Tuesday, June 12, 2012

1977 phil niekro

hey - just like dave roberts' card showcased yesterday, the photo variation and facsimile autograph placement variation is easy to spot on phil niekro's 1977 o-pee-chee card:
here's the topps front:
i like how o-pee-chee used the third base line to guide the autograph.

now the o-pee-chee back:
and the topps back:
i recall being confused by phil niekro as a young fan in 1978.  here was a guy who, in 1977, led the national league in strikeouts with 262 and appeared on a league leader card with nolan ryan in the 1978 set.  very cool.  but, he also lost 20 games in 1977.  i couldn't make sense of these two facts, that to me at the time, seemed diametrically opposed.  of course, i soon figured things out and learned to appreciate the fact that niekro led the league in starts, innings pitched, and complete games in 1977 and that the braves were essentially a bad team so i should not have been surprised that he took the loss in so many games.

niekro went on to lose 20 games again in 1979, but he also won 21 times that year.  he wound up leading the league in losses for four straight years from 1977 through 1980, but had a winning record in two of those seasons (he was 19-18 in 1978).

voici à vous, 1977 phil niekro!

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