September 29, 2006

Appreciation: 1976 Topps #590:
’76 Rookie Outfielders

It’s no secret I’m a Lemonhead. How can you not be? Chet’s a badass; why the White Sox gave up on him is a mystery. So his rookie is a big deal to me. It’s not worth very much, which makes it all the more desirable (and attainable). Collecting Chet Lemon is a lot like collecting Fred Lynn or Jack Clark or Dale Murphy (to a certain extent): you can get their cards, including their rookie cards, for under $20 and their other regular cards (for the most part) for under a dollar. They were also popular enough that companies today include them in their vintage-themed sets…

I was just reading the back of this card and it says the White Sox acquired Lemon from the A’s. That means, had Oakland held onto him, their early 1980s starting outfield would’ve been Dwayne Murphy, Rickey Henderson and Lemon. Not bad at all. Granted, the A’s had Tony Armas, but they’d move him to Boston soon enough anyway. Anyway, every team has a guy like Lemon (someone who is with the team long enough to establish tenure and then sort of becomes the team). Lemon’s situation with Detroit was singular because so many guys were around forever: Morris, Parrish, Whitaker, Trammell, Gibby and Lemon were there all through the 1980s. In Boston there was Dwight Evans. Really that’s the only guy I can think of right now, but you could find examples on almost every team.

1 comment:

Brett Ballantini said...

Wonderful site.

Chet was my first favorite player growing up a White Sox fan, and I had his batting stance and unorthodox flyball catching technique down pat.

I talked to Chet a few years ago for a Baseball Digest article and he said he foolishly talked his way out of Chicago after becoming angry that Carlton Fisk joined the team with a much higher contract. Then he was in agony watching the White Sox win 99 games and a division crown in 1983, a year after going to Detroit.

He had the last laugh the next year, though.

Keep up the good work!