Friday, May 30, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #163 - Bill North

  • Bill North was the last of the players from the Oakland A's dynasty years to escape from Charlie Finley. North started the season with the A's. It was his option year and Finley cut his salary from $75,000 to $64,000. Under Finley's orders North didn't start many games in April and May. Bill was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 17 for Glenn Burke. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda was glad the deal was made. North was used as a fourth outfielder by the Dodgers. He posted an excellent .371 on base percentage during the regular season, but he didn't do much in the post season.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Oakland A's: .212 in 24 games
    • Los Angeles Dodgers: .234, 27 steals in 110 games
    • NL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 8) in 4 games
    • World Series: .125 (1 for 8) in 4 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 20 - Scored two runs (the tying run in the 7th inning and the winning run in the 9th inning) to help the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2.
    • Aug 30 -Went 3 for 5 with two runs scored (including the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning) as the Dodgers beat the Montreal Expos 4-3.
    • Oct 10 - Appeared as a pinch hitter and hit a 2-run double in the 7th inning of the Dodgers' 11-5 victory over the New York Yankees in game 1 of the World Series.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #158 - Joaquin Andujar

  • Joaquin Andujar was in Houston's starting rotation for the first 2 1/2 months of the season. He was out for six weeks from mid-June until late July due to a pulled leg muscle. When Andujar came back he was used as a reliever for the rest of the season.
  • 1978 Stats: 5-7, 1 save, 3.42 ERA in 35 games (13 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 19 - Allowed one run in eight innings and earned his first victory as the Astros beat the San Diego Padres 2-1.
    • May 6 - Pitched nine innings and allowed only an unearned run. The Astros lost to the Atlanta Braves 2-1 in 10 innings.
    • July 30 - Earned the victory in his first appearance in six weeks. Andujar pitched a scoreless top of the 9th inning and the Astros scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th to win the game 4-3.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #160 - Jim Palmer

  • Jim Palmer had his eighth (and last) 20-win season in 1978. Jim was an AL All Star (he started the game and allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings) and won a Gold Glove award. Palmer completed 19 of his 38 starts and led the AL with 296 innings pitched.
  • 1978 Stats: 21-12, 2.46 ERA in 38 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 15 - Pitched a 2-hit shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers in his first start of the season. Jim struck out seven batters and walked only one in Baltimore's 7-0 victory.
    • June 1 - Shut out the AL East rival New York Yankees 1-0 on two  hits.
    • Sept 23 - Pitched a complete game and earned his 20th win of the season as the Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 6-1.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #162 - Paul Thormodsgard

  • Paul Thormodsgard was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1971. Paul progressed through the Reds' system and was highly regarded, but injuries derailed his advancement out of the minors.
  • Paul was released by the Reds after the 1974 season. He had an elbow operation and also had a bad back. Thormodsgard credited a chiropractor with saving his career.
  • Thormodsgard was signed by the Minnesota Twins after the 1975 season. Paul pitched in class A Reno in 1976 and then made the Twins roster in 1977. Thormodsgard went 11-15 and had a 4.62 ERA in 37 starts for the Twins in 1977.
  • Paul started the 1978 season with the Twins but he had a tough time. After winning his first start, Paul went 1-6 with a 5.05 ERA in 12 starts in 1978. In early June Thormodsgard was sent to AAA Toledo. He went 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 5 games with the Mud Hens.
  • Toledo manager Carl Ermer was optimistic about the Mud Hens' chances in 1979 due in part to the presence of Thormodsgard in the starting rotation. Paul spent most of the 1979 season in Toledo and went 7-13 with a 2.94 ERA in 28 starts. Thormodsgard was called up to the Twins in September and pitched in one game (he allowed one run in one inning pitched. That was the last major league action Paul had.
  • After the 1979 season Paul was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Pete Mackanin (this newspaper article says he was traded for minor leaguer Dan Graham -- perhaps Mackanin was substituted later). Thormodsgard spent the 1980 season in AA Oklahoma City. Paul had a 5-5 record with a 2.95 ERA in 35 games (8 starts). He retired after the 1980 season.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Minnesota Twins: 1-6, 5.05 ERA in 12 starts
    • Toledo Mud Hens (AAA): 4-0, 2.00 ERA in 5 games (4 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 8: Pitched a complete game and earned his only victory of the year as the Twins beat the Seattle Mariners 8-2.
    • May 24 - Pitched nine innings and allowed two runs in a 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.
    • Aug 30 - Had a complete game victory that reduced the Mud Hens' magic number for clinching an International League playoff spot to 3. The Mud Hens beat the Tidewater Tides 2-1.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #161 - Bob Boone

  • Bob Boone was an NL All Star in 1978 and he won his first Gold Glove award. Boone had a .991 fielding percentage and threw out 35% of would-be base stealers.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular season: .283, 12 HR, 62 RBI in 32 games.
    • NL Championship Series: .182 (2 for 11) in 3 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 24 - Went 3 for 4 with three runs scored in Philadelphia's 12-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.
    • July 1 - Hit a solo home run in the 5th inning that was the eventual game-winning hit as the Phillies beat the Cubs 2-1.
    • Aug 26 - Doubled in two runs to help the Phillies beat the LA Dodgers 3-1.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #159 - Lou Piniella

  • Although his batting average was down a bit from his career-high .330 in 1977, Lou Piniella had another good year for the Yankees. Lou was a big part of the Yankee offense in the late 70s.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .314, 6 HR, 69 RBI in 130 games
    • AL Championship Series: .235 (4 for 17) in 4 games
    • World Series: .280 (7 for 25) in 6 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 2: Homered, knocked in two runs, and scored twice to help the Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 4-2.
    • June 14: Had four hits and three RBI in New York's 11-9 win over the Seattle Mariners.
    • July 14: Went 4 for 5 with a home run and 2 RBI as the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 7-6.

Friday, May 16, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #157 - Pete LaCock

  • Here is another card of a player scratching himself. First Rick Monday, now Pete LaCock. I wonder why Topps chose some of these photos.
  • Even though Pete LaCock was better known for his glove, he was no slouch at the plate. Pete had some good  years in the late 1970s as a platoon first baseman. LaCock started 80 games at first base in 1978 and batted .295 for the season. Pete also had an excellent AL Championship Series, batting .364 in four games.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular season: .295, 5 HR, 48 RBI in 118 games
    • AL Championship Series: .364 (4 for 11) in four games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 31 - Doubled and scored twice in Kansas City's 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
    • June 24 - Homered, doubled, and knocked in four runs as the Royals beat the Oakland A's 7-5.
    • Oct 4 - Had two hits knocked in a run, and scored a run to help the Royals beat the New York Yankees 10-4 in game 2 of the AL Championship Series.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #156 - Andy Messersmith

  • Andy Messersmith actually pitched for the New York Yankees in 1978. Messersmith was sold to the Yankees by the Atlanta Braves on December 7, 1977.
  • He had a tough time due to injuries. Andy pitched in only six games from late May to early July.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • New York Yankees: 0-3, 5.64 ERA in 6 games (5 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 29 - Allowed no runs in five innings pitched but didn't get the decision as the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 2-0. It was Andy's only outing in which he didn't give up any runs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #155 - Butch Hobson

  • Butch Hobson played through elbow, knee, and hamstring injuries in 1978. The most serious of these injuries was bone chips in his throwing elbow that hampered his ability to throw the ball to first base. Butch made 43 errors in 1978 and had an .899 fielding percentage. It was the first time since 1916 that an everyday third baseman had a fielding percentage below .900.
  •  1978 Stats: .250, 17 HR, 80 RBI in 147 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • Apr 14 - Broke out of a slump by going 3 for 5 with a home run and 2 runs scored. Butch scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 5-4.
    • June 2 - Hit a grand slam to lead the Red Sox to a 6-1 win over the California Angels.
    • Aug 28 - Doubled in the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 10-9.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #154 - Cecil Cooper

  • Cecil Cooper had another good year for the Brewers in  1978 even though he missed almost seven weeks with an injury in June and July. 
  • 1978 Stats: .312, 13 HR, 54 RBI in 107 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 26 - Went 3 for 4 with a home run as the Brewers beat the Boston Red Sox 6-4.
    • May 21 - Had four hits and singled in the winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth as the Brewers beat the California Angels 2-1.
    • Aug 23 - Knocked in four runs in Milwaukee's 9-4 win over the Cleveland Indians

Thursday, May 8, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #153 - Steve Stone

  • The expression on his face really matches his last name.
  • Steve Stone led the White Sox with 12 victories in 1978. It was the second year he led the team in that category.
  • After the 1978 season Stone went to the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent. He would have his Cy Young season in 1980 and then pitch in his final major league game a year later.
  • 1978 Stats: 12-12, 4.37 ERA in 30 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 5 - Pitched a 2-0 shutout against the Cleveland Indians
    • July 24 - Earned the win by pitching a complete game and allowing only one run in Chicago's 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #152 - Ivan DeJesus

  • Ivan De Jesus was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1969. DeJesus worked his way through the Dodgers' system, but there wasn't room for him on the major league club. After having limited playing time in 1974, 1975, and 1976 Ivan was traded (with Bill Buckner and a minor leaguer) to the Chicago Cubs for Rick Monday and Mike Garman.
  • DeJesus was given a chance by the Cubs and he made the most of it. DeJesus played in 155 or more games in each of the next four seasons (1977-1980). Ivan batted .266 with 91 runs scored in 1977. 
  • Ivan led the NL in runs scored (104) in 1978 and also stole 41 bases.
  • In 1979 DeJesus scored 92 runs and batted .283. He also had a career high with 10 triples.
  • Ivan's stats started to drop off in 1980. He dropped to .259 and scored only 78 runs. DeJesus did steal a career high 44 bases.
  • DeJesus played in 106 games in 1981, but that was the strike year. He had a .194 batting average and Ivan's days in Chicago were numbered. After the 1981 season DeJesus was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa (WHOOOOOOPS!!).
  • Ivan was the starting shortstop for the Phillies from 1982-1984. He didn't put up the numbers that he did in Chicago. In 1982 DeJesus batted  .239 in 161 games, in 1983 he batted .254 in 158 games, and in 1984 Ivan batted .257 in 144 games. In 1983 DeJesus batted .250 (3 for 12) in the NL Championship Series and .125 (2 for 16) in the World Series.
  • In 1985 the Phillies gave the starting shortstop job to Steve Jeltz. DeJesus was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Dave Rucker. Ivan backed up Ozzie Smith at shortstop and Terry Pendleton at third base. Both players were durable, so DeJesus didn't get to play much (.222 in 78 at bats). 
  • DeJesus became a free agent after the 1985 season and signed with the Montreal Expos. He didn't make the team and was released at the end of spring training. Ivan signed with the New York Yankees on May 1 and spent some time with AAA Columbus. He went 0 for 4 in seven games for the Yankees and was released on June 24. Ivan then signed with the Cincinnati Reds in July and played in the minors but was released after a couple of weeks.
  • In 1987 DeJesus signed with the Cardinals. Ivan spent some time in AAA but was released by the Cardinals in June without  getting back to the majors. He signed with the San Francisco Giants,   played in AAA Phoenix, and spent a little bit of time in San Francisco (2 for 10 in 9 games).
  • DeJesus moved on to Detroit in June 1988. He spent most of the year in the minors but was up with the Tigers for about a week in July (.176 in 7 games). Ivan played in the minors for the Tigers in 1989 but he never made it back to the majors.
  • After his playing career DeJesus had various managing and coaching jobs, mostly in the minors. Ivan served as a coach with the Chicago Cubs in 2010 and in 2011.
  • 1978 Stats: .278, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 104 runs scored
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 16 - Went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 1 RBI to help the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1.
    • June 16 - Had three hits and knocked in the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th inning against the Houston Astros. The Astros were able to tie the game twice in the 9th and 10th innings, but the Cubs eventually won the game 7-6 in 12 innings.
    • July 28 - Doubled and scored the only run in the game in the 7th inning of Chicago's 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Monday, May 5, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #151 - Milt Wilcox

  • Milt Wilcox had what was thus far his best year in 1978. Milt was third on the Detroit staff in victories and had his first season with double figure wins.
  • Wilcox had both good and rough streaks in 1978. He lost all five of his starts in June and then he won six straight starts at the end of July and through the month of August.
  • 1978 Stats: 13-12, 3.76 ERA in 29 games (27 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 7 - Shut out the Oakland A's on four hits as the Tigers won 4-0.
    • May 31 - Struck out nine batters and walked only one in a 3-0 shutout win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #150 - Bobby Bonds

  • Bobby Bonds played for two teams in 1978 and neither one of them was the California Angels. After the 1977 season Bonds was traded (with Thad Bosley and Rich Dotson) to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Downing, Chris Knapp, and David Frost. Bonds played in  games for the White Sox and then on May 16 was traded to the Texas Rangers for Rusty Torres and Claudell Washington.
  • Bobby had his last 30-30 season in 1978 -- he hit 31 home runs and stole 43 bases.
  • Here is a promo video that Bonds did for bat day in 1978:

  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Chicago White Sox: .278, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 26 games
    • Texas Rangers: .265, 29 HR, 82 RBI in 130 games
    • TOTAL: .267, 31 HR, 90 RBI in 156 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 23 - Went 3 for 3 with two home runs and six RBI to lead the Rangers to a 7-0 victory over the California Angels.
    • July 28 - Homered twice and knocked in four runs as the Rangers beat the White Sox 9-5.
    • Sept 25 - Hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning in the Rangers' 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #149 - Dale Murray

  • Dale Murray spent the 1978 season with two different teams. Murray pitched in 15 games for the Reds and on May 19 he was traded to the New York Mets for Ken Henderson. The 6'4" Murray ended up pitching in 68 games for the season.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Cincinnati Reds: 1-1, 2 saves, 4.15 ERA in 15 games
    • New York Mets: 8-5, 5 saves, 3.65 ERA in 53 games
    • TOTAL: 9-6, 7 saves, 3.78 ERA in 68 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 23 - Pitched three scoreless innings and earned the win as the Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1.
    • Aug 19 - Was the winning pitcher in New York's 8-4 win over the LA Dodgers. Murray pitched two innings without allowing a run. Dale was 2-0 with 1 save and had a 1.13 ERA in 9 games and 16 innings pitched against the Dodgers.

Friday, May 2, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #148 - Andre Thornton

  • Andre Thornton had a very nice year as the Cleveland first baseman in 1978. He led the team in home runs and RBI, and he also walked 93 times and scored 97 runs. It's surprising that Thornton didn't make the AL All Star team.
  • Before the 1978 season Andre had to deal with a family tragedy. On October 17, 1977 the car he was driving slid off of the road in windy and icy conditions. His wife and daughter were both killed in the accident.
  • When I think of Andre Thornton I think of the old Time Travel tabletop baseball game. It was a game that had special rules so that players across eras could compete against each other. Andre was hit by a pitch and because of the "time travel" factor (and in a very rare play) he was killed by the pitch. I wrote, "dead-do not use" on his card and never used it again. For sentimental reasons, I wish I still had that game.

  • 1978 Stats: .262, 33 HR, 105 RBI in 145 games
  • 1978 Highlghts:
    • Apr 22 - Hit for the cycle in Cleveland's 13-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Each of his hits was off of a different pitcher.
    • May 13 - Singled in both Cleveland runs as the Indians beat the California Angels 2-1.
    • Sept 14 - Doubled in a run in the first inning and later scored on a home run. Thornton had two doubles to help the Indians beat the Red Sox 4-3.