Monday, February 14, 2011

#412 Bob Bailey

#412 Bob Bailey
With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, it's only right that we peek at the Pirates' 1960s Grapefruit League digs. Back then, they trained in Fort Myers, FL. They've been in Bradenton since 1969. Thankfully we've got our first warm day in weeks here in Baltimore, so I'm not too bitter about all of the Florida-and-Arizona-bound players.

In less welcome news, former outfielder Gino Cimoli, who was featured on this blog just last month, passed away on Saturday at age 81. My thoughts go out to his family.

Fun facts about Bob Bailey:

-Bob was born in Long Beach, CA and was a top prep player at Woodrow Wilson High. The Pirates signed him in 1961 for an attention-grabbing $135,000 bonus.

-He jumped to AAA Columbus in his second pro season and had a batting line of .299/.406/.535 with 109 runs scored, 31 doubles, 28 home runs, and 108 RBI. He was named Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News and was promoted to the majors in September 1962 at age 19.

-Bailey spent four full seasons in Pittsburgh and failed to live up to the lofty expectations, peaking in 1966 with a .279/.360/.447 mark and 13 home runs and 46 RBI in 433 plate appearances.

-After a disappointing two-year stretch with the Dodgers (1967-1968), Bob was sent to Montreal for a nominal fee. On April 8, 1969, he doubled in two runs in his first at bat to record the first hit and RBIs for the Expos franchise in an 11-10 victory over the Mets.

-After gaining momentum with a .265 average and 53 RBI in 405 plate appearances in 1969, he had a career year with the 1970 Expos. Splitting time between left field and third base with an occasional start at first base, he led the team with a .407 on-base percentage and .597 slugging percentage. His 28 home runs and .287 average were personal bests, and he drove in 84 runs.

-In all, Bob was a regular for the first six years of his seven-year tenure in Montreal. In 1973, he led the team with 26 home runs and drove in a career-high 86. The following year, he walked 100 times to pace the squad with a .396 on-base percentage.

-A renewed organizational focus on speed and defense left the slow-footed, lead-gloved Bailey relegated to the bench in 1975. He had 279 plate appearances in 106 games that year, his lightest load yet for a full season.

-He spent his final three years as a pinch hitter for the Reds and Red Sox, retiring in 1978 with a .257 average and .347 on-base percentage in parts of 17 seasons. He totaled 189 home runs and 773 RBI, and was a member of the 1976 World Champion Reds (though he did not appear in postseason play).

-His final career home run was a solo shot off of Paul Lindblad that hit the upper deck facade in left field at Yankee Stadium on August 3, 1978.

-Bob managed in the minors for six seasons with the Expos (1979-1981), Astros (1984), and White Sox (1986-1987).
#412 Bob Bailey (back)


  1. $135,000 in 1961 would be roughly equivalent to almost $1 million today. (Based on a 1961 dollar being worth $7.25 today.) So, Bailey did quite well, especially since I would think that no major league player was making that much at the time.

  2. Marc - Oh, he did very good. Supposedly he got a record bonus for the time.