Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#656 Rudy May

16 year veteran workhorse…logged in 2622 big league innings…mostly a third or fourth starter but sometimes relegated to 2nd based on performance…first signed by Minnesota and other organizations…Traded to Angels who gave a first chance in 1965…mixed results prompted a demotion to minor for next 3 seasons…resurfaces with halos in 1969…started and ended season as a starter but banished to bullpen in between…took over a starter spot in the next 3 season…was able to improve ERA but only translated to an average of 10 wins per season…1973 was brutal with a 7-17 mark…Started 1974 and was ineffective and winless until trade to Yankees revitalized his fortunes…went 8-5 mostly in a starting role…1975 wins a then career high 14 games…May is then traded to Orioles in a 10 player deal mid season 1976…between Baltimore and NY garners 15 wins, then 18 wins next year…May is traded to Expos for 1978 in a two year stint hampered by reduced starts reminiscent of his Angels years…Returns to NYY via free agency for 1980 and takes AL ERA mark in a dual role…Plays two more full season with Yankees in a gradually diminished role…released mid season 1983.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#657 Bobby Wine

The NL answer to Ray Oyler (OK, not that bad)…Most good field bad hit players have limited careers…Bobby was able to participate in 12 MLB seasons with the Phillies and Expos…made 3467 plate appearances...never traded in his career…started out to get regular work in 1962 and hit a career best .244…won a gold glove at shortstop in 1963 after playing 132 games at the position…subsequent seasons were a mixed bag…at the end of 1968 Wine was hitting a career .218…was going to protected from the 1969 expansion draft by the Phillies but Larry Jackson decided to retire instead of go Canadian…Bobby was his replacement…move reunited him with manager Gene Mauch….best overall season was 1970 establishing personal bests for games, hits, RBIs…set a then MLB record for double plays (137) by a shortstop, which still stands as the NL record…last full season hit .200 the same figure as a first year Expo...lost starter rank to Tim Foli and released mid season 1972.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#658 Steve Dunning

Straight out of Stanford U to the Mistake on the Lake…1st round draft pick in 1970…which turned out to be a mistake too…immediately pressed into service with the big club…winning pitcher in debut and was solid in next two games…subsequent poor outings inflated ERA to low 5’s or high 4’s…Finished season 4-9 and 1971 with 8-14 record...highlight of 1971 was hitting a grand slam and would be the last AL pitcher to do so in more than 37 years…Best season was 1972 where he went to the minors for the first time and was a mid season call up with a 6-4 record and 3.26 ERA….Pretty much went downhill afterwards…A bad start in 1973 prompted the Tribe to send him to Texas…things didn’t get much better, going 2-6 with ERA over 5.00….Spent next two years almost primarily in AAA and changing organizations…Did win American Association pitcher of the year award in 1975…Didn’t translate to for big success…despite appearing 36 games in 1976 Steve drifted through four teams in two years...White Sox, Angels, Expos, Oakland…finished career in 1978 with Hawaii.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

#659 Bob Aspromonte

Brother of Manager Ken…A Houston Colt .45 orginal…drafted out of the Dodgers organization was the opening day 3rd base starter and first hitter ever for the franchise…got a single in that At Bat scored the first run…capped off the day going 3-4 and a walk in the Colts 11-2 slaughter of the Cubs…faithfully served the organization at the hot corner thereafter for seven years…Great fielder and set errorless games records for a short time…power numbers diminished after move to Astrodome but was able to hit over .260 four times…Sent to Atlanta for 1969 and backup to either Clete Boyer or Sonny Jackson…1971 was acquired by the Mets as a stopgap measure for Wayne Garrett’s early season injury…as an early season regular hit .225 in 342 At Bats…Released by the Mets after conclusion of the season…Apparently invited to 1972 Reds Training camp although this not acknowledged in Baseball Reference...did not play in 1972…was the last original Brooklyn Dodgers to take the field.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#660 Paul Blair

Formidable player...Superior defensive whiz…in his prime, hurt opponents in so many ways speed, arm, good power, fundementals, and defensive skills…First signed by the Mets in the first year of their existence later picked up by the Orioles…synonymous with the later 1960's Baltimore franchise, came into club in 1965…expertly trolled centerfield for the birds during 12 full years earning 8 gold gloves… Best year was 1969 when slugged 26 home runs, 76 RBIs, and hit .285….he also was third in at-bats despite he did not play in 12 games.. although he never significantly lost playing time, a 1970  bean ball incident resulted in head injury that seemed to downgrade his play for the rest of his career…hitting consistency sometimes a problem…down years were 1968, 1972, and thereafter 1974…last three active years relegated to the bench on other teams, two with the Yankees, then one with the Reds…passed away 2013.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#661 Bill Virdon

Bespectacled Pirate turned skipper of the incumbent champion…Only 40 years old at the time…Big shoes to fill after Danny Murtaua move to farm director after taking the WS…fell one game short of the previous regular season’s mark but lost to the Reds in playoff…Next year the Pirates suffered greatly from upheaval caused by Clemente death and Steve Blass mysterious drop off…had a losing record with a month remaining and was let go….Resurfaced with Yankee in the early Steinbremer era…moved on to Astros where he made his name… presided over 1066 games over 8 seasons, and made the playoff twice plus two manager of the year awards…his clubs were tailored to the Astrodome, small ball and pitching…A losing record in 1982 prompted a mid season firing…Resurfaced in Montreal the next year where he helmed for 1 4/5 seasons…Has coached in various organizations since then…As a player he was rookie of the year with St Louis…but it Pittsburgh where he was a regular feature player…unspectacular but steady and above par defensive skills.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#662 Stan Banhsen

Hard throwing, workhorse, Midwest born starter…Taken in the 4th round of historic inaugural 1965 draft by the Yankees…that year started in AA and added two more years in AAA in the farm system before being ready… Rookie of the year 1968…Sparkling 17-12 record and 2.05 ERA, a career mark…Suffered from considerable sophomore jinx…9-16 record and nearly doubling his ERA…Multiple reports attributed the slide to a lowered pitcher’s mound…moderate come back in 1970 and 1971 winning 14 games in both years for the Bronx Bombers…Was traded to White Sox for Rich McKinney…Career took off in Chi-town under the philosophy of coach Johnny Sain …won 21 games in 41 starts…1973 Banhsen returns and by poor run support nearly inverses his record by losing 21 and winning 18…The season had its cost…Stan pitched 282 innings in Sain’s “less is more” belief…Banhsen’s arm was taxed and never achieved the same level…1974 saw a losing record and his highest ERA to date…after a slow start was shipped to the A’s in 75 and then to the Expos in 1977…product during this time was fair but remarkable…Took a turn to the middle relief  in 78 and continued in that path until his last MLB season with California and Philedelphia…1983 comeback bid with AAA Portland was disastrous…never an all star despite the excellent years of 1968 and 1972.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#663 Fran Healy

Better than average hitting back up catcher…was part of 1969 expansion and the ascendency of both the Royals and Yankees in the mid 70’s….drafted out of Cleveland by the Royals Fran got in a cup of coffee in 1969…Collected 4 hits to hit .400…Kept in the minors for 1970, was obtained by Giants in a swap of minor leaguers…Stayed with the big club for two years…After a poor showing in 1972 was sent back to the Royals for Greg “Moon” Minton*…got more playing time and responded with a .250 average…for the 1974 season established himself as the regular backstop and obtained career numbers…next year lost playing time to Buck Martinez …a poor start prompted a swap to the Yanks for Larry Gura*…used sparingly behind the great Thurmond Munson…was on the World Series roster in 1976 and 77 but did not play….got a ring in the latter year…1 AB in 1978 and then released….*nothing against Fran but both trades were steals for the other team.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

#664 Bobby Knoop

 A mainstay of  2nd baseman typical of the 1960’s era; good field, limited hitting…spent most and best years of his career with the Angels…highlights include three consecutive gold gloves, an All Star Game appearance...broke in with the 1964 team immediately taking over as a regular at 2nd… hit poorly with a .218 average but fielding skills made him an asset…sophomore year hitting improved to a career best .269…1966 Knoop stepped up his offensive numbers, hitting 17 home runs, leading the team in RBI’s and the league in triples…played two more full years with the halos…in his five seasons with California, led the league in double plays four times…a poor start in 1969, prompted a trade to White Sox for Sandy Alomar (a steal for the Angels)…although he continued to be a regular, hitting woes continued for 1 ½ more seasons…a trade to KC in 1972 relegated Bobby to substitute status…collected 258 AB over two seasons with the Royals with .217 BA… Career numbers, 56 HRs, 331 RBIs, and .236 BA…currently listed as employed in the small army that is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim coaching staff.