Sunday, February 22, 2009

#546 Indians Rookie Stars: Bill Davis, Mike Hedlund, Floyd Weaver, and Ray Barker

Indians Rookie Stars by you.
That's right, four rookies for the price of two! The layout here reminds me of the old Sesame Street feature, "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others". One of these things is sans hat. Then again, one of these things has trees in the background instead of plain blue. This is going nowhere fast, so let's jump to...

Fun facts about Bill Davis:

-Signed by the Indians in 1964 out of the University of Minnesota, and made it to the majors the following year on the strength of a monster season (.311, 33 HR, 106 RBI).

-Played only 64 games in three big league seasons (1965-1966 with the Indians, 1969 with the Padres), hitting .181 with 1 home run and 5 RBI.

-His only career home run was a tenth-inning game-ending two-run shot off of Jack Sanford of the Angels on September 9, 1966.

Fun facts about Mike Hedlund:

-Signed with the Indians as a bonus baby at age 18 in 1964, and pitched briefly for the big league club in 1965 and 1968.

-Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion season of 1969, and earned his first major league win on April 22 of that year, two-hitting the Pilots over seven innings. Finished the year 3-6 with a 3.24 ERA.

-Had a career year at age 24 in 1971, going 15-8 with a 2.71 ERA (fourth in the A.L.) and 7 complete games.

-Battled arm trouble throughout his career, and was finished a year after his 15-win season. In parts of six big league seasons, went 25-24 with a 3.54 ERA.

-Was once traded for a pitcher named Ozzie Osborn. True story.

-Held Tony Conigliaro to 2-of-12 batting (.167).

Fun facts about Floyd Weaver:

-Signed by Cleveland in 1961 for a $65,000 bonus on the heels of a 21-strikeout performance in the National Junior College Tournament.

-Won his major league debut, striking out eight Angels in five innings on September 30, 1962. It was his only game with the Tribe that year.

-Got lost in the shuffle in an Indians organization that was chock full of strong arms, re-emerging in 1965 as a reliever. Got hit hard (5.43 ERA in 32 games), and returned to the minors.

-Rose from the ashes once more in 1970, as a 29-year-old reliever for the White Sox. Rang up a 4.38 ERA in 31 games. Pitched 21 games for the Brewers in 1971 to bring his career to a close.

-Later spent several years working as an x-ray technician. Also became a deacon for East Paris Baptist Church.

-Passed away on November 17, 2008 at age 67.

Fun facts about Ray Barker:

-A bit of an odd choice, as he was 28 in 1964, having originally been signed in 1955 by the Orioles.

-Hit over .300 in three different seasons in the minor leagues and drove in 101 runs at AAA Vancouver in 1960.

-Early in 1965, the Indians traded Ray to the Yankees for Pedro Gonzalez. Barker provided pop off the bench and while filling in for the hobbled Roger Maris. Hit .254 with 7 home runs in 205 at-bats for the Bombers.

-Tied a major league record with two consecutive pinch-hit home runs on June 20 and June 22, 1965.

-Played 78 games with the Yankees in 1966 and 1967, and that was all she wrote.

-Barker still lives in his hometown of Martinsburg, WV, and just last month was honored by having his picture hung among the Hometown Heroes display at his local Applebee's Restaurant.
Indians Rookie Stars (back) by you.


  1. Floyd was one of the kindest men you would ever want to meet. He still holds the NJCAA record of most strikeouts in a game!
    He was a tremendous supporter of Paris Junior College, where he was an all-american and even attended a basketball game two days before God called him to 'the mound' in Heaven!
    PJC fanatic

  2. Always glad to hear from someone who knew one of these players personally - thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey Kevin, not only does the Ray Barker picture look weird, but it's his second Topps card. He had a card by himself in the 1961 set with the Orioles, it's worth a bit more than other commons since it is a short print.

  4. Another Bill Davis note. He is on no less than FIVE Topps rookie cards. 1965,6,7, and 8 with the Indians...and 1969 with the Padres.