Monday, January 17, 2011

#82 - Dave Giusti

This is my first truly crooked card so I get out of blaming myself for a bad scan. Also, I would be real surprised if this shot isn't from the same set of shots that Dave's '73 card is from (it is almost exactly the same pose on the same field) which would make the shot from the latest 1972. Plus I believe it is a spring training shot. Dave is another guy whose '73 was smack in the middle of his most productive years: his 9-2 record, 2.37 ERA, and 20 saves helped get him his only All-Star nod as he was the Pirates closer the fourth year running. "72 was a pretty good year for Dave too so maybe that he was stuck there for a while was a good thing.

Dave Giusti was another college guy, having gone to Syracuse after growing up in upstate NY. For the Orange, Dave played a couple years of hoops and helped take the team to the CWS his last year there. He was then grabbed by the new Colt .45's in the '61 draft and that year - since the Houston franchise hadn't officially opened shop yet - went on loan to the Cubs for some time in A and Triple A ball, posting a 2.38 ERA on the season. In the game in which he pitched his first shutout at the lower level he also went 4-for-4 at the plate. Dave then started the initial Colt .45 '62 season on the Houston roster and did some spot starts but mostly relieved. After putting up not great numbers, he returned to Triple A for the balance of the season and most of the next two. During that time he went a combined 25-20 with a 3.45 ERA and missed some '62 time for an elbow operation. After some relief time back up top at the end of the '64 season he was up for good.

Giusti returned to the Astros in '65 and after that season of again both starting and relieving (and posting three saves), he became Houston's most dependable starter the next three seasons. He was their only guy to get double figures in wins each year. In a 1966 start he blanked the Reds while grabbing six RBIs! In '67 he began the year 0-5 while dealing with tendonitis, but had a strong second half. In '68 poor run support led to a losing record though his ERA was quite good. Following the '68 season Dave was traded to the Cards for Johnny Edwards, who became the Houston starting catcher. The Cards left Dave unprotected in the expansion draft and the Padres grabbed him. The Cards then used four players - including a pitcher named Phil Knuckles; too bad that guy never made it - to bring Giusti back. Unfortunately Dave didn't have a bang-up year - 3-7 with a 3.61 ERA - and St. Louis sent him to Pittsburgh shortly after the season for Carl Taylor.

For the Pirates Giusti blossomed. After a poor spring training in '70, Danny Murtaugh moved him to the bullpen and there Dave responded. His 9-3 record and 26 saves were, according to Willie Stargell, the primary reason the Pirates won their division. In '71 Dave led the league with 30 saves for the Series winners. He also didn't give up a run in over 10 post-season innings. The next two seasons he also recorded over 20 saves and in '73 he had the All-Star year. Two more effective years followed: 7-5 with a 3.32 ERA and twelve saves in '74; and a 5-4/2.95/17 line in '75. Then, after a sub-par '76, Dave was traded to the recently destroyed Oakland A's in the big trade that brought the Pirates Phil Garner. He actually had a very nice partial season for Oakland. In August he was sold to the Cubs for whom he did not do so well. Cicago released him after the season ended and that it was it for Dave. For his career he went 100-93 with a 3.60 ERA, 35 complete games, nine shutouts, and 145 saves. His post-season record was not nearly as good: 0-2 in 16 games with 2 saves and a 4.87 ERA. As indicated above, Dave was a pretty good hitter with four homers, 46 RBI,s, and a .187 average in 412 career at bats.

During his career, Giusti was able to get his masters in education from Syracuse and he spent at least some time teaching science (his baseball-reference site is sponsored by a former student). But after his career he became a corporate sales rep for American Express and is reported to have retired in 2002.

This is actually a really good scan of a slanted card. The star bullets are nice but kind of ho-hummy. Dave's specialty pitch was a palmball which is sort of like a changeup; it looks like a fastball and is an out pitch because the batters are usually ahead of it.He picked it up while attending Syracuse.

How do we go from a Pirate to an Indian? Through the Phillies:

1. Giusti and Bill Robinson '75 to '76 Pirates;
2. Robinson and Oscar Gamble '72 Phillies;
3. Gamble and Frank Duffy '73 to '75 Indians.

A lot of hair on that one.

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