Friday, December 20, 2013

1978 Topps Baseball #43 - Bill Atkinson

  • Bill Atkinson was signed by the Montreal Expos on his 17th birthday in 1971. The Canadian right hander was in the minors for the next four years. Bill was short for a pitcher (5'7", 165 pounds).
  • Bill pitched for the AAA Denver Bears in 1976. At the end of the season he was called up to the Expos and pitched five scoreless innings in four September games.
  • Atkinson spent the entire 1977 season with the Expos. He had a 7-2 record with 7 saves and had a 3.35 ERA in 55 appearances.
  • Bill started the 1978 season with Montreal. He was sent to Denver in late June after a groin injury and spent two months there as he recovered from his injury. Atkinson was recalled in September and finished the season with the Expos. Bill was 2-2 with 3 saves and had a 4.37 ERA in 29 games in Montreal and was 1-3\with 6 saves and had a 7.41 ERA in 23 games with Denver.
  • In 1979 Atkinson didn't make the Montreal club and was in Denver for most of the season. Bill was recalled in September and pitched well (2-0, 1 save, 1.98 ERA in 10 games) down the stretch as the Expos were in a pennant race with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • After the 1979 season Atkinson was purchased by the Chicago White Sox. He spent the next four seasons (1980-1983) in the minors but never made it back to the major leagues. Bill was a player-coach in 1982 and in 1983.
  • After his professional career Atkinson returned to Chatham, Ontario and pitched in senior baseball leagues until 1999.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Montreal Expos: 2-2, 3 saves, 4.37 ERA in 29 games
    • Denver Bears (AAA): 1-3, 6 saves, 7.41 ERA in 23 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 15 - Earned the victory by pitching three scoreless innings as the Expos beat the New York Mets 4-3 in 11 innings.
    • June 7 - Pitched three scoreless innings and got the save as the Expos beat the San Diego Padres 4-0.
    • Sept 4 - Made his first major league appearance since June 28 and earned the save in Montreal's 6-5, 10 inning victory over the Chicago Cubs.