Sunday, April 26, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #283 - Omar Moreno

  • Omar Moreno led the NL with 71 stolen bases in 1978. Moreno batted only .235 but he had a career high with 81 walks.
  • Moreno usually batted second behind leadoff man Frank Taveras.
  • 1978 Stats: .235, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 95 runs scored in 155 games.
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • April 23 - Scored three runs, stole two bases, and knocked in two runs as the Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 14-7.
    • Sept 2 - Had three hits and two walks in Pittsburgh's 4-3 12-inning win over the Atlanta Braves
    • Sept 25 - Knocked in two runs, scored two runs, and had three hits to help the Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 7-4

Friday, April 24, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #282 - New York Yankees

  • I never did get that Roy White card in 1978. I ended up buying it on sportlots when I started this blog.
  • The Yankees were world champions for the second straight season in 1978. Ron Guidry had an awesome season and the Yankees didn't have any weaknesses. It's interesting that the Yankees didn't lead the AL in any batting categories.
  • Enough things happened to this team during the season to fill several books. The team went through three managers and many fights and controversies. 

  • Team Record: 100-63, .613, first in AL East
    • Managers(s): Billy Martin (52-42); Dick Howser (0-1); Bob Lemon (48-20)
    • Attendance: 2,335,871 (1st in AL)
    • Team Batting: .267 (4th in AL)
    • Team Home Runs: 125 (6th in AL)
    • Team Stolen Bases: 98 (6th in AL)
    • Team ERA: 3.18 (1st in AL)
    • Team Fielding: .982 (2nd in AL)
    • AL All Stars: Rich Gossage (P); Ron Guidry (P); Reggie Jackson (OF); Thurman Munson (C); Graig Nettles (3B)
    • Award Winners: Ron Guidry (Cy Young); Rich Gossage (Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year); Chris Chambliss (Gold Glove, 1B); Graig Nettles (Gold Glove, 3B)
    • League Leaders: Ron Guidry (ERA, 1.74; Victories, 25; Winning Percentage, .893; Shutouts, 9); Rich Gossage (Saves, 27)
    • Batting Leader: Lou Piniella (.314)
    • HR Leader: Graig Nettles, Reggie Jackson (27)
    • RBI Leader: Reggie Jackson (97)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Willie Randolph (36)
    • Victory Leader: Ron Guidry (25)
    • Losses Leader: Dick Tidrow, Rich Gossage (11)
    • Saves Leader: Rich Gossage (27)
    • Best ERA (starters): Ron Guidry (1.74)
    • Best ERA (relievers): Rich Gossage (2.01)
    • Players who could have had 1978 Yankees cards (over 100 AB for position players, over 40 innings pitched for pitchers):
      • Jim Beattie (6-9, 3.73 ERA in 25 games - 22 starts)
      • Gary Thomasson - OF - .276, 3 HR, 20 RBI in 55 games
      • Jim Spencer - 1B - .227, 7 HR, 24 RBI in 71 games

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #281 - Eric Rasmussen

    • Eric Rasmussen started the 1978 season with the Cardinals but on May 26 he was traded to the San Diego Padres for George Hendrick. Hendrick had lost his starting job to Oscar Gamble and wanted to be traded.
    • Eric got off to an inauspicious start with the Padres. In his first start for the team on May 30 he was bombed by the Dodgers. Rasmussen allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. Rasmussen eventually righted the ship, winning seven straight starts from June 14-July 18.
    • Eric and teammate John D'Acquisto formed a rock band called Wild Pitch in 1979.
    • 1978 Stats
      • St. Louis Cardinals: 2-5, 4.18 ERA in 10 starts
      • San Diego Padres: 12-10, 4.06 ERA in 27 games (24 starts)
      • TOTAL: 14-15, 4.09 ERA in 37 games (34 starts)
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 29 - Pitched a 4-hit shutout against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
      • July 8 - Allowed three hits in a complete game shutout against the Atlanta Braves.
      • Aug 27 - Shut out the New York Mets on six hits. It was Eric's 11th win in his last 14 decisions. Rasmussen would win his next start on August 31 and then lose five straight games in September.

    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #280 - Buddy Bell

    • This was Buddy Bell's last season as a Cleveland Indian. After the 1978 season Bell was traded to the Texas Rangers for Toby Harrah. The deal wasn't popular with Cleveland fans.
    • There was trade talk during the 1978 winter meetings involving Bell. When he was told about the possibility of being traded, Buddy said that he wouldn't mind going to Cincinnati to replace the recently departed Pete Rose. Bell ended up going to the Reds, but that was several years later.
    • 1978 Stats: .282, 6 HR, 62 RBI in 142 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • June 2 - Hit the game-tying home run in Cleveland's 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was Bell's first home run in over a  month.
      • July 16 - Had four hits and knocked in two runs as the Indians beat the Seattle Mariners 8-4.

    Thursday, April 16, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #279 - Bill Virdon

    • Bill Virdon was a solid center fielder during his 12 year major league career. 
    • Virdon was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1950. Bill played in the New York minor league system from 1950-1953 and then was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a multi-player deal that included Enos Slaughter. 
    • Virdon played in the minors in 1954 and then was brought up to the Cardinals in 1955. Bill was the NL Rookie of the Year as he batted .281 with 17 HR and 68 RBI in 144 games.
    • Bill got off to a slow start in 1956 and new GM Frank Lane traded Virdon to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bobby Del Greco and pitcher Dick Littlefield on May 17. After hitting only .211 for the Cardinals, Bill batted .334 during the rest of the season for the Pirates.
    • The Pirates were a losing ball club when Virdon first joined them, but they steadily improved until they won the World Championship in 1960. Bill hit the ground ball that hit shortstop Tony Kubek in the throat in game 7. The bad hop breathed life into the Pirates and they were able to mount the comeback that culminated in Bill Mazeroski's famous winning home run.
    • Virdon was an excellent defender in center field and he won a Gold Glove in 1962.
    • Bill could feel himself slipping by 1965 and told the Pirates he planned to retire after the season. Virdon was only 34 when he retired, but he didn't want to be a "hanger-on."
    • After his retirement Virdon went into managing. He managed in the New York Mets system in 1966 and in 1967.
    • Virdon was hired as a coach by the Pirates in 1968. Bill was activated for a month when several Pirates had to fulfill military commitments. As this card says, Bill's last hit in the major leagues was a home run.
    • Bill coached with the Pirates through the 1971 season. When manager Danny Murtaugh retired, Virdon was given the manager's job. In 1972 the Pirates won the NL East and almost made it to the World Series. A Bob Moose wild pitch in the 9th inning of game 5 allowed the Cincinnati Reds to win the game and advance to the World Series.
    • The Pirates struggled in 1973, mainly due to the letdown after the death of Roberto Clemente. The Pirates were 3 1/2 games out of first place, but below .500, when Virdon was fired in September.
    • Virdon was hired to manage the New York Yankees in 1974 after the team was unable to get Dick Williams to manage the club. Virdon kept the surprising Yankees in contention for most of the season and won his first Manager of the Year award.
    • The Yankees were 53-51 in 1975 when Virdon was relieved of his duties. 
    • Bill was hired to manage the Houston Astros in late 1975. Virdon managed the team through the 1982 season. The Astros steadily improved under Virdon's leadership. 
    • The Astros won the NL West in 1980 and were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual World Champion Philadelphia Phillies in a thrilling NL Championship Series. Virdon won his second Manager of the Year award in 1980. Bill was fired during the 1982 season when the team underperformed.
    • Bill managed the Montreal Expos in 1983 and in 1984. Virdon was fired in late August of 1984 and was replaced by Jim Fanning. Virdon had come to the Expos management and said that he wasn't interested in managing after the 1984 season. The Expos decided to make the change before the season was over. Oddly enough Bill had replaced Fanning after the 1982 season.
    • Virdon coached for the Pirates (and occasionally the Astros and Cardinals) from 1985-2001. He wasn't afraid to let even the biggest stars know when they weren't doing what they were supposed to. Bill got into got after Barry Bonds during spring training in 1991.
    • Since 2001 Virdon has been a spring training instructor for the Pirates.
    • Managerial Record:
      • Pittsburgh Pirates (1972-1973): 
        • Regular season - 163-128, .619, 1 NL East title
        • NL Championship: 2-3, .400
      • New York Yankees (1974-1975): 142-124, .534
      • Houston Astros (1975-1982): 
        • Regular season - 544-522, .510, 1 NL West title
        • NL Championship: 2-3, .400
      • Montreal Expos (1983-1984): 146-147, .498
      • TOTAL: 995-921, .519, 13 years

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #278 - Enrique Romo

    • Enrique Romo didn't get to the major leagues until he was 29 years old. Romo pitched in the Mexican League from 1966-1976. 
    • In April 1977 Romo was purchased by the Seattle Mariners. Romo had a good season -- he was 8-10 with a 2.83 ERA in 58 games (3 starts) and led the Mariners with 16 saves.
    • Enrique had a higher ERA (3.69) in 1978, but he was 11-7 with 10 saves in 56 appearances.
    • After the 1978 season Romo was traded (with Mike Jones) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mario Mendoza, Odell Jones, and Rafael Vasquez. Enrique was happy to go to the Pirates.
    • Romo was part of an effective bullpen for the World Champion 1979 Pirates. Enrique went 10-5 with 5 saves and had a 2.99 ERA in 84 games during the regular season. He didn't get a decision in two games in the NL Championship Series (0.00 ERA) or in two games in the World Series (3.86 ERA).
    • In 1980 Romo was 5-5 with 11 saves and had a 3.27 ERA in 74 games.
    • Enrique got shelled in a few games in April and May and again in September of 1981. He had the roughest season on his career (1-3, 9 saves, 4.54 ERA in 33 games).
    • Romo bounced back somewhat in 1982. He had a 9-3 record with 1 save and had a 4.36 ERA in 45 games. 
    • Romo didn't report to camp in 1983. The Pirates were unable to locate him, and he was placed on the voluntary retired list. Manager Chuck Tanner had fined Romo heavily toward the end of the 1982 season for breaking training. Tanner was asked if he would take a look at Romo if he were to come back and he said, "I don't want him."
    • Enrique was inducted into the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
    • 1978 Stats: 11-7, 10 saves, 3.69 ERA in 56 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 5 - Pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings and earned the save on opening day as the Mariners beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2.
      • July 15 - Shut out the Cleveland Indians for three innings to earn his 8th win of the year. The Mariners beat the Indians 7-6.

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #277 - Bruce Boisclair

    • Bruce Boisclair was mostly a pinch hitter and backup right fielder in 1978. Boisclair started 40 games in right field, mostly in April and May. 
    • After another year as a backup outfielder in 1979, Bruce was released during spring training in 1980 and played in Japan for a year.
    • 1978 Stats: .224, 4 HR, 15 RBI in 107 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 9 - Hit a 2-run home run in the first inning and went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored as the Mets beat the Montreal Expos 6-5.
      • April 19 - Knocked in the only two runs of the game in New York's 2-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals
      • May 19 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tie game and doubled off of Tug McGraw. Later scored the winning run when Willie Montanez singled. The Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3.