Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1971 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1971 season and featured in the 1972 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2017 Series One, at least all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy. 

The whole team from 1971 got their trophy this year, but things are about to get crazy starting with next season!

Outfield - Angel Mangual
Angel Mangual was in the right place at the right time - on the bench in the bottom of the ninth. It was Game 4 of the 1972 World Series and Mangual's name was called to pinch hit for Rollie Fingers. Mangual delivered a walk-off single to drive in Gene Tenace. The year before that, Mangual was playing all over the A's outfield, appearing in 94 games and hit a career high .286. He finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting. He was on all three Oakland Athletic World Championship teams in the 1970s. He would lose playing time over the next few seasons, playing his final MLB game in June of 1976.

Left Handed Pitcher - Ross Grimsley
Ross Grimsley won over 100 games in his career, 20 in his lone All-Star season in 1978. For the Reds in 1971, Ross started 26 games and hurled 3 shutouts. He pitched well for Cincinnati in the playoffs as well, including winning Games 5 and 6 of the 1972 World Series, both in relief. He would go on to pitch for the Orioles, Expos, and Cleveland. His Final appearance came with Baltimore in 1982, in which he tossed two and third innings of scoreless relief.

Outfield - Bill Buckner
Buckner played a handful of games in 1969 and 1970 for the Dodgers, but his first full season came in 1971. He played in both corner outfield positions, as well as 11 games at first base. Buckner did not lack for power, though he hit more gap to gap for doubles than clearing the fences. He led the league in doubles twice, and was the NL batting champ in 1980. His lone All-Star Appearance came the following season with the Cubs. Despite suffering a serious ankle injury during the 1975 season that limited his mobility and speed for the rest of his career, Buckner played 22 seasons and racked up over 2200 career hits.

Here are the Backs!

First Baseman - Chris Chambliss
Chris was the 1971 AL Rookie of the Year, thanks to a .275 average, 20 doubles, and 9 homers. He is probably best remembered for his home run in the 1976 ALCS that gave the Yankees the win and propelled them to their first World Series of the decade. The pandemonium following his walk-off blast gave birth to a new rule in his name. The "Chris Chambliss" rule allows an umpire to award any base to a player that they cannot touch due to fans rushing the field. He finished his career in 1988, but went on to serve as a hitting coach for the Yankees and several other teams, and managed for a few minor league squads as well.  

Shortstop - Chris Speier
Speier was a three time All-Star with the Giants in the early 70s, His success as a rookie in 1971 prompted him to try switch hitting in 1972, which lasted all of of Spring Training, but just a few games into the season, he abandoned it to focus on hitting as a righty. He made the postseason with San Francisco in 1971, with Montreal in 1981, and then again with the Giants in 1987. He hit .400 for the Expos in the 1981 NLDS, but they were not able to overcome the Dodgers in the NLCS. By 1983, Speier shifted to a reserve role, but still had over 1750 career hits and scored over 750 runs.

Third Baseman - Steve Braun
A lifetime .271 hitter, Braun's best season came in 1975, when he compiled career highs in Hits, Home runs, and batting average. His rookie campaign showed promise, and he filled many different roles for the Twins. He played both corner outfield positions, third, short, and second base. He would earn a World Series ring in 1982 in a supporting role for the Saint Louis Cardinals.  

Right Handed Pitcher - Bill Parsons
Bill Parsons might have been the AL Rookie of the Year in 1971 if advanced stats were in vogue. His 13-17 record was unsightly, though he led all rookies by a wide margin with a 3.1 WAR. He finished second behind Chris Chambliss for the honor. Parsons threw 244 innings as a 22 year old, with a 3.20 ERA, which was just a bit better than league average. He threw 4 shutouts. However, he became fairly prone to give up the home run ball, surrendering 27 in his sophomore season. Like many promising pitchers of the era, injuries to Parsons' shoulder and back crept in and limited his effectiveness. When the injuries subsided, his mechanics that made him successful in the past no longer proved useful, and he was out of organized baseball at the age of 26.

Catcher - Earl Williams
"Big Money" was the National League Rookie of the Year, crushing 33 homers for the Braves as a catcher and corner infielder. That would be his career high, though he played well in 1972 and 1973, driving in at least 80 runs in each season. Having to catch Phil Niekro in 1972, Williams had 28 passed balls, though he had one homer for each dropped knuckleball. He was traded to Baltimore in the offseason, and continued to hit well for the Orioles. He was not a hit with his Baltimore teammates, however, and clashes with players, coaches, and manager Earl Weaver blunted his career. He was traded back to Atlanta, and went on to play until 1977.

Outfield - Willie Montanez
Finishing second to Earl Williams was Willie Montanez. In most years, his 30 homers and 99 runs batted in would have been enough to make him the Rookie of the Year, but Williams had slightly gaudier numbers, while playing the demanding position of catcher. Montanez played until 1982, had over 1600 hits, and drove in over 800 runs. He was an All-Star in 1977 with the Braves. From 1978 to 1982, he bounced around to 6 different teams.

Second Baseman - Doug Griffin
A Gold Glove winner in 1972, Griffin played with Boston from his rookie season until the end of his career in 1977. Griffin came to the BoSox at the expense of losing fan favorite Tony Conigliaro to the Angels. The other trade made that off-season brought Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio to play shortstop, and it was under Aparicio's tutelage that Griffin learned the finer points of fielding. A broken hand during his Gold Glove season carried over into 1973. In 1974, Griffin was beaned by a Nolan Ryan fastball and suffered a concussion. The effects of the hit by pitch lingered for some time, and he was never quite the same in the field or at the plate.


  1. There are great posts. I always learn something new every time.

  2. Montanez and Griffin are the two toughies in this group. High numbers!

    1. Montanez took a long time ago to find, for sure. I got lucky with the Griffin, it was waiting for me the first time I went looking for rookie all stars.

  3. Hey these posts' led me to do the "run" my self. Thanks BTW.

    1. How is it going, which ones are you still looking for?

  4. Love seeing the Oakland Coliseum from my childhood on that Angel Mangual card.

    1. 1972 Topps was especially good about showing off the field behind the players - I have similar feelings when I see shots of the Metrodome in 80s and newer cards. It was hard to get good images under the poor lighting.