22 December 2009

deciphering the 1978 topps dodgers team card

when it comes to team cards, i really don't give a second look anymore. too often these days, players are airbrushed out leaving awkward looking gaps, or bat boys are covered up by strange looking fences.

the topps sets of my youth were different. you had things like the padres going to the zoo (1980) creating perhaps the only baseball card to feature live elephants, or the phillies doing who knows what in front of the vet (1978). you also had the dodgers with their backs to the right field corner in dodger stadium. as i collected the 1978 set as a kid, i quickly realized that the number of players on the card didn't match up with the number of cards listed on the back. i would spend a lot of time trying to locate the players i knew, but always came up with a few that i just could not identify.

now, with the internet and what not, it's a bit easier. so let's document, for posterity, the players on the 1978 topps dodgers team card.

first off, because al downing is not featured but boog powell is, we know that the photo was very likely taken between july 21st (when downing was released) and august 31, 1977 (when powell was released). this means that, of the players who appeared for the dodgers in 1977, the photo does not contain jerry grote, bobby castillo, jeff leonard, ron washington, dennis lewallyn, stan wall, or hank webb. all of those guys either left the team before downing or arrived after boog's release. furthermore, it's likely that john hale (his last game was july 27) and rafael landestoy (he debuted on august 27) are not included either. [likely, but wrong - john hale is included, meaning that the photo was taken between july 21st and july 27th, 1977].  i didn't see vic davalillo (his first game was august 20) or kevin pasley (he played with the team in early august). 

here's what i came up with:

top row: ed goodson, lance rautzhan, mike garman, elias sosa, don sutton, rick rhoden, doug rau, charlie hough, burt hooton, tommy john, mark cresse (bullpen coach)

middle row: dr. robert woods (team doctor) al campanis (gm), bill buhler (trainer), reggie smith, ted martinez, lee lacy, dusty baker, bill russell, ron cey, dave lopes, rick monday, boog powell, lee scott (traveling secretary) short guy in street clothes (it could be fred claire - he was the vp of promotions or some such thing in 1977), jack homel (assistant trainer) tall guy in street clothes

front row: johnny oates, glenn burke, steve yeager, monty basgall (coach), red adams (coach), tom lasorda (manager), jim gilliam (coach), preston gomez (coach), steve garvey, manny mota, john hale joe simpson

seated: dan ayers bat boy 1, walt luchinger bat boy 2 (since there are no numbers on the fronts of their jerseys)

i am pretty confident i have identified all of the folks in uniform correctly. i sent a ttm request to mark cresse and asked him who the two guys in front of him are, and if he responds, i'll update the post. [updated]