If you're someone who grew up in the late-70's/early-80's like me and followed baseball somewhat seriously, you always came back to George Fosters 50-homer season of 1977 from time to time since he was the only guy to achieve such a feat in your lifetime.
52 homers in 1977. It was just awesome, and to many younger fans out there who may not believe it, it really seemed for a while that no one would hit 50+ homers again since we had home run leaders consistently in the high 30's in the early-80's.
When the 1978 set came out my friends and I were shocked when there wasn't some sort of "highlight" card for Foster's power display.
Well, 26 years later, here's one I designed:
Just imagine it: Foster's 52 home run season was the only 50+ homer season between Willie May's 52 homers in 1965 and Cecil Fielder's 1990 total of 51.
ONE player in 25 years managed to top 50 homers in the Major Leagues.
What a season Foster had for the Cincinnati Reds that year!
Following M.V.P. years in the decade by teammates Johnny Bench (70,72), Pete Rose (73) and Joe Morgan (75,76), Foster came up HUGE, slamming those 52 home runs while also hitting for average at a .320 clip, with 197 hits, a league-leading 124 runs scored and a whopping 149 runs batted in.
Those numbers made him the sixth Red's M.V.P. In the '70's, and pushed Foster to the top of the heap after finishing second in voting the previous year.
For a while there he was an R.B.I. machine, driving in 90+ every year but one between 1976 and 1983.
His 1981 season is often overlooked, as he drove in 90 runs, just one off the league lead (Mike Schmidt had 91) in only 108 games, along with 22 homers, good for third in the league.
The following year he signed with the Mets as a free agent, becoming the first $2 million a year player in Big League history.
It wasn't until Kirby Puckett in 1989 that we would see a $3 million dollar a year player (followed about a week later by Rickey henderson actually).
His four+ years with the Mets were decent, but he never had that "all-star" year the folks at Shea were hoping for, and he did catch some grief for it.
Nevertheless he had a decent 18-year career overall, finishing with just under 2000 hits, 348 homers and 1239 runs batted in with a .274 batting average.
Throw in five all-star selections, an M.V.P., and a solid cog in the "Big Red Machine" Reds of the mid-70's and he certainly left his mark on the game for the era.
If you're liking this "highlights" thread on my blog, keep an eye out for the next one, which shines a light on Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, who both reached 3000 hits during 1970, leading to a 1971 card I designed celebrating the two.