Saturday, March 3, 2018

1978 Topps Baseball #351 - Jeff Torborg

  • Jeff Torborg was a backup catcher with the LA Dodgers and the California Angels from 1965-1973. 

  • Jeff was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. My father was born there a year earlier. I wonder if they knew each other.

    •  Torborg was tasked with replacing Frank Robinson as manager of the Indians in 1977. He managed the team for part of 1977, all of 1978, and part of 1979 before being let go in July 1979.
    • After his dismissal from the Indians Jeff coached with the New York Yankees from 1979-1988.
    • Jeff managed the Chicago White Sox from 1989-1991. He was named AL Manager of the Year in 1990.
    • Torborg moved to the New York Mets for the 1992 season. He had a rough time as the Mets' manager and lasted one full season and a partial season in 1993.
    • Jeff was a sportscaster for the remainder of the 1990s and was hired to manage the Montral Expos in 2001.
    • Jeff moved from the Expos to the Florida Marlins in 2003 after Jeff Loria sold the Expos and bought the Marlins. Torborg was replaced by Jack McKeon early in 2003 and the Marlins went on to win the World Series under McKeon.
    • Torborg was a sportscaster for a few years and is now living in New Jersey.

  • Managerial Record:

      • Minor League Career: Never managed in the minors
      • Major League Career: 634-718 (.469) in 11 seasons
        • Cleveland Indians (1977-1979): 157-201 .439
        • Chicago White Sox (1989-1991): 250-235 (.515)
        • New York Mets (1992-1993): 85-115 .425
        • Montreal Expos (2001): 47-62 .431
        • Florida Marlins (2002-2003): 95-105 .475

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #350 - Steve Garvey

    • Even though Steve Garvey was a Dodger, his cards were always among the most desired by the kids on my block.
    • Steve had a good year in 1978, leading the NL with 202 hits. He was an NL All Star for the fifth of eight straight seasons. He was on the NL All Star team a total of ten times during his career. 
    • Steve started the season with a 21-game hitting streak and had a 20-game hitting streak at the end of the season (it was broken on the last day of the season when he had only one at bat to preserve his consecutive games streak).

    • 1978 Stats:
      • Regular Season: .304, 26 HR, 106 RBI in (his usual) 162 games
      • NL Championship Series: .389, 4 HR, 7 RBI in 4 games; NLCS MVP
      • World Series:.208, 0 HR, 0 RBI in 6 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • Aug 8 - Knocked in all three Dodger runs with two home runs as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 3-2.
      • Sept 10 - Had five hits as the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 11-5.
      • Oct 4 - Homered twice and tripled to lead the Dodgers to a 9-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in game 1 of the NL Championship Series.

    Friday, February 9, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #349 - Rick Camp

    • Rick Camp was a middle reliever for the Braves in 1978. He started four games in June and July and those starts may have landed him on the disabled list. Rick's first start came on June 27. He had pitched 1.2 innings on June 25. Then he made a relief appearance on June 30. Camp started a game two days later on July 3. He made two more starts before going on the DL. Rick pitched pretty well as a starter -- he won two of his four starts and pitched six scoreless innings in another start but didn't get the decision.
    • Rick pitched in AAA Richmond in 1979 and then had his two best seasons in 1980 and 1981. In 1980 Camp was just happy to be on the team after enduring a nerve problem in his arm.
    • 1978 Stats: 2-4, 3.75 ERA in 42 games (4 starts)
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • July 3 - Went six innings and earned his first win of the season over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves beat the Dodgers 4-2.
      • July 15 - Pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his last start and got the victory in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Monday, February 5, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #348 - Del Unser

    • Although Del Unser played for several teams, I always think of him as a Phillie. Perhaps it's because the first card I saw of him was the 1974 card and he was pictured with the Phillies. Or perhaps it was because he was a member of the famous 1980 Philadelphia team.
    • Del had his toughest year (except his final season) of his career. He was in the starting lineup in eight of the Expos' first nine games, but after that his starts were infrequent (about 1-2 a month). 
    • 1978 Stats: .196, 2 HR, 15 RBI in 130 games (179 AB)
    • 1978 Highlights
      • April 9 - Had two hits, scored a run, and knocked in a run in a 5-0 win over the New York Mets
      • July 1 - Homered in the bottom of the 9th inning to lead the Expos to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals

    Sunday, February 4, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #347 - Terry Forster

    • Terry Forster left the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1977 season and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent. Terry's signing was done early enough for Topps to airbrush him into a Dodger uniform for his 1978 card.
    • Forster led a talented Dodger staff in saves and in ERA in 1978. Terry even went 4 for 8 for a .500 batting average.
    • He had a rough time with injuries in 1979 and in 1980.
    • 1978 Stats:
      • Regular Season: 5-4, 22 saves, 1.93 ERA in 47 games
      • NL Championship Series: 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 1 game
      • World Series: 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 3 games (4 innings)
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • Sept 11 - Got a 3-inning save as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 7-2. It was Terry's 19th save of the season. Forster was a "Giant Killer" in 1978 -- he was 2-1 with 4 saves in eight games against the Giants.
      • Oct 7 - Pitched a scoreless top of the 10th inning in game 4 of the NL Championship Series and then got the victory when Bill Russell singled in Ron Cey with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th

    Friday, February 2, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #346 - Larry Biittner

    • Larry Biittner was a backup left fielder and first baseman for the Chicago Cubs.
    • 1978 Stats: .257, 4 HR, 50 RBI in 120 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 28 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the top of the 10th inning and singled in the eventual winning run to help the Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3
      • June 16 - Had four hits and scored twice in Chicago's 7-6 win over the Houston Astros.
      • Sept 24 - Had two hits and knocked in the winning run in the top of the 9th inning as the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018

    1978 Topps Baseball #344 - Sam Ewing

    • There are some rough looking cards in this part of my set. I'll need to get a card lot or something to replace some of these.
    • This was Sam Ewing's last major league season. After the season he went to Japan for the 1979 season.
    • Sam Ewing had some good years in AAA but except for the 1977 season he didn't have much success in the majors.
    • 1978 Stats:
      • Toronto Blue Jays: .179, 2 HR, 9 RBI in 40 games.
      • Syracuse Chiefs (AAA): .233, 1 HR, 5 RBI in 8 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • May 15 - Singled in two runs as a pinch hitter during a 9-run Toronto outburst in the 7th inning. Toronto beat the California Angels 10-6.
      • July 1 - Pinch hit for Luis Gomez and hit a 2-run home run in Toronto's 9-3 win over the Cleveland Indians