Sunday, January 31, 2021

#125 Dave Cash

Part of the Pirate youth movement....Location Second Base replacement to the venerable Bill Mazerowski, vanguard of the 60’s ...Starting in 1966, Cash breezed through Pitt’s farm system with solid numbers.....Late season call up in 1969....Midseason call up 1970....Took over 2nd base in 1971 although playing time was slightly restrained by military 1972-73 had a steady role but sometimes took a back seat to the also talented Reggie Sennett....Seemingly accepted a trade to the lowly Phillies....entered a new phase of careers not achieved in Pittsburgh...became a prolific leadoff man leading the NL in at bats in each of this three years there.....Led NL hits one time....Better yet Cash becomes a catalyst for better addition offered excellence in fielding, speed, and on/off field headship....Coined the phase “yes we can” among the Phillie collective...catapulted them from cellar dweller to a full-fledged contender resulting in a playoff berth of his game, took the free agency route to land in Montreal...partially because he felt underappreciated, partially to enhance his coffers in the new found source of income....Reprised his role as an agent of change for the better...continued his everyday durability for two more years, turned valued reserve in his third hitting .321....returned last go round was with Padres who were gambling with a veteran laden squad....a return to regular work at second base but his .227 BA and poor spring training in 1981 spelled the end of his stock and trade in the MLB....dabbled in managing intermittently along with various roving coaching but since gone into full retirement.    

Monday, January 18, 2021

#126 Bart Johnson

Standing 6’5”tall Bart’s pedigree is one of athletic proficiency....Maybe the best athlete on the White Sox roster....Representative of new breed of player....floppy haired, outspoken with the brash declaration to be able to play a position spot when not pitching ...ala Babe Ruth....and/or play professional basketball in the off season....Ala as Dave DeBusschere did a decade earlier on south side of Chicago....had 22 point per game average as a BYU cager, drawing the eye of Seattle Super Sonic coach Bill Russell....Chose baseball where he felt he could excel....Up and down career greatly hampered by injuries....Debut with White Sox at age 19 in 1969....Career went on the upswing with the arrival of pitching Johnny Sain circa 1971....W-L record of 12-10 as both a fifth starter and their top reliever....Considered the hardest Pale Hose thrower at the time, more impressive given his peers were Terry Forrester and “Goose” Gossage....multiple injuries resulted in a disastrous 1972 start going 0-3 with 9.22 ERA... Strangely turned to being a position player after being demoted to the minors....hit very well, a combined BA of .316 for single A Appleton and AA Knoxville (interestingly he did not pitch at AA) which added credence to his personal position player claim ....nevertheless reverted back to the mound in 1973...appeared to have made a partial return to glory with a 10-7 record in 1974....Unfortunately lost out on the entire 1975 season due to a spring training back lost momentum from there on....went 13-21 with an elevated ERA over the next two year....had brief forays in minors for next three years....went into scouting but also tried a comeback in 1985..passed away in April 2020... It’s not a good thing if your nickname is “Toys in the Attic”....Which aside from being an early Aerosmith album the term is a metaphor for insanity...hmmm....interesting baseball journey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

#127 Duffy Dyer

Serviceable substitute catcher for most of his career...MLB start was as a third stringer on 1969 miracle Mets....had an extended MLB career around not only because of the high demand for catchers but his excellent handling of pitchers and defensive skills....closest to being a regular was 1972 as he had to step up for an ailing Jerry Grote....with the #1 spot put up several career highs with his bat.....later stops included the Pirates, Expos, and Tigers....Final MLB line was 30 home runs, 178 RBIs, .221 BA over 14 year span....Like so many backstops went into managing after playing...stops included all levels of the minor league....has a 1-7 MLB managing record as three time fill in Resident in the Phoenix area....In recent years has been spending summers in Kenosha Wisconsin managing a College summer league team....real name is Don Robert Dyer for his nickname Duffy was from an old radio program.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

#128 Eddie Watt

Quietly and unassumingly one of the most consistent relievers in the AL....his prime was buoyed by a second to none starting staff that established a complete game took off a tremendous burden....usual was well rested between appearances....started off for Orioles in their historic WS run of 1966....was a swingman in the rotation 43 games with 14 starts.....9-7 record....set several career highs in rookie year....Despite his contribution no post season work....with complete games being the norm in the WS, he wasn’t needed.....1967 starts a run of exclusive fireman role and stingy ERAs under 2.5 runs a game....A vital part of a mop up crew by committee....his role kept his total saves lower than average....Two campaigns stand out....1969 saved 16 games along a 1.65 ERA both personal bests.....1971 sported a 1.87 ERA despite a mid season injury that may have effectiveness.... with 11 saves accounted for half of the O’s season total....had pinpoint control by walking only 8 batters in his 40 innings....1972 and 1973  surrendered more work to eventual successors like Grant Jackson and Bob Reynolds.... Acquired by the Phillies in a cash only deal 1974....Still led the club in saves but ERA ballooned....Going for youth, released by the Phillies.....scooped up by the Cubs but was relegated mostly to the minors and an unsuccessful 6 game trial in Chicago....In an effort to return to the majors played two years in Padres AAA club in Hawaii...With his prospects diminishing went into a four stint of managing...Once recognized as a good hitting pitcher....hit .302 in rookie season but as his role of a late inning specialist limited plate time....went 1 for 32 from 1968 on.