29 December 2011

the 1978 topps dodgers who weren't quite dodgers in 1976

when topps issued its 1976 set, there were still a few players who would become dodgers in the 1978 set who had yet to make the move to la.  or, in one case, topps had yet to show that he had made it to the west coast, as was the case with dusty baker. 
baker had been traded to the dodgers in november of 1975.  a couple of the players involved in the trade (jim wynn, ed goodson, and tom paciorek) are featured in the set as members of their new teams, but dusty and future teammate lee lacy were not.  his first season in la was statistically disappointing, as he hit just .252 in 112 games.  he missed some of july and most of september and wound up hitting only 4 home runs all year.

terry forster was spending his final year with the white sox in 1976
two years removed from being one of the top relievers in the american league, forster actually started 16 of the 29 games in which he pitched for the chisox in '76.  he finished with a 2-12 record and a 4.37 era with just one save on the year.  he was on the move after the season, but not to the dodgers.

mike garman was also on the move after the 1976 season, but first, he spent the year pitching for the cubs
garman had been acquired by the cubbies in an october, 1975 trade.  during his lone season with the cubs, garman went 2-4 with a save in 47 games.  he also made the final two starts of his career.

jerry grote was still with the mets in 1976
he played in 101 games, sharing time behind the plate with ron hodges and john stearns.  he hit .272 with 4 home runs and then contemplated retirement due to back issues.

while he wasn't retired, ted martinez didn't appear in the big leagues in 1976
he was released by the a's in may of 1976 and signed with the reds shortly thereafter.  he spent the season with their aaa affiliate and was selected by the dodgers in the december, 1976 rule 5 draft.

before he was traded to la with mike garman, rick monday was patrolling the cubs' outfield in 1976
and his final year on the north side of chicago was pretty good.  he set his career highs in runs (107), home runs (32) and rbi (77) while hitting .272 in 137 games.  not bad power numbers for a guy hitting leadoff.  three times he hit two home runs in a game, including once against the dodgers (off of future teammates don sutton and charlie hough).

johnny oates was still in philadelphia in 1976
providing backup to bob boone and tim mccarver.  he made it into 37 games and hit .253.  he made one appearance in the 1976 nlcs against the reds, and went 0 for 1.  after the season, he was traded to the dodgers for ted sizemore.

reggie smith split his 1976 season between the cardinals and the dodgers
although smith hit three home runs in a game against the phillies in may, the cardinals traded smith after 47 games and a .218 average to the dodgers for joe ferguson.  as a dodger, smith hit .280 with 10 home runs and secured the right field position and the three-hole in the batting order for himself. 

like reggie smith, elias sosa spent only half of his 1976 season in la
he started the year with the braves, going 4-4 with three saves in 21 appearances.  he was traded to the dodgers in june, and was 2-4 with a single save in 24 games for los angeles.  he also lowered his era by a couple of runs.

tomorrow we'll look at the guys who were in place, sort of, according to topps in 1976.

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