20 October 2010

two more join in - the 1978 topps dodgers in 1964

the third player on the 1978 topps dodger team to make his major league debut was tommy john. he debuted debut on september 6, 1963, relieving dick donavan in the 7th inning against the washington senators with nobody out. the first two batters john faced (dick phillips and don zimmer) singled, and one run scored with the help of a max alvis error. the next batter flew out to center, but tommie agee was able to throw zimmer out at home. ed brinkman flew out, and john had thus completed the first inning of his career. he made it into 6 games that september, including his first two starts which he lost. he wound up 0-2 on the year although his era was a nice 2.21 in 20.1 innings. john didn't get a 1963 topps card, but he did get a card in the 1964 set.
that year, he made 25 appearances including 14 starts for the indians. his first start of the year was also his best - a complete game shutout of the orioles in which he allowed just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 6. he got lit up by the yankees in his next start, but missed his second career game by one out in his third start. three starts into the season, john was 2-1 with a 2.00 era. he would lose the remainder of his decisions, however, and end the season 2-9 with a 3.91 era. after being relegated to the bullpen for the last month of the season, john was traded to the white sox in the three-team deal that brought rocky colavito back to cleveland.

next came jerry grote. while he was not featured in topps' 1963 set, he debuted as a member of the houston colt .45's on september 21, 1963. grote took over for john bateman behind the plate in the 5th inning of the game against the phillies and came to bat for the first time with the colts down by a run in the 7th with a man on first and one out. after a wild pitch moved the runner to third, grote connected off of dallas green for a sacrifice fly to tie the game. not a bad debut even though the phillies eventually won the game. grote's only other two appearances in 1963 were games in which he was the starting catcher. in his last game that year, grote struck out to end the inning twice before getting his first big league hit, a single, in his final at bat. he finished the year at an even .200.

like john, grote shares his 1964 topps card with another rookie hopeful.
grote's 1964 season wasn't great as he wound up hitting just .181 in 100 games. he did, however, throw out 35% of the baserunners that tried to steal against him. the first home run of grote's career came in the 10th inning of a game against the cubs and lew burdette. it gave the colts a short lived lead, as jim owens and don larsen were unable to close the cubs out and lost the game in the bottom of the 10th. his second career dinger came off of don drysdale a couple of weeks later. no word on whether grote had to hit the dirt his next time up.

vic davalillo was back with the indians in 1964, and topps gave him his first solo card as a result.  
davalillo played in 150 games for the indians and earned a gold glove for his play in center. at the plate he hit .270 with career highs in hits (156), doubles (26) and rbi (51).

manny mota was properly identified as a pirate on his 1964 topps card, even though topps used the same photo (of him in a giants uniform) that they used on his 1963 card.
in his second year with the pirates, mota appeared in 115 games and hit .277. he played each outfield position plus second base and even caught a couple of innings in an extra inning affair against the cardinals (he was charged with two passed balls). mota hit his first career home run in 1964, off of the phillies' chris short. mota was 5 for 20 as a pinch hitter, including a home run.

so, that was the 1978 topps dodgers in 1964. next post coming soon, but there were no new faces in 1965.

here's the tally so far:

4/27 players featured by topps in 1964

total appearances:

davalillo 2 (1963, 1964)
grote 1 (1964)
john 1 (1964)
lasorda 1 (1954)
mota 2 (1963, 1964)


MrMopar said...

Your thread will get very crowded soon, if you have and are showing each player, each year! Nice idea though. By the way, there is a 78T Burke on ebay right now...SIGNED! Ends soon!!

Johngy said...

Love this series.