The 1970’s, A To Z: Sparky Lyle to Rick Manning

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.


SPARKY LYLE

1974 Topps #66
(I recently upgraded to a card without paper loss, but this particular card remains in the ‘appendix’ of my 1974 binder)

Played 1967 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Won the 1977 Cy Young Award – the first time an American League reliever won that award – in a season where Lyle went 13-5 (and remember this is as a reliever) with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA;  Was named the 1972 AL Fireman of the year and got a first place vote in 1972 MVP voting; Was a three-time All-Star; Went 3-0 in postseason games, but only got 1 save out of 13 appearances; Lead the league in saves in 1972 and 1976; Got the save (and, while batting, a bases-loaded walk) by pitching a scoreless 1.1 innings in the Red Sox wild 22-11 win over White Sox, 8/30/70

Career Highlights:
Managed the Somerset Patriots, then of the independent Atlantic League, for the team’s first 15 seasons and won 5 league championships

Fun Stuff:
Famously co-wrote a book, “The Bronx Zoo”, about his 1978 season with the Yankees

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


FRED LYNN

1976 Topps #50

Played 1974 – 1990
1970’s Teams: Red Sox

1970’s Highlights:
His 1975 season was a rookie season for the ages and won him AL Rookie of the Year, AL MVP and Gold Glove awards – the first time that anyone won the ROY and MVP in the same season (Ichiro later duplicated that feat); In that 1975 season he lead the league with 103 runs and .566 slugging %, plus also hit .331 with 21 homers and 105 RBI; This came after a September 1974 call-up where he batted .419 with 5 runs, 10 RBI and 2 homers over 15 games;  In 1979 he lead the league in batting, on-base and slugging (.333 / .423 / .637);  Hit a homer and had five RBI in the 1975 World Series; Was the AL’s starting center fielder in the 1976, 1978 and 1979 All-Star games; His 16 total bases on 6/18/75 set an AL record (3 homers, a triple and a single) and that game made him one of a fairly small number of players with 10 or more RBI in a game

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in nine straight seasons; Won four Gold Gloves; Was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007; Was a two-time College All-American; Was named the MVP of the 1982 ALCS even though his Angels lost to the Brewers; Hit a grand slam in the 1983 All-STar game and was named the game’s MVP

Fun Stuff:
At USC, was a teammate of Rich Dauer, Steve Kemp and Roy Smalley; Did a guest appearance on Fantasy Island

Card Stuff:
His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is missing the All-Star banner;  In the 1982 Topps/K-Mart MVP box set, Lynn’s multi-player 1975 rookie card was turned into a solo “card that never was”


Moving on to the letter M


GARRY MADDOX

1977 Kellogg’s #37

Played 1972 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Giants, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Was named an outfielder on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookies team (although his 1973 card did not show the All-Star Rookie Cup logo); Finished with the 3rd-best batting average in 1973 and 1976

Career Highlights:
One of the premier center fielders of the 1970s, Maddox won eight Gold Gloves over his career; Was named the winner of the 1986 Roberto Clemente Award for players who combine good play with strong presence in the community; Won a World Championship with the 1980 Phillies; Was inducted into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 2001

Fun Stuff:
Mets broadcaster and baseball HOFer Ralph Kiner once said “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox.”; Garry appeared with his Phillies teammates in a “1980 World Series edition” of the Family Feud (video below)

Card Stuff:
His 1979 Burger King card is cropped somewhat differently from his 1979 Topps card


BILL MADLOCK

1977 Topps #250

Played 1973 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
During the 1970s he lead the NL in batting twice (1975 and 1976) and batted no worse than .298; After playing 21 games for the Rangers as a September call-up, he was one of two prospects traded to the Cubs for Fergie Jenkins; Was named the 3rd baseman on the 1974 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Finished 3rd in 1974 NL Rookie of the Year voting; Was the co-MVP (along with the Mets’ Jon Matlack) of the 1975 All-Star Game… Madlock hit a 2-run single in the top of the 9th to put the NL ahead to stay; Got a 1st place vote in 1979 MVP voting but still finished in 18th behind co-winners Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell; Won a World Championship with the Pirates in 1979 after starting that season in San Francisco

Career Highlights:
Was a batting leader four times and has a career average of .305; Was an All-Star three times; Holds the Cubs career record with a .336 batting average; Was in the postseason with the Dodgers in 1985 and Tigers in 1987

Fun Stuff:
Played in 1988 for the Lotte Orions in Japan

Card Stuff:
His O-Pee-Chee card has a different photo that’s been airbrushed to place him on the Giants after a February, 1977 trade; His 1975 Hostess card has a corrected error where he’s listd as a pitcher


1977 O-Pee-Chee #56


RICK MANNING

1976 Topps #xxx

Played 1975 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Was the 2nd overall draft pick in 1972, after the Padres selected IF/C Dave Roberts; Named to Baseball Digest’s – but not Topps – 1975 All-Star Rookie team;  Known as an outstanding defensive center fielder, he won a Gold Glove in 1976

Career Highlights:
Caught the final out of Len Barker’s 1981 perfect game

Fun stuff:
Has been a member of the Indians’ broadcast team since 1990, the longest tenure of any Indians TV broadcaster and as long as Indians’ radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton

Scandalous stuff:
I don’t normally include scandalous info in these writeups, but since this affected the future of two franchises, I decided it was worthwhile.

While recovering from a back injury in 1978, Manning stayed at the house of his best friend, Dennis Eckersley… but Manning became “involved” with Eck’s wife. Because of the resulting tensions between the two players the Indians knew they had to trade one of them and Eckersley was traded to the Red Sox just before the 1978 season

Card Stuff:
Has a rookie card in 1976 Hostess, as well as Topps, O-Pee-Chee and SSPC;  His 1976 SSPC card shows Duane Kuiper and likewise Kuiper’s card shows Manning

Kuiper’s card showing Manning (#522)

Manning’s card showing Kuiper (#529)


Here’s an episode of Family Feud 1980 World Series edition, Phillies vs. Royals… It’s clear from watching this that there were similar episodes before and after. The video quality starts out pretty poor, but it does get better

The 1970’s, A To Z: Davy Lopes to Greg Luzinski

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.


DAVEY LOPES

1977 Topps #180

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Was part of the famed Dodgers infield (along with Garvey, Russell and Cey) who played together from 1973 to 1981; Won a Gold Glove in 1978; Started the 1979 All-Star game and was also an All-Star in 1978; Was named the 2nd baseman on the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; Set a Major League record in 1975 with 38 straight stolen bases without being caught… Gary Carter ended the streak on Lopes’ 4th attempt of the 14-inning game, 8/24/75; In the 1978 postseason he hit a combined 5 homers, 10 runs and 12 RBI while batting over .300

Career Highlights:
Stole 557 bases in his career; Played in 4 World Series and won a championship with the 1981 Dodgers

Card Stuff:
Was in all five 1970s Hostess sets


JOHN LOWENSTEIN

1977 O-Pee-Chee #175

Played 1970 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Indians, Rangers, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was a member of the 1979 Orioles team which beat the Angels in the ALCS but lost to the Pirates in 7 games; Hit a walk-off pinch-hit homer to win Game 1 of the 1979 ALCS; Hit a pinch-hit two-run double in Game 4 of the 1979 World Series; Was obtained by the Blue Jays in a December 1976 trade with the Indians, but was traded back to Cleveland at the end of Spring Training, so he never played for the Jays

Career Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the Orioles in 1983; Was inducted into Orioles Hall of Fame in 2015; Over his career he played every position except for pitcher and catcher

Fun Stuff:
Has played the most Major League games of anyone born in Montana; Majored in Anthropology at UC Riverside

Card Stuff:
His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card shown above features a Spring Training photo and a note about being traded back to Cleveland; His 1978 Burger King Texas Rangers card was an “update” of 1978 Topps, where he was pictured with the Indians

1978 Burger King Texas Rangers #21


MIKE LUM

1975 Topps #154

Played 1967 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Braves, Reds

1970’s Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the 1976 Reds; Had career highs in 1973 in average (.294), runs (74), RBI (82) and homers (14); In the first game of a doubleheader on July 3, 1970, Lum hit 3 homers and drew a bases-loaded walk in his four plate appearances

Career Highlights:
Was the first American of Japanese ancestry to play in the Majors… his mother was Japanese, and his father was an American serviceman and he was adopted by a Chinese-Hawaiian family; Was the first Hawaiian to play in the postseason; Was one of just six players ever to pinch hit for Hank Aaron

Fun Stuff:
Was the record holder of games played by anyone born in Hawaii until he was passed earlier this season by Kurt Suzuki; Was a football star in high school and got a football scholarship at Brigham Young; Played a season in Japan for the Taiyo Whales

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Shares a high #’ed 1968 rookie card with Larry Hisle


GREG LUZINSKI

1974 Topps #360

Played 1970 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
One of the top sluggers of the 1970s; Luzinski was the NL’s starting left fielder in the 1976, 1977 and 1978 All-Star Games, and was also named to the team in 1975; Hit the final homer at Montreal’s Parc Jarry, 9/26/76; Finished 2nd to Joe Morgan in 1975 NL MVP voting; Finished 2nd to George Foster in 1977 NL MVP voting with 9 first place votes; His 34 homers in 1975 was 3rd in the NL and 4 behind teammate and league leader Mike Schmidt; Played in the NLCS in 1976, 1977 and 1978 and hit 4 homers over the combined 11 games

Career Highlights:
Had four seasons of 100+ RBI; Hit 307 homers over his career; Was a four-time All-Star; Won a World Championship with the 1980 Phillies; Played for the White Sox in the 1983 ALCS

Card Stuff:
Appeared in all five 1970s Hostess sets; His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card does not have the All-Star banner at the bottom (so you can see his knees)

The 1970’s, A To Z: Paul Lindblad to Jim Lonborg

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.


PAUL LINDBLAD

1974 Topps #369

Played 1965 – 1978
1970’s Teams: A’s, Senators, Rangers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
In the 1973 World Series, Lindblad got the win after pitching two scoreless relief innings in Game 3;  In that same game he was the last pitcher to face Willie Mays, getting him to ground out in a pinch-hit at bat; Combined with Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott and Rollie Fingers to no-hit the Angels on the last day of the 1975 season;  was on three World Championship teams (1973 & 1974 A’s, 1978 Yankees);  would’ve gotten the last win in Senators history had the game not been forfeited because of fans rushing the field;  His 66 appearances in 1972 was the most in the American League

Career Highlights:
Had 385 consecutive errorless games

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Appeared in 1979 Topps with the Yankees, but had been purchased by the Mariners in November 1978 and then cut at the end of 1979 spring training


BOB LOCKER

1970 Topps #249

Played 1965 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Brewers, A’s, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Won a World Championship with the A’s in 1972; In the fall of 1972 Locker was traded from the A’s to the Cubs for Bill North… a year later he was traded back to the A’s for Horacio Pena… a year after that he went back to the Cubs as part of a package for Billy Williams; Got the first save in Brewers history in an 8-4 win over the White Sox 4/11/70

Career Highlights:
Pitched in 576 career games without a single start;  lead the AL with 77 appearances in 1967;  pitched for the Seattle Pilots and moved with the team to Milwaukee

Card Stuff:
Locker’s 1973 card has him airbrushed into a full Cubs uniform… but very clearly without a number on his back; Because he ‘rode the shuttle’ between the A’s and Cubs, his 1974 Topps Traded card has an actual photo of him in an A’s uniform, rather than the typically airbrushed uniform. Similarly, his 1975 card has him in a Cubs uniform while the other three players in the same deal are all airbrushed


SKIP LOCKWOOD

1976 Topps #166

Played 1969 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Angels, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Was a starting pitcher with the Brewers but was converted to a reliever when he was traded ot the Angels; His 19 saves with the Mets in 1976 was 2nd-most in the NL; Was part of a 9-player trade between the Brewers and Angels in October 1973

Career Highlights:
Broke into the Majors in 1965 as an 18-year-old “Bonus Baby” infielder with the Kansas City A’s and was converted to a pitcher in 1968

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s; Shares a 1965 rookie card with Jim Hunter and John Odom; His 1975 card has a note on the back about his being traded to the Yankees, but he never played for the Bronx Bombers, instead having been released at the beginning of the season; Appeared in 1981 Topps and Donruss, but not 1981 Fleer


MICKEY LOLICH

1975 Hostess #6

Played 1963 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Mets, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Had two 20-win seasons and two seasons where he lead the league in losses; In 1971 he won 25 games, lead the league with 308 strikeout and got 9 first place votes while finishing 2nd to VIda Blue in AL Cy Young voting; His 300 K’s that year is still a Tigers’ single-season record; In 1972 he won 22 games, struck out 250 and finished third behind Gaylord Perry in Cy Young voting; Got a Save in the 1971 All-Star Game; In 1975 he passed Warren Spahn as the lefty with the most career strikeouts and he finished with 2,832, but has since been passed by Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson; Lolich retired after the 1976 season with the Mets, but came out of retirement to pitch in relief for the Padres in 1978 and 1979

Career Highlights:
Was named the MVP of the 1968 World Series after winning 3 complete games and finishing with a 1.67 ERA and 21 strikeouts; Holds Tigers career records with 459 Games Started, 2,679 strikeouts and 39 Shutouts; Won 217 career games; Held a Tigers record with two 16 strikout outings, a record since broken by Anibal Sanchez

Fun Stuff:
Was a natural righty, but learned to throw lefty as a boy because of a broken right arm; Played “First Security Guard” in a 1977 movie called “The Incredible Melting Man”; His one career home run came in the 1968 World Series; His cousin Ron Lolich was an outfielder and appeared on a 1971 Topps White Sox “Rookie Stars” card

Card Stuff:
Because he was retired in 1977, he did not appear in 1978 Topps, but he otherwise appeared in every Topps flagship set from 1964 to 1980


JIM LONBORG

1974 Topps #342

Played 1965 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies

1970’s Highlights:
Pitched just one season for the Brewers sandwiched between two large multi-player deals, but Lonborg left a mark on the team… He had a team-high 14 wins and 143 strikeouts; He was the last Brewers pitcher to bat before the implementation of the DH; Pitched a scoreless 22nd inning to get the save in the Brewers 22-inning 4-3 win over Twins 5/12/72; Had a resurgence with the Phillies, winning 17 games in 1974 and 18 games in 1976

Career Highlights:
Won the 1967 Cy Young award while he was with the Red Sox… That season he went 22-9, 3.16 with 246 strikeouts, 15 complete games and 2 shutouts and lead the league in wins and Strikeouts; Had 2 CG wins in the 1967 World Series; Was inducted into the Stanford University Hall of Fame

Fun Stuff:
Got a degree in dentistry after he retired as a player, and maintained a practice until 2017; In the TV show “Cheers”, the photo behind the bar that was supposed to be Sam Malone during his playing days was actually a picture of Lonborg

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

The 1970’s, A To Z: Dave Lemanczyk to Sixto Lezcano

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.


DAVE LEMANCZYK

1977 O-Pee-Chee #229

Played 1973 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Blue Jays

1970’s Highlights:
Taken from the Tigers in the 1976 expansion draft, Lemanczyk would lead the Blue Jays with 13 wins in their first season, tying the Seattle Pilots’ Gene Brabender for the most wins by an expansion team pitcher… it was also a career high for him; Was the Blue Jays’ Opening Day Starter in 1978; Was named to the 1979 AL All-Star team

Fun Stuff:
Lemanczyk is the only player ever from Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) to make it to the Majors

Card Stuff:
His 1977 OPC card (featured above) has a Spring Training photo to substitute for Topps’ airbrushed photo;  Lemanczyk’s son Matt was an outfielder in the Cardinals organization and had pre-rookie cards in 2004 Bowman and 2004 Topps Update, but never made it past Double-A


BOB LEMON

1978 Topps #574

Played 1946 – 1958
Managed 1970 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Royals, White Sox, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Took over as the Royals’ manager part way through the 1970 season and in 1971 he managed the team to a winning record (85-76) and a 2nd place finish (16 games behind Oakland) in just their 3rd season; Managed the 1977 White Sox to a 90 win 3rd place finish; During the 1978 season he was fired by the White Sox, hired by the Yankees and took them to a World Championship, but then fired during his second season because this was the Yankees did in the late 1970s

Career Highlights:
Was a Hall-Of-Fame pitcher who won 20 games seven times and lead the league in complete games five times; Was a 7-time All-Star; Got 10 shutouts in the 1948 season, including a no-hitter; His #21 was retired by the Indians in 1998; Was named The Sporting News’ PItcher of the Year in 1948, 1950 and 1954 (This was before the Cy Young Award was established); Won a World Championship with the Indians in 1948

Fun Stuff:
Broke into the Majors as an infielder; Replaced Billy Martin as Yankees manager and then was replaced by Billy Martin as Yankees manager; in the early 1980’s he similarly replaced and was replaced by Gene Michael


CHET LEMON

1979 Topps #333

Played 1975 – 1990
1970’s Teams: White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
All-Star in 1978 and 1979; lead the AL with 44 doubles in 1979; Started in the A’s organization as a third baseman, was involved in a June, 1975 trade which sent him to Chicago, and the White Sox moved him to the outfield; Was named to the 1976 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL in HBP 4 times; Was in the postseason twice with the Tigers and was a World Champion in 1984; Was very fast, but it mainly was about his fielding, he was caught stealing more often than he stole

Fun Stuff:
Played high school football with NFL running back Ricky Bell


DENNIS LEONARD

1978 Topps #665

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Royals

1970’s Highlights:
In 1977 he went 20-12 with 244 strikeouts, and receive 5 first place votes in Cy Young voting, but the first place votes were divided between 6 pitchers and Leonard finished 4th behind winner Sparky Lyle, Jim Palmer and Nolan Ryan; Was the Royals Opening Day Starter in 1978 and 1979; Set a still-standing Royals record with 40 starts in 1978; Holds the top 2 slots in the Royals all-time ranking of innings pitched in a season (294.2 in 1978, 192.2 in 1977)… interestingly enough, neither total lead the league

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame in 1989; Holds the Royals career records for complete games (103) and shutouts (23); Was a three-time 20-game winner and twice factored into Cy Young voting, but was never an All-Star; Pitched in the postseason 5 different seasons and pitched in the 1980 World Series (He was with the Royals when the won the 1985 World Series, but had missed most of that season with an injury)

Fun Stuff:
Appeared on Family Feud in 1980 when the Royals took on the Phillies in a World Series rematch


SIXTO LEZCANO

1977 Topps #185

Played 1974 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Brewers

1970’s Highlights:
In 1979 he won a Gold Glove and got some MVP votes during a season where he hit for a .321 average with 84 runs, 29 doubles, 28 homers and 101 RBI, all career-bests; Named the 1979 Brewers’ MVP; Lead AL outfielders in assists in 1978; Hit a grand slam on opening day in 1978 and teammates Gorman Thomas and Cecil Cooper hit grand slams in the following two games, marking the first time in Major League history that a team hit grand slams in three consecutive games

Career Highlights:
In 2014 the Brewers established a Wall of Honor with Lezcano being one of the initial honorees; Was the first player in MLB history to twice hit a grand slam on opening day… the first was in 1978, the second, in 1980, was a walk-off slam with two outs; Played in the 1983 World Series with the Phillies; Was part of two significant trades, the first between the Brewers and Cardinals also involved Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons… the second, between the Cardinals and Padres, saw Lezcano and Garry Templeton being sent to San Diego for Ozzie Smith

Fun Stuff:
His cousin, Carlos Lezcano, played 49 games for the Cubs between 1980 and 1981; Played in Japan for the Taiyo Whales

The 1970’s, A To Z: Tommy Lasorda to Ron LeFlore

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.


TOMMY LASORDA

1978 Topps #189

Played 1954 – 1956
Managed 1976 – 1996
1970’s Teams: Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Took over the Dodgers from long-time manager Walter Alston; Won pennants in 1977 and 1978, the first NL manager to win pennants in his first two seasons, but both times the Dodgers lost to the Yankees in six games; had a disappointing 3rd place finish in 1979

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997; Overall won 8 division titles, 4 pennants and 2 World Series; Was voted NL Manager of the year in 1983 and 1988; Is also in the Canadian Baseball HOF, the International League HOF and the Pacific Coast League HOF

Fun Stuff:
Did a guest spot on Fantasy Island and Police Squad! (A video clip of this is at the end of the post); was a regular on the TV show “The Baseball Bunch”

Card Stuff:
Appeared in the 1973 and 1974 Topps sets as one of Walter Alston’s coaches


GARY LAVELLE

1976 Topps #105

Played 1974 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Giants

1970’s Highlights:
Was a 1977 All-Star and pitched 2 scoreless innings, striking out Carl Yastrzemski and Reggie Jackson; In 1978 he got a career-high 13 wins, all in relief; Had 5 consecutive seasons with 65 or more appearances; Had a streak of 114 straight innings without allowing a homer

Career Highlights:
Was also an All-Star in 1983; Holds the Giants career mark with 647 appearances, 12 more than Christy Mathewson; Had 136 career saves


BILL LEE

1976 Topps #396

Played 1969 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Red Sox, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Made the All-Star team in 1973; won exactly 17 games each year from 1973 to 1975; Pitched in 2 games of the 1975 World Series; His 2.75 ERA in 1973 was third-best in the league

Career Highlights:
A not-awful batter with a career batting average above the Mendoza Line; Had a 38-8 career record at USC, won 2 games in the 1968 College World Series and was named to the All-Tournament team

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “The Spaceman” and while I was researching this post the descriptions of his tendencies ranged from “free-thinker” to “flake”; His aunt, Annabelle Lee, pitched in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League; His teammates at the U. of Southern California were future Major Leaguers Jim Barr and Brent Strom; Gave up Frank Howard’s final homer (#382 in 1973); Released his autobiography, “The Wrong Stuff”, in 1984; Ran for Governor of Vermont in 2016

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set in the 1970s


LERON LEE

1975 Topps #506

Played 1969 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Cardinals, Padres, Indians, Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Broke up a Tom Seaver no-hitter with one out in the 9th inning, July 4th, 1972… Seaver ended up with an 11-strikeout, 1-hit shutout

Career Highlights:
Was the Cardinals’ first pick in the 1966 draft; was the Cardinals Opening Day rightfielder in 1970

Fun Stuff:
Uncle of Derrek Lee; According to his Topps cards, his hobbies are building and flying gas-powered model airplanes, and railroading

Japanese Baseball Stuff:
LeRon Lee was a star player in Japan where he played 11 years with the Lotte Orions of the Japanese Pacific League, including 5 years where he played with his brother Leon; In LeRon’s first season with the Orions, he hit .317 and led the Pacific League with 34 home run and 109 RBIs; In 1980, he led the Pacific League with a .358 average; Over his 11 seasons with the Orions, Lee hit .320 with 283 home runs, and he set a record for the highest career batting average for a batter with over 4000 at-bats

1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball #67


RON LeFLORE

1977 Topps #240

Played 1974 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
LeFlore didn’t play organized baseball until he was serving a time in a Michigan state prison for armed robbery… during this time, he was brought to the attention of Tigers manager Billy Martin, and after a tryout Leflore signed a pro contract when he was released in 1973; In 1976 he had a breakout season, batting .316, scoring 93 runs, stealing 58 bases and being named the starter in left for the AL All-Stars, one of three Tigers on that team (along with Mark Fidrych and Rusty Staub); In 1978 he lead the league with 126 runs and 68 stolen bases

Career Highlights:
Got MVP votes in 4 of the 9 seasons in his career; Lead the NL with 97 stolen bases in 1980, making him the first player to lead both leagues in stolen bases and also making him the Expos/Nationals franchise single-season stolen base leader; Scored 90+ runs for five consecutive seasons

Fun Stuff:
His autobiography “Breakout” was turned into a 1978 TV movie called “One In A Million: The Ron LeFlory Story” starring LeVar Burton


Here’s Tommy Lasorda’s 1982 guest spot on “Police Squad!”, the short-lived TV series which spawned the Naked Gun movies


The 1970’s, A To Z: Pete LaCock to Dave LaRoche

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.

Today we’re starting into the letter “L”


PETE LaCOCK

1978 Topps #157

Played 1972 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Royals

Pete LaCock is here for two reasons:

Reason #1: Pete LaCock hit his only career Grand Slam off of Bob Gibson on September 3, 1975. The story often goes that the slam was on Gibson’s last pitch, but he did face Don Kessinger after LaCock… but it was Gibson’s last outing, as he figured that giving up a grand slam to LaCock was sufficient evidence that he was done. A few years after that, the two players faced off in an Oldtimers game and Gibson hit LaCock with his first pitch.

Reason #2: Ralph Pierre “Pete” LaCock Jr is the son of former Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall (whose real name was Ralph Pierre LaCock Sr.)


LEE LACY

1976 SSPC #78

Played 1972- 1987
1970’s Teams: Dodgers, Braves, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Refered to by Tommy Lasorda as his “SuperSub”, Lacy played in 13 World Series games spread over 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1979; Hit three consecutive pinch-hit homers in 1978; Played half a season with the Braves in 1976 before being included in a trade back to the Dodgers; During the 1970s he played 2nd, Short, 3rd and all three outfield positions

Career Highlights:
In 1986 while with the Orioles, Lacy hit 3 home runs in one game against the Yankees

Fun Stuff:
His first name is Leondaus; his daughter Jennifer Lacy played in the WNBA and won a league championship in 2007 with the Phoenix Mercury


KEN LANDREAUX

1979 Topps #619

Played 1977 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Angels, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
In 1976, as a college player with Arizona State, he was named as an All-American and to the College World Series All-Tournament Team; Set NCAA records (since broken) for hits, runs and RBI; Was drafted 6th overall in June, 1976; Named the 1977 Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year; Was among the four players traded from the Angels to the Twins for Rod Carew; In 1979 he hit .305 with 15 homers, 81 runs and 83 RBI

Career Highlights:
Holds Twins record with a 31 game hitting streak in 1980; Was named to the All-Star team in 1980; Was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame; Won a World Series with the 1981 Dodgers

Fun Stuff:
Is a distant cousin of Enos Cabell; At ASU he was a teammate of Floyd Bannister, Bump Wills, Ken Phelps, and Bob Horner


RICK LANGFORD

1978 Topps #327

Played 1976 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Pirates, A’s

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the August, 1979 AL player of the month after winning 5 games for a very bad A’s team… For the month he had a 2.72 ERA and struck out 31; Lost 19 games for the 1977 A’s, a team that lost 98 overall; Was the A’s Opening Day starter in 1978 and 1979; Went 12-16 for an 1979 Oakland team which lost 108 games

Career Highlights:
In 1980 he got 19 wins and lead the league with 28 complete games and 290 innings pitched; Didn’t commit an error until his 5th season, setting a record for pitchers with 230 consecutive errorless chances; Got a win against the Royals in the 1981 American League Division Series

Fun Stuff:
In his first Major League at-bat he got a double off of Larry Dierker and would score a run

Card Stuff:
He pitched a dozen games for the Pirates in 1976, but never appeared on a baseball card with Pittsburgh


DAVE LaROCHE

1976 SSPC #510

Played 1970 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Angels, Twins, Cubs, Indians

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star with the Indians in 1976 and 1977; In 1979 he became the career saves with the Angels, an honor he would hold until he was passed by Bryan Harvey in 1990

Career Highlights:
Was known for his eephus pitch, called “LaLob”; Was originally signed as an outfielder

Fun Stuff:
Is the father of former Major Leaguers Adam and Andy LaRoche; Gave up Brooks Robinson’s final home run (#268 in 1977); In a 1972 game against the Brewers he gave up 2 runs in the 7th to tie the game at 3-3… the Brewers would win that game 4-3 in 22 innings

The 1970’s, A To Z: Bruce Kison to Ed Kranepool

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.


BRUCE KISON

1978 Topps #223

Played 1971 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Was a member of the World Champion Pirates teams of 1971 and 1979; Went 2-0 in 3 relief outings in the 1971 World Series; Was the winning pitcher in the first night game in World Series history, 10/13/71; Finished his career with a 3-0 record and 0.57 ERA during the four NL Championship Series he’d played in; Won a career best 14 games in 1976

Career Highlights:
Pitched a complete game victory over the Brewers in the 1982 ALCS; Threw two one-hitters during his career


RAY KNIGHT

1978 Topps #674

Played 1974 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Reds

1970’s Highlights:
After Pete Rose left as a free agent, Knight took over 3rd base for the Reds and batted .318 (third in the NL) with 64 runs and 79 RBI… That season’s performance got him 2 first place votes in the 1979 NL MVP voting, but he finished 5th behind co-winners Willie Stargell and Keith Hernandez

Career Highlights:
Was the MVP of the 1986 World Series, hitting .391 with a homer, 4 runs and 5 RBI as the Mets beat the Red Sox; was an All-Star in 1980 and 1982; Was the 1986 NL Comeback of the Year with the Mets; Was the Reds’ manager in 1996 and 1997, and again for one game in 2003

Fun Stuff:
Was married to pro golfer Nancy Lopez for 27 years


DAROLD KNOWLES

1974 Topps #57

Played 1965 – 1980
1970’s Teams: Senators, A’s, Cubs, Rangers, Expos, Cardinals

1970’s Highlights:
Had a career high 27 saves with Senators in 1970; In 1973 he became the first pitcher to appear in every game of a 7-game World Series, pitching 6.1 innings and earning 2 saves while allowing no earned runs; Was the winning pitcher in the A’s 20 inning, 1-0 win over the Angels, 7/9/1971

Career Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1969

Card Stuff:
Appeared on a World Series Game #1 card in 1974 Topps; Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


JERRY KOOSMAN

1972 Topps #698

Played 1967 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Mets, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Jerry Koosman teamed up with Tom Seaver to form one of the most formidable one-two punches in the late 1960s and much of the 1970s; In 1976, a season where he won 21 games and struck out an even 200, he got 7 first place Cy Young votes to finish second behind winner Randy Jones (96 to 69); Was the Mets’ opening day starter in 1978; After the 1978 season he was traded to his home state of Minnesota in exchange for two minor leaguers, one of whom was Jesse Orosco; Won 20 games in his first season with the Twins; Was named the NL Pitcher of the month in April 1973 after winning all four of his starts with three complete games, including a 4-hit shutout; Was named the July 1976 NL Pitcher of the month when he blah blah blah;

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1989; Won a World Series with the 1969 “Miracle Mets” and finished his career with a 3-0 2.39 record in 4 World Series games; Was named the 1968 Sporting News NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year and finished a close second to Johnny Bench in 1968 NL Rookie of the Year voting; Was named to the 1968 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; Was named to the All-Star team in 1968 and 1969; It was announced in 2019 that the Mets would retire Koosman’s #36 in 2020, but that has not officially happened yet

Fun Stuff:
He gave up Pete Rose’s 4,000th hit, 4/13/1984; Pitched a 10 K shutout against the Giants to win the Mets’ home opener in 1968, the first time in seven tries that the Mets won their home opener (4/17/1968)

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s


ED KRANEPOOL

1974 Topps #561

Played 1962 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Mets

Career Highlights:
Kranepool, a local kid who made his Major League debut as a 17-year-old September call-up, played at least a few games in each of the Mets first 18 seasons; Was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1990; Was an All-Star in 1965; Played in both the 1969 and 1973 World Series; Held the Mets career hits record until he was passed by David Wwright in 2012

Fun Stuff:
Kranepool appeared as himself in a Saturday Night Live sketch about Chico Esquela (Garrett Morris) attempting a comeback despite the bad feelings over his tell-all book, “Bad Stuff About The Mets”; Kranepool also played himself in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond; The law firm of Crane, Poole and Schmidt from the TV show “Boston Legal” was indirectly named after Kranepool and Mike Schmidt; Was one of many ballplayers to appear in a 1980 movie called “It’s My Turn”; Made an uncredited appearance in the 1968 Odd Couple movie

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s… In fact, he appeared in every Topps set from 1963 to 1980

The 1970’s, A To Z: Don Kessinger to Clay Kirby

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.


DON KESSINGER

1970 Topps #456

Played 1964 – 1979
1970’s Teams: Cubs, Cardinals, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star four times in the 1970s and started at shortstop in 1970 and 1972; Won a Gold Glove in 1970 (his second career Gold Glove); Was a player-manager with the White Sox in 1979, the last player-manager in the AL, but he was fired in August and replaced by Tony La Russa; Was involved in turning a triple play while with the Cardinals in 1977; Went 6-for-6 (5 singles and a double) in a 10-inning game on 6/17/71

Fun Stuff:
His son, Keith Kessinger, got a cup of coffee with the Reds in 1993 (and got on a few baseball cards in the process); Don’s grandson Grae Kessinger (Keith’s nephew) is a shortstop in the Astros system

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970s; In 1979 Topps he appeared on his own card as a shortstop, and also had a thumbnail photo on the White Sox team card


HARMON KILLEBREW

1970 Topps #150

Played 1954 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Twins, Royals

1970’s Highlights:
Lead the AL in RBI and walks in 1971; was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971 and started at third in 1970; Hit his 500th Home run off the Orioles’ Mike Cuellar on 8/10/71; Was named the Sporting News AL Player of the Year in 1970

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984; Named the American League MVP in 1969; Holds Twins record with 49 homers in 1964 and 1969, 140 RBI in 1969 and 23 IBB in 1970; The top 10 seasons with the most walks in Twins/Senators history are all held by Killer and Eddie “The Walking Man” Yost; Holds Twins records with 2,329 games, 559 homers, 1540 RBI, 1505 walks and .514 slugging %; Was 5th on the all-time home run list when he retired; Was an 11-time All-Star; Had 8 40-homer seasons and 9 100-RBI seasons

Fun Stuff:
One of just 30 Major Leaguers born in Idaho

Bonus Card:
Issued after he retired, Killer’s 1976 SSPC card (#168) is one of the few to show him in a Kansas City Royals uniform


DAVE KINGMAN

1977 O-Pee-Chee #98

Played 1971 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Giants, Mets, Padres, Angels, Yankees, Cubs

1970’s Highlights:
Dave Kingman was known as the prototypical all-or-nothing hitter, but his 442 career homers, 1,816 career strikeouts and .236 career average would not be out of place in today’s game; 1979 was arguably his career year as he lead the league with 48 homers and a .613 slugging %, drove in 115 runs and score 97, plus was named an All-Star; Was the starting right fielder for the NL in the 1976 All-Star Game; In 1977 he famously played for four different teams – Mets, Padres, Angels and Yankees – in each of the Majors’ four different divisions; Set a Mets record with 8 RBI in one game, 6/4/76; His first career home run was a grand slam off of Dave Giusti during a wild 15-11 win over the Pirates, 7/31/71

Career Highlights:
At one time he had been known as having the most home runs of anyone not in the HOF, but he’s since been passed by a number of retired non-HOFers, plus a couple of active players; His 37 home runs as a Met in 1976 (tied in 1982) was a team record until broken by Darryl Strawberry in 1987; Started out as a pitcher at USC and in 1969 he went 11-4 with a 1.38 ERA

Fun Stuff:
Was a college teammate of Jim Barr an Steve Busby at USC; In 1982 when he lead the league with 37 homers, his .204 batting average was lower than Cy Young winner Steve Carlton’s .218 average

Card Stuff:
Was in many oddball 1970s sets including all five 1970s Hostess Sets; Typical of 1977 O-Pee-Chee baseball, his card (featured above) is missing the All-Star banner that was on his 1977 Topps card… and I should also mention that that year’s Topps card was #500, which was a “hero number” at the time


CLAY KIRBY

1972 Topps #174

Played 1969 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Padres, Reds, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Went 15-13 for a 1971 Padres team that finished 61-100;  Kirby’s 15 wins was a team record for a few years (until Randy Jones won 20 games in 1975), but his 231 strikeouts that year stood as a team record until Kevin Brown broke it in 1998;  Kirby was the Padres’ Opening Day starter in 1972 and 1973

Career Highlights:
As a rookie in 1969, Kirby lead the 1969 Padres in innings pitched and strikeouts… and lead the league with 20 losses

Flirting with no-no’s, Parts 1, 2 and 3:
July 21, 1970: Kirby was no-hitting the Mets through 8 innings, but in the bottom of the 8th inning with the Padres down 1-0, manager Preston Gomez sent Cito Gaston in to pinch hit for Kirby. Gaston struck out to end the inning and in the top of the 9th Bud Harrelson lead off with a single off reliever Jack Baldschun. Kirby ended up taking the loss and Mets pitcher Jim McAndrew got a 3-hit shutout.  It was said that Gomez pulling out Kirby despite his no-no put a curse on the team preventing them from ever getting a no-hitter… at least until Joe Musgrove earlier this year.

September 13, 1971: Kirby no-hit the Astros for 7.1 innings before Johnny Edwards doubled off him. The Astros would score 2 in the 8th and 1 more in the 9th to leave Kirby with a 3-hit complete game loss.

September 18, 1971: Five days later, Kirby retired the first 21 Giants before Willie McCovey lead off the 8th with a home run, which would be San Francisco’s only hit and run. Kirby got a one-hit win after going toe-to-toe with Gaylord Perry for 9 innings

The 1970’s, A To Z: Jim Kaat to Jim Kern

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.

Today we’re kicking off the letter K!

JIM KAAT

1976 Topps #136

Played 1959 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Twins, White Sox, Phillies, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Was a twenty-game winner for the White Sox in 1974 and 1975; In 1975, at the age of 36, he was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and got MVP and Cy Young votes;  Was the Phillies Opening Day starter in 1976

Career Highlights:
Won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards… he and Brooks Robinson are the only players to accomplish that feat;  Was a three-time All-Star;  Has 283 career wins; Started 625 career games; Was a World Champion with the 1982 Cardinals; In 1966 he lead the league in wins (25), innings pitched (304.2), complete games (41) and shutouts (19);  Holds the Twins (but not Senators) single season record with 25 wins in 1966 and the Twins career records for innings pitched (3,014.1) and wins (190);  Has come close to being elected to the Hall of Fame, but fell a couple of votes short

Fun Stuff:
Was the last active player from the original Washington Senators;  Was the only student ever from Zeeland (MI) High School to play in the Majors

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


AL KALINE

1974 Topps #215

Played 1953 – 1974
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1971 and 1974;  In 1973 he won the AL Roberto Clemente Award, “bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field”

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980; Went straight from high school to the Majors in 1953 and the following year, still a teenager, became the Tigers’ starting right fielder; In 1955 and at the age of 20 he became the youngest player to win a bating title and also lead the AL in hits;  Won a World Series with the Tigers in 1968 while batting .379 with 2 homers and 8 RBI; Had 242 consecutive errorless games in the outfield;  15-time All-Star; 10-time Gold Glove winner; Finished with 3,007 hits and 399 home runs

Fun Stuff:
Got his 3,000th hit in his hometown of Baltimore, a double off of Dave McNally;  When you run his name together, it spells “Alkaline”

Card Stuff:
His 1974 Topps card featured above shows him playing first and lists him as “1B – OF”, but Kaline was strictly a DH that season (which was his final season)


PAT KELLY

1979 Topps #188

Played 1967 – 1971
1970’s Teams: Royals, White Sox, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1973; Went 5 for 15 with 3 runs and 4 RBI in the 1979 Postseason with the Orioles; Lead his teams in stolen bases six times; Broke up a Vida Blue no-hitter with two outs in the 8th inning, 9/11/70; Involved in turning a 9-6-4-6 Triple Play against the Royals 6/3/77

Career Highlights:
Kelly had a good eye at the plate and finished his career with a .354 On-Base %; was an original member of the Kansas City Royals and appeared as a pinch runner in the very first Royals game

Fun Stuff:
His older brother, Leroy Kelly, was a HOF running back for the Cleveland Browns; there were briefly two players named Pat Kelly simultaneously in the Majors, with the other one being a Blue Jays catcher who played in 3 games in 1980

Card Stuff:
Appeared in every “regular” Topps set of the 1970’s; He appeared in a Royals cap on the high-numbered “Rookie Stars” card he shared with two other players, but his 1970 “solo” card shows him in a blacked-out cap


STEVE KEMP

1979 Hostess #15

Played 1977 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Tigers

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-American for the University of Southern California in 1975 and the first overall draft pick in the January 1976 draft; Hit a career-high 29 homrs in 1977;  Had a career year in 1979 when he hit 26 homers with 105 RBI and represented the Tigers in the All-Star game; Hit an inside-the-park home run on 9/4/77

Fun Stuff
At USC he was teammates with Rich Dauer and Roy Smalley


JIM KERN

1976 SSPC #509

Played 1974 – 1986
1970’s Teams: Indians, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Kern was one of the top relievers of the late 1970s, was named to three straight all-star teams and finished 4th in 1979 Cy Young voting; Won the 1979 AL Rolaids Relief Award after going 13-5 with 29 saves; Kern retired three straight batters, including striking out Dave Parker and George Foster, in the 1977 All-Star Game

Fun Stuff:
Kern was – on paper – a New York Met for 2 months. He was obtained from the Rangers in December of 1981 and then flipped to the Reds as part of the George Foster deal the following February

The 1970’s, A To Z: Jay Johnstone to Mike Jorgensen

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.


JAY JOHNSTONE

1970 Topps #485

Played 1966 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Angels, White Sox, A’s, Phillies, Yankees, Padres

1970’s Highlights:
Went 7 for 9 with a double, a triple, a run scored and 2 RBI in the 1976 NLCS against the Reds; Was the first batter at Olympic Stadium, 4/15/1977; Won a World Series with the Yankees in 1978

Career Highlights:
Johnstone played 20 years in the Majors with 8 different teams, even though he only exceeded 500 AB’s in a season one time; Won a World Championship with the 1981 Dodgers; Made his last Major League appearance with the Dodgers in the 1985 NLCS

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in the 1988 movie “The Naked Gun” as the first Mariners batter in the baseball game sequence; As part of the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew” (with Jerry Reuss, Rick Monday, and Steve Yeager) they recorded a version of “We Are The Champions” after the 1981 World Series (and screwed up the lyrics pretty badly)

Card Stuff:
Appeeared in the 1978 Kellogg’s set


CLEON JONES

1975 Kellogg’s #21

Played 1963 – 1976
1970’s Teams: Mets, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Batted .292 with 8 runs, 4 RBI, 4 doubles and a homer in the 1973 Postseason against the Reds and A’s; Went 3-for-9 with an intentional walk, a homer, 2 runs and 2 RBI in Mets 25-inning 4-3 loss to Cardinals 9/11/74 (Longest game of the 1970’s, by innings played); Batted .319 in 1971

Career Highlights:
Was named to the 1966 Topps All-Star Rookie team and got a single vote in NL Rookie of the Year voting; In 1969 he started in the All-Star Game and went 2-for-4;  Lead the 1969 “Miracle Mets” in batting, on base percentage, slugging, hits, doubles, stolen bases and walks;  Hit .429 in the NLCS and caught the final out of the 1969 World Series; His .340 average in 1969 was a Mets record for nearly 30 years before bested by John Olerud in 1998; Inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1991

Fun Stuff:
Appeared in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and had an uncredited appearance in the 1968 Odd Couple Movie; His wife is a cousin of Billy Williams


RANDY JONES

1976 Kellogg’s #4

Played 1973 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Padres

Randy Jones’ career was so much about two seasons that I’m going to break the highlights down chronologically

1973 – 1974 Highlights:
Played just a season and a half in the minors; Was named the left-handed pitcher on the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie team; In 1974 he lead the NL with 22 losses (still a Padres record) and was one of five pitchers to lose 20 games that season (the other 4: Bill Bonham, Steve Rogers, Mickey Lolich and Clyde Wright)

1975 Highlights:
Randy Jones put it all together as he went from losing 22 games the year before to winning 20 games and finishing 2nd behind Tom Seaver in the Cy Young Award voting; Lead the league with a 2.24 ERA; Was named to the All-Star team; Finished 10th in MVP voting, far behind winner Joe Morgan; Was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year (editorial comment: one could argue that he couldn’t ‘come back’ when he hadn’t been there before); Set a still-standing team record with 6 shutouts;

1976 Highlights:
Was named the NL Cy Young winner after winning a career-high 22 games and leading the league in starts, innings pitched and complete games; Won 16 games by the All-Star break (a National League record); Was the starting (and winning) pitcher at the All-Star Game; Had a streak of 68 consecutive innings without walking a batter; Won the April and May Pitcher of the Month awards; Set still-standing Padres records for wins in a season, games started (40), innings pitched (315.1), complete games (25) and WHIP (1.02), plus he tied his own shutout record from the previous season

Post-1976 Highlights:
After the 1976 season, Randy Jones had surgery to fix a nerve injury, was never quite as good afterwards and went from 22 wins to never again having a winning record; After the 1980 season he was traded to the Mets for a couple of prospects; Signed with the Pirates for the 1983 season but did not make the team and his career would be over

Career Highlights:
His #35 was retired by the Padres and in 1999 he was part of the inaugural inductee class of the Padres Hall of Fame


RUPPERT JONES

1978 Topps #20

Played 1976 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Mariners

1970’s Highlights:
Was the first player selected by the Mariners (from Kansas City) in the 1976 Expansion Draft, the starting center fielder in the first-ever Mariners game and the Mariner’s representative in the 1977 All-Star Game; Was named to the 1977 Topps All-Star Rookie team

Career Highlights:
Hit an extra-inning walk-off grand slam with the Yankees in 1980 and did it again in 1985 with the Angels, becoming the first player to do that twice; Was an All-Star in 1982 while with the Padres; Won a World Series with the Tigers in 1984

Card Stuff:
Was in the 1978 and 1979 Hostess sets


MIKE JORGENSEN

1977 Topps #368

Played 1968 – 1985
1970’s Teams: Mets, Expos, A’s, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
Moved from the Mets to the Expos as part of the Rusty Staub trade;  Hit a home run in his first at bat with the Expos;  Won a Gold Glove at first base in 1973;  Lead the 1975 Expos in homers, On-base % and Slugging, and was second to Gary Carter with 67 RBI;  Was involved in turning two Triple Plays – 6/3/72 Expos vs Astros and 6/13/73 Expos vs Padres;

Career Highlights:
Managed the 1995 Cardinals after Joe Torre was fired, but after the end of the season he returned to his farm director duties and was replaced by Tony LaRussa

Fun Stuff:
Was born on the day Babe Ruth died (August 16, 1948)

Card Stuff:
His stint managing the Cardinals was never reflected on a baseball card (managers weren’t put on cards in the mid 1990s); His 1977 O-Pee-Chee card is cropped tighter than the Topps counterpart; Was in the 1975 and 1976 Hostess sets


NOTE: Mike Jorgensen wraps up the letter “J”. We’ll pick up with the first “K” in the next post.

Here’s Jay Johnstone’s big moment on the silver screen