Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#254 Roland Sheldon

#254 Roland Sheldon
As I look desperately for signs of Spring, I can take comfort in this card, which shows Roland "Rollie" Sheldon posing on the sidelines of the Yankees Spring Training field in Fort Lauderdale. You can see one of his teammates warming up in the outfield, and the palm trees on the horizon are a soothing sight. Opening Day is next Monday, and I'm hoping for a little bit of that sunshine at Camden Yards!

Fun facts about Roland Sheldon:

-Pitched collegiately at both Texas A& M University and the University of Connecticut (near his hometown of Putnam).

-Signed with the Yankees in 1960, and made the jump to the majors the following year.

-His first taste of pro ball was widely successful: 15-1, 2.88 ERA with Auburn in the New York-Penn League.

-Had a strong rookie year, setting career highs in wins (11-5), shutouts (2), complete games (6), and ERA (3.60).

-Was a member of two World Champion teams in New York (1961, 1962), but did not pitch in the postseason either year.

-Finally did get postseason experience with the Yanks in 1964, turning in two scoreless relief appearances against the Cardinals in the Series.

-Was traded to the Athletics in 1965. Responded by beating the Yankees twice that year, going the distance in both games: a 6-2 win and a 4-0 3-hitter.

-Because of his early-season trade to the A's, Rollie's card was removed from subsequent printings of the Challenge the Yankees board game, making it something of a rarity.

-Dominated Dick Howser: 0-for-20, 1 BB, 1 K.

-Finished his career with the Red Sox in 1966, winding up with a 38-36 record and 4.09 ERA in five seasons.
#254 Roland Sheldon (back)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

#250 Willie Mays

#250 Willie Mays
I took a mini-hiatus at the end of this week, partially due to a faulty power cord on my laptop and a busier schedule at work. But I think you'll agree that this card was worth the wait. "The Say Hey Kid" looks like a stern veteran, no traces of the usual exuberance. But he was fourteen years into his remarkable 22-year career, and the important thing is that he looms large in the framework of the card, leaving precious little room for a fairly unremarkable background. This card is all about Willie.

Fun facts about Willie Mays:

-Played three seasons with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League before beginning his major league career.

-Went 0-for his first dozen at bats with the Giants before homering off of Warren Spahn, the first of his personal-best 13 moon shots against the Braves' ace. Spahn later quipped, "I'll never forgive myself. We might have gotten rid of Willie forever if I'd only struck him out."

-Two words: The Catch.

-A quick and dirty list of his major accomplishments: 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, 20-time All-Star (1954-1973), two-time NL MVP (1954, 1965), two-time All-Star MVP (1963, 1968), 12-time Gold Glove winner (1957-1968).

-Hit a record 22 extra-inning home runs. He is believed to be the only player in major league history to hit a home run in each inning from the first through the sixteenth.

-Holds the major league record for consecutive seasons with 150 or more games played (thirteen seasons, 1954-1966); Cal Ripken, Jr. missed out on this record as a result of the strike-shortened 1994 and 1995 campaigns.

-Despite hitting 660 home runs in his career, fourth-best all-time, he's not even the leading home-run hitter from his home state of Alabama. That honor goes to Hank Aaron, whose 755 longballs are second all-time.

-Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979; despite being widely considered one of the best players in history, he was left off of 23 ballots. Stay classy, BBWAA.

-The Giants retired his #24, and their ballpark (AT&T Park) is located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. A statue in his likeness is located in front of the main entrance.

-He is the godfather of former teammate Bobby Bonds' son, Barry. His godson surpassed his home run total in 2004 on his way to a record-breaking 762 round-trippers. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
#250 Willie Mays (back)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

#187 Casey Stengel

#187 Casey Stengel
I've been chomping at the bit to post this card. Topps did a great job of choosing a quintessential Casey Stengel photo. We see the Ol' Perfesser camped out on a concrete step at...the Polo Grounds? I know Shea opened in 1964, but it looks a little ramshackle, no? Anyway, he's got a bat propped against his legs and he's holding court, imparting his own brand of twisted wisdom. I love it. Chances are that you know all about Casey (who started his major league career in 1912, the year Fenway Park opened, and won seven World Series as manager of the Yankees), so I'll change it up with:

Fun quotes by Casey Stengel

-"I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill."

"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."

-"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided."

-"We are in such a slump that even the ones that aren't drinkin' aren't hittin'."

-"There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them."

-"When you are younger you get blamed for crimes you never committed and when you're older you begin to get credit for virtues you never possessed. It evens itself out."

-"Son, we'd like to keep you around this season but we're going to try and win a pennant."

-"The trick is growing up without growing old."

-"They told me my services were no longer desired because they wanted to put in a youth program as an advance way of keeping the club going. I'll never make the mistake of being seventy again."

-"All right, everybody line up alphabetically according to your height."

-About Yogi Berra: "He'd fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch."

-"Don't cut my throat, I may want to do that later myself."

#187 Casey Stengel (back)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

#89 Mike Hershberger

#89 Mike Hershberger
As previously mentioned, the next five cards I'll be posting are courtesy of a small but potent mailing from Max. Mike Hershberger is grinning brightly, looking every bit the fresh-faced 24-year-old. I assume that the dark shapeless form in the background is a line of trees, and not billowing smoke from a structure fire.

Fun facts about Mike Hershberger:

-Signed with the White Sox in 1959 out of the University of Cincinnati.

-Hit .310 at AAA San Diego in 1961 to earn a late-season call-up to the majors, where he hit .309 in 15 games.

-Hit a walkoff home run off of Boston's Dick Radatz in the bottom of the tenth inning on September 19, 1962.

-Batted a career-high .279 with 64 runs scored in 1963.

-Despite tailing off as a hitter (.252 career average, single-season bests of 5 HR and 57 RBI), stayed in the league for eleven seasons based on his reputation as a skilled flycatcher.

-Was part of a three-team, eight-player trade in 1965, in which he landed in Kansas City. Notable names in the deal included Tommy John and Rocky Colavito.

-Twice placed in the top ten in the American League for doubles: 1966 (27) and 1967 (25).

-Led the A.L. with 17 outfield assists in 1967.

-Was very difficult to strike out, whiffing once every 11.5 at bats in his career.

-Faced pitcher Jim Kaat 103 times in his career, by far his most at-bats against any opponent. (Earl Wilson was his second-most-frequent foe, with 67 AB against.) Held his own against the Twins great, hitting safely 27 times for a .262 AVG.
#89 Mike Hershberger (back)

Friday, March 20, 2009

#590 Johnnie Wyatt

#590 Johnnie Wyatt
Well, I'm afraid we've finally come to the end of another batch of cards from the peerless Max. But don't worry...the next five cards I'll be covering also came from Max, and there are some really exciting selections in that group! For now, we'll try to focus on Johnnie Wyatt and his kelly green undershirt. My eye is drawn to the white seams in the shoulder area; it almost looks like he's wearing long johns, doesn't it?

Fun facts about Johnnie Wyatt:

-A Chicagoan by birth, John signed with the Cardinals in 1954.

-Early struggles in the minors and two years of military service (1957-1958) slowed his path to the major leagues.

-A 9-3 record with a 3.13 ERA in 52 games with the Portsmouth-Norfolk Tides in 1961 convinced the woeful A's to give him a shot at age 26.

-Won 10 games and saved 11 in 1962, his first full major league season.
-Posted a 3.13 ERA and saved a career-high 21 games the following year. It was the first of six straight seasons with a better than league-average ERA.

-Made his only All-Star team in 1964 (9-8, 20 SV, 3.59 ERA). Set a major league record (broken in 1965 by Eddie Fisher) with 81 games pitched.

-A notoriously poor hitter, he was 4-for-83 for an .048 lifetime average. His only RBI came courtesy of a bases-loaded walk from Twins hurler Garry Roggenburk in 1965. It was an eventful inning; the A's scored four runs to boost their lead to 8-2, even though Wyatt was eventually thrown out at home plate by left fielder Ted Uhlaender! Wyatt also threw two perfect innings to pick up an easy save in relief of Catfish Hunter.

-Traded to Boston in mid-1966. Had a career year in 1967, going 10-7 with 20 saves, a 2.60 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP for the American League Champion Red Sox. He pitched twice in the 1967 World Series vs. the Cardinals, earning the win in relief in Game 6 despite allowing a seventh-inning home run to Lou Brock to tie the game. A four-run Red Sox rally in the bottom of the inning was his saving grace.

-Finished his career back with the Athletics in 1969 after pitching for three teams the previous year (Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers). For his career, went 42-44 with 103 saves and a 3.47 earned run average.

-Passed away after suffering a heart attack at age 62 in 1998.
#590 Johnnie Wyatt (back)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#589 Giants Rookie Stars: Frank Linzy and Bob Schroder

#589 Frank Linzy, Bob Schroder
It's Head Accessory Day here at The Great 1965 Topps Project! It's hard to say which is more impressive: Frank Linzy's giant oversized glasses that give him the appearance of someone at least twice his age, or Bob Schroder's ill-fitting batting helmet, which makes him look like a bobblehead doll.

Fun facts about Frank Linzy:

-A sinkerballer out of Oklahoma State University, Frank signed with the Giants in 1960.

-After a brief taste of the majors in 1963, arrived in the big leagues to stay in 1965 and turned in a career year as the Giants' fireman: 9-3, 21 saves (second in the N.L.) and a 1.43 ERA in 57 games. He placed third in Rookie of the Year voting and was a Topps All-Star Rookie.

-How effective was Linzy when it came to keeping the ball in the park? In 1965, he allowed two home runs. That's one more than he himself hit that year!

-Another strong effort came in 1967, as he went 7-7 with 17 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 1.06 WHIP.

-On September 1, 1967, pitched five shutout innings to earn the win in a 21-inning, 1-0 Giants victory over the Reds. He relieved Gaylord Perry, who had blanked Cincinnati for the first 16 frames.

-Led the National League in relief wins with 14 in 1969.

-According to Linzy, the Giants sent him a contract prior to the 1970 season, and he absent-mindedly filed it in a drawer. When three weeks passed without the contract being returned to the Giants, team president Horace Stoneham called the pitcher and offered him another $2,000 to get the deal done, assuming that Frank was playing hardball!

-In a little over five seasons in San Francisco, won 48 games (all as a reliever) and saved another 78 (sixth-best in team history).

-Also pitched for the Cardinals, Brewers, and Phillies, and retired in 1974 with 111 career saves and a 2.85 ERA.

-Frank is still living in Oklahoma, and is apparently a faithful signer when it comes to through-the-mail autograph requests. If you've got a card that you'd like him to sign, here's his address.

Fun facts about Bob Schroder:

-His college (Loyola University New Orleans) was far from his home (Ridgefield, NJ). He was the first of four Loyola players to make the major leagues, and is still the all-time leader among them in games played and most every other offensive category

-Signed with the Giants in 1964 and made the major leagues the very next year at age twenty.

-Got only nine at-bats with San Francisco in 1965, seeing most of his action as a pinch runner.

-His first major-league hit was a pinch single off of Hall of Famer Jim Bunning.

-Pinch-hit for Juan Marichal after the pitcher was ejected for attacking Dodgers catcher John Roseboro with a bat in an infamous incident in 1965. He struck out against L.A. starter Sandy Koufax.

-Had his best season as a pro with AAA Phoenix in 1966, hitting .317 with 31 doubles.

-Played just 138 games in the bigs (1965-1968), all with the Giants. Hit .217 for his career with no home runs and 12 RBI.

-Was 5-for-12 (.417) in his career against Don Drysdale, his highest hit total off of any pitcher.

-Hung around at AAA with the Giants, Cubs, and Brewers through 1971 before heading home for good.
#589 Frank Linzy, Bob Schroder (back)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#588 Lenny Green

It's not every day that you see a Red Sox player in pinstripes, but as you've probably guessed, Lenny Green was a late pickup by Boston. He's something of an oddity, in that the team whose uniform he's actually wearing (the Twins) was three teams ago by the time the card was printed! Minnesota dealt him to the Angels in July of 1964, and Baltimore picked him up that September. On the verge of the 1965 season, the BoSox purchased his contract. It's enough to make your head spin.

Fun facts about Lenny Green:

-Signed with the Orioles as an amateur free agent in 1955.

-Hit above .300 in three straight minor league stops, 1955-1957.

-Tripled off of Cleveland's Mike Garcia for his first major league hit.

-His first home run of 1959 was a two-run, inside-the-park job that gave the Birds a 2-1 lead over the Yankees. Baltimore would go on to win 3-2.

-In 1959, the Orioles traded him to the Senators in the middle of a series between the teams. In 1964, the O's reacquired him from the Angels, again in the midst of a series between the two.

-Stole a career-high 21 bases (third-best in the A.L.) as a part-timer with the 1960 Senators, and hit .294 in 330 at-bats.

-When the club moved from D.C. to Minnesota in 1961, Green was their starting center fielder for two full seasons. Reached career bests with 97 runs, 33 doubles, 14 home runs, 63 RBI, and 88 walks in 1962.

-Set a Twins record with a 24-game hitting streak in 1961, a mark that wasn't broken until 1980 when Ken Landreaux hit safely in 31 straight games.

-Played just six games with his hometown Detroit Tigers in 1968, ending his 12-year career as a .267 hitter.
#588 Lenny Green (back)

Friday, March 13, 2009

#585 Hank Fischer

#585 Hank Fischer
Get a load of the big grin on Hank Fischer's face! It makes sense, since 1964 would turn out to be the best season of his career. If he had known at the time that he'd be finished as a major leaguer after 1967, maybe he wouldn't be so chipper.

Fun facts about Hank Fischer:

-He played both basketball (18 points per game as a freshman) and baseball at Seton Hall before signing with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959.

-Was noted for having a strong three-pitch repertoire: fastball, curve, slider. He couldn't always harness them, though.

-Won 15 games with a 2.01 ERA at class B Cedar Rapids in 1960 and led the AAA International League with 163 strikeouts the following year.

-Spent two rocky years in the Braves bullpen (1962-1963) before hitting his stride as a starter in 1964.

-In 1964, Hank had his personal best season, starting 28 of his 37 games and going 11-10 with a 4.01 ERA. He had all five of his career shutouts in that season, ranking second in the league in whitewashes.

-Went 3-2 in May 1964; all three wins were shutouts. Two-hit the Phillies on May 3, then three-hit the Mets on May 12, and finally four-hit Houston on May 27.

-Was traded twice in two months in the summer of 1966, from Atlanta to Cincinnati to Boston.

-A shoulder injury ended his career in 1967 at age 28.

-Preferred home cooking, going 17-14 with a 3.66 ERA at home in his career, compared to 13-25, 4.78 on the road.

-Inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in his hometown of Yonkers, NY in 1979.
#585 Hank Fischer (back)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

#584 Harry Bright

#584 Harry Bright
Harry Bright is listed as an infielder-outfielder-catcher on this card. What, didn't he ever chip in as a pitcher? The answer is sadly no. He never played shortstop or center field either, that selfish so-and-so.

Fun facts about Harry Bright:

-Incredibly, the Yankees signed this Kansas City kid in 1946, when he was only sixteen!

-Hit .301 in 1,650 career minor league games, including a whopping .413 (with a .704 slugging percentage) in 95 games with the Class C Clovis Pioneers in 1950!

-In an early indicator of his skills for teaching baseball, Harry spent 1952 as player-manager of the Class D Janesville Cubs. Though the team had a seventh-place finish (54-66), he led the league with 101 RBI.

-Spent a dozen years in the minors with five organizations (Yankees, Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Pirates), as well as a few stops with unaffiliated teams, before Pittsburgh called him in August 1958.

-Hit four home runs in 59 games with the Pirates (1958-1960), including a game-winning three-run shot with two outs in the eleventh on June 8, 1959. That pinch-hit clout against the Giants made a winner of Roy Face, who ran his record to 8-0.

-Was traded to the Senators and spent two years there (1961-1962), getting the bulk of his major-league exposure in D.C. In 113 games in 1962, Bright hit .273, drove in 67 runs, and hit a team-high 17 home runs.

-Back with the Yankees in 1963, Harry hit seven home runs as a reserve and saw action in the World Series. It was a bittersweet moment, as he pinch-hit for Steve Hamilton in the bottom of the ninth and ended the game as the 15th strikeout victim of Sandy Koufax, setting a Series record later broken by Bob Gibson. Bright later mused, "After all those years in baseball I make it into a World Series game and the whole country was pulling for me to strike out." He was also whiffed by Johnny Podres in his only other at-bat that Fall, pinch hitting for Al Downing in Game Two.

-Finished his career in 1965 with the Cubs, having hit .255 with 32 home runs in parts of eight major league seasons.

-Managed in the minors from 1967 through 1976, and again in 1985. Won a Northwest League championship with the North Coos-Bay Athletics in 1970.

-Spent several years as a West Coast scout for the Montreal Expos prior to his death at age 70 in 2000.
#584 Harry Bright (back)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#583 Wes Covington

#583 Wes Covington
Thanks to Wes Covington, we have our first armpit alert of the 1965 set. That's pretty impressive, considering that the Phillies didn't even wear sleeveless jerseys!

Fun facts about Wes Covington:

-Originally from North Carolina. Signed with the Boston Braves as a free agent in 1952.

-In the minors, hit .330 in 1952 and .326 in 1955, wrapped around a stint of military service.

-As a second-year role player for the 1957 Braves, hit 21 home runs and 8 triples (fifth in the N.L.) in 324 at-bats for the World Champions.

-Hit only .208 with one RBI in the World Series in 1957, but made two spectacular catches in the outfield to deny the Yankees.

-Had several career highs in 1958: .330 average, 24 home runs, and 74 RBI. Hit one home run every 12.25 at-bats.

-Tied a major league record by playing for four teams in 1961. The White Sox selected him off of waivers from the Braves in May, traded him to the A's a month later, and then Kansas City traded him to the Phillies three weeks after that!

-Was an accomplished pinch hitter, batting .320 off the bench in 1963 and socking seven pinch home runs in his career.

-Hit six career home runs off of Hall of Famer Don Drysdale.

-Retired after the 1966 season with a .279 career average and 131 home runs in 11 seasons.

-Spent two decades post-baseball working for the Edmonton Sun newspaper, and also was involved with the minor-league Edmonton Trappers.
#583 Wes Covington (back)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

#575 Jose Pagan

I'm here to assuage your fears. This man's name is Jose Pagan, pronounced ho-ZAY puh-GAHN. So chances are good that he is not some sort of godless heathen. However, there is something troubling about his photo. Just who is that suit-wearing white man who lurks behind Jose? Is it Giants owner Horace Stoneham? National League President Warren Giles? Famed news anchor Walter Cronkite? U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson? The mind boggles at the possibilities.

Fun facts about Jose Pagan:

-A 5'9" Puerto Rican, Jose signed with the New York Giants at age 20 in 1955.

-Showed incremental improvement in the minors, culminating with a .312 average and 19 home runs at AAA Phoenix in 1959. The Giants called him up that August.

-1962, his second year as a regular, was the best of his career. Played all 164 games at shortstop, led N.L. shortstop in fielding (.973), and had 25 doubles and 57 RBI. In the World Series loss to the Yankees, Pagan led the Giants with a .368 average and homered in Game 5 against Ralph Terry.

-Traded to the Pirates in 1965 for fellow infielder Dick Schofield. Jose would play seven years for Pittsburgh in a utility and pinch hitting role.

-In 1969, hit a career-high nine home runs in 274 at-bats. Also recorded 19 pinch-hits, one shy of the record.

-Made it back to the World Series in 1971, at age 36. His eighth-inning double scored Willie Stargell with the winning run in Game Seven.

-Signed with the Phillies in 1973 and mentored young players like Willie Montanez and Mike Schmidt.

-Retired after 1973 season after 15 years in the majors as a .250 career hitter.

-Served as a Pirates coach from 1974-1978.

-Won championships as the manager of three different Puerto Rican League clubs (Bayamon Cowboys, Arecibo Wolves, and Ponce Lions).
#575 Jose Pagan (back)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

#568 Ron Taylor

If you looked up "lantern-jawed" in the dictionary, you would see this photo of Ron Taylor.

Fun facts about Ron Taylor:

-Born in Toronto, he is fifth all-time in saves among Canadians (72).

-Signed by the Indians in 1956, won 79 games in seven minor league seasons.

-Debuted with the Indians on April 11, 1962 and made baseball history by giving up a game-ending grand slam to Carroll Hardy of the Red Sox. It broke a scoreless tie in the twelfth inning, the latest inning in which a walkoff granny has ever been hit. It was a tough-luck loss, as Taylor had pitched the entire game and notched two hits of his own.

-Primarily a reliever, appeared in 50 or more games seven times in eight years (1963-1970).

-In June 1965, Ron and Mike Cuellar were traded to the Astros for Hal Woodeshick and another Taylor (Chuck).

-Saved exactly 13 games each year from 1968-1970.

-Had a sub-3.00 ERA four different times.

-Tossed 10 and 1/3 scoreless innings and saved three games in three career postseason series, all wins for his team (1964 World Series with Cardinals, 1969 NLCS and World Series with Mets).

-Earned a medical degree after he was through as a pitcher and spent many years as team doctor for the Blue Jays.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

#564 Mel Nelson

NELSON.jpg #564 Mel Nelson picture by brotz13
This is not, I daresay, a flattering photograph of Mel Nelson. Based on the angle and the pose, his head appears to be shaped like a torpedo. They also seem to have caught him off guard, hence the facial expression that falls somewhere between a sneer and a squint. For a more becoming snapshot of Mel, check out his 1966 Topps card.

Fun facts about Mel Nelson:

-Signed with the Cardinals in 1954 as an amateur free agent out of San Diego, CA.

-Began his pro career as an outfielder, hitting .296 with 27 home runs at Class C Fresno in 1955.

-Converted to pitching in 1956-1957. A 13-7 record at AAA Spokane earned him a promotion to St. Louis late in the 1960 season.

-Struck out the first two batters he faced (Maury Wills and Charlie Neal) in a scoreless inning of relief in his major league debut.

-Did not pitch in the big leagues again until 1963, by which time he was a Los Angeles Angel. Put up a 5.30 ERA in 52 and 2/3 innings, mostly out of the bullpen.

-Re-emerged in 1965 with the Twins, pitching to a more-respectable 4.12 ERA in 54 and 2/3 innings.

-Joe Torre and Hank Aaron were each 0-for-6 in their careers against Mel.

-He pitched a single third of an inning of major league ball between 1966 and 1967.

-Finally had something approaching success in 18 games with the Cardinals in 1968. The 32-year-old had a league-average 2.91 ERA, a complete-game six-hit win over the Braves, and a scoreless inning of relief in the World Series.

-Spent the bulk of 1969 and all of 1970 at AAA for the Cardinals, Twins, and Braves before hanging up his spikes.

-Went on to become a baseball scout, signing future major leaguers Dmitri Young (Cardinals) and Jason Hirsh (Astros).
#564 Mel Nelson (back)

Monday, March 02, 2009

#562 Billy Moran

MORAN.jpg #562 Billy Moran picture by brotz13
If you were to glance at this card, you might confuse it with Dick Howser's card, which I posted two months ago. Same team, same pose, same venue (Yankee Stadium), although Howser was a little closer to third base and zoomed out a bit. Plus, Billy Moran is grimacing into the lens of the camera, whereas his teammate was glancing off to the left.

Fun facts about Billy Moran:

-Signed with the Indians as an 18-year-old in 1952.

-After hitting .277 and .285 in his first two pro seasons, time in the military and subsequent offensive struggles stalled his ascent.

-Spent all of his rookie 1958 campaign with Cleveland, but was not able to earn a regular job with an anemic .226/.262/.280 AVG/OBP/SLG.

-Picked up by the expansion Angels in June 1961; hit .260 in 54 games that year.

-Finally became an everyday second baseman with Los Angeles in 1962, and was an All-Star to boot! Hit .282 with 90 runs, 17 home runs and 74 RBI, and led the league in assists and total chances per game at his position.

-His two-run, twelfth-inning home run gave the Angels an Opening Day win over Kansas City on April 19, 1962.

-Again led A.L. second basemen in assists and total chances per game (and putouts to boot) in 1963, and hit a career-high 29 doubles.

-Battered former Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry for 19 hits in 41 at-bats (.463), including three doubles and two home runs.

-In the midst of a drop in production the following season, Billy was traded back to Cleveland and finished the season with only one home run and 21 RBI. His career ended after two dozen at bats in 1965, and his career batting average was .263.

-He currently lives in Charlotte County, FL.
MORANB.jpg #562 Billy Moran (back) picture by brotz13

Sunday, March 01, 2009

#556 Red Schoendienst

Red Schoendienst existed before baseball ever did. At least it seems that way. As for this card, ol' Red has an even spottier complexion than usual thanks to the wear and tear that have accrued over four decades. It will be a miracle if I don't misspell his name at least once in this post.

Fun facts about Red Schoendienst:

-Signed with the Cardinals in 1942, and was delayed in his debut by a stint in the Army in World War II (1944-1945). Despite being discharged with a serious eye injury and bum shoulder, he would be the starting left fielder in St. Louis months later.

-Led the National League with 26 steals as a rookie.

-Was an All-Star for the first time in 1946, hitting .281 with 28 doubles as he took over at second base for the World Champion Redbirds. He would eventually be a ten time All-Star, including eight straight seasons from 1948-1955 with honors.

-Handled 320 consecutive chances at second base without an error in 1950. Also led the league with 43 doubles that year.

-Hit over .300 five times in six seasons, 1952-1954 and 1956-1957. This includes a career-best .342 (third in the N.L.), 107 runs, 15 home runs, and 79 RBI in 1953.

-After nearly a dozen seasons in St. Louis, spent one year with the Giants before a June 1957 trade to the Braves gave him another chance to play for a contender. He took full advantage, leading the league with 200 hits and finishing third in MVP voting as the Braves won the pennant and went on to defeat the Yankees in the World Series.

-Hit .300 in the 1958 World Series rematch with the Yanks, but New York prevailed. His career wound down afterward, including a 1959 season lost to tuberculosis and a stint from 1961-1963 as a Cardinals player-coach.

-A very reliable contact hitter, never striking out more than 32 times in a season.

-Took over as Cards manager in 1965, and set a team record for longevity by staying at the helm through 1976. His 1967-1968 teams won back-to-back pennants, with the 1967 squad besting the Red Sox in the World Series. He returned as an interim manager in 1980 and again in 1990, and had a cumulative record of 1,041-955 (.522 win percentage). He has also served the club in subsequent capacities as a coach and front office assistant.

-Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
REDSCHB.jpg #556 Red Schoendienst (back) picture by brotz13