Lawrence Cyril Gura (born November 26, 1947, in Joliet, Illinois) a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1970 to 1985. He spent 16 years in the Major Leagues playing for the Chicago Cubs of the National League, and the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, both of the American League. He was inducted into the inaugural Joliet Hall of Fame in Joliet, Illinois. He was elected to the American League All-Star team in 1980 when he had his finest season, finishing with an 18–10 record and a 2.95 ERA. Gura won in double figures for seven consecutive seasons for the Royals with 99 wins over that span. He particularly pestered his former team, the Yankees, against whom he went 11–6 in the regular season as a Royal. Gura was 3–0 against them in both 1979 and 1980, with five complete games, and another complete-game victory against them in the 1980 American League Championship Series. Gura finished with a 126–97 career record, 24 saves and an earned run average of 3.76.
Category Archives: 1973 Topps
Joseph Lovitto, Jr. (January 6, 1951 – May 19, 2001) was a center fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Texas Rangers. He was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 185 pounds. Lovitto was a competent outfielder, had blazing speed and batted over .300 in his minor league career, but never fulfilled expectations at the Major League level. One of his former managers, Billy Martin, wrote in his autobiography that Lovitto could have had a great career if not for injuries. Lovitto started in center field on Opening Day of 1972 in the Texas Rangers’ inaugural season. In his rookie year he hit .224 with 19 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases in 117 games played. Then he lost almost the 1973 season with an injured leg, appearing in only 26 games. The following year he hit .223 in 113 games, but in 1975 was put on the disabled list with a variety of major injuries and appeared in just 50 games. Before the 1976 season, he was sent to the New York Mets in exchange for outfielder Gene Clines but was released during spring training. In a four-season career, Lovitto was a .216 hitter with four home runs, 53 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 306 games. Lovitto died from cancer in Arlington, Texas, at the age of 50.
Edgar Leon Kirkpatrick (October 8, 1944 – November 15, 2010), nicknamed “Spanky”, was a baseball utility player for the Los Angeles/California Angels, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He helped the Pirates win the National League Eastern Division in 1974 and 1975. In 16 seasons, he played in 1,311 games and had 3,467 at-bats, 411 runs, 824 hits, 143 doubles, 18 triples, 85 home runs, 424 RBI, 34 stolen bases, 456 walks, .238 batting average, .327 on-base percentage, .363 slugging percentage, 1,258 total bases, 25 sacrifice hits, 39 sacrifice flies and 70 intentional walks. He was involved in an automobile accident in 1981 that left him in a coma for 5½ months and permanently paralyzed. He died at the age of 66 in Anaheim, California.
Former Angels outfielder Ed Kirkpatrick, who played parts of 16 major league seasons with five clubs from 1962-77, died Monday after a long struggle with throat cancer. He was 66.
César Francisco Gerónimo Zorrilla (born March 11, 1948), known as César Gerónimo, is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball, who was a member of the famed Big Red Machine of the Cincinnati Reds during the 1970s. He batted and threw left-handed. In 1967, Gerónimo was signed by the New York Yankees, who tried to make him a pitcher. Two years later he made his major league debut with the Houston Astros. After the 1971 season, he went to the Cincinnati Reds in an eight-player deal. Among them, Joe Morgan. A winner of four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1974 to 1977, Gerónimo was the outstanding defensive center fielder of five divisional championship series and the 1975-76 World Series Champion Cincinnati Reds. In the former Series, he caught Carl Yastrzemski’s fly ball for the final out. He played the last three seasons of his career with the Kansas City Royals.
In his fifteen seasons, Gerónimo batted .258, with 51 home runs and 392 RBI, 460 runs scored, 977 hits, 161 doubles, 50 triples and 82 stolen bases. He was also the 3,000th strikeout victim of both Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan. “I was just in the right place at the right time,” he joked.
After retiring he worked for the Japanese Hiroshima Carp, as a coach in their Dominican baseball academy. He currently resides with his family in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In July 2008 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
Bruce Eugene Kison (born February 18, 1950 in Pasco, Washington) a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched from 1971-1985 for three different teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels and Boston Red Sox. He batted and threw right-handed. During a 15-year career, Kison compiled 115 wins, 1,073 strikeouts, and a 3.66 ERA.
Kison was 30-9 in the minors. He was called up in the middle of the 1971 season and was the winning pitcher when Pittsburgh beat San Francisco to make it into the World Series. He later became the winning pitcher in the first night game ever played in the classic.
After tearing his rotator cuff during winter ball, he spent 14 more years in the majors and changed his throwing motion. Kison was also a pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles. A highly respected talent evaluator, Kison has spent the past decade as a Major League Scout for the Orioles.
Kison also gave up the 2,500th hit to Pete Rose on August 17, 1975.
Robert Tolan (born November 19, 1945) is a former center and right fielder in Major League Baseball. Tolan, who batted and threw left-handed, played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates. He also played one season in Japan for the Nankai Hawks. Tolan was a reserve outfielder during his years with the Cardinals, where he won a World Series title in 1967. He also played on the 1968 National League champions, losing to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series in seven games, after leading three games to one. The day after the final game of this Series Tolan was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with reliever Wayne Granger for veteran outfielder Vada Pinson. As their centerfielder, often batting second behind Pete Rose and in front of Alex Johnson in the Reds lineup, Tolan in 1969 hit .305 and established career highs in home runs and runs batted in. In the first year both leagues were split into two divisions, the Reds finished third in the National League West, four games behind the division-winning Atlanta Braves. The “Big Red Machine”, which also featured future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Tony Pérez, was just beginning to take shape.
In 1970, Tolan batted a career high .316 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs, and led the National League in stolen bases with 57 for a Reds team that won the National League West title for their first postseason berth since the 1961 World Series. The Reds swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS in three games. In the second game, Tolan scored all three runs in a 3-1 victory, including hitting a fifth-inning home run off starter Luke Walker. However, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Reds in the World Series in five games. Tolan went 4-for-19 in the Series, including a home run off Mike Cuellar in Game Two.
Tolan played professionally in Japan in 1978. He was also a coach for the Padres from 1980-1983. During the strike of 1981, Tolan was dispatched to Walla Walla, Washington, where he was Tony Gwynn’s first hitting coach. Tolan’s cousin, Eddie Tolan, was a sprinter who won two Gold Medals in the 1932 Summer Olympics.
Alan James Fitzmorris (born March 21, 1946 in Buffalo, New York), a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1969 to 1978. Al signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Chicago White Sox in 1966. In October 1968, he left the White Sox as the 40th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. He stayed with the Royals until 1976. In November, the Toronto Blue Jays picked him up as the 13th pick overall. He was traded by the Jays to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Alan Ashby and Doug Howard. The Indians released him in 1978, and within a month he was signed by the California Angels. Granted free agency in November of that year, he signed on with the San Diego Padres in February 1979. Fitzmorris won a career high 16 games for the Royals in 1975.
Víctor José Davalillo Romero (July 31, 1936 in Cabimas, Zulia), is a Venezuelan former professional baseball player. Davalillo batted and threw left-handed. Davalillo was a leadoff hitter known for his speed, base running and defensive ability. Later in his career, he became a valuable utility player and a record-setting pinch hitter. Davalillo also had an exceptional career in the Venezuelan Winter League where he is the all-time leader in total base hits and in career batting average.
In 1965, Davalillo led the league in batting at mid-season with a .345 batting average, earning him a place as the starting center fielder for the American League team in the 1965 All-Star Game. He ended the 1965 season with a .301 batting average, third-best in the American League behind Tony Oliva and Carl Yastrzemski, the only other players to break the .300 mark that year. Davalillo had an off year in 1966 and, the Indians began playing him only when they faced right handed pitchers. In 1967, he hit for a .302 average against right handed pitchers but, only managed a .188 average against left handers, for a .287 average overall.
Davalillo dropped to a .239 average on June 15, 1968 when the Indians traded him to the California Angels for former All-Star Jimmie Hall. He went on to lead the Angels with a .298 batting average after the trade, finishing the season with a .277 average overall, the sixth highest average in the American League. In an era dominated by pitching, Yastrzemski was the only player in the American League to hit for an average higher than .300 in 1968
At the age of 41 in 1978, Davalillo hit for a .312 average as a pinch hitter for the Dodgers as they once again claimed the National League pennant before, losing to the New York Yankees for a second consecutive year in the 1978 World Series. Davalillo finished out his major league career as a utility player and pinch hitter for the Dodgers. For the last four seasons of his career, he was the oldest player in the National League until retiring at the end of the 1980 season at the age of 43. Davalillo returned to play in the Mexican League well into his late 40s. In 1987, the ballpark in Cabimas, Venezuela was renamed Estadio Víctor Davalillo. The Most Valuable Player award in the Venezuelan Winter League is also named after him. Davalillo was inducted into the Venezuelan Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Steven Bernard Mingori (February 29, 1944 – July 10, 2008) an American left-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and went to Rockhurst High School; he is in the school’s Hall of Fame. Mingori was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1965, who traded him to the Indians in 1970. In a ten-season career, Mingori posted a won-loss record of 18–33 with a 3.03 earned run average and 42 saves in 385 games pitched, all but two of which came as a reliever. His best season came in 1976 when he had five wins, 10 saves, 85.1 innings in 55 games.
Steven Bernard “Mingo” Mingori died of natural causes at his home in Liberty, Missouri on July 10, 2008.
Renaldo Antonio Stennett Porte (April 5, 1951, in Colón, Panama), is a former second baseman. Stennett played with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He batted and threw right-handed. A World Series champion with the Pirates in 1979, Stennett shares the major league record for most hits in a game and was a member of the first all-black starting lineup in the major leagues.
In an 11-season career, Stennett was a .274 batter, with 41 home runs and 432 RBIs in 1,237 games. On September 1, 1971, Pittsburgh faced the Phillies with the first major league all-black starting lineup. Stennett led off the game for the Pirates, who won 10–7. In his first three seasons with Pittsburgh, Stennett was used at shortstop and second base. He also played at all three outfield positions, with an average arm and great reaction speed. He showed progress in 1973, when he hit 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 128 games. Finally, in 1974, Stennett took over the starting second base job, beating out Dave Cash and Willie Randolph. Batting from the leadoff spot, he responded with a .291 average, 84 runs, 56 RBI, and a career-high 196 hits. The following season, Stennett became the only player in the 20th century to go seven-for-seven in a nine-inning game. On September 16, 1975, Stennett went 7-for-7 as Pittsburgh beat the Cubs, 22–0. Pittsburgh also set a major league record for the largest winning score in a shutout game in the modern era. He was the third player to collect seven hits in a single game, and the second to do it in a nine-inning game.
On August 21, 1977, Stennett was batting .336 for the season, but he broke his right leg while sliding into second base. He was out for the year and had fewer than the required number of at bats or plate appearances, falling short of qualifying for the batting title, won by teammate Dave Parker. In that season, Stennett collected a career-high 28 stolen bases. A free agent at the end of the 1979 season Stennett, was signed by the Giants to a five year, $3 million dollar contract in what would be one of the first “busts” of the free agent era. After two years with San Francisco, he was released in April of 1982, with three years remaining on and $2 million left on the contract which the Giants still had to pay him as the contract was guaranteed.