Thursday, July 29, 2010
#269 - Doug Rau
Card fact: I'm not 100 percent sure on this, but I believe this is the only '75 Topps card that I have that I also have in mini form and O-Pee-Chee form. The rare '75 trifecta!
What I thought about this card then: Doug Rau was a childhood favorite. I rooted for the underdog quite a bit as a kid, and Rau was the No. 4 starter in the Dodgers starting rotation of my youth. You can't get much more underdog than a No. 4 starter.
What I think about this card now: Was this photo taken at Vero Beach? Did the Dodgers color code the bleachers at their spring training site to match the Dodger Stadium seat coloring? If they did, that is awesome.
Other stuff: As mentioned, Rau was a key part of the Dodgers' pitching staff during their success of the late 1970s. The rotation that I knew growing up was: Don Sutton, Tommy John, Burt Hooton, Doug Rau and Rick Rhoden. I badly wanted Rau and Rhoden to become stars. They didn't reach the star level, but they did do pretty good for themselves.
Rau reached double figures in wins for five consecutive seasons with the Dodgers. His 1977 World Series showing was plagued by a famous mound argument with Tommy Lasorda (Lasorda sets an all-time record for cursing during the 3-minute conversation). But Rau was a bit more effective in the '78 World Series.
Arm trouble caught up to Rau in 1979, and he missed the entire 1980 season. His last season was 1981 with the Angels.
Rau's first major league at-bat was a memorable one -- he tripled. It took another 35 years before another pitcher tripled in his first MLB at-bat.
Back facts: This is one of my favorite cartoons in the set. Apparently sports fans always smoke pipes while watching television.
Other blog stuff: I'm taking another short break on this blog. I'll resume with a card of a four-decade player in a few days.