Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tony Gonzalez (#245)

Tony Gonzalez was one of the Phillies' regular outfielders for most of the 1960s. After playing in the Reds minor-league system (including 1958 and 1959 in Havana), Gonzalez made the Reds team in 1960, but was traded to the Phillies in June. He immediately took over the center field position, and held either the left field or center field job through the 1968 season. Primarily the center fielder, Gonzalez was the regular in left field during 1966 and 1967.

In 1967, Tony's .339 batting average was 2nd best in the NL.

Gonzalez was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season, He was the Padres regular leftfielder before being traded to the Braves in June 1969. The Braves outfield was already staffed by Rico Carty, Felipe Alou, and Hank Aaron, but Gonzalez was the swingman in left and center, giving Carty and Alou some rest.

Prior to the 1970 season, Alou was shipped to Oakland, so Gonzalez started 111 of the first 132 games in centerfield, before being sold to the Angels. Once in California, he took over the centerfield job that had been shared by Jay Johnstone and Roger Repoz. In 1971, Gonzalez had a reduced role for the Angels: splitting the left field job with Alex Johnson, and pinch-hitting.

1971 was the end of Tony's major-league career. In 1973, he returned to play 45 games for the Phillies double-A team in Reading, PA.

No comments: