1975 Topps #293 - Dick Sharon
Dick Sharon gets us started with a colorful '75 Topps buyback. His MLB career was a brief one, consisting of two seasons with the Tigers ('73 and '74) and one with the Padres ('75). Sharon competed in a total of 242 games and has a lifetime batting average of just .218.
1976 Topps #319 - Larry Gura
Larry Gura was a starting pitcher who began his career with short stints with the Cubs and Yankees, before catching on with the Royals for a 10-year stint. During that run with Kansas City he at one point achieved double digits in wins for seven consecutive seasons. He was selected as an All-Star once in his career, in 1980. This one makes the cut as my very first #319 buyback.
1977 Topps #564 - Alan Ashby
1977 Topps #259 - New York Mets
Continuing along with the little stretch of '77 buybacks here we have the Mets team card. 1977 was a year that I'm sure Mets fans would prefer to forget. Joe Frazier, pictured here as the manager, was let go after a 15-30 start. His replacement, player/manager Joe Torre, didn't fare much better and the team finished dead last in the division. As far as this project goes though, I was missing a #259 buyback, so a last place finish is still good enough to make the franken-set binder (for now).
1977 Topps #284 - Mike Norris
Mike Norris was an interesting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics. He's best remembered for his amazing 1980 season, when he went 22-9 with an astounding 24 complete games! He lost out on the AL Cy Young to Steve Stone of the Orioles, though you can certainly make a case that Norris may have been more deserving.
A combination of a heavy workload that resulted in arm issues and a cocaine addiction resulted in Norris being out of the Major Leagues by 1983. Surprisingly, he made a comeback as a relief pitcher a full seven years later in 1990, pitching 27 innings out of the pen that year. Mike makes the franken-set uncontested as well.
1977 Topps #310 - Larry Bowa
Here's another '77 buyback, featuring current Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa. Larry was a very solid defensive shortstop, winning multiple Gold Gloves at the position. 1977 was actually the only season between '74 and '79 where Larry wasn't voted an All-Star in the NL. He was an integral part of the team that finally brought a World Series championship to Philly in 1980. Without another #310 to compete with, this one makes the franken-set as well.
1977 Topps #19 - John D'Acquisto
It's somewhat amazing that John D'Acquisto actually received a card depicting him with the Cardinals, as he played in just three games with the team before being dealt to the Padres. He was known as a fastball guy, and at one time was said to have thrown every bit as hard as fireballers like Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver. After retiring he served a four-year prison sentence for his part in some financial scheme (though he has maintained his innocence and claimed he was set-up as a "fall guy").
1972 Topps #382 - Joe Gibbon
Joe Gibbon actually began his Major League Baseball career back in 1960 with the World Series champion Pirates squad. His final time on the mound was in July of 1972, and this is actually his last Topps card.
1972 Topps #84 - Vince Colbert
Vince Colbert saw a mix of spot starts and bullpen action with the Indians between 1970 and 1972. He finished his career with a 9-14 record and an ERA over 4.50. Not much to write home about, though I do like the font used on the Indians jerseys during this time period.
1972 Topps #217 - Roger Metzger
Roger Metzger patrolled shortstop for the Astros for a good stretch of the 1970s. He was known more for his fielding prowess than for his bat, as was common at the time for the position. Metzger did manage to win one Gold Glove during his career, in 1973. I really like the perspective of the photograph on this card, but as the franken-set goes Roger drew an absolutely brutal match-up:
1971 Topps #79 - Wade Blasingame
Wade Blasingame pitched for the Braves, Astros and Yankees over the course of a 10-year career at the MLB level. It's a little fuzzy in the photograph, but I love the Astros shoulder patch that he's sporting here. 79 has been a popular number lately as this project goes, let's see who Wade is up against for franken-set glory:
1971 Topps #113 - Jerry Crider
I have no idea what happened to this Jerry Crider card in the days before it was re-acquired and stamped by Topps, but this is the definition of well-worn cardboard. Honestly, it looks like this card was crumpled into a ball at least once during its existence. Jerry Crider's last MLB appearance was actually with the White Sox in September of 1970, making this a "sunset" card.
1978 Topps #5 - Pete Rose Record Breaker
Here's the last card for today, and the final card from this lot. It's not every day that I'm able to add a HOF buyback to the binder, but in this case Pete Rose slid right into the middle pocket on the first page. At some point this one is going to create a dilemma for me, as I'm hoping to start off the franken-set with buybacks of the 5-card Nolan Ryan tribute that kicked off the 1990 Topps set.
For now though, I'm honored to have the all-time hit king included in my set, especially when it's a buyback commemorating Rose setting the record for most career hits for a switch hitter!
Well, that's it for today. For those of you whose teams didn't get to play yesterday, enjoy your Opening Day today!
Franken-set Progress: 372/792 (46%)
"Rejected" Buybacks: 161
Total Buybacks in Collection: 533