Wednesday, April 27, 2022

#55 Clyde Wright

In a major surprise was AL comeback player of the year in 1970 with 22 victories....add a no hitter and the season was near perfect.....the back story was Clyde was at the nadir of his career with a W-L of 1-8 in 1969.....offered up on waivers, no other team took interest....enter teammate Jim Fregosi who was going to start his managerial career during Winter ball....Wright took the offer on advisement....worked on a screwball and change up to bolster his pitching arsenal....such high yield could make 1971 and ‘72 somewhat of a letdown but he still a consistent force with an ERA still under three runs a game....His game ground down in 1973 with a sizeable jump in ERA and losing a disproportional number of games; 19 defeats over victories 11......A change of scenery to Milwaukee brought further unraveling going 9-20....An unsuccessful test trial in Texas in 1975 spelled his exit from the big leagues.....Played overseas in Japan until 1978, a tumultuous period intermingled with culture clashes ala Tom Selleck’s movie Mr. Baseball....opposite of Hollywood ending  struggled with alcohol to masking his isolation in the far east...once retired, was able to overcome his addition.....A small college star, the lefty began career out with a straight fastball/curveball assortment....while some success was derived (10 wins in 1968) in his first three years....but never could establish himself in a particular role on the Angels staff.....Like one time teammate Bob Oliver opened an instructional school and had a son who was successful player, Jared who won 68 MLB games....still active in Angel activities.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

#56 Rich Chiles

Mostly a farmhand....Only true employment occurred after being picked up by the Twins as a Rule 5 draft pick for 1977....two seasons exclusively in Minnesota with almost identical results....BA a tad above .260....released by Twins before 1981.....Considered a standard line drive hitter and not much else....weak arm, mediocre speed.....Made a career in the MLB a reach....platoon player at best which came late in his career....Once Chiles put in his 120 at bats in 1971, he only appeared in 22 MLB games over the next five seasons continuing in Houston, then New York Mets, and return ticket to Houston...had a stint in the Padre farm system  falling short of making the club....after his time as a Twin returned to AAA for a couple of seasons.....turned to being a batting coach at the university and minor league level......owns a .254 career BA based on 157 hits, 37 of which were doubles. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

#57 Bob Oliver

Maybe the Royal player with the most impact who was obtained from their expansion draft (note ROY Lou Pinella was acquired from the Seattle Pilots)...passed along Twins and Pirates before finding a home in KC....was able to become a regular outfielder over a cattle call of contenders....set franchise firsts: hit the initial  grand slam and going 6 for 6....1970 moves over to be KC’s primary 1st baseman with the arrival of rookie outfielder Amos Otis and the failure of second year player Mike Fiore....Oliver responds with career year, establishing team high marks with 27 dingers, 99 RBI’s.....Oliver’s play downgrades in 1971, causing the Royals to take a chance of promising slugger John Mayberry....No longer an outfielder was odd man out Oliver and rather than ride the bench he is exchanged to Angels....Oliver returns to prominence on his new team easily leading the way with 70 RBIs and in going yard 19 times despite being tardy in joining the Halos...was an easy going clubhouse presence.....King Olly brought a wind of change from the controversies from the year prior.... improved runs driven in the following year.....started to tail off in 1974 along with some of his Anaheim peers..... from sent packing to Baltimore in late stages as California cleaned house....while the birds were playoff bound Oliver was not used....picked on waiver by NYY for 1975 also resulted little use and an anemic BA ending his MLB days by the all star break....did not directly give up on baseball, put together strong minor league seasons in AAA and then the Mexican League....but in the mid-30s a return to MLB did not materialize....Once Oliver hung up his spikes did some managing and established a baseball teaching academy....Father of Darren Oliver a MLB pitcher who logged in 20 seasons....jostled around third and first and outfield, did best when assigned to one steady position....resided in Sacramento most of his life until passing away in 2020.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

#58 Ernie McAnally

Outfielder turned pitcher....A Met farmhand established in 1966 and a change of position after two stints in the low minors....lackluster hitting the culprit (as is many times the case).....Never a high draft choice, showed enough promise in his first year in the newly found position to be selected by the Expos in 49th round in expansion draft....worked a taxed AAA farm club becoming the team leader in wins (which were few and far between)....earned an opening day roster spot in 1971.....a slow start going 1-7 which included a demotion to AAA....once back was able to turn his venture around and become a minor Montreal sensation with 10-5 finishing record....the steadfast Expo went 19 wins with 37 defeats in next three years.....despite record had an output ERA near 4 runs a game.....The Skip Lockwood of the NL sans Skip's longevity.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

#59 Fred Stanley

The last Seattle Pilot....journeyman infielder....well traveled, landing anywhere he could get playing time....anemic with a bat, but a very good glove assured his employment through the 1982 season.....Career BA of .216....never exceeded 260 at bats in a MBL season...feeble power going over the fence 10 times over 1650 chances .....resume trajectory reads;  developed in Astro system, sold to Pilots for their only season.....tags along briefly to Milwaukee, sold to Cleveland early 1971, traded to Padre early 1972 in a one for one deal....then shipped to the Yankees for an extended stay and career capped in Oakland for two seasons ending 1982....survived eight summers in the Bronx Zoo watching many skippers interchanged....nickname was Chicken....doesn’t quite instill a fear in the opposition....Note:  Topps got very lazy with image....a horrible air brush of a Cleveland cap even though he was an Indian the year prior.....the large butte in background suggests that the image was taken at either one of the two Seattle Pilots training camps.