Once again, I’ve fired up the Random-itron 2000 and it generated the next team set in this series; the 1974 Topps Philadelphia Phillies.
…But before I get started, you may be wondering what’s up with the “Part 1” in the subject line. Executive Summary: I spent too much time on this post and want to get at least two posts out of the work I put in. Detailed summary is down below.
The 1974 Phillies went 80-82 and finished 3rd in the 6 team NL East (8 games behind the division-winning Pirates).
The Phillies were managed by Danny Ozark, who was born Daniel Leonard Orzechowski.
He played 18 years in the Dodgers organization without ever making it to The Show, and was a coach with the Dodgers for a number of years before getting the managing job with the Phillies. He would manage the Phils for 7 years in the 1970’s, finishing in 1st place 3 years in a row, but never winning the NLCS.
Best Offensive Player
Mike Schmidt was a 24-year-old in his second full season, made his first All-Star team and lead the Majors in homers (36) and the N.L. in slugging percentage (.546).
He also had 28 doubles, 7 triples, 116 RBI and for good measure he stole 23 bases.
For anyone who is not familiar with this card, I will direct your attention to the Phillies bullpen cart parked on the left-hand side.
Steve Carlton was an All-Star in 1974, went 16-13, 3.22 and lead the league in K’s (240) and BB’s (136). He also had 17 complete games, which was 2nd in the NL.
This card was a finalist for “Best Action Shot” and “Favorite Card”, but I’ll admit I didn’t want to have one card represent three categories.
Best Player In A Supporting Role
I always forget that Jim Lonborg won a Cy Young award with the Red Sox in 1967. That year he went 22-9, 3.16, had a 1.138 WHIP and lead the league with 246 K’s.
In 1974, Lonborg went 17-13, 3.21 and pitched 16 complete games with 3 shutouts.
Here’s a fun Lonborg fact courtesy of Baseball-reference.com: “In the TV show ‘Cheers’, the picture behind the bar that was supposed to be Sam Malone pitching for the Red Sox is actually a picture of Lonborg.”
Most Notable Airbrush Job; Best Offensive Player In A Supporting Role
On 10/18/73, the Phillies acquired Dave Cash from the Pirates for Ken Brett. This card and Ken Brett’s 1974 card both feature good airbrushing jobs, which goes to show that the airbrush artists could do good work when they weren’t up against a tight deadline.
Cash was an All-Star in his first season with the Phils and batted an even .300 in 1974, with 11 triples, 89 runs scored and 58 RBI.
Best Action Shot
Larry Bowa was also an All-Star in 1974, batted .275 and scored 97 runs.
Picking the “Best Action Shot” card was a tough decision, but I’ll stand by the Bowa card.
Best Player Not On A 1974 Card
Jay Johnstone had been in the Majors since 1966, but since he only appeared in 23 games in 1973, he did not appear on a 1974 baseball card… and even if he had, it wouldn’t have shown him with the Phillies, who picked him up in early April after the Cardinals cut him loose near the end of Spring Training.
Johnstone started the year with AAA Toledo and got called up in early July. Over the second half of the season, he appeared in 64 games and batted .295 with 30 runs scored and 30 RBI. Needless to say, he did get a card in 1975.
I will get into the rest of the categories in Part 2. And speaking of parts 1 and 2…
The original idea behind these posts was that they were supposed to be relatively quick… Scan and post a bunch of cards from a particular team, and let the cards do the talking.
Then, of course, my own tendencies took over, I started researching the players and the team and the cards and the next thing I know, I’m spending just as much time on these posts as any other I write.
Since this post was already in progress when I realized I was waaay down the rabbit hole in terms of research, I broke it down into two parts because I figured I might as well get two days’ worth of posts out of all the research I did.
I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do for the next team. I’ll probably cut back on the research and just go with the original idea of “This guy is good, this card is cool, this action shot is the best” and leave it at that… but we’ll see.
Don’t forget to check out the series that I didn’t realize I was “borrowing” from: Night Owl’s “Joy Of A Team Set”!