Tuesday, December 30, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #240 - Gene Tenace

  • Gene Tenace started 67 games at first base and 56 games behind the plate for the Padres in 1978. Tenace wasn't known for his catching, but his stats were slightly above league average. 
  • Gene wasn't happy with the way he was being used and was open to the idea of being traded during the 1978 season. Tenace stayed with the Padres through the 1980 season before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • 1978 Stats: .224, 16 HR, 61 RBI in 142 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 8 - Went 2 for 3 with a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored in San Diego's 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves. From this day until the end of the season Tenace started most of his games at catcher.
    • July 28 - Homered twice and knocked in five runs to lead the Padres to an 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals
    • Aug 10 - Had three hits (including a double and a home run) and five RBI as the Padres beat up on the Cincinnati Reds 15-3.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #239 - Dyar Miller

  • Dyar Miller had his best season in 1978. Miller was the oldest pitcher on the California staff. It was a young staff -- Miller was 32 years old.
  • 1978 Stats: 6-2, 1 save, 2.66 ERA in 41 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 2 - Pitched three scoreless innings and earned the win in California's 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers.
    • July 23 - Entered the game with 2 out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Angels lost the game on a passed ball by Brian Downing. Miller must have been injured on the play -- he didn't pitch another game until August 22.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #238 - Juan Beniquez

  • Juan Beniquez was the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers in 1978. Beniquez had career highs in home runs (11), RBI (50), and runs (61).
  • The writeup on the back of this card may have jinxed Beniquez. Juan won a Gold Glove in 1977, but after that his fielding percentage was below league average every year except one from 1978 until the end of his career in 1988.
  • 1978 Stats:  .260, 11 HR, 50 RBI in 127 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 12 - Went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI in the Rangers' 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles
    • May 18 - Had four hits and four RBI to help the Rangers beat the Oakland A's 6-4.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #237 - Rich Dauer

  • Rich Dauer split time with Billy Smith at second base for the Orioles in 1978. In addition to starting 85 games at 2B, Rich also started 30 games at 3B.
  • Dauer set an AL record for most consecutive errorless games for a second baseman in 1978. Rich had 425 errorless chances in a row in 86 games.
  • 1978 Stats: .264, 6 HR, 46 RBI in 133 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 30 - Doubled twice and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
    • July 24 - Had three hits and scored three runs in Baltimore's 10-6 win over the Texas Rangers.
    • Sept 8 - Went 3 for 5 with a run scored and 2 RBI to help the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

Friday, December 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #236 - Terry Whitfield

  • Terry Whitfield was the starting left fielder for the Giants in 1978. Terry had career highs in most offensive categories. Terry hit for average pretty well, but he didn't walk much. Whitfield mostly batted second and sixth during the season.
  • 1978 Stats: .289, 10 HR, 32 RBI in 149 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • May 14 - Had three hits and scored two runs in the Giants' 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Scored the winning run in the 10th inning.
    • Aug 27 - Went 4 for 5 with two RBI to help the Giants beat the Montreal Expos 11-3.
    • Sept 3 - Hit a pinch single and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning as teh Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.

Friday, December 5, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #235 - Tim McCarver

  • Tim McCarver was mostly a pinch hitter in 1978. Tim started 34 games behind the plate (mostly in Steve Carlton's starts). McCarver also saw a little bit of action at first base.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .247, 1 HR, 14 RBI in 90 games
    • NL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 4), 2 runs scored in 2 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 20 - Went 4 for 6 with 1 run scored and 1 RBI in Philadelphia's 9-4 win over the New York Mets.
    • June 30 - Had two hits and scored a run to help the Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5.
    • Aug 19 - Doubled twice as the Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 3-0.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #227 - Al Fitzmorris

  • This was the final major league season for Al Fitzmorris. He started out with the Cleveland Indians but  didn't play until May due to an injury. Al pitched for a month but was ineffective and was released on July 13. The California Angels signed Fitzmorris on July 18 and  he had some good games with the Angels. 
  • Al became a free agent after the season and signed with the San Diego Padres. He served as a player-coach and started eight games for AAA Hawaii.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Cleveland Indians: 0-1, 6.28 ERA in 7 games
    • Salt Lake City Gulls (AAA): 0-0, 7.20 ERA in 1 start
    • California Angels: 1-0, 1.71 ERA in 9 games (2 starts)
    • TOTAL: 1-1, 3.13 ERA in 16 games (2 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 4: Picked up his final major league victory by allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins. The Angels won the game 12-3.
    • Aug 27: Allowed two runs in seven innings in his final major league start. Fitzmorris had no decision in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Monday, December 1, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #234 - Herman Franks

  • Herman Franks was a good-field/no-hit catcher during his playing career. Franks started with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and then moved on to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1940. He had a large gap in his career during World War II. Herman became a player-manager in AAA in 1947, but then left the Dodgers to be a backup catcher for two years with the Philadelphia A's.
  • Franks worked as a coach under Leo Durocher with the New York Giants from 1949-1955. Franks was alleged to have been involved in a scheme to steal the opposing catcher's signs during critical games (including the Bobby Thomson home run game) in 1951.
  • After the 1955 season Franks left the Giants. He briefly did some scouting for the Giants and then served as the General Manager of the AAA Salt Lake City Bees from 1956-1964. During that time Franks had short stints as a Giants coach in 1958 and in 1964.
  • Herman replaced Alvin Dark as manager of the Giants in 1965. The Giants had four straight second place finishes during his tenure from 1965-1968.
  • Franks stepped down as the Giants' manager after the 1968 season. He mostly stayed out of baseball except for a short stint as the Chicago Cubs' pitching coach in 1970.
  • After the 1976 season Franks was hired as manager of the Cubs. The team had a good year in 1977 and were above .500 in both 1978 and in 1979. Herman resigned with one week to go in the 1979 season.
  • Herman had a short stint as the General Manager of the Cubs in 1981. 
  • Franks died at the age of 95 on March 30, 2009.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #233 - Dick Pole

  • Dick Pole's final major league season was in 1978. Pole had a rough time in '78, posting his highest career ERA. He was sent down to AAA in July and never made it back to the majors. 
  • Pole was released by the Mariners during spring training in 1979. He pitched for several teams in AAA from 1979-1981.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Seattle Mariners: 4-11, 6.48 ERA in 21 games (18 starts)
    • San Jose Missions (AAA): 0-4, 4.22 ERA in 6 games (5 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 16 - Pitched 8.1 innings and allowed four runs. Pole earned the win in Seattle's 8-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.
    • May 23 - Earned his final career win by allowing two earned runs in seven innings. The Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #232 - Mickey Stanley

  • In the late 1970s the Detroit Tigers were finishing their turnover of the roster. Mickey Stanley was the last Tiger remaining from the 1968 world championship team. Stanley was a backup outfielder and first baseman in 1978.  Mickey was released after the 1978 season.
  • 1978 Stats: .265, 3 HR, 8 RBI in 53 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 11 - Had three hits in Detroit's 7-3 win over the Chicago White Sox
    • Aug 19 - Had two hits and scored a run to help Detroit beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #231 - Wayne Nordhagen

  • Wayne Nordhagen was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1968. Wayne spent a long time in the minors -- he didn't make it to the majors until 1976 when he was in his fifth organization and was 26 years old. The Yankees traded Nordhagen to the Atlanta Braves in 1973. He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975. Wayne was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in April 1976 and then was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Rich Coggins in July 1976.
  • Nordhagen finally made his major league debut on July 16, 1976. He batted .188 in 22 games for the White Sox.
  • Wayne was in the majors to stay in 1977. He was a backup outfielder during his career, but he also saw some action behind the plate. Nordhagen batted .315 with 4 HR and 22 RBI in 52 games in 1977.
  • Nordhagen had another good year as a bench player in 1978, batting .301 with 5 HR and 35 RBI in 68 games. He didn't play from mid July until early September.
  • Wayne was a good bat off of the bench during his career. He batted .280 in 1979.
  • Nordhagen got the most playing time of his career in 1980. He played in 123 games and batted .277 with 15 HR and 59 RBI.
  • Wayne also got a lot of playing time in the strike-shortened 1981 season. In 65 games Nordhagen batted .308.
  • The 1982 season was an odyssey for Wayne. On April 2 he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Aurelio Rodriguez. Wayne was then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Davis on June 15. On the same day Nordhagen was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bill Robinson. Wayne spent a week in a Pirate uniform and played in one game and then he was traded back to the Blue Jays for Davis. Nordhagen had a bad back that the Pirates didn't know about. Nordhagen went back to the Blue Jays and the Pirates got Davis. All together Wayne batted .275 in 73 games.
  • After the 1982 season Nordhagen became a free agent and signed with the Chicago Cubs. He had a tough time in his final season, batting .143 in 21 games. Wayne was released by the Cubs on June 9.
  • 1978 Stats: .301, 5 HR, 35 RBI in 68 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 7 - Had two hits and doubled in the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5.
    • May 12 - Knocked in a run with a double in the third inning that put the White Sox up 4-0. The White Sox held on to win the rain-shortened game 4-3 over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #230 - Al Hrabosky

  • Before the 1978 season Al Hrabosky was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Littell and Buck Martinez. Hrabosky led the Royals with 20 saves.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular season: 8-7, 20 saves, 2.88 ERA in 58 games
    • AL Championship Series: 0-0, 3.00 ERA in 3 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 8 - Gave up Carl Yastrzemski's 368th career home run. Manager Whitey Herzog ordered Al to intentionally walk Jim Rice to get to the left handed hitting Yaz. Carl hit a 3-run home run to ice the 8-4 Boston victory.
    • Aug 15 - Pitched three shutout innings to earn his 15th save in Kansas City's 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers

Friday, November 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #229 - Leo Foster

  • Leo Foster's major league career was over when we were pulling his card from 1978 packs. Foster was traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jim Burton on March 29, 1978. Leo played sparingly for AAA Pawtucket in 1978 and then played in Puerto Rico in 1979.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA): .239, 3 HR, 15 RBI in 48 games

Monday, November 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #228 - Manny Mota

  • Manny Mota was used exclusively as a pinch hitter in 1978. Mota set the record (since broken) for pinch hits in 1979.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .303 (10 for 33), 0 HR, 6 RBI in 37 games
    • NL Championship Series: 1 for 1 in 2 games
    • World Series: 0 for 0, 1 BB in 1 game
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 22 - Doubled in three runs to help the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 8-1.
    • Aug 24 - Singled in the winning run in the  bottom of the 8th inning of the Dodgers' 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies

Saturday, November 15, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #226 - Joe Ferguson

  • Joe Ferguson started the 1978 season with the Houston Astros. On July 1 Joe was traded to the LA Dodgers for Jeffrey Leonard and Rafael Landestoy. Ferguson then teamed up with Steve Yeager behind the plate for the NL Champions. It was Ferguson's second stint with the Dodgers. Yeager got the larger share of the playing time during the playoffs.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Houston Astros: .207, 7 HR, 22 RBI in 51 games
    • Los Angeles Dodgers: .237, 7 HR, 28 RBI in 61 games
    • TOTAL: .224, 14 HR, 50 RBI in 112 games
    • NL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 2) in 2 games
    • World Series: .500 (2 for 4) in 2 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Sept 6 - On my 12th birthday Ferguson doubled twice, homered, and knocked in four runs to help the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 9-2. 
    • Sept 16 - Singled in both Dodger runs in a 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #225 - Don Gullett

  • Don Gullett was on the disabled list until early June 1978. Don had a rough start on June 4 and then won four of his next five starts. It looked like Gullett was back from his arm woes. Gullett lost his next two starts and that was it for his career. Rotator cuff problems caused Don to miss the rest of the 1978 season. 
  • Don had rotator cuff surgery in September 1978. Gullett tried to recover in 1979 and 1980, but he couldn't make it back. Don was released in late 1980.
  • 1978 Stats: 4-2, 3.63 ERA in 8 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 15 - Got his first win of the season when he pitched six scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees won 5-2.
    • June 30 - Had a complete game victory for his last major league win. The Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 10-2.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #224 - Jerry Tabb

  • Jerry Tabb starred for the University of Tulsa from 1971-1973. Tabb was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1971 College World Series and was an All-American in 1973. Tabb was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round in 1973. He continued to take classes at the University of Tulsa and got his degree in petroleum engineering in 1976.
  • Tabb worked his way through the Cubs system and earned a September call-up in 1976. Jerry batted .292 in 11 games for the Cubs.
  • After the 1976 season Jerry was purchased by the Oakland A's. Tabb hit very well in AAA San Jose (.344 in 84 games). Jerry played for the A's for various stretches during the 1977 season and batted .222 with 6 HR and 19 RBI in 51 games. Tabb's progress was blocked by new first baseman Dave Revering.
  • Jerry Tabb spent May 1978 with the Oakland A's. That was the last of his time in the major leagues. Tabb played in 97 games for the AAA Vancouver Canadiens and hit very well, but he retired after the 1978 season.
  • Jerry went on to be an oil engineer for Texaco and Chevron. He is now the owner of C-T Oil & Gas Consultants in Texas.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Oakland A's: .111 (1 for 9), 0 HR, 1 RBI in 12 games
    • Vancouver Canadiens (AAA): .357, 18 HR, 75 RBI in 97 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 12: Appeared as a pinch hitter and singled in a run in Oakland's 10-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #223 - Bruce Kison

  • Bruce Kison started the 1978 season as a relief pitcher. He moved into the starting rotation after the All Star Break and was 4-4 as a starter.
  • Kison had problems with a cracked fingernail during the previous season.
  • 1978 Stats: 6-6, 3.19 ERA in 28 games (11 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 2: Pitched eight shutout innings and allowed three hits as the Pirates beat the Montreal Expos 3-0.
    • Sept 1: Allowed two hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates won the game 3-0.

Friday, October 31, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #222 - Jerry Martin

  • Jerry Martin was a valuable fourth outfielder for the Phillies in 1978. 
  • Martin had knee surgery in October 1978.
  • After the 1978 season Martin was involved in an eight player trade with the Chicago Cubs that brought Manny Trillo to the Phillies.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .271, 9 HR, 36 RBI in 128 games
    • NL Championship Series: .222 (2 for 9), 1 HR in 4 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 28 - Hit a three-run home run to lead the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres
    • June 4 - Had two hits and a walk and scored in three times in Philadelphia's 9-4 victory over the LA Dodgers
    • Aug 7 - Had three hits and scored the tying run in the bottom of the 9th in the Phillies' 8-7 come from behind victory over the Montreal Expos.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #221 - Chris Speier

  • Chris Speier started at shortstop for the Expos in 1978. He didn't do a whole lot with the bat, but Chris was an above average fielder. Speier continued as the starter for the Expos through the 1982 season.
  • 1978 Stats: .251, 5 HR, 51 RBI in 150 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 17 - Had three hits and scored a run in Montreal's 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds
    • May 25 - Was hit by a pitch from St. Louis pitcher John Urrea. Speier was batting .288 at the time, but he was removed from the game and missed the next week. Speier's batting average steadily declined until it settled at about the .250 mark in late June. His batting average stayed around .250 for the rest of the year.
    • July 20 - Hit for the cycle and knocked in six runs to help the Expos beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3.

Monday, October 27, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #220 - Pedro Borbon

  • Pedro Borbon's high 4.98 ERA wasn't helped by a really rough outing in April. Borbon allowed seven runs in one inning pitched as the Reds got pounded by the LA Dodgers 14-4. Borbon's ERA shot up to 12.46 and it didn't recover until late July. Pedro took two more for the team in late July and early August (5 runs in 5.1 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies and six runs in five innings against the Atlanta Braves) which doomed him to having the highest ERA of his career.
  • 1978 Stats: 8-2, 4 saves, 4.98 ERA in 62 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 6: Pitched two shutout innings and earned the victory on opening day as the Reds beat the Houston Astros 11-9.
    • June 25: Pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win against the LA Dodgers. The Reds won the game 5-4.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #219 - Mike Cubbage

  • Mike Cubbage was the starting third baseman for the Minnesota Twins in 1978. Mike was a left-handed batter, so he often sat out against lefty starting pitchers. 
  • Cubbage didn't provide much power from the third base position and he was supplanted by John Castino in 1979. 
  • Cubbage was an above-average fielder in 1978, but in other years he was usually below average.
  • 1978 Stats: .282, 7 HR, 57 RBI in 125 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 6 - Had four hits, four RBI, and scored three times in Minnesota's 8-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles
    • July 27 - Hit for the cycle and knocked in four runs to help the Twins beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3.
    • July 28 - Had two hits and two runs scored as the Twins beat the New York Yankees 7-5 in ten innings. Cubbage scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #218 - Marty Pattin

  • Marty Pattin did good work as a middle reliever and spot starter for the Royals in 1978. 
  • Pattin retired after the 1980 season and coached the Kansas University baseball team from 1982-1987.
  • Here is a good story from 2011 about Pattin's career.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular season: 3-3, 4 saves, 3.32 ERA in 32 games (5 starts)
    • AL Championship Series: 0-0, 27.00 ERA in 1 game
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 15 - Picked up his first victory of the year by pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings in the Royals' 6-5 win over the Cleveland Indians.
    • July 23 - Allowed one hit and no runs in 6 1/3 innings and earned the win as the Royals beat the Boston Red Sox 7-3.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #217 - Rod Gilbreath

  • This would be Rod Gilbreath's last season in the majors. Gilbreath played most of his games at third base in 1978, but a .331 slugging percentage was way too low for a third baseman.
  • Gilbreath was released by the Braves during spring training in 1979. Rod signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and spent 1979 and 1980 in AAA.
  • I just noticed while looking at Rod's cards at zistle.com that someone is selling a PSA-10 of this card for $149.99. 
  • 1978 Stats: .245, 3 HR, 31 RBI in 116 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 6 - Walked and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Braves beat the Houston Astros 2-1.
    • Aug 1 - Had three hits and knocked in three runs in Atlanta's 16-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds
    • Sept 5 - Hit a grand slam to help the Braves beat the San Diego Padres 8-1.

Friday, October 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #216 - Mike Paxton

  • Mike Paxton was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1975. Mike quickly moved up in the Boston farm system. After starting the 1977 season with a 5-0 record and a 0.82 ERA in 7 starts for AAA Pawtucket, Paxton was called up to the majors in late May of 1977.
  • Paxton started in his first game for the Rex Sox on May 25. He got rocked and was used out of the bullpen for the next two months. Mike was put in the starting rotation in late July and had some success. He ended the 1977 season with a 10-5 record adn a 3.83 ERA in 29 games (12 starts).
  • On March 30, 1978 Paxton was traded (with Ted Cox, Rick Wise, and Bo Diaz) to the Cleveland Indians for Dennis Eckersley and Fred Kendall. Mike started the season in the bullpen. He earned the save on opening day by pitching three shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals. Paxton went into the starting rotation in May and after a few rough outings had a good season. Mike went 12-11 and had a 3.86 ERA in 1978.
  • Paxton had a rougher time in 1979. Mike was rocked in his first few starts. Even though he had a 4-2 record, Mike's ERA stood at 5.98 in early June. Paxton pitched out of the bullpen for three weeks in June. Mike was a starter for most of the rest of the season, but he had an 8-8 record with an ERA of 5.92.
  • Mike appeared in only four major league games in 1980 (0-0, 12.91 ERA). In early May Paxton was sent to AAA Tacoma. He would never see major league action again. 
  • Paxton pitched in AAA through the 1981 season and then retired at the age of 28.
  • 1978 Stats: 12-11, 1 save, 3.86 ERA in 33 games (27 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 3 - Pitched a six-hit shutout against the Baltimore Orioles
    • July 21 - Pitched a two-hit shutout against the Seattle Mariners. Mike struck out four batters in the fifth inning. Dan Meyer reached on a passed ball after striking out. Paxton then struck out the next three batters.