1976 SSPC: Dan Ford, Bruce Bochte And Ed Sprague

Dan Ford was the A’s first round pick (18th overall) in the 1970 draft.  After the 1974 season, he was traded to Minnesota, where he made his debut the next year. His best career year was 1979 with the Angels when he scored 100 runs and drove in 101. He was also a member of the 1975 Topps All-Star Rookie team (which was reflected on his 1976 Topps card).
1976 SSPC #216 Dan Ford

I haven’t shown this card to my wife yet, but I’m sure her reaction will be “Disco Dan Ford played for the Twins?” Mrs. Shlabotnik is familiar with Ford from when he played for the 1983 World Champion Orioles, and she always refers to him as “Disco Dan Ford”.

In 1976… Ford was the Twins’ starting right fielder in his second season, scored 87 runs and had 86 RBI. He was in the league’s Top 10 in Slugging, Runs and strikeouts.

Another 1976 achievement for Disco Dan was that in April, he became the first player to hit a homer in the newly-renovated Yankee Stadium.

His first name is actually Darnell. Hey, Crab Man!

Bruce Bochte’s peak season came in 1979 when he batted .316 with 81 runs, 100 RBI and made the All-Star team. I had thought of him as an original Mariner, but he actually joined the team for their second season.
1976 SSPC #200 Bruce Bochte
In 1976… Bochte played 146 games, splitting time between first, left and right. He was 5th in the league with 11 intentional walks.

Ed Sprague holds a special place in my heart, and it has nothing to do with what he did on the field… or what he did off the field. Back in 1975, his card was the last card I needed to complete that year’s set, and it was the first set I’d ever completed.

1976 SSPC #230 Ed Sprague

More objectively, he pitched 8 seasons, mostly in relief, and was with the 1972 N.L. Champion Reds (although he didn’t pitch in the postseason).

In 1976… Sprague pitched his final season, going 0-2, 7.04 in 3 games. This was Sprague’s last baseball card, as his last Topps appearance was on that 1975 card.

Perhaps Ed’s most significant contribution to baseball came when he was a scout for the Orioles. Among the players he signed was Mike Mussina.

His son, Ed Sprague Jr. (who didn’t use the “Jr.” within baseball), played 11 years with 6 teams, mostly the Blue Jays.

I’m pretty sure all three guys had their photo taken at Shea, but Dan Ford is going by light poles and a tree, while Ed Sprague it’s just light poles.  I’m going to put Dan Ford as “Pretty sure” and Sprague as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 62
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 10
Can’t tell: 16
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census:  Keeping track of all the instances of 1970’s trends
Dan Ford’s got the sideburns, aviators and mustache.  Bochte’s got long hair and just barely 1970’s enough sideburns, while Sprague has sideburns and mustache, and …I guess… long hair.

Total Cards: 94
1970’s Sideburns: 52
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 32
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 8
Long Hair: 23


5 thoughts on “1976 SSPC: Dan Ford, Bruce Bochte And Ed Sprague

  1. Until today I had never seen a card of Ed Sr.
    I know of Jr’s exploits well.. Watched him hit the homer in the World Series. Watched him as his nickname became E5… lol
    I’m a Jays fan, can ya tell? lol

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