The 1970’s, A To Z: Freddie Patek to Tony Perez

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.


1973 Topps #334

Played 1968 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Was the AL’s starting shortstop in the 1978 All-Star Game and was also an All-Star in two other seasons; Lead the AL with 53 stolen bases in 1977 and his 49 steals in 1971 was second-best in the AL; Lead the league with 11 triples in 1971, which was a Royals team record for several years; Hit for the cycle against the Twins, 7/9/71

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame in 1992

Fun Stuff:
I love this quote from the 5’5″ Patek: “I’d rather be the smallest player in the majors than the tallest player in the minors”; Of his 5 home runs in 1980, three came in the same game against the Red Sox

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


1970 Topps #31

Played 1968 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Red Sox, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1971 when he finished with a 14-14 record and a 3.13 ERA… but keep in mind that his Brewers lost 92 games that year; Lost a no-hitter when Reggie Jackson singled with 1 out in the 9th, 7/11/72; His 5 shutouts in 1971 is still 2nd all-time among Brewers pitchers; Was the Brewers opening day starter in 1971 and the Red Sox opening day starter in 1972

Fun Stuff:
Was the last Red Sox pitcher to bat before the DH; Both of his career home runs were two-run homers hit in 1972 in Fenway Park off of Brewers’ pitcher Bill Parsons in the 2nd inning with 2 outs… but came a couple of months apart

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


1977 O-Pee-Chee #135

Played 1964 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Reds, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Starting 3rd Baseman for the NL in the 1970 All-Star Game; Hit a career-best 40 home runs n 1970 (3rd best in the NL that season); Got MVP votes in 1970, 1973 and 1975; Had 100+ RBI in 1970, 1973, 1974 and 1975; His 129 RBI in 1970 was second only to teammate Johnny Bench; His 109 RBI in 1975 was 3rd behind Bench and leader Greg Luzinski; Batted .435 in the 1972 World Series with 2 doubles and 2 RBI

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000; His #24 was retired by the Reds; Was a 7-time All-Star; Drove in 1,652 career runs; Played in the World Series four times; Managed the 1993 Reds and the 2001 Marlins, but didn’t finish the season with either team; Was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team in 1965; Hit a 15th inning game-winning homer off of Catfish Hunter in the 1967 All-Star Game and was named the game’s MVP

Fun Stuff:
He hit the first home run in Cincinnati’s Three Rivers Stadium, 7/16/70; Was the last player to homer off of Juan Marichal (1975); Was the victim of Hoyt Wilhelm’s final strikeout (6/26/72)

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Between Topps and O-Pee-Chee there were three very different versions of Tony Perez cards in 1977… The OPC above showing a spring training photo with the Expos, the regular Topps card shows him with the Reds and the Topps Cloth Stickers test set shows Tony in an airbrushed Expos cap…

And finally, since I don’t have many vintage HOFer rookie cards – at least not ones before 1972 or 1973 – here’s Tony’s rookie card… which I bought because Kevin Collins in the lower left completed my 1965 Topps Mets team set

5 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Freddie Patek to Tony Perez

  1. Tony Perez was such a class act for so many seasons. Glad to see him recognized here. And now a totally different thought: Which player(s) had the MOST Topps-issued cards in their career, but achieved the FEWEST amount of At Bats in their career? One that comes to mind is Bob Oldis, a catcher who garnered only 46 ABs in three seasons with Washington (1953-55), and then re-appeared with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia from 1960-63 but had only 190 ABs spread across those four seasons. My research shows Oldis had a Topps-issued card for each of the seven seasons indicated above, I’m wondering if there any other MLB player with this many Topps cards and so few career AB’s? Maybe your readers have some other nominees…

      • No idea, but we’d have to disqualify AL pitchers, especially from the era between the introduction of the DH and the beginning of interleague play. So perhaps use innings pitched for all pitchers.

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