26 April 2011

the 1978 topps dodgers in 1971 - the veterans

i posted the newcomers earlier today.  these are the grizzled vets that are slowly working their way to becoming part of the 1978 topps dodgers.

vic davalillo
was featured as a cardinal on his 1971 card, but he spent the entire season with the pirates. he served as a 4th outfielder, backing up roberto clemente, al oliver, and willie stargell.  davlillo wound up appearing in 99 games for the national league east champs, hitting .285 on the year and .333 (9 for 27) as a pinch hitter with 4 doubles and 8 rbi in that role.  in the postseason, davalillo had just 2 hitless at bats in the nlcs against the giants, but was 1 for 3 with a run scored in the world series against the orioles, earning his first world series championship. 

jerry grote
grote led the league in putouts by a catcher for the second season in a row.  he caught 125 games and hit .270 for the mets in 1971 and had just 2 home runs.  one of those home runs, however, was a walk-off job hit in the bottom of the 11th inning of a scoreless game against the reds.  we know that grote didn't catch any no-hitters in 1971 because the mets haven't thrown one yet.  grote did catch gary gentry's one-hitter on april 17 (a 6th-inning triple by roberto clemente being the only hit) but not tom seaver's seemingly annual one-hitter on september 26, 1971, which was broken up by a 7th-inning single courtesy of none other than vic davalillo.

tommy john
john suffered through his third consecutive losing season in 1971, as he was 13-16 in 38 games (35 starts).  he had, for the second year in a row, 10 complete games and 3 shutouts.  he had two 5-hitters and two 6-hitters and had as many as 9 strikeouts in a game.  against his future teammates, john wasn't overly dominant as rick monday was 1 for 5 with a home run but struck out 3 times, and reggie smith was 3 for 5 with one strikeout.

rick monday
monday spent his final year in the american league once again patrolling centerfield for the a's.  in 116 games, monday hit 18 home runs and drove in 56 runs, although his average was a middling .245.  in addition to the home run he hit at the expense of tommy john, monday hit the 50th long ball of his career, and later hit two in one game against the indians.

manny mota
after being the dodgers' primary left fielder in 1970, mota gave way to willie crawford in 1971 (as we learned in the recent evolution of the dodgers' left fielder post).  still, mota appeared in 91 games and hit .312.  he was 6 for 16 as a pinch hitter with 10 rbi.

bill russell

listed as an outfielder on his 1971 topps card, russell would actually spend about half of his 1971 season in the infield, but at second rather than short.  he hit .227 in 91 games with a couple of home runs hit 11 days apart.  the first of his two home runs was a lead off shot, and both dingers came off of the phillies' ken reynolds.

reggie smith
the 'other' reggie had a monster year for the red sox in 1971.  he played in 159 games and hit 30 home runs for the first time in his career while slugging career home run number 100.  his average fell a bit, from over .300 to .283, but he led the league with 33 doubles and 302 total bases.  for his efforts, smith finished 17th in the league mvp voting. 

don sutton

sutton won 17 games for the second time in his career, but still lost 12 despite a sparkling 2.54 era and 1.07 whip.  he had 12 complete games, 4 shutouts, and even 1 save on the year.  he reached double-digits in strikeouts 5 times, and threw a one-hitter against the astros in june, with a 6th inning double by future teammate jimmy wynn being the lone astros hit.  speaking of future teammates, sutton had mixed results when he faced members of the 1978 topps dodgers in 1971.  dusty baker was 0 for 1, but vic davalillo was 2 for 3 with a double while jerry grote was 1 for 7 with a double, rbi and two strikeouts.

so, those were the 1978 topps dodgers, well, the veterans anyway, in 1971.

here's the tally so far:

12/27 players featured by topps in 1971

total appearances:

baker 1 (1971)
davalillo 9 (1963-1971)
garman 1 (1971)
garvey 1 (1971)
grote 8 (1964-1971)
john 8 (1964-1971)
lasorda 1 (1954)
martinez 1 (1971)
monday 5 (1967-1971)
mota 9 (1963-1971)
russell  2 (1970-1971)
smith 5 (1967-1971)
sutton 6 (1966-1971)

teams represented so far:

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

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