Swings and misses

1978 Topps

Gene Pentz pitched in 104 games for the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros, going 8-9 with seven saves in a four-year career. His best year came in 1976 with the Astros when he won three games, saved five more and finished with a 2.97 ERA. He pitched in 41 more games for Houston in 1977, winning five. But his effectiveness declined in 1978 which would be his last year in the majors.


1981 Topps

The 1972 National League Rookie of the Year, Jon Matlack won 125 games in 13 big-league seasons. He was an all star three times for the New York Mets from 1974-1976. He won 17 games in 1976 with a 2.95 ERA. He led the league in shutouts (6) that season and finished sixth in the Cy Young vote. He was part of a four-team trade in 1977 that saw him end up with the Texas Rangers. He won 15 games for the Rangers in 1978 but was limited by injuries the following season and never again regained his dominant form. He retired in 1983. Matlack took part in the 1973 World Series with the Mets. He made three starts against the Oakland A’s, going 1-2 with a 2.16 ERA. The Mets lost the series in seven games.

1982 Donruss

Best known for his fielding gaffe in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Bill Buckner was an all star and batting champion who played for 22 years in the majors, collecting 2,715 career hits along the way. He came up with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a 19-year old in 1969 and was a starter for Los Angeles until he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in a deal that sent Rick Monday and Mike Garman to the south side. Buckner enjoyed the most productive years of his career with Chicago. He led the league in hitting (.324) in 1980 and was an all star in 1981. He finished in the MVP vote four times while playing for the Cubs and twice led the NL in doubles. Chicago eventually sent him to the Boston Red Sox where he would have three solid seasons. He reached the World Series with the Red Sox in 1986 and it was there that he let a Mookie Wilson ground ball roll through his legs. The error was the culmination of Boston unraveling in the 10th inning of the game. They gave up a two-run lead and the Mets scored the winning run on Buckner’s error. New York closed out the series with a win in Game 7, denying the Red Sox their first World Series win in close to 70 years. The Red Sox traded Buckner to the California Angels the next year. He also made a stop with the Kansas City Royals before he ended up back in Boston in 1990 to conclude his career.

Letters to Darrell Evans and Jerry Turner were returned with bad addresses.

Published by Chris

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

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