Saturday, September 19, 2020

1981 Topps John Candelaria

The front: There are not too many cards of the Candy Man with a beard. I am guessing this is a between-innings warmup pitch as several fans are not looking at the field. This is Shea Stadium, making this July 10, 1980 a Thursday afternoon game that lasted two hours and 11 minutes. Candelaria was outdueled by Pat Zachry 2-0, done in by a Lee Mazzilli home run in the third inning.

The back: The Baseball Bulletin may have called Candelaria their 1977 NL Pitcher of the Year, but he was only fifth in the Cy Young voting, behind Steve Carlton, Tommy John, Rick Reuschel and Tom Seaver.

The player: Candelaria had several excellent seasons for the Pirates in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Highlights included a no-hitter in 1976, 20 wins in 1977, and winning Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. After being traded to the Angels in 1985, he pitched for eight teams in eight years with varying degrees of success. Overall, in 19 seasons he went 177-122 with a 3.33 ERA.

The man: During his career Candelaria was often a problem personality, with three DUI arrests and numerous conflicts with managers and other players. Since his career ended, however, he seems to have kept a low profile.

My collection: I have 74 of his cards, from 1976 to 1993. I would be interested in trading for 1989 Sportflics #202.