Monday, April 21, 2014

Jim Lefebvre (#140)

Today we have the 1965 NL Rookie of the Year, Jim Lefebvre. (Four years later, the Dodgers would have another 2nd baseman win the Rookie of the Year award.)

Lefebvre was signed by the Dodgers in 1962, and played 3 seasons in the minors as a 2nd baseman. He made his big-league debut in April 1965, taking over the 2nd base job from the 1964 tandem of Nate Oliver and Dick Tracewski. Jim started the first 75 games at 2nd base, and by season’s end, had started 154 of the 162 games there. He also chipped in with 12 homers, and was also named the top rookie, with 13 of the 20 votes. (The Astros’ Joe Morgan received 4 votes.)


Jim began the 1966 season as the team’s 3rd baseman, but moved back to second base in early May. Meanwhile, Nate Oliver (2b), Junior Gilliam (3b), and John Kennedy (3b) filled in around him. Lefebvre made his only all-star team in 1966. He tallied career highs in homers (24), RBI (74), and batting average (.274) in his sophomore season.

During this time, he was also one of several pro athletes to make guest appearances on a TV series. Lefebvre was one of the Riddler’s henchmen on “Batman”.

With the Dodgers’ acquisition of 2nd baseman Ron Hunt, Lefebvre spent most of the 1967 season at 3rd base, although he played 2nd base whenever Hunt was out of the lineup (which included most of August).

Hunt moved on to the Giants in 1968, but Lefebvre missed a lot of time with injuries, starting only 53 games at 2B and 17 at 3B. In 1969, he was relegated to the bench for much of the season in favor of rookies Ted Sizemore (117 starts at 2B) and Bill Sudakis (118 starts at 3B). Lefebvre only started 80 games that season, split between 2B, 3B, and 1B.

In 1970, Jim shared the 2nd base job with Sizemore, then with Sizemore having been traded to the Cardinals in the off-season, Lefebvre regained the lion’s share of playing time (97 starts) in 1971.

Lefebvre’s final season with the Dodgers (1972) was spent as a role player, since the 2nd base job was now manned by rookie Lee Lacy and 2nd-year man Bobby Valentine. Jim was released by the Dodgers and played in Japan for the 1973-76 seasons.

After his playing career, he coached for several teams, and managed the Mariners (1989-91), the Cubs (1992-93), and the Brewers (1999). He also coached teams in the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hank Aaron (#100)

Today is the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record.

Here we see Hank, fresh off his 1968 season, the year he joined the 500-homer club.


Of Aaron's 755 career homers, 375 were hit in the 1960s, good for 2nd place behind Harmon Killebrew. (You can see the chart of 1960s sluggers in Killebrew's post.)

Hammerin' Hank broke the record on April 8, 1974, during the Braves' first home game of the season. It came in the 4th inning (his 2nd at-bat) off Dodgers' starter Al Downing.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Joe Niekro (#43)

Joe Niekro was one of several sets of brothers who played in the majors in the 1960s. Like his older brother Phil, Joe was a knuckleball pitcher.

Joe was signed by the Cubs in 1966, and after only one season in the minors, he made his big-league debut in April 1967. He pitched 36 games (22 starts) as a rookie, and finished 3rd in innings pitched on the Cubs’ staff, behind Fergie Jenkins and fellow rookie Rich Nye.

Niekro was a member of the starting rotation for 2 seasons, then in late-April 1969 he was traded to the Padres for pitcher Dick Selma. Joe finished out the season with San Diego, then was traded to the Tigers for pitcher Pat Dobson.


Niekro spent played for the Tigers for all of 1970-71, and part of 1972. He spent the remainder of 1972 and most of 1973 in the Tigers’ farm system.

When the Braves claimed him off waivers in early August 1973, he joined the Braves for the rest of the season (uniting him with brother Phil), and made 20 relief appearances. Joe split his time between the Braves and their AAA team in 1974, then was sold to the Astros 2 days before the start of the 1975 season.

Niekro enjoyed his greatest success during his 11 seasons with the Astros. In 1979 he led the NL with 21 wins, made the all-star team, and finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting. He followed up his great 1979 season by notching 20 wins in 1980, and pitching in the NLCS against the Phillies.

Two weeks before the end of the 1985 season, Joe was traded to the Yankees for pitcher Jim Deshaies. Once again, his brother Phil was a teammate, although Phil was traded away after the season. Joe remained in the Yankees’ starting rotation until his June 1987 trade to the Twins.

Niekro pitched for the Twins for the remainder of the 1987 season (including the World Series vs. the Cardinals), but after pitching 5 games in 1988, he was released in early May, ending his 22-year career.

Niekro passed away in October 2006 at age 61.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ted Shows How (#539)

Here's one of the four multi-player cards in the 1969 set. There is also a multi-player card for the Athletics in this set, which the previous owner of this blog posted in August 2009. I stumbled upon it a month later, which was my introduction to Google Blogger. A few days later, I started my 1967 and 1968 blogs.


Here, the Senators' manager Ted Williams apparently is showing young first baseman Mike Epstein the value of choking up on the bat. Epstein came over to the Senators early in the 1967 season from the Orioles, where he was blocked by Boog Powell.

Epstein played 2 seasons with the Nats before Williams' tenure as manager. During their first 2 seasons together, Epstein's stats improved greatly.


Perhaps the best example of Williams' influence on a player's batting was perennial light-weight Ed Brinkman. Prior to Ted's arrival in 1969, Brinkman struggled to reach the Mendoza Line. In fact, in 3 of the 4 seasons prior to 1969, Ed hit in the .180's. In the two seasons under Williams' tutelage, Brinkman's batting average soared to .268 and .262.

He was traded to the Tigers after the 1970 season, where his average plummeted 40 to 60 points below his 1969 high in each of the next 4 seasons.

Here is a post on my 1966 blog, listing all the multi-player cards in the 1966 to 1969 sets.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Duane Josephson (#222)

Today we take a look at Duane Josephson, the White Sox' starting catcher during the late-1960s.

Josephson was signed by Chicago in 1964, and worked his way up the ladder from rookie ball to triple-A from 1964-66. He played a few games for Chicago at the end of the ’65 and ’66 seasons, then made the White Sox at the start of 1967. (The Sox had traded veteran catcher Johnny Romano during the previous off-season.) 


Duane started 10 of 16 games in April, and alternated with J. C. Martin through the month of May. He was out of the lineup for most of June after being run over at home plate. Three days after returning to the lineup, he broke a finger and missed most of July. He finished his rookie season with 53 starts (only 16 less than Martin).

The following season he was the undisputed regular catcher, starting 113 games, while 1967’s 3rd-stringer Jerry McNertney started the rest (Martin having been shipped off to the Mets in November 1967). Duane made his only all-star team in 1968, as a reserve catcher behind the Tigers’ Bill Freehan.

After batting only .247 with very little pop (6 homers) in ’68, Josephson lost his starting job to rookie Ed Herrmann in 1969. They shared the position evenly in 1970, with the right-handed Josephson and the lefty Herrmann both greatly improving their batting averages.

During spring training in 1971, Duane was traded to the Red Sox for pitcher Vicente Romo. Josephson started half the games for the Bosox, alternating with Bob Montgomery. In September, a rookie catcher named Carlton Fisk was called up, and that was the beginning of the end for all other catchers.

Duane only played in 26 games in 1972 (6 starts behind the plate, and 15 at 1st base). His final major-league appearance came on July 2nd. Josephson had been diagnosed with pericarditis, an inflammation around the heart. This forced him into retirement in 1972 at age 30.

He died in his hometown of New Hampton, Iowa in January 1997, at age 54.


Duane Josephson profile on the SABR website

 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Clete Boyer (#489)

Here is Clete Boyer, near the end of his long career. Clete had a Topps card in 1957, and every year from 1959-71. I have all his cards from 1966-70.

Boyer was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 as a bonus baby, and began his pro career on the Athletics’ major-league roster. He played sparingly in 1955, only making 6 starts at 3rd base (behind future Yankees’ teammate Hector Lopez), while also getting a few starts at 2nd base and left field. In 1956 Boyer started 34 games as the A’s backup 2nd baseman.

In June 1957, after appearing in only 10 games (9 as a pinch-runner) and having no at-bats, Boyer was sent to the Yankees to complete an 11-player trade which included pitchers Art Ditmar and Bobby Shantz going to the Yankees.

Clete spent the remainder of 1957, all of 1958, and June and July of 1959 in the minors, getting the much-needed experience he missed as a bonus baby.


Boyer began the 1959 season with the Yankees, but was sent to the minors for 2 months. When he returned, he was the starting shortstop from mid-August to mid-September. (Regular shortstop Tony Kubek missed 30 games that season, and also played half his games in the outfield.)

Clete rode the bench for the first half of 1960, then won the 3rd base job from long-time Yankees’ infielder Gil McDougald (who was in his final season), and started 92 of the final 118 games at the hot corner.

With the retirement of McDougald, Boyer had 3rd base to himself in 1961, making 138 starts along with another 8 starts at shortstop. Clete continued as the regular 3rd baseman through the 1965 season, while making occasional starts at shortstop.

1966 was a strange season. During the first half, left fielder Tom Tresh (who had played the first 4 ½ months of the 1962 season at shortstop in Kubek’s absence) was moved to 3rd base, with Boyer becoming the regular shortstop. This arrangement continued until late-June, when Tresh returned to left field, Boyer to 3rd base, and Horace Clarke installed as the regular shortstop.

In November, Clete was traded to the Braves for outfield prospect Bill Robinson and reliever Chi-Chi Olivo. Boyer took over the Braves’ hot corner from long-time veteran slugger Eddie Mathews, who was traded to the Astros a month later.

Clete hit a career-high 26 home runs in 1967, and played 4 ½ seasons for the Braves (although missing the last 2 ½ months of the 1968 season). He was released by the Braves at the end of May 1971, after clashing with the Braves’ manager and general manager.

After playing the remainder of the ’71 season for the Padres’ AAA team in Hawaii (nice work, if you can get it!), Clete played in Japan from 1972-75.

Boyer played in the World Series with the Yankees every season from 1960-64, and in the 1969 NLCS with the Braves. He also won a Gold Glove in 1969.

Clete’s brother Ken was a 3rd baseman from 1955-1969 (mostly with the Cardinals). They both played 3rd base in the 1964 World Series. His other brother Cloyd was a pitcher with the Cardinals from 1949-52, and was Clete’s teammate with the 1955 Athletics.

Clete passed away in June 2007 at age 70.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Andy Messersmith (#296)

Here is Andy Messersmith's rookie card. He had a 12-year career as a starting pitcher for the Angels, Dodgers, and others, but may be best remembered as one of the players who finally broke through to free agency.

Messersmith was drafted by the Tigers in 1965, but did not sign. He was the Angels’ #1 pick in the 1966 draft, and played 2 ½ seasons in the minors. Andy pitched for the Angels’ AAA team in Seattle in 1966 and the first half of 1968, and with double-A El Paso in 1967.


He made his major-league debut at age 22 on July 4th, 1968. Andy entered the game with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, with the score 9-4 in favor of Detroit, and the Angels already having burned through FOUR PITCHERS before him. He pitched 5.1 innings in his debut, with the final score showing Tigers 13, Angels 10.

Messersmith didn’t join the starting rotation until September, and started his last 5 games in his rookie season. In 1969, he was a swing man in April, then permanently joined the rotation on May 9th. He finished with a 16-11 record in his first full season, but also led the AL with 16 wild pitches.

After an off-year in 1970, Andy compiled a 20-13 record in 1971, and made his first of four all-star squads (his only one as an Angel). Messersmith played one more season with the Angels, then was traded to the Dodgers (with 3rd baseman Ken McMullen) for outfielder Frank Robinson, pitcher Bill Singer, infielders Bobby Valentine and Billy Grabarkewitz, and pitcher Mike Strahler.

Andy had 3 good seasons in LA, including 20-6 in 1974 (leading the NL in wins) and 19-14 in 1975 (leading the league with 321 innings pitched and 7 shutouts). He also won Gold Glove awards and made the all-star team in ’74 and ’75.

In March 1976, he and pitcher Dave McNally were granted free agency in a landmark case which eliminated baseball’s reserve clause, one year after Catfish Hunter became the first free agent.

Andy signed with the Atlanta Braves, and after wearing #47 with the Angels and Dodgers, he was given #17 with the Braves. In place of his last name, the word “CHANNEL” appeared on his back (because Braves’ owner Ted Turner’s WTBS superstation was carried on channel 17 in Atlanta).

Messersmith had an ok season in 1976 (11-11, and an all-star berth), and an off-year in 1977 (5-4, 4.40 ERA). The Braves sold him to the Yankees in December 1977, but Andy missed all but 22 innings of the 1978 season due to injuries. Following his release, he was signed by the Dodgers but pitched only 11 games (the last on June 1st) before the Dodgers released him in August.

Messersmith’s career ERA of 2.86 is the 5th lowest since 1920, behind Hoyt Wilhelm, Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax, and Jim Palmer.

After retirement, Andy coached college baseball.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 1969 Pilots

Here are the 1969 Seattle Pilots, the one-year wonders documented by Jim Bouton in his book "Ball Four" (shown below). I read my brother's paperback version during a cross-country bus trip in 1971, and a few years ago I found the hardback version (below) at a used book store.

More than any of the other three 1969 expansion teams, the Pilots were a collection of over-the-hill veterans and low-talent youngsters. The only diamond in the rough was Lou Piniella, and he was traded during spring training. (On second thought, Mike Marshall and Marty Pattin also had good careers, but the rest were nothing special.)


This is the only baseball card showing the Seattle Pilots team. There were no team cards in the 1969 Topps set. The Pilots were sold and moved to Milwaukee early in 1970, too late for Topps to make adjustments, so they are all shown as Pilots (not Brewers) in the 1970 set.

Before continuing, you may want to check out this post on the 1969 AL expansion that I blogged a few years ago.

There are a lot of players shown below, but many did not last the entire season. A LONG transaction list is at the end of this post.


Starting Pitchers:
Here are the starting pitchers, in order of innings pitched. Gene Brabender was acquired at the end of Spring Training from the Orioles for Chico Salmon. He led the starters in games (40), starts (29), innings pitched (202), and wins (13).

Marty Pattin, Fred Talbot, Mike Marshall, and Steve Barber each pitched in 20 or more games. They were primarily starters, but also worked out of the bullpen on occasion.

George Brunet was picked up from the Angels at the end of July, and started 11 of his 12 games. John Gelnar was primarily a relief pitcher, but also started 10 of his 39 games. Gary Bell started 11 games, then was traded to the White Sox in early June for Bob Locker.


Relievers:
These are the primary relief pitchers (all appearing in more than 50 games), in order of innings pitched. Diego Segui was the team's closer, leading the staff with 12 saves. He also started 8 of his 66 games. Knuckleballer Jim Bouton pitched 92 innings over 57 games, then was traded to the Astros for Dooley Womack. Bob Locker and John O'Donoghue each pitched 70+ innings over 50+ games, all in relief.


 Other Pitchers:
Whereas the first 12 pitchers in this review each played in more than 10 games and pitched more than 60 innings, all the players in this section pitched less than 35 innings, and (except for Jack Aker) in less than 10 games. They are shown by innings pitched, from Bob Meyer's 32 innings to Jerry Stephenson's 2 innings.

Aker, Dooley Womack, John Morris, and Stephenson were used strictly in relief, while Meyer was primarily a starter, and Garry Roggenburk, Skip Lockwood, and Darrell Brandon were the swing men.


Regulars:
The Pilots did a lot of experimenting until finding the best lineup, but these 8 played the most at their positions. Only McNertney, Mincher, and Davis played more than 100 games at a position.

Jerry McNertney went from 3rd string catcher with the White Sox to starting 109 games behind the plate for Seattle. Don Mincher was on his 3rd team in 4 years, and was the team's lone all-star representative. He led the Pilots with 25 homers. John Donaldson started 89 games at 2nd base after his mid-June acquisition from the Athletics. Ray Oyler was the regular shortstop until the final month of the season.

Tommy Harper (a corner outfielder during his years with the Reds and Indians) started 56 of the first 58 games at 2nd base, then moved to center field when Donaldson was acquired. Harper was the team's regular 3rd baseman in August and September, starting 58 games there. Tommy Davis started 103 games in left field (85 more than his backup).

In his first season as a regular, Wayne Comer hit 15 home runs and started 90 games in center field. He also started another 40 games in right field (mostly in September). Right field was a melting pot with Mike Hegan (59 starts, mostly in the first half of the season), Comer (40), and Steve Hovley (40).


 Primary Bench Players:
These are the primary reserves, in order of plate appearances (minimum 125): Steve Hovley was the 3rd outfielder, actually making more starts than Hegan, although he was split between center and right fields. Gus Gil was the backup 2B-3B, but was mostly used as a pinch-hitter in the season's final months.

Rich Rollins was the starting 3rd baseman for the first 2 months, then rode the bench when Harper shifted from 2B to 3B. Ron Clark started 29 games at shortstop as Oyler's backup.

Greg Goossen came up as a catcher with the Mets, but was the backup 1st baseman with the Pilots. He started 29 games at 1st (all in the final 2 months) as Mincher needed more rest. John Kennedy appeared in 61 games, mostly as the backup 3B-SS. He missed all of July and August.

Steve Whitaker played in 69 games as a backup corner outfielder and pinch-hitter. He was demoted to triple-A for the month of August. Veteran catcher Jim Pagliaroni wrapped up his 11-year career with the Pilots. He was acquired from Oakland in late May, and replaced Larry Haney as the backup catcher.


Other Bench Players (less than 100 at-bats):
Here are the rest of the subs, by number of at-bats. Danny Walton and Sandy Valdespino were acquired from the Astros on August 30th for Tommy Davis. Merritt Ranew played in triple-A in April but spent the rest of the year with the Pilots, mostly as a pinch-hitter. It was his last season.

Early-season backup catcher Larry Haney is shown in his infamous "left-handed catcher" pose. (His 1968 card photo was flipped.) Jim Gosger began the season as the starting center fielder, but by late April had lost his job to Wayne Comer, and was sent to the Mets in late July to complete an earlier trade.

In mid-May, Jose Vidal was traded to the Yankees for Dick Simpson. Dick started a dozen games in center field for the Pilots. Mike Ferraro made 5 pinch-hitting appearances in April, then was traded to the Orioles at month's end for John O'Donoghue.


Others:
Miguel Fuentes (26 IP) and Dick Baney (18 IP) pitched briefly for the Pilots.  Long-time Cardinals' 3rd base coach Joe Schultz got his only managing job with the 1969 Pilots. He returned to coaching in 1970. Rollie Sheldon was cut in spring training, and Chico Salmon was traded to the Orioles for Gene Brabender just before the season started.



The lone Pilots Rookies card in the 1969 set.  According to Ball Four, Lou Piniella's attitude got him traded off the team.  As a rookie, he proclaimed he wasn't going back to the minors, so the team should trade him rather than send him down.  He was traded to the Royals for Steve Whitaker, and won the 1969 Rookie of the Year award.  Marv Staehle did not play for the Pilots.


Others who played for the Pilots were shortstops Fred Stanley and Gordy Lund, catcher Freddie Velazquez, outfielder Billy Williams (not the Cubs' all-star), and pitchers Gary Timberlake, Dick Bates, and Bill Edgerton.

Long-time veteran pitchers given a look-see in spring training, but not making the team were Jim O'Toole, Bill Stafford, and Bill Henry.  (Actually, Henry made the team, but retired days before the start of the season.)


Here is the back of the 1970 team card.  It seems they could have dispensed with the last column ("year the record was set").




Transactions from the team's inception to the end of 1969:

(The Pilots made deals during the 1968 season to stock the Seattle AAA team they shared with the Angels)

04/01/68 - Purchased Marv Staehle from the Indians.

05/01/68 - Acquired Gus Gil from the Indians.

06/14/68 - Purchased Mike Hegan from the Yankees.

07/09/68 - Purchased pitcher Orlando Pena from the Indians.

09/08/68 - Sold Orlando Pena to the Royals.

09/08/68 - Purchased Jose Vidal from the Indians.

10/15/68 expansion draft:
Drafted Don Mincher from the California Angels as the 2nd pick
Drafted Tommy Harper from the Cleveland Indians as the 3rd pick
Drafted Ray Oyler from the Detroit Tigers as the 5th pick
Drafted Jerry McNertney from the Chicago White Sox as the 7th pick
Drafted Buzz Stephen from the Minnesota Twins as the 9th pick
Drafted Chico Salmon from the Cleveland Indians as the 11th pick
Drafted Diego Segui from the Oakland Athletics as the 14th pick
Drafted Tommy Davis from the Chicago White Sox as the 16th pick
Drafted Marty Pattin from the California Angels as the 18th pick
Drafted Gerry Schoen from the Washington Senators as the 20th pick
Drafted Gary Bell from the Boston Red Sox as the 21st pick
Drafted Jack Aker from the Oakland Athletics as the 24th pick
Drafted Rich Rollins from the Minnesota Twins as the 26th pick
Drafted Lou Piniella from the Cleveland Indians as the 28th pick
Drafted Dick Bates from the Washington Senators as the 30th pick
Drafted Larry Haney from the Baltimore Orioles as the 32nd pick
Drafted Dick Baney from the Boston Red Sox as the 33rd pick
Drafted Steve Hovley from the California Angels as the 35th pick
Drafted Steve Barber from the New York Yankees as the 37th pick
Drafted Wayne Comer from the Detroit Tigers as the 41st pick
Drafted Darrell Brandon from the Boston Red Sox as the 44th pick
Drafted Skip Lockwood from the Oakland Athletics as the 46th pick
Drafted Gary Timberlake from the New York Yankees as the 48th pick
Drafted John Morris from the Baltimore Orioles as the 52nd pick
Drafted Mike Marshall from the Detroit Tigers as the 53rd pick
Drafted Jim Gosger from the Oakland Athletics as the 55th pick
Drafted Mike Ferraro from the New York Yankees as the 57th pick

10/21/68 - Purchased Jim Bouton from the Yankees.

11/13/68 - Purchased John Kennedy from the Yankees.

12/02/68 - Drafted Freddie Velazquez from the Padres in the 1968 rule 5 draft.

02/05/69 - Acquired Greg Goossen from the Mets for a player to be named later (Jim Gosger 07/14/69)

03/31/69 - Traded Chico Salmon to the Orioles for Gene Brabender and shortstop Gordy Lund.

04/01/69 - Traded Lou Piniella to the Royals for John Gelnar and Steve Whitaker.

04/17/69 - Signed Jerry Stephenson as a free agent.

04/30/69 - Traded Mike Ferraro and Gerry Schoen to the Orioles for John O'Donoghue and 2 minor leaguers.

05/19/69 - Traded Jose Vidal to the Yankees for Dick Simpson.

05/20/69 - Traded Jack Aker to the Yankees for Fred Talbot.

05/27/69 - Purchased Jim Pagliaroni from the Athletics. Sold Freddie Velazquez to the Athletics.

06/08/69 - Traded Gary Bell to the White Sox for Bob Locker.

06/14/69 - Traded Larry Haney to the Athletics for John Donaldson.

06/23/69 - Purchased Garry Roggenburk from the Red Sox.

07/08/69 - Sold Darrell Brandon to the Twins.

07/11/69 - Purchased Ron Clark from the Twins.

07/31/69 - Purchased George Brunet from the Angels.

08/24/69 - Traded Jim Bouton to the Astros for Dooley Womack and pitcher Roric Harrison.

08/29/69 - Traded Fred Talbot to the Athletics for Bob Meyer and catcher Pete Koegel.

08/30/69 - Traded Tommy Davis to the Astros for Sandy Valdespino and Danny Walton.

09/08/69 - Purchased shortstop Fred Stanley from the Astros.

09/13/69 - Traded infielder Marv Staehle to the Expos for Floyd Wicker.

11/01/69 - Traded Merritt Ranew to the Senators for infielder Frank Coggins.

11/21/69 - Sold Mike Marshall to the Astros.

11/24/69 - Released Jim Pagliaroni.

12/04/69 - Traded George Brunet to the Senators for pitcher Dave Baldwin.

12/07/69 - Traded Ray Oyler and Diego Segui to the Athletics for infielder Ted Kubiak and pitcher George Lauzerique.

12/12/69 - Traded Dick Simpson and Steve Whitaker to the Giants for pitcher Bob Bolin.


Next 1969 team review: Montreal Expos

Also check out my 1967 team reviews here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Don Bosch (#578)

This is the first Expos player on this blog, so I wanted it to be a late-series card with the player in their new uniform, not an capless photo from their previous team. That he is a little-known player is a bonus.

This is the second of Don’s 3 baseball cards. His rookie card was in the 1968 set, where he had his own card as a New York Met. He also appeared as an Expo in the 1970 set.


Don Bosch was signed by the Pirates in 1960, and played 7 season in their farm system. He made his big-league debut for the Pirates with 3 games in September 1966. After the season, he and pitcher Don Cardwell were traded to the Mets for pitcher Dennis Ribant and C-OF Gary Kolb.

Bosch was with the Mets for 2 seasons, and was their backup center fielder, behind Cleon Jones in ’67 and Tommie Agee in ’68. He also spent a significant part of both seasons in the minors.

The Expos purchased Don from the Mets 2 days after the expansion draft in October 1968. 1969 was the only season that Bosch did not spend time in the minors, although he didn’t play after July 9th. It was also his last season in the majors. He was #3 on the center field depth chart behind Adolfo Phillips and Ty Cline. In addition to making 21 starts in center, Don also pinch-hit in another 2 dozen games.

Bosch began the 1970 season with Montreal’s AAA team, then was traded to the Astros in late June for future Cy Young Award winner Mike Marshall. Don played the remainder of the season with Houston’s AAA team, then retired after the season. He finished with a .164 career batting average over 146 games.