Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1976 TOPPS DON BAYLOR

WHAT'S WITH THAT BATTING GLOVE?
THAT WAS A LOT OF CAMERA TIME FOR ROSE IN '74.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • Don Baylor was an Oriole I barely knew. He was overshadowed by their cast of stars and didn't break out until he was with the Angels, whom he signed with in '78 after one year with the A's.

THE BACK PAGE

  • You could see he was really starting to get it together as a middle-of-the-order presence.
  • Topps saw this as well, bumping him up in rank to a card ending with a "5''.
  • His '76 season was a step back, though. He hit only 15 homers, drove in 68 and batted .247. But he did steal a career-best 52 bags.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Standard batting pose in a half-empty stadium --  the Oakland Coliseum? -- which would be his home in '76.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Sent to the A's in April 1976 as part of the Reggie Jackson rental. The Birds won 88 games, finishing second in the AL East, 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees.
  • The stat that always surprises me with Baylor was his steals early in his career. You think run production when you look back at his career, but he averaged 30 steals (and 21 HRs) from '72-'79. 
  • I was terrified of him in the '79 ALCS, figuring he'd haunt us. But we throttled the '79 MVP, holding him to one homer, two RBI and a .188 average.

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