The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim Clancy to Roberto Clemente

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JIM CLANCY

1978 Topps #496

Played 1977 – 1991
1970’s Teams: Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Clancy was originally drafted by the Rangers and got up to AA in the Texas organization before being taken by the Jays in the expansion draft… He made his MLB debut halfway through that inaugural 1977 season;  Was Involved in a 1-3-6 triple play 4/22/78 vs. the White Sox;  Lead the 1978 Blue Jays with 10 wins

Career Highlights:
In 1982 he was named to the All-Star team and got a career-best 16 wins;  Holds the Blue Jays single season mark with 40 starts (1982) and the Jays career mark with 140 losses;  Pitched for for the Jays in the 1985 ALCS and the Braves in the 1991 World Series (which would be his last Major League appearances)


JACK CLARK

1978 Topps #384

Played 1975 – 1992
1970’s Teams: Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Named to the 1978 and 1979 All-Star teams;  Was named the May 1978 NL Player of the Month (.388 average, .434 OBP, 9 doubles, 4 triples, 3 homers, 20 runs, 15 RBI);  Lead the 1978 Giants in homers (25), RBI (98), runs (90), hits (181) and doubles (46);  Lead the 1979 Giants in hits (144) and doubles (25)

Career Highlights:
A four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger;  Hit 340 career home runs

Fun Stuff:
Clark was originally drafted as a pitcher


HORACE CLARKE

1974 Topps #529

Played 1965 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Yankees, Padres

Career Highlights:
Ranks 12th on the list of Yankee career stolen bases; Played 1,272 games without postseason appearance as his career coincided with a long (by Yankees standards) franchise World Series drought, a period sometimes referred to as the “Horace Clarke Era”; His 1,272 career games is the most of any player from the Virgin Islands

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970, within the period of a month, Clarke broke up three no-hitters, each in the 9th inning:

  • June 4th – Jim Rooker (who took an extra-inning loss)
  • June 19th – Sonny Siebert (who got the win but gave up four 9th inning runs and was replaced by Sparky Lyle)
  • July 2nd – Joe Niekro (who retired the last two batters and ended up with a one-hit shutout)

Fun Stuff:
His first two Major League home runs were both Grand Slams;  Played his final 42 games in San Diego after the Yankees sold him to the Padres in 1974


KEN CLAY

1978 Topps #89

Played 1977 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched well in two 1977 World Series relief appearances (2 hits, 1 earned run over 3.2 innings);  Got a 3.2 inning save in the 1978 ALCS but had a rough outing in that World Series (4 hits, 3 earned runs over 2.1 innings)

Career Highlights:
Was a top pitching prospect for the Yankees but finished his career with a 10-24 record and a 4.68 ERA;  During the 1980 season he was traded along with a minor leaguer to the Rangers for a “rental” of Gaylord Perry (who was in a walk year)

Fun Stuff:
On August 27, 1977, Clay – on consecutive pitches – gave up inside-the-park homers to Toby Harrah and Bump Wills

Card Stuff:
Although he appeared in both Fleer and Topps sets in 1981 and 1982, he never appeared on a Donruss card.


ROBERTO CLEMENTE

1973 Topps #50
(Yes, my Clemente is miscut. I don’t care, I love this card.)

Played 1955 – 1972
1970’s Teams: Pirates

Career Highlights:
A Hall Of Famer whose life was tragically cut short in the famous 12/31/72 plane crash, he was one of only 3 HOFers to be inducted without the mandatory five-year waiting period (Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig were the others);  1966 NL MVP;  15-time All-Star;  12-time Gold Glove;  won four batting titles;  Two-time World Champion (1960 and 1971);  Batted .362 over 14 World Series games and had a hit in every game; Had 2 seasons with 100+ RBI and 3 with 100+ runs;  Lead the league in outfield assists in five times;  Holds Pirates career records with 2,433 games, 9,454 AB, 3,000 hits, 1,540 RBI and  937 walks

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the MVP of the 1971 World Series;  Got his 3000th and final hit in the last game of the 1972 season

Fun Stuff:
Played a handful of games in the infield during his second season (1956)

Card Stuff:
That’s Mets catcher Jerry Grote on Clemente’s 1973 card


9 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim Clancy to Roberto Clemente

  1. Horace Clarke wins the trivia battle.
    Clemente started in 1955.
    Kirby Puckett is one of the other two. I’ll need to think about the third one though.

    Fun read.

  2. I could come up with only one of the other two – Lou Gehrig – on my own but I knew Puckett was not correct. After doing a little googling I found that Babe Ruth was the other one.

  3. Some pretty cool baseball trivia in this post. Never heard of Clarke… but the two grand slams will stick with me.

  4. I had forgotten that Clancy finished his career with the Braves. Jays had a fairly decent starting staff during the early 80’s with Clancy, Steib and Leal. The weakness was the bullpen until Henke arrived.

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