Saturday, May 18, 2013

1977 Topps Baseball #517 - Pete Vuckovich

  • Pete Vuckovich was a big dude -- 6'4" tall and 215 lbs. This picture was taken before Pete grew his hair and his intimidating Fu-Manchu mustache. Vuckovich was known for his ultracompetitiveness on the monund and for his mannerisms between pitched.
  • Pete was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1974. Vuckovich pitched in the minors in 1974 and in 1975. Pete was called up at the end of the 1975 season and was 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in four games.
  • Vuckovich was a middle reliever and a spot starter for the White Sox in 1976. He went 7-4 and had a 4.65 ERA in 33 games (7 starts).
  • After the 1976 season Pete was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft. Vuckovich started the season in the bullpen. He started one game in May and then joined the Toronto rotation for five weeks in June and July. Vuckovich recorded the first save in Blue Jays history on April 7 and pitched the first Toronto shutout on June 26. Pete ended up with one of the better records for the expansion club (7-7, 8 saves, 3.47 ERA). After the 1977 season Vuckovich was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Vuckovich talks about some of his 1977 Blue Jays memories here.
  • Pete had three pretty strong seasons for the Cardinals. In 1978 he went 12-12 and had a 2.54 ERA in 34 games (32 starts). Pete was 15-10 with a 3.59 ERA in 1979. Vuckovich had a 12-9 record with a 3.40 ERA in 1980. After the 1980 season Pete was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a seven-player deal.
  • Vuckovich was an integral part of the Milwaukee staff in 1981 and 1982. In 1981 Pete led the NL with 14 wins and a .778 winning percentage. Vuckovich went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA and finished 4th in AL Cy Young Award voting. In 1982 Pete won the AL Cy Young Award with a record of 18-6 and a league-leading .750 winning percentage. 
  • Vuckovich started and won game 3 of the 1981 AL Divisional Series. Pete was 0-1 in 2 starts in the 1982 AL Championship Series and 0-1 in 2 starts in the 1982 World Series.
  • During spring training in 1983 it was discovered that Vuckovich had a torn rotator cuff. He tried an exercise program and made three starts during the 1983 season (0-2, 4.91 ERA). 
  • Pete missed the entire 1984 season and then attempted comebacks in 1985 (6-10, 5.51 ERA in 22 starts) and in 1986 (2-4, 3.06 ERA in 6 starts).
  • Vuckovich was released after the 1986 season and retired.
  • After his retirement Pete worked as an announcer (1989-1991) for the Brewers. He also had a role in the movie Major League (Yankee slugger Clu Haywood).
  • Pete was a pitching instructor and a pitching coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates for several years. He then worked as a special assistant in the Pirate front office. After the 2011 season Vuckovich was hired by the Seattle Mariners as a special assistant to the General Manager.
  • Pete liked to wear two different brands of cleats during his games.
  • 1977 Stats: 7-7, 8 saves, 3.47 ERA in 53 games (8 starts)
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986

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