Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dave Ricketts (#46)

Wait... is this guy a major-league ballplayer, or a high school science teacher?

This is my first Dave Ricketts card. His rookie card (1967) was in the high-number series, so I didn’t get that until decades later. Dave had cards every year from 1967-70, and appears very scholarly on each card (see below).

Dave Ricketts was signed by the Cardinals in 1957, and played 8 seasons in the minors (missing the ’58 and ’59 seasons while in military service). He debuted with 3 games in late-September 1963, and also played in 11 games for the Cards scattered over the 1965 season.

Ricketts made the Cardinals on a full-time basis in 1967. He was one of Tim McCarver’s backup catchers for 3 seasons, and as such, he rarely played outside of some pinch-hitting appearances. Dave started 16 games in 1967, but only 1 game in 1968. (The newly-acquired Johnny Edwards was the 2nd string backstop that year.) However, Ricketts did get 3 at-bats in the 1967 World Series and 1 at-bat in the ’68 Fall Classic.

In 1969 Edwards had moved on, but the Cardinals traded for long-time Braves’ catcher Joe Torre before the season. Torre primarily played 1st base, but also made 16 starts behind the dish when McCarver needed a rest, leaving only 7 starts for Dave.

After the 1969 season, Ricketts and pitcher Dave Giusti were traded to the Pirates for backup catcher Carl Taylor. (?!?) He filled the same role for the Pirates: a seldom-used 3rd string catcher behind Manny Sanguillen and Jerry May (14 games, 12 at-bats, no starts).

Dave was released after the season, then was a bullpen coach for many years (Pirates 1971-73, Cardinals (1974-91). He was activated by the Pirates for a few weeks in 1971 but did not play.

Dave’s older brother Dick pitched for the Cardinals in 1959.

Dave Ricketts passed away from cancer in 2008 at age 73.