Cubs All-Star Moments: Steve Swisher, 1976

Nick Swisher of the New York Yankees celebrates after making the final out of the game by throwing out Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies during their game on June 25, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Nick's dad was once a Cubs All-Star. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Nick Swisher is a solid regular for the New York Yankees. At 30, he has hit 172 career home runs, a 35 HR season, and draws tons of walks every year.

His father, Steve Swisher, was a first-round pick of the White Sox (21st overall) in 1973 and, prior to the days when you couldn't trade a draft pick for a year, was dealt six months later to the Cubs in the Ron Santo deal.

Made the Cubs' starting catcher at age 22, Steve Swisher was... pretty bad. He hit .214 in 1974 and .213 in 1975, and in 1974 was responsible, in part, for the Pittsburgh Pirates winning the NL East title. On October 2, 1974, the last day of the regular season, the Cubs were in Pittsburgh. They had a 4-3 lead with two out in the bottom of the ninth and Rick Reuschel struck out Bob Robertson with runners on first and third, which should have ended the game... except the ball got past Swisher, for a passed ball. The tying run scored and the Pirates won in extra innings -- clinching the division title. Had they lost, they'd have had to wait for the Cardinals to make up a previously rained out game; if St. Louis had won that game, it would have forced a divisional tiebreaker.

Two years later, the Cubs were mired in fifth place in the six-team NL East at the All-Star break with a 36-48 record (sound familiar?). The only bright spot on the team was Rick Monday, who was having the best year of his career, hitting the ASB with averages of .288/.370/.521, and near the league lead with 15 HR and 47 RBI.

But NL manager Sparky Anderson had too many outfielders on his roster and so for his only Cubs selection, he chose Steve Swisher to back up Johnny Bench and Bob Boone. Looking at Swisher's overall numbers for 1976 -- .236/.275/.326 with just five HR in 411 at-bats -- this looks like one of the worst All-Star choices ever.

At the All-Star break, though, Swisher was hitting .268/.304/.346, at least a little bit better, and at age 24 it appeared he might have a bright future.

It wasn't to be. Swisher hit an awful .167/.211/.283 in the second half, spent one more year as a Cubs backup (hitting .190) and was traded to the Cardinals after the 1977 season. And like his future counterpart, Joe Girardi, Swisher didn't play in the game in his only All-Star season (he had company on the NL bench; Bake McBride didn't get in the game either).

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