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Author: Subject: Kenny's trip down Baseball's memory lane.

True Peach





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  posted on 2/15/2009 at 03:50 PM
I'll be adding photos and such on some of my All Time favorite players and teams from the past. I will be adding more as time goes by. Some of these guys were never Superstars, but were players that I always liked. I will mix in some classic teams and classic players also.

My first favorite player I remember from my childhood.



Mack F. Jones (November 6, 1938 – June 8, 2004), nicknamed "Mack The Knife", was a Major League Baseball left fielder who played for the Milwaukee & Atlanta Braves (1961-1967), Cincinnati Reds (1968) and Montreal Expos (1969-1971). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jones was signed by the Milwaukee Braves as a non-draft amateur agent in 1958. In his major-league debut, on July 13, 1961, Jones tied a "modern" (post-1900) National League record by collecting four hits, (three singles and a double) in his first game.

Jones' most productive season came in 1965, when he batted .262 with 31 home runs and 75 runs batted in. Jones teamed up that year with Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Joe Torre, Felipe Alou and Gene Oliver, as the Braves set a National League record with six 20-home run hitters in one season. When the Braves moved to Jones' native Atlanta in 1966, he hit 23 homers despite a shoulder injury. In 1967, he was traded to Cincinnati.

In the 1968 MLB expansion draft, Jones was the second player selected by the Montreal Expos (the fourth pick overall), behind Manny Mota.

On April 8, 1969 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York, playing the Mets, history was made. Jones, along with Don Hahn and Rusty Staub, took the outfield in the bottom of the first inning for the first-day Expos. The trio made up the Expos' first outfield in Montreal franchise history; Jones played left field for the Expos, Hahn was the first Expo ever to play center field and Staub to ever play right field.

Six days later, on April 14, 1969, Jones hit a three-run home run and two-run triple in the Expos' first home victory as a franchise, an 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Jarry Park. Jones finished that season with a career-high .270 batting average, 22 homers and 79 runs batted in. So popular was Jones in Montreal that the left-field bleachers in Jarry Park were nicknamed "Jonesville."

In an 11-year career, Jones was a .252 hitter with 133 home runs, 415 RBI, 485 runs, 132 doubles, 31 triples, and 65 stolen bases in 1002 games.

Mack Jones died in Atlanta from complications with stomach cancer. He was 65 years old.

A former Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs outfielder, Mack Jones was inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame in 2000. He had one of the best seasons ever by a Syracuse baseball player in 1964, when he batted .317 with 15 doubles, 18 triples, 39 home runs and 102 runs batted in. He holds modern-day single-season Syracuse records for runs (111), total bases (337), RBIs, triples and home runs, all set in 1964. Jones was part of a famed Syracuse Chiefs outfield that season that included future major-league stars Wille Horton and Jim Northrup.



[Edited on 2/25/2009 by OldDirtRoad]

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 2/15/2009 at 04:00 PM








Albert Oliver, Jr. (born October 14, 1946 in Portsmouth, Ohio) is a former Major League Baseball player. Over the course of his 18-year career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1968-77), Texas Rangers (1978-81), Montreal Expos (1982-83), San Francisco Giants (1984), Philadelphia Phillies (1984), Los Angeles Dodgers (1985) and Toronto Blue Jays (1985). Nicknamed "Scoop", Oliver batted and threw left-handed.

Oliver was a center fielder who also played left and right as well as first base. He was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1964. From 1970-76 he played on five Pirates division champions, including the team that defeated the Orioles in the 1971 World Series.

Career

Pittsburgh Pirates (1968-77)

Oliver was called to the Major Leagues on September 14, 1968, which was the day his father, Al Oliver, Sr., died [1]. He appeared in 4 games that season. In his official rookie season, Oliver batted .285 with 17 home runs and drove in 70 runs, placing second in the 1969 National League Rookie of the Year voting. The following season, 1970, Oliver hit .270 and was fifth in the NL with seven sacrifice files. He also finished second in the league with the 14 times he was hit by a pitch (the previous year he was plunked 12 times, fourth in the league). The Pirates won the National League East title for their first trip to the postseason since winning the 1960 World Series. However, they lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS.

On September 1, 1971, the Pirates fielded what is believed to be the first all-black lineup in the history of the league. Oliver played first base, joining second baseman Rennie Stennett, center fielder Gene Clines, right fielder Roberto Clemente, left fielder Willie Stargell, catcher Manny Sanguillén, third baseman Dave Cash, shortstop Jackie Hernández and pitcher Dock Ellis in the starting lineup. [2] Oliver ended the season with a .282 average, including 31 doubles (8th in the NL), seven triples (10th), 10 sacrifice flies (2nd), and five hit-by-pitches (good for 9th in the league). After beating the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, the Pirates won the World Series, beating the Baltimore Orioles in seven games with Oliver as their regular center fielder.

In 1972 Oliver raised his batting average to .312, good for sixth in the league. He hit 12 home runs with 89 RBI (10th in the NL). He scored 88 runs (8th in the league) and totalled 176 hits, which was also 8th in the NL. Oliver was named to his first All-Star game while finishing seventh in the NL MVP voting. Oliver hit 20 home runs and drive in 99 runs (7th in the NL) while batting .292. Again he was among the league-leaders in hits (191, fifth in the NL), total bases (303, fifth in NL), doubles (38, second in NL), triples (7, eighth in NL), sacrifice flies (nine, 3rd in NL) and extra-base hits with 65, which put him in the top ten for the first of his five times in the league's top ten in that category. The Pirates won their third consecutive NL East title, however they lost to the Reds 3 games to 2 in the NLCS. The Pirates offense led the National League in batting average with a .274 average and led the NL with 1505 hits.

In 1974, Oliver hit .321 with 198 hits which were second and fourth in the National League respectively. He also hit 38 doubles and 12 triples which were both second best in the NL. Oliver was seventh in NL MVP voting for the second time in three years. About Oliver, Willie Stargell said, "When it came to hitting . . . all he ever did was crush the ball. Al was the perfect number three hitter because you knew he was going to make contact". He had a 23-game hitting streak in 1974 and another streak of 21 games where he got at least one hit. The Pirates won the NL East but lost to the Dodgers 3 games to 1 in the NLCS. The Pirates offense, known as the "Pittsburgh Lumber Company" again led the NL in hitting with 1560 hits and a .274 team batting average.

Oliver's 90 runs in 1975 was tenth in the NL as he hit .280 with 18 home runs and 84 RBI and played in the All-Star game for the second time. He tied a personal mark with 65 extra base hits which was good for 5th in the NL, 39 of which were doubles which put him third in the NL in that category. He was named as an outfielder on The Sporting News 1975 NL All-Star Team. The Pirates won the NL East again, but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds 3 games to none in the NLCS.

In 1976 Oliver hit .323; this was his first of nine straight .300+ seasons. He played in the All-Star game once again, batting .360 at break, but an inner ear infection sidelined him in the second half, and prevented him from finishing in the top 10 in batting categories. He was voted the National League Player of the Month for June. In 1977, as part of the so-called "Pittsburgh Lumber Company", Oliver hit .308 (tenth in the NL) with 19 home runs and 82 RBI. His 175 hits were 10th in the NL. he also stole a career-high 13 bases, although he was thrown out 16 times along the way. His 8 sacrifice flies were fifth in the league as well.

Texas Rangers (1978-81)

On December 8, 1977, he was traded as part of a 4-team trade by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Nelson Norman to the Texas Rangers. The Atlanta Braves sent Willie Montanez to the New York Mets. The Texas Rangers sent Adrian Devine, Tommy Boggs, and Eddie Miller to the Atlanta Braves. The Texas Rangers sent a player to be named later and Tom Grieve to the New York Mets. The Texas Rangers sent Bert Blyleven to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Mets sent Jon Matlack to the Texas Rangers. The New York Mets sent John Milner to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Texas Rangers later sent Ken Henderson to the New York Mets to complete the trade.

In 1978 Oliver was second in the AL with a .324 batting average and his 170 hits here good for eighth in the league and his 35 doubles were sixth in the league. The next season, 1979, Oliver hit .323, good for fifth in the league (the fifth time he had finished among his league's top ten in batting.

Wearing the number 0 on his uniform, Oliver played in all of Texas's 163 games in 1980, and reached career highs in hits (209, fourth in the AL), doubles (43, second in the AL) and RBI (117, fourth in the AL) while batting .319, which was eighth in the American League. He was voted to the AL All-Star team for the first time. Oliver was the outfielder on The Sporting News 1980 AL Silver Slugger Team. On August 17 at Tiger Stadium, he established an American League record with 21 total bases in a doubleheader (four home runs, a double and a triple).

In 1981 Oliver was ninth in the AL with a .309 average, sixth in hits with 130, second in doubles with 29 while playing in the All-Star game (his 5th). He also won his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award as the best hitter at his position, which in 1981 was designated hitter.

Montreal Expos (1982-83)

On March 31, 1982, after he became the Rangers' all-time leading hitter (.319) and reached the club's top ten in virtually every offensive category he was traded to the Montreal Expos for Larry Parrish and Dave Hostetler.

In 1982 with the Expos, Oliver hit a career-high .331 batting average to win the National League batting crown. He also led the NL in hits (204), doubles (43), extra bases (67), and total bases (317), and tied with Dale Murphy for the RBI lead with 109. His doubles tied his 1980 career-high and his 67 extra base hit was also a career-high as well has his 22 home runs, breaking his 1973 personal best. In addition be playing in his sixth All-Star game he was 3rd in the NL MVP voting and won his 3rd consecutive Silver Slugger Award, this time as a first baseman. He was also the first baseman on The Sporting News NL All-Star Team.

In 1983 Oliver led the NL in doubles with 38 and was fourth in the NL in hits with 184. He hit .300 once again and topped the 2500 career hit level (August 10, 1983, off Mets' pitcher Carlos Diaz). and Oliver was selected for his seventh All-Star game, starting at first base in the 1983 Classic.

Giants, Phillies, Dodgers, Blue Jays (1984-85)

On February 27, 1984, Oliver was traded San Francisco Giants for Fred Breining and Max Venable. The San Francisco Giants later sent Andy McGaffigan to the Montreal Expos to complete the trade. Later that same year, on August 20, 1984, he was again traded, this time with Renie Martin to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kelly Downs and George Riley.

In the 1985 offseason, Oliver was traded by the Phillies to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Pat Zachry. Then, on July 9, 1985, he was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Toronto Blue Jays for Len Matuszek. With the Blue Jays, Oliver delivered two game-winning hits in the first four games of the 1985 American League Championship Series against Kansas City. However, the Royals rallied to win the last three games. (In the seventh and deciding game, the lefty Oliver started as the DH against right-hander Bret Saberhagen. But after pitching three scoreless innings, Saberhagen departed the game in favour of lefty Charlie Leibrandt, thus giving the Royals the platoon advantage. Right-handed batter Cliff Johnson pinch hit for Oliver, and struck out, ending a Blue Jays rally. Oliver was caught by TV cameras angrily scowling in the dugout, knowing his night -- and as it turned out, his season and career -- were over.) Oliver batted .375 for the series.

Oliver claims that due to baseball collusion he was forced to retire. Courts did prove that there was collusion among baseball owners in the mid-1980s to suppress baseball salaries, but it has not been shown that it had a direct effect on Oliver. Several players, including Kirk Gibson, were allowed to file for free agency a second time because of the court order based on the "collusion" finding. Andre Dawson said, "Al, as a lifetime .300 hitter after 18 seasons, I feel is deserving of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is no question in my mind had he not been forced out of the game by collusion, had he been given an all out honest attempt to achieve 3,000 hits, he would have done it. He was pushed out of the game when he was still a .300 hitter. I feel he deserves a place in baseball today."

Highlights

Al Oliver was a career .303 hitter with 219 home runs and 1326 RBI in 2368 games. He batted .300 or more eleven times and retired with 2,743 hits (45th on the all-time list). He also ranks among all-time top 50 in games played (2368), total bases (4083), RBI (1326) and extra-base hits (825). He was among the league's top ten in doubles nine times and among the league's top ten in hits nine times as well and finished in the top ten in batting average nine times. Five times he was among the league's top ten in total bases and four times he was in the top ten in RBIs. Because of these feats, his name has been mentioned more than once as a possible inductee into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Notes

* Oliver hit the last home run ever hit at Forbes Field. His shot came off Milt Pappas in the sixth inning of the last game played at the stadium, the second game of a June 28, 1970, doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs.
* Oliver also drove in the first run ever scored at Three Rivers Stadium. His first-inning double off Gary Nolan drove in Richie Hebner in that stadium's inaugural game, on July 16 of that same 1970 season. However, the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Pirates 3-2 .
* Oliver asked to be intentionally benched for the final two games of the 1983 season to maintain his .300 batting average.

 

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  posted on 2/15/2009 at 08:19 PM
Al Oliver was a really underrated player, one of the most underrated of his era.

This will be a cool thread.

This is my first post at the Playpen..

It's fun!

 

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  posted on 2/15/2009 at 10:07 PM
quote:
Al Oliver was a really underrated player, one of the most underrated of his era.

This will be a cool thread.

This is my first post at the Playpen..

It's fun!


Al was underrated...........

More to come later.........

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:22 PM


Tony Lee Cloninger (born August 13, 1940 in Cherryville, North Carolina) is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1961-68), Cincinnati Reds (1968-71) and St. Louis Cardinals (1972). He batted and threw right-handed.

A fireball pitcher, Cloninger compiled a career 113-97 record with 1120 strikeouts and a 4.07 earned run average in 1767.2 innings pitched. He enjoyed his best year for the 1965 Braves with career highs in wins (24), strikeouts (211), ERA (3.29), complete games (16), innings (279) and games started (40).

Regarded as a tough fireball pitcher, Cloninger was a dangerous hitter as well. He compiled a career .192 batting average with 67 runs batted in and 11 home runs, including five in 1966. On July 3, 1966, in a Braves 17-3 victory against the Giants at Candlestick Park, Cloninger helped himself with the bat when he hit two grand slams and drove in nine runs. He became the first player in the National League and the first pitcher ever to hit two slams in the same game, also setting a major league record for pitchers with his nine RBI.

Cloninger finished his career pitching with Cincinnati and St. Louis. After retiring, he served as a pitching coach for the Yankees and Red Sox.


I was 9 years old when Tony had that 2 Grand Slam game. My friend Mike and I were listening to it on the radio. We were freaking out.

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:28 PM


Samuel Edward Thomas "Sam" McDowell (born September 21, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball, playing his first 11 seasons for the Cleveland Indians before a 1971 trade to the San Francisco Giants and subsequent stints with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. Tall (6 feet, 5 inches) and powerful, his left-handed fastball was delivered with an unusually calm pitching motion which led to his memorable nickname: "Sudden Sam." His strikeout prowess was sometimes nullified by periodic control problems.

In 1960, McDowell signed with the Indians for a six-figure bonus. He appeared in his first big league game a year later, one week before his 19th birthday.

After struggling over the next two seasons, McDowell became a starting pitcher in 1964 and became a workhorse over the next eight seasons. He tossed over 200 innings in seven of those years and ranked among the American League's leaders in strikeouts. To date, his 2159 strikeouts trail only Bob Feller's 2581 among Indian pitchers. He twice exceeded 300 K's in a season, including 325 in 1965—second in franchise history to only Feller's 348 in 1946.

A six-time All-Star (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971), McDowell was also the league leader in ERA and strikeouts in 1965, led in strikeouts and shutouts in 1966 and led the league in strikeouts again in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, he put together his best season, when he was named "Pitcher of the Year" by The Sporting News, once again leading in strikeouts while winning 20 games for the first and only time of his career.

McDowell finished with 2,453 career strikeouts and an average of 8.86 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. At the time of his retirement, his strikeout rate was bested by only two pitchers: Nolan Ryan and Sandy Koufax.

McDowell finished his pitching career with 2,453 career strikeouts and an average of 8.86 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, ranking him eighth all-time. His ratio of 7.03 hits allowed per nine innings places him ninth. He ranks fifth all time on the list of career ten or more strikeout games with 74. His 2159 strikeouts as an Indian place him second all time on their career list, behind only Bob Feller. In four All-Star appearances, McDowell struck out twelve NL All-Stars over eight innings, and was the losing pitcher, (in relief) in the 1965 game.


Fun fact: The character of Sam Malone, the alcoholic ex-Red Sox pitcher played by Ted Danson on the popular sitcom Cheers, was based on Sam McDowell.

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:33 PM


Wilbur Forrester Wood, Jr. (born October 22, 1941 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is a former knuckleball pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, and most notably the Chicago White Sox, where he got 163 of his 164 wins. He threw left-handed, and batted right-handed.

In 1960, Wood was signed out of Belmont, Massachusetts high school by the Red Sox. He pitched on-and-off for them for a few seasons before being traded to the Pirates in late September 1964. After two seasons with Pittsburgh, he was traded to the White Sox after the 1966 season. When he arrived, knuckleball master Hoyt Wilhelm advised him to use his knuckleball exclusively. Taking Wilhelm's advice, Wood's career took off, first as a reliever, and then as a starter. With the White Sox, Wood became well known as a durable workhorse, and one of the last pitchers to consistently throw well over 300 innings in a season.

As a reliever In 1968, Wood set the major league record (since broken) of 88 games pitched in a season. He converted to starting pitcher in 1971, and continued to display unusual durability. During the years 1971-74, Wood averaged 45 games started and 347 innings pitched, winning a total of 90 games, while losing 69. He led the American League in games started in each year from 1972 through 1975, and he was the league leader in both wins and innings pitched in 1972 and 1973. Wood finished second in the 1972 voting for the Cy Young Award, losing a very close vote to Gaylord Perry.

In a 17-season career, Wood compiled a 164-156 record with a 3.24 ERA. He had 1411 strikeouts in 2684 innings pitched. He compiled 24 shutouts and 114 complete games in 297 games started. He pitched in 651 games. He was also the last pitcher in American League history to win and lose 20 or more games in the same season (24-20 in 1973).

Wood's resilience, which was attributed to the less stressful nature of the knuckleball delivery, led to some unusual feats of endurance. On May 28, 1973, while pitching for the White Sox against the Cleveland Indians, Wood pitched the remainder of a 21-inning carryover game that had been suspended two nights earlier, allowing only two hits in five innings to earn the victory. He then started the regularly scheduled game and pitched a four-hit complete game shutout, earning two wins in the same night. Later that season, on July 20, Wood started both ends of a doubleheader, making him the last pitcher to do so.[1] He lost both of those games.

Wood was seriously injured in a game against the Detroit Tigers in Tiger Stadium, May 9, 1976, when Ron LeFlore, the Tigers' center fielder, hit a vicious line drive back toward the mound. The ball struck Wood's left knee forcibly, shattering his kneecap. He had surgery the next day, but the outlook was bleak. Many predicted that he would never pitch again, but after considerable rehabilitation, he did some pitching for two more seasons with the White Sox. Unfortunately, in spite of a courageous effort, he showed few signs of his former mastery. He retired in 1978, moving back to his native New England.

In a 6-1 loss to the California Angels, on September 10, 1977, Wood hit three consecutive batters in the first inning, tying a record set by Dock Ellis. C. J. Nitkowski later accomplished the same feat in 1998.

* 3-time All-Star (1971, '72, '74)
* American League The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award winner in 1972
* American League The Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award winner in 1968
* Led the league in wins twice (1972, '73)
* Led the league in games started four times (1972, '73, '74, '75), with his career high coming in 1972 (49)
* 2nd in the league in shutouts twice (1971, '72), tied with Mel Stottlemyre in 1971
* Set the single-season record for games pitched in 1968 (88, including 2 starts), since surpassed by 12 pitchers through 2005

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:34 PM
quote:
.........
Regarded as a tough fireball pitcher, Cloninger was a dangerous hitter as well. He compiled a career .192 batting average with 67 runs batted in and 11 home runs, including five in 1966. On July 3, 1966, in a Braves 17-3 victory against the Giants at Candlestick Park, Cloninger helped himself with the bat when he hit two grand slams and drove in nine runs. He became the first player in the National League and the first pitcher ever to hit two slams in the same game, also setting a major league record for pitchers with his nine RBI............






Whoa ! Does that bring back memories ! I listened to that game on a Sunday afternoon as a 9 year old on WSB 750. Milo Hamilton made the call.

[Edited on 2/16/2009 by Peachstatedawg]

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:38 PM

Very Cool Stuff Kenny!
Bringing back some great memories for me.
Keep it up!

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:46 PM


John Wesley Powell (born August 17, 1941, in Lakeland, Florida) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Baltimore Orioles (1961–74), Cleveland Indians (1975–76) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Powell currently owns Boog's Barbecue, which sells barbecue sandwiches and ribs along Eutaw Street at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and along the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Boog Powell is an avid angler, kicking off the Maryland Fishing season with the governor.

Powell joined the Orioles after leading the International League in home runs at Rochester in 1961, and spent his first three seasons as a slow-footed third baseman and left fielder before switching to first base in 1965. Offensively, he was an immediate success, hitting 25 home runs in 1963, then leading the American League in slugging percentage (.606) in 1964 while blasting a career-high 39 home runs despite missing several weeks because of a broken wrist. He slumped to .248 with 17 home runs in 1965, then won the American League Comeback player of the Year honors in 1966 (.287, 34 home runs, 109 runs batted in) while being hampered by a broken finger.

In 1966, Powell led the Orioles to the 1966 World Series, and there they surprised the baseball world by sweeping the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to become baseball's world champions.

Before the 1968 season, Powell lamented, "once, just once, I'd like to go through a whole season without an injury," and he did just that, playing over 150 games each of the next three seasons. In 1969 he hit a career-high .304 with 37 home runs and 121 runs batted in, and in 1970 he was the American League Most Valuable Player, narrowly missing a .300 average on the last day of the season and hitting 35 home runs with 114 runs batted in. In the 1970 World Series, Powell homered in the first two games as the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 5 games. Prior to the 1971 season, Powell appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the 1971 baseball preview issue. Powell helped Baltimore to a third straight World Series that year, blasting a pair of home runs in game two of the American League Championship Series against the up-and-coming Oakland Athletics, but he hit only .111 in the 1971 World Series as Baltimore lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games.

Powell had been an American League all-star for four straight years (1968-1971). However, Oriole manager Earl Weaver believed in making liberal use of the platoon system, and in 1973 and 1974, Powell fell victim to it, limiting his at-bats in both years. The aging slugger was traded to Cleveland with Don Hood for Dave Duncan and a minor leaguer before the 1975 season, affording Powell the chance once again to play every day. He responded well to the challenge, hitting .297 with 129 hits and 27 home runs for the Indians that year (his highest marks since 1970), plus fielding his position at a .997 clip. But he hit only nine home runs in 1976 and none as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in 1977 and was released August 31, 1977.

In a 17-season career, Powell posted a .266 batting average with 339 home runs and 1187 RBI in 2042 games. Powell hit three home runs in a game three times, and was second only to Eddie Murray on the Orioles all-time home run list before Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed Powell in 1998.

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 04:57 PM
1969: "Miracle Mets"

The Mets played a major role in the National League's move to divisional play for 1969. Faced with the prospect of losing lucrative home dates with the Dodgers and Giants, they threatened to scuttle the whole plan unless they were compensated with more dates against the Cardinals, the reigning power in the league at the time. The Cubs then demanded to be placed in the newly formed National League East as well in order to continue their historic rivalry with the Cardinals. The result was that the Braves and Reds - in defiance of all geographic reality - were placed in the National League West.

The Mets began the 1969 season in a mediocre way: an opening day loss of 11–10 to the expansion Montreal Expos was followed by a record of 21–23 through the end of May. On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorates the spot. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the first ever National League East Division title (and their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1945). The Mets sat in third place, ten games behind; but Chicago went 8–17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games. They took first place for good on September 9, and finished in first place with a 100–62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of 2.99, and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25–7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17–9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4–0 victory.

The "Miracle Mets" or "Amazin Mets," as they became known by the press, went on to win a three-game sweep of the strong Atlanta Braves, led by legend Henry "Hank" Aaron, in the very first National League Championship Series. The Mets were still considered underdogs in this series despite the fact that they had a better record than the Braves.

The Mets were given very little chance in the 1969 World Series, facing a powerful Baltimore Orioles team that had gone 109–53 in the regular season and included Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer as well as future Mets manager Davey Johnson, who would make the final out of the Series. Before the series began, pundits predicted Tom Seaver might win the opening game, but that the Mets would have trouble winning again in the World Series. As it turned out, just the opposite occurred; Seaver was roughed up, allowing four runs in the opener, which he lost - but the Mets' pitching shut down the Orioles after that, holding them to just five runs over the next four games, to win the World Series 4 games to 1. Seaver got his revenge in game four, pitching all 10 innings of a 2–1 victory.

For longtime Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and many fans, the turning point in the team's season, came in the third inning of the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Houston Astros. When left fielder Cleon Jones failed to hustle after a ball hit to the outfield, Mets manager Gil Hodges removed him from the game - but rather than simply signal from the dugout for Jones to come out, or delegate the job to one of his coaches, Hodges left the dugout and slowly, deliberately, walked all the way out to left field to Jones, and walked him back to the bench. For the rest of that season, Jones never failed to hustle.






Make no mistake about it,

the 1969 Miracle Mets will live forever

and the legacy will live on and on."--- Art Shamsky


"In spring training Jerry Grote knew," Seaver said. "He said we were going to win it. We thought he was crazy, nuts. But it made sense. He was the one who had caught us all the year before and he was catching us now in spring training. He just knew." --- Tom Seaver

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 05:12 PM
My Great Grandaddy and Grandfather used to tell some great stories about Walter, I would have loved to have seen the "Big Train" pitch.


Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887–December 10, 1946), nicknamed "The Big Train", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball between 1907 and 1927. One of the most celebrated players in baseball history, Johnson established several pitching records, some of which remained unbroken for more than a half-century.

Johnson won renown as the premier power pitcher of his era.

Ty Cobb recalled his first encounter with the rookie fastballer:

"On August 2, 1907, I encountered the most threatening sight I ever saw in the ball field. He was a rookie, and we licked our lips as we warmed up for the first game of a doubleheader in Washington. Evidently, manager Pongo Joe Cantillon of the Nats had picked a rube out of the cornfields of the deepest bushes to pitch against us... He was a tall, shambling galoot of about twenty, with arms so long they hung far out of his sleeves, and with a sidearm delivery that looked unimpressive at first glance... One of the Tigers imitated a cow mooing, and we hollered at Cantillon: 'Get the pitchfork ready, Joe-- your hayseed's on his way back to the barn.'
...The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup. And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him... every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park."


Yankees outfielder Birdie Cree said the only way to time Johnson's fastball was "when you see the arm start forward, swing."

Although a lack of precision instruments prevented accurate measurement of his fastball, in 1917, in Bridgeport (Conn.) arms laboratory, Walter Johnson recorded 134 feet per second, which is equal to 99 miles per hour (159 km/h). This speed is not unheard of today, but it was virtually unique in Johnson's day, with the possible exception of Smoky Joe Wood. Unusually, Johnson pitched with a sidearm motion, whereas power pitchers are normally associated with a straight-overhand delivery.

The overpowering fastball was the primary reason for Johnson's exceptional statistics, especially his fabled strikeout totals. Johnson's record total of 3,509 strikeouts stood for more than 55 years until Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, and Gaylord Perry (in that order) all surpassed it in 1983. Johnson is now 9th on the all-time strikeout list, but his total must be understood in its proper context. Among his pre-World War II contemporaries, only two men were within a thousand strikeouts of Johnson: runner-up Cy Young with 2,803 (706 strikeouts behind) and Tim Keefe at 2,562. Bob Feller, whose war-shortened career began in 1936, later ended up with 2,581.

As a right-handed pitcher for the Washington Nationals/Senators, Walter Johnson won 417 games, the second most by any pitcher in history (after Cy Young, who won 511). He and Young are the only pitchers to have won 400 games.

In a 21-year career, Johnson had twelve 20-win seasons, including ten in a row. Twice, he topped thirty wins (33 in 1912 and 36 in 1913). Johnson's record includes 110 shutouts, the most in baseball history. Johnson had a 38-26 record in games decided by a 1-0 score; both his win total and his losses in these games are major league records. On September 4, 5 and 7, 1908, he shut out the New York Yankees (then known as the New York Highlanders) in three consecutive games.

Three times, Johnson won the triple crown for pitchers (1913, 1918 and 1924). Johnson twice won the American League Most Valuable Player Award (1913, 1924), a feat accomplished since by only two other pitchers, Carl Hubbell in 1933 and 1936 and Hal Newhouser in 1944 and 1945.

His earned run average of 1.14 in 1913 was the fourth lowest ever at the time he recorded it; it remains the sixth-lowest today, despite having been surpassed by Bob Gibson in 1968 (1.12) for lowest ERA ever by a 300+ inning pitcher. It could have been lower if not for one of manager Clark Griffith's traditions. For the last game of the season, Griffith often treated the fans to a farce game. Johnson actually played center field that game until he was brought in to pitch. He allowed two hits before he was taken out of the game. The next pitcher - who was actually a career catcher - allowed both runners to score. The official scorekeeper ignored the game, but later, Johnson was charged with those two runs, raising his ERA from 1.09 to 1.14.

In 1913, also, Johnson won 36 games. The entire team won 90, so Walter finished with 40% of the team's total wins for the season.

Although he usually pitched for losing teams during his career, Johnson finally led the Washington Nationals/Senators to the World Series in 1924, his 18th year in the American League. Johnson lost the first and fifth game of the 1924 World Series, but became the hero by pitching four scoreless innings of relief in the seventh and deciding game, winning in the 12th inning. Washington returned to the World Series the following season, but Johnson's experience was close to the inverse: two early wins, followed by a Game Seven loss.

Although his Hall of Fame plaque reads that he pitched 'for many years with a losing team,' during his career the Senators finished in the first division 11 times, and the second division 10 times. In Johnson's first five seasons, Washington finished last twice and next-to-last three times. But they came close to winning the pennant in 1912 as well as the following year, which were Johnson's two 30-win seasons. Then, for the next decade, they typically finished in the middle of the pack before their back-to-back pennants.

Johnson was a good hitter for a pitcher, compiling a career batting average of .235, including a record .433 average in 1925. He also made 13 appearances in the outfield during his career. He hit over .200 in 13 of his 21 seasons as a hitter, hit three home runs in 1914, and hit 12 doubles and a triple in 130 at bats in 1917. Johnson finished his career with 23 home runs, the ninth-highest total for a pitcher in Major League history.

Johnson had a reputation as a kindly person, and made many friends in baseball. As reported in The Glory of Their Times, Sam Crawford was one of Johnson's good friends, and sometimes in non-critical situations, Johnson would ease up so Crawford would hit well against him. This would vex Crawford's teammate, Ty Cobb, who could not understand how Crawford could hit the great Johnson so well. Johnson was also friendly with Babe Ruth, despite Ruth's having hit some of his longest home runs off him at Griffith Stadium.

In 1928, he began his career as a manager in the minor leagues, taking up residence at 32 Maple Terrace, Millburn, New Jersey, and managing the Newark team of the International League. He continued on to the major leagues, managing the Washington Nationals/Senators (1929-1932), and finally the Cleveland Indians (1933-1935). Johnson also served as a radio announcer for the Senators during the 1939 season.

One of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, Walter Johnson retired to Germantown, Maryland. A life-long Republican and friend of President Calvin Coolidge, Johnson was elected as a Montgomery County commissioner in 1938. In 1940 he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in Maryland's 6th district, but came up short against the incumbent Democrat, William D. Byron, by a total of 60,037 (53%) to 52,258 (47%).

At 7:00 PM, Tuesday, December 10, 1946 Johnson died of a brain tumor in Washington, D.C., five weeks after his 59th birthday, and was interred at Rockville Union Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland.










"He’s got a gun concealed about his person. You can’t tell me he throws them balls with his arm."
-- Ring Lardner, sportswriter

"...arguably the greatest pitcher of all time."
-- Tim Kurkjian, sportswriter

"He had a slingshot delivery with nice, easy movement, which didn't seem to be putting any strain at all on his arm. But he could propel that ball like a bullet."
-- Fred Lindstrom, New York Giants

"You can't hit what you can't see."
-- Cliff Blakenship, Washington Senators

"His fastball looked about the size of a watermelon seed and it hissed at you as it passed."
-- Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers

"There’s only one way to time Johnson’s fastball. When you see the arm start forward-swing."
-- Birdie McCree

"I felt sorry for him when we shook hands because his hand trembled so. I knew what he was thinking. He was thinking he mustn't let down the fans all over the country who were rooting, even praying for him."
-- Art Nehf, New York Giants

"Those last four innings of the world series comprise beyond all question the most dramatic stretch that sport has ever known... In the space of two hours, Walter Johnson had come from a lone, dejected and broken figure in the shadows of the clubhouse to a personal triumph that no other athlete had ever drawn in all the history of sport."
-- Grantland Rice, sportswriter

QUOTES FROM JOHNSON:
"I was the greenest rookie that ever was. One evening I was standing out on the sidewalk when a stranger approached and said, 'You're famous already, kid. See, they've named a hotel for you.' I looked across the street and, sure enough, there was a big illuminated sign that read, 'Johnson Hotel.' Well, do you know that I was so green that I actually believed the man?"

"I throw as hard as I can when I think I have to throw as hard as I can."

"The beanball is one of the meanest things on earth and no decent fellow would use it. The beanball is a potential murderer. If I were a batter and thought the pitcher really tried to bean me, I'd be inclined to wait for him outside the park with a baseball bat."

"Can I throw harder than Joe Wood? Listen, Mister, no man alive can throw any harder than Smokey Joe Wood."

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 06:17 PM
Nice work Kenny, I had the Wilbur Wood, Sam Mcdowell and Boogs cards as a kid. When I go to Camden yards I always eat at Boog's Pit.

 

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  posted on 2/16/2009 at 06:50 PM

Frank Oliver Howard (born August 8, 1936 in Columbus, Ohio), nicknamed "Hondo" and "The Capital Punisher", is a former left and right fielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Senators/Texas Rangers. One of the most physically intimidating hitters in the sport, he was named the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1960, and went on to lead the American League in home runs and total bases twice each and in slugging average, runs batted in and walks once each. His 382 career home runs were the eighth most by a right-handed hitter when he retired; his 237 home runs in a Washington uniform are a record for any of that city's several franchises, as are his 1969 totals of 48 HRs and 340 total bases. His Washington/Texas franchise records of 1,172 games, 4,120 at bats, 246 HRs, 1,141 hits, 701 RBI, 544 runs, 155 doubles, 2,074 total bases and a .503 slugging average have variously been broken by Jim Sundberg, Toby Harrah and Juan González.

Los Angeles

Howard was an All-American in both basketball and baseball at Ohio State, and was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA. Listed at 6'8" and 275 pounds, he instead signed with the Dodgers organization, and after a handful of appearances in 1958 and 1959 he succeeded Carl Furillo as Los Angeles' right fielder in 1960; he was named the Minor League Player of the Year in 1959 by The Sporting News after hitting 43 homers in the Pacific Coast League. He was named the NL's Rookie of the Year after batting .268 with 23 home runs and 77 RBI, and was nicknamed "Hondo" by teammates after a John Wayne film. He belted 98 homers in the following four seasons, most prominently in a 1962 campaign in which he batted .296 with 31 home runs and finished among the NL's top five players in RBI (119) and slugging (.560). The season ended with the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants tied for first place, necessitating a three-game pennant playoff; Howard had only a single in 11 at bats and struck out three times against Billy Pierce in the first game, including the final out; but he had a run and an RBI in the second contest, an 8–7 win. The Giants took the pennant in three games, but Howard would later finish ninth in the MVP voting.

In 1963 his production dropped off to a .273 average, 28 homers and 64 RBI; but the Dodgers won the pennant, and his upper-deck solo home run off Whitey Ford broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, helping Los Angeles to a 2–1 win and a sweep of the New York Yankees. He again hit over 20 home runs in 1964, and on June 4 his three-run home run in the seventh inning provided all the scoring in Sandy Koufax's third no-hitter, a 3–0 defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies; Howard had also homered for the final run in Koufax's first no-hitter on June 30 two years earlier, a 5–0 win over the New York Mets. But the team's 1962 move into spacious Dodger Stadium did not favor power hitters, and their speedier outfielders Tommy and Willie Davis were seen as more in line with the club's future; Howard's .226 batting average in 1964—combined with regularly high strikeout totals—led to his trade to Washington in a seven-player December deal which brought Claude Osteen to Los Angeles. In 2005 Howard recalled welcoming the trade despite going from a pennant contender to a weak expansion team, noting, "I was essentially a fourth outfielder in L.A., hitting 25 home runs a year in the biggest baseball park in America and doing it on 400 at-bats." He added, "What could I do if I get 550 at-bats? I had my best years here."

Washington

Shifted to left field in Washington, he was unquestionably the center of the offense, leading the team in homers and RBI in each of his seven seasons there. But under managers Gil Hodges, Jim Lemon and Ted Williams, the Senators were a woeful bunch, achieving only one winning season in that time. In 1967 he hit 36 homers, third in the AL behind Harmon Killebrew and Carl Yastrzemski, as he entered the peak years of his career. During an amazing one-week stretch in the spring of 1968 (May 12–18), Howard hammered 10 home runs in 20 at bats, with at least one in six consecutive games; his 10 home runs are also the most ever in one week. He would go on to hit 13 homers in 16 games, a mark that would stand until Albert Belle matched it in 1995. Howard finished the season leading the AL with 44 HR, a .552 slugging average and 330 total bases, and was second to Ken Harrelson with 106 RBI; he made his first of four consecutive All-Star teams, and placed eighth in the MVP balloting, although the Senators finished in tenth (last) place with a 65–96 record.

Howard wore #9 on his jersey from the time he joined the Senators through 1968. When new owner Bob Short signed Hall of Fame slugger Williams to manage the club, Howard happily gave up #9 so Williams could wear it once again; Howard donned #33 for the start of the 1969 season. Williams played a major role in teaching him to be more patient at the plate, asking the slugger, "Can you tell me how a guy can hit 44 home runs and only get 48 bases on balls?" He encouraged Howard to not swing at the first fastball he saw, and work the pitcher deeper into the count; the advice resulted in his walk totals nearly doubling. Beginning in 1968, Howard played semi-regularly at first base in order to reduce the physical impact of patrolling the outfield. In 1969 he had career highs with 48 homers (Killebrew was the home run champion with 49), 111 runs (second in the AL to Reggie Jackson), a .296 batting average and a .574 slugging mark, and the Senators had their best year with an 86–76 record though they finished far behind the Baltimore Orioles in the Eastern Division. He again led the AL with 340 total bases, the most ever by a Washington player, and added 111 RBI; his fourth-place finish in the MVP vote was the highest of his career. In 1970 he led the AL both in HR (44) and RBI (126); his 132 walks in that year also topped the league, and remain a franchise record. On September 2, he received three intentional walks from Sam McDowell—two of them to lead off an inning. He came in fifth in the 1970 MVP race, and received one first-place vote.

Howard is one of three players (along with Killebrew and Cecil Fielder) to have hit a ball onto the left-field roof at Tiger Stadium. He has also been reported to be the only player ever to hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium (it was ruled a foul ball, but Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer later said it was fair). In a game at Fenway Park, he hit a line drive which struck the center field wall 390 feet from home plate and bounced into Reggie Smith's glove before Howard had even reached first base. During his National League days, Howard also crushed a ball an estimated 560 feet at Pittsburgh's Forbes Field.

Howard hit the last regular-season home run for the Senators in RFK Stadium in his final at bat on September 30, 1971 off Yankees pitcher Mike Kekich, who delivered a 2–0 fastball requested by New York manager Ralph Houk; Howard reportedly thanked catcher Thurman Munson when he crossed home plate. After waving to the cheering fans, Howard tossed his helmet liner into the stands, and after the game called it the biggest thrill of his career.

Later years

The Senators moved to Dallas/Fort Worth in 1972, becoming the Texas Rangers, but Howard batted only .244 with nine HRs in 95 games before his contract was sold to the Detroit Tigers in August; he had just one home run in 33 games for Detroit, and did not appear in the postseason for the division champions. He ended his major league career in 1973 with a .256 average and 12 home runs for the Tigers, playing as their designated hitter. Unable to find a job in the majors, in 1974 Howard signed to play in Japan's Pacific League for the Taiheiyo Lions. In his first time at bat for his new team, he swung mightily and struck out, hurting his back; he never played again.

In 16 seasons, Howard was a .273 career hitter with a .499 slugging average, 382 home runs and 1,119 RBI in 1,895 games. His lifetime marks included 864 runs, 1,774 hits, 245 doubles, 35 triples, eight stolen bases and a .352 on base percentage; his 1,460 strikeouts were then the fifth highest total in major league history. Jim Sundberg surpassed his Senators/Rangers franchise totals for career games, at bats and doubles in 1982 and 1983; Toby Harrah broke his marks for runs and hits in 1985 and 1986; and Juan González broke his records for home runs, RBI, total bases, and slugging average in 1997 and 1998.

Following his retirement as a player, Howard managed the San Diego Padres in 1981 but finished in last place in both halves of the strike-marred season. With the Mets, he took over as manager for the last 116 games in 1983 after George Bamberger resigned, but again finished in last place. He posted a 93–133 career managerial record. He also coached for the Milwaukee Brewers (1977–80, 1985–86), Mets (1982–83, 1994–96), Seattle Mariners (1987–88), Yankees (1989, 1991–92), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998–99). Since 2000 he has worked for the Yankees as a player development instructor.

On April 14, 2005, baseball came back to Washington. In 1972 Howard had thought that before much time had passed, another President would deliver the opening-day pitch in the capital. Looking back, he remarked, "I thought that within five years it would be back. Well, 34 years later, here we are." Before the game at RFK Stadium between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks, Howard walked out to left field and was greeted by a loud ovation during pregame ceremonies which featured players from both former Senators clubs. At age 68, Howard joked, "I know I'm going to left field—if I can make it that far without having a coronary. I used to be able to sprint out there but don't even know if I'll be able to jog. I told (former Senator Ed) Brinkman, 'For crissakes, call 911 if I have a blowout in left field.'"

He now helps raise money for St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital.

Facts



* Named Player of the Month for July 1962 (.856 slugging and 41 RBI)
* He struckout a record six consecutive times in a July 9, 1965 doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox. After grounding into a double play to end the streak, he jokingly noted, "The only guy to make eight outs in seven at-bats and finally get a standing ovation for it."
* Howard tended to "hold out" during the early part of spring training, "for more money"—or so he said with a grin. Everyone in the organization knew the real reason; Howard hated spring training and did not like having to run laps to get in shape. He would wait until the last possible moment and report, sign his contract, and was always ready come opening day.
* Howard made a commercial for Nestle's Quik, a chocolate powder to add to milk. An opposing player saw him drink a glass of it before a game and taunted him with "Nestle's Quik Boy". The player turned out to be the team's catcher, and jeered Frank, at bat, with "Don't hit the ball too hard now, Nestle's Quik Boy!" Frank hit the first pitch out of the park. When he touched home plate, the catcher greeted him and asked, "Hey Frank! How long have you been drinking Nestle's Quik?" Frank said, tweaking the guy's cheek, "Since I was about your size!"
* Attended South High School in Columbus, Ohio. A prominent baseball player, Howard also started at center for the South basketball team, leading them to the Class A State Championship basketball game in 1954.



"One of these days (Frank) Howard will unleash a line drive at the opposing pitcher and the only identification left on the mound is going to be a laundry mark." - Fresco Thompson in Every Diamond Doesn't Sparkle (1964)








 

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  posted on 2/18/2009 at 05:12 PM

I saw Felipe play for the Braves many times. I got to see all 3 with different teams. Matty was my fave, he was a classic singles hitter

Matty Alou



Mateo Rojas "Matty" Alou (born December 22, 1938 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres. He was the middle baseball-playing brother of the trio that included Felipe and Jesús.

Alou was a platoon player for the Giants for several years and was mostly unremarkable. His finest moment in San Francisco came in 1962 when his pinch-hit bunt single in the final game of a three-game tie-breaking playoff against the Los Angeles Dodgers began the rally that won the game and the pennant for the Giants. He batted .333 in the Giants' losing effort against the Yankees in that year's World Series. After Alou was traded to the Pirates before the 1966 season, he received instruction from expert hitting instructor Harry "the Hat" Walker that helped turn him into a formidable batter. He won the batting title with a .342 average, with his brother Felipe finishing second, and finished in the top five in hitting four more times after that (1967-1969, 1971). He also led the league in at bats twice (1969-1970), hits once (1969) and doubles once (1969). After leaving the Major Leagues following the 1974 season, he played three seasons in Japan (Taiheiyo Club Lions) and managed in the Dominican Winter League.

On June 23, 2007, the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame inducted Matty Alou into their Hall of Fame during an on-field, pre-game ceremony before taking on the New York Yankees. He, along with San Francisco Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel were inducted in front of over 43,000 fans.

Career statistics

Batting average .307
Hits 1,777
Stolen bases 156

Felipe Alou


Felipe Rojas Alou (born May 12, 1935 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic), is a former outfielder and first baseman in Major League Baseball and the former manager of the San Francisco Giants and Montreal Expos. The first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues, he is the most prominent member of one of the sport's most notable families of the late 20th century: his younger brothers Matty and Jesús were both longtime National League outfielders, and his son Moisés is a current outfielder with the New York Mets; all but Jesús have been named All-Stars at least twice. The family name in the Dominican is Rojas, but Felipe Alou and his brothers became known by the name Alou when the Giants' scout who signed Felipe mistakenly thought his matronymic was his father's name.

During his 17-year career spent with the Giants, Milwaukee & Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, and Milwaukee Brewers, Alou played all three outfield positions regularly (736 games in right field, 483 in center, 433 in left), and led the National League in hits twice and runs once. Batting regularly in the leadoff spot, he hit a home run to begin a game on 20 occasions. He later became the winningest manager in Expos history, leading the team from 1992 to 2001 before rejoining the Giants in 2003.

Alou lived in poverty in the Dominican Republic and dreamed of escaping it by becoming a doctor. However, a switch from track and field to baseball at the Pan-American Games revealed a talent for the game as the Dominican team took gold. He still pursued a university career a while longer, but was finally forced to sign with the Giants in November 1955 for only $200 due to family financial problems.

Alou made his major league debut in 1958 and was an All-Star in 1962, when he batted .316 with 25 home runs and 98 RBI.

Alou was joined by his brothers, Matty in 1960, and Jesus in 1963, who became the first all-brother outfield.

Alou was traded to the Braves before 1964. Two years later he enjoyed his best season, when he batted .327 with 31 home runs and led the league in runs (122), hits (218), at bats (666), and total bases (355); he finished second in the batting race to his brother Matty. He also had a good year in 1968, batting .317 and leading the league in hits (210) and at bats (662); he made the All-Star team both years. Alou continued to play with several more teams through 1974, though he never again approached this level of success.

Career statistics

Batting average .286
Home runs 206
Runs batted in 852


Jesus Alou


Jesús María Rojas Alou (born March 24, 1942 in Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic) is a former professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and New York Mets. He was the youngest of the trio of ballplaying brothers that included Felipe and Matty.

Alou was considered a better prospect than either of his brothers and received a $4,000 signing bonus. He tore up all the minor leagues he played in, never hitting below .324. He made his debut at the end of 1963, and his first game on September 10 was notable in that all three Alou brothers batted in the same inning (they were retired in order). In his first full year of Major League action in 1964, Alou failed to live up to expectations, hitting only .274 with little power, but he did have a great day on July 10 when he went 6-6 with five singles and a home run. Alou was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 1968 MLB expansion draft and then was dealt to Houston. He had his best season there in 1970, hitting .306, but he never in his career lived up to his potential and was always overshadowed by his older brothers. He was traded to the Athletics midway through the 1973 season, and served as a bench player on two World Series championship teams. Alou was released by the A's before the 1975 season, failed to catch on with the Mets and Cordoba of the Mexican League in short stints, and did not return to the Majors until Houston took a chance on him in 1978. He responded by hitting .324 in part-time action and became a player-coach the following year before retiring. Alou later served as a scout for the Expos.

Jesus Alou was awarded with the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame Pioneer Award at a pre-game ceremony at Minute Maid Park, Houston Texas on 9/23/08.

Career statistics

Batting average .280
Hits 1216
Runs batted in 377

 

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  posted on 2/18/2009 at 05:19 PM
One of my all time favorite relief pitchers, he was hell against the Braves


Kenton Charles Tekulve (born March 5, 1947 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pitching with an unusual submarine delivery, he was known as a workhorse relief pitcher who holds several records for number of games pitched and innings pitched.

Tekulve is a 1969 graduate of Marietta College in Ohio. He signed that year as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and remained with that organization for 16 years. He made his Major League debut in 1974.

His best seasons came in 1978 and 1979, in both of which he saved 31 games and posted ERAs of 2.33 and 2.75, respectively. He saved three games in the 1979 World Series, as his Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles. He was selected an All-Star in 1980.

Early in the 1985 season, Tekulve was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Al Holland and a minor leaguer. He continued to be an effective reliever into his forties. Only in his first season (1974) and his last season (1989) did he post an ERA above 4. While with the Phillies, he led the NL in games pitched for the fourth time, with 90 in 1987 at the age of 40.

Tekulve signed with the Cincinnati Reds before the 1989 season and pitched in 37 games before retiring in July.

Records

Tekulve led the major leagues in games pitched four times, appearing in 90 or more games three times. He and Mike Marshall are the only pitchers in baseball history to appear in 90 or more games more than once (each did it three times). Tekulve is also the oldest pitcher ever to appear in 90 games, when he did so in 1987 at age 40. He holds the National League record for career innings pitched in relief (1,436), and formerly held the major league record for career relief appearances; his 1,050 career games, all in relief, ranked second in major league history to Hoyt Wilhelm's 1,070 when he retired. Tekulve owns the career record for most appearances without making a single start. In 1986 he broke Roy Face's NL record of 846 career games pitched; he held the record until John Franco passed him in 2004.

Tekulve also holds the record for most career losses without having given up any earned runs, with 12.





[Edited on 2/18/2009 by OldDirtRoad]

 

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  posted on 2/18/2009 at 10:20 PM
quote:
1969: "Miracle Mets"

The Mets played a major role in the National League's move to divisional play for 1969. Faced with the prospect of losing lucrative home dates with the Dodgers and Giants, they threatened to scuttle the whole plan unless they were compensated with more dates against the Cardinals, the reigning power in the league at the time. The Cubs then demanded to be placed in the newly formed National League East as well in order to continue their historic rivalry with the Cardinals. The result was that the Braves and Reds - in defiance of all geographic reality - were placed in the National League West.

The Mets began the 1969 season in a mediocre way: an opening day loss of 11–10 to the expansion Montreal Expos was followed by a record of 21–23 through the end of May. On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorates the spot. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the first ever National League East Division title (and their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1945). The Mets sat in third place, ten games behind; but Chicago went 8–17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games. They took first place for good on September 9, and finished in first place with a 100–62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of 2.99, and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25–7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17–9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4–0 victory.

The "Miracle Mets" or "Amazin Mets," as they became known by the press, went on to win a three-game sweep of the strong Atlanta Braves, led by legend Henry "Hank" Aaron, in the very first National League Championship Series. The Mets were still considered underdogs in this series despite the fact that they had a better record than the Braves.

The Mets were given very little chance in the 1969 World Series, facing a powerful Baltimore Orioles team that had gone 109–53 in the regular season and included Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer as well as future Mets manager Davey Johnson, who would make the final out of the Series. Before the series began, pundits predicted Tom Seaver might win the opening game, but that the Mets would have trouble winning again in the World Series. As it turned out, just the opposite occurred; Seaver was roughed up, allowing four runs in the opener, which he lost - but the Mets' pitching shut down the Orioles after that, holding them to just five runs over the next four games, to win the World Series 4 games to 1. Seaver got his revenge in game four, pitching all 10 innings of a 2–1 victory.

For longtime Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and many fans, the turning point in the team's season, came in the third inning of the second game of a July 30 doubleheader against the Houston Astros. When left fielder Cleon Jones failed to hustle after a ball hit to the outfield, Mets manager Gil Hodges removed him from the game - but rather than simply signal from the dugout for Jones to come out, or delegate the job to one of his coaches, Hodges left the dugout and slowly, deliberately, walked all the way out to left field to Jones, and walked him back to the bench. For the rest of that season, Jones never failed to hustle.






Make no mistake about it,

the 1969 Miracle Mets will live forever

and the legacy will live on and on."--- Art Shamsky


"In spring training Jerry Grote knew," Seaver said. "He said we were going to win it. We thought he was crazy, nuts. But it made sense. He was the one who had caught us all the year before and he was catching us now in spring training. He just knew." --- Tom Seaver



Great post, and a real interesting season in the NL West. That '69 Season was called the "Wild, Wild West" with five teams in that division still in the race with two weeks left. The Astros started the season at a ridiculous 4-20 -----Then, Don Wilson no-hit the Reds on May 1 (Jim Maloney had pitched a no-no against them the night before), and they went 77-61 from that point on...

The late season turning point was the September 13 game in ATL when Larry Dierker and Phil Niekro hooked up in a classic. Both had shutouts through the 12th inning, and Dierker was removed in the bottom of the 13th after giving up only 4 hits. The Braves won 3-2 in 13 and the Astros limped in the rest of the way. That game was the KO punch.

The Astros were loaded with great fastball hitters, and owned the Mets that season going 10-2. But they went 3-15 against the Braves probably costing them a trip to The Series.



Larry Dierker....20-13 in 1969 with a 2.33 ERA. He started 37 games and had 20 complete games, pitching a total of 305 innings.





[Edited on 2/21/2009 by alloak41]

 

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  posted on 2/25/2009 at 02:52 PM
Great thread, thanks.
"Teke" Tekulve owns the minor league team in Washington, PA 1/2 south of Pittsburgh. Still very visible around PittsPA.
Also remember Matty Alou with the Buccos, as I was growing up in Eastern Ohio. He's one of the great string of Pirate batting champions, and a career .300 hitter.

 

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  posted on 2/25/2009 at 04:07 PM
Some more faves



Carl Reginald Smith (born April 2, 1945 in Shreveport, Louisiana)


Reggie Smith is a former Major League Baseball outfielder, coach and front office executive. During a 17-year big league career (1966-1982), Smith appeared in 1,987 games, hit 314 home runs and batted .287. He was a switch-hitter who threw right-handed. In his prime, he had one of the strongest throwing arms of any outfielder in the big leagues. Smith played at least 70 games in 13 different seasons, and in every one of those 13 seasons, his team had a winning record.

Smith grew up in Los Angeles, California. He won the International League batting title in 1966 with a .320 average while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was called up to the major leagues the next season and played for the Boston Red Sox (1967-73), St. Louis Cardinals (1974-76), Los Angeles Dodgers (1976-81) and San Francisco Giants (1982). Smith appeared in four World Series, including during his rookie 1967 season for the Red Sox, and three (1977, 1978 and 1981) for the Dodgers. He hit three home runs in the 1977 series.

In the 1978 season, Dodger pitcher Don Sutton went public with comments that Smith was a more valuable player to the Dodgers than the more-celebrated Steve Garvey. This led to an infamous clubhouse wrestling match between Sutton and Garvey.

In the 1981 season as a member of the Dodgers, Smith was taunted by Giants fan Michael Dooley, who then threw a batting helmet at him. Smith then jumped into the stands at Candlestick Park and started punching him. He was ejected from the game, and Dooley was arrested. Five months later, Smith joined the Giants as a free agent. He spent one season in San Francisco, then moved on to Japan with the Yomiuri Giants for two seasons before retiring in 1984.

After his playing career ended, Smith rejoined the Dodgers, where he served as a coach under Tommy Lasorda, a minor league instructor and a player development official.

Smith became involved with USA Baseball in 1999 as hitting coach on the 1999 Professional Team at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada (silver, olympic qualifiers). He's also served as hitting coach for the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup in Taiwan (gold). Smith also served as hitting coach for Team USA during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and served as hitting coach for the Bronze medal winning USA Baseball Olympic team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Career statistics
Batting average .287
Home runs 314
Hits 2,020

Teams
* Boston Red Sox (1966-1973)
* St. Louis Cardinals (1974-1976)
* Los Angeles Dodgers (1976-1981)
* San Francisco Giants (1982)
* Yomiuri Giants (1983-1984)

 

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  posted on 2/25/2009 at 04:13 PM

George Charles Scott, Jr. (born March 23, 1944 in Greenville, Mississippi) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the Boston Red Sox (1966-71, 1977-79), Milwaukee Brewers (1972-76), Kansas City Royals (1979) and New York Yankees (1979). He batted and threw right-handed.

In 1965, he was the Eastern League triple crown winner, leading the league in home runs, RBIs, and batting average. Scott was a three-time All-Star in the American League in 1966, 1975 and 1977, starting the 1966 Mid-Summer Classic and homering in 1977. Scott hit over 20 home runs six times in his career, tying Reggie Jackson for the American League lead in 1975 with a career-high 36 and pacing the league in RBI that same season with 109. Known for his glovework at first base, Scott was awarded the Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence in the American League during eight seasons (1967-68 and 1971-1976).

In a 14-season career, Scott posted a .268 batting average with 271 home runs (which he called "taters") and 1051 RBI in 2034 games. His nickname was 'Boomer' and he called his glove "black beauty." George was well-known for having a good sense of humor. He wore a necklace which he once identified to a reporter as being composed of "the second baseman's teeth". To compliment his unique attire, George also was known for wearing a batting helmet while fielding at first base due to an experience he had with a fan throwing hard objects at him once during a road game.


Career statistics

Batting average .268
Home runs 271
Runs batted in 1,051

Teams

* Boston Red Sox (1966-1971, 1977-1979)
* Milwaukee Brewers (1972-1976)
* Kansas City Royals (1979)
* New York Yankees (1979)

 

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  posted on 2/25/2009 at 04:19 PM

Kenneth Smith Harrelson (born September 4, 1941 in Woodruff, South Carolina), nicknamed "The Hawk" due to his distinctive profile, is a former first baseman and outfielder in Major League Baseball who currently serves as a television broadcast announcer for the Chicago White Sox.

Throwing and batting right-handed, Harrelson played for four teams: the Kansas City Athletics (1963–66, 1967), Washington Senators (1966–67), Boston Red Sox (1967–69), and Cleveland Indians (1969–71). In his nine-season career, Harrelson was a .239 hitter with 131 home runs and 421 RBI in 900 games.

His time with the Athletics ended abruptly in 1967 when Harrelson angrily denounced team owner Charlie Finley following the dismissal of manager Alvin Dark. Saying that Finley was "a menace to baseball," Harrelson was released and ended up signing a lucrative deal with the Boston Red Sox, who were in contention to win their first pennant since 1946.

Harrelson is often credited with inventing the batting glove by wearing a golf glove while at bat with the A's; however, Peter Morris' book A Game Of Inches says the batting glove may have been used as early as 1901 by Hughie Jennings, and were definitely used by Lefty O'Doul and Johnny Frederick of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932, and later by Bobby Thomson in the 1950s. Morris does credit Harrelson with reintroducing the batting glove in the 1960s.

Brought in to replace the injured Tony Conigliaro, Harrelson helped the team win the pennant, but watched the team drop a close World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. However, in 1968, he had his finest season, making the American League All-Star team and leading the American League in runs batted in with 109.

On April 19, 1969, Harrelson was traded to the Indians, a move that shocked him and led him to briefly retire. Following conversations with commissioner Bowie Kuhn and a contract adjustment by Cleveland, Harrelson reported to the team, finishing the year with 30 home runs. He also used his local celebrity to briefly host a half-hour program entitled, "The Hawk's Nest" on local CBS affiliate, WJW-TV.

During spring training the following year, Harrelson suffered a broken leg while sliding into second base during a March 19 exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. The injury kept him on the sidelines for much of the season. When Indian rookie Chris Chambliss took control of the first base position in 1971, Harrelson decided to retire to pursue a professional golf career.

Career Stats

Batting average .239
Home runs 131
RBI 421

Teams

* Kansas City Athletics (1963–1966, 1967)
* Washington Senators (1966–1967)
* Boston Red Sox (1967–1969)
* Cleveland Indians (1969–1971)

 

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  posted on 2/25/2009 at 04:45 PM
One of my TOP 10 All Time Faves



Richard Anthony Allen (born March 8, 1942, in Wampum, Pennsylvania) is a former Major League Baseball player. He played first and third base and outfield in Major League Baseball and ranked among his sport's top offensive producers of the 1960s and early 1970s. Most notably playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, he led the American League in home runs twice, and led both leagues in slugging average (the AL twice) and on base percentage. His .534 career slugging average was among the highest in an era marked by low averages. He won the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year and 1972 AL MVP. Also famous for speaking his mind, combatting racism, and bucking orginizational hierachy, Dick Allen was rated by sabrematrician Bill James as the second-most controversial player in baseball history, behind Rogers Hornsby.

His older brother Hank was a reserve outfielder for three AL teams, and his younger brother Ron was briefly a first baseman with the 1972 St. Louis Cardinals.

Phillies years

Allen hit a baseball with an authority Philadelphia fans had not seen since Chuck Klein and Jimmie Foxx. The Phillies saw his potential immediately and signed him in 1960 for a large $60,000 bonus. His career got off to a turbulent start as he faced racial harassment while playing for the Phillies' minor league affiliate in Little Rock; residents staged protest parades against Allen, the local team's first black player. Nevertheless, he led the league in total bases.

His first season in the majors, 1964, ranks among the greatest rookie seasons ever. He led the league in runs (125), triples (13), extra base hits (80) and total bases (352); he finished in the top five in batting average (.318), slugging average (.557), hits (201), and doubles (38); and won Rookie of the Year. Playing for the first time at third base, he led the league with 41 errors. Dick Allen, along with outfielder Johnny Callison and pitchers Chris Short and Jim Bunning, led the Phillies to a six-and-a-half game hold on first place with just twelve games to play in an exceptionally strong National League. The '64 Phillies then lost ten straight and finished tied for second place. Many factors contributed to the collapse such as Chico Ruiz's outlandish steal of home with Frank Robinson batting, a key injury to Frank Thomas, and starting pitchers Dennis Bennett and Art Mahaffey developing sore arms. Phillies manager Gene Mauch then condensed his pitching rotation to Bunning and Short. They did not pitch poorly yet the move smacked as panic. Allen hit .438 with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 11 RBI in those last twelve games. A 1964 Phillies pennant win would've given Dick Allen a realistic shot at winning that year's Most Valuable Player award.

Before scientific weight training, muscle-building dietary supplements, and anabolic steroids came into play, Dick Allen boasted a powerful and muscular physique along the lines of Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx. Indeed, baseball historian Bill Jenkinson ranks Allen with Foxx and Mantle, and just a notch below Babe Ruth, as the four top long distance sluggers ever to wield a baseball bat. Like Ruth, Allen swung, literally, a heavy bat. His 44-ouncer bucked the Ted Williams-inspired trend of using a light bat for increased bat speed. Dick Allen combined massive strength and body torque to produce bat speed and drive the ball. One memorable shot went over the left-center field roof Coke sign at Connie Mack Stadium; this home run was the basis of Willie Stargell's noted quote: "Now I know why they (the Phillies fans) boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir."

Allen enjoyed several years in Philadelphia where he was as good as any player in baseball, making All-Star teams from 1965–67 and leading the league in slugging (.632), OPS (1.027) and extra base hits (75) in 1966. Frank Robinson,the American League MVP, won the triple crown for leading the AL in home runs, RBI, and BA in 1966. Yet Dick Allen had the better season per at-bat.

Non-baseball incidents soon marred Allen's Philadelphia career. In July of 1965 he got in an infamous fistfight with fellow Phillie Frank Thomas. According to two teammates who witnessed the fight, Thomas swung a bat at Allen, hitting him in the shoulder. Johnny Callison said, "Thomas got himself fired when he swung that bat at Richie. In baseball you don't swing a bat at another player—ever." Pat Corrales confirmed that Thomas hit Allen with a bat and added that Thomas was a "bully" known for making racially divisive remarks. Allen and his teammates were not permitted to give their side of the story under threat of a heavy fine. The Phillies released Thomas the next day. The fans and local sports writers not only perceived Allen as costing a white player his job, but freed Thomas to give his version of the fight.

Even Allen's name was a source of controversy: he had been known since his youth as "Dick" to family and friends, but for reasons which are somewhat obscure at this late date, the media referred to him upon his arrival in Philadelphia as "Richie", possibly a conflation with the longtime Phillies star Richie Ashburn. After several years, he asked to be called "Dick", saying Richie was a little boy's name.

The Phillies' fans, known for being tough on hometown players even in the best of times, exacerbated Allen's problems. Initially the abuse was verbal, with obscenities and racial epithets. Eventually Allen was greeted with showers of fruit, ice, refuse, and even flashlight batteries as he took the field. He began wearing his batting helmet even while playing his defensive position in the field, which gave rise to another nickname, "Crash Helmet", shortened to "Crash".

Adult beverages also compounded his problems. He almost ended his career in 1967 after mangling his throwing hand by pushing it through a car headlight. Allen was fined $2,500 and suspended indefinitely in 1969 when he failed to appear for the Phillies twi-night doubleheader game with the Mets. Allen had gone to New Jersey in the morning to see a horse race and got caught in traffic trying to return.

Quick stops in St. Louis and L.A.

Allen finally had enough, and demanded the Phillies trade him. They sent him to the Cardinals in a trade before the 1970 season. Even this deal caused controversy, though not of Allen's making, since Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood refused to report to the Phillies as part of the trade. (Flood then sued baseball in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the reserve clause and to be declared a free agent.)

Allen earned another All-Star berth in St. Louis, and his personal problems seemed to abate. The Cardinals even acceded to his wishes regarding his name, as Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck made a point from game one of calling him Dick Allen.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst recalled that when he was asked, before Allen's acquisition, if he wanted Allen, he had said "no" because he'd heard Allen had a bad attitude, and the team didn't need him. After the season, when Schoendienst was asked if Allen should be traded, he said "no", Allen had helped the team and his attitude was not a problem.

Decades before Mark McGwire, Dick Allen entertained the St. Louis fans with some long home runs, at least one of them landing in the seats above the club level in left field. As Jack Buck said at the time, "Some of the folks in the stadium club might have choked on a chicken leg when they saw that one coming!" Nevertheless the Cardinals traded Allen to the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 1971 season.

Chicago

After a relatively quiet year with the Dodgers, Allen was traded to the White Sox for Tommy John prior to the 1972 season. For various reasons, Allen's previous managers had shuffled him around on defense, playing him at first base, third base, and the outfield in no particular order - a practice which almost certainly weakened his defensive play and which may have contributed to his frequent injuries, not to mention his perceived bad attitude. Sox manager Chuck Tanner's low-key style of handling ballplayers made it possible for Allen to thrive, for a while, on the South Side. He decided to play Allen exclusively at first base, which allowed him to concentrate on hitting. That first year, Allen almost single-handedly lifted the entire team to second place in the AL West, as he led the league in home runs (37) (setting a team record), RBI (113), walks (99), on base percentage (.422), slugging average (.603), and OPS (1.023), while winning a well-deserved MVP award. However, the Sox fell short at the end and finished 5-1/2 games behind the World Series-bound Oakland Athletics.

Allen's feats during his years with the White Sox -- particularly in that MVP season of 1972 -- are spoken of reverently by South Side fans who credit him with saving the franchise for Chicago (it was rumored to be bound for St.Petersburg or Seattle at the time). His powerful swing sent home runs deep into some of cavernous old Comiskey Park's farthest reaches, including the roof and even the distant (445 ft) center field bleachers, a rare feat at one of baseball's most pitcher-friendly stadiums. On July 31, 1972, against the Minnesota Twins, Allen became the first player in baseball's "modern era" to hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game in an 8-1 victory. Both homers were hit off Bert Blyleven at Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium. On July 6, 1974, at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, he lined a homer off the roof facade in deep left-center field at a linear distance of approximately 415 feet and an altitude of 85 feet. Anectdotal and mathematical evidence agree. Allen's clout would've surpassed 500ft on the fly.

The Sox were favored by many to make the playoffs in 1973, but those hopes were dashed due in large measure to the fractured fibula that Allen suffered in June. (He tried to return five weeks after injuring the leg in a collision with Mike Epstein of the A's, but the pain ended his season after just one game in which he batted 3-for-5.) Despite his making the All-Star team in each of three years with the team, Allen's stay in Chicago ended in controversy when he left the team on September 14 with two weeks left in the 1974 season. In Crash, his autobiography (co-written with Tim Whitaker), Allen blamed his feud with third-baseman Ron Santo, who was playing a final, undistinguished season with the White Sox after leaving the crosstown Chicago Cubs. [2]

With Allen's intention to continue playing baseball uncertain, the Sox reluctantly sold his contract to the Atlanta Braves for only $5,000 despite the fact that he had led the league in home runs, slugging (.563), and OPS (.938). Allen refused to report to the Braves and announced his retirement.

Final playing years

The Phillies managed to coax Allen out of retirement for the 1975 season. The lay-off and nagging effects of his 1973 broken leg hampered his play. His numbers improved in 1976, a Phillies division winner, although he only played in 85 games. He continued his tape measure legacy during his second go-round with the Phillies. On August 22, 1975, Allen smashed a homer into the seldom reached upperdeck at San Diego's Qualcom (nee Jack Murphy) Stadium. He played his final season with the Oakland Athletics in 1977.

Career statistics

Batting average .292
Home runs 351
Runs batted in 1,119

Teams

* Philadelphia Phillies (1963-1969)
* St. Louis Cardinals (1970)
* Los Angeles Dodgers (1971)
* Chicago White Sox (1972-1974)
* Philadelphia Phillies (1975-1976)
* Oakland Athletics (1977)

Quotes

* "Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir." - Willie Stargell, after Allen once hit a home run over the left-center field roof of Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium.

* "Allen was scary at the plate. When he came up there, he had your attention. I want to forget a couple of line drives he hit off me, but I can’t because they almost killed me." - Mickey Lolich

* "If a horse won't eat it, I don't want to play on it." - His own quote on artificial turf.

* "I never worry about it. I just take my three swings and go sit on the bench. I'm afraid if I ever think about hitting it, I'll mess up my swing for life." - His quote on hitting the knuckleball

* "Bob Gibson was so mean he would knock you down and then meet you at home plate to see if you wanted to make something of it."

* "I can play anywhere; First, Third, Left field, anywhere but Philadelphia."







The argument for Dick Allen's induction has raged for several years now. At the top of every Baseball Hall of Famers resume is their numbers: Dick Allen appeared in 1,749 games over a 15-year career. During that time, he amassed 1,848 hits, 320 doubles, 351 home runs, 1,099 runs and 1,119 runs batted in. His lifetime batting average of .292 is as impressive as his career slugging percentage of .534 and his .378 on-base percentage.

His Hall of Fame chances were severely injured by noted baseball "stats guru" and author Bill James in his 1994 Book, the Politics of Glory.



I saw Dick play quite a few games when I went to see the Braves. I saw him with the Phillies, Cardinals and Dodgers. It was almost guaranteed that he was going to be heckled and Booed in Atlanta Stadium. I always cheered loud for him, every time he batted. I often got mean looks from some of the fans around me.

My best memory of seeing Dick was a game he played with the Dodgers. I had taken my Grandad to the game. My Grandad wondered why Dick was booed so bad when he came up for his first at bat. I explained that he was not well liked by a lot of fans because he played by his own rules and spoke his mind. After getting booed that first at bat, Dick hit two homers and drove in 5 runs in that game. The fans mouth's were shut by the end of the game. My Grandad thought it was funny, so did I

 

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  posted on 2/27/2009 at 04:49 PM
I loved to watch Al Hrabosky pitch, by the time the Braves got him he had lost his touch. This is one game I saw him pitch on TV (for St. Louis) and to this day it is one of the most excting moments in baseball I have ever saw. Al was in his prime and was on fire this night, his mad Hungarian routine was perfect. I actually found a write up about it on the net :

"as for Rob’s memory about Al Hrabosky --- that actually happened on ABC’s nationally televised monday-night game of the week, on may 9, 1977. the big Red machine was at its height --- the Reds were fresh off their 2nd consecutive world title, with Bench, Rose, Morgan, Foster et al still in uniform. Hrabosky entered the game in the top of the 9th, with the cardinals having just tied the score 5-5 the previous half-inning; he gave up a leadoff hit to Griffey senior, walked Morgan, and gave up a bunt single to Dan Driessen. then he struck out George Foster (who was in the midst of his 52-homer season), Johnny Bench, and pinch-hitter Bob Bailey. in his entire career, Hrabosky only struck out 18 men with the bases loaded ---- 3 of them in that inning. the cards won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a leadoff homer by Ted Simmons.

The Crowd was going berserk when he stuck out those 3 in a row. !!!





Alan Thomas (Al) Hrabosky born July 21, 1949 in Oakland, California), nicknamed the Mad Hungarian due to his Hungarian descent and colorful character, was a Major League Baseball player from 1970-1982 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, and Atlanta Braves and is currently the color commentator on Cardinals regular season broadcasts on FSN Midwest.

Hrabosky was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 1967 amateur draft, but did not sign with the club. Two years later the Cardinals made him their first round choice. Within a year, at the age of 20, he made his major league debut, pitching a scoreless inning against the San Diego Padres.

During his time with the Cardinals, Hrabosky became a fan favorite for his antics on the mound. Between each pitch he would turn his back to the batter, walk towards second base, vigorously rub the ball between his hands several times, take a deep breath, and pound the ball into his mitt. He would then storm back to the mound, staring down the batter. Although the crowd would roar in delight, most batters were not fond of the pitcher's routine and during one such incident a brawl was initiated.

Arguably, Hrabosky's best year was 1975 when he led the National League in saves with 22 (a career best) en route to winning the Sporting News NL Fireman of the Year award. After eight seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals traded Hrabosky to the Kansas City Royals. Following just two years with the Royals, he was released and signed with the Atlanta Braves. During his time with the Braves he saw diminished playing time and recorded just seven saves over three seasons. Hrabosky signed with the Chicago White Sox during Spring Training in 1983 but retired before the season began. In 13 seasons he recorded 64 wins, 35 losses, and 97 saves with an ERA of 3.10.

Early in his career with the Cardinals, Hrabosky enhanced his menacing appearance with long hair and a Fu Manchu moustache. However, when Vern Rapp became the Cardinals manager in 1977, Hrabosky had to cut his hair and shave the moustache.


ISU Redbirds: Interview w/ Al Hrabosky
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7-yBIbQoH4





[Edited on 3/2/2009 by OldDirtRoad]

 

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  posted on 2/28/2009 at 01:50 AM
Thanks,Kenny--this a sweet memory of all the great baseball cards i used to collect
 

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  posted on 3/2/2009 at 05:59 PM

Ted Lyle Simmons (born August 9, 1949, in Highland Park, Michigan) is a retired American catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1968-80), Milwaukee Brewers (1981-85) and Atlanta Braves (1986-88). Simmons (nicknamed "Simba") was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed. He was the bench coach for the Brewers until September 15, 2008, when he was re-assigned to another position within the organization. On November 3, 2008 he left the Brewers and was hired by the San Diego Padres as their bench coach.

In a 21-season career, Simmons compiled a .288 batting average with 2,472 hits, 248 home runs and 1389 RBI in 2456 games.

Highlights

* 8-time All-Star (1972-74, 1977-79, 1981, 1983)
* Silver Slugger Award (1980)
* 7-time hit .300 or more (1971-73, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1983)
* Caught two no-hitters (Bob Gibson in 1971, the first of Bob Forsch's two career no-hitters, in 1978)
* Twice led the National League in intentional walks (1976-77). He ranks 15th in the All-Time list with 188.
* After his playing days were over, Simmons continued in the game as a front office executive. He served two seasons (1992-93) as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, but stepped down for health reasons. He also was Director of Player Development for both the Cardinals and San Diego Padres, and a scout at the Major League level for the Cleveland Indians. He was named the bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers starting with the 2008 season.
* He was featured several times in the commemorative DVD for the 1982 Milwaukee Brewer's Harvey's Wallbangers.











One of my fave Catchers of all time

 

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