Tarzan didn’t like it out west

“Tarzan” Joe Wallis played for the Cubs at exactly the right time. He was a September call-up at the end of the 1975 season, when I had my first brush with the ivy and the day games at Wrigley Field. Then he played regularly during the 1976 season, which was my first full season as a Cubs fan. He wasn’t really a starter, but more of a pinch hitter and defensive replacement.

His playing time dropped during the 1977 season, when the Cubs had an early season run in first place, and by 1978 he was deemed expendable. Early in the season, he was involved in a trade that sent him first to Cleveland and then to Oakland. Tarzan didn’t take to the trade very well, hitting only  .237 for the rest of the season. In 1979, he began the season as an everyday player in right field, but struggled mightily at the plate, finishing the season with a .141 average.

There is a second Tarzan card in an A’s uniform, for the 1980 season, but he was cut in spring training that year, and never played in the majors again. It’s fair to say that his days in Chicago were the high water mark for Tarzan Joe Wallis, and his trade to Oakland sped his departure from the game. But he is still remembered fondly, by this writer at least.

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