Friday, March 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball # 125 - George Scott

  • This was George Scott's last year as a starting first baseman. He was out for about five weeks from late April to early June. He initially went out due to back trouble. George came back from the disabled list on May 15 and broke the middle finger on his throwing hand and was out for another couple of weeks. Scott slumped to his lowest offensive numbers since 1968. He appears to be in a jovial mood on this card though.
  • Scott passed away on July 28, 2013.
  • 1978 Stats: .233, 12 HR, 54 RBI in 120 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 29 - Hit a grand slam in the 5th inning of Boston's 10-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners
    • Aug 30 - Went 3 for 5 with a triple and a run scored as Boston beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1. He also had two hits in the second game of the doubleheader, but the Red Sox lost that one 7-6. 
    • Sept 27  - Had three hits, including a 2-run home run, as Boston beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #124 - Dave Rozema

  • Dave Rozema was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1974. The Giants didn't offer him a signing bonus, so he turned them down. In 1975 Rozema was drafted by the hometown Detroit Tigers. Dave signed with the Tigers and had two great seasons in the minors.
  • When Mark Fidrych was injured during spring training in 1977, a spot was opened up for Rozema. He made the most of his opportunity, going 15-7 with a 3.09 ERA and finishing fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Dave finished behind Eddie Murray, Mitchell Page, and Bump Wills in the balloting.
  • Rozema wasn't a hard thrower. He relied on his control and a great changeup. Dave led the league in walks per nine innings in his rookie season and finished his career with a nice 2.1 walks per nine innings mark.
  • Although Dave didn't throw very hard, he was still susceptible to injuries. Dave had two three-week stretches in 1977 in which he didn't make a start due to tendinitis. In 1978 Rozema had shoulder woes that made him miss a few starts. Dave went 9-12 with a 3.18 ERA in 28 starts in 1978.
  • In 1979 Rozema missed three months with a shoulder injury. He went 4-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 16 starts.
  • Dave had several off-field incidents that got him in trouble. In 1980 he had been up late judging a wet T-shirt contest. Rozema overslept and missed a flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He caught a later flight and then got roughed up in that night's game. In 1982 he and his future brother-in-law Kirk Gibson were goofing around in a bar. Gibson kicked a chair out from under Rozema and he fell. Dave had a bottle of medicine in his back pocket and it shattered. Just before the opening of the 1982 season Dave playfully shoved Alan Trammell at a bar. Trammell's face hit the rim of a beer mug and the injury required 40 stitches.
  • In 1980 Dave began the season as a starting pitcher. After six starts Rozema was converted to a relief pitcher. He still made occasional spot starts over the next few years. Dave ended up with a 6-9 record with four saves and had a 3.92 ERA in 42 games (13 starts).
  • Rozema had a similar role in 1981 (5-5, 3 saves, 3.63 ERA in 28 games (9 starts).
  • Dave got off to a good start in 1982. In the middle of May he had a 3-0 record with a 1.63 ERA. Unfortunately he severely injured his knee during an on-field brawl on May 14. Rozema had surgery  and missed the rest of the season.
  • Rozema came back in 1983 and had a pretty good year (8-3, 3.43 ERA in 29 games/16 starts). 
  • Dave started off the 1984 season well. Rozema was 7-0 in mid-July, but he tailed off and finished with a 7-6, 3.74 ERA line. Dave wasn't used in the postseason. 
  • After the 1984 season Rozema became a free agent. He wasn't sure about what his role would be in Detroit, so he signed a 2-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Dave didn't have a good experience in Texas. The team was struggling and so did Dave (3-7, 4 saves, 4.19 ERA in 34 games / 4 starts).
  • The 1986 season was Rozema's final season. He had a 5.91 ERA in six appearances when he was released on May 6. Dave was signed by the Chicago White Sox two weeks later, but he spent the year in AAA. Rozema pitched in the minors in 1987 and in 1988 but he never got back to the majors.
  • After his playing career Rozema worked for a diagnostic imaging company and has made some occasional TV and radio appearances with the Tigers.
  • 1978 Stats: 9-12, 3.14 ERA in 28 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 29 - Allowed seven hits and shut out the Seattle Mariners 5-0.
    • Sept 15 - Pitched a 4-hit shutout against the Cleveland Indians.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #123 - Manny Trillo

  • This was the last of four seasons that Manny Trillo spent as the Chicago Cubs' starting second baseman. After the 1978 season Trillo was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. 
  • In 1978 Trillo was right at league average in fielding percentage, but he would improve his defense and win three Gold Gloves in the next four seasons in Philadelphia. 
  • 1978 Stats: .261, 4 HR, 55 RBI in 152 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 9 - Had four hits in Chicago's 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates
    • May 2 - Went 2 for 4 and doubled in the winning run in the 10th inning as the Cubs beat the LA Dodgers 5-4.
    • July 23 - Went 2 for 4 and scored two runs to help the Cubs beat the San Diego Padres 4-3.

Monday, March 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #121 - Alvis Woods

  • Alvis Woods started the 1978 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. After going 2 for 17 (.113) in six games Woods was sent to AAA in mid April. Alvis played well for Syracuse and was brought back up in late July. Woods was the starting left fielder for most of the last 2 1/2 months of the 1978 season.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Toronto Blue Jays: .241, 3 HR, 25 RBI in 62 games
    • Syracuse Chiefs (AAA): .310, 11 HR, 49 RBI in 81 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 8: Went 3 for 4 and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th inning of Toronto's 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.
    • Aug 25: Had a home run and two doubles and knocked in four runs as the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #120 - Gary Carter

  • Gary Carter was real close to succeeding Johnny Bench as the National League's best catcher in 1978. From 1979-1988 Carter would be an All Star catcher for the NL every year.
  • Gary slipped a bit offensively in 1978. It was more of a pitcher's year as baseball adjusted to the 1977 expansion. Carter did have one career high -- he stole 10 bases during the season.
  • 1978 Stats: .255, 20 HR, 72 RBI in 157 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • May 3 - Hit a grand slam and knocked in a total of five runs in Montreal's 10-3 win over the Houston Astros.
    • July 30 - Went 4 for 5 with 4 runs scored as the Expos hammered the Atlanta Braves 19-0.
    • Sept 11 - Hit a 2-run home run in the 4th inning to help the Expos beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #119 - Denny Martinez

  • Dennis Martinez had a good year in 1978. It was his first season as a full-time starter. Martinez was part of a good rotation with ace Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, and Scott McGregor. All four won 15 or more games and each starter pitched 13 or more complete games.
  • 1978 Stats: 16-11, 3.52 ERA in 40 games (38 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 16: Pitched a shutout against the Oakland A's. Baltimore won the game 6-0.
    • Aug 25: Pitched a 2-hit shutout against the Seattle Mariners as the Orioles won the game 5-0.
    • Oct 1: Allowed two runs and got his 16th win of the year as the Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2. The game capped off an amazing run in which Martinez pitched 12 complete games in 14 starts between July 29 and October 1. One of Dennis' "non-complete" games was an 11-inning game in which Martinez pitched 11 innings and allowed no runs (the Orioles lost 1-0 but Dennis didn't get the decision). Martinez went nine innings in the other game and didn't get the decision.

Friday, March 14, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #118 - Terry Harmon

  • Terry Harmon was released at the end of spring training in 1978 and retired. Harmon had managed to stay with the same team for ten years. He endured some lean times in his career, such as in 1974 when he spent the whole year with the Phillies but got in only 27 games and batted only 15 times. Three infielders (Dave Cash, Larry Bowa, and Mike Schmidt) played in 162 games that year, so Terry had a hard time getting into games. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #117 - John Montague

  • John Montague had a rough 1978 season. He missed a month from late May to late June and then didn't pitch after July 26.  John had a hip pointer that bothered him all season.
  • 1978 Stats: 1-3, 2 saves, 6.18 ERA in 19 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 22 - Earned his only win of the year by shutting out the Chicago White Sox over the last 3 2/3 innings. The Mariners beat the White Sox 8-6 in ten  innings.
    • July 19 - Pitched three shutout innings and earned the save in Seattle's 6-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #116 - Tucker Ashford

  • Tucker Ashford was the second player taken in the 1974 draft. Ashford played in the San Diego Padres' system from 1974-1976 and had a September call-up in 1976 (3 for 5 in 4 games).
  • Tucker started the 1977 season in AAA Hawaii and was brought up in July. Tucker batted .217 in 81 games for the Padres in 1977.
  • Ashford started the 1978 season in Hawaii. He had a good April (.311 in 14 games) and was brought up in May. He was used as a utility player and as a pinch hitter and batted .245 in 75 games.
  • Tucker spent the 1979 season in Hawaii and batted .255 with 13 home runs.
  • Before the 1980 season Ashford was traded (with Gaylord Perry and a minor leaguer) to the Texas Rangers for first baseman Willie Montanez. Tucker spent most of the year in AAA Charleston (.279, 8 HR). He was brought up for three weeks in June but he didn't fare well (.125 in 15 games)
  • Tucker was traded (with cash) to the New York Yankees for Rich Holt before the 1981 season. Ashford played in AAA Columbus for the 1981 (.300 with 17 HR) and 1982 (.331, 10 HR, 101 RBI) seasons. Tucker played in three games for the Yankees in 1981 but he didn't come to the plate.
  • After the 1982 season Ashford was purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays. He was returned to the Yankees just before the start of the season. Finally in mid April Tucker was traded to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers. Ashford spent some time in AAA Norfolk and then was with the Mets for most of the rest of the 1983 season. Tucker was used mostly as a late inning defensive player by  the Mets, and batted .179 in 35 games
  • At the end of spring training in 1984 Ashford was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Tom Edens. He started the season with the Royals, but he batted only .154 in 9 games. Tucker spent the rest of the 1984 season in AAA Rochester. Rochester was actually the AAA team of the Balitmore Orioles -- Ashford was probably there on loan.
  • Ashford became a free agent after the 1984 season. He played a little bit for Philadelphia's AAA Portland club, but Ashford hung 'em up after going 3 for 30 (.100) in 16 games.
  • After his playing career Tucker managed in the Mets' system from 1985-1988. Ashford decided to join his father's meat business after the 1988 season because the constant travel caused him to be away from his family too much
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Hawaii Islanders (AAA): .311, 0 HR, 6 RBI in 14 games
    • San Diego Padres: .245, 3 HR, 26 RBI in 75 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 24: Went 3 for 5 with a home run and three runs batted in as the Padres beat the LA Dodgers 9-3.
    • July 1: Was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI in San Diego's 9-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #112 - Houston Astros

  • The 1978 Houston Astros were only really distinguishable by their uniforms and the number of stolen bases they had. The team had little power, which wasn't helped by playing their home games in the Astrodome. Cesar Cedeno missed almost 2/3 of the season with a torn knee ligament. The pitching was below average (8th in team ERA), and the Astros got virtually no production from the catcher's position. Jose Cruz or J.R. Richard had good years and were probably better choices as the team's representative to the All Star Game instead of Terry Puhl.

  • Team Record: 74-88, .457, 5th in NL West, 21 games behind LA Dodgers
  • Managers(s): Bill Virdon
      • Attendance: 1,126,145 (9th in NL)
      • Team Batting: .258 (3rd in NL)
      • Team Home Runs: 70 (12th in NL)
      • Team Stolen Bases: 178 (2nd in NL)
      • Team ERA: 3.63 (8th in NL)
      • Team Fielding: .978 (4th in NL)
      • NL All Stars: Terry Puhl (OF)
      • Award Winners: none
      • League Leaders: Enos Cabell (AB - 660); J.R. Richard (strikeouts - 303; walks - 141; wild pitches - 16)
      • Batting Leader: Jose Cruz (.315)
      • HR Leader: Bob Watson (14)
      • RBI Leader: Jose Cruz (83)
      • Stolen Base Leader: Jose Cruz (37)
      • Victory Leader: J.R. Richard (18)
      • Losses Leader: Mark Lemongello / Joe Niekro (14)
      • Saves Leader: Joe Sambito (14)
      • Best ERA (starters): J.R. Richard (3.11)
      • Best ERA (relievers): Ken Forsch (2.70)
      • Players who could have had 1978 Astros cards (over 100 AB for position players, over 40 innings pitched for pitchers):
        • Jesus Alou -OF- (no card in 1978) - .324, 2 HR, 19 RBI in 77 games
        • Jimmy Sexton -SS- (rookie card in 1979) - .206, 2 HR, 6 RBI in 88 games
        • Luis Pujols -C- (rookie card in 1979) - .131, 1 HR, 11 RBI in 56 games
        • Bruce Bochy -C- (rookie card in 1980) - .266, 3 HR, 15 RBI in 54 games
        • Rafael Landestoy -SS- (rookie card in 1979) - .266, 0 HR, 9 RBI in 59 games
        • Vern Ruhle -P- (pictured with Detroit Tigers) - 3-3, 2.12 ERA in 13 games (10 starts)
        • Tom Dixon -P- (rookie card in 1979) - 7-11, 1 save, 3.99 ERA in 30 games (19 starts)

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #115 - Gary Nolan

    • Gary Nolan had already thrown his last major league pitch by the time this card came out. Nolan struggled through injuries in 1977 and was unable to bounce back. Gary was released by the Angels in January 1978 and later signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers cut Nolan during spring training and Gary retired.

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #114 - Paul Blair

    • Paul Blair wasn't used very much by the Yankees in 1978. Blair started 20 games -- the remainder of his appearances were as a late inning defensive replacement. Paul also made some appearances in the infield.
    • On December 26, 2013 Paul passed away. He played a round of golf that morning and then collapsed at a celebrity bowling tournament later in the day. Paul was 69 years old.
    • 1978 Stats:
      • Regular Season:  .176, 2 HR, 13 RBI in 75 games
      • AL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 6) in 4 games
      • World Series: .375 (3 for 8) in 6 games
    • 1978 Highlights: 
      • Aug 29 - Singled in the winning run off of Dave LaRoche in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Yankees beat the California Angels 3-2. Graig Nettles doubled to lead off the inning. He was sacrificed to third and then the Angels walked the next two batters to load the bases and to get to Blair.
      • Oct 14 - Went 2 for 4 and scored the tying run in the bottom of the 8th as the Yankees won Game 3 of the World Series. The Yankees beat the LA Dodgers 4-3.

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #113 - Don Carrithers

    • Don Carrithers was released by the Twins during spring training in 1978. He was in a serious automobile accident in 1977 and was unable to come back from his injuries.
    • After his release from the Twins, Don pitched for the AAA Phoenix Giants for two seasons. Carrithers was never called up to the majors and retired after the 1979 season.
    • 1978 Stats:
      • Phoenix Giants (AAA): 7-8, 2 saves, 4.62 ERA in 34 games (16 starts)

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #111 - Mike Tyson

    • Mike Tyson was the starting second baseman for the Cardinals in 1978. It would be his last season as the full-time 2B for the team. Mike was right at league average in fielding, but his offense left something to be desired. Ken Oberkfell came up the following season and took over the starting job at 2B. 
    • 1978 Stats: .233, 3 HR, 26 RBI in 125 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • June 30 - Doubled in the winning run in the 10th inning of the Cardinals' 2-1 victory over the Montreal Expos
      • Sept 4 - Doubled and scored what would be the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning as the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.

    Monday, March 3, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #110 - Richie Zisk

    • Richie Zisk signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent after the 1977 season. Topps airbrushed Zisk into a Rangers uniform.
    • Zisk was an AL all star for the second straight year. He played in every game until July 14 and then sat out three games. Richie went on the disabled list in late July and missed three weeks.
    • 1978 Stats: .262, 22 HR, 85 RBI
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 28 - Hit a 2-run home run off of closer Bill Campbell in the bottom of the 11th inning to lead the Rangers to a come from behind 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. He also singled in two runs in the 6th inning.
      • April 30 - Doubled in the tying run (again off of Campbell) in the bottom of the 9th inning. Bobby Thompson, pinch running for Zisk, scored the winning run later in the inning. The Rangers beat the Red Sox 2-1. It was the Rangers' 6th straight win.
      • Aug 25 - Hit a grand slam as the Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1.

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #109 - Joe Torre

    • Joe Torre didn't inherit a good situation in his first managing job. The New York Mets had traded away a lot of good players (especially the great Tom Seaver) and were struggling to field a decent team. Joe became a player-manager on May 31, 1977. That lasted only a few weeks -- Torre retired as a player in late June.
    • The Mets weren't a good team during Torre's tenure with the club. They overhauled their entire pitching staff in 1977 and in 1978, and by 1979 they had only two experienced starting pitchers
    • Torre was let go as the Mets' manager at the end of the 1981 season. They had two last place finishes and two fifth place finishes during Torre's 3 1/2 seasons managing the club.
    • Three weeks after he was fired by the Mets Torre was hired to manage the Atlanta Braves. The Braves won the NL West under Torre in 1982 (he was  named NL Manager of the Year) and finished second in 1983. After a disappointing 80-82 finish in 1984 Joe was fired.
    • Torre was a color commentator for the California Angels from 1985-1990. 
    • Late in the 1990 season Joe was hired to replace Whitey Herzog as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals had winning records in each of Torre's full seasons as manager, but they never made the playoffs. Torre was fired during the 1995 season.
    • Joe became the manager of the New York Yankees in 1996. The team had a great run of success during Joe's tenure as manager. They won four world championships, six AL pennants, and made the playoff every season from 1996-2007. Torre had the second longest managerial tenure in team history. Only Joe McCarthy managed the team for a longer period of time.
    • After the 2007 season Torre turned down an offer to return to the Yankees (he would have had to take a pay cut) and took an offer to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers won the NL West in 2008 and in 2009. Torre stepped down as the Dodger manager after the 2010 season.
    • Torre now works for the Commissioner's office. He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 2013.
    • Managerial Record:
      • New York Mets (1977-1981): 286-420, .405
      • Atlanta Braves (1982-1984): 257-229, .529, 1 NL West title
      • St. Louis Cardinals (1990-1995): 351-354, .498
      • New York Yankees (1996-2007): 1173-767, .605, 6 AL pennants, 4 World Championships
      • Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-2010): 259-227, .533, 2 NL West titles
      • TOTAL: 2326-1997, .538, 5th all time in wins, 6th all time in losses
      • Awards: AL Manager of the Year 1996, 1998

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

    1978 Topps Baseball #49 - Ed Kranepool

    • Ed Kranepool was mostly relegated to pinch hitting duties in 1978. Kranepool made only 15 defensive appearances during the season. It was Ed's penultimate season -- he would retire after the 1979 season.
    • 1978 Stats: .210, 3 HR, 19 RBI in 66 games (81 at bats)
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • June 30 - Pinch hit for Tom Grieve in the 9th inning with the Mets behind 3-2 and singled in John Stearns with the tying run. Ed later scored the go-ahead run. The Mets scored a couple more times in the inning. The Mets needed those extra runs as the Pirates scored twice in the bottom of the 9th. The Mets won the game 6-5.
      • Sept 14 - Pinch hit for pitcher Mardie Cornejo  in the bottom of the 6th inning and hit a 3-run home run. The hit put the Mets ahead 7-6. The Mets beat the Expos by the same score.