Friday, July 24, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #312 - Greg Minton

  • Poor Greg Minton. This is a very odd looking card. The only two things that save this card from total failure is the fact that he played for the Giants and the single on the Play Ball game.
  • The Giants were still trying to figure out if Minton was more suited for the bullpen or for starting pitching. Greg was used mostly as a starter in AAA Phoenix in 1977 and in 1978. The Giants finally decided to make Minton a full-time reliever and he made only one start from 1979 until the end of his career in 1990.
  • San Francisco had a deep pitching staff in 1978, so Minton spent most of the year in Phoenix. He made 11 relief appearances all together for the Giants.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • San Francisco Giants: 0-1, 8.04 ERA in 11 games
    • Phoenix Giants (AAA): 7-4, 4.50 ERA in 14 games (13 starts)
  • 1978 Highlights
    • April 26 - Pitched two scoreless in the Giants' 6-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves

Friday, July 17, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #313 - Andy Etchebarren

  • Andy Etchebarren was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers before the 1978 season. Etchebarren was expected to compete with Larry Haney for a position as a backup catcher. There was speculation that whoever didn't make the team would end up as a bullpen coach or have another job in the organization. Etchebarren won the job and Haney was released at the end of spring training. But Haney was activated in September and appeared in four games.
  • Andy played in four games in April, was placed on the disabled list with elbow chips in May, had elbow surgery in June and retired after the season.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Milwaukee Brewers - .400 (2 for 5) in 4 games.
  • 1978 Highlights:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #311 - Jose Baez

  • Jose Baez probably owed his short 2-year major league career to expansion. His entire major league experience was with the expansion Seattle Mariners.
  • Jose was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1971. Baez played in the Dodgers' system from 1972-1976. He had good batting averages, but Jose wasn't going to crack the deep Dodger club.
  • After the 1976 season Baez was sold to the Mariners.
  • Jose was 23 years old in 1977 and made the Seattle ballclub. He got about half of the starts at second base, splitting time with 22-year-old Julio Cruz. Baez batted .259 in 91 games. Jose got the first hit in Mariners' history on April 6, 1977.
  • In 1978 Baez started the season splitting time with Cruz again at second base. Baez didn't hit well and by the end of April Cruz took over full-time at second base. Jose played a few games at third base in May, but in mid June he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Potter. Baez was sent to AAA for the rest of the season.
  • Jose was released in February 1979. Baez played in the Inter-America League in 1979 and in the Mexican League in 1980.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Seattle Mariners - .160 (8 for 50) in 23 games
    • Springfield Redbirds (AAA) - .276 in 33 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • April 16 - Had two hits and scored two runs to help the Mariners beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2.
    • June 6 - Appeared as a pinch runner and scored the winning run on a Willie Randolph error as the Mariners beat the New York Yankees 4-3. It was Jose's last major league appearance.

Monday, July 6, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #310 - Don Sutton

  • As I have gone through this set I've noticed some cards that need to be upgraded. This card is the most obvious example so far. It was probably cut out of a magazine. I must have had some pretty poor scissor skills when I was 11 years old.
  • Don Sutton won 15 games in 1978. In modern times it would usually be enough to lead a team. In 1978 it was a tie for third on the deep Dodger staff. Burt Hooton led the team with 19 wins, Tommy John had 17, and Doug Rau and Sutton each had 15.
  • 1978 Stats:
    • Regular Season: 15-11, 3.55 ERA in 34 starts
    • NL Championship Series: 0-1, 6.35 ERA in 1 start
    • World Series: 0-2, 7.50 ERA in 2 starts.
  • 1978 Highlights:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #309 - Cliff Johnson

  • Here's another Yankee Stadium picture with the Brut billboard in the background.
  • Cliff Johnson was used mainly as a DH and pinch hitter in 1978. He played a few games behind the plate as well. It was the worst offensive season of Johnson's 15 year career.
  • 1978 Stats
    • Regular Season: .184, 6 HR, 19 RBI in 76 games
    • AL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 1) in 1 game
    • World Series: .000 (0 for 2) in 2 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 14 - Appeared as a pinch hitter and hit a 2-run home run that tied the game in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Yankees eventually beat the Seattle Mariners 11-9 in ten innings.
    • July 14 - Hit a pinch home run in the bottom of the 9th to tie the Chicago White Sox, The Yankees won the game 7-6 in 11 innings.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

1978 Topps Baseball #304 - John Milner

  • John Milner went from the New York Mets to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-team trade that also involved the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates also acquired Bert Blyleven as part of the deal. Milner platooned with Bill Robinson in left field in 1978 and also occasionally spelled Willie Stargell at first base. 
  • Milner had trouble getting untracked early in the season -- he didn't get over the Mendoza Line until May 29. John heated up in June and hit well for the rest of the year.
  • 1978 Stats: .271, 6 HR, 38 RBI in 108 games
  • 1978 Highlights:
    • June 4 - Went 4 for 4 and knocked in two runs in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
    • June 24 - Had four hits, including two doubles and a home run, and knocked in four runs as the Pirates beat the Mets 7-4.