Saturday, March 31, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #145 - Tom Veryzer

  • Tom Veryzer was the Detroit Tigers' starting shortstop in 1977. His low batting average and the emergence of Alan Trammell were reasons for the club to trade Tom to the Cleveland Indians for Charlie Spikes after the 1977 season.
  • 1977 Stats: .197, 2 HR, 28 RBI in 125 games.
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • Aug 31 - Singled in what would prove to be the winning run in the 8th inning of a 4-2 Detroit victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, Cardboard Gods

Friday, March 30, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #144 - Bruce Sutter

  • Bruce Sutter was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1971. He pitched in the minors from 1971-1976 and started four games over that time span. Bruce was exclusively a reliever in his major league career (1976-1988).
  • Bruce was one of the first pitchers to have great success with the split fingered fastball. The  historical importance of Bruce and the split fingered fastball could be a big reason why he's in the Hall of Fame.
  • Sutter was called up in May of 1976 and had a good rookie season. Bruce had a 6-3 record had a 2.70 ERA, and saved ten games in 52 appearances.
  • Bruce had one of his best years in 1977. He was on the first of five straight (six total) NL All Star teams, finished sixth in NL Cy Young Award balloting, and seventh in NL MVP balloting.
  • Sutter dropped off just a bit in 1978. It was the only year until 1983 in which he would have an ERA above 3.00. Bruce went 8-10, had a 3.19 ERA, and saved 31 games in 1978. Sutter was the winning pitcher in the All Star Game.
  • Bruce won the  NL Cy Young Award in 1979. He led the league with 37 saves. Bruce would lead the NL in saves every year but one from 1979-1984. Sutter was 6-6 with a 2.22 ERA in 1979. He also earned the victory in the All Star Game for the second straight year.
  • After the 1979 season Sutter took the Cubs to arbitration and won his case. The Cubs offered $350,000 and Sutter asked for $700,000. APBA Baseball Game ad with Sutter in Baseball Digest (June 1980)
  • Sutter was 5-8 with 28 saves and a 2.64 ERA in 1980. Bruce got the save in the All Star Game.
  • After the 1980 season Sutter was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Leon Durham, Ken Reitz, and Ty Waller.
  • In 1981 Bruce was 3-5 with 25 saves and had a 2.62 ERA. He got the save again in the All Star Game.
  • Sutter didn't appear in the All Star Game in 1982 but still had a good year. During the regular season he was 9-8 with a 2.70 ERA and saved 36 games. Bruce finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting and fifth in MVP voting. Sutter got a win and a save in the Cardinals' sweep of the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. In the World Series Bruce was 1-0 with two saves as he helped the Cardinals win the Series.
  • Sutter had his first rough year in 1983. Bruce was 9-10 with an ERA of 4.23. He saved 21 games, which was the first time he didn't lead the league in saves since 1978. Bruce Sutter: Baseball's No. 1 Relief Pitcher - Feb 1983 Baseball Digest
  • In 1984 Bruce had his last good season. He had a minuscule 1.54 ERA and was 5-7 with a league-leading 45 saves. Sutter finished third in NL Cy Young Award balloting and sixth in MVP voting. Cardinals' Bruce Sutter: He's Back in Control - August 1984 Baseball Digest
  • After the 1984 season Bruce became a free agent and signed a six-year, $10 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
  • The 1985 season was Sutter's last full season. He went 7-7, got 23 saves, and had a 4.48 ERA in 58 appearances.  The Ultimate Relievers: Sutter and Quisenberry - July 1985 Baseball Digest
  • Sutter's 1986 season was curtailed by an injury. He appeared in 16 games (2-0, 3 saves, 4.34 ERA) before being lost for the rest of the season on May 27. He had surgery on his rotator cuff in mid August.
  • Bruce spent the entire 1987 season on the disabled list. He had a third surgery on his pitching shoulder in February.
  • Sutter tried to come back in 1988. He appeared in 38 games and was 1-4 with 14 saves and had a 4.76 ERA. Sutter pitched a scoreless 11th inning and earned the save in his final game on September 9. He had another surgery in late September  and wanted to come back. He and the Braves announecd that he would rest for a while in 1989, but ultimately Sutter  wasn't able to return after the surgery.  
  • He had a 68-71 record with 300 saves and a 2.84 ERA for his career.
  • Sutter was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006. Here is his Hall of Fame page.
  • 1977 Stats: 7-3, 1.34 ERA, 31 saves in 62 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • July 9 - Named to the NL All Star team for the first time.
    • July-August - Missed almost a whole  month with sore back muscles. The injury wiped out any chance the Cubs had to hold on to their division lead.
    • Sept 22 - Saved his second straight game against the Philadelphia Phillies by pitching two scoreless innings. It was Sutter's 30th save of the season. At this point in his career, Bruce hadn't allowed a single run to the Phillies in 19 innings pitched.
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988
Sutter's Hall of Fame Biography video:

Sutter strikes out Gorman Thomas (over and over) to clinch the 1982 World Series

Thursday, March 29, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #143 - Ed Herrmann

  • Ed Herrmann was the backup to starting catcher Joe Ferguson in 1977. Ed had a decent on base percentage (.352) in his last full season in the majors. In 1978 Herrmann would split the season between Houston and Montreal. Ed was released after the 1978 season and that was it for his career.
  • 1977 Stats: .291, 1 HR, 17 RBI in 56 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #142 - Steve Dillard

  • Steve Dillard was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1970, but Steve elected to attend college instead and didn't sign. Dillard  was signed by the Boston Red Sox two years later in 1972.
  • Dillard played in the minors for four years and eventually got a September call-up in 1975 (2 for 5 in one game). Steve had shoulder surgery in 1973 and again in 1975.
  • Steve made the Red Sox in 1976 as a utility infielder and  batted .275 in 57 games. In August he was sent down to learn how to play second base. After his shoulder surgeries it was thought that he would have a tough time making throws from shortstop.
  • Dillard platooned with Denny Doyle at second base in 1977. Steve started against left handers. Since most teams were reluctant to use lefties in Fenway Park, Dillard got most of his starts on the road. Dillard batted .241 in 66 games in 1977. After the 1977 season the Red Sox acquired Jerry Remy to play second base. Steve saw the writing on the wall and suggested that a trade may be best for him. The Red Sox traded Dillard to the Detroit Tigers for two minor leaguers and cash.
  • Unfortunately for Steve, the Tigers had Lou Whitaker ready to play second base so he didn't get a lot of playing time. Dillard played in 56 games in 1978 and batted .223. 
  • During spring training in 1979 Dillard was traded to the  Chicago Cubs for Ed Putman. Steve had his best year in 1979, batting .283 in 89 games as he backed up Ted Sizemore at second base.
  • In 1980 Dillard was a utility guy for the Cubs. He played in 100 games and batted .225 in 224 at bats. 
  • Steve batted .218 in 53 games in 1981 and was released after the season by new General Manager Dallas Green as part of a general housecleaning.
  • Dillard signed with the Chicago White Sox for the 1982 season. He was told that he would need to play in AAA in the beginning of the season. Steve had his best offensive year as a professional player in 1982. He batted .313 in 124 games for AAA Edmonton. Dillard was brought up at the end of the 1982 season, but he batted only .190 in 16 games.
  • Before the 1983 season it was suggested to Steve that he start managing in the minors. Dillard tried to find a club that still wanted his services as a player, but all of the teams he talked to wanted to go with younger players. Steve decided to go into managing in 1983 and he has managed various Rookie League and Class A teams (with a few breaks) ever since.
  • 1977 Stats: .241 in 66 games
  • 1977 Highlights
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982
  • Here is Steve's SABR biography.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #141 - Mark Littell

Monday, March 26, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #140 - Mike Schmidt

  • There isn't much to say about  Mr. Schmidt that hasn't already been said in the numerous card blog entries below. Mike didn't lead the NL in any categories in 1977, but he had a good year, was an NL All Star for the third time, and won his second Gold Glove.
  • That's an impressive stat that is referenced in the cartoon.
  • 1977 stats:
    • Regular Season: .271, 38 HR, 101 RBI, 114 runs scored
    • NLCS: .063 (1 for 16)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1975, 1976, 1976, 1979, 19801982, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Found An Old Baseball Glove

  • I was looking for my old baseball stuff a few days ago since the little one we are fostering is getting ready for tee-ball (another entry on that will be forthcoming). I have four gloves in the closet and haven't used any of them in over ten years. One of the gloves is the one pictured here.
  • The glove belonged to my dad when he was a kid. It's a Bobby Shantz model. Bobby Shantz was the 1952 AL Most Valuable Player.
  • My dad gave me this glove to use when I was about 8-9 years old. I thought I was really getting a good deal. I had the 1975 Topps MVP card that showed Bobby's 1952 card. Any player that had won an MVP was pretty darned good in my book.
  • I put the glove on for the first time in many years to play catch with the little one in the backyard. It's a good thing she's only six years old, otherwise the ball would have gone right through the webbing.

  • The glove is pretty beat up and is missing several of the lacings. It has the shoestrings that I used to relace it when I was about ten years old. The name I wrote on it is faded out. It can use a few treatments with Neats Foot oil. My dad bought me a glove when I was about ten, and this one didn't get used much after that. Still, I won't be getting rid of this glove. It has too many good memories associated with it.

  • I haven't done any player collections. But I think in honor of this glove I'll start a Bobby Shantz player collection.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #139 - Fred Norman

Friday, March 23, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #138 - Bob Stinson

  • Bob Stinson was the starting catcher for the expansion Seattle Mariners in 1977. Bob led the team with a .360 on base percentage.
  • 1977 Stats: .269, 8 HR, 32 RBI in 105 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1980, 1979, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1972

Thursday, March 22, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #137 - Jeff Terpko

  • Jeff Terpko was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1968. Terpko spent several years in the minor leagues and finally got a September call-up in 1974. Jeff pitched in three games and had a 1.29 ERA in seven innings.
  • In 1975 Terpko was in AAA again. He made the Texas Rangers in 1976 and had a good season (3-3, 2.29 ERA in 32 games).
  • Jeff was traded to the Montreal Expos for Rodney Scott during spring training in 1977.
  • Terpko spent the 1978 season pitching for AAA Rochester. He appeared in 18 games and was 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA. Jeff retired after the 1978 season.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Montreal Expos: 0-1, 5.56 ERA in 13 games
    • Denver (AAA):  6-2, 3.83 ERA in 19 games (4 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: Cardboard Gods
  • While I was looking for news articles about Jeff Terpko I found a great picture of my all-time favorite Phoenix Suns player -- Alvan Adams. He is shown scoring two of his 47 points against the Buffalo Braves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #136 - Jerry Mumphrey

  • Jerry  Mumphrey was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971. After playing in the minors from 1971-1974, Jerry had a September call-up in 1974 and was 0 for 2 with two runs scored in five games.
  • In 1976 Mumphrey started in the minors but the Cardinals brought him up in May after he started out batting .338 for AAA Tulsa. Jerry was the fourth outfielder and batted .258 in 112 games.
  • Mumphrey became the starting center fielder late in 1977 and batted .287 with 10 triples in 144 games.
  • In 1978 Jerry spent time in all three outfield positions and batted .262 in 125 games.
  • Mumphrey was a fourth outfielder again in 1979. Jerry batted .295 in 124 games. After the 1979 season Mumphrey was traded with John Denny to the Cleveland Indians for Bobby Bonds. Two months later Jerry was traded to the San Diego Padres for Bob Owchinko and Jim Wilhelm.
  • Jerry was given an opportunity to be the regular center fielder in 1980 and he came through, batting .298 and stealing a career-high 52 bases.
  • At the end of spring training in 1981, Mumphrey was traded (with John Pacella) to the New York Yankees for Ruppert Jones, Joe Lefebvre, Tim Lollar, and Chris Welsh. During the strike-shortened 1981 season Jerry batted .307 in 80 games as the Yankees' starting center fielder. Mumphrey batted .095 (2 for 21) in five games in the ALDS, .500 (6 for 12) in the ALCS, and .200 (3 for 15) in the World Series.
  • Jerry batted .300 in 123 games in 1982. 
  • In 1983 Mumphrey split the season between the Yankees and the Houston Astros. Jerry was batting .262 in 83 games on August 10 when he was traded to the Houston Astros for Omar Moreno. Jerry was happy to get back to the National League with its astroturf fields. Mumphrey batted .336 in 44 games with Houston to finish the 1983 season with a flourish.
  • Mumphrey was an NL All Star in 1984 (he struck out as a pinch hitter). He batted .290 with 83 RBI in 151 games in '84.
  • Jerry moved from center field to right field in 1985. He tailed off just a bit, batting .277 in 130 games. After the 1985 season Mumphrey was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Billy Hatcher and a player to be named later (Steve Engel went to the Astros in July 1986).
  • Jerry spent the next two seasons as the fourth outfielder and a pinch hitter for the Cubs. In 1986 he batted .304 in 111 games and in 1987 he batted .333 in 118 games. 
  • Mumphrey tailed off badly in 1988. He was used almost exclusively as a pinch hitter and batted only .136 in 66 at bats. Jerry was released after the 1988 season.

  • 1977 Stats: .287, 73 runs scored, 23 stolen bases in 144 games
  • 1977 Highlights
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #135 - Mark Belanger

Monday, March 19, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #134 - San Diego Padres / John McNamara

  • John McNamara started out as a minor league catcher and occasional pitcher. He never made it past the AA level as a full time player and in 1959 John became a player-manager in  the Kansas City A's organization.
  • From 1959-1962 McNamara managed the Class B Lewiston Broncos. In 1963 John started moving up in the organization, managing in various places.
  • At the end of the 1969 season John was named as the manager of the Oakland A's. He managed the club to a second place finish in the AL West but was fired after the 1970 season for not being able to stop certain A's players (Dave Duncan and Reggie Jackson) from criticizing owner Charlie Finley.
  • After spending three seasons as a coach for the San Francisco Giants, John became the manager of the San Diego Padres in 1974. He managed the club until late May 1977. The Padres showed improvement over the 1974, 1975, and 1976 seasons, but they regressed in 1977 and new owner Ray Kroc wanted to change things up.
  • McNamara went on to manage the Cincinnati Reds, the California Angels, the Boston Red Sox, and    the Cleveland Indians. He won a division title with the Reds (1979) and went to the World Series with the Red Sox (1986).
  • The Padres had three managers in 1977. Their records were:
    • John McNamara (20-28)
    • Bob Skinner (1-0)
    • Alvin Dark (48-65)
  • Team Highlights:
    • Record: 69-93, 5th in NL West, 29 games behind the LA Dodgers
    • Attendance1,376,269 (7th of 12)
    • Team Batting: .249, (11th of 12)
    • Team HR: 120 (8th of 12)
    • Team Stolen Bases: 133 (6th of 12)
    • Team ERA: 4.43 (11th of 12)
    • Team Fielding: .971 (12th of 12)
    • All Stars: Dave Winfield (OF)
    • Awards: Rollie Fingers (Rolaids NL Reliever of the Year)
    • NL Leaders
      • Gene Tenace (Bases on Balls - 125)
      • Gene Tenace (Hit by Pitch - 13)
      • Bill Almon (Sacrifice Hits - 20)
      • Rollie Fingers (Saves - 35)
      • Rollie Fingers (Appearances - 78)
    • Batting Leader: George Hendrick (.311)
    • Home Run Leader: Dave Winfield (25)
    • RBI Leader: Dave Winfield (92)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Gene Richards (56)
    • Victories Leader: Bob Shirley (12)
    • Losses Leader: Bob Shirley (18)
    • Strikeout Leader: Bob Shirley (146)
    • Saves Leader: Rollie Fingers (35)
    • ERA Leader (starters): Bob Shirley (3.70)
    • ERA Leader (relievers): Rollie Fingers (2.99)
    • Players who could have had Padres cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) : 
      • Tucker Ashford (.217 in 81 games as a 3B) - came up to the Padres in July
      • George Hendrick (.311, 23 HR, 81 RBI as an OF) - acquired in a trade before the 1977 season)
      • Dave Roberts (.220 in 82 games as a catcher) - acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade on February 16
      • Dave Kingman (.238, 11 HR, 39 RBI) - this was the second of four teams Kong played for during the season.
      • Gary Sutherland (.243 in 80 games as a utility infielder) - released from the Milwaukee Brewers after the 1976 season and made the San Diego ballclub in spring training
      • John D'Aquisto (1-2, 6.95 ERA in 17 games/12 starts) - acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals on May 17
      • Bob Owchinko (9-12, 4.45 ERA in 30 games/28 starts) - made the San Diego ballclub during spring training

Sunday, March 18, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #133 - Ralph Garr

  • Ralph Garr had his last season of batting over .300 and was the starting left fielder for the 1977 White Sox.
  • 1977 Stats: .300, 17 HR, 54 RBI in 134 games.
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1980, 1979, 1976, 1976, 1975, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972

Saturday, March 17, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #132 - Chip Lang

  • Chip Lang didn't pitch for the Montreal Expos in 1977. He spent the season in the minor leagues.
  • Chip Lang was drafted by the Expos in 1970. He was in the minors from 1970-1975. Lang earned a promotion to the majors after having a good year for AAA Memphis (8-13, 2.93 ERA).
  • Lang started one game for the Expos in 1975 on September 8. He pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed two runs in a no-decision.
  • Chip started the 1976 season in AAA Denver. He didn't set the league on fire with his stats (0-3, 7.50 ERA in 7 starts), but Lang was recalled in late May and spent the rest of the year with the Expos. Chip appeared in 29 games (2 starts) and was 1-3 with a 4.19 ERA.
  • Lang didn't pitch in 1978. He hooked up with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and made two starts for Class A Shelby (1-1, 3.60 ERA), but that was it for his playing career.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Denver (AAA) - 2-2, 6.04 ERA in 28 games (6 starts)
    • Quebec (AA) - 2-4, 5.76 ERA in 7 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: none

Friday, March 16, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #131 - Orlando Ramirez

  • Orlando Ramirez made most of his 25 appearances as a pinch runner. 
  • This was the only season of his career (1972-1979) in which he didn't spend some time in the minor leagues.
  • Orlando Ramirez, a native of Colombia, signed with the California Angels in 1972. He played in the minors from 1972-1974. He spent the month of July with the Angels and then got a September call-up. Ramirez batted .163 in 31 games.
  • Ramirez was given the starting shortstop job in 1975. Manager Dick Williams was high on Orlando, although his reputation as a fielder was better than his statistics (.905 fielding percentage in 41 games). Ramirez batted .240 in 44 games, but his season was interrupted by a series of unfortunate events (a hamstring injury, the death of his brother in a plane crash, and visa problems when he tried to return to the U.S.).
  • Orlando was given the starting shortstop job again in 1976, but he was sent down in May after batting .200 in 30 games.
  • In 1978 Ramirez spent the entire year in the minors. He played for both AA El Paso and AAA Salt Lake City and batted .279.
  • The Angels signed Bert Campaneris in 1979 and Ramirez didn't have much of a shot at playing time. Orlando made the Angels ballclub to start the season, but he was sent down in May after going 0 for 12. Ramirez batted .212 for Salt Lake City, .083 for AAA Charleston, and .220 for Class A Bakersfield.
  • Ramirez was cut at the end of spring training in 1980. He spent a few seasons playing in Mexico and also played some winter ball in his native Colombia.
  • Ramirez was the first Colombian player in modern times to make it to the majors, and he is still revered in his home country.
  • Here is a link to Orlando's SABR biography.
  • 1977 Stats: .077 (1 for 13) in 25 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: none

Thursday, March 15, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #130 - Al Oliver

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #129 - Mike Sadek

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #128 - Tommy John

  • Tommy John was an integral part of the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. John won 20 games, finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting, and 12th in NL MVP voting.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Regular Season: 20-7, 2.78 ERA in 31 starts
    • NL Championship Series: 1-0, 0.66 ERA in 2 starts
    • World Series: 0-1, 6.00 ERA in 1 start
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1988, 1986, 1985, 1983, 1982, 1980, 1979, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1965, 1964

Monday, March 12, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #127 - Ron Fairly

Sunday, March 11, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #126 - Rod Gilbreath

  • This was the only "action" shot of Rod's Topps card career. All of his other cards were posed shots.
  • Rod Gilbreath was the starting second baseman for the Atlanta Braves in 1977. It was the only year that he had a regular starting position. 
  • 1977 Stats: .243, 8 HR, 43 RBI in 128 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1978, 1976, 1975, 1974

Saturday, March 10, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #125 - Bill Travers

Friday, March 9, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #124 - George Mitterwald

  • That's a pretty good sized chaw in George's right cheek.
  • This was George Mitterwald's last major league season. Mitterwald signed with the Seattle Mariners after the 1977 season and played for their AAA San Jose club, but he batted only .162 in 21 games and hung 'em up.
  • 1977 Stats: .238, 9 HR, 43 RBI in 110 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970

Thursday, March 8, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #123 - Fred Stanley