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.

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.

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
 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

RIP - Andy Etchebarren


Andy Etchebarren, the Orioles' catcher during their late-1960s/early-1970s glory years, passed away on October 5, 2019 at age 76.


Etchebarren played a few games with Baltimore in 1962 and 1965, then was the O's starting catcher in 1966 and 1967, making the AL All-Star team in both seasons.

This is the moment the Orioles clinched their first World Series title, in 1966. Etchebarren is on the right, about to embrace Dave McNally. Four years earlier, they both made their major-league debut on 9/26/1962.


Beginning in 1968 Etchebarren shared the catching with rookie Elrod Hendricks, and the two of them were joined by Johnny Oates (1972 only) and Earl Williams (1973-74).

In mid-1975 Andy moved on to the Angels for 3 seasons. He finished his career with a few games for the Brewers in April 1978.

(Having not collected baseball cards after 1972, and with the Orioles out of the spotlight soon afterwards, I lost track of Etchebarren's career, and had no idea until recently that he played for the Angels.)

Pressbox (Orioles blog) obituary

Fox43 (York, PA television) obituary
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Saturday, October 5, 2019

What's In a Name?


Topps had this habit of changing a player's first name sometime during their career.

This was especially annoying for the time I was using Zistle. Their search feature only finds the cards having the name you entered, and doesn't include their cards having an alternate first name. (Last-name only searches would have been ok for Clemente and Dalrymple, but you wouldn't want to do that for Taylor.)


The most famous example of this is the case of Roberto Clemente. Topps called him "Roberto" in 1955 and 1956, until switching to "Bob" for the next 13 years, before finally relenting in 1970.


Orlando Martinez had cards from 1967-72, the first two having "Orlando" before Topps changed it in 1969. (Is there a more unimaginative nickname for someone named Martinez than "Marty"?) 


Hawk Taylor cards showed up every year from 1961 to 1969 (except for 1967).  He was "Hawk" from '65 to '68, "Bob 'Hawk' Taylor" in 1961, and just "Bob" for the other years. When I hear "Bob Taylor", I think of the Flyers' backup goaltender during their Stanley Cup championship years very (very, very, very, very, very) long ago.


"Clay" was good enough for Topps every year except 1970, when they went all formal on Dalrymple.


Here, Topps just couldn't make up their mind.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Prime 9 - Chicago White Sox


The 20th and last installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The White Sox won 363 games between 1966 and 1970. It didn't help their total that they only won 56 games in 1970.



What the hell happened to the White Sox in the late 1960s? They were cruising along pretty well for most of the decade, then BAM! (And look at the attendance drop-off.)


The final indignity was finishing behind the expansion Kansas City Royals in 1969. Luckily, the Pilots didn't also pass them.  The arrival of Dick Allen in 1972 (the AL MVP) pulled them back to respectability.


One last look at the standings:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Prime 9 - Washington Senators


The 19th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Senators won 368 games between 1966 and 1970. It didn't help their total that they only won 65 games in 1968.

New manager Ted Williams signed on for 1969, and improved the team by TWENTY-ONE wins. Still, 2 years later they skipped town for Dallas.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

RIP - Alex Grammas


Alex Grammas, a shortstop for the Cardinals and Reds from 1954 to 1962, passed away on September 13, 2019 at age 93.


Grammas finished his playing career in 1963 with the Cubs. 

He went on to a long career as a major-league coach, notably for the Reds and Tigers from 1970-1991 (on Sparky Anderson's staffs).

He also managed the Pirates for 5 games in 1969, and the Brewers from 1976-77.

Cincinnati.com obituary

Detroit News obituary
 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Prime 9 - Houston Astros


The 18th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Astros won 373 games between 1966 and 1970 - last among National League teams.

Surprisingly, they finished in 8th place, ahead of the Cubs in their inaugural 1962 season. (Apparently starting a trend of an expansion team finishing ahead of a team from Chicago!)

In their first 7 seasons, they finished either 8th, 9th, or 10th. Unlike their expansion partner New York Mets, they continued their losing ways in 1969 and beyond. Not until 1979 would they finish higher than 3rd (of 6).

Saturday, September 14, 2019

RIP - Joe Keough


Joe Keough, one of the Kansas City Royals' original outfielders, passed away on September 9, 2019 at age 73.


He was selected by the Kansas City Athletics in thee 2nd round of the 1965 draft (the Athletics also took outfielder Rick Monday in the first round).

Keough played briefly with the Athletics in 1968 after their move to Oakland.

After the 1968 season, he was selected by the Royals in the expansion draft, and played in their outfield from 1969-72.  A spare outfielder in 1969, he became a starter the next season but missed the 2nd half of 1970 with a broken leg.

Keough was the team's primary right fielder in 1971, but in 1972 he missed most of April and May, only playing in 56 games that season.

He was traded to the White Sox after 1972, but played most of 1973 in triple-A before retiring.

His older brother Marty was an outfielder for the Red Sox, Reds, and others from 1956-1966.
.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

RIP - Tom Phoebus


Late-1960s Orioles starter Tom Phoebus passed away on September 5, 2019 at age 77.


Phoebus joined the Orioles at the start of 1967 and won 14, 15, and 14 games in '67, '68, and '69, which helped bridge the gap during the 2 years Jim Palmer was rehabbing in the minors, as well as covering for Wally Bunker's injuries. (In 1969 Palmer rejoined the O's and Mike Cuellar was acquired.)

Tom also pitched a no-hitter in 1968. His last contribution to the Orioles was as a trade chip that brought Pat Dobson to Baltimore before the 1971 season.

After his baseball career he became a teacher.

Baltimore Sun obituary

Obituary
.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Prime 9 - Cleveland Indians


The 17th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Indians won 380 games between 1966 and 1970. One or more of their 4 starting pitchers were always showing up on the American League Leaders cards in the 2nd half of the decade - especially Sam McDowell.


The Tony Horton card is a custom creation by the late Bob Lemke. (The fonts are somewhat distorted because I had to shrink the image so much to fit in with the other eight cards.)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Prime 9 - Philadelphia Phillies


The 16th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Phillies won 381 games between 1966 and 1970. (16th out of the 20 teams.)

Chris Short, Tony Taylor, Johnny Callison, and Tony Gonzalez were with the team for most of the 1960s.  Jim Bunning, Turk Farrell, Tony Taylor, and Dick Allen each had two stints with the Phillies.

If only Fergie Jenkins hadn't been traded away in early-1966... but that's a story best swept under the rug.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Prime 9 - New York Mets


The 15th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Mets won 383 games between 1966 and 1970. Five out of nine players are sporting Topps All-Rookie trophies!

The Mets finished in 10th or 9th place every one of their first seven seasons.  In season 8, they won 100 games, an improvement of  TWENTY-SEVEN wins over their 9th-place finish in 1968.

That kind of jump should have been an embarrassment to the Phillies, Indians, Senators, and even the White Sox (who were good from 1963-67, but went into the dumper from 1968-70). What did the Phillies do to improve?  They added the likes of Lowell Palmer, Billy Champion, Barry Lersch, Ken Reynolds, and Billy Wilson to their pitching staff.  Yay!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

RIP - Al Jackson


Original Met Al Jackson passed away on August 19, 2019 at age 83.


Jackson played briefly with the Pirates in 1959 and 1961, then was selected by the Mets in the pre-1962 expansion draft.

He pitched for the Mets from 1962-65, and again from 1968-69.  During his first stint with the Mets, he was one of the team's top 3 starting pitchers each season.

Jackson was traded to the Cardinals after the 1965 season for 3rd baseman Ken Boyer. Although he was on the 1967 World Champion Cardinals, he did not play in the World Series. He also played the last half of the 1969 season (his last) for the Reds.

After his playing career he was a long-time minor-league instructor for the Mets, as well as coaching for the Red Sox and Orioles.

CNN obituary

New York Times obituary
.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Prime 9 - California Angels


The 14th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Angels won 388 games between 1966 and 1970. Although they fared better than their AL expansion partner (Washington Senators), the Angels would not finish in 1st place until 1979.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Prime 9 - Kansas City / Oakland Athletics


The 13th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Athletics won 395 games between 1966 and 1970. After only winning only 74 and 62 games in their final 2 seasons in Kansas City, the A's moved to Oakland in 1968 and had a winning record every season from 1968 to 1976, including 3 straight World Series championships.

After the awful photos on their 1968 and most 1969 cards, it's great to see everyone in fresh new Oakland uniforms.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Prime 9 - New York Yankees


The 12th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Yankees won 398 games between 1966 and 1970. After losing more games than they won from 1966-69 (including a last-place finish in 1966), in 1970 they won 93 games, a 13-game improvement over 1969.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Prime 9 - Chicago Cubs



The 11th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Cubs won 409 games between 1966 and 1970. Quite a comeback for only winning 59 games in 1966!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Prime 9 - Atlanta Braves


The 10th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Braves won 412 games between 1966 and 1970, their first 5 seasons in Atlanta. Orlando Cepeda is the first player to appear twice in this Prime 9 series.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Prime 9 - Los Angeles Dodgers


The 9th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Dodgers won a ninth-best 416 games between 1966 and 1970. This despite enduring the only stretch under manager Walter Alston where they finished lower than 2nd place for 3 consecutive seasons (1967-69).

(I should have included Sandy Koufax here, but he only played 1 season during this time period.)

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Prime 9 - Boston Red Sox


The 8th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Red Sox won 424 games between 1966 and 1970. They jumped from 9th place in '66 to 1st in '67, losing the World Series in 7 games.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

RIP - Ernie Bowman


Ernie Bowman, an infielder for the Giants from 1961-63, passed away on August 4, 2019 at age 84.


Bowman played in the minors every year from 1956-69, except for 1962 and 1963. Those were the seasons he stayed with the Giants all year, backing up at 3 infield positions.

He was involved in multi-player deals in 1964 (to the Braves) and 1965 (to the Mets), but never played in the majors after September 1963, even though he had a card in the 1966 Topps set.

Johnson City (TN) Press obituary

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Prime 9 - Pittsburgh Pirates


The 7th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Pirates won 430 games between 1966 and 1970. They were strong at every position except catcher and 3rd base. (Maury Wills played 3rd base in '67 and '68, but by then he was just "a name".)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Prime 9 - Cincinnati Reds


The 6th installment in the "Prime 9" series - spotlighting the 9 best players per team from the 1966-70 time period.

For the series backstory and team rankings, click here.

The Reds won 437 games between 1966 and 1970. Look at all those rookie trophies! Pete Rose also had one on his 1964 card.

Monday, July 22, 2019

RIP - Don Mossi


Don Mossi, a pitcher for 4 teams from 1954-65, passed away on July 19, 2019 at age 90.


Mossi was a reliever for the Indians for 5 seasons (including an All-Star berth in 1957), then a starter for the Tigers for another 5.

He also played 1 season each for the White Sox and Athletics. Don finished up strong, pitching 51 games for the A's at age 36 in 1965.

Mossi had been the 3rd oldest living player from the 1965-69 era. The top 5 now stands at Elroy Face, Whitey Ford, Al Worthington, Curt Simmons, and Hector Lopez, all age 90 or above.

BaseballHappenings.net obituary

Friday, July 19, 2019

RIP - Ernie Broglio


Ernie Broglio, a pitcher for the Cardinals and Cubs, passed away on July 16, 2019 at age 83.


Broglio was a member of the Cardinals' starting rotation from 1959 to early-1964, and led the NL with 21 wins in 1960 (while finishing 3rd in the Cy Young voting), but he will forever be remembered as the player the Cubs received when trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals in June 1964.

He also won 12 and 18 games for St Louis in 1962 and 1963, but his career sputtered in Chicago, never winning more than 4 games in a season, and was through by July 1966.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch obituary

Chicago Sun-Times obituary

Thursday, July 18, 2019

RIP - Pumpsie Green


Pumpsie Green, a Red Sox infielder from 1959-62, passed away on July 17, 2019 at age 85.


Green made his major-league debut with Boston on July 21, 1959, as the Red Sox finally broke the color barrier (the last team to do so).

He was the backup middle infielder 4 seasons, receiving his most playing time during 1960.

After the 1962 season he was traded to the Mets (with pitcher Tracy Stallard) for 2nd baseman Felix Mantilla. Green played 17 games at 3rd base for the 1963 Mets, but played most of '63 and '64 with their triple-A Buffalo team.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2018.

Pumpsie's brother Cornell was a standout defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys from 1962-74.

MLB.com obituary

USA Today obituary

Fox News obituary