Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bob Rodgers (#433)

I don't care how he's listed in, I'm not calling him "Buck" Rodgers!

"Boog" Powell? yes
"Satchel" Paige? yes
"Yogi" Berra? yes
"Turk" Farrell? yes
"Catfish" Hunter? yes, (grudgingly)
"Mudcat" Grant? (you're pushing it!)
"Oil Can" Boyd? Since I don't have a 1970s blog, no worries!
"Buck" Rodgers? no!
"Bucky" Brandon? no!
"Vinegar Bend" Mizell? heh!

BOB Rodgers was the Angels regular catcher during their first 9 years in existence (although not until September 8, 1961). Rodgers was signed by the Tigers in 1956 as an outfielder (converting to catcher in 1957), and spent 6 seasons in the minors before being selected by the Angels in the December 1960 expansion draft.

Bob spent most of 1961 with the Angels' triple-A team in Dallas-Fort Worth, before making his major-league debut on September 8th. He started 13 of the final 20 games behind the plate in 1961.

In 1962 he took over the Angels' catching job, starting 144 games and finishing a distant 2nd (to the Yankees' Tom Tresh) for AL Rookie-of-the-Year. In 1963, he must have had some nagging injuries because he only played in 100 games, and only 77 of those were as the starting catcher.

From 1964 to 1967, he was back as the undisputed #1 catcher, playing in over 130 games in each season.

1968 was the beginning of the end for Bob. He split the catching duties evenly with Tom Satriano, the Angels' long-time backup infielder/catcher.

By 1969, Rodgers was done. Satriano and Tom Egan split the starting catcher assignments for the first few months. On June 15th, Satriano was traded to the Indians for catcher Joe Azcue, who started most of the games for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, Bob played more games with triple-A Hawaii (44) than he did with the Angels (18). His final major-league game was on October 1, 1969.

After retiring, he was a major-league coach and minor-league manager, before spending 13 seasons as a major-league manager for the Brewers (1980-82), Expos (1985-91), and Angels (1991-94).

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