Swings and misses

1976 Topps

An all star in 1979, Dave Lemanczyk pitched for eight years in the big leagues, breaking in with the Detroit Tigers in 1973 and finishing with the California Angels in 1980. He posted a 37-63 mark with a 4.62 ERA in his career. He was 13-16 for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977 and led the American League in earned runs. He got off to a 7-5 start in 1979, but finished 8-10 for Toronto. On April 24 of that year he pitched a one-hitter against the Texas Rangers. A base hit by Pat Putnam to lead off the third inning was all that came between Lemanczyk and baseball immortality.

1979 Topps

Lamar Johnson played for nine years in the majors, mostly for the Chicago White Sox, from 1974-1982. He came up with Chicago and saw action in just 18 games his first two years. He played in 82 games in 1976, then became a starter for the team for the next four seasons. His best year came in 1977 when he hit .302 with 18 home runs. He hit .309 with 12 home runs in 1979. Johnson signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent in 1982 and played in 105 games but was released prior to the start of the 1983 season. For his career, Johnson hit .287 with 64 home runs.

1985 Donruss

One of the preeminent power hitters of the 1980’s, Tom Brunansky blasted 271 home runs during a 14-year big league run. He came up with the Minnesota Twins in 1981 and had his first 20-plus home run season in 1981. This would be the first of nine such seasons “Bruno” would enjoy in the majors. He hit 32 home runs for the Twins in 1984 which would serve as his single-season high. Brunansky was an all star the following year when he connected on 27 long balls and set a career high in RBIs (90). He hit 32 home runs again for Minnesota in 1987 but was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of the next season. Brunansky hit 20 home runs for St. Louis in 1989. That would be his last 20-home run season. He continued playing for the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers until 1994, reaching double digits in home runs in five of those seasons. Brunansky is renowned in Boston for a diving catch he made for the last out of the final game of the 1990 season that preserved a Red Sox win and got them into the playoffs. He reached the World Series with the Twins in 1987. He hit .200 as Minnesota defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.


Published by Chris

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

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