Tuesday, December 30, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #240 - Gene Tenace

  • Gene Tenace started 67 games at first base and 56 games behind the plate for the Padres in 1978. Tenace wasn't known for his catching, but his stats were slightly above league average. 
  • Gene wasn't happy with the way he was being used and was open to the idea of being traded during the 1978 season. Tenace stayed with the Padres through the 1980 season before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • 1978 Stats: .224, 16 HR, 61 RBI in 142 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 8 - Went 2 for 3 with a home run, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored in San Diego's 7-0 win over the Atlanta Braves. From this day until the end of the season Tenace started most of his games at catcher.
    • July 28 - Homered twice and knocked in five runs to lead the Padres to an 8-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals
    • Aug 10 - Had three hits (including a double and a home run) and five RBI as the Padres beat up on the Cincinnati Reds 15-3.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #239 - Dyar Miller

  • Dyar Miller had his best season in 1978. Miller was the oldest pitcher on the California staff. It was a young staff -- Miller was 32 years old.
  • 1978 Stats: 6-2, 1 save, 2.66 ERA in 41 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 2 - Pitched three scoreless innings and earned the win in California's 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers.
    • July 23 - Entered the game with 2 out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Angels lost the game on a passed ball by Brian Downing. Miller must have been injured on the play -- he didn't pitch another game until August 22.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #238 - Juan Beniquez

  • Juan Beniquez was the starting center fielder for the Texas Rangers in 1978. Beniquez had career highs in home runs (11), RBI (50), and runs (61).
  • The writeup on the back of this card may have jinxed Beniquez. Juan won a Gold Glove in 1977, but after that his fielding percentage was below league average every year except one from 1978 until the end of his career in 1988.
  • 1978 Stats:  .260, 11 HR, 50 RBI in 127 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 12 - Went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI in the Rangers' 9-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles
    • May 18 - Had four hits and four RBI to help the Rangers beat the Oakland A's 6-4.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #237 - Rich Dauer

  • Rich Dauer split time with Billy Smith at second base for the Orioles in 1978. In addition to starting 85 games at 2B, Rich also started 30 games at 3B.
  • Dauer set an AL record for most consecutive errorless games for a second baseman in 1978. Rich had 425 errorless chances in a row in 86 games.
  • 1978 Stats: .264, 6 HR, 46 RBI in 133 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 30 - Doubled twice and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 3-2.
    • July 24 - Had three hits and scored three runs in Baltimore's 10-6 win over the Texas Rangers.
    • Sept 8 - Went 3 for 5 with a run scored and 2 RBI to help the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

Friday, December 19, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #236 - Terry Whitfield

  • Terry Whitfield was the starting left fielder for the Giants in 1978. Terry had career highs in most offensive categories. Terry hit for average pretty well, but he didn't walk much. Whitfield mostly batted second and sixth during the season.
  • 1978 Stats: .289, 10 HR, 32 RBI in 149 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • May 14 - Had three hits and scored two runs in the Giants' 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Scored the winning run in the 10th inning.
    • Aug 27 - Went 4 for 5 with two RBI to help the Giants beat the Montreal Expos 11-3.
    • Sept 3 - Hit a pinch single and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning as teh Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2.

Friday, December 5, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #235 - Tim McCarver

  • Tim McCarver was mostly a pinch hitter in 1978. Tim started 34 games behind the plate (mostly in Steve Carlton's starts). McCarver also saw a little bit of action at first base.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .247, 1 HR, 14 RBI in 90 games
    • NL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 4), 2 runs scored in 2 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 20 - Went 4 for 6 with 1 run scored and 1 RBI in Philadelphia's 9-4 win over the New York Mets.
    • June 30 - Had two hits and scored a run to help the Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5.
    • Aug 19 - Doubled twice as the Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 3-0.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #227 - Al Fitzmorris

  • This was the final major league season for Al Fitzmorris. He started out with the Cleveland Indians but  didn't play until May due to an injury. Al pitched for a month but was ineffective and was released on July 13. The California Angels signed Fitzmorris on July 18 and  he had some good games with the Angels. 
  • Al became a free agent after the season and signed with the San Diego Padres. He served as a player-coach and started eight games for AAA Hawaii.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Cleveland Indians: 0-1, 6.28 ERA in 7 games
    • Salt Lake City Gulls (AAA): 0-0, 7.20 ERA in 1 start
    • California Angels: 1-0, 1.71 ERA in 9 games (2 starts)
    • TOTAL: 1-1, 3.13 ERA in 16 games (2 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 4: Picked up his final major league victory by allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins. The Angels won the game 12-3.
    • Aug 27: Allowed two runs in seven innings in his final major league start. Fitzmorris had no decision in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Monday, December 1, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #234 - Herman Franks

  • Herman Franks was a good-field/no-hit catcher during his playing career. Franks started with the St. Louis Cardinals organization and then moved on to the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1940. He had a large gap in his career during World War II. Herman became a player-manager in AAA in 1947, but then left the Dodgers to be a backup catcher for two years with the Philadelphia A's.
  • Franks worked as a coach under Leo Durocher with the New York Giants from 1949-1955. Franks was alleged to have been involved in a scheme to steal the opposing catcher's signs during critical games (including the Bobby Thomson home run game) in 1951.
  • After the 1955 season Franks left the Giants. He briefly did some scouting for the Giants and then served as the General Manager of the AAA Salt Lake City Bees from 1956-1964. During that time Franks had short stints as a Giants coach in 1958 and in 1964.
  • Herman replaced Alvin Dark as manager of the Giants in 1965. The Giants had four straight second place finishes during his tenure from 1965-1968.
  • Franks stepped down as the Giants' manager after the 1968 season. He mostly stayed out of baseball except for a short stint as the Chicago Cubs' pitching coach in 1970.
  • After the 1976 season Franks was hired as manager of the Cubs. The team had a good year in 1977 and were above .500 in both 1978 and in 1979. Herman resigned with one week to go in the 1979 season.
  • Herman had a short stint as the General Manager of the Cubs in 1981. 
  • Franks died at the age of 95 on March 30, 2009.