1979 TOPPS JERRY KOOSMAN

In 1976, Jerry Koosman won 21 games and finished second in the NL CY Award balloting. The next two years weren’t quite so good. He went a combined 11-35 those two years, including a 20-loss season in 1977, making him one of just seven pitchers since 1960 to win 20 games one season only to turn around and lose 20 the next. Here are the other hurlers since Koosman to turn the trick:

Wilbur Wood
1974 White Sox 20-19 3.60 ERA
1975 White Sox 16-20 4.11 ERA

Steve Carlton
1972 Phillies 27-10 1.97 ERA
1973 Phillies 13-20 3.90 ERA

Stan Bahnsen
1972 White Sox 21-16 3.60 ERA
1973 White Sox 18-21 3.57 ERA

Luis Tiant
1968 Indians 21-9 1.60 ERA
1969 Indians 9-20 3.71 ERA

Mel Stottlemyre
1965 Yankees 20-9 2.63 ERA
1966 Yankees 12-20 3.80 ERA

Larry Jackson
1964 Cubs 24-11 3.14 ERA
1965 Cubs 14-21 3.85 ERA

Randy Jones, who beat out Koosman for the CY Award, turned the trick the opposite way, losing 22 games in 1974 before winning 20 in 1975 and 22 in 1976.

Koosman was essentially a league-average pitcher his last two seasons with the Mets, despite the won-loss record. The Mets traded him in the offseason before 1979, making this card a reminder he wasn’t on the team. Seeing this card didn’t bring anger, like the 1977 Mickey Lolich or the 1980 Richie Hebner did. Instead, it was just a reminder of what was once and what certainly wasn’t happening currently with the Mets.

But removed from the emotion of the time, the thing that stands out about this card is the action shot, specifically the near-Tom Seaver knee to the ground. My mind has the visual of Seaver getting his knee dirty, Koosman with his straight-out leg kick and Jon Matlack with his rocking-chair windup.

The 1979 set was a disappointment to me at the time. The design was a little too similar to the 1976 one. But it was also a case where I had passed the peak of my collecting, even if it was still a part of my life at the time. And it’s likely the sad state of the Mets played a factor. But seeing this card now makes me happy.

Still, it can’t hold a candle to the 1969 Topps Koosman.

One comment on “Mets COTW: 1979 Topps Jerry Koosman

  • JimO

    Koosman was a great Met (one of the top 10 greatest). It was a disappointment to not see him get his day last year. I can remember going to a Yankee game after I got out of the service and Koosman came in as a reliever for the White Sox and the crowd (well at least me) went nutz.

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