The 1970’s, A To Z: Brent Strom to Bruce Sutter

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.


1978 Topps #509

Played 1972 – 1977
1970’s Teams: Mets, Indians, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Lead USC to two NCAA championships and was an All-American in 1970; Won a career-high 12 games in 1976 (but also lost 16 games for the 89-loss Padres)

Career Highlights:
Is currently the pitching coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and won a World Championship as the pitching coach of the 2017 Astros

Fun Stuff:
His college teammates at USC included Dave Kingman, Bill Lee, Jim Barr and Steve Busby

Card Stuff:
Although the featured card is from 1978, he didn’t pitch in the Majors after 1977 due to an elbow injury


1978 Topps #492

Played 1974 – 1989
1970’s Teams: Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Played just one season in the minors before becoming the Rangers’ regular catcher in 1974; Was named to the All-Star team during his rookie season and again in 1978; Regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of the time, he won Gold Gloves from 1976 to 1981; Caught Bert Blyleven’s no-hitter vs. the Angels, 9/22/77

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 2003; Holds the Texas Rangers career record with 102 sacrifices; Won a World Series with the 1985 Royals

Card Stuff:
Appeared in all five 1970s Hostess sets; His 1975 Hostess card, which can be considered a rookie card, calls him “Mike Sundberg”


1980 Topps #544
Yes, I’m breaking convention by having a card from 1980 here but I think it’s justified

Played 1976 – 1994
1970’s Teams: Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Dodgers’ first round draft pick in 1974 and had cups of coffee in 1976 and 1978 before winning the 1979 NL Rookie of the Year award with a 17-10 record, 3.46 ERA and 117 strikeouts; He was named the RHP on the Baseball Digest All-Star Rookie team, but interestingly enough was NOT named to the Topps All-Star Rookie team – he was shunned in favor of Angels reliever Mark Clear

Career Highlights:
In 1984 he won the 1984 Cy Young Award with the Cubs even though he pitched his first 15 games of the season with the Indians… With the Cubs Sutcliffe went 16-1, lead the league with a .941 winning % and had 155 strikeouts and 39 walks in 20 games; Lead the AL with a 2.96 ERA in 1982; Lead the NL with 18 wins in 1987; Was named to the All-Star team in 1983, 1987 and 1989; Won the NL Comeback of the Year in 1987 and the AL Comeback in 1992

Fun Stuff:
Batted above the “Mendoza Line” in 1979 (.247), 1984 (.250 combined), 1985 (.233) and 1986 (.208); Hit a home run in game 1 of the 1984 NLCS; Was the youngest player in his league in 1976 and among the oldest in 1994

Card Stuff:
The above 1980 card is Sutcliffe’s rookie card; Had a card in the 1978 Cramer Pacific Coast League set


1975 Hostess #146

Played 1966 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Expos, Astros, Tigers, Brewers, Padres, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Was the Tigers’ starting 2nd baseman in 1974 and 1975

Career Highlights:
The Expos selected him from the Phillies in the 1968 expansion draft and he won the starting 2nd base job in Spring Training; Lead the league in 1969 with 110 double plays turned; Played for the US Olympic Baseball team in 1964

Fun Stuff:
His brother Darrell pitched for the Mets and Indians in the 1960s

Card Stuff:
Despite playing just 5 games in 1972 and 16 games in 1973, he was in every flagship Topps set from 1967 to 1977


1977 Topps #144

Played 1976 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Squeaked past Joe Niekro to win the 1979 Cy Young with a league-leading 37 saves, a 2.22 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 102.1 innings; The 37 saves also tied the NL record at the time, originally set by Clay Carroll in 1972 and tied by Rollie Fingers in 1978; Was the winning pitcher in the 1978 and 1979 All-Star Games

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006 and was the first pitcher who was inducted without ever having started a Major League game; His 300 career saves was a National League record from 1982 (when he got his 194th save) until Lee Smith passed him in 1993; Won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1984; Won a World Championship with the Cardinals in 1982 and got two saves during the World Series; Was named to the NL All-Star team six times; Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2006


2 thoughts on “The 1970’s, A To Z: Brent Strom to Bruce Sutter

  1. Love learning interesting facts from these posts… like Sutcliffe being the youngest player in 1976 and the oldest in 1994. I wonder how many other guys in MLB history can claim they were the youngest and oldest during their careers.

  2. Rick Sutcliffe was the starting pitcher for the O’s when they had their first regular season game at Oriole Park At Camden Yards in 1992.

    Gary Sutherland played on the US Baseball team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Baseball was just a demonstration sport at the games and the competition was just one game between a team of US collegiate players (including Sutherland and Mike Epstein among others) and a team of Japanese “amateurs” (which I think were mostly industrial league players). The US team won 6-2. (Come on, you knew I was going to find some connection to Japan somehow…)

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