1976 SSPC: Pete LaCock, Larry Biitner And Ken Reitz

Ralph Pierre LaCock, better known as Pete LaCock, was a Major Leaguer who came from a “show biz” family, so he was sort of the Lucas Giolito of the 1970’s.
1976 SSPC #317 Pete LaCock
His aunt, an actress who went by the stage name Joanne Dru, is best known for playing opposite John Wayne in “Red River” and “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon”. His father, Ralph Pierre LaCock Sr., went by Peter Marshall and was the host of “Hollywood Squares” from 1966 to 1981. (Paul Lynde to block!)

Pete LaCock was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the January 1970 draft, and made it to the Majors as a 20-year-old in 1972. He played five years with the Cubs, but achieved most of his success with the Royals. With the Royals, he made three postseason appearances, culminating with an appearance in Game 2 of the 1980 World Series, where he’d have two putouts but no plate appearances.

As it turned out, that World Series game was his last Major League game. After the season he spent 1981 in Japan with the Taiyo Whales, an experience that he disliked so much that he was flying back to the states as soon as the season was over. He had MLB offers for 1982, but decided to retire instead.

Larry Biittner (that’s not a typo, there are two consecutive “i’s” in his name) was drafted by the Senators and played with the Sens, Rangers, Expos, Cubs and Reds. It looks like the photographer surprised him before a night game.
1976 SSPC #336 Larry Biitner
Biittner would eventually make a reputation as one of the best pinch hitters in the game, but he did bat over .300 a couple of times as a fourth outfielder and backup first baseman.  My favorite “Larry Biittner fact” came off the back of his 1972 baseball card;  in 1970 with the Pittsfield Senators he batted .3247 and lost the Eastern League batting title to the Reading Phillies’ Greg Luzinski who batted .3248

Ken Reitz was the Cardinals’ starting third baseman for most of the 1970’s, was an All-Star in 1980 and won a Gold Glove in 1975.
1976 SSPC #280 Ken Reitz
Despite the Gold Glove, the Cards traded Reitz to the Giants in December 1975 for pitcher Pete Falcone (a trade that made it into the 1976 Topps Traded set). After one year in San Francisco, Reitz was traded back to the Cardinals a year and two days later, this time for pitcher Lynn McGlothen.

Reitz’ nickname was “Zamboni” because of his ability to pick up grounders off the Busch Stadium artificial turf.


Shea-o-meter
These photos probably were all taken at Shea, but it’s not like you can tell definitively. All three go down as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 62
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 10
Can’t tell: 19
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census: Keeping track of all the instances of 1970’s trends
I’m going to put these guys down as two sideburns, two mustaches and two examples of long hair.

Total Cards: 97
1970’s Sideburns: 54
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 34
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 8
Long Hair: 25

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