Monday, August 31, 2015


"Sudden Sam" McDowell is the next player up in the ongoing "1976 Project" for Reader Jim.
Though I created a 1975 card for him using the same photo, I had to relent and use the image again, cleaned up and improved, for the 1976 version.
Take a look:

McDowell really should have had a card in the 1975 set, that is a no-brainer. But a 1976 edition would be more of a "Career Capper", closing out a brilliant, if not tumultuous, 15-year career that saw him  lead the American League in strikeouts five times, while also pacing the league in walks issued in equal amounts.
He'd finish with 141 career wins along with a 3.17 earned run average and 2453 strikeouts, with two 300+ seasons under his belt.
In 1970 he posted his only 20-win season, and in 1965 he led the A.L. with a 2.18 ERA, but it was those strikeouts, as in 325 in 1965, 304 in 1970, 283 in 1968 and 279 in 1969 that made him stand out of the pitching crowd.
A six-time all-star, his career was sadly derailed when he hit 30 years  of age, pitching for the Giants, Yankees and Pirates, never topping more than six wins in any season.
Who knows "what could have been" had he been able to stay healthy...


  1. I don't care that you used the same photo for your '75 Topps version of Sam McDowell. Just like J. Cabrera says (see above comment), this is a cool card. I honestly wasn't aware that he even deserved a '76 Topps card. Anyway, too bad things went downhill for him after the trade for Gaylord Perry.

  2. Great card Gio! With 34 IPs in the first 3 months of the '75 season, he deserves a card in my book...literally and figuratively.

  3. By "stay healthy", you mean "not drink himself into a coma", right? Stan's struggles with alcoholism are no secret.

  4. Sam was pitching very well for the '75 Pirates in long relief, so it was a shock to fans when he was suddenly released on June 26. Legend has it that he was signed with the condition that he wouldn't drink, but he had apparently fallen off the wagon & got caught. I don't know how I never connected the dots that the Sam Malone character on 'Cheers' was based on McDowell



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