Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Inter-American League


This isn’t a 1960s’ topic, but it isn’t card-related either so I have nowhere else to post it but here.

Recently I posted a few players who wound up their careers in the Inter-American League in 1979, so I decided to dig a little deeper into this short-lived minor league.

The league began play in 1979 as a triple-A league, with teams in Miami and 5 other locations in the Caribbean. The fact that the teams were unaffiliated with major-league teams, plus the Caribbean weather, multi-national air travel (and visas), and just being poorly-funded in general all contributed to the collapse of the league by June 30th.

These were the 6 teams, with their records and position in the standings when the league folded:

1. Miami Amigos (51-21)
2. Caracas Metropolitanos (37-27)
3. Santo Domingo Azucaeros (38-29)
4. Maricaibo Petroleros de Zulia (31-36)
5. Panama Banqueros (15-36)*
6. Puerto Rico Baricuas (16-39)*

*these two dropped out on June 17th


Miami was managed by Davey Johnson, and included major-league alumni Orlando Pena, Hal Breeden, Wayne Granger, Mickey Scott, Mike Wallace, Porfi Altamirano, Bob Reynolds, and Oscar Zamora.

Caracas was managed by Jim Busby, with players such as Cesar Tovar, Tom House, Butch Metzger, and Remy Hermoso.

Santo Domingo was managed by Mike Kekich, and included Cito Gaston, Tito Fuentes, Johnny Jeter, Dave May, Dick Pole, Dave Wallace, and Fred Andrews.

Maracaibo was managed by Pat Dobson, Gus Gil, and hometown guy Luis Aparicio, and included Angel Bravo and Mike Stanton.

Panama was managed by Chico Salmon, with “name” players like Adolfo Phillips, Ramon Webster, and Lee Richard.

Puerto Rico was managed by Jose Santiago, and featured Bobby Tolan, Bobby Brown, Angel Mangual, and Leo Foster.

Friday, March 27, 2020

RIP - Jim Wynn


Long-time Astros' center fielder Jim Wynn passed away on March 26, 2020 at age 78.


Wynn played for the Astros from July 1963 to October 1973. During his rookie season he played in the outfield, as well as at shortstop and 3rd base, before finding a home in center field.

He was also a power hitter, surprising for someone of his small stature (leading to his nickname "The Toy Cannon"). Sometimes lost in the shadows of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Hank Aaron is the fact that Wynn (and Ron Santo) hit a ton of home runs from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. Wynn hit a career high 37 homers in 1967. His career total would have been more had his home park been more hitter-friendly.

Wynn played for the Dodgers in 1974 and 1975, making the All-Star team in both seasons. He later played for the Braves, Yankees, and Brewers.

ESPN Radio obituary

NBC Sports obituary

Friday, March 13, 2020

RIP - Don Pavletich


Don Pavletich, the Reds' backup catcher from 1963-1967, passed away on March 5, 2020 at age 81.

(His 1965 card incorrectly identifies him as a pitcher) 

Pavletich backed up Johnny Edwards from 1963 to 1967, playing a good number of games (surprising, because Edwards was an All-Star from 1963-65 and a Gold Glover in '63 and '64). Don's most playing time came in 1966 (83 games, 235 at-bats).

In 1968, Edwards was traded away, Johnny Bench took over most of the catching, and Pavletich was primarily the backup 1st baseman.

He finished his career with the White Sox (1969) and Red Sox (1970-71).

Cincinnati.com obituary
.

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.
.

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.