simarc
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6:40 AM - Dec 16, 2017 #11

https://1973cards.blogspot.com/2017/11/ ... pl-nl.html

1973 Pittsburgh Pirates - 80-82 - 3rd Pl NL East - 2.5 GB

At the conclusion of play on Aug. 1, 1973 the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite their 51-53 record, were in third place, six games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals and two and one-half games behind the second place Chicago Cubs.  The loss of the great Clemente was inestimable, but the inexplicable collapse of Steve Blass hurt almost as much.  Right-handed hitting Richie Zisk who was in his first full season at the age of 24 and left-handed hitting Dave Parker, who at 22 years of age was in his first major league season, hit well, but no player or combination of players could replace Clemente.



Blass, who along with Clemente was instrumental in the 1971 World Championship and who blossomed into a 19-game winner in 1972, had as much difficulty finding home in 1973 as the kid who is away at college and discovers that his parents have moved without telling him.

The Pirates blanked the Cubs, 1-0 on Sept. 1. They were now one game above .500, tied for first place with the Cardinals. The teams were bunched so closely that the last place Philadelphia Phillies were a mere six games out of first.  The Pirates played the Mets five critical games starting on Sept. 17. The teams split the first two at Three Rivers Stadium, but the Pirates lost all three in New York.  They were now one game under .500, but what was worse, they trailed the first place Mets by one-half game.  The key game that probably cost the Pirates the division title was the middle game of the three at Shea Stadium.  Going into the game, the Pirates led the Mets by one and one-half games. They needed a win badly. When it was over, the Pirates lead was a slim one-half game.  

The Pirates held the lead three times. Each time, the Mets tied them. Then came the play of the season, a play in which fate seemingly stepped in on the side of the Mets.  Richie Zisk, a slow runner, was on first with one out in the top of the 13th inning. Dave Augustine hit a deep drive to left field that appeared to be headed over the wall, but it landed on top of the wall and took a weird bounce right to Cleon Jones.  Zisk, who never stopped running, rounded third as Jones relayed into Wayne Garret, who fired to catcher Jerry Grote (it was actually Ron Hodges #42). Zisk was out at the plate. It's not fair to Zisk, but no one would have thrown out Clemente.



 The starch was taken out of the Pirates, who sent the no longer effective Steve Blass to the mound against Tom Seaver the next day. It was no contest as the Mets pounded the Pirates, 10-2 to oust them from first. But it wasn't quite over.  On the morning of Oct. 1, the Pirates and Cardinals had each lost 81 games. The Mets had lost 80. The season was supposed to have ended the day before, but rain-outs had to be played.  The Pirates lost at home to the San Diego Padres while the Mets won the first of two games at Chicago. Now it was over.  The Mets won only 82 games but were division champions. The Pirates finished at 80-82, which was good enough for only third place behind the 81-81 Cardinals.

The above synopsis came from an online article called "The Great Pittsburgh Pirates Disaster of the 1973 Season", by Harold Friend (9/29/2011).  I would just like to add a few comments of my own in regards to the '73 Bucs:
  • Only a die hard Met fan or a baseball neophyte could underestimate the loss of Clemente to this team.  IMO, with Clemente in the lineup the Bucs win a minimum of 86 games, more than like 90.  In either case they win the division.
  • Moving Sanguillen to RF was an unmitigated disaster and thankfully he wound up back behind the dish.  Still you can't discount how many losses that they were saddled with by weakening two positions. 
  • Blass going from the penthouse to the poorhouse (3-9, 9.85) has to be one of the strangest unsolved mysteries in sport.  This man was a true ace and now he couldn't even find the plate.  He walked 84 in 88 innings.
  • The lowpoint of the season was July 8th.  The team was 8 games under .500 (37-45) and 10 1/2 back.
  • With 24 games to go the Bucs fired manager Bill Virdon and brought back for a 4th time the man who had won 2 World Championship for them, Danny Murtaugh, in hopes of a miracle.  The team took over first place on September 12th for 9 days, before succumbing to the hard charging Mets.
  • Pittsburgh would recover nicely and win the NL East the next 2 seasons ('74-'75).
Total of cards made for this set is 37.  Topps did a reasonable job with the set, but I got my hands on a '73 Pirates yearbook and got ambitions and made my own full set of cards.


"Scoops" was one of my all time favorite players.  He could hit for average and power and he could run.  Its a travesty that he was never given much consideration for the HOF.  2,743 lifetime hits and a .303 lifetime average make his case.  Add in 7 ASG appearances, 3 Silver Slugger awards and the runner up to the 1969 ROY and you got yourself some fine ballplayer.

This was a great yearbook photo that I scanned to create the new card.



22 year old Dave Parker flew through the Pirates system.  Tabbed to be Clemente's "heir apparent", he was rushed to the big leagues in '73 after just 84 games in AAA, to fill the gaping hole left by #21's untimely passing.  Let it be said that no one could ever replace Clemente, but once Parker hit his stride he became a league MVP.  A youngster in '73 he hit a rock solid .288 in 139 AB's for a Pirate team that rallied back toward contention.  In 11 seasons in Pittsburgh he hit .305 with 166 home runs to go along with 4 All-Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 batting tittles and 1 MVP award in 1978.  The Cobra played 19 seasons and finished up with a .290 career average with 339 homers and 2,712 hits.


The owner and operator of Manny's BBQ, which is located in the left field concession area in PNC Park was at one time an All-Star catcher on two Pirate championship teams.  That's right, that affable fun loving beloved guy with the glowing smile used to be a fearsome competitor wearing the tools of ignorance.  After attempting to play RF and replace his good friend Roberto Clemente Sanguillen was moved back behind the plate in mind June and responded with another great season.  A career .296 lifetime average is the 4th highest by a catcher since 1945.  Sanguillen was an All-Star 3 times and missed out on earning a gold glove thanks to some guy named Bench playing in the Queen City.

I made this card using a great action shot from the '73 yearbook.



What more can I say about the great Roberto Clemente, who is arguably the greatest player in the history of the Pirate franchise.  Clemente was a gift to the Pirates from the Dodgers, who failed to protect him on their 40 man roster back in 1955, so the astute Branch Rickey, who used to run the Dodgers, paid back the evil O'Malley who pushed him out of Brooklyn, by swiping the future mega-star.  His accomplishments on the field are too great to list.  His accomplishments as a team leader can not be understated.  His accomplishments as a humanitarian are second to none.  Some give of their time...some give of their money...some give of their heart...Mr. Clemente gave his life.  His presence in 1973 was sorely missed.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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4:57 PM - Dec 17, 2017 #12

http://1973cards.blogspot.com/2017/11/1 ... pl-nl.html


1973 St. Louis Cardinals - 81-81 - 2nd Pl NL East - 1.5 GB

The Cardinals started the season off slow thanks to poor hitting and horrible fielding, but they never gave up and clawed their way back from 11 1/2 down to first place by July.  On August 7th the Redbirds were 5 games up on the field and had complete control of the NL East with a 61-52 record, but the "great fade of '73" was about to begin.  Already in the midst of a modest 2 game losing streak the Cardinals dropped 6 more in a row before winning a game in Houston on August 14th.  They proceeded to drop 3 more as their lead eroded to 2 games.  After winning 3 out of 4 in early September and going back up by 3 the ship looked like it was "righted", but a 7 game losing streak would turn a 3 game lead to a 2 game deficit and the Cards were all but dead as the Mets seemed to be winning every night.  After losing 5 of 6 the Cards were out by 4 games with 5 left to play, but they battled back by winning the final 5 and giving up just 2 runs over that stretch to finish an even 81-81, which was good enough for 2nd place a game behind the hotter than hot Mets.  During the season they were 8-10 against the Mets, which in the end provided the difference in who took the division.



While I was writing this I was listening to a recording of the September 23rd game between the Cardinals and Mets @ Shea Stadium with the Mets pulling out a comeback win in front of almost 52,000 fans on a Sunday afternoon.  The Mets went down early 2-0 when their former star Tommie Agee hit a 2 run shot in the first off of George Stone.  The first inning of this game alone was managed by both Red Schoendienst and Yogi Berra as if it was game 7 of the World Series.

Only 3 players hit double digits in homers in the newly configured Busch Stadium (gap walls came in 10 feet).  Ted Simmons caught 161 games and hit .310 with 13 HR's and 91 RBI's to pace the offense.  Joe Torre hit .287 and had 13 long balls himself.  34 year old veteran Lou Brock hit .297 and showed no signs of slowing down by swiping 70 bags.  The Cardinals had the 2nd best staff (ERA) in the league, but the offense didn't supply enough runs for them to be big winners.  Bob Gibson at the age of 37 was 12-10, 2.77, but missed 10 starts due to various injuries.  Rick Wise, who was much maligned since he was the "other guy" in the Steve Carlton trade had a better year than lefty (16-12, 3.37).  Reggie Cleveland and Alan Foster had rock solid years with "low 3's" ERA's.  Diego Segui (7-6, 2.78, 17sv) was the closer in a top tier pen that featured and elderly (39) Orlando Pena and a youthful (23) Al Hrabosky.

29 new cards were created to complete the team set for the '73 Redbirds.



24 year old rookie Bake McBride hit .302 in just 63 AB's for the Cards in '73.  He hit .309 the following year and won the NL ROY Award.  Imagine if he had been given extensive playing time in '73?...the Cards might have won the division.  McBride was a hitting machine and a base stealing threat in his 4 1/2 years in STL, before being dealt to Philly where he helped the Phils to 3 division titles and a world championship in 1980.  He finished his 11 year career with a .299 lifetime average.



With all the pitching the Mets had in the 60's and 70's he was completely buried in their system.  Spending 2 years on active duty with the US Army in Vietnam didn't helphis progression either.  He also lost a full year (1970) due to spinal fusion surgery for his back.  In AAA (Tidewater) he was 15-6 (1971) then was dealt to STL as part of a huge 8 player trade.  After spending all of '72 in AAA Tulsa (13-9, 3.09) he made his major league debut (age 27) and went 1-3, 3.35 for the Cards.  The following season (1973) he pitched in just 6 games before being dealt to the Rangers on June 6th.  The following season he barely missed being a 20 game winner (19-19, 4.74).  Midway through the '75 season he was on the move again, this time to major league baseball's outpost Cleveland.  After 3 solid seasons on some poor Indian teams he signed as a free agent with the Pirates and things really jelled for him.  As a 5th starter / long reliever in 1979 he went 12-4, 3.32 and helped lead the Bucs to a World Championship.  The following season he again narrowly missed wining 20 games (19-6, 3.32), but did lead the league in winning $.  After getting injured during the 1981 strike season he sat out all of 1982.  He attempted a comeback the following two seasons, but injuries and father time were too much to overcome.



22 year old 2nd year man Ken Reitz solidified the Cardinal infield with gold glove caliber play at third.  He would win the award 2 years later then unceremoniously he was shipped off to San Fran for one season before being reacquired in 1977.  Reitz would be a NL All-Star in 1980 and once again changed locale's.  This time he moved to the hated Cubs for one miserable season.  A brief 7 games in Pittsburgh the following season would be his final shot in the majors.  Reitz will always be remembered in St. Louis as being a great glove man with occasional pop during his 8 seasons in the Gateway city.



After hitting .296 in 123 games for the mediocre NY Yankees Alou's contract was purchased by the Cardinals on September 4th.  Having played 3 years (1970-72) win St. Louis Cardinal management knew what type of player he was and hoped he'd spark them down the stretch.  In 11 games with STL he went 3-11 and hit .273 and had his contract sold to the Padres at the end of the season.  Alou, who won the 1966 NL Batting title while in Pittsburgh (.342) would play just one more season and hit .198 for the Padres before retiring with a .307 lifetime average.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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5:02 PM - Dec 17, 2017 #13

http://1973cards.blogspot.com/2017/11/1 ... -east.html

1973 New York Mets 82-79 - 1st Pl NL East



"Ya Gotta Believe"...That was the rallying cry for the '73 Mets, who on paper looked to be one of the favorites to win the division back in April.  That was before the team suffered an unbelievable battery of injuries, bad luck, bad bounces and poor performances.  By July 9th the Mets were in a stretch where they lost 7 of their last 8 games to fall 12.5 games behind the 1st place Cubs.  M.Donald Grant, the Wall Street Banker who represented beloved owner Mrs. Joan Payson, addressed the team in the locker room prior to their 81st game of the season.  Grant, not known to be any sort of a motivational speaker went on with a boring diatribe on why the team still had time to be successful and make something of themselves if they just believed in themselves.  Free spirited southpaw reliever Tug McGraw seized on the moment and blurted out "Ya Gotta Believe".  McGraw then got up and began bouncing around the locker room yelling the newly born mantra at the top of his lungs.  Grant was taken aback and insulted so much that he stopped speaking and left the room thinking McGraw (ever the jokester) was mocking him.  Tug, who was struggling to save games to this point, spoke with a friend earlier in the day who said the same thing to him.  The light-bulb went on and so did his enthusiasm.  The team began to slowly, but surely chip away at the 12.5 game deficit they faced thanks to the Cubs folding more so than the Mets really improving.  In any case the Mets were "only" 6.5 games out on August 30th.  Sure they were in sole possession of last place, but they were within striking distance thanks to fact that the teams ahead of them were in the process of folding like a cheap suit from Bonds.  The Mets would go 20-8 down the stretch to pull off the improbable, an NL East Division Flag.  Along the way they needed every bounce and break to go their way like the "Wall Ball" off of Dave Augustine's bat that helped the Mets sweep the Pirates in a late September series at Shea to move into 1st place on September 21st.  Needing to win just one game at October 1st Double Header vs the eliminated Cubs the Mets put the ball in Tom Seaver's hands and fittingly both he and Tug McGraw beat the Cubs 6-4 in front of just 1,913 fans at Wrigley to clinch the flag.

If all the Mets did was win the NL East after being dead and buried the season would have been considered a success.  Upsetting the mighty 99 win Reds just added to the miracle.  Yet the Amazin's toppled the Big Red Machine in 5 games to win the NL Pennant.  Everyone points to the playoff game where Buddy Harrelson and Pete Rose got into a scuffle at second base as the turning point of the series.  In any case somehow the Mets did it and were rewarded with a chance to topple the defending champion Oakland A's.  Sadly for Met fan the miracles ran out as the A's came back from being down 3 games to 2 to capture their second championship in a row.  Many Met fans in NY still blame Yogi Berra's decision to use Seaver on short rest in game 6, instead of using George Stone and saving Seaver for game 7.  We will never know how that would have played out.  Met Second baseman Felix Millan told me in 2013 that, "Seaver told Yogi he was good to go, and if Seaver tells you he's good you have to pitch him.  He was the best pitcher in baseball".  Felix know a bit more about baseball, especially the '73 Mets, than we do, so we have to go with what he said.  Still this team took their fans on an incredible run.  Personally, it was great to see my mom & my grandparents have so much joy during those fantastic 6 weeks where everything went right for the Mets.  They were huge Met fans.  We went to about 20-25 games that year.  We watched every minute of the Pirate series on our small B&W 9" TV in our kitchen.  We didn't miss a single playoff game.  Till the day that she died my mom still hated Pete Rose for beating up "her Buddy".




Talk about injures.  Only Rusty Staub and Felix Millan played in more than 150 games.  Harrelson barely played in 100 games.  Grote, Jones and Hahn played in 90.  The pitching staff remained relatively healthy, which was how they were able to stay afloat.  Seaver (19-10, 2.08) won the Cy Young award and on any other team might have won 25.  Koosman (14-15, 2.84) was below .500 even though he had a fantastic ERA and WHIP.  The Mets just didn't score a lot of runs (11th in NL).  McGraw couldn't save pennies, let alone games, for the first 3 months of the season.  Thankfully Ray Sadeck and Harry Parker were able to keep things afloat until Tug became Tug again.



I created 39 new cards to finish off the '73 set for the Mets.  Many of these cards were created from scans that I did from my '73 Mets yearbook.  Many of the players here already had a fine card in the original Topps set, but I really wanted to create a card set of my own as a tribute to my mom, who loved this team and it's players with all her heart.


Many consider Cleon the offensive MVP of the Mets during the '73 season.  During the 70 games that he missed due to injury the team found it near impossible to score runs.  When he got back in time for the September run he cranked out key homers and clutch hits.  His playing the carroum off the top of the wall on the Augustine play is legendary.  In 12 seasons in Flushing he hit a career .281 and narrowly missed the 1969 batting crown when he hit .340.  Jones got the last laugh by catching the Series clinching out in game 5.  In 92 games in '73 he hit .260.

This action shot came from a picture taken during the '73 series.


Known as "Le Grande Orange" from his 3 All Star seasons in Montreal, "Trusty Rusty" as Met fans referred to him missed almost 100 games the previous year due to injury.  In '73 he played in 152 games, hit .279 and smashed 15 homers in an offense that was lifeless for most of the summer.  Staub hit just .200 in the NLCS, but he had 3 big homers plus two game saving catches, one of which injured his shoulder so much he couldn't throw the ball in the World Series.  Despite his badly damaged shoulder he hit .423 (11-26) and led the Mets offense in the Fall Classic.  When the Mets traded him after the '75 season to Detroit for an over the hill Mickey Lolich the Met fan base was livid.  When he signed as a free agent in 1981 they were ecstatic.  Staub signed with the Mets under the premise that he would be the team's everyday 1st baseman.  Instead he wound up sitting behind Dave Kingman, and then Keith Hernandez for 5 seasons as the team's primary pinch hitter.  In his second stint with the club he had clutch pinch hit after pinch hit.  After the 1985 season, at the age of 41, he retired just one year short of seeing the club win it all in '86.  Due to his not playing regularly for 5 years he wound up 284 hits shy of 3,000, which would have made him a lock for Cooperstown.


Simply known as "the Franchise", Tom Seaver was and will always be the best player to ever put on a Mets uniform.  Seaver won the 1973 Cy Young Award with a 19-10, 2.08 with 3 shutouts.  The Mets jumped on his shoulders and he carried them to the flag.  Seaver was 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA in the NLCS and 0-1, 2.40 in 2 World Series starts, including the gutsy game 6 where he pitched on short rest and by his own admission had "nothing".  Sadly for Met fans the 3x Cy Young Award winner was a casualty of the 1977 trade deadline midnight massacre and was shipped to Cincy.  Seaver was elected to the HOF with the highest % until 2016, when Ken Griffey Jr. topped him.


Nobody doesn't not like Yogi, right?  The master of the Yogi-isms inherited the club the year before after the untimely death of the immortal Gil Hodges.  When asked if the Mets stood a chance down the stretch Yogi responded, "It ain't over 'till it's over", and boy it wasn't over.  All summer long fans clamored for Yogi's head and blamed him for the team being in the cellar.  When his club got healthy, they got to winning.  Yogi had the respect of his players and management.  In total he would spend 7 years as the team's 1st base coach and 3 1/2 seasons as their manager.  Yogi is one of the few New York stars to be beloved by both Met and Yankee fans.

I created this card using a photo from the World Series where he was making a mound trip.  It was customary to see him posed with his arms folded.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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1:22 AM - Dec 19, 2017 #14

https://1973cards.blogspot.com/2017/11/ ... pl-al.html

1973 Cleveland Indians - 71-91 - 6th Pl AL East - 26 GB

By mid June the Tribe found themselves out of first by double digits and it just got worse from there.  With a pitching staff that ranked 11th (out of 12) and an offense that was middle of the pack Cleveland had about 48 hours worth of pennant fever before reality set in.  The positives:  They had an up and coming young starting lineup of players mostly under 25.  The bad news, which they didn't know then was that most of them would wind up being traded to other teams where they became stars.




Here is a list of the players, their ages and where they went:
Chris Chambliss (24) - NYY
Jack Brohamer (23) - BOS
Buddy Bell (21) - TEX
George Hendrick (23) - STL
Oscar Gamble (23) - NYY
John Lowenstein (26) - BAL
Alan Ashby (21) - HOU

If only the Tribe didn't trade their core, especially to the Yankees thing might really have been different in the AL East in the latter part of the decade.  It just seemed like the Tribe had the reverse Midas Touch.  Some blamed it on the "Curse of Rocky Colavito".  Others blamed it on just poor management.  Other than Gaylord Perry (19-19, 3.38, 344IP) this team had absolutely no starting pitching.  To illustrate this Dick Tidrow (14-16, 4.42, 274.2IP) was the next reliable starter.  Tom Hilgendorf (5-3, 3.14, 6sv) was decent out of the pen.  The rest of the relief core was horrible at best.  It might be considered a miracle that Ken Aspromonte's squad didn't lose 100 games.

To complete the team set I created 23 new Cards.


Ashby made his major league debut with the Indians on July 3, 1973. In his first game, Ashby was a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, as he caught Jerry Johnson for a scoreless inning as the Indians lost 5-4 against the Detroit Tigers. The next day, on July 4, Ashby was in the starting lineup, going 1 for 4 with an RBI in Cleveland's 5-2 win over the Tigers. Ashby collected his first career hit off of Tigers pitcher Mike Strahler in his first career at-bat. On September 29, Ashby hit his first career home run, hitting a two-run home run off of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar. Ashby finished the 1973 season appearing in 11 games with Cleveland, batting .172 with 1 HR and 2 RBI.  He would pretty much replicate that the following year.  After getting extensive playing time during the following two seasons he didn't overly impress anyone and was traded to the expansion Blue Jays wherer he played 2 seasons before being traded to Houston where he found a home.  In his 11 seasons in Houston Ashby was either the regular catcher or part of a platoon.  He played on two division winners (1980 & 1986).  He retired after the '89 season.



The 1971 AL ROY had a great season in 1973 (.273-11-53) while playing near gold glove 1st base.  Inexplicably he was traded to the Yankees on April 26th 1974 with Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw for Beene, Buskey, Kline and Peterson (a quartet of broken down pitchers).  In his 5 1/2 seasons in the Bronx he flourished into an All-Star on 3 consecutive pennant winning squads.  After leaving New York he spent 7 seasons in Atlanta where he found his long ball stroke.  In 17 big league seasons Chambliss would hit .279 with 185 homers and 2,109 hit.  No hit was more important than his walk off homer in game 5 of the 1976 ALCS to win the pennant for the Yankees for the first time in 12 years.


In March 1973 after a contract squabble with A's owner Charlie Finley, Duncan was traded along with George Hendrick to the Cleveland Indians for Ray Fosse and Jack Heidemann.  Duncan became the Indians' starting catcher in 1973 however, he broke his wrist on June 28 and missed two months of the season.  He finished the season hitting for a .233 average with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in while leading American League catchers in range factor. He played in a career-high 136 games in the 1974 season but, the heavy workload caused his batting average to fall to .200. In February 1975, Duncan was traded with Al McGraw to the Baltimore Orioles for Don Hood and Boog Powell. With the Orioles, Duncan shared catching duties with Elrod Hendricks during the 1975 season before Rick Dempsey took over as the Orioles starting catcher in 1976. Duncan would be traded to the Chicago White Sox in November of that year. When the White Sox released him in March 1977, he retired as a player at the age of 32 and embarked on a career that arguably made him the greatest pitching coach in the history of major league baseball.



Oscar Gamble was discovered by the beloved Buck O'Neil back in the mid-60's and then drafted by the Cubs.  Known for his patented 'fro, Gamble spent 3 fantastic (by 1970's Cleveland standards) seasons along Lake Erie.  In his first season with the Tribe (1973) he hit .267 with 20 homer and curiously just 44 RBI.  After the '75 season he moved to New York in exchange for Pat Dobson and helped the Bombers win their first pennant in 12 years.  In 17 years Gamble hit an even 200 homers with his best season being in 1977 with the Chisox where he hit 31.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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1:37 AM - Dec 19, 2017 #15

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1973 Milwaukee Brewers - 74-88 - 5th Pl AL East - 23 GB

It just might come as a shock to anyone reading this, but the Brew Crew was actually in 1st place in the AL East on June 19th.  By this point in the season the 5th year expansion club was usually firmly in the dungeon.  By that point the true contenders began to surge as the Brewers began to fade.  On August 2nd they were still within striking distance (6.5 GB), but by the end of the month they were down by double digits and playing for next year.  A 4-15 finish down the stretch deprived them of a chance to at least finish above .500 for the first time in franchise history.  Offensively the team ws paced by newly acquired 1st baseman George "the Boomer" Scott who hit .306 with 24 "taters" and 107 RBI's.  The team had 7 starters hitting double digit homers.  The pitching staff was led by 27 year old Jim Colburn who finished 20-12, 3.18 while throwing and incredible 22 complete games over 314 innings.  Jim Slaton ate innings (276), but had a sub par record (13-15, 3.71).  Frank Linzy closed out 33 games with 13 saves and Skip Lockwood (5-12, 3.90) bridged the gap to Linzy with 154 innings.





Things did not start well for Milwaukee as their home opener was snowed out and delayed 3 days.  You can read the full story here. You can see a great list of season highlights at this Brewer fan site.  

Prior to the season this was Sports Illustrated's preview of Milwaukee's chances in 1973:
There are financial problems in Milwaukee and a new player named Money. The latter is not likely to solve the former. The Brewers barely reached 600,000 in home attendance last season. They had to scrape to put nine men on the field; now they must find a 10th. "We ain't got no hitters," says First Baseman George Scott. "How we gonna have designated hitters?" Good question. Milwaukee scored one run or none in nearly a third of its 1972 games. Don Money moves into County Stadium from Philadelphia and he is an excellent defensive player, but one who has yet to hit up to his potential. At least he has potential.
21 new cards were created to complete the set.


After 4 seasons with the lowly Phillies Money needed a change of pace and the Phils needed to make room for some rookie named Schmidt.  The move benefited both parties.  "Easy" Money hit a solid .284 in 145 games for the Brew crew in '73.  He would remain with the club as either a starter or platoon player for the next 10 seasons.  He retired after the '83 season having played in the World Series the previous season hitting .231 in 13 AB's.  In 11 seasons in Milwaukee he hit .270 with 134 home runs and 4 All-Star appearances.


The "Boomer" led the AL in Total Bases (294) in 1973 where he hit .306 with 24 homers and 107 RBI's.  After arriving from the Red Sox the previous year he became the Brewers first true offensive star.  Th 8 time gold glover played 5 of his 14 seasons in Milwaukee then wound up back in Boston.  He hit 271 lifetime homers and batted .268.


"Stormin' Gorman" didn't exactly take the AL by storm as a 22 year old rookie in 1973.  Thomas hit just .187 with 2 homers in 155 AB's.  It would take 5 seasons for him to solidify a spot in the Brewers lineup.  Never a big average guy, and definitely a high strikeout guy Thomas could certainly hit the longball.  He led the league twice in homers (1979 & 1982) as well as in strikeouts.  Surprisingly for a big man he was an above average centerfielder.  In 17 post season games he hit a miserable .102 with 2 homers.


Charlie Moore spent 14 of his 15 major league seasons in Milwaukee.  He was a hard nosed gritty player who split time between catcher and right field.  Never a power threat Moore did hit for average and had a rocket for an arm.  In 1980 he hit for the cycle and swiped two bases in the same game.  The only man in MLB history to do that.  As a 20 year old he saw action in just 8 games for the Brew Crew in '73 hitting just .185.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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3:45 PM - Dec 19, 2017 #16

https://1973cards.blogspot.com/2017/12/ ... -east.html

1973 Detroit Tigers - 85-77 - 3rd Pl AL East - 12 GB

Fresh off their surprise 1972 AL East Divisional Championship the aging Tigers were hoping to pull another rabbit out of skipper Billy Martin's hat and make one final run at a crown.  Martin, their firey little genius of a manager, was able to extract every last bit of talent out of a fading club that finished a woeful 79-83 under Mayo Smith in 1971.  Martin got them to within 1 game of the World Series as the Tigers took the eventual champion A's to the brink (5 games).  Fans in Motown were hoping that future HOF'er Al Kaline and company had one more run left in them.  Right out of the gate Martin put his foot down hard on the accelerator and the Tigers were in the thick of it having owned or sharing the divisional lead for about a month.  By mid June fatigue, injuries and poor play began to catch up to squad, who's average age was 32.  By the end of the month they were 7 games back, but Martin rallied the troops and by August 6th they were back in 1st place for the next week and a half.  Detroit fans had reason for hope until a 5-8 road trip saw their game and half lead become a 7 game deficit.  With the Tigers fading fast and the O's streaking toward a 97 win season thing turned ugly in Detroit.  With the team sitting at 71-63 and 7 1/2 out Martin was fired and former Pilot skipper Joe Shultz was promoted.  The man who was heard to say, "Pound that Bud" managed the team to a 14-14 record in September as the Tigers weakly limped to the finish line.  What Tiger fans didn't realize at the time was the fact that this would be the last true pennant race the franchise would be involved in for almost a decade.  1973 marked the beginning of the end for a team of stars that had been together since the mid-60's and aged all at once.  In just 2 short years they would lose 102 games and hit rock bottom.



Of the regulars, both Willie Horton and Jim Northrup were the only two to hit over 300.  Horton hit just 17 homers.  38 year old Norm Cash led the team with 19 roundtrippers with a solid .262 average.  Fellow 38 year old veteran and future HOF'er Al Kaline only got into 91 games and hit a career low .255 in his next to last season.  Aurelio Rodriguez (25) was the only starter under 30.  Ace Mickey Lolich threw an incredible 308.2 innings, but after doing the same thing for 2 previous seasons his numbers were beginning to drop as his ERA began to rise.  Joe Coleman (23-15, 3.53) was a 20 game winner.  The rest of the rotation was mediocre at best.  John Hiller (10-5, 1.44, 38sv) was the anchor in a pen that didn't have many seaworthy ships.  Detroit's pitching scared no one.  Their philosophy was to hope Lolich & Coleman went the distance, while Hiller would be there to bail out the other starters.

In total I created 19 cards to finish off the set.


Freehan got one of those "horizontal action cards".  Great for Topps, bad for APC Baseball managers.  At 31 years of age the former 5x gold glover and 11x All-Star catcher was beginning to wear down.  Freehan was arguably the best catcher in the AL from the mid 60's through the early 70's.  I'm always shocked that he name never comes up in the HOF conversation.  After hitting just .234 in 1973 most pundits thought he was through.  Freehan fooled them all with a nice bounce back year in 1974.  After the '76 season with the team in ruin and his knees worn down 34 year old Bill Freehan decided to hang it up.  He finished his 15 year career with a .262 average and an even 200 homers.



As would be the case with most of Martin's managerial stops the team soared early to reach heights not expected only to crash and burn.  From 1971-mid '73 the Tigers were soaring.  When age, injuries and Martin's reckless personality combined to cause the perfect storm Tiger management had to fire their skipper.  By mid '73 Martin was posing for pictures giving photographers the middle finger.  He was publicly telling his pitchers to throw illegal pitches.  Eventually he got so out of hand AL President Joe Cronin suspended him for 3 days.  Tiger management told him not to bother coming back when the suspension ended.


The consummate pinch hitter, Brown was a folk hero in Detroit by 1973.  He holds the AL record for most career pinch hits.  Never a starter due to his poor fielding ability Gates packed a lot of wallop off the bench.  Sadly for him the DH role came into being in 1973 and not 1963 when he was a rookie.  As a 34 year old full time DH in 1973 he hit only .236 with 12 homers in 377 AB's.  After 2 more seasons he would retire as an active player and become the Tigers hitting coach, a job he kept right through the team's 1984 championship season.  As a pinch hitter he hit .251 with 16 homers and 73 RBI in 500 Pinch hit opportunities.  He also walked 70 times and only struck out 60 times.


Perry was a three-time All-Star and won the 1970 AL Cy Young Award, when he posted a record of 24-12. Jim and Gaylord Perry are the only brothers in Major League history to win Cy Young Awards. He also won 20 games in 1969, and won at least 17 games five times. On July 3, 1973, brothers Gaylord Perry (Indians) and Jim Perry (Tigers) pitched against each other for the only regular season game in their careers. Neither finished the game, but Gaylord was charged with the 5–4 loss. Two Norm Cash home runs helped Detroit.  The 37 year old Perry was acquired on March 27 from the Twins, who wanted prospects and cash.  Detroit hoped to get a vintage season from him as the #3 guy behind Coleman and Lolich.  When he finished just 14-13, 4.03 in 34 starts the Tigers decided to trade him to Cleveland at the end of the season, where he had a great comeback season (17-12, 2.96).  That however would prove to be his last hurrah as a poor 1975 split between Cleveland and Oakland would mark the end for the 39 year old who won 215 and lost 174 with a 3.45 ERA.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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3:49 PM - Dec 19, 2017 #17

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1973 New York Yankees - 80-82 - 4th Pl AL East - 17 GB

Heading into August the Bronx Bombers were 60-48 one game ahead of the field in the AL East.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that just a month earlier they were 4 games clear of the field.  Ralph Houk had the boys in pinstripes overachieving.  Ralph truly doesn't get his due for taking mediocre teams and getting them to contend.  By August the Yankees began to run out of gas at the wrong time with the Orioles getting hotter than planet Mercury.  In mid August the O's went on an incredible 14 game winning streak, which for all intents and purposes closed the door on the pennant race.  New York went 11-15 in the month of September and limped their way to a sub .500 record.  Not only did the Yankees lose a golden opportunity to contend, which they hadn't for almost 10 years, but on Sept 30th they lost their home for the past 50 years.  In a deal struck between CBS (owners of the team) and NYC in 1972 the Stadium would be closed at the end of the season for 2 years for renovations.  The Yanks got a new owner name George M Steinbrenner, from Cleveland that year.  He promised to be a hands off owner who would trust his baseball people to run the operation.

Final pitch @old Yankee Stadium:  John Hiller to Mike Hegan

Here is a reminiscence from a young 14 year old fan about Old Yankee Stadium:
I was also 14 in '73 and remember that season so well; Yanks started off slow but caught fire in June, helped by new pitchers Pat Dobson and Sam McDowell, and vault into first place.  Early July, Bobby Murcer and Ron Blomberg are on the cover of Sports Illustrated!  I believe the Yanks' biggest lead in the division got to be around 3 or 4 games in July.   I was so excited, figuring this might be the year.  Started razzing a lot my friends who were Mets fans, as the Mets were struggling.  Of course, Yanks faded in August and September, and finished miles behind the Orioles.  Compounding my misery was the Mets going on a late season run on their way to the World Series.
A total of 18 new cards were needed to complete the set.


 "Stick" Michael played in 129 games as the Yankee starting shortstop in 1973.  His .225 average was pretty much on a par with his normal offensive contributions.  Know for his gloves and his smarts, Stick would go on to be one of the greates front office executives that the Yankees ever had.  He is credited with building the late 90's Yankee dynasty.  Michael played 7 seasons in New York, managed there for 3 seasons and was GM and special advisor for many more.


The Yankees both stole and rescued Nettles from Cleveland in a blockbuster deal in November of 1972.  With a swing tailor made for the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium Nettles thrived in New York for 11 seasons.  His gold glove skills at third base single-handedly won a World Championship for the Bombers.  His 32 homers in 1976 led the league and powered the Yanks to their first pennant in 12 seasons.  As a 6 time All-Star he hit 390 career home runs and had 2,224 hits in 22 seasons.

His original '73 card had him wearing a Cleveland road uniform in Yankee Stadium with the interlocking NY airbrushed onto it.


There is no doubt that Blomberg needed a new card for this set.  His original card showed him as a first basemand.  Since Boomer was the first official DH in the history of baseball it was only fitting that he get a revised card with a bat in his hand and the DH position listed accordingly.  "Boomer" made history on April 6, 1973 when Luis Tiant walked him with the bases loaded in the top of the 1st during the season opener at Fenway.  The fact that Tiant struggled and Blomberg (batting 6th) got to the plate erased Orlando Cepeda's (batting 5th for Boston) chance to be the first DH ever.  Boomer hit .329 with 14 homers in almost 300AB's for the Bombers in '73.  Talent was never an issue for him, health was.  If he could have stayed healthy he would have been a huge addition to the great Yankee teams in the latter part of the decade.  In 7 years in pinstripes he hit .302.  Blomberg's great sense of humor is evident when he describes his role in history, "I was the first DH ever...Designated Hebrew".


"Sudden Sam" was suddenly losing his greatest asset...his fastball.  The man who led the AL in strikeout 5 out of 6 seasons from '65-'70 lost his ability to miss bats.  By the time the Yankees acquired him on June 7th, 1973 he was a very old 30 years of age.  McDowell's arm was not the same as it once was plus he was suffering from alcoholism.  After going 1-6, 4.69 during the '74 season in just 48 innings the Yanks lost hope that he would resurrect his career.  A brief 14 game stop in Pittsburgh (2-1, 2.86) in 1975 marked the end of his meteoric career.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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10:20 PM - Dec 20, 2017 #18

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Rather than write my own story about the '73 Red Sox I decided to share with you a great synopsis written by Dan Flaherty of the thesportsnotebook.com.  You can see the full article by clicking here.


Eddie Kasko managed in Boston for four years and turned out a winning team every year. His best team was the 1973 Boston Red Sox, who won 89 games. But they were also his last team, as the problem of continuing to finish well behind the Baltimore Orioles led to a managerial change at year’s end.  Improved pitching was the reason the ’73 Red Sox won a few more games than their immediate predecessors. Luis Tiant and Bill Lee became rotation regulars for the first time. Each pitched over 270 innings and they combined for 37 wins.  1973 was also the first time in the Kasko regime that Boston had four regular starters pitching over 200 innings. John Curtis and Marty Pattin combined for 28 more wins and consistently took their turn. The bullpen didn’t have depth, but versatile Roger Moret made 15 relief appearances, 15 starts and went 13-2 with a 3.17 ERA.  The result was that after spending the previous seasons in the lower echelons of the American League in staff ERA, Boston ranked fifth in pitching for the 1973 MLB season.

Offensively, the Red Sox slipped a bit, but still were the fourth-best in the AL at scoring runs. Centerfielder Reggie Smith finished with a .398 on-base percentage/.515 slugging percentage, both in the top four of the league. Carl Yastrzemski, now 33-years-old, found a power stroke that had been missing for a couple years and slugged .463. He also finished with a .407 OBP and drove in 95 runs.  Tommy Harper, the speedy leftfielder, stole 54 bases and set a club record that would stand until Jacoby Ellsbury arrived in Fenway. Carlton Fisk didn’t match the production of his great 1972 rookie year, but still hit 26 home runs and was a leader behind the plate.  A decline in production from third baseman Rico Petrocelli was made up for by a good year from Orlando Cepeda, the first Red Sox player to take advantage of the newly-instituted designated hitter rule. Cepeda finished with a .350 OBP and hit 20 home runs.

Boston opened the season by sweeping the New York Yankees three straight in Fenway. The Sox scored 25 runs the first two games, and then won the finale when Cepeda hit a walkoff home run against Yankee reliever Sparky Lyle, whom the Red Sox had foolishly traded prior to the ’72 season. The two rivals then went to New York for two games that they split and Boston was off to a 4-1 start.  The Red Sox took a turn for the worse, when they lost four straight at home to the Detroit Tigers, who had edged them at the wire in the 1972 AL East race. Boston pitching gave up 33 runs in the four games. When the Sox made a mid-May return trip to Detroit, the result was three more losses. Boston straggled into Memorial Day with a record of 18-21, though with the Tigers the only AL East team over .500–and not by much–the Red Sox were still just three games off the pace.  Boston continued to slog along through June. It was a five-game series in the Bronx in early July, where the Sox won four games, that got them on the move. They cleared .500 for good and it started a 12-4 stretch that pulled them to within a half-game of the lead with a week to go before the All-Star break. The Red Sox eventually reached the midpoint with a 52-44 record, 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles were a game and a half out, while the Tigers had slipped to fourth and were six back.

In early August, Boston took three of five in a series at Baltimore and got to within one game of first, but the Sox again followed that up by sliding back, losing six of nine and being swept at home by the Oakland A’s, the defending Series champs (and who would repeat in 1973). Boston was now four games out and responded well, going 10-2.  The problem was that the Orioles were heating up and in that stretch, the Red Sox actually lost ground. On September 3, Boston was set to host Baltimore for a four-game set and the Orioles were leading by six games. The Red Sox were ahead of the Yankees and Tigers, but they needed to win three of four in this series if their pennant hopes were to stay alive.  Monday was a doubleheader and for 17 innings, it looked like Boston was ready to fold up shop. They trailed the opener 8-1 in the fourth inning and lost 13-8. They trailed 8-2 in the eighth inning of the nightcap. Then a rally that’s arguably the most improbable in the long history of this franchise took place.  The Red Sox not only generated four singles, a double and an error to make a stunning seven-run rally against an opponent renowned for its ability to pitch in September, but they did it with their unknown bats. It wasn’t Yaz or Fisk or even Cepeda coming up with the hits. It was Danny Cater, Mario Guerrero, Rick Miller and a still-developing Cecil Cooper that delivered the biggest hits in the stunning 9-8 win.  Another unknown was a hero on Tuesday. Luis Tiant and Jim Palmer staged an epic pitcher’s duel. Each were still pitching in the 12th inning of a 1-1 game. Then Ben Ogilvie, still in the developing phase of his own career, homered off Palmer. If you were a Red Sox fan thinking this was destiny, you had reason. Especially when 21-year-old Dwight Evans homered on Wednesday to key a six-run second inning and a 7-5 win. Boston was four games out and still alive.

But the destiny storyline couldn’t hold. The Red Sox lost two of three at home to Detroit and slipped 5 1/2 games out when it was time to play two more games with the Orioles, this time in Baltimore.  Again, Boston would not go quietly. Yaz, Cepeda, Miller and Fisk all had two hits in the opener. Tiant left with a 4-3 lead and another unknown–this time reliever Bobby Bolin–got that last seven outs in a 4-3 win. But the drive finally crested when Pattin gave up seven runs in the first four innings of an 8-3 loss.  Over the next two weeks, the Sox went 6-7 and fell 10 1/2 back. They swept the Milwaukee Brewers at home to end the year, but the decision on Kasko’s fate was made–he was out as manager.  Kasko continued to have a great career in Boston. He moved into the scouting department and spent the next twenty years there, eventually becoming VP of Scouting & Development. Kasko was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010. His managerial tenure was a success too–winning teams every year and his best team his final season. He just couldn’t keep up with Baltimore.
With 13 new cards made this is the smallest team set for the 1973 season.


After being drafted by the Sox in 1968 Cooper ripped up minor league pitching.  In his first season in rookie ball he hit .452 in 84 AB's.  The following two seasons he hit .297 and .336 respectively.  After hitting .343 in AAA-Pawtucket he got his first promotion to Fenway and hit .210 in 42 AB's.  Back in AAA in '72 he hit .315, but only .235 in a brief cup of coffee in the Bigs.  In 1973 he was promoted for good, but hit .238 with only 3 homers in 101 late season at bats.  From 1974-1976 he hit close to or over .300, but had trouble getting a regular spot in the lineup with great players like Yaz and company ahead of him.  Cooper's .053 (1-19) showing in the '75 World Series vs the Reds might have been his undoing in Boston.  After the '76 season he was traded to the Brewers in order to reacquire Bernie Carbo and George Scott.  The deal helped both teams, especially the Brewers, who got themselves a gold glove All-Star 1st baseman who made 5 All-Star games and led the league in RBI's


The well traveled Cater was in his second season with Boston and hit .313, but only played in 63 games.  He did manage to have a one of his 18 four hit games on August 12th vs the Angels.  Not only did he have 4 hits, but he had 4 runs scored and 4 runs knocked in.  Cater was in the middle of a 5 year stretch where he progressively played less and less games until his final season (1975) where he moved over to St. Louis and had just 8 hits in 35 AB's.  Forever in New York he's remembered as the man the Yankees traded to Boston to steal Sparky Lyle.


I rescued Dewey from a rookie panel card and gave him his own single rookie card.  Although his 1973 season was less than impressive (.223-10-32) the Red Sox brass knew what kind of stud righfielder they had and stayed the course.  Dewey rewarded them by hitting .281 in his sophomore season.  More importantly he had a howitzer for an arm that helped earn him 8 gold gloves.  IMO, the HOF Vets committee, or whatever they call it, needs to really look at this man's case for Cooperstown.  In 20 seasons, all except one in Boston, he hit .272 with 385 homers.  He only struck out 306 more times than he walked across 10,589 plate appearances.


At 35 years of age the Baby Bull had a lot of mileage on his legs.  The 1958 NL-ROY and 1967 NL-MVP had his career resurrected by the DH role in 1973.  In 142 games he hit .289 with 20 homers, which apparently wasn't enough for the Red Sox brass who gave him his release at the end of the season.  The Red Sox management team must have been clairvoyant, because Cepeda only played in 33 games the following season in KC and hit just .215 and was given his outright release on September 27th, 1974.  Basically his surgically repaired knees finally gave out.  Cepeda did win honor in Boston, which included being named the first AL DH of the year.  His first hit in Boston was a walk off HR that defeated the Yankees.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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10:24 PM - Dec 20, 2017 #19

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1973 Baltimore Orioles - 97-65 - 1st Pl AL East

I found this great synopsis on BleacherReport summarizing the Orioles 1973 season and making a case for Al Bumbry to get MVP votes.  Click here to read the full article.

Loaded, as usual, with pitching and defense, the Baltimore Orioles easily outpaced a hard-hitting Boston Red Sox club and won the AL East by nine games.  Lacking a booming bat, Baltimore placed eighth in the AL in home runs thanks in large part to Boog Powell’s injury-plagued season. However, the Birds still barely missed outscoring the rest of the Junior Circuit by playing smart, Earl Weaver baseball: taking pitches and swiping bases.  Baltimore led the AL in walks, on-base percentage and stolen bases. And although Orioles batters were not a constant threat to hit the long ball in 1973, they hit the ball often and all over the field enough (Baltimore also led the AL in triples) to log the third-highest OPS in the league.  Jim Palmer’s first Cy Young Award–winning season and a pitching staff that boasted the lowest ERA (including the fewest hits allowed and the second-fewest walks issued) combined with the stifling Orioles defense (four Gold Gloves, with a nearly impregnable infield of Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Bobby Grich and a speedy outfield captained by Paul Blair) to strangled opponents.  Baltimore surrendered, by far, the fewest runs in the AL.

So exceptional were the Orioles in every facet of the game that it’s a wonder they didn’t tally more than 97 victories.  Used sparingly as a pinch runner throughout the beginning of the 1973 season, 26-year-old Al Bumbry soon found a spot as a corner outfielder—primarily in left field. (His trek to the Majors had been delayed by a year in Vietnam, during which time he received a Bronze Star while serving as a platoon leader.)  Like Bumbry, the Orioles started slowly out of the gate. A .500 club as late as June 13, Baltimore battled a four-team logjam led by the surprising New York Yankees—although Al warmed with the change of season, going 11-for-26 to close out June.  Playing decently but yet to fire on all cylinders, Baltimore remained in a four-team race throughout the summer, finally pushing past the sputtering Yankees on August 3. But the Detroit Tigers wrested first place from Baltimore just three days later.  Until the Birds finally turned on the jets.  Earl Weaver’s crew ran off 14 consecutive wins beginning in mid-August, quickly reclaimed top spot in the AL East and never looked back.  (The Red Sox, trailing all three of these squads, rushed past Detroit in late August and chased Baltimore into autumn—but despite playing .607 ball over the last month, Boston could never get closer than four games out.)
Grich waiting for a throw to nail Campy at 2nd during he ALCS
The O's pushed the defending champion A's to the brink in the ALCS.  After taking the series opener 6-0 behind a Jim Palmer 5 hitter.  Oakland evened it up by taking game two 6-3.  It took 11 innings to win game 3, which put the defending champs up 2-1 in the best of 5 thanks to a walk off homer by Bert Campaneris off of starter Mike Cuellar, who was still in the game.  Baltimore returned the favor the following night with a go ahead shot in the 8th by Bobby Grich to win 5-4.  That setup a deciding game 5 matchup in Oakland.  The A's scored 1 in the 3rd and 2 in the 4th off of starter Doyle Alexander to hand Catfish Hunter a 5 hit shutout victory and the AL Pennant.

To complete the Orioles Card set I created 18 new cards.


Al Bumbry's 1973 AL-ROY campaign would have been a feel good story during any era, but the early 1970's.  After a decade of war and division the country was not in any mood to celebrate a hero who served with distinction (Bronze Star) in Vietnam as a member of the US Army.  Instead he was just a 26 year old late bloomer who hit .337, stole 23 bases and led the league in triples in less than 400 plate appearances.  Bumbry played 14 major league seasons, 13 in Baltimore.  He finished with a lifetime .281 average and played on 4 division winners and in 2 World Series.



DeCinces played in just 72 games over the first 3 seasons of his career, which isn't shocking since he was a thirdbaseman by trade and the O's had arguably the greatest fielder at the hot corner (Brooks Robinson) already in their lineup.  By 1976 the "heir apparent" played in the lion share of the games, while the 39 year old future HOF'er was slowly phased out.  Decinces held down the spot for the next 6 seasons before being traded to the Angels.  That trade helped make him an All-Star, by getting him out of the large shadow cast by Brooksie.  After his major league career was over in 1987 he played half a season in Japan, but hurt his back and was forced to retire.  During his rookie season in Baltimore (1973) he was 2-18 in 10 games.


By 1973 34 year old Tommy Davis seemed to have been around forever, which wasn't really far from the truth.  Davis was a rookie way back in 1960 and a back to back NL Batting champ in 1962 and 1963 during his time with the Dodgers.  By the 1965 season he was a superstar, but then came his season ending leg injury that seemed to rob him of speed, power and ability to hustle.  Starting in 1967 Davis went from being a Dodger All-Star to a man who played in 10 different cities in 10 seasons.  The O's were masters at picking up guys like this and resurrecting their careers.  After arriving for the stretch run in '72 Davis settled into the Orioles DH role for the next 3 seasons.  In 1973 he hit .306 with 7 HR's and 89 RBI's.  '74 and '75 were pretty much identical.  He signed with the Angels in '76 and hit .265 in 72 games.  After being released he was picked up by KC, who needed a bat off the bench for their pennant run.  Davis is a career .311 hitter in the post season (21-67).  His .312 lifetime average as a PH is the #1 all time in major league history.


Baltimore flat out didn't know what to do with Cabell.  He was a corner infielder with well above average speed, but no real power, so he didn't quite fit the mold.  In just 32 games of action in '73 he hit .213.  After raking at a .354 in AAA-Rochester there was no keeping him down on the farm.  1974 was a frustrating year for him with the big club.  He spent the whole year sitting half the time and only hitting .241.  An off-season trade to Houston brought the O's Lee May and Cabell a chance to play ever day.  For the next 6 years he was the Astros starting 1B.  His average was consistently just around .290.  Not hitting for power wasn't a big deal in the spacious Astrodome.  Getting on base and stealing bases were important and every year that he was there he swiped a lot of bags, something he was not allowed to do while playing for Weaver.  After Houston he bounced around for the final 6 years of his career going to teams in need of a bat who could play the corner positions.  In his return to Houston in 1984 he hit .310, but stole only 8 bags.  The 'Stros dealt him to the Dodgers late in the '85 seasons.  He hit a miserable .077 in the NLCS as the Dodgers lost in 5 games.  When his contract expired at the end of the '86 season his 15 year career (.277) was over.
KOD26 - Teams that Crumbled or Faded - http://www.distantreplay.org/MLB/KOD26/
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