Sunday, July 25, 2021

#101 Astro Rookie Stars

A mixed bag of careers....starting with Bill Greif… this time already gone from the Astros…..and exiled to San Diego….no run support, plus a losing mentality but there was plenty of work to be had…..1972 was a difficult year, 5-16 and ERA at 5.60….the Friars meekly armed with .227 team BA most likely were not going to bail Bill out....Bill toiled in Padre Brown and Yellow....showed inconsistent signs of improvement....1973 Greif lowered his ERA by 2 runs a game and doubled his win backing lost one more game from year prior...took step back with 4.66 ERA in 1974 losing a career high 19 games....a new tact for the rest of career reassigned to bullpen....mixed results....out of the majors after 1976 season and out of baseball after 1978....known as the "Texas Tiger" from an early career on the field eccentric given his interest in psychic phenomena  and hypnosis.  

A Fire-baller  J.R. Richard 1980 was riding a dominant wave....sub 2.0 ERA midseason with 10 wins....seemingly HOF came to an abrupt end by a stroke shortly after appearing in his first all star game...Debut in 1971 was exemplar vs. Giants KO’ing  15....despite the record tying debut Richard is prone to pedestrian numbers in both call ups and minors....sometimes invincible as evidenced by 4 wins in 4 starts, shutting out the competition in 33 innings....Stayed with Astro all year in 1975....a modest winning record but struggled with control....led league in wild pitches and walks....Put game in high gear in 1976 winning 20....proceeded to rack up 18 wins in next three years....supremacy in any given year was measured by averaging over one strikeout per inning....he was improving each year toping the circuit in ERA and strikeouts in 1979....Did try to come back in the minor but such efforts were futile.... One of the tallest pitchers ever standing at 6’8” giving him superior leverage...had a difficulty with being out of baseball but has bounced back to work in baseball’s community relation....had a TV movie made about the abrupt change in his life.

Ray Busse  obscure SS-3rdbaseman....ordinary minor stats point to his best case scenario being destined for a deep reserve.....spare MLB work....traded to Cardinals for 1973 and quickly returned back to the line 2 home runs, nine RBIs, and a .148 BA.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

#102 Lloyd Allen

1971 far and away prime season….headed a greatly improved bullpen….one of few bright spots on an underachieving squad distracted by team discord....High spot of career....1972 was a setback and the wheels fall off in 1973....a brutal 0-6 between the Angels and Rangers....9.43 ERA....arm troubles....never to return to form....earlier the wunderkind was fast tracked....youngest player in big leagues in 1969....bounced around minors through the 1979 season even trying a turn in the Mexican League.....was a nationwide high school phenom winning 36 games.   

Sunday, July 11, 2021

#103 Checklist 133-263

Hall of Famers in the series Ted Simmons, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, Rollie Fingers...HOF manager is Dick range of reviews Nov 8 2017 to Dec 6 that time the following have passed away Lou Brock, Richie (Dick) Allen. Grant Jackson, Jay Johnstone, Lee Stanton (from Mets Rookie card) plus Manager Frank Lucchesi

Sunday, July 4, 2021

#104 Toby Harrah

Palindrome last name....Future Ranger fixture that present for the franchises swan song from Washington….valiant effort  to make the DC crowd forget about losing the left side of their infield in the infamous Denny McClain trade...tough trick fresh out of AA ball....was the last Senator to bat although never registered a plate appearance for Tom McGraw was caught stealing while Harrah at the plate, next inning the crowd took over the field while the Yankees were at bat....result forfeit ending a truly bizarre contest....As a Ranger does a rare thing improves his numbers for five straight seasons evolving from a banjo hitter to a power threat....exceptional batting eye accelerating his on base % much in the mold of peer Gene Tenace....a keen batting eye over a pitcher reluctance to surrender a hittable offering....a subpar year of 1978 promoted a traded to Cleveland....regained his plate skills along with being united with fellow “walker” Mike Hargrove....also made for many a long game, sometimes referred as "human rain delays".....continues standard work past 1983....traded to Yankees for 1984....a decided flop in the Bronx....returns to Arlington for a comeback albeit a more limited age 36 hits .270 and garners 113 walks in 521 plate appearances....personal best in walks and good for 2nd in AL...1986 was last year as time caught up....4 time all star but did not play in 1972 due to shoulder injury.....Adaptable in the field, starting at short, middle career at 3rd, and finishing as at 2nd base....Did extensive managing and coaching both at minor and major league level....would be better known if he played in media centers rather than obscurity of cellar dwelling Cleveland or Texas....a practical joker....never spent a moment in a post season but remained a romantic and philosophic about participating in 2155 games.