Sep 20, 2012

A Bat Card of a Phillie from the Dark Years: Willie Montanez 2001 Upper Decade 70s

Willie Montanez (or Guillermo Montanez) played for the Phillies before the first purported "Golden Age" of 1976-1983.  He debuted in the days of Connie Mack Stadium and ushered in the Veteran Stadium era in a resounding way in 1971.    He finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting and hit 30 HR and had 99 RBI.  That would be his career high in power production (.476 SLG) as he inexplicably fell off as he entered his prime.

Willie Montanez is not the first name that comes up when one thinks of Phillies with 30 HRs in the '70s.  Take a moment....

There's Mike Schmidt, #1 thought, of course.  This should be followed by Greg Luzinski in quick succession.

There were only two other Phillies who reached this mark in the decade of the '70s, and they both reached that mark in the same year, 1971.  This was the man of the moment, Willie Montanez and Deron Johnson.  The Phillies must have thought they had the power core to be successful with the ascent of these two mashers, the first full season of Larry Bowa, and the debut of Greg Luzinski.

The hope may have been misplaced since they did finish 11th in the league in runs scored and 9th in the league in runs allowed in 1971.....and then they went and traded their no-hitter throwing, 6 HR hitting ace of Rick Wise in the offseason....for Steve Carlton.  That may have worked out.

Willie Montanez's career did not match the ultimate promise of that first year, but he was a league average hitter for over 14 years. And it's fitting that Upper Deck gave him a bat card commemorating that decade of decades....the '70s.

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

That's a great set, unique, fun design and like the Montanez an interesting group of players not usually seen.