Friday, March 27, 2015

PCPCs part 3: Tom Grieve

Previously:  Jim Paciorek, Gary Wayne

Today's promptly completed (but not posted) PC player is OF Tom Grieve.  As I mentioned briefly in my introductory post, Grieve, the father of Oakland ROY Ben, did attend Michigan (to avoid the draft--the military one, not the baseball one!) though he didn't play ball for the Wolverines.  Still, Michigan Baseball can imply a guy that played his college ball in Ann Arbor, or a guy that went to school here before going on to the Majors, so he counts!

Tom has 16 total cards spanning 1971-1979, and that encompasses most of his career as he was in the bigs in 1970, then from 1972-79, first with the Senators/Rangers, then briefly with the Mets and Cards late in his tenure.  The 1966 #6 overall pick was worth less than 2.0 career WAR, but at least he carved out a decent career for himself, and then his son went on to be an even higher first-rounder!

I had none of those cards previously, so for the first time on this blog, here are all 16 cards in Grieve's PC:
Tom Grieve 1971 O-Pee-Chee RC and Topps RC
Add "Tommy" Grieve to the list of Wolverine baseball players I've acquired from 1971.  That list includes Dave Campbell, Bill Freehan, Elliot Maddox, and Ted Sizemore; I have both OPC and Topps cards for all except Freehan's, whose OPC might be costly in the way Sizemore's was.  By the way, it's more a quirk of scanning that these look as good as they do--in reality they have the usual vintage wear, which is totally fine by me!
1972 Topps
The '72 O-Pee-Chee set was about 250 cards smaller than the Topps version and Grieve only made the cut for the latter set.  That's not entirely unreasonable since Tom spent all of the previous year in the minors before coming up for good.  Still, that makes him the only player out of the group above not to appear in both sets that year.  And more importantly, what the hell is he looking at?
1973 O-Pee-Chee and Topps
Now that's more like it!  The groovy Rangers uni and cool position logo make this a fun card, even if it looks like the photographer posed him staring into the sun or something.
1974 O-Pee-Chee and Topps
These cards along with the '72 Topps above all note on the back that Grieve received a $60k contract from the Senators back in 1966.  I think Alex Rodriguez just made that much staring at himself in the mirror for 10 seconds....
1975 O-Pee-Chee, Topps, and Topps Mini
Ah, one of my favorites:  the 1975 trio.  As you can see, my O-Pee-Chee card is a tad off-centered (or should that be off-centred?) but that doesn't worry me.  I love the phrasing of the trivia question/cartoon on the back:  "Do they play baseball in Alaska?"  (A:  "Yes, semi-pro baseball.")  Who's "they," Topps?  Who's "they?"
1976 O-Pee-Chee and Topps
These are nice to have as they feature Grieve's stats from his career-best season to that point:  118 games, a .276 average, 14 HR, and 61 RBI.  It doesn't appear to be a coincidence that he performed better after getting the most significant playing time in his career.
1977 Topps
Well, here's to consistency, anyway:  none of my PC guys appear in the extremely slimmed-down (and Canadian team-heavy) '77 O-Pee-Chee set.  But Tom--not "Tommy" anymore--got a well-deserved card in the Topps release after his true career year:  149 games, 20 HR, and 81 RBI, all career highs.  1975 and '76 were truly the apex of his playing days because he never even sniffed 100 games after that and averaged under 75 in his nine seasons.
1978 Topps
Sizemore is my only baseball PC guy that made it into '78's O-Pee-Chee set, so Grieve had just one final card picturing him with the Rangers.  He was part of a crazy four-team deal in 1977 that sent him to the Mets, and it involved Atlanta and Pittsburgh and included Bert Blyleven (heading to the Pirates) and Al Oliver (to the Rangers).
1979 O-Pee-Chee and Topps
Tom played 54 games for the '78 Mets and appeared with that team in Topps' '79 product.  Late in '78 he was flipped to St. Louis, for whom he'd play his final nine Major League games, and O-Pee-Chee reflected the change in team while using the same photo (as they did back then).  By the way, these cards also mention Grieve's $60k signing bonus, which might have seemed quaint even then.

And there we have completed PC #11.  Just two more players to go, plus a nice bunch of Larkins, so stay tuned!

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