Saturday, October 31, 2015

#538 Charlie Sands

Typical story of many rule 5 draftees...up the entire 1971 (by rules) with the Pirates...used sparingly 28 games, 25 at bats, 5 hits, .200 BA....his number of hits equaled RBIs, a rarity...Charlie started in Baltimore and then NYY farm system...had trouble getting regular work even in minors at that time....In 1973 briefly traded to Detroit (1 AB in AAA) and then Angels....Had best professional season hitting .301 in AAA with 22 home runs....capped off season by hitting .273 in 33 at bats for the parent club....stayed with Angel 1974 entire year hitting .193....last two seasons were with Oakland system and had a brief appearance with big club (like many other veterans of the time)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

#539 Terry Forster

Let’s get it out of the open and state the quote from the glib David Letterman...”Fat tub of goo” when in later phase of his career when Terry weighed in at 270 the time of 1972 card he was 20 years of age and a trim(er) 210 lbs....Like a lesser Rich Gossage both were a product of the White Sox’s successful overhaul of their pitching staff headed by coach Johnny Sain...OK rookie season of 1971 give his age....Shined in 1972 as the pitching staff made further gains....had 29 saves and was named to all star team....the following years were a mixed bag tarnished by injuries (1975, 1979-81) and  two failed ventures to a starting role (1973, 1976)....1978 was a standout 22 saves, 1.93 ERA closing out a very strong Dodger starting staff...Terry’s years in Atlanta 1983-86 represented his best effort for any team; a 2.29 ERA in 127 games...finished off career with California Angels 1987....exceptionally good hitter, unusual for a relief pitcher, with .397 BA the all time best mark for a player over 50 At Bats....ever.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

#540 Felix Millan

One of NL’s best in his position at the time….choked up so far on the bat it was a miracle he hit any home runs…hit 22 home runs in 5700+ AB....benefit was excellent bat control  and taking the #1 spot on strikeout to AB ratio...Resume:  Atlanta Braves 1966-1972;  New York Mets 1973-1977....Was a starter starting 1968-1976....consistent hitter with a BA ranging from .257 to .310 those years...also racked up being named to 3 consecutive all star games 1969 to 1971 laced with two Gold Gloves 1969 to 1972...hit very well in two NLCS playoffs not so well in his only in his World Series his successor in Atlanta Dave Johnson, played a couple of years in Japan after his MLB days were over.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#541 Roger Repoz

A slugging outfielder 1st baseman who could not hit for average enough to go beyond benchplayer….broken in with NYY just as their fortunes began to wane into second division….despite a fast start in 1966 was traded to Kansas City A’s and then California an inconsistent also ran…another second division club…. found greater status, stats, and compensation playing in Japan….not a fast runner but somehow set a MLB record for most at bats without hitting into a double play….going from 1967 to 1970…1970 was also memorable because he hit a career high 18 home runs good for second on the Angels squad….hit .199 in last full season 1971 but had one of the league’s most impressive sideburns.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

#542 Jack Billingham

Early on was a shuffled vagabond due to unusual circumstances but found a home in the Big Red Machine….product of pitching rich Dodger organization of the later 1960’s….impressive limited rookie season of 1968, appeared in 50 games, 2.16 ERA a career best…despite this offered up in expansion draft…taken by Montreal…never played for them….offered as alternative compensation when Don Clendenon refused to report to Astros….built up resume in Houston despite losing record….had better ERA in Texas than in his glory days with the Reds….Twin 19 win seasons for the Reds represented the pinnacle of career….lead NL in innings, shutouts,  plus gained an all star berth in 1973…added two more  15 win seasons, one with Reds another an late career excursion  to Detroit…. Hung up spikes in 1980….Career ERA did not indicate Superstardom but he was so very, very, good in consistency and endurance….career record of 145-113.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#543 Duane Josephson

A career abruptly ended…. Heart condition, specifically pericarditis, an inflammation of the membranes that surround the heart, and it had not only truncated his 1972 season but forced him to retire from the Red Sox and the game….A native Iowan the only non pitcher to make the bigs from Northern Iowa University…there he was a teammate of Oriole Eddie Watt…Drafted and crawled up the White Sox organization…two late season call up and after one season on the bench became a regular in 1968….named to AL all star squad that year…hit .247 which was “good” for that year….after a year of diminished playing time to Ed Hermann, Duane turned in a sparkling .316 average in 1970….He and Hermann combined for 23 home runs, 93 RBI’s, and .299 BA….This one of lone bright spots of White Sox worst year to date….With catching a relative strength, Duane was traded to the rouge hose….Hit a personal best 10 home runs as the #1 catcher….Was contesting that position with Carlton Fisk in 1972 when the forced retirement was announced….Duane returned to Iowa and lived for another 24 years before succumbing to his condition.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#544 Ted Martinez

Ted, short for Theodoro….light hitting, reserve infielder who stayed in majors for a surprisingly long time….best  body of work was with at the end of his career in LA (1977-79) after an exile in the minors during 1976….hit .280 in Dodger blue….started as a Met….fall call up in 1970 after hitting .306 in AAA…started 1971 in minors but was called up to stay in early July….hit .288 for the New Yorkers….Remained in near regular status 1972-74…had career high 43 RBI’s but the .219 BA in 334 in last season did him in as a Met…had a poor start after being traded to Cardinals in 1975….acquired by Oakland in their typical Kelly Girl round up for playoff run….Released and picked up by the Reds (see 1976 reference above)….Pick up by LA in rule 5 draft….finished American baseball career in AAA Albuquerque…played 3 season Mexican Leagues…nearly all his cards with a write up use the word versatile.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#545 Wayne Granger

Tall and lanky, at 6’2” and 165 pounds….The previously St. Louis farmhand was once the all time record holder for games played in season by a pitcher….set the mark of 90 games in 1969 as a Cincinnati Red….held record for 4 years….then along came Mike Marshall who continues to hold the record for over 40 years….Under Sparky Anderson was more a pure closer in 1970 holding the top honors for saves for two years running….In 1971 ERA rose and saves dropped by two thirds….still had league best mark with 70 appearences….Traded to Minnesota….did OK garnering 19 saves but stayed only one season….his trade back to St Louis his career never materialized into a comeback to his Reds performance…pitched OK but unspectacularly for NYY, ChiSox, Houston, and Montreal in years 1973-76…made a brief resurface in AAA level Inter-American League along with several ex MLB players.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

#546 Joe Hague

Short MLB career and life…died at age 50….limited playing time because his positions were filled up by being the understudy to the likes of Dick Allen, Joe Torre, Tony Perez….also hindered by being a defensive liability….big things were sought in St Louis…huge power numbers in AA (1967) and AAA (1968)….once called up far and away best season was 1970….that year hit 14 home runs, drove in 68 runs and had .271 average…hit a career best 16 HRs in 1971 but dropped 45 points in average….a miniscule comeback for 1972 was highlighted by trade to the Reds….BA raised but playing time diminished…out of major leagues after 1974.