Thursday, May 21, 2015

1976 Phillies SSPC cards

There's an interesting history behind the 1976 SSPC cards which I'm not going to go into in detail because there's a pretty good article about them here on baseballcardpedia.com. Although these cards have a copyright date of 1975, they weren't released until sometime in 1976 and are considered a 1976 set.

As I've mentioned here before, I wasn't a big baseball fan as a kid. Sure, I liked baseball, and since I lived in Philadelphia, the Phillies were my favorite team. But it wasn't until I was a young adult, around 1971, that I really became interested in baseball and the 1970's Phillies were my team.

In 1972, the Phillies were pretty sad sack, finishing with a 59-97 record and 6th in the old NL East. But that was their nadir. By 1976, they finished with a 101-61 record. In 1980 they will win the World Series and remain a dominating team for several years after.  They did it with a core of players who were with the team through out much of the decade. To me, these guys are the Phillies.

Of, course, Michael Jack Schmidt was the main guy. He hit 38 home runs with 107 rbis. He walked 100 times and had 705 plate appearances, only Dave Cash, their lead-off guy with 727, had more.

The next main guy is Steve Carlton. He was 20-7 with a 3.13 ERA and 2 shutouts in 1976. Some of the photos in the set are weird. It looks like the photo was snapped as Carlton was walking by. Given his prickly nature, he was probably saying "No photos" as he went by.

With Bowa, it was always about the defense. Sure he was a dependable bat, but you came to see him play shortstop. He turned 90 double plays in 1976.

To Schmidt's offense you can add 28 home runs, 95 rbis and a .304 batting average contributed by Luzinski.

for some reason, Garry Maddox is missing from this set, so I'm going to cheat and include his Topps cards. Where would the Phillies have been without the "Secretary of Defense". Can't you just hear Harry Kalas calling him that?

In 1976, Boone made his first of 3 appearances as a Phillie in the All-Star Game. There were 5 Phillies on that 1976 All-Star team, Dave Cash, Bob Boone, Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa and Mike Schmidt.  The Nationals won 7-1.

Tug brought his “Ya Gotta Believe” attitude to the Phillies in 1975. Relief pitching was not as important to the game then as it is now. McGraw only had 11 saves in 1976, sharing the closer duty with Gene Garber (who also had 11). But what Phillie phan can forget Tug's save of the last game of the 1980 World Series?

1 comment:

shlabotnikreport said...

I got into this set a couple of years ago when I bought a large lot of SSPC cards. The lot had been picked through, so I have few Phillies, Yankees or Red Sox. It's good to see what some of the Phillies cards look like.

...And thank you for properly calling the set 1976. I sometimes feel like I'm tilting at windmills on that subject; even COMC has it listed as 1975. :-/