Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vintage Fridays: Rich Coggins, 1974 Topps #353

This is a card that I intend to upgrade some day, especially since I intend to complete the 1974 Topps base set. You can see the shmutz (technical term) on the left border, and the print is a bit out of focus. I've been staring at the card, and I still can't tell whether it's miscut or if I just scanned it crooked. Like most things in life, a baseball card collection is forever a work in progress.

In 1974, Rich Coggins must have felt as fuzzy as he looks on this card. A year earlier, he had batted .319/.363/.468 (134 OPS+) in 110 games as a 22-year-old rookie. His nine triples were second on the club only to fellow rookie Al Bumbry's 11. He was also the Orioles' first runner-up to Bumbry (.337) in batting average. But the hits didn't fall in for Coggins as a sophomore. He had a brutal April (.154/.241/.250), and things didn't get a whole lot better from there. Aside from a .354 average in July, the outfielder didn't bat above .250 in any single month. He finished the year at .243/.299/.319 (81 OPS+), which didn't really cut it. The year ended on a particularly sour note for Coggins, as he took an 0-for-11 collar in the team's ALCS loss to the Athletics. He did steal 26 bases in 32 tries, combining with Don Baylor and Paul Blair to give the O's a trio of outfielders with at least 26 steals apiece. But Rich wouldn't get a chance to reverse his fortunes in Baltimore, as the Birds shipped him north to Montreal with Dave McNally in exchange for Mike Torrez and Ken Singleton.

As bad as 1974 seemed for Coggins, things were worse beyond Charm City. His major league career had only two more seasons and 103 games left to it, as he compiled a measly .498 OPS (43 OPS+) for three teams. I've read that a thyroid condition was to blame for his abbreviated and downward-trending career. How frustrating it must have been to be robbed of his livelihood at age 25.

1 comment:

Commishbob said...

He sure was a meteor. I remember him and Bumbry have such big-time rookie seasons and thinking we were set...the two of them and Don Baylor....heady days.