Sunday, May 31, 2015

#593 Rich Morales

Very weak hitter…1971 mark of .243 BA represents personal best and  was 48 points above his career …got more playing time in 1972 with 287 at bats and responded with 20 RBIs but BA dropped to .206….Rich shared SS duties with Luis Alavado both whom represented an offensive liability in an otherwise much improved team from two year earlier…1973 Rich was exiled from  SS by new acquisition Eddy Leon, ended up going hitless in 7 games for the Chisox…was purchased  by Padres….was able to get a handful of hits but avg was only .165….was able to stick around for 1974 term…released thereafter.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#594 Jim Beauchamp

Journeyman reserve outfielder/first baseman….Most likely would have either would have been out of baseball or finishing career in AAA if it was not for expansion…. Prior to 1969 was primarily a minor leaguer with short stints in Houston, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Cincinnati….good hitter in minor, knocking 65 home runs in two season 63-64…..stayed in the bigs with the Reds and Mets from 1969 to 1973 seasons…had 162 at bats in St Louis a career best….Best offensive season was as a Met in 1972….5 home runs and 19 RBIs…released after 1973 despite career best .279 average a personal best…had a knack of returning organizations…three times in the Cardinal system and twice in Houston….Career National Leaguer.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

#595 Nolan Ryan

Bring on the Heat....Von Ryan Express....So much can be said….A Texan with promise on the verge of becoming a Legend…After a mediocre 1971 and several unremarkable seasons before Mets were apparently tired of the promising but unfulfilled tag…Shipped to California with a group of players in deal for iconic but aging Jim Fergosi….Historic trade for Angels who were reeling from a tumultuous 1971....a major source of embarrassment for the Mets…Instant dividends for the Halos and a never before seen source fear for AL hitters…19 wins, league leading 329 K’s. 2.28 ERA (which was his full season career best)….follow up season was more impressive 21 wins and 383 strikeouts setting a modern day record that still stands…his punch out mark beat the next competitor by 130!…..had one more win reaching 22 in 1974…at this point when Ryan started opposing teams had to brace themselves for near total offensive failure and their only hope for victory was that Nolan’s wildness or Angel’s anemic bats would take Ryan out of game….various small injuries and the continuing Angels hitting woes took a bit of luster off the next few seasons but he continued with his strikeout mastery…Took the free agent route to his home state of Texas in 1980 landing with Astros….had a duration of nine seasons in Houston….did not win as much but still significant seasons…Most unusual was 1987, lead NL in strikeouts and ERA while having a 8-16 record…as in his Angels days a victim of no run support….one more season in Houston and another strikeout crown with a rather pedestrian 228 K’s (ho hum)….Took free agency road to the Rangers….his 16-10 record and 301 strikeouts represented an amazing rebound at age 42….won his 300th game in 1990 (in Milwaukee...still looking for my ticket stub)  and garnered his last of 12 times leading the league  in strikeouts….played two more campaigns finally starting to show age in 26th and 27th year ending in 1993.

Is over yet….Resounding NO…..Has the most career no hitters with seven….8 All stars appearances….even in his last season Ryan whipped youngster Robin Ventura in an on field fight, even more impressively stayed in the game, finished and won the game.…mysteriously never was a MVP or Cy Young award although he took over Cy’s all time record for most strikeouts…most bases on balls record too….HOF on first ballot…not bad for a 12th round pick in the 1965 draft….His career has been debated and discussed as to his method of longevity and whether many other hard throwing peers burned out their arms too early….Also an example of clean living and married to the same woman since 1968. 

Feel free to chime in but my hands are tired from typing.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#596 Manny Mota

Here may be his greatest claim to fame….From the movie Airplane:   "Now pinching for Pedro Borbourn, Mota...Manny Mota".....Oddly enough Mota and Pedro were never teammates….One of the greatest pinch hitter of all time if not one then top five…if not then he  is one of the most prolific…..20 years covering 1962 to 1982….never a true regular but in the years of 1965 to 1973 averaged about 350 At Bats per season….after that five seasons of almost exclusive pinch hitting….started in the hitting rich Giants organization….Was a Colt .45 in the off season between 1962-63 but  became a Pirate just before 1963… a part time fixture showing decent line drive hitting expertise with .297 in 1693 at bats….Offered up for expansion draft and selected by Montreal…logged in 89 at bats in Canada before a trade to LA….In Dodger blue, he made his name and fame buoyed by a .315 BA….exceptional years are 1969 and 1972 when he hit .323…was switch roles as the regular left fielder or the fourth outfielder role up until 1974….Having lost a step in the field his remaining five years he is almost exclusively a pinch hitter.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

#597 Jim Magnuson

Marginal career with stints for the Chisox and Yankees…2-7 win loss record and 4.59 ERA…Northern Wisconsin resident…Pitched for U of W Oshkosh…drafted by White Sox and pressed into service in near by Fox Cities….played in minors for 4 years… Called up late June 1970, went 1-5 in 13 appearances ….spent most of year 1971 with the Sox but put in one third less innings than the year before….Taken in rule 5 draft by NY….pitched in minors 1972 with NYY’s Syracuse club winning 9 games….did appear in 8 games for Yankees in 1973, splitting time between Syracuse and big club…Died in 1991

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#598 Hal King

Career MLB back up catcher…traded to Texas in a straight up for fellow catcher, Paul Casanova…best season 1970 was already behind him….Started in Houston organization and had two cups of coffee in 1967 and 1968…Traded to Red Sox who kept him in the minors for 1969….Taken in rule 5 draft by Atlanta where he split time with Bob Tillman….hit 11 home runs and respectable .260…1971 saw a loss of playing time and a drop to .207….the Texas odyssey resulted in a sub .200 average….tossed in as an add on in Cincinnati’s swap of Jim Merritt…finished career with season as a third string catcher behind Johnny Bench and Bill Plummer.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

#599 Billy Champion

Great comic book name…in reality a so so career with second division teams… spent 4 seasons in Philly and 4 in Milwaukee… Broke into the 1969 Phillies lineup after an outstanding 7-1 start in AAA Eugene…Shifted between Philadelphia's farm system the first couple of years....While in Philly alternated starting and relief roles...lost 14 games in 1972 on a Philly team whose pitching staff was 32-87 (.270 win pct) without Steve Carlton's career season....Acquired by Milwaukee for standout season, 1974, Champion went 11-4 with a 3.62 all career bests…prior to that point his career ERA was 4.85….like most Brewers at the time, could not follow up this performance in 1975 and was released

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

#600 Al Kaline

Mr. Tiger….HOF…22 seasons for Detroit…an icon for the franchise….13 consecutive All Star Games plus two more in 1971 and his last season 1974…consistent…never played in the minors, signed out of high school…did everything well, speed in the early years, fielding, respectable power, leadership...popular too…. Crowning season was early in his career, 1955 when he hit a league leading 200 hits, .340 BA and 321 total bases added with 27 home runs and 102 RBIs…next year put up similar number but did not lead league in any category….Received Gold Gloves for 10 of a 11 year stretch…from the years of 1967 on established himself in a 4 outfielder rotation with Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, and Jim Northrup….Career numbers 2834  games, 10116 Abs, 1622 runs , 3007 hits, 498 doubles, 75 triples, 399 Home Runs, 1582 RBIs.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#601 George Stone

The fourth Braves starter profiled in this blog…like the whole of the Atlanta franchise at the time, had trouble with consistency….two most significant seasons were 1969 and 1973….mid season call up in 1968….Fared well winning record…Set a career high of 13 wins as the Braves won the newly formed NL west crown in 1969…following three campaigns ranged from mediocre to sub par and a lost starter spot…A trade to the Mets for 1973 revitalized his career…for the 1973 season anyway....was a spark with a 12-3 record…pitched well in post season….A 1974 folow up did not materialize, developed arm trouble and could not finish the year…1975 did not fare much better…was cousin to Braves teammate Cecil Upshaw.