Mets Card of the Week: 1976 Mickey Lolich


1976 Topps Lolich

During the calendar year of 1975, the Mets made a total of five trades.

The majority of these deals were scrub-for-scrub transactions: Ike Hampton for Ken Sanders, Joe Nolan for Leo Foster, Mac Scarce for Tom Hall, Gene Clines for Joe Lovitto.

The most notable thing about any of these deals was the fact that Lovitto chose to retire at age 24 rather than join the Mets.

But one trade that year left a scar. On December 12, the team moved Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton to the Tigers for Billy Baldwin and Mickey Lolich.

Staub was 31 years old at the time, and coming off a season where he’d finished 14th in the MVP voting, on the strength of a then team-record 105 RBI. Lolich was 34, and had logged an average per-season workload of 312 innings from 1971 through 1975.

And clearly the wear and tear was beginning to show. Lolich lost 21 games in 1974, and another 18 in 1975, with an ERA hovering right around 4.00. While Lolich did not have a horrendous 1976 with the Mets, the Tigers went on to enjoy three prime years of Staub, who averaged 106 RBI per season in that span.

Ironically, in the final tally, Lolich and Staub were probably equal players. The Fan EloRater over at currently rates Lolich as the 137th best pitcher of all time, and Staub as the 135th best hitter. So ignoring the constraints of the whole space-time continuum thing, a trade of a 30-year-old Staub for a 30-year-old Lolich would have been a solid transaction for both sides.

The final indignity came when Topps issued its 1976 traded set, and included this drunk-uncle shot of Lolich sporting history’s worst airbrushed hat…

5 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1976 Mickey Lolich

  1. steevy
    June 25, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Everybody loves Rusty but they gave up Ken Singleton to get him and than got Lolich back when they moved him.

  2. June 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Man I didn’t realize I could hate a player more than Mickey Lolich. Then a couple of years later Richie Hebner came along and I saw how young and naive I was.

  3. Patrick Albanesius
    June 27, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Haha, you guys are old.

    • Doug Parker
      June 28, 2014 at 7:51 am

      Ah Patrick, one day you’ll be regaling the whippersnappers with stories about Bartolo Colon and the like. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the 2014 Mets turn into the 2050 Mets…

  4. steevy
    June 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I just turned 42,this was before my time.I like to look back at the history of the team,of all baseball really.

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