Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NEW FEATURE 1976 All-Star Game 40th Anniversary: Greg Luzinski - 1977 Topps #30

Annually we here at Team Phungo attempts to put a year long feature dedicated to a single team. Past editions of the Phungo Annual have included the 1964 and 1983 Phillies as well as a feeble attempt at the 1915 NL Pennant Winners last year.

This year we are going with a different type of feature. 2016 Marks the 40th anniversary of the Bicentennial All-Star Game which was held at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. To mark the occasion we are going to put together several postings related to the event. I don't anticipate hitting every player that made the team but if I am going to cover a good chunk of them we are going to have to start now..

And we lead off with a Clean Up Hitter.

1977 Topps #30 Greg Luzinski (NL All-Star)

Five Phillies made the 1976 NL All-Star roster but only one of them got to start the game in his home city. Greg Luzinski played Left Field and batted fifth, unfortunately he went 0-3 in the game. It was the second All-Star appearance for the Bull and His first of three consecutive starts in the mid-summer classic.

Luzinski's All Star Game qualifying resume at the break included a slash line that read .307/.360/.502 with 12 Homers and 57 RBIs. His All-Star campaign continued as the Bull finished 8th in the 1976 MVP voting.

SABR Star?
Despite the impressive power numbers mentioned above Luzinski's 1976 WAR was +2.3 which ranked a pedestrian 40th in the NL and 19th among outfielders. In general Greg Luzinski's defensive shortcomings probably would prevent him from being a SABR star in any given year. His Peak WAR was +5.2 in 1978 which was 11th in the league and 5th among outfielders.

Regardless he was a slugging machine over his four year all-star period running from 1975-78, averaging 32 Home Runs with 112 RBI while maintaining a .295 BA and an impressive 150 OPS+.

1977 Topps
The starters for the 1976 All-Star teams are honored in the following years Topps set so if I follow through with this feature plan on seeing plenty of 1977T AS cards. This is my favorite type of All-Star card, take the base card and add a flair to them - In the case of 1977 it is more fo a banner, but still solid. During our 1976 ASG redux, I am going to try and hit a few different years and I am sure the relative merits of the different flairs will be over-analyzed.

Lots to like about the the image on Luzinski's card - The All-Star flair, the powder blue road uni, and The uphill dugout roof that draws the photo focus to the Bull's powerful swing. Luzinsnki's uniform #19 appears to be inked on the bat knob - there is a patch on his right shoulder not sure but it may be a bicentennial patch. A final note of interest is the shot appears to be taken at Shea Stadium where Luzinski made his MLB debut on September 9 1970.

1977 Topps #30 Greg Luzinski (NL All-Star / b-side)

The text on the back of the card refers to the Phillies 4-1 NL East Clincher. Luzinski's two out 3-run homer broke a 0-0 tie in the 6th inning. The Plate Appearance had a +34 WPA, which was the best in the game. 
Something tells me we will be hearing from Joe Morgan later in the 1976 All-Star Game feature - he would extend his 100 Walk Season streak to 6 in 1977.

Other Voices
I am sure we will be checking in with The 1977 Topps Blog numerous times during this series. The posting on the 1977T Luzinski card can be found here.

Sources and Links
1976 All-Star Game 40th Anniversary Index
Baseball Almanac 

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