04 October 2011

the 1978 topps dodgers who weren't yet dodgers in 1974

the only member of the 1978 topps dodgers to make his topps debut in 1974 was elias sosa. topps gave him a nice looking rookie card, too.  
it could easily fit into the 1978 set, which might be why i like it so much. sosa actually first appeared in the big leagues in 1972 (he appeared in 8 games) but made his mark on the league in 1973. he had one of his best seasons that year, going 10-4 with 18 saves and a 3.28 era for the no-cals. he also finished third in the rookie of the year balloting. in 1974 he won 9 games and saved 6 for the giants. he gave up three home runs to dodger hitters in 1974 - one to steve garvey and walk-offs to joe ferguson and bill buckner on consecutive days.

after that nice sosa card, we find some boring posed photo cards.  including the card featuring dusty baker, who kinda/sorta took over for hank aaron in right field for the braves in 1974.
he played 114 games in right that year, although ralph garr made more starts in right than johnnie b did. baker made most of his starts in center, and turned in another solid season. he hit 20 home runs and stole 18 bases, falling just shy of going 20/20 for the second straight year. among his home runs were blasts against future teammate burt hooton, a walk-off against don gullett of the reds, and two in one game against the dodgers. the first was off of al downing and the second came against someone named rex hudson. who? perhaps the highlight of dusty's season came on april 8th as he stood on deck and watched hank aaron hit home run number 714. that must have been pretty cool.

another posed card.  vic davalillo's tenure in oakland lasted just 17 games in 1974.
coming off of a season in which he hit below .200 davalillo failed to rebound as he hit just .174 with no extra base hits in 17 games for the defending world series champions. the a's released him in early may, and he eventually began playing in the mexican league instead of the majors. just so you know, we won't see davalillo again until 1978.
now we get back to some nice game action photos!  speaking of nice, terry forster had a nice season as the closer for the white sox in 1974
his 24 saves, while not a career high, led the american league in '74. that means that if you take into account his 7-8 record, forster either won, lost or saved well over 50% of the 59 games in which he appeared. not sure if that is really that big of a deal, but forster didn't get to bat at all in 1974 so i can't talk about what a good hitter he was. he did strike out 8 batters in 3 innings of work against the brewers on april 24. that's pretty good

although he got a good looking card, ed goodson was starting on the downward slide of his career bell curve in 1974
he appeared in 98 games and hit .272 with 6 longballs and 48 rbi. one of his home runs came at the expense of future teammate mike garman, and another was a walk-off job against pedro borbon. goodson was hitting well over .300 through july, but slumped to .281 by the end of august and then continued his slide in september.

jerry grote was back behind the plate for the defending national league champion mets in 1974.
he played in 97 games in '74, and hit .257 with 5 homers and 36 rbi. he also made the all-star team for the second time in his career, taking over for johnny bench in the 9th inning to catch mike marshall as he closed out the nl's victory.

burt hooton was headed in the wrong direction for the cubs in 1974.
his era climbed for the fourth consecutive season, reaching 4.80 at the season's end. he was 7-11 in 48 appearances. he did have a shutout to his credit, although more impressive might have been his complete game victory against the pirates in april in which he 'scattered' 16 hits over 9 innings. still, that's a decent looking card he got. shades of 1981 donruss.

ted martinez played his final season with the mets in 1974.  here's his boring pose photo card.
he appeared in a career high 116 games, most as a shortstop, and hit .219. he did manage to drive in 43 runs which equaled the amount he had driven in over his first 4 seasons in the majors combined! his obp was a paltry .247, however, and he was traded to the cardinals after the season ended.

rick monday was once again patrolling center field in wrigley for the cubbies in 1974.
he hit for a higher average that year (.294) than he had in any of his previous seasons, and his .842 ops was good for 10th in the league. he hit 20 homers, scored 84 runs and drove in 58. his long balls included career homer number 100 off of future teammate jerry reuss, an inside-the-park home run off of another future teammate (don sutton), a walk-off against the reds and three lead-off jobs, two of which came against steve renko of the expos within two weeks of each other. just for good measure, mo took renko deep twice in the second game that he led off with a homer.

johnny oates gets some in-game action love from topps on his 1974 card.
nice. 1974 was the only time in oates' career that he appeared in 100 games. as the braves' primary catcher (he platooned with vic correll primarily), oates hit .223 with a homer and 21 rbi. that lone homer was a good one - a game tying shot against tom seaver. oates was also in the building when aaron hit his record breaking blast, but was not in the game at the time. he did make an appearance later as a pinch hitter and drove in a run on a fielder's choice.

reggie smith had been traded from the red sox to the cardinals after the 1973 season. hence the poor airbrush job on his 1974 topps card.
in the national league for the first time, smith made an impact. he hit 23 home runs, drove in 100 for the only time in his career, and hit .309 to finish 11th in the mvp voting. he also appeared in his third all-star game (he homered off of catfish hunter in the game). among other things, smith had a walk-off home run against the giants and hit two home runs in a game thrice in 1974.

it should be noted that mike garman, he of the three consecutive multi-player rookie cards, did not get a card in the 1974 set. he'll be back in 1975, though.  for now, the dodgers are comin' up...

No comments: