Wednesday, February 09, 2011

#374 Angels Rookie Stars: Jose Cardenal and Dick Simpson

#374 Angels Rookies: Jose Cardenal and Dick Simpson
You're not fooling anyone, Jose Cardenal. We all know that's a Giants uniform. Why do you think Dick Simpson is smirking at you?

Fun facts about Jose Cardenal:

-A native of Matanzas, Cuba, Jose signed with the Giants in 1960 when he was only 16.

-He moved quickly through the San Francisco farm system, hitting .312 with 36 home runs and 35 steals at AA El Paso in 1963. The Giants gave him a few brief looks in 1963 and 1964, but he managed a single hit in 20 at-bats.

-The Angels acquired Cardenal and made him their starting center fielder in 1965. Though his on-base skills were lacking (.250 AVG/.287 OBP), he was a rangy and strong-armed defender. His 37 steals were the second-highest total in the American League behind his cousin, Bert Campaneris of the A's.

-From 1967-1972, Jose played for five teams in a six-year span: the Angels, Indians, Cardinals (yep, Cardenal was a Cardinal), Brewers, and Cubs.

-He tied a major league record by executing two unassisted double plays as an outfielder in 1968. The first was on June 8, and the second was on July 16.

-With the Cubs, the quirky outfielder enjoyed a productive prime. While playing primarily on the corners (where he was said to have chewed on the ivy that hung on Wrigley Field's wall), he batted .296 with a .363 on-base percentage and 129 steals in a 6-year span.

-In 1975, Jose batted a career-high and team-leading .317 with a .397 on-base percentage. He also paced the Cubs with 30 doubles and 34 steals.

-On May 2, 1976, Cardenal was instrumental in a 14-inning 6-5 Cubs win over the Giants. Playing the whole game, he went 6-for-7 with a home run, a double, a stolen base, and 4 RBI. His single off of Gary Lavelle plated the winning run in the final inning.

-He spent the final three seasons of his career as a part-timer for the Phillies, Mets, and Royals and retired with a .275 average, 138 home runs, 775 RBI, and 329 steals in parts of 18 seasons.

-He spent a decade as a big league coach with the Reds, Cardinals, Yankees, and Devil Rays, and later worked as a senior advisor to the Nationals' general manager.

Fun facts about Dick Simpson:

-Dick was born in Washington, DC and attended high school in California before signing with the Angels in 1961.

-He was only 19 when he made his big league debut on September 21, 1962 with an RBI pinch single off of Mudcat Grant of the Indians.

-Simpson never did break into the Angels' lineup, totaling 35 major league games before being traded to the Orioles for first baseman Norm Siebern in December 1965. Just a week later, he was flipped to the Reds along with Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun in the famous trade that brought Frank Robinson to Baltimore.

-Though he appeared in 92 games with the Reds in 1966, Dick totaled just 99 plate appearances and started 16 games. He batted .238 with a .333 on-base percentage, 4 home runs, and 14 RBI.

-After batting .259 in a scant 54 at-bats in 1967, he split the following season between the Cardinals and Astros. In a career-high 267 plate appearances, he managed a paltry .197 average and .292 on-base percentage with 6 home runs and 19 RBI.

-1969 proved to be Simpson's final season in the majors, as he combined to hit .194 in 32 games with the Yankees and Pilots.

-His last home run as a big leaguer was on June 9, 1969. He took Detroit's Mickey Lolich deep as the first batter of the game. Lolich went on to strike out 16 Seattle hitters and did not allow another run, but departed after nine innings with the game tied. The Pilots won 3-2 in 10 innings.

-In parts of 7 seasons, he batted .207 with 15 home runs and 56 RBI. Though he was considered one of the fastest players of his era, he stole only 10 bases in 20 career attempts.

-He briefly played in the minors for the Giants and Padres in 1970-1971.

-Dick is currently thought to be living in Venice, CA.
#374 Angels Rookies: Jose Cardenal and Dick Simpson (back)


  1. Not only was Cardenal a Cardinal, but Johnny Podres was a Padre, and Ken Houston played for the Houston Oilers.

  2. Bob Aspromonte was an Astro, but Jim Ray was never a Ray...

  3. We could go on like this for a while. It's a shame Joey Jay wasn't around to pitch for the Blue Jays.