31 July 2013

he was the best in the west

i recently received my cards back from the last chris potter sports signings.  i sent three cards in, and unfortunately one of the players i wanted cancelled.  luckily, jr richard did not cancel, and he signed my 1978 topps card.
i have no illusions about completing a signed 1978 topps set, but i have about 250-300 of the cards signed and i was happy to add james rodney to the binder.  i also had oscar gamble sign his 1978 topps card
i hope he appreciated not being asked to sign his 1976 topps traded card for a change.  for the record, the third auto i had hoped to get was matt keough's, since he appeared on a rookie card (with lance rautzhan) in the set.

back to richard.  i held out very little hope whenever the dodgers would face him from the time i started following the team (1977) to when richard's career came to an unexpected close (1980).  here is one of his 'final tributes' - 1981 donruss
the back of which explains just what happened to the dominant right hander during the 1980 season
richard made his first all-star appearance in 1980, pitching two innings of scoreless ball while striking out 3.  it figured that he would pitch well - the game was played at dodger stadium.  richard made one more start after the break, lasting 3.1 innings against the braves before being taken out of the game after experiencing numbness in his arm.  he had allowed only one hit, and had four strikeouts - the last three all coming in the second inning.  he would not pitch in the majors again.

here's his 1981 fleer card
with what were to truly be his complete major and minor league batting pitching record
nice uer, fleer.

topps also issued a card of richard in 1981
noting only that he started the 1980 all-star game
richard attempted a comeback with the astros, spending time in the minor leagues in 1982 and 1983, but he was unable to return to the majors.  fleer went ahead and issued a card for him as part of their 1982 set
this time not noting whether his stats on the back were 'batting' or not
topps also released a card for richard in 1982
the text they added at the bottom pretty much reflects my fears and feeling that richard was the best pitcher in the nl west at the time.
sure, tom seaver was with the reds, the braves had phil niekro, gaylord perry was a padre, vida blue was in san fran, and the astros added nolan ryan in 1980, but jr richard was literally unbeatable as far as the dodgers (and this fan) were concerned.


Nick said...

I was just getting ready to do a similar "tribute" post to Richard until I found out I'd never tracked down his '82 Fleer issue.

Looks like I have another one for the ol' want list!

night owl said...

I felt the same feeling when Richard was pitching, "well, there's a guaranteed loss."

I don't know how the Astros didn't win more when they had him.