Monday, November 16, 2015

Ted Savage (#119)

Ted Savage was the first of many young outfielders developed by the Phillies’ farm system in the 1960s:

Ted Savage (debut - 1962)
Johnny Briggs (1964)
Alex Johnson (1964)
Adolfo Phillips (1964)
Larry Hisle (1968)

All but Briggs were dealt away within a year or 2 of their major-league debut. As a result, by the early 1970s Phillies’ fans were treated to a starting outfield populated by the likes of Oscar Gamble, Roger Freed, and Ron Stone.

Savage was signed by the Phillies in 1960, and made the team at the start of the 1962 season. Ted platooned in left field with Wes Covington, starting 65 games there and 17 games at the other 2 spots. He hit 7 homers while compiling a .266 batting average.

Content to go with Covington for the next 3 seasons, the Phils dealt Savage to the Pirates following his rookie year for veteran 3rd baseman Don Hoak. (Hoak would be a 1-year stopgap player, until Richie Allen took over the hot corner in 1964.)

Savage only played for the Pirates for one season. In 1963 he was buried on the outfield depth chart behind Roberto Clemente, Bill Virdon, Willie Stargell, Jerry Lynch, and Bob Skinner. A spare part, Ted was sent back to the minors for all of 1964.

In December 1964 Savage was traded to the Cardinals, and spent most of the next 2 seasons in the minors, although he did play a few dozen games with St. Louis.

After 9 appearances (all as a pinch-hitter) in 1967, Ted was sold to the Cubs in May and became a quasi-regular for the first time since his rookie season. He split the right field duties with Lee Thomas and Al Spangler.

The remainder of Savage’s career was a series of 1-year stays with 5 teams. In April 1968 he was shipped out to the Dodgers for pitcher Phil Regan and OF-1B Jim Hickman (a steal for the Cubs!). A year later the Dodgers flipped him to the Reds for veteran backup catcher Jimmie Schaffer.

In April 1970 the Brewers purchased him from the Reds, then traded him to the Royals in 1971 for infielder Tom Matchick. Ted’s only full-time action after leaving the Cubs was his 1970 season with the Brewers.

Ted played in Mexico in ’72 and ’73, then retired from the game.

He earned a Ph.D. and spent 9 years as the athletic director for a university in St. Louis. Savage also worked in the Cardinals’ community relations department from 1987 to 2012.

At age 79, he is the oldest living player from the 1966-70 era that I had not featured on my blogs.