1976 SSPC: John, Garner & Montanez

No Hall-Of-Famers in this post, but we’ve got three players who are familiar to anyone who loves and/or collects 1970’s baseball.

Tommy John… is well-known as short hand for ulnar collateral ligament surgery, but thanks in part to Tommy John’s Tommy John surgery, he pitched another 14 seasons, 26 in total. He had 288 career wins, three 20-win seasons, was a 4-time All Star and twice was the runner-up in Cy Young voting. I tend to think of him as a Dodger, but he spent just 6 years with the Dodgers (plus one lost season after his surgery).
1976 SSPC #69 Tommy John
In 1976, John… was the N.L. Comeback player of the year after having sat out 1975 while recovering from his surgery.

Betcha Didn’t Know: Tommy John pitched in three World Series, two with the Dodgers, one with the Yankees. All three Fall Classics (1977, 1978, 1981) matched up the Dodgers and Yankees, all three went 6 games, and all three times Tommy John was on the losing side.


Phil Garner… played 16 years in the Majors, playing in over 100 games for many of those seasons. He was a three-time All Star and made the postseason four times, including World Championship with the 1979 Pirates.
1976 SSPC #495 Phil Garner
In 1976, Garner… was an All Star and his 12 triples tied Rod Carew for 2nd in the A.L. (George Brett had 14).


Willie Montanez… played 14 seasons with 9 teams. He finished second to Earl Williams in 1971 N.L. Rookie Of The Year voting in 1971 and made the Topps All-Star Rookie team. He was also an All-Star with the Braves in 1977. At various times in his career he lead the league in Sacrifice Flies (13 in ’71), Doubles (39 in ’72) and Grounding Into Double Plays (26 times each in ’75 and ’76).
1976 SSPC #103 Willie Montanez
This card (and much of the 1976 SSPC Giants team set) is Night Owl’s Nightmare.  It’s a NIGHT CARD!!!  …But it’s a SAN FRANCISCO GIANT!!!

In 1976, Montanez… was traded to the Braves in June, and the timing of the trade combined with his playing every day allowed him to lead the league with 163 games played.


Shea-o-meter
All three photos were taken at Shea Stadium.
Shea: 59
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 15
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census: Keeping track of all the instances of 1970’s trends…
I’m going to say we’ve got 3 pair of 1970’s sideburns, two mustaches and one case of long hair.

Total Cards: 88
1970’s Sideburns: 47
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 27
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 19

Hold The Pickles, Hold the Lettuce, Burger King Yankees Don’t Upset Us

If Burger King had been serious about letting me have it my way in 1979, there would’ve been a Burger King Mets set… but that wasn’t going to stop me from getting a complete set of 1979 BK Yankees .

Below on the left we have the 1979 Burger King Yankees Tommy John, and on the right is the O-Pee-Chee equivalent, complete with “Signed as Free Agent, 11-22-78” text which made those cards worthwhile… in some circles, anyway…

Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler Filler

I found an article which said that Tommy John signed for less money than had been offered by the Reds and Royals;  it might seem strange to hear about the Royals going hard after a free agent, but keep in mind that the Royals had won the AL West in 1978 and were among the league leaders in attendance.  The Dodgers didn’t want to go past two years in signing a guy who would turn 36 during the 1979 season, but the Yankees – damn them – made the right move because John went 21-9, 22-9, 9-8 and 10-10 in his nearly four years in New York (he was traded to the Angels on 8/31/82).

Tommy John won the 1976 NL Comeback Player of the Year award after missing the 1975 season because he had a ligament transplanted into his pitching elbow.  Who would’ve thunk it?