Saturday, December 30, 2017

Darrell Brandon (#26)

I learned today that Darrell Brandon was not always a pitcher.

He was signed by the Pirates in 1959, but was traded to the Cardinals and played for their class-D team in 1960, as a 3rd baseman and outfielder.

After being out of baseball for the 1961 season, he resumed his baseball career as a pitcher. Darrell played in the Houston Colt .45s' farm system from 1962-65, then was traded to the Red Sox for pitcher Jack Lamabe in September 1965.

Brandon made the majors at the start of the 1966 season, and was with the Red Sox for all of ’66 and ’67. He both started and relieved during his first 2 seasons with Boston, but developed arm problems during 1967 that caused him to spend most of 1968 in the minors, although he did pitch 8 games for the Sox that season.

After the ’68 season he was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft. Brandon only played 8 games for the Pilots, and by mid-July was sold to the Twins. He also played for both organizations’ triple-A clubs in 1969.

Released by the Twins in April 1970, he was quickly signed by the White Sox, but played the entire ’70 season for their AAA club.

Darrell returned to the majors in 1971 with the Phillies, following a January trade for infielder Rick Joseph. Brandon pitched out of the Phillies’ bullpen (behind Joe Hoerner and Dick Selma) for the next 3 seasons, appearing in 130 games (only 6 as a starter).

In 1972 he compiled a 7-7 record. His 7 wins was 2nd on the team after Steve Carlton’s 27 wins. (Such was the sad state of the Phillies’ pitching staff that year.)

Darrell was released by the Phillies after the 1973 season. He played for their AAA team in 1974 before retiring.

Fun Fact: Brandon wore #32 for the Phillies in 1971, before switching to #30 with the arrival of Steve Carlton in 1972. Carlton’s number was subsequently retired by the Phillies.

It’s odd that both and refer to him as “Bucky Brandon”. I don’t ever remember seeing his baseball cards without “Darrell” as his name. Although Baseball-Reference will redirect “Darrell Brandon” queries to their Bucky Brandon page, Wikipedia has no knowledge of a “Darrell Brandon”. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Len Gabrielson (#357)

Len Gabrielson was a corner outfielder for 5 teams in the 1960s.

He was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1959, and made his major-league debut for the Braves with 4 games in September 1960.

After that brief cup of coffee, it was back to the minors until 1963. That season he played 46 games with the Braves (mostly as a pinch-hitter or 1st baseman) in April, May, and September, while spending the middle of the season in the minors.

Len finally became a permanent major-leaguer in 1964. He played in 24 games for the Braves, then was traded to the Cubs in early June for catcher Merritt Ranew. Gabrielson started 71 of the Cubs’ final 84 games that year, taking over the right field job vacated with the trade of Lou Brock to the Cardinals.

In 1965, Doug Clemens (one of the players acquired for Brock in 1964) took over Gabrielson’s starting right field job, so after a handful of games Len was traded to the Giants in late May (along with catcher Dick Bertell) for pitcher Bob Hendley, catcher Ed Bailey, and outfielder Harvey Kuenn. Willie Mays and Jesus Alou had the CF and RF spots sewn up, so Len had to fight for playing time in left field with Matty Alou, Cap Peterson, and others. He did start 88 games there, more than any of the others.

Rookie Ollie Brown joined the Giants in 1966, further eating into Gabrielson’s playing time. After the season he was traded to the Angels for backup first baseman Norm Siebern.

This is where I jumped on the baseball bandwagon. My first knowledge of Gabrielson is his 1967 baseball card showing him as an Angel, but he only played 11 games for them before he was flipped to the Dodgers in May ’67 for utility player John Werhas.

Len was a corner outfield backup for most of his time with the Dodgers. His playing time spiked up in 1968, when Al Ferrara was lost for the season with a broken leg after just 2 games. Surprisingly, Gabrielson led the Dodgers with all of TEN home runs in 1968.

In Len’s final season (1970), he appeared in 43 games, all but 3 as a pinch-hitter.

His father (also Len) played briefly with the Phillies in 1939.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Joe Hoerner (#227)

One of the all-time Rule 5 success stories, Joe Hoerner went from barely hanging on with a bad 4th-year team in 1965 to heading up the bullpen for the 2-time NL champion Cardinals from 1966-69).

Hoerner was signed by the White Sox in 1957, and after 5 seasons in their farm system he was selected by the soon-to-join-the-NL Houston Colts .45s in November 1961.

Primarily a starter for his 1st 2 seasons in the minors, he was a swing man for his final 3 minor-league seasons. In the majors, every one of his 493 games was as a reliever.

During his years with Houston (1962-65), Joe mostly played in the minors, but appeared with the Colt .45s for 1 game in ’63 and 7 games in ’64.

Selected by the Cardinals in the November 1965 Rule 5 draft, he immediately rose to bullpen star status. Joe appeared in 45 or more games in each of his 4 seasons with the Cardinals, while fashioning ERAs of 1.54, 2.59, 1.47, and 2.87. He led the team in saves for all 4 seasons as well.

Hoerner also pitched in 2 games in the ’67 World Series and 3 games in the ’68 Fall Classic.

After the 1969 season, Hoerner accompanied Curt Flood, Tim McCarver, and Byron Browne to Philadelphia in exchange for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, and Jerry Johnson. The Phillies’ relief corps had been headed up by Turk Farrell and Dick Hall for the past few seasons, but by 1970 both were gone, with Hoerner and Dick Selma (acquired in the 69-70 off-season for Johnny Callison) in their place.

My recollection of Hoerner’s time with the Phillies is that he was their bullpen ace for 2 seasons, but as I am typing this, I see in that he had the fewest innings pitched of the 5 relief pitchers, and his 9 saves were well behind Selma’s 22 saves. However, Hoerner did make the All-Star team that season (his only time), so maybe he was the situational lefty specialist (pitching 57 innings in 44 games).

He also had 9 saves in 1971, which was good enough to lead the team that season.

In June 1972 the Phillies made another of their bad trades, sending Hoerner and 1st base prospect Andre Thornton to the Braves for pitchers Jim Nash and Gary Neibauer. (Nash went 0-8 for the Phillies, to close out his career. Neibauer pitched 18 innings for the Philles, then returned to the Braves the following season. Meanwhile Thornton hit 250 home runs over the next 14 seasons with the Cubs and Indians!) 

Hoerner pitched for the Braves and Royals for the next 2+ seasons, then returned to the Phillies for the 1975 season. He was just a supporting player in his 2nd stint with Philly, as they now had Tug McGraw and Gene Garber heading up the bullpen.

Joe spent his final 2 seasons with the Rangers (’76) and Reds (’77) before retiring.

 In October 1996 he was killed in a farming accident at age 59.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bob Bailey (#580)

Here is the only card showing Bob Bailey in a Dodgers' uniform. Bailey played for the Dodgers only for 1967 and 1968 (traded from the Pirates for Maury Wills). His 1967 card is a capless number showing him in a Pirates' uniform. After the 1968 season, he moved on to the expansion Montreal Expos, and his 1969 card ALSO shows him capless in a Pirates’ uni. So Dodgers' fans: this is it for Bob Bailey!

Bailey played in the Pirates' minor league system for 2 seasons (1961-62) before making his major-league debut with the Pirates in September 1962. He started 12 of the final 15 games at 3rd base, replacing the veteran Don Hoak.

With Hoak traded to the Phillies in the off-season, Bailey became the starting 3rd baseman for the Pirates from day 1 of the 1963 season. He started 153 games at the hot corner in his rookie season.

The Pirates picked up veteran Gene Freese in 1964, and he shared the 3rd base job with Bailey that season (with Bob getting 60% of the starts at 3B, and another few dozen in left field). Bob was back to full-time status at 3rd base the following season, making 133 starts (to Freese's 17).

In Bailey's final season with the Bucs, he shared the 3rd base job with utility man Jose Pagan, with both starting about half the games. Bob also saw some playing time in left field on Willie Stargell's days off. After collecting over 500 at-bats in his first 3 seasons, Bob’s workload was reduced in 1966, only having 380 at-bats in 126 games.

After the '66 season, the Pirates sent Bailey and shortstop prospect Gene Michael to the Dodgers in return for shortstop Maury Wills. (With Gene Alley set at shortstop, Wills played 3rd base for the Pirates for the next 2 seasons. He would join Bailey in Montreal at the start of the 1969 season.)

Bob didn't have a full-time spot for his 2 seasons in LA. He had 322 at-bats in both seasons, playing less than 120 games each year. The Dodgers had also acquired 2nd baseman Ron Hunt in the same off-season, so their former ROY Jim Lefebvre moved over to 3B for many games, leaving only 65 starts there for Bailey. (He did start 23 games in left field.)

The following season Hunt was gone (freeing up 2nd base for Lefebvre), but Bob only started 88 games there, and none in the outfield.

Selected in the expansion draft, Bob was the Expos' 1st starting 1st-sacker. He started 83 games then gave way to ex-Dodger Ron Fairly in the 2nd half of the season. That was his only season with significant playing time at 1st base.

Bailey played for the Expos for 7 seasons (1969-75). After backing up young Coco Laboy in 1970, Bob regained full-time status from 1971-74, mostly at 3rd base, but at 3B and LF in 1974.

After the 1975 season he was traded to the Reds for pitcher Clay Kirby. Bob rode the bench in Cincinnati for 2 seasons, then played his final season (1978) with the Red Sox, mostly as a DH or pinch-hitter.

When his playing career was over, Bailey managed in the minor-leagues for several organizations from 1979 to 1987.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dissecting the 1968 Set

Well, my recent post about the 1967 set was so much fun to do, that I'm doing the same here for the 1968 set. I will also have similar posts for the '66, '69, '70, (and maybe '65) sets, but not this week.

The 1968 Topps set had 598 cards, 11 fewer than in 1967. This included 13 team cards, 20 managers, 30 rookie stars cards, 12 league leaders cards, 8 World Series cards, 20 All-Star cards, 7 checklists, and 3 multi-player cards. This leaves 485 cards of individual players.

Topps issued 20 All-Star cards which they didn't do in the previous year. How did they add 20 cards and still have a smaller set than the previous year? They short-changed other areas:
 - Only 30 Rookie Stars cards (43 in 1967)
 - Only 3 multi-player cards (13 in 1967)
 - Inexplicably, only 13 team cards (19 in 1967)
All that corner-cutting, and there were still 5 fewer player cards (485) than in the previous set.

Here is the position breakdown of the 485 player cards:

205 cards for "PITCHER"
50 cards for "CATCHER"
24 cards for "1st BASE"
19 cards for "2nd BASE"
22 cards for "SHORTSTOP" or "SS"
18 cards for "3rd BASE"
12 cards for "INFIELD"
95 cards for "OUTFIELD"

That's a total of 451 cards. The remaining 34 cards featured players at more than 1 position. Below is a sample of each position:

These are the only 2 players having a C-1B or 1B-C position.

Once again, Tom Satriano is the only C-3B in the set.  Teammate Ed Kirkpatrick is the only OF-CATCHER.  (There are no 3B-C or C-OF in the set.)

Felipe Alou appears again as a 1B-OF (along with Lee Thomas, Clarence Jones, and Mike Hegan).  His teammate Tito Francona has the opposite position, as does Chuck Hinton.

Chico Salmon is one of two 2B-OF in the set (along with Bob Savarine).  I wonder why Topps chose not to abbreviate Salmon's and Alou's positions, like they did with the others?  Jim Hart and Danny Cater are the only two with 3B-OF.

In the 1967 set, Topps botched Orioles' shortstop Luis Aparicio's position, naming him as "INFIELD".  This year, they did it again to the Orioles' shortstop.  Mark Belanger was the starting shortstop all season (with Aparicio having been traded), yet they have him as 2B-SS.  (No other Orioles' player was designated as 'SS'.)

In the last set, there was only one player with this position, but now there are 6 (Belanger, Phil Gagliano, Nate Oliver, Tim Cullen, Frank Quilici, Wayne Causey). As in the previous set, Dick Tracewski is the only SS-2B.

Like Alou and Francona, teammates share the opposing positions here.  Jerry Adair, Don Buford, and Bernie Allen have a 2B-3B position, while Dalton Jones, Jim Lefebvre, and Chuck Hiller have 3B-2B.

These are the only two players in the set with these positions.

And now the miscellaneous grouping.  In the '67 set, there was only 1 player with 1B-3B (Harmon Killebrew)  and none with 3B-1B.  Now, there are no 1B-3B cards, but 2 (Ed Mathews, Pete Ward) for 3B-1B.

There are 3 players having the dreaded INF-OF position (Gary Sutherland, Woodie Held, and Frank Kostro.)  Topps missed the boat here.  Sutherland was a semi-regular at both shortstop and left field in 1967, and played no other positions.  Topps could have had a rare "SS-OF" position if they were paying attention.

I noticed a few other things about this set while I was gathering the above information.  I have already railed about the uneven distribution of cards among the teams in this set, as well as the absence of a Giants Rookie Stars card.

I found that there is no card for an Indians' 1st baseman (because Topps refused to make any cards for Tony Horton), and also no 2nd baseman for the Giants (nor anyone remotely close, like an infielder or a combined position).  Tito Fuentes seems like a candidate for that card, but he is missing from the set.

I also found that the Astros have FOURTEEN pitchers, while most other teams have 9 to 11. Topps also went overboard with FOUR catchers for the Athletics, while everyone else has 2 or 3.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Robinson Crew (So?)

Here's a break from the normal routine. I went through my 1966 to 1970 cards, and found over a dozen cases where three or more players have the same last name (and many more with just two). I've already done the brothers thing, so they won't be included in this series.

I started off with Jackson, May, and Johnson. Now post #4 - The Robinsons:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Jackson Five

Here's a break from the normal routine. I went through my 1966 to 1970 cards, and found over a dozen cases where three or more players have the same last name (and many more with just two). I've already done the brothers thing, so they won't be included in this series.

I'm starting off with all the Jacksons. (Reggie would have had a card in the 1968 set, if not for Topps' ineptitude.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Horace Clarke (#263)

Here is Yankees’ 2nd baseman Horace Clarke. Horace played for the Yankees from 1965-74, and is one of 3 Yankees (along with Mel Stottlemyre and Roy White) to bridge the gap between the Mantle/Maris/Ford era and the Munson/Nettles/Murcer/Piniella era.

Clarke (a native of the US Virgin Islands) began his career in 1958 with the Yankees’ Class-D team in Kearney, Nebraska. After six seasons as a shortstop, he switched to 2nd base in 1964 (his 2nd season in triple-A).

Horace began the 1965 season in triple-A, but made his Yankees’ debut in mid-May, playing in 51 games that year, including 21 starts (mostly at 3rd base).

Long-time shortstop Tony Kubek retired after the 1965 season, so the Yankees moved 3rd baseman Clete Boyer to SS for the first half of the 1966 season, then Clarke started almost every game at shortstop during July and August. In September Horace moved over to 2nd base (replacing the soon-to-retire Bobby Richardson) to make room for September call-up Bobby Murcer.

Clarke was a fixture at 2nd base for the Yankees from 1967 through 1973. Over that 7-year period, he played more games (1059) and started more games at one position (1017) than any other Yankee. Roy White was a distant 2nd with 985 games played and 875 outfield starts.

After playing sparingly (9 starts) over the first 2 months of the 1974 season, Clarke and pitcher Lowell Palmer were dealt to the Padres at the end of May. Horace finished out his 10th and final season as the Padres’ 3rd-string 2nd baseman, behind Derrel Thomas and Glenn Beckert.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jose Pagan (#482)

Jose Pagan had 2 careers – first as an every-day shortstop for the Giants (1961-64), then as a top-notch utility infielder and pinch-hitter for the Pirates (1965-72).

Pagan began his career in the New York Giants’ farm system in 1955. After 4 seasons in the low minors, he was promoted to AAA Phoenix in 1959, and by early-August made his major-league debut.

After playing parts of 5 games in April 1960, he played most of the season with triple-A Tacoma, returning in late-September to start the season’s final 10 games at shortstop.

Pagan was the team’s regular shortstop from 1961 to 1964. In 1962 he started 164 (of the team’s 165) games there! In the final month of 1964 he shared the post with Jim Davenport, but was back as the everyday shortstop at the start of the 1965 season. That is, until he was traded to the Pirates in late-May for shortstop Dick Schofield.

Jose never had a position of his own with the Pirates, who had Gene Alley, Bob Bailey, and Willie Stargell firmly entrenched at Jose’s positions (SS/3B/LF). He did manage to start most games at 3rd base during June/July/August 1966 while Bailey was out of the lineup. Mostly he was a pinch-hitting specialist and backup at those 3 positions for the next several seasons.

From 1970-72, he had dropped shortstop and outfield from his repertoire, but started 113 games at the hot corner over those 3 seasons in relief of Richie Hebner.

The Pirates released Pagan in October 1972, but he was signed by the Phillies the following month. The Phillies were rolling out a rookie 3rd baseman for 1973 (Mike Schmidt) so maybe they wanted a veteran mentor and insurance policy at 3rd base.

Turns out, that Schmidt guy was the real deal after all, so Pagan only made 8 starts at 3B in his final season, but did play in 46 games. The Phillies released him in early-August.

After his playing career, Jose was a coach for the Pirates from 1974-78, and later managed minor-league and winter-ball teams.

He passed away in 2011 at age 76.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Phillies protected list prior to 1968 expansion draft

Ok folks, I moved about a month ago, and last week I bought a new scanner (which is much easier to use, and without the 5-minute pesky warmup time before the first scan). So now I'm ready to get back onto a blog schedule. As a side benefit while moving, I found the box with all my Phillies yearbooks from the 1960s and 1970s.


In January, I posted a review of the 1968 Phillies team. Who did the Phillies protect in the expansion draft following that 1968 season? Well, that was a closely-guarded secret.

The rules were:
- Each NL team protected 15 players on their 40-man roster (or was it in their entire organization?)
- The Expos and Padres took turns selecting from the pool of players, 1 at a time.
- When an established team lost a player, they could add 3 players to their protected list.
- By the end of the draft, each new team had to have selected 3 players from the 10 established teams.

Theoretically, each established team was going to lose their 16th, 20th, 24th, 28th, 32nd, and 36th best players.
(The American League followed the same rules for their draft.)

What follows here is my carefully-considered guess:

1. Who I think the Phillies protected prior to the October 1968 expansion draft (listed in what I think was their priority order):

Richie Allen (1B)
Five seasons and 145 homeruns into his career, Allen was rubbing management’s last nerve raw, but you don’t give away a player like this.

Chris Short (SP)
Short was the team’s pitching ace. He won 18, 20, 9, and 19 games from 1965-68, but missed most of 1969 to a back injury.

Woodie Fryman (SP)
This lefthander was acquired prior to the 1968 season from the Pirates, where he was named to the Topps All-Rookie team in 1966.

Rick Wise (SP)
Wise came up through the Phillies’ system. After debuting in 1964, he played for the Phillies for part of 1966. In his first full season (1967) he began as the #5 starter and moved up to #4. By 1971 he was the team’s ace.

A pair of promising rookies:
Don Money (SS)
Money was acquired from the Pirates before the 1968 season, and was selected to the Topps All-Rookie team in 1969.

Larry Hisle (CF)
Hisle claimed the center field job as a rookie in 1969, and was also selected to the Topps All-Rookie team.

Johnny Callison (RF)
Callison has been with the Phillies since 1960. He had huge HR and RBI years in ’64 and ’65, and although he began declining in 1966, he was still the team’s #2 slugger.

Cookie Rojas (2B)
Rojas began as a utility player, and was a competent 2nd baseman as a regular since 1966.

John Briggs (OF)
With the Phillies since 1964, the team had high hopes for Briggs, whose power didn’t switch on until he moved to the Brewers in 1971.

Three of their top prospects:
Larry Bowa (SS)
Bowa was a highly-touted AA prospect in 1968, with a bright future in Philly.

Denny Doyle (2B)
The Phillies often touted the Bowa/Doyle keystone combo back in the day, although they didn’t play together until 1968 in double-A ball.

Lowell Palmer (SP)
20-year-old Palmer was the Phillies’ top pitching prospect in triple-A in 1968 (13-8, 191 strikeouts).

Grant Jackson (RP)
Jackson’s rookie season was in 1967. He was the only lefty in the bullpen during the late 1960s.

Mike Ryan ( C )
An excellent defensive catcher but poor hitter, Ryan was acquired from the Red Sox after the 1967 season. He platooned with veteran Clay Dalrymple in 1968. I thought maybe the Phillies would leave both catchers unprotected with the idea that no team would select these 2 lunch-pailers, but they had just acquired him in the previous off-season, so maybe didn’t want to risk losing him. Had they lost him, it would have been another year with Dalrymple in 1969.

Barry Lersch (SP)
Lersch was 13-8 with 114 strikeouts for the Phillies’ AAA team in 1968, 2nd best after Palmer.

2. These players were lost in the expansion draft:

Gary Sutherland (INF)
He was the 1st Phillies’ player taken in the draft. Gary spent the ’68 season as a utility player, backing up a career minor-leaguer at shortstop after the team’s first 2 options didn’t work out. Hard to believe Sutherland was the best Phillie available. Bill White comes to mind first, along with Tony Gonzalez, and 34-year-old reliever Turk Farrell.

Mike Wegener (SP)
He was the 2nd Phillies’ player taken in the draft. Wegener was 10-13 with 169 strikeouts in class-A in 1965, but struggled for the next 3 seasons.

Larry Jackson (SP)
He was the 3rd Phillies’ player taken in the draft. Jackson was 37 and had just finished his 14th season. No reason to protect him, with all the other arms.

Tony Gonzalez (CF)
He was the 4th Phillies’ player taken in the draft. With Larry Hisle set to take over in center field, the Phillies didn’t need to protect Gonzalez or Don Lock. My guess is that if one of them were selected, the other would be subsequently protected, to provide outfield depth.

Roberto Pena (SS)
He was the 5th Phillies’ player taken in the draft. After spending most of his career in the minors, Pena was the Phillies regular shortstop for most of 1968, after first Don Money failing his early-season tryout, then Bobby Wine was lost for the season with a bad back.

Steve Arlin (SP)
He was the 6th Phillies’ player taken in the draft. Arlin struck out 116 in 110 innings as a class-A rookie in 1966, then struggled for the next 2 seasons. As the 6th Phillie taken, he was theoretically the organization’s 36th-best player – probably about right.

3. Why I think these players also were not protected:

Bill White (1B) - A major-leaguer since 1956, White hit 20 to 27 homers every season from 1961-66, but his numbers fell off sharply after 1966, Partially because of missing time with injuries in both seasons, but also because of advancing age (34 in 1968). With Richie Allen moving in to first base in 1969, White was not in the team’s future plans. I guess they gambled that nobody would select him in the early rounds.

Tony Taylor (INF) - Taylor was the team’s 2nd baseman from 1960-64. He played as much as any regular from 1966-70, shuffling around the diamond (2B/1B/3B) filling in for injured players. Still, you can’t protect utility players in the first 15 slots, especially at age 32.

Turk Farrell (RP) - Farrell was the Phillies’ closer in ’67 and ’68, but at age 34 it didn’t make sense to protect him.

Dick Hall (RP) - Hall was 3 years older than Farrell, and although they both joined the Phillies’ bullpen in 1967, Hall played much less in ’68 than in the previous season. Besides, the Phillies released him a week after the draft.

Clay Dalrymple ( C ) - Dalrymple was the Phillies' starting catcher from 1960-66, and platooned in ’67 and ’68. At age 31 in 1968, and batting .172 and .207 in his last 2 seasons, there was no need to protect him. In January he was traded to the Orioles for outfield prospect Ron Stone.

Bobby Wine (SS) - Wine was the team’s primary shortstop from 1962-65, and in 1967. He missed most of 1968 with a back injury, and hit under .200 in his last 2 seasons as a Phillie. With Don Money ready at shortstop, it was time to move on.

Gary Wagner (RP) - The right-handed Wagner pitched in 59 games for the Phillies as a rookie in 1965, then spent the next 2 seasons in the minors. He returned in ’68, pitching 44 games with a 4-4 record a 3.00 ERA, but you can’t protect everybody.

Don Lock (OF) - Lock was acquired from the Senators before the 1967 season to provide outfield punch which never materialized. Platooning with Briggs and/or Gonzalez for all of ’67 and ’68, he was certainly expendable. My theory is that if either Gonzalez or Lock was selected in the draft, the other may have been re-protected for depth. Once Ron Stone was acquired in January, Lock was literally unnecessary, and was traded to the Red Sox in early-May for a bag with 1 bean in it (a player with 1 career MLB at-bat).

Jerry Johnson (SP) - The Phillies’ #5 starter for the last 2 months of 1968 (as a rookie), he compiled a 4-4 record, but there were too many others ahead of him.

Jeff James (SP/RP) - James was also a rookie in 1968. Working mostly out of the bullpen, he got the occasional 5th start until Johnson was called up in August. I think the Phillies had soured on him during that season.

Rick Joseph, John Boozer, Doug Clemens, John Sullivan
Backup players who would not be missed, even if somehow selected.

4. Unprotected minor-league prospects: 

Class AAA: 
Billy Wilson (RP) - Wilson was 8-6 in triple-A in 1968, at age 25. He had a history of arm troubles, so probably wasn’t as attractive to other teams.

Al Raffo (SP) - Raffo was in the Phillies’ organization since 1963, and compiled records of 11-7, 14-10, 12-6, and 11-7 in ’63, ’64, ’67, and ’68, but never got a call-up until late-April 1969, so the Phillies must not have been very high on him.

Larry Colton (SP) - Colton had good numbers in 3 minor-league seasons (1965-67) but pitched in only 1 game for the Phillies in 1968, and was injured for much of that year, so at age 26 his future was suspect.

Class AA: 
Gene Rounsaville (SP) - Gene was 12-10 with 153 strikeouts in class A in 1966, but spent the next 2 seasons in double-A. Although compiling a 14-5 record and 1.76 ERA in ’68, his strikeouts in those two AA seasons were almost half of his class-A mark.

Pat Bayless (SP) - In 1967, the 19-year-old Bayless was 18-8 with 217 strikeouts in class-A ball. The following season in double-A, he was 12-8 with a 1.76 ERA and 130 strikeouts. Although he pitched in the Phillies’ organization through 1971, he never made the majors.

Luis Peraza (RP) - Peraza was 9-8 with 156 strikeouts in 1967 (class-A) and 13-3 in 1968 (AA), but never reached that level again.

Ron Allen (1B) - Richie’s brother was a double-A prospect, but 9 homers and 61 RBI is not a good sign for a 1st baseman.

Dave Watkins ( C ) - Watkins was the team’s AA catcher in 1968, batting .264 in 117 games. With the non-existent hitting of their major-league catchers, and aging ex-big-league backstops at AAA, Watkins was worth keeping.

Class A:
Billy Champion (SP) - Champion was 15-5 with 193 strikeouts in 1968. That it was in class-A ball made it easier for the Phillies to hide him, than Palmer or Lersch.

Ken Reynolds (SP) - Reynolds was 10-5 with 132 strikeouts at age 21 in 1968. He was also 13-10 with 225 K’s in the previous season.

Dave Bennett (SP) - In the Phillies’ organization since age 17 in 1963, Bennett had a 1-game tryout with the Philies in 1964, but never made it back, despite playing in their farm system through 1969, and posting 11-9 and 11-5 records in ’67 and ’68. He made it to AA and AAA from 1964-65, but regressed to single-A from 1966-68.

Joe Lis (3B) - Lis hit over 30 homers and collected over 90 RBI in each of 1967 and 1968 while in class-A, and hit .293 in 1968, easily the organization’s top minor-league slugger. He was converted to an outfielder in 1969.

Gene Stone (1B) - Stone hit 21 and 20 homers in class-A in 1967 and 1968. Advancing to double-A in 1969, he was called up to the Phillies for 28 at-bats in 1969, the sum of his major-league career. That was his last pro season. Curiously, he never played in triple-A.

5. Subsequently protected players: 

Following Sutherland’s selection:
Champion – Good numbers in Class A won’t stay hidden for long.
Lis – Same reason as Champion.
Taylor – Need some infield depth.

Following Wegener’s selection:
(That Wegener was selected 2nd makes me think that Palmer, Lersch, and Champion were already off the board.)
Wagner – Gotta start building a bullpen.
White – May be a useful trade chip, if not given away in the draft.
Rounsaville – Numbers were too good to leave exposed for another round.

Following Jackson’s selection:
Bayless – Numbers were too good to leave exposed for another round.
Watkins – Best-hitting catcher in the entire organization.
Farrell – Someone needed to head up the 1969 bullpen.

Following Gonzalez’ selection:
Reynolds – At age 21, can only get better. (D’oh!)
Ron Allen – Good prospect, even without corner infield power.
Lock – For outfield depth.

Following Pena’s selection:
Johnson – Need to round out starting rotation.
Wilson – AAA bullpen prospect.
Gene Stone (no photo) – Good numbers, even if only class-A.

(Since pitcher Steve Arlin was taken as the 6th pick, pitching prospects Palmer, Lersch, Champion, Reynolds, Rounsaville, and Bayless would almost certainly have been off the board already.)

6. Veterans not protected or drafted: 

Hall, Dalrymple, Wine, James

Joseph, Boozer, Clemens, Sullivan

7.  Epilogue: 

When Larry Jackson retired rather than report to the Expos, the Phillies offered a list of players to the Expos, for them to choose 1 player as compensation. They chose Bobby Wine. I suspect the list looked like this:

Bobby Wine
Jeff James
Rick Joseph
John Boozer
John Sullivan
Doug Clemens (if not already retired)

Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  CommishBob, maybe you can take a crack at the Orioles.  I read somewhere that Jim Palmer (rehabbing in the minors for most of '67 and '68) was left unprotected (and fortunately was passed over).

Wait, I may have just worn out my keyboard!  LOL

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Born on the Same Day - 6/2/1940

My planned next post about who the Phillies had protected in the expansion draft after the 1968 season will have to wait for awhile. I do not have my 1968 Phillies' cards scanned in the groupings I need for that post yet, and my scanner has not been working for a few weeks. 

I'm moving later this month, so fixing it or getting a new scanner is not high on my to-do list right now. Meanwhile, I have about 5 cards already scanned for each of my baseball blogs, so I will proceed with them for the time being. 

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year.

This is post #15 in the series: Jim Maloney and Horace Clarke - both born on 6/2/1940.

Jim Maloney was the Reds' ace starter from 1963-69. He won 23 games in '63, 20 in '65, and was an All-Star in 1965. He topped 200 strikeouts every season from 1963-66, and pitched 2 no-hitters. Injuries shortened his career, just as the Big Red Machine was getting started.

Horace Clarke joined the Yankees in May 1965. After playing shortstop for the 2nd half of his first full season season (1966), he slid over to 2nd base following Bobby Richardson's retirement after 1966, and manned that spot from 1967-73. Horace split his final season (1974) between the Yankees and the Padres.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The 1968 Phillies

I kicked off my team reviews in April 2010 with the 1967 Phillies. Here's the next edition of the team, on their way to oblivion.

The Phillies didn't make ONE player deal during the 1968 season! I guess they were satisfied with the chemistry that went on to produce a 76-86 (7th place) season.

The only move they made was to fire manager Gene Mauch after 54 games. Mauch was given the boot on 6/14, after the team dropped the first game of a Friday doubleheader with the Dodgers, 6-0. 3rd base coach George Myatt took over for the nightcap, and for the next day (with the Phillies winning both games). AAA manager Bob Skinner was hired as the new manager, and when he took over on Sunday, the losing resumed!

The Phillies went with the same 4-man rotation for the entire season, with a 5th starter added as needed. Chris Short (36 starts) was the team's ace, and was coming off a '67 season where he was 3rd in the NL in ERA. Short won 20 games in '66 and 19 in '68. Larry Jackson (34 starts) was in his final season at age 37.

Woodie Fryman was one of the players acquired from the Pirates for Jim Bunning in the off-season, and made 32 starts. Rick Wise made 30 starts in his 2nd full season in the majors.

The bullpen was manned by 5 pitchers all season: closer Turk Farrell led the staff with 54 games and 12 saves. Gary Wagner returned to the team after spending most of '66 and all of '67 in the minors, and contributed 8 saves.

John Boozer worked exclusively out of the bullpen in 1968, after being a reliever and spot starter for the past few years. Grant Jackson was the only lefty in the bullpen, and also made 6 starts, all seemingly during doubleheaders.

Veteran Dick Hall was the oldest member of the staff at age 37. Joining the team in 1967, he was a co-closer of sorts with Farrell, but played a reduced role in his 2nd and final season in Philly. Rookie Jerry Johnson was picked up from the Mets in the off-season, and was recalled in mid-August to fill the #5 starter role.

Jeff James made his debut in April, and filled the occasional 5th starter role as needed for the first half of the season until he was replaced by Johnson. Paul Brown pitched in 2 games (4 innings) in mid-season, probably when someone else was on the DL. Brown was with the Phillies in 1962, and for parts of '61 and '63.

Here are the starting eight. There was some position shifting due to Richie Allen's off-season injury, as well as some patchwork moves at shortstop.

Mike Ryan was acquired in the off-season from the Red Sox, and was good defensively but absolutely could not hit. He shared the position with long-time regular Clay Dalrymple. Bill White was in his last of 3 seasons with the Phillies, but only started 103 games this year.

Cookie Rojas was a steady performer at 2nd base, starting 149 games there. Initially, the Phillies handed the starting shortstop job to rookie prospect Don Money, who was acquired from the Pirates with Fryman. However, after 3 starts it was clear he was not ready for the big time, and was replaced by Bobby Wine. Soon Money's roster spot was filled by journeyman minor-leaguer Roberto Pena. When Wine injured his back on May 12th, Pena started all but 6 of the remaining games.

Veteran infielder Tony Taylor started 137 games at the hot corner, where he had played since Allen injured his hand in late-August 1967. Already defensively challenged, Richie Allen returned to the lineup at the start of 1968, but this time in left field (136 starts). He also spent 7 games at 3rd base and a few more on the bench in the manager's doghouse.

Tony Gonzalez started 93 games in center field, and a dozen more in left. Johnny Callison was the team's #2 slugger (behind Allen) and although his career had been declining since 1966, he still started 106 games in right field.

Here are the subs, in order of at-bats:

John Briggs had been with the team since 1965, and although a starting outfielder in 1967, he got squeezed out because of Allen’s position switch. Briggs was the #3 center and right fielder in '68, and was also the starter at first base for most of July. Don Lock also felt the squeeze in 1968, only seeing playing time as the #2 in CF and RF.

Clay Dalrymple started just under half the games behind the plate in his final season with the Phillies. Rick Joseph was the corner infield backup since being called up in August 1967 after Allen’s injury.

I have to wonder about Gary Sutherland. As a rookie in 1967, he platooned at shortstop and in left field, seeing lots of playing time. In '68 he was relegated to utility INF-OF, starting only 27 games across 5 positions. This is especially surprising since after the failure of Money and the injury to Wine, the Phillies chose to go with organizational grunt Pena at shortstop instead of Sutherland. After the season, Gary was the first Phillie selected in the expansion draft! Bobby Wine was the team's shortstop for most of the mid-1960s, but played his last game as a Phillie in mid-May.

Doug Clemens was with the team in '66 and '67, and was recalled from the minors when rookie prospect Larry Hisle was sent down early in the season. John Sullivan was recalled in mid-season, and played in 12 games as a pinch-hitter or #3 catcher. Outfielder Howie Bedell also played a few games for the Phillies in 1968.

Don Money was the centerpiece in the December 1967 trade of Jim Bunning to the Pirates. After failing his first shot in April 1968, he was sent down for the rest of the season. Winning the starting job 1 year later, he was also named to the Topps All-Rookie team. Center fielder Larry Hisle's story is the same as Money's: handed the starting job in Spring 1968, flopped, sent down, returned in '69 as the starter, named to the Topps All-Rookie team.

Gene Mauch had been the Phillies' manager since game #2 of the 1960 season. He only lasted through mid-June '68, thanks to clashes with team star Richie Allen. Bob Skinner was managing the Phillies' AAA team in '67 and '68, and was named as Mauch's replacement. He only lasted until early-August 1969, also having had enough of Allen’s shenanigans, with little support from the front office.

Here are the Rookie Stars cards:

Larry Colton's major-league career consisted of 2 innings pitched on 5/6/68. Dick Thoenen had a brief tryout in 1967, but did not play for the Phils in '68.

Transactions from the end of the 1967 season to the end of 1968: 

11/28/67 - Lost Chuck Hiller and Jimmie Schaffer in the Rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Selected Doc Edwards and Jerry Johnson in the minor league draft.

12/15/67 - Traded Dick Ellsworth and Gene Oliver to the Red Sox for Mike Ryan.
12/15/67 - Traded Jim Bunning to the Pirates for Don Money, Woodie Fryman, Bill Laxton, and Hal Clem.
12/15/67 - Sent John Morris to the Orioles as the player to be named for the 1966 acquisition of Dick Hall.

02/19/68 - Purchased John Sullivan from the Mets.

10/14/68 - Lost Gary Sutherland, Mike Wegener, Larry Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Roberto Pena, and Steve Arlin in the expansion draft.

10/29/68 - Released Dick Hall.

12/02/68 - Lost Billy Cowan and Bobby Klaus in the Rule 5 draft.

12/03/68 - Purchased Deron Johnson from the Braves.

Next time, we will look at who the Phillies protected in the October 1968 expansion draft.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clay Carroll (#412)

Clay Carroll was a relief pitcher for 15 seasons (1964-78), playing mostly for the Braves and Reds.

Carroll was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1961, and made his major-league debut in September 1964 pitching in 11 games (20 innings) with an ERA of 1.77.

He began the 1965 season with Milwaukee, but by early June was sent down to their AAA team in Atlanta, returning to the Braves in mid-August. As in 1964, all but 1 of his appearances were in relief.

Clay became a full-time big-leaguer in 1966, leading the NL with 73 games pitched (only 3 starts) and compiling a 8-7 record in 144 innings as the team’s closer, with 11 saves and a 2.37 ERA.

I wonder if all that work in '66 took its toll, because in 1967 his workload dropped to 42 games and 92 innings. His record also fell to 6-12, his ERA ballooned to 5.52, and he spent a short time back in triple-A ball.

By 1968 Cecil Upshaw had inherited the closer role, and Carroll along with pitcher Tony Cloninger and 2nd baseman Woody Woodward were dealt to the Reds for pitchers Milt Pappas and Ted Davidson, and infielder Bob Johnson.

Clay led the Reds' bullpen in saves or wins (or both) every season from 1968 to 1974, was a 2-time All-Star ('71, '72) and led the NL in games and saves in 1972. He also pitched in the post-season in '70, '72, '73, and '75.

In 1975 at age 34, he still maintained the same workload in terms of games and innings, but the save opportunities went to youngsters Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney.

After the 1975 season he was traded to the White Sox for pitcher Rich Hinton. A year later, it was on to the Cardinals for pitcher Lerrin LaGrow. Toward the end of the 1977 season he was returned to the White Sox, this time in exchange for 3 players.

Carroll was released by the White Sox in spring training 1978, and was quickly picked up by the Pirates. He played most of that season for the Bucs’ AAA team, only pitching 2 games for the Pirates in the season's final 3 weeks.

Released after the season, he was signed by Milwaukee (this time the Brewers) in April '79 but only played for their AAA team that season.

Carroll is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.