Friday, February 19, 2010

Reviewing From Decades Past: 1980 - The Bench

Topps 1980 set included eight bench players plus two more on the rookie card and one guy with another team.

Larry Biittner saw action at first base and in the outfield. He was also used as a pinch hitter quite a bit. He ended up getting into 130 games but his average dropped 40 points from 1979. He left the Cubs after the season as a free agent.

Steve Dillard saw plenty of action at both second and third, as the regulars Mike Tyson and Lenny Randle weren't very good. Dillard wasn't much better, hitting only .225.

Miguel Dilone wasn't with the team in 1980. He started the season in AAA and was sold to the Indians in May. He hit .341 for the Tribe, stole 61 bases, and even got a few MVP votes. Nice job by the Cubs front office there!

Barry Foote was sharing the catching with Tim Blackwell, but Blackwell's bat won him the starting job. Foote played in 63 games and hit .238.

Ken Henderson played in 44 games before being released on July 20, bringing his 16 year career to an end.

Mick Kelleher played in 105 games and hit a paltry .146. The problem this team had is that there were lots of back up infielders (Randle, Tyson, Dillard, Kelleher) and no one good enough to be a regular.

Steve Ontiveros lost his starting third base job to Lenny Randle and only played in 31 games. He was released on June 24, ending his eight year career in the majors. But his playing days weren't over; he went to Japan and played through 1985.

Scot Thompson played in 102 games, but saw his average plummet from .289 to .212.

Steve Macko played in six games, while Karl Pagel was traded to the Indians in July. Macko has an interesting but sad story that you can read about here

Cliff Johnson came to the Cubs on June 23 in exchange for Karl Pagel. The Cubs got him to add some power to the lineup when Dave Kingman got hurt. Johnson played first base and Bill Buckner moved to the outfield. The 32-year-old did hit 10 home runs in 68 games.

Bench players with no card included...

Jesus Figueroa, .253 in 105 games
Jim Tracy, .254 in 42 games - yes, that Jim Tracy, the Rockies manager, and the second to last Cub to wear #23
Carlos Lezcano, .205 in 42 games
Mike O'Berry, .208 in 19 games
Bill Hayes, .222 in 4 games

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