(Another) New Address for Cal McLish


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(March 23, 1962) – The Philadelphia Phillies today traded third baseman Andy Carey and second baseman Lou Vassie to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Cal McLish.

Thirty-six-year-old Cal McLish would go 11-5 for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962. The Phillies were his fourth team in the past four seasons.

The Phillies would be McLish’s seventh team in 14 seasons. And his last.

McLish was 10-13 for the White Sox in 1961 with a 4.38 ERA. His career record going into the 1962 season was 68-75 going back to 1944 when he broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It would turn out to be a good trade for the Phillies. McLish finished his 15-year major league career in Philadelphia, going 11-5 for the Phillies in 1962 and 13-11 in 1963. His best season in the majors was 1959, when he went 19-8 for the Cleveland Indians with a 3.63 ERA.


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Hollywood Beckons Dodger Duo


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(March 17, 1966) Was it a change in careers for two of baseball’s most celebrated pitchers? Or simply a temporary detour on the road to Cooperstown?

Don Drysdale (left) and Sandy Koufax missed the 1966 spring training as holdouts for a multi-year contract that would make them the highest-paid players in baseball. They signed one-year contracts just before the start of the 1966 season.

That’s what many Los Angeles Dodgers fans were wondering when it was announced today that pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale had signed with Paramount Pictures to appear in a movie project called “Warning Shot.”

The announcement came nearly a month after the Dodgers had opened spring training in Vero Beach, Florida without the game’s best righty-lefty starting tandem. Koufax and Drysdale had remained in Southern California, demanding a three-year contract that would pay each of them $167,000 per season. That salary would make them the highest-paid players in major league baseball.

Both pitchers were coming off excellent seasons in 1965, when the Dodgers won their second National League pennant and World Series championship in the past three seasons. Drysdale was 23-12 with a 2.77 ERA. He pitched 20 complete games and seven shutouts, both third best in the National League. Drysdale finished second in the league in innings pitched (308.1) and ninth in strikeouts (210).

Koufax was even better. He was 26-8 with a 2.04 earned run average, leading the major leagues in both wins and ERA, as well as complete games (27), innings pitched (335.1) and strikeouts (a major league record 382). He also became the first major league pitcher to throw four no-hitters, tossing a 1-0 perfect game against the Chicago Cubs on September 9.

Between them, Koufax and Drysdale had won three of the four Cy Young Awards given out from 1962-1965. (And Koufax would win it again in 1966.)

In 1965, Don Drysdale earned $80,000. The Dodgers paid Koufax $85,000. The highest-paid player in baseball going into the 1966 season was San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays, who had signed a two-year contract for $125,000 per season.

On March 30, 1966, as the Dodgers were flying west at the conclusion of spring training, the team announced that it had signed its pitchers to one-year contracts: Koufax for $125,000, Drysdale for $110,000. Neither player would have the opportunity to appear in Warning Shot, which debuted in 1967 starring David Janssen.

Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale had taken acting roles in television prior to their 1966 holdout. They never got the chance to appear in the movie Warning Shot. Instead, they led the Los Angeles Dodgers to their third National League pennant in four seasons.

It effectively marked the end of the acting career for Sandy Koufax. In 1959-1960, Koufax had appeared in four different television series, including 77 Sunset Strip (as a policeman) and Bourbon Street Beat (as a doorman). He made no “actor” appearances afterward, and retired as a player following the 1966 season.

Don Drysdale continued to make occasional guest appearances on television series, as himself or in a role. From 1957-1992, Drysdale made 17 different television appearances, in shows ranging from The Red Skelton Hour, The Rifleman, Leave It To Beaver and The Donna Reed Show (four different appearances) before the “strike” and The Flying Nun, The Brady Bunch and The Greatest American Hero among others after. He was also a sports broadcaster from 1969 until his death in 1993.


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Reds Sign Perez


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(March 12, 1960) Today the Cincinnati Reds signed a future Hall of Famer and the franchise’s second most-prolific run producer, infielder Tony Perez.

With 1,192 RBIs in a Reds uniform, Tony Perez ranks second in franchise history to Johnny Bench.

A Cuban native, Perez signed with the Reds as an 18-year-old free agent and spent five years in the Reds’ minor league organization. He had an outstanding 1964 season with the Reds’ AAA club, the (then minor league) San Diego Padres, hitting .309 with 34 home runs and 107 RBIs, and earning Perez a spot on Cincinnati’s major league roster.

His first two seasons with Cincinnati were less than stellar. But from then on, Perez became one of the league’s most dangerous and consistent sluggers, and a vital cog in the Big Red Machine of the 1970s. From 1967 to 1976, Perez averaged 26 home runs and 103 RBIs per season.

The best season of his career statistically was 1970, when Perez hit .317 with 40 home runs and 129 RBIs. He finished third in the Most Valuable Player balloting that year (with teammate Johnny Bench taking the MVP honors).

The first 13 years and the last three of his 23-season major league career were with the Cincinnati Reds. For his career, Perez finished with 379 homes runs and 1,652 RBIs. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.


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Commissioner Approves Double Cy Young Awards


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(March 1, 1967) Baseball Commissioner William D. Eckert today approved the plan to recognize a Cy Young Award winner for each major league, starting with the upcoming 1967 season.

Baseball Commissioner William D. Eckert approved adding a second Cy Young Award starting with the 1967 season. For the first time, there would be a Cy Young winner for each league.

First introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, the award recognizing baseball’s best pitcher in a season was named in honor of baseball’s winningest pitcher of all time, Cy Young, who had passed away the previous year.

The first recipient of the Cy Young Award was Brooklyn right-hander Don Newcombe, who was 27-7 for the Dodgers with a 3.06 ERA in 1956. From 1956 to 1966, there was only one Cy Young winner in major league baseball.

The last “major league” Cy Young winner was Sandy Koufax, the only pitcher to win more than one award during the single-winner era. (Koufax took the award in 1963, 1965 and 1966.) Koufax was also the first unanimous Cy Young Award recipient in 1963.

Pitching from 1890-1911, Cy Young won 511 major league games. He won 30 or more games in a season five times. He finished with a 2.63 career ERA.

Eckert attributed the “split” in the Cy Young Award to “fan request.” The first American League Cy Young winner was Boston’s Jim Lonborg, who went 22-7 in leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant in 1967. The National league winner that season was Mike McCormick, who was 22-10 for the San Francisco Giants.



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Essegian Chucked


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 27, 1963) The Cleveland Indians today traded outfielder Chuck Essegian to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Jerry Walker.

The Indians had purchased Essegian from the A’s in 1961. He hit .289 for the Tribe in 60 games over the rest of that season. In 1962, Essegian hit .274 with 21 home runs with 50 RBIs.

Chuck Essegian hit 21 home runs with 50 RBIs for the Cleveland Indians in 1962.

In 1959, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Essegian became the first major league player to hit two pinch home runs in a single World Series. He was also the second major league player to participate in both the Rose Bowl (as a member of the Stanford University football team in 1952) and in the World Series. Jackie Jensen preceded him in that distinction.

In exchange for Essegian, the Indians received right-handed pitcher Jerry Walker, who had posted an 8-9 record with a 5.90 ERA for Kansas City in 1962. Walker was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957 and had his best year in the majors in 1959, when he posted an 11-10 record for the Orioles with a 2.92 ERA. He was the American League’s starting pitcher in the 1959 All-Star game at age 20.

Walker would post a 6-6 record as a relief pitcher for Cleveland in 1963. He would be out of baseball before the end of the 1964 season.

Jerry Walker was an All-Star in 1959 at age 20. He was 11-10 for the Baltimore Orioles that season. As a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1963, his only save was in Early Wynn’s 300th career victory.

Essegian would hit .225 for Kansas City in 1963, his final season as a major leaguer. He played in Japan in 1964.

This deal was actually the second trade that Essegian and Walker were involved in. Just prior to the 1961 season, they were traded together by the Orioles to the Kansas City A’s for pitcher Dick Hall and outfielder Dick Williams, the future manager of the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.



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Senator Teddy


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 21, 1969) After nearly a decade out of organized baseball, Hall of Famer Ted Williams was today named manager of the Washington Senators.

In his first season as manager, Ted Williams guided the Washington Senators to an 86-76 record in 1969 – the first winning season for the franchise.

Williams became the fifth manager in the history of the expansion franchise. He replaced Jim Lemon, who guided the Senators to a 65-96 finish in 1968, his only season at the helm.

For Williams, it was his first managing assignment at any level of organized ball.

Williams played his entire 21-season major league career with the Boston Red Sox. He was a two-time American League Most Valuable Player, a six-time AL batting champion, and won the Triple Crown twice. He remains the last major league batter to hit .400 in a season, batting .406 for the Red Sox in 1941. He retired from baseball following the 1960 season.

The Washington Senators had never experienced a winning season until Williams arrived. He led the Senators to an 86-76 record in his maiden campaign. It would be the team’s last winning season under Williams, and the team’s only winning season in Washington. The Senators moved to Texas to become the Rangers in 1972, Williams’ last season as the team’s manager, and his last season in baseball.

A Pain in the Hall of Fame



This Week In 1960s Baseball

(February 17, 1964) The Baseball Hall of Fame today announced that shortstop Luke Appling had been elected for enshrinement.

In 20 major league seasons, shortstop Luke Appling batted .310. He won the American League batting championship in 1936 and 1943.

Nicknamed “Old Aches and Pains,” Appling was the first shortstop to win the American League batting title when he hit .388 in 1936. He also batted in 124 runs and scored 111 that season. Appling won a second batting championship in 1943.

During his two decades in the major leagues, all with the Chicago White Sox, Appling batted .310. His nickname came from his White Sox teammates as a result of his perpetual complaining about minor ailments.

Jackie Jensen Retires


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(January 26, 1960) In a surprise move, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Jensen announced his retirement from baseball at age 33.

The American League MVP in 1958, Jackie Jensen led the league in RBIs that season. He would lead in runs batted in three times.

Jensen suffered from an intense fear of flying. Baseball’s expansion west only compounded his problem. In addition, Jensen wanted to spend more time with his family, telling reporters that “Being away from home with a baseball team for seven months a year doesn’t represent the kind of life I want or the kind of life my wife and children want.”

Despite his persistent problems with air travel, Jensen had become one of the most productive hitters in the late 1950s. He started his career with the New York Yankees and Washington Senators. Traded to the Red Sox prior to the 1954 season, Jensen averaged 111 RBIs per season from 1954 to 1959, leading the American League in runs batted in three times (1955, 1958 and 1959). He was the American League MVP for 1958.

After sitting out the 1960 season, Jensen tried to make a comeback in 1961. But his disappointment in his hitting that season (.263, 13 HRs, 66 RBIs) and his continuing fear of flying compelled Jensen to retirement for good after the 1961 campaign.

Expos Get Rusty


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(January 22, 1969) The Montreal Expos today traded first baseman Donn Clendenon and outfielder Jesus Alou to the Houston Astros for first baseman/outfielder Rusty Staub.

Rusty Staub

In six seasons with Houston, Staub hit a combined .273. His best season with the Astros was 1967, when he batted .333 and led the major leagues with 44 doubles.

Over the next three seasons as a member of the Expos, Staub would hit for a combined .296 batting average and average 26 home runs and 90 RBIs per season. He was an All-Star in all three of his seasons in Montreal, and then was traded before the 1972 season to the New York Mets.

It was also in Montreal that Straub’s wavy red hair earned him the nickname “Le Grand Orange.” He was a favorite with Expo fans.

Donn Clendenon

The other half of the trade worked out less well for Houston. Donn Clendenon refused to report to his new team. So the Montreal Expos sent Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn and $100,000 to the Astros to complete the trade.

Jesus Alou

Over the next four seasons, Alou batted .280 for Houston while averaging 32 RBIs per season. Clendenon would be traded to the New York Mets in June and play an important role in that team’s “miracle” season.

Cubs Go to College


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(December 21, 1960) The Chicago Cubs set a baseball precedent with the announcement that next season’s manager would be … no one.

The Chicago Cubs entered the 1961 season without a field manager … but with a “college of coaches.”

The Chicago Cubs entered the 1961 season without a field manager … but with a “college of coaches.”

Owner Phil Wrigley declared that rather than leaving the managing duties to a single individual, the Cubs would utilize a rotating “college of coaches” to run the team on the field.

The announcement followed a 1960 season when the Cubs finished 60-94 with Lou Boudreau as field manager. It was the Cubs’ fourteenth straight second-division finish.

According to Wrigley, “Managers are expendable. I believe there should be relief managers just like relief pitchers.”

The experiment lasted two seasons. The Cubs finished seventh in 1961 (64-90) and ninth in 1962 (59-103). Attendance at Wrigley Field both seasons was down by more than 20 percent compared to 1960.

After two dismal seasons without a manager, the Cubs named Bob Kennedy to that post for the 1963 season.

After two dismal seasons without a manager, the Cubs named Bob Kennedy to that post for the 1963 season.

The college of coaches strategy was abandoned for the 1963 season, when Bob Kennedy was named manager. The team’s record in 1963 improved to 82-80, their first winning season since 1946. That record was still good only for seventh place in the National League.