Saturday, October 21, 2017

RIP - Jim Landis


Long-time White Sox' center fielder Jim Landis passed away on October 7, 2017 at age 83.


Jim played for the White Sox for 8 seasons, and was an All-Star in 1962. He won a Gold Glove award in each of his last 5 seasons in Chicago.

An 8-player, 3-team trade before the 1965 season sent him to the Athletics. After 1 season with Kansas City, he played for the Indians in 1966, then finished his career with 3 different teams in 1967.


Chicago Sun-Times obituary

Chicago Tribune obituary

New York Times obituary
 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

RIP - John Herrnstein


John Herrnstein, who played briefly for the Phillies in the mid-1960s, passed away on October 3, 2017 at age 79.


Herrnstein was the Phillies' starting first baseman for much of their ill-fated 1964 season, then was relegated to the bench for the final 2 months when veteran Frank Thomas was acquired from the Mets.

Herrnstein played sparingly in 1965, because the Phillies traded for another veteran first-sacker (Dick Stuart) in the off-season.

In early 1966, John was included in the trade that sent Ferguson Jenkins to the Cubs.   Herrnstein retired after the 1966 season.

Herrnstein has one of the longest Wikipedia pages I have seen for someone with such a short, unremarkable baseball career.

Chillicothe Gazette obituary

another Chillicothe Gazette obituary

Herrnstein (and many others) screwed out of a MLB pension, thanks to the players' union greed
 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Trades: Dodgers and Twins (Nov. 1967)


Another installment in an occasional series about some big trades in the 1960s: 

On November 28, 1967 the Dodgers gutted their bullpen and starting catching in an attempt to land a front-line shortstop. They failed miserably.


The Dodgers' top 2 relievers (Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller) along with John Roseboro (their starting catcher since 1958) were sent to the Twins in exchange for shortstop Zoilo Versalles and veteran pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant.

Ron Perranoski played for the Dodgers from 1961-67, and was the leader of the bullpen from 1962-65 and again in 1967. He led the NL in games during the '62 and '63 seasons. His 16-3 record in 1963 was the league's highest winning percentage. He never made an All-Star team, surprising given his stats and having played for the high-profile Dodgers. After the trade, Ron led the AL in saves during the '69 and '70 seasons with Minnesota. He was traded to the Tigers during the 1971 season.

Bob Miller played for the Dodgers from 1963-67.  Although a starter for much of 1963, we was strictly a reliever after that, taking his place right behind Perranoski on the bullpen ladder. Miller put in 2 solid seasons with the Twins (again behind Perranoski), then bounced around to 7 other teams during his final 5 seasons.

John Roseboro was a three-time All-Star with the Dodgers and had been the starter since taking over for the injured Roy Campanella at the start of the 1958 season. After the trade, John played 2 full seasons as the Twins' starting catcher (including making the All-Star team in 1969), then finished his career in 1970 as a backup for the Senators.


So who did the Dodgers get in exchange for those 3 guys who continued playing at a high level? LA was hoping to find a replacement for Maury Wills (who was traded away a year earlier) but got a whole lot of nothing.

Zoilo Versalles was the AL MVP in 1965, but had been declining since then. After batting .249 and .200 in his final 2 seasons with the Twins, he hit a whopping .196 in his only season with the Dodgers. Left unprotected in the expansion draft, he was selected by the Padres, but was quickly flipped to the Indians for 5-time Topps "Rookie Star" Bill Davis. Versalles was sold to the Senators in mid-year, then cut after the season. Verdict: Bust!

Mudcat Grant was a key starting pitcher for the Indians (1958-64) and Twins (1964-67), and won 21 games in 1965. He pitched mostly in relief for the Dodgers in 1968, then was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft.

(Roseboro's 1st-series card still shows him as a Dodger.)

ADVANTAGE: Twins! The Dodgers got only 1 season each from Grant and Versalles (both sub-par), while Perranoski and Roseboro (and to a lesser extent Miller) put in multiple solid seasons for the Twins.
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Saturday, September 30, 2017

1960s Blog Hall of Fame Results (#9)


Billy Williams was the lone inductee this time, joining the 28 others shown below.


Williams was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1961, and a 6-time All-Star.  He also finished 2nd in the MVP balloting in 1970 and 1972.

Billy led the NL in hits and runs in 1970, and played in 1117 consecutive games from 9/22/1963 to 9/2/1970.  He joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.




Complete results:

12 voters participated this time.  The polls were open for about 5 weeks, but 11 of the votes were cast in the first week, with the final vote coming in the closing hours of the poll, just barely pushing Williams to the required 75%. One player received less that the minimum 15% to be retained for the next ballot.

I think I will have shorter voting periods in the future, since most everyone who was interested had voted in the first few days of the poll.


(Click the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see all past results.) 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

RIP - Gene Michael


Former shortstop, manager, and GM Gene Michael passed away on September 7, 2017 at age 79.


"Stick" played mostly for the Yankees (1968-74), but also for the Pirates (1966), Dodgers (1967) and Tigers (1975).

After his playing career, Michael managed the Yankees twice (who hasn't?).  He piloted the team for the split 1981 season, then was brought back midway through 1982 for a short time. He also managed the Cubs for parts of 1986 and 1987.

Michael was also the Yankees' GM twice, from 1980-81 and again from 1990-95. During his 2nd stint, the Yankees acquired many of the players who led them to multiple World Championships. After getting the ax in 1995, he continued to work for the Yankees in scouting positions.

New York Times obituary

ESPN obituary
 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

RIP - Paul Schaal


Paul Schaal, who played 3rd base for the Angels in the mid-1960s before becoming a member of the expansion Kansas City Royals in 1969, passed away on September 1, 2017 at age 74.


Schaal became the Angels' everyday 3rd baseman as a rookie in 1965, and remained there through the 1968 season (except for missing the 2nd half of the '67 and '68 seasons with injuries).

He was selected by the Royals prior to 1969, but missed the first half of that season, then was their regular 3rd baseman for the 2nd half, as well as all of 1970-73. (He started every game in 1971.)

With George Brett taking over in May 1974, Schaal returned to the Angels to complete his final season.

Kansas City Star obituary

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Orioles Starting Pitchers of the late 1960s


Oh, have I mentioned that the Orioles were my favorite American League team in the mid/late 1960s?

I recently posted Steve Barber's card on my 1966 blog, and it made me want to do this:


Here are their top 4 starting pitchers from 1965 (making-do with 1966 cards):


In 1966, they traded Milt Pappas to the Reds, and won the World Series without him.


To look at the 1967 card set, you would think this was the Orioles' rotation:

But due to a sore-arm epidemic, it turned out to be this:


By 1968, Dave McNally regained his earlier form (although Jim Palmer was still rehabbing):


Mike Cuellar joined the team in 1969, giving the O's their best rotation since 1966:

This is one of the four multi-player cards in the 1969 set.  Before the season, Palmer's comeback was still considered questionable, so he missed this photo op:
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

RIP - Dom Zanni


Just appearing on Baseball-Almanac.com in the past day or so is the fact that relief pitcher Dom Zanni passed away on July 6, 2017 at age 85.


Zanni was born and raised in New York City, and was signed by his hometown Giants in 1951.

He played for the Giants from 1958-61 and the White Sox from 1962-63, before finishing his career with the Reds from 1963-66. His best season was 1962 with the Sox, when he reached career highs in wins, strikeouts, games, and innings.

No obituary found, but there's this.
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Monday, August 14, 2017

RIP - Paul Casanova


1960s' Senators catcher Paul Casanova passed away on August 12, 2017 at age 75.


Casanova was the Senators' starting catcher from 1966-71. His best season was 1967, when he was an All-Star although did not play in the game. That season he also caught an ENTIRE 22-INNING GAME against the White Sox. Although he went 1 or 9 at the plate, he got the game-winning hit.

He was also the Braves' backup catcher from 1972-74, and caught Phil Niekro's no-hitter in 1973.

Retrospective
 

Monday, August 7, 2017

RIP - Darren Daulton


Phillies' catcher of the 1990s Darren Daulton passed away on August 6, 2017 after battling cancer for several years. He was 55.


Daulton made his debut with the Phillies in September 1983, then after a year back in the minors he rejoined the Phils in 1985.

"Dutch" was the Phillies' fulltime catcher from 1989 to 1995. He was the team's leader during the early 1990s which included an NL Championship in 1993, and led the NL with 109 RBI in 1992. Daulton was an All-Star in '92, '93, and '95.

After missing most of the 1996 season, he returned to the Phillies in 1997 as an outfielder. Later that season he was traded to the Marlins, and helped them get to, and win the World Series. It was Daulton's only ring, and his final season.

Philly.com obituary
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Friday, August 4, 2017

RIP - Lee May


Lee May, the slugging 1st baseman for the Reds, Astros, and Orioles in the 1960s and 1970s, passed away on July 29, 2017 at age 74.




After getting his feet wet in '65 and '66, May began his fulltime major-league career with the Reds in 1967, soon taking over the starting 1st base job from veteran Deron Johnson, and was named to the Topps All-Rookie team that season. He also made the All-Star team in '69 and '71.

May missed out on the Big Red Machine era, as he was famously traded to the Astros after 1971 in a deal that saw the Reds acquire 2nd baseman Joe Morgan. Lee was the starting All-Star 1st baseman in 1972, his first of 3 seasons with the Astros.

He played the 2nd half of his 18-year career with the Orioles (1975-80) and Royals (1981-82). In all, he made 3 trips to the post-season ('70, '79, '81).

Birmingham, AL obituary

New York Times obituary
 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

1960s Blog Hall of Fame (#9)


It's time for another 1960s Blog Hall of Fame Election.



Last year Orlando Cepeda was the lone inductee, joining the other 27 members in the Hall. Two players received less than 15% of the vote and were dropped from the ballot, leaving 7 returning candidates this time:

Jim Bunning
Rod Carew
Curt Flood
Jim Fregosi
Ferguson Jenkins
Roger Maris
Billy Williams

Added to the ballot this time is Tigers' pitcher Denny McLain, returning for a second chance* after missing the cut on the inaugural ballot.


Here is the voting history for all the current candidates:


As always, use the sidebar poll to vote for up to half (this time 4) of the players on the ballot. The poll will close on August 31st, and those receiving at least 75% of the votes will be inducted.

In addition to using the poll, I encourage everyone to leave comments about their selections or thought processes, to hopefully spark some discussion about these players. But do not use the comments as a means to vote, because I am only counting the votes in the actual poll widget, since there is no way to know if a vote in the comments is instead of, or in addition to, the poll.


* Long-time voters may remember that the first election included over 60 names, with only the top vote-getter per position inducted regardless of anyone's voting percentage.  With a wide-open field, most voters flocked to the biggest names, leaving many worthy candidates with less than the 15% needed to be retained.  For example, Lou Brock received no votes the first time, but was later reinstated to the ballot and inducted into the Hall (as were Al Kaline and Carl Yastrzemski).

The rules were changed after the 1st time, to be in more line with traditional voting rules. No "second chances" will be given to players missing the cut under the new rules applied beginning with ballot #2.


Click on the "hall of fame ballot" label below to see the results of all previous elections.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

RIP - Bob Perry


Bob Perry, a short-time outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels in the mid-1960s, passed away on July 2, 2017 at age 82 in his birthplace of New Bern, NC.


Perry played minor-league ball for the Giants (1953-63), Angels (1963-64), Pirates (1965-66), Reds (1966-68), Twins (1969), and Brewers (1970).

His only major-league action came with the Angels, where he spent most of '63 and '64, starting 99 games over those 2 seasons.

 Hometown obituary
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Phillies 1967 Yearbook


A few months ago, I found the box containing all my Phillies' yearbooks from 1967 to 1980-something. I bought this yearbook on my first trip to a Phillies game, back in May 1967.

Fifty-six pages of Phillies' facts and photos for only ONE DOLLAR! Most major-league players got a full page to themselves, while some of the younger or marginal players shared a page with another player. (No one had more than a single page.)

I'm not going to scan and post every page (at least not all at once!), but I have already posted Jim Bunning's page here, and here are a few more:


If the yearbook was a dollar, I'm guessing that hot dog was a quarter!


Here's "Rich" (not Richie) Allen.


Johnny Callison was a fan favorite, and lived year-round in the Philadelphia suburbs.


In his lower-right photo, Bob Uecker seems to be thinking "There must be a better way to make a living!"


This page is interesting in that it is evidence that veteran Braves' and Reds' starter Joey Jay was given a spring training invite to Phillies' camp in 1967. He didn't make the team, but spent the year pitching for their single-A team before retiring.


After the player pages and center-spread color team photo, there's a section for minor-league managers, prospects, scouts, etc. Here are the Phillies pitching prospects that season. Both Steve Arlin and Mike Wegener were lost in the expansion draft after the 1968 season.


And the position-player prospects. Sutherland, Harmon, Hisle, and Doyle all had long careers in the majors. (Hmm... surprising that Larry Bowa is not here.)  Dick Allen's brother Ron had a cup of coffee with the Mets a few years later.


Inside the back cover is a shot of the infamous "spite wall" in the outfield. Connie Mack put that up years earlier to prevent the residents across the street from viewing the games for free.
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

1967 Scrapbook - Larry Jackson


Wait, what? A non-obituary post? 

Here's another installment in an occasional series called "1967 Scrapbook". In 2011 I found a baseball scrapbook I had made in 1967, containing photos that I clipped from the Philadelphia sports pages that summer.


Unfortunately, Larry Jackson's Phillies' career is often summed-up by 2 stories:

1. He was one of 2 veteran pitchers obtained from the Cubs for a young Ferguson Jenkins ('nuff said).
2. He was selected by the Expos in the post-1968 expansion draft, but retired rather than start over with a new team.


Here are some "Larry Jackson moments" from the 1967 season:

On June 2oth, Jackson shutout the Mets 4-0 on a 1-hitter (Tommy Davis getting a leadoff double in the 2nd inning).



On July 7th, Jackson took a throw to the nose in the 6th inning against the Cardinals, while backing up home plate.




On the back of the 3rd photo above, there is a story about Reds' manager Dave Bristol fining batters for not driving in a man on 3rd with less than 2 outs. Pete Rose was the first one fined. There's a hilarious comment about Rose trying to pay his fine with trading stamps!!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

RIP - Herm Starrette


Ex-Orioles' pitcher and long-time pitching coach Herm Starrette passed away on June 2, 2017 at age 80.


Starrette pitched for the Orioles in 1963 (and also briefly in '64 and '65), but was better known as a pitching coach for many teams.

He coached in the Orioles' farm system from 1966-71, contributing to the development of the young arms coming up through that system.

Herm moved up to the majors in 1974, and spent 28 years coaching and/or instructing for the Braves, Orioles, Giants, Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Expos, and Red Sox.

I first became aware of Starrette when Dallas Green tabbed him as his pitching coach for the 1979-81 Phillies.

Hometown obituary
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

RIP - Jim Piersall


Former American League outfielder Jim Piersall passed away on June 3, 2017 at age 87.


Piersall played 17 seasons, for the Red Sox (1950-58), Indians (1959-61), Senators (1962-63), Mets (1963), and Angels (1963-67). He was an All-Star in '54 and '56, and led the AL with 40 doubles in 1956.

He played only 5 games in his final season, retiring in May to work in the Angels' front office. Piersall later was a broadcaster for the Rangers and White Sox.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010.

ESPN obituary

KCRA TV3 (Sacremento) obituary
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

RIP - Jim Bunning

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It's been a bad year for ex-Phillies... 

Former Tiger's and Phillies' ace pitcher Jim Bunning passed away on May 26, 2017 at age 85.


Bunning pitched for the Tigers from 1955-1963, and for the Phillies from 1964-67, and 1970-71. In his first season with the Phillies, this father of 9 pitched a perfect game on Fathers' Day.

He retired after the 1971 season, and after a stint as a minor-league manager for the Phillies, he went into politics, eventually becoming a US senator for Kentucky.

Philadelphia Inquirer obituary
 
Larry Bowa's recollections of Jim Bunning. Bunning and Bowa were teammates during Bowa's first 2 (Bunning's last 2) seasons.

ESPN obituary

Here is Jim Bunning's page in my 1967 Phillies yearbook (which I just found a few weeks ago after moving).


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

RIP - Sam Mele

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Sam Mele, the Twins' manager from 1961-1967, passed away on May 1, 2017 at age 95.

At the time of his death, he was the oldest living person with a card in the 1967 Topps set.

That distinction now goes to Cardinals' manager Red Schoendienst (age 94, and #18 on the list of the 100 oldest living ex-players). The oldest living PLAYER from the 1967 card set is Elroy Face (age 89, and also #89 on the top-100 list).


Mele managed the Twins from their first season in Minnesota (1961) through the first 50 games of the 1967 season. His Twins won the AL pennant in 1965, before losing to the Dodgers in the World Series.

After his dismissal by the Twins, he worked as a scout for the Red Sox from mid-1967 until retiring in 1994.

He was also an outfielder for 6 teams from 1947-1956, primarily the Red Sox, Senators, and White Sox.

TwinCities.com obituary

New York Times obituary
 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

RIP - Bob Cerv

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Former Yankees' and Athletics' outfielder Bob Cerv passed away on April 6, 2017 at age 91.


Cerv began his career in 1951 with the Yankees. After 6 seasons as a bench player, he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics (a/k/a the Yankees' AAAA farm team) after the 1956 season.

His best years were from 1957-60, where he was a regular for the Athletics, then returned to the Bronx early in the 1960 season (and going 5-for-14 in the Fall Classic that year).

After the 1960 season, he was drafted by the expansion Angels, but returned to the Yankees in May 1961. Sold to the expansion Houston Colt .45s in June 1962, he was released a month later, ending his 12-year career.

New York Times obituary

Kansas City Star obituary


(card image from eBay)
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

RIP - Roy Sievers

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Roy Sievers, a slugging OF/1B who played for the Browns, Senators, White Sox, and Phillies from 1949-1965, passed away on April 3, 2017 at age 90.


Sievers won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1949 while playing for the St. Louis Browns.

When the team moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season, Sievers was traded to the Washington Senators. He enjoyed his greatest success during his 6-year stay with the Nats. In 1957 he led the AL with 42 homers and 114 RBI. He topped 100 RBI 3 other times and hit 39 homers in 1958.

Roy played for the White Sox in 1960 and 1961, then spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Phillies.

In mid-1964 he moved on to the (new) Washington Senators, making Roy one of 8 players to have played for both Senators' franchises.

Washington Post obituary

Roy Sievers' story on SABR website

Saturday, April 1, 2017

RIP - Ruben Amaro Sr


1960s Phillies shortstop Ruben Amaro passed away on March 31, 2017 at age 81.

(The Phillies' family has lost 3 members in the last 10 days: Dallas Green, 1987-89 pitcher Todd Frohwirth, and now Amaro.) 


Amaro played for the Phillies from 1960-65, sharing the shortstop job with Bobby Wine during that time. He also played for the Yankees from 1966-69 and the Angels in 1969.

After his playing career, Amaro was hired by Dallas Green as a minor-league assistant and scout from 1972-79, and as the Phillies' 1st base coach from 1980-81. He also scouted for the Cubs, Tigers, White Sox, and Astros.

Philly.com obituary

6abc (Philadelphia) obituary