Sunday, May 29, 2022

#45 Glenn Beckert #46 Glenn Beckert In Action

Star 2nd baseman working his trade on Chicago’s north side...part of a very static infield of mainstays Kessinger and Santo for the latter half of the 60’s and a portion of the 70’ tracked from the short season Northwestern League to AAA to be groomed as the heir apparent to spot left by the tragic death of Ken Hubbs.....debuted in 1965 and held to near everyday status.....hit .239 feeling out the new level of competition.... racked up several near .300 seasons and earned recognition in all star games as the Cubby youth movement 1971 Beckert becomes exceptional reaching undiscovered heights hitting a dizzying mark good for 3rd in the circuit....downgrades to a .270 mark the next year but is named to all star team for 4th time....another lackluster season and the Cubs decide to go on a youth movement....traded to San Diego who were in search for experienced veterans.....very limited returns as Beckert hits .266 in 188 at bats in two years hindered by arthritis.... line drive  contact hitter spraying the ball.....only sprayed the ball over the fence 22 times in 5208 at his prime nearly impossible to strike out and had the best SO to AB ratio 5 seasons running....after playing took a non baseball career, getting into futures trading in Chicago....passed away in 2020....About In Action shot.....looks like a on deck swing.

Monday, May 23, 2022

#47 John Ellis #48 John Ellis In Action

Big John....In Cleveland was known as Moose....played with zeal and desire....a happy warrior..... Started in the bigs starting 1970 based on an excellent spring training campaign.....Slated to compete with the legendary Thurmond Munson to backstop vacancy never truly addressed since the departure of Elston Howard ....but Munson's ironman presence as the iconic backstop left Ellis searching for another position....In his career Ellis never really settled in any one position on any team....often split catcher, 1st base, and later the designated hitter titles...  After being acquired by the Tribe for 1973, put together a solid body of work at the plate establishing the pattern of the more he played the better his yield.....injuries set him back starting in 1975 onward as Ellis moved on to Texas.....lost for most of 1976 putting his sparkling .412 start to naught....wasn’t able to reach 300 at bats until 1979 when he was mostly a DH....was able to hang on a part time basis until 1981, his last season....In the mid-1970s, Ellis joined the Spalding Sporting Goods Advisory Staff and .....In 1987 he founded the Connecticut Sports Foundation Against Cancer....passed away April 7, 2022

Monday, May 16, 2022

#49 Willie Mays #50 Willie Mays In Action

What to say?  GOAT and Say Hey.....Maybe the best of best.....So many milestones past on the way to first ballot HOF.....Last name nearly symbolic with the position of Centerfield.....The marquee name carried along as baseball moved to the west coast circa 1958…. The legend spans over 23 seasons....Plucked from the Birmingham Black Barons.... After a storied slow start in 1951 caught fire enough to earn ROY honors in the Giant’s NL Pennant winning drive.... After a hiatus for military service for the most of two years, Mays comes back with a vengeance and become a icon of NY lore along with Mantle and Duke Snyder...... a Centerfielder roamed  large tracks of the  483 feet from home plate to dead center at New York’s Polo Grounds…..used almost every inch of that distance to catch Vic Wertz drive in the 1954 World Series….iconic moment was considered “the greatest catch” of all time….effectively stonewalled the juggernaut Cleveland Indian into swept away mortals….......The patron saint of the five tool players everywhere.....named to all star games 20 straight times although it could be argued that the last two he was grandfathered in....within that space of time 12 consecutive Gold Gloves....and 2 MVP awards with a multitude of runner up positions in the voting..... Rare was an offensive category that Mays did not take top honors (never led the NL in doubles)....Took or tied for the top spot in 23 out of a possible 276 positive offensive categories while playing ….Was considered the frontrunner to take over Babe Ruth’s HR record but home runs became more rare after 1966...didn’t stop the press from pressing the issues  for several years after.... Even though by the 1971 year his superstar days were well gone was able to lead the NL in on base % and walks in 1971...but had trouble catching up to pitches resulting in career high 123 Ks ....much like Harmon Killebrew.....Would have been a one team player but traded to NY Mets in his twilight days of 1972.....did get his first Met HR against the Giants but Mays remaining skills eroded....Did stay another year and had his last at bat in game 3 of the 1973 Fall Classic.....tallied 660 home runs but amazing struck out very little for such as high total.

Monday, May 9, 2022

#51 Harmon Killebrew #52 Harmon Killebrew In Action

A Minnesota icon.....while not originally from Minnesota nevertheless he  fit perfectly into the state's personality of quiet reserve, politeness, and gentlemanly niceness.... was shy too but came out of shell enough to host a pre game show for a local Twin City television station....franchise player stood head and broad shoulders, the power leader based on 8  40+ home run campaigns starting in the late 50’s...only Babe Ruth had more....reached or exceeded that mark 8 times, 6 times leading the AL circuit....terminus accumulated 573 home runs for a ticket to the HOF...his HR total is presently 12th best all time....his at bat to HR ratio is 7th all time (3rd all time if post PED era players are removed).....Know for mammoth clouts causing Future Home Run Champion Hank Aaron to quip "When I hit a home run its in row 2, 3, or 4.  When Harmon hits a home run you need a telescope to find it! home run was the longest ever at Metropolitan Stadium which is currently memorialized by a single stadium chair mounted high on wall at Mall of America......only thing that stopped the Killer was injuries....subpar seasons started in 1972 with his lowest BA as an everyday player....lost for most of 1973 and suffered a steady decline thereafter....released by the Twins and picked up by KC Royals in 1975 alienating faithful Twins fans with age 33 was the 1969 AL MVP with his best career numbers; 49 HR, 149 RBIs, .427 OBP.....Also finished second, third {twice} and fourth in MVP votes....Eleven time all star and mysteriously passed over in 1962 when he led the AL in HRs and runs driven second half of career numbers were augmented by leading his circuit in walks.....Parlayed his TV show  experience into going into the broadcast booth for Twins, A’s, and Angels.....Harmon died of cancer in 2011....Recent player Jim Thome was often compared to Harmon in style of play and personality.... MLB career almost didn’t happen.... Grew up in Idaho off the road from traditional baseball breeding grounds.....only introduced by an appeal of Idaho’s Senator to Washington’s owner Cal Griffith to give him a look....impressed the franchise.....adding to the Killebrew folklore.....never the less needed five cups of coffee starting in 1954 to become a starter.....good thing for the patience paid off....tallied 573 times going yard.   

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

#53 Bud Harrelson #54 Bud Harrelson In Action

Cast a wispy shadow but was highly combative...especially when provoked....just ask Pete Rose....Prior to Harrelson the NYM shortstop position was an assortment of well past prime veterans or undistinguished cast offs....Harrelson started out in development during the Mets sophomore year  mid-1963.....a great glove man, any hitting above .240 was pure profit in his stock and trade....was able to snatch all star honors twice.....a nadir of power, notoriously so, went over 1000 at bats between home runs....went yard 7 times in over 5,500 plate appearances.....resume reads two cups of coffee 1965 and 66, taking over full time in 1967.... won the gold glove in 1971.....reached a career high of 42 runs batted in 1970, his runner up number was 32 the following year....Injuries periodically interrupted performance....called up to stay in 1966 despite only hitting .221 in AAA that declined 1974 and beyond eventually becoming a bit player with Phillies and then Texas.....Hit well in limited actions during his brief stays....With his longstanding relationship with Mets, returned to coach and manage in both minor and then with the parent club 1990-91....Sadly has been diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease a few years ago.