Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#433 John Bateman

#433 John Bateman
You can see a hint of John Bateman's Colt .45s uniform peeking out from behind the pennant design on the card. Those were pretty sharp jerseys, I must say.

Fun facts about John Bateman:

-Born in Killeen, TX, John signed with the Colt .45s in 1962.

-After slugging 22 home runs in his first pro season, he was tabbed as Houston's starting catcher at age 22 in 1963. Though he batted just .210, he led the young club with 10 home runs and 59 RBI.

-Bateman had the distinction of catching both the first no-hitter in Colts history (Don Nottebart's gem on May 17, 1963) and the first no-hitter in Expos' history (Bill Stoneman, April 17, 1969).

-His playing time took a big hit during his second and third seasons as his offensive production dipped, but he rebounded in 1966 and reached career highs in average (.279), doubles (24), home runs (17) and RBI (70). He set an Astros record by hitting 16 of those homers as a catcher; incredibly, that mark still stands 45 years later!

-When Houston acquired Johnny Edwards after the 1968 season, they exposed Bateman to the expansion draft. The Expos claimed him with their sixth pick and made him their starter, but he struggled mightily and drove in just 19 runs in 249 plate appearances.

-Though he never did hit for high averages (.234 in three-plus seasons in Montreal), he regained his starting job in 1970 and 1971 and combined for 25 homers and 124 RBI in that span. He also threw out 44% of attempted base stealers in the former year.

-Had a monster day on July 2, 1970: 3-for-5 with 7 RBI, including a first-inning grand slam off of Mike Torrez. He finished a triple short of the cycle as the Expos outslugged the Cardinals 13-10.

-On September 29, 1970, he hit the final home run in Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium.

-Split 1972 between Montreal and the Phillies before calling it a career. In parts of 10 seasons he batted .230 with 81 home runs and 375 RBI.

-During the late 1970s John played for Eddie Feigner's King and His Court softball team, a traveling four-man squad that would take on full nine-and-ten-man teams. He died in 1996 at age 56 of unreported causes.
#433 John Bateman (back)


  1. Houston should have kept the original nickname--- much cooler

  2. I always wondered why the Phillies traded Tim McCarver (still a good catcher at the time) in mid-1972 for John Bateman.

  3. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Bateman didn't get along with Gene Mauch in Montreal...they figured that any enemy of Mauch was a friend of theirs! ;)