Friday, December 12, 2014

TRADED: 1977 TONY PEREZ

Even though Tony Perez was correctly shown as a Montreal Expos player in the OPC and Topps Cloth sets of 1977, he was still a Cincinnati Reds player on his "regular" Topps card.
So with that in mind I went and designed a "Traded" card for him as part of my traded thread.
Take a look:


Perez was sent to Montreal along with pitcher Will McEnaney for two guys out of the bullpen: Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray.
Now, I don't really remember the reasoning for this trade (Tony! Help me out here!), but it seems ABSURD all these years later.
Nevertheless, the "Big Dog" kept on producing for the next four years (three with the Expos and one with the Boston Red Sox in 1980) before becoming a solid veteran bat off the bench between 1982 and 1986 with Boston, Philadelphia and back in Cincinnati before retiring.
All told, he put together a magnificent 23 years career, collecting over 2700 hits, 375 home runs, 1600 runs batted in, and a .279 lifetime batting average.
He was also named to seven all-star teams and got Most Valuable Player attention in seven seasons.
It took a long while, but he was eventually elected into the Hall of Fame in 2000, joining former teammates Joe Morgan, Sparky Anderson and Johnny Bench, with Dave Concepcion and Pete Rose still out in the cold.
As I've stated earlier on this blog, I was always fascinated that former "Big Red Machine" skipper Anderson considered the Perez trade a severe blow to the Reds' continued dominance of Major League ball after 1976.
Here's a team that pretty much had their entire squad intact, and even picked up TOM SEAVER in June of 1977, but could never make it back to the top of the baseball world.
A good idea of how important Perez was…

6 comments:

  1. Gio, the reason was Dan Driessen. He had a great World Series as DH and I think they felt that he could handle the load for that fifth or six hole in the batting order. Sparky was convinced they would have won the World Series in 1977 and 1978 had Perez been there. That group (Rose, Perez and Bench) all came up through the Reds system. Morgan fit in immediately. Perez was a mentor to the Latino players and all of a sudden he was gone. Driessen never really lived up to those lofty expectations while Doggie proved his worth by being productive for the next five or six seasons. A sad, sad day for a young guy that loved the Big Dog.

    Nice card by the way. I always liked the Expos unis too.

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  2. And what sucks too is that Woody Fryman "retired" to his farm during the middle of the season. I think there were issues between him and Sparky. So the trade was really a bust all the way around for the Reds.

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  3. Tony is correct. I grew up in Cincinnati during the 70s and was devastated upon hearing about the trade. We knew it was a possibility though as Driessen seemed ready to shine somewhere in the Reds lineup after a few years of squandering opportunities at 3rd. When Pete moved to third in '75 to open up left field for Foster, the only position left for the seemingly natural hitter Driessen was 1st base. Perez was getting older and management thought they'd trade him while there was some value left in his bat. Tony was the glue that held together all of the big egos on the team (Morgan, Pete, Bench) so his departure changed the dynamics of the clubhouse. Sparky even noted it during spring training commenting several times that the clubhouse seems different. There was no "sheriff" around. Driessen hit .300 that year but that was his peak and hovered around .250 the rest of his career. Fryman, as Tony noted, never panned out. Dale Murray was good but we didn't need relievers. When Tony came back in 1984 he was still productive. I remember that when Pete returned later that season as player-manager that the two platooned at first base and for the next year and a half that was a very productive position in the Reds lineup with Pete starting against right-handers and Doggie against lefties.

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  4. On a side note, I believe the photo you used for the card was taken at Riverfront. I recall being at the first game Perez played here as an Expo and the amazing ovation he received as he came to bat for the first time. He was my all-time favorite Red and I believe he has the distinction of being a player or coach on more Reds World Series teams than anyone else ('70, '72, '75, '76, '90).

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  6. Well done RAJ. And yes it does look like Riverfront. I was glad and sad when Doggie stood next to Pete at first when he got his 3000th hit in 1978. That was a poke in the eye to the brain trust that decided to trade him.

    I also liked (and hated) the Sports Illustrated cover of Pete, Tony and lil Joe together in Philly in 1983. Seven years later and Perez is in the World Series again. WTH!!!

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