Thursday, March 26, 2020

50 Years Ago - 1970 Opening Day Lineups (NL)

This season is temporarily on hold, but 50 years ago next week was Opening Day 1970.

April 6, 1970 featured the traditional opening games in Cincinnati and Washington. All other teams began the following day. (Cincinnati always hosted the NL's first game, because it is the oldest NL team. Washington hosted the AL's first game so that the president could throw out the first pitch.)

Here are the National League opening day lineups from half a century ago. Teams are shown in order of their 1970 finish.

East Division:
The Pirates won the division with this regular lineup, except for Manny Sanguillen (C ) and Bob Robertson (1B).

Randy Hundley did most of the catching. Jim Hickman replaced Ernie Banks at 1st base, and Joe Pepitone came over from the Astros to play center field.

Donn Clendenon and Ken Boswell were the regulars at 1B and 2B, otherwise those above were the regulars.

Joe Torre split his time between catcher and 3rd base, with rookie Ted Simmons catching many games. Dick Allen was the primary 1st baseman in his only season with the Cardinals. Leron Lee and Joe Hague shared right field.

The Phillies were assembling a good infield, but their pitching and corner outfielders were still sub-par. Johnny Briggs was the primary left fielder, while Byron Browne and others played right field.

John Bateman was the #1 catcher, and Mack Jones took over the left field job.

West Division:

The Reds had most, but not all of their "Big Red Machine" parts together. Dave Concepcion and Woody Woodward split the shortstop duties.

These were the everyday 8 starters except for Bill Grabarkiewitz (3B), Manny Mota (LF), and Andy Kosco (RF).

These were the everyday players all season except for 2nd base, where Ron Hunt split time with Tito Fuentes.

Bob Watson was the primary 1st baseman this season. By mid-season, the outfield was Jim Wynn in left, rookie Cesar Cedeno in center, and Jesus Alou in right.

Bob Tillman caught more games than Bob Didier, and Sonny Jackson shared the shortstop job with Gil Garrido.

This was the Padres' regular lineup all season, except for Ed Speizio at 3B and Al Ferrara in left field. (Van Kelly custom card courtesy of the "When Topps Had (Base)Balls" blog.) 

Tomorrow: The AL starters