Friday, January 30, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #255 - Jerry Reuss

  • Jerry Reuss had shoulder problems in 1978. He missed almost three weeks in June. Jerry started a game in late June but couldn't get out of the first inning. Reuss then missed another 18 days. Jerry's ERA was above 5.00 for most of the season, which was uncharacteristic for him.
  • On April 7, 1979 Reuss was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Rich Rhoden. Reuss wanted to be a starter, but Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner wanted another right handed pitcher in his rotation. Jerry missed out on the 1979 World Champion Pirate team, but he would get his ring in 1981 with the Dodgers.
  • 1978 Stats: 3-2, 4.90 ERA in 23 games (12 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 20 - Allowed nine hits and had a complete game victory as the Pirates beat the Houston Astros 3-1.
    • Sept 27 - Allowed three runs in a complete game victory over the Chicago Cubs. It was Jerry's last start of the season and the outing finally got his ERA below 5.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #254 - Dave Collins

  • Dave Collins had the roughest year of his career in 1978. Before the season he was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds for Shane Rawley. Dave was stuck in a crowded Cincinnati outfield and didn't get many at bats. Collins played in 102 games but he had only 120 plate appearances.
  • 1978 Stats: .216, 0 HR, 7 RBI in 102 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 19 - Went 2 for 3 with an RBI in Cincinnati's 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres
    • June 26 - Appeared as a pinch hitter in the top of the 9th and hit a sacrifice fly that knocked in the eventual winning run as the Reds beat the Houston Astros 4-3.

Monday, January 26, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #253 - Jim Kern

  • Jim Kern was an AL All Star for the second straight season in 1977 (he pitched 0.2 innings and allowed a hit and walked a man. Neither of them scored).
  • Kern had another good year out of the bullpen in 1978. After the season Jim was traded to the Texas Rangers. He had a great year in 1979 but then was up and down for the rest of his major league career.
  • Jim had eight Topps baseball cards from 1977-1983. He is smiling in six of those cards. The other two (1980 and 1981) are action cards.
  • 1978 Stats: 10-10, 13 saves, 3.08 ERA in 58 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 1 - Pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless ball to earn the save against the Kansas City Royals.
    • Sept 13 / 14 - Saved two straight games for the Indians against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were fighting for the AL East title and those were two tough losses for them. During the season Kern was 2-1 with three saves against the Red Sox.

Friday, January 23, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #252 - Steve Swisher

  • Steve Swisher was traded (with Jerry Morales and cash) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Hector Cruz and Dave Rader in December 1977.
  • Swisher started 34 games behind the plate for the Cardinals in 1978. He was backing up Ted Simmons, so Steve didn't figure to get much playing time. Swisher had his best offensive season, batting .278 in 115 at bats. It would be the last year of Steve's career that he would get over 100 at bats.
  • 1978 Stats: .278, 1 HR, 10 RBI in 45 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 25 - Hit his only home run of the season, knocked in two runs, and scored twice to help the Cardinals beat the Montreal Expos 7-5.
    • Aug 5 - Knocked in two runs in the Cardinals' 5-3 win over the New York Mets
    • Aug 12 - Had three hits, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored as the Cardinals beat the Mets 5-1.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #251 - Don Kirkwood

  • Don Kirkwood pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978. Don was sold to the Blue Jays on April 11, 1978. This was Don's final season -- he was released during spring training in 1979.
  • Kirkwood was out for seven weeks between June 21 and August 17. Don was used as a swingman before the absence. After he returned, Don appeared once in relief and then started in his final eight appearances.
  • 1978 Stats: 4-5, 4.24 ERA in 16 games (9 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Aug 20 - Allowed one run in six innings and earned the win as the Blue Jays beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2.
    • Sept 11 - Earned the win in a complete game 7-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
    • Oct 1 - Took the loss in the final game of the season as the Boston Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-0. The Boston victory allowed the Red Sox to tie the New York Yankees in the AL east and forced the famous one game playoff.

Monday, January 19, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #250 - Graig Nettles

  • In 1978 Graig Nettles was an AL All Star for the third time, won his second Gold Glove, and finished sixth in MVP voting. 
  • Nettles made several great plays in game 3 of the 1978 World Series. The Yankees were down 2 games to 0 and the game helped to change the momentum of the series. Here is a video of the plays:

  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .276, 27 HR, 93 RBI in 159 games
    • AL Championship Series: .333 (5 for 15), 1 HR in 4 games
    • World Series: .160 (4 for 25) in 6 games
  • 1978 Highlights: 
    • May 3 - Hit a home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to put the Yankees ahead to stay as they beat the Kansas City Royals 6-5.
    • Aug 27 - Homered twice in New York's 6-2 win over the Oakland A's.
    • Sept 14 - Went 3 for 4 with two home runs and three RBI to help the Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #249 - Dave Goltz

  • I've always liked the cards of players signing autographs. It surprising that Mr. Goltz didn't get a "0" or "5" card given his record over the previous four seasons.
  • It looks like Goltz had two stints on the disabled list in 1978. He was out for 24 days from late April to mid May, made a start on May 16, and then was out for 17 more days. Dave also missed two weeks in early August.
  • 1978 Stats: 15-10, 2.49 ERA in 29 starts
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • July 1 - Pitched a shutout against the Chicago White Sox. It was his third straight complete game win.
    • July 9 - Shut out the Oakland A's on three hits. It was his third straight complete game win. During that streak he allowed one run in 27 innings.
    • Sept 24 - Won his 15th game by beating the Kansas City Royals 6-4 in a complete game. It was Dave's fifth win of the month. In Dave's last eight starts he had six complete games (including a 10-inning game) and went into the 8th inning in the other two games.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #248 - Frank White

  • Frank White won the second of eight Gold Gloves at second base in 1978. Frank also made the All Star team (he was 0 for 1) for the first time. 
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: .275, 7 HR, 50  RBI in 143 games
    • AL Championship Series: .231 (3 for 13) in 4 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 7 - Went 2 for 4 with 2 runs, 2 RBI, and a home run to help the Royals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6.
    • May 28 - Doubled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning as the Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 8-7. Frank had three hits and two runs scored.
    • Sept 5 - Knocked in all three runs in the Royals' 3-0 victory over the Oakland A's.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #247 - Larry Christenson

  • Larry Christenson was the #2 starter for the Phillies in 1978. He had a below .500 record, but his ERA was a nice 3.24.
  • Larry was hammered in his start in game 1 of the NL Championship Series. He allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Regular Season: 13-14, 3.24 ERA in 33 starts
    • NL Championship Series: 0-1, 12.46 ERA in 1 start
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 8 - Pitched a shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start of the season.
    • Aug 4 - Struck out nine batters and didn't allow a run in a 2-0 shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
    • Sept 2 - Had a complete game 10 inning victory against the San Francisco Giants. The Phillies won the game 3-1 in the 10th inning on a 2-run Barry Foote home run.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #246 - Dan Driessen

  • In his second season replacing the traded Tony Perez at first base, Dan Driessen experienced a drop-off in his stats. Dan had his best year in 1977  but his batting average dropped by 50 points in 1978.
  • Dan fielded his position with a .996 percentage in 1978, leading the National League.
  • 1978 Stats: .250, 16 HR, 70 RBI in 153 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 13 - Had two hits, including a home run, and scored three times in Cincinnati's 7-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants
    • May 9 - Hit a home run in the bottom of the 10th inning off of Skip Lockwood to lead the Reds to a 7-6 win over the New York Mets
    • June 25 - Singled in the eventual winning run in the top of the 9th inning to help the Reds beat the LA Dodgers 5-4

Friday, January 9, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #245 - Rick Burleson

  • In spite of an off season, Rick Burleson was named to the AL All Star team for the second straight year in 1978. Rick was batting .194 after 35 games, but he started to heat up in late May. Burleson was out with an injury in July. His absence was keenly felt as the Red Sox were 6-10 while Rick was out.
  • 1978 Stats: .248, 5 HR, 49 RBI in 145 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 10 - Had three hits and three RBI in Boston's 13-1 win over the Seattle Mariners
    • June 17 - Went 4 for 5 and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning to help the Red Sox beat the Mariners 5-4.
    • Aug 2 - Knocked in the eventual winning run in the top of the 17th inning as the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 7-5.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #244 - Montreal Expos

  • Looks like I marked those dreaded 4-player rookie cards with an "R" on this card. I had no idea how to sort those things. Santo Alcala appears to be the missing card for this team set.
  • The Expos had a number of young players who were on the cusp of developing into stars. They had future Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, and Tony Perez along with future Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams.
  • Montreal was in first place in the NL East as late as May 17. They started to scuffle after that and finally settled into fourth place in early July. They would spend most of the rest of the season in that position.

  • Team Record: 76-86, 4th in NL East, 14 games  behind Philadelphia Phillies
    • Managers(s): Dick Williams
    • Attendance: 1,427,007 (7th in National League)
    • Team Batting: .254 (7th in NL)
    • Team Home Runs: 121 (5th in NL)
    • Team Stolen Bases: 80 (12th in NL)
    • Team ERA: 3.42 (6th in NL)
    • Team Fielding: .979 (2nd in NL)
    • NL All Stars: Ross Grimsley (P); Steve Rogers (P)
    • Award Winners: Ellis Valentine (Gold Glove)
    • League Leaders: Andre Dawson (hit by pitch, 12); 
    • Batting Leader: Warren Cromartie (.297)
    • HR Leader: Ellis Valentine, Andre Dawson (25)
    • RBI Leader: Tony Perez (78)
    • Stolen Base Leader: Andre Dawson (78)
    • Victory Leader: Ross Grimsley (20)
    • Losses Leader: Wayne Twitchell (12)
    • Saves Leader: Mike Garman (13)
    • Best ERA (starters): Steve Rogers (2.47)
    • Best ERA (relievers): Hal Dues (2.36) - had 12 starts; Darold Knowles (2.38)
    • Players who could have had 1978 Expos cards (over 100 AB for position players, over 40 innings pitched for pitchers):
      • Stan Papi (IF) - .230, 0 HR, 11 RBI in 67 games
      • Rudy May (P) - 8-10, 3.88 ERA in 27 games (23 starts)
      • Hal Dues (P) - 5-6, 1 save, 2.36 ERA in 25 games (12 starts)
      • Woodie Fryman (P) - 5-7, 1 save, 3.61 ERA in 19 games (17 starts)
      • Mike Garman (P) - 4-6, 13 saves, 4.40 ERA in 47 games
      • Scott Sanderson (P) - 4-2, 2.51 ERA in 10 games (9 starts)

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #243 - Bob McClure

    • Bob McClure shared closing duties with righthander Bill Castro for the Brewers in 1978.
    • 1978 Stats: 2-6, 9 saves, 3.74 ERA in 44 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 23 - Struck out Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss and got Graig Nettles to foul out to preserve a 3-2 Brewer win and pick up his first save of the season.
      • June 12 - Pitched five scoreless innings and earned his first win of the year in Milwaukee's 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.

    Saturday, January 3, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #242 - Barry Bonnell

    • Barry Bonnell was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1975. Bonnell didn't stay with the organization for very long -- on May 7, 1975 he was traded (with Jim Essian and $150,000) to the Atlanta Braves for Dick Allen and Johnny Oates.
    • Barry's rise to the majors was pretty quick. He played in the minors for two years and then had a hot start in AAA Richmond in 1977 (.380 in 14 games). Bonnell was brought up to the majors in early May of 1977. Barry batted .300 in 100 games for the Braves in 1977.
    • In 1978 Bonnell was a backup outfielder. The Braves also took a brief look at Bonnell at third base, but that ended after Bob Horner was drafted. Barry batted .240 in 117 games for the Braves in 1978.
    • Bonnell got the majority of the starts in left field in 1979. He started to show some power and batted .259 with 12 home runs. Early in the season Bonnell objected to female reporters being allowed in the Braves' locker room. After the 1979 season Bonnell was traded (with Pat Rockett and Joey McLaughlin) to the Toronto Blue  Jays for Chris Chambliss and Luis Gomez.
    • Barry was a starting right fielder and center fielder for the Blue Jays for most of the year in 1980. He was hit in the face by a Lary Sorenson pitch in August. Early in the season Barry expressed his relief to be out of the turmoil that was affecting the Braves at the time. Bonnell batted .268 with 13 HR and 56 RBI in 127 games.
    • Bonnell was a backup in 1981 and batted .220 in 66 games.
    • In 1982 Barry bounced back and batted .293 in 140 games.
    • Barry had a career high in batting average (.318) and hit 10 home runs in 121 games in 1983. After the 1983 season Bonnell was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Bryan Clark.
    • Bonnell played all of the outfield positions plus first and third base for the Mariners in 1984. He batted .264 in 110 games.
    • Barry played sparingly in 1985 (.243 in 48 games) and in 1986 (.196 in 17 games). Bonnell was released in July 1986. He offered to fly Mariners owner George Argoyos' plane in order to earn the rest of his 1986 salary.
    • A bout with valley fever hastened the end of Barry's career. Since his retirement from baseball Bonnell has served as a bishop in the LDS church and has been an airline pilot. Barry is now the co-owner of Roy's Boys Pet Toys.
    • 1978 Stats:  .240, 1 HR, 16 RBI in 117 games
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • April 10 - Had three hits and scored the tying run in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Braves came from behind to beat the San Diego Padres 8-7.
      • Aug 1 - Went 4 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI to help the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 15-3.
      • Oct 1 - Had five hits (three of them off of Tom Seaver) in the Braves' 10-8 loss to the Reds.

    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    1978 Topps Baseball #241 - Pete Vuckovich

    • Before the 1978 season Pete Vuckovich was traded (with John Scott) to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tom Underwood and Victor Cruz
    • Pete spent the first two months of the season in the bullpen and moved into the starting rotation in June. Vuckovich was 1-4 as a reliever and went 11-8 as a starter.
    • 1978 Stats: 12-12, 1 save, 2.54 ERA in 45 games (23 starts)
    • 1978 Highlights:
      • June 3 - Pitched a complete game and earned the win in his first start of the season as the Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 2-1.
      • Aug 8 - Pitched a 4-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies.