Tiger comeback Kid 1971....at age 36 not much a kid and 7th oldest player in the league... .an amazing season since he was known about the league for his fun loving, outspoken ways....known to drink an alcoholic beverage or two, or several....this scenario usually not the back-story of doubling home runs and an 80% rise in run driven in….his second best season...but his best season was way back in 1961 would be hard to top…. an outstanding offensive display….the best batting average in the decade…..361 complementing 131 RBIs 41 homers…number obscured by the Maris Mantle pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run mark…..A quick ascension for the former White Sox farmhand acquired just a year earlier…..next year BA free fell to .243 but power numbers were still strong….from then on he is a consistent source of 20+ home runs in Tiger line up that changed very little for another 8-9 years…1970 was a difficult year dropping to 15 home runs and 53 RBIs….seemed to signify the end....post 1971 played as a regular for next two years posted fair hitting figures; typical for him...limited work in final year of 1974.....traded twice in the winter of 1959/60, first Chisox to Cleveland then to Detroit....a steal for Tigers who gave up outfielder that only played 5 games for the tribe...Cash played in 2018 games....lost his life in drowning accident at age 51.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Sadly died two day after 50th birthday....car accident....Very effective reliever ....Bread and butter pitch; screwball....and was bread and butter to the Dodgers from 1968 up to arrival of Mike Marshall in 1974....Starting out 1960, debuted with the Cubs...never found his niche largely lackluster at best in Wringleyville....At one point MLB record stood at 1-11.....Most notable moment was a fight with then Cincy Red's Billy Martin....Brewer would up with a broken orbit bone, done for the season....incident resulted in the courts and settlement reached nearly a decade later....Billy was unrepentant even then.... patient: traded to Dodgers 5 year earlier before he was given chief fireman duties once Ron Peranowski departed for Minnesota in 1968....best season 1972 almost unbeatable 1.27 ERA..... took situational relief work with Marshall in tow....went from 20 saves to 0 despite a lowered ERA..... a poor start in 1975 was the antecedent to cross town trade to the Angels....was able to salvage the remainder of the year sporting a 1.82 ERA....continued with journeyman work into 1976 his last season....record for his last two years 7 wins-2 losses.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Platoon player deluxe....especially early on in his first three of 10 MLB season....exited out of 1972 season posting a .327 BA in 600+ at bats....thereafter a mixed bag....some slightly above par seasons but only a shadow of what once was.....from 1972 on career BA dropped 40 points to .277 terminus circa 1979....line drive hitter leaving home runs few and far between....five in over 2500 at bats...oddly enough hit a home run and triple in 15 at bats during 1971 playoffs....no singles or doubles....after an unsuccessful stint with the Mets 1975 (.228) traded to Texas where he posted career highs for games, at bats and comebackish .276 BA....next year in Cubbieland set personal bests in RBIs and belted three homers in nearly one half of the playing time in Texas....plus raising his hitting by 16 points....played one more full season in Chicago and handful of games in 1980.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Light hitting shortstop applicant to the newly formed Brewers...a rarity can claim he was one of the few drafted by the Seattle Pilots organization....buoyed by unusually strong 1970 minor league batting numbers....hit .327 in single A and then jumped to AAA posting a .300 BA....on the Brewers 1971 opening day roster competed with incumbent Roberto Pena....struggled to hit eventually spending a couple of months back in the minors....Brewers might have better off to keep Pena as a regular...given the job outright most likely because Milwaukee liked his youth and speed (24 bases in 72).... hitting woes continued posting .218 in 1972....never enjoyed full time work again....a poor start 1973 and was quickly dispatched n a shortstop for shortstop exchange Dodger prospect Tim Johnson...Remained in LA's AAA club for rest of the year....in a strange transaction is sold back to the Brewers who return him back to L.A. for cash a month 1 ½ later....after the runaround Rick is a seldom used reserve on the Dodger bench....Auerbach’s journey then included farmhand with the Mets, another bizarre this time midseason trade to the Rangers (did not play for them), then Reds....finished his career 1981 with Seattle....Despite generally poor hitting, hit very well when 1974, 1978, and 1980 are combined....161 at bats, 54 hits, and 4 of career 9 home runs, tabulating to .335 clip....the remainder of his numbers work out to a .204 BA
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Future star just starting to make his mark....registered a .304 BA one of seven full seasons to reach the .300 plateau.....1967 1st round pick by St Louis tore up minors everywhere he played...hit .373 in AAA before staying up for good a month into 1970...never looked back....once wore his hair straight and long but curt it back after his locks caught fire while burning leaves in the off season....less power but a superior batting average compared to Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk...only backstop with a compatible BA to his was Yogi Berra’s....had 246 homers but sometimes would go season long power droughts where singles and doubles where his offence offering of choice....a catcher for most of his career, 1771 games out of 2035....traded to Milwaukee in blockbuster deal along with Rollie Fingers and Pete Vukovich....steal of a deal catapulted Brewers to two straight post season years 1981-82..... 1981 was his worst year as pro but bounced back strong reaching a personal best RBI mark of 108 1983.....Well regarded in Milwaukee....spent his last three years 1985-1988 as a role player with the Braves.....still getting hall consideration with favorable comparisons to fellow HOFers.....added bonus was a switch hitter.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Astro company man....13 out of 14 seasons under the Astrodome home field*...minimal minor league exposure round about 1964....age 18 at MLB debut in 1968....typical of his Houston peers a majority of whom were pressed into MLB service in first year of pro ball....starting 1965 gained more innings then starts....gained 7 wins that year...10 in 1966 then 6 1967 both could have been much better had not injury struck in the former and military service in the later....hit full bloom in 1969 with 20 wins and Houston reached .500 for the first time....strung along wins 16, 12, and 15 in the following years....injuries came back in 1973 and only able be active for three weeks....was able to get back into rotation next three years taking 11, 14, and 13 victories....threw a no hitter in 1976 his last as a ‘stro player....Finished his pitching arts with handful of unimpressive games for St. Louis....Eventually returned as Astro manager.... suffered a seizure in 1999 and missed 27 games... despite excellent five year run with four 1st place finishes, Houston brass was soured by his 3-12 playoff record
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Team Card....franchise entrenched in the upper mid west for the last 58 years....fixture in the society.....a team that has specialized in employing state grown talent to spend part or entire career....best examples, Kent Hrbek, Joe Mauer, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris, Terry Steinbach, Jerry Koosman, Dave Goltz....others out of state-ers are one word icons Oliva, Carew, Killebrew, Puckett....honorary royalty....said names belie hitting over pitching...Roots of team go back to 1901 born as the original Washington Senators, a charter member of the American League...Perennial also- ran franchise coining the phase “First in war, First in Peace, Last in the American League....In 60 campaigns in the nation’s capitol output was 5 100 loss seasons, 12 losing 90 or more all of which were under 154 game schedule....team was able to muster occasional respectability....one World Championship and one World Series appearance helmed by an aging Walter Johnson....another World Series appearance under the manager/player Joe Cronin, circa 1933 wedged in three lull in NY Yankee dominance....short lived glory Senators took a 33 game drop the following year...never fully recovered and D. C. Attendance suffered as well... team was sans league title until 1965.... five seasons removed since relocating....in the 22 years that followed performance results varied...appeared in the first two ALCSs but were swept away....middle of pack output during 70’s....major rebuilding in the initial and middle of 80”s....Twinkie loyalty and shrewd front office maneuvers were rewarded with an improbable WS win 1987....scenario repeated in 1991, both series Minnesota won all home games and lost all road games....since that time appeared scattered AL playoff stints but no return to WS
Saturday, December 1, 2018
A ring barer....threw heat....A 20 year pressed into World Series service to face the Baltimore Orioles onslaught....accounted for himself well with a 1.35 ERA....coupled with Clay Carroll scoreless outing, the duo was the only pitching bright spot in an anticlimactic WS.....A year before, Gullett took an exponential jump from the Northern League, a lower single A circuit that disbanded shortly afterwards....Gullet took his WS momentum into a starter role with 16-6 record....the lonely bright spot for the Reds....future looked very bright....A set back in 1972 by hepatitis resulted in a 9-10 record, his only losing season from a specialist in high win %....took a good portion of season to get fully untracked but was called on to start WS game ... comeback complete in 18 wins 1973....followed up with 17 in ’74....next two years characterized by effective winning pitching (26 wins versus 8 losses) blemished by injuries....Gullet did walk away two WS rings...was content to stay with Red Legs for 1977, but NYY beckoned a longer 2 million dollar contract....year turned out to be a reprise 75-76.....stayed in enough games to collect 14 wins but spent several week on the injured list...culprit was sore shoulder....was able to get post game work with mixed results...with or without Gullett was secured his third successive championship....shoulder did not heal appeared in only 8 games in 1978.....diagnosis double torn rotator wiping out a possible Hall of Fame career....as a member of the Yankees got a fourth championship ring.....no longer pitched eventually released 1980....As it stands Gullet can take solace in that he has one of the top win loss percentages in baseball history with pitcher over 100 decisions....holds the 8th spot with HOF company bettering Koufax, Lefty Grove, a multitude of dead ball pitchers, and Babe Ruth....out of 1000s who played this is a high honor.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
If there was ever a sustained low point for the Yankees before the free agent era, it was the latter half of the 1960’s....Mickey Mantle was ailing and nearing the end of the line calling it quits March 1st 1969....Jerry and teammate Bobby Murcer were both tabbed as the rays of hope for the franchise....both brought youth and promise and were fresh from coming off a military hiatus in 1968....As is well known Murcer wound up Mantle’s eventual CF replacement but initially he was inserted at 3rdbase... Jerry was the first real heir apparent to the Mantle's NY Centerfield....On May 13th Kenny deployed at 3rd and Murcer to the outfield mostly right...stayed that way for the rest of the season....Kenny’s rookie season was highlighted good speed and a .256 BA....liability: light hitting....a poor 1970 season demonstrated Jerry not even the the answer to the 1967 vacancy left by Clete Boyer....1971 nevertheless retained Yankee employment platooning 3rd base spot with Danny Cater....rebounded with a .262 average....1972; lost time as Yankees were trying new avenues at 3rd....relegated mostly to SS....trade to Cleveland for 1973 resulted in a handful of plate appearences and his outright release one month into the season....returned to Yankee minor league system....never made a return call to the majors....stopped playing baseball 1978....hometown Beloit Wisconsin.
Friday, November 23, 2018
1st year Expo backstop....Of Italian heritage from the San Francisco bay area.... defensive specialist, whose value was more invested by intangibles such his handling of pitcher, clubhouse leadership, and strong team ethic rather batting box herorics....came up in Cubs organization...could put up strong minor league power numbers and show promise with some late season call ups but by in large could not gain significant playing time in Chicagoland....did get brief shot to replace Ernie Banks at 1st base but languished at .228 BA in 1966....left in minor league limbo until taken very late in the expansion draft by Expos....played sparingly in Montreal but stayed with the big club 1969....hit .105 (combined with his previous year with the Cubs went 10 for 100 at bats)....was able to raise BA to .269 in 1970 a personal best....next three Expo accumulates more playing time but BA lands in a lackluster .230 range....still was Expos #1 catcher in 1973 a year they flirted with NL East crown reaching personal heights in home runs (7) and RBIs (46) ....with the promising Barry Foote and Gary Carter in the wings Boccabella is traded to hometown San Francisco for 1974....ware and tear of catching seems to have caught with him and hit a meager .135....release after the season.....was known more unique last name and Expo PA Announcer’s extended pronunciation than baseball talents.... clean living chap.
Monday, November 19, 2018
At his prime, a very formidable pitcher....most known for being one of the first free agents but it was more of a detriment to his long term hopes....it was not the big pay day other would reap a year later...although born a product of Orange County California the eventual local of his glory days of his MLB employment....After high school took his glowing reviews up the Pacific Coast Highway to U of Cal Berkley....From there made a return ride to So Cal being the 1966 1st round draftee by the California Angels....a short time in the minors MLB debuted 1968....from the git go in mid season; effective...2.21 ERA and 4 win in a varied role....1969 quadruped win total establishing himself as ace starter....faltered with 11 wins 1970 but ERA was only up by half run a game....strong comeback with a 20 win season 1971, seemingly undistracted by a toxic Angel's clubhouse environment that year....1972 follow up was derailed by injuries 8-11 record although once again ERA a positive 2.81....never the less traded cross town to Dodgers....swap earns dividends with 14 win 1973....reprises 20 game winner status in 1974...voted #2 in NL Cy Young second only to teammate Mike Marshall bullpen dominance...wins 19 in 1975 in more dominant performance when compared to the year prior....ranked 5th in Cy Young voting....then the free agent that left Andy more legal cannon fodder than anything else....While fighting the reserve clause, did not get the money intended....only a few teams made offers that fell short of expectation (sounds suspiciously like the first case owner collusion)....the Braves contract: 1 million over 3 years was about twice the Dodgers long standing offer...missing out on spring training, Messersmith toiled to a 11-11 record ….wore the word Channel 17 on jersey in reference to Braves owner Ted Turner TBS cable TV station...things headed downhill quickly...over next three years played for Braves, Yankees and a return trip to Dodgers (who apparently held no hard feelings about Andy’s previous exit).... only won 7 games over in that time due to injuries....out of baseball by 1978 for the free agent pioneer.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Long time farm hand who was able to secure two full seasons in the bigs....Odd career close to the majors....Played college at UCLA....as a 19 year old, first game in professional ball the first game for the second year Houston Colt .45s April 9 1963....struggled to stay above .200 but hit what would be his lone MLB home run....sent down to AA San Antonio and by in large stayed at AA level until 1970...in the Cubs chain, was able to reach AAA Tacoma...earned a full season with the Cubs in 1971...worked as their #1 CF appearing in just over half the time in committee scenario....hit .256 with no power....a trade to Brewers brought him into a glut of outfielder....taking the 6th spot did account for himself with .312 BA in 154 at bats....plate numbers weren’t enough to hold a job...too bad could have responded well to new DH rule....still played in minors twice changing teams in “unknown” transaction....oddly enough finished career in 1975 at AA San Antonio, his first minor league assignment 13 years earlier....MLB stats 543 at bats....a .260 BA one lone home run.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Jerry Bell, Darrell Porter, Bob Reynolds Trio of mixed results the most notable was Darryl Porter....all played up to the 1975 season....Bob Reynolds...a bit of a rambler...having been an Expo expansion pick and taking the field in one game during the inaugural year....then traveling to St Louis (traded for Mike Torres, a great deal for the Spo’s) in 1970....next season continues nomadic existence splitting time between Milwaukee, Cardinals, and both their respective AAA clubs....Reynolds never plays again in Brewtown and is traded to Baltimore just before the dawn of the 1972 year....Mostly in minors but set a place for himself in Oriole Bullpen 1973....put together two solid efforts....ERAs of 1.95 and 2.73 in successive years...roughed up in 1975....continued his rolling stone way by toiling for three teams with a composite 5.19 ERA...stayed in minor league baseball off and on through 1979 season....Jerry Bell was exclusive property of Brewers....drew favorable notices with a 5-1 W-L record after being called up by the Brew Crew in 1972...took a spot in the starting rotation 1973 going 9-9....1974 started nice with a win and 2.57 ERA in 5 games....last appearance on the mound in May signifies arm trouble.....Darrell Porter...was youngest player in AL 1971..... makes his mark in 1973....a .254 mark with 16 home runs finishing 3rd in ROY....turned out that subsequent Brewer campaigns fell somewhat short of this standard...jettisoned after hitting .208 in 1976....acquired by KC representing a return to his home state....rejuvenated...in 4 years, 3 named to 3 all star games and garnered some MVP consideration...had career best season 1979 putting up 20 HR, 112 RBI and .291 numbers...a sizeable decline in 1980 with a stint in rehab and Porter took to free agency....much notoriety but his Cardinal numbers were not that different from his Brewer days...what was significant was MVP awards in NLCS and WS circa 1982....his WS .286 was solid but Milwaukee’s Robin Yount’s .412 may been more deserving....winner goes the spoils....Made him a celeb of sort and disclosed years of substance abuse in a 1984 book....playing time dwindled after 1984....released by the Cards prior to 1985....signed by Texas for part time work some catching some DH-ing....put a decent OPS of .890 in 1986...returned to free agency and signed again by Rangers...finish in 1987....despite his public disclosure of substance abuse was found dead in 2002, cocaine in blood stream....tragic and the mysterious scenario is not full known to this day.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Storied bullpen specialist....colorful and extroverted....longtime employed by both Mets and Phillies each for nearly the same length of time with very similar stats....debut for NYM in 1965... as a swingman had a decent 3.32 ERA but little to show for it, winning two and losing seven....had difficulties thereafter going to minors for ½ of 1966, most of 1967, all of 1968....reinvented himself as an effective and exclusive closer 1969....a role rarely relinquished until the tail end of his career....1969 post season was one game, but was able to hold off the Braves for 3 innings in the NLCS....As a Met racked up 86 saves sometimes sharing duties with others....an off year in 1974 soured Mets brass on him...Made a second home with the Phillies in 1975....pivotal year was 1980....not only had a strong comeback but was the emotional leader for franchise’s first WS win....known for pounding his glove on his thigh....became the spokesman for 7up....1983-4 relinquished closer role for spot work resulting in no saves...after playing gained notoriety as the father of Country Music Star Tim McGraw....a soap operatic story with twists Tim was born out of wedlock when McGraw was in the minor during 1967....minimal contact was made father and son while Tug played, but eventually Tug help support his budding career...Tim in turn, was the emotional and financial foundation as Tug fought brain cancer....Sadly Tug succumbed to his condition in 2006.
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Rookie at the tender age of 21....took over and dominated the Giant's shortstop role in 1971....the promise of a better bat Chris bounced the light hitting Hal Lanier to the bench....his .235 average was a bit low to be a total revelation but 44 RBIs was a positive upgrade....subsequent upped his game in the next two years with a bigger bat....made cover of Sports Illustrated 1973....future looked good but plateau-ed out for the Giant starting 1974.....bat went cold in 1976 and with no warm front was traded to Montreal early 1977....his Expo years showed an ebb and flow...oscillating from .260’s to .220’s....reduced role in 1983 spelled the start of reserve role....split between three teams 1985....last five years comprised of two years with the Cubs and three back with the Giants....interesting note broke into the bigs with only year of AA ball 1970....did not play in the minors again until 1989 when played for the Giant's AAA club in Phoenix....three time all star over 19 seasons.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Well traveled long career in baseball....245 home runs over 16 years....drawback it was a highly uneven distribution....Johnson starts out as a highly regarded Yankee prospect, compared as a new Mickey Mantle (as many were)....Nevertheless, Yanks sent Deron to KC A’s via their well beaten trade route in the 50’s....could not hit for KC despite more playing time....after a year of minor league ball in his hometown of San Diego, resurfaced with the AAA Padres parent club; Cincinnati Reds....Made immediate impact with good power and.273 BA in 1964....his 1965 follow up improves by 15 BA points, along with his league best 130 RBIs....output immediately starts to decline...with his BA dipping 30 points in two successive seasons....1968 shipped to Atlanta where his .208 BA was unsatisfactory....surprisingly wasn't put up in the expansion draft but another low point sold to Phillies for straight cash deal 1969.....great investment, strung together 3 solid seasons with a personal best 34 homers in 1971....1972 power and his BA went into freefall....following year took advantage of the new DH rule in the AL putting up fair numbers in 1973 (A’s) and 1975 (White and Red Sox)....passed away in 1992....Jimindowningtown I got a feeling you are chime in.
Friday, October 26, 2018
The Man of 1971....the lefthander was the talk of baseball not seen until the arrival of Mark Fydrich five years later...Born in Louisiana, drafted by the KC A’s in 1967....a raw talent....late season debut in 1969....showed tools but not knowledge...another year of seasoning and Vida gets a second call up....makes the most it by no hitting AL champion Minnesota Twins....Blue serves notice he will be a force to be reckoned with in the future....takes AL Cy Young and MVP honors based on 24 wins and ERA of 1.82....youngest to win an all star game....Sought a pay raise for 1972...Owner Charley Finley balked at the notion beginning a standoff....Blue agrees to terms in early May and doesn’t start until the end of the month....out of synch but his athletic side ekes out a 2.80 ERA and mundane 6-10 record....An alienating move to all....returned to approximate form 1973 winning 20....after a solid 17 wins in 1974, upswings to 22 wins 1975....best effort since 1971....the intended dismantlement of A’s in 1976, had Blue sold off to the Yankees midseason....deal was nixed by the commissioner....the whole affair cost starts.... Blue continued to serve sentence in Oakland for 1977 one of the few holdovers from a gutted team....takes the win in 14 games and league leading 19 losses.... History repeats itself in lesser known is Blue’s nixed trade to Cincinnati in the off season....fooled the 1978 edition of The Complete Handbook of Baseball... Vida finally gets his long sought walking papers via trade across the bay to San Francisco....responds with strong 18 win campaign....1979-80 wins 14 games each with vastly different ERA’s....Blue’s 1981 is highlighted by his second all star game win the only person to do so for different leagues overshadowing a 8-6 record in strike shortened year.....1982 Blue lands in KC, which eventually uncovered a darker side....on the field started well initially then faded badly with 0-5 record 1983....was arrested, did jail time, and suspended on drug charges for all of 1984...signed on with Giants was able to make a respectable showing 18-18 over two years...career and problems were similar to Dock Ellis....would be a candidate for hall of fame if his career had less delays, bumps, and drama....some not of his making.
Monday, October 22, 2018
First significant taste of MLB ball circa 1971....big things coming ahead....took over an aged Clete Boyer as the Braves 3rd sacker....interesting back story; selected in 5 different drafts from 1965 on....settled with KC A’s....then taken by Braves in Rule 5 draft....A good move...Mainstay for Atlanta’s hot corner for 5 seasons.... Evans’ trademark was power; hitting 41 balls over the fence in 1973....one third of a 40 home run trio in company with Henry Aaron and surprisingly Davey Johnson....Lesser known was Evan's ability to get walks enhancing his career BA of as .248....Evans currently is 12th on the all time walks list surrounded by many HOFers....A poor start in 1976 prompted a swap to the Giants, a mistake by Atlanta....Evans had problems becoming untracked that but nevertheless the Giants stay with him and he becomes a steady presence for seven campaigns...Evans took the free agent route to Detroit...while the team blossomed to WS championship in 1984, Evans had a bit of an off year....Evans rebounds strongly in 1985 by leading the majors in home runs with 40...the time only Evans lead a circut....stayed in Detroit thru 1988....started to show age with .208 BA....returned to Braves in his last go round with free agency for 1989....hit .207 with 11 home runs in his last year....accumulated 414 home runs over his 21 years....worked hard to be a good fielder and became respectable.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Work horse in the hazing years of the Padres....a profile of youth, much like his team...dutifully took to the mound with low probability of a victory....rookie year 1969 went 7-20; brutal but much worse pitchers do not get to stay for 27 decisions....took claim to 10 games of 26 in 1970....that year one game stands out in Padres lore, Kirby was pitching a no hitter into the 8th inning, with Friars down 1 nil, Manager Preston Gomez takes Kirby out in favor of a pinch hitter...no clutch hit and relief corps gave up hits and Padres to this day do not have a no hit game....Kirby came close on a couple of more occasion....1971 was Kirby’s best doing the formidable, a winning record with 15 wins and above .500 win/loss on a 100 loss club....continued to wallow in SD futility two more years....1974: Hope for bigger and better thing came in the form of a trade to Cincinnati, a top tier team....Kirby produces two winning records 12-9 and 10-8, but his contribution was gradually put aside to the point he was passed over in 1975 World Series....jettisoned to Montreal for 1976....a bout of pneumonia early in the season resulted in an utter disaster of a 1-8 record....released eventually did brief comeback attempts which fizzled out....sadly died of a heart attack at the young age of 43.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Seasoned 60’s backstop at the tail end of his career....held his own for LA but the acquisition of Duke Sims to share the job was the writing on the wall....Haller was subsequently traded to Tigers where he was slated to be second string to Bill Freehan....for a while at least until Duke Sims trailed him to Detroit relegating Haller to 3rd string....A decade earlier, Haller made a quick rise into the Giant’s catcher vacany....steady performance from 1962 to 1967 for The City....average 18 home runs to compliment a .248 BA....made the all star team his last two year in San Francisco.....more surprising was dealt to the rival Dodgers a first since the clubs moved to the west coast....new ballpark, Haller’s power numbers dropped but his BA rose by 28 points....Was the Dodger’s best hitter in 1968 with 55 points over the team batting average....drove in 53 of the team paltry 470 runs....brother was an umpire....student of baseball knowledgeable, strong defensive skills, efficient game calling....was intended to join Phillies for 1973....did not play and was released at early 1974.....after 5 years absence returned to baseball in various front office posts....Contracted West Nile Virus in 2004, passed away from the disease after a 3 month battle.