Tuesday, June 20, 2023

RIP - Dick Hall

Dick Hall, a relief pitcher mostly for the Orioles, but also the Pirates and Phillies, passed away on June 18, 2023 at age 92. 
(At the time, he was the 6th-oldest living player to have played after the 1965 season.)
Hall began his career in 1952 with the Pirates as an outfielder. In 1954 he was the Bucs' #2 outfielder (behind only Frank Thomas). Hall started 84 games, and was the team's regular center fielder during May and June. 
The following year they acquired Roberto Clemente, and Hall switched positions to pitcher. He began that season in class A ball, learning his new position. Hall posted a 12-5 record while starting 18 of his 19 games, including 16 complete games. Recalled to Pittsburgh in late-July, he made 13 starts for the Bucs and posted a 6-6 record. 
After a full season with the Pirates in 1956, he split the '57 season between the Bucs and their AAA team, then missed the 1958 season due to illness. Returning to the Pirates' AAA team in 1959, he posted an 18-5 record in 27 starts, and played 2 games with Pittsburgh in a September call-up. 
After the '59 season he was traded to the Athletics, but a year later moved on to the Orioles, where he was a swing man for a year before transitioning to the bullpen in 1962. He pitched in 393 games after 1961, only starting 10 of them (and only 1 start after 1963). 
From 1962-65 he was the #2 man in the O's bullpen, behind Hoyt Wilhelm ('62) and Stu Miller ('63-'65). 
In 1966, now 35 years old, he was relegated to the #5 slot in the bullpen, and because the Orioles' efficient sweep of the Dodgers in the World Series included 3 complete games, Hall saw no action in the post-season. 
Hall pitched for the Phillies in '67 and '68, then returned to Baltimore from 1969 to 1971. In '70 and '71 he was the oldest player in the American League. In 1969 he posted a 1.92 ERA in 65 innings, and saw action in the '69 to '71 post-seasons, notching a 2-1 record in 8 innings of work. 
Hall was known for his outstanding control, and walked very few batters unintentionally after 1962 (click to enlarge):
Hall retired after the 1971 season, at age 41.  

Saturday, June 17, 2023

RIP - Jack Baldschun

Jack Baldschun, the Phillies' top reliever in the early-1960s, passed away on June 6, 2023 at age 86.
Baldschun joined the Phillies in April 1961, and led the team in saves every season from 1962-64. 
With rookie Gary Wagner taking over the closer role in 1965, Baldschun was traded to the Orioles after that season, and was quickly flipped to the Reds in the Frank Robinson deal. 
He was the last man in the Reds' bullpen for all of 1966, and spent most of 1967-68 in the minors before resurfacing with the Padres in 1969 and part of 1970. 

Sunday, June 11, 2023

RIP - Roger Craig

Roger Craig, a pitcher for the Dodgers and others from 1955-1966, passed away on June 4, 2023 at age 93.
Craig broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955. Usually a swing man, he was strictly a starter in 1956, and posted a career-high 12 wins that season. 
After 7 seasons with the Dodgers, Craig was selected by the Mets in the expansion draft and spent 2 seasons in New York. He led the National League in losses both seasons (24, 22) but, you know, they were the Mets. 
He played for the Cardinals, Reds, and Phillies in his final 3 seasons. 
Craig was a pitching coach for the Padres, Astros, and Tigers from 1969-84, and managed the Padres from 1978-79, and the Giants from 1985-92. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

RIP - Bobby Bolin


Bobby Bolin, who pitched for the Giants all through the 1960s and later for the Red Sox, passed away on June 2, 2023 at age 84.
Bolin debuted with the Giants in April 1961. After working out of the bullpen for his first 2 seasons, he was a swing man from 1963-69, except for 1966, when he started 34 of his 36 games. 
His best year was 1965, when he posted a 14-6 record. In 1968, his 1.99 ERA was 2nd best in the NL, behind only Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA. 
He was traded to the Brewers in December 1969. (On the same day, the Giants' bizarro front office traded Bolin for Dick Simpson and Steve Whitaker, and also traded Ray Sadecki and Dave Marshall to the Mets for Jim Gosger and Bob Heise!) 
Bolin was traded to the Red Sox in September 1970, and was used strictly in relief while with Boston (thru the 1973 season). After leading the entire Red Sox' staff in appearances (39) and saves (15), he was released the following March. 


Monday, June 5, 2023

RIP - John Sullivan

John Sullivan, a backup catcher for the Tigers, Mets, and Phillies in the 1960s, passed away on June 1, 2023 at age 82.
Sullivan played in the minors for all or part of every season from 1959-72, except for 1967. 
He played a few games with the Tigers in '63 and '64, and a few dozen games in 1965. 
After a full season in the minors, he was with the Mets for all of 1967. 
He wrapped up his major-league career with the Phillies for part of 1968. His only significant playing time came in 1965 (backing up Bill Freehan) and 1967 (backing up Jerry Grote).
Sullivan later coached for the Royals, Braves, and Blue Jays from 1979-1993. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

RIP - Mike de la Hoz

Mike de la Hoz, a utility infielder for the Indians and Braves from 1960-67, passed away on May 28, 2023 at age 84.
He played in the Indians' farm system from 1958-60, then was with the Tribe for part of '60 and '62, and all of '61 and '63. Most of his playing time (and starts) came during the 1960 and 1963 seasons. 
Just before the 1964 season he was sent to the Braves to complete an earlier trade for Chico Salmon. Mike played for the Braves for all of 1964-67 (mostly as a pinch-hitter or infield sub), then played all of 1968-70 in the minors, save for 1 game with the Reds. 
He was inducted into the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.