The 1970’s, A To Z: Fergie Jenkins to Darrell Johnson

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.


FERGIE JENKINS

1975 Topps #60

Played 1965 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the 1974 AL Comeback Player of the Year and finished second to Jim Hunter in 1974 Cy Young voting (Jenkins got 10 first place votes); Was named the July 1971 NL Player of the Month after going 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 7 starts; Lead the league in wins in 1971 and 1974; Was the Cubs Opening Day starter from 1970 to 1973, the Red Sox Opening Day starter in 1976 and 1977 and the Rangers Opening Day starter in 1975 and 1979; Threw the first shutout in Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, 4/24/77

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 (the first Canadian-born player to earn the honor), the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2004; Was in Top 3 of Cy Young voting five different times (including his winning season); A three-time All-Star; Holds the Cubs career record with 347 starts and 2,038 strikeouts; Holds the Rangers career record with 17 shutouts; Holds or is tied for several Rangers single-season records including shutouts (6), wins (25), games (29) and innings pitched (328.1); Had 6 consecutive seasons where he won 20 games and 14 consecutive seasons of double-digit wins; He’s the only pitcher in history to strike out more than 3000 batters while allowing fewer than 1000 walks; His #31 has been retired by the Cubs

Fun Stuff:
Played for the Harlem Globetrotters in the offseason from 1967 to 1969; Gave up Roberto Clemente’s final homer (240 in 1972) and George Brett’s first (1974)

Card Stuff:
Was in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


TOMMY JOHN

1976 SSPC #69

Played 1963 – 1989
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
At the end of the 1974 season he went under the knife for the first successful Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) surgery, a procedure that is now referred to as “Tommy John surgery”; Was an All-Star in 1978 and 1979; Was the 1976 NL Comeback Player of the Year; Got three first place votes in 1977 Cy Young voting, but finished a distant second to Steve Carlton; Had three 20-win seasons, all after his surgery; Was the White Sox Opening Day starter in 1970 and 1971

Career Highlights:
Pitched 26 years in the Majors after breaking in with Cleveland in 1963; Was a four-time All-Star; won 288 games and struck out 2,245 batters

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


ALEX JOHNSON

1974 Topps #107

Played 1964 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Angels, Indians, Rangers, Yankees, Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1970 he was named to the All-Star team and narrowly won the AL batting title over Carl Yastrzemski – Both show up as battting .329, but Johnson batted .32899 to Yaztrzemski’s .32862; Johnson’s average and 202 hits in 1970 set Angels franchise records which have since been broken; Was one of the first full-time designated hitters in the AL

Career Highlights:
Won the 1968 NL Comeback Player of the Year award; Was a member of the World Champion 1968 Cardinals team, but didn’t play in the World Series

Fun Stuff:
His brother Ron Johnson was an NFL running back, mainly with the NY Giants; Alex was a high school teammate of Willie Horton

Bonus card (added nearly 12 hours after this post was published)


CLIFF JOHNSON

1977 Topps #514

Played 1972 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Astros, Yankees, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Although Cliff Johnson came up as a catcher / first baseman, he was better suited to be a DH and his defensive games declined once he was in the American League; Won two World Series with the Yankees in 1977 and 1978; On June 30, 1977 he hit two home runs in the 8th inning, both off Blue Jays pitchers named Jerry (Garvin and Johnson), as the Yankees blew the game open with an 8-run, 11-batter inning

Career Highlights:
Held a record with 21 home runs as a pinch hitter, a record which stood until 2010 when Matt Stairs broke it; was good at drawing walks and finished with 568 career bases on ball and a .355 On-Base %

Fun Stuff:
Is the brother-in-law of OF/DH Mike Easler

Card Stuff:
His 1978 card jams “DH-C-1B” into the little baseball in the top right


DARRELL JOHNSON

1978 Topps #79

Played 1952 – 1962
Managed 1974 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Managed the 1975 Red Sox to an AL Pennant, but lost to the Reds in 7 games; After the 1975 season he was named the AL Manager of the year; Was fired just past the halfway point of the 1976 season and then got hired to manage the Seattle Mariners in their inaugural season; in that season he avoided finishing in last place and losing 100 games, but the team didn’t improve on that start in the following seasons

4 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Fergie Jenkins to Darrell Johnson

  1. When I was a kid, I remember thinking Cliff Johnson was scary. I think I must have seen a trading card of him during his tenure with the A’s where he had a scowl on his face or something.

  2. Fergie Jenkins started his mlb career with the Phillies in 1965 before being traded in 1966 to the Cubs for Larry Jackson who had an average career, & Bob Buhl another average pitcher. The other players I don’t know much about, since they spent most of there time in the AL. Good post.

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