Monday, May 19, 2014

Al McBean (#514)

Alvin McBean was born and raised in the US Virgin Islands. He was signed by the Pirates in 1958, and pitched in their farm system for 4 seasons (1958-61). He started out as a swingman, but by 1961 he was primarily a reliever.

Al was summoned to the majors in early July, and made his first of 27 appearances for the Bucs on July 2nd. He pitched in relief except for 2 starts in mid-September.

When I was "playing" with my baseball cards back in the day, I always figured McBean to be a 2nd-tier starter behind Bob Veale and Steve Blass, and that the bullpen was headed up by Elroy Face and Pete Mikkelsen. Tonight, I’m finding out that McBean was a key member of the Pirates bullpen from 1963-67, and that my pre-conceived notion of him really only matched his 1968 season. 

In 1962 McBean was plugged into the starting rotation, and compiled a 15-10 record in 33 games, as the #2 starter behind veteran Bob Friend.

In 1963 he was back in the bullpen, and fashioned a 13-3 record along with 11 saves (2nd on the team behind veteran closer Elroy Face).

In ’64 and ’65, Al surpassed Face as the team’s save leader with 22 and 18 saves for those 2 seasons. He was also named Reliever of the Year by The Sporting News in 1964.

After 2 more seasons in the bullpen (behind a rejuvenated Elroy Face), McBean was put back in the starting rotation in 1968. By now, Bob Friend and Vern Law were long gone, with Bob Veale running the show, and Steve Blass at #2. Al was the #3 starter in his final season with the Pirates, compiling a 9-12 record in 36 games (28 starts).

After the season he was selected by the Padres in the expansion draft. After only 1 game with San Diego, McBean was traded to the Dodgers in mid-April for shortstop Tommy Dean.

Al made 31 relief appearances for LA for the remainder of the 1969 season. Al began the 1970 season with the Dodgers, but after only 1 game he was released on April 24th. The Pirates re-signed him on the same day, but after pitching only 10 innings over 7 games (and sporting an ERA of 8.10), he was released on May 18th, ending his major-league career.

I learned tonight that McBean spent the remainder of 1970, and 1971 pitching for the Phillies’ AAA team in Eugene, Oregon.


Douglas said...

I don't beleive their is a picture of McBean in a Padres uniform. His lone appearence was televised on the NBC's Saturday game of the week. A 5-1 loss to the Giants.

Mark Hoyle said...

Always loved his name