George Scott’s 1974 Topps baseball card begs one major question.

Here, have a look and then you tell me what that big query is …

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Get a good gander?

Good.

So … what question does that card elicit for you?

Um …

No, I don’t know how a man survives a swing like that, one that appears so violent even nearly 50 years on and locked into photographic stillness that it threatens to tear the cardboard right in two.

That’s not exactly the question I had in mind, though.

Try again …

Well, yes, that swing does sort of remind me of someone else. A couple someones, actually. And, right, they all have Red Sox ties. But Mo Vaughn and David Ortiz were southpaw hitters, while Scott was a righty.

The builds were similar, though, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the same sort of spine-churning uncoiling from Hit Dog and Big Papi as Boomer displays here.

My question wasn’t asking about Vaughn or Ortiz, though. At least not directly.

Any other guesses?

Well, here’s a hint …

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OK, that’s not really much of a clue, but the back of Scott’s card does paint the picture of a big, slugging first baseman entering his thirties with his second American League team.

And, if those stats don’t send you running for his profile on Baseball Reference to find out how the story ended, then you may need to work on your curiosity factor.

Here’s the TWIB Notes version …

  • Led American League in home runs (36) and RBI (109) in 1975
  • Traded back to Boston (with Bernie Carbo), for Cecil Cooper in December 1976
  • Hit 33 dingers in 1977
  • Saw playing time drop to 120 games in 1978
  • Played for three teams (Sox, Royals, Yankees) over 105 games in 1979
  • Done in the majors

Now, Scott’s power undeniably dropped after that ‘77 surge, with slugging percentages of .500 that summer and .379 in 1978. It bounced back to .387 overall in 1979, but the first two stops were nothing to write home about.

That layover in the Bronx, though?

Scott managed just one home run in 16 games, but he popped a slash line of .318/.340/.500.

A fine swan song, and one that leads us directly to our question.

Because, can you guess what was different about his stay in New York? (That’s not the question!)

It was a small sample size, sure,

And those were the Yankees, always a different sort of animal than any other team.

But the real difference for George Charles Scott was that he was a designated hitter in New York.

To wit, in the entirety of his career, Scott made 46 appearances at DH … and 15 of those came down the stretch for the Yanks in 1979.

All told, Scott played 2034 games in the majors, with 1961 of those involving time in the field (mostly at first base, with some third base mixed in).

It made sense, too, at least early in his career, as Scott was generally considered one of the very top fielding first basemen of his era, copping eight Gold Gloves through 1976.

But later on?

As the body thickened and slowed?

As the powered bounced up and down a bit, even as the batting eye showed a chance to keep him productive (50+ walks most years, with a career OBP of .333 against a .268 batting average)?

Well, THAT all begs the real question …

Why, oh why, didn’t George Scott get a second act as a major league designated hitter?

Whether it was being born too soon, a personal desire to keep playing in the field, or a penchant for the warmer climes of the Mexican League (where he toiled through 1984), it’s one of baseball’s “Tootsie Roll Pop” questions ….

The world may never know!

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Scott wasn’t the only star who took a memorable cut on a 1974 Topps baseball card. Check out one of the most memorable (OK, non-cut in this case) in our YouTube salute to Willie Mays’ last card:

1974 Topps Dave Winfield Rookie Card #456 HOF San Diego Padres

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1974 Topps Baseball - Pick A Card - Cards 1-278

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