23 February 2012

and for one brief moment, they were all together. the 1978 topps dodgers in 1978

although i am splitting them into two posts.  go figure.

two new players were featured for the first time in 1978 - glenn burke and lance rautzhan.  let's start with them.

glenn burke
burke debuted for the dodgers in 1976, but didn't show up on a card until 1978.  by that time, he had appeared in 108 games for the blue and was hitting about .250.  he also had greeted dusty baker at home plate after a home run with what many consider to be the first 'high-five'.  not too far into the 1978 season, burke found himself in tommy lasorda's doghouse (quite possibly due to a friendship that burke, a gay man, had formed with tommy's son, also gay (although tommy doesn't admit it)) and was traded to the a's for billy north.  in oakland, burke played in 78 games and had 15 stolen bases.  he finished the season hitting .233.
lance rautzhan
rautzhan had first appeared for the dodgers in the middle of the 1977 season.  he wound up winning 4 games and saving 2 others before the year was done, and then picked up a win in the nlcs against the phillies.  in 1978, rautzhan lowered his era to 2.93 and went 2-1 with 4 saves.  he made three appearances in the postseason, including two in the world series against the yankees, but did not figure in any decisions.
a few other players returned to the topps set after their absences - vic davalillo, jerry grote, and ted martinez.

vic davalillo
davalillo was plucked from the roster of the aquascaliente team in the mexican league late in the 1977 season.  the 40-year old wound up appearing in 24 games for the dodgers, hitting .313 overall and .286 (4 for 14) as a pinch-hitter.  his biggest hit of the season, of course, was his bunt against the phillies in the 'black friday' game.  down by two runs with two outs and nobody on base in the 9th inning of game 3, davalillo bunted for a hit to start the winning rally.  he then went 1 for 3 in the world series, appearing in three of the six games against the yankees.  in 1978, davalillo was back for the whole season.  he hit .312 overall and .255 (12 for 47) as a pinch-hitter.  his lone home run of the season, and the final one of his career, came as a pinch-hitter against the mets in august.  davalillo did not match his postseason highlights from the previous season, as he appeared in only two games of the world series, going 1 for 3.
jerry grote
grote had been acquired by the dodgers from the mets at the end of august in 1977.  he hit .259 in 18 games for the blue, and then was 0 for 1 with a walk in the postseason.  in 1978, grote hit .271 in 41 games and appeared in three postseason games, including two in the world series, but did not get an at bat.  i do recall that grote was on deck when bill russell singled in the run that clinched the pennant for the dodgers in game 4 of the nlcs.  grote became a free agent after the season ended, and essentially retired.  sort of.
ted martinez
martinez spent the entire 1976 season in the minors, after which he was selected by the dodgers in the rule 5 draft.  he then appeared in 67 games for the dodgers in 1977, batting .299 along the way.  he did not appear in the postseason, however, nor did he do so in 1978.  during the '78 regular season, martinez saw action again at third, short, and second, and hit .255.  he also hit the final home run of his career, a three-run shot off of mario soto in late september.
there were also some other veterans who appeared as dodgers for the first time in 1978 - terry forster, mike garman, rick monday, and johnny oates.

terry forster
this card of forster, with the horrific airbrushing, means that we were denied a terry forster pirates card by topps.  remember, forster was still shown as a member of the white sox in 1977.  forster joined the dodgers as a free agent after the 1977 season ended, and went on to have a great season in 1978.  he was 5-4 with 22 saves and a 1.93 era in 47 games for the dodgers.  he also went 4 for 8 at the plate, raising his lifetime batting average to .424 (24 for 59).  he pitched 5 scoreless innings in the postseason, including 4 (with 6 strikeouts) against the yankees in the world series, but he did not get an at bat in either the nlcs or the fall classic.
mike garman
garman was 0-1 in 10 appearances to start the 1978 season for the dodgers, and then was traded to the expos for gerry hannahs and another player.  in montreal, garman appeared in 47 games, and was 4-6 with 13 saves and a 4.40 era.  he made the final appearance of his career on september 29th against the phillies, when he blew a save opportunity by allowing an rbi single to dane iorg.  the final batter garman faced in his career was ted simmons, who followed iorg with a walk.  the expos released garman towards the end of spring training the following year.
rick monday
mo got some mustard from a dodger dog on his chin apparently.  man, how we laughed at this card when we first saw it after an afternoon 7-11 run back in the old neighborhood.  anyway, monday played in 119 games in 1978, one more than he had in 1977 and more than he would in any following season.  he hit 19 homers (including the 200th of his career off of atlanta's jim bouton) and was voted to start in the all-star game, even though bill north had kind of taken over in center field.  in the game, monday started in right field, with greg luzinski in left and george foster in center, and he went 0 for 2.  in the postseason, monday had two hits in each series, appearing in all but one game in each the nlcs and the world series.  
johnny oates
even with three other catchers on the roster, oates managed to get into 40 games (18 of which were starts behind the plate) for the dodgers in 1978.  he even threw out 32% of the runners who tried to steal against him. oates hit .307 with 6 rbi in 70 at bats, and then was 1 for 1 with a walk in the world series.
finally, one of the 1978 topps dodgers got a final tribute in 1978, having played his last game in 1977.  that would be ed goodson.
let's have a look at those career stats.
godspeed, mr. goodson.
i'll cover the rest of the team in the next post.

1 comment:

Matthew R said...

I remember laughing at that Rick Monday card too.

Ed Goodson really looked like an up and comer after the 1973 season, but he didn't keep it up. Did you ever have a TTM success with him?