Thursday, June 30, 2022

#35 Jerry Johnson #36 Jerry Johnson In Action

Journeyman righthander put together his career year in 1971....won 12 lost 9 with a 2.96 ERA.....all appearances were in relief....18 saves represented a sizeable portion of his MLB total.....Accrued two and half years in the bay area 1971 far and away the best....his longest tenure....otherwise a highly mobile bush league barnstormer.... began  in the Mets a third baseman but quickly converted to the mound.....drafted by the Phillies and called up after a highly impressive stint for the AAA San Diego Padres in 1968.... five other stops were journeyman worthy at best including a brief foray with the Cards, then aforementioned Giants, one year stops in Cleveland and Houston, two truncated years in San Diego....not to mention momentary time in the minors and Mexican league sprinkled in between.....finished off his MLB vocation with expansion Toronto Blue Jays....undistinguished work other than he won the franchise’s first game....tried his hand at the Senior Baseball league in 1989....notification of passing received  on 11/16/21

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

#37 Carl Yastrzemski #38 Carl Yastrzemski In Action

Legendry team company man....A Boston institution along with baked beans, Cheers, and Bunker Hill....HOF and career that fully spans 23 the 3000 hit of the most distinctive batting styles of the time arms and bat straight up....stance later modified as time went by to retain bat speed....The heir to the coveted LF position held by Ted Williams...immense shoes to fill at age 21....1961 an immediate replacement without prior MLB call up....decent debut but improved on all categories in 1962...captures his first AL batting crown in his junior year of "63....three more seasons add to Yaz’s career totals but the Red Sox sport a losing record at this point in the 1960's....things were to change with introduction of a young supporting cast started to bloom: AKA Smith, Scott, Conigliaro, Petrocelli, and Lonborg.....Fully supported Yaz steps up his game into the stratosphere sealing his legacy in 1967....a once in a lifetime rarity, the coveted Triple Crown....Red Sox ascent is from 9th to a WS berth....the Cards take the classic in 7 games but Carl accounts for himself with .400 BA and 3 homers.....1967 year ushers in 4 year stint that supercharges him into superstar....Stats declined for all AL players in 1968 band Yaz is no exception but he defends his batting crown being the only AL regular to keep his BA above .300.....The last superstar year 1970 finds Yaz leading in runs and total bases and narrowly edged out a third straight BA crown....1971-72 are considered unremarkable and substandard years possibly....reestablished an improved production levels in 1973....For next eleven years ending in 1983, leadership, stability, and graceful aging ruled the day....overall hit .277 and twice exceeded 100 RBIs.BA zenith was .301 in perennial plant was named to 18 all star games....intimately knew the nooks and dead areas of the Green Monster especially early in his career....parleyed into multiple gold glove award....most impressive was taking the fielding trophy as an outfielder at age 37....about 10th year in moved to 1st base occasionally to save on wear and tear....last game was 10/2/83 went one for three to bring his farewell BA to .266 was same as the first .266....left the field to triumphant run about Fenway's field perimeter was stirringly touching .....Well known as “Yaz” but also sported the nickname “Irish” pinned by Minneapolis Miller manager Gene Mauch because he attended Norte Dane University....Grandson is currently is a SF Giant.      

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

#39 Bob Barton #40 Bob Barton In Action?

Obscure backstop was given his greatest chance to prove himself in 1971....Inside sources stated he was a stopgap until #1 draft pick Mike Ivie was ready.....Product of the University of Kentucky....Started in the SF Giant chain....Marooned at AAA for several year.....once up to the show was mired as third stringer behind Dick Dietz and Jack Hiatt....his move down the California coast to the fledging Padres in 1970 gave him a majority of his MLB playing time....head and shoulder most prolific and substantial season was 1971....hit .250 that year....a pedestrian number but considerably better than the SD team average of .233....starts 1972 with the Friars....traded to Reds on June 11, 1972....understudy to Johnny Bench plus others, Barton put into the ultimate bench riding experience....does not play for the rest of the year....keeps a roster spot in 1973 but only has three games, two at bats of on field activity as a Redleg once he is released on 6/18/73....sits out the rest of the year but is able to resurface with Padres for 1974....stays for the year, sneaking 88 at bats hitting .173....released after the season.....died in 2018....A slight build facially resembling a cross between actors Dick York and John Cazale.  

About the in action:  Bob is a strange selection for the In Action shot card...the image is even stranger....Bob watching a long gone foul ball along stadium security officer?....location most likely Candelstick Park....doesn’t exactly draw ooohs and aaawws in the excitement department.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

#41 Tommy Davis #42 Tommy Davis In Action

Always a good bat, sometimes great....A trailblazer in the new innovation of the Designated Hitter rule....Davis' story begins long before the 1973 AL innovation....a single at bat in a Dodger uniform establishes Davis’ debut in the 1950’s after being PCL batting champ 1959....Was able to share either Center or Right Field in 1960....replaced an aging Duke Snider or an injured Don Demeter.....Gains playing time in 1961 setting him for his career year of 1962....the normally offensively Dodgers challenged are led by Davis’ NL leading in runs (230), BA (.347), and RBI (153)....highest RBI total in NL for 47 year period....a personal high of 27 homers may have led critics to perceive him as a power hitter....decent follow up in 1963 whereas he successfully defended the NL batting gained his only WS ring....descended along with his  team in season long funk in 1964 as Dodgers faltered in their WS encore to fall below .500....Injured most of 1965 left his career in question....While his BA resurrected to .313 in 1966 his play is held back, take second fiddle to his understudy and late career hero Lou Johnson....Traded to Mets, which begins a 4 year period of team musical chairs....a bizarre era aka a rolling stone traveling to the White Sox, then Seattle Pilots, Astros, A’s, Cubs...paradoxically he was at or near the top player on each squad....added insult released by the Cubs....rumors has it was an orchestrated to allow a 1971 return to the A’s....that year brought an excellent albeit part time .342 BA and season long residential stability....true to Charles Finley form, was released prior to 1972 season (see Mudcat Grant).... sits out half the year....signed by Cubs essentially a pinch hitter then flipped to Orioles who were desperate for a hot bat after the normally reliable and their normally solid batting corps went limp....After season Davis is at an impasse, he is highly limited in the field and looks to be an exclusive pinch hitter....enter the new provision deus ex machina the DH.....allows Davis to return to batting numbers accustomed a decade earlier....extends full time status by three years....Considered the best DH in 1974.....going with new blood for 1976 Orioles release him....but is able to spend that last season with the Angels and Royals....Known to be cool, calm, and sometimes aloof but delivered under line is a formidable .294 batting average based on 2,121 hits....probably should have been MVP in 1962 over teammate Maury Wills.....died on April 3, 2022  

Friday, June 3, 2022

#43 Rick Wise #44 Rick Wise In Action

Good pitcher with extra positives.....effective starter, good hitter, and fielder.....But labeled the lesser in a trade with St Louis in a direct swap for Steve Carlton prior to 1972....Performed par or better work for the Cards but Steve turns in a historic season in 1972 and eventually is ushered on to the HOF...but again was engaged in contract negotiations and was the Phillie player representative....a perfect storm to be trade bait....Wise was raised in the Phillies system and was one of the few prospects to make a significant mark with the Big Club at the time.....wunderkind MLB debut at 18, his first win was in a finale of doubleheader coming on the heels of Jim Bunning’s perfect game in 1964.....around 1967 gradually tallied up innings and wins in alternating years, gaining ground as the Phillies staff ace....220 innings were turned into 15 wins in 1969....improved to 17-14 in 1971 over 272 innings....season’s zenith was a no hitter in which he hit two home runs vs Reds, only player to do that ....Wise repeated the twin home run effort on 8/27/71 also the only pitcher to do so....A feat that Ohtani has yet to achieve....1974 St. Louis flips Wise to injury shatters his first AL season but returns like a Phoenix in 1975 with a career high 19 wins....a major contributor to a capture of the AL East crown....Winner of game 3 in ALCS.....rocked in a game 3 loss but bounced back with a 12th inning relief win in the historic game 6.....Wise stays in Beantown for two more years with solid years but rouge hose are eclipsed by the NY Yankees ...took flight to the second division Cleveland Indians in 1978....leads the league in losses but lowers his ERA from year prior.....bounces back for his last significant season in 1979, taking 15 favorable decisions for the Erie Warriors at age 33.....buoyed by sudden youth takes flight via free agency.....results were highly diminished managing 10 win and 16 losses over mostly two seasons...1982 only pitched in one game for 2 innings....kept getting a paycheck through 1984....Long time coach after playing....Started and won for the NL 1973 All star game....grand totals were 188 victories over 455 starts....sometimes wore glasses.