The 1970s were the Golden age of baseball; maybe that’s because that is the decade I grew up in, but it was a special time. Who didn’t like watching TWIB with Mel Allen and then NBC’s game of the week right after it on a Saturday afternoon? As the years have passed, many excellent players are forgotten, and today we will look at ten guys that stick out to me as overlooked.
Career Stats: 1,650 G; .242/.309/.324; 41 HR; 490 RBI; 1,340 H; 736 R; 385-for-516 SB
Shortstop Freddie Patek, who was part of a great double play combination in Kansas City with second baseman Frank White and third baseman Frank White, was part of the Royals teams which won the American League West between 1976-78.
Although his offensive numbers aren’t great, this list would not be complete without a player who was very valuable on the bases and with the glove.
Career Stats: 1,720 G; .261/.328/.406; 176 HR; 729 RBI; 1,623 H; 798 R; 80-for-131 SB
He hit the first home run at Veterans Stadium as part of the Phillies. However, Don Money was traded to Milwaukee after the 1972 season. This gave him the greatest success in his career.
Money was playing alongside future Hall of Famers Robin Yount, and Paul Molitor, and was selected to four All-Star Games as part of the “Brew crew” and set the major league record of consecutive games at third base without making an error in 1974.
Career Stats: 2,247 G; .260/.300/.320; 15 HR; 525 RBI; 2,191 H; 987 R; 318-for-423 SB
Larry Bowa was a fiery player with a strong arm; he was a five-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award recipient with the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent 11 years with them during his 15-year career in major league baseball as a player.
He would hit.275 or higher five times, and he put together seven seasons in which at least 20 bases were stolen each year.
Career Stats: 1,832 G; .295/.364/.447; 184 HR; 989 RBI; 1,826 H; 802 R; 27-for-55 SB
Bob Watson was not only a relative unknown for thirteen seasons with the Astros but also saw his home-run total dropped by the Houston Astrodome.
Watson was famous for scoring the 1,000,000th MLB run on May 4, 1975. He narrowly beat Cincinnati’s Dave Concepcion to earn the honor. Concepcion, completing the base round after hitting a home run, crossed home plate approximately four seconds after Watson.
Only 50 of his 184 home runs were at the Astrodome. Watson would have had 300 home runs if he hadn’t spent most of his career elsewhere.
Career Stats: 2,328 G; .259/.311/.342; 79 HR; 646 RBI; 2,249 H; 1,181 R; 649-for-898 SB
Campaneris, a six-time All-Star, was one of the most valuable pieces on the A’s teams that won three consecutive World Series titles from 1972 to 1974. He also led the league in steals six different times.
His 649 stolen bases, which were the A’s career-leading hit total, were seventh on the all-time list when he retired. Today, it is 14th.
Career Stats: 1,998 G; .277/.343/.425; 193 HR; 1,007 RBI; 2,020 H; 1,092 R; 341-for-434 SB
Otis would be a five-time All-Star and win three Gold Gloves as a Royals’ center field patroller. In 1970, he hit.300 and was again the American League’s leading doubles hitter.
Otis was a powerhouse, and had great defense, and speed. He led the American League with 52 stolen bases in 1971, becoming the first player to steal five bases in a single game since 1927.
Career Stats: 2,084 G; .290/.351/.454; 191 HR; 1,097 RBI; 2,091 H; 940 R; 109 -for-185 SB
Hal McRae, a three-time All-Star who has six Three hundred seasons under him was named Designated Hitter Of The Year by The Sporting News and the Associated Press on three occasions.
In 1976, he finished second to his teammate George Brett in the American League batting title. He lost out by less that.001 after Brett went 2-for-4 to surpass McRae in the final game barely.
Career Stats: 1,881 G; .271/.360/.404; 160 HR; 758 RBI; 1,803 H; 964 R; 233-for-350 SB
Roy White, a switch-hitting left fielder who spent the entirety of his career with the Yankees, White was an outstanding defensive outfielder. He led all American League left fielders by fielding percentage between 1968 and 1971.
White was a star on the Yankees’ 1976 return to prominence.
White was a two-time All-Star and became a popular Yankee player in the 1970s thanks to his uncompromising style of play. He is still a fan favorite.
Career Stats: 2019 G; .254/.352/.408; 242 HR; 1,039 RBI; 1,790 H; 982 R; 75-for-121 SB
Sal Bando was the glue that held together the A’s Dynasty in the early 1970s. However, he was often overlooked as the A’s legends like Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace and Reggie Jackson were honored.
Bando was a Four-time All-Star and led the A’s RBI leader three times. He also became the second, third baseman in American League history with 200 home runs.
Career Stats: 2,488 G; .267/.322/.357; 101 HR; 950 RBI; 2,326 H; 993 R; 321-for-430 SB
Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion were the best shortstops of the 1970s. They formed one of the greatest double-play combinations ever seen in the history of baseball.
Concepcion was a nine-time All-Star, and a five-time Gold Glove Award recipient during his 19-year career at the Cincinnati Reds. However, Concepcion’s contributions were often overshadowed daily by his Hall of Fame teammates, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Pete Rose.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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