Sunday, November 18, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #376 - Nino Espinosa

  • Nino Espinosa was signed at the age of 17 by the New York Mets from the Dominican Republic in 1970. Nino played in the minors from 1970-1974 before getting a September call-up in 1974. He was 0-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 2 games (1 start)
  • Espinosa started the 1975 season in AAA Tidewater. He pitched for the Mets for a short time in July and was 0-1 with an ERA of 18.00 in two games.
  • Nino spent the first three months of the 1976 season in Tidewater. He was called up in July and was used as a swingman for the rest of the year. Espinosa went 4-4  with a 3.67 ERA in 12 games (5 starts).
  • In 1977 Espinosa was given a chance to be a regular member of the Mets rotation. He pitched pretty well for an awful Mets team, going 10-13 with a 3.42 ERA in 29 starts.
  • Nino didn't do as well in 1978. His ERA went up to 4.73 and he was 11-15 in 32 starts. Espinosa led the NL in earned runs allowed with 107.
  • During spring training in 1979 Espinosa was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Richie Hebner and Jose Moreno. The Phillies had signed Pete Rose as a free agent, which made Hebner expendable. Nino had his best year in 1979, going 14-12 with a 3.65 ERA in 33 starts.
  • Espinosa started the 1980 season on the disabled list due to arm problems. He was ready to pitch in June and was assigned to the Class A Spartanburg Traders. In July Espinosa came back to the Phillies and went 3-5 with a 3.77 ERA in 12 starts. Nino was left off of the postseason roster in a controversial move in favor of rookie Marty Bystrom.
  • Nino struggled with arm problems again in 1981. Espinosa was 2-5 with a 6.11 ERA in 14 starts when he was released on August 31. Nino was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays and allowed one run in one inning pitched in his only appearance with the Blue Jays. It would be his last major league appearance.
  • The Blue Jays cut Espinosa during spring training in 1982, and he spent the season pitching in the Mexican League. Nino signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983, but the Pirates released him during spring training.
  • In 1987, at the age of 34, Nino Espinosa died of a heart attack on Christmas Eve.
  • 1977 Stats: 10-13, 3.42 ERA in 32 games (29 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods

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