Thursday, April 27, 2017

#340 Roy White

Yankee through and through....MLB career born out of the their dark years mid 1960's....dedicated solid service rewarded with WS rings at the tail end of Yankee only career....very good at most aspects of the game, switch hitting, fielding, speed, power, quiet leadership....advanced the runners well...only asterisk was a weak arm...eventually gave way to more colorful NYY characters.....farm hand and reserve until 1968...that  campaign claimed regular status and was hands down the Yankee’s leading hitter....White and NY faithful were eventually helped out by reinforcements in Murcer, Munson, and crew of the Bronx Zoo....held serve to rank 1-2 in club BA in most years.... like Frank Howard never hit .300 but came Oh So Close in 1970 with .294 clip....which was also his career year with 24 home runs and 94 RBIs..... led the AL in runs 1976, very impressive given it was his 12th campaign....After his Yankee run end in 1979, spurned offers from other club and took to Japan....probably the best all-around American player to appear in the Nippon Pro League to that time...Did very well there too....bottom line:  6650 Yankee at bats, 160 home runs,.271 BA, and scored 964 runs.....Steady and healthy record.


Monday, April 24, 2017

#348-341 Boyhood Photos

Another collection of 8 stars as youngsters....very good lot that includes three hall of famers  #341 Joe Torre,  #343  the late Willie Stargell,  #347 Tom Seaver.....the rest are 342 Wilbur Wood 344 Dave McNally  345 Rick Wise 346 Jim Fregosi  348 Sal Bando....maybe a bit more humor in this set....Joe Torre’s Godfather-like backdrop...Wilbur Wood’s Whopper....Jim Fregosi channeling his inner Myron Florin, or possibly the future Weird Al Yankovich....and Sal Bando's slight resemblance to Alfred E. Newman.



















Friday, April 21, 2017

#349 Al Fitzmorris  

A KC original....1968 expansion draftee from the White Sox system....spent most of Royal’s initial year at AAA Omaha negotiating a considerable from Single A the year before....made opening day roster 1970....hung around for several years neither establishing himself as a starter nor reliever....took a demotion to AAA in 1973....it appeared to help however...came back with a new focus and established himself in the rotation...won 8 in the second half of 1973, then 12 in 1974...  #2 in Royals wins with 16 circa 1975....followed up with 15 victories next year the KC wins AL West....all this time as a starter however he butted heads with both Jack McKeon and Whitey Herzog....this was evident as Al was omitted from ALCS....to add insult to injury was exposed to the expansion and picked up by Toronto....immediately flipped to Cleveland....the tumultuous episode appeared to effect his play and was never the same....a very mediocre 6-10 record with a inflated ERA.....last season was 1978 with sparse work shared between Indians and Angels....was position player when started playing professional ball, as a result hit a respectable .242 at the plate.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#350 Frank Howard

Offensive force of the farewell edition of expansion Washington Senators franchise...yet 1971 was a prelude to quickly fading star....a gentle giant at 6’7” except when he swung the bat....violence personified at the plate; pitchers, infielder, even own teammates on the base path had to be wary of his liners...the counter attack to power pitchers of the era like Sam McDowell....Hard to believe the story began in Los Angeles in LA Dodger Blue....two cups of coffee in 1958-9 were rewards for exceptional farm team numbers....made of first full early call up hitting 24 belts and collecting Rookie of the Year award...Press tabbed him as the threat to Babe Ruth’s record....unrealistic given the pro pitching philosophy of Dodger Stadium....Managed 123 home runs in Dodger blue...took his heavy bat to DC and career bloomed into power machine and brief glimpse of predicted superstar status....would get on history home run streaks....prime was 1968-70 when he led junior circuit in home runs twice and second by the narrowest of margin in the other....Got better under Ted William flirting with a .300 BA....slugged the first homer for Texas but that’s about it for highlights in Arlington....hitting was about in line with the meager Ranger attack....bat being nothing special his lumbering frame was becoming a liability in the field....very late in 1972 sold to Tigers....too late for ALCS....poised for comeback to take advantage of newly minted DH rules in 1973 eliminated position play....never materialized and was caught up in the numbers game as new guy in town in a team aged vets looking for work...released at conclusion of season....exodus to Japan, played in one game got hurt....afterwards did a lot of coaching in many locales...also tried hand at MLB managing but hampered by bad teams and "too nice" persona.....lived many years in Green Bay Wisconsin where he once was a minor leaguer....know as Hondo also known “The Horse” to LA teammate Bob Lillis to whom Howard retorted calling Lillis “The Flea”....did many commercial endorsements in prime emphasizing his size and strength.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

#351 Braves Rookie Stars

Not many players are known for catching a home run ball but Tom House was....House had a OK MLB career....appearing in 8 seasons, six of them full....had one full season under his belt and starting the 1974....on April 8, Tom caught Henry Aaron’s 714th home run on the fly...took coveted ball straight to Hank, rewarded with TV from a Atlanta TV dealer....the event seem to galvanize Tom, who proceeded to have his best season with 1.92 ERA....did serviceable yet declining work thereafter....had twin 11 save season in 1974 and 1975...traded to Boston for year and change, landing with expansion Seattle Mariners in their first year....experimented with being a starter with unremarkable results...turned to coaching after playing....Rick Kester, Jimmy Britton have little to show...Kester’s MLB career was one season past and Jimmy Britton never played in MLB....Interesting note however in a case of name doppelganger Britton is not be confused or related to Jim Britton who played for Atlanta 1967-1969 and Montreal 1971.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

#352 Dave LaRoche 


Another case of a young player dealt often throughout his career....debut in 1970, collected a handful of saves, a 3.00 ERA, and 9-2 body of work over two seasons...imported by the Twins to bolster their deflated bullpen thereby dismantling the Angel’s relief corps....One season in the upper midwest and was traveling again...road took him to Chicago where fortunes floundered....came back with Cleveland, upping his value....returned to team of debut mid 1977-1980....finished up in Yankee pinstripes in a mop up role where he gained notoriety for his “La Lob” pitch a variation on Steve Hamilton's "Folly Floater"....Two sons, Adam and Andy were major league players, the former being a regular for 12 years, hitting 255 homers.....A case of doppelganger?...how is his profile on the 1972 any different from then Angel teammate Jerry Moses’?...are they both of the same person or was it a switch... maybe a bit more  hair on the sideburns. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

#353 Art Shamsky    


A platooning outfielder most likely identified with 1969 Miracle Mets....all other exploits need not apply even though Art once hit four consecutive home runs over two games....showed flashes of power (21 dingers in 1966 in just 234 at bats) but was dogged by injuries and inconsistency...had career .231 BA after first four season....was able to step up in 1969 and 1970 raising his career BA by 30 pts buoyed by averages of .300 and .293 respectively....hit very well in the first NLCS.....Injuries reappeared in 1971 effectively curtailing his career...Traded to the veteran collecting St Louis Cardinals for 1972 but was released before season started...picked up by Cubs and then A’s for a handful of unproductive at bats....Art got the hint and exited the playing field...Dabbled in restaurants ownership, writing and play by play since then....A Jewish player, has since worked hard to establish baseball in Israel...How great is the 1969 legacy  dog on sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” was named after him

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