Only On Paper: Nearly 1977 Mariners

This is the second in a series of relatively notable players who were acquired by an expansion team ahead of its first season but weren’t on that team’s roster come Opening Day.

For the 1977 Seattle Mariners there are three such players.

Grant Jackson

Jackson had been a 1969 All-Star as a starting pitcher with the Phillies, and in 1976 he was a reliever who split the season between the Orioles and Yankees, putting up a combined 7-1 record and 2.54 ERA (although he got knocked around pretty badly in the 1976 ALCS and World Series).  Maybe the Yankees lost confidence in him, or maybe they didn’t expect a 34-year-old reliever to get selected, but he was taken from the Bronx Bombers’ roster in the expansion draft.  A month later he was traded to the Pirates for Craig Reynolds (a 1978 & 1979 All-Star with the M’s and Astros) and Jimmy Sexton.

Pete Broberg

Broberg was a hard-throwing righty who had some modest success with bad teams.  The Mariners selected him off of the Brewers’ roster in the expansion draft, but before he appeared in a game with the M’s he was traded to the Cubs for a Player To Be Named Later (who would turn out to be Jim Todd).

What’s interesting on this card is that Broberg’s jersey is airbrushed… but he came from the Brewers, who in the 1970s shared the same colors with the Mariners.  Did the airbrush artist get carried away, or is this an older photo from Broberg’s time with the Rangers?

Broberg also appeared on a 1977 Hostess card, and that photo also has an airbrushed collar.  It may or may not mean anything, but Broberg sported a mustache on his 1975 and 1976 cards, but is clean-shaven here.  Hmmmmm…

Kurt Bevacqua

These days Bevacqua is best known for winning the Bazooka Bubble Blowing contest in 1975, which got commemorated in 1976 Topps.  He spent most of 1976 with the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Spokane, and after the season he was sold to the Mariners ahead of the expansion draft.

This card serves as a good example of what I’d mentioned on the Broberg card;  they didn’t have to alter the blue & yellow collar on Bevacqua’s Brewers jersey.

Unfortunately for Bevacqua, he got released towards the end of spring training, but he got picked up by the Rangers and split the season between Texas and Triple-A Tucson

Bonus card:  Dave Johnson

This is the Dave Johnson who pitched in 53 games for the Orioles and Twins in the 1970s… Not the Dave Johnson who played with Hank Aaron and Sadaharu Oh and managed the Mets and Reds, and not the Dave Johnson who pitched in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the Pirates, Orioles and Tigers.

This Dave Johnson was purchased from the Orioles ahead of the expansion draft, but didn’t make the team out of Spring Training.  His contract was sold to the Twins in early May, and he’d get into 30 games with Minnesota.

Incidentally, Leon Hooten (top right) was an “Only On Paper” Blue Jay, but I’ll cover that when we get to the Jays.

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