Thursday, July 12, 2012

1976 Topps Bobby Tolan

Last night I read a very interesting Hardball Times post on former Phils player Bobby Tolan. As I was digesting this article, I remembered that Tolan's '76 card was with the Padres and referred to him as "Bob"...of course I needed to fix that right away. After all, he did spend the entire 1976 season with the Phils, making 41 starts at first in his role backing up Dick Allen. He also started at least one game at all three outfield positions.

Here is how author Bruce Markusen described Bobby's brief time in red pinstripes:

After two mediocre seasons in Southern California, the Padres gave him his unconditional release. Unemployed for the first time since his pro debut in 1963, Tolan signed a bargain basement free agent deal with the Phillies.

Tolan hit .261 as a part-time outfielder for the Phillies, who advanced to the National League Championship Series before losing to Tolan’s former team in Cincinnati. But a terrible start to the 1977 season resulted in his release. Tolan cleared waivers and signed with the Pirates, but continued to struggle with a sub-.200 batting average and was allowed to become a free agent at season’s end.

To me, Tolan was such an memorable player for one reason: the crazy high level he held his hands at the plate. I really don't think his 1977 Phillies card does his unique batting stance the proper justice... I remember his hands being even higher. Of course, I attempted to mimic it during one of my little league games, struck out a couple of times. After being ridiculed by everyone watching, I changed to something less noticeable.


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