25 March 2011

the brad gulden 1978 topps card that should have been

the next installment in my 1978 topps burger king dodgers/update set is brad gulden.
gulden does have a dodgers minor league card (this 1977 tcma lodi dodgers card)
but it's black and white, so i used the photo from this 1980 tcma columbus clippers card
instead.  i just had to get rid of the pinstripes and photoshop the logo.

the dodgers' official 1978 topps set featured three catchers - steve yeager, jerry grote, and johnny oates - all of whom played for the blue in 1978.  they also reacquired joe ferguson that year, and he spent some time behind the plate.  that left little room for gulden, a prospect from the great state of minnesota.  so, it's not too surprising that gulden's time with the dodgers in 1978 amounted to just 4 at bats in late september and october.  still, it counts, and so i celebrate his membership on the team of my youth.  here's the back of the card, by the way.
gulden was called up from the minors and made his big league debut on september 22, 1978 against the padres.  that's the same day that pedro guerrero and dave stewart each debuted as well.  unfortunately, gulden had the least success of the three.  while guerrero got a hit in his lone at bat, and stewart faced the minimum of 6 batters in his 2 innings pitched, gulden went 0 for 1 after replacing ferguson behind the plate in the 7th inning.  a few days later, in game 161, gulden again subbed behind the dish, this time for yeager.  he got one at bat and struck out against eric rasmussen of the padres.  the next day, gulden made his third and final appearance for the dodgers.  he got 2 at bats this time, but grounded out against gaylord perry and then struck out against rollie fingers.

at the beginning of spring training in 1979, gulden was dealt to the yankees for gary thomasson.  but you already knew that, since i showed that clippers card up above.  he played in 40 games for the bronx bombers in '79, and earned a spot on their 1980 topps future stars card
unfortunately, gulden only played in 2 big league games in 1980.  he did, however, hit his first career home run that year, a 2-run shot against aurelio lopez of the tigers.  the yankees traded gulden to seattle after the season for larry milbourne and a player to be named later.  he wound up joining a select group of players to be traded for themselves when he himself became the player to be named later and was sent back to the yankees.  he later went to the expos organization and made a few appearances for them in 1982, only to be brought back to the yankees minor league system for a third time. 

he wound up in cincinnati for the 1984 season and appeared in a career high 107 games.  perhaps the highlight of his career came that year when he hit a 14th-inning walk off 3-run home run against the pirates.  after spending the 1985 season in the minors for the reds and astros, he joined the giants. he played in 17 games for them in 1986 and was released after the season ended.  and so too ended gulden's big league career.  

i sent a copy of the 1978 topps card that should have been, along with his 1980 topps card, to gulden to sign earlier this week after getting his addy from the writer's journey (thanks jason).  he still lives in minnesota, so only three days later, the cards were returned to me adorned with his signature
it wasn't the only 1978 topps custom in my mailbox that day, but i'll save the other one for a future post.

thanks brad!  and here's to your card that should have been!


Anonymous said...

I love the guys with a quick turnaround! Congrats on the success!

MrMopar said...

Would you mind sharing the address? I was watching a Gulden 80 T on ebay and it got snagged before I could pull the trigger. I have recently gone back and inventoried my Dodger autos and found I am missing a handful of lesser known players who had maybe partials or 1-2 seasons with the Dodgers...guys like Gulden.

gcrl said...

mopar - check your email. it's also on sports card forum. good luck!

Matt Runyon said...

When I saw the picture of Mr. Gulden I wracked my brain trying to figure out how I remembered him. It took me until the 1984 season paragraph before I figured it out.