Swings and misses

1973 Topps

An all star in 1974, Ralph Garr hit .306 in a 13-year career spent with the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox and California Angels. Garr came up with the Braves in 1968 and played sparingly for the next three years. He became a regular in 1971 and responded by hitting .343 and scoring a career-high 101 runs in 154 games. He finished 24th in the National League MVP vote that year and was 19th in 1972 when he hit .325 with a career-high 12 home runs. Garr had the best season of his career in 1974. He led the league in hitting (.354), triples (17) and hits (214) and finished 12th in the MVP vote. Garr’s average fell to .278 in 1975 although he still led the NL in triples (11). The Braves dealt him to the White Sox following the season and he strung together back-to-back .300 seasons for Chicago. His production began to decline in 1978 and in 1979 the ChiSox sent him to the Angels. Garr played in just 27 games for California and retired in 1980.

1981 Fleer

Better known as a manager, Jim Tracy played in 87 games for the Chicago Cubs during the 1980-1981 seasons. He hit .249 with three home runs in 185 at bats. Following his playing career, Tracy was a coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, then managed the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies. He was the 2009 National League Manager of the Year.

1983 Donruss

The 1981 American League Rookie of the Year, Dave Righetti pitched for 16 seasons during a distinguished big-league career. He was 8-4 for the New York Yankees in his rookie season with a 2.05 ERA in 15 starts, which was good enough to earn top rookie honors. Righetti remained a starter for the Yankees for the next two seasons and pitched a no-hitter on July 4, 1983 against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. New York converted him into their closer the following year and Righetti soon became one of the top relievers in the game. He saved 31 games in 1984, then led the AL with 46 saves in 1986. He was an all star that season, finishing fourth in the Cy Young and 10th in the MVP votes. Righetti was an all star again the next season and continued to pile up saves for the Yankees until 1991 when he joined the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. He saved 24 games for the Giants that season but was not as effective in 1992 and soon lost his spot as the team’s closer. Righetti joined the Oakland A’s in 1994 and concluded his career with the Chicago White Sox in 1995. He returned to the Giants as their pitching coach in 2000 and helped the team win three World Series before moving into a front office job in 2017.

Published by Chris

Writer, historian, father, intrepid traveller, journalist, aging punk ... I am actually in a Hall of Fame.

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