The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim Kaat to Jim Kern

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.

Today we’re kicking off the letter K!


1976 Topps #136

Played 1959 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Was a twenty-game winner for the White Sox in 1974 and 1975; In 1975, at the age of 36, he was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and got MVP and Cy Young votes;  Was the Phillies Opening Day starter in 1976

Career Highlights:
Won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards… he and Brooks Robinson are the only players to accomplish that feat;  Was a three-time All-Star;  Has 283 career wins; Started 625 career games; Was a World Champion with the 1982 Cardinals; In 1966 he lead the league in wins (25), innings pitched (304.2), complete games (41) and shutouts (19);  Holds the Twins (but not Senators) single season record with 25 wins in 1966 and the Twins career records for innings pitched (3,014.1) and wins (190);  Has come close to being elected to the Hall of Fame, but fell a couple of votes short

Fun Stuff:
Was the last active player from the original Washington Senators;  Was the only student ever from Zeeland (MI) High School to play in the Majors

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


1974 Topps #215

Played 1953 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1971 and 1974;  In 1973 he won the AL Roberto Clemente Award, “bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field”

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980; Went straight from high school to the Majors in 1953 and the following year, still a teenager, became the Tigers’ starting right fielder; In 1955 and at the age of 20 he became the youngest player to win a bating title and also lead the AL in hits;  Won a World Series with the Tigers in 1968 while batting .379 with 2 homers and 8 RBI; Had 242 consecutive errorless games in the outfield;  15-time All-Star; 10-time Gold Glove winner; Finished with 3,007 hits and 399 home runs

Fun Stuff:
Got his 3,000th hit in his hometown of Baltimore, a double off of Dave McNally;  When you run his name together, it spells “Alkaline”

Card Stuff:
His 1974 Topps card featured above shows him playing first and lists him as “1B – OF”, but Kaline was strictly a DH that season (which was his final season)


1979 Topps #188

Played 1967 – 1971
1970’s Teams: Royals, White Sox, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1973; Went 5 for 15 with 3 runs and 4 RBI in the 1979 Postseason with the Orioles; Lead his teams in stolen bases six times; Broke up a Vida Blue no-hitter with two outs in the 8th inning, 9/11/70; Involved in turning a 9-6-4-6 Triple Play against the Royals 6/3/77

Career Highlights:
Kelly had a good eye at the plate and finished his career with a .354 On-Base %; was an original member of the Kansas City Royals and appeared as a pinch runner in the very first Royals game

Fun Stuff:
His older brother, Leroy Kelly, was a HOF running back for the Cleveland Browns; there were briefly two players named Pat Kelly simultaneously in the Majors, with the other one being a Blue Jays catcher who played in 3 games in 1980

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970’s; He appeared in a Royals cap on the high-numbered “Rookie Stars” card he shared with two other players, but his 1970 “solo” card shows him in a blacked-out cap


1979 Hostess #15

Played 1977 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-American for the University of Southern California in 1975 and the first overall draft pick in the January 1976 draft; Hit a career-high 29 homrs in 1977;  Had a career year in 1979 when he hit 26 homers with 105 RBI and represented the Tigers in the All-Star game; Hit an inside-the-park home run on 9/4/77

Fun Stuff
At USC he was teammates with Rich Dauer and Roy Smalley


1976 SSPC #509

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Indians, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Kern was one of the top relievers of the late 1970s, was named to three straight all-star teams and finished 4th in 1979 Cy Young voting; Won the 1979 AL Rolaids Relief Award after going 13-5 with 29 saves; Kern retired three straight batters, including striking out Dave Parker and George Foster, in the 1977 All-Star Game

Fun Stuff:
Kern was – on paper – a New York Met for 2 months. He was obtained from the Rangers in December of 1981 and then flipped to the Reds as part of the George Foster deal the following February

2 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim Kaat to Jim Kern

  1. Jim Kaat & Al Kaline couple of great players in there day, I would like to see Jim Kaat in the MLB HOF. There also was another Pat Kelly that played for the NY Yankees in the 1990’s.

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