Saturday, October 31, 2020

#281 Ray Boone

Ray Boone  Milwaukee Braves

Career: Ray Boone is the patriarch of baseball's first four generation professional family*, the first family to send three generations to the All Star Game. Boone played in the majors for thirteen seasons beginning in late 1948 when he got a quick peek at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. He played primarily for the Indians and Tigers as an infielder and was a two-time All-Star with Detroit in the mid-fifties. 

Boone, a WWII vet who served nearly four years in the Navy, led the AL in RBI in 1955 and picked up MVP votes in three seasons. He was a career .275 hitter and homered off Robin Roberts in the 1954 All Star Game. After his playing days Boone was a longtime scout for the Red Sox.

In 1960: He opened the season with the Braves but was dealt to the Red Sox in May. He hit just .205 overall in 90 at-bats combined. The Sox released Boone in September and his playing days were over.

Off The Charts: Wikipedia tells us that he was a descendant of American pioneer Daniel Boone.

The Card: I'm 99.99999% sure that the photo was taken in Yankee Stadium. And I'm also 99.99999% sure that Boone is not wearing a Braves beanie in the action pic despite the best work of the Topps artist to make it look like he is.

*=Jake Boone, Ray's great-grandson, has been drafted twice by the Nats, signed with them but has yet to play in the minors due to the cancelled season.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

#280 Frank Sullivan

Frank Sullivan  Boston Red Sox

Career: Hollywood native Frank Sullivan had a nice run with the Red Sox in the mid-50s. He won 83 games over six seasons from 1954 through '59 for some less-than-impressive Boston clubs. He was twice and All Star and had a 3.24 ERA in that stretch. He tied Whitey Ford and Bob Lemon for the AL lead with 18 wins in 1955. he was the AL's WHIP leader in 1957 (although nobody then had thought of tabulating that stat).

Sullivan had debuted in Boston in 1953 by pitching rather unimpressively in 14 games. That shot had come after a long minor league stretch and a couple of years in the service during the Korean War. But in '55, as noted above, Sullivan came into his own and had a great run in Fenway. He remained with Boston through 1960 and then wrapped up his career with the Phils and Twins.

In 1960: This was Sullivan's last year for the Red Sox. His numbers dipped significantly from his days as the Sox' 'ace'. His ERA, which had never been above 4.00, ballooned to 5.10 and he lost sixteen against six wins.

Off The Charts: Sullivan's BR Bullpen page tells us..."Frank was the losing pitcher in the 1955 All-Star Game when he gave up Stan Musial's 12th-inning home run. Overall, he pitched creditably after entering in the 8th inning with the score tied, 5-5, and holding the National League scoreless for three plus innings. At the time, the only player in the majors taller than Sullivan was 6' 8" Gene Conley, the game's winning pitcher. Strange but true, after the 1960 season Sullivan was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Conley."

Sullivan was the model for one of the players in Norman Rockwell's painting entitled The Rookie. That's Sullivan wearing the #8 in the lockerroom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

#279 Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner  Cleveland Indians

Career: After signing with the Boston Braves in 1946 Chuck Tanner spent nearly a decade in their system before debuting in 1955 as a platoon outfielder and pinch-hitter. He went on to spend eight seasons (or parts thereof) with four clubs with more minor league duty sprinkled in.

Tanner hit .261 in nearly a thousand big-league at-bats with a touch of power. He wound up his playing days with a handful of games with the Angels in both 1961 and '62. He then entered the phase of his baseball career that he would become well known for, managing.

Tanner managed in the Angels system from 1963 through most of 1970. He was picked to pilot the White Sox for the final two weeks of the '70 season and went on to manage in the majors for 19 years, mostly for the Sox and Pirates. He led the 1979 Pirates to the World Series title over the Orioles. That was his only post-season managing experience. His career w/l as a skipper was 1352/1381.

Tanner later worked as a scout and in 'special assistant' and 'senior advisor' roles for the Brewers and Pirates until his passing in 2011 at the age of 82.

In 1960: Tanner spent most of 1960 with the Indians' Toronto AA club where he had a fine season. He spent almost two months in the midd of the year as the Indians primary pinch-hitter as he hit .280 in 30 appearances at the plate.

Off The Charts: Chuck's son, Bruce Tanner, pitched in ten games for his father's old club, the White Sox.

The Card: That's a pic taken in Seals stadium in San Francisco. I got the vibe from the color of the seats and what seemed to be hints of red among them which comes from the red railings surrounding the boxes. That much I've seen many times before. But the structure beyond the batting cage and the outfield wall puzzled me so I poked around and found plenty of photos that show exactly those elements at Seals. Easily seen in this picture.

And this one.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

#278 Stan Williams


Stan Williams  Los Angeles Dodgers

Career: Stan Williams, a Denver native, signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and worked his way up through their system over the next three seasons. In '58, with the club now on the West Coast, Williams had a fast start at the AAA level and was called to Los Angeles early in the summer. He made 21 starts and went 9-7 and he carved out a place for himself among the Dodgers' top shelf staff.
Williams, who at 6'3" 225 lbs was an imposing figure on the mound, won 43 games between 1959 and 1961 for the Dodgers. He averaged 163 strikeouts over that span.

In 1959 Williams lost his regular rotation spot in the second half of the season but got a huge win with three hit-less innings to wrap up the second playoff game over the Braves. He was traded to the Yankees for Moose Skowron in November of 1962 and was in the Bronx for two seasons, one as a starter and the next primarily out of the bullpen.
Williams moved on the the Indians, Twins, Red Sox and Cardinals before hanging up his glove and turning to coaching in the early 70s.
Williams served as a pitching coach for 14 MLB seasons, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. He was also an advance scout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Washington Nationals.

In 1960: Williams went 14-10 and made the NL All-Star squad. He was credited with a Hold in the second ASG of that year with two scoreless innings.

Off The Charts: Williams pitched very well in all of his postseason appearances. With the '59 Dodgers (World Series), the '63 Yankees (World Series, and the '69 Twins (ALCS) he totaled 11 innings over four games, allowed only three hits, no runs, and fanned eight. You can probably add the '59 playoff game since it was essentially a post-season game.

The Card: The yellow/blue/white combo and the Memorial Coliseum backdrop make for an attractive card.

Friday, October 23, 2020

#277 Harry Bright


Harry Bright  Chicago Cubs
Career: Harry Bright made his pro debut in 1946 with the Twin Falls (Idaho) Cowboys of the Class C Pioneer League, where he'd been assigned after signing with the Yanks as a 16-year-old. He got his final pro at-bat in 1971 as a player/manager in the Athletics chain. That's a span of 25 years. In between he played for five big league clubs and managed many minor league teams. He stayed in minor league dugouts as late as 1985 in the Expos chain. He'd also done work as a scout and instructor.
As a player, Bright did almost everything but pitch. He had his best (and busiest) season in 1962 with the Senators when he held down the regular first base post and hit .274 in over 400 at-bats. That year he even appeared as a catcher in three games. Over eight seasons he hit .255 and got to play in the '63 Series for the Yankees.
In 1960: Bright is shown with the Cubs, and he did play for them*, but not in 1960. He was 'returned' to the Pirates on the eve of the season after having been drafted away from them the previous winter. Bright had a big minor league season for Salt lake City in the PCL (27/97/.313/.370) and made a handful of pinch-hitting appearances that September after being called up to Pittsburgh. He was not on the Pirates roster to the 1960 Series.

*=Bright got back to Chicago in 1965 and played in 27 games for the Cubbies. It would be his last big-league year.
Off The Charts: Entertaining story from his SABR bio...
[...]Harry Bright played in nearly 2,000 games. None of his exploits on the playing field, not even all of his 1,966 major and minor league hits, earned Harry Bright as much notoriety as one time at bat in the 1963 World Series.

It was the opening game of the fall classic between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Behind the pitching of Sandy Koufax, the Dodgers had take a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. At the end of the eighth, a note on the scoreboard said that Koufax had tied the record for the most strikeouts in a World Series game. The first two outs in the ninth were routine putouts. With only one more chance for Koufax to break the record, Bright strode to the plate to pinch-hit for pitcher Steve Hamilton. He ran the count to 2 balls and 2 strikes before swinging and missing. Koufax had his record 15th strikeout, the crowd erupted, the Dodgers won the game, and Harry Bright became a footnote in the record books. “It’s a hell of a thing,” Bright said. “I wait 17 years to get into a World Series. Then when I finally get up there, and 69,000 people are yelling—yelling for me to strike out.”

The Card: Bright poses in Wrigley Field in his Pirates vest jersey with the batting cage behind him. That's fine but what I like about the card is the cartoon that shows him in his 'off season' job as a surveyor.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

#276 Ken McBride



Ken McBride  Chicago White Sox

Career: McBride signed with the Red Sox when he came out of Cleveland's West High School in 1954. He immediately impressed with an 18 win season in Class D ball. He then spent another four years in their system with decent numbers but was dealt to the White Sox in 1959 and made his major league debut that August. He pitched well in that game and the few others he got into for the eventual AL champs but wasn't part of their post-season roster. 

Side note here: Baseball Reference lists his minor league time in '59 (19 starts in 26 games) as being with the White Sox' club at Indianapolis but he was sold to Chicago on August 1 of that year so I'm at a loss as to whats really up here. Maybe he pitched for the White Sox' organization while under contract to Boston. These little things bug me. 

Anyway, Chicago let McBride go to the Angels in the expansion draft and he hit his stride on the West Coast. He became the Halos' ace and won 36 games in his first three seasons there beginning in 1961. He even earned the start for the AL in the '63 All-Star Game. 

McBride hurt his arm in his second start in 1964 (he insisted on remaining in the game after a long rain delay) and was never again an effective pitcher. He was up and down between the Angels and the minors for two years and then retired.

In 1960: McBride pitched for San Diego in the PCL and had nice numbers. That earned him another late season call and he appeared in five games for Chicago that September. He was 0-1 while pitching 4 2/3 innings.

Off The Charts: From SABR...

McBride tried to stay in baseball. He managed in the minors for a year, and in the 1970s worked as a minor-league instructor and coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1974 and 1975, he was the team’s major-league pitching coach. However, McBride said, “There wasn’t any money in baseball at the time unless you were a player.” After the 1975 season, at the age of 40, he moved back to Cleveland to raise his family. He became the co-owner and CEO of a construction company. As of 2008, he was still married to his high-school sweetheart, had two grown children and two grandchildren, and was still going to work every day at age 73. He remained a big fan of baseball and his hometown Indians, and watched their games every chance he got.

The Card: Old Comiskey Park makes an appearance. That red spot on the yellow background of the action shot doesn't seem to be on every copy of this card, only mine. But I swear that it's part of the card, not a stray ink mark.

Check that, I found another one that was on eBay. Maybe I've got a rarity!! Maybe I'm rich!!


Monday, October 19, 2020

#274 Tom Acker


Tom Acker  Kansas City Athletics

Career: Acker is another pitcher who took a long road to the bigs. He first signed with the Giants in 1948, spent two years in the employ of Uncle Sam, was dealt to the Reds and debuted with them in 1956.

Over four full seasons he went 19-13 with a 4.13 ERA, mostly as a reliever. He had some spot starts most seasons with the Reds. As the card notes he had his best season in 1957 when he won 10 games.

In 1960: Acker had been dealt to the Athletics the previous winter but be was done with the majors. He ended up pitching in a few games for the Yankees' AAA club in Richmond. He was hit hard by the look of his numbers and was out of baseball soon after.

Off The Charts: Not much info on Ackers. I did discover that his nickname was 'Shoulders'. That's more than I found when I was researching him for his 1959 card.

The Card: Whatever that blue blob is that snuck onto Acker's left shoulder is seen on every copy. Some sort of printing flaw.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

#273 Neil Chrisley


Neil Chrisley  Detroit Tigers

Career: Neil Chrisley was a left-handed bat off the bench and a spare outfielder for the Senators, Tigers, and (very briefly) the Braves over five seasons from 1957 through 1961. He signed in 1950 with the Red Sox out of Newberry College in 1950. He was an impressive minor league hitter but it took him several years, several organizations, and some military time before he made the Senators club in '57. 

1958 and 1960 (with Detroit) were his two busiest years. He appeared in about 100 games and had about 250 at-bats in each. He hit .210 for his career with 16 homers. Chrisley finished with the Braves in 1961 by getting a handful of pinch-hitting chances. He was done with the majors, but not pro ball. He spent another three seasons playing at the AAA level for three different clubs.

After baseball he went into the insurance business.

In 1960: This was his best season. He hit .255 in 96 games.

Off The Charts: Chrisley had the only hit (a first inning double) when the Tigers fell to the Red Sox' Bill Monbouquette's one-hitter in May of 1960. Exactly a week later he had his only 2 homer games. He hit both of Johnny Kucks of the Athletics.

His given name is Barbra O'Neil Chrisley. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

#272 Fred Green


Fred Green   Pittsburgh Pirates

Career: Fred Green was a Jersey boy who starred in hoops, soccer, and baseball in high school and was signed by the Pirates in 1952. Green spent almost seven seasons pitching his way thru the Pittsburgh system, taking a military detour during which he, according to SABR, mostly played baseball. He debuted in 1959 as a major-leaguer and got into 17 games between his trips back and forth to the minors. 

Green had (by far) his best year in 1960 as the Pirates took the Series but then was back in the minors for parts of 1961 and '62. He was claimed on waivers by the Senators and pitched in five games for them before ending his active career and turning to coaching.

In 1960: Green was the lefty pairing in Danny Murtaugh's 1-2 punch out of the bullpen. Elroy Face, the righty, served mostly as the closer and had a great year (10 wins, 24 saves) but Green contributed eight wins and his three saves were good enough to tie for second on the Bucs' staff. He had 45 appearances, more than half of his career total and posted a 3.21 ERA striking out 49 in 70 innings.

Green's SABR bio notes his rocky road through the 1960 World Series:

In a Series of contrasts, the victorious Pirates’ four victories were by scores of 6-4, 3-2, and 5-2, while the Yankees crushed the Bucs, 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0. Green pitched in all three of the Pirates’ losses, and was hit hard. In four innings he yielded ten runs. He gave up two home runs to Mickey Mantle, including a mammoth shot over Forbes Field’s right-center-field wall in Game Two. Although he appeared to be throwing batting practice for Yankees hitters during the World Series, Green was named to The Sporting News’ 1960 All-Star rookie team.

Off The Charts: Green was only 61 when he died of heart problems in 1996. At that time his widow, Mona Green, said her husband’s greatest baseball memories were of playing on the same team as Roberto Clemente and pitching against the New York Yankees in the World Series.

His son Gary was a first round pick of the Padres in 1984 who went on to play about a hundred games in the majors over parts of five seasons for them, the Reds, and the Rangers. Gary then coached and managed in the minors for several organizations

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

#271 Julio Becquer



Julio Becquer   Washington Senators

Career: First-baseman Julio Becquer was another in a long line of players scouted and signed by Joe Cambria. Cambria worked for the senators for many years and had and eye for talent which he uncovered in Cuba and in the Negro Leagues. 

Becquer, renowned for his glove-work at first, began in the Senators organization in 1952. There are gaps in his record at Baseball-Reference but he did make the Senators in 1955 and appeared in 10 games. He spent '56 at AAA and returned to D.C. for the '57 season and played for the Nats as a pinch-hitter and backup at first through 1959. His only year even approaching full time starting status was 1960.

He was taken by the Angels in the expansion draft, was quickly sold to the Phils and then back to his original team which was by then the Twins. Back to the minors went Becquer for '62 and he made one pinch-running appearance for the Twins in 1963 and then was out of baseball.

In 1960: He played in about half the games for the Senators, starting 61 at first. He hit .252, drove in 35 runs and even pitched an inning.

Off The Charts: He got the call to the mound in the second game of an August doubleheader in Kansas City. He game up a two-out homer to Dick Williams in an 8-3 loss. He got another shot at pitching the next season, again in Kansas City, again in a doubleheader. This time he was summoned in the seventh inning of the first game and he poured gas on the 6-1 fire by allowing two singles followed by two doubles as five runs came across. He got out of it by getting Deron Johnson to ground out. Sam Mele brought him back out for the eighth and he only allowed a walk.

He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

#270 Bob Turley



Bob Turley   New York Yankees

Career: 'Bullet' Bob Turley signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1948 after graduating from East St. Louis (Ill) high school. He'd been sought after by the Yankees but their scouts whiffed and signed a relative by mistake (story below). 

Turley made a one game debut in 1951 and sandwiched minor league seasons around military time. He finally made the Browns for good in 1953 and moved along with them to Baltimore the following year and became the staff ace. But, as he would his whole career, Turley struggled with control. While giving up only 178 hits in 247 innings he walked 181. That led the league as did his 171 strikeouts.

The Yanks got their man for 1955 as part of a huge, complicated trade with the Orioles. Baseball-Reference has the details...

November 17, 1954: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with players to be named later, Billy Hunter and Don Larsen to the New York Yankees for players to be named later, Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Willy Miranda, Hal Smith, Gus Triandos and Gene Woodling. The New York Yankees sent Bill Miller (December 1, 1954), Kal Segrist (December 1, 1954), Don Leppert (December 1, 1954) and Theodore Del Guercio (minors) (December 1, 1954) to the Baltimore Orioles to complete the trade. The Baltimore Orioles sent Mike Blyzka (December 1, 1954), Darrell Johnson (December 1, 1954), Jim Fridley (December 1, 1954) and Dick Kryhoski (December 1, 1954) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade.
Turley put together some outstanding seasons with the Yanks and peaked in 1958 when he won the Cy Young award, led the league with 21 wins and 19 complete games (he led in walks as well), made the All-Star squad and finished second in the MVP voting. He got an MVP trophy in October with an outstanding World Series against the Braves.

In his career, Turley won two titles but his numbers fell off quickly after that '58 season and he finished his career with the Angels and Red Sox in 1963. He had great success in his post-baseball career as a financial planner/insurance and real estate mogul and he became very wealthy.

In 1960: Turley had slipped in 1959 but he rebounded in 1960 to win nine games over 24 starts. His ERA dropped by more than a run.

Off The Charts: From SABR...

[After high school] He attended a Yankee tryout camp with his uncle, Ralph Turley, who was about two years older. Bob impressed the scouts, and one of them made a note to follow up on “R. Turley.” Looking in the phone book, he found the listing for Bob’s grandfather and asked if there was a pitcher in the family. Sure, the grandfather said, my son Ralph. “R. Turley,” check. The Yankees signed Uncle Ralph.

Turley pitched the Orioles’ home opener in 1954, the first major league game in Baltimore since 1902, following a parade that jammed the city’s streets. He struck out nine White Sox in a 3-1 victory. In his next start, he struck out 14 Cleveland Indians and carried a no-hitter into the ninth before a single and a home run beat him.

The Card: It's another really nice one. The Yankees got this color combo as their primary and it looks great. And this is another nice portrait shot and a fun cartoon. I've tried to figure out who the Yankee player is in the background who seems to be watching hitters through the batting cage. He might be Whitey Ford but we're no close enough to know for sure. 

Bonus: Turley was prominent enough during his heyday to warrant a bunch of magazine covers.

None of these are mine. I do remember the Sport cover. My father used to buy Sport to read on his train/bus commute to NYC. He kept them for a long time and I read and re-read them as a kid. Sport was always my favorite magazine.

Friday, October 9, 2020

#269 Gene Green


Gene Green  Baltimore Orioles

Career: I covered Gene Green's career a few months back when his card arrived as one of the last in my 1960 Leaf set chase. You can go there with this link.

In 1960: He played nearly all year at Miami, the Orioles' top farm club and hit .275 as the Marlins' #1 backstop. There were a ton of future and former big-leaguers on that Miami club. That includes 20-year-old Dave 'Swish' Nicholson who fanned 22 times in 56 plate appearances. 

Green played in one game for the Orioles late in September. He got a hit in four trips.

Off The Charts: The Rochester sports blog Pickin' Splinters named Green as the best catcher in the history of the Red Wings' franchise. 

The list of best plate protectors in Red Wings history:

1. Gene Green. Green impacted the Red Wings even after he left Norton Street, when he faced his former team in Miami as a member of the original Marlins, an International League team. Green hit two home runs in a doubleheader on April 26, 1960, one to tie the first game and the other a go-ahead grand slam in the nightcap, to pace the Marlins to a 4-1, 5-3 sweep.

“Green for Governor!” Democrat and Chronicle sportswriter George Beahon quoted one fan exclaiming after the 26-year-old’s slam to left-center field.

The IL Rookie of the Year was a strong candidate for public office after the 1956 Governor’s Cup championship season. He batted .300 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs, the latter two numbers representing Triple A career highs.

“The Animal” was a double shy of the cycle in Game 7 of the Governor’s Cup Finals in Toronto, driving in five of the seven Red Wing runs.

“I didn’t believe it last night and I didn’t believe it this morning until I read the paper- twice,” Green cracked to Beahon the next day. Few were stunned when the catcher, who also played outfield, was posthumously inducted to the Red Wings Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Card: The drawn 'bird' logo on Green's cap in the B&W action pic is laughable.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

#268 Al Worthington


 Al Worthington  San Francisco Giants

Career: Alabama-born Al Worthington played baseball and some football for the Crimson Tide before signing a pro baseball contract with the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. When he signed in 1951 Nashville was a Cubs affiliate. The club became part of the Giants chain the next year and Worthington became Giants' property. I have no idea how that worked and his SABR bio has formatting errors so it is not much help.

But in the end, Worthington, showing promise, spent the 1953 through '55 seasons bouncing back and forth between the Polo Grounds and the scrubs. He was a starting pitcher for the most part but, like a lot of guys back then, also made quite a few relief appearances. In '56 Worthington nailed down a spot in the Giants rotation and spent four seasons with the club while moving to a relief role permanently.

He moved on to pitch for the White Sox, Red Sox and Reds before finding a place with the Twins in 1964 (at the age of 35) and was a key bullpen piece through 1969. He even led the AL in saves in '68.

Worthington pitched in the World Series in 1965 and his last big league appearance came in the AL Playoffs series versus the Orioles in 1969. He went on to become a coach in the bigs and then took the head coaching job at Liberty University and later became their AD.

In 1960: This is the second consecutive card I've posted of a player who didn't play for the team he is depicted with in 1960. In a nice bit of serendipity, Worthington was traded to the Red Sox for Jim Marshall in late March. After spending much of the season in the minors, he was moved to the White Sox in what was termed a 'conditional deal' late in August. For the year he was a combined 1-2 in 10 games. His minor league stats at AA Minneapolis were really good. Given his later success with the Twins, there must have been something about the Minnesota air that agreed with him.

Off The Charts: Worthington, a deeply religious guy, was bothered by the cheating he noticed with both the Giants and White Sox. Both clubs were reportedly stealing signs and Worthington expressed his issues with that to his managers, Bill Rigney in San Francisco and Al Lopez in Chicago. Worthington has always maintained that his doing so led to the trades form both clubs. In one instance he walked away from the game for a bit because of the issue. Details in this story on the site (you'll need to turn off any ad-blocker to read).

The Card: I'd call this a near perfect example of what the 1960 set can be. Really nice portrait of Worthington with an unusual color combo and the preferred (by me at least) cream and gold back. Just a great card.

One issue though...the cartoon labels Worthington a football 'star' at Bama but his bios state that he only played sparingly and had more success on the diamond there.

Monday, October 5, 2020

#267 Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall  Boston Red Sox

Career: Jim Marshall broke in with the Orioles in 1958 after spending time at Long Beach State, with three different minor league systems and (I'm assuming here) some military service time. In Baltimore he was behind Bob Boyd in the first base pecking order. Marshall was traded during his rookie season to the Cubs and played for the Giants, Mets, and Pirates over five seasons totaling just over 400 games. Despite being listed with Boston on this card he never played for them (see below).

A career .240ish Hitter, Marshall played in the inaugural game for the 1962 Mets, and was the second pinch-hitter called on by Casey Stengel on Opening Day. Three weeks later, with Marshall hitting .344 as a bench piece, he was traded to the Pirates where he ended his playing day later that season.

When his major league career was done Marshall took his bats to Japan and had three successful seasons with the Chunichi Dragons. He displayed the power he had flashed back in AAA ball and was an All-Star.

He was back in the US after that, managed in the Cubs' chain, and had stints as a big-league manager with the Cubs and Athletics. He later scouted the States for the Japanese Leagues, held a job scouting for the Yanks and eventually became the chief scout for the Diamondbacks in the Pacific Rim. At last report, he still holds that job.

In 1960: After being acquired via trade from the Cubs the previous November, Marshall was traded by the Red Sox TWICE before the season even started. They dealt him to the Indians on March 16 along with Sammy White for Russ Nixon. When White refused to report to Cleveland the deal was voided as of March 25th. Four days later Marshall was headed to the Giants for pitcher Al Worthington.

With the Giants, Marshall served as a pinch hitter and filled in at first and in left. He got into 75 games and hit ..237 with a pair of homers over 188 at-bats.

Off The Charts:  Marshall, an Los Angeles area native, was good enough at basketball in high school to receive a scholarship offer from John Wooden at UCLA. He instead played a year of baseball at Long Beach State before he was signed by the White Sox.

Like this snippet from an interview Marshal did a few years back for this blog:

 A trade to the Orioles finally gave Marshall his shot at the majors in 1958 when he was 27 years old.   He roomed with 21-year-old Brooks Robinson that year. "There was never any doubt about his fielding, but he really wasn't a very good hitter back then. We're still friends. In fact, I just talked to him recently. I always tell him, 'I knew you before you could hit.' But he really worked hard on his hitting and he made himself into a very, very good hitter. That's always impressed me. And you have to give [Orioles manager] Paul Richards credit, he stuck with him because he couldn't hit anything at first. Richards could see what Brooks would become."

The Card: Just a bit of his Cubs' cap logo peeking out over the brim in this one.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

#266 Joe Jay

Joe Jay   Milwaukee Braves

Career: Joey Jay was among the first players to sign under the 'Bonus baby' rule. That regulation forced a team who signed a youngster to a contract above a certain threshold to keep him on the major league roster for two seasons. When the Braves signed him in 1953 he spent a couple of seasons watching and waiting and has said he was ignored in the clubhouse and 'felt like the batboy'.

He was able to impress with his first start which came in the form of a shoutout in late 1953. Jay stuck with the big league club until the middle of 1955 when he was sent to the minors and he stayed there (with mixed results) until reappearing on the big league staff in 1958. He still didn't get a lot of work but he had impressive stats that year. An arm issue kept him off the World Series roster for the Braves that season. Jay's numbers regressed over the '59 and '60 seasons and he was traded to the Reds for 1961.

In Cincinnati, he found his form and won 21 games in each of his first two seasons with the Reds. He was an All-Star in 1961 and made two starts in the Series. He won Game Two with a four-hitter in Yankee Stadium that tied the Series at 1-1. He then returned in Game Five and the Yanks proved they had figured him out and Jay didn't get out of the first inning.

Jay never again approached the success he'd had in those first two seasons with the Braves. He stuck around through 1966 and even had a return engagement with the Braves when he was traded to the Atlanta version of the club midway through 1966. That was his last big league run.

He had a shot with the Phils in 1967 but he wasn't effective in a few starts with their minor league club in Clearwater and that was that. He retired to a career and a business owner (oil drilling, taxi cabs, and building cleaning and maintenance. 

In 1960: Jay went 9-8 over 32 games including 11 starts. His ERA was 3.24, better than it had been in '59, but the Braves thought they had better prospects for their rotation and he was on to the Reds that winter.

Off The Charts: Jay had nothing to do with baseball once he left. Here is a paragraph or so from his SABR bio:

Jay, a western Florida resident, adopted a life without baseball. He declined to attend card shows or fantasy camps and embraced a very low profile contrasted to his former public life. “I don’t live in the past, like most ballplayers,” he said. “I don’t wear my World Series rings, my mother has my scrapbooks, and if someone offered me a baseball job, I’d turn it down in a minute. When I made the break, it was clean and forever. It’s infantile to keep thinking about the game. It gets you nowhere. Most ex-ballplayers keep on living in some destructive fantasy world. Not me. I’m happier than ever since I left. And do me a favor. Don’t mention where I live.”

I don't recall ever hearing him referred to as 'Joe' Jay. It was always 'Joey'. Topps used the more formal version on this and (I think) all his cards. Other companies mixed and matched.

I'd always thought he was credited with being the first Little League World Series winner to play in the majors. Apparently, he was the first LL'er, period.