Baseball in the 1970s

Growing up in Tennessee I was and still am a huge baseball fan. My father grew up liking the underdog Dodgers with Jackie Robinson when they played in Brooklyn while his brothers were Yankee fans. In 1977 I started to watch baseball and through my father connected with the Dodgers. He was more of a college football fan (Tennesse loves football) but I never got his passion for that. I watched some baseball before 77 but I was totally lost in it from then on.

Watching the 70s baseball was a special event. The hair, mustaches, and every color of uniform were interesting. For some reason, the Oakland A’s uniforms were my favorite.

Image result for oakland a's 1970s

I’ve always liked the individualism of baseball. No rigid measurements in baseball parks like football or other sports. Every park is a unique home. There were cookie cutter (multi-purpose) parks with astroturf like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The 8th wonder of the world Astrodome in Houston. A very old Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The pavilion and palm tree Dodger Stadium. The ivy-walled Wrigley field in Chicago and the oh so green Fenway Park.

Baseball wasn’t as accessible then as it is now. You had to wait for the Saturday game of the week and Monday night baseball. That made it more special. There were certain teams they showed more than others. I was lucky, the Dodgers were one of the teams. I remember a lot of Pirates, Reds, Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodger games because they all were very good.

I remember the players of that time so well. Thurman Munson (the only then Yankee I liked), Al Hrabosky (The Mad Hungarian), Dave Parker (He looked like the biggest man ever), Luis Tiant, Oscar Gamble (the cool hair), Bill Lee, Willie Stargell, Greg Luzinski, Gary Maddox, Mike Schmidt, George Foster (who I met a few years ago), Joe Morgan (who I liked better as a player than announcer), Catfish Hunter.

I could probably still mimic most of the players batting stances now.

Some of the managers were just as popular as the players for different reasons. Earl Weaver (one of the pioneers of sabermetrics), Billy Martin (could make about any team win…for a short time), and Sparky Anderson.

Some events I remember are Disco Demolition Night in Chicago (exploding disco records) and 10 cent beer night (that turned into a riot in Cleveland…who would have guessed that?).

My favorite player… Hands down Ron Cey. Steve Garvey was the marquee name of the Dodgers but Ron Cey would come through in the clutch and had a better batting eye than Garvey. I played 3rd base in little league and on up because of Cey. His nickname was “The Penguin” because he ran like one. I tried running like that until the coach asked me what was wrong with me…he thought I was hurt.

When the Dodgers traded Cey to Chicago it broke my heart. He went on to do good with the Cubs but to this day I don’t understand that trade.

I still watch baseball and don’t miss a box score and it is still a game full of characters…maybe not as colorful now.

 

 

 

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

17 thoughts on “Baseball in the 1970s”

  1. it’s always been my sport of choice, but I don’t remember how I got into it- my Dad isn’t much of a sports fan and my mom, when I was young watched hockey (after Toronto got a team and I was a big fan she eventually got quite into baseball). But like you said, baseball ggames were infrequent on TV and it was an “event” , collecting baseball cards was fun and the primary way I got to know the players. I remember the Toronto Star, on Saturdays, running about half a page with stats, top 50 hitters or so and top maybe 30 pitchers based on ERA and that’s how I kept track… long before the ‘net! Somehow, I was a big cincinnati fan when young – loved that Big Red Machine with Rose, Morgan, Bench (although he was past his prime when I got into it) , Eastwick (one of the first “closers”) Ross Grimsley, who was for some reason a pitcher I really liked. Over time my allegiance shifted to the hometown Jays. And yep- those uniforms!! Love the old SD yellow and brown, the neon colored Cleveland ones, the yellow on Oakland … baseball could use a bit more of that these days!

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    1. I was wondering if you were a big hockey fan. I started to read a paper because of box scores…I paid a small fortune in newspapers up until the 90s. I would get USA Today because they would have the west coast box scores. I like the convenience now but I do miss the paper in other ways.
      I was lucky…started to follow the Dodgers in 77 and by then the Reds were good but their run was over and they were in the NL West with the Dodgers…how that happened I don’t know. It seems like we all would pick a player we liked a lot and follow…didn’t matter if they were a superstar or not. I remember Grimsley and Eastwick… hadnt thought of them in a while.

      I love the throwback uniforms…and the Pirates hats they had back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you- back then less was more… the Game of the Week was a big deal.. back this way they didn’t televise Pirate home games- so the radio was my best friend for six months–and they would televise maybe 40 plus away games and I wouldn’t miss one..

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    1. Glad you mentioned radio…I should have but I was thinking visual. The Pirates were on a lot of the games Games of the Week…I got to know most of the roster. Dave Parker seemed like a monster out there. He looked so huge compared to everyone else.
      I would sometimes get the St. Louis radio broadcast when the Dodgers played them. I miss that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Baseball in 2000s…see Harper reported to sign with Phi. for 13Y, $330m, no opt outs? He gets the longest contract& most total dollars but at around $25m per year, is a ways down the list. Which I think is reasonable. Good to see no opt out- that clause always seems too unfair to club.

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    1. I bet the union was on him to take the longest highest deal.
      From what I’ve read now…his family wanted him to sign with the Dodgers…it’s said they offered a 5-6 year contract worth around 240…which I think is crazy but he could have got another payday on a short deal like that.

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      1. if that is in fact correct, he’s pretty well insane. I’m not at all surprised he goes to Phillies but the terms do surprise me… never thought ANYONE would be handing out 13 year deals, and even though my opinion is that he’s just an above-average but not really “superstar” player, I still assumed Boras and his clout would get him about the same money per annum as Manny or Arenado. Strange days. Oh yeah- on the ’70s… not only the moustaches, how about those Afros? Classic big hair baseball cards!

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      2. I’m not surprised at the team but yea the terms… you would think he would want another chance at a payday. Maybe the Phils refused an opt-out… He could have had a short high paying deal and then jumped into another….He is not Mike Trout for sure.

        Love the afros also and the helmet hair.

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      1. I know man…I don’t know how the Reds got into the western division with the Dodgers…The Braves were also if I’m not mistaken.

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  4. Fun discussion! Dude, no mention of Rollie Fingers? I always got a kick of his handlebar moustache and the Pirates’ Kent Tekulve (submarine throwing style). Plus, the Pirates had those Bicentennial caps. 1120 AM KMOX has been the Cardinals longtime flagship station. Lou Brock was pretty popular in STL when I was a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Man, I could have taken up the whole post naming names and I had to stop myself. Love Rollie Fingers and his mustache and Kent Tekulve…he looked like a bug or something with those glasses. All those names coming back to me. Bruce Sutter, Ted Simmons, Bake McBride… I love baseball but there is nothing that can match your childhood baseball heroes or the ones you watched. Mine was Cey, Garvey, Lopes, Russell, Baker, Reggie Smith, Steve Yeager, Tommy John…

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  5. Did you collect baseball cards? Remember Oscar Gamble’s Afro, Mickey Rivers hunchback look, Mark Fidrych and the talking baseball…. ? It was great fun to root for a losing team as well.

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    1. Yes I did… I loved collecting cards. I loved watching any team play. Yes I like that song a lot… Loved watching the Bird pitch and talking to the ball…

      Mickey could fly around the bases…

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