Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#394 Ken Forsch

Another brother act.... eventually....Ken secured a starting spot with 1971 Astros....Brother Bob would eventually surface in 1974....the only brothers in MLB history to both throw no hitters....an odd career  after a late season call up in 1970 began as a starter for three years....took a four season exile to bullpen....returned to starting in last portion of career and had the best returns....played 11 seasons in Houston then three full ones and two fragments of seasons in Anaheim....never a big winner, topping out at 13 victories in 1982....finished with 114 wins, 113 losses, in 521 games...decent 3.37 ERA mark....never the less made two all star teams something Bob never did who once was a 20 game winner....went into Houston Astro’s front office after his playing days.

Friday, December 2, 2016

#395 Matty Alou

The middle brother of the three Alous ....Coming off his all around best season where he showed greater pop (6 homers) and more RBI production (72) than ever before....Famous early for having two brothers on the SF Giants...performance was definitely inconsistent hampered by injuries and sibling or superstar competition...it wasn’t until a trade to Pirates that Mateo made his name....1966 astounded the baseball world with a .342 best in NL....the cause was totally new batting approach that emphasized choking up on the bat, hitting downward, and bunting when needed....next 3 seasons more of same, a .330+ average, finishing 3rd, 2nd, and 4th in successive years...1969 was especially effective leading the league in at bats, hits, doubles plus was starting all star....1970 BA dropped to .297 a figure still very good for most....still led NL in at bats....hit .307 in 1972 splitting time in St Louis then Oakland....Traded to Yankees for 1973 where he hit .296 good for 10th place in AL....made a brief return to Cardinals at the end of season addition for an intended playoff berth....1974: sold to Padres but could not get untracked and was released mid season....finished with a .307 lifetime BA....passed away in 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#396  Paul Lindblad

Save for 7 games with the Yankees at the very of his career, spent his career alternating between Athletics and Senators/Rangers organizations...good reliever but not #1 at any one time....just part of the effective phalanx of Oakland fireman.....season best  total of saves topped out at 9....Career span from 1965 to 1978....dabbled with starting at first but was fast stationed in bullpen....as a whole collected 64 saves bringing an average of 6 a year....high point was leading the AL in games 1972 with 66 with the first year Texas Rangers....two less than his career best during 1974 as a Oakland A’s

Sunday, November 27, 2016

#397 Philadelphia Phillies team card

New stadium bad team....1972 squad scarcely put out a .387 win pct....a low that has not been reached since....Season would have been far worse if not Steve Carlton.... It been a tough go for the Phillies:  133 season as a baseball playing entity....Over 1100 games under .500 ball....next closest is Baltimore being 843 games below .500....despite the futility the Phillies, since 1972, have appeared in 5 World Series, winning two....team started in 1893 known as the Quakers in first 7 years....team settled into Baker Bowl Stadium in 1895, the Shibe park/Connie Mack Stadium from 1938 to 1970....Veterans Stadium was the home 1971 to 2004....Since this card several sluggers have broken the Phillie mark for home runs...only pitching record that has fallen is total games....otherwise Phillie records stand tall on the shoulders of Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

#398 Larry Hisle

To me  this one greatest returns on a minor league trade ever by the Twins....Seemingly had two careers maybe three...Broke in as a highly touted, can’t miss Phillie....Strong Rookie season with good power and decent average...batting average crashed the  next 2 seasons in Philly...was sent to minors 1971...hit well there so he was still considered a prospect....traded to LA for 1972....spent entire season as one of the top AAA hitters....but no fall call up...off season was traded to Cardinals and then quickly flipped to the Twins....an opportunity at the right time....fit right in and each season was an improvement from the previous....1977 was his best and last year in Minnesota when he led the AL in 117 RBIs….took the free agent route to land across state lines in Milwaukee….1978 produced nearly identical numbers from the year before, propelling the Brew Crew to the upper echelon of AL East ….fast start to 1979 derailed by a torn rotator cuff and lost for the season….never had a recovery of any significance…short comebacks marred by re-injury ending in 1982…..continued with baseball related employment but has remained in the Milwaukee area….manufactures and markets bat grips.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

#399 Milt Wilcox  

A late bloomer....didn’t reach full effectiveness until 1978 his 9th season after his MLB debut in 1970.... Had consideration for Comeback Player of the Year and then quipped  “How can I come back when I’ve never been anywhere before?”….Milt was right about himself…. On the margins of Reds pitching staff and the minors…traveled cross state to Cleveland….got plenty of work but never overwhelming….fortunes rode parallel to that of the Indians….a jump in ERA started a period of re-tooling in AAA….that road led to Evansville Indiana home of the top farm club of the Tigers…an impressive start there in 1977 got him a call up to the big club…6-2 record in 14 starts….for next five seasons had winning record and a consistent starter winning either 11, 12, or 13 games….stepped it up in 1984 with career best pitching line of 17-8 as Tiger bulldozed the competition to the World Series….with an injury in 1985 bottom dropped out and quickly….went 1-11 over two seasons….has dabbled in many activities since retiring….was scheduled to pitch the second half of a doubleheader of Disco Demolition Night….most everybody knows the rest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

#400 Tony Oliva 

A Minnesota Twin through and through....End of one phase of an amazing run......a career rescued just in time by the new DH rule....injured an already fragile knee at the end of June 1971.....story has it he fell on a sprinkler head... still held on to be AL batting champ...the lingering effects however virtually wiped out 1972 season.....Amazing 1964 debut, taking the AL batting crown and Rookie of the Year honors....Repeated batting crown in 1965...next three years (falling in the second dead ball era) Tony finished in the top 10 in batting...nifty run of 8 consecutive all star games....starting in 1969 racked up three consecutive .300+ seasons...lead AL in hits five times...taking over exclusive DH duties for three seasons hit .291, .285, .270 respectively...robbed of higher numbers because he had lost all speed similar to Orlando Cepeda...had more knee surgeries after 1975 season....retired mid season 1976...A Minnesota icon and the Minnesota populace vehemently support his induction to the HOF....achievements of note:  hit first DH home run...continued with the Twins in a variety of roles too numerous to mention....hit from the left side with so much intensity that the bat flew off his hands sometimes landing in the stands....Has visited his native Cuba many times....his statue stands at Target Field.