Friday, January 18, 2008

Donation from Fleerfan, Part Three: Lanier, Daniels, Duffalo, Mikkelsen

Hal Lanier is a rather sad case of what could have been, as his golden (yellow, anyway) Rookie Cup can attest. He turned heads by batting .274 in 1964, but it would be his best offensive performance by far. The after-effects of a 1965 beaning left him with epilepsy, and he never hit above .233 for the rest of his career. He did have some success as a manager, winning the Manager of the Year award in 1986 for guiding the Astros to a 96-66 record and an NL West title in his first season at the helm.

#129 Bennie Daniels

Check out that nifty Senators logo, with the batter following through on a mighty wallop out in front of the Capitol. Bennie Daniels was a decent pitcher for the second incarnation of the Washington Senators, the team that eventually became the Rangers (the first DC team moved to Minnesota and became the Twins). Bennie was on both the winning and losing ends of history. He took the 'L' in the final games ever played at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and old Griffith Stadium in Washington. However, he was victorious in the first game ever played in District of Columbia Stadium, which would later be known as RFK Stadium. Daniels went the distance that day, allowing 5 hits and besting the Tigers 4-1 with President Kennedy in attendance. According to baseball historian Lee Allen, he also notched the win in the 100,000th game ever played in the MLB, a 7-2 decision over the Indians in 1963.

Not much information to be found about Jim Duffalo. He appears to have been a solid reliever for the Giants in the first half of the 1960s, with back-to-back ERAs of 2.87 and 2.92 in 1963 and 1964, but they used him sparingly. His career highs were 35 games and 75 and 1/3 innings pitched. He was traded to Cincinnati in May 1965, and that season would prove to be his last. He was just 29 when he pitched his final game. A perfunctory search of Sporting News archives on indicates that he pitched in the minor leagues until 1972 without getting the call back to the big time.

#177 Pete Mikkelsen

Pete is the second bespectacled hurler in my 1965 set so far. He was a former Marine who threw a mean sinker. His performance out of the Yankees' bullpen as a rookie (7-4, 12 saves, 3.56 ERA) helped them get to the 1964 World Series. However, he surrendered a game-winning three-run home run to Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver in the tenth inning of Game Five. St. Louis would go on to win an exciting series in seven games. I highly recommend the late David Halberstam's excellent book on the two teams and that World Series, October 1964.

More to come soon!


  1. Kevin - great research on these guys! I might just have to send you my entire 1965 set to get the story behind every player! If I come across any more '65s I'll send them your way as I'm really enjoying reading the information you've tracked down for each card.

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying it! By all means, send along anything else you find. :)

  3. I'm enjoying looking at these cards once more. I used to have some of these, before selling them when I was flat broke in the 1980's.

    One thing: I haven't seen the '65 cards for a long time, but I thought the Senators logo showed a righty pitcher who is about ready to release the ball, rather than a hitter.

  4. Anon. - They switched to the pitcher logo a few years later: