Monday, February 28, 2022

#65 Cesar Cedeno

Exciting pure potential on the rise, or what could have been...a five tool player who could do it all  inviting comparisons to being the new Willie Mays of the 1970’s....glove, arm. power wrapped around speed .... Biggest cheerleader was colorful and controversial manager Leo Durocher....from his mid season debut in 1970, each year showed growth and got better than the next.....then winter 1973 a fatal shooting with a female companion in the Dominican Republic....exonerated of charges on the basis she had accidently shot herself but Cedeno’s legacy was forever tainted.....Although Cedeno’s made the all star team, set personal high marks for home runs and RBI, and captured his third of five consecutive glove gloves, in 1974 his BA descended 50 points to .269.....subsequent years rolled by Cedeno resurrects his BA to near .300 level....but power and eventually speed both elude him and assign him the  journeyman tag....traded to Reds (best record in 1981) just to find the team in free fall.....solid numbers but lost playing time leading one to believe Astros may have got a better deal in the acquisition of Ray Knight....while age took its toll, briefly found lost youth as a late year pick up by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985 with OPS 1.20+....did poorly in playoff however demonstrating his capacity as a veteran force was fleeting....wrapped up playing as Dodger in 1986....dabbled in Mexican League, the ill fated senior league baseball....found more steady coaching in the low minors....under the radar.....remained a “star” with sheer talent but but never added the prefix “Super”.  


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

#66 Ray Corbin

One team player....body of work shows a bi-passing of AAA....was able win 16 games between A and AA ball in 1969.... plus a AA tally of 11 in 1970....called up but thrown to the wolves as the Twin’s relief pitching imploded  in 1971.....remained for 5 seasons in a Twins uniform.... enduring a downswing from contenders to years of mediocracy....never fully established in one role; fluctuating starter, fireman, and middle relief roles....averaged just over 12.67 starts and 12.33 games finished a year.....closest to a member of the starter rotation was 1972 with 19 starts and resulted in his best and most prolific season.....Crossed over in 1973 into the bullpen, leading the team in saves after Ken Sanders flopped and mid season call up Bill Campbell was not ready to be the prime closer.....Campbell takes over in September 1974 and does not relinquish....Corbin’s production suffered and was relegated to mop up work and outright release.      


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

#67 Red Schoendienst

Manager le Cardinals....Helmed a winner in 1967 and the runner up in 1968....A St Louis fixture born 25 miles east of Sportsman’s Park/Busch Stadium.....was signed during WW2 and received early discharge from military service due to injuries that could have ended his playing career....a solid star for post war Red Birds beginning 1945.... Baseball journey also took him to the Polo Grounds (NYG) and Milwaukee in the span of 19 years.....then another short stint back under the Gateway Arch to career cap and start apprenticing to become a Cardinal company man.... Took to coaching in 1963 staying in the Gateway to the West....reverted to playing status the same year allowed Red to garner a handful of last at bats.....took over the skipper job for Johnny Keane in a very unusual way....Johnny bolted for the NYY after defeating said Yankees in 1964 WS....Keane defected when it appeared that Leo Durocher was heir to be St Louis skipper (so much for job security even after taking the crown).....Leo  “the lip” hire never materialized opening the road for Red.....Schoendienst stayed 12 campaigns although his post World Series tenure was uneven....Let go after 1976.....Resurfaced in Oakland for 1977 as a coach.....was offered the top spot but declined due to Charlie Finley’s frequent intrusions....Returned to the Gateway city in 1979, to mentor hitting for skipper Ken Boyer.....Red’s employment continued despite Boyer’s pink slip.....Enter Whitey Herzog.....The Red and Whitey team jelled to into returning St Louis NL world championship status in 1982.....NL champs in 1985 and close their relationship Whitey temporarily returned the managerial reigns to Red so that Herzog could scout talent in 1980....Succeeded Whitey in 1990 on an interim basis.....tallied up enough positives to be elected in Baseball’s HOF as a player via Veteran Committee in 1989....Lived to the age of 95. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

#68 Jim York

Short timer anywhere he played, splitting MiBL and the bigs.....Not an expansion pick but a #1 1969 amateur draft....Put in his best and only full MLB season with the 1971 edition of the KC Royals....5 wins, 5 loses, 2.90 ERA 3 saves.... Traded to Houston along with Lance Clemons for John Mayberry....advantage Royals who benefited from Mayberry maturity and power.....Houston got little out of him in 1972 but became a member of a bullpen by committee in 1973....racked up 6 saves tied for the club lead with two load diminished in 1974 and 1975 but was able to lower ERA to more acceptable levels....still remained far down the Astro depth chart...sold to Yankees in anticipation of 1976.....mostly confined to NYY farm system but was able somehow win a game with no loses for the big club for his MLB swan season.....released and picked up by the White Sox in the closing stages of the season....was not able to win a job out of spring training 1977.  

Friday, February 4, 2022

#69 Roger Freed

Definition (cruelly) of a “never was”....or on more positive note: 4A player, too good for minors but couldn't transition into a regular status....Development:  after some time to get untracked, terrorized Baltimore’s farm system opponents....ran up great numbers in Stockton, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Rochester....awarded with the Topps Minor League Player of Year for 1970 with 24 jacks and hitting safely over one out three times......with a solid lineup in place in Oriole-land, was flipped to Phillies for a massive youth movement.... the anticipation being for the same offensive numbers as the minors taking place in the brand new Veteran’s Stadium....Fell far below expectations in 1971 result being only occasional power and a wildly disappointing.227 BA....Continued his struggles and so-so numbers the following year.....Freed is shuffled off to Cleveland for 1973....applied his swing exclusively in AAA ball....thereafter much traveled between several franchises; Reds, Expos, and a stint in Monterrey Mexico....A rule 5 draftee by St. Louis offered Freed what fleeting moments of success he could have had....via pinch hitting....Hit .398 in 83 at bats 1977....his total Cardinal batting average .306....St. Louis going with youth release Freed before 1980....returns to his happy hitting grounds, the upper minor a career capper went yard  20 times between Phillies and Blue Jay AAA teams, giving him a career total of 143 at AAA....coached after playing....passed away young from a heart condition possibly brought on by an Appendicitis in 1996.