Monday, June 20, 2016

#460 Al Downing

Comeback player of the year for 1971 but when one thinks about it, maybe the most impressive redemption  of the entire 1970’s given the time between his initial effectiveness and eventual comeback…Al’s 20 win 1971 was so unexpected....In 1970 5 wins, 13 loss record for Oakland and Milwaukee, one would think he'd be more of a candidate for outright release….A 400% improvement in wins….Ten years earlier Al was being groomed as Yankee pitcher of the future….entered rotation with 13 wins and a nearly even strikeout to inning ratio in 1963….Became AL strikeout king in 1964….repeated 13 wins as Yankees won their last pennant for over a decade…next three season reached double digit wins but Yankees had losing records…settled into marginal status with an abbreviated 1968 and rehab stint in class A ball…. Was slowly able to regain starter status in 1969…exiled to Oakland then Milwaukee in 1970….pitched well for Brewers lowering his ERA, but poor run support doomed to 2-10 record….following 1971, Al was able to hang on to 4th and 5th starter position for 2 season….1974 started out by giving up Hank Aaron's historic record setting home run…also was start of four seasons of mop up work ending with his mid season release in 1977.


  1. The 1st card from the 1st pack I ever bought! From the ice cream man.
    I was so stoked to get a Dodger as my first card.

  2. Wow! great memory. Nice start. I can't recall the first 1972 card from the set, but I think first card I got from the 1973 set was Jack Brohamer.