Sunday, September 30, 2012

Final Card: Bill Kelso

This is the final card for Bill Kelso, and his only solo card (#511). He previously appeared on Angels Rookie Stars cards in the 1965 and 1967 sets. Kelso appeared in the majors in 4 seasons, but primarily 1967 and 1968.

Bill played in the Dodgers' farm system from 1959 to 1963. For his first 4 seasons he was a catcher, only pitching 3 games in 1962 before converting to full-time pitcher in 1963. After the season, he was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the Rule 5 draft.

Kelso pitched the next 3 seasons in the Angels' system, while also pitching 10 games in the majors during 1964 and 5 games in 1966. Bill was primarily a reliever, except for his minor-league 1964 season.

1967 was the only season Kelso was not in the minors. He made 1 start and 68 relief appearances, and had a 2.97 ERA during his rookie season, and was the #2 reliever behind veteran closer Minnie Rojas.

After the season, he was traded to the Reds for starting pitcher Sammy Ellis, a 22-game winner in 1965. Neither Kelso or Ellis ever approached the success they had prior to the trade. Kelso made 29 relief appearances for the Reds through mid-July, then was sent down to AAA where he appeared in 20 games before his September recall. He finished out the season with 6 more relief appearances in the final weeks.

Bill pitched in the minors for 4 more seasons (mostly as a starter), with the Royals, Twins, Athletics, Expos, and Cubs.

After his playing career, Kelso scouted for the Angels, Phillies, and Astros.  Some of his signees were Bob Dernier, Lance Berkman, and Roy Oswalt.

He passed away on 5/11/2009 at age 69.


Douglas said...

I kept thinking where have heard this name before? It was the name of John Belushi's character in the movie "1941" aka Wild Bill Kelso.

I wonder if Belushi or writers of the movie knew that.

Jim from Downingtown said...


That's when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!

Douglas said...

Yea, that was the title of a forgetable movie. It's considered the greatest artistic and commerial flop of Steven Speilberg's career. An attempt at over the top comedy (AKA Animal House) and that came out in late 1979.

The theme of the movie was the events of post pearl harbor hysteria in Los Angeles after the attack (although I don't think they mention Pearl Harbor).

Sure sounds like comedy to me.