Saturday, March 19, 2011

#53 Dick McAuliffe

#53 Dick McAuliffe
And so we jump from one care package from Max to the next! Today's card (and the next 10 as well) were sent in June of 2009. In return, he was rewarded handsomely with some various Mets and what have you.

Fun facts about Dick McAuliffe:

-Dick was born in Hartford, CT and signed with the Tigers out of high school in 1957.

-Detroit promoted him to the big leagues in September 1960. He debuted as a pinch hitter on September 17, and got his first start on September 20. In the latter game he went 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI, with all three hits coming against Indians starter Jim Perry.

-Dick had an unusual batting stance. Per Bill James: "[H]e tucked his right wrist under his chin and held his bat over his head, so it looked as if he were dodging the sword of Damocles in mid-descent. He pointed his left knee at the catcher and his right knee at the pitcher and spread the two as far apart as humanly possible, his right foot balanced on the toes, so that to have lowered his heel two inches would have pulled his knee inward by a foot. He whipped the bat in a sort of violent pinwheel which produced line drives, strikeouts, and fly balls, few ground balls, and not a lot of pop outs."

-He made three straight All-Star teams, 1965-1967. His best all-around year was 1966, when he batted .274 with a .373 on-base percentage, 23 home runs, and 56 RBI.

-McAuliffe was a top-ten player in the American League in several categories in 1967: Wins Above Replacement (4.8 - 9th), OBP (.364 - 9th), runs scored (92 - 5th), triples (7 - 3rd), home runs (22 - 8th), walks (105 - 3rd), and hit by pitch (7 - 9th). He was among the league leaders in triples eight times in a nine-year span.

-In the Tigers' championship season of 1968, Dick led the American League with 95 runs scored and also reached career highs of 24 doubles and 10 triples. As the everyday second baseman, he committed only nine errors. Incredibly, he did not hit into a single double play the whole year. In Game Two of the World Series, his two-run single off of Steve Carlton gave Detroit a 5-0 lead in the sixth inning.

-He infamously incurred a five-day suspension late in the 1968 campaign. On August 22, White Sox pitcher Tommy John buzzed the infielder with two high pitches in the same at-bat. After the second incident, McAuliffe charged the mound and drove his knee into John's shoulder, separating it and putting the pitcher out of commission for the year.

-Prior to the 1974 season, he was traded to the Red Sox for Ben Oglivie. After batting just .210/.310/.320 in 100 games, he accepted a managerial post with Boston's AA Bristol team for the 1975 season. The club went 81-57 under his guidance, and in late August, the Red Sox added the 35-year-old to the major league roster. Appearing in seven games, he went only 2-for-15 at bat and made three errors at third base. The Sox soon deactivated McAuliffe, and released him after the World Series to bring an end to his career.

-In parts of 16 seasons he batted .247 with a .343 on-base percentage, 197 home runs, and 697 RBI.

-After retiring, Dick operated some baseball schools. He also owned a business that installed and repaired coin-operated washing machines and dryers.
#53 Dick McAuliffe (back)


  1. I'm pretty sure this card was in my first pack in 1965. I'm glad you mentioned McAuliffe's odd batting stance, I'm amazed he could hit HRs that way!

  2. The card says he was a shortstop but I remember him as a second baseman. I know he didn't play shortstop in the 1968 World Series. Unless he switched positions later in his career, I'm pretty sure he was a second baseman.

  3. He moved to 2nd base in '67 when the Tigers gave the SS job to Ray Oyler. God knows why.

  4. Commishbob,

    McAuliffe was the SS prior to 1968, but with the retirement of Tigers' 2nd baseman Jerry Lumpe in 1967, McAuliffe slid over to 2B (they had also traded their other 2nd baseman Jacob Wood earlier in the 1967 season). I guess Oyler's weak bat was more acceptable at SS than it would have been elsewhere.

  5. Doug - That's cool! I wish I remembered who was in my first pack of 1993 Topps.

    Marc - As Bob and Jim mentioned, Dick was primarily a SS from 1960-1966, though he did appear at 2B and 3B at times. He became a regular in 1962, and started 126 games: 67 at 2B, 47 at 3B, 12 at SS. That year was the exception. It was also the final season that Chico Fernandez was the starting SS in Detroit.