Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#95 N.L. Strikeout Leaders:

Dateline 1971 and it looked a lot like 1970....Tom Seaver is no surprise continuing to take top K honors for the second straight year....Tom follows up the #2 spot in 1972 taking a knee to Steve Carlton’s career year as the Phillies lone ace...Seaver's 289 K’s were a career best....Seaver would  go on to lead the NL in 1973 and later in 1975 and 1976....Fergie Jenkins was the NL punch out champion in 1969.....it was his second straight year at #2 falling to Tom Terrific....his 1971 total of 263 ranked third in his career.... Jenkins would downgrade to a respectable 5th in 1972.....As a consolation prize, Jenkins did take home the 1971 Cy Young award over his peers.....Stoneman was the surprise bronze medal winner....notorious for being on bad teams; Stoneman was able to place 9th in strikeout in 1972....His figure of 251 in 1971 was a career best.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

#96 A.L. Strikeout Leaders: Mickey Lolich, Vida Blue, Joe Coleman

Who are the usual suspects... Mikey Lolich finished second in strikeouts in 1970 (high point of an otherwise off year) and repeated that position in 1972....second place in K’s was familiar territory for Lolich, having taken a bow to Sudden Sam McDowell in 1965 and 1969 ....Who’s new: Vida Blue....new comer and 1971 is also a career punch out high....encore thwarted due to a sit out in 1972.... Coleman, was an under the radar hard thrower.....Finished 5th in strikeouts wearing a Senator’s uniform  in 1969 ....2 years with later a new club and Coleman's revitalized career....combined with Lolich to account for a little over half of the staff’s 1000Ks....Common ground:  all reached their career best strikeout totals in 1971. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

#97 Tom Kelley

Not to be confused with the Twins' WS winning skipper....whose last name is spelled  Kelly….a two tailed career with 4 year separation between MLB stints....a pitcher in the 60’s with Cleveland....called up based on a domineering 16-3 record in the PCL but once he arrived his work was insignificant and sparse over the course of four seasons....1st half line was 6 wins and 9 losses....after 1966, bounced around the minors hampered in a morass of  injuries and being placed on an inactive list....released by Cleveland and signed by the Braves as a free agent  .....While was still in the bush loop in 1970, Kelley did impress at a short time in AA level....Given a shot in 71, responded by being victorious in 9 games and starting 20.....his ERA of 2.85 was a personal best....stayed with the Braves in 1972 but lost effectiveness as a starter....dropped to bullpen mop up work...returned to minors for most of career which ended in 1977.....Passed away in 2015 

Friday, August 13, 2021

#98 Chuck Tanner

An underrated miracle worker….at age 42 took the worst White Sox team in history to a 23 game upturn in 1971....his accomplice pitching coach Johnny Sain....aided by shrewd trades and internal moves.....came in with a great pedigree being two time minor league manager of the year in AA (1968) and AAA (1970) in the Angels system....From Western Pennsylvania coal country....common ground with his superstar Dick Allen and the two clicked....8 game improvement 1972.....At this time Tanner becomes a known quality and eventually in high demand.....continues with three more years in Chicago’s south side, one year in Oakland (1976), nine years in Pittsburgh (1977-85) and finishing with three seasons in Atlanta (1986-89)....continuous employment over 19 years.....His Pirates stint was a case of mutual attraction....Growing up 40 miles south of Pittsburgh he was a Bucs fan..... So wanted by the Pirates he was traded in exchange for catcher Manny Sanguillén and 100K....An extreme rare instance..... armed with considerable talent was able to pilot the Bucs to several winning seasons and more importantly the 1979 World Series Championship....knock on Tanner was that he looked the other way with club house drug use in the 80’s.....never won 100 games at the big league level....but did reach 101 in a combination 98 PCL wins and a 3-13 record in his 1970 debut with the Chisox.....was a 4th outfielder as a player.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

#99 Ross Grimsley

For sure he was a junkballer and a nibbler of  the corner strike zone.....but also a highly suspected doctorer of the baseball.... pitch speed impressed nobody but won games 121 of them in all....A rookie for the Reds in 1971, a bright spot in a most disappointing year.... Retooled and healthier the Reds resurge to WS....Grimsley chips 14 wins good for second the squad....part of a commune of starters.....won 3 games in post season 2 in the series in a losing effort....One more year in the Queen city and is traded to Baltimore....delivers an excellent 1974 .....stays 3 more years and tests the newly created free agent market....Took to the North as a Montreal Expo raking in $1.1 million ....Sported a career year with 20 wins in 1978, good for second in the NL to another “creative” hurler Gaylord Perry....Only Expo to reach the 20 game mark....lost effectiveness thereafter....ERA ran up by 2 runs a game resulting in only 10 wins in 1979.....even worse in 1980 splitting the year between the Expos and Indians ERA growing by another run a game....Sat out 1981....made a slight comeback with the Orioles in 1982 but was relegated to mostly insignificant mop up work....Turned to coaching after quitting the mound....sported extremely long curly locks paired with pale blue eyes exuded an exotic quality to or the nickname crazy eyes to detractors....might have a ruse to hide foreign substances....He and Gaylord Perry would make for an interesting conversation....a cross between Jared Leto and Mr. Kotter.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

#100 Frank Robinson

HOF career and historic trailblazer….Big powerful and in this writer’s opinion the largest hands I’ve ever seen.....Collector of major awards....ROY, 2X MVP, 2X All Star game MVP, batting crown, WS MVP to name 7 of 10....led respective circuit in OBP, runs, OPS. Slugging, doubles many times over...in addition led in HBP, Sacrifices, and IBB adding to run production....named to 14 all star games...Product of Oakland’s McClymond’s High School a breeding ground for sport stars....By passing higher rungs in the farm ladder, started as a Red out of the gate....instant star....a propellant in a franchise turnabout from also rans to first division competitors...both Robinson and crew hit pay dirt in 1961....Reds took the NL crown, Robinson MVP....King of the Queen city for 10 years....seemingly a great relationship....shockingly traded after 1965 season when Robinson completed his 4th 100+ RBI season and solid body of work....reason he was predicted to be “an old 30” in the upcoming year by the powers that be....Lucky recipient of this “living elder”;  the Baltimore Orioles, an improving squad looking for an added agent of change to ascend past the aging Yankee dominance....Robinson already known for intense play was galvanized for action....to prove the Reds wrong....no better way to do than taking the 1966 AL Triple Crown, leading the birds, slicing away to make short work of the LA Dodgers in the WS....Provides the O’s with strong offence for next 5 years.....a leader in the second resurgence 1969-71....three world series and one win coming aptly against his team of origin the Reds....Despite the impressive run Orioles flipped Frank to Dodgers for young prospects....Orioles missed him in 1972 and age seemed to gain on him in Chavez Ravine...traded to the other So Cal lineup, the Angels....deposited 50 balls over the fence for the most of two campaigns and impressive given he had few peers to assist him....in a minor deal is acquired by Cleveland just before the conclusion of the 1973.....the true motive of the deal was to break a racial barrier by naming Robinson skipper for 1974....Robinson wasn’t done playing however and retains a roster spot....reminds the Cleveland populace he has still have something left in the tank by homering in his first at bat as player manager helping out in opening day win...proceeds for 16 more years as a skipper....mostly with rebuilding teams....San Francisco, Montreal/Washington, and a return to Baltimore....No pennants or playoffs were reached.....Robinson’s greatest achievement was 33 game improvement to the favor of O’s in 1988....has few peers that reached equal levels of success....his trade to the Orioles is considered one the all time steals close to Lou Brock and Nolan Ryan deals....first ballot hall of fame....passed away early 2019.