Giants Cards of the Mid 1970s

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.

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