Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back on Topps' Radar: John Boozer

John Boozer (#173) returns to the Topps set after missing out in 1967. John had a baseball card every year from 1963-69, except in the 1967 set. How ironic, since that was his only winning season (5-4).

Boozer was signed by the Phillies in 1958, and spent his entire career in the Phillies' organization. Except for the 1968 season, he pitched in the minors every season from 1958 to 1969, primarily as a starting pitcher.

John made his major-league debut in July 1962. He was primarily a long reliever for Philadelphia, but also made some spot starts. Most of his time in the bigs came from 1963-64, and 1967-69.

I remember that in 1967, he was recalled around Memorial Day, after the Phillies cleaned house of several veteran relievers. After the 1966 season, the Phillies went on a binge, signing aging veterans Dick Hall, Pedro Ramos, and Ruben Gomez to shore up their bullpen. Only Hall panned out, and the other 2 (along with holdover Bob Buhl) were all given an early-season boot.

The Phillies' revamped bullpen that season included Turk Farrell (acquired in May) and Hall as the 2 firemen, along with rookie Grant Jackson (a lefty) and the recently-recalled Boozer. They also reclaimed Dallas Green off the scrap heap, who didn't do too much in his final season except collect days toward his pension.

Anyhoo, Boozer was the right-handed long man and occasional spot starter. Somehow, he managed to stay with the big club for the entire 1968 season. I don't know if it was his performance, as much as it was the Phillies not having many other options. After all, it would be another year or so until their "phenoms" (Lowell "Shades" Palmer, Billy Champion, Barry Lersch, and Billy Wilson) were ready.