Friday, March 08, 2013

#163 John Briggs

#163 John Briggs photo briggs_zps98ea6875.jpg
One of the sad by-products of my own disorganization is that I can't track down the source of this card. If you sent me John Briggs, don't hesitate to let me know, and I will give credit where it is due.

Anyhow, this is a fairly unique photo for the 1965 Topps set, zooming in on Briggs as he seemingly plays catch with an unseen teammate. I'm skeptical as to the presence of an actuall ball in his glove, but I can't say for sure that there's not one in there. Call me a ball agnostic. On second thought...don't. It might lead to some misunderstandings.

Fun facts about John Briggs:

-John was born in Paterson, NJ, and signed with the Phillies as an 18-year-old in 1962. His bonus was a mere $8,000.

-He spent only one season in the minors before getting called up, batting .297 and slugging an even .500 with 21 home runs for Class A Bakersfield in 1963.

-The first two home runs of his career were a leadoff shot (June 21, 1964 against Frank Lary of the Mets) and a walkoff job (May 10, 1965 against Bob Purkey of the Cardinals).

-Briggs spent seven seasons in Philly as a part-timer, seeing action at first base and all three outfield positions. His best overall effort with the Phillies was in 1966, when he batted .282/.380/.490 with 10 home runs in 297 plate appearances.

-John found increased playing time and power after an April 1971 trade to the Brewers. He hit 21 home runs in both the 1971 and 1972 seasons, and set a personal best with 30 doubles in 1974.

-On August 4, 1973, he went 6-for-6 with a pair of doubles in a 9-4 win over the Indians.

-The Twins acquired Briggs in June 1975, but released him the following spring. He played out 1976 in Japan with the Lotte Marines before hanging up his spikes.

-In 12 seasons in the majors, John hit .253 with a .355 on-base percentage and slugged .416. He totaled 139 home runs and 507 RBI.

-Back in New Jersey, Briggs joined the Passaic County Sherriff's Department, retiring as a lieutenant in 2008. He also coached baseball and counseled children in Paterson, and there's a field named for him in West Side Park.

-John still lives in Paterson with his wife Renvy and their two teenage sons, Jalen and Julian.
 photo c11ee261-afbf-4fd5-a1c3-e03213c68ab7_zps12e7a3f9.jpg

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