Saturday, February 28, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #266 - Bob Shirley

  • Bob Shirley spent the first three months of his second season as a starter. Shirley was moved to the bullpen in mid-July. Newly acquired Eric Rasmussen took Shirley's starting spot.
  • Bob had several hard-luck starts in 1978. He took the loss in three starts in which he gave up three or fewer runs in seven or more innings. Shirley also was the losing pitcher in two starts in which he gave up 2 runs in 5.1 and 6.2 innigns.
  • 1978 Stats: 8-11, 4.21 ERA, 5 saves in 50 games (20 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 21 - Allowed two runs in a complete game 7-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 
    • June 25 - Pitched a complete game against the Houston Astros. Shirley allowed four hits in the 6-1 San Diego victory.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #265 - Sal Bando

  • Sal Bando had a better year in his second season with the Brewers. He had double figures in home runs for the tenth and final time in his career.
  • 1978 Stats: .285, 17 HR, 78 RBI in 152 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 12 - Homered and scored two runs in Milwaukee's 5-3 win over the New York Yankees. The win moved the Brewers to 5-0 on the young season.
    • June 17 - Hit a home run in the top of the 12th inning to lead the Brewers to a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
    • Sept 13 - Had three hits, a home run, and three RBI as the Brewers beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-5.

Friday, February 20, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #264 - Jamie Easterly

  • Jamie Easterly had a rough 1978 season for the Atlanta Braves. Then again, just about the entire team had a rough season.
  • 1978 Stats: 3-6, 1 save, 5.65 ERA in 37 games (6 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 30 - Pitched a scoreless 10th inning and earned his first win of the year as the Braves scored in the bottom of the 10th and beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3.
    • July 29 - Allowed no runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Montreal Expos. The Braves came back from being down 5-0 to beat the Expos 9-6. Easterly picked up the victory.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #263 - Danny Walton

  • Danny Walton was released by the Astros during spring training in 1978. Walton played in Japan in 1978. Danny played in AAA in 1979 and for most of the 1980 season. He had a brief stint with the Texas Rangers in 1980.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Yokohama Taiyo Whales (Japan): .215, 9 HR, 22 RBI in 75 games

Monday, February 16, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #262 - Rudy May

  • Before the 1978 season Ruidy May was traded (with Bryn Smith and Randy Miller) for Don Stanhouse, Gary Roenicke, and Joe Kerrigan. The Orioles needed bullpen and outfield help and they had plenty of starting pitching, so although Rudy won 18 games in 1977 the trade worked out well for the Orioles.
  • May missed about six weeks from mid July to early September with an injury. 
  • 1978 Stats: 8-10, 3.88 ERA in 27 games (23 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • May 27 - Allowed one unearned run on two hits in a complete game victory as the Expos beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 15-1. Rudy also had two hits and scored two runs.
    • Sept 26 - Pitched his only shutout of the season in his last start. The Expos beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #261 - Tim Hosley

  • Tim Hosley was in AAA for most of the 1978 season. Tim spent most of his time with the Vancouver Canadians of the Pacific Coast League, but it looks like he was loaned to the AAA Charleston Charles in the Houston organization for about a month.
  • Hosley was a September call-up for the A's. He was used mostly as a pinch hitter. 
  • Tim was never known for his defense -- his fielding percentages were usually about 20 points below league average. 
  • Hosley had a nice career in the minors. He had a .272 lifetime average with 208 home runs in 14 minor league seasons.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Oakland A's: .304 (7 for 23) in 13 games
    • Vancouver Canadians (AAA): .297, 11 HR, 60 RBI in 84 games
    • Charleston Charlies (AAA): .253, 2 HR, 13 RBI in 26 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • Sept 10 - Singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning in Oakland's 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers

Thursday, February 12, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #260 - Bert Campaneris

  • Bert Campaneris struggled through his worst season in 1978. It was the first year since his rookie season in 1964 that Bert didn't play in at least 130 games. Campaneris was rarely used in August and September.
  • 1978 Stats: .186, 1 HR, 17 RBI in 98 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 12 - Went 2 for 3 with two runs scored to help the Rangers beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3.
    • July 1 - Had three hits to get his average over the Mendoza Line for the first time all season as the Rangers beat the California Angels 6-3.
    • July 3 - Was ejected from the game after getting in a fight with pitcher Ken Brett. Brett had tagged Campaneris out at home plate. Bert objected to how he was tagged out and initiated the brawl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #259 - Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Tommy Lasorda's card was featured several weeks ago, so I picked that card up after marking up this checklist. I'm pretty sure I have the Sosa card as well.
  • The Dodgers won the NL West for the second straight season. This was a much closer race than 1977. The Cincinnati Reds and the surprising San Francisco Giants were in contention until late September. Either the Dodgers (three times) or the Cincinnati Reds (six times) won the division every year except one in the 1970s. The Giants won the division in 1971.
  • The Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 3 games to 1 in the NL Championship Series and then lost to the New York Yankees 4 games to 2 in the World Series.
  • Team Record: 95-67, .586, 1st in NL West, 2 1/2 games ahead of Cincinnati
  • Attendance: 3,347,485 (1st in NL)
  • Team Batting: .264 - 1st in NL
  • Team Home Runs:  149 - 1st in NL
  • Team Stolen Bases: 137 - 5th in NL
  • Team ERA: 3.12 - 1st in NL
  • Team Fielding: .978 - 4th in NL
  • All Stars: Steve Garvey (starting 1B), Rick Monday (starting RF), Ron Cey (3B), Reggie Smith (OF), Davey Lopes (2B), Tommy John (P)
  • NL Leaders: Steve Garvey  (hits - 202)
  • NL Awards: Steve Garvey (NLCS MVP)
  • Batting Leader: Steve Garvey - .316
  • Home Run Leader: Reggie Smith - 29
  • RBI Leader: Steve Garvey - 113
  • Stolen Base Leader: Davey Lopes - 45
  • Victories Leader: Burt Hooton - 19
  • Losses Leader: Don Sutton - 11
  • ERA Leader (starters): Burt Hooton - 2.71
    ERA Leader (relievers): Terry Forster - 1.93
  • Strikeout Leader: Don Sutton - 154
  • Saves Leader: Terry Forster - 22
  • Players who could have had 1978 Topps Los Angeles Dodgers cards (minimum 100 AB or 40 IP):
    • Joe Ferguson (C) - .237, 7 HR, 28 RBI in 67 games (pictured with Houston Astros)
    • Bill North (OF) - .234, 0 HR, 10 RBI in 110 games (pictured with Oakland A's)
    • Bob Welch (P) - 7-4, 3 saves, 2.02 ERA in 23 games (13 starts) (rookie card in 1979)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #258 - John Hiller

  • John Hiller had his last good year in 1978. Hiller would pitch for a couple of season after this, but he wasn't as effective. John and starter Jack Billingham were the only pitchers over the age of 30 on the Tiger staff in 1978. Hiller recorded 15 of the staff's 21 saves during the season.
  • Hiller didn't pitch from July 8 until August 12 due to a pulled muscle in his right side.
  • 1978 Stats: 9-4, 15 saves, 2.34 ERA in 51 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 25 - Pitched 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball to earn the win in Detroit's 8-4 10-inning win against the Chicago White Sox
    • Sept 22 - Struck out four batters and allowed  no runs in 3 2/3 innings as the Tigers came back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 in ten innings.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #257 - Hector Cruz

  • I knew him as Heity Cruz instead of Hector. Heity Cruz was traded (with Dave Rader) to the Chicaco Cubs after the 1977 season for Jerry Morales, Steve Swisher, and cash.
  • Cruz played for the Cubs until June 15. Hector was traded to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Lynn McGlothen. If Topps had made a traded set that year Cruz likely would have been pictured as a Cub instead of a Giant.
  • Cruz originally came up as a third baseman. The Cardinals thought he would be able to replace Ken Reitz, but Heity's defense left something to be desired. Cruz spent the rest of his career as a backup outfielder and occasional third baseman.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Chicago Cubs: .237, 2 HR, 9 RBI in 30 games
    • San Francisco Giants: .223, 6 HR, 24 RBI in 79 games
    • TOTAL: .227, 8 HR, 33 RBI in 109 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 28 - Went 3 for 4 with two solo home runs to help the Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3. Cruz had three games against the Braves in which he had three hits. He was 15 for 42 (.357) against the Braves during the season.
    • Aug 26 - Had two hits (including a home run), scored twice, and knocked in two runs in the Giants' 4-1 win over the Montreal Expos.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #256 - Joe Altobelli

  • Joe Altobelli was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1951.Joe spent  most of the decade in the minor leagues as a first baseman with some pop. Altobelli played parts of two seasons with the Indians (1955 and 1957), but he didn't hit much. Joe led the International League in home runs and RBI in 1960. Joe played for the Minnesota Twins for part of the 1961 season, then it was back to the minors for the rest of his playing career.
  • Altobelli managed in the Baltimore Orioles system from 1966-1976 (except 1968). He was a successful AAA manager -- the Rochester Red Wings finished in first place four times in six years. 
  • The Red Wings had a .638 winning percentage in 1976. Joe got his chance to manage in the majors with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants weren't much of a team in 1977, but they were surprise contenders in 1978. The Giants won 89 games and finished third behind the Dodgers and Reds in the NL West. After the Giants struggled early in the 1979 season, Joe was let go.
  • Altobelli managed the AAA Columbus Clippers in 1980 and then was a coach with the New York Yankees in 1981 and 1982.
  • Joe was hired to succeed Earl Weaver as manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 1983. The Orioles won the World Championship that year, but they finished fifth in 1984. After Baltimore got off to a slow start in 1985, Altobelli was replaced by Weaver in mid-June.
  • Altobelli coached with theYankees in 1986 and 1987, then coached with the Chicago Cubs from 1989 to 1991. Joe was the interim manager of the Cubs after Don Zimmer was fired in 1991. Joe managed part of one game (he was ejected from the game for arguing with the umpired) before giving way to Jim Essian.
  • Joe worked as the General Manager of the Rochester Red Wings from 1991-1994 and then was a special assistant to the club president until 1997. Altobelli then worked as  a color commentator for Rochester home games until 2009.
  • Managerial Record:
    • San Francisco Giants (1977-1979): 225-239 (.485)
    • Baltimore Orioles (1983-1985): 212-167 (.559) - World Championship in 1983
    • Chicago Cubs (1991): 0-1 (.000)