Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Redux Project: 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt shared his first baseball card with fellow NL rookies Ron Cey and John Hilton. Cey went on to have a solid career making six All Star appearances and blasting 316 home runs. John (Dave) Hilton was the #1 overall pick in the 1971 draft and accumulated a .216 batting average in 161 major league games before heading to Japan. For my 1973 redux card, I decided to give him his own card.

Following his 1972 cameo appearance, Paul Owens and the Phillies must have felt Mike Schmidt was ready to be their everyday third baseman. The club traded the popular Don Money to the Milwaukee Brewers to open a spot for him.

As his first full big league season unfolded, it was clear they may have jumped to gun. To put it simply.... Schmidt struggled. He played in 132 games and hit .196, the worst average among major league regular position players. He struck out in an astonishing 37.1% of his at bats. However, he did demonstrate his power potential with 18 home runs.

From an August 1974 Sports Illustrated article:
Last year Schmidt was swinging too hard, pulling away from the pitch and trying to jerk everything over the left-field fence. He did hit 18 homers, but Manager Danny Ozark had so little faith in him that once, with first and second open and a man on third, Ozark had the runner break for the plate on a grounder hit directly at the third baseman. The man was thrown out easily, and the manager explained his unorthodox tactics by saying, " Schmidt was the next hitter and he strikes out a lot."


JFK19142 said...

According to none other than Bill James, Schmidt's rookie season may have been the worst of any ballplayer who went on to a Hall of Fame career. Among the others: Ty Cobb (1905 - age 18) and Bob Gibson (1959 - age 23)

Post a Comment