Thursday, October 18, 2018

#173 Clay Kirby 174 Clay Kirby In Action

Work horse in the hazing years of the Padres....a profile of youth, much like his team...dutifully took to the mound with low probability of a victory....rookie year 1969 went 7-20;  brutal but much worse pitchers do not get to stay for 27 decisions....took claim to 10 games of 26 in 1970....that year one game stands out in Padres lore, Kirby was pitching a no hitter into the 8th inning, with Friars down 1 nil, Manager Preston Gomez takes Kirby out in favor of a pinch clutch hit and relief corps gave up hits and Padres to this day do not have a no hit game....Kirby came close on a couple of more occasion....1971 was Kirby’s best doing the formidable, a winning record with 15 wins and above .500 win/loss on a 100 loss club....continued to wallow in SD futility two more years....1974: Hope for bigger and better thing came in the form of a trade to Cincinnati, a top tier team....Kirby produces two winning records 12-9 and 10-8, but his contribution was gradually put aside to the point he was passed over in 1975 World Series....jettisoned to Montreal for 1976....a bout of pneumonia early in the season resulted in an utter disaster of a 1-8 record....released eventually did brief comeback attempts which fizzled out....sadly died of a heart attack at the young age of 43. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

#175-176 Tom Haller Tom Haller In Action

Seasoned 60’s backstop at the tail end of his career....held his own for LA but the acquisition of Duke Sims to share the job was the writing on the wall....Haller was subsequently traded to Tigers where he was slated to be second string to Bill Freehan....for a while at least until Duke Sims trailed him to Detroit relegating Haller to 3rd string....A decade earlier, Haller made a quick rise into the Giant’s catcher vacany....steady performance from 1962 to 1967 for The City....average 18 home runs to compliment a .248 BA....made the all star team his last two year in San Francisco.....more surprising was dealt to the rival Dodgers a first since the clubs moved to the west ballpark, Haller’s power numbers dropped but his BA rose by 28 points....Was the Dodger’s best hitter in 1968 with 55 points over the team batting average....drove in 53 of the team paltry 470 was an umpire....student of baseball knowledgeable, strong defensive skills, efficient game calling....was intended to join Phillies for 1973....did not play and was released at early 1974.....after 5 years absence returned to baseball in various front office posts....Contracted West Nile Virus in 2004, passed away from the disease after a 3 month battle. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

#177-178 Paul Schaal Paul Schaal In Action

1971 Career year....matured veteran...hit for singles or doubles....but a source of pride was his 11 home runs and 61 RBI’s both personal bests....redemption for years of futility in the Angels organization....from his debut in 1964 to 1968 only hit .218 in 1392 at bats with just short of 2 dozen homers... paired with a hit by pitch injury Paul suffered a double whammy of being a never was and uncertain damaged goods....Enter expansion and the KC Royals...taking a chance on the advice of Paul’s ex hitting coach Royal Manager Joe Gordon he is drafted from California....even though at first Paul does not make the KC roster, he shows persistence and feasts on AAA pitching at Omaha at a .374 clip....impressed KC front office pressed Schaal into 61 games...Schaal hit .263 already his MLB top mark.... Paul continues his upward climb for the next two  years....suffered a set back with his .228 1972 BA but bounced back with a .288 mark 1973....1974 started poorly and a young George Brett was waiting in the wings....traded back to Anaheim for the remainder of the year...hit a fair .244...with a lot young competition at 3rd was released....Paul tried several endeavors but found fulfillment as patient, later on in his practice, was one George Brett.... Word is Paul had some good natured ribbing at Brett's expense....Passed away 2017.  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

#179-180 Dock Ellis-Dock Ellis In Action

OK lets’ get the elephant in room out of the way...Now known for his 1984 claim of pitching a no hitter in 1970 while on LSD to a ragtag assortment of MLB wanta-bes called the Padres first comes to mind in a word association game....somewhat more amusing antidote and the subject of animated short it covers up his career long struggle with drugs and alcohol addiction.....his personal issues surfaced later on, but the duration of his career he was labeled controversial and outspoken on racial relations....given the no hitter in an altered state, he was so close to superstardom, small injuries and the personal issues also pulling him back...when ON carried a team, top winner with Pirates staff 1971 with 19....lowered his ERA but fewer victories in 1972....gradual dimming of his on the field limelight from then on with accumulating confrontations....parted ways with Pittsburgh in 1975 off season a  thrown in a swap with the Yankees...New surroundings agreed with Dock taking in 17 wins and Comeback Player of the Year....his 1976 post season work mirrored his 1971 record pitching a Championship Series win but a poor WS outing....1977 a wild run...ran afoul quickly with NYY management despite 3 quality starts....exiled off to baseball’s version of a post-nuclear wasteland in the 1977 Oakland A’s...horrid results....season was saved by acquisition to the Texas Rangers...pitched decently winning 10 with a sub-3.00 ERA....won 9 in 1978 but 4.20 indicated his skills had unimpressive 4-12 record with three teams in 1979 spelled the end of Dock’s effort to redeem his person, became a drug counselor within and outside the game....eventually his body weakened by years of hard living, succumbed to liver failure in 2008....the animated short on Dock’s no hitter can be seen on Youtube...if one wants to see a complete profile that far exceeds this bio of a complex man check out No-no, A Dockumentary.  

Sunday, September 30, 2018

#181-182 Ed Kranepool Ed Kranepool In Action

Mr Met, for real.... when you’re Met, you’re a Met  all the team player over 18 seasons...saw low lows and  a miracle WS championship...a late year call up taking a huge leap from NY-Penn league to 1962 Mets as a teenager....did not take long to get steady work (1964) and accounted himself well with consistently cellar dwelling Mets....A case of economics, limited distribution of runs within a mostly slender talent pool....RBI total never exceed 60 in any one of his 18 years, topped out at 16 homers....but could hit for average for good stretches at time....later on, in his 13th to 16th seasons hit .300, .323, .291, .282 in sequence....t..but had a bad spell in 1968-1970, hit .231, .238. and the nightmarish .170....he redeeming event was getting 1969 WS ring despite taking second fiddle to Don Clendenon’s heroics....Things got so bad in 1970 that he demoted to AAA minors for most of the season....considered retiring but staged a strong comeback in 1971 with 14 home runs, .280 BA....mostly known as a first baseman but dabbled in right field when crowded out by the aforementioned Clendenon, and John Milner.....    

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

183 Bill Melton 184 Bill Melton In Action

Unexpected home run champ of the AL 1971.....relatively a newbie to the home run crown and departure from the perennial incumbents like Yaz, Killebrew, Frank Howard of the decade before....his 33 homers represented the lowest top mark  since 1964 but it was the first time White Sox took the honors....Melton’s debut took place in 1968, started slow and returned to the minors...September call up accounted for himself very well raising his BA by 62 points....took over Sox third base for good in 1969....relocated 23 baseball over the fence and in play....exceeds his encore by hitting 33 dingers in 1970....a positive on a truly bad 106 loss team....Melton was the backbone of the 1971 that made great strides towards respectability.... higher hopes with the addition of Dick Allen  for 1972 were dashed by Melton’s back injury....ChiSox run production suffered and fell short to the A’s....Melton comes back in with full seasons 1973-75 but has lost some his previous punch from get go....facing declining output traded to California and then Cleveland for 1976 and 1977 respectively...did not help and relegated mostly the bench....done thereafter.....sometimes a defensive liability; in 1970 split equal time at both third base and right field....move made after a disproportionally high number of errors... despite this  only DHed 88 times over five campaigns.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

#185-6 Ron Bryant Ron Bryant In Action

A nova that shone briefly then dropped enigma, not much is known about him....came up to the bigs in the usual way for the time....Drafted at 22nd round by Giants in 1965 draft....worked his way up the farm system and eventually the big club....first as a swingman eventually morphing into a starter....22 starts and lowered ERA  in 1971 upgraded his status as the rearguard starter to Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichial....becomes the club leader in wins a lone bright spot in the wake of the disastrous Perry trade and Marichial’s reality it was his best effort with a sub 3.00 ERA and 4 shutouts....won 10 more games in 1973 to go 24-12....far and away the most wins in NL....was third in NL Cy Young voting but ERA went up and no shut outs....exceptional record seem to more about luck than improving his game....information is spotty, but the consensus is Bryant hurt his back in a diving pool accident during 1974 Spring training...carried on but suffered a nightmarish 3-15 record and surrendered two more runs per game....damaged goods....traded to Cards who tossed him in few games with extremely poor results...let go mid-season 1975....note baseball reference indicates Ron appearing in 21 AAA games in 1976 but no pitching record other than 2-7 win loss is given....fittingly strange end.