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Category Archives: Dodgers

Tommy John – 1973 Topps #258

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ImageThomas Edward John Jr. (born May 22, 1943) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball whose 288 career victories rank as the seventh highest total among left-handers in major league history. He is also known for the revolutionary surgery, now named after him, which was performed on a damaged ligament in his pitching arm. John was a soft throwing sinkerball pitcher whose technique resulted in batters hitting numerous ground balls and induced double plays.
John had a 13-3 record as the Dodgers were en route to their first National League pennant in eight years, before he permanently damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, leading to a revolutionary surgical operation. This operation, now known as Tommy John surgery, replaced the ligament in the elbow of his pitching arm with a tendon from his right forearm. The surgery was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe on September 25, 1974, and although it seemed unlikely he would ever be able to pitch again, he spent the entire 1975 season in recovery. John would work with teammate and major league pitcher Mike Marshall who was said to know how to help pitchers recover from injuries and taught John a completely different way to pitch where he would not turn his leg and go straight to the plate which eliminated the chance of him hurting his knee and arm, and he returned to the Dodgers in 1976. His 10-10 record that year was considered “miraculous” but John went on to pitch until 1989, winning 164 games after his surgery—forty more than before and one fewer than all-time great Sandy Koufax won in his entire career.Image After Phil Niekro’s retirement, John spent 1988 and 1989 as the oldest player in the major leagues. In 1989, John matched Deacon McGuire’s record for most seasons played in a Major League Baseball career with 26 seasons played, later broken by Nolan Ryan. Today, many pitchers have Tommy John surgery during their careers. John decided it was time to retire in 1989, when Mark McGwire got two hits off him. McGwire’s father was John’s dentist. John said of his decision, “When your dentist’s kid starts hitting you, it’s time to retire!” In 2009, John failed to get enough votes to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his last year of eligibility with only 31.7% of the vote.


Don Sutton – 1973 Topps #10

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ImageDonald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and current radio sportscaster. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Sutton’s major league debut was on April 14, 1966, the same day that future 300-game winner Greg Maddux was born. In the majors, he played 23 years for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee ImageBrewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. He won a total of 324 games, 58 of them shutouts and five of them one-hitters, and he is seventh on baseball’s all-time strikeout list with 3,574 K’s. He also holds the major league record for number of consecutive losses to one team, having lost 13 straight games to the Chicago Cubs. Sutton was a four-time All-Star. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the player with the most at-bats without a home run (1,354).

Wes Parker – 1973 Topps #151

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Maurice Wesley Parker III (born November 13, 1939 in Evanston, Illinois) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1964 to 1972. He also played one season in Japan for the Nankai Hawks in 1974.
Parker batted a career high of .319 in 1970, joining a small group of players to drive in over 100 runs while hitting 10 homers or less. Known as one of the slickest fielding first basemen of all time, he won the National League Gold Glove Award award for first base every year from 1967 to 1972. He was also part of the 1965 Dodgers World Series team. Parker was a Cincinnati Reds broadcaster in 1973. In a game against the New York Mets in May, 1970, Parker hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, and home run in the same game). He was the last Los Angeles Dodger to accomplish that feat until Orlando Hudson did it against the San Francisco Giants on April 13, 2009. On August 21, 2007, Parker was named to the Major League Baseball All-time Gold Glove Team, and is the only eligible member of the team who is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Walt Alston – 1973 Topps #569

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Walter Emmons Alston  (December 1, 1911 – October 1, 1984), was an American baseball player and manager. He was born in Venice, Ohio but grew up in Darrtown. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he lettered three years in both basketball and baseball and is a member of the University’s Hall of Fame. He maintained his residence in Oxford and died there in 1984 at the age of 72. Alston was a first baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1936 season. He played in his only major league game on September 27, as a substitute for future Hall of Famer Johnny Mize, who had earlier been ejected from the game. Alston struck out in his only major league at bat on three pitches, although the second strike was a long fly ball with home run distance that curved foul at the last second. After returning to the minor leagues for several years as a player and then as a manager, including a stint as the player-manager for the first U.S. based integrated baseball team after 1898, the Nashua Dodgers of the class-B New England League. He was named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1954 season. As a manager, Alston was noted for his studious approach to the game and for signing 23 one-year contracts with the Dodgers at a time when multi-year contracts were becoming the norm in the sport. Walter Alston was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983.

Joe Ferguson – 1973 Topps #621

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Joseph Vance Ferguson(born September 19, 1946 in San Francisco, California) is a former catcher/right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for four different teams from 1970 through 1983. Listed at 6′ 2″, 200 lbs., he batted and threw right-handed. A strong-armed catcher, Ferguson reached the majors in 1970 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing for them six and a half years before joining the St. Louis Cardinals (1976), Houston Astros (1977–78), again Los Angeles (1978–81), and finished his career with the California Angels (1981–83). He became the Dodgers everyday catcher in 1973 and set a major league record for catchers by committing only three errors, leading the National League catchers in fielding percentage (.996) and double plays (17), while hitting .263 with a .369 on-base percentage. He also reached career-highs in games played (136), home runs (25), RBI (88), runs (84), doubles (26) and walks (87). In a 14-season career, Ferguson was a .240 hitter with 122 home runs and 445 RBI in 1013 games. In 13 postseason games, he hit .200 (7-for-35) with one home run and four RBI. The strong-armed Ferguson may be best known for his role in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1974 World Series. After reaching third on third baseman Ron Cey’s throwing error, Sal Bando tagged up on a Reggie Jackson fly ball to center field, as Jimmy Wynn camped under it. Sprinting from his position in right field, Ferguson cut in front of Wynn to catch the ball and heave it to the plate, where Steve Yeager made the tag as the throw just beat Bando.

Bill Buckner – 1973 Topps #368

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William Joseph “Bill” Buckner  (born December 14, 1949) Despite winning a batting crown in 1980, representing the Chicago Cubs at the All-Star Game the following season and accumulating over 2,700 hits in his twenty-year career, he is best remembered for a fielding error during Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, a play that has since been prominently entrenched into American sports lore. Boston was leading the heavily favored New York Mets three games to two in the 1986 World Series when Game Six of the series went into extra innings. For his part, Buckner was batting just .143 against Mets pitching, and was 0-for-5 in Game 6. When the Sox scored two runs in the top of the tenth, Boston manager John McNamara chose to have Buckner take the field in the bottom of the inning instead of bringing Stapleton in as a defensive replacement for the ailing Buckner as he had in games one, two and five. New York came back to tie the game with three straight two out singles off Calvin Schiraldi and a wild pitch by Bob Stanley. Mookie Wilson fouled off several pitches before hitting a slow roller to Buckner at first base. Aware of Wilson’s speed, Buckner tried to rush the play. As a result, the ball rolled past his glove, through his legs and into right field, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run. Buckner returned to the Red Sox in 1990 as a free agent, and received a standing ovation from the crowd during player introductions at the home opener on April 9. His return was short lived, as he retired on June 5 with a .186 batting average, one home run and three RBIs. However, that one home run was an inside-the-park roundtripper that Buckner hit on April 25, 1990, off California Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill. It was the only inside-the-park home run of his career.
On April 8, 2008, Buckner threw out the first pitch to former teammate Dwight Evans at the Red Sox home opener as they unfurled their 2007 World Series championship banner. He received a four minute standing ovation from the sell-out crowd. After the game, when asked if he had any second thoughts about appearing at the game, he said, “I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston, per se, but I would have to say in my heart I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through. So, you know, I’ve done that and I’m over that.”

Lee Lacy – 1973 Topps #391

Leondaus “Lee” Lacy(born April 10, 1948 in Longview, Texas), is a former Major League baseball player who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Baltimore Orioles, primarily as an outfielder, from 1972-1987. Lacy appeared in the World Series 3 times for the Dodgers in 1974, 1977, and 1978. Lacy appeared in the 1979 World Series as a member of the Pirates. On May 17, 1978, Lacy hit his 3rd consecutive pinch-hit home run, setting a major league record, as the Dodgers beat the Pirates 10–1. His previous blasts were on May 2 and 6th. Lacy is the father of Jennifer Lacy, a forward for the WNBA.

Don Sutton – 1974 Topps #220

Donald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945), nicknamed “Black and Decker”, is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher and current radio sportscaster. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Sutton was a four-time All-Star. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the player with the most at-bats without a home run (1,354). When asked how close he ever came to hitting a home run, he deadpanned, “A triple.” Sutton holds another unlucky record: seven times in his career, he pitched nine scoreless innings but got a no-decision. In 2002, Sutton was diagnosed with kidney cancer resulting in the removal of his left kidney. Part of a lung was removed the following year. While undergoing cancer treatment, he continued his broadcasting career. Don Sutton’s number 20 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998.

Steve Garvey – 1973 Topps #213

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Steven Patrick Garvey  (born December 22, 1948), nicknamed “Mr. Clean” because of the squeaky clean image he held throughout his career in baseball, is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and current Southern California businessman. Garvey was the 1974 NL MVP, 10-time All-Star, and holds the National League record for consecutive games played (1,207). Garvey was a bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers. Garvey played football and baseball at Michigan State University after graduating from Chamberlain High School. Garvey played his entire career in the National League West for two teams; the Los Angeles Dodgers (1969–82) and the San Diego Padres (1983–87). He batted right and threw right. In a 19-year career, Garvey was a .294 hitter with 272 home runs and 1308 RBI in 2332 games played.

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