Friday, June 22, 2012

1970 TOPPS ROOKIE STARS ATHLETICS

A BIG PART OF '70s BASEBALL.
A SWITCH-HITTING PITCHER? ANOTHER REASON TO HATE THE DH.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • One of my favorite rookie cards of the '70s, featuring two players who would play key roles during the Athletics' '72-'74 dynasty.

THE BACK PAGE

  • Blue Moon Odom was coming off back-to-back 16 and 15 wins in '68 and '69, respectively, and as you can see, Vida Blue was ready for the majors, but he spent just about the entire '70 season in the minors. 
  • Fury Gene Tenace was actually born Fiore Gino Tennaci, thank you. His '70 season was his first extended stay in the majors, and he hit .305 with seven homers and 20 RBI.

PHOTO PLAY

  • I like these '70 multi-player rookie cards. Very sharp.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Imagine pulling this card out of a pack in '70, and then watching Blue, with Tenace as his battery mate, no-hit the defending West champion Twins 6-0 in September, allowing only a walk? This gem was a follow up to a one-hitter he spun against the Royals. This raised expectations, naturally, and Blue delivered in '71 with his MVP/Cy Young 24-win season. I wrote more about Blue's career here.
  • Tenace was a third-string catcher until '71, when he backed up Dave Duncan. In the '72 postseason, he was given his chance to shine, and he did so like a supernova. 
  • In the ALCS against the Tigers, he drove in the winning run in Game 5 to clinch the series. 
  • In Game 1 of the World Series against the Reds, he became the first player to homer in his first two at-bats and drove in all of Oakland's runs in the 3-2 victory. He wasn't done. He also drove in two runs in the A's' 3-2 Game 7 victory. Overall, he went 8-for-23 with four homers and nine RBI and won the Series MVP. This coming after he hit five home runs during the regular season. 
  • Earned a full-time job in '73, splitting time at catcher and first base. From '73-'76, Fi-Gi-Ten (for all you A-Roid, Car-Go, K-Rod, F-Rod, Hot-Rod fans) averaged 25 HRs and 78 RBI.
  • Signed with the Padres as a free agent in '77 and played four seasons, averaging 17/60. Played the '81-'82 seasons in St. Louis, where he acquired his fourth World Series ring. Not bad for a catcher drafted in the 20th round of the '65 draft. 

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