Thursday, March 7, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1979 Topps #537 Tom Veryzer

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, March 7, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1979 Topps #537.
  • Player Name, position, team: Tom Veryzer, shortstop, Cleveland Indians.
  • Major League Debut: August 14, 1973.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1978 stats (Indians): 130 G, 421 AB, 48 R, 114 H, 18 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 32 RBI, .271 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Tigers #1st, June 1971. Traded by the Tigers to the Indians 12/09/1977. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 13. This is his fifth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Tied for Southern League lead in Sacifice Flies with 7 at Montgomery in 1972. Led Appalachian League shortstops with .915 Fielding Percentage at Bristol, 1971. Traded to Tribe, 12-9-77."
  • Commentary: The picture may be blurry upon close inspection (this was before the days of digital photography remember), but the card does show a nice action shot of today's subject at the plate following the flight path of the ball. Tom Veryzer was a pretty good fielding shortstop whose career spanned from the 70's through the early 80's. If it wasn't for timing, his career could have continued past 1984, but alas it was not to be. On the strength of a strong 1975 season in which he had 102 hits in 404 at bats (a .252 average), of which 5 were home runs, Veryzer was named to Topps 1975 All-Star Rookie Team. His 1976 card includes the famous Topps Rookie Cup. While his hitting was not the greatest (his 1977 average was below the Mendoza Line at .197), his fielding made it hard to take him out of the starting lineup. However, the Tigers had a player waiting in the wings that would eventually lockdown the Tigers shortstop issues for a very long time by the name of Alan Trammell that made Veryzer expendable. He was traded in December of that year to the Indians for outfielder Charlie Spikes. With the Tribe, Veryzer found his hitting stroke, and after taking over the shortstop role in May, formed one of the better infield tandems in the American League. In 1979, even though his hitting slumped, he had his best season with the glove. He hit a paltry .220 with 34 rbi's and a .533 OPS, but had an outstanding .974 fielding percentage and was credited for 90 double plays in 148 games at short. Tendinitis took a toll on him in 1980, but he did finish with a .271 average and .971 fielding percentage. He was traded to the Mets in January of 1982, but with Ron Gardenhire and Wally Backman holding down the short and second, Veryzer appeared in only 40 games that season. He was traded off to the Cubs before the 1983 started, but as the Cubs had Larry Bowa and some kid named Ryne Sandberg in the infield at Wrigley, Tom remained a backup infielder, seeing limited playing time with Chicago as well. He made his only postseason appearance with that magical 1984 NL East Champion team (just being a part of that team endears him to Cub fans everywhere, regardless of how many games he played. However, the Cubs had a number one draft pick waiting in the wings to take over the shortstop role on the north side. Shawon Dunston made the jump to the majors in 1985, demoting Bowa to a reserve role and leaving Veryzer out of a job. It would be Tom Veryzer's last run in the majors. He finished his career with a batting average of .241, 14 home runs, 231 rbi's, and an OPS of .577. On the back of Veryzer's Topps card, Topps included a "Baseball Dates" section. The date highlighted on his card was April 13, 1925, and on that day, "Walter Johnson hurled 1-0, 15-inning shutout." However, baseball-reference has this game actually taking place on April 13, 1926.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.10-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 12 cards.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1976 Topps #589. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Until tomorrow everybody.


JayBee Anama

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