Saturday, January 30, 2016

#512 Paul Popovich

With the Cubs he was a often used reserve infielder who could not tip the scales to be a consistent starter....Twice donned the  Cubs uniform with an assignment stint to LA sandwiched in-between....started in Chicago farm system 1960….worked his way up to his first AB appearance in 1964 and got a hit….hit 232 in 52 games in full season 1967…. .Interestingly enough was traded twice in the same day going to Montreal  before the Cubs on June 11th 1969 …was awesome in his 1969 early season return to Cubs by virtue of hitting .312….had a fair follow up hitting .253 in 1970…..offensive numbers declined thereafter....217 in 1971…rebounded a bit in 1973 with a .231 BA in 306 Abs….a bit of a swan song for his career…went to Pittsburgh for his last one and a half seasons in a limited role.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

#513 Lindy McDaniel

For the most part a career reliever, and for the most part a good one....a long  time veteran 21 seasons from 1955 to 1975....grew up in a deeply religious family in the Bible Belt...signed on by the Cardinals as a bonus baby right before he turned 20...according to the rules, had to be a Cardinal without benefit of minor league experience....worked way into starting rotation 1957 and was joined by brother Von midseason gaining noteriety...Lindy won 15 games....both brothers came up short in 1958 and both were sent to minor (Von never to return to MLB)....Lindy returns 1959 reinvented as a bullpen specialist....Very effective in 1960 leading NL in win pct and saves, getting AS nod and #3 in Cy Young voting...rare for closer....after two off seasons shipped to Cubs and returned to prominence during 1963....led league in saves and games finished....after two more seasons in Chi town, joined the Giants for 1966....after slow start in 1968 traded midseason to Yankees starting a six year relationship....alternated being the team’s top relief specialist with Jack Aker....Best season was 1970 with 29 saves where he and Jack Aker were best right handed bullpen in baseball….worst season was the following year with  5.01 ERA and 4 saves....performance prompted Yanks to acquire Sparky a support role was able to come back  for two fine seasons....Entering 19th season was traded to KC for outfielder and future NY icon Lou Pinella....finished 6-5 in two seasons...never appeared in the post season.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

#514 Ted Sizemore

Athletic name....Voted NL 1969 Rookie of the Year....line drive hitter who played almost exclusively as a catcher or outfielder in minors...took over the reins at 2nd base, a  virtually unknown position allowing Jim Lefrever to third base and Paul Popovich to become trade bait....tenure in LA was short, for Dodger sought more power in the person of Dick Allen for 1971....Took over in St Louis for an aging Julian Javier....was the Cards regular 2nd baseman for 1971-75....hit .260 for the club...after a sub par BA of .240 returned to Dodgers as a sub...regains starter status with Philadelphia 1977 and responds with most complete season hitting .281 to go with 4 home runs and 47 RBIs.... BA took a career low of .219 in to Cubs for 1979  allowed a brief return to being a regular....was traded to Red Sox  that year for the playoff push...released mid 1980.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

#515 Bert Blyleven

Story of redemption, story of comebacks..... Minnesota icon and HOFer....but not exactly a smooth relationship at times with the great north country...but time and a WS ring heals wounds....Born in Holland....Teenage debut 1970...debut start against Washington Senators June 5, 1970....gave up a lead off home run to Lee Maye but buckled down got the win....chalked up 9 more win in rookie season...then started an ascendency peaking to 20 win in 1973.....had a reputation as having the best curve ball in the game at the time....record would have been better with timely Twins hitting....Even though Bert remained consistent in the Twin Cities he eventually appeared to be frustrated with team and fans....gave fans a one finger salute he walked off the field just prior to being traded to Texas....Pitching consistently won 10 or more games from rookie season on to 10th....yet his good effort but diminished wins style resulted in travels took that him to Pittsburgh, and (WS ring 1979, 19 wins 1984) and downs (missing nearly all of 1982 and struggling 1983) ....a late 1985 playoff push returns Bert to Minnesota...paired with Frank Viola became the team’s 1-2 punch.... draw back led AL in home run surrendered two years running....Took over Twins #2 starter spot in the team’s improbable World Series win given their 85-78 1987 record...Burt faulted in ‘88 losing 17 while only winning 10....Trade to Angels for 1989 rejuvenated him, going 17-5 and garnering Comeback Player award....Alas Bert started to show his age in next three years, injured all of 1991, and won a total of 16 wins in 1990 and 1992....After playing, Bert returns one more time to Minnestoa this time as a broadcaster ”Circle Me Bert”...a post he has held for 20 years...elected to baseball hall of fame tally:  287 wins in 22 years.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

#516 Oscar Brown

Brother of Ollie Brown of Padres fame....not as successful as his reserve outfielder for the Braves...drafted by three teams in normal sequence...late in draft out of high school....taken in earlier rounds as he attended community college then USC...At USC was a teammate of Bill Lee...In an impressive professional debut, hit .346 in Class A ball....also hit .385 in short cup of coffee stint with the Braves 1970....neither resulted in regular work at either minor or major level....little power, not in accordance to the doctrine of the  early 1970’s Braves....also had brother who played in NFL....finished hitting .244, 4 home runs/28 RBIs in 316 at bats.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#517 Ken Brett

Interesting life despite an up and down baseball career........first off one of four baseball playing brothers, the elder sibling to HOF George.... Started with Red Sox out of high school....pitched two inning in the 1967 regular virtue of a pitching shortage was named to WS roster....took the mound in 8th inning,  game 4 being youngest pitcher ever to appear in a WS.... a record that still stands...after WS excitement career was derailed by military service, injuries, and being the dog to Brewers for 1972 had mixed results but provided his regular in starting rotation....Next two years first as a Phillie, then as a Pirate were the best of his career winning 13 in each also allow him to avoid AL DH rule for Ken maybe was a better hitter than a pitcher... slugged  home runs in 4 consecutive games in 1973 and hit .310 in 1974...31 RBI in those two years... after one more year, 1975 with the Pirates became very well traveled going to Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Dodgers, and finally reuniting with brother George in KC...Funloving, humorous, and bachelor for much of his career

Saturday, January 9, 2016

#769 Jack Aker Bonus Post ...or late depending on your view

In doing this blog I realize I make quite a few mistakes...writing style changes, editing, spelling errors...sometimes readers let me know looking over old files I realized I had missed a card a while sorry Jack...
#769 Jack Aker  The 1971 Yankee Team Co-Leader in Saves with….(4)Four.  That’s right two players, Aker and Lindsay McDaniel each had four saves each to lead the team....As a team the Yankees had 12 saves in 1971….Worst in the league and since the 1962 Mets but it wasn’t all that unusual saves were much more rare in the 60’s….That all changed next year with the Yankees early season trade for Sparky Lyle arguably the man who changed relief pitching to what it is today.... Aker’s 1971 was strange in that it looks statistically similar to the two preceding season in NY but the saves were few and far between….Started in KC A’s organization ….Best year was in 1966 and was fireman of the year….after two medicore seasons ended up as an original Seattle Pilot...was hammered hard early on but reestablished effectiveness upon arrival with Yankees....After NY ended up with the Cubs for the 1972…regained status as a closer with 17 saves....lost effectiveness  in 1973 as the Chicago northsiders started to age...finished out career in 1974 with short stints on Braves and Mets teams.

#518 Wayne Garrett

Red headed third baseman....OK seasons and a fair career but was almost Forrest Gumpian in his role with the Mets ill-advised decision making and witness to events.... his potential of lack thereof prompted the Mets to make their two worst trades one sent Amos Otis away and the other brought had Nolan Ryan depart for Jim Fergosi to upgrade third base...Both trades were disasters for NY....Wayne came out of Braves organization but struggled at plate even at the minor league level...taken in Rule 5 draft by Mets for 1969...Played considerably a lot for a rookie and a .218 BA....reason was he was replacing multiple player called to military service...Came back to haunt the Braves organization in the first NLCS with a .386 BA and a home run (equaling his regular season output)....Was able to hit 12 homers in 1970 but playing time was limited due military service....two bad seasons followed but was still able to hang on by sharing playing time by the failures of other wantabes...Stepped up with career year 1973 hitting 16 home runs sparking the Mets to the WS....(Good pitching overcomes the world’s worse trades)....Wayne was the regular third baseman for one more season...split playing time with Joe Torre in 1975....1976 traded mid season to Expos...MLB playing days ended in 1978, then went briefly to of minor league slugger Adrian Garrett.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

#519 Ted Abernathy

Very underappreciated and very good if handled right....At the time a pitcher identifiable by his submarine delivery....his delivery is the story of an evolution due to injuries, was an overhander in high school turned  side armed turned submariner....1952 First season in minors won 20 games a feat unheard of today....A mixture of military commitment and call ups to the 1st incarnation of the Washington Senators greatly reduced effectiveness...bounced around minor and organizations but started to find an inkling of effectiveness with Cleveland 1963....Became a Cub in 1965 and set the then MLB record for appearances and was named fireman of the year .... off year in 1966 resulted in a trade....resurfaced and returned to 1965 form with Cincinnati 1967-68 in a rare highly beneficial rule 5 good won his second fireman of the year award....returned to Cubs in 1968 and became a fixture again teaming for a 1-2 punch with Phil Reagan....Curiously pitched well in 1970 but transversed through three teams, finishing with the KC Royals....Last two season remained effective with 23 saves in 1971 and 1.70 ERA in 1972....Despite this was released as part of a KC youth movement prior 1973...did resurface in low minors for a few games 1973that year....passed away 2004....paved the way for submariners Kent Tekulve and Dan Quisenberry.

Monday, January 4, 2016

#520 Larry Bowa

Classic cog in the Phillies youth movement of early 70’s...did not disappoint although it took time to hit stride....learned switch hitting last year in minors....starting in 1970 manned the shortstop high regarded for the future, he was an instant starter never a reserve in Philadelphia....did not deviate much from .250 BA first three seasons....slumped to .211 in 1973 in maybe his poorest season as a pro....afterwards step up his bat with averages ranging from .241 to .305 while in Philly....never a power threat especially during the early years....1977 was his power year with 4 homers....Finished with 15 home runs in 8 K+ At bats.....A great fielder named to All Star Team for 5 out of a 6 year stretch yet only two gold gloves....End of the line for Philadelphia took place after 1981....Traded to Cubs in a wholesale steal...not so much for Larry but for the future HOFer Ryne Sandberg....Was a regular for 3 season but did start to show signs of wear and tear...1985 started with Cubs but yielded massive time to rookie Shawon Dunston....Released in August and finished month and half with Mets....Went on to be an organizational man for San Diego (manager AAA Las Vegas 1986, manager Padres 1987-1988) and then Angels and Mariner....Returned to Phillies as manager 2001-2004....once dismissed has alternated between broadcasting and coaching to this day....early in career worked for State of California tax department in off a feeling he did not do that later on in his career.