08 February 2011

the 1978 topps dodgers in 1969

the 1978 topps dodgers stood pat in 1969 - no new members were featured on cards, although some made their debuts. 

vic davalillo
as you recall, was traded to the angels during the 1968 season.  he's a hatless indian in the photo topps used, but at least the uniform color scheme is more angel-like today than it was back then.  anyway, davalillo split his 1969 season between two teams as well, as he was traded to the cardinals after batting just .155 in 33 games for the halos.  he did better in st. louis, hitting .265 in 63 games.  he had 2 home runs on the season, both as a cardinal, including his lone career grand slam which happened to be an 8th inning, game tying, pinch hit blast against the mets.  including that appearance, davalillo was used as a pinch hitter 50 times, and had 10 hits and 6 walks.  the grand slam accounted for his lone pinch hit extra base hit and rbis.

jerry grote [automobile in the background alert!]
1969 was an amazin' year for grote and the mets.  although he appeared in only 113 games, grote set career highs in runs scored (38), home runs (6) and rbi (40).  in the nlcs against the braves, grote drove in the mets' first run with a single in the second inning of game 1.  in game 3 of the world series, he had an rbi double off of jim palmer while calling a shutout by gary gentry and nolan ryan. grote hit another key double in the series, this one leading off the bottom of the 10th in game 4.  rod gaspar pinch ran for him and later scored the winning run on pete richert's throwing error.  the next day, grote became the first of the 1978 topps dodgers to win a world series ring.

tommy john
looks like he is attempting the ol' hidden ball trick on his card.  john had a sub-par year for the pale hose in 1969.  he went 9-11 with a 3.25 era.  he made 33 starts and pitched a then-career high 232.1 innings.  he won his first three decisions, including a tidy 4-hit shutout of the a's in the second game of the season.   he missed most of august, presumably due to injury, but finished strong in september as he won 3 of his last 5 starts, including his second shutout of the season.

here's how he fared against his future teammates - he didn't face vic davalillo, rick monday was 2 for 12 with a double and 3 k's, and reggie smith was 2 for 6 with a walk.

rick monday
was again patrolling center field for the a's in 1969.  he played in 122 games and hit .271 with 12 home runs.  based on his fielding stats, it would seem that base runners had stopped trying to test his arm (he had only 3 assists after posting 14 in 1967 and 11 in 1968), but he made 10 errors - 3rd worst in the league.

manny mota
was the second pick in the 1968 expansion draft, going to the first non-us team in the league, the montreal expos.  topps shows him still in his pirates' garb, obviously.  mota's stay in quebec was short lived, however, as the dodgers acquired him in a mid-june trade.  mota had started just 21 of the 31 games in which he appeared as an expo, and he had played all 3 outfield positions.  the dodgers installed him as their primary left fielder, although he did make some appearances in center and right, and he started 70 of the 85 games in which he played.  he was hitting .315 at the time of the trade and hit .323 after, for a full season average of .321.  as a pinch hitter in 1969, mota was just 2 for 16 (both singles) with 6 k's, 2 walks and a sacrifice fly.

reggie smith
had a big year for the bosox in 1969.  he hit .309 in 143 games as their center fielder.  he hit 25 home runs and drove in 93 runs, finishing 22nd in the league mvp voting and earning a spot on the american league all star team.  in the midsummer classic, smith entered the game in the 4th inning as a pinch runner for frank howard.  he scored on a bill freehan single.  in his first at bat, smith struck out against the dodgers' bill singer, and in his second time up, he popped up against houston's larry dierker.  smith hit two home runs in a game twice in 1969, and also had two streaks in which he hit 4 home runs in 3 days.

don sutton
won 17 games for the dodgers in 1969.  unfortunately, he also lost 18.  in 41 starts, sutton threw 293.1 innings, struck out a career high 217 batters, and had an era of 3.47.  he also had 11 complete games and 4 shutouts, including a one hitter against the giants (darn you, jim davenport and your 8th innng double!).  as for sutton's performance against his future teammates, he didn't face vic davalillo, but he held jerry grote to two singles in 7 at bats and manny mota to 1 in 4.

so, those were the 1978 topps dodgers in 1968.

here's the tally so far:

7/27 players featured by topps in 1969

total appearances:

davalillo 7 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
grote 6 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
john 6 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
lasorda 1 (1954)
monday 3 (1967, 1968, 1969)
mota 7 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)
smith 3 (1967, 1968, 1969)
sutton 4 (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969)

teams represented so far:

11 (dodgers, indians, colt .45's, pirates, white sox, astros, mets, a's, red sox, angels, expos)

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