Tuesday, January 14, 2020

RIP - Ed Sprague Sr.


Ed Sprague, a pitcher for several teams from 1968-76, passed away on January 10, 2020 at age 74.


Sprague pitched for Oakland from 1968-69, then spent all of  '70 and most of '71 in the minors, before resurfacing with the Reds in September 1971. Midway through the 1973 season he joined the Cardinals, but moved on to the Brewers 2 months later.

Sprague was a reliever for his entire career, until joining the Brewers. He was a starter for 2 full seasons ('74, '75) then was released during the 1976 season.

His son (Ed Jr.) was a 3rd baseman for the Blue Jays and others from 1991-2001.

San Francisco Chronicle obituary

Saturday, January 11, 2020

RIP - Don Larsen


Don Larsen, the only pitcher to pitch a post-season perfect game, passed away on January 1, 2020 at age 90.

An otherwise average pitcher, Larsen is remembered for his feat in game 5 of the 1956 World Series.


He played for 14 seasons (1953-67), mostly for the Yankees (1955-59) and Giants (1962-64). Larsen played in the World Series from 1955-58 and in 1962, and was the Series MVP in 1956.

New York Times obituary
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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Re-cap


Here are the players I featured in 2019:


1960s' players who left us in 2019:



And from outside the baseball world:
Bob Einstein
Daryl Dragon
Carol Channing
Kaye Ballard
Albert Finney
Jan Michael Vincent
Lee Radziwill
Peter Tork
Katherine Helmond
Luke Perry
Hal Blaine
Dan Blankenship
Dick Dale
Georgia Engel
Ken Kercheval
John Havlicek
Gino Marchetti
Peter Mayhew
Jim Fowler
Peggy Lipton
Doris Day
Tim Conway
Bart Starr
Dr. John
Gloria Vanderbilt
Beth Chapman
Lee Iacocca
Arte Johnson
Rip Torn
Ross Perot
David Hedison
Nick Buoniconti
Peter Fonda
Valerie Harper
Carol Lynley
Eddie Money
Ric Ocasek
Phyllis Newman
Sander Vanocur
Cokie Roberts
Diahann Carroll
Ginger Baker
Rip Taylor
Carroll Spinney
Rene Auberjonois
Danny Aiello
Claudine Auger
Sue Lyon
Don Imus 
 
Also: football deaths in 2019
 

Friday, December 13, 2019

1969 Phillies - Games per Position

  Wrapping up the series I started on November 8th, here is a breakdown of the 1969 Phillies team. Using information from a chart I recently discovered at Baseball-Reference.com, I have come up with sort of a depth-chart below. In each section, a dotted line separates the "main players" from the others.

As an added bonus, for the first two columns only:
   yellow indicates the player has a Phillies card in this year's set
   orange indicates the player is on a Rookie Stars card in this year's set
   blue indicates the player has a non-Phillies card in this year's set
   white indicates no card in this year's set


Had a Phillies card this year, but was not on the team: Clay Dalrymple

The Phillies only made two in-season trades in 1969 (2 more than in 1968!)
5/5 - Traded Don Lock to the Red Sox for outfielder Bill Schlesinger.
9/6 - Traded Gary Wagner to the Red Sox for pitcher Mike Jackson.

The first 13 non-pitchers on the list above (plus Vic Roznovsky) were with the team for the entire season. Everyone else was just taking their turn filling Don Lock's roster spot following his early-May trade.

Chris Short was the team's Opening Day starter. After one more start (4/15), he missed the remainder of the season with injuries.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

RIP - John Strohmayer


John Stromayer, a relief pitcher for the Expos and Mets in the early-1970s, passed away on November 28, 2019 at age 73.


Strohmayer was signed by the Athletics in 1968, and made his major-league debut with the Expos in 1970. He pitched in 134 games for the Expos over a 3 1/2 year period.

He also played for the Mets in parts of 1973 and 1974, his career ended by a shoulder injury.

From 1976 to 2009, Strohmayer was a school teacher, principal, and finally superintendent in the California school district where he attended as a boy.

He retired in 2009 after he and 14 other school employees won the lottery.

Wikipedia page (no full obituary found)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

1968 Phillies - Games per Position

  Continuing with the series I started on November 8th, here is a breakdown of the 1968 Phillies team. Using information from a chart I recently discovered at Baseball-Reference.com, I have come up with sort of a depth-chart below. In each section, a dotted line separates the "main players" from the others.

As an added bonus, for the first two columns only:
   yellow indicates the player has a Phillies card in this year's set
   orange indicates the player is on a Rookie Stars card in this year's set
   white indicates no card in this year's set


The Phillies neither traded nor acquired any players during the 1968 season. (Yeah, why try to improve on 72 wins?)

Their only roster moves were to send down Don Money and Larry Hisle, put Bobby Wine on the DL, and call up Roberto Pena and (at various times) Doug Clemens, John Sullivan, Jerry Johnson, Paul Brown, Larry Colton, and Howie Bedell.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

RIP - Jim Coates


Former Yankees' and Angels' pitcher Jim Coates passed away on November 15, 2019 at age 87.


Coates was mostly a reliever for the Yankees from 1959-62, and the Angels from 1965-67. In between, he played briefly for the Senators and Reds.

His best season was 1960, when he posted a 13-3 record and led the AL with a .813 winning percentage. He also made both All-Star teams that season.

Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch obituary
 

Friday, November 15, 2019

RIP - Bob Johnson


Bob Johnson, a utility infielder for 7 teams in the 1960s, passed away on November 12, 2019 at age 83.


Johnson debuted with the Kansas City Athletics in 1960, then played the next 2 seasons with the expansion Washington Senators.  1962 was his only year in the regular lineup.

He moved up the road to Baltimore in 1963, and put in 4 seasons backing up Norm Siebern, Jerry Adair, Luis Aparicio, Brooks Robinson, and later, Dave Johnson and Boog Powell.  He didn't appear in the 1966 World Series, as the O's made quick work of the Dodgers in a 4-game sweep, without needing to go deep into their bench or bullpen.

Johnson made quick stops with the Mets, Reds, Braves, Cardinals, and the Athletics from 1967-70.  Although a part-time player, he hit .348 for the Mets in 1967 and .343 for the Athletics in 1969.
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

1966 Phillies - Games per Position

  Continuing with the series I started on November 8th, here is a breakdown of the 1966 Phillies team. Using information from a chart I recently discovered at Baseball-Reference.com, I have come up with sort of a depth-chart below. In each section, a dotted line separates the "main players" from the others.

As an added bonus, for the first two columns only:
   yellow indicates the player has a Phillies card in this year's set
   orange indicates the player is on a Rookie Stars card in this year's set
   blue indicates the player has a non-Phillies card in this year's set
   white indicates no card in this year's set
(Chris Short did not have a Topps card until 1967 - his 8th full season!)


Notice that three pitchers were used as pinch-runners.

Had a Phillies card this year, but was not on the team: Alex Johnson

In-season moves: 
4/11 - Signed Roger Craig as a free agent.
4/13 - Purchased Steve Ridzik from the Senators.
4/21 - Traded Fergie Jenkins, Adolfo Phillips, and John Herrnstein to the Cubs for Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl.
4/21 - Purchased Harvey Kuenn from the Cubs.
5/10 - Purchased Terry Fox from the Tigers.
Early-June - Recalled Rick Wise from AAA.
Mid-July - Recalled John Morris and Joe Verbanic from AAA.
7/23 - Released Roger Craig and Ed Roebuck.

Aargh! Fergie Jenkins barely had time to get his feet wet before they shipped him off to the Cubs!


I am planning to do this for each Phillies team from 1966 to 1969, then we'll see where it goes from there.
 

Friday, November 8, 2019

1967 Phillies - Games per Position

  A few weeks after I starting blogging here in 2009, I posted a summary of the 1967 Phillies roster on this blog.

Recently, I noticed that Baseball-Reference.com includes (for each team and season) a chart of the player roster and how many games each man played per position. Using that information, I have come up with sort of a depth-chart below. In each section, a dotted line separates the "main players" from the others.

As an added bonus, for the first two columns only:
   yellow indicates the player has a Phillies card in this year's set
   orange indicates the player is on a Rookie Stars card in this year's set
   blue indicates the player has a non-Phillies card in this year's set
   white indicates no card in this year's set


Notice that 2nd baseman Cookie Rojas pitched in one game, and pitcher Larry Jackson was used as a pinch-runner 3 times.

Had a Phillies card this year, but was not on the team: Terry Fox

In-season moves: 
4/10 - Bill White begins the season on the disabled list.
4/10 - Purchased Tito Francona from the Cardinals.
4/21 - Dick Groat placed on disabled list. Bill White activated from DL.
5/08 - Purchased Turk Farrell from the Astros. Released Ruben Gomez.
5/16 - Released Bob Buhl.
5/31 - Recalled John Boozer from AAA.
6/05 - Released Pedro Ramos.
6/06 - Traded Bob Uecker to the Braves for Gene Oliver.
6/09 - Sold Jackie Brandt to the Astros.
6/09 - Reactivated Dick Groat from disabled list.
6/12 - Sold Tito Francona to the Braves.
Late-June - Recalled Dallas Green from AA.
6/22 - Sold Dick Groat to the Giants. Recalled Billy Cowan from AAA.
7/11 - Traded Phil Linz to the Mets for Chuck Hiller.
8/24 - Richie Allen lost for the season with a wrist injury.
8/24 - Recalled Rick Joseph from AAA.
9/22 - Released Dallas Green.


I am planning to do this for each Phillies team from 1966 to 1969, then we'll see where it goes from there.
 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

RIP - Ron Fairly


1960s' Dodgers' outfielder Ron Fairly passed away on October 30, 2019 at age 81.


Fairly played for the Dodgers from 1958-1969, playing in 4 World Series during that time (winning 3).

He joined the expansion Montreal Expos in mid-1969 (in a trade that returned Maury Wills to LA), and played for the Expos through the 1974 season. He was an everyday player through the 1973 season, also making his first of 2 All-Star teams that year.

After bench roles with the Cardinals and Athletics in 1975-76, he joined the expansion Toronto Blue Jays in 1977 and was once again an everyday player (as 1B/DH). He also made his 2nd All-Star team in '77.

Fairly finished up by playing for the Angels in 1978.

After his playing career he became a broadcaster for the Dodgers, Angels, Giants, and Mariners from 1979-2006.

Los Angeles Times obituary

Seattle Times obituary

ESPN obituary


Wednesday, October 23, 2019

RIP - Jackie Hernandez


Jackie Hernandez, the first shortstop for the Kansas City Royals, passed away on October 12, 2019 at age 79.


Hernandez broke in with the Angels in 1965, then was sent to the Twins in the Dean Chance trade following the 1966 season.

After 2 years in Minnesota, he was selected by the Royals in the expansion draft, and was their starting shortstop that first season, and the first half of 1970.

He rode the bench for the 2nd half of 1970, then was dealt to the Pirates in a 6-player trade that saw shortstop Freddie Patek join the Royals. He was a bench player for 3 seasons in Pittsburgh, followed by 1 season in triple-A and 2 in Mexico.

Pirates' obituary

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

RIP - Bobby Del Greco


Bobby Del Greco, an outfielder for 6 teams from 1952-65, passed away on October 13, 2019 at age 86.


A native of Pittsburgh, Del Greco debuted with the Pirates at age 19 in 1952. He played in the minors every season from 1950 to 1959, but spent time with the Pirates in '52 and '56, and with the Cardinals in 1956. He also played briefly for the Cubs and Yankees from 1957-58.

Bobby was purchased by the Phillies in April 1959, and played there for all of 1960 and part of 1961, splitting the center field job with Tony Gonzalez.

Traded to the Athletics in July 1961 for Wes Covington, he was Kansas City's regular center fielder for the rest of that season, and shared the job with Jose Tartabull for the following 2 years.

Del Greco was traded to the Braves after 1963, but played in the minors for all of 1964 (Braves) and 1965-66 (Phillies), although he appeared in 8 games for the Phillies early in 1965.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary