Tuesday, September 9, 2014

1978 Topps - John Ellis.

By 1978 John Ellis, shown here on card 438 of the 1978 Topps set, was firmly ensconced as the backup to starting catcher Jim Sundberg. He was also still working on fully coming back from the devastating injury he suffered in 1976.

In 1978 John played in 22 games as catcher and seven as the team's designated hitter. He started 17 games behind the plate with the remainder of his appearances coming in replacement situations after Sundberg had been lifted.

Over the 157.2 innings he played behind the plate Ellis put together a .958 fielding percentage and caught four of the 13 runners who attempted to steal on him. Both his fielding percentage and caught stealing percentage were below the league average but were understandable with the lack of use.

In 104 trips to the plate Ellis posted a .245 batting average and a .282 on-base percentage. The batting average was ten points higher than 1977 while the on-base percentage was a point lower. Some pop was still in the bat as evidenced by John's four doubles and three home runs.

Obviously, John Ellis' days of having a shot at a regular starting gig were past. The presence of Jim Sundberg and Ellis' own decreased mobility as a result of his past injury both conspired to keep him on the bench. What he needed to do was make the most of the situation for as long as possible.

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