Wednesday, November 25, 2020

#135 Vada Pinson

A new Angel...wanted out of Cleveland for a gig on the west coast preferably Oakland or San Francisco but Anaheim would do....a career underrated and overshadowed, mostly and unintentionally by teammate Frank Robinson who happens to come from the same Oakland Cal. high school....So many tools....On the field; Fast, strong armed, good field articulate yet demure, worked as a labor negotiator in off season...Incredibly prolific too; topping 600 at bats nine times in a row, leading the NL circuit twice....A master at garnering 200 hits which he reached four times, twice to lead the NL...Signed by the Reds for 4K made his MLB debut in 1958....a quick start quickly turned to a slumping .191 BA and demotion to AAA... Upon September return Pinson hits .412....A Red to stay after that....Frank and Vada become kings of the Queen city....Hit .343 in 1961 finishing second to Roberto Clemente in hitting....Production declined after Robinson was traded but still a dangerous hitter....Dealt to Cardinals for 1969 in anticipation of an all All-star outfield, but his results were hampered by minor injuries....1970  Trade to Cleveland rejuvenated his career, possibly in part AL pitchers were unfamiliar with him....led the club in most offensive categories in his first year, and led tribe in stolen bases in the following season (which was his 14th as a player) ....Continued to contribute as American Leaguer, logging in another year in Cleveland, two years in Anaheim and KC....finished his baseball days as a MLB coach...passed away 1995 but there is a continuing ground swell of support for Cooperstown.... At different points, he led the NL in runs (1959), hits ('61 and ’63), doubles ('59-60) and triples ('63 and ’67)....Arguments for inclusion are:  He is presently 13th in Reds home runs....3rd in MLB hits and 8th in stolen bases during the 60’s.... #1 in hits of 20th century LH hitters...305 career swipes, over 2700 hits.... Information from obtained from his children who are his most determined HOF supporters. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

#136 Darrel Chaney

Considered more glove than bat, more reserve than everyday player....Light hitting shortstop with little power.... a second round draft choice by the Reds who saw promise in the all sport star in high school....1968 landed at Sparky Anderson’s AA  Asheville farm team....hit an uncharacteristic 23 home runs, which drew the attention of Reds brass....1969 given a chance at short by the departure  of long time incumbent Leo Cardenas....a fail at the plate and for the next three years vying for playing time with veteran Woody Woodard and  then upstart Dave Conception....spent most of 1971 in minors....Conception finally develops into a fully functioning Big Red Machine cog, hence throwing Chaney into a late inning replacement....a 1976 trade to Braves reunites him with his first MLB skipper, Dave Bristol and gives him his only season of regular work....153 games and 492 at bats...personal bests in several batting categories...the second time in 11 years Chaney hits above a .250 clip apparently his optimal best...only to follow by repeatedly hitting at or near his weight the following season(s)....released after the 1979....Being a Red, got in considerable post season action....1972 WS: made things interesting in game 7 by getting on base via hit by pitch in the last of the ninth in game 7. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

#137 Dick Williams

HOF skipper in various locales....known to be a turnaround artist to improve fortunes of floundering franchises.....but in fairness he also took over good franchises to the next level....end result was two WS rings and another two league pennants....characteristics; caustic, hard-nosed, knowledgeable, indifferent to star players and owners alike, sometimes to alienation and limiting his job security....Audacious, willing to go extremes in the effort to win,  just ask Johnny Bench who was handcuffed by Williams' plotting in game 7 of the 1972 WS....On the field:  Journeyman utility player whose most significant playing time came the second division team Kansas City A’s..... A bench player with Dodgers then the Orioles to name a few.... At the 12 year mark as a player, Williams arrives in Boston which represents the end of his playing days but clears the way for his historic role of manager....In 1965 immediately pressed into service as skipper of Toronto Maple Leafs AAA squad succeeding future managerial rival Sparky Anderson...Strong showing in two seasons results in promotion to the parent club in 1967....Bringing with him rookies Reggie Smith Mike Andrews with an already improving squad resulted in immediate dividends...20 win improvement to triumph in a wild AL pennant race and taking the Cardinals to 7 games in the WS....Captured Sporting News MLB manager of the year award....Williams continued to win in Beantown in 1968 and ‘69 but was surpassed by tight competition....undermining his tenure was an eroding relationship with ownership.... departed with a hand full of games in ‘69 season....unemployed, took a coaching job with the 2nd year Expos in 1970....Wanting the limelight again, resurfaced with Oakland A’s and the fickle owner Charlie Finley circa 1971... riding the wave of Vida Blue, Williams improves a talented squad over the top to gain AL west division with 101 wins....A’s fall to O’s in playoffs but the die is set for world championships in 72 and 73....repeating earlier conflicts with ownership parts with Charlie O and the A’s at the pinnacle of their mini-dynasty.....a valued person, he takes on the run producing anemic California Angels mid season....while some progress was made his 341 games resulted in .431 win%..... Next stop a return to Montreal coming off a 107 loss season...Williams repeated a 20 game improvement in 1977 and then another in 1979....advanced the team the Expos past its initial expansionist struggles... Williams moves back to California as he is hired by the San Diego Padres, another franchise with a history of futility....With a mix of youth and veteran talent built up the Friars to a NL West crown in 1984....kept the team’s focus after two lopsided losses to capture the pennant in an improbable comeback against the Chicago Cubs....While they fell short to the Tigers in the WS, Williams once again works magic.....Last stop was taking on Seattle Mariners....skipper for two half seasons and one full one....a marginal improvement but finished with sub .500 win pct.....Managerial totals were 120 wins over losses for a .520 win loss %....HOF induction 2008....Passed away in 2011.