Another card full of the color blue! Veteran Larry Gura is seen here following through with his left handed throwing motion on his 12th Topps card.
Player: Illinois native Larry Gura was drafted in the 2nd round by the Cubs in 1969 after playing collegiate ball at Arizona State. He made his MLB debut in 1970 but Gura's career took a while to get going as he never established himself in Chicago and was traded to Texas after the '73 season and to the Yankees in May of '74.
Gura was the Yankees number five starter in 1975 and won seven games with a 3.51 ERA in 151 innings. Gura was unable to secure a spot in the Yankee rotation in '76 and was traded to Kansas City where he was a little used long man most of the year although he spun a four-hit shutout in one of his four starts.
Gura again worked primarily out of the pen in '77 with 10 saves and a 3.13 ERA. Gura would find himself in an out of the rotation in '78 before landing there for good in late July. Although he made just 26 starts his 2.72 ERA helped him get votes in CYA voting (7th) and a token MVP vote (23rd).
Now 31 years old, Gura averaged 32 starts a season over the next five seasons as he became a mainstay of the KC rotation. A rough start to the '79 campaign doomed that season (4.47 ERA) but he bounced back with a monster campaign in 1980. Gura logged an iron-man 283 innings with a 2.85 ERA, and made his lone all-star team and finished 6th in CYA voting.
The southpaw continued to get outs at a proficient clip during the '81 strike season but was average or well below the rest of his career as his ERA went from 2.72, 4.03, to 4.90. Although KC was getting back to their winning ways Gura struggled through the 1984 season and was released in May of '85 as the youth movement was in full swing with the likes of Saberhagen, Gubicza, and Jackson.
Gura returned to the Cubs but allowed 19 runs in 20 innings and was released, thus ending his 16 year career.
Flipside: You can see from his yearly stats that Gura was a late bloomer but he didn't spend much time in the low minors. The Cubs placed him in low-A ball to start his career but promoted him later that year all the way to AAA. Gura would pitch at least part of seven more seasons in the minors but they were all in AAA.
Oddball: Gura may be the only player whose tennis hobby helped get him traded.
History: Gura had a strange but long career in pro ball racking up 126 wins with a 3.76 ERA. Many remember him for his success against the Yankees once they traded him away. The numbers bear this out. In 20 career starts he did very well with 11-6 record, 3.10 ERA and 10 complete games. His postseason experience pitted the Royals against the Yankees four times with mixed results.