Rick played for six teams. In 1985 (.216 in 96 games) Cerone shared catching duties with Bruce Benedict. Rick moved to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1986 (.259 in 68 games) and split time with Charlie Moore behind the plate. In 1987 Cerone was back with the Yankees and was a starting catcher for the last time in his career (.243 in 113 games). Rick was released by the Yankees during spring training in 1988. He signed with the Boston Red Sox and he spent the next two seasons there (.269 in 84 games in 1988 and .243 in 102 games in 1989). Cerone went back to the Yankees (signed as a free agent) in 1990 (.302 in 49 games) and then played for the New York Mets (.273 in 90 games) in 1991. Rick finished his career with the  Montreal Expos in 1992 (.270 in 33 games).
    • In 1998 Cerone founded the Newark Bears, an independent team. He sold the club in 2003.
    • Rick is now a motivational speaker. Here is a Q&A piece done by the New York Times in 2010.
  • Dale Murphy
    • Debut: September 13, 1976
    • 1977 Stats:
      • Atlanta Braves - .316, 2 HR, 14 RBI in 18 games
      • Richmond Braves (AAA) - .305, 22 HR, 90 RBI in 127 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
      • Sept 15 - Hit two home runs, including the game-winner in the 10th inning off of Rollie Fingers, as the Braves beat the San Diego Padres 8-7.
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1993
    • Dale Murphy was the first round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1974. He started out as a catcher and steadily moved up the Atlanta system during the next four years. Dale had brief stints with the Braves in 1976 (.262 in 19 games) and in 1977 (.316 in 18 games).
    • Murphy's fielding behind the plate was below average so the Braves sought to find him another position. In 1978 Dale spent most of the season at first base. He hit 23 home runs but batted only .223 and struck out a league-leading 145 times in 151 games.
    • In 1979 Murphy hit 21 home runs in 104 games and batted .276. This was the last year that the Braves tried to use Dale behind the plate. He threw out only six of the 38 runners who attempted to steal against him and his fielding percentage was below league average.
    • The Braves moved Murphy to center field in 1980. Dale had his breakout season, batting .281 with 33 HR and 89 RBI. Murphy was selected to his first all star team and finished 12th in NL MVP voting.
    • Murphy slipped in 1981 and batted .247 with 13 HR. 
    • Dale had a great six-year run from 1982-1987:
      • 1982 - .281, 36 HR, 109 RBI, NL MVP
      • 1983 - .302, 36 HR, 120 RBI, NL MVP
      • 1984 - .290, 36 HR, 100 RBI
      • 1985 - .300, 37 HR, 111 RBI
      • 1986 - .265, 29 HR, 83 RBI (the only off year during this run)
      • 1987 - .295, 44 HR, 105 RBI
      • Murphy was an NL All Star in each of these seasons and won a Gold Glove every year from 1982-1986
    • In 1988 at the age of 32 Murphy started to have a dramatic drop-off in his production. He dropped to .226 with 24 HR and 77 RBI in 1988 and then batted .228 with 20 HR and 84 RBI in 1989.
    • Murphy started the 1990 season with similar stats. Dale was batting .232 with 17 HR on August 2 when he was surprisingly traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for four players. Dale hit seven more home runs with the Phillies and finished the 1990 season with 24 HR.
    • In 1991 Dale improved his batting average a bit, but the rest of his stats were similar to the previous three seasons. He batted .252 with 18 HR and 81 RBI.
    • Murphy struggled with a degenerative condition in his knee in 1992. He played in only 18 games and batted .161.
    • Dale was released by the Phillies on April 3, 1993. On the same day Murphy signed with the expansion Colorado Rockies. He played in 26 games but batted only .143. Murphy retired on June 1.
    • Murphy finished his career with 398 lifetime home runs. If he would have had a couple more good years or if the decline of his career wouldn't have been so steep Dale would probably be in the Hall of Fame today.
    • Dale was known for his clean living and high personal standards. After his playing career Murphy was a mission president in the LDS church in Boston for three years and has a lot of charity work.
  • Kevin Pasley
    • Debut: October 2, 1974
    • 1977 Stats
      • Los Angeles Dodgers - .333 (1 for 3) in 2 games
      • Albuquerque Dukes (AAA) - .304, 1 HR, 60 RBI in 96 games
      • Seattle Mariners - .385 (5 for 13) in 4 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Kevin Pasley was drafted out of high school  by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1972. Kevin worked his way up the Dodgers' system in the next few years. He played in on October game for the Dodgers in 1974 but didn't bat.
    • Pasley spent four years (1974-1977) playing for AAA Albuquerque. The Dodgers called Kevin up in September 1976 and he got a month-long look. Pasley batted .231 in 23 games.
    • In 1977 Kevin spent most of the season in Albuquerque. He played in two games for the Dodgers in August, going 1 for 3. On September 8 Kevin was sold to the Seattle Mariners. He played in five games for the Mariners, batting .385.
    • Pasley started the 1978 season with the Mariners but was sent to AAA San Jose in May after batting .115 in 10 games. Kevin came back up to Seattle in late August and improved his hitting. Pasley ended up batting .241 in 55 games. This was his last season as a major leaguer.
    • Kevin was released during spring training in 1979. He hooked on with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for the 1979 season and then spent 1980 and 1981 playing in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
    • Pasley signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1982. He played in 25 games in AA and AAA before retiring.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #475 - Rookie Pitchers - Chris Batton, Rick Camp, Scott McGregor, Manny Sarmiento

  • Chris Batton
    • Debut: September 19, 1976
    • 1977 Stats:
      • Shreveport Captains (AA): 6-5, 3.14 ERA in 14 starts
      • Columbus Clippers: 1-3, 7.91 ERA in 8 starts
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Chris Batton was drafted out of high school by the Oakland A's in 1972. Chris pitched in the minors from 1972-1976.
    • Batton was called up in September 1976 and pitched in two games. He allowed no runs in two innings in a relief appearance and then allowed two runs in two innings in a start against the California Angels.
    • On March 15, 1977 Chris was traded (with Phil Garner and Tommy Helms) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Doc Medich, Dave Giusti, Mitchell Page, Tony Armas, Rick Langford, and Doug Bair. Chris split the season between AA (where he pitched well) and AAA (where he struggled).
    • Batton didn't pitch in 1978. He pitched for two non-affiliated teams in 1979 - Class A  Bakersfield (1-3, 7.67 in 5 starts) and the Santo Domingo Azucareos of the Inter-American League (7-4, 2.40 ERA in 15 games). That was it for Batton's career.
  • Rick Camp
    • Debut: September 15, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: 6-3, 10 saves, 4.00 ERA in 54 games
    • 1977 Highlights
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1983, 1985, 1986, Cardboard Gods
    • Rick Camp was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1974. After playing in the minors from 1974-1976 Camp was called up for a look in September 1976. He went 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in 5 games (1 start).
    • Camp's first full season was in 1977. Rick appeared in 54 games and was 6-3 with 10 saves with a 4.00 ERA.
    • In 1978 Camp was mostly a middle reliever. He made four starts in June and July. Rick was 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 42 appearances.
    • Camp was sent to AAA Richmond during spring training in 1979. Rick made 22 appearances for the Richmond Braves before having season-ending arm surgery.
    • Rick bounced back in 1980 to have a great season. He made 77 appearances and had a 6-4 record with 22 saves and had a 1.91 ERA. Camp was named NL player of the week for saving three games in one week late in September.
    • Camp had a similar season in 1981. He saved 17 games and went 9-3 with a 1.78 ERA in 48 appearances.
    • In 1982 Camp started the season as a reliever. He was moved into the starting rotation in June. Rick went 11-13 with 5 saves and had a 3.65 ERA in 51 games (21 starts). Camp started game 3 of the NL Championship Series but allowed four runs in one inning plus of work as the St. Louis Cardinals eliminated the Braves.
    • Rick was a starter for the first couple of months of the 1983 season before being used as a swingman from June to the end of the season. Camp went 10-9 and had a 3.79 ERA in 40 games (16 starts)
    • In 1984 Rick was a swingman for the first part of the season and then went to the bullpen for the second half of the season. Camp went 8-6 and had a 3.27 ERA in 31 games (12 starts).
    • In his last season (1985) Rick hit one of the most improbable home runs in history. With the Braves behind 11-10 in the bottom of the 18th inning Camp homered to tie the game. In the 19th inning Camp struck out to finally end the game. Rick made 66 appearances (2 starts) and was 4-6 with 3 saves and had a 3.95 ERA.
    • Rick was cut at the end of spring training in 1986. There was a 24-man roster in effect in 1986 and Camp may have been a victim of this roster reduction. He received his guaranteed salary of $600,000 and retired from baseball.
    • In 2005 Camp was convicted of conspiring to steal over $2 million from a mental health agency. He was a lobbyist at the time. Rick was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
  • Scott McGregor
    • Debut: September 19, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: 3-5, 4 saves, 4.42 ERA in 29 games (5 saves)
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988
    • Scott McGregor was the New York Yankees' first round draft pick in 1972. McGregor progressed through the Yankees system from 1972-1976. On June 15 Scott was traded (with Rick Dempsey, Dave Pagan, Rudy May, and Tippy Martinez) to the Baltimore Orioles for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Ellie Hendricks, Ken Holtzman, and Grant Jackson. Scott stayed in AAA until the end of the 1976 season. He was called up in September and went 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 3 games (2 starts).
    • In 1977 McGregor spent most of the time in the bullpen. Scott had five starts out of his 29 appearances.
    • Scott was mostly a starting pitcher for the rest of his major league career. He was known for his control -- McGregor's career average was 2.2 walks per nine innings. Scott also didn't strike out many batters (only one year of more than 100 strikeouts). McGregor had good years when he had good defenses behind him, but was average to below average when he was pitching for poorer clubs.
    • In 1978 McGregor was 15-13 with a 3.32 ERA. He followed that year up with a 13-6, 3.35 ERA in 1979. Scott had a complete game 8-0 shutout in game 4 of the AL Championship Series and was 1-1 (won game 3, lost game 7) with a 3.18 ERA in the World Series. 
    • Scott's best season was probably 1980. He was a 20 game winner for the only time in his career (20-8, 3.32 ERA) and finished 6th in AL Cy Young Award voting.
    • McGregor was an AL All Star in 1981, but he didn't get in the game. Scott went 13-5 with a 3.26 ERA.
    • In 1982 McGregor had his first off year (14-12, 4.61 ERA). Scott bounced back with a good season in 1983 (18-7, 3.18 ERA, 6th in Cy Young voting). McGregor lost his only start in the AL Championship Series despite giving up only two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Scott was 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA in the World Series. He took the loss in game 1 of the Series and pitched a shutout in game 5.
    • Scott's ERA climbed in the next few seasons. He was 15-12 with a 3.94 ERA in 1984 and was 14-14 with a 4.81 ERA in 1985.
    • The 1986 season was Scott's last full season as a starter. He slipped to 11-15 and had a 4.52 ERA.
    • Scott struggled in 1987. On July 7 McGregor was 2-7 with a 6.64 ERA when he was sent to AAA Rochester. He didn't return to the Orioles for the rest of the season.
    • McGregor came  back in 1988 but was released on May 2 after going 0-3 with an 8.83 ERA in four starts.
    • After his retirement McGregor was a pastor in Baltimore  and in Dover, Deleware from 1988-2001.
    • Scott has been working for the Orioles as a coach for the last several years. In 2012 he went to Florida to work with Baltimore's injured and rehabbing pitchers.
  • Manny Sarmiento
    • Debut:  July 30, 1976
    • 1977 Stats:
      • Cincinnati Reds: 0-0, 1 save, 2.45 ERA in 24 games
      • Indianapolis Indians (AAA): 3-4, 5 saves, 6.69 ERA in 25 games (1 start)
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983
    • Manny Sarmiento was signed by the Cincinnati Reds out of Venezuela in 1972 at the age of 16. He pitched in the minors from 1972-1976 before getting a chance in late July 1976 with the Reds. Sarmiento had a good two months of the season, going 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 22 games. Manny appeared in one game in the NL Championship Series and allowed two runs in one inning.
    • Sarmiento started the 1977 season in AAA Indianapolis The original plan was to have Manny with the Reds, but Champ Summers had a good spring and manager Sparky Anderson decided to keep him and send down Sarmiento. He was recalled on July 20 and finished the season with the Reds. Manny put up better numbers with the Reds (2.45 ERA in 24 games) than he did in the minors (6.69 ERA in 25 games).
    • Manny was mostly a middle reliever and setup man for the Reds in 1978 (9-7, 5 saves, 4.38 ERA in 63 games / 4 starts) and in 1979 (0-4, 4.66 ERA in 23 games / 1 start). Manny's 1979 season was broken up by a couple of stints in Indianapolis.
    • Sarmiento was released toward the end of spring training in 1980. In mid April he signed with the Seattle Mariners. He pitched for the AAA Spokane Indians for most of the 1980 season. Manny was brought up to Seattle in September and was 0-1 with one save and had a 3.68 ERA in 9 games.
    • Manny was traded to the Boston Red Sox on April 8, 1981 for Dick Drago. Sarmiento spent the entire 1981 season pitching for AAA Pawtucket.
    • After the 1981 season Sarmineto was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started the 1982 season in AAA and was brought up in May. Manny was used as a swingman by the Pirates and had a good year (9-4, 1 save, 3.39 ERA in 35 games / 17 starts).
    • Manny pitched well for the Pirates again in 1983. He went 3-5 with 4 saves and had a 2.99 ERA in 52 appearances.
    • In April 1984 Sarmiento underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow. It was thought he would be out for six weeks, but he ended up not pitching all year.
    • Manny tried to come back in 1985 but was one of the Pirates' last cuts in spring training. He was sent to AAA Hawaii. He pitched well in Hawaii but wasn't brought back to Pittsburgh. At the end of the 1985 season Sarmiento was one of the players caught up in the Pittsburgh drug scandal. Although Manny wasn't suspended or fined, the testimony given by other players during the drug trial may have been the reason why he never pitched again after the 1985 season.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #474 - Rookie Shortstops - Bob Bailor, Kiko Garcia, Craig Reynolds, Alex Taveras

  • Bob Bailor
    • Debut: September 6, 1975
    • 1977 Stats: .310, 5 HR, 32 RBI in 122 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986
    • Bob Bailor was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1969.
    • Bob played in the minors from 1970-1976, spending the last four of those seasons in AAA Rochester. He had two  brief trials with the Orioles in 1975 (1 for 7 in 5 games) and in 1976 (2 for 6 in 9 games)
    • Bailor was the first player picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft.
    • In 1977 Bailor didn't have a regular position, but he led the Blue Jays in hits, stolen bases, and runs scored. Bob actually appeared in more games as an outfielder than he did as a shortstop.
    • For the next two seasons Bailor was the main starter in right field. In 1978 he batted .264 in 154 games and in 1979 Bob batted .229 in 130 games.
    • Bailor lost his starting right fielder job to Lloyd Moseby in 1980 and was used as a fourth outfielder and a utility man. He batted .236 in 117 games. After the 1980 season Bob was traded to the New York Mets for Roy Lee Jackson.
    • Bob played five different positions for the Mets in each of the three seasons he spent there. In 1981 Bob batted .284 in 51 games. Bailor batted .277 in 110 games in 1982 and in 1983 he batted .250 in 118 games.
    • After the 1983 season Bailor was traded (with Carlos Diaz) to the New York Mets for Sid Fernandez and Ross Jones.
    • Bailor spent his last two season with the Dodgers. In 1984 Bob batted .275 in 65 games and in 1985 he batted .246 in 74 games. Bailor missed the first month of the 1984 season with a shoulder injury and he had knee surgery in August that shelved him for the rest of the year.
    • Bailor was released during spring training in 1986. After his retirement Bob coached and managed in the minors for a few years. Bailor coached with the Blue Jays from 1992-1995.
  • Kiko Garcia
    • Debut: September 11, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .221, 2 HR in 65 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985
    • Kiko Garcia was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1971. He played in the minors from 1971-1976. Kiko was called up in September 1976 and batted .219 in 11 games.
    • In 1977 (.221 in 65 games) and in 1978 (.263 in 79 games) Garcia backed up Mark Belanger at shortstop.
    • Kiko won the starting shortstop job in 1979 and batted .247 in 126 games. Garcia batted .273 (3 for 11) in the AL Championship Series and batted .400 (8 for 20) in the World Series.
    • Garcia split time with Belanger at shortstop in 1980. His offensive numbers slipped -- Kiko batted .199 in 111 games.
    • During spring training in 1981 the Orioles traded Kiko to the Houston Astros for Chris Bourjos and cash. Garcia was a utility infielder for the Astros in 1981 (.272 in 48 games) and in 1982 (.211 in 34 games).
    • After the 1982 season Kiko became a free agent. He signed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies' AAA Portland club during spring training in 1983. After Garcia batted .345 in 35 games, the Phillies bought his contract in mid-May. Kiko played well for the Phillies as a utility man (.288 in 84 games) but he didn't appear in the post season.
    • Garcia batted .233 in 57 games in 1984. 
    • Kiko was released and then re-signed in early April 1985. He wasn't used much (0 for 3 in four games) and he was released again in mid-May.
    • After his retirement Garcia went into coaching high school and travel baseball teams in California. He is now the president of KG Hitters.
  • Craig Reynolds
  • Alex Taveras
    • Debut: September 9, 1976
    • 1977 Stats
      • Columbus Astros (AA) - .216 in 49 games
      • Charleston Charlies (AAA) - .149 in 47 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: none
    • Alex Taveras was signed by the Houston Astros from the Dominican Republic in 1974. Taveras played in the minors from 1974-1976 and then batted .217 in 14 games as a September call-up in 1976.
    • Taveras split the 1977 season between AA and AAA. He didn't hit well at either level and was traded (with Bob Detherage) to the LA Dodgers  for Danny Walton
    • Alex spent the next seven seasons (1978-1984) shuttling between AA San Antonio and AAA Albuquerque. Taveras had brief stints with the Dodgers in 1982 (1 for 3 in 11 games) and in 1983 (0 for 4 in 10 games).
    • In 1985 Alex played for AAA  Buffalo (Chicago White Sox organization). Taveras batted .218 in 109 games and retired after the season.
    • Alex currently coaches for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #473 - Rookie Outfielders - Andre Dawson, Gene Richards, John Scott, Denny Walling

  • Andre Dawson
    • Debut: September 11, 1976
    • 1977 Stats: .282, 19 HR, 65 RBI in 139 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1988
    • Andre Dawson was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1977. 
    • Dawson had a great career. It would have been better, but the artificial turf in Montreal really took a toll on his knees.
    • Andre won eight Gold Gloves and was an eight-time All Star
    • Dawson was the NL MVP in 1987. He finished second twice (1981 and 1983)
    • He played for the Montreal Expos (1976-1986), the Chicago Cubs (1987-1992), the Boston Red Sox (1993-1994), and the Florida Marlins (1995-1996)
    • Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • Gene Richards
    • Debut: April 6, 1977
    • 1977 Stats: .290, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 56 stolen bases in 146 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985
    • Gene Richards was the first player selected in the 1975 draft. Gene batted .381 for Class A Reno in 1975 and .331 for AAA Hawaii in 1976. 
    • Richards became the starting left fielder for the San Diego Padres in 1977. He finished third (behind Dawson and Steve Henderson) in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Gene batted .290 in 146 games and stole 56 bases.
    • I used to think Gene had some cool APBA cards in the 1970s and 1980s. He had several 11's on his cards, which meant he would automatically steal second base after a single when that number came up.
    • Although he didn't steal as many bases, Richards had a better season in 1978. Gene batted .308 with 4 HR and 45 RBI and had 37 stolen bases in 1978.
    • Gene dropped off a little bit in 1979, batting .279 with 24 stolen bases in 150 games.
    • Richards had a bouneeback year in 1980. He batted .301, scored 91 runs, and stole 61 bases.
    • In the strike-shortened 1981 season Richards led the NL with 12 triples and batted .288 in 104 games.
    • In 1982 Richards was still a starting outfielder, but he started to lose playing time. He batted .286 in 132 games. 
    • Gene's last year with the Padres was in 1983. He played in only 95 games and batted .275. After the 1983 season Richards was granted free agency but went unsigned.
    • Richards tried out for the San Francisco Giants in 1984. He was signed to a one year contract at the end of spring training. The Giants used Gene as a backup outfielder and a pinch hitter. After August 14 Gene made 23 appearances, all as a pinch hitter or a pinch runner. Richards batted .252 in 87 games.
    • Gene became a free agent after the 1984 season but he went unsigned. Gene retired at the age of 31.
  • John Scott
    • Debut: September 7, 1974
    • 1977 Stats: .240, 2 HR, 15 RBI in 79 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: none
    • John Scott was the first round (#2 overall) of the San Diego Padres in 1970. Scott played in the minors from 1970-1974. John got a September call up in 1974 and batted .067 (1 for 15) in 14 games.
    • Scott was used as a pinch runner for much of the beginning of the 1975 season. He appeared in 25 games but batted only nine times and went 0 for 6. John was sent to AAA in late June and stayed there for the rest of the 1975 season and for the entire 1976 season.
    • Scott was purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays after the 1976 season. John stayed in the majors for the entire 1977 season and batted .240 in 79 games. After the 1977 season Scott was traded (with Pete Vuckovich) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Victor Cruz and Tom Underwood.
    • Scott played in AAA for the entire 1978 season. John then went to Japan and played for the Yakult Swallows from 1979-1981. 
    • Scott played in the Mexican League in 1982 and then retired.
  • Denny Walling
    • Debut: September 7, 1975
    • 1977 Stats
      • Minor Leagues (2 teams): .343, 4 HR, 18 RBI in 32 games
      • Houston Astros: .286 (6 for 21) in 6 games
    • 1977 Highlights:
    • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988
    • Denny Walling was the first player drafted in the secondary phase of the 1975 draft. Denny went 1 for 8 in six games at the end of the 1975 season and then played in the minors in 1976. Walling got in three games for the A's (3 for 11, .273) at the end of the 1976 season.
    • Walling was injured for much of the 1977 season. He played in three minor league games for AAA San Jose and then was traded to the Houston Astros for Willie Crawford on June 15. Denny played for AAA Tucson for most of the rest of the season and then was called up in September (6 for 21, .286 in 6 games).
    • In 1978 Walling was in the majors to stay. He was used as a fourth outfielder and a pinch hitter and batted .251 with 3 HR and 36 RBI in 120 games.
    • Walling had a similar role for his entire career. He played for the Astros until 1988. Denny's best year with the Astros was in 1986. He batted .312 with 13 HR and 58 RBI in 130 games.
    • On August 31, 1988 Walling was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Forsch. The Cardinals wanted Denny's bat for their pennant drive (which came up short). Walling played for the Cardinals through the 1990 season and then finished up his career with the Texas Rangers (1991) and back with the Astros (1992).
    • After his playing career Walling was a hitting coach for various major and minor league teams. Denny is now a roving hitting instructor for the Baltimore Orioles.