Monday, February 09, 2009

#514 Joe Azcue

Joe Azcue by you.
I hope Joe Azcue realizes how fortunate he was to have played in the pre-ESPN era. Sure, Joe "Nobody" Azcue might have seemed mildly clever and chuckle-worthy the first few times it spewed forth from Chris Berman's lips, but I bet it would have gotten old in a hurry...just like the several thousand cheesy nicknames that the comb-over-sporting, production assistant-cursing hack actually has coined over the past three decades. But I digress.

Fun facts about Joe Azcue:

-Was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba; my crude Spanish skills tell me that the city name roughly translates to "One Hundred Fires".

-His actual nickname was "The Immortal Azcue". As monikers go, that's a pretty good one to have.

-Finally found a home with the Indians, his fourth organization (following Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Kansas City). He played in Cleveland for the bulk of his career: 1963-1969.

-His first season with the Tribe may have been his best. In 91 games, he hit .284 with 16 doubles, 14 home runs, and 46 RBI, all career highs.

-Won the Golden Tomahawk award as Cleveland's most underrated player of 1966. Upon receiving the honor, he quipped: "Thank you. The only thing I can say is that I'm still underrated."

-Caught two no-hitters in his career. The pitchers were Sonny Siebert (June 10, 1966) and Clyde Wright (July 3, 1970).

-Was an All-Star in 1968, when he hit .280 in The Year of the Pitcher.

-There was at least one game in 1968 that Joe would probably like to forget. On July 30, he hit a liner that was snared by Washington shortstop Ron Hansen. Hansen stepped on second base to force Dave Nelson, then tagged out Russ Snyder as the latter slid into third base. It was the first unassisted triple play since 1927, and the last triple play of any kind in Senators history. On the plus side, Azcue's Indians won 10-1.

-Embroiled in a contract dispute with Angels general manager Dick Walsh, Joe sat out the entire 1971 season. Instead of squatting behind the plate, he spent the summer as a laborer, shoveling, pouring concrete, and so forth.

-Hit three career home runs off of 283-game winner Jim Kaat. Of course, Kaat also whiffed him 11 times in 86 at-bats, so it all evens out somewhere.
Joe Azcue (back) by you.


  1. Joe Azcue may never get elected to the HOF, but he can say that his uniform number was retired at Fenway Park...

  2. SDL - That's gotta be worth something! Unless you're a Yankee...they retire everyone's number. In the future, they'll be the first MLB team to wear triple digits.

  3. that's Jose Azcue, mind you.