03 August 2009

the infield gets a new/old manager - gcrl in 1976

in 1976, as in 1975, the dodgers finished in second place behind the eventual world champion cincinnati reds. steve garvey had another solid season, including a .317 average and exactly 200 hits. garvey, of course, played in all 162 games as he finished sixth in the mvp voting and was voted to start the all star game for the third year in a row. in the mid-summer classic his first inning triple off of mark fidrych scored pete rose, and garvey scored the eventual winning run later in the inning on a groundout. also for the third straight year, garvey was awarded a gold glove, having made just 3 errors for a .998 fielding percentage. he also stole a career high 19 bases, but hit fewer home runs (only 13) while pounding out 37 doubles - more on that later.

for ron cey, he had a solid 1976 season, although his numbers were down just a bit from the year before. his 23 home runs led the team and were good for sixth in the league as he finished 23rd in the mvp voting. he was selected to the all star team for the third straight year, although pete rose was voted to start at third base. cey made an appearance in the 9th as a defensive replacement, but did not get an at bat. he hit two home runs in a game once in 1976, and also had 2 walk off homers, including one against future teammate jerry reuss. i wonder if the penguin was nervous posing for the photographer without a hat - as if he might be included in a traded set later on.

bill russell rebounded nicely from his injury laden season in 1975. he appeared in 149 games and hit .274 while being named to the all star team for the second time in his career. he went 0 for 1 in the all star game, playing behind dave concepcion and larry bowa. for the season, all five of his home runs were solo shots and his 65 rbi tied his career high.

in 1976, davey lopes led the league in stolen bases for the second straight year. pretty impressive, considering that his 63 stolen bases came while playing in just 119 games. he played exactly 100 games at second base, and 19 in center field. although lopes hit only 4 home runs, two of them were lead off shots. lopes appeared on three cards in the 1976 set. in addition to his base card, there was the record breaker card celebrating his streak of 38 straight successful stolen base attempts. he also appeared on the stolen base league leader card with lou brock and joe morgan. nice that topps used a photo from the same shoot as his base card. no need to mix things up.

speaking of mixing things up, perhaps the biggest development for the dodgers in 1976 was the retirement of long time manager walter alston, who stepped down with 4 games to play in the season. he was replaced by tommy lasorda, who had been a coach for alston since 1972 and had managed many of the young dodger players in the minor leagues, including steve garvey, ron cey, bill russell and davey lopes. as the new manager, lasorda famously asked garvey to try to hit more home runs, and garvey would deliver in 1977.

thanks, baseball reference!

1 comment:

Tony said...

Sent you an email. Contact me and I'll send out the cards this week