Friday, September 29, 2006

1976 Victory Leaders

On July 28, 1976, Randy Jones went 10 innings in a 2-1 victory to push his dazzling record to 18 wins and 4 losses. After a rocky start to his career that included an 8 and 22 season, Jones had broken through in 1975 with 20 wins, and in 1976 he looked to be on his way to a whole new level of stardom, Sports Illustrated even featuring him on their cover, wondering if he could become the first National Leaguer since Dizzy Dean to reach the astonishing level of 30 wins. There was, in other words, a brief moment in time when Randy Jones—junk-ball-tossing Randy Jones, pale-skinned bozo-haired Randy Jones, thin-lipped dough-faced Randy Jones, Randy Jones in his Padre fast-food uniform, surrounded by feckless Padre teammates and empty seats and the blissfully indifferent blue of a San Diego sky—had something over Jim Palmer. In the latter stages of 1976, of course, the magic dissipated. Jones didn’t get close to 30 wins for the year and never finished another season after 1976 with more wins than losses. Meanwhile, Jim Palmer, shown here without headgear for no other apparent reason than to show off that his flowing blow-dried hair is spectacularly superior to Jones’s cap-crushed rusted Brillo, continued tanly vying for Cy Young awards, breezing into the playoffs, and posing for lucrative underwear ads. When I look at this card I find myself wishing what Randy Jones seems to be wishing—that he could somehow cross over from his photo to the golden realm of the A.L. Victory Leader so as to kick Jim Palmer in his Jockey-Shorted nuts.


Post a Comment

<< Home