Thursday, July 12, 2012

1978 Cramer Phoenix Giants Baseball #5, Howie Mitchell

After a week of profiling contemporary black-and-white TCMA sets, Cramer's full-color alternatives sure jump off the card at you. Even its stamp-sized Pepsi logo looks cheery.

Do those dark brows and long nose seem familiar? I, for one, look forward to Zach Braff playing lead in The Howie Mitchell Story or perhaps Howie playing lead in The Zach Braff Story.

Howie's generation of the Phoenix Giants changed names to the Firebirds in 1986 and remained in town until 1997, when the Arizona Diamondbacks debut effectively killed their minor league team.

Unfortunately, 1978 served as both Howie's first season at Triple-A and only season at Triple-A. Mitchell never cracked the majors and his career ended after 1979, probably for lack of power (career stats). Many middle infielders had slugging % below their OPB, but the MLB Giants got at least average production from Johnnie LeMaster, Tim Foli, and Bill Madlock at 2B and SS in the late 70s.

As with my 1977 TCMA Asheville Tourists profile, most online checklists list the 25 Phoenix players alphabetically, despite the card back numbering. (Add a comment if you know others.)
  • #5 Howie Mitchell

Other players in the set (numbers unknown)
  • Ethan Blackaby
  • Rick Bradley
  • Rocky Bridges
  • Don Carrithers
  • Mike Cash
  • Terry Cornutt
  • Rob Dressler
  • Art Gardner
  • Randy Hammon
  • Kyle Hypes
  • Greg Johnston
  • Harry Jordan
  • Wendell Kim
  • Jeff Little
  • Dennis Littlejohn
  • Greg Minton
  • Rich Murray
  • Phil Nastu
  • Casey Parsons
  • Ed Plank
  • Mike Rowland
  • Rick Sanderlin
  • Joe Strain
  • Guy Sularz

Value: Howie cost $3 on eBay a few years ago. His bolded teammates made the majors, so could cost more.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace.


Matt Runyon said...

Mr. Mitchell is one of the reasons why Johnnie LeMaster lasted so long in the bigs. The Giants just didn't have many good-hitting infielders in their system.

Matthew Glidden said...

Good point and it reminds me why Cal Ripken seemed like such a revelation. Getting great production from low-power positions often does wonders for a team.