Wednesday, August 12, 2015

DEDICATED "ROOKIE CARDS" #15: 1972 J.R. RICHARD

Always one of my favorite subjects for card creations, here's a "dedicated rookie" 1972 card for former Houston Astros fireballer J.R. Richard.


Richard appeared in his first four games during the 1971 season, and blew the MLB world wide-open when he struck out 15 batters in his first start.
It would take a few years, but he'd become the power-arm all-star by the 1975 season, and would go on to post two 300+ strikeout campaigns, four straight 200+ K years,  four straight seasons of 18+ wins (1976-1979), and an E.R.A. crown in 1979 before tragically having his career cut short in 1980 by a stroke.
His final numbers are indicative of what we could have expected well into the 1980's had he not been cut down at the age of 30: a 107-71 record with 1493 strikeouts and a 3.15 ERA in 238 games and 1606 innings.
It really would have been something to see Richard and Nolan Ryan team up to rack-up incredible numbers together.
One of the ultimate "what could have been" stories in baseball during my childhood for sure…

2 comments:

  1. One of the saddest moments of my youth...when J.R. went down for good. For some reason, though I was a Sox fan growing up in CT, I developed a like for the Astros (Expos and Royals too, but those are other stories). Hard to believe that with a healthy JR they wouldn't have beaten the Phillies in the NLCS that year. And can you imagine a rotation of Ryan, Scott and Richard in the mid-80s? The Sox might have crumbled before another NL club instead of the Mets! Even though J.R. was fortunate enough to survive his incident, it was all too similar to the tragic death of Don Wilson in, what, early '75? How about a rotation including Wilson, Richard and Ryan in 1980? What could have been....

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  2. Just a glimpse of greatness. JR Richard and Nolan Ryan were as formidable one-two pairing as just about any in history. Such a sad and unusual situation. I can remember Joe Morgan saying how hard it was for him to hit off of Richard and was glad to be on the Astros in 1980 and not have to face him anymore.

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