Thursday, November 2, 2017

Towards a 1980 Pirates Team Set

I mentioned before the World Series-winning teams that meant something to me; of these, the 1980 Phillies are already very well represented in my collection.  For the 1979 Pirates, it turns out I have more than half of the team set from 1980 Topps already.  I must have been collecting the team set in the early 90s, when I put my collection away for over 20 years.  I've decided to get the rest of them, which won't be to difficult on COMC.

I'll start with three recent acquisitions.  I'm beefing up my player collections for Dave Parker, Willie Stargell, John Candelaria, and Manny Sanguillen, so I want two of each of their 1980 Topps cards, one for the team set and one for the player collections.  I already had two of Parker, and I had one of Stargell.  So, I recently ordered a second Stargell, two Candelarias, and one Sanguillen.  I will have to get another Sanguillen still.
1980 Topps Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, and John Candelaria.
The rest of these cards, I've had for years.  To begin, we have Omar Moreno, the only Pirate on a 1980 Topps league leader card.  Moreno was the NL stolen base leader with 77; this was third in the majors, behind AL leader Willie Wilson (83 steals) and Ron LeFlore (78 steals).
Omar Moreno on the 1980 Topps Stolen Base Leaders card.
Now, on to the rest of the team (the ones I have):
Kent Tekulve, Jim Rooker, and Don Robinson.
Here we have three of the key pitchers, Kent Tekulve, Jim Rooker, and Don Robinson.  Tekulve was famous for his sidearm delivery, and was a consistent reliever for many years.  We saw him at the Vet in Philly in the 80s since he ended his career as a Phillie. He just retired as a Pirates broadcaster.  Rooker turned in an important performance towards the end of the World Series.  Since the Pirates were down 3 games to 1, they faced elimination three straight games, and Rooker's solid performance helped keep them alive.  He was near the end of his career, but he got the job done.  Robinson was so young during the 1979 World Series -- he debuted in April, 1978 with the Pirates at age 20.  He stayed with the Pirates long enough to give up Mike Schmidt's 500th home run in 1987, and then played with a few teams after.

Bruce Kison, Bill Madlock, John Milner, Grant Jackson, Bert Blyleven, and Lee Lacy.
Bill Madlock was the starting third baseman for the Pirates that year, and his bat added some extra oomph into a lineup that already had a number of excellent hitters.  Bert Blyleven and Stargell are the two Hall-of-Famers from the championship team.  Watching the series on DVD, they talk about Blyleven having a reputation for not winning "the big game."  Not after 1979!  Grant Jackson was one of their most reliable relievers.

Bruce Kison had a rough start in Game 1; he was the losing pitcher, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in 1/3 of an inning, and did not appear again in the World Series.  He was also with the Pirates for their 1971 championship, winning Game 4 in 1971.  Milner was a utility player, appearing in left field and at first base in 1979.  He played in three games in the World Series, going 3-for-9.  Lee Lacy was also a utility player, playing left field and second base during the regular season, going 1-for-4 in the World Series.
Rick Rhoden, Omar Moreno, Tim Foli, Dave Parker, Enrique Romo, and Ed Ott.

Rick Rhoden only pitched in one game for 5 innings in 1979, and didn't play in the postseason.  According to SABR, he wasn't healthy when he was traded to the Pirates in April, and had season-ending shoulder surgery in June, 1979. Omar Moreno was a starting outfielder, and, as mentioned above, their main base stealer.  If you've watched the 1979 World Series, you'll remember Moreno's wife.  She repeatedly blew a whistle, so that he could hear her from the stands.  The Baltimore fans hated her and her whistle.

Tim Foli was the shortstop, and he was a solid, consistent player for them.  Foli hit .291 during the season, .333 in the playoffs, and .333 in the World Series.  He was traded to the Pirates from the Mets in April, 1979, and was viewed as washed up at that point.  It was a great deal for the Pirates.

Ed Ott was the starting catcher, playing in 117 games during the regular season.  Enrique Romo was a relief pitcher, who pitched 1/3 inning in the playoffs and 4 and 2/3 innings in the World Series; during the regular season, he appeared in a whopping 84 games (I'm always impressed by pitchers who pitch in half or more of the team's games) with an ERA of 2.99 in 129.1 innings.

Finally, we have Dave Parker.  What is there to say about Dave Parker?  The Cobra was awesome when he was good.  Drugs certainly took their toll on him, keeping him out of the Hall of Fame.  This was his first World Series win, as he won 10 years later with the A's.

To complete the set, I still need Phil Garner #118, Mike Easler #194, Dave Roberts #212, Jim Bibby #229, Bill Robinson #264, Dale Berra #292, Rennie Stennett #501, Steve Nicosia #519, Joe Coleman #542, Pirates Team #551, Pirates Future Stars #683.  Should be easy enough, but I don't know when I'll actually get them, having made quite a number of collection goals for myself.


  1. Go to Ebay and type in: "1980 Topps Set Build Pick Lot". You will find a Pick-25 for $7.50 minimum purchase, and can get all but two of your missing cards (#501,519) using only 12-picks ($3.60).