Thursday, December 14, 2017

#252  Ken Reynolds 

Lefty had heaps of work….but not a lot to show for it….one of multitude of young, home grown arms brought into the fray that was the Phillies staff….made company with Lowell Palmer, Billy Champion, Mac Scares, Barry Lersch of the 1971 his 5-9 showing was non memorable effort but it shone brightly compared 1972’s 2-15 debacle….Despite the descending record ERA actually improved by ¼ a run per game…one of the forgotten other than Steve Carlton starters of the Phillie squad…was traded to the Twins after 1972….flipped to Milwaukee before 1973 began….spent a majority of his year in AAA Evansville…a top winner with 15 games, kept in contention for MLB return….was able to have two consecutive winning AAA campaigns but earned only one cup of coffee…last real MLB time was with San Diego 1976 appearing in 19 games.....Career highlight might been sharing 1971 Rookie Card with Archie Reynolds and Bob Reynolds. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

#253  Sandy Alomar 

Good player, extensive career, but his sons garnered more fame…Catcher Sandy Jr was a multiple all star and Roberto was a great player with induction to the HOF…Sandy Sr. the first debuted in the early 60’s with the Braves….transferred quickly to the Mets (with a dubious 0-22 stint) then Chisox where he first able get semi-regular work….early in 1969 traded to Angels for fellow 2nd baseman Bobby Knoop…(interesting trade, Knoop was 30 years old and at the end of his career, Alomar was 25)….ironman for the next several seasons…hit consistently at .250-.260 mark (very good, for the pitching strong Angels)….made all star 1970… put in 648 consecutive games until a broken leg took him out in September 1973….lost regular gig to Denny Doyle but resurged in the remainder of season after a trade to Yankees…kept #1 2nd base status in 1975 but production declined…playing time in 1976 significantly cut with the introduction of Willie Randolph…acquired by Texas for 1977-78 who used him sparingly….has remained employed in baseball as roving instructor and third base coach.

Friday, December 8, 2017

#254  Boots Day 

Its never a good sign when your baseball card shows you bunting….In addition  the name like Boots Day does not strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers…but in truth had a fair year as platoon player in 1971…career highs in production…but never progress more than than….played two and half more years in Montreal….Expos numbers were 8 home runs and respectable .258 BA…. formidable St Louis area high school pitcher….signed by Cardinals and made his MLB debut with the birds….irony got his first hit against the Expos when he was a Cub in 1970… traded to Montreal a few days later…. After his Montreal days, had a very long stint with the AAA Evansville Triplets.... not only a position player  but used his southpaw arm on the mound….Boots’ pitching line was 7-5 record in 87 games (plus 9 starts) and 4.33 ERA over 6 years….real name Charles Fredrick…was named Boots by a older sister when he was a baby…Returned to Evansville as a manager 1995.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#255 Jim Lonborg 

Essentially two careers….a rapid rise to stardom then demotion and tapered comeback….the centerpiece of the 1967 revival of the Boston Red Sox….Odyssey starts in 1965 and makes Red Sox roster…that year’s edition lost 100 games and he 17, but his presence represented youth coming out of the shadows of Ted Williams….improved to 10-10 in 1966…Jim and his surprising Bosox team jumped out of gate in 1967 to take the AL crown…earned 22 wins and Cy Young…held his own with a 2-1 WS record as the Red Sox fell to the Cardinals….all looked great until a ski accident in the off season…ligament damage surgery delayed 1968 start but faced further shoulder issues when pitching motion changed…end result was a frightful trial resulting in just 27 wins over the next four years including two demotions to the minors…his 10-7 record in 1971 did show promise…trade to Milwaukee for 1972 provided him with work and a higher pecking order in the rotation…responded with 14 wins…Nevertheless Milwaukee looking to steady their infield flipped Longborg to Philly at the conclusion of the season….Longborg stayed with Phillies for rest of career highlight being 17 and 18 win efforts in 1974 and 1976 respectively…playing days ended in 1979 but Longborg showing a strong adherence to continuing education eventually becoming a dentist in New England after playing days were over…still involved with Red Sox chairities….fun fact childhood friend of pitcher/outfielder Mel Queen and married Mel’s sister.   

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

#256 George Foster 

I'd be smiling too...great things are coming in a few years well quite a few years….acquired mid 1971 season by the Reds from the Giants who were in the midst of many a disastrous front office moves….not much of an impact at first….struggles in 72, and minors most 73…note show exceptional slugging pct in that cup of coffee…gained time in 1974 as part timer…made further inroads taking over left field so Pete Rose could play third in 1975…then starting in ’76-79 began a dominance over NL pitchers the decade had not seen before…3 straight years of RBI crowns, hit 52 homers in 1977, a feat not seen since 1965 and not repeated until 1990….needless to say NL MVP…repeated as top home run producer 1978…stayed three more campaigns in the Queen City putting up solid numbers but not like before….high expectations came with a trade to NYM….maybe feeling age at 33 but both parties were disappointed…but not exceed .270 BA in four years….took his final bows in 1986 as the Mets were going with youth…sported the nickname Yahtzee… not sure why.

Special note:  I'm taking a break for about a week and then I'll get back on track.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#257 Tiger Rookie Card.

Jim Foor, Tim Hosley, Paul Jata  Tigers were going full veteran leaving no room for this trio…not much here only Hosley was able to hold for several years albeit in an exclusive reserve role…Foor show up for a few innings over three years ending with a 1-0 record….Jata hit .230 in 1972….could not break the Tiger outfield…Hosley has value as a third to second string catcher….started with Tigers, then shifted over to Oakland, got most of his playing time with the Cubs, then another trip to Oakland….hit over 200 home runs in the minors….had 12 in 368 major league at bats….appeared last big league uniform 1981…released during the strike that year….passed away 2014.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

#258  Randy Hundley 

Greatly missed by the Cubs….possibly the cause of the Cubs playoff failures post 1969….not even close to an adequate substitute…an innovative player whose contribution is the one hand approach to catching reducing injuries to the throwing arm…started in the Giants farm system…acquired by Cubs blossomed under Leo Durocher….1966 hit19 home runs to show pop in his bat….a bright spot in a rebuilding year…the Cub’s investment in the future paid off with 28 game improvement 1967…Randy improved his BA by 31 pts…after an off year in 1968 was to come back with a .255 and 18 home runs…Randy was named to the All Star team for the only time in his career….1970 started the run of injuries…never obtained solid BA but probably the greatest loss was in defensive skills…hung on with Cubs up to 1975 season…traded to Twins but injuries bug bit in the form of the knee injury from a confrontation with a teammate…traveled on to Padres, hit poorly, but was helpful in Randy Jones effort for 20 wins…in all probability the slowest player in baseball at the time…The Cubs feeling nostalgic brought Randy for a handful of games in next two years…father of Todd Hundley, also a catcher from 1990-2003.