Sunday, June 28, 2015

#585 George Scott

Boomer….One edition of the Complete Handbook of Baseball described him as “A Big Puppy Dog who Wants to be Loved”….My all time favorite phrase from the series and one I use to describe myself….Powerful but inconsistent in the early years overshadowed by Carl Y and Tony C….Broke into Red Sox’s 1966 starting line up with a strong debut hitting 27 home runs, 90 RBI’s…accelerated his game nearly  matching his rookie number while upping his BA to .303….also captured a gold glove award for first base… Suffered through a horrible 1968….1969 his offence started to return….many times baseball cards posted him as a 1st-3rdbase  but mostly played the position in 1969 and 1970…1971 returned to 1sts .....1972 trade to the Brewers placed in spotlight as the franchise’s first bonafide offensive threat…Best seasons of career were in Brewer Blue and took place in 1973 and 1975…First Brewer to reach 100 RBI and hit over .304….Slugged 115 home runs in Beer town….Won a gold glove every year he was a Brewer….Returned to Beantown for 1977 and hit 33 home runs that year….Suffered a major decline in 1978….1979 started likewise…shipped to KC and NYY later on in the year….hit .278 with them to raise his last season average to .254….Died in 2013.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#586 Denis Menke

Iowa farm boy who logged in 13 major league seasons…Started in Milwaukee Braves organization... took over for an aging Roy MacMillan starting in 1962….Showed pop with 20 home runs in 1964…Followed team to Atlanta….off season in 1967 prompted a trade to Houston….Team’s best hitter in 1969 and 1970….Hit .304 in 1970....Despite an excellent bat while manning the Astros Shortstop position his average fielding prompted a move to first for 1971…move coincided with a personal and team loss of offensive production and BA….The Astros looking to improve offense included Menke in group trade with the Reds….the move allowed Tony Perez to move to first extending his career….Menke was able to regain his power stroke but BA suffered….next a poor start resulted in losing starter spot to up and coming Dan Driesen….unsuccessful in a return to Astros in 1974 spelled the end of line.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#587 Bill Wilson

Sometimes Bill, Sometimes Billy....Another prospective Philadelphia hurler of the time like Billy Champion who had trouble finding sustainable success…OK campaigns on pretty much bad teams serving as a middle reliever and an occasional closer….broke in 1969...staying with the big club all year, went 2-5 with 3.36 ERA….had a 3.07 ERA and career high 7 saves in 1971….spent early part of 1972 on DL, only getting work with Phillies later in second half….One more year in the bigs where he appeared in career high 44 games but a disastrous 6.66 ERA….Killer ERA for any pitcher....released soon after.... Died young, at age 50.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#588 Jim Holt

Excellent AAA hitter with a career .333 average….Mixed bag in majors ranging from farmhand, reserve outfielder, and having one career season….seemed to do much better with late season call ups….Started in the KC A’s organization….Picked up by the Twins as part of a Rule 5….In accordance to Rule 5 stayed in Minnesota for 1968, gathering a handful of At Bats to exceed rookie status….Returned to minors for 1969…a strong September call up that year prompted more two full, but unremarkable seasons in Twinkeeland….Spent a majority of 1972 in AAA Tacoma….hit .333 in that hitter friendly league….Once again made the big club for 1973….responded with best season going 11 HR , 58 RBIs, and .297 BA….could not repeat his numbers in 1974 and was dealt in late in the year to Oakland as part the A's customary playoff push of veteran acquisition…despite poor showing in regular season, made playoff roster and got two hits in three at bats in WS play….stuck around Oakland's farm system for 1975-76 but used  sparingly when he was called up and eventually sent down to AAA….finished career in Mexican League.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

#589 Hal Lainer

Typical for the time; a good field poor hit infielder…. Up to this time, a life time Giant….Best season was well behind him; his rookie year of 1964….started that year in AAA Tacoma achieved a mid season call up based on .324 BA….Had a decent response to improved level of play, immediately taking a regular spot at 2nd base and hitting .274….the rest of his career did not hit above .233 in any given season….eventually moved to shortstop…virtually no power with his best mark being 3 home runs in the 1966….His last HR of that year was on Sept 5th,  would not hit  another until April  25th 1970, a span of 485 games….lost playing time in 1971 with the arrival of teenacger Chris Spier….relegated to fill in at all 4 infield spots…After purchase by NYY was used sparingly for two seasons.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#590 Graig Nettles

Played 22 seasons and hit 390 home runs….Started in Minnesota organization but was unimpressive in his only full season….A steal for the Indians and maybe the worst Twins trade ever….Graig Immediately paid dividends, solidifying an aging infield for a resurgent 1970 Tribe squad….Even though Cleveland fortunes soured, Nettles improved his play in 1971….After less productive 1972, traded to the Yankees for 1973….entered into an eleven season odyssey that started as the Bronx Bomber and ended with the Bronx Zoo….Started with bang in pinstripes hitting 11 home runs in April in pre-renovation Yankee Stadium…Gave  the Yankees consistent and steady play  no major drop off….Nettles’ quick hands and above average glove complimented his power…..Prime years were 1975 to 1979….In that time frame he hit 117 home runs….Received back to back Gold Gloves in 1977 and 78..... Traded to hometown San Diego as part of a veteran movement and despite a decline in production, he helped get the Friars to WS berth in 1984 ….Last seasons were spent as a reserve for the Braves and Montreal….Younger brother Jim played for Twins and Detroit without as much as fanfare….BA was never a strength as Nettles ended with career .248 mark....6 time All Star. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

#591 Paul Casanova

The primary catcher for most the expansion Senator’s exsistance….Cuban born….Entering into play the Senators were his third try at a franchise…prior to that played on the Indianapolis Clowns, baseball's answer to the Harlen Globetrotters…Exceptional start for a catcher of his time…..Marked a .254 and .248 BA in first two seasons starting in 1966.... had a trademark strong throwing arm ….Made the All Star game in his second season….Never the same after 1967….suffered through a terrible 1968 which included a demotion to AAA Buffalo….Returned regular duty in 1969 but never  truly got his batting stroke back….His best post 1967 BA in Capitol City was .229….Traded to the Braves for Hal King after 1971 season….A true backup in Atlanta but no strong improvement at the plate….1972 back upped Earl Williams….1973 was behind Johnny Oates….His last season 1974 was third string behind Oates and Vic Correll….Did pair up Clown Alumnus Hank Aaron while in Atlanta and they became friends.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#592 Lew Krause, Jr.

Fair haired pitcher of brash, promise, and ultimately inconsistency….son of Athletic player and scout Lew Krause, Sr….signed in a bonus baby age 1961 under dad’s recommendations straight out of high school…..Impressive debut, starting his first major league game and spinning a shutout….roughed up a bit thereafter…toiled in the minors with elbow problems for the next several years…did not fully resurface until 1966 when he delivered a 14-9 record…Krause along with Jim Nash were good news and step forward for the struggling franchise….could not provide an encore in 1967 with 7-17 record….Follows the team to Oakland, staying the next two seasons maintaining  a near .500 record….Traded to Seattle nee Milwaukee…Was the first person to pitch in Brewers uniform…took the loss in 12-0 shellacking…1971 pitched as well as he did 1966 but poor run support doomed him to a 8-12 record….Trade to Red Sox for 1972 represented an opportunity with a contender….failed to live up to expectations with a 1-3 record and +6 ERA….was picked up and released by St. Louis, Atlanta, and Oakland going up until 1976.