1976 TOPPS TRADED MICKEY LOLICH
During the calendar year of 1975, the Mets made a total of five trades.
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.
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 baseball-reference.com 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…