Friday, August 26, 2022

#24 Ted Ford

For a season his power made him a big fish on an underachieving pond....the 1972 Texas Rangers....the power man with 14 shots as long standing franchise leader Frank Howard (aka the Capital Punisher) experienced a meltdown at the plate.... also led the upstart Rangers in doubles.....hit .235 outstretching the team BA of .217 but neither stat is much to cheer about....chances to extend on his career year diminished with the emergence of Jeff Burroughs.....Returned to minors in Spokane and the back Cleveland the organization a few weeks into 1973 but failed to impress in call ups....always incinerated AAA pitching at .320 lifetime clip....his last MLB stint was a repeat of further futility....after another year in AAA resorted to an extensive shift in Mexican League spanning from 1975 to 1982....a strong throwing arm. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

#25 Bill Singer

Tallied 118 victories, highlighted by two 20 win seasons in both the NL and of only 23 hurlers to do so....But overall inconsistent; all other seasons could only max out at 13 wins in a given campaign......attributed to poor run support (1967-68), a bout hepatitis (1970), two hand injuries from HBP (1970, 1972), and finally back issues deeply cut into the tally column.....Groomed with Don Sutton and various others to be the heir apparent to Sandy Koufax....The 1969 season represented a superior effort aided by team who hit twenty five points better than the paltry 1968 season....result the 315.7 innings pitched, 2.38 ERA and ranking in the top 10 of major pitching categories.....victories tumbled in 1970 to 8 (see injuries above) but Singer was effective in games he did pitcher and added a no hitter as to his career highlight.....Next two years found Singer lost two games for every game won.....Traded to Angel was a restart of career without relocation.....Responded with his second 20 win mark......but also ironically a duplication of 4 years earlier, next year was effective but shorten by injuries, followed with a year of double losses to win.....1976 was traded to Texas then midyear to Minnesota but the season was considered a success tallying 13 wins and 10 losses.....but Twins owner Cal Griffin balked at the prospect of extending his contract....Placed on the unprotected list, was selected by the expansion Toronto Blue Jays...Rumor has it that NYY offered the infant Blue Jays Ron Guidry in a straight up trade, should took it......nevertheless was bestowed the honor of being starter on opening day.....result no decision....not much left in the tank going 2-8 with a career high, soaring ERA....Followed a career path in Real Estate after playing.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

#26 Andy Etchebarren

Best unibrow since Wally Moon...a platooning member of the Birds backstop corps first with Larry Haney then Elrod Hendricks for several years.....starting out at one time was the Oriole’s #1 backstop.....pressed into service as a rookie in with the medical retirement of incumbent Dick Brown.....brought many positives to the Birds WS winning 1966 campaign;  exceptional defense,  superior play calling, strong arm....named to the all star team, setting what were to be personal highs in RBI and homers..... alas all this was undercut by his pale .221 BA.....subsequent season set a tone of being an asset on the field over hitting.....was part of some of best fielding teams in history (1969,1973)....following four seasons were intermittent work and a struggle to accomplish a .250 BA (ranging from .213 to .249)......was able to attain a career best .270 in 1971 while still sharing his position....Entered 1972 poised with his strong effort with the opportunity reestablish everyday status with Hendricks out on the DL.....Unfortunately flopped with .202 BA yielding the title of regular to Rookie Johnny Oates.....While he would never have the same chance again Etchebarren was a valued a starting nod over power hitter Earl Williams in both 1973 and 1974 ALCS....Andy responding by going 7 for 20 with a home run.....1975 was a dynamic year with early season stint on the DL then followed Oriole GM Harry Dalton to California Angles in a cash deal...allowing Andy to be closer to his family and give the young team veteran presence....was considered the Halo’s most active backstop for 1976....finishing year in Anaheim of 1977 hit .254....Gathered a few scattered at bats for the Brewers in1978, but seemingly was groomed for eventual various organizational jobs which he held for several years in the 80's.... Post playing career was in and out of baseball....Managed at the MiBL level for the Orioles in 90's.....Passed away in 2019....finished his career with a .235 average, 49 home runs, and 309 RBIs....exclusively a Catcher never played another position.

Monday, August 8, 2022

#27 Bob Johnson

The pitcher not to be confused with the recently retired utility infielder.....Very impressive rookie debut in the KC Royals sophomore year despite a 8-13 win loss record....known as a power pitcher reaching the 200 K plateau good for 3rd in AL.... Another talented member of the Mets organization who were once again an  overwhelming loser in a trade.....Joined Amos Otis in what may still be the franchise’s best trade, a swap for one season bust Joe Foy....strange being a throw in given he led the Texas League in ERA, complete games, and shutouts.....despite 1970 numbers was shipped to the Pirates for 1971....did retain the starter role but he seemed to struggle when he opted for finesse on the mound rather than power.....while reaching a career best of nine wins, strikeouts were cut in half, complete games trimmed down.....a redeeming highlight was an impressive NLCS win besting Juan Marichal....In 1972-73 Johnson’s role becomes increasingly vague and progresses to default middle relieving....Found himself in Cleveland in 1974 only served to continue his obscurity....soon was tucked away in various minor league organization with poor results....A short time with the Atlanta Braves proved his career unsalvageable.....nevertheless a colorful journey in the big leagues full of life lessons and obstacles some not overcome.....Problems with alcohol as a player gave him a sigma and may have played role in failing to find a stable home.....he has long since been sober.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

#28 Twins Rookie Stars Bob Gebhard Steve Brye Hal Haydel

Bob Gebhard   A 31 game career....Insignificant resume on the field....a relief pitcher with a career total of one win, two losses....totals 31 games mostly with his home state team, Minnesota....add a one game two inning appearance for Montreal.....More highly significant in MLB history is his role of general manager of the 1st year Colorado Rockies in 1993.....imported talent more much more accessible by free agency....made playoff in 1995.....length of service in the Rocky Mountains terminated in 1999....continues to work in front office capacity for Cardinals and Diamondbacks.....also worked his way up through the Expos and Twins organizations....recently announced retirement from baseball. 

Steve Brye....California born not to be confused with teammate Steve Braun.....came with a decent line bat and strong minor league vita....was able to hold a spot on the 1974 Minnesota Twins rising above his sub platoon status....batted a career best .284....follow up performance did not materialize....returned for two more Twinkie campaigns as a subsitute.....last inning as a Twin was cemented in controversy.....on 10/3/76 was accused of a lackadaisical outfield play allowing Royal George Brett an inside the park homer giving him the AL hitting title....Brye is sold to Milwaukee where his role and output remain the same during 1977....BA a bit under .250 with the drawback of his OBP and power being substandard.....released and is signed by the Pirates where he is relegated to pinch hitter....took a demotion to AAA Hawaii in 1979 where his numbers matched his diminishing production.

Hal Haydel  First game was his greatest game....A late season start in 1970, pitched 5 innings, gave up 2 runs, and added a home run to his cause to take the contest 8-3 vs. White Sox....the homer was especially surprising in that Haydel only hit .115 in minors that year....added another unexpected win on 9/30 when he was asked to mop in the 9th with Twins trailing 4-2.....Twinkies racked up 4 runs in bottom of ninth.....on paper would look promising but Haydel carried a long minor league resume and his debut was at age 28.....did return to the cup of coffee club in 1971....took W’s out of four of six decisions.....but ERA rose considerably.....not invited back after a meltdown in AAA during 1972....died in 2018 in same town of his birth Houma, LA