Tuesday, February 17, 2009

#518 Ken Rowe

Ken Rowe by you.
Okay, we're back to our regularly scheduled blogging, with some catching up to do. First up is journeyman Ken Rowe, who is sporting an impressive flattop. You could rest a grocery bag on that head. The less said about the warmup-jacket-under-jersey look, the better. It's also worth noting that much like Vern Law, Ken's card back features an oversized name in lieu of cartoon. Apparently Topps was getting a little lazy, as they didn't even include any text about the righthander.

Fun facts about Ken Rowe:

-A native of Ferndale, MI, Ken signed with the Tigers in 1953.

-Spent a decade in the minor leagues before making his major league debut, including spending most of 1956 and all of 1957 in military service.

-Was a durable reliever, appearing in 70 games for AAA Spokane in 1962 (9-9, 3.44) and setting a record with 88 games pitched for Spokane in 1964 (16-11, 1.77).

-As a 29-year-old rookie with the Dodgers in 1963, fashioned a 2.93 ERA in 27 and two-thirds innings out of the bullpen.

-Earned his first major league win with three scoreless innings in relief of Larry Sherry on September 26, 1963. Rowe entered in the sixth with L.A. down 4-1 and held the Mets at bay as the Dodgers rallied for a 5-4 victory.

-At the end of his record-breaking minor-league season in 1964, Ken was purchased by the Orioles and had a rough go of it in 4 and two-thirds innings, but rebounded with a 3.38 ERA in six relief appearances in early 1965. Was optioned to Rochester in May, ending his major league career.

-Had his only big league hit in his final at-bat, singling off of Earl Wilson to drive in a run in the Orioles' 7-5 loss to Boston on April 24, 1965. He was 1-for-6 in his career.

-After four seasons in the Orioles organization, retired and began a long coaching career; he managed in the O's chain from 1968 to 1971.

-After a few years away from baseball, Rowe rejoined the Baltimore organization as a pitching instructor in 1975, and has been at it ever since. Went from the Orioles to the Phillies back to the Orioles (including a stint as the major league pitching coach in 1985-1986) to the Yankees to the Indians, where he's found a home for the past 18 years. He's been the pitching coach of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the short-season A New York-Penn League since 2006.
Ken Rowe (back) by you.

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