Saturday, August 31, 2019

Steve Whitaker (#383)

Here is outfielder Steve Whitaker, in his last season as a Yankee.

Whitaker was one of a long line of Yankees' outfielders (along with Roger Repoz, Bill Robinson, Roy White, Bobby Murcer, and Jerry Kenney) who were touted as, if not the next Mickey Mantle, then the next Roger Maris or surely the next Tom Tresh. (Only White and Murcer panned out for the Yankees. )

Whitaker was signed by the Yankees in 1962, and played in the minors from 1962-65. He bashed 27 homers in ’64 and 24 in ’65. He also hit 20 homers in 1966 before his August call-up to the Yankees.

In 1967 he started 108 games in the outfield (mostly in right field, replacing the traded Maris), but only hit 11 home runs while batting at a .243 clip.

Steve split the 1968 season between the Yankees and triple-A, then was selected by the Royals in the expansion draft.

During spring training in 1969, he was traded to the Seattle Pilots for disgruntled rookie Lou Piniella (who went on to win the Rookie of the Year award). Whitaker didn’t fare as well as Piniella. He couldn’t find regular work with the expansion team, and was used mostly as a pinch-hitter, while also spending all of August back in triple-A.

After the 1969 season he and outfielder Dick Simpson were traded to the Giants for pitcher Bob Bolin. He only played 16 games for the Giants (the last on May 9th) and played the remainder of 1970 for the Giants’ AAA team.

Whitaker played for the Padres’ AAA team in Hawaii in '71 and '72 before retiring.


Having not collected baseball cards in 1970 or 1971, I lost track of Whitaker's career after 1969 until today, because by the time I was buying cards again in 1972, Steve had retired. His final card is in the 1971 set.