Swings and misses

1954 Topps

Paul Smith appeared in 223 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, hitting .270 with seven home runs. He came up with the Pirates in 1953 and had the best year of his career, posting a .283 average with four home runs and 44 RBIs. Smith did not play in the majors (or the minors) from 1954-1956, although neither his baseball reference nor Wikipedia page offer an explanation for where he was. He was back with the Pirates in 1957, playing in 81 games and hitting three more home runs. His playing time dropped off from there and his last appearances in the majors came with the Cubs in 1958.

1974 Topps

Lerrin LaGrow pitched for 10 seasons in the big leagues, going 34-55 with 54 saves and a 4.11 ERA. His career lasted from 1970-1980 and he played for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. LaGrow was a starter for the Tigers and lost 19 games in 1974. He pitched out of the bullpen for the White Sox and had a couple solid years for them, saving 25 games in 1977 and 16 more in 1978.

1984 Fleer

The National League’s leader in shutouts in 1985, John Tudor won 117 games during a 12-year career that saw him pitch for four different teams from 1979-1990. Tudor came up with the Boston Red Sox and was a 13-game winner for the team in 1982 and 1983. After spending a year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals and had the best season of his career in 1985. He went 21-8 with a 1.93 ERA and 10 shutouts. Surprisingly, Tudor only finished second in the Cy Young vote that season as the award went to the New York Mets Dwight Gooden, who had more wins and a lower ERA than Tudor. Tudor went on to post double-digit wins for the next three seasons, but injuries soon derailed his career, which ended after a 12-win season for the Cardinals in 1990. Tudor pitched in the World Series three times. He won two games for the Cardinals against the Kansas City Royals in 1985, but the Cardinals lost the series in seven games. He was 1-1 for the Cardinals in the 1987 World Series, which they lost to the Minnesota Twins in seven games. He finally got a ring as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. While he pitched in just one game, and did not start, the Dodgers beat the Oakland A’s in five games to win the world championship.

Published by Chris

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

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