25 May 2011

the 1978 topps dodgers that debuted in 1972

there were a handful of 1978 topps dodgers who got their first taste of cardboard in 1972.  let's meet them.  since we're going in alphabetical order, first up is the penguin, ron cey.

here is cey's less heralded multi-player rookie card (we'll see the big cheese when i get to the 1973 installment) 
the penguin made his major league debut during the 1971 season, going 0 for 2 in 2 late season 9th inning pinch hitting appearances against the reds. he struck out both times, including his first big league at bat which came with the bases loaded against joe gibbon.  how cool would it have been if he had hit a grand slam in his first major league at bat?  very very cool.  (as an aside, i recall mickey hatcher having the same opportunity in his big league debut.  he didn't do it either - the stuntman walked).  cey wouldn't appear in the field until the 1972 season, when he would start 11 games at third base while batting .270 with an ops of .778.  he hit his first career home run in 1972, a two-run shot off of the padres' mike caldwell.

terry forster gets his own card in 1972,
the only one of the newcomers to warrant a solo spot in the topps set. forster had debuted in 1971 at the age of 19 against the minnesota twins. brought in to relieve bart johnson in the 6th inning with cesar tovar and rod carew on base, forster got tony oliva to pop out to third. in his second inning of work, forster allowed a single to harmon killebrew, but then struck out rich reese and got jim holt to ground into a double play. forster was pinch-hit for by luis alvarado (he of the awesome 1973 topps card) and his debut came to an end. in hindsight, forster probably should have been allowed to bat. alvarado made an out, and forster went on to go 2 for 5 in 1971 with a double at the plate (both of his hits in 1971 came courtesy of future teammate andy messersmith).

on the mound, he appeared in 45 games (3 starts) and had a 2-3 record with a save. in 1972, forster was used exclusively out of the white sox bullpen, and posted a 6-5 record with 29 saves and an era of 2.25. at the plate, he was 10 for 19 with 3 rbi and only 2 strikeouts. he faced future teammate reggie smith 4 times in 1972, walking him once and striking him out twice while holding him hitless.

burt hooton appeared with two other cubbies on his rookie card
like forster, hooton debuted in 1971, although burt was 21 when he first took the mound for the cubs. he was called up to make a start in june against the cardinals, and lasted just 3.1 innings while earning a no-decision in what turned out to be a cubs victory. hooton allowed 3 runs on 3 hits (including a joe torre home run) and 5 walks. he did strike out 2 batters, including the very first batter he ever faced in the big leagues - hall of famer lou brock. hooton was called up once again in september, and made 2 more starts. the first was a 3-hit complete game against the mets in which hooton struck out 15 batters. the only two runs he allowed were on a ken singleton home run.

the next start was also a complete game for hooton - a 2-hit shutout against the mets at wrigley. so, hopes were high for hooton going into the 1972 season. in his first full season, hooton hurled three more shutouts in 1972, winning 11 games and losing 14 despite a 2.80 era. his first start of the season came on april 16th against the phillies, and hooton spun a no-hitter (although he did allow 7 walks), in a 4-0 victory. against his future teammates, hooton had some success. dusty baker was 0 for 1, vic davalillo was just 2 for 13 with 4 strikeouts (and a home run), steve garvey was 3 for 9 (all singles), jerry grote was 0 for 6 iwth a strikeout and a sacrifice, tommy john was 0 for 1, ted martinez was 1 for 3 with a sacrifice, manny mota was 2 for 3, and (looking ahead to some newcomers in 1973) ed goodson was 0 for 1 and steve yeager was 1 for 1.

charlie hough was featured with two other dodgers,
both of whom were out of the dodger organization (and the majors) by the time 1977 (and the 1978 topps set) rolled around. in o'brien's case, he was out of both by the time this card was issued, although he pitched in the minors through 1974, including a brief stint in albuquerque that final year.  hough actually debuted in 1970, pitching in 8 games and earning 2 saves while posting a 5.29 era. he made his first appearance in a 11-4 dodger victory against the pirates, relieving pete mikkelsen with 2 outs in the 9th. he walked al oliver to load the bases, but then struck out willie stargell to end the game. not bad for a debut. in 1971, hough pitched in 4 games without a decision or a save and his era was 4.15. he improved on that in 1972, posting a 3.38 era although he pitched in just 2 games that season. in those two games, hough didn't face any of his future 1978 topps dodger teammates.

for the second time, a 1978 topps dodger makes his topps debut by sharing space with don baylor. in 1971 it was dusty baker, and this year, it's johnny oates' turn.
oates, like hough, debuted in 1970. unlike hough, he didn't play in the bigs again until 1972. oates' debut season consisted of 5 september games, 21 at bats, and 5 hits. he got a single his first time up in the majors (as a pinch hitter against the senators' dick bosman) and he also hit one of his two career triples. his last four games that year were all games he started behind the plate, and they all went into extra innings, with oates catching 11, 12, 13, and 11 innings respectively. the orioles went on to win the world series that year, but oates was left off of their postseason roster.

in 1972, he hit his other career triple, along with the first 4 home runs of his career. he played in 85 games, the most of any orioles' catcher, and posted a .261 average.

i'll update the tally in the veterans post, coming soon.

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