Friday, June 6, 2014

MISSING IN ACTION- 1978 WAYNE SIMPSON

Wayne Simpson absolutely BURST onto the Major League scene back in 1970, winning 13 of his first 14 decisions, including a one-hitter, a two-hitter and a three-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds.
By July 26th of that year he had 14 wins, but because of arm troubles ended the year with a 14-3 record with a 3.02 earned run average.
Turns out the arm problems were serious enough to curtail his career right from the start, as he'd never pitch a full season for the Reds over the next few years.
After landing in Kansas City for the 1973 season, Simpson didn't fare much better, going 3 and 4 with a 5.73 E.R.A. over 16 games, 10 of which were starts.
He never saw any Major League action in 1974, and in 1975 he was now in Philadelphia, appearing in seven games, five of which were starts for the Phillies, going 1-0 with a 3.23 E.R.A., pitching 30.2 innings.
However more arm troubles caused him to miss the 1976 season, and in 1977 he found himself on yet another team, the California Angels.
It turned out he would start the most games next to his stellar rookie season for his career, toeing the rubber 23 times, 27 games total.
Though the numbers weren't stellar, he did pitch 122 innings with a 6-12 record and 5.83 E.R.A., pretty much a full season, or enough to warrant a card in the 1978 Topps set the following year.
But he never made it into the set, or into another Major League game.
But it would have been nice to have a card for him in the set anyway.
So let me present my "missing" 1978 Wayne Simpson card, showing him as an Angel, looking quite intimidating actually:


Simpson is always included in any article regarding pitchers who made an immediate splash in the Majors, along with others like Von McDaniel or Karl Spooner.
Sadly all it amounted to for Simpson was a sporadic 6 year career, finishing with a 36-31 record with a 4.37 E.R.A., two shutouts (both in his rookie year), and 353 strikeouts.

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