Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #266 - Derrel Thomas

  • Derrel Thomas was able to play many positions, which made him a good person to have around. In 1977 Thomas played six different positions (CF, LF, 2B, SS, 3B, and 1B).
  • I've always had trouble spelling his first name. I've misspelled it at least three times while writing this entry and doing searches on him.
  • When did Candlestick Park go back to real grass?
  • 1977 Stats: .267, 8 HR, 44 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986

Monday, July 30, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #265 - Mark Fidrych

  • Footage from his Monday Night Baseball game on June 28, 1976. This is the game that put Fidrych in the national spotlight.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #264 - Tom Hutton

  • Tom Hutton was mostly a defensive replacement in 1977. He played in 73 games at 1B but started only one game at the position. With his good defense and high on base percentage, he would have been a good role player guy in an APBA or a Strat-O-Matic league.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Regular Season: .309, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .394 on base percentage (107 games but only 95 plate appearances)
    • NL Championship Series: 0 for 3 in 3 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980

Saturday, July 28, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #263 - Mike Marshall

Friday, July 27, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #262 - Al Cowens

Thursday, July 26, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #261 - Phil Garner

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #260 - J.R. Richard

  • This was the second of five fantastic years for J.R. Richard (including his shortened 1980 season). This is the only year of the five in which Richard didn't get Cy Young Award or All Star consideration.
  • 1977 Stats: 18-12, 2.97 ERA in 36 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1976, 1979, 19801980, 1980, 1982

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #259 - New York Mets / Joe Frazier

  • Joe Frazier played briefly for the Cleveland Indians in 1947 (.071 in 14 at bats) and for three other teams from 1954-1956. He had a .241 lifetime batting average in 217 major league games.
  • Frazier played four more years in the minors (1957-1960) and then became a coach and a manager in the  minors.
  • Joe was a successful manager in the minors. During his years in the New York  Mets system (1969-1975) Frazier had only one sub-.500 season.
  • After winning the International League championship with the Tidewater Tides in 1975 Frazier was hired to manage the Mets. The club did well in 1976, going 86-76 and finishing in third place.
  • The Mets were racked with turmoil and dissension in 1977. Frazier clashed with Dave Kingman, who wanted to play out his option and become a free agent. Tom Seaver wanted to be traded, and Jon Matlack was also unhappy with management for not doing enough to improve the club. After the team started 15-30, Frazier was relieved of his managerial duties on May 31.
  • In 1982 Frazier managed the Louisville Redbirds to a first place finish in the American Association.
  • Joe Frazier passed away in 2011 at the age of 88.
  • It must have been a really tough time to be a New York Mets fan in 1977. It can be argued that this was the most tumultuous season in franchise history. The Mets finished last in the NL East and only the hapless Atlanta Braves kept the Mets from having the worst record in the league.
  • Team Highlights
  • Record: 64-98, 6th in NL East, 37 games behind Philadelphia
    • Joe Frazier: 15-30
    • Joe Torre: 49-68
  • Attendance:  1,066,825 (10th in NL)
  • Team Batting: .244 (12th in NL)
  • Team HR: 88 (12th in NL)
  • Team Stolen Bases: 98 (8th in NL)
  • Team ERA: 3.77 (6th in NL)
  • Team Fielding: .978 (4th in NL)
  • All Stars: John Stearns (C)
  • Awards: none
  • NL Leaders: Jerry Koosman (Losses - 20)  
  • Batting Leader: Lenny Randle (.304)
  • Home Run Leader: John Stearns / John Milner / Steve Henderson (12)
  • RBI Leader: Steve Henderson (65)
  • Stolen Base Leader: Lenny Randle (33)
  • Victories Leader: Nino Espinosa (10)
  • Losses Leader: Jerry Koosman (20)
  • Strikeout Leader: Jerry Koosman (192)
  • Saves Leader: Skip Lockwood (20)
  • ERA Leader (starters): Nino Espinosa (3.42) - Tom Seaver not included since he was traded in mid season
  • ERA Leader (relievers): Skip Lockwood (3.38)
  • Players who could have had Mets cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) : 
    • Steve Henderson OF (acquired in Seaver trade) - .297, 12 HR, 65 RBI in 99 games
    • Lenny Randle 3B (acquired in a trade) - .304, 5 HR, 27 RBI in 136 games
    • Doug Flynn IF (acquired in Seaver trade) - .191, 0 HR, 14 RBI in 90 games
    • Joel Youngblood 2B - .253, 0 HR, 11 RBI in 70 games
    • Jerry Grote C - .270 in 42 games
    • Jackson Todd P - 3-6, 4.77 ERA in 19 games (10 starts)
    • Bob Myrick - 2-2, 2 saves, 3.61 ERA in 44 games (4 starts)
    • Pat Zachry P (acquired in Seaver trade) - 7-6, 3.76 ERA in 19 starts

Monday, July 23, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #258 - Luis Tiant

Sunday, July 22, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #257 - Mike Miley

  • Mike Miley died in a car accident on 6 January 1977. 
  • Miley was a backup quarterback to Bert Jones at Louisiana State University before he became a starter in 1973. LSU went 9-2 on the season and Mike played in the Orange Bowl in 1974 (LSU lost to Penn State 16-9)
  • Miley was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1971 but he didn't sign. In 1974 Miley was drafted by the California Angels and decided to play baseball instead of football.
  • Mike played in AA in 1974 and batted .288 with 13 home runs in 84 games.
  • Miley started the 1975 season with AAA Salt Lake City and batted .209 in 81 games. 
  • Mike made his major league debut on July 6, 1975 and was the starting shortstop for the Angels for the rest of the season. Miley batted only .174 in 78 games so in 1976 he went back to Salt Lake City.
  • In 1976 Miley spent most of the season in Salt Lake City. Mike improved his offense, batting .274 in 119 games.
  • Mike came back to the Angels as a September call-up and batted .184 in 14 games.
  • Other card blogs: 1976

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #256 - Joe Hoerner

  • Joe Hoerner returns to the baseball card world after a one year absence. This was Joe's final card.
  • Hoerner made all 493 of his major league appearances as a reliever.
  • Joe was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1957. He was pitching in the low minors that year and combined with another pitcher on a no-hitter. 
  • Early in his minor league career Joe experienced heart-related blackout spells. In one game in 1958 he  felt his heart racing and then blacked out on the mound. Hoerner was unconscious for several hours and even was given the last rites of the Catholic Church. Joe regained consciousness a few hours later and was pitching again in a few days.
  • Hoerner continued to have the blackouts on the mound in 1959. Various doctors were consulted and they had a couple of theories about the cause of the blackouts. Finally someone suggested that Joe alter his pitching motion in order to keep from constricting an artery in his arm. Hoerner dropped down and became a sidearmer.
  • Joe continued to pitch in the White Sox organization through the 1961 season. After the season Hoerner was selected by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in the minor league draft.
  • Hoerner pitched in the minors in 1962 and in 1963. As part of a publicity stunt, Joe was included in a lineup of all rookie players on September 27, 1963. Hoerner pitched three scoreless innings. It was his only appearance for Houston during the season.
  • In 1964 Joe spent most of the year in the minors. He had a short stint with Houston in late April and early May. Hoerner was 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in seven games for the Colt .45s.
  • Hoerner spent the entire 1965 season in the minors. After the 1965 season Hoerner was pitching winter ball in Puerto Rico and both Roberto Clemente and a St. Louis Cardinals scout wondered why Joe wasn't in the majors yet. The scout must have said something to the Cardinals management because Hoerner was drafted by the team in the Rule 5 draft.
  • Joe made the St. Louis ballclub in 1966. He had a good year, going 5-1 with 13 saves and had a 1.54 ERA in 57 appearances. 
  • Hoerner's ERA was up a bit in 1967, but he was still an effective reliever. He was 4-4 with 15 saves and had a 2.59 ERA in 57 games. In the World Series Joe made two appearances. He was roughed up in one of the games and had a 40.50 ERA for the series. After the Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games, Hoerner severed the tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand when a champagne bottle he was holding exploded.
  • Joe was concerned about how the injury would affect his career, but he didn't have much to worry about. Hoerner got either a win or a save in his first seven appearances and ended up with an 8-2 record, 17 saves, and a 1.47 ERA in 47 games. Joe saved game 3 of the World Series but took the loss in game 5. In three appearances Hoerner had a 3.86 ERA.
  • Joe's last year with the Cardinals was 1969. He was 2-3 with 15 saves and a 2.87 ERA in 45 games.
  • After the 1969 season Joe went to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the big Curt Flood deal. Hoerner was disappointed in the deal (he had put down roots in St. Louis and formed Cardinal Travel with teammate Dal Maxvill), but he reported to his new team.
  • Hoerner had another good year in 1970. He was 9-5 with 9 saves and had a 2.65 ERA in 44 games. Joe was selected to the NL All Star team and was one of the few players who didn't get into the game. As Pete Rose was barreling over Ray Fosse in the 12th inning Joe was completing his warmup tosses (he was due to come in the game in the 13th inning). Joe was briefly hospitalized during spring training when he collided with a photographer while trying to catch a ball.
  • Joe went 4-5 and had 9 saves and had a 1.97 ERA in 49 games in 1971. It was his last good year.
  • Hoerner started the 1972 season with the Phillies. He was 0-2 with 3 saves and had a 2.08 ERA on June 15 when he was traded (with Andre Thornton) to the Atlanta Braves for Jim Nash and Gary Neibauer. Joe wasn't as effective with the Braves -- he went 1-3 and had a 6.56 ERA in 25 games.
  • Joe was on the move again in 1973. He started the year with the Braves (2-2, 6.39 ERA in 20 games), was out for a couple of months recovering from knee surgery, and was sold to the Kansas City Royals on July 18. Hoerner went 2-0 with a 5.12 ERA for the Royals in '73.
  • Hoerner spent the whole 1974 season with the Royals. He went 2-3 with 2 saves and had a 3.82 ERA. Joe was released by the Royals after the 1974 season and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Joe wasn't used very much by the Phillies in 1975. He was used mostly as a situational lefty. Hoerner pitched in 25 games (but only 21 innings) and had a 2.57 ERA. Joe was released after the season and signed with the Texas Rangers.
  • The fact that Hoerner pitched only 21 innings in 1975 probably influenced Topps' decision not to give him a card in 1976. Joe appeared in 41 games in 1976 but pitched only 35 innings. He was 0-4 with eight saves and had a 5.14 ERA. 
  • Hoerner was released by the Rangers before the 1977 season. Joe was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in late April. Hoerner made eight appearances (0-0, 12.71 ERA) from late June to early August. He also appeared in 12 games for AAA Indianapolis (2-1, 2 saves, 10.50 ERA). Joe was released after the 1977 season and retired.
  • Hoerner died in a farming accident on October 4, 1996. He was tilling a friend's field when somehow he got pinned between the tractor fender and a tree trunk.
  • Joe Hoerner's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Cincinnati Reds - 0-0, 12.71 ERA in 8 games
    • Indianapolis (AAA) - 2-1, 2 saves, 10.50 ERA in 12 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • Aug 5 - Joe was mopping up in the 9th inning of a 12-1 Reds loss. After retiring the first two batters Hoerner hit Pirate shortstop Frank Taveras with a pitch. Taveras charged the mound and Joe punched him in the face. Both players were ejected. It was the last pitch Joe threw in a major league game.
  • Other card blogs: 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975

Friday, July 20, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #255 - George Scott

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #254 - Doyle Alexander

  • Before the 1977 season Doyle Alexander signed a 5-year, $150,000/year contract with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers were Alexander's fourth team and he pitched for two other teams before the contract ran out after the 1981 season. Doyle pitched for eight teams during his 19 year career.
  • Doyle had a career high in wins with 17. He would tie his career high two more times (1984 and 1985)
  • 1977 Stats: 17-11, 3.65 ERA in 34 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1972, 1973, 19731974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #253 - John Hale

  • John Hale was a backup outfielder for the Dodgers in 1977. He was used mostly as a defensive replacement -- Hale started only three games in the first two  months of the season. In late July Hale was sent to the minors. John really had nothing to prove at the AAA level, but the Dodgers didn't have room for him on their major league roster. On September 2 Hale was placed on waivers and claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. Hale didn't play for the Blue Jays in 1977--he was sold to the Seattle Mariners on September 14. Hale played two seasons with the Mariners and then finished his career in the minors.
  • 1977 stats:
    • Los Angeles Dodgers: .241, 2 HR, 11 RBI in 79 games (108 AB)
    • Albuquerque Dukes (AAA): .340 in 15 games
  • 1977 highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1979

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #252 - Dale Murray

  • Dale Murray came to the Cincinnati Reds as part of the Tony Perez trade after the 1976 season. It must have been hard for Murray to pitch for the Reds after being part of an unpopular trade. His ERA jumped from 3.26 in 1976 to 4.94 in 1977.
  • 1977 Stats: 7-2, 4 saves, 4.94 ERA in 61 games (1 start)
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • May 30 - Pitched two shutout innings and was credited with the win as the Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3.
    • May 31 - Gave a repeat of the previous day's performance and got the same results -- two shutout innings and a 5-3 win over the Braves
    • July 28 - Made the only start of his major league career. Murray was roughed up, allowing six runs in one inning. Murray wasn't the only one hammered -- the final score was Cubs 16, Reds 15.
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985

Monday, July 16, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #251 - Tony Muser

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #250 - Bill Madlock

Saturday, July 14, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #249 - Pete Redfern

  • Pete Redfern was the first player taken in the secondary phase of the 1976 draft. He had a  meteoric rise to the majors. After pitching in four games in AAA Tacoma, Pete was brought up to the majors in mid May and made his first major league start on May 15. Redfern had a pretty good rookie year in 1976 -- he was 8-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 23 starts.
  • Redfern didn't do as well in 1977, going 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA in 30 games (28 starts).
  • Pete spent most of the 1978 season pitching for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. Redfern started the year with the Twins, but after a couple of rough starts and one relief appearance he was sent to Toledo on April 18. Pete had an 0-2 record and a 6.52 ERA for the Twins in '78.
  • In 1979 Pete was used as a reliever and a spot starter. In 40 games (6 starts) Redfern was 7-3 with one save and had a 3.49 ERA.
  • Pete missed almost 2 1/2 months of the 1980 season with elbow trouble. He was 7-7 with two saves and had a 4.56 ERA in 23 games (16 starts).
  • Redfern had a decent 1981 season. In 24 games (23 starts) he was 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA.
  • Pete's final major league season was in 1982. He had a rough time, going 5-11 with a 6.58 ERA in 27 games (13 starts). Pete started and lost the first game played in the new Metrodome.
  • In 1983 Redfern didn't pitch at all during spring training. He was released by the Twins on March 25. Pete got into a dispute with the Twins over how much money he should receive. The team said that Pete should get his 30 days of severance pay while Pete contended that he had an injury and should get his entire 1983 salary.
  • Pete signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched for their AAA Albuquerque team in 1983. 
  • On October 29, the Dodgers notified Pete of his release. Later that day, Pete was diving with some friends on Balboa Island and was severely injured. Redfern's spinal cord was severely damaged between the 4th and 5th cervical vertebra and he was paralyzed.
  • Pete underwent rehabilitation and in 1985 was able to walk 10 feet with help from therapists. Pete still uses a wheelchair.
  • Here is a video made by Pete's son Chad. Chad filmed a special "first pitch" with Pete in Anaheim that was broadcast over the jumbotron during the final season of the Metrodome in Minnesota.

Friday, July 13, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #248 - Wilbur Howard

  • Wilbur Howard got in only three games in early April before being sent to AAA Charleston. Howard came back on May 1 and stayed with the Astros for the rest of the season as a backup outfielder.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Houston Astros - .257, 2 HR, 13 RBI in 87 games
    • Charleston Charlies (AAA) - .200 (9 for 45) in 11 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979

Thursday, July 12, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #247 - Chris Knapp

  • Chris Knapp was the first round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1975. Chris had a 1.97 ERA in 13 starts for Class A Appleton in 1975 and was called up at the end of the season. Knapp made two appearances for the White Sox in 1975 (0-0, 4.50 ERA).
  • Knapp started the 1976 season in the minors. He made ten starts for AA Knoxville and was 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA. Knapp also made 11 starts for AAA Iowa and was 7-2 with a 2.56 ERA. Chris was called up in late  June and pitched in seven games (2 starts) in June and July. Knapp won his first major league game on July 21 by allowing one unearned run in a complete game 4-1 win over the Detroit Tigers. After getting roughed up in a mop-up appearance on July 24 Chris went back to the minors until September. Knapp was recalled when the rosters expanded and made four more appearances (three of them starts) for the White Sox. All together Knapp was 3-1 with a 4.82 ERA in 11 games (6 starts).
  • In 1977 Knapp started with the White Sox. He had a good W-L record but a high ERA. White Sox manager Bob Lemon had a hard time watching Knapp's wildness. After getting roughed up on August 6 Chris was sent to AAA for a month. Knapp was recalled in September and went 3-1 for the month. Chris had a 12-7 record and a 4.81 ERA in 26 starts for the White Sox in 1977.
  • After the 1977 season Knapp was traded (with Brian Downing and Dave Frost) to the California Angels for Bobby Bonds, Thad Bosley, and Rich Dotson.
  • The 1978 season was a tumultuous one for Chris. Statistically he had his best season -- Knapp was 14-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 21 starts. But Knapp wasn't happy with his treatment by the club and retired from the team on July 17. Chris came back on July 25 but was rumored to be in a waiver trade involving Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees. 
  • Chris was plagued by injuries in 1979. He  missed two months of the season due to a bulging disc suffered when he slipped off of a wet mound in Yankee Stadium, but was able to come back in September and win his last two starts. During the regular season Knapp was 5-5 with a 5.51 ERA in 20 games (18 starts). Knapp started game 4 of the American League Championship Series and took the loss. He allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings, but the Orioles whitewashed the Angels 8-0.
  • Knapp had another rough year in 1980. He went 2-11 with a 6.14 ERA in 32 games (20 starts).
  • At the end of spring training in 1981 the Angels designated Knapp for assignment.
  • Chris tried comebacks with various minor league clubs from 1981-1983, but he never made it back to the majors.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Chicago White Sox - 12-7, 4.80 ERA in 27 games (26 starts)
    • Iowa - 0-4, 1.97 ERA in 5 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #246 - Mike Vail

  • Mike Vail was a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter for the  Mets in 1977. He had a tough time in the stolen base department -- he had seven attempts and was caught all seven times. Mike was the starting right fielder for most of the month of July.
  • 1977 Stats: .262, 8 HR, 35 RBI in 108 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, Cardboard Gods

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #245 - Rick Rhoden

  • Rick Rhoden had a career-high 16 wins in 1977.  Rick started the season with five straight victories and won seven of his first eight starts.
  • 1977 Stats
    • Regular season: 16-10, 3.74 ERA in 31 games
    • NLCS: 1 game, 4.1 innings, 0.00 ERA
    • World Series: 2 games, 7 innings, 0-1, 2.57 ERA
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988