Sunday, June 29, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #178 - Dave Chalk

  • Dave Chalk played all over the infield in 1978. He spent the bulk of his time (92 games) at shortstop and he also played about 20 games each at third base and at second base. 
  • This was Dave's last season as a full-time player. He was a backup infielder from 1979-1981.
  • Chalk was injured while cutting a dinner roll on a team flight on May 28 and missed 5 games. 
  • 1978 Stats: .253, 1 HR, 34 RBI in 135 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 19 - Had three hits in California's 11-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
    • June 28 - Went 4 for 5 as the Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 9-5.
    • July 24 - Had three hits and singled in the winning run in the top of the 16th inning to help the Angels beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4.

Friday, June 27, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #177 - Gene Garber

  • Gene Garber had the most noted moment of his career in 1978 when he was the last pitcher Pete Rose faced when his 44-game hitting streak ended on August 1. Other Atlanta pitchers retired Rose earlier in the game, but Garber got the most ink due to Pete complaining after the game about Garber's joy in getting him out in his last at bat.
  • Gene started the 1978 season with the Phillies but on June 15 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Dick Ruthven. The Phillies had a strong bullpen but they needed more starting pitching.
  • Garber had probably the best season of his 19 year career in 1978. After coming over from Philadelphia, Gene became the Braves' closer and racked up 22 saves in the last 3 1/2 months of the season.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Philadelphia Phillies: 2-1, 3 saves, 1.40 ERA in 22 games
    • Atlanta Braves: 4-4, 22 saves, 2.53 ERA in 43 games
    • TOTAL: 6-5, 25 saves, 2.15 ERA in 65 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 7 - Shut out the New York Mets for four innings and earned the win as the Phillies beat the Mets 8-5.
    • July 3 - Struck out four batters in three shutout innings to save the game for starter Rick Camp. The Braves beat the LA Dodgers 4-2.
    • Aug 7 - Allowed one run in three innings and saved the game in Atlanta's 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #176 - Milt May

  • Milt May started 89 games behind the plate in 1978, but he was hearing footsteps from Lance Parrish. Parrish replaced May as the starting catcher the next season and May was sold to the Chicago White Sox in May 1979.
  • 1978 Stats: .250, 10 HR, 57 RBI in 105 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 11 - Had three hits (including a home run) and knocked in three runs to help the Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2.
    • May 24 - Went 3 for 4  as the Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2.

Monday, June 23, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #175 - Jerry Morales

  • After the 1977 season Jerry Morales was traded (with Steve Swisher and cash) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Hector Cruz and Dave Rader. Jerry was used as the Cardinals' starting right fielder for most of the season. Morales struggled in St. Louis and after the 1978 season he was traded to the Detroit Tigers.
  • 1978 Stats: .239, 4 HR, 46 RBI in 130 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 10 - Hit a 2-run home run to tie the game at 5-5 in the 5th inning. The Cardinals eventually beat the LA Dodgers 6-5.
    • May 30 - Had three hits and scored two runs as the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 8-2.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #174 - Wayne Garland

  • Wayne Garland started six games in April. He got roughed up in five of those starts. Garland took the loss in his only quality start of the season.
  • Wayne had tendonitis during spring training and then in late April he underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Garland was out for the rest of the 1978 season.
  • 1978 Stats: 2-3, 7.89 ERA in 6 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 8 - Started for the Indians on opening day and got the win in spite of allowing five runs in six innings. Cleveland beat the Kansas City Royals 8-5.
    • April 16 - Allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings but took the loss as the Royals beat the Indians 2-1.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #173 - Robin Yount

  • Robin Yount didn't play his first 1978 game until May 6. Yount was 22 years old but was already playing in his fifth season. Robin was named to post season all star teams by The Sporting News, AP, UPI, and Baseball Bulletin.
  • 1978 Stats: .293, 9 HR, 71 RBI in 127 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 8 - Had three hits and scored two runs (including the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning) in Milwaukee's come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees.
    • Sept 6 - Had four hits (including two home runs) and knocked in five runs as the Brewers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0.
    • Sept 19 - Scored both runs and homered as the Brewers shut out the Yankees 2-0.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #172 - Mike Hargrove

  • Mike Hargrove slipped to a career-low .251 average in 1978. He still got on base a lot -- Mike led the AL with 107 walks and had a .388 on base percentage.
  • A few weeks after the 1978 season Hargrove was traded to the San Diego Padres in a deal that involved five players and about $300,000. The Rangers needed the money after losing over $2 million in 1978. Hargrove was unhappy about the trade.
  • 1978 Stats: .251, 7 HR, 40 RBI in 146 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 25 - Had three hits and three RBI to help the Rangers beat the California Angels 9-5.
    • July 9 - Scored the winning run in the bottom of the 13th as the Rangers beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #171 - Pat Zachry

  • Pat Zachry's good 1978 season was shortened by an injury on July 24. He was angry after being removed from a game, kicked a batting helmet, and caught his spikes in a wooden step in the dugout. At first the injury wasn't considered to be serious, but Pat suffered a hairline fracture in his foot and was out for the rest of the season.
  • 1978 Stats: 10-6, 3.33 ERA in 21 starts.
  • 1978 Highlights:

Friday, June 13, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #170 - Lou Brock

  • Lou Brock had the roughest year of his Hall of Fame career in 1978. Brock played in only 92 games and batted only .221. He was benched by manager Ken Boyer in mid June 
  • Lou finished the season 100 hits short of 3,000. Brock would bounce back the next year, bat .301, and get his 3000th hit. Lou retired after the 1979 season.
  • 1978 Stats: .221, 0 HR, 12 RBI in 92 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 26 - Brock's RBI single in the top of the 8th inning proved to be the game winner as the Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1.
    • Aug 21 - Had three hits, scored two runs, and knocked in two runs in the Cardinals' 14-9 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #169 - Jerry Johnson

Monday, June 9, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #168 - Reggie Smith

  • Reggie Smith had a second straight productive season for the Dodgers in 1978. Reggie led the team with 29 home runs, was an NL All Star (0 for 3 in the game), and was fourth in NL MVP voting.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .295, 29 HR, 93 RBI in 128 games
    • NL Championship Series: .188 (3 for 16) in 4 games
    • World Series: .200 (5 for 25) in 6 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 3 - Had four hits, knocked in three runs, and scored twice in the Dodgers' 9-5 win over the Chicago Cubs
    • May 15 - Went 4 for 5 with a home run and four RBI to help the Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6. His 2-run double in the bottom of the 9th inning was the game winning hit.
    • Oct 14 - Hit a 3-run home run in the 5th inning that accounted for all of the Dodger runs in game 4 of the World Series. The home run put the Dodgers in the lead 3-1, but they were unable to hold the lead and lost 4-3 in 10 innings.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #167 - Tim Foli

  • Tim Foli was sold to the New York  Mets before the 1978 season. I guess they had to make room for Johnnie LeMaster. 
  • Foli got off to a really slow start. He was batting .141 on April 24 when he went out for a month with torn ligaments in his left knee. Tim came back on May 23, but on May 31 he was still  batting below the Mendoza line. Foli batted better in the last four months of the season and ended up with a .257 average.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • New York Mets: .257, 1 HR, 27 RBI in 113 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 5 - Doubled in the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 9th inning of the Mets' 9-8 victory over the LA Dodgers.
    • June 23 - Had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 11th inning. Foli singled in John Stearns with the bases loaded and two out to help the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.
    • Sept 26 - Went 3 for 3 with a run batted in and a run scored as the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1

Thursday, June 5, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #166 - Carlos Lopez

  • Carlos Lopez played for the Baltimore Orioles in 1978. After the 1977 season Lopez was traded (with Tommy Moore) for pitcher Mike Parrott.
  • Lopez played in 129 games in 1978, but he started only 48 games. Carlos was often used as a pinch hitter and as a pinch runner.
  • This was Lopez' last season in the major leagues. He spent the 1979 season in AAA Rochester and then played in the Mexican League from 1980-1985.
  • 1978 Stats: .238, 4 HR, 20 RBI in 129 games (198 at bats)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 10 - Had three hits in Baltimore's 4-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals
    • June 10 - Appeared as a pinch runner in the 9th inning and scored the only run of the game as the Orioles beat the Oakland A's 1-0.
    • Aug 10 - Scored the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Orioles beat the Royals 3-2.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #165 - Rennie Stennett

  • Rennie Stennett tried to bounce back from his 1977 ankle injury, but he wasn't able to play at the same level. Stennett batted .243 in 106 games for the Pirates in 1978. Rennie would be phased out as the Pittsburgh second baseman and he eventually finished his injury-shortened career with the San Francisco Giants in 1981.
  • 1978 Stats:  .243, 3 HR, 35 RBI in 106 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 22 - Had three hits and two RBI in Pittsburgh's 8-7 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
    • May 21 - Batted in the unfamiliar cleanup spot and contributed a grand slam as the Pirates beat the Montreal Expos 7-0.
    • July 17 - Singled in the tying run in the 10th inning to help the Pirates beat the San Diego Padres 8-7 in 10 innings.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #164 - Bob Owckinko

  • Bob Owchinko was a first round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1976. He had a good college career at Eastern Michigan University. He stuck it to the favored ASU Sun Devils during the 1976 College World Series.
  • Owchinko pitched for AA Amarillo in 1976 and was called up to the Padres in September. Bob was 0-2 in 2 starts for the Padres.
  • Bob started the 1977 season with AAA Hawaii. After going 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA in six starts, Owchinko was recalled to the Padres in late May. Bob had his ups and downs in 1977. He had a 9-12 record with a 4.45 ERA for the Padres. Owchinko was named the NL Rookie Pitcher of The Year by the Sporting News.
  • Owchinko had his best season in 1978. He had a sub .500 record (10-13) but Bob had a pretty good 3.56 ERA.
  • In 1979 Owchinko went back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation. He was roughed up by the Dodgers in his first start (4 runs in 2/3 inning) and then went to the bullpen for two weeks. Bob went back in the rotation in late April and was a starter until mid-June. Owchinko went back to the bullpen until mid-August and then was mostly a starter for the rest of the season. Bob ended up with a 6-12 record and had a 3.74 ERA in 44 games (20 starts).
  • After the 1979 season Owchinko was traded (with Jim Wilhelm) to the Cleveland Indians for Jerry Mumphrey. Bob spent the 1980 season with the Indians and was used as a swingman. Owchinko had his roughest season to date -- he went 2-9 with a 5.27 ERA in 29 games (14 starts).
  • Bob was traded twice between the end of the 1980 season and the beginning of the 1981 season. In December 1980 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a six player trade that brought Bert Blyleven to the Indians. Then in April 1981 Bob was traded from the Pirates to the Oakland A's for Ernie Camacho and cash.
  • Owchinko had a nice year as a middle reliever with the A's in 1981. Bob didn't pitch until May and pitched only 39 innings, but he had his first winning record (4-3). Owchinko saved one game and had a 3.20 ERA in 29 games. Bob made one appearance in the AL Championship Series and allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings.
  • In 1982 Bob slipped to a 2-4 record with a 5.21 ERA in 54 games.
  • Owchinko was cut by the A's during spring training in 1983. Bob was signed by the Pirates and spent most of the year in AAA Hawaii (10-6, 4.25 ERA in 21 starts). Owchinko pitched in one game for the Pirates late in the 1983 season - he pitched to two batters and allowed a home run and a double.
  • After the 1983 season Bob was sold on waivers to the Cincinnati Reds. Owchinko pitched for Class A Tampa for a couple of weeks and then was called up to the Reds. Bob went 3-5 with 2 saves and had a 4.12 ERA in  49 games (4 starts).
  • Bob became a free agent after the 1984 season but did not sign until April 1985. Owchinko pitched in AAA for the A's from April to July 1985 and then was sold to the Chicago White Sox. Bob finished the season pitching in AAA for the White Sox.
  • Owchinko was released by the White Sox in September 1985. He thought his career was over and prepared to use his marketing degree to do something else. Bob made a video of his career highlights along with some clips of him working out and talking about how he can still contribute. He sent the video to 20 teams. Out of those teams, the Montreal Expos were the only team to take a look at him. The Expos signed Bob to a minor league contract and he pitched for AAA Indianapolis in 1986. The Expos needed a pitcher in September and called Owchinko up.  Bob started three games for the Expos late in 1986 and was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Owchinko hung up his spikes after the 1986 season.
  • 1978 Stats: 10-13, 3.56 ERA in 36 games (33 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 17 - Pitched a shutout as the Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-0.
    • July 25 - Allowed five hits and no walks in a complete game 2-1 victory over the Pirates.
    • Aug 2 - Allowed one run in seven innings and got the win as the Padres beat the LA Dodgers 2-1. The Padres swept the series, much to the Dodgers' chagrin.