Tuesday, December 22, 2009

#522 Hank Aguirre

#522 Hank Aguirre
What jumps out at me about this card? I love the large "TV number" on Hank Aguirre's right sleeve. A quick glance and you can see that his uniform number was 37. Without action photos to show the number on a player's back, you didn't see a lot of uni numbers in the 1965 Topps set. Also, that's one well-worn glove on Hank's hand. It looks like it's been kicking around since Ty Cobb's prime.

Fun facts about Hank Aguirre:

-The son of a Mexican immigrant, Hank was born in Azusa, CA. He pitched in nine games in 1951 for Duluth of the independent Northern League before his contract was sold to the Indians.

-He debuted with Cleveland at age 24 late in the 1955 season and pitched well in four games, including a shutout on September 24. In that game he allowed just three hits to the Tigers but also scattered ten walks!

-After two more partial seasons with the Tribe, Hank was traded to Detroit before the 1958 campaign. The Tigers used him primarily as a reliever, and he contributed a solid 3.75 ERA and five saves in his first season with them.

-He spent most of 1959 in the minors but was a valuable bullpen piece in Motown in 1960-1961 (combined 9-7, 3.00 ERA, 18 SV).

-Stepping into the rotation in the middle of the 1962 season, Aguirre became an All-Star for the first (and only) time in his career. He went a personal-best 16-8, completed 11 games, and led the American League with a 2.21 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

-He remained a presence in the Tigers rotation for three more seasons, including a pair of 14-win campaigns and a career-high 14 complete games in 1963.

-After stumbling through a 3-9 effort and a demotion to the bullpen in 1966, Hank readjusted to life as a reliever with a 2.40 ERA in 1967.

-Aguirre's decade in Detroit came to a close in 1968, as he was traded to the Dodgers. The 37-year-old lefty allowed just three runs in 39.1 innings (0.69 ERA), but was let go by L.A. He finished his career with a solid year and a half for the Cubs.

-In parts of 16 seasons he won 75 games, lost 72, saved 33, and had a 3.24 ERA.

-Hank focused his latter-day efforts on creating jobs for Hispanic auto workers in Detroit. He died of prostate cancer in 1994 at age 62.
#522 Hank Aguirre (back)


  1. Hank Aguirre, one of the worst hitting pitchers ever. Ironically I was at this game when he hit a triple over Joe Pepitone head to the monuments at Yankee Stadium. I remember that he sat down on the third base bag and was laughing after the hit.

  2. Every source that I found mentioned his awful hitting (.085 AVG, .225 OPS). It looks like you witnessed his only career triple, Bob!

  3. If it was Sunday during the 60s and the Yankees played a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, my Dad and I were probably there. Same routine every trip. Grandstand seats up above home plate, a hot dog and a coke for each game (do they still have those cellophane sealed Cokes in cups, or vendors that slap a dog on a bun in the aisle when you order it?), move out to the right field stands in the middle of the second game to be closer to the subway. My Dad rooted for the Yanks, I always rooted the other team.
    I saw the O's sweep a pair there in '61, Mantle's 53rd homer. I saw Cuban nationals come out of the stands and wrap Camilio Pascual in a Cuban flag. I've got lots of great memories. With my Dad losing his battle with cancer I've thought a lot about them lately.

  4. bases loaded triple!!

    On 66 Tigers were three of the worst hitting pitchers ever, Agguire, Bill Monboquette and Dave Wickersham