Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Here's a "missing" 1978 card for Bobby Tolan, who was wrapping up his nice career by the end of the 1970's.
Check out my card design:

Tolan appeared in 64 games in 1977, 15 with the Philadelphia Phillies and 49 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, good for 97 plate appearances and 90 at-bats.
He hit .189 with 17 hits, eight runs scored and 10 runs batted in, with a single stolen base.
His best years were with the Cincinnati Reds between 1969 and 1973, topping .300 a couple of times and leading the league in stolen bases in 1970 with 57 and even slamming 21 home runs in 1969 with 93 runs batted in.
Sadly for him, he was traded to the San Diego padres for pitcher Clay Kirby after the 1973 season, thereby missing out on the tremendous "Big Red Machine" run the next few years, and being a part of two world champion teams.
Dig the awesome 1970's sideburns-into-'stache going on with him on this 1978 card! Love it!
He'd actually make one more "comeback" of sorts in 1979, this time for the Padres, appearing in 22 games before retiring for good after not playing in the Big Leagues in 1978.
In all he'd finish with a .265 average with 193 steals and 1121 hits over 1282 games and 4238 at-bats, as well as a World Series ring as a member of the 1967 St. Louis Cardinals, when they defeated the Boston Red Sox.


  1. Great card. I forgot he ended up in Pittsburgh. His demise was a torn hamstring suffered during a charity basketball game during the off season in either 1970 or 71. Not sure if he was really ever the same after that.

    The Reds dropped to fourth in 1971 and a big part of that was due to his absence. The acquisition of Joe Morgan in 1972 gave the Reds speed at the top of the lineup and having Hal McRae probably made Tolan expendable at that point. The continuing nagging injuries to Don Gullett and Gary Nolan made more pitching a necessity in 1973. Tolan hit .269 in the 72 Series vs the A's.

  2. Just when I think you have peaked with your "Missing in Action", you find another gem. Love it!

  3. Your comment about Tolan missing out on the 1975/1976 Big Red Machine teams interested me, so I decided to look Tolan up to see what happened...because 1) Kirby didn't do much for those Reds teams and 2) Tolan probably could have beaten out Cesar Geronimo to play CF if he performed better in 1972/1973 (although I am not sure how Bobby's defense was at the time and as we know, Cesar was one of the best patrolling CF). I looked Bobby up in Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt), and it said the following:

    "1973 was a disastrous year for Tolan, one in which his batting average plummeted to .206. He became a malcontent and had several squabbles with Reds management, who were still unhappy with his 1971 basketball injury. Tolan also went AWOL for two days in August and broke team rules by growing a beard. On September 27, the team suspended Tolan for the remainder of the season. The Reds won yet another division title but the suspension forced Tolan to miss the NLCS, which the Reds lost to the New York Mets. At the end of the season the Reds traded Tolan to the Padres for pitcher Clay Kirby. After the trade the Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance on Tolan's behalf. During the 1974 season, in which he batted .266 in 95 games, he learned that he had won his grievance. Tolan demanded that the Reds publicly apologize to him because his name had been slandered but never got the apology."

    Yikes! Boy, that went downhill fast.

  4. I forgot about all of that other stuff. Wow.

    I would imagine Tolan's suspension one week before the playoffs had a negative effect on the Reds. They lost to the Mets 3 games to 2 as they hit .186 in the '73 NLCS. Geronimo and Ed Arbrister combined to go 2-19 for the series.

  5. Also with Tolan on the team, the Reds were a fun team to try to emulate as a kid. You had Pete's exaggerated crouch, Tolan holding the bat skyward and Joe Morgan's arm flap among others. We'd keep each other entertained in the summer by imitating those guys.

  6. Tolan, never known for his hustle or prowess in the field, made 2 key outfield errors in game 7 of the 1972 World Series against the A's. The first, a dropped fly ball in the first inning, gave Oakland a 1-0 lead. Then in the 6th with the score tied, he tripped over his own legs/feet while tracking another fly ball that let 2 more runs score. The Reds would go on to lose that game 3-2 and thus the World Series. Tolan was single-handedly responsible for all three A's runs. He was doomed in Cincy after that series...

    1. Well, that answers the last question I would have had about if Tolan could have beaten out Cesar Geronimo in CF...obviously not! Cesar ended up being perfect for the Big Red Machine with his great defense surrounded by all of that offense. Plus he actually put together a couple of nice hitting seasons (as a bonus) during his time on the Reds.



Everything baseball: cards, events, history and more.