Thursday, January 19, 2017

#379 Ken Berry 


Not a star but handy to have around...exceptional fielder, great arm, saved a lot of runs....two seasons sans a fielding error with over 220 chances...Played parts of nine seasons with the White Sox most them as a regular....starting in 1962 saw the good times and the bad....his last season in Chicago, 1970, was his all around best at the plate despite being one of the worst in history of the club.....took his glove to California for three campaigns  hit .269 for the Halos and led the team in hitting twice...Finished career as a reserve in Milwaukee and Cleveland...He may not be Mayberry RFD actor but he is now a published children’s book author...hobbies while playing were hunting, fishing, and rock and roll records* quote taken verbatim from 1966 Sporting News Register.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

# 380 Earl Williams 

Unloveable....a short career despite solid to sometimes excellent numbers at the plate....Controversial, outspoken, and sometimes vulgar traits that were a downfall....Rookie of the Year 1971 buoyed by 28 home runs....virtually repeated numbers next year....maybe the most interesting feat of career was not with his bat but an almost instantaneous conversion to Catcher without any prior experience....The quality of his defensive play had his supporters at first, then detractors later on....further problems came with Earl’s eventual public reluctance to play backstop....traded to Orioles had multiple conflicts while power numbers held at the par set with the Braves....upheavals did not abate in 1974...numbers suffered too starting a sequence of trades/releases....Returned to Braves for 1975....then split Braves and Expos 1976....released and picked up by the free agent decimated 1977 Oakland team...baseball’s version of  a refugee camp at time....chipped in 13 home runs for last place A’s.....Released afterwards and didn’t get picked up...not exclusively at catcher but played 1st and 3rd too...wanted DH duties upon his arrival to the AL and didn’t get the role until last his MLB season.


Friday, January 13, 2017

#381 White Sox Team


The  Pale-hose....Chisox....GoGoSox....Southside Hitmen....the Hitless Wonders....Black Sox....That other team from Chi-town...situated on the South Side...not revered as the cross-town Cubs, but nevertheless has endured since 1901 despite treats to leave, scandals, and infamous lows at on and off the field....As of this writing franchise is 151 games above .500, a winning average of a game and half per year ....team resume: three world series wins last one coming 2005....lost two championships.... team’s greatest period of success occurred in its first 21 seasons beginning at the onset of the American League 1901....concluding the 1920 season the team was 313 games above .500.... Starting in 1921, all the suspensions from the 1919 scandal hit home, namely the banning of Shoeless Joe Jackson....since then the Sox are 162 games under .500 ball....arguably the franchise did not recover until the 1950’s....good time kept up for most of the 60’s....a quick decline ensued that bottomed out with 56-106 record in 1970....the 1971 squad still had a losing record but made major inroads to respectability by improve by 23 games....Records:  the White Sox life long rep for less than stellar offense plus of presence of Superstars Frank Thomas, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, has opened the door for come close or set new team batting records....broken has been doubles, home runs (many times over!), RBIs, at bats, and total bases....Some pitching records have fallen but most have not.... Chris Sale and Jason Bere broke the team strikeout and win/loss percent records respectively....most surprisingly however Wilbur Wood 88 games set in 1968 still stands.



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#382 Joe Gibbon


Handy veteran picked up after being released by the Pirates....out of the Red’s pen tied for second in team saves with Wayne Granger with 11....a rare bright spot on Big Dead Machine that year...prior was an eleven season veteran for two tours with Pittsburgh and one in San Francisco...broke in with Bucs 1960 and chipped in some work for the eventual WS champions...got in an inning in WS game --....shelled badly but then again so was the whole staff....most productive season of career followed garnering 13 wins....four more season in Steeltown met with varying degrees of success....traded to Giants for 1966...kept a job but nothing spectacular....traded back to Pirates mid 1969....move allowed him to take a more significant role in bullpen...with 1970 came the arrival Dave Guisti, Joe lost status and effectiveness....1972 was not kind however...two poor outings and was released...resurfaced in Houston for short time with almost equally poor results...was an excellent college basketball player in his day and was number 2 in NCAA scoring his senior year 1957.


Monday, January 9, 2017

#383 Brant Alyea 

A short but not dull career....When his bat caught a glimmer of fire he could be very, very, good....Exhibit A:  1970....outstanding debut with Twins, 4 for 4 with two home runs in opener, exceptional April;  23 RBIs and .415 BA...subsequently cooled off but would finish with at a solid .291 and 16 home runs....First player with the name “Brant’ and was the only one until Brant Brown debuted 20 years ago...In a strange coincidence they both have nearly identical career stats....Needless to say the only player with the last name Alyea...worked his way up the Senator system....memorable, MLB, hit a home run on first MLB pitch one of very few to do so...played winter ball continuing his power surge....bottom dropped out with his career in 1971, hitting .177....offered up in Rule 5 draft and picked up by A’s...caught fire in minors getting a stint in Oakland, traded to Cardinals, and then returned to the A’s....suffered a series of injuries and subsequent comebacks to majors did not materialize...did not earn full pension so worked as a casino pit boss and car dealer before his retirement



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#384 Dave Campbell

An inconsistent bat at the major league level spelled his doom for this educated chap...decent power and strong starts but tailed off to a  poor batting average was the repeated story....born and raised in Michigan...took his talents to the University of Michigan despite growing up in Lansing in the shadows of M. State....member of the winning College World Series team 1962....in conjunction with many others (see Mickey Stanley, Jim Northrup) signed with Tigers....up and down years in minors at first....when he finally found a grove he could not break the Tiger roster....trade to San Diego offered playing time....a regular at last at 2nd base in 1970, slugged 12 home runs but only managed a .219 BA ....returned to more utility man role in 1971...hit seven home runs but his .227 BA was decidedly substandard....played little in 1972...1973, his last year in MLB, once went of 0 for 45 in a stretch across three teams, Padres, Cardinals, Houston....a sign the end was near....did some managing but found niche as a highly acclaimed baseball broadcaster  on ESPN....one of off season hobbies; playing the piano.



Monday, January 2, 2017

My source

The Complete Handbook of Baseball books series that are inspiration of this blog   Thank you Zander Hollander.  It started with the Complete Handbook of Pro Hockey as a Christmas present 41 years ago.
Lets just say well loved...