Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mike Schmidt - 1974

It is no secret to those who know me that Mike Schmidt is my favorite baseball player. Contrary to most fans, I wasn't much of a baseball fan as a kid. I started to be interested in the very early 1970s which coincided with the growth of the Phillies (I lived in Philadelphia) team which would eventually win the 1980 World Series. Mike Schmidt was a huge part of that team as it got better and better through the 1970s. Schmidt would go on to dominate the 3rd base position and also hit over 500 home runs (back when this was pretty rare).

I already posted his 1973 rookie card. Mike was the Phillies 2nd round draft pick in 1971 and cracked the majors in 1972 for 13 games. The Phillies were not very good in 1972, finishing with a record of 59 and 97. Over their long history the Phillies have had a lot of terrible teams and this was one of the worst. Of course, a franchise doesn't get to lose over 10,000 games without have a few bad seasons. So even thought Mike didn't have a good year, no Phillie had a good year in 1972 except of course Steve Carlton, who was 27-10.

He didn't look too good in 1972 but the Phillies brought him up again in 1973. This also was not a great season. He played 132 games, hit for a 0.196 average and 18 home runs. 1973 would be a better season for the Phillies, with a record of 71-91. Not great by any means but better.

The 1974 Phillies showed more improvement with an 80-82 season. 1974 turned out to be a breakout season for Schmidt however. He hit for average (0.282) and hit 36 home runs, which was good for 1st in the NL. He would go on to lead the league in home runs in 8 seasons. The photo on this card looks to have been taken at spring training. Today, one of the practice fields at the Phillies complex in Florida is named for Mike Schmidt.

This will be the first of a series. Eventually I will post all 205 Schmidt card which I own. I'll probably have to keep this blog going for years to finish this series.

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