Thursday, September 29, 2011

1977 Topps #2 (1976) Home Run Leaders

Here's a little trivia for you: There has been one slugger since 1989 who has led both the American League and the National League in home runs during a given season, and whose home runs numbers in each of those respective years are the fewest for a yearly leader in that same time period? (Sorry, I hope I didn't give you a headache with that! Sentence construction nightmare.) I'll give the answer at the end of the post...

For many of the younger fans/collectors out there, it may seem hard to imagine a major league season passing by where the league leader for home runs hit fewer than 40 in a single season. Coming out of the PED era, perhaps a leader boasting only 37-39 home runs will be more common place-who knows? I can tell you that the last time we had a season where both league leaders had fewer than 40 homers for the year was in 1982. Prior to '82, there was a 'power shortage' in 1981 (which was shortened due to the players strike), as well as in 1976-where the leaders were Graig Nettles and Mike Schmidt, who hit 32 and 38, respectively.

Everybody knows about Mike Schmidt: his leading the N.L. in home runs 8 different seasons, the 10 Gold Gloves, and the 3 MVPs, but Nettles seems to be a relatively unknown to much of the younger generation. While Graig was known primarily as one of the best defensive basemen in his playing days (and how did he not win more than 2 gold gloves?!), he also happens to own the A.L. record for most career home runs by a third baseman (with 333). I bet that will surprise most folks-it did me! In fact, this card features not only the leader for most American League home runs by a third baseman, but the N.L. career leader as well.

The answer to the trivia question: Fred "The Crime Dog" McGriff, who, while playing with Toronto in 1989, led the A.L. in bombs (w/ 36). Then, in 1992-as a member of the Padres-Crime Dog hit 35 to lead the National League.

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