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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bruce Markusen: #CARDCORNER: 1979 TOPPS GENE TENACE

Tenace turned in his gaudy, green-and-gold Oakland polyesters for the even gaudier brown-and-yellow threads preferred of the Padres. Making the transition to the National League, Tenace hit 15 home runs, but his patient hitting style drew the ire of Kroc.

“Tenace kept saying if he played every day he’d improve,” Kroc complained to the Sporting News. “Well he’s been in there every day and he hasn’t done a damn thing. All he wants to do is walk. Well, we can’t win games waiting for walks. He’s being paid to hit, and he can’t hit.”

In reality, Tenace did hit that season, putting up an OPS of .824.

He would follow that up with three more productive seasons in San Diego, but the Padres failed to make the postseason during his time there.

Fiore Gino Posted: May 18, 2019 at 10:28 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball cards, gene tenace, oakland a's, san diego padres

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: May 19, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5843526)
It's hard to believe that Charlie Finley allowed Fury Gene Tenace to reach the majors as just plain Gene.
   2. I Am Not a Number Posted: May 19, 2019 at 10:25 AM (#5843527)
For any young boy cutting his teeth on Strat-O-Matic in the 1970s, Gene Tenace's card was highly educational. All those walks (and some pop as well)! I am convinced that SOM forced youngsters into appreciating the virtues of on-base skills long before that thinking seeped into the mainstream.
   3. . Posted: May 19, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5843529)
Willie Randolph, too. Walks were capitalized in the exact same font as hits making the message, such as it was, crystal clear.
   4. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 19, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5843530)
For any young boy cutting his teeth on Strat-O-Matic in the 1970s, Gene Tenace's card was highly educational. All those walks (and some pop as well)! I am convinced that SOM forced youngsters into appreciating the virtues of on-base skills long before that thinking seeped into the mainstream.


I had the 1980 Stais Pro Baseball set. It was a revelation that Willie Randolph (.294 BA) was more valuable than Willie Wilson (.326), or Miguel Dilone (.341).
   5. . Posted: May 19, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5843531)
With that said, hitting .341 is pretty cool. The world doesn’t operate on mere “value,” thank “God.”
   6. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 19, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5843534)
With that said, hitting .341 is pretty cool. The world doesn’t operate on mere “value,” thank “God.”


Oh sure. Miguel Dilone was by no means a good player in the macro sense*, but he certainly had a good season (one of the flukiest ever, but that's what was cool about it.).

* Career 2.5 WAR. 3.0 of that was in 1980.
   7. puck Posted: May 19, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5843538)
I am convinced that SOM forced youngsters into appreciating the virtues of on-base skills long before that thinking seeped into the mainstream.


I could see this having some affect.

I had Statis Pro like misirlou and it definitely influenced me along those lines. I ended up building an all star team and started gravitating towards the players with power and walks. They just seemed to unleash more big games.

So when I began reading the early Abstracts, all that stuff about value of a walk/not making outs was a lot easier to buy.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 19, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5843542)
I have met more than one person who learned the value of OBP from Joe Morgan's card for various tabletop games in the mid-1970s.
   9. Perry Posted: May 19, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5843588)
Bill James himself has cited competing in a table-game league as motivation for studying baseball stats systematically.
   10. bobm Posted: May 19, 2019 at 09:59 PM (#5843663)
The Lasting Impact of Strat O Matic

Future front office executives, such as Billy Beane were introduced to sabermetrics and advanced statistics from glancing at Strat-O-Matic cards as youngsters. For Beane, it was a 1974 Gene Tenace card, which allowed him to develop a vested interest in on-base percentage as a valued statistic since his .211 average belied his 110 walks that season. By emphasizing walks and on-base percentage as meaningful measures of a player’s value, Strat-O-Matic helped usher the “Moneyball” generation and forever changed the sport.


   11. . Posted: May 20, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5843718)
By emphasizing walks and on-base percentage as meaningful measures of a player’s value


That's an overreach. All SOM did was put the right statistical number of walks on a players' card. (*) I don't recall it ever making any value judgment about them at all. In fact, I don't even think OBP was listed on players' cards in the late 70s.

(*) As well as pitchers, of course. Nolan Ryan's 200+ walks in 1977 are amply represented on his card.

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