Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1980 Topps #225 Lou Piniella

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Tuesday, February 26, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1980 Topps #225.
  • Player Name, position, team: Lou Piniella, outfielder, New York Yankees.
  • Major League Debut: September 4, 1964.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1979 stats (Yankees): 130 G, 461 AB, 49 R, 137 H, 22 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 69 RBI, .297 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Indians as a Free Agent 06/09/1962. Traded by the Royals to the Yankees 12/07/1973. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 34 (19 as a player, 15 as a manager). This is his fifteenth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Hit .372 as DH during 1978 season."
  • Commentary: Normally, when a player appears on more than one multi-player rookie card, that player isn't going to last long in the majors. Lou Piniella appeared in THREE multi-player "Rookie Stars" cards, and of the three, two were with teams that he never actually played. His rookie card comes from the 1964 Topps set as a member of the Washington Senators, paired with catcher Mike Brumley. But let me explain how he got to Washington (almost). He signed with the Indians in 1962, but the Washington Senators (the second version of the team), selected him in a special first-year draft. In August of 1964, Lou was the PTBNL (player-to-be-named-later) in a trade that was consummated earlier in the year with the Orioles. He made his MLB debut with the Orioles that year, appearing in four games with one plate appearance. He remained in the O's minor league system until 1966 when he was traded to the Indians (the team he had signed with in the first place). But once again, until the end of the 1967 season, remained in the Tribe's minor league system. In the 1968 Topps set, he was paired with Indians catching prospect Richie Scheinblum. This time, he was called up to the big league team, appearing in six games, all but one in a pinch-hitting or pinch-running role. At the end of the year, Cleveland exposed Lou to the expansion draft, and this time, the Seattle Pilots selected him as their 14th pick. While he did suit up for the Pilots in spring training (thus, his 1969 Rookie Star card with infielder Marv Staehle), he was traded on April 1, 1969 to the Kansas City Royals. By this time, even Lou had to wonder if baseball was going to be a good career choice. But the Royals stuck with the outfielder, and in his first full season in the majors, six years after making his big league debut, Piniella hit .282 with 11 home runs, 68 rbi's, and owned an OPS of .741. He committed just seven errors in 298 chances for a fielding percentage of .977. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year that year, and was also selected to Topps 1969 All-Star Rookie Team. In five seasons and 700 games with the Royals, Lou became an All-Star, hit 45 home runs, drove in 348 rbi's, and hit .286. In December of 1973, the Royals sent Piniella to the New York Yankees, showing that the KC/NY pipeline still existed, this time with KC's second major league team. With the Yankees, Lou became the Bombers' primary left fielder (he did play in right field from time to time, with some days as the DH). He appeared in 3 straight World Series, helping the Yankees to two championships. In 1980, Piniella hit .287 with 2 home runs and 27 rbi's and a OPS of .704. The Yankees returned to the playoffs in 1980, but lost in the ALCS to...the Kansas City Royals. He played for parts of four more seasons with New York, finishing an 11 year run with a high .295 average, 57 home runs, and 417 rbi's before calling a career. In 1986, Lou began an even longer career as a MLB manager, first with the New York Yankees. He would go on to a phenomenal and extremely well documented 23-year career as a big league skipper. Taking the helm of five teams (the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Devil Rays, and Cubs), teams under "Sweet Lou's" leadership went 1835-1713. In 1990, his first with the Reds, Lou led the team to their first World Series title since 1976.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.30-$0.75.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 32.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1981 Topps #508. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. We're looking back at a card from 1981 here on the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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