Sunday, November 3, 2013

And The Next Blog Is.....

  • The 1978 Topps Baseball set was the winner in the "next blog" poll. 1978 had 16 votes, 1981 had 9 votes, and 1960 had 6 votes. The link to the new blog is here.
  • I'm toying with the idea of doing a 1981 blog as well. How much interest would there be in doing a "community blog" for 1981? It could be structured similar to the "Pack to be Named Later" blog where each person could post about any 1981 baseball card he/she wants. Please let me know in the comments or by e-mail.
  • By the way, I "borrowed" the image from The Shlablotnik Report blog. I have the same magazine in storage but I couldn't dig it out. I used to dream about getting cards from these ads in Street and Smith's and so forth, but I wasn't able to afford it until I was 11 years old and got a paper route in the summer of 1978.  Once I started making some money I sent out for a lot of stuff from these ads.

Friday, October 18, 2013

1977 Recap and the Next Blog

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

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #660 - Willie Horton

Monday, October 7, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #659 - Merv Rettenmund

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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #658 - Marty Pattin

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

Saturday, October 5, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #657 - Mick Kelleher

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #656 - Ron Guidry

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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #655 - Tony Perez

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

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #654 - Ron Pruitt

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #653 - Diego Segui

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #652 - Tom Walker

  • Tom Walker pitched in his final season in 1977. Tom was cut from the St. Louis Cardinals during spring training and picked up by the Montreal Expos. Walker started the season in AAA Denver. After going 7-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 20 games, Tom was recalled to Montreal in early June. Tom didn't do a whole lot with the Expos and was sold to the California Angels on July 13. Walker pitched in one game for the Angels and then was sent to AAA Salt Lake City.
  • Tom Walker's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: 1-1, 5.14 ERA in 12 games
    • Montreal Expos: 1-1, 4.74 ERA in 11 games
    • California Angels: 0-0, 9.00 ERA in 1 game
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976

Sunday, September 29, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #651 - Von Joshua

  • Von Joshua was the starting center fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1977. Joshua didn't do much with the bat in 1977 (.286 on base percentage and scored 58 runs).
  • Von was cut during spring training in 1978 and played in the Mexican League. He got back to the majors with the LA Dodgers in 1979 and played for the San Diego Padres in 1980.
  • Here is a "Where Are They Now" article from 2011. Von has been a hitting coach for most of the last 28 years.
  • 1977 Stats: .261, 9 HR, 49 RBI in 144 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • April 7 - Went 3 for 4 on opening day, but the Brewers lost to the New York Yankees 3-0.
    • May 20 - Had three hits, three RBI and scored a run in Milwaukee's 15-7 win over the Boston Red Sox
    • Sept 25 - Went 4 for 5 and was a home run away from hitting for the cycle as the Brewers beat the Minnesota Twins 8-6.
  • Other card blogs: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976 Kellogg's, 1980

Saturday, September 28, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #650 - Nolan Ryan

  • Nolan Ryan had one of his typical seasons in 1977. Ryan led the AL in strikeouts (341), walks (204), wild pitches (21), and complete games (22).
  • Before the 1977 season Ryan signed a three-year contract and was happy with the terms.
  • At the All Star break Ryan had 13 wins but was bypassed for the All Star team in favor of teammate Frank Tanana. Tanana was unable to play due to injury and manager Billy Martin tried to add Ryan to the team. Ryan refused to go and Martin wasn't happy about it.
  • 1977 Stats: 19-16, 2.77 ERA, 341 strikeouts in 37 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 19741975, 1975, 1975, 19751976, 1978, 19781979, 1980, 1982, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1993

Friday, September 27, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #649 - Dave Cash

  • After the 1976 season Dave Cash became a free agent and signed with the Montreal Expos. The signing was early enough for Topps to make an airbrushed version of Dave's 1977 card. Cash was an all star during all three of his seasons in Philadelphia (1974-1976). Dave wasn't an all star in 1977, but he still had a pretty good year.
  • The card is correct about Dave being a good contact hitter. Cash played from 1969-1980 and never struck out more than 36 times.
  • 1977 Stats: .289, 0 HR, 43 RBI, 91 runs in 153 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976 Kellogg's, 1979, 1980

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #648 - Jim Spencer

  • Jim Spencer won a Gold Glove for his fielding at first base in 1977. This ended up being Jim's last season as a regular player. Spencer played for five more seasons but he never had more than 295 at bats.
  • Jim injured his toe and missed about three weeks in June.
  • 1977 Stats: .247, 18 HR, 69 RBI in 128 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #647 - Montreal Expos / Dick Williams

  • Dick Williams started his playing career in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1947. Williams got his first call to the majors in 1951. During the next five seasons Williams split time between the Dodgers and the minor leagues. Dick wasn't going to crack the talented Dodgers' lineup so he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1956. 
  • Williams moved around a lot (4 teams in 8 years) during the rest of his career. Dick batted only .159 in 1964. He was given the opportunity to be a player-coach for the AAA team of the Boston Red Sox. Williams took the job and was promoted to manager when the Red Sox moved their affiliation from Seattle to Toronto and the previous manager didn't want to move. Dick won two straight Governor's Cups in 1965 and 1966.
  • Dick was hired to manage the Red Sox after the 1966 season. The club had been struggling for years and Williams decided to adopt a strict disciplinarian approach to the team. Boston unexpectedly won the AL pennant in 1967 and took the St. Louis Cardinals to seven games in the World Series before bowing out. Williams was named the Manager of the Year. Dick signed a new three-year contract but was fired in September 1969 when the Red Sox were unable to repeat the success of 1967.
  • Williams was the third base coach of the Montreal Expos in 1970 and then was hired to manage the Oakland A's in 1971. The A's won the AL West under Williams in 1971 and then were the World Champions in 1972 and in 1973. Dick grew tired of the antics of owner Charlie Finley and resigned after the 1973 World Series. Williams was immediately hired by George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, but Finley protested and the Yankees ended up hiring Bill Virdon instead.
  • During the 1974 season the California Angels received permission to talk to Williams and he was hired to manage the club in mid-season. The club didn't respond well to Dick's strict style and didn't play well. Williams was fired in July 1976.
  • Dick was hired by the Montreal Expos for the 1977 season. The club finished below .500 in 1977 and in 1978, but by 1979 it was ready to contend. The Expos played well in 1979 and in 1980 but fell short of the division title both times. After the team started slowly in 1981 Williams was fired in September.
  • After the 1981 season Williams was hired to manage the San Diego Padres. The Padres improved steadily and in 1984 they made it to the World Series for the first time in club history. Williams managed the Padres from 1982-1985 and resigned in the midst of a power struggle between club officials during spring training in 1986.
  • Dick became the manager of the Seattle Mariners in May 1986. The team improved, but the improvement wasn't enough for Williams to keep his job. He was fired in June 1988. It looked like his style wasn't a good fit for modern ballplayers.
  • In 1989 Williams managed the West Palm Beach Tropics in the Senior Professional Baseball Association. Dick's last job in baseball was as  a special consultant for Steinbrenner. 
  • In 2000 Williams pleaded no contest to an indecent exposure charge (he was walking naked on a hotel balcony). The arrest probably cost him election to the Hall of Fame at that time -- the vote was taken a week after the arrest.
  • Dick was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 2007. Williams passed away in 2011.
    • Record: 75-87, 5th in NL East, 26 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies
    • Attendance:  1,433,757, 6th in NL
    • Team Batting: .260, 7th in NL
    • Team HR:  138, 5th in NL
    • Team Stolen Bases: 88, 10th in NL
    • Team ERA: 4.01, 8th in NL
    • Team Fielding: .980, 4th in NL
    • All Stars: Ellis Valentine (OF)
    • Awards:  Andre Dawson (NL Rookie of the Year)
    • NL Leaders:  none
    • Batting Leader: Ellis Valentine (.293) 
    • Home Run Leader: Gary Carter (31)
    • RBI Leader: Tony Perez (91)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Andre Dawson, Dave Cash (21)
    • Victories Leader: Steve Rogers (17)
    • Losses Leader: Steve Rogers (16)
    • Strikeout Leader: Steve Rogers (206)
    • Saves Leader: Joe Kerrigan (11)
    • ERA Leader (starters): Steve Rogers (3.10)
    • ERA Leader (relievers): Joe Kerrigan (3.22)
    • Players who could have had Expos cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) :
      • Fred Holdsworth (3-3, 3.19 ERA in 14 games / 6 starts)
      • Bill Atkinson (7-2, 7 saves, 3.35 ERA in 55 games)
      • Will McEnaney (P) (pictured with Cincinnati Reds) 3-5, 3 saves, 3.95 ERA in 69 games
      • Santo Alcala (P) (pictured with Cincinnati Reds) - 2-6, 2 saves, 4.69 ERA in 31 games / 10 starts
      • Jackie Brown (P) (pictured with Cleveland Indians) - 9-12, 4.51 ERA in 42 games / 25 starts
      • Stan Bahnsen (P) (pictured with Oakland A's) - 8-9, 4.81 ERA in 23 games / 22 starts
      • Wayne Twitchell (P) (pictured with Philadelphia Phillies) - 6-5, 4.21 ERA in 22 starts
      • Warren Cromartie (OF) - .282, 5 HR, 50 RBI in 155 games
      • Tony Perez (1B) (pictured with Cincinnati Reds) - .283, 19 HR, 91 RBI in 154 games
      • Chris Speier (SS) (pictured with San Francisco Giants) - .235, 5 HR, 38 RBI in 139 games

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #646 - Andres Mora

  • Andres Mora was one of the greatest sluggers in Mexican League history. Mora played for a few years in the United States, but he always preferred to play in his native Mexico.
  • Mora was signed by the Montreal Expos in 1973. He played briefly in Class A West Palm Beach, but was hitless in 21 at bats. Andres was released during spring training in 1974 and played in Mexico for the next two years. 
  • Andres was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles late in the 1975 season. Mora didn't see any action in the U.S. in 1975, but in 1976 the Orioles assigned him to AAA Rochester. Mora batted .328 in 18 games and was called up to the majors in June. Mora was 21 years old in 1976 and was used as the right-handed designated hitter for much of the season. Mora was getting used to major league pitching and batted .218 with 6 HR and 25 RBI in 73 games.
  • Mora had his best year for the Orioles in 1977. He was still a platoon player and manager Earl Weaver was having a hard time finding him playing time. Andres batted .245 with 13 HR and 44 RBI in 1977.
  • In 1978 Mora started the season in Rochester and then was brought up in May. Andres was a backup outfielder and DH and batted .214 with 8 HR and 14 RBI. 
  • Andres was optioned to Rochester to start the 1979 season. Rochester then optioned Mora to Saltillo in the Mexican League. 
  • After the 1979 season Mora was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 draft. Unfortunately for Mora, "Super Joe" Charboneau emerged and eventually was the AL Rookie of the Year. Andres played in only nine games for the Indians (2 for 18, .111 ). Mora was going to be sent down to AAA in May but instead he decided to play in Mexico.
  • Mora had a lot of success in the Mexican League and was second all-time in home runs (419) by the time he retired in 1997. Andres has been managing and coaching in the Mexican League for most of the time since his retirement.
  • Andres Mora's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: .245, 13 HR, 44 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979

Monday, September 23, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #645 - Jerry Reuss

  • Jerry Reuss was the #2 starter for the Pirates in 1977. He won only ten games, down from his 14 wins from 1976.
  • 1977 Stats: 10-13, 4.11 ERA in 33 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
    • May 24 - Won his first game of the season by beating the New York Mets 5-2. Jerry was 0-5 before this start.
    • July 21 - After starting the season 4-10, Jerry said he wanted to make a fresh start after the All Star break. Reuss pitched a six-hitter and the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-2. Reuss was 6-3 in the second half of the season. 
    • Sept 12 - Gave up a 3-run home run to Davey Johnson as the Phillies beat the Pirates 6-2. Johnson expressed satisfaction about the feat after the game. Reuss had hit Johnson with a pitch late in the 1973 season and Johnson said that it cost him an opportunity for the NL home run title. Johnson finished the 1973 season with 42 home runs and Willie Stargell won the title with 44 home runs.
  • Other card blogs: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1976 Kellogg's, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

Sunday, September 22, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #644 - Matt Alexander

  • Matt Alexander was one of Charlie Finley's "designated runners" in the mid 1970s. Alexander was more than just a runner and was respected more by his Oakland teammates than the others.
  • Manager Jack McKeon and Finley came up with an interesting experiment in late May. Alexander would start the game at shortstop, get one at bat, and then be replaced by regular shortstop Rob Picciolo. The idea was for Matt to get on base any way he could and then use his talents to get the A's an early run. The experiment lasted for about a week and a half. In the eight games Alexander got on base four times and scored three runs.
  • Alexander had career highs in stolen bases (26) and runs (24) in 1977. Matt didn't make the Oakland club in 1978 and was released. The Pittsburgh Pirates picked him up in September and Alexander managed to get a World Series ring with the Pirates in 1979.
  • Matt Alexander's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats: .238, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 26 stolen bases in 90 games (42 at bats)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976

Saturday, September 21, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #643 - Mike Pazik

  • Early in the 1977 season it looked like Mike Pazik was finally going to stick in the majors after years of work. Mike started the season in the Twins rotation, but on April 25 he was a passenger in a volkswagen driven by teammate Don Carrithers. A woman driving the wrong way on a freeway offramp collided with the volkswagen. Pazik suffered two broken legs and was out for the remainder of the season. Mike pitched in the minors for the next two seasons but never got back to the majors.
  • 1977 Stats: 1-0, 2.50 ERA in 3 starts
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1976

Friday, September 20, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #642 - Willie Crawford

  • Willie Crawford never played during the regular season for the San Francisco Giants. On March 26 Willie was traded (with Rob Sperring) to the Houston Astros for Rob Andrews and cash. Crawford played for the Astros until June 15 and then was traded to the Oakland A's for Denny Walling and cash. 
  • Crawford started in left field for Houston in May and June before his trade to Oakland. He then filled in at LF and RF for the A's. From late August until the end of the season Willie appeared 13 times as a pinch hitter but never played in the field.
  • Willie became a free agent after the 1977 season. He signed with the LA Dodgers but didn't make the team in spring training. Crawford didn't make the Dodgers club in 1978 and was released. He played in the Mexican League in 1978 and in 1979.
  • 1977 Stats:
    • Houston Astros - .254, 2 HR, 18 RBI in 42 games
    • Oakland A's - .184, 1 HR, 16 RBI in 59 games
    • TOTAL: .216, 3 HR, 34 RBI in 101 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976

Thursday, September 19, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #641 - Dan Larson

  • Dan Larson was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972. From 1972-1974 Dan moved up the St. Louis chain. After the 1974 season Larson was traded to the Houston Astros.
  • Larson was in the minors for the entire 1975 season. In 1976 Dan started the year in AAA. Larson was called up in July and in his first game allowed one run in a complete game 14-1 win over the Montreal Expos. Larson was 5-8 with a 3.02 ERA in 13 starts for the Astros in 1976.
  • The 1977 season was the only year in which Dan Larson didn't spend at least some amount of time in the minors. Larson was a middle reliever at the start of the season. In late June Dan moved in to the Houston starting rotation and stayed there until early August. 
  • In 1978 Larson didn't make the Houston staff and was sent to Charleston. Dan was 14-6 with a 3.74 ERA. Larson was named the right-handed starter on the International League All Star team at the end of the season. In early September Larson was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dan Warthen. Larson got in to one game for the Phillies and allowed one run in one inning.
  • Larson was in AAA for most of the 1979 season (9-8, 4.81 ERA). Dan was called up in September and started three games (1-1, 4.26 ERA) for the Phillies
  • Dan split the 1980 season between the minors (7-2, 3.77 ERA for two teams) and the Phillies. Larson went 0-5 and had a 3.15 ERA in 12 games (7 starts) for the Phillies in 1980.
  • The 1981 season was more of the same for Larson. He was in AAA Oklahoma City (14-7, 3.49 ERA in 25 starts) until September and then was called up by the Phillies. Dan was 3-0 with a 4.18 ERA in 5 games (4 starts) for the Phillies. After the 1981 season Larson was traded (with Dickie Noles) to the Chicago Cubs for Mike Krukow.
  • Larson started the 1982 season with the Cubs. He was 0-4 and had a 5.67 ERA in 12 games (6 starts). Dan made his last appearance on June 1 and then was sent to AAA Iowa. 
  • Dan pitched for Iowa in 1983 and for Oklahoma City in 1984. That was it for Larson's career.
  • 1977 Stats: 1-7, 1 save, 5.81 ERA in 32 games (10 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: none (it's surprising he didn't at least get a 1978 card since he spent the whole 1977 season in the majors)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #640 - Carlton Fisk

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #639 - Jerry Morales

  • Jerry Morales was an NL All Star in 1977. Jerry replaced George Foster in center field in the bottom of the 6th inning. Morales was hit by a Sparky Lyle pitch and came around to score in the 8th inning. 
  • Morales was the starting center fielder for the Cubs in 1977.
  • 1977 Stats: .290, 11 HR, 69 RBI in 136 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1983

Monday, September 16, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #638 - Jim Kaat

  • Jim Kaat's 1977 season wasn't exactly what the Phillies expected. Jim was used as a reliever during the month of April. He got roughed up a couple of times and at the end of the month his ERA was 15.43 (yikes!). Jim was put in the starting rotation in May and was a back of the rotation guy for the rest of the year. Kaat's ERA dipped below 5.00 only once as he struggled to a 6-11 record. The Phillies didn't use Jim in the NL Championship Series.
  • Kaat won his 16th and final Gold Glove Award in 1977.
  • 1977 Stats: 6-11, 5.39 ERA in 35 games (27 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #637 - Alex Johnson

  • Alex Johnson's major league career was over when this card came out. Johnson was released by the Tigers in December 1976. Alex played in the Mexican League in 1977.
  • Other card blogs: 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975