#CardCorner: 1970 Topps Diego Seguí
Before and after, Diego Seguí proved to be one of the toughest pitchers of his era.
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Seguí’s 1970 card features the out-of-the-ordinary look Topps brought forward for the new decade. After several sets in a row with small or no borders and only basic graphics, the 1970 offerings featured the distinctive gray background, script lettering for the player name and a bold team nickname.
All of these features framed Seguí’s image, which featured the 1969 uniforms of the one-and-done Seattle Pilots.
A seven-year big league veteran heading into the 1969 season, Seguí was the most effective pitcher on a Pilots team that won just 64 games and was made infamous by two events in the next decade: A bankruptcy that resulted in their move to Milwaukee just days before the start of the 1970 season; and the publication later that same year of “Ball Four”, Jim Bouton’s account of his time with the Pilots and Astros during the 1969 season.
But while Bouton struggled to a 3.91 earned-run average with the Pilots, Seguí turned into one of manager Joe Schultz’s most trusted relievers. Seguí went 12-6 with a 3.35 ERA in 66 games, making eight starts and posting 12 saves in 142.1 innings. It was the most wins Seguí ever recorded in one season during his 15-year big league odyssey.
Born Aug. 17, 1939, in Cuba, Seguí was raised on a farm and had aspirations of becoming a big league hitter. But his strong right arm put him on the path to the pitcher’s mound, and he was signed to the Reds by legendary scout Al Zarilla prior to the 1958 season.
Before the end of April, the Reds released Seguí – and he spent the season pitching for Tucson of the unaffiliated Arizona-Mexico League. Toward the end of the 1958 campaign, his contract was purchased by the Kansas City Athletics, and he spent the next three seasons toiling in the A’s minor league system.
The Red Sox acquired Seguí following the 1973 season, and he was a bullpen mainstay for Boston over the next two seasons – helping the Sox reach the 1975 World Series and even appearing in the Fall Classic in Game 5 at the age of 38, working one inning of relief.
The Red Sox released Seguí on the eve of the 1976 season, and after pitching that season with Triple-A Hawaii, the Islanders’ parent club – the Padres – sold Seguí’s contract to the expansion Seattle Mariners.
In front of 57,762 fans at the Kingdome on April 6, 1977, Seguí threw the first official pitch in Mariners’ history – taking the loss in Seattle’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of the Angels. After going 0-7 with a 5.69 ERA in 40 games for Seattle that year, Seguí’s big league career came to an end.
Known for a variety of off-speed pitches and a deliberate manner on the mound, Seguí finished with a record of 92-111 with 71 saves and a 3.81 ERA. His son David carried on the family tradition in the big leagues, playing 15 seasons from 1990-2004.
Forever the answer to a trivia question, the only man ever to play for both the Pilots and the Mariners left a legacy worth remembering.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum