Thursday, March 26, 2020

1981 Topps Mike Ivie

The front: Interesting photo with lots of players visible in the dugout and lots of fans visible above it. Spring training?

The back: No one had hit two pinch grand-slams in a season before the Phillies’ Davey Johnson accomplished the feat on June 3, 1978. It took only 27 days for Ivie to become the second. Since then the feat has been accomplished by Darryl Strawberry (1998 Yankees), Ben Broussard (2004 Indians) and Brooks Conrad (2010 Braves).
     Unsurprisingly, Ivie’s doubleheader record also still stands. The others with five are Chick Hafey (1933 Reds), Joe Medwick (1935 Cardinals) and Red Schoendienst (1948 Cardinals). The MLB record is 6 by Hank Majeski of the Philadelphia A’s in 1948.

The player: Ivie was the first overall pick of the 1970 draft, but his major league career failed to live up to expectation. This was partly due to emotional and mental issues that Ivie opened up about later in his career. Overall, in 857 games for four teams over 11 seasons, he hit .269 with 81 HR and 411 RBI.

The man: Ivie originally came up as a catcher, but developed a mental block about throwing the ball back to the pitcher and was moved to first baseman. After the 1979 season, when Ivie seemed to finally be putting it all together, (.286, 27 HR, 89 RBI), Ivie badly cut his hand with a hunting knife. The Sporting News Guide said, "The sensitive first baseman couldn't cope with the long rehabilitation process, and the injury also affected his brittle confidence." Since his troubled major league career ended, Ivie appears to have kept a low public profile.

My collection: I have 17 of his cards, from 1972 to 1983. I would be interested in trading for 1976 Hostess #103.

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