Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Tour Through the 1979 Topps Set: Ten Cards from 401-500

It's been well more than a year, but I had been in the process of highlighting about 10% of the cards of the 1979 Topps set.  I'll pick up where I left off in March 2018, and put in the next installment now, with 10 cards from 401-500.

Previously in this series:
  1. My Ill-Fated 1979 Topps Project, and My Acquisition of a 1979 Topps Set.
  2. A Tour Through the 1979 Topps Set: Ten Cards from 1-100.
  3. A Tour Through the 1979 Topps Set: Ten Cards from 101-200.
  4. A Tour Through the 1979 Topps Set: Ten Cards from 201-300.
  5. A Tour Through the 1979 Topps Set: Ten Cards from 301-400.
Reggie Smith.
Tim Foli.
Let's kick things off with seven-time All-Star Reggie Smith.  Smith was a member of the 2000-hit club and won a Gold Glove in 1968.  His time with Boston got him in the Red Sox Hall of Fame.  He was close to the end of his career here, but hung on to win the World Series with Los Angeles in 1981.  Tim Foli was traded from the Mets to the Pirates at the beginning of the 1979 season, and really helped the Pirates win the division, the pennant, and the World Series.  Foli had career highs in hits, RBI, and batting average with the Bucs in 1979.
Rusty Staub.
Lance Parrish.
Here we have two Tigers, Rusty Staub and Lance Parrish.  I consider it a bit of a personal running joke how many times Parrish has appeared on this blog; he was brought to the Phillies when I was a kid, to be the new big All-Star catcher after Bob Boone and Ozzie Virgil.  Parrish and the Phillies fans never got along, and he ended up moving to the Angels.  Darren Daulton became the next big All-Star catcher for the Phillies, and was very popular.  I meant to post something about Rusty Staub when he died last year; I acquired a card mainly for that purpose, and will try to post it soon.
Bobby Valentine.
Jim Fregosi.
Here we have two cards of guys I think of as 80s managers.  In the 1987 Topps set, Bobby Valentine was the Rangers manager and Jim Fregosi was the White Sox manager.  Obviously Valentine was still playing at this point, and Fregosi had recently stopped playing.  Fregosi's last card as a player is in the 1978 set, with the Pirates.  The Pirates released Fregosi from his playing contract specifically so that he could manage the Angels.  The 1979 Angels had a lot of talent -- Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew, Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, among others -- and won their first divisional title.
All-time RBI leaders.
All-time stolen base leaders.
I like these All-Time Record Holder cards.  Hack Wilson still holds the record for RBI in a season with 191 in 1930.  The record should be safe this year, as MLB RBI leader Josh Bell is on pace to only have about 150.  Hank Aaron also still holds the career RBI record with 2,297.  Again, this record seems safe for the foreseeable future.  Lou Brock's stolen base records have been famously broken by Rickey Henderson.  Brock remains comfortably in second place for both the season record and the career record.
Shortstop Don Kessinger.
Manager Don Kessinger.
Then we have someone I've never heard of, Don Kessinger, but I pulled out his cards because I noticed he was that rare bird, the player-manager.  Wikipedia tells me that he was the last player-manager in the American League.  Only Pete Rose has done it since.  His last year playing was 1979, and he batted in 56 games; he only ever managed in 1979 as well, compiling a 46-60 record.  He resigned late in the season and was replaced by Tony LaRussa.  Kessinger was a six-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner.

There should be a couple more installments of this occasional series still coming.  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Funny that Fregosi won the title as manager with Ryan as a star player, since they traded Fregosi to get Ryan.

    Kissinger was a pretty big star with the Cubs; still weird to see him on the other side of Chicago. I didn’t remember him being a player-manager. Apparently he only lasted about 4 months of the season, and was replaced by Tony LaRussa, which obviously was an upgrade. He was the last player-manager in the American League.