Saturday, October 21, 2017

#269 Don Hahn  

 Line drive hitting Mets outfielder who fit in the team’s small ball/defense/pitching philosophy…unfortunately many line drives fell into opponents gloves…career highlight was playing all games in Met’s 1973 post season….took over for a rapidly ailing and aging Willie Mays….hit at or near his regular season BA in 46 at bats…started out as Montreal rule 5 draft pick…big jump had only played class A ball up to then….played starting Centerfield in the Expos first game…fielded their first ball in play…a couple more games and Don was sent to AAA Vancouver…was able to move up to Quebec side of Canada 1970…hit career best .255….acquired by Mets for 1971…spent next three seasons shuffling between NYC and AAA…1974 spent entire year with Mets without demotion…1975 his last year in MLB, was used sparingly accruing 39 at bats over 3 teams; Phillies, Cards,  and Padres…hit .179.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

#270 Jim Palmer 

Great pitcher with male model like looks…a movie like life that could be described as American Dickens story…..born in NYC in 1945…adopted into a wealthy NYC family, then raised in California/Arizona after his father died….Jim’s mother married a movie actor by the name of Palmer hence Jim's last name…was high school athletic phemon in several sports….drew the notice of Baltimore front office…signed and assigned to Northern League for 1964…scaled up many rungs as Jim made the 1965 Orioles roster as a 19 year old…emphasis was learning not performance…paid off with 15-10 record as Orioles took the 1966 WS crown…Jim’s portion was a shut out win…Things were looking good for 1967 when Palmer felt a pinch in his shoulder…suffered indignities or being benched and demoted to AAA to be shelled (fun fact has AAA level career ERA over 12 runs per game) …repeated in 1968…So low that he was put on waivers and left available in expansion draft…no takers…carried on nevertheless…responded with 16-4 record….an amazing comeback…Starting in 1970 proceeds to win 20 games or more for 8 of 9 subsequent  seasons… the winningest pitcher of the decade despite a hard luck 7-12 record in 1974….in that stretch 3 Cy Young Awards…at age 30 started a 3 season run of most innings pitched…starting 1979 took a more secondary starter role but was still able to shine with 16-10 and 15-5 records in 1980 and 1982 respectively…limited work and 5-4 record in 1983 was offset by his last World Series win made in relief…that feat gave him one WS for 3 decades another record....went winless at the start of 1984…at age 45 attended Baltimore’s spring training…hamstring injury shut down his long shot comeback…In broadcasting and commercial endorsement namely Jockey Underwear…can sport 3 WS championship rings….HOF first ballot.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

#271 Ken Rudolph 

Cubs backup back stop…at the time part of a catching by committee in the wake of Randy Hundley’s injury…Did not work out and Cubs suffered for it…prototypically poor hitting backup 2+ string catcher….Career BA .213….in his Chicago stint, 1969-73, bounced around from team to team….SF Giants, Cardinals, Giants again, and then Orioles…Final stop had 4 hits in 14 at bats in 1977…did get picked up by Cards (again)…failed to make the big club with demotion to AAA…final line 6 home runs and 64 RBIs in 743 at bats.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

#272  Mickey Rivers 

Speed...future mainstay of the Yankees…in 1972 starting his third year of trying to break into the Angel’s outfield…hitting .349 in limited work filling in for an injured Bobby Valentine told the baseball world he was ready….finally got a full chance 1974 hitting .284 in 500 at bats…nice follow up hitting nearly the same while leading AL in stolen bases with 70 swipes…a trade to NYY in 1976 brought out his best two years….Vocal member of the Bronx Zoo, but never due the attention of a Reggie or Billy… evolved as a player less speed a bit more pop…able to maintain BA ranging in upper 260s to well above .300….performed exceptionally in 1978 after a trade to the more sedate confines of Texas….333 BA….his farewell season 1984 was strong; hitting at .300 clip….twice lead AL in triples.

Monday, October 9, 2017

#273 Bobby Floyd 

Like so many of his peers, like Al Severinsen, a player stuck in either the Oriole bench or bush league system due the big club’s on the field success….was able stay the year in 1969 but was the 25th man on roster but on got in 39 contests mostly as a late inning sub…Did get $14K for WS spot…Played on 4 teams in 1970; Baltimore, AAA Rochester, KC Royals, AAA Omaha…hit really well in September call going 14 for 43…could not follow up in 1971 and wound up back in Omaha….1972 was similar splitting time with Royals and Omaha, although his 134 at bats was the most work Bobby had in a season...Bobby was able stay in KC for the duration of 1973…best season too, got a hit out three at bats, a .333 BA….surrendered his spot to young Frank White in 1974 just after chipping a few at bats….would play in AAA but not return to the show….became a long time coach/manager

Friday, October 6, 2017

#274  Al Severinsen 

Not  much is known….product of Baltimore’s abundant farm system of the time…had one win and one loss in a 1969 call up for the birds…. Resident of the Padres Pen…. Chipped in with a team high 8 saves and 3.47 ERA in his only full year of service….Padres weaknesses were more at the plate being last in hitting and 11th in fielding while sporting 3rd best mark in NL ERA ….moving on to 1972, it was a strange ending with no postscript giving a rationale for his departure…records show 12 games in AAA Hawaii two wins and 1.35 ERA….first game with SD was June 26th…used sparingly did not give up an earned run until Aug 25th…appeared in 6 more games finishing with 2.53 ERA...died in 2015.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

#275  Cesar Tovar 

Had his best batting average in 1971 .311 BA and leading the AL in hits….but the team around him had a bullpen implosion…Twins icon who brought durability, speed, excitement and versatility…how versatile? Played all nine positions in 1968…in that game it was the only time he pitched, caught, and played 1st base…. Developed as a player in the Reds organization but was  buried in the farm system glut of 2nd baseman…traded and one year inserted in the Twins infield circa 1966…a fine succession of playing lead off…stole bases on the basepath and hits away from opponents in the field…..BA and SB declined in 1972….with still some value traded to Phillies for 1973….moved on to Texas in 1974 reunited with old minor and major league manager Billy Martin…hit .292 in a performance reminisce of early Twins days….play most of another year in Texas then shipped Oakland for a playoff drive 1975 and then to NYY for their 1976 flag quest…not done played 3 more years in Mexican League hanging his spikes 1979 ….During his playing days was second best Venezuelan next to Luis Aparacio….Was the 8th Venezuelan to play as of 2017 there are now 107 MLB countrymen playing just this season…died in Venezuela 1994