17 April 2009

hail, hail, the gang's all here - gcrl in 1973

davey lopes makes his first appearance on this 1973 topps multi-player rookie card. unlike the rest of the infield, his rookie card lists him at his most familiar position – second base. davey made his debut in 1972 on september 22 against the giants going 0 for 5 in the leadoff spot, grounding out in his first at bat. that game was won by the dodgers 1-0 in 11 innings, with both jim willoughby of the giants and don sutton pitching complete games. it was won on a walk-off hit batsmen (wes parker, who was pinch-hitting for bill russell). lopes would go o for 2 with 3 walks the following day, and would get the first stolen base of his career as well. he played in 11 games total in 1972, all at second base.

in 1973, lopes played in 145 games, primarily at second base, although he did appear in right and center field, as well as at third and short. he didn’t hit any leadoff home runs, but he did have a walk-off shot against atlanta on september 20th. he wound up hitting .275 for the season, and stole 36 bases, finishing tied for 6th in rookie of the year voting.

ron cey made another appearance on a multi-player rookie card, this time as a third baseman. this card, of course, is most notable for being mike schmidt’s rookie card. in 1973, cey played in 152 games (all at third) and hit 15 home runs with an ops of .723. he was one of the players with whom lopes tied for 6th in the rookie of the year voting.

steve garvey’s 1973 card is a strange one, keeping in line with the rest of the 1973 set.it features wes parker congratulating garvey after a home run, but garvey is pretty much obscured in the photo. hard to believe this is the best topps could do. it would work as a 'passing the first base torch' kind of thing, but garvey began 1973 primarily as a pinch hitter. parker had retired, but bill buckner and tom paciorek were also playing first, so garvey was still a part-time player. he would eventually wind up spending most of the season at first base, playing there in 76 games, but also made a couple appearances in the outfield. garvey hit .304 with an ops of .766, and 3 of his 8 home runs in 1973 were at the expense of don gullet.

bill russell was firmly entrenched at short in 1973, as reflected on his 1973 card. he played there exclusively and in all 162 games. russell finished 32nd in the league mvp voting after batting .265 with an ops of .638. he improved in the field, as his fielding percentage was slightly greater than the league average.

as an infield, the trio of cey, russell and lopes played together many times at the end of 1972 and the first part of 1973, but not with garvey. parker, terry mcdermott, paciorek, and buckner all played first, while garvey would make a fairly regular pinch hitting appearance or fielding substitution. on june 13, 1973, he did just that. while cey, russell and lopes all started the game, garvey entered in the bottom of the 4th, replacing willie davis with paciorek moving from first to centerfield. and there it was, the first appearance of the infield of garvey cey russell lopes. it was shortlived, however, as lopes moved to centerfield in the bottom of the 7th. it was 10 days later, in the second game of a double header, when all four of the infielders started the same game together at their primary positions. garvey went on a tear after that, and the rest is history.

on a personal note, this is the 200th post for me on this site – probably about 199 more than i thought i would make. thanks to everyone who’s been reading, commenting, and trading. it’s all appreciated.

5 comments:

night owl said...

Going back to your roots for your 200th post. I like it!

Captain Canuck said...

awesome read... even if it was about the Dodgers. ;)

Steve said...

Congrats on # 200 ! Always nice to reflect back to 1973.

Scott said...

congrats on 200. Keep it up!

Dave said...

Congrats!