Giants Cards of the Mid 1970s

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Goodbye Rocky

  • I was saddened to hear that Rocky Bridges passed away a few days ago at the age of 87. Rocky managed the AAA Phoenix Giants from 1974-1982. I have lots of good memories of attending games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Bridges was a popular guy who kept the crowd entertained.
  • Here is a good 2011 article about Rocky from the Los Angeles Times.
  • My favorite Rocky Bridges quotes:
    • "I can't spell Albuquerque, but sure can smell it."
    • "Tommy Lasorda's curve ball had as much hang time as a Ray Guy punt."
  • Brendan C.  Boyd and Fred Harris had a great write-up about Rocky in The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. Here is part of it:
    • "Rocky Bridges looked like a ballplayer. In fact he probably looked more like a ballplayer than any ballplayer who ever lived. His head looked like a sack full of rusty nails, he kept about six inches of chewing tobacco lodged permanently in the upper recesses of his left cheek, and his uniform always looked like he had just slept in it, which he probably had."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wallet Card 2015

  • I figured I'd do something different for the 2015 wallet card. At first I wanted to do 1978 Topps Greg Minton, but I don't have a duplicate card. Then I thought of the old Wacky Packages that first came out in the late 1960s as die-cuts. I collected the stickers when I was in second and third grades (1973-1974). Early in my third grade year in 1974 I made the mistake of bringing my wacky packages to school. They got stolen and I was not a happy kid. I had most of the stickers from series 5-12. When I was in 8th grade (1979-1980) Topps came out with these reprints. I collected them, but it just wasn't the same. Every so often Topps comes out with new ones, but I don't have any of them.
  • Can you guess which year is being parodied in this one? A clue is below:

  • I'm going to take the precaution of putting this in a penny sleeve, but I don't expect it to last all year. Here's to some adventure with the Apes' star player!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1984 Fleer #376 - Bill Laskey

  • This Tuesday's "Obscure Giant" is pitcher Bill Laskey.
  • Love that name on the glove. I did that way back when. Do players still do this today?

  • Laskey was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1977 (8th round in January, 1st round in June), but he didn't sign either time. Bill was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round in 1978 and finally signed.
  • Bill pitched well in the minors from 1978-1981, but he never made it to the majors. After the 1981 season Laskey was traded to the Giants (with pitcher Rich Gale) for outfielder Jerry Martin.
  • Laskey started the 1982 season in AAA Phoenix. Bill started two games and was 1-0 while allowing two runs in 14 innings. Laskey was called up and made his Giants debut on April 23, 1982 (a three batter stint in a blowout game against the hated Dodgers). Bill made his first start on April 28 and it was a great one. Laskey shut out the Montreal Expos 7-0 while allowing only three hits. Bill went on to go 13-12 with a 3.14 ERA in 31 starts.
  • Bill went 13-10 in 25 starts in 1983, but his ERA rose to 4.19. Laskey missed the last six weeks of the 1983 season with an injury. He and Atlee Hammaker made a good 1-2 punch of young starters for the Giants.
  • Before the 1984 season Bill was rumored to be traded to the Cleveland Indians. The Giants supposedly had a lot of pitching and needed to replace Darrell Evans, who had left as a free agent. Nothing came of the trade rumors. 
  • Laskey went 9-14 with a 4.33 ERA in 34 starts in 1984. 
  • Bill started the 1985 season with the Giants (5-11, 3.55 ERA in 19 starts) but was traded (with OF Scot Thompson) to the Montreal Expos on August 1 for first baseman Dan Driessen. Laskey struggled with the Expos, going 0-5 with a 9.44 ERA.
  • Laskey was traded back to the Giants before the 1986 season. Bill had ripped the San Francisco organization when he was first traded to the Expos, but he was glad to go back. Laskey disagreed with manager Jim Davenport and GM Tom Haller, but since different guys were running the Giants he was willing to go back.
  • The Giants converted Bill to a reliever. Laskey was 1-1 with 1 save and had a 4.28 ERA in 20 appearances from April to June 1986. Bill was sent to AAA Phoenix in late June and became a starting pitcher again (5-5, 3.43 ERA in 13 starts).
  • Laskey was released after the 1986 season and signed with the Tigers. Bill spent the entire 1987 in AAA Toledo (12-6, 3 saves, 3.86 ERA in 56 appearances). 
  • Bill became a free agent after the 1987 season and signed with the Indians. He split the 1988 season between AAA Colorado Springs (1-1, 2 saves, 5.61 ERA in 12 games) and Cleveland (1-0, 1 save, 5.18 ERA in 17 appearances). Laskey became a free agent in late August after refusing another assignment to Colorado Springs.
  • Laskey spent three more years (1989-1991) pitching for various AAA teams. He never got back to the majors after the 1988 season. Bill ended up with a 42-53 lifetime record with a 4.14 ERA in six seasons in the majors.
  • According to his LinkedIn profile, Bill has run a sports talent agency and has been a high school softball coach since his retirement from baseball. Laskey is also an analyst for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Card Tribute: Dick Dietz

  • 1967 Topps #341
  • Dick's first full season in the majors. He batted .225 with 4 HR and 19 RBI in 56 games. Starting catcher Tom Haller started 120 games, so Dietz didn't have much of chance behind the plate in 1967.

  • 1968 Topps #104
  • .272, 6 HR, 38 RBI in 98 games. 
  • .Dietz split time with Jack Hiatt in 1968. Hiatt was the better defender, but Dietz was better offensively.
  • Dick was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded during Don Drysdale's record shutout inning streak. Umpire Harry Wendelstedt ruled that Dietz didn't try to get out of the way and nullified the hit by pitch. Dietz flied out to shallow left field and the streak was preserved.

  • 1969 Topps #293
  • .230, 11 HR, 35 RBI in 79 games
  • Another year of the Dietz/Hiatt combination behind the plate. Hiatt batted only .196 in 1969, so Dietz was to get more of a chance to play in the future.

  • 1970 Topps #135
  • 1970 Stats: .300, 22 HR, 107 RBI in 148 games
  • This was his big year. Dietz was second to Willie McCovey in RBI and second to Bobby Bonds in batting average.
  • Dick made the NL All Star team. He hit a home run off of Catfish Hunter in the bottom of the 9th to start a National League comeback. The NL was behind 4-1 at the time. The NL tied the game 4-4 and then won the game in the 12th inning on that (in)famous Pete Rose / Ray Fosse home plate collision.

  • 1971 Topps #545
  • 1971 Stats:
    • Regular Season - .252, 19 HR, 72 RBI in 142 games
    • NL Championship Series - .067 (1 for 15) in 4 games
  • This isn't actually  my card. None of my 1971 cards are in this kind of shape.
  • It was Dick's last year as a starting catcher. He would be waived to the hated LA Dodgers in April 1972, probably in retaliation for his union activities during the brief 1972 player's strike.

  • 1972 Topps #295
  • 1972 Stats: .161, 1 HR, 6 RBI in 27 games for the LA Dodgers
  • Dietz was buried behind nominal starter Chris Canizzaro, Duke Sims, and a young Steve Yeager. Dietz broke his wrist in July, ending his season.

  • 1972 Topps #296
  • It is likely this game was the first game of a doubleheader on June 6, 1971. Willie Montanez is at the plate. During this game both Denny Doyle and Tim McCarver stole bases batting in front of Montanez.
I won't put the 1973 card (pictured with the Dodgers) in here. Dietz was sold to the Atlanta Braves before the 1973 season. Dick played for the Braves in 1973 and posted a .474 on  base percentage and batted .295 in 83 games as a backup catcher/1B and pinch hitter. Dietz was released during spring training in 1974. There is a possibility that Dietz' career was prematurely ended due to his union activities. Here is a good Hardball Times article about this. Dietz died of a heart attack in 2005.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Back from the Dead

  • I kind of let this blog go for a couple of years because I had a lot going on at home. In 2012 we brought in a (then six year old) foster daughter and adopted her in 2013. We have a little two year old foster boy now and we hope to adopt him in a couple of months. 
  • Mr. Haverkamp sent a bunch of Giants cards and that got me thinking that I need to get this blog going again. Things have settled down enough at home for me to do this. I'll be posting some stuff from him (including this card) along with some things I've received from others recently.
  • Ken Reitz was a one-year second baseman for the Giants in 1976. He originally came to the Giants in December 1975 in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Pete Falcone. 
  • Reitz made 141 starts at third base for the Giants in 1976. Ken was slightly above league average in fielding percentage (.959 compared to the NL average of .952), but he didn't provide much offense (.267, 5 HR, 66 RBI). Ken also posted a nasty .293 on base percentage.
  • Ken was traded back to the Cardinals after the 1976 season for pitcher Lynn McGlothen. At the time the Giants were thinking of putting prospect Jack Clark at third base. They ended up acquiring Bill Madlock for third base for the 1977 season.