The 1970’s, A To Z: Willie Montañez to Jack Morris

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.


WILLIE MONTAÑEZ

1978 Topps Zest #4

Played 1966 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Phillies, Giants, Braves, Mets, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Was sent from the Cardinals to the Phillies as compensation for Curt Flood refusing to report to the Phillies after his October, 1969 deal; Got 6 first place votes in the 1971 NL Rookie of the Year voting but finished 2nd to Atlanta’s Earl Williams; Was named an outfielder on the 1971 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Hit a career-high 30 homers in his rookie season; Lead the league with 13 sacrifice flies in 1971, which was also a Phillies team record (tied by Mike Schmidt in 1980); Lead the league with 39 doubles in 1972; Was an All-Star in 1977; Had 101 RBI in 1975

Career Highlights:
Played 8 games for the Angels in 1966 after he’d been selected in the 1965 Rule V draft… however Montañez was returned to the Cardinals organization and stayed in the minors until 1970

Fun Stuff:
Was born on April Fools Day, 1948

Card Stuff:
The featured card is from a 5-card bilingual set featuring five Latino players done as part of a promotion with Zest soap.  Of the five cards, the only one with a different front is this one featuring Montañez (who was part of a 3-team trade in December 1977).  The regular 1978 Topps card of Montañez shows him with the Braves.


JOHN MONTEFUSCO

1976 SSPC #97

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Had a breakout 1975 rookie season, finishing 4th in Cy Young voting and winning the NL Rookie of the Year award – beating Expos catcher Gary Carter; In his ROY season, he had 15 wins and 215 strikeouts, which were second in the league behind Tom Seaver; No-hit the Braves and allowed just one baserunner (a walk), 9/29/76; Was an All-Star in 1976 and lead the league with 6 shutouts; Was the Giants’ opening day starter from 1976 to 1979; In his MLB debut he pitched 9 innings of after starter Ron Bryant was pulled after facing 7 batters without getting an out… Montefusco walked in his first plate appearance and hit a homer in his first official AB

Fun Stuff:
His nickname, “The Count”, is a play on “The Count of Monte Cristo”; Gave up the home run which resulted in Bob Watson scoring baseball’s millionth run, 5/4/1975

Card Stuff:
Because he was the Rookie of the Year before appearing a baseball card, he’s one of the few players to have a Hostess rookie card (1976); His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card and 1977 Topps Cloth Sticker were both cropped tighter than his regular Topps card


OMAR MORENO

1979 Hostess #12

Played 1975 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Tied the Pirates team record for stolen bases with 71 in 1977 and broke his own record with 77 in 1978… both were league-leading amounts; Scored 110 runs in 1979, second-most in the league; Hit .333 in the 1979 World Series

Career Highlights:
His career high of 96 stolen bases in 1980 remains a Pirates record, but did not lead the league — The Expos’ Ron LeFlore stole 97 that year; Still holds the top three stolen base seasons in Pirates history


JOE MORGAN

1974 Topps #85

Played 1963 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Astros, Reds

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the NL MVP in 1975 and 1976; Won 2 World Series with the Reds in 1975 and 1976; Was the All-Star starting NL 2nd baseman from 1972 to 1978 and was a non-starting All-Star in 1970 and 1979; Lead league in on-base % in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976; lead league in runs (122) in 1972; Won 5 Gold Gloves from 1973 to 1977; Was the MVP of the 1972 All-Star Game; In the 1972 MVP voting he got 5 first place votes and finished 4th

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990; 10-time All-Star; Was named to the 1965 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; Was named the Sporting News 1965 NL Rookie of the year (He finished 2nd to the Dodgers’ Jim Lefebvre in the ‘official’ voting); Was named the 1982 NL Comeback Player of the Year; His #8 was retired by the Reds in 1987; He was named to the Rawlings All-Time Gold Glove team

Fun Stuff:
On September 27, 1963 the Houston Colt .45’s had a starting lineup made up entirely of rookies, including Joe Morgan, Sonny Jackson, Jim Wynn, Rusty Staub and Jerry Grote

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps and Hostess set of the 1970s ; His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is missing the All-Star banner


JACK MORRIS

1979 Topps #251

Played 1977 – 1994
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Lead the 1979 Tigers with 17 wins, 9 complete games, 197.2 innings pitched and 113 strikeouts, and his 3.28 ERA was the lowest ERA of any Tiger outside of closer Aurelio Lopez

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018; Five-time All-Star; MVP of the 1991 World Series; Lead the AL in wins in 1981 and 1992; Lead the AL in strikeouts in 1983; Played on three World Champions; No-hit the White Sox in 1984; His #47 was retired by the Tigers

Card Stuff:
Had a solo rookie card in the 1978 Topps Burger King Tigers regional set (flagship Topps had him sharing a “Rookie Pitchers” card with three others)

7 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Willie Montañez to Jack Morris

  1. One of my earliest baseball memories is listening to San Francisco Giants games on the radio and hearing the PA announcer at Candlestick Park introduce “Willlllie MonTANez!” (and I can not do it justice in print).

  2. Willie Montanez never played in the post season, he must have been 1 of the few players with over 10 years of mlb experience not to play in the post season, he played a good center field with the Phillies, bit of a hot dog. Joe Morgan played in the 1983 world series for the wheez kids who lost to the Orioles in 5 games.

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