Wednesday, July 17, 2013
COMMON VALOR: 1976 TOPPS KEN REITZ
You gain appreciation for a year's set by building it card by card. Star cards you pretty much know by heart; it's certain commons that often jump out at you, eliciting "How have I never seen this card?
Presenting Ken Reitz's card No. 158, which I never saw until beginning to build the 1976 Topps set.
Love, love the angle of this photo, a tight shot highlighting Reitz's profile and '70s locks on a glorious day at the ballpark. The red name plate and position icon kicks but the green team plate seems a bit odd, but together the colors work in a Christmas in July sort of way.
By the time this awesome card hit packs, Reitz was actually in spring training with his hometown Giants, who acquired him on Dec. 8, 1975, for pitcher Pete Falcone. Reitz is featured on card No. 158T as a Giant. Almost exactly a year later, Dec. 10, 1976, Reitz was on his way back east when the Cardinals reacquired him for pitcher Lynn McGlothen.
Reitz was nicknamed Zamboni for his ability to pick it at third. It was justified. In '73 and '74, he led the NL in fielding percentage and won his first and only Gold Glove in '75, unseating Doug Rader, who had won the previous five.
A decent hitter, Reitz got off to a great start in '80 batting over .400 into mid-May. He finished at .270. He hit a career-high 17 homers and 79 RBI in '77. In his 11-year career, he hit .260 with 68 homers and 548 RBI.
Sometimes during a construction project, you get lucky and unearth a remarkable find.