Dennis Blair – 1978 Topps
January 16, 2012
One Of Youse Guys Is Gonna Get This Here Card
Yeah, I’m sending cards out again. I went through my shiny / relics and doubles and made about a dozen care packages. Yes, some of the cards I’m sending people may have already but you can deal with it, I know. Besides, a team / player collector can probably move a double to other team / player collectors they know, or just use the extra Donruss cards as a cheap wallpaper.
I am also debating what to do with my 2011 Topps 60th Anniversary Set. I have it. It’s unopened, and I think I may need to move it for cash or cards. Stay tuned! You could get it!
I am also debating what to do with my Bowman’s. I was disgustipated by the heinous job Topps did on their latest Bowman release (collation, errors, and numbering issues – I thought the regular Bowman release was nifty but this Prospects were just rife with errors) and because I may need to downsize all my Bowman cards may be up for cash or cards. Stay tuned!
As I hinted in the title, in one of my care packages this here card will be making its way to someone who needs it. Hopefully this card will be needed more than the Expos seemed to want Mr. Blair.
Blair rocketed through the Expos chain, hitting AA Quebec City at age 19 and then making the bigs after a 5-0, 1.83 start at AAA Memphis the next year.
All he did as a 20-year old rookie for a struggling team was go 11-7, 3.27 (118 ERA+). His only warning sign was walking 72 while just striking out 76.
Those 1974 Expos had a young, hungry staff (age 25.7 average). They were on the verge.
Montreal took a little step back in 1975, and Blair was the recipient poor run support and some control issues. His record was 8-15. But, his ERA was 3.80 (102 ERA+). His teammates scored just 2.8 runs per start. He walked 106 in 163 innings, which was his only black mark, and he was 21.
The Expos changed managers in 1976 and became even worse of a train wreck than their expansion years. Instead of allowing Blair to get more experience in the bigs, Montreal decided that guys like Don Carrithers, Steve Dunning, Dan Warthen and a out-of-gas Clay Kirby were the answers. They were just bigger questions.
Until September, Blair fumed down in AAA. I am assuming he was fuming. Why wouldn’t he be irate. He didn’t do so bad, considering he was pitching in Denver (4.50 ERA). He struck out more than he walked, but he waited and then pitched 15 2/3 lackluster innings in Montreal.
Back to the minors in 1977, the Orioles snagged him in mid-season. Technically, he was loaned to Rochester and not dealt until after September as the PTBNL in a deal for Fred Holdsworth.
Somehow, he got this card in the 1978 set, so Topps was hoping that Earl Weaver and his crew would give him a legit chance. Well, he may have gotten a chance but Blair didn’t respond. He didn’t pitch in the bigs, and was heinously awful in Rochester (0-6, 8.05). In 1979 he went from the Orioles to the Padres, and made his way back to the bigs in mid-1980.
He made one start (after a decent and awful relief appearance) in the second game of a double header against the Braves. Now, an Atlanta / San Diego double-header in 1980 wasn’t the most exciting way to spend a day, but it was a big league game and Blair did a big league job as the teams battled to stay out of the basement of the NL West.
He went 7 1/3 innings, leaving with a 2-1 lead, but John D’Acquisto let in the tying run, so Blair didn’t get a win. I bet he got an atta-boy or two.
Of course, this was Jerry Coleman’s Padres, and Blair didn’t get another chance to start. He had two desultory relief appearances (the first THREE DAYS after his start) and was sent back to Hawaii. After 1980, he retired.
Why wouldn’t you?
Twice, for no real reason except for ineptitude, he was sent to the minors in favor of inferior alternatives. It’s enough to make a guy consider the alternatives.