Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ken Suarez (#218)

Ken Suarez was a backup catcher for the Athletics, Indians, and Rangers from 1966-73.

Suarez was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 and made his major-league debut in April 1966. He started 26 games as a rookie, behind regular backstop Phil Roof.

He made 22 starts in 1967 (still playing behind Roof) but had to compete with Dave Duncan (3 years younger than Suarez) for the #2 spot.

After the ’67 season he was selected by the Indians in the Rule 5 draft, and spend the next 2 seasons as the Tribe’s 3rd-string catcher.

In 1968 he was with the team for the whole season, but only played 17 games (1 start), with Joe Azcue and Duke Sims doing most of the catching. In ’69, he was behind Sims and rookie Ray Fosse, and spent part of the season in the minors.

After languishing in the minors in 1970, he returned to Cleveland in 1971 and saw his most action to date (50 games, 39 starts, 123 at-bats). Still, he was stuck behind All-Star and Gold Glove winner Fosse.

Ken was part of an 8-player trade with the Rangers after the 1971 season. He backed up Dick Billings in 1972 but started 88 games in 1973 (to Billings’ 67 starts). Unfortunately that was his last hurrah.

In 1974 the Rangers were going to go with rookie Jim Sundberg behind the plate, and after Suarez filed for arbitration he was traded back to the Indians for Chico Cardenas. He ended up sitting out the season due to contract issues, but in mid-September the Indians traded him to the Angels for Frank Robinson. (So in a year where he did not play, he was traded twice for ex-Reds’ All-Stars!) 


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