Monday, February 07, 2011

#327 Denis Menke

#327 Denis Menke
Look at the palm tree behind Denis Menke. It makes me wish that I were going south with pitchers and catchers next week.

Fun facts about Denis Menke:

-A native of Bancroft, IA, Denis signed with the Braves as a teenager in 1958 for a $125,000 bonus.

-He made Milwaukee's opening day roster as a 21-year-old in 1962. He hit just .192 in 50 major league games, but his first home run was a grand slam off of the Pirates' Earl Francis on May 15.

-Throughout his career, Menke played regularly at all four infield positions, but most often at shortstop.

-In 1964, he achieved career highs with 29 doubles and 20 home runs while slugging .479. He was only 4 home runs behind Hank Aaron for the team lead in 46 less plate appearances.

-Following an October 1967 trade to Houston, Denis had his most productive years. He made the All-Star team in both 1969 and 1970, and led the Astros in RBI in both seasons (90 and 92, respectively). He achieved personal bests with a .304 average and .392 on-base percentage in 1970.

-On July 30, 1969, an 11-run ninth innings spurred the Astros to a 16-3 rout of the Mets. Both Menke and Jimmy Wynn hit grand slams in the inning.

-He joined the Reds in the Joe Morgan trade prior to the 1972 season and played third base for back-to-back N.L. West Division Champions. Though he managed to bat a scant .191 in 1973, he had a keen batting eye and drew 69 walks, giving him an on-base percentage of .368!

-In Game Five of the 1972 World Series, he hit a solo home run off of Catfish Hunter in a 5-4 Reds win over the A's.

-His career came to a close with a return engagement in Houston in 1974. In parts of 13 seasons he hit .250 with a .343 average, 101 home runs, and 606 RBI.

-Denis served as a minor league manager for the Brewers and Blue Jays, compiling a 198-220 record from 1977 through 1979. He went on to spend the next two decades on the big league coaching staffs of the Jays, Astros, Phillies, and Reds. He's currently retired and living in Florida.
#327 Denis Menke (back)

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