Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hostess Cubs 1979

Fifth in a series looking at all of the Hostess Cubs

Today we've reached the end of the Hostess line, 1979. Hostess got out of the baseball card business after this release. The 1979 Cubs set featured only one change in the lineup; otherwise you'll see five familiar faces.

Ivan DeJesus was the only new Cub in the set. He replaced Manny Trillo, who was traded to the Phillies. DeJesus had been with the Cubs since coming from the Dodgers along with Bill Buckner in 1977. He was a durable shortstop, playing in almost every game for the past two seasons. In 1979 he missed only two games. The season was probably his peak year, as he hit a career hit .283 and led the team with 180 hits.

And the repeats....

Bill Buckner...the good news: he increased hit power, going from 5 to 14 homers...the bad was at the expense of his average, which dropped from .323 to .284

Dave Kingman had the best season of his career in 1979. He led the NL in homers with 48 and drove in 115 runs. He also hit a career-high .288, which was over 50 points higher than his career average. The Chicago baseball writers voted him Chicago's Player of the Year.

Bobby Murcer was going in the opposite direction of Dave Kingman. The decline that started in 1978 continued in 1979 and in June, Murcer was traded to the Yankees.

Rick Reuschel led the 1979 staff in starts (36), wins (18) and innings pitched (239). He was also the NL Pitcher of the Month in August, going 7-0 with a 1.45 ERA.

Bruce Sutter was the NL Cy Young Award winner for 1979, tying the NL saves mark with 37. He had an ERA of 2.23 and struck out 110 hitters in 101 innings. He was also the winning pitcher in the All Star game for the second consecutive season. After the season, Sutter took the Cubs to salary arbitration was won, getting a salary of $700,000 (the Cubs offered $350,000). It was an unheard of sum for a relief pitcher, and after the 1980 season, the Cubs were not interested in paying Sutter anything close to that. Instead, they traded him to the Cardinals.

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