23 October 2013

burt hooton's final tributes

i will be posting about the 1986 topps cards that featured members of the 1978 topps dodger team tomorrow.  i know you can't wait.  i'm going to kickstart this latest edition of the aptly named 'evolution of the 1978 topps dodgers' series of posts by showcasing the lone member of that fraternity to get a final tribute card in 1986.  burt carlton hooton.

hooton spent one year (1985) with the rangers before calling it a career.  actually, the rangers released him in march of 1986 after manager bobby valentine was impressed with the young arms of bobby witt and ed correa, and at the time, hooton was undecided on whether to continue pitching or not.  whether it was his decision or not, hooton did not make any more big league appearances as an active player.

so, the 1986 set(s) offer us some bona fide final tributes, thanks to texas' late release of the right-hander.  first up is topps.
topps, as usual, gives us the complete major league stats for hooton
the 1981 nlcs mvp racked up 112 wins as a dodger over 10 seasons.  that puts him at 18th all-time for the franchise, and close to (if not in) to the top 10 among los angeles dodgers.

next up is the max headroom set, 1986 donruss
donruss gives us happy's full name, but only the last five years of his career, stat-wise.
the back also gives more detail about hooton's contract status.  he had signed a 2-year deal, with an option for 1987, so texas was on the hook for his 1986 salary plus a buyout.  it's too bad he didn't go by his middle name, by the way.  if he had, there might have been a nice 'steve carlton, carlton hooton' card in 1982 fleer.

speaking of fleer, here's hooton's 1986 fleer card
with his complete professional career stats, including that one abbreviated year in the minors
not sure why fleer notes that hooton lives in yorba linda while the other companies had him back in his home state of texas.  nine strikeouts shy of 1500 k's, at least hooton eclipsed 150 wins.  he also encouraged a generation of young fans (this one included) to try to figure out what the heck a knuckle-curve grip looked like, and to try to throw one in a little league game without having it bounce 10 feet in front of home plate.

hooton was a minor league pitching coach for the dodgers from 1988 through 1996 before joining the staff at his alma mater, the university of texas.  he later coached in the astros' system, including at the major league level in the early 2000's.  last season, hooton was a minor league coach in the padres' system.

i am 'happy' to have these final tributes in my collection!

1 comment:

Nick said...

I can't believe I don't already have Hooton's Donruss or Fleer final tributes. It's hard seeing "Happy" in Rangers gear.