22 March 2011

finally! some teammates! the 1978 topps dodgers in 1970

bill russell joined the topps set in 1970, a year after he debuted for the dodgers.  this means, that for the first time since 1964 when vic davalillo and tommy john were both shown as indians, we have teammates, and  dodger teammates for the first time.  the 1978 topps dodger team is starting to come together.

bill russell
russell debuted in 1969 at the age of 20, and played in 98 games, batting .226.  he played outfield exclusively, but played all three positions.  ropes doubled in his first at-bat, and hit 5 homers (all solo shots)that season.  that's 5 more than he would hit in 1970. 

in his sophomore season, russell continued as an outfielder, although he did appear in one game at short.  he hit .259 in 81 games.

vic davalillo
posted the highest ops of his career in his lone full season with the cardinals.  in 111 games, davalillo hit .311 and ops'd .792.  his lone home run was a pinch-hit job, one of a whopping 23 pinch-hits he had on the season.  in fact half of his 14 doubles and all 3 of his triples were achieved as a pinch hitter.

jerry grote
was once again the mets' primary backstop in 1970.  he hit .255 in a career high 126 games, and had 106 hits.  his defense declined a bit, as he threw out just 39% of would-be basestealers as opposed to 56% in 1969.  he hit both of his home runs on the season in a 6-day span in may, the second of which came against fergie jenkins.

tommy john
went 12-17 (while losing his first 5 starts) for the white sox while posting a respectable 3.27 era.  he was the starting pitcher in all 37 of his appearances, and he threw 269.1 innings with 10 complete games with 3 shutouts, including a 2-hitter against the senators.  he tied his career high with 138 strikeouts, but led the league with 17 wild pitches.  at the plate, john hit .202 with a career high 17 hits.

against his future teammates, john was roughed up by rick monday who was 4 for 8 with 3 doubles and a k in their matchups, while reggie smith was 2 for 8 with an rbi and 3 strikeouts against the lefty.

rick monday
was once again the primary centerfielder for the a's.  he appeared in 112 games and slugged 10 home runs.  he also stole a career high 17 bases. 

manny mota
takes a knee on his first card as a dodger.  i would bet dollars to donuts that the player lurking along the fence is steve garvey based on his stance and stirrups.  i would love to see the original photo to confirm this.  anyway, mota was installed as the dodgers regular left fielder in 1970, and he was able to post some career high statistics as a result.  he had more at bats, hits, runs, and stolen bases in 1970 than in any other season during his career, and he hit .303 besides.  as a result, mota only logged 19 pinch hit appearances, but he got hits in 6 of those at bats, including a double and a triple and a 14th-inning, two-out, walk-off single on september 20 against the mets.

reggie smith
appeared on two cards in the 1970 set, thanks to his .309 average in 1969.
smith had another solid season as the red sox' center fielder in 1970.  he played in 142 games and hit .303 with 22 home runs and 74 rbi.  he finished 26th in the american league mvp voting.

don sutton
posted the first winning record of his career, going 15-13 despite an era over 4.00.  sutton threw 260.1 innings in 38 starts, striking out 201 batters.  he also posted 10 complete games with 4 shutouts, one of which was a 10-inning, 12-strikeout performance against the mets.

jerry grote was the only future teammate that black & decker faced in 1970, and he was 0 for 6 with an intentional walk against sutton.

so, those were the 1978 topps dodgers in 1970.

here's the tally so far:

8/27 players featured by topps in 1970

total appearances:

davalillo 8 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
grote 7 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
john 7 (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
lasorda 1 (1954)
monday 4 (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
mota 8 (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
russell 1 (1970)
smith 4 (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)
sutton 5 (1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970)

teams represented so far:

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

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