Monday, January 17, 2011

#425 - Tito Fuentes

Card fact: I don't know how Topps did it, but this is the only one of Tito Fuentes' Topps cards between 1974 and 1978 in which he is not wearing a head band. On his '74 card, he wears an orange head band around his cap. On his '77 card, he wears a yellow head band underneath his cap. On his '76 and '78 cards, he wears a head band around his cap with his first name written on it.

What I thought about this card then: This was one of my favorite cards in 1975. I remember pulling it from a pack on a hot July day while on vacation. I was drawn to the pink-yellow border and Fuentes' pose. I had no idea at the time that the Giants were so evil.

What I think about this card now: One of the few major leaguers that you'll find who dotted the "I" in their name with a star.

Other stuff: Fuentes is a much-beloved former Giants player, who also played for the Padres, Tigers and A's. He was one of the last Cuban players signed before the U.S. embargo on Cuba. He came up with San Francisco in 1965.

After a trip to the minor leagues in 1968, he returned to the Giants and settled in as their regular second baseman by 1971. He was a good fielding player who accumulated a lot of base hits. His on-base percentage wasn't the greatest, but folks in the '70s weren't too big on OBP.

After the 1974 season, Fuentes was traded to the Padres for Derrel Thomas. He played regularly for San Diego for two years then signed with the Tigers in which he hit .309 with 190 hits in 1977. But with Lou Whitaker on the horizon, Fuentes was let go. He ended his career in Oakland. Afterward, he went into broadcasting and still does broadcasting work for the Giants.

Back facts: Fuentes' fielding percentage in 1973 was .993, which would remain a National League record for second basemen until Ryne Sandberg recorded a .994 mark in 1986.

Other blog stuff: On this date 69 years ago, Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay.


Play at the Plate said...

What does the (Peat) mean? It's late and I'm confused. Happy belated birthday Cassius.

MCT said...

In many Spanish-speaking countries, when giving their full name, people include two surnames -- their father's and their mother's (in traditional American terms, her maiden name). If a person were asked for their last name, they would only use one of them, generally their father's. But if asked for their full name, they would include both.

Let's imagine that Bob Robertson (#409) and Mike Cuellar (#410) were asked to state their first and last names. They would respond "Robert Robertson" and "Miguel Cuellar". If they were asked to state their full names, they would respond "Robert Eugene Robertson" and "Miguel Angel Cuellar Santana".

When listing a player's full name on the back of a card, Topps would put the mother's surname in parentheses, so Americans who were unfamiliar with Spanish naming conventions wouldn't think it was the player's last name (in American terms).

Charlie said...

Thanks for the mention of the 76T Tito with the headband. I had and loved that card despite not realizing who exactly Fuentes was. Ah, youth.

Cliff said...

Just in case you wanted to see the famous headband shots:

Flitgun Frankie said...

The image of Tito Fuentes that sticks with me is the rookie Fuentes right behind Juan Marichal when Marichal was clubbing John Roseboro with his bat. Fuentes had his bat at-the-ready to get his own shots in.