Friday, April 5, 2013
no. 162 - jack billingham
Who is the man: Jack Billingham broke through as a starting pitcher in 1970. After spending most of 1969 in relief, he won 13 games in 187-plus innings pitched for the Astros.
Can ya dig it: This is the only time that you'll see Billingham wearing an Astros cap on a Topps baseball card. He's hatless in the 1970 set, and was dealt to the Reds in late 1971.
Right on: As you can see by the signature, Billingham's actual first name is John.
You see this cat Billingham is a bad mother: Billingham's earned run average in seven World Series games pitched is 0.36. He threw 25-plus innings with the Reds, making three starts, and went 2-0.
Shut your mouth: After giving up Hank Aaron's record-tying 714th home run in 1974, Billingham said, "It wasn't a bad pitch, but it wasn't good enough against Hank Aaron."
No one understands him but his woman: Had I been following baseball in the early 1970s, I know Billingham would be a constant source of angst. Billingham started out with the Dodgers and they left him available for the 1968 expansion draft. The Expos picked him up and then dealt him to the Astros. Billingham would go on to have some terrific years for the Reds, particularly his 1973 season. I've often wondered what possessed the Dodgers to leave Billingham unprotected.
(A word about the back): Eight complete games wasn't much in 1971, but I guess it was enough to mention then. Billingham would throw 16 in 1973.