Monday, October 26, 2015

Phil Regan (#88)

Here’s relief pitcher Phil Regan, on his last card as an LA Dodger, a first-series card with wide-grain burlap borders.

Phil was signed by the Tigers in 1956, and pitched in their farm system for 4 ½ seasons until making his major-league debut in July 1960. Phil was a starter for the Tigers from that time on through the 1964 season, reaching a high water mark of 15 wins in 1963.

After being limited to only 16 games in 1965 (and spending some time in the minors), Regan was traded to the Dodgers after the season for utility infielder Dick Tracewski. Phil joined the Dodgers for the 1966 season, their last hurrah in the Sandy Koufax era. With the team having a starting rotation of Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen, and Don Sutton, Regan became a full-time reliever that year, leading the NL with 21 saves. "The Vulture" also made his lone all-star team that season.

The 1967 season was not kind to the Dodgers or their fans. Koufax had just retired, Tommy Davis and Maury Wills were traded away, and the team began their only 3-season string of 2nd division finishes under manager Walter Alston.

After the 1967 season, the Dodgers began dismantling their veteran bullpen, sending Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller (along with starting catcher John Roseboro) to the Twins for pitcher Jim Grant and shortstop Zoilo Versalles. (Versalles was such a non-factor in his one season in LA that he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was scooped up by the Padres.)

In late April ’68, Regan was sent packing to the Cubs (along with spare outfielder Jim Hickman) for outfielder Ted Savage. [ What was going on here? In ’65 Regan was traded straight-up for a utility infielder, and proceeded to lead the league in saves. Two seasons later he is traded (WITH another player) for the likes of Ted Savage? Regan then went on to lead the NL again with 25 saves! Couldn’t ANYONE evaluate talent?]

Phil pitched for the Cubs until June 1972. After collecting 25 saves in ’68, he followed up with 17 saves in ’69 and 12 more in ’70. He also won 12 games in both 1968 and 1969.

Regan was sold to the cross-town White Sox in early-June 1972, and pitched in 10 games (13 innings) until getting his release 6 weeks later, ending his 13-year career. In 371 National League games, he made just 4 starts. He started 101 of his 180 AL games, all with the Tigers.

Regan later coached and/or scouted for the Mariners, Dodgers, Cubs, and Indians, and managed the Orioles for the 1995 season.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jim Northrup (#78)

Here is Jim Northrup, embarking on a banner year in 1968 which would lead to the World Series championship for the Tigers. Jim reached career highs in games, at-bats, and RBI in ’68. He also clubbed 2 homers and collected 8 RBI in the Fall Classic.

Northrup played 4 years (1961-64) in the Tigers’ farm system and made his big-league debut in September 1964. In '65 he was with Detroit for the entire season as the team’s 4th outfielder, primarily playing right field when Al Kaline moved over to center field.

In 1966 Jim’s starts in right field increased to 97 games as he moved up to the #3 spot (behind Kaline and Willie Horton) in the outfield. With Don Demeter shipped out to the Red Sox in mid-June, Kaline spent much more time over in center field than he had in 1965.

The Tigers’ used a 4-man outfield in the late-1960s. With defensively-challenged slugger Willie Horton holding down left field, the other 2 spots were a rotation of Kaline, Northrup, and Mickey Stanley, with the fleet Stanley usually only playing center field.

1968 to 1970 were Jim’s big power years, hitting over 20 homers each season.  His 90 RBI in 1968 was 3rd in the AL.

In August 1974 he was traded to the Expos, who flipped him to the Orioles a month later. Northrup finished his career as a part-time center fielder for the Orioles in 1975.

He passed away in June 2011 at age 71.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pat Jarvis (#134)

Pat Jarvis pitched for the Braves for 7 seasons (1966-72) before wrapping up his career in 1973 with the Expos.

Jarvis was signed by the Cubs (I did not know that) in 1960 and after one season on their farm he moved on to the Tigers’ organization. After the 1963 season, he went to the Braves in a minor-league deal for pitcher Bruce Brubaker.

Pat made his major-league debut in August 1966, and was a key member of the Braves' starting rotation from 1967-70, winning 15, 16, 13, and 16 games in those seasons, and leading the staff in wins during the ’68 and ’70 seasons. He also started one game in the 1969 NL playoffs.

In 1971 he slumped to a 6-14 record, and was relegated to the bullpen for 12 of his 35 appearances. He bounced back in 1972 with a 11-7 record, but it was almost all as a reliever.

Before the ‘73 season, Jarvis was traded to the Expos for pitcher Carl Morton. This was to be his final major-league season, pitching only 39 innings (all in relief) while compiling a 2-1 record. His final game was on September 23rd.

Pat was dealt to the Rangers in December, but was released in March 1974, ending his 8-year career.