The 1970’s, A To Z: Al Oliver to Claude Osteen

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.


1976 Topps #620

Played 1968 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Was consistently one of the better hitters throughout the 1970s;  A 3-time All-Star;  Went from the Pirates to the Rangers in a four-team late 1977 trade which also involved Bert Blyleven, Willie Montañez and Jon Matlack

Career Highlights:
Was a seven-time All-Star over his career; Holds the Rangers team record with a .319 career batting average and batted .303 for his entire career; Tied for 2nd with Coco Laboy for 1969 NL Rookie of the Year voting (Ted Sizemore won a vote that wasn’t particularly close); Lead the NL in 1982 in hits, doubles and RBI; Was the first player to have 200-hit/100-RBI seasons in both the AL and NL; Was the 1st baseman on the Topps 1969 All-Star Rookie team; Won three Silver Slugger awards

Fun Stuff:
Was a high school teammate of Larry Hisle

Card Stuff:
Was included in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s


1971 Topps #470

Played 1965 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Royals, Angels, Orioles, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Got MVP votes in 1970 for a seasons where he had 27 homers with 83 runs and 99 RBI… His 27 homers was a career high and a Royals team record for a few years, but was broken by John Mayberry in 1975

Career Highlights:
Hit the first grand slam in Royals history, July 4th 1969, off of the Seattle Pilots’ Jim Bouton. In the book “Ball Four”, Bouton mistakenly says it was Gene Oliver who hit the slam

Fun Stuff:
Bob’s son Darren Oliver pitched 20 years in the Majors

Card Stuff:
Bob had a cameo appearance on Mike Andrews’ 1973 Topps card


1976 Topps #284

Played 1973 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Giants, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Sporting News’ 1973 Minor League Player of the Year; Started at third for the Cubs in the late 1970s; Was involved in a trade between the Cubs and Giants that also involved Bill Madlock and Bobby Murcer; On August 24, 1975 he made a diving catch in right field to preserve Giants pitcher Ed Halicki’s no-hitter

Career Highlights:
Played six season with the Seibu Lions in Japan and was the first player in NPB history to sign a million-dollar contract

Fun Stuff:
Was the first of two unrelated players named Steve Ontiveros in Major League history

Card Stuff:
Ontiveros’ 1976 card (featured above) appears to include a cameo appearance by Mike Schmidt… His 1975 rookie card features a cameo appearance by Pirates pitcher Jerry Reuss


1977 Topps #109

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1975; His .316 average in 1974 was second-best in the AL (Rod Carew led the league with a .364 average)

Career Highlights:
Also made the All-Star team in 1980 with the Indians; Played in the postseason with the Royals; Was inducted into the Salón de la Fama (Mexican pro baseball HOF) in 1996

Fun Stuff:
Although he never put on a Mets uniform, he spent some time on the Mets roster after being acquired from the Dodgers in December 1982 and traded to the Blue Jays in February 1983


1974 Topps #42

Played 1957 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Dodgers, Astros, Cardinals, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star with the Dodgers in 1970 and 1973 and was the winning pitcher in the 1970 ASG; Was the Dodgers’ opening day starter in 1970; PItched 8.1 innings of scoreless relief in the Cardinals’ 25-inning 4-3 win over the Mets on 9/11/74, the longest game of the 1970s in terms of innings played; Was a 20-game winner in 1972

Career Highlights:
Set Senators/Rangers team records for complete games (13) and innings pitched (257) in 1964, but both records were broken by Fergie Jenkins in 1974; Had a 0.86 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP over three World Series games; Broke into the Majors in 1957 when he was 17 years old; Won 15 games for a 1964 Senators team that lost 100 games

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “Gomer” due to his resemblance to Jim Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Gomer Pyle, USMC”

3 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Al Oliver to Claude Osteen

  1. Had to chuckle at the Jorge Orta reference to hitting .316 in 1974 and being the second-best batting average in the AL. There’s nothing like finishing 48 points behind the leader (Rod Carew’s .364) to take the glitter off of a 2nd-place finish!

  2. Al Oliver after he left the Pirates, he wore uniform number 0(zero) to finish his mlb career in 1986. He has good numbers to be a HOF, 2743 hits, 529 doubles to go with a career .303 batting average, where today’s players try to hit homers every time they bat & seem to forget to set the table for others behind them in the lineup, was a big player in the early 70’s for the Pirates, a team which could have won more than 2 world series.

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