Sunday, October 03, 2010

#384 Johnny Klippstein

#383 Johnny Klippstein
As a fellow member of the prematurely gray club, I really dig Johnny's salt-and-pepper look.

Fun facts about Johnny Klippstein:

-A native of Washington, D.C., Johnny signed with the Cardinals in 1944 before he even turned 17.

-During his five years in the minors, he was claimed by two other teams, going from the St. Louis organization to the Dodgers and finally to the Cubs, with whom he made his big league debut in 1950. The youngster struggled mightily as a rookie, going 2-9 with a 5.25 ERA and walking 64 batters while striking out only 51 in 104.2 innings. He would have control issues throughout his career (1.18 K/BB ratio), leading some to dub him "The Wild Man of Borneo".

-Klippstein never really had much success in Chicago, going 31-51 with a 4.79 ERA in five seasons before being dealt to Cincinnati. In 1955, he had a strong first year with the Reds, pitching to a 3.39 ERA that belied a 9-10 record.

-In 1956, he received a career-high 29 starts and went 12-11 with a 4.09 ERA and 11 complete games. Of course he also led the National League with 10 hit batters and had to be pulled from his start on May 26 after seven hitless innings due to seven walks allowed. The following season, he lost his chance at a no-no on a eighth-inning two-out single by Bob Hazle of Braves.

-An unremarkable year-plus with the Dodgers did culminate in a 1959 World Series victory. He saw action in Game One, shutting out the White Sox in two innings of relief.

-He tied for the American League lead with 14 saves in 1960, his lone season with the Indians. He was also 5-5 with a 2.91 ERA.

-On August 6, 1962, he won a game the hard way, tossing three scoreless innings against the Astros and hitting a solo home run in the 13th inning to deliver a 1-0 victory for the Reds.

-After a pair of poor seasons with the Senators and Reds, Johnny had a career year as a member of the 1963 Phillies. The 35-year-old had a 1.93 ERA and eight saves as the #2 man in the Phils bullpen.

-He was a vital reliever for the 1965 Twins club that won the American League pennant, winning nine of 12 decisions with a 2.24 ERA. He also posted a personal-best 1.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and turned in a pair of scoreless relief appearances in the Fall Classic.

-He concluded his career with a five-game cameo for the 1967 Tigers. In parts of 18 seasons, he was 101-118 with a 4.24 ERA and 66 saves. Johnny passed away in Elgin, IL in 2003, a week shy of his 76th birthday.


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