Power in a Pinch

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jerry Lynch

Jerry Lynch was one of the best pinch hitters of the 1960s. He was acquired by the New York Yankees in 1951 and drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. He made his major league debut with the Pirates in 1954, batting .239 with eight home runs and 36 runs batted in.

Jerry Lynch blasted five pinch home runs for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961. For his career, Lynch hit 18 pinch home runs and batted in 65 runs.

Jerry Lynch blasted five pinch home runs for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961. For his career, Lynch hit 18 pinch home runs and batted in 65 runs.

Lynch was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and played seven seasons in Cincinnati, batting .289 over that period. His best season in Cincinnati was 1961, when the Reds won the National League pennant. Lynch batted .315 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs. As a pinch hitter in 1961, he batted .404 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.

Lynch batted .281 in 1962 with 12 home runs and 57 RBIs. In 1963, he was traded back to Pittsburgh for Bob Skinner. He batted .273 for the Pirates in 1964 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs.

For his career, Lynch batted .265 as a pinch hitter with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs. Overall for his career, Lynch batted .277 with 115 home runs in 13 major league seasons.

 

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Terror in Red

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bobby Tolan

At the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, Bobby Tolan terrorized National League pitchers with a slashing hitting style and the speed to make him a scoring threat from anywhere on the base paths. His best years came in red uniforms, for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1969, his first season with the Cincinnati Reds, Bobby Tolan batted .305 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs.

In 1969, his first season with the Cincinnati Reds, Bobby Tolan batted .305 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs.

Tolan was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1963 and was selected by the Cardinals in December of that year through the first-year player draft. He made his debut in St. Louis at the end of the 1965 season and earned a spot on the Cardinals’ roster for keeps in 1967, batting .253 with six home runs and 32 RBIs as a rookie reserve outfielder for the World Champion Cardinals. He never made the starting lineup in St. Louis, batting .230 as a reserve in 1968, and was traded with Wayne Granger to the Reds for Vada Pinson.

In Cincinnati, Tolan took full advantage of his elevation to full-time playing status. He batted .305 in 1969 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs. He finished fourth in the National League in hits (194), third in triples (10) and fifth in stolen bases (26). He followed up in 1970 by batting .316 with 34 doubles, 16 home runs and 80 RBIs. He led the National League with 57 stolen bases.

An injury to his Achilles tendon kept Tolan out of baseball in 1971. In fact, he was never quite the same player after that injury. He batted .283 in 1972 with eight home runs and 82 RBIs. His 42 stolen bases in 1972 were fifth best in the National League. Tolan had a disastrous season in 1973, batting .206 with nine home runs and 51 RBIs, and was traded after that season to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Clay Kirby. He hit .266 for the Padres in 1974; it would be his highest batting average for the rest of his career.

Bobby Tolan led the National League with 57 stolen bases in 1970. He batted .316 that season.

Bobby Tolan led the National League with 57 stolen bases in 1970. He batted .316 that season.

Tolan’s last season as a full-time player came in 1975, when he batted .255 for the Padres with five home runs and 43 RBIs. He also managed 11 stolen bases that season. He was released by the Padres in 1976 and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, batting .261. He split the 1977 season between the Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates, hitting a combined .189 as a reserve outfielder. He played 22 games for the Padres in 1979 and then retired.

Tolan finished his 13-year major league career with 1,121 hits and a .265 batting average.

 

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Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bullpen

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 27, 1961) The San Francisco Giants today defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 behind the shutout pitching of Juan Marichal (7-7).

It was Marichal’s first shutout of the 1961 season, and his fifth complete game.

It had to be. The Giants had no one in the bullpen.

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With no one in the bullpen to back him up. Juan Marichal pitched a five-hit shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 2-0 and raising his season record to 7-7.

Prior to the first pitch, Giants manager Alvin Dark announced that “Marichal will go all the way,” and backed his prediction by keeping all of his relief corps in the dugout for the entire game. Dark later explained, “I’m sick and tired of watching pitchers bow their necks for four-five innings and then look around for Stu Miller to bail them out.”

The 23-year-old Marichal lived up to his manager’s expectations, scattering five hits while striking out eight batters and walking three. The Pirates’ best scoring opportunity was snuffed out in the seventh inning, thanks to Willie Mays’ miraculous catch of a Smoky Burgess deep fly ball.

The Giants scored their runs in the fifth and sixth innings on RBIs from Jose Pagan and Matty Alou.

The losing pitcher was Vinegar Bend Mizell (4-8).

Marichal would finish the 1961 season – his second in the major leagues – at 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA and nine complete games. He would pitch 244 complete games in his career with the Giants and 52 shutouts – number two all-time to Christy Mathewson among Giants pitchers.

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Aspiring Angel

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Fred Newman

The Los Angeles Angels shocked the baseball world in 1962 when they finished third in the American League in only their second year of existence. In fact, the Angels franchise was the most consistently successful early on of any expansion team in the modern era.

Fred Newman’s best season with the Angels came in 1964, when he was 13-10 with a 2.75 ERA and seven complete games.

Fred Newman’s best season with the Angels came in 1964, when he was 13-10 with a 2.75 ERA and seven complete games.

The strength of those early Angels teams was their pitching staff, especially the starting rotation. Arms like those on Dean Chance and Bo Belinsky carried the Angels and kept them generally competitive while other expansion teams were floundering. But the early success of the Angels’ staff was also buoyed by pitchers such as Ken McBride, George Brunet, Marcelino Lopez and Fred Newman.

Newman’s brief major league career was spent entirely with the Angels. A Massachusetts native, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox in1960 and selected by the Angels as the 47th pick in the 1960 expansion draft. In 1962, his combined record in the minors was 19-6, and in 1963 he was 8-6 for Hawaii in the Pacific Coast League before being called up to the Angels. He was 1-5 for the Angels in 12 appearances over the remainder of the 1963 season.

In 1964, the 22-year-old Newman earned a spot in the Angels’ starting rotation, and responded with a 13-10 season and a 2.75 ERA. He had seven complete games and two shutouts, pitching 190 innings. He was second on the team to Cy Young winner Dean Chance in each of those pitching categories.

In 1965 Newman led the Angels in innings pitched with 260.2. He went 14-16 with a 2.93 ERA. He also pitched 10 complete games with two shutouts.

He would never post those kinds of numbers again. Arm problems limited him to only 19 starts and 102.2 innings in 1966. He posted a 4-7 record with a 4.73 ERA. In 1967 he made only three relief appearances with the Angels, going 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He spent the rest of that season and all of 1968 in the minors trying to regain his arm strength, but was forced to retire at age 26.

Newman finished with a career record of 33-39 over six seasons. His career ERA was 3.41.

Zim Brings Relief

 

Swap Shop: Don Zimmer for Ron Perranoski

At the opening of the 1960s, Don Zimmer had already spent more than a decade as part of the Dodgers’ organization. An accomplished infielder with occasional pop in his bat, Zimmer was signed by the Dodgers in 1949 and made the Brooklyn squad in 1954.

Don Zimmer’s value as a utility infielder was worth three minor league players to the Chicago Cubs. But Zimmer spent only two seasons in Chicago before being drafted by the New York Mets. He was an All-Star selection in 1962, his second and last season with the Cubs.

Don Zimmer’s value as a utility infielder was worth three minor league players to the Chicago Cubs. But Zimmer spent only two seasons in Chicago before being drafted by the New York Mets. He was an All-Star selection in 1962, his second and last season with the Cubs.

His versatility as a fielder made him a valuable utility player for the Dodgers. From 1954-1957, he was the backup shortstop to Pee Wee Reese. In 1958, his only season as an everyday with the Dodgers, Zimmer took over as the team’s shortstop and delivered his best season at the plate: batting .262 with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for the Dodgers (now located in Los Angeles).

But in 1959, Zimmer split the shortstop duties with a young player named Maury Wills, and responded to platooning with a .165 batting average.

It would be his last season in Dodger blue.

While Zimmer’s versatility made him a valuable bench asset to Dodger manager Walt Alston, he was valued more by the Chicago Cubs. Just before the start of the 1960 season, the Cubs acquired Zimmer for $25,000 and three players: minor league outfielder Lee Handley, infielder Johnny Goryl, and a 24-year-old southpaw named Ron Perranoski.

At first, it looked as if the Cubs had gotten the best of the deal. Zimmer played all three positions on the left side of the Cubs’ 1960 infield (plus two appearances in left field), batting .258 with six home runs and 35 runs batted in. In 1961, as the Cubs’ regular second baseman, Zimmer was named to the All-Star team in a season where he batted .252 with 13 home runs, 40 RBIs and a career-best 25 doubles.

Ron Perranoski was the anchor in the Dodgers’ bullpen for that team’s pennant seasons of 1963, 1965 and 1966. Perranoski won 16 games for the Dodgers (all in relief) in 1963 while saving 21.

Ron Perranoski was the anchor in the Dodgers’ bullpen for that team’s pennant seasons of 1963, 1965 and 1966. Perranoski won 16 games for the Dodgers (all in relief) in 1963 while saving 21.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers saw little early return on the trade. None of the players acquired in exchange for Zimmer played for the Dodgers in 1960. Handley never made it to the major leagues. Goryl spent two seasons in the minors before being drafted by the Minnesota Twins (where he played for three seasons as a utility infielder).

And then there was Perranoski. He spent the 1960 season in AAA, going 12-11 with a 2.58 ERA. But after having served primarily as a starter in two seasons in the Cubs’ farm system, Perranoski was being groomed as a reliever by the Dodgers. He made the Dodgers’ roster in 1961, coming out of the bullpen for all but one of his 53 appearances, and posting a 7-5 record with a 3.04 ERA and six saves. In 1962, he appeared in 70 games, finishing 39 and saving 19 to go with a 6-6 record and a 3.35 earned run average.

Zimmer spent the 1962 season in New York and Cincinnati, selected by the Mets in the 1961 expansion draft and then traded to the Reds five weeks into the 1962 season. He batted a combined .213. He would play three more seasons in the major leagues, followed by a year in Japan and an ill-fated comeback attempt in the minors in 1967. He spent the next four decades in baseball as a coach and manager, both in the minors and at the major league level.

Perranoski emerged as one of the most effective relievers of the 1960s. He was 16-3 for the Dodgers in 1963 with a 1.67 ERA and 21 saves. Over the next four seasons, he won 23 games and saved 54 with a 2.73 combined ERA. Perranoski was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1968 and led the American League in saves in 1969 and 1970.

Zimmer’s baseball career lasted longer than the combined major league careers of the three players the Cubs surrendered to get him. But the trade for Perranoski turned out to be the biggest contribution Zimmer ever made to the Dodger organization that signed him.

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Giant Versatility

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bob Bolin

Bobby Bolin’s 13-season career started in the bullpen, moved to the starting rotation, and veered back to relieving to close out his playing days. He was consistently effective in both roles.

Among San Francisco Giants pitchers, Bob Bolin was fourth in wins during the 1960s (behind Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Mike McCormick).

Among San Francisco Giants pitchers, Bob Bolin was fourth in wins during the 1960s (behind Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Mike McCormick).

Bolin was signed by the New York Giants in 1956. His rookie season with the San Francisco Giants was 1961, when he appeared in 37 games, all but one in relief. Bolin went 2-2 with a 3.19 ERA and five saves in his first big league season.

In 1962 Bolin was an important part of the bullpen for the National League champion Giants, a bullpen that included Stu Miller and Don Larsen. Bolin was 7-3 in 41 appearances with a 3.62 ERA, the best among San Francisco relievers. He saved five games.

Bolin won 73 games in nine seasons in San Francisco with a combined ERA of 3.26. His best season with the Giants was 1965, when he went 14-6 with a 2.76 ERA.

An 11-10 record in 1966 included four shutouts, the second highest total in the National League. His 1.99 ERA in 1968 was second lowest in the National League (to Bob Gibson‘s 1.12 earned run average).

In December of 1969 the Giants traded Bolin to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dick Simpson and Steve Whitaker. He was 5-11 in his only season in Milwaukee, and then was acquired by the Boston Red Sox, where he was 10-8 with a 3.28 ERA over four seasons. Following the 1973 season, Bolin retired with a career record of 88-75 with a 3.40 ERA.

 

 

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He Knew How to Make Hits

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Lee Maye

Lee Maye had more natural talent than he could fully realize – on the baseball diamond and in the recording studio. He was a talented ballplayer whose career was derailed more than once by injury. And as a doo-wop vocalist in the 1950s, his success as a singer was necessarily limited by the demands of his baseball career, playing for five different major league teams.

Lee Maye led the major leagues with 44 doubles in 1964. He batted ,304 for the Milwaukee Braves that season.

Lee Maye led the major leagues with 44 doubles in 1964. He batted ,304 for the Milwaukee Braves that season.

Maye was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and made his major league debut with the Braves in July of 1959, getting two hits in five at-bats against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 51 games that season, Maye hit .300 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. His 1960 season followed the same pattern – starting the year in the minors, and closing out the season by playing in 41 games for the Braves, hitting .301 as a part-time performer.

Maye made the Braves’ roster for keeps in 1961, hitting .271 again as a part-time outfielder and pinch hitter, with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs. He hit .244 in 1962 and then bounced back in 1963 by hitting .271 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBIs and a career-high 14 stolen bases. He had his best season in 1964, the year he also had the most at-bats of any season in his major league career. Maye hit .304 with 10 home runs and 74 RBIs. He also led the major leagues with 44 doubles.

An important part of Maye’s game was his speed on the base paths and in the outfield, and a serious ankle injury in 1965 limited his abilities that season and, in fact, for the rest of his career. Maye was hitting .302 for the Braves when he was traded to the Houston Astros for Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Ken Johnson. He hit .251 for Houston in 1965 and batted .288 for the Astros in 1966. Following the 1966 season, he was traded with Ken Retzer to the Cleveland Indians for Doc Edwards, Jim Landis and Jim Weaver. His best season in Cleveland was 1968, when he hit .281.

In June 1969, Maye was dealt to the Washington Senators and hit .290 over the rest of that season. He split the 1970 season between the Senators and the Chicago White Sox, hitting a combined .261 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs. He hit .205 in 32 games for the White Sox in 1971 before retiring.

Maye played in the major leagues for 13 seasons and had a career batting average of .274. He collected 1,109 hits including 190 doubles and 94 home runs. He also had more than one hit in the recording industry, serving as the lead singer for “Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns” prior to his career in baseball.

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Tiger Tough

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Earl Wilson

Earl Wilson was a solid starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers during the 1960s. He also played a prominent role in baseball’s transition to full integration during the 1950s.

With his major league debut in 1959, Earl Wilson became the first African-American pitcher to play for the Boston Red Sox … and in 1962 became the first black pitcher in the American League to pitch a no-hitter.

With his major league debut in 1959, Earl Wilson became the first African-American pitcher to play for the Boston Red Sox … and in 1962 became the first black pitcher in the American League to pitch a no-hitter.

A 6-foot-3, 215-pound pitcher who relied on sliders and fastballs, Wilson was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1953. The Red Sox were the last American League team to break the color barrier when infielder Pumpsie Green made the club in 1959. Wilson made his major league debut with the Red Sox on July 31, 1959, as their first black pitcher. Wilson joined the team’s starting rotation in 1962 and averaged 11 victories per season from 1962 through 1965. Wilson threw a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels in 1962, the first black American League pitcher to do so.

Midway through the 1966 season, Wilson was traded (with outfielder Joe Christopher) to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Don Demeter and pitcher Julio Navarro. Wilson enjoyed his best seasons with the Tigers, winning 13 games over the rest of the 1966 season to finish 18-11 with a 3.07 ERA (2.59 with Detroit). He followed in 1967 with a 22-11 campaign, tying him for the league lead in victories with Cy Young Award winner Jim Lonborg.

Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1967, tying him with Boston’s Jim Lonborg for the American League lead in victories.

Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1967, tying him with Boston’s Jim Lonborg for the American League lead in victories.

Wilson won 25 games for the Tigers over the next two seasons, and closed out his career after splitting the 1970 season with Detroit and the San Diego Padres. He finished his career at 121-109 with a 3.69 ERA.

Wilson started his baseball career as a catcher before switching to the pitching mound. He was one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, swatting 35 career home runs (33 as a pitcher, fifth all time among major league pitchers). He hit more home runs during the 1960s than any other pitcher in baseball.

 

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Johnny, Take Us Home!

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 7, 1964) The National League today won the All-Star game 7-4 on a walk-off home run by Phillies right fielder Johnny Callison.

Johnny Callison’s three-run homer off Dick Radatz was the game winner for the National League All-Stars.

Johnny Callison’s three-run homer off Dick Radatz was the game winner for the National League All-Stars.

Callison, who entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch hitter for pitcher Jim Bunning, flied out in his two previous at-bats. His ninth-inning home run off Boston Red Sox reliever Dick Radatz was his only hit of the day.

The American League opened the scoring in the first inning on Harmon Killebrew’s RBI single off NL starter Don Drysdale. The NL took the lead in the fourth inning on solo home runs from Billy Williams and Ken Boyer. The Nationals added another run in the fifth inning when Dick Groat doubled off Camilo Pascual, bringing home Roberto Clemente.

The American League tied the game when Brooks Robinson tripled home two runs in the sixth inning, then took the lead on Jim Fregosi’s sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. The AL led 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, with Radatz on the pitching mound.

Juan Marichal pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the victory. Marichal was also the winning pitcher in the first 1962 All-Star Game, and had a career ERA of 0.50 in eight All-Star apearances.

Juan Marichal pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up the victory. Marichal was also the winning pitcher in the first 1962 All-Star Game, and had a career ERA of 0.50 in eight All-Star appearances.

Willie Mays walked to open the ninth inning, stole second base, and then scored on Orlando Cepeda’s single, tying the game. With runners at first and second base, Radatz struck out Hank Aaron for the inning’s second out. But Callison ended the All-Star thriller with one stroke.

It would be Callison’s last All-Star appearance.

Bonding Power and Speed

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bobby Bonds

Willie Mays was the prototype for the ballplayer who could hurt you with the long-ball bat or his speed on the base paths. No one in major league baseball could approach Mays in that combination of athletic skills until he was joined on the San Francisco Giants by a strong and talented outfielder named Bobby Bonds.

In his first five full seasons (1969-1973), Bobby Bonds averaged 31 home runs and 89 RBIs plus 41 stolen bases.

Bonds was signed by the Giants in 1964 and made his debut with the club four years later. In his first game, Bonds homered … with the bases loaded, becoming the second major league player to hit a grand slam in his first game. Playing half the 1968 season, Bonds finished with a .254 batting average, nine home runs, 35 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

In his first full season as the Giants’ right fielder, Bonds hit .259 with 32 home runs, 90 RBIs and 45 stolen bases. He also led the league by scoring 120 runs. Bond’s remarkable ability to combine power and speed continued throughout the next decade. In the 1970s, he hit .274 and averaged 28 home runs, 86 RBIs and 38 stolen bases per season.

Bonds had more than 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season five times in his career, still the major league record. In 1973 he led the National League in runs (131) and total bases (341). He was an All-Star three times (and was named MVP of the 1973 All-Star game) and won three Gold Gloves.

He was the complete ballplayer, just as his son, Barry, would be.

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Bobby Bonds’ best season as a slugger came in 1977. Playing for the California Angels, Bonds hit 37 home runs with a career-best 115 RBIs. He also stole 41 bases.

After seven seasons in San Francisco, Bonds was traded by the Giants to the New York Yankees for Bobby Murcer. Bonds became one of the most-swapped played in the majors during the rest of the 1970s, playing for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs from 1976 through 1981.

He retired after the 1981 season with a career batting average of .268. He hit 332 home runs and stole 461 bases.

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