The 1970’s, A To Z: Ralph Garr to Cito Gaston

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.


RALPH GARR

1975 Topps #550

Played 1968 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Braves, White Sox, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
In 1974 Garr lead the league with a .353 average, 214 hits and 17 triples and was an All-Star; Also lead league with 11 triples in 1975; Garr hit .299 or higher six times and finished 2nd in batting to Joe Torre in 1971 and to Billy Williams in 1972;  Was the NL Player of the Month for May, 1974… Over 25 games that month he batted. 427 with 21 runs scored, 11 RBI, 4 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homers and 5 stolen bases

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame, College Baseball Hall of Fame and the International League Hall of Fame

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “Road Runner”; Was the first batter to ever face the Blue Jays… Bill Singer walked him, Garr stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on an error and scored on a sac fly

Card Stuff:
The same awesome photo was used in both 1974 and 1975 Topps


WAYNE GARRETT

1975 Topps #111

Played 1969 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Mets, Expos, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Mets’ starting 3rd Baseman from 1972 to 1975, and at the time he had the longest tenure of any Mets 3rd baseman (as the team previously had trouble finding someone to handle the hot corner)

Career Highlights:
Won a World Series with the 1969 “Miracle Mets”, platooning with Ed Charles and batting .385 in the 1969 NLCS; Garrett remains the only Mets 3rd baseman to play in two World Series (1969 and 1973)

Fun Stuff:
Wayne was the victim of Jim Bunning’s final strikeout (9/3/71); His brother Adrian played for the Cubs, Angels, A’s and Braves

Card Stuff:
This post’s featured card (with a John Milner cameo) isn’t the best from a photography standpoint, but I’ve always liked it; Garrett’s 1977 O-Pee-Chee card features a different photo; Was on a 1979 card with the Cardinals, but he played in Japan from 1979 to 1980

BONUS CARD – 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball


STEVE GARVEY

1974 Topps #575

Played 1969 – 1987
1970’s Teams:  Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the NL MVP in 1974 after batting .312 with 111 RBI, 95 runs, and 21 home runs; He also won a Gold Glove (the first of four straight), was named an All-Star (first of eight straight) and was named that year’s All-Star Game MVP; Was also the MVP of the 1978 All-Star Game; Was named the 1978 NLCS MVP after batting .389 with 4 homers, 7 RBI, 6 runs, a double, a triple and a homer over four games; His “Iron Man” streak of 1,207 consecutive games started on 9/3/75 (the streak would last into 1983)

Career Highlights:
Was an All-American 3rd Baseman in college; 1984 NLCS MVP; Got MVP votes in 8 straight season and 9 overall; Was remarkably consistent from 1974 to 1980… during that period his batting average was between .297 and .319 (.311 average), he had between 192 and 210 hits (average for that span = 201), between 78 and 95 runs (average 88), between 80 and 115 RBI (average 104); His #6 was retired by the Padres, the first number retired by that franchise, but the Dodgers have not retired it and #6 has been worn by 11 players over the past 20 years

Fun Stuff:
Had guest appearances on the TV shows Fantasy Island, Just Shoot Me and Baywatch; Was a defensive back at Michigan State

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card is missing the All-Star banner


CLARENCE “CITO” GASTON

1974 Topps Washington “Nat’l Lea.” #364

Played 1967 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Padres, Braves, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
As a player he had a career year in 1970 when he named to the All-Star team and batted .318 with 186 hits, 92 runs, 93 RBI and 29 homers; Many of his marks from that season would be Padres team records for much of the 1970s… His batting average was a team record until Tony Gwynn broke it in 1984, his 92 runs was a team record until Dave Winfield in 1977 and his 186 hits record stood until Gene Richards in 1980

Career Highlights:
Cito is best known for managing the Blue Jays between 1989 and 1997 and again from 2008 to 2010; During his first span he won 2 World Championships and four division titles; Was the first African-American manager to win a World Championship;  Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1979 Topps airbrushed into a Pirates uniform, but played just 2 games for the Bucs at the end of 1978 and didn’t play in the majors after that; Was included in the 1971 Kellogg’s, Topps Coins and Topps Super sets

9 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Ralph Garr to Cito Gaston

  1. Lots of great info… just packed into Garr. Didn’t realize Garvey was the first number ever retired by the Padres. Very cool. And like you mentioned… I was familiar with Gaston for his years managing the BJ’s. That’s pretty cool that he was a solid hitter for the Padres too.

  2. The Dodgers don’t retire numbers unless a player makes the Hall of Fame, or in special circumstances (Jim Gilliam’s early passing). I’ve always admired the way the Dodgers treat retired numbers.

  3. I’m a big fan of the Hall of Fame only rule for retired numbers. Giants used to have it but the ongoing Bonds situation forced their hand and now the door’s wide open for some mission creep. (I’m not upset about Clark’s 22 being retired but it’s a very slippery slope)

  4. I like the Ralph Garr action card from 1975, Steve Garvey was one the best players both Dodgers & Padres had, can’t understand why Dodgers never retired his #6. I think that uniform numbers should be retired when a player for that team goes into the HOF for his outstanding career with that team. As for retiring numbers like 42 in MLB & 99 in NHL, I think that if a player wants to wear that number he should. This could be a future topic.

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