Thursday, May 28, 2009

#100 Ken Boyer

#100 Ken Boyer
What does an NL MVP award and two big home runs in the World Series get you? If you're Ken Boyer, it gets you choice hero numbering. Do you think Ken was aware of this? Did he strut around the clubhouse in 1965, thumbing his nose at #320 Bob Gibson and #190 Bill White? "Look out boys, #100 comin' through!"

Fun facts about Ken Boyer:

-Was something of a hometown boy. Born in Liberty, MO, in 1931 and signed with the Cardinals in 1949. He was signed as a pitcher, but proved so adept with the bat that he was soon shifted to third base.

-Came from a baseball family. Big brother Cloyd pitched for the Cards and Athletics (1949-1952; 1955) and little brother Clete was a third baseman for the A's, Yankees, and Braves (1955-1957; 1959-1971). Two other brothers, Ron and Len, played minor league ball.

-After two years of military service (1952-1953), Ken finally got the call to St. Louis in 1955. He showed good power (18 HR, 27 2B) with some speed (22 SB...and 17 CS!), but the best would come later.

-Earned the first of seven All-Star selections as a sophomore, hitting .306 with 26 HR and 98 RBI. His other six All-Star nods came consecutively, from 1959-1964.

-Won his first Gold Glove in 1958, and added four more before Ron Santo started snatching them up in the mid-1960's.

-Set a record by hitting exactly 24 home runs in each of four straight seasons (1961-1964). Adam Dunn would later crank out exactly 40 in each year from 2005-2008.

-Won his aforementioned MVP award with a .295 average, 30 2B, 10 3B, 24 HR, and career-high 119 RBI for the World Champion Redbirds in 1964. It was the third time that he had reached double figures in doubles, triples, and homers in a season. He may actually have been better in 1960 (.304, 32 HR) and 1961 (career-best .329 AVG).

-In the 1964 World Series, he hit a sixth-inning grand slam to win Game Four and homered again in the seventh inning of Game Seven to provide the final St. Louis run in a 7-5 Series clincher. Clete Boyer also went deep in Game Seven, marking the only time in major league history that two brothers each hit a home run in the same World Series game.

-Ken was plagued by back problems late in his career, and spent time with the Mets, White Sox, and Dodgers before retiring in 1969. In fifteen seasons, he hit .287 with 282 HR and 1,141 RBI. He was the second third baseman to ever hit 250 home runs (Eddie Mathews being the first).

-He managed in the minor leagues for seven years and coached for the Cardinals (1971-1972). He got the opportunity to manage St. Louis from 1978-1980, compiling a 166-190 record.

-Ken died of lung cancer in 1982, at the age of 51. Two years later, the Cards retired his #14. He's the only Cardinal player to receive this honor who is not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame, though a very good argument can be made for both him and his contemporary Ron Santo.
#100 Ken Boyer (back)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

#95 Bill Mazeroski

#95 Bill Mazeroski
Back from my first getaway of the summer, and I've got a Hall of Famer for you! I wish I would've had a chance to post this on Memorial Day, since that appears to be an American flag floating behind Bill Mazeroski's head. It's either that, or a wayward seagull.

Fun facts about Bill Mazeroski:

-A West Virginia native, Bill went from high school to the Pirates organization in 1954.

-Made his major league debut in midseason, 1956 and never looked back.

-Quickly earned a reputation as one of the finest defensive second basemen in the league, winning his first Gold Glove in 1958 and adding seven more to his total in later years. He still holds the major league record for double plays by a second baseman (1,706).

-Also earned the first of seven All-Star selections in 1958, when he hit a career-high 19 home runs.

-Was named the Sporting News' Major League Player of the Year in 1960, when he batted .273 with 11 HR, 64 RBI, and his usual stellar defense. Of course that honor was eclipsed by his selection as the World Series' Most Valuable Player, on the strength of his .320 average and four extra-base hits, including the game-winning walkoff home run off of Ralph Terry in the decisive Game Seven.

-Won a second World Series with the Pirates in 1971, but appeared in only one game of the seven-game series against the Orioles.

-Hit .378 (14-for-37) with five home runs against former MVP and Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe.

-Retired in 1972, having batted .260 with 138 HR and 853 RBI in 17 seasons in the Steel City.

-Coached with the Pirates in 1973 and the Mariners in 1979 and 1980.

-Was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 2001.

-If you're looking for odd coincidences, Bill had a cameo in a 1968 episode of The Odd Couple, in which he hit into a triple play against Mets pitcher Jack Fisher, who was the last player I featured in this blog!
#95 Bill Mazeroski (back)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

#93 Jack Fisher

#93 Jack Fisher
This is a visually interesting card, as we see "Fat Jack" Fisher checking the imaginary runner at first base from the set position. Nice to have some variation in the old "arms over head" and "just finished delivery" pitching poses that are all over this set. Also noteworthy is the patch on Jack's left sleeve, which commemorates the World's Fair that was held at Shea Stadium. It features the Unisphere structure that was built for the event, and it's rendered in the Mets' blue and orange color scheme.

Fun facts about Jack Fisher:

-Originally from Frostburg, MD, signed with the Orioles at age eighteen in 1957.

-Debuted with the O's at age 20, going 1-6 in 27 games (seven starts) despite a 3.05 ERA. He made his first win count, though; on September 11, he retired the first nineteen White Sox batters before Nellie Fox singled with one out in the seventh. Fisher completed the shutout, allowing three hits in total and beating the eventual American League champs 3-0.

-His sophomore year was his best all-around effort, as he posted his only winning record (12-11) with a 3.41 ERA. He relieved in 20 games, and started 20 others (completing eight).

-Jack had a penchant for surrendering milestone home runs. In 1960, he served up the 521st and final longball of Ted Williams' career, in the latter's farewell game. The following year, Roger Maris tied Babe Ruth's single-season record with his 60th homer, also off of Fisher. Finally, in 1964 the righty was taken deep by Willie Stargell for the first home run ever hit in Shea Stadium.

-Fisher was twice traded in deals that greatly helped the team he was leaving: in 1962, the Orioles sent him and two others to the Giants and received Stu Miller (their relief ace for several seasons) and John Orsino (19 HR in 1963). Five years later, the Mets sent him to the White Sox in a six-player deal that netted them Tommie Agee and Al Weis, both of whom were instrumental in the 1969 World Series upset over Baltimore.

-As previously mentioned, Jack had the misfortune of toiling for the Mets in the "lovable losers" era. He pitched four full seasons in Flushing, going 38-73 despite a passable 4.12 ERA. He led the N.L. with 24 losses in 1965 and 18 in 1967.

-Despite an 8-13 record with the White Sox in 1968, his 2.99 ERA was a career best.

-Held Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda to a .171 average (7-for-41, 1 2B, 0 HR).

-A 5.50 mark with the Reds in 1969 ended his career. In eleven seasons he was 86-139 with a 4.06 ERA. Incidentally, he allowed less than one HR per nine innings (0.9).

-Fisher spent some time coaching before opening Fat Jack's, a sports bar in Easton, PA.
#93 Jack Fisher (back)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

#82 Braves Rookie Stars: Santos Alomar and John Braun

#82 Braves Rookie Stars: Santos Alomar and John Braun
So I go a week in between updates, and my penance is back-to-back two-player rookie cards. That seems fair. This particular card seems to be about the extreme closeup; the photographer is zoomed in so far on Santos Alomar (whom you might know as Sandy Alomar, Sr.), we can see the tag on the back of his jersey. Meanwhile, we can practically count the hairs in John Braun's sideburn there.

Fun facts about Sandy Alomar:

-Hailing from Salinas, Puerto Rico, was just sixteen when he signed with the Braves in 1960.

-His brothers Rafael, Demetrio, and Antonio all played in the minors.

-Debuted in Milwaukee in 1964, and stroked an RBI single off of Ray Sadecki in his first at-bat.

-Did not stick in the big leagues until 1968, when he was with his fourth team: the White Sox.

-Played in 648 consecutive games between 1969 and 1973, the years in which he was the Angels' starting second baseman.

-Not known for his strength as a hitter, his best year with the bat was 1971: .260 AVG, 24 2B, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 39 SB (he stole 20 or more bases seven times).

-Played every infield position and the outfield corners in his career, but earned kudos for his defensive range and positioning at second base. Led the American League with a .985 fielding percentage at the keystone in 1975.

-A great bit of trivia from Wikipedia: On July 3, 1970, Sandy turned a double play for the final two outs of Clyde Wright's no-hit victory against Oakland. The batter was Felipe Alou. Alomar, Wright, and Alou all had offspring who became major leaguers. What's more, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Jaret Wright, and Moises Alou all played in the 1997 World Series. Of course, as an Orioles fan, I will never forget the absence of the younger Alomar brother in that particular Fall Classic!

-Among the three Alomars, they totaled 5,128 hits in parts of 52 seasons. Not too shabby.

-Sandy is currently the bench coach for the Mets. He's also coached for the Cubs, Rockies, and Padres, and has managed in both Puerto Rico and stateside in the minors.

Fun facts about John Braun:

-Was born on Boxing Day, 1939 in Madison, WI and signed with the hometown Braves in 1960.

-Won 10 games with a 2.90 ERA in his first professional season, but his best performance came in A-ball in 1963: 7-3 with a 1.43 ERA as a reliever.

-The Braves gave him a look at the end of the 1964 season. In his only major league appearance, he pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Pirates and struck out Roberto Clemente looking.

-He pitched only four games at AA Austin in 1965 before his career apparently ended at age 25.

-Is one of four Brauns in big league history. The others are outfielder-third baseman Steve, reliever Ryan Zachary, and slugger Ryan Joseph. No relation.
#82 Braves Rookie Stars: Santos Alomar and John Braun (back)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson

#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson
Just how off-center is Rico Petrocelli's hat logo? Very, I would say. It's also worth noting that this is the only multi-rookie card so far to feature a partially visible uniform number; it's most likely #38, which Rico wore in 1963 and 1965 before switching to #6. Jerry Stephenson's background is impossibly blue, don't you think?

Fun facts about Rico Petrocelli:

-Brooklyn-born Rico signed with the Red Sox at age 18 in 1961.

-Was Boston's starting shortstop as a rookie in 1965, and showed power right from the start with 13 home runs in 323 at-bats.

-Was an All-Star in 1967, with .259 average, 17 HR, 66 RBI. Had only four hits in a World Series loss to the Cardinals, but three of them were for extra bases (1 2B, 2 HR).

-Had a breakout season in 1969 (.297, 32 2B, 40 HR, 97 RBI), setting a league record for home runs as a shortstop. He earned the second (and final) All-Star selection of his career.

-Led the A.L. in fielding at his position in 1968 (.978) and 1969 (.981).

-Switched to third base in 1971 and didn't miss a beat, driving in a personal best 103 runs and again leading the loop in fielding percentage (.976).

-Nearing the end of his career, had a good run in the 1975 World Series, hitting .308 in the Sox' seven-game loss to the Reds.

-Retired in 1976, having hit .251 with 210 home runs in twelve-plus seasons (all with Boston). He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

-Managed in the minor leagues for several seasons with the Appleton Foxes (1986), Birmingham Barons (1987-1988), and Pawtucket Red Sox (1992).

-Currently lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and runs his own business in Nashua. He works at baseball clinics and in radio.

Fun facts about Jerry Stephenson:

-His father, Joe Stephenson, was a catcher who played 29 games for the Giants, Cubs, and White Sox in the 1940s.

-A native Detroiter, Jerry signed with Boston in 1961, straight out of high school.

-After a cup of coffee in 1963, got a longer look in 1965. Earned his first big-league win on May 23, striking out nine Indians in six innings of work.

-His best "season" of major league ball consisted of eight games in 1967, when he went 3-1 with a save and a 3.86 ERA.

-Five-hit the Indians for a rare complete-game win on April 20, 1968. Also walked seven, but struck out seven as well to escape with the 3-2 victory.

-After a brutal tour of duty in 1968 (2-8, 5.64 ERA), he was hit hard in short stints with the 1969 Pilots and 1970 Dodgers. Finished 8-19 with a 5.70 ERA in parts of seven seasons.

-Had fifteen career hits in 65 at-bats (.231 AVG); the best pitched to allow a hit to Jerry was probably Jim Kaat.

-His son Brian pitched in the Cubs and Dodgers minor league systems from 1994-2001.
#74 Red Sox Rookie Stars: Rico Petrocelli and Jerry Stephenson (back)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

#71 John O'Donoghue

#71 John O'Donoghue
I still can't figure out why the Athletics cards look so good in this set. Green + red + black + yellow? Somehow it just works.

Fun facts about John O'Donoghue:

-A product of the University of Missouri, John signed with the hometown Kansas City A's in 1959.

-After some struggles in his first four minor league seasons, he won 14 games between AA and AAA in 1963, earning a September call-up to the majors.

-Earned his first career win on May 12, 1964, allowing two runs (both unearned) on two hits and four walks in seven innings to beat the Angels, 6-2. He even hit an RBI single in his first at-bat!

-Earned a career-best 10 wins in 1964; Orlando Pena was the only other K.C. pitcher to win double-digit games that year.

-Was an All-Star in 1965, despite winning only nine games and leading the American League with 18 losses. Considering his 3.95 earned run average and the terrible nature of the A's (59-103 as a team), his Ws and Ls were pretty deceiving.

-Spent two seasons in Cleveland, where he went 14-17 as a swingman with a solid 3.51 ERA.

-Had a day to remember on August 19, 1967, one-hitting the Tigers in a 5-0 Cleveland win. He struck out eleven and walked only two.

-Was one of the very few bright spots for the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their first and only season before moving to Milwaukee. Pitched 55 games (all in relief), saved six, and posted a 2.96 ERA. Of the 25(!) pitchers that passed through Sicks' Stadium that year, only Bob Locker had a lower mark.

-Finished a nine-year career in 1971, having gone 39-55 with a 4.07 ERA and 10 saves.

-Coached in the Orioles farm system after retiring. His son, John Preston O'Donoghue, pitched eleven games for the O's in 1993 and was kind enough to answer a few questions for an interview on my NumerOlogy website.
#71 John O'Donoghue (back)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

#69 Bill Virdon

It's funny that Bill Virdon is today's player. I'm currently reading Summer of '49 by the late, great David Halberstam. This afternoon I was reading about Joe DiMaggio's younger brother Dominic, a very talented center fielder in his own right who had to overcome institutional prejudices about bespectacled players. It was assumed in the 1930s that if you wore glasses, you couldn't see the ball to hit it. Decades later, we still see very few four-eyed position players in this 1965 set.

Fun facts about Bill Virdon:

-A native Michigander (I don't think that's a real term), he signed with the Yankees as a teenager in 1950, but was traded to the Cardinals for Enos Slaughter in 1954.

-After batting an International-League best .333 with the Rochester Red Wings in 1954, won the National League Rookie of the Year the following season (.281, career-best 17 HR and 68 RBI).

-After getting off to a slow start in 1956 (.211 in 24 games), was traded to Pittsburgh, where he hit .334 for the rest of the season.

-Was renowned as one of the better defensive center fielders of his time; even managed to wrestle one Gold Glove away from Curt Flood (1962).

-Hit three doubles and drove in five runs in the Pirates' seven-game World Series victory over the Yankees in 1960. It was his bad-hop ground ball in the decisive game that knocked New York shortstop Tony Kubek out of the game and sparked a five-run rally.

-Was remarkably consistent throughout his ten years in Pittsburgh, hitting between .243 and .269 for an eight-season span before batting .279 in 1965, his final full season.

-Led the N.L. with 10 triples in 1962, one of four seasons in which he reached double figures in three-baggers.

-After two years of managing in the Mets farm system (1966-1967), he returned to the Pirates as a coach and played in six games, tacking one hit in three at-bats onto his career totals to retire for good with a career .267 average.

-Spent thirteen seasons as a big league manager with the Pirates, Yankees, Astros, and Expos. He was twice named Manager of the Year (1974 and 1980), and was fired once by George Steinbrenner, which is a badge of honor.

-Bill lives in Springfield, MO and still serves as a special outfield instructor for the Pirates every spring.
#69 Bill Virdon (back)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

#68 Del Crandall

Take a close look at this Del Crandall card. Focus on Del's right hand, which is gripping the bat and facing the camera. See that blackened fingernail? That's the joys of being a catcher, folks.

Fun facts about Del Crandall:

-A Californian by birth, Crandall signed with the Braves in 1948 and made his debut with the club the following June at age 19!

-According to Wikipedia, Del was ejected two pitches into his first major league start for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Jocko Conlan. Reportedly, Conlan called the young player a "busher" and Crandall told him where he could shove his "busher". It's a great story, but I haven't found corroboration anywhere else.

-After spending 1951-1952 serving in the Korean War, followed the Braves to Milwaukee and earned a reputation as one of the best all-around catchers in the league. Made four consecutive All-Star teams and eight in ten years.

-Hit double-digit home runs every season from 1953-1960, including a career-high 26 in 1955. His 175 home runs placed him fourth all-time among National League catchers at the time of his retirement.

-Won four out of the first five Gold Gloves that were awarded at his position. He led the loop in assists six times and fielding percentage four times, and caught 1,430 games (fourth-most in N.L. history at the time).

-Tied a record by catching three no-hitters in his career; the pitchers were Jim Wilson (June 12, 1954), Lew Burdette (August 18, 1960), and Warren Spahn (September 16, 1960). Incredibly, all three no-no's came at the expense of the Phillies!

-Played in two World Series for the Braves vs. the Yankees (one win, one loss); though he hit .227 in postseason play, he did hit one home run in each Fall Classic.

-Hit four home runs in his final season off of three very good pitchers: Dave McNally, Denny McLain, and Johnny Podres.

-Retired in 1966 with a .254 career average.

-Wore many hats in his post-playing career: coach (Angels - 1977), minor-league manager (1969-1970 and 1978-1983 - Albuquerque Dodgers, 1971-1972 - Evansville Triplets, 1976 - Salinas Angels, 1996-1997 - San Bernardino Stampede), major-league manager (1972-1975 - Brewers, 1983-1984 - Mariners), and radio broadcaster (White Sox - 1985-1988). Whew.
#68 Del Crandall (back)

Monday, May 04, 2009

#67 Harvey Haddix

#67 Harvey Haddix
This is one of my favorite Orioles cards in this set. I remember reading about Harvey Haddix's lost-perfect-game (more on that later) as a kid, so a few years later it blew my mind when I found out that he went on to pitch for my favorite team. Harvey just has a classic baseball face; there's a lot of character in it. You can see every inch and line of that character in his 1964 Topps card, of course. I bet he would've been a big hit in the High Definition era.

Fun facts about Harvey Haddix:

-As a 21-year-old lefthander from Medway, OH, he signed with the Cardinals in 1947.

-Did not debut with St. Louis until 1952, in part because he served in the military the previous year. Was nicknamed "Kitten" due to his similarity to veteran teammate Harry "the Cat" Brecheen, who would later serve as his pitching coach in Baltimore.

-His first full season was the best of his career, as he went 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA and a league-leading six shutouts in 1953. He earned the first of three consecutive All-Star selections and was runner-up to Jim Gilliam in the Rookie of the Year voting, largely because Gilliam's Dodgers were the National League Champions.

-Won three straight Gold Gloves as the National League's top-fielding pitcher, 1958-1960.

-As a Pirate, turned in what is widely regarded as the best single-game pitching performance in major league history on May 26, 1959. Harvey threw 12 perfect innings against the defending N.L. champion Braves, but lost the whole ball of wax in the 13th. Third baseman Don Hoak's throwing error allowed Felix Mantilla to reach first. Eddie Mathews bunted the runner to second, Hank Aaron was intentionally walked, and Joe Adcock hit a three-run homer that was scored as a double thanks to a baserunning mishap. Eventually, the final score was recorded as 1-0. In 1993, ex-Brave Bob Buhl admitted that Milwaukee had been stealing signs, and still couldn't touch Haddix for 12 innings!

-Karma rewarded Harvey in 1960, as he won two games in the Pirates' seven-game World Series triumph over the Yankees, including the clincher in relief.

-Spent the last two years of his career (1964-1965) as a reliever for the Orioles, and excelled on an excellent Baltimore staff in 1964 (5-5, 2.31 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10 SV).

-In parts of fourteen season, went 136-113 with 99 complete games, 1,575 strikeouts, and a 3.63 ERA.

-Because I love pitchers' hitting stats, Harvey was competent with the bat, hitting .212 in his career and turning in seasons of .289 and .309. He crushed the recently-featured Ron Kline (6-for-16, 2 BB, 2 K, 4 RBI, 1.069 OPS).

-Much like "the Cat", "the Kitten" became a pitching coach after he stepped off of the mound. He served in that capacity for the Mets, Reds, Red Sox, Indians, and Pirates.

-Haddix died in 1994 of emphesyma. He was 68 years old at the time.
#67 Harvey Haddix (back)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

#60 Jim O'Toole

#60 Jim O'Toole
I've never thought that the windbreaker-under-the-jersey look was very flattering, and that goes double for Jim O'Toole and his particularly ill-fitting model. Was it a leftover that Ted Kluszewski refused to wear? Ah, the mysteries of the universe.

Fun facts about Jim O'Toole:

-A native Chicagoan, Jim was a Wisconsin Badger before leaving college to sign with the Reds in 1957.

-Went 20-8 with a 2.44 ERA in his first pro experience with AA Nashville to earn a September 1958 call-up to Cincinnati.

-After going 17-20 in his first two full seasons, stunned the National League by going 19-9 with a 3.10 ERA (second-best in the league) and 11 complete games in 1961.

-Pitched well in the 1961 World Series, allowing two runs in each of his two starts, but lost both games to Whitey Ford as the Yankees dispatched the Reds in five games.

-After a 16-13 follow-up season, went 17-14 with a 2.88 ERA in 1963 to earn an All-Star selection.

-Might have had his best season in 1964: 17-7, 2.66 ERA, 145 K against 51 BB.

-Shoulder troubles caused a quick decline. He went 12-20 in just 69 games from 1965-1967, spent 1968 in AAA, and packed it in after being cut from the Pilots spring roster in 1969.

-Was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1972, having earned all but four of his 98 career victories with the club.

-His brother, Dennis O'Toole, pitched in 15 games for the White Sox between 1969 and 1973.

-Eddie Mathews touched him up for nine home runs in 69 career at-bats against. He also went deep against Robin Roberts and Don Newcombe nine teams each, so O'Toole is in good company!
#60 Jim O'Toole (back)

Friday, May 01, 2009

#58 Fred Talbot

#58 Fred Talbot
I was mildly surprised when I received this Fred Talbot card from Don. I've read Jim Bouton's Ball Four cover-to-cover twice, and I always pictured Talbot as being a more hirsute, gruff-looking kind of guy. You know, someone along the lines of Paul Shuey or Sparky Lyle. It hadn't even occurred to me that mustaches were verboten in baseball until Charlie Finley's 1970s A's. Sometimes your own perceptions run wild, you know?

Fun facts about Fred Talbot:

-Despite being born in Washington, D.C., Fred was fortunate enough not to be signed by the Senators. Instead, the White Sox inked him to his first pro contract in 1958.

-His first major league win was less than impressive. He relieved John Buzhardt in the first game of a June 7, 1964 doubleheader against the Tigers, allowed a run in one and two-thirds innings, and was the pitcher of record when Pete Ward's single restored the slim lead that he had given away. The Sox later put the game away with four late-inning tallies, but all Hoyt Wilhelm (3 IP, 3 K, 0 ER) got in relief of Talbot was a lousy save.

-His second big-league win came sixteen days later and was a bit more impressive. He manuevered his way around ten Boston baserunners to whitewash the Red Sox, 2-0.

-In January 1965, he was sent to Kansas City as part of a three-team trade that sent Rocky Colavito back to Cleveland. It ended up being a lousy trade for the Tribe, as they sent two young players named Tommie Agee and Tommy John to Chicago and got one more All-Star year out of Colavito before his decline.

-Tied with Rollie Sheldon for the A's team lead with 10 wins in 1965. At 59-103, the club was beyond lousy. Hawk Harrelson (66 RBI) was their leading run producer.

-Fred never could catch a break. While his earned run averages were below-average for his time, he wasn't a terrible pitcher (4.12 career ERA), yet he never once had a winning record. The closest he came was 1966, when he went 4-4 with the Athletics and 7-7 with the Yankees to earn a career-high 11 wins.

-Had a small part in an American-League-record-tying 29-inning doubleheader on August 29, 1967. The Red Sox won the first game in the standard nine, beating the host Yankees 2-1. In the bottom of the 20th inning of the nightcap, John Kennedy singled with one out and took second when Jim Bouton (more on him later) was hit by a pitch. Talbot pinch-ran for Bouton but was not needed for long; the next batter was Horace Clarke, who singled home Kennedy with the winning run!

-Had the honor of spending three months with ex-Yankee teammate Jim Bouton and the Seattle Pilots, and judging from the text of Bouton's Ball Four, could dish it out as well as he took it when it came to clubhouse ribbing. Thought Talbot was the victim of a fake paternity suit and a fake $5,000 prize, he got his revenge in smaller doses. For instance, once he found out that Bouton sent the fake prize telegram, he cut in front of him to take the last spot in an air-conditioned cab back to the hotel, shouting, "Take the next cab, you Communist." Bouton also suspected that Fred was the anonymous ex-teammate who reviewed Ball Four by opining that the writing would "gag a maggot".

-Hit two home runs while with the Pilots, doubling his career total. One of those Seattle longballs was a grand slam that won $27,000 for Mr. Donald Dubois of Gladstone, OR courtesy of the Pilots' Home Run for the Money promotion. This laid the groundwork for the aforementioned prank, in which Bouton sent a phony telegram from "Dubois" offering Talbot $5,000 of the prize as a sign of gratitude.

-Left baseball in 1970 with a lifetime record of 38-56 and went into construction. He's been retired since 1996 and lives in Falls Church, VA. I've been there. It's an unremarkable place, but they've got a Long John Silver's. Mmm.
#58 Fred Talbot (back)