After 19 seasons the cowboy, Gene Autry, finally got his first post season appearance. Sure an 88 win team isn’t exactly dominant, but after stockpiling free agent talent for the past 4 seasons the Halo’s were destined to get to the top. Of course it didn’t hurt one bit that the 3 time AL West defending champion Royals had a rare off year, but hey who’s complaining ? Don Baylor won the AL MVP Award on the heels of a .296-36-139 season. Baylor even led the team in steals with 22. Bobby Grich (.294-30-101) finally lived up to his free agent billing and posted Joe Morgan type numbers at second base. Free Agent signee Rod Career hit 70 points below his 1978 average, but that was still a solid .318. Nolan Ryan (16-14, 3.60) was barely a .500 pitcher in what would turn out to be his final season in an Angel uniform. Unheralded David Frost (16-10, 3.57), not to be confused with the guy who interviewed Nixon, had better numbers than “the Express”. Mark Clear (11-5, 3.63, 14 sv) was the only reliable arm out of the pen. Dave LaRoche had 10 saves, but he also lost 11 games and is ERA was in the mid 5’s. Still with all of their quirks the Halos won the division by 3 over the aforementioned Royals the proceeded to bow out in the ALCS when the O’s beat them in 4.
Editor’s Note: Just before I attempted to work on this set I looked through some of the photos that Tony sent me and said, “why do these look familiar”. Then it dawned on me that they were 1979 cards that I created for KOD14. I quickly e-mailed Douglas Zaner, who sent me a zip file of my originals. I eventually took Tony’s photos and upgraded 9 cards: Bert Campaneris, John Harris, Brian Harper, Larry Harlow, Ike Hampton, Steve Eddy, Willie Davis, Dave Schuler and John Montague. I’m still looking for a non airbrushed photo for Ralph Garr, which has been anointed the “white whale” for this team set.