Thursday, March 14, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1980 Topps #187 Alan Ashby

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Thursday, March 14, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1980 Topps #187.
  • Player Name, position, team: Alan Ashby, catcher, Houston Astros.
  • Major League Debut: July 3, 1973.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1979 stats (Astros): 108 G, 336 AB, 25 R, 68 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 35 RBI, .202 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Indians #3rd, June 1969. Traded by the Blue Jays to the Astros 11/27/1978. Bats: both. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 14. This is his fifth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Ranked among A.L. catching leaders in Assists and Double Plays at Toronto during 1978 season. Threw out 53% of the runners trying to steal against him, 1978."
  • Commentary: Forget the fact that the headshot does not show the awesome late 70's Astros jersey (this being the one with the hot color "rainbow" stripes that went across the front of the jersey). But the hair, the mustache, it screams 70's fashion. Just what is he looking at anyway? And look at the clean and clear signature. That's a rarity nowadays on cards with facsimile autographs. After six seasons and 400 games in the American League, Alan Dean Ashby came to Houston in a trade that sent three players to Toronto (which shows that the Astros really wanted/needed a catcher) for the 1980 campaign. While Ashby wasn't the best offensive catching option out there, he certainly was among the best defensively. As the back of the card indicates, he had a cannon for an arm, and many daring base runners trying to steal a base off of him were sent back to the dugout with their heads hung down. In his first year in Houston, 31 runners were called out trying to steal, and one more was picked off base. In 1980, he started to show a bit more offense at the plate. In 116 games, Ashby hit for a .256 average with 3 home runs, 48 rbi's, and an OPS of .665. Defensively, he had a fielding percentage of .991 (6 errors in 674 chances), caught 27 runners napping on base, and even started 10 double plays. The only knock on him that year was that he led the league's catchers with 14 passed balls. He would stay on with the Astros throughout the 80's, with highlights including catching no hitters from Nolan Ryan (1981) and Mike Scott (1986). He also helped guide the 1986 pitching staff to lead the NL in strikeouts and second in ERA. He had his best season in 1987, hitting career highs in average (.288), home runs (14), and rbi's (63). He also led the league's catchers in fielding percentage (.993). But after that incredible season, his playing time started to decrease. By 1989, with Craig Biggio taking over the catching duties full-time, the Astros released Alan Ashby, and thus, he ended his playing career. Since then, Ashby began a career in broadcasting, first as a Sports Director and Anchor for a local Houston TV station. In between TV gigs, he managed the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the independent Texas-Louisiana League. He joined the Houston Astros' organization as manager of the team's A-league affiliate in Kissimmee. He would go on to join the major league coaching staff in 1997 as the team's bullpen coach. An opening in the Astros' radio booth prompted Ashby to return to broadcasting in 1998, and he stayed on in that role until 2006. He continued his radio career with another former team, the Blue Jays, in 2007, staying with the team until 2012. When Jim Deshaies left the Astros' TV booth for Chicago, Ashby resigned from his post in Toronto and in 2013 will return to broadcast Astros' games, this time for television. In 2012, the Houston Astros selected an All-Time 25-Man roster. Ashby was named the team's starting catcher.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.10-$0.25.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 14.

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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