Thursday, February 22, 2024

1981 Topps Otto Velez


The front: "Otto the Swatto" takes a mighty cut at Yankee Stadium. In his only day game in the Bronx in 1980, the man who was one letter away from a double-palindrome name went 0-4, striking out twice, as the Jays lost a slugfest, 11-7.

The back: In 53 games at Johnson City in 1970, Velez hit .369 with 7 HR and 44 RBI.

The player: Otto Velez came up with the Yankees in 1972, and despite considerable minor league success, was unable to crack the team's deep outfield. He was an expansion draft pick by the Blue Jays and was an immediate success - in his first 21 games he hit .442 with 5 HR and 18 RBI. However, he was not able to duplicate that success and cooled off the rest of the season. A broken finger and a personality clash with manager Roy Hartsfield limited his playing time, and a similar succession of small injuries and manager disputes kept him from playing a full major league season. Overall in 637 games from 1973 to 1983, Velez hit .251 with 78 HR and 272 RBI.

The man: Velez returned to his native Puerto Rico since the end of his playing career. He was a coach there for many years, most notably during the 1992 Olympics. He appears to now be retired.

My collection: I have 15 of his cards, from 1974 to 1982. I would be interested in trading for 1974 Topps Stamps #NNO.

1 comment:

  1. Can't see the word "palindrome" without thinking of the They Might Be Giants song.