Tag Archives: NL East

Inside the SP78 Vault: Phillies Tastykake Pin

I acquired this 2¼-inch pin sometime in the 1980s, at one of the many baseball card shows I’d attended in San Diego and LA, and besides programs and pocket schedules, is one of my earliest additions to the SP78 vault. I know very little about the pin itself, except for the obvious: it was a Philadelphia Phillies souvenir, it was sponsored by Tastykake, and it was released during the 1978 season.

I did a quick search on-line before typing this post, and could find no information related to the pin itself: was it sold at stadium gift stands, or maybe given away as a promotion at a game, or was it included in packages of Tastykake products? I couldn’t even find one for sale on eBay, so its current value is unknown; I can tell you that back in the ’80s, I probably wouldn’t have paid more than five bucks for it (however, if it had been a Reds pin, sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy or Hudepohl Beer, I might’ve allowed myself to spend ten).

And 1978 was indeed ‘the year’ for Philadelphia, at least in the NL East; they won the division with a 90-72 record, besting second-place Pittsburgh by a mere 1½ games, and went into the post-season as favorites over rival LA. But they would go on to lose the best-of-five NLCS to the Dodgers in four, and thus the Phillies’ baked goods totem would proudly be worn no more.

Cards Hope to Rebound from Rough July

The St Louis Cardinals are hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 11-16 record in July, where the team ERA was a staggering 4.09, and with a handful of pitchers and a 15-year-old rookie phenom waiting for a call-up from AAA Springfield in August, they seem to be primed and ready to move out of the cellar and into fifth—and maybe even fourth—place in the NL East. With an overall record of 40-65 and just a 5½ game gap between them and the fifth-place Mets, that goal seems more than possible.

Though Cardinal batters seemed to be living up to expectations (team batting for July was .270, with catcher Ted Simmons leading the squad with a .394 mark), team pitching was definitely on the skids. Bob Forsch’s ERA was a lofty 8.00, and he completed no games over six starts (the staff as a whole completed only four), while Card starters could muster only one July shutout, when reliever Tom Bruno made a rare start and blanked the Padres 2-0 on the 28th. Meanwhile, spot starter Pete Falcone’s ERA ballooned to 7.82 for the year after he allowed 11 runs over six innings pitched in July, prompting a demotion to Springfield.

To check out the Cardinals stat page for numbers through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked, both of which will be very soon.

Bucs’ Subpar July Hinders NL East Chances

After posting an impressive 18-10 won-lost record in June, the Pittsburgh Pirates slumped to 10-18 in July, putting a momentary damper on their chances at the top spot in the Phillies-controlled NL East. The good news is, the two teams blocking their path, the Cubs and Expos, also had disappointing records in July. The bad news: the two teams trailing them, the Mets and Cardinals, are closing in fast, setting up a possible 5-team August logjam for second place in the East. And along with that, one glaring fact remains: the Bucs are still in fourth place, 18 games back of first place, with just two months to go in the regular season.

Outfielder Bill Robinson led the squad in July with a .366 average, and his 26 hits were second best behind Dave Parker, who had 28. But as a team the Pirates hit just .234, and Parker’s four home runs were—sadly—enough to lead the Bucs’ power-deficient offense. Starter Jim Rooker had an earned run average of 2.12 in five starts, and a trio of relievers (Kent Tekulve, Bruce Kison, and Grant Jackson) all had ERA’s hovering around 1.75. But the team lost 18 games in July, tied for the NL lead, and they carry a 4-game losing streak heading into August.

To check out the Pirates page for stats through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.