Tuesday, June 10, 2008

#268 Ken McBride

I just got three more cards from one of my readers, so let's wrap up the batch from Ed. This is the second-to-last card of that bunch, and you'll duck if you know what's good for you. Ken McBride led the American League in hit batsmen twice in his career, and plunked somebody once every 16.2 innings on average. Ouch! Fortunately, he also finished near the top of some more flattering lists.

The former Red Sox signee got his start in the big leagues with the other Sox. Since I'm always looking for a Baltimore connection, I have to mention that McBride debuted in Memorial Stadium, taking a hard-luck 3-2 loss for Chicago. He allowed three runs to the Birds in seven and one-third innings, but only one was earned and the deciding runs were allowed by his bullpen. Then again, if Ken hadn't walked seven batters (including a young Brooks Robinson twice), the outcome may not have been in doubt.

Ken never really got a long look on the South Side, but his career took off after the Angels selected him in 1960's expansion draft. He was an All-Star in each of the team's first three seasons; though he only played in the 1963 game, he did get the start that year. He allowed three runs in three innings, but did drive in the AL's first run with a single off of Jim O'Toole in the second frame. You can see some of his stats below; he finished in the top ten of the junior circuit in winning percentage (1962), WHIP (1963), K's and K/9 IP (1961), complete games (1961, 1963), shutouts (1962), and adjusted ERA (1961).

As you can see, his performance fell of dramatically in 1964, and unfortunately this would be his last card. He appeared in just eight games for the Halos in 1965, going 0-3 with a 6.14 ERA. Ken had always had a bit of a control problem, finishing in the top ten in walks allowed three times in four years in addition to his aforementioned tendency to hit batters. Maybe his wildness hastened his demise.

I just started adding Fun Facts recently, and I think I'm going to make it a habit. I'm also going to start tagging posts to indicate which team the featured player represents. I'll do it retroactively as well.

Fun Fact: Ken McBride was an August kind of guy. His first ML game, his last game, and his birthday all occurred in the first half of August.

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