Taking the Bate

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering John Bateman

Something about John Bateman inspired no-hit performances from his pitchers. He caught two no-hitters during his 10-season major league career … and both were firsts for the franchise. He caught his first no-hitter in 1963, as right-hander Don Nottebart hurled the first no-hitter in the history of the Houston Colt .45s. He caught his second no-hitter six years later, the first thrown by Bill Stoneman and the first in the history of the Montreal Expos. Continue reading

Stability at the Helm

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Tommy Helms

Good fielding, clutch hitting, day-in day-out dependability: for 14 seasons, that was how Tommy Helms played major league baseball. He was absolutely the kind of talent you wanted at second base … unless you could trade him for a future Hall of Famer. Continue reading

Boswell Does Well

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Dave Boswell

Sometimes a single pitch can make or break a career. For Minnesota Twins right-hander Dave Boswell, a single pitch in 1969 threw a promising career in reverse.

Dave Boswell's best season came in 1969, when his 20-12 record made him the leader of the Minnesota Twins staff.

Dave Boswell’s best season came in 1969, when his 20-12 record made him the leader of the Minnesota Twins staff.

Boswell was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1963 and won his first two decisions for the Twins at the end of the 1964 season. He was 6-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 1965, and then led the American League with a .706 winning percentage in 1966, going 12-5 with a 3.14 ERA.

Boswell was improving gradually and steadily as a Twins starter. He went 14-12 in 1967 with a 3.27 ERA, and then slipped to 10-13 in 1968.

In 1969, Boswell helped the Twins with the West Division by going 20-12 with a 3.23 ERA. During the League Championship Series, which the Twins would lose to the Baltimore Orioles, Boswell was locked in a scoreless duel with O’s starter Dave McNally. In the tenth inning, he felt something “pop” in his shoulder on a slider thrown to Frank Robinson. The Orioles would score the game’s only run in the eleventh inning.

Boswell never fully recovered from that injury, and he was never the same pitcher that won 20 games in 1969. He was 3-7 in 1970 with a 6.42 ERA. In 1971 he was released by the Twins, and split the 1971 season between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles, going 1-2 with a combined ERA of 4.66. He retired after the 1971 season.

Boswell pitched only eight years in the major leagues, posting a 68-56 record with a career earned run average of 3.52.

Top_10_Twins_CoverJPG

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Hats Off to Pirates’ New Manager

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(October 19, 1964) The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that former major league outfielder Harry “The Hat” Walker had been named to replace Danny Murtaugh as Pirates’ manager for the 1965 season.

Murtaugh, who had been the Pirates’ manager for eight seasons, was leaving the helm for health reasons. Under his guidance, the team finished in sixth place in 1964 with an 80-82 record. Murtaugh was the manager when the team won the 1960 World Series championship, beating the New York Yankees in seven games.

harry_walker

Harry Walker won the National League batting title in 1947 with a .363 batting average.

This would be Walker’s second tour as a major league manager. He was an interim manager for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955. The team was 51-67 under Walker’s leadership. He was replaced at the end of the season by Fred Hutchinson.

Walker spent the next 10 years as a coach for the Cardinals and managing in their minor league system. In his first two seasons with the Pirates, Walker led the Bucs to consecutive third-place finishes, winning 90 and 92 games respectively. In 1967, with the Pirates in sixth place with a 42-42 record, Walker was dismissed and replaced by Murtaugh. In 1968 he replaced Grady Hatton as manager of the Houston Astros and managed that team for five seasons.

Walker played 11 seasons in the National League. He broke in with the Cardinals in 1940 and won the National League batting title in 1947 with a .363 batting average. He also led the league with 16 triples that season. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, batting .296 for his career.

 

 

pirates_top_10_cover

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Keystone Tough

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jerry Adair

Jerry Adair played for 13 seasons in the major leagues. He was known for his excellent defense and his toughness, especially as an out in clutch situations and as a player who was lineup-ready day in and day out.

For six seasons, Jerry Adair was the starting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. He led the American League in fielding percentage in both 1964 and 1965, and set records in 1965 for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (89) and consecutive chances handled without an error (458).

For six seasons, Jerry Adair was the starting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. He led the American League in fielding percentage in both 1964 and 1965, and set records in 1965 for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (89) and consecutive chances handled without an error (458).

Adair was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1958 off the campus of Oklahoma State University. He appeared in 11 games with the Orioles at the end of that season, batting .105, and appeared in 12 games at the end of the 1959 season, batting .314.

Adair made the Orioles’ roster for keeps in 1961, batting .264 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs. He was the Orioles’ everyday second baseman for six seasons. His best year came in 1965 when he batted .259 with seven home runs and 66 RBIs. He led American League second basemen in fielding percentage in both 1964 and 1965, and set records in 1965 for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (89) and consecutive chances handled without an error (458).

In June of 1966, Adair was traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Eddie Fisher. He batted .243 for Chicago over the rest of that season, and a June later was traded to the Boston Red Sox for reliever Don McMahon. He was an important pickup for the Red Sox in their 1967 pennant push, batting .291 with 13 doubles and 26 RBIs in 89 games with Boston.

Adair hit .216 for the Red Sox in 1968, and then was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the expansion draft. He batted .250 for Kansas City in 1969, and drove in 48 runs, the second highest total of his career. He played in seven games for the Royals in 1970 before being released. He retired as a player after a season in Japan.

Adair batted .254 for his career with 1,022 hits. His only post-season appearance came in 1967, when he batted .125 for Boston in the 1967 World Series.

Big on Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jim Nash

Jim Nash’s career started in a blaze of wins for a team unaccustomed to winning. But in many ways, “Jumbo’s” arrival marked a turning point in the fortunes of the Athletics’ franchise.

jim_nash_athleticspicpack_69

Jim Nash was 13-13 in 1968 with a 2.28 ERA. His six shutouts were the second-most in the American League that season (behind Luis Tiant’s nine shutouts.)

Nash was signed by the A’s in 1963 and was successful almost immediately in the Kansas City farm system, winning 14 games in both 1964 and 1965. He started 1966 with Mobile in the Class A Southern League, going 7-4 with a 2.63 ERA when he was called up to Kansas City. He made his major league debut on July 3, 1966, going 6.1 innings to beat the Detroit Tigers 10-4.

Nash won three more decisions in July, and won his first three decisions in August before losing to the New York Yankees. It would be his only major league loss of the year, finishing that season at 12-1 with a 2.06 ERA. He was runner-up in the Rookie of the Year voting to White Sox outfielder Tommie Agee.

jim_nash_athleticssportsservice_67

Jim Nash had a remarkable rookie season for the Kansas City Athletics in 1966. Called up in July, Nash was 12-1 with a 2.06 ERA over the rest of the season.

Nash followed up in 1967 with a 12-17 season and a 3.76 ERA. He posted a 13-13 record in 1968 with a 2.36 ERA (for the Oakland A’s), and finished the 1960s with an 8-8 season in 1969. By this time, the A’s had developed young arms like John Odom and Catfish Hunter, making Nash expendable. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Felipe Alou.

Nash pitched two-plus seasons in Atlanta, with a combined record of 23-17 and a 4.49 ERA. In June of 1972, the Braves dealt Nash (with Gary Neibauer) to the Philadelphia Phillies for Joe Hoerner and Andre Thornton. He made eight starts for the Phillies, going 0-8. He was released by the Phillies following the 1972 season, and retired with a career record of 68-64 with a 3.58 ERA.

Top_10_Pitchers_Cover

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Fairly Powerful Dodger

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ron Fairly

Ron Fairly was a “fooler.” From his stocky build you expected him to be a power hitter, and occasionally he was. But his compact swing delivered average and RBIs more than power, and his less-than-expected home run prowess did not keep Fairly from being an important run-producing cog in the Dodgers’ pennant machines of the mid-1960s.

ron_fairly_1959_bw

Ron Fairly averaged 66 runs and 71 RBIs for the Dodgers from 1963-1966. During those five seasons, the Dodgers won three National League pennants and two World Series.

As a sophomore at the University of Southern California in 1958, Fairly was the team’s star center fielder, hitting .348 with nine home runs and 67 RBIs in leading the Trojans to the NCAA World Series championship. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers that summer, and made his debut in a Dodgers uniform in September, hitting .283 in 15 games, with two home runs (his first came off Ron Kline of the Pittsburgh Pirates), and eight runs batted in.

Fairly batted .238 for the Dodgers’ 1959 World Series team, with four home runs and 23 RBIs in a part-time role. He spent most of 1960 in the minors, and played 111 games for the Dodgers in 1961, splitting his playing time between all three outfield positions and first base, while batting .322 with 10 homers and 48 RBIs.

By the start of the 1962 season, Fairly had established himself as the Dodgers’ everyday first baseman. He hit .278 that season, with 14 home runs and 78 RBIs, and followed up in 1963 by batting .271 with 12 home runs and 77 runs batted in. From 1962 through 1966, Fairly averaged 71 RBIs per season with a combined batting average of .273.

Then, inexplicably, his hitting dropped off, as his batting average felt to .220 in 1967 and .234 in 1968. In 1969, the Dodgers traded Fairly with Paul Popovich to the Montreal Expos for Manny Mota and Maury Wills. The move to Montreal seemed to revive his hitting, as Fairly batted .289 for the Expos over the rest of the 1969 season. He batted .288 in 1970 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. He hit a career best 17 home runs in both 1972 and 1973, and averaged a combined .276 in six seasons with the Expos.

Ron Fairly was a first-time All-Star in 1973, his fifteenth major league season. The 34-year-old Fairly batted .298 for the Montreal Expos that season.

Ron Fairly was a first-time All-Star in 1973, his fifteenth major league season. The 34-year-old Fairly batted .298 for the Montreal Expos that season.

Fairly was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1975, where he hit .301 as a part-time player and pinch hitter. Over the next three seasons, Fairly made stops in Oakland, Toronto and closed out his playing career with the California Angels in 1978 before embarking on a long career as a baseball broadcaster.

Fairly played for 21 major league seasons, with 1,913 hits and a career batting average of .266. He was an All-Star twice, once for each league.

Top_10_Dodgers_Cover

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download