The 1970’s, A To Z: Bob Horner to Frank Howard

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.


BOB HORNER

1979 Topps #586

Played 1978 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Braves

1970’s Highlights:
In 1978 Horner was the first-ever winner of the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur player in the USA; In 1977 he won a National Championship with Arizona State U. and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series; Set an ASU record with 56 career homers; Was the first overall pick in the 1978 Draft and went straight to the Majors, where he would be named the 1978 NL Rookie of the Year; Inducted into the Arizona State University Hall of Fame in 1979

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the College Baseball HOF in 2006; Was named to the All-Star team in 1982; Hit 4 homers in a single game in 1986

Fun Stuff:
Played the 1987 season in Japan with the Yakult Swallows

Card Stuff:
Appeared in numerous 1987 sets, but played in Japan; Appeared in 1988 and 1989 sets with the Cardinals, although his St. Louis career was limited to 60 games in 1988


WILLIE HORTON

1976 Topps #320

Played 1963 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Rangers, Indians, A’s, Blue Jays, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the All-Star team in 1970 and 1973;  Was named the AL Comeback Player of the Year for 1979 when he had career-highs in RBI (106) and games played (162) while hitting his highest home run total of the 1970s (29);  was named the April, 1976 AL Player of the Month; Was the first Texas Ranger to hit three home runs in a game

Career Highlights:
Had his #23 retired by the Tigers, the only non-HOFer to hold that honor;  batted .304 in the 1968 World Series;  his 262 homers with the Tigers ranks 5th on the team’s all-time list;  Overall he had three seasons with at least 100 RBI and six seasons with at least 25 home runs; Played in 18 seasons, 15 of them with the Tigers

Fun Stuff:
In the 1980s, Willie played two seasons for the Pirates’ Triple-A team in Portland and another season in Mexico

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every ‘flagship’ Topps set of the 1970s;  His time with the Indians and A’s was never reflected in any mainstream card appearances;  appeared in 1978 Topps with the Rangers, but had been traded to the Indians in the offseason; appeared in 1979 Topps with the Blue Jays, but had signed as a free agent with the Mariners for that season


CHARLIE HOUGH

1975 Topps #71

Played 1970 – 1994
1970’s Teams: Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
A knuckleballer who spent all of the 1970s as a Dodgers reliever; Lead the Dodgers in saves in 1976 and 1977; Pitched in the postseason during three different years but has no decisions or saves to show for it

Career Highlights:
While a starting pitcher with the Rangers in the 1980s, Hough served as a workhorse, leading the lead in starts twice and innings pitched once; He had six seasons with 15+ wins and holds the Texas Rangers career records with 139 wins and 1,452 strikeouts; At the age of 45 he started the first game in Florida Marlins history

Fun Stuff:
Is the only pitcher to have 400 starts and 400 relief appearances


RALPH HOUK

1978 Topps #684

Played 1947 – 1954
Managed 1961 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Yankees, Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Named the Sporting News AL Manager of the Year in 1970, a year when he guided the Yankees to 93 wins and a 2nd place finish, 15 games behind the World Champion Orioles; Stepped down as the Yankees manager after the 1973 season, and wasn’t out of work long before being hired by the Tigers. He managed Detroit for five seasons, only once finishing above .500

Career Highlights:
In his first three years as manager of the Yankees (1961 – 1963), Houk won three AL pennants and two World Championships, moved up to be the Yanks’ GM and then went back to managing the Yankees after a losing 1965 record and a slow (4-16) start by the Johnny Keane-led Bronx Bombers; Also managed the Red Sox in the 1980s; As a player he was a backup catcher for the Yankees and stuck behind Yogi Berra for most of his career

Fun Stuff:
Was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart while in the Army during World War II; Rose to the rank of Major while in the Army, which is where his nickname, “The Major”, came from

Card Stuff:
His only card as a player came in 1952 Topps


FRANK HOWARD

1970 Topps Super #16

Played 1958 – 1973
1970’s Teams: Senators, Rangers, Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Frank Howard, at 6’7″, was among the biggest players in the Majors during his career and a popular member of the Washington Senators teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s; Lead the league in Home Runs (44) and RBI (136) in 1970; Was named to the AL All-Star team in 1970 and 1971

Career Highlights:
Was named the 1960 NL Rookie of the Year; Broke a Babe Ruth record by hitting 10 home runs in one week during the 1968 season; Hit a homer in the 1969 All-Star Game; Was named the 1965 AL Comeback Player of the Year; Hit a home run in Game 4 of the 1963 World Series to help the Dodgers sweep the Yankees; Signed to extend his career in 1974 with Japan’s Taiheiyo Club Lions, but ended up playing just one game due to an injury; Managed the Padres in 1981 and the Mets in 1983

Fun Stuff:
His nicknames include “Hondo”, “Horse”, “The Tower”, “The Capital Punisher” and “The Washington Monument”

5 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Bob Horner to Frank Howard

  1. Another gem chronicling these 70’s players. I had totally forgotten that Charlie Hough pitched the first-ever Marlins game! And let’s face it — as the only pitcher to record 400 starts as well as 400 relief appearance — that is a pretty amazing stat. Thanks for these 1970’s strolls down Memory Lane!

  2. Random thoughts…

    Horner – I remember being a proud owner of that 1979 Topps rookie back in the early 80s when I first started collecting cards.

    Horton – Knew he was a great hitter, but never knew he played for the A’s.

    Houk – If you asked me to tell you anything about Houk before this post, I would have been able to tell you he was a manager… but couldn’t tell you the team.

    Howard – He has one of the coolest baseball nicknames.

  3. The Topps 78 manager cards with b&w action from there playing days are cool, hopefully when Topps does heritage in 2027 they are included, or if they do 78 in archives in next few years. The 78’s are like the 72’s no standard fonts.

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