Thursday, April 3, 2014

#725 Dick McAuliffe

Long time Detroit Tiger mainstay infielder…probably best known for his high leg kick bat swing that was apparently reminiscent of HOF Mel Ott or Japan’s home run leader Sadaharu Oh…On the field, was hard-nosed, scrappy style of play…Had better than average power for a middle infielder of the time, averaging 18 HRs per 162 game season….Established himself as a part timer in the big leagues in 1961…Increased playing time in the next two seasons but was given one position finding stints at 2nd, short, and 3rd….1964 he was established as the Tiger’s regular shortstop… achieved the first of three consecutive All Star game appearances in in ’65…1966 was his best offensive season but was asked to make a switch to 2nd base the following year even though he hadn’t played that position since 1963…Was not considered fast but had an incredible knack for avoiding to hit into double plays and a consistent league leader in triples…both attributes associated as indicators of speed…In 1968, he led the AL in runs scored, finished 7th in MVP voting (but oddly not an all star)…1968 was also exceptional in that he did not hit into a double play in 570 ABs… Almost repeated the task in 1970, hitting in one DP in 530 Abs…Hit into a total of five over a four year period encompassing 1928 ABs…hit a home run in both of his postseason appearances WS 1968, ALCS 1972....1971 was an off year with a .208 BA…bounced back statistically the following two years but was losing playing time as Tigers started to go with more youth…traded to Boston for 1974 season and hung up his spikes the following year.  

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