Friday, February 17, 2012

The Comeback Kid

Last time, I featured a player who enjoyed a long career and excelled during the later years. This guy did that, too:

Card #109 -- Doyle Alexander, Baltimore Orioles

Doyle Alexander looks sad in this picture (despite the more tropical spring air and the palm trees around him), but 1973 would be his first winning season. However, it was the only one he would enjoy between his rookie season with the Dodgers in 1971 and his tenure with the Orioles. As a result, he was included in a massive ten-player trade between Baltimore and their A.L. East rival New York Yankees. The change paid immediate dividends, both for the Bronx Bombers, who went to the World Series for the first time in a dozen years, and Alexander, who had a 10-5 record with them as he helped to get them there. He lost game 1 of that year's World Series and signed as a free agent with Texas afterward.

Over the next several years, he pitched for the Rangers, Braves, Giants and the Yankees again. He was effective in 1977, but inconsistent after that, watching his ERA rise and his record dart around. In '83, the Yankees dropped him and he signed with the Blue Jays, a move that once again jump-started his career. He would win 17 games in both 1984 and '85 and helped the Jays win their first division title in the latter year. He went to Atlanta once again in 1986, but was traded once again the next year.

In that trade, Alexander became a Tiger, and the deal paid dividends for both teams. The Tigers' part paid off immediately, as Alexander (who at 36 was assumed to be washed up) ran up a 9-0 record and once again served as a catalyst for a division title. 1988 was another decent year, but his age finally reached up to him in '89 and he retired after the season.


  1. Doyle was definitely a favourite. He was the one on the mound for the pennant-clincher against the Yankees.

    I had a question about 1973 Topps. It was brought to my attention that 1973 OPC was released as a single series, and this would mean that even though Topps was released in a number of different series, they all must have been ready to go at the start of the year, otherwise they wouldn't have been available to be sent to OPC.

    Had you heard this before? I always assumed the later series were produced as the season went on. Could that have been part of Topps getting ready for the single-release set of 1974?

  2. If I remember correctly, OPC was printed a little bit later in the year than Topps (as a result of the fact that they were a Canadian associate, rather than merely a Topps subsidiary). To me, that was the reason OPC cards were able to contain "Traded To..." or "Now With..." lines on the cards, as they were prepared after the Topps cards had to be printed.

    Simply judging from the fact that players like Denny McClain, who was included in the high series and still pictured with a team who released him during the preseason, are present, I think it's safe to say that the entire 1973 Topps set was ready to go fairly early in the year. So your hypothesis is probably correct.

    That is, if my own hypothesis is true.