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.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bernie Allen (#548)

Bernie Allen played 2nd base from 1962-1973, primarily for the Twins (5 years) and Senators (5 years), before wrapping up his career as a backup with the Yankees (2 years) and Expos (1 month).

Bernie played baseball (2B) and football (QB) at Purdue in 1959 and 1960, and was named the MVP for both teams. In the 1960 Blue-Gray game, he led the blue team to a win over Fran Tarkenton’s gray team.

Allen was signed by the Twins in 1961, their first season after moving from Washington. After just 80 games in single-A ball in ’61 Bernie made the Twins in 1962, starting 158 games as a rookie in place of 1961 regular Billy Martin. He also hit 12 home runs and batted .269, and finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Bernie was also the regular in 1963 but saw his numbers drop a little. In ’64 he shared the job with several others, including veteran Jerry Kindall.

Allen only played 19 games with the Twins in 1965 (from mid-June to mid-July). He spent most of the year at triple-A Denver, getting the minor-league “seasoning” he missed at the start of his career. The Twins got by with Kindall (101 games) and Frank Quilici (39 games) at 2nd base in Allen’s absence.

Bernie was back in 1966, starting 63 of the first 64 games at his customary spot, before losing the starting slot to rookie Cesar Tovar. (Allen would start only 23 more games that year, to Tovar’s 73.)

With Tovar claiming the 2nd base job in late-1966 (he was the Twins’ 2nd baseman in the 1967 Topps set) and a rookie named Rod Carew set to make his debut in 1967, Allen was dealt to the Senators in the off-season. The Twins acquired veteran reliever Ron Kline in exchange for Allen and pitcher Camilo Pascual.

Bernie was in the 2nd base mix for the Senators for the next 4 seasons. He started 62, 93, 102, and 66 games at 2B, sharing the spot with Bob Saverine (’67), Frank Coggins (’67-’68), Tim Cullen (’67-’70). By 1970, Cullen had taken over as the #1 2nd baseman.

1971 was Allen’s last season with the Senators. Cullen and rookie Lenny Randle were sharing the 2nd base job now, with Allen only making 24 starts there, along with 32 starts at the hot corner.

After the season he was traded to the Yankees for 2 minor-league pitchers. Bernie played 84 games in his first season as a Yankee, starting 57 games as the backup 3B/2B.

His playing time was greatly reduced in 1973. The Yankees acquired 3rd baseman Graig Nettles, so the other infielders all moved down a notch. Allen only played 17 games for New York, occasionally spelling Horace Clarke at 2nd base.

In mid-August, the Expos purchased his contract, and he played 16 games for them over the season’s final 6 weeks, then was released in late-October.