Saturday, December 29, 2018

#150 Norm Cash

Tiger comeback Kid 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… 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 1971 played as a regular for next two years posted fair hitting figures;  typical for 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.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

#151 Jim Brewer

Sadly died two day after 50th 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 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

#152 Gene Clines

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 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 year in Cubbieland  set personal bests in RBIs and belted three homers in nearly one half of the playing time in raising his hitting by 16 points....played one more full season in Chicago and handful of games in 1980.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

#153 Rick Auerbach

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 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

#154 Ted Simmons

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

#155 Larry Dierker

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

#156 Minnesota Twins

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 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 was able to muster occasional 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 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

#157 Don Gullett

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 ’ 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 a member of the Yankees got a fourth championship 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....currently holds the 11th spot bettering Koufax, Lefty Grove, a multitude of dead ball pitchers, and Babe Ruth....out of 1000s who played this is a high honor.