Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Progress on My 1972 Topps Pirates Team Set

I posted before about my desire to complete a 1972 Topps Pirates team set, to commemorate their World Series victory in my collection.  As the previous post shows, I already had the Roberto Clemente, the Willie Stargell regular card and in-action, the team card, and several others.  I also recently acquired the Manny Sanguillen, and I have a couple from the World Series subset, also featuring Sanguillen.  So, I've picked up a few more cards for the team set, and here they are.
1972 Topps NLCS card.
The Pirates won the NLCS over the Giants, three games to one.  That looks like Willie Stargell in left field in the back of the picture, and number 2 on the team was shortstop Jackie Hernandez, making the catch.  According the Baseball Reference, Bobby Bonds did pop out to shortstop in the fifth inning of Game 4, so this could be that catch.  There's a surprising number of empty seats, especially if this is a shot from Game 4, since that would mean the Bucs were on the verge of returning to the World Series.
Bob Johnson.
Pitcher Bob Johnson went 1-0 in the 1971 NLCS and 0-1 in two games (one start) in the World Series.  He returned for the 1972 NLCS, which the Pirates lost to the Reds, pitching in relief in two games.  Johnson's career spanned 1969-1974 with the Mets, Royals, Pirates, and Indians, and then he returned to pitch 15 games with the Braves in 1977.
Steve Blass.
Steve Blass is perhaps most famous for "Steve Blass disease," in which a player stops being able to play, or in particular, in which a pitcher loses all control for no clear reason.  We live several hours from Pittsburgh, but still get the Pirates on cable, so we get to hear Steve Blass call games during the season, with Bob Walk.
Vic Davalillo.
Vic Davalillo had a long career, from 1963 through 1980, playing for the Indians, Angels, Cardinals, Pirates, A's, and Dodgers.  In addition to 1971, he won the World Series with the A's in 1973.
Bruce Kison.
Having watched the 1979 World Series on DVD, it's impossible to forget Bruce Kison -- he was the Game 1 starter for the Pirates, and lasted a whole 1/3 of an inning, giving up 5 runs, 4 of which were earned.  The Bucs lost Game 1, and it set a bad tone, with the Pirates having to battle their way back (which they did, of course, after eventually finding themselves down 3 games to 1).  Kison didn't pitch again in the Series.  In 1971, he did have one bad outing in the World Series, appearing in relief in Game 2, and walking both batters he faced.  He turned in a much, much better Game 4, pitching 6-1/3 innings in relief and giving up no runs, becoming the winning pitcher.
Dave Giusti.
Reliever Dave Giusti appeared in all four games of the 1971 NLCS, earning two saves, and in three games in the World Series, earning one save.  He led the NL in saves in 1971, too, with 30.

That's it for this round.  I'll keep picking up more of these now and then, and showing them when I can!  Thanks for reading!

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