Monday, April 28, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #147 - Lee Mazzilli

  • Lee Mazzilli had the first of three good seasons in a row as the starting center fielder for the New York Mets in 1978. Lee's best year would be in 1979, but his 1978 season was a preview of things to come. 
  • 1978 Stats: .273, 16 HR, 61 RBI in 148 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 8 - Doubled and homered to help the Mets to a 6-5 victory over the Montreal Expos.
    • May 21 - Had three hits and scored three runs as the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 in 10 innings. Mazzilli scored what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the 10th.
    • Aug 30 - Went 4 for 6 with a home run, three runs scored, and three RBI in the Mets' 10-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #146 - Doyle Alexander

  • Doyle Alexander's win total dropped from a career high of 17 in 1977 to only nine in 1978. Alexander allowed one more hit per nine innings in 1978 - the rest of his stats were virtually identical.
  • It looks like Alexander had a stint on the 15 day disabled list in late August and early September. He started the game on August 16 and came out of the game after pitching 1 1/3 innings. Doyle didn't pitch again until September 2. He made three relief appearances before returning to the starting rotation on September 10.
  • 1978 Stats: 9-10, 3.86 ERA in 31 games (28 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 26 - Earned his first win of the year by shutting out the Cleveland Indians 3-0.
    • May 3 - Allowed one run in a 2-1 complete game win against the Baltimore Orioles.
    • Aug 12 - Won his first game in six weeks as the Rangers beat the Indians 2-1. Alexander pitched the first seven innings and didn't allow a run.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #145 - Rick Monday

  • This card has always been odd to me. An "action" picture of a player scratching an itch isn't exactly glamorous.
  • Monday was an All Star for the second and last time in 1978. Rick started in right field and went 0 for 2.
  • The "home run" game result on the back of this card makes me think of "Blue Monday." Blue Monday was game 5 of the NL Championship Series. I can remember watching it in Mrs. Ryan's sophomore English class. My friend Jeff and I were the only ones in the class who wanted Montreal to win. Rick hit the home run that eventually won the game (and the NL Pennant) for the Dodgers.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .254, 19 HR, 57 RBI in  119 games
    • NL Championship Series: .200 (2 for 10) in 3 games
    • World Series: .154 (2 for 13) in 5 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 19 - Was 3 for 3 with two home runs and four RBI in the Dodgers' 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
    • Aug 15 - Had three hits, including a game-tying solo home run in the 6th inning, as the Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4.

Friday, April 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #144 - Jesse Jefferson

  • Jesse Jefferson was the fourth starter for the Blue Jays, but he led the team in several categories (innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, and ). Jefferson took the loss in seven of his last eight starts to finish the season 7-16.
  • Jefferson died at the age of 62 of prostate cancer on September 8, 2011.
  • 1978 Stats: 7-16, 4.38 ERA in 31 games (30 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 23 - Shut out the Chicago White Sox on three hits for his first victory of the season.
    • June 2 - Went the distance and earned the win in Toronto's 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.
    • Aug 9 - Pitched a shutout for his last victory of the season as the Blue Jays beat the White Sox 8-0.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #143 - Keith Hernandez

  • Keith Hernandez won the first of 11 straight Gold Glove awards in 1978. He would be the reigning NL Gold Glove winner at first base from 1978-1988. Hernandez had a fall-off at the plate in 1978 -- it would be his worst offensive season between 1976 and 1988.
  • 1978 Stats: .255, 11 HR, 64 RBI in 159 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • April 10 - Went 4 for 5 in the Cardinals' 11-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
    • May 29 - Scored two runs and had three hits to help the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 6-2.
    • Aug 20 - Had two hits and scored three runs as St. Louis beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #142 - John Montefusco

  • John Montefusco bounced back from having a losing record in 1977 to having a winning record in 1978. It was his last winning record until 1983.
  • Candlestick Park had artificial turf for most of the 1970s. It was installed in 1971 to keep the dust down and was removed after the 1978 football season.
  • 1978 Stats: 11-9, 3.81 ERA in 36 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 15 - Allowed one unearned run in a complete game 6-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
    • Aug 2 - Went the distance and earned the victory in San Francisco's 4-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Monday, April 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #141 - Ruppert Jones

  • This is the second card within a short span that mentioned "the ____ representative at the 1977 All Star Game." It's as if Topps felt like these players (Wayne Gross and Ruppert Jones) would not have been on the team if it weren't for the "every team has a representative" rule. 
  • Ruppert Jones had a big drop-off in 1978. He batted only .235 with 6 home runs after batting .263 with 24 home runs in 1977.
  • Jones had surgery to remove torn cartilage from his knee after the 1977 season. He was out for five weeks due to an emergency appendectomy in June and July.
  • 1978 Stats: .235, 6 HR, 46 RBI in 129 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 23 - Doubled in the go-ahead run in the 6th inning as the Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3.
    • June 5 - Homered and doubled in Seattle's 7-3 win over the New York Yankees.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #140 - Rollie Fingers

  • Rollie Fingers spent four seasons as a San Diego Padre, but I never got used to seeing him in that uniform.
  • Fingers led the NL with 37 saves in 1978. Rollie was an NL All Star and pitched two scoreless innings in the 1978 All Star Game.
  • 1978 Stats: 6-13, 37 saves, 2.62 ERA in 67 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 7 - Pitched two scoreless innings and earned the save as the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 3-2 in the opening game for both teams.
    • June 10 - Allowed one run in four innings and earned the save in San Diego's 10-8 win over the  Chicago Cubs.
    • Aug 26 - Picked up his 30th save by pitching two scoreless innings as the Padres beat the New York Mets 2-1.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #139 - Wayne Gross

  • Wayne Gross went from being an "all star" in 1977 to spending some time in the minors in 1978. Wayne struggled early and never really got untracked. It was the toughest season of Wayne's 11 year career.
  • 1978 Stats: 
    • Oakland A's: .200, 7 HR, 23 RBI in 118 games
    • Vancouver Canadians (AAA): .411, 3 HR, 10 RBI in 17 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 14 - Hit a home run in the bottom of the 7th inning to put the A's ahead to stay in a 2-1 victory over the California Angels.
    • May 20 - Hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th inning as the A's beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3.
    • June 5 - Went 3 for 4 with two RBI to help the A's beat the Boston Red Sox 9-7.

Friday, April 18, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #138 - Larry Demery

  • Larry Demery had alrready pitched in his last major league game when this card was produced. Demery was waived by the Pirates during spring training in 1978. He was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays but was returned to the Pirates a few days later. Larry pitched in the minors from 1978-1980, but it was only for 2-4 games a year. Demery called it quits after the 1980 season.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #137 - Craig Kusick

  • Craig Kusick was a DH and a firstbaseman for the Twins in 1978. Kusick was a good pinch hitter and backup in previous seasons, but he struggled in 1978.
  • It's interesting that most of his cards feature him wearing dark glasses.
  • 1978 Stats: .173, 4 HR, 20 RBI in 77 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Apr 14 - Went 3 for 5 with 5 RBI in Minnesota's 14-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners
    • May 24 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 out and the Twins trailing the Texas Rangers 2-1 and hit a home run to tie the game. The Twins eventually lost 3-2 in 11 innings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1976 Topps Baseball #136 - Ted Sizemore

  • Ted Sizemore struggled in 1978. He was out with an injury for almost two months from late April to late June. Ted ended up with his lowest batting average as a regular player. Sizemore did have a good NL Championship Series, batting .385 in four games.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .219, 0 HR, 25 RBI in 108 games
    • NL Championship Series: .385 (5 for 13) in 4 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 23 - Went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored in Philadelphia's 13-2 win over the Houston Astros.
    • Oct 6 - Had two hits and scored two runs as the Phillies beat the LA Dodgers 9-4 in game 3 of the NL Championship Series.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #135 - Ron Guidry

  • Ron Guidry had about the best season I can remember for a starting pitcher in 1978. He was dominant during the regular season, winning 25 games in the regular season and one each in the AL Championship Series and the World Series. Ron won the AL Cy Young Award and was second in AL MVP voting. Guidry started the season 13-0 in his first 17 starts and didn't lose a game until July 7.
  • Guidry didn't become a full-time major leaguer until he was 26 years old and he retired at the age of 37. If he would have had a few more years in the majors he might have been a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. Ron had a winning percentage of .630 or better in each of his first seven full seasons (and eight of his first nine). Guidry retired with a .651 lifetime winning percentage.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: 25-3, 1.74 ERA in 35 starts
    • AL Championship Series: 1-0, 1.13 ERA in 1 start
    • World Series: 1-0, 1.00 ERA in 1 start
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Sept 24 - Pitched a 2-hit shutout and struck out ten batters in New York's 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians
    • Oct 2: Pitching on three days rest, Guidry was the winning pitcher in the 1-game playoff that decided the AL East title. The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4. Ron allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
    • Oct 13: In spite of walking  seven batters Ron had a complete game 5-1 victory over the LA Dodgers in game 3 of the World Series. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #134 - Steve Henderson

  • Steve Henderson was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1974. Steve progressed through the Cincinnati farm system and put up good number, but he wasn't able to break into the Big Red Machine outfield. 
  • On June 16, 1977 Steve was traded (with Doug Flynn, Pat Zachary, and Dan Norman) to the New York Mets for Tom Seaver. Henderson was brought up to the Mets and he had a fine rookie season (.297, 12 HR, 65 RBI in 95 games). Steve finished second to Andre Dawson in a close vote for NL Rookie of the Year.
  • Henderson was hit with the sophomore jinx in 1978. Steve played in 157 games but his batting average was down to .266. Henderson did have a career high with 30 doubles.
  • Steve was headed for a good bounceback season in 1979, but his season was cut short by an injury on July 30. Henderson played in one game in late September, but he missed over two months. Steve batted .306 in 98 games.
  • Henderson reclaimed the starting left field spot in 1980 and batted .290 with 8 home runs and 58 RBI. After the 1980 season Steve was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Dave Kingman.
  • The 1981 season was shortened by the strike. Steve played in 82 games and batted .293 with 5 HR and 35 RBI.
  • Steve had his toughest season in 1982. He lost his starting LF job in late May and had only one hit in June and one hit in July. Henderson batted .233 in 92 games. After the 1982 season Henderson was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Rich Bordi.
  • The 1983 season was Henderson's last as a full-time starting player. He batted .294 with 10 HR and 54 RBI in 121 games. In 1984 Steve became a fourth outfielder and DH and batted .262 with 10 HR and 35 RBI in 109 games. Henderson filed a grievance against the Mariners because he felt the team was colluding to curtail his freedom of movement after the 1983 season.
  • Henderson became a free agent after the 1984 season. He didn't sign a contract during that winter and finally signed with the Oakland A's during spring training in 1985. Steve was a pinch hitter, DH, and extra outfielder during his time with the A's. In 1985 Henderson batted .301 in 85 games.
  • In 1986 Henderson was the odd man out in a crowded Oakland outfield. He played in only 11 games in April and May and went 2 for 26 (.077). At the end of May Steve was released. He signed with the Chicago White Sox and played in AA for the rest of the 1986 season.
  • After the 1986 season Henderson was released by the White Sox. He signed with Oakland and started the 1987 season in the minors. He was brought up in July and spent the rest of the year with Oakland. Steve batted .289 in 46 games for the A's in 1987.
  • Henderson became a free agent after the 1987 season and signed with the Houston Astros. Steve wasn't getting much playing time with the Astros and spend some time in AAA. In his final season as a major leaguer Henderson batted .217 in 46 at bats.
  • Steve played in AAA in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1989 and then played in the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989 and in 1990.
  • Henderson became a coach after his playing career. He has had various assignments, mostly as a hitting coach, since 1990. Steve's latest job was as the Philadelphia Phillies hitting coach in 2013 and is still in that position as of April 2014.
  • 1978 Stats: .266, 10 HR, 65 RBI in 157 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 9 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the 6th inning and hit a grand slam.The Mets beat the Montreal Expos 6-5.
    • May 18 - Had four hits and knocked in the winning run in the 10th inning of the Mets' 8-7 win over the Atlanta Braves. 
    • Sept 8 - Had two hits and scored all three New York runs as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #133 - Jerry Augustine

  • This was Jerry Augustine's last season as a starting pitcher. In 1979 the Brewers moved him to the bullpen. Augustine was the #3 starter for the Brewers in 1978.
  • 1978 Stats: 13-12, 4.54 ERA in 35 games (30 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • May 3 - Pitched a 3-hit shutout against the Chicago White Sox. The Brewers won the game 4-0.
    • June 24 - Shut out the Seattle Mariners on three hits. The Brewers won the game 5-0.
    • Aug 28 - Allowed one run on two hits and went the distance as the Brewers beat the Detroit Tigers 10-1.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #132 - Enos Cabell

  • Enos Cabell had one of his best years in 1978. He led the NL in games (162) and in at bats (660). Enos just missed the 200 hit plateau (he had 195). Cabell stole 33 bases, but he was caught 15 times. Enos got an MVP vote (not a first place one) after the season.
  • 1978 Stats: .295, 7 HR, 71 RBI in 162 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 12 - Had three hits, including a home run, in Houston's 11-10 win over the LA Dodgers.
    • July 24 - Went 4 for 5 with a key double in a six-run 9th inning as the Astros came back from being behind 5-0 to beat the Montreal Expos 6-5.
    • Sept 8 - Had three hits, scored three runs, and had an RBI as the Astros beat the Dodgers 5-0.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #131 - Bert Blyleven

  • It is surprising that Bert Blyleven didn't get a "0" number in this set. He didn't even get a "5" number. 
  • Blyleven pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1978. Bert was sent to the Pirates as part of that big 4-team deal between the Rangers, the Pirates, the New York Mets, and the Atlanta Braves.
  • Blyleven had a good year in 1978 and then had a couple of seasons with a relatively high ERA for the Pirates. He had a win in the 1979 NL Championship Series and a win in the 1979 World Series. Bert's lifetime postseason record was 5-1.
  • 1978 Stats: 14-10, 3.03 ERA in 34 starts
  • 1978 Highlights
    • April 26 - Pitched an 11-inning shutout against the New York Mets. The Pirates finally scored in the top of the 11th on a home run by Ed Ott.\
    • May 20 - Shut out the Montreal Expos on three hits as the Pirates won 6-0.
    • Aug 29 - Pitched his fourth shutout of the year against the Cincinnati Reds. Bert allowed four hits and struck out eight batters in the 5-0 Pittsburgh victory.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #130 - Jeff Burroughs

  • Jeff Burroughs must have had a great Strat-O-Matic card in 1978. He led the NL in walks (117) and in on base percentage (.432) and had a career-high .529 slugging percentage. Jeff was an All Star for the second (and final) time. 
  • Burroughs played through the 1985 season, but he never appeared in more than 116 games after the 1978 season.
  • 1978 Stats: .301, 23 HR, 77 RBI in 153 games.
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April  23 - Had four hits (including a home run) and knocked in three runs, but it wasn't enough as the Braves lost to the San Diego Padres 5-4.
    • July 2 - Walked four times and scored the tying run in the bottom of the 7th inning of Atlanta's 9-7 win over the San Francisco Giants.
    • Aug 28 - Hit two home runs and knocked in three runs as the Braves beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #129 - Jim Colborn

  • Jim Colborn's final season was in 1978. He went from being a solid starter in 1977 to being a spare part in 1978. On June 1 Jim was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Steve Braun. 
  • After the 1978 season Colborn signed a 2-year contract with the Mariners. Jim was released during spring training in 1979 and the Mariners were on the hook for the contract.
  • After his playing career Jim was a coach in the majors from 1984-2010. Colborn now operates the Jim Colborn Baseball League in California. 
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Kansas City Royals: 1-2, 4.76 ERA in 8 games (3 starts)
    • Seattle Mariners: 3-10, 5.35 ERA in 20 games (19 starts)
    • Total: 4-12, 5.24 ERA in 28 games (22 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 2- Allowed one run in a complete game 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
    • Aug 19 - Went the distance and allowed three hits to lead the Mariners to a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees. It ended up being Jim's final career victory.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #128 - Bill Russell

  • Bill Russell had one of his better seasons in 1978. He had career highs in doubles (32) and in batting average (.286). Bill batted over .400 in both the NL Championship Series and the World Series.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular season: .286, 3 HR, 46 RBI in 55 games
    • NL Championship Series: .412 (7 for 17) in 4 games
    • World Series: .423 (11 for 26) in 6 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • April 26 - Had four hits in the Dodgers' 14-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Bill was off to a slow start but his batting average jumped from .209 to .250 after this game.
    • Oct 7 - Had three hits and knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to clinch the NL Championship Series for the Dodgers. The Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3 games to 1.
    • Oct 10: Went 3 for 5 with a run scored as the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 11-5 in game 1 of the World Series.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #127 - Chet Lemon

  • Chet Lemon had a good season for the Chicago White Sox in 1978. He batted .300 and made the AL All Star team for the first time (entered the game as a late inning defensive repalcement). Lemon played in only 105 games. He missed a week in May and then had two stints on the 15-day disabled list (late July and mid August).
  • 1978 Stats: .300, 13 HR, 55 RBI in 105 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 7 - Went 2 for 3 with two runs scored (including the tying run in the bottom of the 9th) to help the White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 on opening day.
    • June 27 - Hit two home runs in Chicago's 10-6 win over the Seattle Mariners.
    • July 3 - Hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to lead the White Sox to a 7-6 come from behind win over the Texas Rangers.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #126 - Paul Moskau

  • Paul Moskau was originally drafted from Arizona State University by the Cleveland Indians in 1974. Paul didn't sign, so he was drafted again by the Cincinnati Reds in 1975.
  • Moskau progressed quickly through the Reds' system. He had excellent records in 1975 (10-2, 1.53 ERA in Rookie and A- ball) and in 1976 (13-6, 1.55 ERA in AA). 
  • Paul started the 1977 season in AAA Indianapolis. He was called up to the Reds in June. Moskau had a pretty good rookie season, going 6-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 20 games (19 starts).
  • In 1978 Moskau started the season in Indianapolis. He pitched well in four starts and was called up in early May. Paul was roughed up by the Montreal Expos in his first 1978 start. He made a relief appearance and earned the save, and then from May 19 until the end of the year Paul was a starter. Moskau's 1978 season was very similar to his 1977 season (6-4, 3.97 ERA).
  • Paul only pitched once after July 31 in 1979. He made two appearances in AAA Indianapolis (probably a rehab assignment). Moskau was 5-4 with a 3.89 ERA in 21 games (15 starts) during the season. He did not appear in the NL Championship Series.
  • Paul's last year as a full-time starter was in 1980. Moskau made 19 starts and had 14 relief appearances during the season. Paul was 9-7 with 2 saves and had a 4.01 ERA in 1980.
  • Moskau was moved to the bullpen in 1981. He made one start on August 30 and spent the rest of the season as a middle reliever and occasional late inning guy. Paul was 2-1 with 2 saves and had a 4.94 ERA.
  • Before the 1982 season Moskau was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Wayne Krenchicki. Paul was placed on waivers at the end of spring training. He was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Moskau had a 1-3 record with a 4.37 ERA in 13 games (5 starts) for the Pirates. He had a stint with AAA Portland and really had a tough time (0-4, 10.32 ERA in 4 starts). Paul was released after the 1982 season.
  • Moskau signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 1983. Paul made eight starts for the Cubs in April and May. Moskau was 3-2 with a 6.75 ERA and was sent to AAA Iowa in early June. Paul struggled in AAA (2-2, 5.93 ERA in 11 starts) and on August 8 he was released.
  • Moskau was selected for the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. After his retirement as a player Paul was the General Manager for the AAA Tucson Toros from 1985-1988. He also spent time as an assistant high school baseball coach, has been active on the March of Dimes board of directors, and has hosted celebrity golf tournaments in Tucson, AZ. 
  • Here is a video of Paul sharing his holiday peanut brittle recipe on the iBaseball channel

  • 1978 Stats
    • Cincinnati Reds: 6-4, 1 save, 3.97 ERA in 26 games (25 starts)
    • Indianapolis Indians: 1-1, 3.12 ERA in 4 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 9  - Allowed four hits in a 10-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves.
    • Sept 17 - Went the distance and allowed one run (a 9th inning solo HR by Terry Whitfield) on four hits as the Reds beat the San Francisco Giants 7-1.