The Friars started out the season 3-0 and hung around the .500 mark until early June. After that, it was a slow but sure drop to the basement like usual. Their offseason blockbuster deal that saw them send future HOF'er Gaylord Perry and Tucker Ashford to Texas for Willie Montanez turned out to be a bust. Ozzie Smith's 621 assists by a shortstop was a major league record. Still the Padre brass worried that the skinny kid with the good glove would never hit enough. Dave Winfield, baseballs all around best athlete hit .276 with 20 homers and 87 RBI. Catcher Gene Tenace was the only other Friar in double figures for homers. This was a powerless team that had good speed. Smith stole 57 bags. LF'er Gene Richards swiped 61 and CF'er Jerry Mumphrey, who was acquired in the offseason from Cleveland for the immortal Bob Owchinko, swiped 52. Winny, who was their one true power threat stole 20, which put him in the 20-20 club at a time where that meant something. 1976 Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones (5-13, 3.91) took a huge step back. John Curtis (10-8, 3.51) was the only starter with double digit wins. Rollie Fingers, who was wasting his talent on this last place team, managed to save 23, while throwing 103 innings. He also sported an 11-9 (2.80) record. Gary Lucas (5-8, 3.24, 3sv) and Bob Shirley (11-12, 3.55, 7sv) also saw a lot of action in relief of a very pedestrian starting staff.
22 new cards were made to complete the set.
Slip pickens when it came to those 3 rookie panel card offerings that I used. Couldn’t find useable photos large enough to fit a regular card. That Eichelberger card is quite interesting. Not too often does a pitcher pose on his knees in an on deck batter type look, plus he’s not even looking into the camera. Looks like an unsolved mystery here. I still like that Barry Evans photo that came from the 1979 yearbook. What a classic. Who can forget Randy Bass, start of the Nippon leagues?