Thursday, May 31, 2012

1977 mike willis

mike willis was given a card of his own, complete with his facsimile autograph, in the 1977 o-pee-chee set.  here is his 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
now the o-pee-chee back:
is this the first time a pickle has literally been shown on a card?  the no-hitter in his second game as a pro is good info, but surely there was something better than the fact that he was an acquaintance of a middling pitcher for the indians.  actually, i guess willis and garland were in the orioles organization together as well as being boyhood acquaintances.  and, garland won 20 games in 1976 so i suppose this is somewhat meaningful. maybe.

and the topps back:
willis earned a save in his major league debut against the tigers on april 13, 1977.  he pitched 2.2 innings and gave up just one hit in that appearance, striking out ron leflore for his first career punch out along the way.  he actually pitched pretty well to start the season - he had a perfect era (although he had allowed a couple of inherited runners to score) and a win to go along with his save through his first 4 appearances.  willis picked up another win and four saves, and he had a nice 2.44 era through june, which included a quality start (the first start of his career) against the yankees, but things went south in july.

willis made a couple more starts in early july, and both were disastrous.  he returned to the bullpen, but by the end of the month his era was 4.46.  he did get it down to 3.94 by the end of the season, finishing with a 2-6 record and 5 saves.

willis pitched for toronto through the 1981 season, and had his best year in 1980.  that season, he was 2-1 in 20 games with a 1.71 era and 3 saves.

voici à vous, 1977 mike willis!

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