The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave Lemanczyk to Sixto Lezcano

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.


DAVE LEMANCZYK

1977 O-Pee-Chee #229

Played 1973 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Taken from the Tigers in the 1976 expansion draft, Lemanczyk would lead the Blue Jays with 13 wins in their first season, tying the Seattle Pilots’ Gene Brabender for the most wins by an expansion team pitcher… it was also a career high for him; Was the Blue Jays’ Opening Day Starter in 1978; Was named to the 1979 AL All-Star team

Fun Stuff:
Lemanczyk is the only player ever from Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) to make it to the Majors

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card (featured above) has a Spring Training photo to substitute for Topps’ airbrushed photo;  Lemanczyk’s son Matt was an outfielder in the Cardinals organization and had pre-rookie cards in 2004 Bowman and 2004 Topps Update, but never made it past Double-A


BOB LEMON

1978 Topps #574

Played 1946 – 1958
Managed 1970 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Royals, White Sox, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Took over as the Royals’ manager part way through the 1970 season and in 1971 he managed the team to a winning record (85-76) and a 2nd place finish (16 games behind Oakland) in just their 3rd season; Managed the 1977 White Sox to a 90 win 3rd place finish; During the 1978 season he was fired by the White Sox, hired by the Yankees and took them to a World Championship, but then fired during his second season because this was the Yankees did in the late 1970s

Career Highlights:
Was a Hall-Of-Fame pitcher who won 20 games seven times and lead the league in complete games five times; Was a 7-time All-Star; Got 10 shutouts in the 1948 season, including a no-hitter; His #21 was retired by the Indians in 1998; Was named The Sporting News’ PItcher of the Year in 1948, 1950 and 1954 (This was before the Cy Young Award was established); Won a World Championship with the Indians in 1948

Fun Stuff:
Broke into the Majors as an infielder; Replaced Billy Martin as Yankees manager and then was replaced by Billy Martin as Yankees manager; in the early 1980’s he similarly replaced and was replaced by Gene Michael


CHET LEMON

1979 Topps #333

Played 1975 – 1990
1970’s Teams: White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
All-Star in 1978 and 1979; lead the AL with 44 doubles in 1979; Started in the A’s organization as a third baseman, was involved in a June, 1975 trade which sent him to Chicago, and the White Sox moved him to the outfield; Was named to the 1976 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL in HBP 4 times; Was in the postseason twice with the Tigers and was a World Champion in 1984; Was very fast, but it mainly was about his fielding, he was caught stealing more often than he stole

Fun Stuff:
Played high school football with NFL running back Ricky Bell


DENNIS LEONARD

1978 Topps #665

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Royals

1970’s Highlights:
In 1977 he went 20-12 with 244 strikeouts, and receive 5 first place votes in Cy Young voting, but the first place votes were divided between 6 pitchers and Leonard finished 4th behind winner Sparky Lyle, Jim Palmer and Nolan Ryan; Was the Royals Opening Day Starter in 1978 and 1979; Set a still-standing Royals record with 40 starts in 1978; Holds the top 2 slots in the Royals all-time ranking of innings pitched in a season (294.2 in 1978, 192.2 in 1977)… interestingly enough, neither total lead the league

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame in 1989; Holds the Royals career records for complete games (103) and shutouts (23); Was a three-time 20-game winner and twice factored into Cy Young voting, but was never an All-Star; Pitched in the postseason 5 different seasons and pitched in the 1980 World Series (He was with the Royals when the won the 1985 World Series, but had missed most of that season with an injury)

Fun Stuff:
Appeared on Family Feud in 1980 when the Royals took on the Phillies in a World Series rematch


SIXTO LEZCANO

1977 Topps #185

Played 1974 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Brewers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1979 he won a Gold Glove and got some MVP votes during a season where he hit for a .321 average with 84 runs, 29 doubles, 28 homers and 101 RBI, all career-bests; Named the 1979 Brewers’ MVP; Lead AL outfielders in assists in 1978; Hit a grand slam on opening day in 1978 and teammates Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper hit grand slams in the following two games, marking the first time in Major League history that a team hit grand slams in three consecutive games

Career Highlights:
In 2014 the Brewers established a Wall of Honor with Lezcano being one of the initial honorees; Was the first player in MLB history to twice hit a grand slam on opening day… the first was in 1978, the second, in 1980, was a walk-off slam with two outs; Played in the 1983 World Series with the Phillies; Was part of two significant trades, the first between the Brewers and Cardinals also involved Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons… the second, between the Cardinals and Padres, saw Lezcano and Garry Templeton being sent to San Diego for Ozzie Smith

Fun Stuff:
His cousin, Carlos Lezcano, played 49 games for the Cubs between 1980 and 1981; Played in Japan for the Taiyo Whales

2 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave Lemanczyk to Sixto Lezcano

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