Thursday, June 19, 2014

1980 Topps N.L. Future Stars: Leon Durham, Bill Gullickson, Dave Smith

In 1980 there were a total of 16 players receiving Rookie of the Year votes. Guess how many of those 16 players were included in the 1980 Topps regular issue? Anybody?.... Bueller?.... Bueller?

That's right. NONE. Zero, or in the spirit of the World Cup, nil.

Granted, none of these players would set the league on fire. Most were fairly mediocre players. Still, 0 for 16 has to be some kind of record. 

As usual, this is where I like to fill in the blanks. so here are some of the National League R.O.Y. candidates:

Leon Durham: Leon played most of his minor and major league career at first base but with first base occupied by 1979 N.L. MVP Keith Hernandez. Durham spent most of 1980 in the outfield. At the end of the season he was dealt to the Cubs for Hall of Famer, Bruce Sutter. Durham was one of 3 players to receive a single Rookie of the Year vote. He was Tied for 7th in the N.L. with 1%.

Bill Gullickson: In 1980 Gullickson set the record for strike outs in a single game by a rookie pitcher with 18. That record would later be broken by Kerry Wood in 1998 with 20 K's for the Cubs. Gullickson was 2nd in R.O.Y. voting with 44% of the vote.

Dave Smith: In 1980 Smith had 7 wins and 10 saves to help the Astros to their first ever post season. Smith became the Astros all-time leader with 199 career saves until Billy Wagner surpassed him in 2003. Smith cam in 5th with an 11% share of the N.L. R.O.Y. votes.

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