Thursday, November 15, 2012

#248 Bake McBride - Cleveland Indians

Bake McBride just doesn't look right to me in an Indian uniform.  I remember him as a Phillie and being mesmerized by the giant fro on his previous Topps cards.  The background really looks distorted and bluish, I'm not sure what that is all about.  In the cameo pic, McBride looks proud of his 10th Topps card.
Player:  Bake McBride debuted in the majors with the Cardinals in 1973.  Despite his low status as a 37th round pick in the 1970 draft, McBride showed the ability to hit for average and carried it over to the majors.  In 71 trips to the plate McBride hit .302/.352/.349 which helped make a positive first impression when he debuted in '73.
McBride was the starting centerfielder for the Redbirds and on the strength of a .309 average, 30 stolen bases, and smooth defense he won the '74 NL Rookie of the Year award.  Although he hit .300 and .335 the next two years, shoulder and knee injuries limited him to just 188 games.
Coming off knee surgery, McBride got off to a slow start and was traded to the Phillies.  He hit .339/.392/.564 in half a season's work for his new team and became known as the rightfielder for some excellent Philadelphia squads in the late 70's and early 80's.  He hit 10 HR in '78 but a sore wrist limited him to 122 games.  He was healthier in '79 and he hit .280/.328/.411 with 12 triples and 12 homers.
McBride had a fine year for the Phils in 1980.  He hit 309/.342/.453 and was deemed important enough to Philadelphia's success he finished 10th in MVP voting.  He had a fine World Series, batting .304 with a homer and five RBI as the Phillies knocked off the Royals.
More knee injuries marred McBride's '81 season, limiting him to 58 games.  He had surgery on both knees and was later traded to the Indians in February of 1982.  As if he hadn't injured every body part imaginable, McBride had a problem with his contact solution and had conjunctivitis (pink eye) in both eyes.  He hit .365 for the Tribe but batted just 88 times. 
There was nothing wrong with McBride's eyes in '83 but a sore shoulder and a bum thumb kept him out of action half the year.  He batted .291/.318/.348 in what turned out to be his last major league season.  With teams scared off by his history of injuries, McBride couldn't find a major league team and played for the Rangers AAA affiliate in '84 before calling it a career.

Flipside:  McBride's .291 season in '83 dipped his career average down to .299.

Oddball:  "Shake 'n' Bake" suffered a lot of injuries in his career.  He played in over 137 games just twice in his eleven year career.  A partial list of McBride's injuries:
May '76 shoulder tear
July '76 sore left knee
August '76 torn knee cartilage 
1978 sore wrist
1978 twisted ankle
Feb '81 broken thumb in Hawaii during offseason
1981 knees
1982 conjunctivitis
June '83 sore right shoulder
August '83 jammed left thumb
Maybe it is fitting that his son Bake is a fitness trainer.

History:  McBride posted a .299/.345/.420 line in his career and one has to wonder if he had stayed healthy how his lifetime stats would have looked.  As it stands he still generated 21.1 WAR in his 11 seasons. McBride won a World Series in 1980, an NL ROY award in 1974 and was an NL All-Star in '76.