The 1970’s, A To Z: Jay Johnstone to Mike Jorgensen

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.


JAY JOHNSTONE

1970 Topps #485

Played 1966 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Angels, White Sox, A’s, Phillies, Yankees, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Went 7 for 9 with a double, a triple, a run scored and 2 RBI in the 1976 NLCS against the Reds; Was the first batter at Olympic Stadium, 4/15/1977; Won a World Series with the Yankees in 1978

Career Highlights:
Johnstone played 20 years in the Majors with 8 different teams, even though he only exceeded 500 AB’s in a season one time; Won a World Championship with the 1981 Dodgers; Made his last Major League appearance with the Dodgers in the 1985 NLCS

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in the 1988 movie “The Naked Gun” as the first Mariners batter in the baseball game sequence; As part of the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” (with Jerry Reuss, Rick Monday, and Steve Yeager) they recorded a version of “We Are The Champions” after the 1981 World Series (and screwed up the lyrics pretty badly)

Card Stuff:
Appeeared in the 1978 Kellogg’s set


CLEON JONES

1975 Kellogg’s #21

Played 1963 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Mets, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Batted .292 with 8 runs, 4 RBI, 4 doubles and a homer in the 1973 Postseason against the Reds and A’s; Went 3-for-9 with an intentional walk, a homer, 2 runs and 2 RBI in Mets 25-inning 4-3 loss to Cardinals 9/11/74 (Longest game of the 1970’s, by innings played); Batted .319 in 1971

Career Highlights:
Was named to the 1966 Topps All-Star Rookie team and got a single vote in NL Rookie of the Year voting; In 1969 he started in the All-Star Game and went 2-for-4;  Lead the 1969 “Miracle Mets” in batting, on base percentage, slugging, hits, doubles, stolen bases and walks;  Hit .429 in the NLCS and caught the final out of the 1969 World Series; His .340 average in 1969 was a Mets record for nearly 30 years before bested by John Olerud in 1998; Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1991

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and had an uncredited appearance in the 1968 Odd Couple Movie; His wife is a cousin of Billy Williams


RANDY JONES

1976 Kellogg’s #4

Played 1973 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Padres

Randy Jones’ career was so much about two seasons that I’m going to break the highlights down chronologically

1973 – 1974 Highlights:
Played just a season and a half in the minors; Was named the left-handed pitcher on the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie team; In 1974 he lead the NL with 22 losses (still a Padres record) and was one of five pitchers to lose 20 games that season (the other 4: Bill Bonham, Steve Rogers, Mickey Lolich and Clyde Wright)

1975 Highlights:
Randy Jones put it all together as he went from losing 22 games the year before to winning 20 games and finishing 2nd behind Tom Seaver in the Cy Young Award voting; Lead the league with a 2.24 ERA; Was named to the All-Star team; Finished 10th in MVP voting, far behind winner Joe Morgan; Was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year (editorial comment: one could argue that he couldn’t ‘come back’ when he hadn’t been there before); Set a still-standing team record with 6 shutouts;

1976 Highlights:
Was named the NL Cy Young winner after winning a career-high 22 games and leading the league in starts, innings pitched and complete games; Won 16 games by the All-Star break (a National League record); Was the starting (and winning) pitcher at the All-Star Game; Had a streak of 68 consecutive innings without walking a batter; Won the April and May Pitcher of the Month awards; Set still-standing Padres records for wins in a season, games started (40), innings pitched (315.1), complete games (25) and WHIP (1.02), plus he tied his own shutout record from the previous season

Post-1976 Highlights:
After the 1976 season, Randy Jones had surgery to fix a nerve injury, was never quite as good afterwards and went from 22 wins to never again having a winning record; After the 1980 season he was traded to the Mets for a couple of prospects; Signed with the Pirates for the 1983 season but did not make the team and his career would be over

Career Highlights:
His #35 was retired by the Padres and in 1999 he was part of the inaugural inductee class of the Padres Hall of Fame


RUPPERT JONES

1978 Topps #20

Played 1976 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Was the first player selected by the Mariners (from Kansas City) in the 1976 Expansion Draft, the starting center fielder in the first-ever Mariners game and the Mariner’s representative in the 1977 All-Star Game; Was named to the 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Hit an extra-inning walk-off grand slam with the Yankees in 1980 and did it again in 1985 with the Angels, becoming the first player to do that twice; Was an All-Star in 1982 while with the Padres; Won a World Series with the Tigers in 1984

Card Stuff:
Was in the 1978 and 1979 Hostess sets


MIKE JORGENSEN

1977 Topps #368

Played 1968 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Mets, Expos, A’s, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Moved from the Mets to the Expos as part of the Rusty Staub trade;  Hit a home run in his first at bat with the Expos;  Won a Gold Glove at first base in 1973;  Lead the 1975 Expos in homers, On-base % and Slugging, and was second to Gary Carter with 67 RBI;  Was involved in turning two Triple Plays – 6/3/72 Expos vs Astros and 6/13/73 Expos vs Padres;

Career Highlights:
Managed the 1995 Cardinals after Joe Torre was fired, but after the end of the season he returned to his farm director duties and was replaced by Tony LaRussa

Fun Stuff:
Was born on the day Babe Ruth died (August 16, 1948)

Card Stuff:
His stint managing the Cardinals was never reflected on a baseball card (managers weren’t put on cards in the mid 1990s); His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is cropped tighter than the Topps counterpart; Was in the 1975 and 1976 Hostess sets


NOTE: Mike Jorgensen wraps up the letter “J”. We’ll pick up with the first “K” in the next post.

Here’s Jay Johnstone’s big moment on the silver screen

8 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Jay Johnstone to Mike Jorgensen

  1. Randy Jones’s 16 wins by the All-Star break seems like an amazing feat in any era, but it’s multiplied more and more to think of the chances of it happening in today’s game.

  2. Randy Jones much like Mark Fidrych were both speculated to have really good pitching careers in the MLB. Cleon Jones was part of the 69 Mets team that made some great plays in the outfield.

  3. By the time I started really getting into baseball numbers and card collecting, Randy Jones was wrapping up his career. Then when I really started collecting Padres cards outside of just Gwynn in the late 2000’s… I discovered how valuable he was to the franchise. Within the past few years, I also targeted him because he’s a part of my lefty Cy Young Award winners collection.

  4. One of my favorite scenes from The Naked Gun. Thanks for adding that video clip. Never made the Jay Johnstone connection. I wonder how he landed the part.

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