....HOF, 1982, BBWAA, 97.83%(really makes you wonder about the other 2.17% of voters)
Now ain't that the truth. They had to have been hidden under a rock somewhere.-BH
....HOF, 1982, BBWAA, 97.83%(really makes you wonder about the other 2.17% of voters)
Now ain't that the truth. They had to have been hidden under a rock somewhere.-BH
“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona....” George F. Will
First Team, Pitcher, Juan Marichal
^ Juan Marichal in 1962.
Juan Antonio Marichal Sánchez (born October 20, 1937 in Laguna Verde, Dominican Republic) is a former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. Playing for the San Francisco Giants most of his career, Marichal was known for his high leg kick, pinpoint control and intimidation tactics, which included aiming pitches directly at the opposing batters' helmets.
Marichal also played for the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers for the final two seasons of his career. Although he won more games than any other pitcher during the 1960s, he appeared in only one World Series game and he was often overshadowed by Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson in post-season awards. Marichal was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
Juan Marichal was born on October 20, 1937 in the small farming village of Laguna Verde, Dominican Republic, the youngest of Francisco and Natividad Marichal's four children. He has two brothers, Gonzalo and Rafael, and a sister named Maria. His father died of an unknown illness when Marichal was three years old. His house did not have electricity, but because his family owned a farm, food was plentiful. As a child, Marichal worked on the farm daily, and was responsible for taking care of his family's horses, donkeys, and goats. He lived near the Yaque del Norte River, and often spent time swimming and fishing. One day, while Marichal was playing by the river, he fell unconscious due to poor digestion, and was in a coma for nine days. Doctors did not expect him to survive, but he slowly regained consciousness after his family gave him steam baths by doctors orders.
His older brother Gonzalo instilled a love of baseball in young Marichal, and taught him the fundamentals of pitching, fielding, and batting. Every weekend, Marichal played the sport with his brother and friends. For their games, they found golf balls and paid the local shoemaker one peso to sew thick cloth around the ball to make it the proper size. They employed branches from a wassama tree for bats, and canvas tarps for gloves. Among his childhood playmates were the Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesús, and Matty, who all later played with Marichal on the San Francisco Giants. From the age of six, Marichal aspired to become a professional baseball player, but his mother discouraged this, instead urging him to get an education. At the time, there were no players from the Dominican Republic in Major League Baseball, and his goal was viewed to be unrealistic. He briefly worked as an 11 year old cutting sugar cane for the J.W. Tatem Shipping conglomerate.
In 1954, sixteen-year-old Marichal joined a summer league in Monte Cristi, playing for a team called Las Flores. Although he initially began at shortshop, Marichal switched to pitcher after taking inspiration from Bombo Ramos, who played for the Dominican national team. He left high school after being recruited to play for the United Fruit Company team in 1956.
^ Juan Marichal in 2009.
Marichal's delivery was renowned for one of the fullest windups in modern baseball, with a high kick of his left leg that went nearly vertical (even more so than Warren Spahn's delivery). Marichal maintained this delivery his entire career, and photographs taken near his retirement show the vertical kick only slightly diminished. The windup was the key to his delivery in that he was consistently able to conceal the type of pitch until it was on its way.
Marichal was discovered by Ramfis Trujillo, the son of late Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Ramfis was the primary sponsor of the Dominican Air Force Baseball Team (Aviación Dominicana), against which Marichal pitched a 2–1 victory game in his native Monte Cristi. From the very moment the game ended, Marichal was a member of Aviación Dominicana team, enlisted to the Air Force right on the spot by Ramfis' orders.
Marichal entered the major leagues on July 19, 1960 with the San Francisco Giants as the second native pitcher to come from the Dominican Republic. He made an immediate impression: in his debut, on July 19, 1960 against the Philadelphia Phillies, he took a no hitter into the eighth inning only to surrender a two-out single to Clay Dalrymple. He ended up with a one-hit shutout, walking one and striking out 12. He started 10 more games that season, finishing at 6–2 with a 2.66 ERA. He improved his victory totals to 13 and 18 over the following two seasons, respectively, before finally cracking the 20-victory plateau in 1963, when he went 25–8 with 248 strikeouts and a 2.41 ERA. Marichal enjoyed similar success through the 1969 season, posting more than 20 victories in every season except 1967, and never posting an ERA higher than 2.76. He led the league in victories in 1963 and 1968 when he won 26 games. He and Sandy Koufax were the only two Major League pitchers in the post-war era (1946–present) to have more than one season of 25 or more wins. Each pitcher had three such seasons in their careers.
Marichal won more games during the decade of the 1960s (191) than any other major league pitcher, but did not receive any votes for the Cy Young Award until 1970, when baseball writers started voting for the top three pitchers in each league rather than one per league (or, until 1967, only the top pitcher in MLB). Marichal finished in the top 10 in ERA seven consecutive years, starting in 1963 and culminating in 1969, in which year he led the league. During his career, he also finished in the top 10 in strikeouts six times, top 10 in innings pitched eight times (leading the league twice), and top 10 in complete games 10 times. He led the league twice in shutouts, throwing 10 of them in 1965.
Marichal exhibited exceptional control. He had 2,303 strikeouts with only 709 walks, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.25 to 1. This ranks among the top 20 pitchers of all time, ahead of such notables as Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Walter Johnson and Roger Clemens, who each have strikeout-to-walk ratios of less than 3:1. Over his career, he led the league in the fewest walks per nine innings four times, and finished second three times – totaling eleven years in which he finished in the top 10, all while also finishing in the top 10 for strikeouts six years.
One regular-season game in Marichal's career deserves mention, involving him and Milwaukee Braves' Hall of Famer Warren Spahn in a night contest played July 2, 1963, before almost 16,000 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The two great pitchers matched scoreless innings until Giants outfielder Willie Mays homered off Spahn to win the game 1–0 — in the 16th inning. Both Spahn and Marichal tossed complete games, something that almost certainly will never happen again in the big leagues. Marichal allowed eight hits in the 16 innings, striking out 10, and saddling eventual career home run king Hank Aaron with an 0-for-6 collar. Spahn permitted nine hits in 15 and one-third innings, walking just one (Mays intentionally, in the 14th, after Harvey Kuenn's leadoff double) and striking out two. The game, almost the innings-duration of two contests, lasted only 4 hours, 10 minutes. (Information courtesy of Retrosheet)
Johnny Roseboro incident
Marichal is also remembered for a notorious incident that occurred on August 22, 1965, in a game played against the Giants' arch-rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Twice in the first three innings, Marichal had thrown near the head of Dodger leadoff batter Maury Wills. As Marichal was batting against Sandy Koufax in the last of the third inning, Dodger catcher Johnny Roseboro's return throws to the mound flew too close to his head and one grazed his ear. Words were exchanged, and Roseboro, throwing off his catcher's helmet and mask, rose to continue the argument. Marichal responded by repeatedly hitting Roseboro's unprotected head with his bat. The benches cleared into a 14-minute brawl, while Giants captain Willie Mays escorted the bleeding Roseboro (who would require 14 stitches) back to the clubhouse.
Marichal was ejected, suspended for nine days and fined $1,750 (equivalent to $12,906 as of 2012). He was also barred from attending the Giants' final series with the Dodgers, in Los Angeles on September 6–7. Photos of the incident (Official Baseball Guide 1966, Sporting News, p. 19) also show Tito Fuentes (who was in the on-deck circle) wielding a bat threateningly, but Fuentes did not actually hit Roseboro and was not ejected. Roseboro sat out the next couple of games and returned to the lineup on the 25th. Roseboro filed a lawsuit against Marichal, but eventually settled out of court, supposedly for $7,000 ($51,624 as of 2012),. Marichal and Roseboro would eventually go on to become close friends, reconciling any personal animosity and even autographing photographs of the brawl. It is possible that the settlement agreement, terms of which are not public, may have required Roseboro to refrain from displaying any animosity toward Marichal.
Many people protested the apparently light punishment meted out, since it would cost Marichal only one or two starts. The Giants were in a tight pennant race with the Dodgers (as well as the Pirates, Reds, and Braves) and the race was decided with only two games to play. The Giants, who ended up winning the August 22 game and were down only 1⁄2 game afterward, eventually lost the pennant by 2 games. Ironically, the Giants went on a 14-game win streak that started during Marichal's absence and by then it was a two-team race as the Pirates, Reds, and Braves fell further behind. But then the Dodgers won 15 of their final 16 games (after Marichal had returned) to win the pennant. Marichal won in his first game back, 2–1 vs. the Astros on September 9, (the same day Koufax pitched his perfect game vs. the Cubs,) but lost his last three decisions as the Giants slumped in the season's final week.
In 1970, Marichal experienced a severe reaction to penicillin which led to back pain and chronic arthritis. Marichal's career stumbled in 1970, when he only posted 12 wins and his ERA shot up to 4.12, before straightening itself out with a stellar 1971 season in which he won 18 games and his ERA dropped below 3.00. It was his final great season, however, as he posted 6–16 and 11–15 records in 1972 and 1973 respectively.
After the 1973 season, the Giants sold Marichal to the Boston Red Sox. He had a fairly solid 1974, going 5–1 in 11 starts, but was released after the season. He then signed with the Dodgers as a free agent. Dodger fans had never forgiven Marichal for his attack on Roseboro 10 years earlier, and it took a personal appeal from Roseboro to calm them down. However, Marichal's 1975 didn't last long; he was lit up for nine runs, 11 hits and a 13.50 ERA in only two starts before retiring. He finished his career with 243 victories, 142 losses, 244 complete games, 2,303 strikeouts and a 2.89 ERA over 3,507 innings pitched. He played in the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees (one start, a no decision) and the 1971 National League Championship Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (losing his only start). Between 1962 and 1971, the Giants averaged 90 wins a season, and Marichal averaged 20 wins a year.
No-hitter and All-Star performances
Marichal pitched a no-hitter on June 15, 1963, and was named to nine All-Star teams. He was selected the Most Valuable Player of the 1965 game. His All-Star Game record was 2–0 with a 0.50 ERA.
Marichal was passed over for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame during his first four years of eligibility, by all accounts because the Baseball Writers Association of America voters still held his attack on Roseboro against him. However, after a personal appeal by Roseboro, Marichal was elected in 1983, and thanked Roseboro in his induction speech. His uniform number 27 has been retired by the Giants. In 1990, Marichal, who was working as a broadcaster for Spanish radio, was on hand to see his son-in-law at the time, José Rijo, win the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.
In 1999, he ranked #71 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He was honored before a game between the Giants and Oakland Athletics with a statue outside AT&T Park in 2005, and was named one of the three starting pitchers on Major League Baseball's Latino Legends Team. In 1976, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Marichal was the right-handed pitcher on Stein's Latin team.
The Giants honored him by commemorating a statue of him in his pitching motion. The Giants also honored him by wearing jerseys that said "Gigantes." Marichal was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on July 20, 2003 in pregame on field ceremony at Pac Bell Park.
In 2008, Marichal was filmed at a cockfight in the Dominican Republic along with New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martínez. The incident caused controversy in the United States, but Martinez defended their attendance at the cockfight by saying "I understand that people are upset, but that is part of our Dominican culture and is legal in the Dominican Republic". He added "I was invited by my idol, Juan Marichal, to attend the event as a spectator, not as a participant."
The popular media tended to pronounce his surname "MARE-i-shall". West coast broadcasters tended to pronounce his name more like proper Spanish diction, "mahr-ee-CHAHL"
^ Juan Marichal at the 2008 All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade.
Win–loss record 243–142
Earned run average 2.89
San Francisco Giants (1960–1973)
Boston Red Sox (1974)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1975)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star (1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971)
1965 MLB All-Star Game MVP
Pitched a no-hitter on June 15, 1963
San Francisco Giants #27 retired
HOF, 1983 BBWAA 83.7%
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
First Team, Pitcher, Bob Gibson
^ Bob Gibson in 1962.
Robert "Bob" Gibson (born November 9, 1935) is a retired American baseball pitcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1975). Nicknamed "Hoot" and "Gibby", Gibson tallied 251 wins, 3,117 strikeouts, and a 2.91 earned run average (ERA) during his career. A nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion, he won two Cy Young Awards and the 1968 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. In 1981, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gibson overcame childhood illness to excel in youth sports, particularly basketball and baseball. After briefly playing under contract to both the basketball Harlem Globetrotters team and the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Gibson decided to only continue playing baseball professionally. Once becoming a full-time starting pitcher in July 1961, Gibson began experiencing an increasing level of success, earning his first All-Star appearance in 1962. Gibson won two of three games he pitched in the 1964 World Series, then won 20 games in season for the first time in 1965. Gibson also pitched three complete game victories in the 1967 World Series.
The pinnacle of Gibson's career was 1968, when he set a modern baseball record by posting a 1.12 ERA for the season, then followed that by recording 17 strikeouts during Game 1 of the 1968 World Series. Over the course of his career, Gibson became known for his fierce competitive nature and the intimidation factor he used against opposing batters. Gibson threw a no-hitter during the 1971 season, but began experiencing swelling in his knee in subsequent seasons. After retiring as a player in 1975, Gibson later served as pitching coach for his former teammate Joe Torre. At one time a special instructor coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Gibson was later selected for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Gibson was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the final of Pack and Victoria Gibson's seven children (five boys and two girls). Gibson's father died of tuberculosis three months prior to his birth, and Gibson himself was named Pack Robert Gibson in his father's honor. While he revered his father's legacy, Gibson disliked the name Pack, and later changed his first name to Robert. Despite a childhood that included health problems like rickets, and a serious case of either asthma or pneumonia when he was three, Gibson was active in sports in both informal and organized settings, particularly baseball and basketball. Gibson's brother Josh (no relation to the Negro Leagues star player), who was 15 years his senior, had a profound impact on his early life, serving as a mentor to him. Gibson was utilized on a variety of youth basketball and baseball teams his brother coached, many of which were organized through the local YMCA.
Gibson attended Omaha Technical High School, where during his tenure he participated on the track, basketball, and baseball teams. Health issues resurfaced for Gibson though, as he needed a doctor's permission to compete in high school sports because of a heart murmur that occurred in tandem with a rapid growth spurt. Gibson was named to the All-State basketball team during his senior year of high school by a newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska, and soon after won a full athletic scholarship for basketball to Creighton University.
While at Creighton, Gibson majored in sociology, and continued to experience success playing basketball. At the end of Gibson's junior basketball season he averaged 22 points per game, and made third team Jesuit All-American. As his graduation from Creighton approached, the spring of 1957 proved to be a busy time for Gibson. Aside from getting married, Gibson had concurrently garnered the interest of Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. In 1957, Gibson received a $3,000 bonus to sign with the Cardinals. He delayed his start with the organization for a year, playing basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters, earning the nickname "Bullet" and becoming famous for backhanded dunks. Gibson continued to play basketball even after starting his career with the Cardinals, until Cardinals general manager Bing Devine offered Gibson four thousand dollars to quit playing basketball during baseball's off-season. After accepting the offer, Gibson attended spring training with the Cardinals in 1958 before spending the remainder of the season in the minor leagues.
Gibson was assigned to the Cardinals' big league roster for the start of the 1959 season, recording his Major League debut on April 15 as a relief pitcher. Reassigned to the Cardinals minor league affiliate in Omaha soon after, Gibson returned to the Major Leagues on July 30 as a starting pitcher, earning his first Major League win that day. Gibson's experience in 1960 was similar, pitching nine innings for the Cardinals before shuffling between the Cardinals and their Rochester affiliate until mid-June. After posting a 3-6 record with a 5.61 ERA, Gibson traveled to Venezuela to participate in winter baseball at the conclusion of the 1960 season. Cardinals manager Solly Hemus shuffled Gibson between the bullpen and the starting pitching rotation for the first half of the 1961 season. In a 2011 documentary, Gibson indicated that Hemus's racial prejudice played a major role in his misuse of Gibson, as well as of teammate Curt Flood, both of whom were told by Hemus that they wouldn't make it as major leaguers, and should try something else. Hemus was replaced as Cardinals manager in July 1961 by Johnny Keane, who had been Gibson's manager on the Omaha minor league affiliate several years prior. Keane and Gibson shared a positive professional relationship, and Keane immediately moved Gibson into the starting pitching rotation full-time. Gibson proceeded to compile an 11-6 record the remainder of the year, and posted a 3.24 ERA for the full season.
In late May of the 1962 season Gibson pitched 22 and 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings on his way to being named to his first National League All-Star team. Because of an additional All-Star Game played each season from 1959 to 1962, Gibson was named to the second 1962 N.L. All-Star game as well, where he pitched two innings. After suffering a fractured ankle late in the season, Gibson, sometimes referred to by the nickname "Hoot" (a reference to western film star Hoot Gibson), still finished 1962 with his first 200 plus strikeout season. The rehabilitation of Gibson's ankle was a slow process, and by May 19 of the 1963 season he had recorded only one win. Gibson then turned to rely on his slider and two different fastball pitches to reel off six straight wins prior to late July. Gibson and all other National League pitchers benefited from a rule change that expanded the strike zone above the belt buckle. Adding to his pitching performances was Gibson's offensive production, with his 20 RBIs outmatching the combined RBI output of entire pitching staffs on other National League teams. Even with Gibson's 18 wins and the extra motivation of teammate Stan Musial's impending retirement, the Cardinals finished six games out of first place.
Building off their late season pennant run in 1963, the 1964 Cardinals developed a strong camaraderie that was noted for being free of the racial tension that predominated in the United States at that time. Part of this atmosphere stemmed from the integration of the team's spring training hotel in 1960, and Gibson and teammate Bill White worked to confront and stop use of racial slurs within the team. On August 23, the Cardinals were 11 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies, and remained six and half games behind on September 21. The combination of a nine-game Cardinals winning streak and a ten-game Phillies losing streak then brought the season down to the final game. The Cardinals faced the New York Mets, and Gibson entered the game as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning. Aware that the Phillies were ahead of the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 at the time he entered the game, Gibson proceeded to pitch four innings of two-hit relief, while his teammates scored 11 runs of support to earn the victory. The Cardinals' win and the Phillies' defeat of the Reds made the Cardinals the National League champions, and they next faced the New York Yankees in the 1964 World Series. Gibson was matched against Yankees starting pitcher Mel Stottlemyre for three of the Series' seven games, with Gibson losing Game 2, then winning Game 5. In Game 7 Gibson pitched into the ninth inning, where he allowed home runs to Phil Linz and Clete Boyer, making the score 7-5 Cardinals. With Ray Sadecki warming up in the Cardinal bullpen, Gibson retired Bobby Richardson for the final out, giving the Cardinals their first World Championship since 1946. Along with his two victories, Gibson set a new World Series record by striking out 31 batters.
Gibson made the All-Star team again in 1965 season, and when the Cardinals were well out of the pennant race by August, attention turned on Gibson to see if he could win 20 games for the first time. Gibson was still looking for win number 20 on the last day of the season, a game where new Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst rested many of the regular players. Gibson still prevailed against the Houston Astros by a score of 5-2. The 1966 season marked the opening of Busch Memorial Stadium for the Cardinals, and Gibson was selected to play in the All-Star Game in front of the hometown crowd that year as well.
The Cardinals built a three and half game lead prior to the 1967 season All-Star break, and Gibson pitched the seventh and eighth innings of the 1967 All-Star game. Gibson then faced the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 15, when Roberto Clemente hit a line drive off Gibson's right leg. Unaware his leg had been fractured, Gibson faced three more batters before his right fibula bone snapped above the ankle. After Gibson returned on September 7, the Cardinals secured the National League pennant on September 18, 10½ games ahead of the San Francisco Giants.
In the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Gibson allowed only three earned runs and 14 hits over three complete game victories (Games 1, 4, and 7), the latter two marks tying Christy Mathewson's 1905 World Series record. Just as he had in 1964, Gibson pitched a complete game victory in Game 7, and contributed offensively by hitting a home run that made the game 3-0.
1968 - Year of the Pitcher
The 1968 season became known as "The Year of the Pitcher", and Gibson was at the forefront of pitching dominance. His earned run average was 1.12, a live-ball era record, as well as the major league record in 300 or more innings pitched. It was the lowest major league ERA since Dutch Leonard's 0.96 mark, 54 years earlier. Gibson threw 13 shutouts, three fewer than fellow Nebraskan Grover Alexander's 1916 major league record of 16. From June 2 to July 30, Gibson allowed only two earned runs in ninety-two innings pitched: a 0.20 ERA. Gibson pitched 47 consecutive scoreless innings during this stretch, at the time the third-longest scoreless streak in major league history. Gibson finished the season with 28 complete games out of 34 games started. Of the games he didn't complete, he was pinch-hit for, meaning Gibson was not removed from the mound for another pitcher for the entire season.
Gibson won the National League MVP Award, the last MVP won by a National League pitcher to date. For the 1968 season, opposing batters only had a batting average of .184, an on base percentage of .233, and a slugging percentage of .236. Gibson lost nine games against 22 wins, despite his record-setting low 1.12 ERA; the anemic batting throughout baseball included his own Cardinal team. The 1968 Cardinals had one .300 hitter, while the team-leading home run and RBI totals were just 16 and 79. Gibson lost five 1-0 games, one of which was to San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry's no-hitter on September 17. The Giants' run in that game came on a first-inning home run by light-hitting Ron Hunt—the second of two he would hit the entire season, and one of only 11 that Gibson allowed in 304 2/3 innings.
In Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, Gibson struck out 17 Detroit Tigers to set a World Series record for strikeouts in one game, which still stands today (breaking Sandy Koufax's record of 15 in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series). After allowing a leadoff single to Mickey Stanley in the ninth inning, Gibson finished the game by striking out Tiger sluggers Al Kaline, Norm Cash and Willie Horton in succession. Recalling the performance, Tiger's outfielder Jim Northrup remarked: "We were fastball hitters, but he blew the ball right by us. And he had a nasty slider that was jumping all over the place."
Gibson next pitched in Game 4 of the 1968 World Series, defeating the Tigers' ace pitcher Denny McLain by a 10-1 score. The teams continued to battle each other, setting the stage for another winner-take-all Game 7 in St. Louis on October 10, 1968. In this game Gibson was matched against Tigers pitcher Mickey Lolich, and the two proceeded to hold their opponents scoreless for the first six innings. In the top of the seventh, Gibson retired the first two batters before allowing two consecutive singles. Detroit batter Jim Northrup then hit a two run triple over the head of center fielder Curt Flood, leading to Detroit's Series win.
The overall pitching statistics in MLB's 1968 season, led by Gibson's individual record setting performance, are often cited as one of the reasons for Major League Baseball's decision to alter pitching related rules. Sometimes known as the "Gibson rules," MLB lowered the pitcher's mound by five inches in 1969 from 15 inches to 10 inches, and reduced the height of the strike zone from the batter's armpits to the jersey letters.
Aside from the rule changes set to take effect in 1969, cultural and monetary influences increasingly began impacting baseball, as evidenced by nine players from the Cardinals 1968 roster who hadn't reported by the first week of spring training due to the status of their contracts. On February 4, 1969, Gibson appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and said the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) had suggested players consider striking before the upcoming season began. However, Gibson himself had no immediate contract worries, as the $125,000 salary Gibson requested for 1969 was agreed to by team owner Gussie Busch and the Cardinals, setting a new franchise record for the highest single-season salary.
Despite the significant rule changes, Gibson's status as one of the league's best pitchers was not immediately affected. In 1969, he went 20–13 with a 2.18 ERA, 4 shutouts and 28 complete games. On May 12, 1969, Gibson struck out three batters on nine pitches in the seventh inning of a 6–2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gibson became the ninth National League pitcher and the 15th pitcher in Major League history to throw an "immaculate inning". After pitching into the tenth inning of the July 4 game against the Cubs, Gibson was removed from a game without finishing an inning for the first time in more than 60 consecutive starts, a streak spanning two years. After participating in the 1969 All-Star Game (his seventh selection), Gibson set another mark on August 16 when he became the third pitcher in Major League history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau in seven different seasons.
Gibson experienced an up-and-down 1970 season, marked at the low point by a July slump where he resorted to experimenting with a knuckleball for the first time in his career. Just as quickly, Gibson returned to form, starting a streak of seven wins on July 28, and pitching all 14 innings of a 5–4 win against the San Diego Padres on August 12. Gibson won 23 games in 1970, and was once again named the NL Cy Young award winner.
Gibson was sometimes used by the Cardinals as a pinch-hitter, and in 1970 he hit .303 for the season in 109 at-bats, which was over 100 points higher than teammate Dal Maxvill. For his career, he batted .206 (274-for-1,328) with 44 doubles, 5 triples, 24 home runs (plus two more in the World Series) and 144 RBIs, plus stealing 13 bases and walking 63 times. He is one of only two pitchers since World War II with a career batting average of .200 or higher, and with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBIs (Bob Lemon, who had broken into the majors as a third baseman, is the other at .232). Gibson was above average as a baserunner and thus was occasionally used as a pinch runner, despite managers' general reluctance to risk injury to pitchers in this way.
Gibson achieved two highlights in August 1971. On the 4th of the month, he defeated the Giants 7-2 at Busch Memorial Stadium for his 200th career victory. Ten days later, he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-0 at Three Rivers Stadium. Three of his 10 strikeouts in the game were to Willie Stargell, including the game's final out. The no-hitter was the first in Pittsburgh since Nick Maddox at Exposition Park in 1907; none had been pitched in the 62-year (mid-1909 to mid-1970) history of Three Rivers Stadium's predecessor, Forbes Field.
He was the second pitcher in Major League Baseball history, after Walter Johnson, to strike out over 3,000 batters, and the first to do so in the National League. He accomplished this at home, at Busch Stadium on July 17, 1974; the victim was César Gerónimo of the Cincinnati Reds. Gibson began the 1972 season by going 0–5, but broke Jesse Haines's club record for victories on June 21, and finished the year with 19 wins.
During the summer of 1974, Gibson felt hopeful he could to put together a winning streak, but he continually encountered swelling in his knee. In January 1975, Gibson announced he would retire at the end of the 1975 season, admittedly using baseball to help cope with his recent divorce from his former wife Charlene. During the 1975 season, he went 3–10 with a 5.04 ERA. In his final appearance, Gibson was summoned as a reliever in a 6–6 game against the Cubs and gave up the game-winner to an unheralded player, most well known for his odd name and being the son of TV personality Peter Marshall. “When I gave up a grand slam to Pete LaCock,” Bob Gibson said later, “I knew it was time to quit.” The Cardinals honored him with "Bob Gibson Day" in September 1975.
In the eight seasons from 1963 to 1970, Gibson won 156 games and lost 81, for a .658 winning percentage. He won nine Gold Glove Awards, was awarded the World Series MVP Award in 1964 and 1967, and won Cy Young Awards in 1968 and 1970.
^ Statue of Bob Gibson outside Busch Stadium.
Don't mess with "Hoot"
Gibson was a fierce competitor who rarely smiled and was known to throw brushback pitches to let batters know who was in charge, similar to his contemporary and fellow Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. Even so, Gibson had good control and hit only 102 batters in his career (fewer than Drysdale's 154).
Gibson showed no mercy, even to players he liked. Gibson's closest friend on the Cardinals was first baseman Bill White, who was later traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. The first time White batted against Gibson as a Phillie, Gibson hit him on the arm with a fastball. On his way to first base, White yelled to Gibson, "What are you doing Bob?! We were teammates for years!" Gibson replied, "We're not teammates anymore!" Gibson was surly and brusque even with his teammates. When his catcher Tim McCarver went to the mound for a conference, Gibson brushed him off, saying "The only thing you know about pitching is you can't hit it."
Gibson maintained this image even into retirement. In 1992, an Old-Timers' game was played at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego as part of the All-Star Game festivities, and Reggie Jackson hit a home run off Gibson. When the Old-Timers' Day game was played in 1993, the 57-year-old Gibson threw the 47-year-old Jackson a brushback pitch. The pitch was not especially fast and did not hit Jackson, but the message was delivered, and Jackson did not get a hit.
Gibson casually disregards his reputation for intimidation, though, saying that he made no concerted effort to seem intimidating. He joked in an interview with a St. Louis public radio station that the only reason he made faces while pitching was because he needed glasses and could not see the catcher's signals.
Before Gibson returned to his home in Omaha at the end of the 1975 season, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine offered him an undefined job that was contingent on approval from higher-ranking club officials. Unsure of his future career path, Gibson declined, and used the motor home the Cardinals had given him as a retirement gift to travel across the western United States during the 1975 offseason. Returning to Omaha, Gibson continued to serve on the board of a local bank, was at one point the principal investor in radio station KOWH, and started "Gibson's Spirits and Sustenance" restaurant, sometimes working twelve-hour days as owner/operator. He also worked as a backup color analyst for ABC's Monday Night Baseball telecasts in 1976.
Gibson returned to baseball in 1981 after accepting a coaching job with Joe Torre, who was then manager of the New York Mets. Torre termed Gibson's position "attitude coach," the first such title in Major League history. After Torre and his coaching staff were let go at the end of the 1981 season, Torre moved on to coach the Atlanta Braves in 1982, where he hired Gibson as a pitching coach. The Braves proceeded to challenge for the National League pennant for the first time since 1969, ultimately losing to Cardinals in the 1982 National League Championship Series. Gibson remained with Torre on the Braves' coaching staff until the end of the 1984 season. Gibson then took to hosting a pre and post game show for Cardinals baseball games on radio station KMOX from 1985 until 1989. Gibson also served as color commentator for baseball games on ESPN in 1990, but declined an option to continue the position over concerns he would have spent too much time away from his family. Gibson is father to three children; daughters Annette and Renee with his first wife Charline, and son Chris with his second wife Wendy.
Gibson's jersey number 45 was retired by the St. Louis Cardinals, and in 1981, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. In 1999, he ranked Number 31 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. A bronze statue of Gibson by Harry Weber is located in front of Busch Stadium, commemorating Gibson along with other St. Louis Cardinals greats. Another statue of Gibson will be erected outside Werner Park in Gibson's home city, Omaha, Nebraska. In 2004, he was named as the most intimidating pitcher of all time from the Fox Sports Net series The Sports List. The street on the north side of Rosenblatt Stadium, former home of the College World Series in his hometown of Omaha, is named Bob Gibson Boulevard.
Win–loss record 251–174
Earned run average 2.91
St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1975)
Career highlights and awards
9× All-Star (1962, 1962², 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972)
2× World Series champion (1964, 1967)
9× Gold Glove Award winner (1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
1968 NL MVP
2× NL Cy Young Award (1968, 1970)
2× World Series MVP (1964, 1967)
Babe Ruth Award (1964)
Pitched a no-hitter on August 14, 1971
St. Louis Cardinals #45 retired
Major League Baseball All-Century Team
35 strikeouts during a World Series
17 strikeouts in a World Series game
1.12 ERA in 1968
HOF, 1981 BBWAA 84% First Ballot
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
First Team, Pitcher, Don Drysdale
Donald Scott "Don" Drysdale (July 23, 1936 – July 3, 1993) was a Major League Baseball player and Hall of Fame right-handed pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was one of the dominant starting pitchers of the 1960s, and became a radio and television broadcaster following his playing career. The Disney character Herbie has the number 53 since that was Drysdale's number.
Drysdale was born in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California and attended Van Nuys High School, where one of his classmates was actor Robert Redford. While there have been assertions that Redford also played on the high school baseball team with Drysdale, and Drysdale covered for Redford by backing these up, classmates recall that Redford never actually played baseball.
Pitching for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, he teamed with Sandy Koufax during the late 1950s and early-middle 1960s to form one of the most dominating pitching duos in history. The hurler (nicknamed "Big D" by fans) used brushback pitches and a sidearm fastball to intimidate batters, similar to his fierce fellow Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. His 154 hit batsmen remains a modern National League record.
Drysdale was also considered a good hitter for a pitcher. In a total of 14 seasons, he had 218 hits, including 29 home runs, and was occasionally used as a pinch-hitter.
In 1962, Drysdale won 25 games and the Cy Young Award. In 1968, he set Major League records with six consecutive shutouts and 58 consecutive scoreless innings; the latter record was broken by fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser 20 years later. In 1963, he struck out 251 batters and won World Series Game 3 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium over the Yankees, 1–0. In 1965, he was the Dodgers' only .300 hitter and tied his own National League record for pitchers with seven home runs. That year he won 23 games and helped the Dodgers to their third World Championship in Los Angeles. He ended his career with 209 wins, 2,486 strikeouts, 167 complete games and 49 shutouts. He was inducted into the Baseball Championship in Los Angeles. He ended his career with 209 wins, 2,486 strikeouts, 167 complete games and 49 shutouts. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, and had his number 53 officially retired at Dodger Stadium on July 1, 1984. (He was the last player on the Dodgers who had played for Brooklyn.)
Drysdale took part in a famous salary holdout in the spring of 1966 along with Koufax, with both finally signing contracts just before the season opened. This holdout was the beginning of what would eventually become collective bargaining.
A chronically sore shoulder forced Drysdale to retire during the 1969 season. The next year he started a broadcasting career that would continue through the rest of his life: first for the Montreal Expos (1970–1971), then the Texas Rangers (1972), California Angels (1973–1979, 1981), Chicago White Sox (1982–1987), NBC (1977), ABC (1978–1986), and finally back in Los Angeles with the Dodgers (from 1988 until his death in 1993). He also worked with his Angels' partner Dick Enberg on Los Angeles Rams football broadcasts from 1973–1976.
While at ABC Sports, Drysdale not only did baseball telecasts, but also Superstars and Wide World of Sports. In 1979, Drysdale covered the World Series Trophy presentation ceremonies for ABC. On October 11, 1980, Keith Jackson called an Oklahoma-Texas college football game for ABC in the afternoon, then flew to Houston to call Game 4 of the NLCS between the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies. In the meantime, Drysdale filled-in for Jackson on play-by-play for the early innings.
In 1984, Drysdale did play-by-play (alongside Reggie Jackson and Earl Weaver) for the National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs. On October 6, 1984 at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium, Game 4 of the NLCS ended when Padres first baseman Steve Garvey hit a two run home run off Lee Smith. Drysdale on the call:
“ Deep right field, way back. Cotto going back to the wall...it's gone! Home run Garvey! And there will be a tomorrow! ”
The Padres, who rallied from a 2–0 deficit in the best-of-five series against the Cubs won the decisive Game 5 the next day (thus, winning their first ever National League pennant).
In his last ever ABC assignment, Drysdale interviewed the winners in the Boston Red Sox' clubhouse following Game 7 of the 1986 American League Championship Series against the California Angels.
While broadcasting for the White Sox, Drysdale generated some controversy while covering a heated argument between an umpire and Sox manager Tony LaRussa. LaRussa pulled up the third base bag and hurled it into the outfield, to the approval of the Comiskey Park crowd, and ensuring his ejection. Drysdale remarked, "Go get 'em, Dago!"
For the Sox, Drysdale broadcast the 300th victory of Tom Seaver, against the host New York Yankees in 1985. His post-game interview with Seaver was carried live by both the Sox' network and the Yankees' longtime flagship television station WPIX.
Drysdale hosted a nationally syndicated radio show called Radio Baseball Cards. 162 episodes were produced with stories and anecdotes told by current and former Major League Baseball players. The highlight of the series were numerous episodes dedicated to the memory and impact of Jackie Robinson as told by teammates, opponents and admirers. Radio Baseball Cards aired on 38 stations, including WNBC New York, KSFO San Francisco and WEEI Boston, as a pre-game show. A collector's edition of the program was re-released in 2007 as a podcast.
Drysdale conducted all of the National League player interviews for the Baseball Talk series in 1988 (Joe Torre did the same for the American League).
On September 28, 1988, fellow Dodger Orel Hershiser surpassed Drysdale when Hershiser finished the season with a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. In his final start of the year, Hershiser needed to pitch 10 shutout innings to set the mark – meaning not only that he would have to prevent the San Diego Padres from scoring, but that his own team would also need to fail to score in order to ensure extra innings. The Dodgers' anemic offense was obliging, however, and Hershiser pitched the first 10 innings of a scoreless tie, with the Padres eventually prevailing 2–1 in 16 innings. Hershiser almost did not pitch in the 10th inning, in deference to Drysdale, but was convinced to take the mound and try to break the record. When Hershiser broke Drysdale's record, Drysdale went to hug him, and said, "Oh, I'll tell ya, congratulations... And at least you kept it in the family."
Drysdale also called Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series for the Dodgers Radio Network:
“ Well, the crowd is on its feet and if there was ever a preface to Casey at the Bat it would have to be the ninth inning. Two out. The tying run aboard, the winning run at the plate, and Kirk Gibson, standing at the plate. Eckersley working out of the stretch, here's the three-two pitch...and a drive hit to right field (losing voice) WAY BACK! IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! (After 2 minutes of crowd noise) This crowd will not stop! They can't believe the ending! And this time, Mighty Casey did NOT strike out!!!! ”
Drysdale married Ginger Dubberly in 1958, with whom he had a daughter, Kelly. They divorced in 1982. On November 1, 1986, he married basketball player Ann Meyers, who took the name Ann Meyers-Drysdale and survived him in death. It was the first time that a married couple were members of their respective sports' Halls of Fame. Drysdale and Meyers had three children together: Don Junior ("DJ") (son), Darren (son), and Drew (daughter). In 1990, Drysdale published his autobiography, Once a Bum, Always a Dodger.
Drysdale died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Montreal, Quebec, on July 3, 1993. Radio station employees were sent to look for him when he failed to make the bus for Olympic Stadium. where the Dodgers were to play the Expos. Hotel staff went in and found him face down, near his bed. The coroner estimated that he had been dead for 18 hours. Soon afterwards, Drysdale's broadcasting colleague Vin Scully, who was instructed not to say anything on the air until Drysdale's family was notified, announced the news of his death by saying "Never have I been asked to make an announcement that hurts me as much as this one. And I say it to you as best I can with a broken heart." Fellow broadcaster Ross Porter told his radio audience, "I just don't believe it, folks." Drysdale was replaced by Rick Monday in the broadcast booth.
Among the personal belongings found in Drysdale's hotel room was a cassette tape of Robert F. Kennedy's victory speech after the 1968 California Democratic presidential primary, a speech given only moments before Senator Kennedy's assassination. In the speech, Kennedy had noted, to the cheers of the crowd, that Drysdale had pitched his sixth straight shutout that evening. Drysdale had apparently carried the tape with him wherever he went since Robert Kennedy's death.
Drysdale's body was cremated at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
“Batting against him [Don Drysdale] is the same as making a date with the dentist.” – Dick Groat
“Don Drysdale would consider an intentional walk a waste of three pitches. If he wants to put you on base, he can hit you with one pitch.” – Mike Shannon
“The trick against Drysdale is to hit him before he hits you.” – Orlando Cepeda
“I hated to bat against Drysdale. After he hit you he'd come around, look at the bruise on your arm and say, ‘Do you want me to sign it?’” – Mickey Mantle
"For every Dodger they [the Giants' pitchers] knock down, I'll knock down two of theirs—and they won't be .220 hitters, either." – Drysdale, still on the subject of brushback pitches; quoted from the Los Angeles Times
"I bet right now you wish I was Jewish, too," Drysdale said to his manager, Walter Alston, after Drysdale replaced Sandy Koufax on Yom Kippur in 1965 and lost 8-2, because Koufax would not pitch on the Jewish holy day.
"I hate all hitters. I start a game mad and I stay that way until it's over."
"He talks very well for a guy who had two fingers in his mouth all of his life." - Gene Mauch
Drysdale guest starred in:
The Greatest American Hero episode "The Two Hundred Mile an Hour Fastball", which was first broadcast on November 4, 1981 as a broadcaster for the California Stars.
The Brady Bunch episode "The Dropout", which was first broadcast on September 25, 1970.
The Donna Reed Show episodes "The Man in the Mask," first broadcast in 1962; "All Those Dreams," first broadcast in 1963; and "Play Ball" and "My Son the Catcher," both first broadcast in 1964. In all four episodes Drysdale played himself, and in "All Those Dreams" he appeared with first wife, Ginger, and daughter Kelly.
Leave It to Beaver episode "Long Distance Call", which was first broadcast on June 16, 1962.
The Rifleman episode "Skull", which was first broadcast on January 1, 1962.
The Millionaire episode "Millionaire Larry Maxwell", which was first broadcast on March 1, 1960.
With his first wife, Ginger, on the 26th February 1959 edition of You Bet Your Life with host Groucho Marx. The episode was released on the 2006 DVD "Groucho Marx: You Bet Your Life – 14 Classic Episodes".
In 1959, Drysdale appeared as a mystery challenger on the TV panel show To Tell the Truth.
Win–loss record 209–166
Earned run average 2.95
Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers (1956–1969)
Career highlights and awards
9× All-Star (1959, 1959², 1961², 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968)
3× World Series champion (1959, 1963, 1965)
Cy Young Award (1962)
Los Angeles Dodgers #53 retired
HOF 1984 BBWAA 78.41%
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
Even though I would have still put Koufax over Drysdale (But I do understand why this system has it the other way around), it is hard to argue with these first string starting pitchers.
I was always amazed at Marichal's high kick on the mound. This picture shows it best.
First Team, Relief Pitcher, Ron Perranoski
Ronald Peter Perranoski (born April 1, 1936 in Paterson, New Jersey) is a former left-handed Major League Baseball relief pitcher, having played from 1961 through 1973.
In 1963, Perranoski won 16 of 19 relief decisions for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would go on to win the 1963 World Series in four consecutive games over the New York Yankees. He appeared in one World Series game that season, and earned a save.
Perranoski grew up in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where he attended Fair Lawn High School.
Perranoski attended Michigan State University, where he was a teammate and friend of Dick Radatz, who also would become a standout reliever in the 1960s. After his playing career ended, Perranoski was the Dodgers' minor league pitching coordinator (1973–80), then the MLB pitching coach for Los Angeles for 14 seasons (1981–94). He joined the San Francisco Giants as minor league pitching coordinator in 1995, was promoted to bench coach in 1997 and then to pitching coach in 1998-99. He has been a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean since 2000.
Win–Loss record 79–74
Earned run average 2.79
Los Angeles Dodgers (1961–1967)
Minnesota Twins (1968–1971)
Detroit Tigers (1971–1972)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1972)
California Angels (1973)
Career highlights and awards
4× World Series champion (1963, 1965, 1981, 1988)
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
Second Team, Catcher, Tom Haller
^ Odd? Been having to go to Google Image recently for some of the players pics?
Thomas Frank Haller (June 23, 1937 – November 26, 2004) was an American professional baseball player and baseball executive. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball with the San Francisco Giants (1961-1967), Los Angeles Dodgers (1968-1971) and Detroit Tigers (1972). In the late 1960s, Haller was considered one of the top catchers in the National League.
Major League career
Haller was born in Lockport, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois, where he played as a quarterback for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. Haller was signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent in 1958. After playing in the minor leagues for three seasons, he made his major league debut with the Giants on April 11, 1961 at the age of 24.
Haller hit .261 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs for the Giants in 1962, in a platoon system alongside Ed Bailey. Haller and Bailey combined to give the Giants 35 home runs and 100 runs batted in from the catcher's position as the they battled the Los Angeles Dodgers in a tight pennant race. The two teams ended the season tied for first place and met in the 1962 National League tie-breaker series. The Giants won the three-game series to clinch the National League championship. The Giants then lost the New York Yankees in the 1962 World Series in seven games. Haller collected four hits in 14 at-bats with a home run and three runs batted in during the Series.
Haller continued in a platoon role alongside Bailey through the 1963 season, finishing the year second to Johnny Edwards among National League catchers in fielding percentage. In December 1963, the Giants traded Bailey to the Milwaukee Braves for veteran catcher Del Crandall, and Haller became their undisputed starting catcher. He was a solid defensive catcher for the Giants from 1964 to 1967. In his book, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, baseball historian Bill James said the decision to award Joe Torre with the 1965 National League Gold Glove Award was absurd, stating that he was given the award because of his offensive statistics and that, either Haller or John Roseboro were more deserved of the award. Haller also helped offensively in 1965, hitting two home runs and driving in five runs during a game on September 27 to put the Giants in first place with one week left in the season. However, the Giants faltered and ended the season two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The following season, Haller earned his first All-Star berth when he was named as a reserve player for the National League team in the 1966 All-Star Game. He was the catcher for two twenty-game winners in 1966, as Juan Marichal won 25 games and Gaylord Perry won 21 games. Haller finished the season with career-highs of 27 home runs and 67 runs batted in, as the Giants once again finished second to the Dodgers by a game and a half. He earned his second consecutive All-Star berth in 1967 when he was named as a reserve for the National League team in the 1967 All-Star Game. Haller ended the 1967 season second to Tim McCarver among the league's catchers in assists and in fielding percentage, and guided the Giants' pitching staff to the lowest team earned run average in the National League, as Giants pitcher, Mike McCormick, won the National League Cy Young Award with a 22-10 record. The Giants finished in second place for a third consecutive season, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In February 1968, the Giants were in need of good infielders, and with four young catching prospects including Dick Dietz and Dave Rader, club president Chub Feeney decided to trade Haller along with a player to be named later, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielders Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver. The trade was the first between the two teams since their move to the West Coast in 1958, and also the first since the one that would have sent Jackie Robinson from the Dodgers to the Giants after the 1956 season. Haller played well in 1968, posting a .285 batting average in 144 games and earned his third consecutive All-Star berth. He also played well defensively with career-highs in assists (83) and in double plays (23). He guided the Dodgers' pitching staff to the second best team earned run average in the league, although the team finished the season in seventh place.
After spending four seasons with the Dodgers, Haller was traded to the Detroit Tigers in December 1971. He batted .207 with two home runs and 12 runs batted in during the 1972 season as a backup catcher for Bill Freehan, when the Tigers won the American League Eastern Division championship. Haller was the younger brother of American League umpire Bill Haller and in July 1972, the two men appeared in the same game with Tom catching for the Tigers while Bill stood behind him as the home plate umpire. His playing time was reduced when the Tigers acquired catcher Duke Sims in August. In the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics, Haller made only one appearance as a pinch hitter in Game 2, as the Tigers lost the series in five games. In October 1972, the Tigers traded Haller to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher, Don Leshnock. He then made the decision to retire at the age of 35.
In a twelve-year major league career, Haller played in 1,294 games, accumulating 1,011 hits in 3,935 at bats for a .257 career batting average along with 134 home runs, 504 runs batted in and an on base percentage of .340. A three-time All-Star, he was a capable defensive catcher, ending his career with a respectable .992 fielding percentage which at the time of his retirement, was second only to the .993 career record of Elston Howard. Haller led National League catchers in putouts in 1965, and in baserunners caught stealing in 1968. He set the National League single season record for double plays by a catcher with 23 in 1968. He led the National League in sacrifice flies in 1968 with 9. Haller caught for six pitchers who would eventually be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Coaching and executive career
After his playing career ended, Haller worked for the Giants as a coach (1977-1979), and was their vice president of baseball operations (1981-1986). He was named to the Giants' 25th anniversary team in 1982. In 1986, he served as the manager of the minor league Birmingham Barons. In June 1986, Haller was named as the General Manager of the Chicago White Sox.
After a long illness, Haller died in Los Angeles, California, on November 26, 2004 at age of 67.
Batting average .257
Home runs 134
Runs batted in 504
San Francisco Giants (1961–1967)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1968–1971)
Detroit Tigers (1972)
Career highlights and awards
3× All-Star selection (1966, 1967, 1968)
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
Second Team, First Baseman, Orlando Cepeda
^ Orlando Cepeda in 1962.
Orlando Manuel "Peruchin" Cepeda Pennes (Spanish pronunciation: [orˈlando seˈpeða]; born September 17, 1937) is a former Puerto Rican Major League Baseball first baseman.
Cepeda was born to a poor family. His father, Pedro Cepeda, was a baseball player in Puerto Rico, which influenced his interest in the sport from a young age. His first contact with professional baseball was as a batboy for the Santurce Crabbers of Puerto Rico. Pedro Zorilla, the team's owner persuaded his family to let him attend a New York Giants tryout. He played for several Minor League Baseball teams before attracting the interest of the Giants, who had just moved to San Francisco.
During a career that lasted sixteen years, he played with the San Francisco Giants (1958–66), St. Louis Cardinals (1966–68), Atlanta Braves (1969–72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973), and Kansas City Royals (1974). Cepeda was selected to play in seven Major League Baseball All-Star Games during his career, becoming the first player from Puerto Rico to start one. In 1987, Cepeda was contracted by the San Francisco Giants to work as a scout and "goodwill ambassador." In 1999, Cepeda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
Orlando Cepeda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to Pedro Cepeda and Carmen Pennes. His father was a professional baseball player in Puerto Rico, where he was considered one of the best players of his generation. Cepeda saw his father play baseball for the first time in 1946, and was instantly interested in the game. Several players from the Negro leagues visited their house, which influenced his view of the sport. He became a fan of Minnie Miñoso, following his career in the Cuban League, Negro leagues, Major League Baseball, and the Caribbean. The family was poor, being forced to live in wood houses, without telephone or refrigerator.
When he was ten years old, Cepeda began to sell newspapers in order to participate in a baseball tournament organized for the paper boys. His first tryout came three years later. He practiced with the team for three months but did not make the roster. Cepeda then began playing basketball, but he tore a knee cartilage and underwent surgery. The injury kept him inactive for nearly a year and the doctor recommended that he avoid practicing basketball. He began practicing again, noticing that his physical strength had significantly improved in two years.
One day, an amateur baseball player saw him play and recruited him to play with his team. The organization won Puerto Rico's amateur championship and went on to play against an All-Star team from the Dominican Republic. Pedro Zorilla, then owner of the Santurce Crabbers, attended this game while scouting another player, but his interest in Cepeda grew after seeing him play. In 1953, Zorilla brought him onto the team to work as a batboy. After retiring, Pedro Cepeda worked for the government, checking the water of rivers in the municipality. He contracted malaria, which eventually precipitated his death at age 49. This illness worsened the family's living conditions. They moved from Guayama to Juncos, where their financial condition deteriorated. They moved again, this time to San Juan, where his mother worked odd jobs to support the family. After her father's death, there was not sufficient income in the household to pay for college. Cepeda formed friendships with several criminals in their neighborhood, who stole as entertainment.
Minor League Baseball
Zorilla persuaded Cepeda's family to purchase an airplane ticket so that he could participate in a New York Giants tryout. After passing the tryout, the Giants assigned him to Sandersville, a Class D team. Cepeda was subsequently transferred to a team in Salem, Virginia. He had trouble adapting, due to not speaking English and encountering racial segregation being promoted by the Jim Crow laws. Shortly after this move, Zorilla called to inform him that his father was in critical condition. Pedro Cepeda died a few days later. Orlando paid the burial expenses and returned to Salem. Cepeda was depressed, which affected his performance. He wanted to quit and return to Puerto Rico, but Zorilla convinced him to play for Kokomo Giants, a team that participated in the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League. After arriving, Walt Dixon, the team's manager, assigned him to the third baseman position. Cepeda batted in the "cleanup spot," finishing with a .393 average, hitting 21 home runs and 91 runs batted in. Jim Tobin, who owned his contract noticed his potential and sold his player's rights back to the New York Giants. After a visit to Puerto Rico, Cepeda returned to New York, before being sent to play with St. Cloud in Class C. The team reassigned him to play first base. Cepeda adapted to the change quickly. That year, he won the Northern League Triple Crown, finishing with an average of .355 with 112 RBIs and 26 home runs. Jack Schwarz promoted him to Class B, a decision that he protested, noting that players with worse performance were being sent to Double A. Following a solid season in Class B, Cepeda played for the Crabbers in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBPPR) during the winter, concluding with averages of .310, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. He then signed a Class A contract with Springfield, only accepting it if he was allowed to play with the Minneapolis Millers in spring training. Cepeda had a slow start, but his averages improved as the games advanced and the team retained him in their roster. After completing the 1957 season with the Millers, he returned to Puerto Rico and played in the LBPPR. While playing with Santurce, Bill Rigney, Horace Stoneham and Tom Sheehan scouted him in behalf of the Giants, who had just moved from New York to San Francisco. He was invited to the team's spring training along with other prospects, including Felipe Alou and Willie Kirkland.
San Francisco Giants (1958–1966)
He was called up by the San Francisco Giants in 1958. In his first season, Cepeda batted .312 with 25 home runs and 96 RBI, led the National League in doubles (38), and was named Rookie of the Year. He signed his first major league contract ten minutes before debuting in the league, earning $7,000 in this season. In San Francisco, the team received significant media attention. Due to his performance, the team raised his salary to $9,500 in June. During this season, Cepeda lived with Rubén Gómez, but stopped doing so after some tension developed between them. His average remained steady throughout the season, never falling below .305, which was his average in September. The Giants held the National League's lead for a month, but their record in August and September was below .500, and they lost the pennant race. Cepeda and Willie Mays were the only National League players to finish the season ranked among the leaders in hits, home runs, runs batted in, batting average, runs scored and stolen bases. He was unanimously selected the "Rookie of the Year", becoming the second player after Frank Robinson to receive the award in such a fashion. He was also selected the "Most Valuable Giant" in a poll conducted by the San Francisco Examiner. On September 28, 1958, the publication presented him a plaque for this recognition. After the season concluded, Cepeda used his salary to buy a new house for his mother. This year he won the LBPPR batting title with an average of .362, while Santurce won the league's championship. The Giants offered him a $12,000 contract, which he refused asking for $20,000. After negotiations, both parts reached an agreement at $17,000.
In 1959, Cepeda reported to spring training with more confidence than the year before. He opened the season, hitting in nine straight games, with 15 hits in his first 35 at-bats. After experiencing a brief slump during the latter half of May, Cepeda recovered, hitting 12 home runs by June 4, 1959. He was selected as a starter in both All-Star game during this season. Cepeda was briefly moved to third base to open a spot for Willie McCovey in the starting lineup, but was moved to the outfield after committing errors in the position. He hit six home runs between August and September. The Giants remained in the race for the National League's pennant during the latter part of the season, but were eliminated from competition after losing a series against the Dodgers, eventually finishing third. Once the season was over, Cepeda led the team in batting average (.317) and RBIs (105). Cepeda subsequently moved from Daly City to Sunset District, seeking a house within the city. In 1960, the Giants moved him back to first base after McCovey was sent to the minor leagues. Cepeda finished with an average of .297, with 24 home runs and 96 RBI. He moved twice this year, first to 19th and Pacheco and then to 48th and Pacheco, where he and McCovey bought a building next to the ocean. On December 3, 1960, Cepeda married Annie Pino in a ceremony that took place in a small church of San Juan. This was followed by a large reception at the San Juan Hilton hotel. After the ceremonies, the couple moved to the building at 48th and Pacheco.
In 1961, Cepeda had what he considers the best statistics of his career. He led the league in RBIs (142), home runs (46) and home run percentage (7.9). He was once again selected to play in the starting lineup of the All-Star Game. The Giants led National League in runs scored, while the pitching lineup had a collective earned run average of 3.77. The team finished in the third position in the National League. Cepeda finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting, after Frank Robinson. After the season ended, Cepeda who at the moment was earning $30,000, asked for a $20,000 raise based on his performance. The team considered that he was making too much money for a fourth-year player, and the negotiations continued until a final salary of $46,000 was settled on. In 1962, the Giants had balance in the performance of the players, constantly rivaling the Dodgers for the league lead. Several players from the team, including Cepeda, participated in the All-Star Games. Finishing tied with the Dodgers, the Giants played against them in a playoff series to determine the National League's champion, which they won 2–1. The team advanced to the World Series, facing the New York Yankees. New York won in a seven-game series. Cepeda had averages of .306, with 35 home runs and 114 RBIs. In 1961 and 1962, Cepeda had strong years; however, he had serious problems with the team's manager Alvin Dark, to the point of almost skipping some games. Among the things that Dark did after being named manager was telling the Latin American players that they should stop speaking Spanish in the clubhouse. Cepeda immediately confronted him; after this Dark avoided summoning the Hispanic players to any team meeting.
During the winter, Cepeda returned to the LBPPR, where he suffered a knee injury while training. In 1963, he played the entire MLB season with the injury, not informing it to the Giants out of concern for his spot in the roster. He was in constant pain, but was in the race for a batting title along Roberto Clemente, Dick Groat and Tommy Davis, eventually finishing fifth. His batting average was .316, with 34 home runs and 97 RBIs. In 1964, San Francisco remained in the pennant race until the last week, when the St Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Mets to secure it. Cepeda led the team in batting average with .304 and a slugging percentage of .539. Cepeda attended the 1965 spring training, having limited participation. One of his friends, who was from Mexico brought in a jar with alcohol and cannabis to reduce the pain, noting that it was an "old Mexican remedy". Noticing this a club house employee offered to bring him a cannabis "joint", which he accepted. After this event, he consumed the drug regularly in order to "relax". After experiencing swelling in the knee during the first games of the season, a group of doctors at recommended him to stop playing. However, Cepeda refused to do so since baseball was his main source of income. He received treatment from Gene Sollovief, a Russian doctor, who implemented a weight and exercise regime. He returned to action, but only had 34 at bats with an average of .176 and only three home runs. He returned to Puerto Rico, undergoing further physical therapy. In the off-season, Cepeda also brought a house in Diamond Heights, while his wife was pregnant with his first son, Orlando, Jr. He attended 1966 spring training, recovered from the injury. However, he wasn't placed in the team's starting lineup. In the middle of a series, Cepeda was informed that he had been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ray Sadecki.
St Louis Cardinals (1966–1968)
The Giants were playing a series against the Cardinals in St. Louis, so Cepeda joined the team in the city. Bob Howsam, the team's general manager, was interested in him because the team had offensive problems. After the trade, the team granted him a new contract for $53,000. With the help of Harry Caray, the Cardinals' announcer, Cepeda moved to a house in Olivette, Missouri. The team finished in the sixth place of the league, with a record of 83–79. He finished his first season with the Cardinals playing 123 games, with an average of .303 and was named the National League Comeback Player of the Year.
In 1967, the Cardinals entered the season with analysts giving them odds of 12–1 of winning the pennant. Cepeda began the season with strong offense, at one point driving in seven runs in a single game. The team promoted offensive performance by fining a dollar to any player that left teammates on base; the money was used to pay for the postseason party. The Cardinals contended in the early league standings with the Chicago Cubs, but the team took control of the National League pennant race as the season progressed. Cepeda's offense remained stable, finishing June as the league's leader in doubles. He played in his seventh All-Star Game, which the National League won 2–1. The Cardinals won the pennant and defeated the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series. He concluded the season hitting .325, 21 game winning hits and with a league-leading 111 RBIs. Cepeda was named the National League Most Valuable Player. He was the second National League player, after Carl Hubbell to win the award unanimously. He and future Cardinal Albert Pujols are also the only players in baseball history to win Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards unanimously. He was the first Latin player to win the home run and RBI titles.
In 1968, the Cardinals were considered the strongest team in the majors. The Cardinals won the pennant for a second straight year, this time with a nine-game lead. The Detroit Tigers won the American League pennant by twelve games. Cepeda, who had a low offensive average in the 1967 World Series, hit a home run that gave the Cardinals a two to one lead. The Tigers, however, won three of the next four games, to win their first World Series since 1945. This season was called the "Year of the Pitcher", because of the overwhelming dominance pitching had over offense in 1968. Cepeda had his the worst statistical year of his career as a regular player, finishing with an average of .248 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, scoring career-lows in all three statistics. In March 1969, the Cardinals traded him to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Joe Torre.
The trade took Cepeda by surprise, after learning that his new team was the Braves he considered retirement, but decided against after discussing it with his wife. He moved to the city with uncertainty, wondering if the effect of the Jim Crow laws was still present, but his concerns disppeared once they settled. Cepeda attended the 1969 spring training on West Palm Beach, being welcomed to the team by Hank Aaron. This marked the first time that the league's postseason had best-of-five-game playoffs. The Braves won the National League West with a record of 93–69, before losing to the New York Mets in the playoffs. Cepeda had a season average of .257 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs.
In 1970, the Braves's offense had Rico Carty leading the league in average, while Cepeda and Aaron drove in more than a hundred runs. However, the team's pitching was ineffective and the team finished in fourth place in the division. Cepeda finished with an average of .305, 34 home runs and 111 RBIs. In 1971, Cepeda began the season with a solid offensive, hitting 10 home runs before May was over. However, he re-injured one of his knees in his house. The Braves' physician administered a shot, but that proved ineffective. Cepeda was attended by Dr.Funk, the Atlanta Falcons' orthopedicist. After running tests and examining X-rays, he determined that the injury was serious. Because of this, Cepeda began playing part time. His batting average declined, and he hit only five more home runs on the season. In September he traveled to New York where he underwent surgery, returning to Puerto Rico to recover during the winter. In 1972, Cepeda began playing while still feeling pain. On May 16, 1972, he hit two home runs against Houston. During this time Paul Richards had been replaced by Eddie Robinson as the team general manager. Robinson didn't assign treatment for Cepeda's leg, eventually deciding to trade him.
In July, Cepeda was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Denny McLain. After playing for a week, he was hospitalized and underwent a second surgery on his injured knee. Cepeda remained in Oakland three months before returning to Puerto Rico. Upon arriving he received a telegram from Charlie Finley, the Athletics' owner, telling him that if he didn't respond within three days he would be released from his contract. Cepeda decided not to call, intending to retire from baseball. In 1973, the American League established the designated hitter role, hoping to improve attendance. The Boston Red Sox contacted him, telling him that his role with the team only required batting. Cepeda became the first player to sign a contract to exclusively play as a designated hitter. Cepeda had an average of .289 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs in 550 at bats. He was also named Designated Hitter of the Year. Cepeda's twentieth home run established a major league record, making him the first player to hit twenty or more home runs with four different teams. He went to Puerto Rico and prepared to play in the 1974 season, but the team decided to release him and Luis Aparicio during spring training. After briefly playing in Mexico, he was offered a contract by the Kansas City Royals. In his last season, Cepeda had 107 at bats, batting .215 with one home run.
Cepeda was the second player from Puerto Rico to win a triple crown in Minor League Baseball, doing so in 1956, with a batting average of .355, 26 home runs, and 112 RBIs. He was selected to seven All-Star Games (1959–64, 1967). He was the first Puerto Rican to start in an All Star Game and to be selected in two positions, serving as a first basemen and left fielder. His lifetime numbers in the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League are .325 batting average (fifth place), 89 home runs, 340 runs batted in and .544 slugging (second place and only Puerto Rican with .500+). He batted .300+ eleven times, the most in league history.
Divorce, second marriage and conversion
Cepeda tried a comeback in the LBPPR, but noticed that his body couldn't perform well, opting to retire instead. After retiring, he began experiencing several personal problems. He and Pino divorced in 1973, Cepeda had other relationships outside of wedlock, from which one son, Carl Cepeda, was born. After the couple separated, he met Nydia Fernandez, who was from Carolina, Puerto Rico. The couple married in 1975, fathering two children, Malcom and Ali.
Cepeda converted to Nichiren Buddhism on April 17, 1983. One year later, he moved to Los Angeles, renting an apartment in Burbank. During this timeframe, his relationship with Fernandez deteriorated. She eventually left the house and returned to Puerto Rico with Malcom and Ali and filed a divorce suit. A friend introduced Cepeda to Mirian Ortiz, whom he eventually married.
Return to the Giants and community work
In 1987, Max Shapiro asked him to substitute for McCovey in a "fantasy baseball camp" in San Francisco, and although reluctuant at first, he accepted. Here he met and befriended publisher Laurence Hyman, who introduced Cepeda to San Francisco Giants' staff members and encouraged him to write to Al Rosen. After initially receiving no response, eventually Patrick J. Gallagher called to tell Cepeda that Rosen wanted to hire him as a scout. Cepeda worked in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and other Latin American countries during his first year, after which the Giants placed him on full time payroll. Cepeda later worked as a "goodwill ambassador" for the Giants, attending activities in schools, hospitals and community centers. and he represented the Giants in programs aimed at Latin American communities. He also joined Sōka Gakkai International and participated in activities for the Puerto Rican communities in New York.
Cepeda threw the honorary first pitch for the third game of the 1989 National League Championship Series, and also for a regular season game between the Giants and Dodgers on September 17, 1997, his 60th birthday. Cepeda has a place at the Giants new ballpark, opened in 2000. At AT&T Park he has his own concessions stand called "Orlando's", serving the famous "Caribbean Cha Cha Bowl". In 2006, the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) approved a chapter for Puerto Rico, the first in Latin America, and named the chapter in honor of Cepeda.
Induction to Hall of Fame
By the early 1990s, when his time of eligibility was beginning to run out, many Puerto Ricans, celebrities and ordinary citizens alike, began to campaign for his induction. Some international celebrities and former teammates also joined in the campaign. In 1994, his last year of eligibility by voting, he came within seven votes of being elected. In 1999, he was elected by the Hall's Veterans Committee, joining Roberto Clemente as the only other Puerto Rican in Cooperstown.
Cepeda belongs to fourteen halls of fame, most by any Puerto Rican athlete: Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame (1990); Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame (1991); Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame (1995); Santurce Hall of Fame (1997); Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame (1993); Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown (1999); Missouri Hall of Fame (2000); Guayama Hall of Fame (2000); Ponce Hall of Fame (2001); Cataño Hall of Fame (2002); Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum (2002), African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (2007). San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame (2008) and Latinoamerican Baseball Hall of Fame (2010).
Humanitarian and additional sports recognitions
Cepeda has been recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball. He served as an honorary spokesman for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
In 2001, he won the Ernie Banks Positive Image Lifetime Achievement Award. The citation for the award reads, in part, "The legacy he is leaving is an impressive one indeed. His commitment to community service includes credentials for a Humanitarian Hall of Fame. He is now recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball and the San Francisco Giants." It goes on to list many of his national and community contributions, including his regular visits to inner-city schools throughout the country in conjunction with HOPE: Helping Other People Excel. "Each December, Orlando tours as part of the Giants Christmas Caravan visiting hospitals, schools and youth groups including the UC San Francisco Medical Center pediatric cancer ward. He is a participant in Athletes Against AIDS. He is also a public speaker for the Omega Boys and Girls Club, counseling at-risk children in the San Francisco community.
The Giants retired Orlando Cepeda's number 30. It hangs on the facing of the upper deck in the left field corner of AT&T Park. On September 6, 2008, the Giants unveiled a statue of Cepeda next to the installation. He is the fourth Giant to be honored with a statue; the other players are Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Juan Marichal.
In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Cepeda, a Puerto Rican, was the first baseman on Stein's Latin team. In September 2008, the San Francisco Giants added a life size bronze statue on the 4th corner of the stadium to honor Orlando Cepeda as one of the greatest Giants of all time, joining other Hall of Fame players on the other three corners of the stadium. These include Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey. Orlando Cepeda continues to be a part of the Giants front office staff and is often involved with the team's spring training activities.
Cepeda is a Buddhist and Sōka Gakkai International (SGI-USA) member. Cepeda shared his experience at an SGI-USA meeting: "I had to fight every day," said Cepeda, explaining how he endured growing up in his native Puerto Rico. "But when I joined the SGI-USA, I learned that peace comes from inside. From my Buddhist practice, I have learned how to be a person who cares about others."
Batting average .297
Home runs 379
Runs batted in 1,365
San Francisco Giants (1958–1966)
St. Louis Cardinals (1966–1968)
Atlanta Braves (1969–1972)
Oakland Athletics (1972)
Boston Red Sox (1973)
Kansas City Royals (1974)
Career highlights and awards
11× All-Star (1959, 1959², 1960, 1960², 1961, 1961², 1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1967)
World Series champion (1967)
1967 NL MVP
1958 NL Rookie of the Year
San Francisco Giants #30 retired
HOF, 1999 Veterans Committee
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
Second Team, Second Baseman, Bill Mazeroski
^ Montage of Mazeroski's 1960 World Series winning home run.
William Stanley Mazeroski (born September 5, 1936 in Wheeling, West Virginia), nicknamed "Maz", is a former Major League Baseball player who spent his entire career (1956–72) with the Pittsburgh Pirates. A key member of the Pirates' World Series-winning teams in 1960 and 1971, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
While one of the greatest defensive second basemen of all time, he is perhaps best known for winning the 1960 World Series with a dramatic game-ending home run. The only other time that a World Series ended with a home run was Toronto's Joe Carter in 1993. Mazeroski's however, remains the only home run to win a World Series Game 7.
Mazeroski attended Warren Consolidated High School in Tiltonsville, Ohio, excelling in both baseball and basketball. He started on the varsity baseball team as a freshman.
As a 17-year-old in 1954, Mazeroski signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Originally a shortstop, he was quickly moved to second base and made his Major League debut on July 7, 1956. He would remain with the Pirates his entire career.
^ A younger picture of Bill Mazeroski. Now that we're in the 60-69 teams Wiki tends to show the older pictures of players after they retired but stayed in the game as a coach or manager.
Mazeroski was noted for his defensive prowess and earned his first of eight Gold Glove Awards in 1958. He had a career .983 fielding percentage, led the National League in assists nine times, and holds the major league career record for double plays by a second baseman. Baseball analyst Bill James has written that, "Bill Mazeroski's defensive statistics are probably the most impressive of any player at any position".
While his defensive ability typically overshadowed his contributions with a bat – Pirates broadcaster Bob Prince used to call him simply "The Glove" – Mazeroski had several fine offensive seasons. His best was in 1958, when he batted .275, hit 19 home runs (a career best), had 68 RBIs, good enough that along with his sterling mitt he was considered for the MVP Award. In 1966 he knocked in 82, a career best. During his peak (1957–68), he drove in more runs than any other middle infielder of the period. Mazeroski's power numbers were held down by the distant fences in Forbes Field. In his career, he hit over twice as many home runs on the road as he did in his home park – 45 home runs at home versus 93 on the road. By comparison, the Chicago Cubs slugging second baseman Ryne Sandberg hit only 118 career home runs away from the comfy confines of Wrigley Field.
In the 1960 World Series, Mazeroski won the title for Pittsburgh in Game 7 with a game-winning home run off New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Yankees had rallied with two runs to tie the game, 9-9, in the top of the inning, setting up Mazeroski's heroics. A 14-year-old fan named Andy Jerpe retrieved the ball outside the ground and had it signed by Mazeroski, but it was later lost when used in a game.
There's a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10-9 and win the World Series!
—Mel Allen on NBC television, calling Bill Mazeroski's series-winning home run in the 9th inning of Game 7.
Well, a little while ago, when we mentioned that this one, in typical fashion, was going right to the wire, little did we know… Art Ditmar throws—here's a swing and a high fly ball going deep to left, this may do it!… Back to the wall goes Berra, it is…over the fence, home run, the Pirates win!… (long pause for crowd noise)… Ladies and gentlemen, Mazeroski has hit a one-nothing pitch over the left field fence at Forbes Field to win the 1960 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of ten to nine!… Once again, that final score… The Pittsburgh Pirates, the 1960 world champions, defeat the New York Yankees. The Pirates ten, and the Yankees nine!
—Chuck Thompson's radio call of the final play, including a mistake on who the pitcher was (actually mentioning who was warming up in the bullpen when he was interrupted), and initially flubbing the final score.
In spite of his reputation as a non-slugger, Mazeroski actually hit another decisive home run in the 1960 Series, tallying half of the Pirate team total over the seven games. In the fourth inning of Game 1, with Don Hoak on base, Mazeroski hit a shot off Jim Coates that went over the left field scoreboard and provided the edge in a 6–4 Pirates victory.
Mazeroski and Roberto Clemente were the last remaining Pirate players from the 1960 World Series winners, when the Pirates won the World Series in 1971 and lost the NL championship series in 1972. Mazeroski was a member of ex-teammate Bill Virdon's coaching staff with the Pirates in 1973, a year after retiring from playing.
Hall of Fame selection and other honors
Mazeroski was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. On induction day at Cooperstown he only made it as far into his prepared remarks as thanking the Veterans Committee voters for choosing a player based largely on defensive skills (a rarity) before becoming so emotional he had to stop. Apologizing to those who "had to come all the way up here to hear this crap!" he then sat down to a long and loud standing ovation from the audience and his fellow Hall-of-Famers.
Today, a portion of the brick left field wall from Forbes Field remains standing on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Pittsburgh's Oakland District as a memorial; locally, the wall is usually referred to as "Mazeroski's Wall." Although this is technically not the actual section of wall that Mazeroski's famous home run cleared, a nearby plaque does mark the spot where the sudden-victory homer cleared the wall. A softball field dedicated to Mazeroski lies on the other side.
In 1987, Mazeroski ran for the Democratic nomination for County Commissioner in his home of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania but his bid was unsuccessful.
In 1995, Harrison Central High school, located in Cadiz Ohio had a field donated by Bill which would later be known as "Mazeroski Field"
In 2003, the Ohio Buckeye Local High School in Rayland (which had since absorbed Warren Consolidated) honored him by naming their new baseball field after him, placing a monument behind home plate in recognition.
In 2004, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference saluted Mazeroski by electing him among the inaugural members of their Hall of Fame, alongside Boston Celtic great John Havlicek and former Olympic wrestler Bobby Douglas.
Mazeroski was recognized by Major League Baseball by being selected to throw out the first pitch of the Home Run Derby that preceded the 2006 All Star Game at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, receiving a long standing ovation. He also was picked to manage the National League during the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game during the All Star week celebrations there.
In 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced that a statue of Mazeroski would be added outside PNC Park. He will be depicted as in the famed photograph, running with both arms extended, ball cap in his right hand. That statue was unveiled on September 5, 2010. The brass plaque erected with the statue that sets the scene erroneously refers to the 1-0 pitch Mazeroski hit as "On an 0-1 pitch, at 3:36 p.m., Maz hit the only walk-off home run . . . "
Mazeroski was the focus of a staged game-ending triple play as part of a cameo appearance in the 1968 Hollywood hit film The Odd Couple. In the scene, Oscar Madison was distracted from witnessing the play by an annoying phone call from Felix Ungar (immediately after sarcastically predicting to fellow sportswriter Heywood Hale Broun that the Mets still had a chance to win if Mazeroski hit into a triple play). In reality, Mazeroski never suffered such an inglorious moment during his playing days, but according to the Society for American Baseball Research was part of triple plays in both 1966 and 1968 as a fielder.
According to an anecdote recorded at the Internet Movie Database web page on The Odd Couple, the scene was actually filmed just prior to the start of a regular game at Shea Stadium on June 27, 1967. Maz reported that he was given only 10 minutes to get it done:
They had a guy out there pitching and he was throwing fastballs. I knew I had to hit a liner to the third baseman. It only took two takes. The first pitch, I hit a line drive that went just foul. The second one, I hit a one-hopper right to third. He caught it, stepped on third, threw to second, threw to first, a triple play. Now that took talent!
Jack Fisher was the pitcher for the Mets in that scene.
Mazeroski serves as special infield instructor for the Pirates in spring training and is retired in Panama City, FL. He was also in a commercial for FSN Pittsburgh featuring former Pirates first baseman Sean Casey.
His son Darren is a retired junior college baseball coach.
His son Dave is an atmospheric scientist and did not pursue a career in baseball.
He would have been the guest of honor at the first showing in 50 years of the previously-lost television footage of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, but was unable to attend due to hospitalization.
Mazeroski hosts an annual golf tournament, The Bill Mazeroski Golf Tournament.
^ Mazeroski at PNC Park for the 50th Anniversary celebration of the 1960 World Series.
Batting average .260
Home runs 138
Runs batted in 853
Pittsburgh Pirates (1956–1972)
Career highlights and awards
10× All-Star (1958, 1959, 1959², 1960, 1960², 1962, 1962², 1963, 1964, 1967)
2× World Series champion (1960, 1971)
8× Gold Glove Award winner (1958, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)
1960 Babe Ruth Award
Pittsburgh Pirates #9 retired
HOF 2001 Veterans Committee
Being a fan of the glove, I am very happy that Mazeroski made the HOF!
Batboy: Get a hit Crash!
Crash: Shut up!
Backer of Rockies and Yankees.
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