Casting for Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Norm Bass

In the early 1960s, when it was sometimes difficult to determine whether the Kansas City Athletics were actually a major league or AAA team, hope for the future resided in a string of strong-armed pitchers who came to Kansas City, made their marks for a season or two, and then faded off into other opportunities for glory. No pitcher better exemplifies that transition than Norm Bass. Continue reading

An Arm for Outs

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Dick Bertell

Dick Bertell was a major league catcher for seven seasons, all but one with the Chicago Cubs. A .250 career hitter, Bertell was an excellent catcher with a strong throwing arm. During his career, Bertell threw out 48 percent of the runners who tried to steal off his pitchers, the fourth best percentage all-time. Continue reading

Life on the California-D.C. Shuttle

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ken McMullen

Ken McMullen played 16 seasons in the major leagues. The firLos Angeles Dodgersst 14 of those seasons were spent in either California or Washington D.C., where he performed consistently as a solid third baseman with the kind of power that made him a dangerous contributor in the middle of the batting order. Continue reading

Gentle Man, Brutal Bat

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron had so many ways to beat National League pitchers that his prowess as a home run hitter was nearly overlooked until he passed Babe Ruth in career home runs in 1973.

But he was the second most productive home run hitter in the 1960s, and of course, he was the most productive home run hitter in the Twentieth Century. Continue reading

Catch, Play, Laugh

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bob Uecker

Before he was a play-by-play announcer, hilarious talk show guest, and beer commercial icon, Bob Uecker really was a professional catcher, playing at a level that relatively few ever achieve: the major leagues. Continue reading

A Wealth of Hitting

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Rich Rollins

Seemingly coming out of nowhere in 1962, Rich Rollins claimed the Minnesota Twins’ third base job and established himself as one of the American League’s best all-around hitters – batting in a Twins lineup that featured proven hitters like Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Earl Battey and, later, Tony Oliva and Jimmie Hall. While he never matched the MVP-caliber offensive numbers of his rookie season (when he finished eighth in the American League MVP voting), Rollins was a productive hitter for the Twins for nearly a decade, a perfect complement to the fence-busting machines that surrounded him in the Twins’ potent lineups of the 1960s. Continue reading

Can-Do Catcher

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Chris Cannizzaro

Chris Cannizzaro played for six different National League teams in his 13-season major league career. Actually, make that seven different National League teams, as he was a member of the NL All-Star team in 1969, the first player from the San Diego Padres franchise to achieve that distinction. Continue reading

First in Fleet

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Tommy McCraw

No first baseman better fit his team in the 1960s than did Tommy McCraw for the Chicago White Sox. In contrast to the kind of lumbering slugger normally stationed at first base, McCraw brought a deft glove and plenty of speed to first base in Chicago, matching the strengths of White Sox teams that were consistent contenders throughout much of the 1960s. Continue reading