Saturday, April 20, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1977 Topps #495 Al Hrabosky

(Due to the flooding that occurred in my neighborhood on Thursday, April 18, 2013, I was not able to get this post out at the scheduled time. I am just catching up now.)

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, April 20, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1977 Topps #495.
  • Player Name, position, team: Al Hrabosky, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Major League Debut: June 16, 1970.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1976 stats (Cardinals): 68 G, 95 IP, 8-6, 42 R, 35 ER, 73 SO, 39 BB, 3.32 ERA.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the Cardinals #1st, February 1969. Bats: right. Throws: left.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 11. This is his sixth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "Al was N.L. Fireman of Year in 1975 & led loop with .813 Pct. Had distinction of defeating Dodgers 3 times."
  • Commentary: Okay Cardinals fans, I have a question for you. Have the Cardinals brought back the cap that "The Mad Hungarian" is wearing on this card for any promotions or throwback days? I was in St. Louis last month and passed by the Cardinals Team Shop at Union Station and don't think I saw this cap on the shelf? Is this an actual baseball cap or was this in the pillbox style that the Pirates wore for many years? I can't tell here, can someone enlighten me? Anyway, Al earned the nickname "Mad Hungarian" thanks to a combination of his heritage, his demeanor on the mound, and the way he intimidated batters who had no choice but to face him towards the end of ball games throughout the 70's. His best season came in 1975 when he went 13-3, with 22 saves, an ERA of 1.66, and 82 strikeouts in 65 games. In 1977, his final season with the Cardinals, he pitched in 65 games, finishing 39 of them, claimed an 6-5 record with 10 saves, 68 k's, and an ERA of 4.38 in 86.1 innings of work. Why the decline in numbers? Could it have been because new Cards skipper Vern Rapp demanded that Al cut his hair and shave the moustache? With the source of his intimidation gone, the Cardinals thought it would best if they cut ties (see what I did there???) with the Samson-like closer. He was traded across the state to the Royals for Mark Littell and Buck Martinez at the end of the season. The change of scenery did him a world of good because in two seasons with KC, the closer saved 31 games of the 84 games he finished, earned a 17-11 record, struck out 99, had a cumulative ERA of 3.28. He signed with the Braves as a free agent in 1979, and spent three seasons in the Braves' bullpen, although not as the de facto closer. After one season with the White Sox' minor league team in Denver, the Mad Hungarian called it a career. He did return to the Cardinals organization in 1985, providing color commentary for Cardinals games ever since.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.30-$0.75.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 11.
Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1963 Topps #245. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.


JayBee Anama

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