Sunday, September 25, 2022

#19 Billy Cowan

The angelic Angel....Career is far more noted for this iconic card pictue utilizing the halo of the scoreboard than any field endeavor....Career overview: 5th or 6th outfielder at best..... a resume of eight seasons, but only one as a starter....Came up Cubs system, had a monster 1963 for PCL Salt Lake City and a decent fall call up propelled hopes to be a Wrigley Field fixture for 1964 his shot falling just short of 500 at-bats and hit 19 home runs....however BA was a pedestrian .241.... Being second in the NL in strikeouts that big year probably didn’t help things much......and even worse was his 18 walks showed no proficiency in getting on base or plate patience.... It was the only year he got more than 200 at-bats....As the Cubbies go in another direction Cowan experiences a quick succession of trades Mets, Milwaukee Braves, Cubs (again), Phillies.....stays in majors during 1965 riding the Mets and Braves benches.....quickly dispatched to the minors of two later organizations....a strong effort in AAA for during 1968 increased his stock and trade to point Cowan was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Yankees....after a few pinstripe at bats swiftly flipped to his final MLB destination:  Anaheim, where his two seasons were passable and helped to enhance his final line of 40 homers, 125 RBIs, and .231 BA....was the Halos player representative which has been linked to an early career exit (common for the time).....1972 gave him only three pinch hitting at bats with a release in early May....Played every position in the big leagues other than pitcher...personal highlight did get kissed once by Morgana. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

#20 Don Wilson

Successful Astro hurler but also one of baseball’s most mysterious and tragic stories....When he played was consistent at keeping his ERA low and provided some run support an Astro win.....Breezed through the minors starting in 1965 with a strong fastball with movement....realized a full spot in the Astro rotation 1967 and responded with 10 wins and an ERA under 2.80.....added an exclamation to his year with a no hitter against the Braves....1968 brought increased work and decisions albeit yielding a losing record....Don stepped up his win total in 1969 to 16, fortunate for the Stros who jettisoned their two top starters from 1968....Wilson also notched his second no hitter coming a day after Red Jim Mahoney no-no-ed the Astros.....While 1970 was underwhelming at 10 triumphs, 1971 turned in his career year complete bronze medal in NL ERA and 16 conquests.....strong follow up season in two years wins were shaved by non supportive Astro bats but his bottom line was still strong.... 6 out of 8 full seasons pitched over 200 innings..... but reached double digits wins for 8 years....all this time was positive and looked forward to the future....was working on adding the breaking ball to his pitching arsenal...In one of his last starts 9/4 going 8 innings without giving up a hit....taken out in the 9th because Astro were trailing 2-1 on an error that surrender two runs.....unexpectedly passed away on Jan 5th, 1975 at his home as result of carbon monoxide poisoning......who knows what the second half of his career could have produced..... Wilson’s demise is a complex and contradictory assortment of stories that is too complex for the boundaries of this was ruled accidental and not a suicide.....For more information and opinions....  

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

#21 Atlanta Braves

Three city National League franchise established 1876 in Boston....Then a little more than a decade time in Milwaukee....then settling into Atlanta circa 1966....2021 gave a second World Championship to the big Peach..... singular crowns were captured during the Boston and Milwaukee residencies during 1914 and 1957 seasons respectively under the standard AL vs NL format....As an overview; an up and down franchise since inception.....The 19th century the Braves were on a high ebb....with the first half of the 20th century was by in large not successful (save for 1914 WS win).....the Boston years were lean and unstable  Boston fan base turned to the crosstown AL rival while losing campaigns mounted..... nadir was a horrendous 38-115 record in 1935, an embarrassment, which included a rapidly declining Babe Ruth....While some improvement took place over time (1948 WS berth).....but in 1952 the move west took place surrendering Bean town to the Red Sox......Destination upon Milwaukee site of the franchise’s top minor league team....One in Brewtown the team became a model of consistency and took one WS, fell a game short in 1958.....from 1953-1965 Braves never finished below .500 buoyed on the broad shoulders of three of the Braves’ greatest HOFers, Hank Aaron, Eddy Matthews, and Warren Spahn....The lure of being the first team of the south (and its growing TV market) proved too much for Southeast Wisconsin.....once the franchise’s top AAA locale proved to be its next destination.... Move to Atlanta was uneven at best for the first 25 years.....a couple of NLCS appearances....that all changed in a 30 year time span from 1991 to 2021 which has resulted 21 post season appearance which include 2 of the team’s 4 world championships....the vanguard of new prosperity are the arms of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Greg Maddaux, and the bats of Chipper and Andruw Jones (no relation).....more recently Freddie Freeman has helmed team success.....A variety of team nicknames where tried to instill interest but Braves was the preferred choice....Interesting to note nearing 22,000 Braves games have been played and currently they are just under 100 games above a .500 record which was passed into the black on 8/11/2018....enterprise going under 5 different nicknames as the franchise was well under .500.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

#22 Rob Gardner

A hard luck story of extended existence in and out of minors and majors.....1972 far and away his best MLB endeavor.....while initially signed by the Twins Gardner climbed up the Mets organization during the team’s early years.... only spent one full season in the majors 1966.....output was 4 wins 8 losses 5.12 ERA  including 17 starts amidst a total of 41 games..... Greatest highlight going toe to toe with Chris Short each going for 15 shutout innings in game that was declared an 18 tie....Gardner expected to be in future plans but no return materialized, subsequently bouncing along multiple only short promotions to Cubs and Indians despite the increased demand for players with expansion....was able to turn heads of franchises off a 16 win season in AAA Syracuse in 1970....earned a short stint up that expectation of a steady roster spot were dashed by a ping pong trades between Oakland and NYY.....A’s were already flush with pitching and was used sparingly then returned to NYY organization (landing in Syracuse again) and a call up for the conclusion of 1971....overcame his 4th straight minor assignment gave a yeoman-like yet abbreviated turn of work for the Yankees as they found themselves in a four way AL East pennant a starter had a 2.24 ERA stacking eight wins vs four defeats.....Once intensions quickly turned and history repeats and traded prior to 1973 to the A’s who not only sport the strongest staff in league plus the full return of Vida Blue.....naturally limited and ineffective work with a AAA demotion sandwiched in between.....procured by the Brewers in cash deal but arm problems resulted in a poor pitching display.....Gardner was returned to the A’s as damaged goods thereby ending his year and MLB days....went into MiBL coaching while he did return to the mound every once in a while in a very limited claim to fame was that he was traded to the Yankees for one Alou Brother (Felipe) and traded back to the A’s for another Alou (Matty).

Thursday, September 1, 2022

#23 Ted Kubiak

Good glove man....but struggled with the bat regardless of what side of the plate....went yard 13 times in a career spanning 10 years 1967-1976....for a career hit an uninspiring .231 over but other than his .157 debut was able to keep BA over .200 in every subsequent season....was never demoted to minors either....finest season was 1970....took over at 2nd base in Milwaukee....fair results .252, 2 HRs, 41 RBIs.....started slow in 1971 and flipped to the Cardinals .....Surfaced with newly relocated Texas Rangers for 1972 (the worst) then the pennant winning Oakland A’s (1st)....stayed in the eastern side of the bay area until mid 1975.....collected three championship rings.....last stop made San Diego his home....continuing reserve infield duties until age 34 at the conclusion of the 1976 season...Initially shied away from baseball in favor of real estate....eventually coaxed out into managing in the low minors for 21 season ranging from 1989 to 2014.....Cited art as his primary hobby, a deviation from the standard hunting, fishing, golf of most his his early playing days bore a striking resemblance to 80’s Rocker Adam Ant.