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.