Hostess Card Of The Week: 1975 Sparky Lyle

1975 Hostess Sparky LyleI started writing this post thinking that today was the 41st anniversary of the trade where the Yankees acquired reliever Sparky Lyle from the Red Sox for 1B/3B Danny Cater and player to be named later, but I was wrong; that trade was made on March 22, 1972. Today is actually the 41st anniversary of the “naming of the PTBNL”; infielder Mario Guerrero was sent from AAA Syracuse to AAA Louisville to finish off the deal.

Screw it, I’m finishing this post anyway.

Sparky Lyle is a very rare type of player: He’s a Yankee I kinda like. It helps that he was a Yankee when I was young and naïve and liked both New York teams.

Sparky was one of the dominant closers of the 1970’s and won the Cy Young award while helping the team win the World Seies in 1977. How did the Yankees show their appreciation for their award-winning reliever? They signed Goose Gossage to a big contract and gave him the closer job. This is the kind of crap that drove me away from the Yankees (although, let’s be honest, my being driven away from the Yankees was inevitable).

The acquisition of Gossage obviously didn’t make Sparky happy. After the 1978 season the Yankees granted his wish and sent him to the Rangers in a 10-player trade. A newswire article I found about the trade quoted Yankees president Al Rosen as saying that the key to the deal was a 19-year-old AA pitcher named Dave Righetti.  Righetti would be the 1981 AL Rookie Of The Year and lead the AL in saves in 1986. It’s kinda nice to see a trade involving a key prospect where the prospects pans out.  FWIW, Righetti has been the Giants’ pitching coach since 2000.

Getting back to Mr. Lyle, he’s standing in the left field corner of Shea Stadium; the Yankees played at Shea in 1974 and 1975 while extensive renovations were being done at Yankee Stadium.

I really need to read Sparky’s book about the 1978 season, “The Bronx Zoo”.

Mystery Box Of 1970 Topps: Wicked Hahdcoah

Back in January I bought a box of 100+ 1970 Topps cards, and I’m going through them in “pack-sized” lots of 10-15 cards.

Among my friends at work are a woman from Boston and a guy from the Midwest who amuses the Boston woman by affecting the worst “Boston” accent known to man.  This is apropos of nothing, other than as a lead-in to the most recent “pack” of 1970 Topps, which was almost entirely Red Sox.  Let’s take a look…

Here’s the Spaceman’s rookie card.  I like the background on this card…  There’s nothing “Red Sockier” than having the Green Monster and Citgo sign in the background.   There’s also someone with a red hat and sleeves… Someone from the Indians? Maybe the Senators?
1970 Topps Bill Lee

Joe Lahoud is one of those guys I know from having his baseball cards, but I don’t remember seeing a card of his where he was on a team other than the Angels.  I’ve never been sure of how to say his name…  La-howd?  La-hewd?  La-ho-ood?  He’s apparently of Lebanese descent, if that helps anyone figure the pronunciation out.
1970 Topps Joe Lahoud

Gerry Moses was a journeyman catcher who got sold a lot in 1975. In January the Tigers sold him to the Mets, who later sold him to the Padres, who sold him to the White Sox, who released him… and that was the end of his Major League career.
1970 Topps Gerry Moses

Best Card:
1970 Topps Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle always looks odd to me in a Red Sox uni.  Sparky was one of the Yankees better players back when I was a dumb kid who naively liked BOTH New York teams.  Even after Reggie Jackson’s arrival in the Bronx had sounded the death knell of my Yankee fandom, I still kept a place in my collection for guys like Sparky.

Best Cartoon: Bobby Floyd (I didn’t picture the front because I already had this card, but I couldn’t not share the cartoon):
1970 Topps Bobby Floyd Cartoon

Another 4 cards added to my set, so I’ve got 438 with 282 to go (60.8%).