Monday, December 17, 2012

1982 TOPPS PETE VUCKOVICH

BEFORE HE BECAME AN ''ACTOR.''
LED THE AL IN WINS IN '81.

THE FRONT PAGE 

  • Pete Vuckovich was one of several characters on the hard-hitting Old Milwaukee's Finest Brewers, a company softball team masquerading as a baseball club. They enjoyed a nice run in the early 1980s and reached their zenith in '82, when Vuckovich won the Cy Young and the Brewers the AL pennant. 
  • Vuck was also known for his fidgety mound mannerisms and for adjusting himself on camera during the '82 World Series while walking off the mound.

THE BACK PAGE 

  • Wow, Topps reached on that Dave Stapleton blurb. And should spring stats even be recorded, much less mentioned two years later?
  •  Vuckovich's breakout season was not totally unexpected when you look closely at his previous four seasons. He and the team were coming together at the right time.
  • More pea soup, anyone?

PHOTO PLAY 

  • Decent shot of a player I often thought could've been related to teammate Gorman Thomas but probably not to Jim Palmer. I also thought he looked more like a slugging first baseman than a pitcher. Apparently, Hollywood thought so, too.

EXTRA, EXTRA 

  • Vuckovich went 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 223.2 innings in '82 and led the league in only one category, winning percentage (.750). 
  • Shoulder pain dogged Vuckovich for a couple seasons before he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in spring '83. He decided against surgery and tried to rehabilitate through exercise. After throwing 14.2 innings at the start of the season, he was shut down, missed '84 completely and never regained form. The Brewers released him in '86. From '83, he went 8-16 with a 4.96 ERA in 159.2 innings. 
  • Vuckovich was part of a major trade when with Cardinals, who sent him along with Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons  to the Brewers for David Green, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano and Larry Sorensen. Then the Cardinals met the Brewers in the Fall Classic 10 months later. 
  • Vuckovich was known to mix and match different brands of spikes on a whim, wearing a Nike on the left and an addidas on the right, for example. 
  • After retirement, Vuckovich dabbled in TV announcing for the Brewers before being hired by the Pirates as a pitching instructor in '92 and later pitching coach from '97-00. He then joined the Pirates' front office as special assistant to the GM and this year took the same job with the Mariners.
  • Last, and most certainly not least, who could forget his part in the cult classic Major League, playing Clu Haywood, the burly first baseman of the New York Yankees? Upon stepping into the box during one scene, he deadpanned to Indians catcher Jake Taylor: "How's your wife and my kids?'' Something tells me he was just playing himself, and he certainly seemed to be having a lot of fun doing so.

No comments:

Post a Comment