Wednesday, July 18, 2012

1979 TCMA Vancouver Canadiens Baseball #5, Craig Ryan

I like to see worn equipment on cards. This photo shows Craig's Ryan first year in Vancouver, but he's already dinged up that batting helmet bill and crown legging out doubles. (Don't tell me the team "shares equipment," I don't want to know. Craig Ryan is a warrior and we won't hear differently.)

Ryan split time between 1B and OF in 1979 and led Vancouver in homers that year with 16. He hit even better (.841 OPS) in 1980, but never got a call to Milwaukee. It was impossible to crack the Brewers lineup at those positions, thanks to these guys (team stats).
  • 1B Cecil Cooper: 24 HR, 133 OPS+ (1979), 25 HR, 155 OPS+ (1980)
  • LF Ben Ogilve: 29 HR, 131 OPS+ (1979), 41 HR, 151 OPS+ (1980)
  • CF Gorman Thomas: 45 HR, 135 OPS+ (1979), 38 HR, 112 OPS+ (1980)
  • RF Sixto Lezcano: 28 HR, 164 OPS+ (1979), 18 HR, 98 OPS+ (1980)

Add future HOFers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor to that lineup and you're scoring runs on a regular basis.

Lezcano's 1979 season is one of the least-recognized great years, as he's one of just 19 players to break 160 OPS+ in the first DH decade (1973-83). Sixto also picked up a Gold Glove and finished 11th in WAR--a tick behind Paul Molitor--yet Gorman Thomas still got more MVP votes, thanks to those 45 homers.

That "did not play" comment's misleading, as Craig was a pro in Mexico for all of 1977 and 1978. He moved on to Japan in 1981 and finished there at age 28 (career stats).

Vancouver's checklist includes 25 players and staff, with two sharing #22 and #23, thanks to call-up replacements. Guys with MLB experience in bold.
  1. Skip James
  2. Vic Harris
  3. Ron Jacobs
  4. Marshall Edwards
  5. Craig Ryan
  6. Tim Nordbrook
  7. Mark Bomback
  8. Andy Replogle
  9. Danny Boitano
  10. Rickey Keeton
  11. Gus Quiros
  12. Juan Lopez
  13. Ned Yost
  14. Clay Carroll
  15. Kuni Ogawa
  16. Randy Stein
  17. Ed Romero
  18. Jeff Yurak
  19. Sam Hinds
  20. John Felske, Manager
  21. Billy Severns
  22. Lenn Sakata / Kent Biggerstaff, Trainer
  23. Willie Mueller / Creighton Tevlin

Why was Kent Biggerstaff a trainer and not a player? Then managers could say, "that shortstop hits like he's holding a broom handle--put in Biggerstaff!"

Value: Craig cost $2 from Ned Yost is the best known roster-mate, thanks to his managing career. Few will cost more than a dollar or two.

Fakes / reprints: Haven't seen any in the marketplace. TCMA reprinted many 1980 team sets for "collectors kits" later in the 1980s, but not sure if 1979 players also showed up there.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if you would read this or not, but this blog you posted is about my Dad...Craig Ryan! I'm Katelyn Ryan, I also have three younger brothers pursuing the same career path he did. We live in Southern California and I sent this to my Dad this morning, he was just tickled to call and tell my Uncle about it. He is still really close friends with Tim Nordbrook which I call my Uncle Tim, and Gus Quiros, which I call my Uncle Gus. You had them listed on the team roster below. Anyways, I do not have Google Plus, but if you want to get in contact with email is:

I would love to be able to tell my Dad I found the guy that wrote the article. This is so cool!

Hope to talk soon,
Katelyn Ryan

Matthew Glidden said...

That's very cool, will get in touch!