Friday, February 12, 2010

Reviewing From Decades Past: 1970 - The Bench

Topps issued 11 cards of Cubs bench players, plus two more on rookie cards. Five of the 13 didn't play a single game for the 1970 Cubs while only two played the whole season in Chicago. I guess that's better than the 1960 set, in which none of the nine spent the entire season with the Cubs.

Jimmie Hall This was a high number card, with the photo taken at the Cubs spring training in 1970. Hall came to the Cubs at the tail end of the 1969 season. He played in 28 games in 1970 before being sold to the Braves on June 29. Hall's .094 batting average wasn't missed!

Bill Heath His final major league game was August 19, 1969. He did go out with a bang. His last game was Ken Holtzman's no-hitter over the Braves. Heath broke his finger on a foul tip in the 8th inning, left the game, and never played in the majors again. In 1970 he played 37 games in AAA before retiring from baseball.

Nate Oliver He kids, don't bunt like that. We were taught to keep your fingers on the back of the bat. Putting them where Nate's got them was a good way to break your finger. Oliver started the 1970 season in the minors and was traded by the Cubs on April 19 to the Yankees in exchange for future Cubs foul-mouthed skipper Lee Elia. He spent all of 1970 and 1971 in the minors before retiring.

Paul Popovich rejoined the Cubs in June, 1969. This picture was from his first tenure with the Cubs, 1964-1967. He was the Cubs utility infielder. He played in 78 games split pretty equally between second, shortstop, and third.

Jim Qualls was traded to the Expos in April. He played in nine games for the Expos before being returned to the minors.

Ken Rudolph split the season between AA and the Cubs, being one of several catchers who filled in for the injured Randy Hundley. Rudolph played in 20 games and hit a puny .100.

Willie Smith was the team's primary pinch hitter. He had 167 at bats but hit only .216. The Cubs traded him to the Reds after the season.

Al Spangler He started the season as a player-coach with the Cubs AAA team, but rejoined the Cubs in late June. He played in 21 games and hit only .143. On August 26 he named a team coach and didn't play in a game the rest of the season.

Don Young
started the season with the Cubs AAA team in Tacoma. He was sent to the Oakland organization, playing with their AAA team the rest of 1970 and all of 1971. He never resurfaced in the majors.

Randy Bobb was traded to the Mets at the end of spring training in exchange for catcher JC Martin. The Cubs needed a back-up catcher because Randy Hundley had injured himself during spring training and wouldn't be ready at the start of the season.

Boots Day Boots sure has his game face on in this picture! He made 11 appearances for the 1970 Cubs before being traded to the Expos for catcher Jack Hiatt. The Cubs were still looking for someone to replace the reinjured Randy Hundley.

Other bench players who played for the Cubs in 1970 but had a card with another team included:

Tommy Davis: 11 games, .262 in 42 ABs

Phil Gagliano: .150 in 40 ABs

Jack Hiatt: .242 in 178 AB's

J.C. Martin: .156 in 77 AB's

Players with no card included
Brock Davis: 0-3
Adrian Garrett: 0-3
Terry Hughes: 1-3
Roger Metzger: 0-2
Roe Skidmore: 1-1, in his only major league plate appearance.

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