Sunday, November 16, 2014

THE "WHO HUNGARIAN"?: 1973 AL HRABOSKY...WHY?

A little while back as I was researching Al Hrabosky's career for my "Nickname" card design, I noticed that Topps gave him a card in the 1973 set, check it out:


What's odd is that Hrabosky appeared in only five games in 1972, good for 7 innings of work.
Strange that he was given a slot in the set, no?
This was before he'd become one of the National League's best relievers a couple of years later, and gain a reputation as a "character" with a great nickname to go along with it.
As a matter of fact, the season before (1971), he only appeared in one game, for only two innings. So we're looking at a player who appeared in a combined six games with nine innings of work over the previous two years, yet he got a card nonetheless.
Really odd.
But for Hrabosky, 1973 would be the beginning of his run as a solid man out of the pen, appearing in 44 games and posting a sparkling 2.09 earned run average with five saves and 57 K's in 56 innings.
His next two seasons of 1974 and 1975 would be the best of his 13-year career, as he went a combined 21-9 with 35 saves, posting E.R.A.'s of 2.95 and 1.66 over 130 games.
He'd retire after the 1982 season, pitching for the Atlanta Braves, ending with a nice 64-35 career record with a 3.10 E.R.A., 97 saves and 548 strikeouts over 545 games.
And of course with one of the more colorful nicknames of that time period, "The Mad Hungarian".

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