Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro was only 37 in 1976. For anyone else, that would come across as trying to be funny, but Phil was still over a decade from throwing his last knuckleball.
Phil went 17-11 with a 3.29 ERA… and that’s for a Braves team that lost 92 games. According to baseball-reference.com, he was the last active player who had been born in the 1930’s, the last active player to have played for the Milwaukee Braves, and the last pitcher to win 20 and lose 20 in the same season. In that 1979 season, Phil Niekro went 21-20 and lead the league in games started (44), complete games (23) and innings pitched (342.0).
For what it’s worth, when I got this Phil Niekro card off of COMC, it completed my Braves team set. The only other complete team set I have from 1976 SSPC is the Orioles, and I bought that as a team set on eBay (The original lot I bought had no Orioles in it).
Phil’s brother Joe was only 31 in 1976, and went 4-8, 3.36 for his Astros team. In that same 1979 season where Phil Niekro went 21-20, Joe went 21-11. I’d have to think that’s a record for wins by brothers and decisions by brothers in a single season, but you never know.
I never knew that Joe Niekro was a first-year Padre. He started 1969 with the Cubs, and appeared on his 1969 Topps card as a Cub. On April 26th, 1969, he was traded to the Padres in a deal for Dick Selma. That December, the Padres traded him to the Tigers, and it is as a capless Tiger that he’s shown on his 1970 Topps card.
Hall-of-Famer Tony Perez didn’t win 20 games at any point, and never played for the Padres, but he was an All-Star in 1976 and helped The Big Red Machine become World Champions in 1976 before being traded to Montreal for 1977.
I love the composition of this photo… it’s not unusual to see a player fake-swinging with the end of the bat up in the camera, but fake-bunting? It’s not something one sees often.
All three are at Shea.
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 13
Can’t tell: 20
Not Shea: 9
1970’s Census: Keeping track of all the instances of 1970’s trends
The Niekro Brothers have the sideburns going for them.
Total Cards: 113
1970’s Sideburns: 65
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 36
Long Hair: 27