Tuesday, January 31, 2012

#12 Dick Drago, Red Sox

Card Front: The first of many classic posed shots from Spring Training. I personally still like the look of the classic red Red Sox hats. You have to wonder who the blurry player is over Dick's right shoulder.

Card Back: Just a look at Dick's stats and you can tell he was a fairly consistent pitcher. Obviously he made the switch to the bullpen starting in 1975. Interesting that he would head back to the Red Sox so quickly after the '77 season. I like the home of Land O' Lakes, but isn't that a brand of butter?

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Of course Dick would finish his career in Seattle in 1981 after being traded for Manny Sarmiento. But he can also be linked to Tom Wilhelmsen. In 2011, Tom teamed with crazy man Milton Bradley. Milton was an Expo in 2000 along side Charlie O' Brien. Charlie spent time in Oakland in 1985 with former Mariner Bruce Bochte. Bruce and Dick played together as California Angels in 1977.

Blog related to the Team: I thought of a new add on to these posts, adding a blog of the team related to the card. If you would like to be linked to a team, let me know. While there are many Red Sox centered blogs, my first link will go to Adam of Thoughts and Sox.

Next Card: #13 Paul Dade, Indians

#11 Marc Hill, Giants

Card Front: A first card for Matt of A Giant Blog.  Marc is ready in a catcher's position. I don't know if I would want to take a pitch without gear though. I think this spring training shot was taken in Phoenix before the Giants moved to Scottsdale. I still like the old style of Giants lettering on the jersey.

Card Back: Wow, Marc was part of a 2 for 1 deal that brought him to San Francisco. Obviously, '73 and '74 were September call up years. While he played regularly as a Giant, he isn't much of an average or power guy. Pretty awesome that the Alou brothers would make up a whole outfield for the Giants in 1963.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Marc would eventually move on from San Francisco, and play as a White Sock(Sox?) in 1982 with Dennis Lamp. Lamp would last until 1992, sharing the mound with a young Miguel Batista. Miguel would be a Mariner in 2008 along with the god awful Carlos Silva. Thanks to Johngy for reminding me that Marc spent a short time in 1980 as a Mariner.

Next Card: #12 Dick Drago, Red Sox

Monday, January 30, 2012

#10 Lee May, Orioles

Card Front: Lee is showing off a classic looking right handed batting stance. I'm guessing from the looks of the stadium and the road unis it is Yankee Stadium. It is nice to know the O's are going back to the classic look. Who doesn't love the cartoon Oriole?

Card Back: Look at that long list of stats. While no big offensive numbers stand out, you must do something right to have played at that time for 14 years. I love the What Happened part: Stan Musial hit 5 HR's in a double header. Yeas kids, back in the day they scheduled two games on the same day every year.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: With a little work we can connect Lee to the Mariners. Way back in 1970 Lee played with some guy named Pete Rose while in Cincinnati. Pete spent a short time in Montreal in 1984 and teamed with Rene Gonzales. Rene would play along side Jamey Wright as a Rockie in 1997, and Jamey Spent time in Seattle last year with a young Trayvon Robinson.

Next Card: #11 Marc Hill, Giants

#9 Dave Campbell, Braves

Card Front: Dave's trying his best to look like a tough reliever with his long sleeves and his chaw in his left cheek. I'm guessing from the look of the gray road unis and the stadium, this picture was taken at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Hard to believe that with Topps' new star guys first mentality, in 1979 little known Dave would be the first solo player card in the set.

Card Back: Little did we know that this would be Dave's complete Major League stats before 1979 even started. Dave was sent by the Braves to the Expos at the end of spring in '79 for Pepe Frias. He would spend three seasons with the AAA Denver Bears before retiring. August 3, 1889 was before my time. HOF'er Tim Keefe pitches his 394th CONSECUTIVE game! This dude pitched 535 innings in 1886, and 619 in 1883! Of his 600 games pitched, 554 of them were complete games!! Different from today's pitch counts and inning limits.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Dave's last season in 1978 was spent with Jerry Royster as a Brave. Jerry would hang out with Al Leiter as a Yankee in 1987, but Al turned into a Marlin in 2005 along with Jason Vargas. Jason was on the staff in 2011 with new Mariner Blake Beavan.

Next Card: #10 Lee May, Orioles

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#8 1978 Leading Firemen

Card Front: A less intimidating looking "Goose" Gossage without the moustache. While Goose would eventually have the trademark big Fu Manchu, it was no match for the masterpiece that Rollie is probably most famous for. You have to love the old colors of the Padres from 1978.

Card Back: Just look at the names and some of the numbers from back in '78! Guys were not only getting 37, 31, 28, 27, and 25 saves but also racking up 6, 8, 10, up to 13 wins in relief! Most "firemen" nowadays would probably not know what to do if they had to pitch more than one inning. Many of these guys back in those days would do from 1 to3 innings every day.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Gossage would finish his career in Seattle in 1994. How about Dave LaRoche in Seattle? Maybe not directly, but in 1982 he was a Yankee with Lee Mazzilli. Lee would play with a young John Olerud in Toronto in 1989, and John would team up with Bucky Jacobsen in 2004. Rollie would pitch against the Mariners in his career. Luis Salazar war a Padre with him in 1980. Luis would hook up with Greg Maddux on the north side as Cubs in 1989, and before leaving the Padres in 2008, Greg would play with recent Mariner trade victim Cha-Seung Baek in San Diego.

Next Card: #9 Dave Campbell, Braves

#7 1978 ERA Leaders

Card Front: New York, New York. We aren't just talking about the city. Obviuosly pitching in the heat of the Big Apple in 1978 was to the advantage of the guys on the mound. It is not too normal to find guys from two teams in the same city being leaders in a statistical category.

Card Back: Guidry had a monster season. While not quite in Bob Gibson ERA numbers, I would take one under 2 any day. He was almost a whole run better than Swan for the season. I would think that anyone would gladly take the numbers of any of these top 10 guys from either league.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: While we looked at how Ron could hook to Seattle on a previous card, let's try #2 Jon Matlack. One of Jon's teammates in Texas in 1978 was Danny Darwin. Danny was a White Sock in 1997 with Greg Norton, and Greg would see time in 2008 with Tug Hulett as a Mariner. Craig had to take longer route to get here. One of his 1981 teamers in New York was Ray Searage. Ray was a Brewer in '86 with Chris Bosio. Bos would be a good Mariner, and spend 1996 with a young Raul Ibanez.

Next Card: #8 1978 Leading Firemen

Saturday, January 28, 2012

#6 1978 Strikeout Leaders

Card Front: Even at a younger age, the look on Nolan's face would scare me if I was in the batter's box. While J.R. looks nice and pleasant, he was a beast on the mound. Who would think that this card is a foreshadowing of teammates in 1980 in Houston. Sadly, J.R.'s career would end that year due to a stroke at the age of 30. The Astros could have really good if they could have stayed together.

Card Back: Talk about strikeout numbers all over the board. Amongst all the Hall of Famers and big names, the separation between #1 and #10 is anywhere between 120 to 150 K's. Back in these days, guys didn't have the 'roids to bump their numbers so they had to adjust and play small ball, or take a seat on the bench after whiffing.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Most people know that Nolan's last game was on September 22, 1993 in Seattle. Steve Dreyer would finish the at bat against Dave Magadan in the bottom of the 1st inning. As far as hooking him to a Mariner, it's not too hard. Nolan had some time with Matt Whiteside in Teaxas in that '93 season, Matt was a Blue Jay in 2005 with Guillermo Quiroz, and Q has been in and out of the Mariners system three times, including this upcoming year. NL leader J.R. spent the 1972 season with Ken Forsch as an Astro, Ken would move on to play with the Angels and Dick Schofield in 1983. Dick would hang with Chan Ho Park as a Dodger in 1995, and Chan would hook up with Jeff Clement, as a former Mariner in Pittsburgh in 2010. As a side note, some of the names in the first round drafted after Clement: Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Matt Garza. Thank goodness Bill Bavasi isn't making draft decisions anymore and Jackie Z has a mind for good prospects.

Next Card: #7 1978 ERA Leaders

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

#5 1978 Victory Leaders

Card Front: The Yankees make their first appearance in the 1979 set with the "Louisiana Lightning" in Ron Guidry. Nice also to see an appearance by the brown and yellow of the Padres. Perry would make many stop in his career including Seattle for his 300th win.

Card Back: Look at the names on this bad boy. Lots of stars from both leagues, and a few that who would ask who by looking at the last name. Four out of the ten in the NL are in the Hall, and three for the AL are represented. Even the bottom 5 in each league would be welcome on just about any roster today.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Obviously Gaylord would spend some time in Seattle. How about Guidry to the Mariners? Ron would play with Tommy John in New York in 1980, Tommy would team with future Mariner Mike Blowers in 1989 with the Yankees. Also Angel Frank Tanana played with Bill Bean in Detroit in 1988, Bill would team up with Rich Rodriguez in San Diego in '93, and play alongside Chone Figgins in Anaheim in 2003. Another is Phil Niekro who was with Jeff Burroughs in Atlanta in '79, Jeff played with Mariner broadcaster Bill Krueger in Oakland in 1983, and Bill was part of the magical 1995 run along with Arqumediez Pozo. Lastly, Vida Blue spent 1970 in Oakland with Diego Segui. Diego was the only player to be with both the Pilots and Mariners, throwing the first pitch in Mariners history.

Next Card: #6 1978 Strikeout Leaders

Monday, January 23, 2012

#4 1978 Stolen Base Leaders

Card Front: Remember the days in the 70's and 80's when stolen base numbers were higher than home run numbers? Ron LeFlore was a speed demon for the Tigers, pictured here from Yankee Stadium. Omar would lead the NL in '78, '79, and just miss by one in 1980 stealing 96 while Ron would lead the NL with 97 as an Expo in 1980.

Card Back: The disparity in the numbers of the top 10 is amazing. Both #1 guys had more than double the #10 player. While there is only one guy in both leagues that is in the Hall, there are still some recognizable names top to bottom in both leagues. While the AL race was semi close, Omar blew the doors off teammate Frank Taveras by 25 bags.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Obviously Julio Cruz was a Mariner in 1978. Ron can be traced to a Mariner of a few years ago in Randy Messenger. Ron spent 1980 in Montreal with Bill Almon, who spent 1987 it Pittsburgh with Barry Bonds, and Barry played with Randy in 2007 in San Francisco. Randy spent parts of 2008 and 2009 in Seattle. Omar can also be tied to the Mariners. Willie Randolph was his teammate in Pittsburgh in 1975, Willie would spend the 1990 season with the Dodgers teaming with Dave Hansen, and Dave spent part of the 2005 season with George Sherrill in Seattle, and George is back with the team in 2012 for his second go around.

Next Card: #5 1978 Victory Leaders

Sunday, January 22, 2012

#3 1978 RBI Leaders

Card Front: Once again we see the same players from card #2. It is obvious who the power hitters were in 1978. It looks like the picture was taken the same day as the one on the previous card, just put a bat in their hands.

Card Back: Once again we see guys in the Hall of Fame. I guess you can expect it on a 33 year old card. There is a nice mix of teams for both leagues. Pittsburgh and Los Angeles dominated the NL in '78. A 38 year old Rico Carty would be with two teams and still get nearly 100 RBI's-nice work old man.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: While most guys can find a link to the Mariners, I decided to dig deeper this time. AL #3 Larry Hisle would play with Bob McClure in 1979 with Milwaukee, McClure would team up with Jamie Moyer in St. Louis in 1991, and Jamie would play with Jaime Bubela in Seattle in 2005. At the bottom of the NL list is "the Penguin" Ron Cey. Ron would spend 1986 in Chicago with Cubs teammate Rafael Palmiero. Palmiero would team with Erik Bedard in Baltimore in 2004, and Erik spent a little time in 2011 with Dustin Ackley in Seattle before getting shipped to Boston last year.

Next Card: #4 Stolen Base Leaders

Saturday, January 21, 2012

#2 1978 Home Run Leaders

Card Front: The big boppers for 1978 looking tough. Jim Rice with the classic red Boston hat. George is giving his best mean mug as the two time NL homer champ.

Card Back: There is guys in the hall all over these lists. In all there are 6 HOF'ers. Jim Rice would lead all players with 46 bombs in 1978. George's power numbers dropped from 1977 when he hit 52 homers. In a period from 1966-1989, George was the only player to hit more than 50 in a season. The steroid era would obliterate those numbers.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: Doug DeCinces would play with Dennis Martinez in Baltimore in 1978. Dennis would play for the Mariners in 1997. He also spent time with Gary Roenicke in Charm City. Gary would play with his brother Ron on the San Bernadino Pride in 1990. Ron would spend the 1983 season with the M's.

Next Card: #3 Runs Batted In Leaders

Thursday, January 19, 2012

#1 1978 Batting Leaders

This is the first card in the set of 726 cards. Unlike the modern cards that have the top three from each league, back in these days it was one card. The good thing with that meant more cards for players to be on.

Card Front: On the left is AL batting champ Rod Carew of the Twins. Rod would not play for the Twins in 1979, being traded to the Angels in February of '79. Rod led the AL hitting .333 in 1978. On the right is the NL champ in "the Cobra," Dave Parker. Dave would win the NL batting title at .334, and the NL MVP in '78 despite a facial injury in June.

Card Back: Do you like deep green? I hope so because you will see lots of it for the next 725 cards. The list of the top 10 for each league has three guys that are in the Hall of Fame. One that will be on Lou Piniella, and one that could be in Pete Rose. Many household names amongst all 20 players.

Six degrees or less to Seattle: The easy one is Leon Roberts. He was a Mariner. Obviously Lou managed in Seattle. Jose Cruz would have his son play in Seattle. Jeff Burroughs would also spend 1981 in Seattle.

Next Card: #2 Home Run Leaders

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's look back

The year is 1979. In September of the year I turned 8 years old. I was playing little league for the first time. I started to try and watch the Saturday game of the week. Once in a while you would get a Dodgers game on KTTV channel 11, or an Angels game on KTLA channel 5. I really didn't know who the big names were yet. The Pirates and their crazy uniform combinations caught my eye.

One day I went into a local 7-11 to get a soda and a candy bar. There with the candy was a box of baseball cards. It was the old Topps cello packs that you could see the front and backs cards. On the front was a Pirates car with the cool black and yellow uniform combo. I for the life of me still can't remember who's card it was. I was stoked to think you could get 16 cards for a cool 30 cents. All it took was one pack and a love affair was born.

If you were like me and the 1979 Topps was your first cards, or you were a fan of a team in '79 your blog is here. We will take a card by card look at my first and favorite. What were some of your favorites in the set? Let's enjoy this ride together.