Sunday, April 10, 2016

1976 All-Star Game +40: Ron LeFlore

Tonight ESPN Sunday Night Baseball was supposed to be airing from Detroit but the Tigers game with the Yankees had to be postponed due to inclement weather.

Here at Phungo HQ we are up to the challenges of the elements and will continue our 1976 All-Star Game retrospective with a look at Tigers Alum Ron LeFlore

1977 Topps #240 Ron LeFlore All-Star

1976 was probably LeFlore's best season and he was rewarded with his only All-Star nomination. He started Left Field and led off for the AL squad. Unfortunately LeFlore was erased on a double play ground out so he didn't get to show off his speed during the game. His 455 career steals rank 52nd all time and include leading each league once (68 SB AL 1978, 97 SB NL 1980).

LeFlore is an interesting baseball figure. A troubled youth he found himself in prison for armed robbery at the age of 22 in 1970. While in prison he picked up baseball and was discovered by Tigers manager Billy Martin. The story was chronicled in his (auto)-biography "Breakout: From Prison to the Big Leagues" co authored with Tigers writer and Spink Award Nominee Jim Hawkins. The book begat the film "One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story" which was starred LeVar Burton as LeFlore and was directed by prolific TV filmmaker William A Graham

1977 Topps
Nice to see LeFlore get honored with the 77T All-Star Flair, plenty of players in the 1970s era made multiple ASGs but never get an All-Star card.

1977 Topps #240 Ron LeFlore All-Star (b-side)

The text covers LeFlore's All-Star game appearance and also mentions a 30 Game Hit streak he had in 1976. The streak lasted from the Tigers fourth game on April 17th through May 27th. Yankees Pitchers Ed Figueroa and Tippy Martinez shut down LeFlore on May 28th, 1976.

Also I would like to point out the demographics note LeFlore was both born and lived in Detroit. Definitely despite a troubled past (and present) a Tigers favorite.

Finally the Cartoon. Love this one as it covers Frank Robinson winning MVP awards in both leagues. This was discussed in our posting on Robinson's 1967T #100 card, which mentions the fact in the text and has it's own -toon mentioning his 1966 AL MVP award.

Voices in the Crowd
This card was covered by the Baseball 1977

Sources and Links
Baseball 1977
1976 All-Star Game Index
Robert Niemi: History in the Media: Film and Television
Jim Hawkins - Toronto Sun (2013 0226)

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