Monday, November 30, 2015

#530 Don Sutton

Entering 7th season as a future Hall of Fame pitcher...after 1972 would play 15 more campaigns... winning  11 games or more in 13 one them...the sequence of wins after this card came out was 19, 18,19,16, 21,14,15, 12, 13 while being a post-Koufax icon of Dodger blue (1966-1979)....broke in during Sandy K’s last year of 1966....had consecutive losing seasons (1967-69) as his LA retooled....took his trade to Houston for 1 ¾ solid seasons; pitched in late 1982 sparked Brewer’s surge to their only WS berth... still considered a force to reckoned in years 1983-1985with despite service with second division to Angels late 1985 returned him to playoff contention....made last league championship playoff appearance, a venue he did well at in both AL and NL....made short return to Dodgers in 1988....played last game August 9th in 6-0 losing effort.... trademarks were longevity, durability and line was formidable,  23 seasons, 756 starts, 325 wins, 3574 strikeouts, career ERA of 3.25...well done.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

#531 Fred Patek

The sparkplug player held most accountable as KC’s surprised  the baseball world by going from fourth in the AL West during 1970 to second place 1971... Acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh had career year by leading the AL in triples and a personal best .267 BA....subsequent seasons did not hit as well but his fielding and speed (top ten stolen bases 8 years in a row) was his value....took free agency after 1978 but playing time diminished as an Angel... out of majors after 1980.....biggest claim to fame was the smallest player @ 5’5” in majors at the time.... 3 time All Star.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#532 Fred Kendall

Played for San Diego for 10 of the franchise’s first 12 years....first two years were in the team’s equally fledgling farm system...worked his way up from being a call up to regular in team’s first five year...hit his pinnacle in 1973 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI’s, and .282 BA....all career bests....followed up with a 8 HRs and 45 RBIs 1974....1975 was a lost year with no home runs and .199 BA....despite a modest come back in 1976 took his tools of ignorance to the AL for two years one in Cleveland then Boston... returned to Padres for two more season ending in 1980.... More successful was son Jason Kendall,  who was a 3 time all star at catcher.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

#533 Ralph Houk

Forever melded with the Yankees and the Mantle/Maris/Berra/Ford years....Won back to back WS in first two years 1961-62...One more year in World Series and promoted to GM....with a down turn of Yankees fortunes returned to dugout early 1966....not the same as before the team collectively hovered around .500 in his tenure lasting until 1973...1972 squad was a few percentage points better the 1971 team....Over saw a huge improvement in bullpen....After the Yankees, took over an aging Tiger team in 1974....had a losing record in Detroit but was able to win season in last season....after a short retirement managed for the Red Sox 1981-1985....3150 games managed-88 games over a player was a little used back up catcher for the Yankees.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#534 Jim Hickman

Average outfielder with one exceptional year...1970:  31 home runs 115 RBI, .315 BA....beginnings went back to 1956 when he was signed up by Cardinals as a free agent....climbed his way up the system....was picked in the NY Mets in 36th round of expansion draft based on excellent 1960 season in the Texas league...Was the first Met Centerfielder ever....OK year hitting .245 for the pitching poor Mets... held the regular CF spot for four more years....injuries cut into playing time in 1966...A 1967 trade to the Dodgers had disastrous results....thrown in as part of trade to the Cubs...after a stint with 2 AAA plus the big club in 1968, started to reawaken in 1969 with 21 HRs....had the memorable hit that drove in Pete Rose in 70 all star game...had two more above average seasons....playing time waned with age and retired mid national leaguer.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#536 Doug Rader

Distinctive red hair...steady, above average 3rd baseman for the Astros franchise...excellent  fielder taking five consecutive gold glove awards  equaling Ron Santo’s string at the time....bat showed good pop hitting 20+ HRs three times mostly in a difficult park...usually placed 2-3rd in Astros home runs for a season....moved on to the Padres for 1976 as part of their veteran movement....sold to the first year Toronto mid season...finished final season 14 home runs started to get into managing in 1980....Started his skipper career with San Diego’s AAA affiliate Hawaii....three winning seasons later, entered into Texas Rangers dugout for 1983....dismissed early in 1986 big chance was with Angels in 1989...won 91 season and a half  team hovered barely at .500...not good enough for Gene Autry and was replaced by Buck Rogers in 1991.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

#535 Ed Brinkman

Long time Senator shortstop mainstay...traded to Tigers for 1971 season ending a long time tenure as Washington’s boosted the Tigers veteran crew for a few more years and destroyed the Senators...Brinkman while not huge improvement at the bat from incumbent César Gutiérrez he did bring a good glove, stability, and just a bit more power thanks to Detroit’s short fences....thought of so highly finished 9th in MVP voting despite hitting .203 in 1972... did play in every (new) Senator season becoming a regular after his and their first season...struggled at the plate for many years never hitting above .230...a reformation came in the form of manager Ted Williams in 1969....for next two seasons hit .264 mark greatly above his career BA at the time...Had a career power surge with 14 dingers in his last full season 1974....shuffled about  with three teams in 1975...passed away in 2008....along with Chuck Brinkman first active playing brothers depicted in this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

#537 Bob Locker

a pure fireman never started a game.... started up with the White Sox in 1965...after a season middle relief took over closer role...far and away career season was 1967 when he lead AL 77 appearances...had 20 saves and 2.09 ERA....after a serviceable follow up in 1968, had a poor start in 1969 and wound up in Seattle where he regained effectiveness...traded to Oakland in 1970 as the club was becoming a contender....a  cog in exceptionally effective Oakland A’s bullpen by committee...certainly not as notable as Fingers or Knowles but chipped in...went 13-3 in 1971-72....Surprisingly did not play a strong role in playoff run of 1972....traded to Cubs for 1973 where he once re-established himself as a closer...success was short lived, did not play in 1974 and had a failed comeback in 1975.